Abide

wholehearted: intimacy, courage and freedom in God

When you don’t know what to do

The past month or so has felt heavy. A heaviness I haven’t been sure what to do with.

This week I felt God remind me to start worshipping, to get my praise on and lift Him up. There is a spiritual battle that rages around us, that often we forget we are in. (Ephesians 6:12)

And so for the past few days I have had a praise song on my lips, playing on continuous replay in my mind. When I wake in the middle of the night and feel anxious, I start singing it’s powerful words through my mind. I begin my day with it’s rhythm beating in my soul. And I’ve seen the heaviness lift. As I lift my eyes to God and choose to worship Him through the battle, I am reminded of His power, His presence, His victory. And I feel lighter.
There are many stories in the bible of the people of God going out to battle and stepping into worship before a sword was even lifted.
In 2 Chronicles 20 a vast army was coming against Jehoshaphat, Judah and Jerusalem. Jehoshaphat, unsure of what to do, prays to God. I love his prayer…he declares God’s goodness to them in the past and then says “We do not know what to do but our eyes are on You.” His eyes were fixed on God. In the midst of his struggle, He lifted his eyes to the goodness of God.
The Spirit of God then came upon Jahaziel and he prophesied that the battle was not theirs but God’s (v.15), that they needed to take up their position, stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord (v.17) Jehoshaphat bowed down in worship to God and some of the Levites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel with a loud voice” (v.19).
As they set out for battle the following morning, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord, to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army saying  “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever”. (v.21)
I love this picture. An army going out for battle being led by a bunch of worshippers! In the midst of a huge army coming against them, God’s people chose to lift their voices in praise to their God. And the outcome? The Lord set ambushes against the attacking army and they destroyed each other. (v.22-23)
There are other stories of praise going forth in the battle. The walls of Jericho falling as the Israelites shouted out to their God. Paul and Silas were praising God in jail when an earthquake opened the prison doors and loosed the chains that held them captive. (Acts 16: 23-26).
Praise lifts our eyes to God. It invites God’s presence into our battle. It exalts God in the midst of our battle. It looses the grip our circumstances hold over us and exalts God over our circumstances. It changes our hearts from anxiety and fear to hope and peace.
Worshipping God in the midst of our battle brings freedom.  It breaks the chains of bondage and causes the enemy to flee.
When we don’t know what to do, let’s be like Jehoshaphat and fix our eyes on God. Let’s send forth our worship as we step into the battle, and know that our God is faithful in fighting for us.
Blessings
Tammy
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God is in the mess

Does your life ever feel out of control? Chaotic, overloaded, maybe even messy?

Mine often does. But lately no matter how hard I work at making things ordered and calm, it just isn’t!!!! Have you ever done everything you know to do and nothing changes? Me too!

Apparently I don’t have it all together! (This makes me laugh and cry at the same time!)

Many times I feel overwhelmed, stretched, crazy and life just feels messy!

God is reminding me that in the midst of the mess, the chaotic, the process….He is there. And He is creating beauty.

Anyone who has ever done a pottery class knows that to create something beautiful involves a very messy process. A piece of clay running through your hands… there is nothing beautiful about the process. You can’t escape without getting, at the very least, your hands dirty (and probably a whole lot more!). And yet this is the very picture of who we are to be in the hands of God. A piece of clay that is willing to be molded and shaped into His beautiful creation.

‘Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand’. (Isaiah 64:8)

If I’m really honest with you….I don’t like the process!!!! I want the finished product! I want the beautiful pot at the end, but the truth is, the mess is where beauty is created. One day I will be changed in an instant but for now it’s an ongoing process of placing myself in the Potter’s hands, trusting Him as He molds, waters, turns the wheel and fires the pot.

Perhaps the most beautiful part of this story is that God is willing to step into the mess, to get His hands dirty as He tenderly molds and shapes me into a new creation. He’s not afraid of mess and He actually does His best work in the mess:

  • The living bible describes the earth in the beginning as ‘a shapeless chaotic mass’ (Genesis 1:2-5), that is until God spoke and created beauty!
  • He breathed into dust of the earth to form life.
  • Jesus left the beauty of heaven and entered earth in a dirty stable.
  • He bore the wounds and scars of a bloody cross to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

And He continues to step into our mess…daily! He sees our pain, our need for Him and in the messy process, He continues to work all things for good. I don’t understand the process, I can’t see what He’s creating and as much as I want Him to hurry up and get to the all together, fully formed, beautiful pot, I have to trust that my life is in the hands of the Potter who is creating something beautiful in spite of the mess.

