COMFORT IS NOT THE GOAL. IT’S ONLY THE BEGINNING.

My favorite part of being home is it’s large, green, peaceful backyard. I love to sit quietly on my patio and soak in the Father’s creation. At the beginning of Winter, the yard is filled with hundreds of dry leaves that have fallen and remain on the ground from the prior season. Eventually, these leaves need to be cleared out in order for the grass that is beneath to grow.

This is exactly what God wants to do when we allow him to get rid of what no longer has a place in our lives from prior seasons. He doesn’t just clear them, he makes room for something else to grow. When we come to him with questions or in despair, he doesn’t only want to respond and comfort us. He gives us peace so that the burden we previously carried is removed and no longer blocking what he wants to GROW in our lives.

I hope that at some point we’ve all know what it feels like to bring our troubles to God and feel a weight lift from our spirit. It’s a wonderful, priceless experience. The problem is that many times, once we feel lighter from receiving the emotional and spiritual relief we longed for, we decide that’s good enough. We engage in our daily routine, focus on everything else that needs to get done, or on what is simply more interesting than prayer and devotion. Meanwhile, God is still waiting on your heart. If we are honest with ourselves, this relationship dynamic with God is strictly self-seeking.

When you truly desire God, when you truly desire his presence, the removal or lessening of your troubles is nowhere near enough. In fact, it’s only the beginning.

It’s an entrance to a whole new place with God without the disruptions and burdens that were there before. Now is the perfect time in which you can actually begin to experience him in a way like never before.

The primary goal of prayer is not to achieve personal satisfaction so that we can move on to something else. Prayer brings us closer to the heart of our creator. From this closeness, our desires align with his and our hearts become fuller than ever. 

If you’ve received what you’ve been asking for, praise God for who he is! Praise him, then keep on going into another level with him. Keep going by diving in more deeply and craving him more strongly. It’s time to embrace his love presence and to walk with the most openness to hearing his voice.

The Holy Spirit is not intended to be a band aid.

God didn’t put his spirit in us so that it could be all about us. He gave us the Holy Spirit because he LOVES us so much that he provided us with the guarantee that we can be in constant communion with Him if we so choose. When you truly desire a relationship with God to the deepest depths he has to offer, you just don’t stop with a sense of satisfaction from receiving what you asked for. That is never enough. Be encouraged to not move on to other spiritual priorities once the Holy Spirit brings you comfort. Use it as a jump start to so many things to come that are in his plans for your relationship together. Plans that are far better than what you can ever imagine.

As you find peace that surpasses all understanding in his beautiful presence, as you receive forgiveness through his grace, and as you rejoice in answered prayers, embrace it knowing that the path has been cleared for you to experience the Father in a way you weren’t able to before when everything else was bringing you down.

If you took your heart to him and he met you exactly where you needed to be found, let this be a catapult for the rest of your journey as a follower of Jesus. God wants to bring you out of your prior season for NEW THINGS to grow. He’s not clearing out the dead leaves so that your land can remain dry and barren.

Whatever he clears out from your life he does with the purpose of allowing his precious living water to permeate your spirit and bring you the clarity needed to keep moving toward your purpose. This, my friend, is a process that should never come to a stop.

 

EMPTY PROMISES vs GOD’S PROMISES

God is the only One who always means what He says.

In Acts 27, Paul was traveling on a boat with a centurion and some prisoners when the weather became a threat to continuing on their course. When Paul saw this, he warned the centurion saying that if they continued it would result in a disaster and potentially cost them their lives. Paul’s warning was ignored and they found themselves in a raging storm and it says that “neither sun nor stars appeared for many days” (Acts 27:10). They began to throw cargo off the ship and all hope of survival was lost. When least expected, Paul stood up and offered something they didn’t have before:

A PROMISE.

Paul told everyone they would survive. He explained that an angel came to him and said, “Don’t be afraid, Paul. You must stand before Caesar; God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you” (Acts 27:24).

How did Paul respond to the angel’s message? He simply said, “I believe God because he said it.” Period.

Wait…Think about this for a moment. Paul and these men were in a storm that was so intense they were literally on the verge of dying. The only natural response in this situation is complete panic. Yet Paul immediately believed what was told to him, his only reason being that God said it. 

Initially, it was hard to wrap my head around it. I don’t know about you, but I’ve suffered greatly from broken promises. How many times have people you trusted spoken things to you, made promises you held on to, only to rip them away like your heart is far less than the treasure it was created to be? And as a result, you too may not have see the sun nor stars for many days.

I believe that our ability to hold on to the word of God as a promise can be heavily tainted by all the times our trust has been violated by others. As humans, we naturally guard the areas of our heart that have experienced pain. The greater wound, the greater the protection. We experience an empty promise, maybe a few, and forget that there is One is who will NEVER take away his plan for us.

When something comes out of the mouth of God and into our life, it is our responsibility to make room for his words to grow roots in our spirit by believing and walking in obedience. He doesn’t take back what he said, he doesn’t change his mind. Notice that many verses in the bible end with “The Lord has spoken.” This may seem like a minor detail, but it is a powerful statement. I think so many verses end this way because it’s equivalent to placing a seal. Similar to when the Kings wrote a decree and would complete it with a seal so no one could change it. “The Lord has spoken” means it will come to pass.

What I think is the best part, is that he LOVES us too much to make an empty promise.

Everything he speaks to us- personally, through his Word, through others, comes out of his immeasurable love that no human on will ever match. When we experience heartbreak or disappointment from an empty promise, he is sad too. He feels disappointment with us.

Remember… he knows what all these things feel like. Jesus knew the deceit of a broken promise when Judas, his disciple sworn to loyalty, turned him over to a humiliating death with kiss. God knows what it was like to be abandoned by the Israelite people whom he deeply loved in old testament times again, and again, and again. God doesn’t give empty promises- he has been in our position far more times than we have!

Please friend, don’t limit the desire of your Father to bring to you what he has promised. He made a huge sacrifice so that you could always hold on to his promises- no matter how wounded you are, how much you’ve been let down, or how often you see others receiving their promises while you wait.

Ask your Father if there is anything you haven’t realized that could be standing in the way of you and your promise? Ask with a humble, open heart.

Ask him if there are any areas in which he has been trying to grow you, and you might be pushing back?

Ask him if there are steps of faith He’s waiting for you to take?

Perhaps none of these things are the case for you. Perhaps he wants you to trust, wait, and continue to walk in confidence.

Wherever you may find yourself, let his words seep into your spirit and make residence in the most callused areas of your heart.

God says he created you and what he creates is perfect. Your flaws don’t change that. He means it.

He says that when you’re weak, He’s ready to be strong. He means it.

When others walk away because you’re too much work or too much responsibility, he says he’s ready to fight for you. He means it.

He says that when you forget about Him, he pursues you. He means it.

He says that he will never move on to the next best thing or to someone who is easier to deal with than you are. He means it.

He says that when you fail and others give up, he will NEVER give up on you. He means it with all his heart.

He says that it would it would break his heart to lose you. He means it.

He says you are enough, you are worth it, and he will keep holding on. He means every single word he says.

When the Lord speaks into your life, friend, don’t resist it or doubt it. Don’t let someone else’s mistakes steal what God is excitedly desiring to give you. Hold on to what he speaks to you like it’s the most valuable and priceless treasure you will ever receive, because it is.

To God, your heart is not a joke.