Category Archives: Ardent Overflow

A Servant’s Heart

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My attitude over the last few days has been anything but admirable. Sure I can put on a good façade, but the honest condition of my heart has been self absorbed at the very least. I have chosen to focus on my own selfish desires, or more accurately, I took on the attitudes of those around me.

I woke up with the joy of the Lord this morning. I have continued to let His JOY bring me STRENGTH. He has taught me so much in the few hours i’ve been awake about the difference between a “heart to serve” and a “servant’s heart”.

Romans 1:1 “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God…”

What does Paul mean by being a servant of Jesus? The original Greek word is doulos which means bondservant which is defined as devoted to another to the disregard of ones own interests.

The ultimate desire of my heart is to serve HIM wholeheartedly, to live a life or reckless abandon to Him – to love and serve well. If all I have is the desire to serve and not the heart of a servant,  I will never succeed. If I do not forsake my own interests, my own flesh, anything for selfish gain – I will have given fruition to a hypocritical life-ministry. I will have sung His praises with my lips while my heart was running in the other direction.

In James 2:14-26 it states “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder! Do you want to be show, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not our Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active alone with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to Him as righteousness” – and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”

My works, if not acted out with a pure and sincere heart, will not prove my faith, so to speak. I may fool man, but I cannot fool God. He knows my heart, my motives, my selfish reasons.

As I type this out, I am yet convicted of my selfishness this week. I have the most amazing job in the world – I get to serve so many different people everyday, especially on the weekends. I have an opportunity to be a refreshing face – one that radiates the love of Jesus and creates an aura of peace. I get to invest in the lives of 3rd-6th graders every Wednesday night. I get to continue to cultivate the relationships with my campers from this summer. I even get to teach riding lessons every friday! How can I be so blind to pick my own self centered interests instead of seeing these amazing blessings placed right before me!?

I am exceedingly blessed to be in the ministry that God has placed me. I have much to learn about cultivating a servant’s heart and not merely possessing a desire to serve, but I serve a God who will continue to mold and shape that within me so long as my spirit is willing.

So let me ask you, which one do you have? A heart to serve or a servant’s heart?

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Overwhelmed

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The Lord has overwhelmed me with Himself. He has reminded me of His sovereignty. He has reminded me to go about my work with  unhindered JOY; with unhindered devotion. I have wept so much today- He has caught me off guard with His wooing. He has surprised me. I have let my desire for God’s predictability to cease. I have let Him overwhelm my heart with the knowledge of His intimate love. I have not rejected His pursuit. I know that He is worth the risk. He is worthy to have my heart. If all I had to do was sit in His presence I would do so. I will let Him woo me. I will embrace the pursuit of my beloved- I will not forsake His love, His passion. I will let Him love me.

Brand New Eyes

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I woke up Friday morning with the intent of spending a good hour or so soaking up the presence of God and intently listening to an IHOP sermon. But, my intentions meant nothing unless they were acted upon. Wait, I take that back, my intentions were acted upon- just not the way that I wanted for them to go. We act on our intentions by choosing or not choosing to do what we want/plan. Golly, God’s teaching me more and more lessons, just by writing all of this out! Anyways, what I intended my morning to look like did not come to fruition. I chose to hit the snooze, more times that I’d care to admit. I then proceeded to go do chores and find out that the cattle have escaped. I spent the good part of my morning chasing cows, calves, two rather intimidating steers, and a bull back where they belong and mending fence. So much for my quiet morning.

Two things the Lord revealed to me through that morning. One being that things don’t always go as planned. I need to be reminded that what I perceive as inconveniencies are both teachable moments and ways that I can grow in character and in the knowledge of Him! Secondly, I was greatly reminded of just how much I chose to gratify my fleshly desires, such as sleeping in, day-dreaming, worry, pride, etc.

The funny thing is, I was able to have my quiet time and both the sermon I listened to and my ‘devo’ fit perfectly with what my morning had consisted of. An example: Trust ME in the midst of your messy day… Seek MY face and I will share MY mind with you, opening your eyes to see things from my perspective…

I am deeply burdened by my inability to consistently see with my spiritual eyes. Lately it seems as though all I am doing is seeking with my physical eyes, all the while in my heart knowing that God IS sovereign. It’s been such a struggle, but my reflections from this IHOP sermon spoke so much truth into my struggle and have helped me so much this past week! It’s something I will be continually working on. My inability to see with my spiritual eyes is a clear reflection of how my time with God has been. I haven’t sought after Him as fervently as I have in the past weeks, and it shows. My fleshly desires are claiming their victories because I am not cultivating my relationship with the Spirit, nor preparing my heart and mind for battle. The following are my notes from the sermon I listened to. They spoke to me in ways that exceeded my expectations and I pray that the Lord will use them to minister to you as well!

