True and Lasting Beauty of the Heart

by Abigail Vergeer

If a riverbed is dry, I can see its jagged rocks, unsteady floor, and dry emptiness.

If that same riverbed is full and flowing with water, I don’t even notice the riverbed. Instead, I see the cool and refreshing water, and it usually makes me peaceful…or thirsty!

I’d like to share a story with you about a girl whose riverbed is full of living water. This story is all about beauty, and not just any beauty, but true beauty that pleases God and lasts for eternity. This is the beauty from within that also shows on the outside. It’s the beauty that the familiar verse in 1 Peter talks about:

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
(1 Peter 3:3-4)

While traveling this fall, my family and I visited a delightful church in Idaho. Perhaps you can relate when I tell you that for me, meeting new people is exciting, yes, but always scary. I had been anticipating the visit to this unfamiliar church with some eagerness and lots of prayer. Contrary to my fears, however, I was warmly greeted by a young lady who came up to me with the warmest smile. She didn’t seem particularly outgoing or bold, but here she was coming to ensure I was comfortable in this unfamiliar place. What most impacted me is that she so radiated Jesus’ love that I barely even noticed what she looked like! More than her appearance, I remember how sweet her smile was and what a selfless, loving attitude she displayed.

Shortly after meeting this girl, I found similarities between her and the story in 1 Samuel 16 where God chooses the future king of Israel. The Bible says that Samuel, the prophet, saw Eliab, the oldest son of Jesse, and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before [me].” But God said,

“Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

After God refused each of David’s seven brothers, Samuel asked if there were any more sons, and when Jesse called David out of the field, God said, “…this is he,” and David, ruddy, bright-eyed, and good-looking was anointed as king.

While reading this story, I found it interesting that just a few verses after giving a lesson about appearances, God selects the “good-looking” David as king. This reminded me that although my appearance is wonderfully designed by God, it is not as important as what’s in my heart.

What beauty does Christ treasure and delight in?

A meek and quiet heart (1 Peter 3:3-4)

A meek heart trusts, and a trusting heart is a heart at peace in Jesus and His perfect plans. The quiet soul waits on the Lord from Whom all things come. Beautiful is the woman who lives in the strength of meek obedience to Jesus as her heart surrenders quietly to all He has in store. Sisters, seek His face and He shall not hide from you. For our hearts to truly rest, we must know Who they are resting in. See our great God in His holy Word and how His hands lovingly lead His people. Then lay your heart with all its hopes, dreams, and brokenness in those hands. And watch Him do great and mighty things (Luke 1:49).

A reverent heart (Proverbs 31:30)

The woman who’s heart fears the Lord, she shall be praised! Again, to fear God, we have to know something of Who He is. Who is He that we ought to be consumed with holy reverence in His Presence? Every book, chapter, and verse in Scripture is precious, but let me ask: which do you find your heart drawn to first? Those that speak to what God can do for you or those that tell you something of Who He is?

This may be a revealing question to ask yourself…as it was for me. Perhaps your answer is something like mine, recognizing that His nature is in truth seen (at least in part) in what He does for His people. Just don’t lose sight of His character as seen through His actions! If we do so, we are found wanting so much of that awe-struck wonder that brings us to our knees with bowed heads. So let us seek out verses and passages that highlight the attributes of God and meditate upon them, lifting our hearts and minds in praise.

“Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”
(Hosea 6:3)

A heart that rises up to experience GOD (Song of Solomon 2:10)

This verse in Song of Solomon can be so beautifully applied to all who love Christ. He says to us, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Do we “come away” with Him? Do we dare to experience God in our day to day…walking with Him? “But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me…for in these things I delight, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:24).

Understanding and knowing here have the meaning of “to have insight into” or “to ponder.” This is not an understanding gained simply by the words of men from pulpits or books. This knowledge is not attained by being raised in a Christian home (though you may “know” the law and the prophets). This is an insight into and pondering of the nature and character of God. It is something we all need more of in our lives in order that we might rise up and follow without reserve. It is she who gives all of herself that is truly the most beautiful because she is consumed with a Christ-like eternal glory that penetrates every kind of temporal beauty. Join me in rising up and following after Jesus with all of our heart!

A young missionary by the name of William Borden once wrote,

“No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.”

