Bearing Lasting Fruit
December 14, 2017
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you” (John 15:16).
In the Spring through the Fall seasons, my husband and I enjoy spending our Saturday mornings taking our son to the local farmer’s market. The whole family truly does try our best to incorporate fruit and veggies in our diet, and this farmer’s market gives us ample options to pack our fridge with fresh produce. During the winter months, the market is closed, so thankfully, we can still purchase our produce at the local grocery store, but the taste of the fruit and veggies at this farmer’s market is just a little fresher in my opinion. Needless to say, I eagerly await the Springtime to get back to our beloved farmer’s market trips.
In John 15, Jesus tells us how he longs for us to bear spiritual fruit. But what happens to our fruit production when we reach a seemingly spiritually barren place, a “winter” season? We will all face “winter” seasons in our lives, but we should never want to stay there or make it a continuous cycle. Difficult seasons in life can actually be a time of growth and maturity in the Lord. In the natural, trees’ roots actually grow down deeper into the earth in the winter time.
If we don’t stay rooted and grounded in God (who is love), we lose our sustaining life and are prone to depression. Instead of yielded to depression, we need to allow our roots in Jesus grow deeper and deeper. We use those times of trial to draw closer to the Lord and drink deep of His goodness and faithfulness. During these dark times, the enemy wants you to dry up and rot- physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We must remain connected to our life-source, Jesus, the Vine.
Over the course of my life, I have experienced some pretty harsh winter seasons.
Thankfully, I had established a solid “root-system” in the Lord and also surrounded myself with some mighty “oaks” of righteous people. If we are isolated during these times, and are not taking in the proper nutrients from God’s Word, we are in trouble. Being around other trees or fruit bearers is crucial to sustain spiritual health. Their root systems can get “nutrients” to us and their fruit can “feed” us when we are struggling to hang onto the Vine.
No matter our circumstances, we must allow our fruit to ripen or mature, and even when it may seem hopeless, if you are abiding in Jesus, the Vine, you will see abundance once again. Be grateful for the little fruit you do have, but don’t stay there, let the Vine-dresser care for you. He chose you and longs for you to bear fruit, just continue to abide in Him!
Thank You, Lord, for remaining with me through all seasons of my life, even the difficult ones. Help me to continue to abide in the Vine, Christ Jesus, so that I can bear lasting fruit all for Your glory!
Deeper Walk: Galatians 5:22-23
FREE Printable Thanksgiving Psalms
November 21, 2017
When it comes to Thanksgiving, family and friends gather around the table to enjoy a delicious feast and to celebrate one another’s company. Before carving the turkey and filling plates with food, it’s important to take the time to say a special thanks to the Lord.
While prayers of gratitude have been around far before Thanksgiving in 1620, all early celebrations of thanks began with God as the centerfold.
Across many unique celebrations, people praise God before a meal as a way to say thanks to the all the good that He has given.
With many acts of thanks and praise to God in the Bible, Personal Creations wanted to create Thanksgiving Psalms to use at your Thanksgiving feast and for many celebrations to come.
Here are just some samples that Sherry at Personal Creations sent me that you are more than welcome to share on social media or print them out yourself! Follow this link for more beautiful printables that help remind us to remain thankful all year round and give God the glory He deserves!
I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving this year, celebrating with those whom you love! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!
Guest Post- 5 Bible Verses When You Feel Stressed
July 31, 2017
A few weeks ago, Marcus from Psysci.co, reached out to me and asked if he would be able to share some encouragement on emilyrosemassey.com for my readers, especially regarding his expertise in psychology. He decided to write a blog about 5 Bible verses when you are feeling stressed out. Please welcome Marcus!
Whether you consider yourself to be religious or not, Bible verses hold basic humanistic truths that apply to various situations. The following Bible verses are especially comforting in times of stress and remind us that being anxious and worrying about things will do nothing to put you in a better state mentally, physically or spiritually.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:6-7, ESV]
This verse is a constant reminder that the peace of God is freely accessible to everyone and can be so easily obtained through a simple prayer devoting your worries to God. To let your requests be made known to God through thanksgiving is a way to humble yourself and realize that God is bigger than any stressful situation that you might be going through. Keeping a gratitude journal is also a great exercise to help you reflect on the things in your life for which you are thankful.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” [Psalm 55:22, ESV]
By casting your burden on the Lord, you are transferring anxiety, stress and worry from the shoulders of a mere mortal to the hand of God that can hold an infinite amount of burdens without beckoning under the weight.
