Sunday, June 4, 2017

come

“For i will set my eyes on them for good and I will bring them back to this land; I will build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.” - Jeremiah 24:6-7 

These verses are beautiful no matter what angle you look at them from. They show the heart of the Lord and its evident desire to lead us and for us to follow. However, when these verses are read within the correct context, they become even deeper and richer in meaning. The Lord speaks here of His beautiful plans to build up this people and He calls them His own. The mind blowing thing is that these people weren't always His. The people He now calls His own had forsaken and forgotten His name over and over again. time after time these people strayed from Him and did not remain faithful to Him yet every single time He still says to them: “Return to Me.” What a beautiful picture that is and what a merciful God. He calls them HIS despite the fact they had never lived like it. They turned way their faces and shut off their hearts to His words yet His compassion continues to extend. God’s message to us is always to come- come broken, come hurting, come needing, come dirty- just come. No strings attached. 

The other mind-blowing part of all of this is that we are these people! We all have strayed and sinned, yet He gives us second chance after second chance and He forgives simply because He loves. He speaks to our wicked hearts “return to Me.” Surely there is no one like our God. 





Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Jesus is home.

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty” -Psalm 90:1
The definition of “dwell” is to live or stay as a permanent resident- to reside. Immediately my mind paints picture of a house with a little white picket fence, however I think that what it means to really dwell in the Lord is so much more than a literal place. It’s not simply your calling, profession, or even your literal house- but it is recognizing that Jesus is your secret place and desires for you to abide in who He is and all that He has for you. 
In my life, I have a tendency to pretend I have it all together and I have a hard time getting raw and real with myself and thus with my God. I try to slap a smile on the situation and carry all my burdens on my own as if the cross surely cannot bear all the weight. Jesus died so that I don't have to carry the weight and so that He may be my refuge. He wants me to abide in His shadow and let Him be my secret place. That secret place of rest and refuge is in His presence, at His feet and all we need do is unclasp our white knuckle hands that claim we can handle it and carry it all on our own. Lay it all down at the feet of Jesus. Live and seek to stay permanently in His shadow- close to Him. Dwell and live in who He is. I want to be able to dwell in the house of the Lord for all of my days and know that no matter where I go, Jesus will always be home. 
“I want to sit at Your feet, drink from the cup in Your hand, lay back against You and breathe, feel Your heart beating.” // The More I Seek You- Kari Jobe

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Purpose, Commit, & Walk Worthy

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself” -Daniel 1:8 
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons.” -Daniel 2:20-21

Christians are called to live a life that looks like Jesus- to copy Jesus; straight up its in the name. Jesus was righteous and pure in all things and He committed His soul to His Father, as it says in Luke 23:46. Therefore, my life calling is simply to strive for the same things. It’s to purpose in my heart that I would not become defiled, to commit my soul to the Father’s work, and then to walk worthy of this call He has placed on my life. Daniel was a man who understood all of this very well; he was a well off young man who could have easily lived an extremely corrupted life but he chose instead to be steadfast and unwavering in the ways of the Lord. Daniel’s whole life was full of ups and downs- one day he is serving in the kings court, the next day he is in the lion’s den, the day after that he is at the kings gate, and the next day he is in a fiery furnace. His life was always changing yet His faith never did and the Lord’s protection and call on Daniel’s life never did either. He is an incredible example of Acts 20:24- “yet none of these things shall move me; nor do i count my life dear to myself, so that i may finish my race with joy and the ministry which i have received from the Lord Jesus to testify the gospel of grace.” Daniel was unmoved no matter what that season of life looked like or just what that day looked like for him. Because of his faith in the Lord, he had learned to abound in times of plenty and abound in times of emptiness knowing that either way God would still be faithful and his hearts purpose, to not defile himself, had not changed. It was always the Lord who brought Daniel to and through these things in his life and Daniel was able to walk through it all and not be shaken. I want to strive to be more like Daniel and be able to say that nothing in this world was able to move me. And I want to purpose in my heart to look more like Jesus and commit to Him my soul. No matter the season, God is still God and we have to continue in the ministry He has set before us so that we may finish this race with joy. May we be able to say: “yet none of these things moved me.” 


