Category Archives: Devotions

RESTING IN GOD’S PRESENCE

Rest in Christ

The rain was gently and slowly coming down. I could hear the pitter-patter on the roof over my head as I knelt down before the Lord. I was quiet and still. There was no sound around meonly the gentle, soothing sound of the raindrops. It reminded me of the softness of Christ’s Spirit, His soothing love, and gentleness.

I asked the Lord to pour out His Spirit all over me like rain. He did. A soft, gentle love came rushing over me. I was frozen in the moment. His Spirit was holding me tight. I knew He was there with me. Suddenly I knew the vastness of His being. I realized how small I am in his presence. I am nothing without Him. He is everything to me in this dark world.

Tears came over me as I thought about the many times I have bowed before Him with selfish motives. Many times I had made it about me. This was very different. It was all about Him, His power, and His strength. His love consumed me. I better understood what it means to die to myself.

In those moments, my needs were far from my thoughts. I was in the midst of the Famous One. I was in awe. I was overcome by Him. I wanted time to stop. I didn’t want to move. In His presence, I was speechless.

Lord, You are beautiful and holy and perfect. Thank You for Your never-ending love and grace. Let us rest in Your presence this Christmas season and always. I pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 (NIV)

This post was originally written in 2009.

THE ABUNDANT LIFE

John 10.10

During one of the hardest seasons of my life I learned the most about abundant living. My husband had been laid off from a good job, I was working tirelessly to make ends meet and life was very stressful. I wanted desperately for my circumstances to change.

While battling hardships and trials, I sought the Lord for the answers to my problems, and He diligently answered me. He led me to a Scripture in the Old Testament that jumped off the pages when I read it.

Deuteronomy 30:6 says, “The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart, and with all your soul, and live.”

In these verses, I found the answer to what my heart longed to know. The word ‘circumcise’ is derived from a Latin word meaning, to cut. In the midst of excruciating trials, it felt like my heart was being circumcised. God was cutting away the things inside me that were hindering me from fully loving Him and fully living life. The process was, at times, excessively painful. But ultimately it led me to the abundance my soul was longing for.

Everyone wants to live abundantly. The Bible says that Jesus came to give us life, and to give it more abundantly (John 10:10). Yet how many people truly tap into the abundant life that Christ offers? Could it be the way we view our lives, or what we equate happiness with? For a season, I was seeking abundance in the wrong places, which led to more disappointment.

In God’s infinite grace, He took me through a season of testing because He wanted to lead me to the true source of abundance.

Are you in the midst of being pulled and stretched? Do you feel as though life is caving in around you?

To be rebuilt, a house needs to be torn down first. It can be an excruciating process. Do not lose heart. God is building a beautiful house out of your life. He uses every loss and every struggle for our good. Nothing He allows in our lives is in vain. He uses it all.

The things in my past, that were the hardest to endure, are what led me to the abundant life in Christ—a life of genuine joy and peace—that is not determined by things or circumstances.

Through the hardships, God gave me a new heart—a heart that rejoices because of His love.

It really is pure joy for a child of God to face trials because we know that no matter what is happening, Jesus is walking along beside us, carrying us, allowing us to bask in His great love at all times and in all circumstances.

Jesus is everything—when we know this, then we know that any other good thing we have in life is only the icing on the cake.

Lord, I thank You for the abundance of joy and peace that You give to us. Help us to look to You as our only source. Let us be content in all circumstances and know You are all we really need to live abundantly. I pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

“You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5 (NASB)

IN CHRIST, WE CAN FLY

100_2039

I threw my hands up in the air and proclaimed, “I’m free!” I was talking to an acquaintance from church, a woman I didn’t know very well. She looked at me strangely and I knew she had no idea what I was trying to communicate through my gesture. I shared a little about my painful past and how it had held me captive for way too long.

With excitement, I continued sharing my testimony of how Christ had taken my brokenness and transformed me. I used the metaphor of the butterfly to share what God had done in my heart and in my life.

After joyfully sharing about my new-found freedom that day, I left and pondered the words I had boldly shared. Even though the woman stared blankly and didn’t seem to get it at the time, I’ve often thought about her and hoped my testimony had planted a seed in her heart.

It’s been over a decade since that day when I proclaimed my freedom. The longer I walk with Christ the freer I become. I am no longer held captive by the thoughts of my past, by the concerns of the world, by the need to measure up to any person’s standard…on and on the list goes.

Jesus is the true Redeemer. He takes us and transforms us like the metamorphosis of a butterfly. As we leave our past hurts, our fears, our failures, our sin at His feet, He changes us and makes us new. In Him, our spirits are renewed and we soar.