“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” [Psalm 34:17-19, ESV]
The righteous are afflicted – this notion is not uncommon to the world in which we live. In fact, it forms the basis of every good versus evil battle that is represented in the movies we watch, the books we read, the conversations we have and even the relationships we form with those around us. Heartbreak, affliction, sadness, hurt and other stress-inducing emotions are impartial in the sense that everyone will experience these at some point throughout their lives. This Bible verse offers a glimmer of hope and the promise of the ultimate hero to save us when we are in distress, all through God’s great grace and mercy.
“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” [Isaiah 40:30-31, ESV]
Often, a state of distress and worry will urge an unhealthy desire to intervene in situations out of our own strength with disastrous results. Patience is a virtue for a reason and by devoting time to praying and hearing God’s voice and His desire for you to be peaceful and achieve success in whatever you do, you are sure to be renewed in spirit. God’s divine intervention is on His perfect timing, not yours – distract yourself from stress by doing exercise, meditating or doing something that you enjoy and trust that God will bring you a new sense of calm.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” [Matthew 6:34, ESV]
This last Bible verse speaks directly to the crux of stressful situations. There will always be something to worry about but by worrying, you are not adding a single moment to your life – in fact, you’re doing the opposite! The articles found here, here and here detail the effects of stress and worry on both your physical and mental states of health. Focus on one thing at a time to avoid reaching a point of breakdown and take time in your day to address the problems that continually cause stress and anxiety. Be confident in your ability to overcome and remind yourself of these inspiring Bible verses whenever you are stressed.
About the Author: Marcus has a degree in psychology, a master’s degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organisations. Marcus started psysci a psychology and science blog in order to disseminate research into bitesize, meaningful and helpful resources.
From Brokenness to Restoration
April 21, 2017
being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6 NKJV).
The work God has done in my heart can definitely be described as one big (de)construction project- from tearing down walls that were erected from what I experienced as a child to restoring the brokenness created by my six year prodigal journey running away from the Father.
And as long as I am breathing in oxygen on this fallen planet, this heart of mine is a total work in progress.
In the process, the Lord has built patience in me- that in and of itself is a total miracle for this sometimes stubborn and driven personality of mine.
I believe God can change us in an instant, but chooses the longer, sometimes grueling and painful road, because it requires us to trust Him in the waiting and allows our history with Him to deepen in such a beautiful way.
I have talked quite a bit about “seasons of soul” on my blog because it amazes me to see how the Lord proves Himself faithful in the valleys and the mountain-top experiences of life. Instead of focusing on the crashing waves that may try to overwhelm us, when we choose to fix our eyes on Jesus, we trust that He won’t allow us to sink and won’t leave us alone in our storm. The same is true when everything is butterflies and rainbows. He’s still the same Jesus standing by our side: rejoicing with us, mourning with us, and cheering us on as we run the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).
Shortly after I gave birth to my son in the Fall of 2014, it seemed as if the Lord was whispering to my heart that I would be entering a “season of restoration.” This was a glorious promise because there had been numerous occurrences in my life where the enemy had stolen more than enough from me and my family. In the midst of this promise of restoration, I had no idea that I would experience one of the darkest “night of the soul” seasons in my entire life that would last for well over two years.
I experienced both natural depression and spiritual depression at the same time and because I was isolated as a new stay-at-home mom, it felt even darker for me. I can tell you that I held onto that promise of restoration with each passing day, but some days were just plain hard to keep hanging on, if I can be honest. I’m thankful to Jesus for standing by my side, as well as my husband Paul, who was so faithful through it all. There also have been friends who have been such a breath of fresh air of God’s grace to me, sharing words of encouragement and love that helped me face the day and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Their prayers were so evident in my life!