The twists and turns of the wheel, the places He waters, the places He presses His finger into, the places He strengthens through the fire…. all of it is creating beauty.

Can I encourage you…embrace the process, trust the Potter, give Him full access to the mess and be assured that He is not scared to get His hands dirty. He is not put off by the mess but He actually creates beauty out of it.

Love and blessings!

Tammy

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Found at the cross

It’s one of those things we don’t like to admit… we bury it down deep and hope no-one can see it in us, but the reality is, most of us experience it. It’s different from guilt. Guilt says I’ve done something wrong, shame says there’s something wrong with me. It attacks our identity, our worth, our true self.
It’s been around since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3).  When shame rears it’s ugly head, it causes 2 main responses: hide and cover! (Genesis 3:7-8).
For as long as I can remember I’ve lived with feelings of inadequacy, of not measuring up, of not being enough. Just like Adam and Eve I’ve hidden, I’ve spent years of my life retreating and withdrawing from others, putting up walls so no-one would see the real me. And worst of all, cowering away from the presence of God…the one who has the power to take my shame and call me His beloved.
And just like them, I’ve tried to cover my shame with fig leaves: with perfection; striving; trying to make myself presentable…
Brene Brown says ‘When we struggle to believe in our worthiness, we hustle for it.’
Man, have I hustled for it! Perfection, people-pleasing, trying harder, doing!…Can I tell you how exhausting that is!
And the truth is the fig leaves just aren’t cutting it!!! At the end of the day, I’m just the same tired, messy girl who needs Jesus!
I went to the park with some other mums this week. Several times our kids fell off their scooters and landed in the dirt. They would come to us with tears, dirt, bark, mess! and not one mum would send her child away to get cleaned up before they would be hugged. Every time, their mum would scoop them up, dirt, tears, mess and all and hold them tight in an embrace that said “you are loved…you are mine…just as you are”.
Why do we think God won’t do the same? Because the truth is He already has! Jesus came for the brokenhearted, the captives, the poor, the prisoners.
I think for many of us, we think we better get our act together before we come to God. The not good enough plagues us and the rags of shame feel way too heavy some days. We agonize about the mess and we cover it with some fig leaves of striving. And we’re tired and weary and exhausted…and definitely in need of a Saviour.
The truth is, we don’t need to clean ourselves up to come to Jesus. We don’t have to have it all together. We don’t need to strive, to hustle, to do more. We don’t have to present ourselves worthy of His love… because He’s already done it all.
I love that Jesus does messy! I love that in my not enough, my sin, my shame, He comes… to pay the ultimate price. I am so thankful that He would leave the beauty of heaven to enter my mess, to die on a cross, to be the ransom for my freedom. To take the sin, the shame, the mess and wear it as His own.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says ‘God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.’
When shame comes, we must run to God. It wants to tells us a story about ourselves: that we’re not good enough, that we need to hide and cover… but Jesus has rewritten our story and we need to fix our eyes on the redemptive work of the cross, see ourselves with the same forgiven, restored, redeemed eyes that God sees us. Don’t buy into shame’s story. Re-enter the story of Jesus who scorned the shame of the cross to bring us back into relationship with God.
Scorning shame means that we intentionally stare it in the face and declare that the story it is telling is not truth. Forgiveness is ours for the asking. Jesus has already paid the price and changed our story forever!!!!
I’m tired of hustling for my worthiness. It’s time to rest into the truth that I am loved, I am forgiven, I am enough because I’m His. I don’t need to strive, to hustle, to do more.
The cross means many things to us but today as I gaze on the beauty of Christ’s ransom for me it represents freedom, forgiveness, love.
And so I run to the cross! I stop hiding and covering and I choose a new response. I turn away from the words of shame and turn towards my Jesus, who bore my not enough on a cross, that I could walk in freedom, in love, in the truth of who I really am. I lay down the fig leaves of striving and Jesus clothes me in a new garment: A robe of righteousness. I am His… loved, forgiven, scooped up in all my mess and embraced by my Heavenly Father.
What do you need at the cross today?