Christ takes us in our caterpillar state and gives us wings so we can fly.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (New Living Translation)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Fly.” Today, I wrote for about ten extra minutes.

The photograph was taken at Anderson’s Sunflower Farm in Cumming, Georgia.

Five Minute Friday

RESTING IN THE TRUTH

She wiped his feet with her hair by J M Hartley

Bowing down with my head on the floor is the place where I feel the cares of this life and the memories of hurtful words spoken by others melt away. As my tears fall onto the feet of Jesus, in His gentle way, He wipes my tears away and tells me the truth, “Amy, you are my beloved one; you are precious and beautiful to Me.”

In those times of solitude, I am filled up and ready to face another day because I know the truth of who I am. I know without a shadow of doubt that I belong to Christ and nothing else matters after realizing He is all I needthat He is my truth and my everything.

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Truth.”

I invite you to listen to this heavenly worship song by Kari Jobe.

Five Minute Friday

His Treasured Possession

DSC_0097

Condescending words roll off the tongues of people so easily. My heart jumps up and down in protest whenever I hear someone refer to themselves or others as “trash.” How could anyone refer to a person as trash? There could be nothing further from the truth. In God’s eyes, no one is trash.

There was a time in my past when I felt like trash. I had left the corporate world to focus on parenting. I no longer had titles to prove my worth. It seemed like storms were hitting us one right after the other and it left me feeling like a trailer ripped apart by a tornado.

From an earthly perspective, I was of no value to the world. It was during that time that God began showing me what a treasure I was to Him. As I spent time in prayer and truly seeking to know Christ better, I found Scriptures that encouraged me and helped me see the truth about myself.

While I was reading through the Bible, I stumbled across a verse that seemed to jump off the page. “…I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,” declares the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:23) As I meditated on this Scripture verse, I pondered the words deeply in my soul. Could it be true?  Could I really be His signet ring?  Did He really choose me to be His treasured possession? His words melted into my heart and never again could words or opinions of a human being determine my worth. It was a revelation that changed me forever.

DSC_0073

As the years passed by and I fell more in love with Christ, I began understanding in a deeper way, how treasured I am. As I drew near to Christ, He drew near to me and whispered His loving words to my heart. I began writing the words I would hear in my spirit as I read the Scriptures that spoke of Christ’s love for me.

As a young woman, I began writing these soft whispers that flooded my soul, and I have journals filled with words of affirmation and love. In 2009, I shared one of these love notes inspired by Jesus with a group of women at church. Today, I want for you to imagine Christ whispering these words to you.

You are My treasured possession…My beautiful daughter. You are royalty, a princessan heir of My kingdom. I love you more than you can possibly imagine or know. There is nothing you could ever do to change My love for you. It is eternal. I love you because you are Mine. I made you in My image, for your beauty to be displayed to the world. The core of who you are is filled with gifts and talentssome of these you have discovered, others are waiting to be unveiled. Rest in My love in knowing you are beautiful to Me. You are treasured. You are the apple of My eye. I love you just the way you are. No one loves you like I do.

Love,
Your Heavenly Father

Do you see yourself as the beautiful treasure you are to God? Every human is treasured by Christ regardless of his or her occupation, race, income level, physical features or anything else. He has dreams for every person’s life. He wants to use us and to transform us.

I pray you will always know that you truly are the apple of God’s eye and one of His most treasured possessions.

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be His people, his treasured possession.” Deuteronomy 7:6 (NIV)

“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 17:8 (NIV)

Photography Credit: Michael von Borstel

Encountering God

Amy's Pictures 503

I remember when I first began encountering the presence of God. It was after my parents had divorced and my heart ached terribly.  I was a young teen desperate for the healing love of Christ. I would turn on my worship music and lie still until I felt a tangible sense of God in the room with me. This is how I know Christ is real. His power heals and changes in a way that’s only possible through a touch of the Divine.

There is nothing like experiencing the realness of the Creator of the universe.

God’s love heals and transforms us when we make Him our sole focus. Christ whispers words of love to us when we seek Him wholeheartedly. His words woo us into His arms. My love is what your soul is yearning for. Draw near to Me and I will come near to you, He whispers ever so softly.

Have you encountered God lately? I pray that you will feel His presence in a tangible way in the moments that you need His loving touch and warm embrace.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” James 4:8 (NASB)

Summertime Beauty

DSC_0021

Summertime symbolizes so many different things. It’s a time to rest and slow down. It’s a time to enjoy all the beautiful flowers that thrive in the heat. It’s a time to be still and relax in the moments when there’s no work or home-schooling or meetings to attend.

When I think of all my summertime memories, I think of lying in a hammock with a good book. I think of picnics and watermelons.