And here I am today, knowing that my dark night of the soul season has lifted. Knowing that God has been bringing my brokenness to full restoration and I’m living in that promise now!
The joy I am experiencing is overwhelming! The peace I continue to rest in surpasses anything the world can offer.
I share this with you to let you know God sees you. He knows the pain is very real. And He’s with you in the midst of your storm. Your trial has a shelf-life….even if it may be years, and even if you don’t experience relief until you see Jesus face to face, as hard as it is to say that. The Lord is forever faithful and will never leave you. Hold onto hope! Hold onto your faith in the Father! He is working behind the scenes and is faithful to complete this work that He has started in you, just like the Word promises us.
Aggressive Expectation: Preparing for 2017
November 16, 2016
Photo courtesy: J&H Creative
I don’t know about you, but I am a list-maker.
I have always been ever since I learned to write, I think. There is just something about writing down your thoughts that helps relieve tension in ways that I simply cannot fully explain. Obviously, says the writer.
The list-making goes hand-in-hand with journaling for me too- it’s funny to think that I have kept a diary since I was in grade school. My earliest memory of one I owned had a tiny lock and key and Tweety Bird on the front cover. I can only imagine what top secret words my heart needed to pen that I had to make sure to lock the diary. 🙂
It wasn’t until I became a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ that I realized how important my passion for writing things down was in my walk with the Lord.
Habakkuk 2:2-3 (NKJV) says:
2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.
In context, I know this was a promise and prophecy for the prophet Habakkuk, but if God (Jesus) is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), there is truth to be found in these God-breathed verses for everyone’s life. If the Lord found it important enough to tell Habakkuk to write down what He was speaking to him, then the same is true for anyone whom the Lord is bringing vision and revelation to.
I believe this instruction from the Lord to write down the vision is especially important during times of transition in our lives.
Although God does not run on our timeline or (Gregorian) calendar, I do think He wants us to prepare our hearts and incline our ears to Him for the new year ahead.
Crazy to think that 2017 is only less than two months away at this point!
As I sat and reflected over 2016 the other day, I could only find one word to describe a majority of it for my family- disappointing.
I don’t find it a coincidence that the cover of my journal for most of 2016 was a picture of an anchor and this verse found in Hebrews:
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure (Hebrews 6:19a, NIV).
My circumstances may have been disappointing, but I had a hope that kept my soul secure in the joy of the Lord. Sure, it was extremely difficult to hold onto that hope and not let the enemy steal my joy on a daily basis, but I kept coming back to the arms of Jesus, knowing that His joy would be my strength.
This hope stirred within me as I reflected upon 2016 and looked ahead expectantly at 2017.
This is where I began making a list. Not just a list of resolutions or even goals, but a list of all I believed the Lord would accomplish in and through my family this upcoming year.
I guess you could say it was a list of prayer requests of sorts, but mostly, it was a list of declarations full of aggressive expectations rooted and anchored in faith that my God will come through as He always does because He is so faithful!
One of the biggest declarations I am believing will come to pass is for our family to find a church body and family to be a part of. It has been a long and winding road for my husband and I since 2010. 2017 will be seven years that we have been on this journey to find our place of belonging- and not just temporarily or for a season, but a place to firmly plant our roots down, flourish, and raise our children for years and years and years to come.
Seven just so happens to be the Biblical number for divine completion and perfection. Yes, Lord. I believe You are faithful to perfectly complete this journey for us! Whatever that looks like!
I moved homes a lot growing up and have had family and friends consistently come and go in and out of my life for many years, so I’m pretty conditioned to change and transition, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me that we have not been able to find not just a church home, but our church home.
2017 will be the year we find our belonging. Our tribe. Our peeps. Our pride. Our God-ordained place and calling in the Body.
2017 will be the year God makes all things new and brings total restoration in all areas of our life.
I believe it. With all of my heart, I believe it.
So here’s to seeing an end to the disappointment and discouragement of 2016 and looking into 2017 with hope and joy, ready to see God’s faithfulness!
