Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Trust

But you, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. ~ Psalm 22:19 NIV

We’ve had more than enough stress to go around. Not just with the move, the anxiety it put on us or our girls, starting over, trying to build new friendships, etc. The latest, is that God called me to trust Him. The irony is that I thought I had been. After all, we did move 1500 miles from home, friends, and community, because He said to. But this challenge was a test of trust and heart—would I law down my desires, my dreams of being a stay-at-home mom and go back to work, as God was saying?

At first, through tears, I said, “Yes, Lord.” And I prepared my resume and began my search. I even scored two interviews. But then I sat down and “counted the cost” of childcare. How much would I have to make to off-set that cost? Brad finally got a job, but it’s not enough to cover all of our bills. As the numbers and questions kept swirling, swirling in my brain, I became overwhelmed, frustrated, heavy-hearted, and plain old mad at God. I demanded an explanation. “Why?! Why did You make us leave everything just to send me back to work? Why?!”

But God.

But negates the former. God is the Creator; He is the beginning and the ending. Out of His love for me, He sent a friend to speak to me. She said, “If I can trust Jesus with my Salvation, surely I can trust Him with my life.” Her words ran around and around in my heart and mind.

Regardless of the circumstances, the budget, and the questions, it boils down to trust. Do I trust God with my life? Or, am I going to hold my and my family’s lives, health, protection, care, and security in my own, very small, hands?

Father, forgive me for thinking I know better than You what’s best for my life and my family. Holy Spirit, remind me of times He helped us in the past and help me to trust Him now and in the future. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

©Heather Potts 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

#sitdownandwatchthebuffalo

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
~ Psalm 23:5 NKJV

Have you ever been in a season or circumstance where stress or anxiety caused you to say some crazy things? I know we have, and somehow, Brad always hears them and then says, “We should put that on a t-shirt.” The most recent of which I said on Tuesday night and decided it would make the most hilarious t-shirt or hashtag, #sitdownandwatchthebuffalo. Obviously, if you were in the room, it would still sound funny, but I think it’s funnier without the back story.

The back story…
Have you noticed that when reading the Bible, we so easily disregard the back story and then miss out on some of the meat of what God’s trying to teach us?  Growing up, my mom always had Psalm 23 hanging on a wall outside my bedroom door. I’ve read the words so many times; they are a sweet melody to me. But it wasn’t until the past few years that I was hungry to know more—WHY did God say that, WHAT did He mean when He said it, etc. It wasn’t until I really started digging in and uncovering the back story that I realized the beauty and depth of the scripture—any scripture. But like my hashtag, if we don’t sit down and breathe in the sweet aroma of the back story, the deeper meaning, and the deeper layer of truth, then we run the risk of missing the deeper beauty that God was trying to communicate.

Today, I have two challenges for you. 1) Ask God to take your favorite scripture and unpackage it for you. Ask Holy Spirit to open up your understanding. Ask for the back story. 2) Send me your funny out-of-context statement. What would be your hashtag?

©Heather Potts 2017

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Just Worship

But you are holy, you who inhabit the praises of Israel. ~ Psalm 22:3 WEB

Is it truly possible to capture the beauty of God’s Spirit that enters the room when you worship?

I don’t really have any words.
Just beauty.
If I were a dance, I’d move gracefully and majestically.
If I were a river, I’d flow swiftly and continuously.
If I were a song, I’d sing sweetly and melodiously.
If I were an artist, I’d paint smoothly and magnificently.

But I’m a writer, a researcher, a prayer partner, and a friend. So instead, I will pray that as you enter His courts with signing, He will pour out His Spirit on you, that you shall go forth with joy and be led out with peace, (Psalm 100:4; Joel 2:28; Isaiah 55:12).

Father, I ask that Your Spirit would envelope them in beauty. And as they worship, opening themselves up to You, I pray that they would find a place of wholeness and complete perfection in You. Not because of anything they have done or will do, but simply because in You, they are whole and complete. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

©Heather Potts 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Not One

Blessed be God, who has given peace to his people Israel just as he said he’d do. Not one of all those good and wonderful words that he spoke through Moses has misfired. May God, our very own God, continue to be with us just as he was with our ancestors—may he never give up and walk out on us. May he keep us centered and devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms he laid down for our ancestors. ~ 1 Kings 8:56-58 MSG

I love that when I’ve come to the end of what I know, there is God, and entering His presence through worship always opens my eyes. Last night, as I was worshiping, I felt Holy Spirit highlight, “I am defined by all His promises / Shaped by every word He says,” from I Am No Victim by Kristene DiMarco. Thinking of God’s promises, I was reminded of a time we sought counsel from some of our leaders who recounted their own story of hardship. The husband said he sat in his chair and confessed God’s promises, to spite the devil, knowing that God would stand by His promises. And had since come through on many of those promises. Then I went to my list of confessions and found the promises God spoke to me:
God did not give me a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given me a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control], (2 Timothy 1:7)

My Father in Heaven disciplines me by teaching me His Word. This gives me the power to keep myself calm in the face of temptation and of adversity, (2 Timothy 3:16)

I am strong in the Lord [and will draw my strength from Him and be empowered through my union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might (Ephesians 6:10)

I hold the 5-fold nature of the Holy Spirit: gentle and quiet, purity, positive attitude, patient, and gracious, (1 Peter 3:2, 4; 1 Tim 4:12)

I am the guardian of our home, creating a safe, healthy, joyful, and creative environment for my family to grow and love and learn (Titus 2:4; Proverbs 31)

As we teach our children about Father God and His Word, it will stimulate, penetrate, teach and be impressed diligently upon their hearts and minds, (Deuteronomy 6:7)

No matter what the circumstance I have the mind of Christ and operate in His wisdom and ability (1 Corinthians 2:16)

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, (Hebrews 12:1-2)

If you’re struggling with or in need of something today, run to your Father and ask Him what His promises are for you. Rest assured that not one has failed.

