Thursday, January 4, 2018
Old Church Choir ~ Zach Williams
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. ~ Psalm 5:11 ESV
Father, as even Brad and I have been under attack, ourselves, I do not take, nor speak Your Words lightly. Father, my wholehearted prayer for my married friends who are under attack, and sadly have been attacking each other, is for a fresh filling of Your Joy.
Joy is its own Spiritual fruit and does its own Spiritual work within us. It starts in the core, bubbling up from the inside, flushing out of our hearts, minds, and bodies, all the worldly toxins (unmet expectations, resentment, fear, doubt, comparisons, etc.). But unlike a chemical cleanse, which leaves us feeling empty and weak, Joy refreshes, recharges, and reignites us. What had dimmed down to an ember, has been fanned into a blazing, raging fire because of Joy.
Joy is what emboldens us to stand and fight against every enemy that dares come against what You have tenderly placed in our loving care. Joy is what breaks the heaviest chains from around our arms and legs and lifts the most oppressive burdens from our shoulders, leaving us feeling lighter than air, bubbling out of us songs, dances, and words of Praise and thanksgiving, to Father God, who, through Jesus, has set us free!
Father, I pray that all who read this prayer will be blessed. I ask that You fill each of us with a fresh anointing of Your Joy. I ask also that You would continue to spread Your protection over us, our marriages, and our families. I pray that 2018 would be markedly different, that our marriages and our relationship with You would not only grow in strength and increase in depth, but would also be a beacon of hope for those who need You. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen.
©Heather Potts 2018
Monday, December 25, 2017
When Hope Came Down ~ Kari Jobe
The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. ~ Proverbs 16:9 NASB
The YMCA pool schedule showed that the indoor waterslide would be open Saturday night. Our girls love the waterslide! After dinner, we'd take the girls to the pool and invite someone to meet us there. It was all settled. But by the time we'd arrived at the Y, things weren't working out as planned. One person wasn't feeling like swimming and another didn't bring their swimsuit. My perfect plan was falling apart. How can we make this all come together?
And then I saw it: a sign. Many people ask for a sign from God. He sent me a 4'x3' easel that said "Family Night. Members Free." As the others in our group discussed what fun and low-cost things we could do, I asked the lady at check-in what activities at Family Night would be age-appropriate for my girls. Of the things she listed, ice skating and bounce house grabbed my attention. I proposed my idea to our group and we decided to go ice skating and then head to the bounce house. We had a FANTASTIC TIME! I'm not sure who had the most fun. There were 10-gallon buckets to support the weight of the little kids. They were too short for Savannah, who opted to cling to the wall, but Elizabeth was a speed-racer with those buckets. I surprised myself by, not only remaining on my feet but also, really enjoying myself. We had the greatest time! We even got to ice skate and have our picture taken with Santa.
Later at home, I realized that even when my plans fail, God never does. And just maybe He allowed my plans to falter because His plans are far better than what I could have imagined. It's not that God is hiding something from me. Rather, He's teaching me to trust Him, and His plans, regardless of the circumstances. I did, however, appreciate and find the humor in how He used our pastor's message at Christmas Eve service to reiterate His point.
Today, as we celebrate Christmas, regardless of the plans we've made, don't let the burned rolls, under-cooked pies, or even the fact that the kids are more interested in the boxes than the expensive toys get you down or flustered. Instead, remember to take it all in and enjoy the moments you have with those who are near and dear.
©Heather Potts 2017
Friday, December 22, 2017
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds ~ James 1:2 ESV
Yesterday, after my workout, when my brain was clear, Holy Spirit whispered, “Count it all joy.” Immediately, I remembered my pregnancy with Elizabeth. I was very sick at the beginning of my 1st trimester, so much so, that I ended up in the hospital and it was a whirlwind of crazy and scary events. Even when I returned home, everything was an upside-down mess. I remember my dear friend called me and said, “Joy is a choice.” She told me the story of when her mom had been pregnant with her and some awful things were going on in her mom’s life. But one day, she decided to finish her pregnancy with joy. My friend told me that every day, her mom had to choose joy, but she did and when my friend was born, her name was going to be Joy. It ended up being something else, but that’s another story. My friend’s story impacted me so much, that not only did I choose joy for the remainder of my pregnancy, we named our daughter Elizabeth Joy.
After digging into James 1:2, I discovered that “Count it” is also translated “Consider,” whose definition is to “reflect on,” and I laughed! I LOVE how God knows me so well. He grabbed my attention with “joy,” but then brought it around full circle, calling me to reflect.
What’s going on in your life? As the year closes and a new beginning is on the horizon, what things can you choose to count as and walk through with joy? Choosing joy doesn’t necessarily change things, but it can make a long, hard road easier. And you never know, you just might begin to enjoy life.
©Heather Potts 2017
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
I will cry to God Most High, Who performs on my behalf and rewards me [Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them]! ~ Psalm 57:2 AMPC
I just love a good movie, don’t you? But, it’s the ending by which I judge the overall movie. Truly, it can have a slow beginning and a weird middle, but the ending is what seals it as “good” or “bad.” Ironically enough, I don’t rate my life by the same standards. What about you?
I have a brain for “the details,” which is good for work, our budget, or planning any event, but not very good for judging my life. Being a devotional writer (focusing on short, quick posts), I tend to forget the bigger picture. But if I’m going to run with perseverance, as Hebrews 12:1-2 encourage, then I also need to remember that Jesus is the “author and finisher” of my faith, and it’s upon Him that I’m to fix my eyes, not the details of the moment or the season. Psalm 57:2 and Hebrews 12:2 both declare that God is a finisher and completer of things in my life. And even when the unexpected, frustrating, or hurtful things happen, I need to remember that it’s not over yet, not by a longshot. Yes, maybe one of my dreams or desires needs to be put on-hold for a bit (a bit longer than I’d like), but that doesn’t mean it’s gone for good.