What about you? What kind of aggressively expectant, faith-filled declarations are you making for the new year? Write it down. Pray over it. Believe that it will surely come. I can tell you God will do exceedingly, abundantly more than anything you can ask, think, or imagine!
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him beglory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever (Ephesians 3:20, NKJV).
What I have learned in the last 30 days
October 12, 2016
Well, it’s been exactly one month since I last sat down to write a blog post.
Needless to say, I’ve had other tasks on my list to accomplish that demanded my attention, along with some new adventures during the day, and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the time.
I also started a new season back into the marketplace in the evenings and weekends exactly one month ago . Although there are a lot of similarities to my previous job experience in medical customer service, this new job in retail customer service has strengthened and encouraged my inner man in ways that I didn’t know how desperately I needed.
With that said, I have come to the conclusion that no matter where you go, there are mean, unhappy people everywhere.
You want to know why?
Because they are unaware of what they can have in Jesus.
I can make a statement like that because I have experienced such a deep change in my soul since I was last placed in a similar position consistently encountering hurt folks who are just so empty.
“You can’t give away what you don’t have,” I have found myself saying a lot lately. Instead of getting offended at how a customer may treat me, I have chosen to hand them the fruit (of the Spirit) that they need in that moment.
A lot of them need God’s kindness and love. Patience as well as peace are both two major fruit that people are just so hungry for.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering [patience], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25, NKJV).
I know that I am a carrier of the fruit of the Spirit because I am a believer, but I had no idea how much the Lord has blessed me with to give away and how my soul has not been very shaken up by rude attitudes. Honestly, I haven’t even encountered that many mean customers. It’s almost like the minute they step up to the customer service desk, they are greeted with a giant basket of the fruit of the Spirit to partake of freely before they even have time to make a fuss or allow their attitude to surface! Ha!
Because I am rooted and abiding in the Vine (Jesus), I can receive more of His grace as the nourishment I need to continue to produce and mature more fruit. I have thoroughly enjoyed this new assignment from the Lord and have been encouraged to discover that many of my superiors and co-workers have frequently made mention of what a fantastic job I am doing in customer service, especially the way that I interact with the customers. When I was offered the position, I was told that the company typically doesn’t allow someone to begin as a customer service associate. Then the store manager added, “But I just believe you will be perfect in that role and we would love to have you!”
I tell you all of this, not to brag on how awesome I am, but how absolutely awesome God is!
Without the Holy Spirit, I know I would be prone to anxiety and stress, hardness of heart, and I would also be so easily offended.
With His help, I am able to not only be a light for Jesus but a carrier of His presence, revealing the evidence of so many of His attributes found in the fruit of the Spirit!
People of God, we have to make sure we are abiding in the Vine so that we can bear lasting fruit for the Kingdom! So many people need to taste and see that the Lord is good and through you, they will be able to do that!
Will you have anything for them to eat?
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another (John 15: 16-17, NKJV).
Grace That Transforms
August 16, 2016
I have felt stirred to document what the Lord has been doing in my heart lately, but I have had trouble finding the right words.
He’s drawing me to Himself in a way that I haven’t experienced in quite awhile. In areas in my life where I have seen a lot of barrenness, I am starting to see the budding flowers that I know will eventually become fruit.
The promises of Spring are calling my name. Grace like rain is softening this dry heart of mine.Grace causes us to worship God. Every time. Click To Tweet
We can’t help but respond to God in this way.
For me, often, giving up earthly pleasures is a way I worship God.
I used to think that I HAD TO give up earthly pleasures for God to hear my cries, my prayers better.
Quite contrary, when I freely lay down earthly pleasures that can ultimately distract me from the Lord, I can hear Him better.
Earthly pleasures are not bad or evil, but they can distort our focus and devotion to God if we allow them to have too much room in our heart and mind.
By casting aside those earthly distractions, I am free to experience unhindered communion with my Father, and I am able to still my soul to receive all that He has for me.
For almost two years, as a new mom, I have attempted to still my soul in my own strength. I have tried to recreate my quiet time that I used to have before my son was born.
God never changes but I have changed, and I believe the Lord has taught me how to seek Him in new ways so that I do not grow comfortable or complacent in my prayer life. He has also taught me not to judge my prayer life with earthly measurement= time.