 

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I want to see Jesus!

It’s that time of year…where we bundle the family into the car in search of houses covered in flashing lights. Where we oooo and aaahh over these masterpieces and marvel at the handiwork of the owner/designer.

But lately I’ve been on a new quest. A quest to see God in the everyday, to seek Him, to find Him, to see Him.

Most mornings and evenings God puts on a light show of His own. I’m chasing these moments… not everyday but some mornings while everyone’s asleep I’ll slip out onto our verandah and watch the sky washed in the colours of sunrise. I want to see God!

Too often I rush through life with my to do list in hand… and I miss Him. I miss the masterpiece of His creation that is right in front of my eyes.

But tonight I stop. I turn off the noise of the TV and I sit expectantly watching the master painter set the sky ablaze in colours of gold and pink and orange. And I no longer feel the pull and push of life. And peace invades the craziness of doing.

I want to see God in the wind, in the water, in the sunset, in the bread, in the flowers and in the faces of those I love.

In the busyness, I need to stop, I need to pause and know that He is God and He is here. That His presence is here, that He invites me closer. That these glimpses of the Creator are invitations to come closer, to leave the busy and find my peace. I know these moments bring His presence closer, they restore my peace and satisfy my thirsty soul.

I linger, knowing there are jobs waiting for me, kids to put to bed, toys to tidy, clothes to fold. I linger because I don’t want to miss Him. I want to see, I want His presence, I want to seek Him and be found in His masterpiece.

2000 years ago, wise men followed a star to find Jesus. They left the busy, the comfortable, the pull and push of life, to find God-come-to-earth. They followed a light to lead them to His presence.

This Christmas I’m determined to stop, to pause, to seek, to follow, to find this Jesus, the Prince of Peace. I don’t want to get caught up in the craziness and busyness that I forget to seek. It will take intention, it will require resisting the pull and push of life. It will take a commitment to seek and it will mean stopping long enough to open my eyes and see Him living and vibrant in all Creation. I don’t want the busyness of life to crowd out being in His presence. I want to see!

So amidst the search for perfect gifts, delicious food and a parking space, I’m seeking Jesus.

How about you? How will you seek Jesus this Christmas?

Blessings!

Tammy

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Sacred space

It’s easy to lose ourselves, the real us. We live in a busy, fast paced world… a loud, noisy world where messages collide with our subconscious constantly. Most of the time we are so busy doing life, we are ignorant to what this busyness is doing to our souls. You see, life speaks words of discontent, it corrupts our sense of self-worth, it pulls at us from all directions and sometimes it causes us to lose our way. We can live our life with little space for margin, and little space to hear from God.

But that’s exactly what we need. I’m convinced that if we want to truly become the people God created us to be we need to make time for the important things that care for our soul and spirit. We need to create space in our life for the sacred. Instead of giving God and ourselves the leftovers, we need to get intentional about setting apart time and space for God to speak. We need to put aside the things that pull us in many directions and find the sacred space that will feed our weary souls.

It’s easy to lose ourselves in the busyness of life, to forget our identity, our calling, our dreams. In fact, we actually have an enemy who’s intent on keeping us from understanding our God-given identity, who’s main aim is to steal, kill and destroy all that God wants to deposit into our lives.

But Jesus came for more! He came to give you and I an abundant life, life to the full! And if we want to experience this life to the full, we better be prepared to quiet the voice of the world and hear the sweet whisper of God’s voice telling us who we really are.

