Monday, July 3, 2017

HOME

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. ~ Mark 2:1 NLT

We’re currently on vacation staying with my brother and his family. And although I had good intentions, being away has gotten me out of routine, which can more easily steal my peace. But Holy Spirit reminded me that the place is not my problem.

At church on Sunday, the pastor taught on Mark 2:1-11. He said Jesus, having been out beginning His ministry, had just returned home. In this passage, a paralytic was lowered through the roof to be healed by Jesus. Jesus healed him first emotionally and then physically. At that time, the man’s family, not strangers, should have cared for him. But likely due to his illness, his family left him to fend for himself. When Jesus called the man, “My child,” (v 5), as a parent would call a son or daughter, Jesus gave the man a home, a place of belonging.

Home is a place of:
·   Healing. When you’re not feeling like yourself, you want to be in your space with its comforting feels and smells.
·   Oneness. While away, it’s easy to get distracted by others’ routines and mannerisms. Though there’s nothing wrong with them, you run the risk of losing the one-mindedness of your family unit. Home allows you to reconnect and realign your thinking.
·   Meditation. The reason people often “need a vacation from their vacation” is because they fail to slow down, take a deep breath, and keep their peace.
·   Escape. We can all feel that we need to “get away” to escape life’s demands. But home is meant to be a place of escape, a refuge from craziness and storms.
I realized on Sunday, that I’ve been struggling to feel “at home.” But Holy Spirit reminded me that it’s not about a street address. No matter where I am, my home is in Him.

Regardless of what’s going on in your life and where God has you. Remember that He always has you and that your home is found in Him.

©Heather Potts 2017

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Something Different

…You have seen with your own eyes all that the LORD your God has done…The LORD will do the same…where you are going. Do not be afraid…the LORD your God himself will fight for you. ~ Deuteronomy 3:21-22 NIV

Change: something different.
Growing up, things were constantly changing. I felt like nothing could be trusted. For a non-military family, we were moving all the time. When I grew up and moved out, all I wanted was stability, consistency.

We’re currently in a season of change. This season has had “immeasurably more” blessings (Ephesians 3:20-21), but also mountains of crushing stress. Unfortunately, my response has been to try to hold everything together. The other day, the stress was so overwhelming that I felt tightness in my chest. The following morning it was still there. But I climbed into my God-chair and put on worship music. And in natural response to my God, I lifted my arms to worship Him. It was with my arms lifted that I could take a deep breath and all the tightness was alleviated. That’s when I remembered what He had said to me during our fast at the beginning of the year, “When you’re choking, you lift your arms to open up your airways and receive oxygen, which is needed for life. When you’ve choked out life by trying to hold it so desperately in your own hands, open your hands and lift them up to the Lord in surrender. For only then can you open yourself up to receive His life.”

Life taught me to try to hold it all together. But Holy Spirit has taught me to surrender it to Him. If you’ve been holding on to something so tightly that everything within you is bound up, lift your hands in surrender. Draw in God’s sweet breath and exhale, allowing everything within you to release. Releasing everything to Him is safe, for He is trustworthy.

©Heather Potts 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

FoCUS

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. ~ Isaiah 55:9 NKJV

Plans. My plans included the house we were going to buy before having kids and the one-hour labor and natural delivery I was going to have in birthing my kids. But things didn’t go as I planned. Proverbs 19:21 reminds me, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand,” (ESV). If it’s the purpose of the Lord that stands, how do I uncover it? Holy Spirit said, “Through the Sabbath.”

Rest. When God brought His people out of Egypt, slavery—doing what someone else said, when and how they said—was all they’d ever known. Therefore, God commanded, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy,” (Exodus 20:8 NIV). The root word of Sabbath means “to take a rest; to sit down, to sit still.” It takes discipline to rest. But the benefits far exceed that of continuous motion.

Busyness. Too often I’m distracted by multiple projects or needs at once, losing sight of the bigger picture. Though I’m constantly active, if it’s not moving me toward the most important things, it’s meaningless. Yesterday, Holy Spirit challenged me to fast busyness. Doing so gave me what God’s been trying to give me all year: FoCUS.
Family First (Keeping my priorities in sight).
others on the outside (Maintaining healthy boundaries).
Christ at the Center (Gluing our family together).
Us United (Making every effort to meet each other’s needs).
Self-Care (Necessary in caring for others).
Honoring the Sabbath gave me a chance to recharge, see my projects from a clearer perspective, and refocus on the important things.

Maybe, like me, you’ve let your plans dictate the flow of your life. A wise teacher once said, “The plan may change a million different times. The plan is not what’s important. Jesus is. Don’t focus on the plan. Focus on Jesus.” It’s time to lay our plans down and seek God’s purpose. When we seek Him with disciplined and undistracted hearts, He’ll reveal His plan and purpose to us, which far outweigh any that we could make on our own!
©Heather Potts 2017

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Nothing Wasted

For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. ~ Ephesians 2:10 AMPC

Beautiful Tapestry.
Creatively Crafted Clay.

Fully Molded in Your Hands.