Application: read through the book of Daniel and study his immense character and faith. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Surrendered Hands

“The Lord your God is in your midst, the Mighty One will save, He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love and will rejoice over you with singing.” - Zephaniah 3:17 

As of tomorrow, I will have spent one full week in Costa Rica- my new home for the next 6 months. The Lord has called me here and now its my job to abide here and do what He has called me to do. All of this on paper looks kind of overwhelming but as the first line of this verse says: The Lord your God is in your midst. I am so thankful that the God I strive to serve and be like is alive and is HERE. He cares and desires to lead me. I must follow- with a surrendered heart and the goal of pleasing Him. 
In Hebrew, the literal meaning of my name, Abigail, is “The Father’s Joy.” Literally my life purpose is to bring my Father in Heaven JOY- it’s what He created me for. Naturally, I'm a pretty happy person and however I think many times I can easily get caught up in trying to make others happy. That isn't a bad thing (obviously) but my first priority must be to be the Father’s joy, and if my heart is focused on that, then the joy of others will follow. The only way any of this can happen is if I am surrendered. My Father is pleased when I lay myself down and let the Mighty One SAVE and do the work. He is alive and here and ready to work- all I need do is let go and believe that my God is who He says He is. His hands are at work in my life when my hands are off and are lifted high in praise. And its only then when my hands are surrendered to Him and are exalting His name that He finds joy in me and will rejoice over me with singing. What a beautiful picture that is- What a Mighty God. 

Application: I am going to pray that the Lord would help me to surrender more and more of my heart to Him and thank Him that it is He who does the work. 



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Knowledge vs. Wisdom


“But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them.” –Mark 4:10-11

The mystery that is the gospel. There is so much we don’t know. The Lord is so much larger than my small finite brain, however nonetheless it is we who have been called to know these things. I think for me ignorance and oblivion are problems I find far too easy to slip into. I am not the most observant person and because of this I know that I have to work hard to make sure I don’t fall into an unaware state of mind. When it comes to the gospel, even more so. We have been chosen to draw near and know and learn the mystery that is the gospel- I don’t want to take that for granted. I want to be able to see and taste. And to listen and hear the Lord’s voice and then GO and DO what it is He commands me.

Knowledge is a good thing but what is knowledge worth if it never leads you to a point of change? That right there is the difference between knowledge and wisdom- knowledge just knows however wisdom uses discernment and actually uses all that it knows. I want to be a student and a servant who is able to use my wisdom. When I hear, I want to really hear and when I see I want to really understand and then have those things which I have now heard and seen lead me to a place where I DO. What is life if I never transfer the parables into LIVING?  

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Here's My Heart, Lord


“but the end of all things is at hand, therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” –1 Peter 4:7

Whenever I think about prayer I think about this time in church when I was like 7 or 8 and another little girl in my Sunday school class turned to me and asked me how she should pray. I responded to the girl and told her you simply have to talk to God from your heart. Simple. Just be real and raw with your Creator who already knows everything in your heart. For me, so any times I find even my most Spirit led prayer falling into habitual default sayings my mind wanders to and I begin saying just filler words when I run out of actual things on my heart to pray about. I get so mad at myself for this. WHY? Gah. Its not from my heart, it’s not my devotion, and it fills empty space with just more of my words instead of leaving room for God to respond back to me in prayer. As this verse says, the end of all things is at hand. Sooner than later God will come back for those who have been faithful to Him and that’s a scary reality considering so many people are still in darkness. Our world has serious issues and needs serious prayer. I want my life to be lived taking all problems to the feet of Jesus. I’ve got to be alert and watchful to the problems of this world rather than be ignorant and oblivious like I so many times can be. Christ died so that the veil that was between my communication to Him would be torn and I may speak to Him and enter His presence freely. That’s insane. That’s such a beautiful precious gift He died to give me yet so often I take it for granted and don’t treat it with the sacredness I should. Prayer at the end of the day is just talking to God with what’s on your heart, just like I told that little girl so many years ago. Don’t complicate it. May we let our prayers be real and raw and honest and be a time of continuously handing our hearts over to the one who made it.
Application: when I am praying and I find my mind wandering or I fall into the habitual filler prayers I am going to stop and gather my mind and then write down my prayers in hopes to help me focus more.

Be faithful to endure


“And Uriah said to David: ‘the ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing.’ Then David said to Uriah: ‘wait here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart.’ So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. And at evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.” – 2 Samuel 11:11-13

In Matthew 27:35 we see that the soldiers and the men who are crucifying Jesus offer to Him wine before the cross so that it might lessen the pain of it. In those days, they often did this to those put to death in hopes to numb the pain and make the torture more bearable. But in this verse, we see that Jesus refuses it. He doesn’t take the wine- He doesn’t take the easy way out. In this same way, we see that Uriah in 2 Samuel didn’t take the easy way out. He was disciplined to the point that even when the king told him he could go home for a night and take a break and shut off from his reality for a day, he refused. He didn’t want to take the wine and lessen the pain of the war he was fighting and the thought of his men who were still on the battle field. Now both of these examples are pretty extreme, however there is still so much application for me today. We need to be disciplined and know that whatever we are doing- it’s the Lords will for us to be in that situation so thus we must do whatever he has called us to the best of our abilities. Don’t take the easy way out. Discipline yourself and don’t take the wine to numb the pain because Jesus never did. Christ endured all things for me. Uriah was an honorable man who was faithful to endure, remain, and be disciplined even in the difficult. I want to strive to live my life in that one day the same things may be said of me.