mini devotional: the one about our hearts

ridiculously early mini devotional time ☺️
“Then ADONAI will be king over the whole world. On that day ADONAI will be the only one, and his name will be the only name.”
‭‭Z'kharyah (Zec)‬ ‭14:9‬ ‭CJB‬‬
this verse inspires me to make God the Lord/Master of my heart.
3 verses that talk about hearts stand out to me:
  • Psalm 119:36,Bend my heart toward your instructions and not toward selfish gain.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6,Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:5May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.
From these we see that we should allow God to direct our hearts, which makes sense because our hearts are deceitful (Jer. 17:9). And if our hearts are deceitful and we want to be live truthfully and not live a lie, then we need to ask God to lead our hearts.
what does this mean in real life (application/why should we care)? it means that we shouldn't be led by the emotions our hearts create: insecurity, guilt, fear, anger, distrust, etc. because we know our hearts lie and because Proverbs 23:7a tells us

"As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."

Jesus also emphasizes this in Matthew 15:18-20.
We act out what we believe to be true and these beliefs come from our hearts. (if we believe we aren't valuable, then our actions will reflect our inner insecurity; if we believe we aren't forgiven, we'll drown in guilt; if we fear, it reflects our inner distrust of God & His plan & His promises to us; etc.)
let's allow God to be King 👑 over our hearts today so we can do His will and be led by the truth.
Song for meditation:
King of My Heart, Kutless

just stand

a few days ago, one of my exes called. there's so much that could be said about the past calling.

you know the usual – you're supposed to be asleep but you get that text that reads

hey, are you awake?

I guess old habits die hard. you know the usual – flirting, temptation, pictures. but this time it was unusual. this time it was different. this time it was one-sided. and I don't know what it was. maybe, like he described later, it was maturity. finally. or maybe I was just bored…

I'm just so tired of being that girl. always a bridesmaid, never a bride. only this time it's always a…I dunno…well I know what I want to say but it doesn't flow as nicely. it's just not nice to not make it to full-fledged wife status with all the frills it comes with. I don't want to settle for anything less than the dream – the vision- that I believe God has whispered to my heart. and something within me just stood up and firmly said no. and I'm not writing about this to brag. I'm typing this out because I've never felt this feeling before. I feel as confident as I felt before I was an awkward, pimply teenager. I feel confident. I feel strong.

I just said no. I feel like I just can't live the same way anymore. Like the Woman at the Well, I'm looking to experience something new. I'm tired of the same old water that continually leaves me thirsty. I really can't do this anymore. Within a few moments of texting and talking, I realized I had grown. I couldn't believe what I was saying. I couldn't believe what I was refusing. And it didn't mean I'd be perfect – no I definitely slip every day, but thank God for grace through Jesus. I don't have to do it all on my own. I don't have to constantly fear slipping up. I can live and walk confidently knowing that my sins are forgiven and that God will help me to live life loved and to live life new. I don't need to return to the past. It doesn't fill me up anymore. And the truth is, it never has.

"In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall." Psalm 18:29

I am stronger. I am goal-oriented. I am focused on the benefits ahead and not on momentary pleasure.

Dear Reader,
Could you please pray for me? Pray for deliverance. I'm praying for you too. Even if you're not there yet – have faith. You will be. This God I serve is so great. So powerful. His love is endless. There's nothing too embarrassing, dirty, or unworthy.

"Who redeems your life from destruction; who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies;"

Psalm 103:4

Song: Clean

"There's nothing too dirty

That You can't make worthy

You wash me in mercy

I am clean

There's nothing too dirty

That You can't make worthy

You wash me in mercy

I am clean" – Natalie Grant, "Clean"

Thank God that we serve a God who's perfect; who loves us even though we don't deserve it. He fights our battles for us. We are never alone.

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14

Song: I Am Not Alone

Sometimes we don't think of our bad habits as addictions. Or worse, we think that our bad habit is not as bad as his or hers. But praise God for deliverance. Have there been bad things that have happened this week? Life is filled with mess-ups, slip-ups, and breakups, but today let's make our minds up – we won't live life with a victim mindset. We can make it. We can overcome.

Song: Overcomer

Today let's celebrate the progress we've made. Lets give credit where credit is due instead of focusing on our failures. Let's replace fear of failure with faith in the future: hope. A hope that can only be conceived through a continual trust in Jesus.