What the enemy meant for harm, You have brought fully around to bring me here, to this place of peace. The enemy used much pain to try to drive a wedge between You and me. You saw it. You caught and held each one of my tears from my childhood tears to those in later years. Though there were times I felt so very alone, You helped me to find You. And not just find You, but experience You. True beauty. Your heart for me—the way it’s always beat for me—so full of passion, concern, comfort, and love—real, true, and unending.

Death. The enemy meant death—physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and relational. But You. You didn’t allow a single tear to fall in vain. Because You used each tear to water the clay to make me, shape me, mold me, and move me. And each day the pain moves further away and is lost under the sea of Your love for me.

Purifying. You are cleansing, healing, and purifying my heart. The heart that had only known hurt is learning to beat in rhythm with Yours.

Journey. My journey is neither just beginning nor ending. It’s still in the taking and best traversed with You. Father, may I be ever moving closer to Your heart.

©Heather Potts 2017

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Scattering the Shadows

Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice. ~ Isaiah 41:10 AMPC

Last night, I woke up after nightmares feeling nauseous—the 3rd night in a row. After lying awake for several minutes, I heard Jesus singing over me, “I will cast my cares on You.” In the dark, I moved to my God-chair and half prayed, half cried at the realization of the weight I’d been carrying. But God spoke, scattering the shadows and breaking-up the lie. “It’s not your responsibility,” He said.

Unfortunately, this is not my first rendezvous with lies and shadows. But at the sound of His voice, God brought the light and everything became clear.

Isaiah 41:10 is a promise—a declaration—first revealed to me in 2015, when I was engulfed by darkness and shadows. But God stepped into that pit and pulled me out, holding me in the safety of His embrace. Last night, rereading that promise, He reminded me, “I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you.” The enemy’s going to bring his worst, his A-game, with fear, condemnation, guilt, and shame. But God has promised to hold me up with His victorious right hand.

If someone you know is walking in a realm of shadows and darkness, keep praying for them. James 5:16 declares, “The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available (dynamic in its working),” (AMPC). Let God do the fighting, breaking up the darkness and scattering the shadows.

Father, thank you for Your promise to help and uphold us in Your victory. Thank you for giving us a Spirit of Power, Love, and a Sound Mind. Thank you that we have been given the mind of Christ and are guided by His thoughts and purposes. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

©Heather Potts 2017

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Don't Jump the Gun

…Prepare ye the way of the LORD… ~ Isaiah 40:3 KJV

Growing up on the swim team, one of the most intense parts was waiting in the “start” position. The official calls the swimmers to step up onto the blocks and to “take your mark.” But the key is holding that position for several seconds without “jumping the gun,” which marks the beginning of the race. Any swimmer who dives or falls off the block before the gun or tone sounds is automatically disqualified. But once you’re in that “start” position, huge amounts of adrenalin begin coursing through your body and it becomes harder and harder to wait.

That’s where we are now.

God has shown us that He’s preparing us for something—and something for us—but because we don’t have all the important details, we’re having to wait. And waiting is hard, just ask any small child. But waiting has a couple purposes. 1) Waiting reveals the condition of your heart. It’s easy to “go.” It takes discipline and obedience to “wait.” Like the swimmer who’s disqualified for an early start, we can miss out on certain blessings because we didn’t trust God and “hold our position” until He started the race.   2) Waiting strengthens your faith. When you know that you’re about to embark on a new adventure, you’re super excited. But as time drags on, the process isn’t as easy as you thought, and unexpected challenges arise, it can be easy to throw in the towel and walk away. But the struggle “produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope,” which builds our faith (Romans 5:3-4; Hebrews 11:1).

If, like us, you’re in that “start” position but you haven’t been given the “go ahead,” don’t jump the gun! Instead, do as Psalm 27:14 encourages: Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

©Heather Potts 2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Precious Real Estate

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

With looming decisions before us, fear whispered, “What if this fails? What if you make the wrong decision?” When I shared my fears with Brad, he said we’d be diligent in seeking God’s direction, but what was I going to do about my fears?

How do I conquer my fears? What am I going to do about it? What’s my part?

Then Holy Spirit whispered, “Renew your mind.” He reminded me that I haven’t been given a spirit of fear, (2 Timothy 1:7). The Greek definition of “given” is “to give something to someone…to his advantage…give to one asking; give as a gift…something to be administered, such as property…to pay, wages or reward.” Are these fears to my advantage? Are they a gift? Are they something I’ve asked for? Are they payment for something I’ve done? Are they things I want to own?

NO!

Then it must be deduced that fear is NOT from God. So why accept fears? Why give them precious real estate in my mind?

“Do not be conformed to this world…but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God…[for you],” (Romans 12:2 AMPC). I need to choose to change, transform and renew, my ENTIRE mind, until it reflects that of Jesus. I have been given the mind of Christ and I am guided by His thoughts and purposes, (1 Corinthians 2:16). Therefore, I can choose to accept what fear says and allow it to consume my mind. Or, I can reject it through the daily renewal of my entire mind.

If, like me, you’ve allowed fear to take up precious real estate in your mind, it’s time to issue the eviction notice and change tenants. Exchange a spirit of fear for a Spirit of Power, Love, and a Sound Mind.

©Heather Potts 2017