Father, forgive me for doubting Your faithfulness, for forgetting Your promise to complete in me the good work You began. Holy Spirit, keep me focused on how BIG my God is vs. the smallness of my circumstances. Thank you for the reminder that it’s not over yet, because it’s Jesus, not circumstances, who is the Finisher and Completer in my life. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
©Heather Potts 2017
Monday, December 18, 2017
You have given me your shield of victory; your help has made me great. ~ 2 Samuel 22:36 NLT
As this year draws closer to an end, I’m also reflecting on the promise God gave me just before Thanksgiving, in 2 Samuel 22:36. As I mulled over those words, I remembered a teaching by Judah Smith about Genesis 15:1-6. In Genesis 15:1, God said to Abram, “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward,” (NKJV). After researching the link between the two scriptures, I discovered shield means defense, covering, and protection. At the time I wondered, What do I need protection from or a defense against? But God also said He was my victory, His help made me great, and He was my exceedingly great reward.
I’d like to say that when God told us to move, we strapped on our faith, moved, and have done nothing but smile ever since. But then I’d be lying. I’ve actually been whining a lot. WHY has come out of my mouth so much, I’m afraid God will offer me some cheese to go with my whining, but since I’m in the dairy state, it all works. But it reminded me of Judah Smith’s message, because that’s exactly what Abram did. After God told Abram that He was Abram’s great reward, Abram whined that he didn’t have an heir, and if God could come look at his circumstances, He’d see the truth.
Isn’t it funny how we all get like that. God brings us through the craziest circumstances, using the greatest miracles, but we get knocked off guard and all we can say to God is, “Look! Look at my circumstances.” But God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, pulls us out of our tents (out of our small perspectives), aims us heavenward, and says, “Look now,” (Genesis 15:5).
Today, we got knocked down pretty hard; it really shook us. But in my tiny perspective, surrounded by my woes, God called to me. He aimed me heavenward, opened my ears, and spoke to my heart. He reminded me there is nothing that I have that He needs, because He owns it all, and sent His Son to share it all with me, His beloved daughter.
What need do you have? What circumstances are sucking up all your energy, drawing your perspective to a small focal point? As this year draws to a close, open your heart and mind to your Father. He longs to point you heavenward, saying, “Look now,” at all He has and wants to give to you, His beloved child.
©Heather Potts 2017
Sunday, December 10, 2017
Be strong and courageous…for the L
If you write Christmas cards or letters, then it’s likely you spend some time during this season reflecting on the past year. Perhaps you write to your friends and family about all your achievements. Maybe, like us, you find all the funny moments and quotes, the most recent of which was Elizabeth (age 3) who, upon spotting Mr. & Mrs. Claus shouted, “Look! It’s Santa and his momma!”
Reflect. It’s both a mirror and meditation. When we spend time in the Lord’s presence, we reflect His glory, (2 Corinthians 3:18). And we’re promised that we’ll be prosperous and successful when we meditate on His Word day and night, (Joshua 1:8). As this year draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the words and promises He’s given me, most especially what He said in January: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the L, (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV). At the time, I thought “God goes” meant “God was and would remain” with me. I didn’t really think we’d be “going” anywhere. But we did. And He did. Every step. Every mile. Every minute. Every day.
What about you? What has God said and promised to you? Was He as literal with you as He was with me? I encourage you to end this year meditating on His Word, on the words He’s spoken into your heart, the ones you’ve written in your journal, and see what He still reveals about them.
Father, as the world turns their eyes in the direction of the brilliant lights of Christmas, let them see Your light reflected in us. Thank you, that as we meditate on Your Word, we are transformed in Your likeness and image. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.
©Heather Potts 2017
Sunday, December 3, 2017
“The Lis my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” ~ Lamentations 3:24 NKJV
After our pastor’s message today, I asked, what is a “portion”?
"Portion" is an inheritance. If the Lord is my inheritance, then EVERYTHING He has I will receive. But what does the Lord have? He has the cattle on a thousand hills, all the birds, animals, and mountains, (Psalm 50:10-12). The Lord has EVERYTHING. Therefore, I need nothing because He is my portion; He is my everything.
To "hope" is to wait with GREAT expectation. The enemy is so good at telling me that I am less than, that I am not, and that I have not. But the Bible says that I have not because I ask not, (James 4:2). But when I do ask, to keep on asking, to believe that I have received it, and to rejoice as if it were already mine, (Matthew 7:7; Mark 11:24; Psalm 119:162).
It's true that God is not a genie and not all my wants are His desires for my life. But it's also true that sometimes His lack of answer is not "no." Sometimes it's "not now." God's timing and planning are perfect, which is why we have great reason to "wait with GREAT expectation."
I've written a book. Actually, God wrote it through me, and I can't even begin to imagine how He will use it for His glory. But when I asked how He wanted me to publish it, He was very specific. Thus far, He hasn't seen fit to publish His book. But during a recent "random conversation," someone completely unconnected talked about one of the key missing elements, (the way to get the money needed). And that one conversation reminded me that God is my inheritance and in Him I will wait with GREAT expectation.
What are you in need of; what promise are you waiting for God to fulfill in your life? Declare to the enemy, as well as yourself: God is my portion and I will hope in Him!
©Heather Potts 2017