Often we forget that God is not bound by our human standard of time:
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (2 Peter 3:8 NKJV).
So if one day in heaven equals a thousand years here on earth, how much do you think God can accomplish with our five minutes with Him?
I am learning to receive God’s grace in this area of my life because like I said, it doesn’t look the same as it did before I became a mom. I have occasionally beat myself up for this, thinking that I haven’t been “pulling my weight” to see change happen in me.
Friends, God doesn’t need you to spend hours and hours and hours in His Presence for Him to do a deep work in your heart.
Sure, those hours and hours and hours are amazing because I enjoy just spending time with God, but not required for the Lord to change me in major ways.
It is by His Spirit that He will change me, in His time. He calls us to partner with His Spirit, yes, but our effort alone is not what transforms us.
I’m thankful that He is renewing my mind when I center my thoughts on Him and posture myself to receive His truth that is found in His Word.
Just reading through this post is evidence that the Lord is breaking off those legalistic ways and aligning my thoughts to reflect His grace and truth, and that is exactly why Jesus came.
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17 KJV).
Spiritual Unity: Studying the Bible with Your Spouse
July 26, 2016
I have been a Christian for almost fifteen years and my husband has been a Christian for over twenty years. In December, we will have been married for seven years.
Throughout the many years of wedded bliss, I have always longed for the days when Paul and I would enjoy deep times of Bible study and prayer. Although we don’t pray together as often as I would like to, we still do pray together about important issues that rise up in our marriage and we both find it important to cover our son in prayer consistently.
One thing that we never really ever took the time to cultivate in our marriage is studying God’s Word together.
Sure, we listen to sermons together and discuss scripture, and maybe even read our own Bibles while laying next to each other in bed, but we have never had a Bible study together as a married couple.
Until last night.
I don’t know why it took us so long to actually sit down and do it. I could make a list of reasons why I think we just didn’t have the time to and some of them would be really logical reasons, but they would be excuses nonetheless.
Instead of wondering why we waited to enjoy this beautiful area of marriage, I’m going to be so utterly grateful that we have started the journey together.
I could sense the Father’s pleasure as He looked down upon us last night as we read scripture that truly seemed as fresh as it did the first time we laid our eyes on the words on the pages of the Holy Book.
It must have been such a wonderful sight- two of His children who have been made one through the beauty of marriage longing to seek Truth together and their eyes becoming illuminated with revelation straight from heaven!
I guess I tell you all of this, not to make it sound like we are perfect or have it all together, but to encourage you to fight for this absolutely amazing honor within your marriage! I can almost guarantee that the enemy does not want you to read the Bible with your spouse. He will throw every distraction and obstacle your way so that you never make this a priority in your life together as a couple.
It is so utterly important for you to seek God’s Word on your own spiritual journey for yourself, but how much more crucial is it to see your spiritual health be strengthened as a couple since you and your spouse have been unified as one:
But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’[a] 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh’; [b] so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate (Mark 10:6-9, NKJV).
Knowing that you and your spouse has been made a team in this life, reading and studying the scriptures is also like spiritually preparing and exercising for those moments when the devil will inevitably send attacks your way. Instead of the enemy trying to advance towards you individually, trying to find weakness if your armor, he won’t be able to withstand two children of God with two swords of the Spirit ready to cut down his lies! You both have the Word of Truth sown into your hearts because you have taken the time to meditate and discuss out loud so you’ve gained wisdom and understanding of God’s great and precious promises. The devil doesn’t stand a chance against you both! And with Jesus in the middle of your marriage, he is severely out-numbered!
I know life can get busy and if you have children, there never seems to be enough hours in the day! But I urge you, make the time to study God’s Word together! I’m so excited to see what God is going to do in my marriage now that Paul and I have decided to incorporate this into our life together. Just like the day we said “I do,” the spiritual union we are continue to build seeking God’s Truth will be a beautiful reminder to Him that His children say “yes” to a life pursuing Him together every single day!
