When plans get canceled and things keep piling on it’s easy to slip down into that pit. You know the one…depression. It’s slippery and deep. Once you’re down there Satan wants you to focus on the stresses that’s piling up around you because when you’re busy focusing on the stressors, then you’ve taken your eyes off the Savior.
But friend, can I share something that the Lord reminded me of this week?
It’s been awhile since I’ve shared. Admittedly, the physical pain gets so bad that it’s hard to focus on writing and sharing, but maybe it’s also because my eyes started to look within instead of up?
One day last week I had a really tough time…it was one of those times where you beg the Lord to take you because it’s just too much. I went to bed sobbing. Y’all…the Lord is so good…He gave me a dream. I’m sharing because I know that I’m not alone…no matter how often satan tries to peddle that lie, I’ve learned…he’s wrong. I’m not alone.
In the dream, I’m sitting alone in a dark muddy pit. I know it was muddy, though I couldn’t see, because I tried desperately to climb my way out…one, two, three times…each time was just as futile as before. The mud just sucked me right back down. I sat like a child, legs crossed, sobbing, & hopeless. But then appeared Jesus. I couldn’t see his face but I knew it was him. He’s my Shepherd, my Lord…I know it was Him. He held me. He just sat and held me. I woke up and while the pain was still there, so was the peace from such an intimate encounter with my Savior.
Later on that day I was praying for a precious friend and the Lord gave me a vision. I know it sounds crazy, but I tell you that the Lord IS able and faithful to communicate with us! We should ALWAYS test these dreams & visions against the Bible. If it contradicts God’s Word, then we can know it’s false and not of God. However, if it aligns with the Word of God we can KNOW that the vision is true and from Him! The vision was of Jesus carrying me on His back as He climbed out of that pit. Then of my friend on Jesus’ back as He brought her out of the pit as well.
Here’s the thing Jesus could have spoke and brought us out of that pit without getting down in there with us, but that’s not who Jesus is. He meets us in that pit and then we must cling tight to him every step of the way up so that we can look back and say – that was not me, that was all God.
If you are struggling to see out of the darkness, cry out to Jesus. He’ll be there.
I love a good DIY project. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve had space to tackle some larger projects. One of my main tools that I have handy is my trusty 25ft measuring tape. Now it’s nothing fancy, but it is reliable. How do I know that? Well because the company that makes this tool is solid, trustworthy. They have a gold standard, if you will, ensuring that each measuring tape is appropriately calibrated for accurate measuring. As I am sure you are aware, the measuring tape, while a small and seemingly insignificant tool, is vital for a project to succeed so much so that “measure twice, cut once” is the mantra in the construction world. I’m hoping to renovate our fireplace & create some built-ins soon. What would happen if I decided not to use my measuring tape while tackling that project? I can tell you with absolute certainty that it would fail. While eyeballing some measurements might be okay for my smaller DIYs, that would not be the case for such a massive project. Such is the case of trying to live our daily lives without first seeking wisdom in God’s word. We might be able to fake it for a while from the things we learned as kids in Sunday school, youth group, or even VBS; but over time those measurements might get jumbled up and fuzzy, unless we are daily going to the source – the ultimate measuring tape – God’s word.
Now imagine this, I’m getting ready to cut up a 2×4. I pull out my measuring tape and think…hmmm, nah, I’ll just use this scrap piece of wood even though it’s a little warped. It should be fine, right? No! Of course not. Any carpenter/diy-er worth his/her salt would laugh straight in my face. Why? Because the scrap piece of wood is not trustworthy. It has no set standard, its been shaped and warped by various experiences; therefore, any piece that I cut using that scrap wood as a measuring tool would most assuredly lead to more warped, uneven wood pieces.
Today, I am speaking to the folks who profess to be Christians – the ones who profess Jesus as Lord and Savior, not the ones who say they are Christians simply because they attend church, have been raised in church all their life, because (insert family member) was a pastor (or other ministry position), or because you came from the Bible Belt where there are churches lined up side-by-side down main street so the “Christian” ideology just kind of oozes into the culture of your heritage. For those who fall into any of aforementioned categories, please stop reading now and send me a private message, because I’d LOVE nothing more than to share the Gospel of Jesus with you. Seriously, no condemnation, just a conversation on how Jesus changed this broken sinner and made her whole.
If you are still reading, then I’m going to assume that you are a fellow brother/sister in Christ. Yay! That is awesome! What you are about to read will sound harsh, because the truth can sound that way when our hearts are so ensnared in sin. But, please, I ask that you read this in a tone of love.