Walking In The Spirit: Feeding Our Spirit On God’s Word:

(Galatians 5:16-26)

If you walk in the Spirit, you won’t fulfill the desires of the flesh- the violent nature of the war inside of us- the flesh it lusts (wars) against the spirit. The Spirit wars back against the flesh- ENGAGE WITH HIM in the process. The spirit’s agenda is to give us LIBERTY from the war inside- liberated: from the power and dominion of the flesh- physical, emotional (pride, bitterness, anger). Now the LORD is the Spirit- the Spirit is God. Liberty is the fruit of when the Spirit is received.

Who will deliver me? – Through an ongoing encounter (present tense) through encountering the presence of Jesus through an active relationship with the Spirit.

We can have victory and dominion in the war, but it will never go away- we will ONLY have victory and dominion if we are ACTIVELY FELLOWSHIPPING with the Spirit- vital relationship with the Spirit It’s like an airplane. We have defied the law of gravity by being able to fly from one place to the other. That does not mean that gravity is non-existent during our time of flight, but rather we are able to not feel it’s affects. Now, if we decide that we are cruising right along just fine and decide that we don’t need the engine anymore, we immediately begin our tumble to the earth. Gravity has regained its’ power. Your flesh is like gravity, the Spirit is our airplane- how is your engine running? The fuel for your engine- God’s Word, Prayer, seeking wise counsel, resting in HIS presence.

Many people put their attention on denying the flesh- they try harder- others try to put their attention on the recovery after crisis- the planes going down, I need to find all the bible verses that tell me that God still loves me when I fail, They spend most of their energy managing the crash- others make quality decisions to stay out of things that excite the desires of their flesh- most effective: cultivate the Spirit’s relationship- you will have dominion instead of management.

We can ONLY find liberty from sinful desires by maintaining a relationship with the Spirit

1) Walk by the Spirit: Walk (the choices, behavior choices) in the Spirit’s values. Say no to the things that grieve the Spirit, say yes to those that the Spirit approves

2) Be Led by the Spirit: Follow the Spirit’s leadership; being watchful to the Holy Spirit’s promptings in our lives- we decide that we want to be more aware- especially in our Spiritual life- beyond religious. Don’t trivialize the Spirits leadership. Be attentive to how He guides- is it more warnings or more ‘do this’. We honor the spirits leadership instead of ignore it in the small decisions of our inner life. When a big decision comes, you’re less equipped to follow the leadership if you are not in tune for the small decisions. How much time do we give to feed our Spirit?

3) Live in the Spirit: Is to be empowered by the Spirit’s life as we are fed by the Spirit’s food, which is the word of God. A collision is inevitable if we are not living in the Spirit. It matters how much time we give in our schedules to feed the Spirit. How much time is enough?- varies per person. (myself- a minimum of 30 min in AM, 1.5hrs @ night. A 3hr solo 1x/week) One that has an undernourished Spirit will walk in lust/flesh.

As we pursue the 3 above, we are renewed in the Spirit of our mind (the whole condition on the inside- not isolated to thinking). When we feed out Spirit on the light, the darkness cannot overcome it. Put more energy into having light entered than trying to get darkness to flee- when light enters darkness flees. Many people are so used to living with a quenched Spirit that they think it’s normal. The voice of the Word is stronger than the voice of our flesh, but we need to strengthen and feed it. Our inheritance is to have a fully alive heart. (I’m going to put my laws into your heart). Psalm 119. Our victory will occur when we are fervently pursing and acting on #3- God has provided the higher law (gravity analogy) but it will not act on its own. If you want to see fruition- be active.

God, give my new eyes, ones that see the world from Your perspective. Give me a passion to feed my Spirit in Your Truth. Give me the discipline to cultivate the relationship I have with the Spirit, tune my heart to His promptings. I desire to have victory and dominion over my flesh Lord, these physical eyes and fleshly desires are so meaningless and destructive to my relationship with You. I will seek you above all else!

