So I was reading 1 Sam 16 this morning and it really spoke to me... God had sent Samuel to find the chosen king, the king that God said would be a "man after God's own heart"... "and Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel and Samuel said 'The Lord has not chosen these, are all of your sons here?' Jesse said, ' there remains the youngest but he is keeping the sheep"
God chose the youngest, smallest, boy out of the 8, a boy that his father thought so little of that he didn't even consider that David could have been the chosen one... So why David?
David was "keeping the sheep", that was a humble job of service, yet he did that faithfully. David would probably sit out in the fields at night and sing praises to God, for only God to hear. He loved God for who He was, not what He could do for him. He had a strong relationship with God that was built on adoration and love. God chose David bacause David was humble, faithful, and loved the Lord.
What is your "keeping the sheep"? Are you in a job or situation now but feel that God has called you to greater things? If He has, it will ONLY be fulfilled as you are faithful in keeping the sheep right where you are now. Fall in love with God where you are now and begin to thank Him for what He has done in your life thus far. He is a good, faithful God and will NEVER fail you! You aren't in a waiting time, this is training time. David was a great man, and a great king over Israel, because he never lost his shepherd’s heart. He served God humbly and faithfully...
"One thing I ask, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life and gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple." Psalm 27
My devotional this morning was one of my favorite chapters in Isaiah! Listen to the Lord's heart here...
"For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my promise of peace shall not be removed. O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted, behold, I will set your stones in metal, and lay your foundations with saphires. I will make your pinnacles of jasper and your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones! In righteousness you will be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you! This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord..." Isaiah 54:10-17
We have all been through tramatic events or storms in our lives, but here the Lord says that when you are servant of Him, He takes those events that tear our walls down and He rebuilds our walls with the most precious stones! He tears down walls of shame, pain, bitterness, hurt, and anxiety and He rebuilds them with the very most valuable of material, trust, joy, peace, and love! When I first gave my life to the Lord, He had ALOT of rebuilding to do in my heart! Through much work and many, many storms, He truly has laid a strong foundation in my heart of deep, deep, love and trust for Him.
Life with Jesus is an amazing adventure and He leads us to wholeness!
He knows what we need, just cling to Him.He is always faithful! You will come out on the other side with a beautiful, strong, faithful foundation! The beauty of the Lord is that we can come to Him just as we are broken and bruised, but He loves us way to much to leave us that way... Let Him rebuild you...
"He drew me out of the pit of destruction and set my feet upon a rock, He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God!" Psalm 40:2-3
"I dont have time to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets... who through FAITH conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weaknesses, became mighty in war, put armies to flight! You see... Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside EVERY weight and sin which clings so closely and let us RUN WITH ENDURANCE the race that is set before us!
Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire!"
All the mighty warriors of the Old Testament and now also the New are watching YOU run this race for Christ! They cheer you on! What if God saved you "for such a time as this?" (Esther 4:14) Paul encourages us to "look to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the JOY set before Him endured the cross" (Heb 11) God has not called us to fight a physical battle like the amazing warriors in the Old Testament, but to fight a spiritual battle, one that is fought with PRAYER and WORSHIP, the WORD ,and simply STANDING FIRM in your faith! Its amazing to think that God can take our ordinary, normal, I-grocery-shop-every-Tue-in-my-pajamas-life, and turn it into something that He can use to show the world who HE really is!
This all consuming fire, this savior of the world has called you to be a warrior in His army... He has called you to be a bondage-breaker and a city-shaker and a world-changer! So throw everything that slows you down aside and run this race for Christ that one day we may say along with Paul "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith!" 2 Tim4:7
In Matthew 8, A man with leprosy comes to Jesus, Jesus stretched out His hand, touched him and healed him and immediately his leprosy was cleansed! Jesus said to him " See that you say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest ... for proof to them." 8:4
Jesus in His love and compassion and mercy takes us exactly how we are when we come to Him! Leprosy is a terrible disease that is similar to the effects of sin of the soul, it is debilitating, painful, corrupting, and it enslaves us beyond our control, it leaves us hopeless. We come to Jesus with our own form of leprosy and one touch from Him and we are free! His love truly knows NO bounds! Jesus told the man to just simply show himself, maybe because God is so glorified in a changed life... My life has been changed by Jesus. I came to Jesus damaged, hurt, and broken, He made me whole, He gave me hope, Jesus changed me by His love for me and I pray that my actions and life shout "God is real and alive and GOOD and He set me free!"
"Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits! He forgives all your sins, He heals all your disease, He redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with steadfast love and mercy!" Psalm 103:2-4
Natalie, you are one of the most positive, patient, sweet hearted, joyful, grounded, generous, thoughful, in love with JESUS girls that I have ever met and you are such a blessing to me and so many others! You have become such a sweet friend and little sister to Joel and me. God has so many amazing plans for your life and I can't wait to see them unfold! You have been so faithful to God and He shines through your obedience and devotion more than you will ever know.
You carry the fruits of the spirit every day and I'm so proud of you!
"The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control" Gal 5: 22-23
The dreams that God has been stirring up in the girls and me are so wonderful and amazing! We have dreams to see more people come to know the sweet name of Jesus, to see women come to know their priceless value and live out their purpose, even dreams to change the world by showing the love of Christ to one person at a time! These are all possible... since all things are possible with Christ!