If you profess Jesus as Lord, then your first and ONLY standard of what is right and wrong should be the Bible. Not social media. Not television/celebrities. Not your friends. And last but most importantly not least – Not your family.
The above statement sounds contradictory coming from me, one who is writing and sharing these truths, yet I will say to you what my husband and I tell our children, “Don’t take our word for it, look, see that it is here in God’s Word. It is God’s standard, not ours.”
2 Timothy 3:15-17 tells us…”And how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”
God’s word is divinely inspired.
God’s word is sacred.
God’s word makes us wise for salvation through Jesus.
God’s word is true.
God’s word is sufficient.
God is holy and cannot contradict himself; therefore, His word is truth. Not a truth, rather THE truth. It is profitable or sufficient for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. When we view God’s word in light of this revelation, then His word should become the ultimate measuring stick with which we measure everything. (1 John 4:1; Romans 12:2)
However, many Christians are opting to “do what feels right” and have begun to measure God’s word through the lens of pop culture or their own personal experiences which have been warped and marred by their own sin nature.
Jeremiah 17:9 clearly states, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick…”
Doing what feels right is a very slippery slope away from the true Gospel; however, what has me just as concerned are those who have been claiming the title of Christian for many, many years yet there has been no growth (Colossians 1:9-10; Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Peter 1:5-8). The writer of Hebrews admonishes those believers in chapter 5 verses 11-14 who are yet babes still on milk, rather than enjoying the hearty feast of deep spiritual growth. Why is this so upsetting and scary? If the current generation of believers, who are supposed to be spiritually “mature”, are still but babes themselves, then how can we expect the next generation be strongly rooted in God’s word.
It’s the same with those scrap pieces of wood. If I were to use each new piece as a guide for the subsequent measurement, then with each new cut would be a more distorted standard of the original. Which would be in essence…worthless.
It bears a heavy weight, but must be asked…is God’s word the ultimate standard for your life? Are you daily in God’s word firmly rooting His wisdom in your heart and mind? Or are you allowing your words and actions be measured by a warped version of Christianity?
Today, God spoke to my heart through tangles. Sounds crazy, I know. But lean in and I’ll tell you how…
My lovely daughter has always had the most tender head known to man. The irony is not lost on me since I, myself am so hardheaded; however, when I was her age I, too, was extremely tender headed. My mama owned a beauty shop back in the day and I loathed…yes, loathed, having her brush my hair. It always ended in tears and frustration – sometimes from both of us. I would have sworn that my mama was not being as gentile with me, her own daughter, as she was with her customers. And truth be told…I think I was right. Just kidding, Wanda Sue.
Fast forward to present day. We have had numerous discussions with L about the importance of taking care of our hair, body, etc. Mainly because proper hygiene is important, but more so because we believe it is important to be good stewards with what the Lord has given us. There have been many times that she has been reminded to brush her hair before we go somewhere only to see her come bounding out of the house with a giant wad of matted hair in the back (y’all the kid is a crazy sleeper!) Unfortunately, we have had to dole out consequences for not obeying us, such is the nature of parenting.
This last week we talked about our morning routines and how sometimes we do forget to do thing that need to be done; however, if we are consistently “forgetting” then it has become a heart issue of disobedience rather than accidental forgetfulness. So, for the last few days I have reminded her to brush her hair then let her go about her merry way without checking it.
Today was library day with her Daddy. It’s a special weekly date that’s just for the two of them. She loves it. As she hurried past me, I said, “No, ma’am. Go brush your hair.” She pulls the brush through 5 times, lays it down thinking she has finished. At which point I said, “I’m sorry, but Mommy will have to get those out.” She immediately starts crying.
I prayed that the Lord would give me wisdom in that moment. That I wouldn’t give in to the frustration and anger that have welled up in me so many times because my child had yet again not obeyed a simple instruction.
As I sat brushing her hair section by section, trying my best to not cause her more pain than necessary, the Lord reminded me that just like those tangles, sin usually starts as something small, that most wouldn’t notice or think it’s a big deal. But as it’s left unbrushed it continues to build into something so grotesquely matted that when the time comes & God says ok, my child that’s enough…then the consequences involved in removing that sin are going to be so much more painful than if we had turned it over to Him sooner.