Song: 'Tis so Sweet

Let's say thank you to God as we recognize how far he's brought us from our past. And let's look forward to the future.

just wait part 2 (finally)

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.” 

-1 Chronicles‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬ 

Today’s verse of the day spoke volumes to me. This verse reminds me that God is in control over every situation in our lives. It also reminds me that he is in control over all of our resources. It encourages me to stay anti-anxiety. It encourages me to look towards him, and to look at what he is capable of and not to look at my circumstances. It’s not that I’m not aware of my circumstances or I am not putting forth effort; rather I am not driven by my circumstances or my fear. My fear of the future does not define me. Instead my faith fuels my drive. 

I want a job but I also need to finish my field experience volunteering hours by the end of April so I’ve been volunteering Monday – Friday mornings. 

I need a job, but after years of taking just any job, I think I’m finally moving in the direction God wants me: total reliance on Him. I trust that He’ll lead me to exactly where I need to be at the time I need to be there. 

Even the way I got the position for my field experience volunteering was truly the work of God. Everything fell into place at just the right time. And I know that if God did it before, (and very recently), he will be faithful in the future. I don’t have to worry or stress like other people who don’t have a relationship with God might be tempted to worry. My relationship with God has changed my outlook on life. And I am so very grateful. 

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

Waiting on God isn’t such a bad place to be. Trust Him. He will never let you down. 

when you just doubt.

I wanted to entitle this one “just hope” but that didn’t feel right.

I’ve experienced a lot of terrible situations in life that have left me fearful. 

Anxiety.

Imagine walking to your favorite restaurant. You already know how to get there so you don’t need a map. You know you need to cross a few streets and maybe wait at a few stop lights, but instead of walking the direct path from point A to point B, you stop behind each building you see along the way and then peek from behind the building’s walls before moving forward down the familiar path to your favorite restaurant. That’s what anxiety feels like to me. I feel like I have to hide behind bushes and buildings and wait to see if there’s any traffic rushing towards me before I step out into the street. I feel like a dangerous accident might happen. 

Drunken driver. Malfunctioning airbag. Deer in headlights. Flock of geese. 

I mean, anything could happen. 

And that’s what anxiety feels like to me – like I need to have a peek around the corner before something terrible happens to me. 

Sometimes when I feel that way, I remember this post I read a while ago “Expecting the good that God wants to give you“. 

If you’re too lazy to read that short article, here is a powerful line that stood out to me:

“Fear is the opposite of faith and it takes faith to accept anything good in our lives.”

This verse is powerful too:

All the days of the oppressed are miserable, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast. 

– Proverbs 15:15 HCSB

satan wants us to focus on the terrible things in life that have happened, are happening, or could happen. When you’re stuck on focusing on anything/anyone but God, it is so very easy to become anxious and depressed. We don’t focus on His abilities. We focus on our inabilities. When you see no way out, of course you’ll feel trapped and saddened.

Exodus 20:2-3. Israelites have just been delivered from slavery. God doesn’t want them running their lives by the rules of the old land so he gives them rules on how to live life free. 

The first thing He says to them is 

““I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery. “You must not have any other god but me.”

Exodus 20:2-3 NLT 

If you look up the definition of “god” you’ll find it associated with words like worship and adoration and admiration. Whatever or whoever receives our worship, adoration, and admiration is our god. God wants us to make Him our priority. 

Rule #1.

Obtaining freedom from anxiety involves keeping God #1. Not our jobs (or lack thereof). Not homework. Not friends. Not boyfriends. Not girlfriends. Not spouses. Anything else you could name doesn’t count as God. 

But when we focus on God we learn things like true love (click this link & the ones below).

We learn that He is our refuge so we can run to Him at any time.

And not just any time in a fearful way but any time and confidently.

We learn that He’s forgiving

We learn that He’s patient.

We learn that He is merciful.

We learn that He can bring to fruition things that are seemingly impossible

We learn that He understands us.

Yup, understands us. 

And loves us exactly as we are

But too much to leave us there

When we trust Him with every aspect of our lives, He directs us. And He doesn’t just direct us in a far off, distant sort of way. He cares about every single detail of our lives. 

The God of Christianity isn’t at all a tyrant as some have presumed. He is the One who brings meaning to life. 

He brings good things to those who follow Him.

And our God is very good.