But... it does take obedience and determination to develop the dream that He has placed in us. It will not be easy, but it will always be worth it! There will be things that He asks us to lay down and sacrifice, but those things will never compare to what He laid down for us, His life.
God has created you for a purpose, far better and bigger than you could ever imagine!
"He is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think!" Ephesians 3:20
But when the going gets tough and all you see are the mountains you must climb... God is saying..
"Don't throw it all away now. Its still a sure thing! But you need to stick it out, staying with My plan so you will be there for the promised completion! It wont be long now, I'm on the way and will show up at any minute! Dont be a quitter, stay, survive, trust Me all the way!" Hebrews 10: 35-39
Make up your mind now that no matter what storms and mountains you face in the future, that you will never stop pursuing this dream He has placed in you! He has a plan for you, its going to be wild and great and full of HIM!
Keep my eyes on Jesus' face, let not the things of this world every sway me! I will run til' I finish the race!
The last two weeks at small group the girls and I have been talking about our potential.
The Dictionary definition of potential is "exiting in possibility, not in action."
Potential, cannot manifest itself without form. Like concrete, it must have something to be poured into, something to give it shape and make it useful. You will never find out what you are capable of doing if you never try anything. The girls in this small group are such amazing leaders and we are all learning that when we pour ourselves into something our potential to takes form. We have decided to pour ourselves into each others lives and into the ministry. God has placed in each of us the potential to make a difference in our generation, the potential to reach thousands with the love of Christ, the potential to take the gospel to the ends of the earth.. but it all starts with pouring our lives into what God has placed in front of us now. We are focusing on filling up with the love of Christ by worship and the word and pouring out that love onto others.
So.. I am sitting in starbucks and everyone that know me knows that I LOVE Starbucks! But there is a reason behind it... I moved to Birmingham 4 years ago to start a new job. I didn't know ANYONE in Birmingham except a really good friend/roommate of mine so I was very alone here. The week that I moved here, I decided to visit a place called the Basement and that night God moved in my heart so strongly that I realized how deep His love was for me and how much I desired Him above all else that this world could offer me. This was a new thing for me. I would have always said that I was a christian, and maybe I was but I definately didn't have a personal reationship with this God and I wasn't living a life that reflected Him. I had only one friend that was a christian and no family in town, so I began coming to Starbucks and reading my new bible. I became so intrigued by the Word of God that I came to Starbucks everyday that I wasn't at work and spend hours upon hours there in the Word. I would sit there, bible open, pen in hand, and write everything down in my journal that the Lord was teaching me. The people that worked there began blessing me with free coffee and muffins because I was there for so long!
It was in Starbucks that I read for the first time that "I am a new creation" in 2 Corinthians 5:17, that "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" in Psalm 139, and that "He would never leave me or forsake me" in Hebrews 13:5. I would leave Starbucks with a renewed and refreshed mind fully eager to give God all of my life. Starbucks is like a vacation to me... I love the calm atmosphere, I love the smell of coffee beans, I love the people that work here, but most of all, I love getting in my word and letting Jesus speak straight to my heart.
"Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path" Psalm 119:105
"For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword" Hebrews 4:12
This is something that I shared with the girls in the group last week: It is from the deepest parts of my heart to all girls!
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
Alot of women think that their deepest hearts desire is to be more beautiful, or to be married to their prince charming, or to be a mom... Those desires are SO beautiful and precious! I have those desires in my heart also... BUT, those are not the DEEPEST desires in your heart and those things alone will never truly satisfy. You see, you were created for something so much more than to live for this life alone. I can't tell you exactly what that is or what it will look like, but I can tell you with complete confidence that there is somethng deep down in your heart that desires the eternal. "He has placed eternity into mans heart" Ecc 3:11
Deep down in you heart of hearts, some of you have already been awakened and some will be very soon I pray, deep down your true desire is this wonderful, beautiful thirst for God. When He created you , He placed something in you that He would awaked at some point in your life. Something that you hear in your heart that says "only God can satisfy " or "perhaps life is more than the here and now".
Some people say that its not about YOU, but it is! It is SO about YOU! It's about you being madly in love with your Maker, it's about you being used by your Creator. It's about You being fully surrendered to God and being a living vessel for Jesus. It's about you bringing the love of Christ to someone who has never known love! It's about You bringing hope to the hopeless and joy to the joyless.
It's about, WITH CHRIST IN YOU, YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD! I pray that God awakens something in you that will cause you to dare to dream! Dare to dream that God has ordained your steps up unto this point in your live, that you are a world changer, the aroma of Christ, the bride of christ, fully awakened !
So the last year of my life has been CRAZY busy! I have been a full time nurse, part-time graduate student, fiance then wife and we then moved two times, and I'm full-time ministry (we all are)! BUT, we are now settled into our little home, I finish graduate school in 4 days so I'm ready to devote a little time to my blog. I am praying that it becomes a way for me to not only share what God is doing in my life but that you may be encouraged to also share your stories of God's faithfulness in your life! I will be sharing on several different things each week (The Basement, Shake the City, my personal walk with Jesus, My wonderful church (Church of the Highlands) my amazing husband (Joel), my beautiful friends and family, and the small group that I LOVE each Sunday night. This should be interesting......