And as I started to share this with Laylah she stopped crying and apologized for not obeying, then proceeded to have a look of hope on her sweet face & asked, “I can’t wait to get to Heaven cause there won’t be any tangles there, right Mama?” That’s exactly right, baby girl. There will be no more tears, no pain…and no tangles. Amen.
But the story does not stop there, friends. See just like L, I needed this reminder more than anyone. As I was removing that speck from my child’s eye, there was a giant log in mine.
In Matthew 7:5, Jesus had a specific title for someone like me. “You hypocrite” – ouch. Shew, he surely didn’t pull any punches with that! See y’all, here’s the thing…Jesus didn’t come to save the sinless, but the sinner. Which (spoiler alert) everyone is a sinner; therefore, a hypocrite. But y’all, that is GREAT NEWS because that means that there is nothing that is too big or too small that He won’t forgive! And if I can get real, real here – it is man that puts levels on sin. To a holy & just God it is all the same sin. Sin that He cannot look upon. Sin that breaks that fellowship with Him. Just like it grieved my heart to see my child hurt today…it grieves His heart infinitely more to see His precious creation continue in sin.
That’s been a grace-filled truth and much needed comfort for my heart today. For those who did not know me pre-seminary, I was always working out & in pretty good shape. Over time, however, I gave up taking care of the body that God gave me. I started to eat all the unhealthy foods in gluttonous proportions. Brace yourself I am throwing some brutal honesty out there – I have been living in the sin of gluttony. It’s been going on for quite some time and the effects on my body are both physically & mentally painful.
As the Holy Spirt convicted me of my sin, He reminded me that God’s forgiveness and grace hadn’t stopped. That YES, I have been/am a hypocrite, but I have not gone beyond the arm of forgiveness of my Savior.
I share this deeply ashamed; yet, in my weakness I will boast of the greatness of my Savior. Though my sin has been festering for quite some time & the road to reversing the consequences will be long and painful, I stand confident in 1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us & cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
What do you need to confess to the Lord today? Whatever it may be, know that Jesus loves you & WANTS to forgive you.
Here we are, about to end the 2nd week of November and I missed Pastor Appreciation Month (October). It is easy to get so engrossed in our own journey that we forget to look up at those around us. We tend to only acknowledge them when they negatively impact our sphere. Today, however, I want to share the beautiful blessing that my pastor is to me.
My second greatest blessing is my adoring husband, Luke, who also happens to be my pastor. The first being my beloved Savior, Jesus. Luke loves me like the embodiment of Jesus on this earth. Sacrificing his sleep, his time, his health to serve me, his children, and his church flock. He speaks words of life over me in the moments when the pain in my body is winning.* He takes on my responsibilities to let me rest. He’s not a glorified babysitter, he’s a father who adores his children. What an example for our babes to see! Their earthly daddy loving their momma, his bride, like Christ loves his bride, the church! Amen?! (Ephesians 5:25-33)
He’s currently preaching/teaching 5 times throughout the week. He’s there for the flock that the Lord so graciously entrusted to him. But he’s just a man. He’s got 24 hours in the day. And here lately he runs thin. Most don’t see it. I do. God does. I’m so proud of the man I get to call my pastor, partner, and forever best friend.
Father God, bless him and his commitment to You. I so admire his ability to take the criticism of others and frame it in a way to help him grow closer to Jesus. Lord, that I may be so steadfast in the midst of pain. Sometimes we forget a pastor is human. Mine most assuredly is a sinner, he will tell you that he’s the chief among them. As much as he is a sinner, he is redeemed by the blood of Christ and he takes his calling as pastor with such deep and clear conviction. Oh, that I could say the same for myself.
Lest you think this is some sort of saint worship, it is not. These words are the result of clear conviction from the Holy Spirit. The Lord showed me that in my pain and hurt I have become one of those voices of criticism of my pastor. (James 5:9) That instead of seeing all of the ways he has been serving me and my family, I’ve been seeing all that he is not doing. Shame on me!
3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’, when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Lord, would that I be more focused on removing the log that is in my own eye and be more a voice of encouragement to my pastor. Father, may I be steadfast and faithful to pray for my pastor. Give me Your eyes to see him as You see him – a full image bearer of Christ who lives in this broken world & will inevitably sin, but may I be as quick to forgive him that You, my Savior, have forgiven me. Amen.
Luke Robinson, I love you and I’m so thankful you are mine!
Lastly, let me encourage you to faithfully pray for your pastor – and his family. I am so glad you stopped by today! Feel free to share & drop any prayer requests below in the comments.