Father, I lift up marriages to You today, asking that You would give these precious men and women a fresh hunger for seeking Your truth- both individually and as a couple. If they have never tried studying the Bible together, I pray they start today. Reveal to them just how incredible the experience of gaining wisdom and understanding of Your Word really is and how much it will strengthen their walk with You as a couple. I pray marriages will become divorce-proof and will stand so mighty against the fiery darts of the enemy! In Jesus’ name, Amen!
July 13, 2016
I have been sleep deprived for well over a month. Yes, I have been existing as a “Mombie.”
Mombie= sleep-deprived super-mom who is exists on coffee and a whole lotta grace (my definition)
My son, who turns two years old in October, has been waking up almost every single night for five, going on six, full weeks straight. This has been more difficult on my body than when he was a newborn.
Because of the lack of sleep, my mental clarity has been totally whacked out, and I have not truly felt like myself in awhile.
I often feel like when I am not able to fully let my creativity to flow, that I’m just going through the motions of life, living to just see another day. It is hard for me not to feel like I’m not being very productive or useful.
And like I described in my last post, I have been trying to rest in my position as a daughter of the King alone and not feel as if I have to constantly accomplish something, either for myself or God.
Finding this rest and staying there without fighting it has been one of the hardest lessons I have ever tried to receive and live out.
I’m a do-er by nature, like I explain a lot, and when I desire to use my gifts to glorify God and there are roadblocks, I just feel plain stuck! It has been so hard for me to remain in faith that God has not forgotten about me and that this season won’t last forever. I’m not saying I want this season to be over because I love being a mom, but while I’m here, I just don’t want to lose hope that the dreams God has given me will come to pass!
That being said, I have come to realize that often when I try to step out and begin to strive for those dreams, I immediately get exhausted and stressed out. I can tell when I am trying to achieve these goals and dreams in my own and ability and strength. I have spent a majority of my life striving and that is why I believe God is asking me to rest.
Let me be clear, this is not a license to be lazy. If the Lord asks me to do my part, I definitely put my foot forward and head out after whatever He’s called me to do. But there comes a point in time where He is wanting to prove how big He is to me by divinely connecting me to the right people or positioning me precisely where I am supposed to be to see these dreams come to pass.
This takes a lot of trust. This takes waiting on the Lord and seeking Him continually. This takes faith!
Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 HCSB).
So here I am, once again, re-evaluating what needs to stay and what needs to go in my life. If there are a lot of things that are distracting me and causing me to want to get out ahead of God and “make things happen,” then I honestly cannot be a part of it or I need to learn how to take a back-seat and allow God to move in the midst of it all.
I definitely do feel like I’m still on the Potter’s wheel as He molds me and shapes me into His vessel of honor. This time, instead of God chiseling away all the areas of sin, past wounds, and lust in my heart, He has been removing false ideas and images of who God is to me and what it means to trust Him.
This is such a deep work, my friends. The foundation of my faith has been in the process rebuilding in a way. Not that I ever stopped believing and trusting in Christ or stopped standing on Him as my Rock and firm foundation, but I believe God is revealing Himself to me in a way I have never seen before or fully understood, not that I will ever FULLY understand or comprehend the vastness and greatness of God.
I believe the Lord wants to show me how my faith in Him can move mountains; not thinking that I am capable of moving them at all in and of myself, but that when I say that my God can move this mountain, this obstacle, this roadblock, I believe and trust that He will do it because He is able! I speak it out loud because I’m asking Him and believing that if it is His will, it shall be done!
If you ask[a] anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:14 NKJV).
My faith must not be simply found in faith like it is some force or power to see what I’m believing for come to pass, but my faith must only be found in Jesus Christ alone!
I have to trust Him at His word and believe He hears me when I pray and ask Him to guide me when it is my turn for action or when it is time for me to wait to see what He is going to do next.
I’m grateful for your prayers during this season of rest and I’m grateful that many of you continue to support me. THANK YOU!
God Can Use Empty Cups: Part 2
May 13, 2016
Click to read: “God can use empty cups: Part 1”
I found out very quickly last Saturday that you can indeed pour yourself out even when you don’t feel like you have much to give.