May that be your heart and mine!

Sisters, let me share two very grave traps and how these can be avoided.

Idolatry of our temporary form and face and figure and how to “perfect” that outer self can be a temptation when our hearts and focus are not in the right place. Martha Peace put it very well when she said,

“You know beauty has become an idol when the exterior adorning brings glory to your body instead of to God.”

Are you dwelling on heavenly things? God loves what is beautiful, and we are made in His image. So it is desirable to look our best and to care for this “outer man” He has given for the time being, but let us be sure to bring all glory to God on high. We do this best when we turn our minds to those things that are above.

Comparison does nothing for the soul but to discourage and disappoint. Our Father in heaven intricately designs each and every person as He sees fit… and as He sees as the most beautiful. Each daughter of the King wears the smile, the hair, the body He intends as being precious and unique to that daughter. Treasure what He treasures while living in gratitude for His special thought and attention as He formed you.

I have learned to pray these lines from Abigail Miller’s song, “Glorify Yourself in Me”:

O, let my face be hidden, my talents be unknown
If only that the love of Jesus Christ be shown!
Let Christ be all that others see!

The more time we spend with Jesus, the more Jesus is seen in us.

This is true and lasting Christ-like beauty. And it is this beauty that reflects the glory of Jesus Himself… will you join me, dear ladies, in pursuing that life-altering glory?

– Abigail 


If you’re interested in writing a guest post for KBR Ministries, click here.


Seasonal Wallpaper and Lockscreen

Where Are You Headed? Don’t Waste Your 2018!

by Sarah Lee Bryant

“The path of the just is as the shining light,
that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
(Proverbs 4:18)

Where are you headed?

Do you know? Do you have a plan? In one year from now, where do you want to be in your walk with Jesus? Do you want to be right where you are today, where you were a few years ago—or do you want to experience a completely new ground-breaking level in your personal and spiritual walk with the Lord?

The truth is, today you and I are making a hundred little choices that are determining where we will be in one year from now. Although we may not consciously think about this as we go about the day, each choice is setting the trajectory for our life.

As believers, it is important that we are always purposefully reaching forward, by God’s grace. The apostle Paul passionately wrote of his greatest desire and goal:

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
(Philippians 3:13-14)

The apostle knew where he was headed. He purposed with all of his heart and strength to press forward for the prize of the high calling he had in Jesus Christ. Sisters, this same purpose and goal should drive us as well:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you.”
(Matthew 6:33)

Are you seeking His righteousness?

Or are you complacent with your walk with the Lord? There is no middle ground! If we are not purposefully sowing the right things in our hearts and passionately seeking the Lord, a stronger walk with Him will not “just happen”! That’s why it’s important to take a step back and evaluate what really is going into our hearts, and where we are spending the majority of our time.

What are you eating mentally? What is going into your heart? Will it bring forth everlasting life, or selfishness and worldliness? Will it challenge and advance you, or leave you more dulled to learning and growing in wisdom?

Ask yourself about…

  • The things you watch…
  • The music you listen to…
  • The social media you use…
  • The time you spend on the internet…
  • The people you like to spend time around…
  • The texts you send and receive…
  • The “comfortable place” that your thoughts resort to…
  • The books you read…

…all of these things, and many, many more, are either deepening or weakening your spiritual walk with Jesus. In this day and age, it is especially easy to fall into the trap of using media purposelessly, and I believe this is a great distraction to our walks with the Lord. We should ask, Is this helping me in my goal to grow in the Lord and to show His love to others?

Whatever is not deepening our relationship with the Lord should be not only avoided, but also replaced with far richer things: time spent with the Lord, prayer, learning, and serving others! Each day we are given is a gift to be invested for the Lord (Romans 7). Let us not take it for granted!

What we sow this year—TODAY—we will reap in the years to come.

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked:
for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
(Galatians 6:7)

What an encouraging promise—we can trust the Lord to bless the spiritual seeds that we sow each day, in His perfect timing and way!

As we enter a new year, it is a wonderful time to stop and refocus on what really matters.

You might even want to dedicate the first new week of this year to seek the Lord and gain a fresh purposeful perspective on how to grow in your walk with Him. As you do this, here are some thoughts to keep in mind.