In the sacred space I hear God’s voice of love, speaking life and truth into my soul. He takes my rejection and shame and names me beloved.
In the sacred space I am enough, just as I am. God receives me, He takes my shame and names me righteous.
In the sacred space, God meets my emptiness. He covers me in the shelter of his wing. He meets me with His peace and He is my refuge from the onslaught of life. He takes my burden and names me free.
In the sacred space God prepares me for battle. He clothes me in righteousness, truth, peace, salvation, and faith… and names me victorious.
In the sacred space God’s healing meets my brokeness. The deep places of my heart are given over to the One who loves me and created me, the One who takes my pain and names me healed.
In the sacred space, God’s Spirit touches my spirit and changes me. God takes my imperfect, brings transformation and names me radiant (2 Cor 3:18)
In the sacred space God lifts my eyes from the weight of life’s circumstances to the beauty of His Sovereignty. He takes my worries and names me faith-filled.
In the sacred space God takes my busyness and striving. He sees beyond the doing to who I really am. He silences the world’s demands to prove myself, He speaks into who I really am and names me chosen.
The scared space silences the noisy onslaught of the world so that I can hear the quiet whisper of God. It is a place of truth, a place of transformation and it is where I glimpse the real me.
So I run to His presence, I delight in His love and I am changed by His glory!
Blessings!
Tammy

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Stuck or stepping into the stretch

Stepping into something new is usually a challenge! Change is not always easy to embrace. Moving forward into new things is often a stretch!!!
There are many times in our life when God will call us forward into new things, moments when we’re called to leave the familiar, the predictable, the way things were…and embrace the new, the different, the unknown.
These moments stretch us spiritually. As we respond to God beckoning us forward we are given an opportunity to grow our faith, to stop relying on ourselves and to learn to trust God in the unfamiliar.
God has called us into the stretch many times throughout our faith journey. Leaving our home town to move to the city for my husband to start bible college was a stretch, extending our family from 2 to 4 children was a stretch and 4 to 5 children another stretch. And there’ve been lots of smaller stretches, stepping into a new ministry area, having the courage to be vulnerable, writing a blog! 🙂 God has called us to step out of our comfort zones to tackle new and mostly scary changes…changes we weren’t sure we had the capacity to make. We’ve been stretched, and in the stretch we’ve chosen to trust God in the unknown and believe that His plans and purposes are the best.
It’s easy to get stuck though. In the midst of the stretch it’s easy to look back…especially when what we had was good. It can be difficult to move forward and embrace the change. We can spend a lot of our time questioning God and looking back on what was. We may even want to return to the familiar.
When God brought the Israelites up out of their slavery in Egypt, they faced a journey to their promised land. Their journey forward was an amazing time of being spiritually stretched. It required them to trust God, to follow Him one day at a time. Each day God supplied manna from heaven and they were required to take only what they needed for that day (except the Sabbath- Exodus 16). I’m sure they wanted to ‘stock up’ on supplies and put extra away for another day, but God asked them to trust Him that tomorrow He would again supply everything they needed. The Lord led them by day in a pillar of cloud and by night in a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21).
There came a moment when the Israelites stopped moving forward in their journey to the promised land. They grumbled against God, and in their grumbling and complaining they wanted to return to Egypt! Really??!!!! (Numbers 14:1-4).
Their lack of faith saw them wander the desert for 40 years. They got stuck! They were unwilling to step into the stretch.
It’s easy for us to get stuck too! When God is calling us forward into something new, we must be willing to step into the stretch. Some things to be mindful of in the stretch:
  • our focus is important in moving forward. Unlike the Israelites, we need to stop looking back and longing for what was. Make a decision to fix our eyes on God and what He has ahead for us. Constantly looking back can steal the future that God has for us. We need to stop walking aimlessly around the same mountains and go conquer some!
  • our attitude is so important in moving forward. We must be willing to trust God for what He has for our future. We need to be willing to step into the stretch, to allow Him to shape us and change us in the midst of the external change going on. These are moments of growth, moments that God can enlarge our territory, our faith, our character. Are we willing to let Him stretch us.
  • faith happens daily. Embracing change doesn’t come in one giant instant, it comes in millions of tiny moments as we choose to put one foot in front of the other. It comes by each day choosing to take another step forward into what God has for us. It’s learning to trust God’s provision for today, that just as He supplied daily manna for the Israelites, He will supply what we need for today. We don’t need to worry about tomorrow just step into today. He is our enough for today and our enough for tomorrow. We don’t have to have it all together, we just need to place our hand in His and trust Him to lead us forward. Faith happens in the everyday courage of putting one foot in front of the other.
  • His presence is our greatest gift. Where He leads us He will not leave us. He has promised to carry us through. In the stretch we can be distracted by many things, but it’s in this moment that we need to fix our eyes on God. The stretch can be painful and uncomfortable and it’s in these moments we need God more than ever! We need more of His presence, we need to look for His leading, His strengthening, His comfort, His peace. When we don’t know the way forward and we are feeling the pain of the stretch, let’s lean into His presence and be strengthened by that.
‘I run with passion into His abundance so that I may reach the destiny that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfil and wants me to discover. I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus’ (Philippians 3:12-14 The Passion Translation).
 
