Refreshing Your Own Heart

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This week I shared some advice given to me on “How to Refresh the Hearts of Others.”  But has your own heart ever ached and wished someone would come and minister to you?  I understand.

This week has been full of activity, ministry and needs.  One morning when things seemed to be spinning out of control, I stopped – literally stopped with tears in my eyes and my heart pounding with frustration and the feeling of being overwhelmed.  I turned my heart to the Lord.  I told Him my burdens, my frustrations, and my need.  At the end of my prayer I said, “Lord, please show me what to do.”

It wasn’t much later after that the Spirit of God spoke to my heart, directing my steps in a clear, biblical answer. My plans were to head out the door to join others in a good thing – we were to pray together – but the Lord said,

“Be still.  Pray here.”  

I thought, “Really? That makes so much sense! Yes, Lord!  Thank you!”

I let my friends know I wouldn’t be joining them where they were gathered, but I did join them at the Throne of Grace from my home.  It kept me from running there, running back, then running to prep for another obligation later in the day.

It gave me rest.

It calmed my heart.

No one but the Lord could have done that.

Now I slowed my pace.  I took time to pray for the needs of others.  I cleaned the mess that was around me.  I added a few touches of decor in my dining room. I listened to a podcast while I worked.   It wasn’t long at all until my own heart was truly refreshed.  I was thankful that it had come completely from the Lord’s directives speaking into my heart and not from a person.  It made me so thankful for the reminder that God cares about every detail of my life – even the little things that can trouble my heart.

My need was so simple, really, and I know there are times when there are HUGE needs, but there is nothing too big for Him to handle!  When you have a hurt, confusion, anxiety, burden or longing that causes your heart to be filled with emptiness and longing, what do you do when God sends no one to your doorstep, your pew at church, or your side?

  1. Recognize the need to go to prayer and tell Christ about what’s on your heart.  He already knows, of course, but this isn’t for His benefit, it’s for yours.  Stopping to put that longing into words and tell the Lord is so helpful. Divine intervention is what you need, and if you don’t ask, how will you receive it? This time of prayer also makes us realize that we are completely dependent on Him.  That’s always the best place to find ourselves, because He is omnipotent!  In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Psalm 86:7
  2. While in prayer, ask God for His wisdom for the next step.  What do you do after you finish praying?  Without God’s help, you’ll be just as hopeless as before if you don’t have His direction for the next moment. But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Prov. 4:18
  3. Look for verses of promise regarding your situation and meditate on their truth.   If you can’t think of one off the top of your head, or you don’t have your Bible with you, Google it!  We ask Google for other things we need information on, right?  Use it now!  Google Bible Verses on God’s Provision  or Bible verses on Comfort.  A list will come up that can anchor your heart with Truth!!!  Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations. Deut. 7:9 
  4. Listen to music that will minister to your heart and calm you.  It’s amazing what good music will do.  I love to listen to instrumental music that points my heart to God.  It brings peace and a reminder of Who He is!
  5. Don’t isolate yourself!  Get with others that will encourage you.  It’s easy to want to sulk and be alone, but you need other believers to help you – even if they never hear a word from you about your trouble.  Invite a friend to lunch or coffee.
  6. Talk with a godly friend about your trouble and ask them to pray with you.  You decide with whom should share – it might be your husband, it might be a friend or your pastor’s wife.  Two are better than one.  Eccl. 4:9 Humble yourself and admit you have a need.  We ALL need encouragement from time to time!
  7. Put yourself in an environment that helps your attitude.  Open the blinds and curtains and let the sunlight in!  Straighten up the clutter that might be right in front of you.  Create the order that will clear your head and heart.
  8. Get some fresh air.  Take a walk in your neighborhood or walking path at the park.  Go walk through the nursery at Lowe’s or your local greenhouse.
  9. Do something you enjoy.  Stop for a sweet tea and take a drive in the country.  Go to the library.  Buy a bouquet of flowers for your kitchen table.  Stop for a Dairy Queen treat.  Rearrange your living room.  Do a craft you love.
  10. Do something for someone else.  See this list to remind yourself of what you could do!  The focus gets transferred from your problem to someone else.

I pray this will help you to know how to refresh your own heart when you need it!

What do you do when you’re anxious or feeling overwhelmed?

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I’m Not Going!

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Reflecting back on the retreat I was privileged to be a part of this weekend makes me shake my head in amazement once again at my great God.  That He would allow me to share His Word with ladies and teach them from the overflow of what He’s taught me, is absolutely amazing!  It is a  joy beyond compare!

It’s also the hardest thing I ever do.  There is such an overwhelming understanding of the responsibility to handle God’s Word correctly and lead ladies to Truth, and to do it in a way that God alone gets the glory.

If you could hear me before I go to speak, you might wonder why in the world God would send me!  Seriously!  I go through the agony of:doubting that what I’ve spent many hours preparing is what I should be doing.  I gasp and wonder what in the world I was thinking when I was sure this is what God wanted me to share!  My husband and close friends will hear me say,

I’m not going!

It’s then that they know they need to pray much for my weakness.  It’s also at that point that I fall on my knees before Him once again and give Him everything – myself, my words, my outline, my heart, myself.  It’s  a cycle that happens every. single. time.  But it’s necessary, you see, because it empties me of myself and makes me realize that I indeed do NOT have what it will take to go speak and help anyone.  I CANNOT make anything happen in myself.  I am totally nothing without God’s empowering.
My words are empty. My strength is weak.  My plans will fail.

But God…

  • is strong when I am weak.
  • is almighty.
  • is able to do exceeding abundantly .
  • is my all in all.