1. Spend time before the Lord in prayer.

Open the Word of God on your knees, asking the Lord to show you areas that you need to grow in Him or begin serving Him more. Pray—set aside time to really seek the heart of God and humbly receive His direction.

2. Have a humble, surrendered heart.

As you spend time with the Lord, be humble and willing to surrender your own will—things that He shows you that are hindering a close and wholehearted walk with Him. Lay aside any areas or habits that are weighing you down spiritually (Hebrews 12:1).

3. Journal.

Write down what the Lord shows you, verses that speak to or convict you, thoughts or desires that come to mind, and ideas on how you can more purposefully seek the Lord in the new year. Writing often helps us process and clarify what the Lord is teaching us.

4. Make specific goals.

Seek the Lord as to how you can more actively deepen your walk with Him. Where do you want to be spiritually in one year from now? What steps do you need to take to work toward that goal? (As my dad says, if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there…it’s important to have a plan!)

For example, if you need to grow in your prayer life, begin by confessing to the Lord your failure to prioritize this more highly in your life. Ask Him for strength to grow in this area, perseverance to develop it even when it’s difficult and you fail, and for a desire to spend more time at His feet. Then you could set a time each day that you will spend a certain length of time in prayer, and make a prayer list for each day. (Starting out with specific goals and guidelines like this is helpful, but as you grow in this area, you may find them less necessary as the Holy Spirit lays things on your heart during prayer!) Read books on prayer and biographies about incredible prayer warriors from history (George Mueller and Amy Carmichael for a start). Seek wisdom and advice on this topic from older godly women, and ask someone to keep you accountable.

While the specific area(s) for growth that the Lord impresses on your heart may vary, there are key steps to take: pray, ask the Lord for strength, make specific practical goals, find examples and encouragement, and ask for accountability.

As I personally look back over 2017…

I am grateful for the many deep lessons God has taught me. One year ago, I heard a sermon that the Lord used to convict me of areas that I needed to give over to Him and to live deeper surrender and service to Him. While no one else pointed these areas out to me—the Lord impressed on my heart that if I wanted to grow in my walk with Him, then these were the steps I must take. The road to growth would require obedience and faith, and He enabled me to walk that path. I can now see how those steps of faith at the beginning of 2017 were a crucial foundation in which greater lessons of trust and growth were planted throughout the year. I can gratefully testify that His ways bring steadfast joy and security even when the outcome is unseen and unknown. Sisters, growing in your walk with Jesus may require sacrifice on your part. As you spend time before Him, He may convict you of many things, calling you to higher ground. Be obedient, and follow Him. What He has in store to teach you will be worth it. He is a good Shepherd, a faithful Father, and He has great rewards in store for those who trust in and follow Him (Psalm 37).

Today, as you stand on the threshold of a new year—will you purpose to grow and to follow Jesus upward, or are you content with a mediocre Christian walk?

In a year from now, will you look back and be disappointed with the lack of growth in your life? Will you wonder what might have been if you would have more seriously sought His face?

Do you hear the prompting of the Holy Spirit—the Lord calling you closer to Himself, through surrender and obedience? If this is the case, I challenge you to get away with the Lord on your knees. Maybe it is being more diligent in Bible study, or confessing a bad attitude or habit, or separating from an unhealthy friendship, or serving others more… Whatever it may be, may neither you nor I be content to aimlessly walk through this new year without giving Jesus Christ full control over our lives—so that we can experience the joys of what He wants to do in and through it.

So…where are you headed this new year?

May it be into a deeper walk with the Lord, always advancing, growing, learning, and serving in His Kingdom! Don’t waste this wonderful gift of 2018!

“My Today” by Amy Carmichael

All the Field of my Today
Is in shadow, passes from me;
No more can I sow in it;
No more can I grow in it
Anything of joy or sorrow;
It has passed away, away.
Lies before me my Tomorrow.
In me I hear voices say
As my field recedes in shadow:
“What seed didst thou sow in it?
What plants didst thou grow in it?
Will it bring forth joy or sorrow?”
O the field of my Today,
How wilt thou appear Tomorrow?
Holy Lord, my poor Today
Cries aloud to Thee for pardon;
Take my new field, sow in it
What Thou wilt should grow in it;
Let me not sow seeds of sorrow.
Holy Husbandman, I pray
Keep the field of my Today.
 