Blessings!
Tammy

Faith is not a destination

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A gift to bring

If I’m really honest with you, there are many moments in my life where I want to shrink back, when it’s easier to live small rather than big, where the places of disappointment and discouragement feel overwhelming and I don’t want to bring the gifts God has entrusted me with. I felt like this recently and I just wanted to shrink back into my shell of self-protection and do nothing! Have you ever told God to ask someone else?…that was me!

But during this time God was speaking to me about guarding the things He has placed on my life. Guarding the gifts, the call, the dream. Honouring what He has placed in my life to bring and protecting it. I have a gift to bring and so do you! Something God-breathed, something precious and unique, something that points others to God and adds to the body of Christ, His church.

I don’t like spending a lot of time focusing on the enemy (God is bigger!!!), but the truth is we do have an enemy. An enemy that wants to render us ineffective, that wants to quench the very things God has placed in us to bring glory to His Name, the very things that portray God’s beauty and character.

We have a gift to bring! And so God asks me to honour and protect it. So how do I guard these things?

  • Stop comparing! Stop looking at what others bring and comparing your gift. We can either be consumed by pride when we do this, or insecurity, and neither is pleasing to God. You have something to bring, something unique that God has placed in you.
  • Let go of fear…fear of man, fear of the cost, fear of failing, fear of not being good enough, fear of being hurt, fear of disappointing others
  • KNOW what God has placed on your life. And when the enemy comes to steal, stand in the assurance that God has called you, equipped you, empowered you to live out the things He has placed in you. 2 Timothy 1:6 tells us to ‘fan into flame the gift of God’, not snuff it out!
  • Keep watch against distractions! It’s easy to get consumed by the busyness of life, but God has called us into the BIG God story. A story that is bigger than us, a story of redeeming others back to Himself. He beckons us to bring our gifts to reveal Him to a broken world.
  • Keep vigilant watch over my heart- There are times when we feel exhausted from giving, where what we’re bringing is no longer out of a place of gratitude and generosity. We can feel spent, and we need to shift our focus from ‘doing’ to ‘being’. When our gifts flow out of a love for God and revelation of what He has done for us, they are a beautiful gifts given wholeheartedly, freely, extravagantly. Mary had a gift to bring….a beautiful, extravagant gift. She poured out an expensive bottle of perfume (worth a year’s wages) on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair. (John 12:1-3). I am inspired by Mary. I want to bring my gift out of a place of extravagant love, not out of striving, not out of responsibility, not out of guilt, but out of a place of being so in-love with Jesus that I can’t help but pour my love out over Him. In those moments when I want to shrink back, I am reminded of Mary and her heart to serve Jesus. I want my life to be poured out in love for my Saviour!!!

You have something to bring. Something that will touch the heart of another and point them closer to Jesus, something beautiful that portrays the very heart of God. Sometimes we are unaware of how even the small things that we do impact the heart of another. Let’s keep being faithful! Let’s not shrink back but let’s allow God to do something special through us. Let’s love Him extravagantly and bring our gift from a heart of love!

Blessings!