I sincerely believe that the Lord allows me to speak so that I will continually be drawn to Him in utter dependence.  I’m so thankful for that!  I don’t want what I can do because I’ve seen what He can do!!

What is it in your life right now that is making you realize that you are so very unable to do what is before you?  God gives each of us at least one thing to cause our eyes to look upward, pleading for His possible power when the situation seems impossible to us!

Lift your hands toward heaven and remember that He is your All in All!  He can do the impossible in and through you when you let go and trust solely in Him.

Do you have an impossible situation?  Will you allow Christ to be your All in All this moment?  He is enough. Take it from someone who knows because she DID go, and God did all the work.  Praise His name!

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Lessons On Waiting

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I’ll never forget standing at my kitchen island with my grown, married daughter.  Her first Thanksgiving with her in-laws was coming up and she wanted to make a good impression with the pie she was contributing to the autumn feast.  She was sure about what the filling would be and how delicious it would turn out, but the crust?  That had her panicking, so she had come to my house to get some help.

Now, here we were, standing side by side at the counter.  We each had a bowl of flour, a due amount of Crisco and ice water to mix in, and a rolling pin beside, waiting for its time of duty.

Mom, why don’t you just make crust for me?  It will turn out so much better!

No, I’m sure you can do this.  Just watch while I do each step, then you do it.

Each step brought her closer to the desired result, and then after a little time, the crust had been rolled, picked up and placed into the pie pan.  With another bit of effort, the side crust was duly pinched and crimped, resulting in a crust that looked worthy of a state fair competition!  She was so proud.  It was completed because she was willing to wait.

As I was cleaning up the cloud of flour left on counter and floor, my daughter began talking to me about the desire of her heart, and the difficulty of waiting.  The wait was making her wonder if God was withholding from her because she had done something in the past, and this was her necessary punishment.

Have you ever wondered that?  Has the question of God’s seeming delay to answer made you wonder if He was perhaps angry with you?  We know He could do it, but when He doesn’t, wrong thoughts begin to creep in.

Pointing to the flour-covered rolling  pin we had just used, I said,

You came over here because you wanted the finished product of a pie crust, and you came to me to make it for you. Instead, I had you come near and learn from me.  After time, the result was your beautiful pie crust.

God is doing the same thing in your life, on a much higher plane.  Instead of just handing over to you what you’re asking Him for, He’s pulling you near Himself so that you can learn from Him what you would never learn otherwise.  In the right time, God will answer and provide, and you will be so thankful for the lessons you learned while you waited.

Friend, what are you waiting for today?  Whether it’s huge or small, remind yourself of Truth.  Just because it’s not happening right now, doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love you!  He cannot act outside of His character, and He loves you as much as His own Son!  There are lessons in waiting that will never be learned if God answered your request immediately.  He is a good Father, and He is pulling you close to Himself to teach you and instruct you, to comfort and to prepare you for when the time is just right and He will answer.

The joy on my daughter’s face when she saw her finished pie crust is nothing compared to what I’m seeing God do in her life right now!  I’m pretty sure if you asked her, she would tell you it was well worth the wait.

Maybe we should bronze that rolling pin.  It taught a tremendous lesson to my over-anxious heart.

Keep trusting.  Keep waiting.

 

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Jesus Sees You

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The picture above is Mt. Arbel in Israel.  We had the privilege to drive up most of the way, then hike up to a high point when we were there recently.  As you can see, the views are incredible.  As I stood looking out towards the Sea of Galilee, my mind went to the passage in Mark 6 –

45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.

46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.

47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.

We don’t know what mountain Jesus went to to pray, but it could have been this one.  I pictured Jesus coming up to a place like this to talk to His Father, perhaps about the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 that had just taken place, and then also praying for the disciples, who were at that time out in the boat, getting ready to encounter a storm.

No matter if it was this mountain or another, Jesus could see them because He is God.  He knew they were rowing as it says in verse 48 –

And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them:

Last week when I was on Mt. Arbel, I could see the water, but it was too far away for me to see people and they certainly couldn’t see me.  When the disciples were on the Sea of Galilee, they couldn’t see Jesus.  I wonder if they asked themselves where Jesus was?  Did anyone say, “Why didn’t He come with us?!”  It doesn’t matter, because

He saw them.  

He cared about their storm.

He came near.

When He came, He revealed Himself as Who He was – the One who had power over the storm.  He was the only One that could help them and He did, at just the right moment.

Do you feel today as though you’re in a storm-tossed boat?  Are you wondering where Jesus is?   Are you wondering if He’s forgotten you?  He hasn’t!  He cannot!  He is God.  He sees, He cares, and He is nearer than you even understand.

And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.

51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure…

Jesus comforted the disciples with His voice.  He encouraged them by telling them He was there.  You have His Word on it too – Hebrews 13:5  I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. See also  Isaiah 43:2 Joshua 1:9.

The world and your flesh may say that Jesus doesn’t care, but you must turn a deaf ear, and listen to the Truth of His Word instead.

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Acknowledge His presence and watch to see what He will do as the God Who is able to do exceeding, abundantly above what you may ask or think.

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What I’m Doing On Election Day

Today is an important day in our country, but I will not fear.   God is on the Throne and everything is good in my Father’s House!

I did choose to vote!  It’s my right, privilege and responsibility as a citizen of this land.

I choose not to watch and listen to the reports until it’s all said and done.

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I won’t be anxious.

I will not fuss.

I will pray and trust our God who is

GREATER

STRONGER

BETTER

than any person.

I will rest in Him.

At the end of this day, no matter the outcome, we can say:

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Resting in a sovereign God,

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