“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.”
(Isaiah 45:3)

-Sarah Lee

P.S. I challenge you to memorize Proverbs 2:1-8 this month. Some other passages to study and memorize include Deuteronomy 13:4, Proverbs 1:5, Galatians 5:16, 25, Ephesians 5:2, Colossians 1:10, and I John 1:7.


If you’re interested in writing a guest post for KBR Ministries, click here.


Seasonal Wallpaper and Lockscreen

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone (For Introverts!)

by Paige K.

“But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father;
we are the clay, and Thou our Potter;
and we all are the work of Thy hand.”
(Isaiah 64:8)

When you see a stranger coming your way, do you long to run and hide?

Would you rather retreat to your special book nook than go to a crowded, noisy event? Do you find yourself wondering why solitary confinement is even a punishment? If you answered “yes” to those questions, you are most likely an introvert.

Introverts are the opposite of extroverts, who thrive and receive energy from being around other people. The dictionary defines an introvert as “a shy, reticent (reserved or withdrawn) person.” As an introvert, I often need time to recharge my “internal battery,” especially after a big dose of social interaction. I often feel drained mentally and energetically. I am not afraid of people; I simply am energized on quiet time.

Some introverts tend to be afraid to talk to anyone. They often experience social anxiety and have very few friends. The majority of introverts are more social introverts, however. They can carry on conversations and often have a few close friends they enjoy spending time with. Being a social introvert myself, I can interact with others, but I don’t like being in large groups of people. I would much rather curl up with a good book or knitting project than being at a large noisy gathering.

Unfortunately, you can’t read for a living! No matter what occupation you have, it will involve interactions with people. God has placed us in this world for a purpose, and we are to share the love of Christ with others. When I realized that my previous dream of living in a tiny log cabin filled with yarn, tea, and books in the middle of nowhere was neither healthy or likely to happen, I began to ask the Lord for direction. “God,” I questioned, “how can I function rightly if I don’t like social interaction? Can You use an introvert like me?” This article is the result of the lessons I have learned, and am still learning, from the Lord.

1. Learn to communicate.

It is necessary to be able to communicate effectively.  A good way to apply smooth conversation skills is to practice with your family and close friends. Think of icebreakers before engaging in a conversation.

However, don’t be afraid of comfortable silent breaks during a discussion. Proverbs 10:19 says, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” Sometimes silence speaks louder than the most elegant speech.

It is also good to know your limitations. I become short-tempered and easily disturbed when I do not have quiet time. I’m learning to simply tell my family how I am feeling and take appropriate measures, so I prevent getting to a stage of bottled up frustrations that come out in a hurtful way!

2. Interact with others.

Service to God and His people is a very important aspect of a Christian’s life, no matter what personality you have. When we lay down our lives to serve others, we are often blessed by the Lord. Service is also a great way to socialize and meet like-minded people. Although this may not come easily to you, cultivating solid friendships rooted in Christ is essential. However, you don’t have to try to be a bubbly socialite either. Focus on others around you and be a blessing to them.

3. Be a prayer warrior.

One very active role of service that introverts can play is that of a prayer warrior. Prayer is one of the best ways to serve both God and others. One way to make sure you incorporate prayer into your Christian life is to have a “prayer board.” In our kitchen is a whiteboard with both a “prayer” and a “praise” side. When we receive a prayer request or a good update, we put it on the board and pray from the board at meals. It is a great way to keep track of the numerous prayer requests and praises from our friends and family.

4. Find a talent with which to bless others.

There are a couple of gifts that the Lord has given me that I have used to bless others without making me feel anxious. Singing is one of those gifts. Whether I am performing for one or 100, I forget the people I am singing for and turn my focus to my audience of One: my sovereign King. I give 100% of my effort to please the Lord.

5. Serve behind the scenes.

Helping in the church kitchen or nursery are wonderful ways to serve your church body. Volunteers who help in these areas make it possible for others to fellowship and mothers to focus on the sermon—no matter how mundane a job may seem, it makes a huge difference and blesses others!

6. Don’t judge.

I sometimes shy away from individuals I would deem “different,” silently judging their quirks instead of seeing their hearts. This is not a loving, Christ-like attitude: we should look past their differences (while not condoning sinful behavior) and converse with others simply because we truly care about them and want to share the love of Jesus with them.

