I love the way the NLT bible puts this verse. KEEP AWAY from ANYTHING that MIGHT take God’s place in your heart. This verse shows how important it is to keep God first above everything and to protect ourselves from the world’s distractions or maybe the distraction is even ourself! God’s proper place of order is ABOVE ALL, including our spouses, kids, jobs, or *place something or someone important to you here*. Has there been something you’ve been putting first before your relationship with God? What is your first priority? What way can things be put in proper order? Too much of a good thing can become idolatry. Start with a small amount of time and go to your quiet place and spend time with God. Get an accountability partner if this is something you struggle with. A little encouragement can go a long way!
Also, a really awesome book to go along with today’s devotion is- God’s At War by Kyle Idleman.
I hope everyone had a restful night, but if it was anything like the Lunney Household, it was anything but. (Not complaining…Let me tell you why!)
We left church around 9pm as it still rained and flooded the area. We came to a little dog in the road running around with a collar (no tag), wet and lost. My husband looked at me and of course I told him to put the little guy in the car! We brought him home and our puppy was, to say the least, having a puppy moment. Playing with her new friend or trying to establish dominance, I’m not really sure. Needless to say, we talked about what to do next. We called people who we thought could help and they told us to take him to the vet in the morning and see if he has a microchip. I posted all over facebook pages for lost pets and spouse pages wondering who could’ve lost their baby. This pupper is seriously the sweetest. We drove around the neighborhood searching for people who may have lost him, but came to another dead end. We opened the car door to bring him in and he dashed into the woods. (Yep, that really happened.) My husband and I prayed as we went to bed. He soon fell asleep and I began to pray to God, asking him to put protection over this little pupper that I found…and then lost. I prayed for God’s will to be done and for him to go home or for him to find safety. HERE’S WHERE IT GETS GOOD. My husband woke up this morning and opened the door to let our puppy and this little guy slept on our porch all night. Ughhh, my heart! I’m sure you are thinking a couple things…1.How did she lose a lost dog? 2. This poor puppy. & 3. Why is she telling me this?
Here is why…
During my quiet time Holy Spirit has revealed to me some things through this little guy. (So cool that he can use a puppy to bring revelation and a blog post to share with you all!)
We have all been this puppy. Searching for home. Searching for love, care, and protection. We all have been lost, myself included. How often do we choose being lost in the woods when God has provided us with everything we need? We settle for the woods because, well its adventurous and we don’t really know God when we first come to him. Our old life looks pretty appealing when God challenges us on our behaviors and worldly ways. (Or for this little pup, peeing on the laundry basket…) So we venture out in the woods, lost, “alone”, and searching for home. We can never be fulfilled unless it’s through our identity in Christ. We will continually search and even sometimes settle for less than what God has to offer, like the porch for instance.
Even if you were to get lost, fall off track, I know God still remains the same. The promises of his word tell me so!
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”-Deuteronomy 31:6
It took faith for this dog to show up on our porch this morning. He ran away from us, but something drew him back to our home. Was it the love we showed him while he was here for a brief moment? When you get a taste of what God, his pure,steadfast love…you don’t travel far into the woods before you realize what you needed was back where you just were. We didn’t need the puppy to clean up before he entered our home. God doesn’t need you to clean up before you ask him into your heart. He wants you as you are at this very moment.
I just posted a verse yesterday on Instagram and it’s really fitting for what has transpired over the past 24 hours.
“This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”-Jeremiah 29:10-13
God doesn’t say we aren’t going to go through trails or tribulation’s. He promises us that he hears our prayers and that we will find him when we seek him wholeheartedly. He promises us plans to prosper. Plans to prosper doesn’t always line up with what we think is best. But often what we go through, is what shapes us into Christ-like character and puts us exactly where we need to be. Or for this lost pup, in a warm house out of the rain, snoozing on the floor.
Did God just use a dog to reveal all this to me? Yes, yes he did. That’s the cool thing about God. He will speak to you in ways that you will listen.
I have really been thinking about my Grandma Dorsey within these past couple weeks. To the point where I woke up out of a deep sleep. I’ve been up since 3:30am, reminiscing all the wonderful memories we shared together. One thing that has really stuck out to me since she passed in October of 2016 is how my relationship with God has flourished. Back in 2016, I was still struggling with addiction. I didn’t know who I was. I struggled with my purpose of why I was even here. In February of that year, I just left Harbor Oaks, a hospital for suicidal thoughts. I was saved that February and through the many talks with my Grandmother, she continually loved & supported me in my walk, even with not being at a Catholic Church. She struggled with it for a while. Always telling me how I was welcome back and she knew I would come back. Towards the end of her life here on earth, one thing really stuck with me. It was how she grabbed my hand and said, “Now, you stay at that church. It’s okay. Whatever way you focus on what’s important, that’s okay with me.” My Grandma saw that unity in the church was what God was really after. We were all loving on the same God. We were all loving on Jesus. She also knew and saw the change in me before I ever did, Holy Spirit. When I went before a rather large group of people at her showing, something I said really has continually proved itself over the years.
“If I can love her as much as I love her & she can love me as much as she loves me….I can’t even imagine how much God loves us.”
My grandmother showed me the unconditional love of Jesus. She lived every single day like her eternal life depended on it. My grandmother’s love brought me to having a relationship with God.
When she went home, I could no longer depend on her for understanding of biblical principles. I couldn’t depend on her prayers anymore. What really got me was the fact I couldn’t hear her voice and her wise words every day like I used to. But, her work here was complete.