God took full advantage of the fact that I was asked to sing “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” from Phantom of the Opera with my cousin at my grandpa’s funeral. Phantom of the Opera was one of his favorites and my grandpa loved going to hear his grand-daughters sing when we were both involved in musical theater. I just thought I was going to (try to) perform this song (without crying uncontrollably) and quietly sit back down in my seat, but God had other plans.
The night before the funeral service, I rehearsed with my cousin and tried my best to get some sleep, knowing that the next day was going to be a very heavy and emotionally draining one for me and my whole family.
I wrestled on and off trying to fall asleep because I wasn’t sure how I was going to introduce myself and the song and try to make it all sound somewhat uplifting, since the song is VERY VERY DEPRESSING. Absolutely beautiful, but nonetheless, depressing.
Playing out in my head different scenarios, I mentally wrote out my script, but trusted that God would give me the words. Then He told me that He wanted me to say more than just an introduction to the song and why we were singing it.
He wanted me to share my faith and speak His truth about eternity. In front of MY WHOLE FAMILY, many of who are not believers nor have a relationship with Christ at all….yet. 🙂
Immediately, I thought of all of the reasons that I was not equipped to do such a thing:
I haven’t read my Bible in weeks. I’ve pressed the “Catch Me Up” button on my “Digging Deeper Daily” one year Bible plan so many times, I’m about 7 months behind on where my original end date was. My prayer life consists of “Help me, Jesus” and just praying I can stay awake. And YOU want to use ME? To be Your vessel? Right now? Like tomorrow? Or better yet, several HOURS from now???
But one thing I do know about the Lord is that He does not call the qualified. Even in seasons of dryness and weakness, He qualifies the called.
And I know that I’m not only called, but chosen.
So this little chosen solider in the army of the Lord said, “yes sir.” Then I prayed a very familiar prayer:
Empty me of myself. Fill me up with You. I want to be Your vessel. I want to over-flow with You.
Then I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep, trusting that God would fill my mouth with His words.
And He did.
I can’t remember much of what I said, which usually happens when you become a mouthpiece for the Holy Spirit to speak through, but I can say that I poured out every bit of what God poured into me. Not just in that moment, but everything He poured into me in all the years of time spent alone with Him in His Presence. I’m so utterly grateful for the history that I have been able to form with the Lord, especially these last eight years.
I’m also EXTREMELY grateful that God would use this season in my life, a season where I don’t feel like I have much to give based upon my merit or Christian duties of prayer and Bible study, to allow me to share with my family (and extended friends and family who were in attendance that day) about one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given- eternal salvation through the finished work of the Cross of Jesus Christ. Proving that I will never be good enough in my own ability or strength. No, when I am weak, He is so very strong. And His grace is ever sufficient.
Through many tears and a shaky voice, I ended the song in prayer:
Boldly praying and thanking God for my grandpa’s life and all who he touched during his blessed 89 years here on this earth, thanking Him for the opportunity to share the gospel with my grandpa a few years ago where I was able to lead him to Jesus before he took his last breath and met the King of Glory face to face, and then praying for those under the sound of my voice to believe and trust in Jesus Christ and not wait another moment.
Then I opened my tear-filled eyes, slowly walked back to my seat, and sobbed. Many probably thought that I was crying so hard because we had to say our final good-byes to my grandpa (and yes, that was definitely heavy on my heart), but the tears were coming from a place of deep, deep joy and gratitude because God is so incredibly faithful.
He fulfilled a constant prayer of mine in an instant.
That is, I would be able to share with my family how much I love Jesus and how much He loves them, how much He has changed my entire life from the inside out because of His amazing love and forgiveness, and how they can spend eternity in heaven with this beautifully, merciful Savior too.
I thought this was all going to happen at a small, family gathering during the holidays, but God completely blew me away during the most unlikely of circumstances- turning ashes into beauty as He always does.
He used me as an empty cup that day. Emptied completely of myself and my own abilities or strength and filled me up with so much of His love and His Holy Spirit.
My cup now runneth over.
Love and miss you so much, grandpa. I can’t wait to see you again. Soon and very soon. XOXO