Tammy

Gift Box3

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God moments

I LOVE that God meets us!!!!
I love that the bible is full of stories of God meeting man, of man meeting God… Of God breaking into the life of man and woman alike and breathing life into their stories. The bible is overflowing with story after story of God moments…defining moments where God shows up and everything is changed.
I had one of those moments myself recently. I was overwhelmed by the uncertainty of life, overloaded by what I seemed to be carrying, and unsure of the way forward. Things that I had dreamed for and believed for seemed a distant memory. I cried out to God in my despair. I questioned him about where to from here…have I missed it God? did I hear You wrong? I was feeling lost and confused…
And then God shows up and speaks a beautiful word of encouragement through the prayers of another. I am overwhelmed at God‘s ability to be so personal, to meet me in that moment and speak things over me that lift my eyes from the overwhelming… to hope.
I was reminded this week of another such God moment in Scripture. Mary Magdalene was in a place of despair. Her Lord and Saviour had been crucified on a cross. As if her pain and despair at this were not enough, she goes to His tomb and finds His body has been taken. She is in anguish, everything she dreamed of for her future is gone. She is overwhelmed by grief and uncertainty but God doesn’t leave her there. He longs to meet her in that place and as she asks the ‘gardener’ if he knows where they have taken Jesus’ body, He simply says her name… “Mary”. At that moment… as He speaks her name, revelation hits her and she knows this is Jesus.
I love this story on so many levels: the fact that her grief hinders her from recognising Jesus; the way that Jesus speaking her name, her true self, brings recognition of who He is; the intimacy in that moment as she is reunited with the one who loves her; and the fact that God would interject into that moment and meet her so beautifully and personally.
And that’s the beauty of God and His word. In the craziness of life, God longs to break in and meet us personally. He knows our story, the good, the bad, the hard, the mundane and He reaches down to meet us and bring revelation and truth. He speaks into us about our true self, He reveals Himself to us and He brings intimacy. He brings hope, comfort, clarity and purpose to our life, but most of all, He gives Himself.
I love that the same God written about in the bible thousands of years ago, longs to meet us in our story. He desires to meet us and invites us to take our place in the bigger God story that weaves in and out of the lives and stories of others. God meets us in the moments of our lives. And just like the people of long ago, they are moments that change us, moments of intimacy and connection where He reveals Himself to us.
I don’t want to just read about other people’s stories of meeting God. I want to encounter God for myself. I want to believe that He will break down every barrier possible to meet me and bring revelation and transformation in my life. And so I live my life with the windows of my heart open to Him, I desire Him, I am expectant for Him, and just like Mary Magdalene, I seek after Him.
My God is a God of intimacy. He longs to meet you, to interrupt the mundane. If I can encourage you with anything today, it’s that God wants to meet you, to break into your world and bring revelation and transformation. Your story is important to Him and He will breath life and adventure into it as He asks you to step into the stories of others.
Blessings!
Tammy x
 
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Broken Places

 

About 3 days after my husband finished radiation therapy, we pulled down the back part of our house. We had plans for something bigger, newer, better. But as the furniture was removed and the walls, floors and roof were pulled off, all we had was a mess! Not much of what had previously been there remained, and I remember feeling like the back of our house mirrored how me…tired, run-down, a shell, broken… empty.  My faith felt tattered, I had nothing to give to anyone, and I felt like God had disappeared.  The journey of the previous 4 months had left me in a mess!

I took hope in the fact that just as we were rebuilding something bigger, better, newer in our house…that God was going to do a work in my life that would see me come out the other side with greater strength, beauty and capacity.

For a long time I asked God to answer many questions about that season, trying to understand the why’s and what for’s of all that went on in order to ‘make sense’ of it. I’ve come to the conclusion that I may not get all the answers and I’m looking at my Valley with new eyes.

I love the story of Joseph. Here was a guy with a huge call on his life, he would become second in charge in Egypt, and save thousands because of his obedience to God in storing up grain for a season of famine. But before he got to that point, he was thrown into a pit, sold as a slave, and sentenced to jail. Not quite the systematic rise to power you would hope for! 😉

I love his words to his brothers when he finally met up with them again…”Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50: 19-20).

It would have been easy for Joseph to feel like God had left him, forgotten about him but Joseph was a man who could look back on the challenges life had thrown at him, and know God could work it all out for good.

Romans 8:28 says ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.’

So with that verse on my heart, I have been on a quest…instead of looking at my valley and mourning that season, I am looking for the good that God has brought out of that place. I wondered if I could write 10 things God taught me from my valley and I tell you, it was easy!!! As hard as that season was, God has brought good out of it. He has revealed Himself to me in greater ways, He has strengthened my faith, He has healed deep hurts, and I have come through the other side with greater depth and understanding. What the enemy intended to harm, God has turned around for good. 