Blessed are those whose way is blameless,

Who walk in the law of the LORD!

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,

Who seek Him with their whole heart,

Who also do no wrong,

But walk in His ways!

You have commanded your precepts

To be kept diligently.

Oh that my ways may be steadfast

In keeping Your statutes!

Then I shall not be put to shame,

Having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.

I will praise you with an upright heart,

When I learn your righteous rules.

I will keep your statutes;

Do not utterly forsake me!

How can a young man keep his way pure?

By guarding it according to Your word.

With my whole heart I seek you;

Let me not wander from your commandments!

I have stored up Your word in my heart,

That I might not sin against you.

Blessed are you, O LORD;

Teach me Your statutes!

With my lips I declare

All the rules of Your mouth.

In the way of your testimonies I delight

As much as in all riches.

I will meditate on your precepts

And fix my eyes on Your ways.

I will delight in your statutes;

I will not forget Your word.

 

 

 

An Anthem Of Praise

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Praise the Lord!

I praise you not near enough as you deserve and I desire.

Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens!

I will shout aloud to you, O Lord, for great is your splendor and majesty. You are my refuge, my stronghold, my fortress. You uphold the world by the word of your power, how can I not tell of all that you are?

Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His excellent greatness!

Wonderful are your works, Lord, this I know full well. I will speak in awe of all that you have done, I will shout aloud of your glory and power and honor that are due you. You are great, You are good, You are faithful.

Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe! Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals!

Lord, I will sing your praise with all my might. I will not cease to sing to you day or night. My voice, my thoughts, my actions will sing your praise. I will make unto you a joyful noise. I will declare your glory in the sweetest melody.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

As long as there is breath in me, I will off praise to you my King. Your praise will forever linger on my lips.

Praise the Lord!

 

(Psalm 150)

Summarizing A Summer

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How does one even begin to summarize the last 3 months of my life?

Firstly, being away from technology has been a wonderful blessing. I can honestly say that I didn’t miss it that much, but that might be the old-fashioned letter writer inside of me shining through. I was able to focus solely on my campers this summer and not worry about what was going on in the “Facebook world” or be distracted by the voice mails and text messages on my phone. The one thing I did miss very much was being able to write this blog and the ability to express my thoughts and what God has done. But He has been faithful to show me how to articulate those feelings and thoughts verbally to those around me, for which I am exceedingly grateful.

Now here I sit, taking a break from writing follow-up letters to the campers who accepted Christ this summer, and all I can think about is how exceedingly and underservingly blessed I am. I am so humbled by God’s goodness, faithfulness, and the grace lavishes so generously.

This summer I found myself at the end of me every moment of every day. I had to continually rely on Him 24/7. I could not do it on my own. He was faithful to show up, in His perfect time, exactly when I needed Him the most. He truly showed me His sovereignty this summer, in mighty and miraculous ways.

To sum up the summer in a bible verse: Exodus 14:14. “The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

I have learned to surrender the fight. The battle belongs to Him, I am merely a soldier. I now fight living in the knowledge that my God has already won, that I cannot fail, and that He will supply me with every tool I need. This battle is not based on performance, and that truth is something that is finally beginning to sink in.

I long to tell tales of all that has happened this summer, but I will keep those memories in my heart. All I care to share, is that when you follow where He leads, He is faithful to show up; exactly when He means to.

Love Has Laid Hold Of Me

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Tonight, I am basking in the faithful and ever-constant love of my Jesus. I am completely satisfied in His life-giving presence. This is where I find all of me. This is where I am meant to be. All that is within me is relaxed and at peace when I let myself sit at the feet of my Father and gaze at His beauty, when I simply take the time to take in all that He is. I am overwhelmed at His love. The resounding echo of my heart, and the song that is on my lips:

You can’t make somebody love you
God won’t force a heart to move
He so values our decision
The human heart he won’t abuse

You can’t make somebody love you
God won’t force a heart to move
He so values our decision
The human heart he won’t abuse

But still I say that
Love has laid hold of me
And I can’t let go
Love has laid hold of me
And I can’t let go

I am all Yours tonight, it’s just You and me. I will embrace sweet surrender, I will let go of all of me. You are all I want, all I need, all I thirst for, all I seek.