DSC_0010

I think of jumping in the refreshing, cool water after a jog. I think of crossing the finish line at the Peachtree Road Race. I think of fireworks on the Fourth of July. I think of catching fireflies in a jar and playing hide ‘n’ seek with the neighborhood kids.

100_1514

I think of camping and walking on the beach at dusk. I think of romance. I think of candle light dinners on the patio. I think of the sweetness of fresh blueberries and the sunflowers coming into full bloom.

100_1205

But most of all, summertime reminds me of Jesus. He draws us into rest, calling us to slow down and find refreshment in Him. He gives us more excitement than a fireworks show and carries us through to the finish line when we’re struggling to carry on. He makes life beautiful in the same way that summertime does.

Christ brings summertime sweetness and perfect rest to the soul.

On this beautiful summer day, I can hear Jesus whispering, Come to Me and find what your soul is longing for. Come and find rest in your spirit and mind. I am here waiting to embrace you with My love.

Are you enjoying the rest that comes in the summer season? I pray you will enjoy all the beauty of summer and experience the sweetness of God’s unwavering love.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

“So he said to them, ‘Let’s go to a place where we can be alone and rest for awhile.’…” Mark 6:31 (God’s Word Translation)

Photography Credit: Michael von Borstel

New Life

 

DSC_0001

The beauty in nature speaks to my soul deeply. The day lilies are in full bloom in my yard, and they are stunning.  I spent some time this afternoon tending to my flowers. While pulling the dead blooms off, I began pondering how God is so good at removing the splinters in my heartHe takes away those things that deaden my spirit.

I could hear His soft words in my heart.

“Your heart comes more alive each time you allow me to purify it. In Me, You are able to grow more beautiful. Come to Me and allow My healing balm to give you new life every day.”

DSC_0012

During the times I’ve had hurt hidden deep inside, God has come and healed me as I released it to Him. Unresolved hurt left untended robs my spirit of joy and peace. Years ago, I discovered that as I allow the Lord to tend to my heart the way I tend to my yard, that He’ll keep it pure.

How about you? Have you felt God’s healing balm working on your heart lately? Jesus is the One who heals broken hearts. When my heart was hurting, I bowed down before Him and prayed, Lord, please heal my hurt; please take away this ache in my soul and fill me with Your peace. He answered the cries of my heart and replaced my pain with His beauty.

Trying to soothe hurts with alcohol, with drugs, busyness, or any other thing doesn’t work. It might feel a little better temporarily. But the hurt is still there. It’s only a temporary fix. Jesus offers a healing balm that brings abundant new life that’s beautiful and eternal.

DSC_0006

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 (ESV)

Photography Credit: Michael von Borstel

His Unfailing Love

freeimage-5310747-high

I saw something recently that caught my attention and made me think of God’s perfect love toward us. I was driving home from doing errands. As I was making a right turn, I saw a motorcycle and a bicycle turn in front of me. At first, it struck me as really odd because the cyclist was riding so closely behind the motorcycle. But then I could see clearly what they were doing. It was a father and a daughter riding together.

The man looked to be in his forties or fifties. He was riding his motorcycle directly in front of the girl. They were so close together that it looked as though they were touching each other. The girl looked about sixteen. She had on a biker’s shirt similar to what the professionals wear. She was obviously training for a serious race, and her dad was there to help her train. It was like her father was guiding her and protecting her along the way. As I passed by, the dad was turning around to look at his daughter to make sure she was okay.

While driving by them, emotions rose up in my spirit. I saw a picture of how God loves and protects us.

I could hear God’s still, small voice speaking to me in my heart.

He whispered to me so gently. “I love you with an unfailing love like a father loves His child. I go before you to mark the path that is best for you. Stay on the path with Me, and I will keep you in the shadow of My wings.”

I had tears of joy as I drove home thinking about such a beautiful picture of God’s love for us. I realized in that moment of watching the father guiding his daughter on her bike, how we don’t need to move ahead of God, outside of His protective shelter.

Isn’t that amazing to think about? God our Father is continually with us and sheltering us as long as we don’t try to sneak away from His loving guidance. The Bible says God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and He relents from sending calamity (Joel 2:13). As we stay close to God, He will keep us from harm, and make us sing for joy all our days on earth.

I pray that you will experience the immeasurable love of God today. May His peace rest upon you, and may you always know you are His beloved daughter or son. Most of all, I pray you will bow before Him and be satisfied in His unfailing love.

But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.” Psalm 13:5  (NLT)

“How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.” Psalm 36:7 (NIV)

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Psalm 90:14
(NIV)

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8 (NIV)

In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.” Psalm 143:12 (NIV)