Perhaps you are in a valley right now… I’m so sorry, my heart breaks at your pain. But can I tell you that God will not leave you here. He is the God of restoration, freedom, and He will make all things new! Perhaps you too have seasons that you don’t understand. God can bring healing. As we choose to look at these places with fresh eyes we can be confident that God can take the broken places of our lives and breathe life, strength and beauty into us. And so there is hope…hope that our God can carry us through the tough seasons, hope that our God can restore, heal, and make all things new, hope that what the enemy intended to harm us, God can turn around for good, and hope that through our valleys we can grow and become bigger on the inside. 

My God is mighty to save, He is powerful to heal and I am trusting Him for even more!!!! 

Blessings!

Tammy x

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God I look to You!

One of my favorite songs is by Jenn Johnson & Bethel music:

‘God I look to You

I won’t be overwhelmed

Give me vision to see things like You do,

God I look to You

You’re where my help comes from

Give me wisdom 

You know just what to do’

And the chorus beautifully declares God as our strength, our shield, our rock, and that He reigns!!!!

 

I find myself singing this song a lot when I’m feeling overwhelmed. It is a reminder to me to lift my eyes from the situation and circumstances that I’m facing and place them on God.

2 Corinthians 4:18 tells us to ‘fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal.’

2 Corinthians 5:7 echoes this: ‘we live by faith, not sight.’

What we look at can block our vision from the eternal. It can keep us fixated on the here and now. It can keep us walking in discouragement and fear. It can steal our joy, our hope, our faith. It can keep us from seeing God and it can stop us from seeing what God is up to.

In Matthew 14, Peter courageously asks Jesus to call him forth out of the boat to walk on water. He does actually walk on water but the moment he takes his eyes off Jesus and looks at the wind, he is afraid and begins to sink. His focus shifts from Jesus to the present circumstance. 

I love the words from the above song ‘give me vision to see things like You do’. I often think vision is a fancy word for faith. It’s a preferred future, a trusting in God to bring forth His heart for us, to take the temporary and breathe life, healing, hope, joy, and freedom over it.

Wouldn’t it be great to see things from God’s perspective? To have eyes to see the big picture! I love that the things of this world are temporary and that we are walking toward an eternal freedom and glory! God sees the big picture and He asks us to lift our eyes to Him and walk by faith (not sight)! 

Perhaps you are going through a difficult season at the moment. Perhaps you need spiritual eyes to believe God for your finances, your health, your marriage, your child’s salvation. In the temporary, it can look daunting and we can wonder how on earth we are going to see any kind of breakthrough, but it’s in those moments we need to remember that God is BIGGER and lift our eyes and voices to declare His sovereignty over our lives!

Perhaps you are in a valley so dark that you can’t even see God… I’ve been there… and can I encourage you that God is there!!!!!!!!!!!! HE WILL NOT LET YOU GO! He’s got you. Hang on for dear life and keep walking because the valley will come to an end and there will be joy again. He will prepare a banquet for you and the enemy will have to watch on as you feast on God’s goodness. (Psalm 23:5).

In the story where Peter begins to sink, he cries out to Jesus and the passage says that Jesus ‘immediately’ reached out His hand and caught him. The Message says ‘Jesus didn’t hesitate’. I love that! In that moment when we feel ourselves sinking, we can call out to Jesus and He will not hesitate in reaching for us!

Some of the most defining moments in my faith have been when I have declared God’s sovereignty over whatever situation has been overwhelming me. As I put worship on and begin to sing that God reigns, something shifts in me…and in the spiritual. The thing that was consuming me gets put into perspective as I lift my eyes to Almighty God and place it in His hands. Can I encourage you to make some time this week to declare God’s sovereignty over whatever situation is going on for you. If you can get a hold of Jenn Johnson’s song sing ‘Our God reigns’ over your life.

Let’s ask God to give us spiritual eyes to see His vision for our lives. Let’s not get stuck in the temporary. Let’s fix our eyes on Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith!!! 

Blessings!

Tammy

Lift Our Eyes

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