©Heather Potts 2017

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Battles

for everyone born of God overcomes the world… ~ 1 John 5:4 NIV

Have you ever felt like all you did was battle? Maybe you’ve been fighting with your kids or spouse. Maybe the battle is for your job or just to get a job. Maybe the battle is over health issues—yours or a loved one’s. Or maybe you’re battling for your mind or for your life… In the midst of heavy battles, has the enemy ever whispered, “I just don’t want to battle anymore…”?

We’ve been battling many things, and yesterday, the enemy whispered that to me. But before I could ponder his words, Holy Spirit said, “There is a battle in everything. It’s not about the battle. It’s about whose side you’re on.” As I thought about what Holy Spirit had said, I was reminded of a sermon by Pastor Burnard Scott, in which he taught that through Jesus we have been given both power and authority. He said that Satan has power, but not authority, and preys on those who don’t know their authority, because authority is what causes the enemy to flee, (Luke 4:36).

As we battle, it’s important to remember the words of Ephesians 6:12, that our battle is not with people, but against spiritual forces. In Battlefield of the Mind, Joyce Meyer tells the story of a man battling a terminal illness. The man had been declaring God’s Word over his illness, but after not seeing any results, he grew tired of battling. The Spirit enlightened the man’s eyes, revealing to him what was happening in the spiritual realm. Though the enemy attacked, each time the man spoke the Word of God, a sword of fire came out of the man’s mouth, causing the enemy to cower.

Perhaps, like the man in this story, you feel like you’re losing the battle. Be encouraged! As the Spirit showed the man, each time you speak God’s Word—using your authority—God’s power is displayed in swords of fire, causing the enemy to cower. Remember, victory belongs to the Lord and, through Him, you, too, have victory.

Stand to your feet, Overcomer!
Draw your sword, Mighty Warrior!
And declare your victory cry, Beloved Child of the Most High God!

©Heather Potts 2017

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Concealed

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
~ Proverbs 25:2 NKJV

When I worked for the newspaper, my boss sent me to an Excel class because she needed me to learn pivot tables. When the teacher asked us what we wanted to learn, he seemed annoyed with my “pivot tables” answer and said the correct answer was to learn what we didn’t know.

A lot of things feel hard right now: after so many interviews (that I’ve lost count), Brad still only has a part-time, temporary job; Savannah is struggling (again); tensions are high; we’re trying to make friends, lay down roots, and figure out where we fit and why we’re here. I was expressing my frustrations to one of my friends and she said, “Sometimes we just go through crappy seasons. I just hope we don’t run out of toilet paper.” Though the TP may run out, God’s grace never will.

Standing in His grace-covering, we’ve decided to take a stand and make a change. We’re asking for help. We’re seeking wise, godly counsel, just as God says to do:

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking, (James 1:5 NLT)

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known, (Jeremiah 33:3 ESV)

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD… (Jeremiah 29:13-14 NKJV)

The enemy lies and says that we’re weak when we cannot stand on our own. But God says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding…Be not wise in your own eyes,” (Proverbs 3:5, 7 ESV). The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Instead of living in the craziness—in insanity—we’re going to walk in wisdom, honor, and glory, as we seek out the hidden, concealed, and unsearchable things.

If you’re going through a “crappy season,” don’t wait for the TP to run out; make a change. Determine to humble yourself before Father God and ask Him to lead, guide, and direct you in His infinite wisdom. And keep seeking until He reveals the hidden things to you.

©Heather Potts 2017

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Directionally Challenged

…To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…
~ Isaiah 61:3 NKJV

I’ve always felt directionally challenged. Please don’t tell me to “head North.” Chances are, I don’t have a clue which way you mean. I am, however, visual. If you tell me to go three stoplights and turn left by the McDonald’s, there’s a better chance I’ll find you. But directions aren’t just for finding your way on a map. Directions are necessary for life, which I realized in greater depth after studying Isaiah 61:3.

Ashes: a symbol of mourning, but also represent falsehood and deception
Beauty: an ornament, like a tiara or a crown covered in jewels, and a marker of authority
The oil of joy: oil of gladness, ointment used at banquets; symbol of fruitfulness
Mourning: walking with your head cast down
Garment of praise: clothed by a song of praise or hymn
Spirit of heaviness: a spirit of failing, weakness, a wick burning with a flame almost gone out, a spirit broken down, depression

This scripture is directional. When looking up to heaven, we’re walking boldly, adorned with a crown of beauty and the oil of gladness. But when we look too much in any other direction, we become directionally challenged. We forget we are King’s kids, made in His likeness and image, able to ask for help and better directions when we don’t know the way.

Maybe, like me, you’ve confused your map challenges with being directionally challenged. Maybe you’ve even believed the lie that you’re lost and you don’t know how to find your way. It’s time to dust off the ashes and break the chains of heaviness. We have been given a covering of praise, a jeweled crown, and a marker of authority. It’s there, even now. We’ve been so consumed with “finding the way,” that we’ve forgotten that we walk with the One who IS the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You’re not directionally challenged. In Him, you are found!

©Heather Potts 2017