I really believe God used my Grandmother’s passing, to bring me where I am today. She died to save mine. Just as Jesus died to save us. I know that God works everything out for the good for those that are for him. Even in these instances, death.
In the past 2 years God has completely flipped my life upside down. He has changed me from the inside out. My heart is no longer cold or misunderstood. I have the blood of the most high king pumping through my veins.
I am forgiven.
I am loved.
I am healed.
I am precious in the sight of Abba.
I know my purpose .
I am God’s masterpiece.
I am free.
I am a Child Of God.
If you would’ve asked me where I saw myself in 2 years on Valentine’s Day of February 2016. I couldn’t have been able to tell you because my suicidal thoughts haunted me every single moment of every single day. My past taunted me. I used drugs and alcohol to cope. I looked for my value in other people’s opinions and guys who didn’t care about anything other than what I had to offer physically.
Valentines Day, February of 2018 I am in Louisiana, laying next to my wonderful husband that I prayed for since 2014. (Yes, I prayed for years! Totally worth the wait!) While my puppy that I always wanted is laying on the floor. I am currently being discipled to be a Youth Pastor. I am writing a book along with this blog. I have saw miracles of healing and revelation run through my hands and out of my mouth. Holy Spirit has done some work these past 2 years as God called me to be obedient. I will be returning to college and going to Lee University for Ministry Leadership With Emphasis In Counseling. A dream I had before God was at the throne of my heart is now going to be used for his glory.
If my Grandma wouldn’t of went throught what she went through and went to her eternal home when she did, I’m not sure I’d be here today. If I would’ve successfully taken my life when I wanted to, God wouldn’t of had the chance to make me into something beautiful. I feel like some of the greatest people, with the biggest futures, are blindsided by satans lies and take their own life. If my Grandmother wouldn’t of displayed Christ’s love and continually prayed for me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
I have had a goal for the past 4 years and it was to get to know God and put him first. I can finally say, in 2017 it has been accomplished. This past year, as it comes to end has shown me who I am in Christ. Nothing is more powerful than knowing your identity in Christ. When I faced trials and tribulations, the more I knew my Papa and declared his promises, the better off I was! I knew throughout 2017:
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”-Romans 8:28 CSB
Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy — dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.-Philippians 4:6-9 CSB
Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and we testify that the Father has sent his Son as the world’s Savior. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God — God remains in him and he in God. And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.-1 John 4:10-16 CSB
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet hates his brother or sister, he is a liar. For the person who does not love his brother or sister whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And we have this command from him: The one who loves God must also love his brother and sister.-1 John 4:19-21 CSB
Those are just some of God’s promises that got me through. God has inspired me to write not only this blog, but I am working on a book. He gave me my amazing husband this past year and I got a beautiful puppy this CHRISTmas! God has provided abundantly in my finances and has healed me of Bipolar Disorder. (You can check out the links below to see more on mental health) I’ve saw people find God that I prayed for and other miracles happen before my eyes! The list goes on of how God has blessed me this year.
As this year approaches I want to encourage you to keep a prayer journal to show what Abba has brought you to and through. I also remind you that “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”-Romans 8:37-39 CSB
If we put God at the throne of our hearts where he belongsyou will watch 2018 be one of the best years of your life! I’m telling you this from my experience!
Did you reach any of your goals in 2017? What are some in 2018?
Thankyou to all those who have supported me through this blog. May God bless you abundantly in this next year to come. My hope is for you to grow into a deeper & more intimate relationship this year with Abba. That you always keep him on the throne of your heart. I pray he gives you a boldness to show people who may not know him, what pure love really looks like by showing Christ’s example. I pray you hold onto your lifelines of your relationship with God: his word, prayer, and a church family who loves God, who pushes you to know him more!
I keep hearing “What’s your plan when you move down to Louisiana?” “Are you going to college?” “Are you going to be a caregiver still or are you going to go back to serving? Servers make so much more money!”. I’m over here like…God hasn’t told me anything other than to marry Brad, move to Louisiana, and go to the church where he has been going to for over a year and pursue something with worship.
To the world this seems like a naive plan…not really having everything worked out. God hasn’t told me what to do, and I know if I’m not still and try to make a plan for myself, it won’t work out. However, I can rest in that I am God’s masterpiece and he’s not finished, this is really just the beginning.
“For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above–spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].”-EPHESIANS 2:10 AMP
For those who want to know what my exact plan is when I arrive down to Louisiana, I don’t have the details. God will let me know when I need to know. I want to do what God has planned, not what I have planned.
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].”-MATTHEW 16:24 AMP
If this means spreading his love through working at McDonald’s and serving at church, I will. If this means volunteering at a church without a paid position,I will. If this means going to college to be a family doctor, I will. If this means *insert something you would never see yourself doing that makes you feel uncomfortable*, will you for God?
So no, I don’t have it all figured out, but God does. With that being said, I’m in really good hands.
I pray that if you have struggled with what you’re supposed to do, that you let Holy Spirit lead your steps. That you end yourself and begin what God has planned. We know that everything will turn out for the good. We know that when we have you in our life, Lord, that we lack nothing. I pray that we hold onto your word and practice what we have learned. I pray that we follow you, no matter how crazy or uncomfortable it may feel. I thank-you for always being there, always having a plan that turns everything for the good, and allowing us to be your friend and vessel to spread the love you have for all of us. You are so good. The love you share is deeper than we could ever imagine. I just pray that I am filled with you Lord, instead of myself. In Jesus name, Amen.
P.S. If you haven’t read “The End of Me, Where Real Life in the Upside-Down Ways of Jesus Begins” by: Kyle Idleman yet, it’s an awesome read!