So can God use introverts?

The answer is yes—whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you can be used by the Lord in powerful ways. God created you and equipped you with the gifts you need to bless others. He is the Potter and you are the beautiful work of His hand.  Don’t let your personality keep you from spreading God’s love to the people you meet. He made you exactly the way you are for a reason: to bring Him glory and honor!

-Paige


If you’re interested in writing a guest post for KBR Ministries, click here.


Monthly Wallpaper and Lockscreen

Cultivating A Grateful Heart

by Claire E.

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,
in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

(Philippians 4:11)

This verse is used so regularly, that most of us probably overlook its true meaning.

You and I have certainly heard about being content in regards to waiting for a spouse. Contentment, really, is such an elusive idea. Webster defines it as “a resting or satisfaction of mind without disquiet…”

A resting of the mind…in what? Our culture provides many options: beauty, friends, money, reputation, the security of a good job or husband, you name it. But as Christians, our rest should be placed in the Almighty. Our Heavenly Father, our Brother, and Comforter. When we rest in God, trusting Him with all our cares and concerns, as well as our wants and desires, we will begin to recognize His hand working wonders in our lives.

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him;
and He shall bring it to pass
.”

(Psalm 37:5)

Reflect on the last few months of your life and try to connect all the problems which you thought were impossible to solve, the string of events that worked out just right, and all the many blessings (yes, even the little ones). You should be awestruck by how His hand is at work in your life and the lives of those around you. Even if what you are going through right now seems to be hopeless, God is working out all things for the good of those that love Him. Our proper response should always be praise! 

David, the man after God’s own heart, was given the gift many times of turning a desperate situation into an opportunity to praise. And to glorify God. He cast all his difficulties at the feet of Jehovah, trusting Him with the outcome. In Psalm 40, a chapter filled with many of the woes befalling David, he writes, “I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation: I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation. Withold not Thou Thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth continually preserve me” (Psalm 40:10-11).

Praise the Lord continually.

Redemption alone is reason enough to spend a lifetime praising Him, and yet He has additionally blessed us so abundantly! I find it difficult to keep my focus centered and tend to get caught up in all the cares, worries, and messes of everyday life. One thing that has helped me to get out of this cycle is to notice the little things to praise God for. Maybe it is your little sister’s cute rosy cheeks, or the soothing sound of the rain. Maybe it is your ever-noisy little brother once again calling your attention to his new creation. We can be thankful for all these things.

Contentment and gratitude are inseparably linked.

Being grateful in all circumstances will, invariably, lead to contentment. If you are thankful for something, then you can’t be discontent with it. On the flip side, if you are truly satisfied and content, then you will praise God! A contented heart is well-expressed in the following Psalm.

“Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work is honorable and glorious: and His righteousness endureth for ever. He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. He hath given meat unto them that fear Him: He will ever be mindful of His covenant.”
(Psalm 111:1-5)

Sometimes, you simply have to choose gratitude. Tell yourself, “this is really not how I planned things, but this is how God, in His infinite wisdom, is choosing to put things together.” Then find something to be grateful for and write it down. Creating an ongoing list of things to praise the Lord for will remind you of your purpose – which is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. If you write down three things a day, by the end of the year you will have named over 1,000 gifts! Why don’t you try the challenge?

Sisters, as you pursue contentment through gratitude, remember that you have surrendered your life into the hands of One supremely greater than any of your plans. He alone knows your future and He alone will bring you through it! Don’t ever stop praising your Redeemer. He is so worthy!

“Saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.”
(Revelation 5:12)


Introducing KBR Ministries’ Forum Manager

We are thrilled to introduce you to KBR’s new Forum Manager, McKenna Smith. She has such a tender heart for the Lord and a passion for encouraging other young ladies to love and seek Him! She has already been a blessing to the KBR team with her willingness to gather and format articles for the KBR Forum each month, and we know she will be a tremendous blessing to you! Here’s a note from McKenna:

“What a beautiful fall day to be writing to each of you! Golden leaves are drifting down upon the grass that remains miraculously green and there’s the fresh scent of pine in the breeze. Changing seasons…aren’t they a gift? I am McKenna Smith, your sister in Christ, fellow heir of the Kingdom, and like-minded delighter in JESUS. My earthly home is in north Idaho with my family of eight. I can usually be found hiking in the great outdoors, reading aloud to younger siblings, or studying Biblical counseling. Most recently it has been my joy to be helping in the editing and managing of KBR’s online forum – for the glory of God and the edification of the saints. The Lord has richly blessed my heart through this ministry, and I am looking forward to all that He continues to do through it. I know you will be blessed by all our sisters-in-Christ who share on this forum as they join us in seeking an ever closer, deeper walk with Jesus. Getting to love and serve our heavenly Bridegroom is the most glorious calling. And it is a privilege to be traveling this road of sanctification with each of you!”


If you’re interested in writing a guest post for KBR Ministries, click here.


Current Issue of KBR Magazine: Generational Gleanings

Monthly Wallpaper and Lockscreen

Jesus: Our Singular Focus

Guestpost by Katelyn Osborn

“The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord…”
(1 Corinthians 7:34)

What a topic – staying close to Jesus during our single years.

When a friend asked if I would prayerfully consider writing this post, I realized I had not given much thought lately to how to use my single years fully for God’s glory. And since I am single, I decided I needed to spend some time learning from the Lord how this life should look. After all, we want to serve the Lord to the fullest of our ability.

In 1st Corinthians 7:34 we read, “There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” Being unmarried, we have far fewer distractions than married women have. This gives us a freedom to seek to be holy both in body and in spirit.

Being holy means to be “hallowed; consecrated or set apart to a sacred use, or to the service or worship of God.” It means to be pure, good, and freed from the bondage of sin. God has mercifully freed us through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). In our eager pursuit of His righteousness and glory, our souls will be fully satisfied. This season of life has the potential to bear fruit lasting far beyond our own lifetime! But in order to pass on a truly glorious legacy, He must be our singular focus. Our lives must be marked by loving Jesus first and laying aside every other encumbrance that would strive to take His place. 

So what does this practically look like?

Let me share with you some ways the Lord has worked on my heart to focus more on Him.

Surrendering to Jesus

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”
(Romans 6:16)

Sometimes the Lord and I are in close fellowship, and I am truly delighting in His presence. But other times the Lord will bring to light an area I have held too closely in my heart. Often it may be a good thing in itself that has become the root of my joy, satisfaction, or pursuit instead of the Lord Himself. Idols must be surrendered, which requires sacrifice. This should be done immediately – not delayed. Elisabeth Elliot once said, “A whole lot of what we call ‘struggling’ is simply delayed obedience.” These delays to surrender only set us back on the road to deeper satisfaction in Christ. So let us forsake the struggle, trust in our ultimate Victor, and yield all joyfully to Him. The reward of knowing Christ far outweighs the vain idols that we are called to surrender!

· Ask the Lord if there is anything in your life that needs to be surrendered. Write it down and pray specifically for any steps the Lord wants you to take to yield it fully to Him (see Romans 6:19 and 2 John 1:6a).

Abiding in Christ

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
(John 15:4-5)

I have been learning more of what the word “abiding” means with my relationship with Jesus. Throughout the day I am learning to pray and seek Him for the little things, to give thanks for blessings, to lean on His strength through difficult situations that come up, to keep Him in the forefront of my mind. This is truly a wonderful place to be, and as a bonus, we bear fruit as we abide in Him!

We can choose to continually commune with Jesus. He is already present; He never leaves or forsakes (Hebrews 13:5). He is involved in every part of our day – great and small (Proverbs 16:33). Therefore, it is possible for us to always abide mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in His Presence.

Our Lord and Lover already knows everything about us and our desires, so we can run to Him with all the small cares that crowd our days (Psalm 139:2-3). He desires to commune with us.

· One hindrance to abiding in Christ is sin in our lives. We won’t feel like walking in the light with the Lord if we are hiding darkness. “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:6-7). When you notice that you have a wrong attitude or have sinned, confess and repent of it before the Lord. As we learn to walk in His ways, we will want to be with Him.

Delighting in Jesus

The Lord has been using this word to convict me. What is my greatest delight? Whatever that is, I will be pursuing it because to love something is to pursue it. Does Jesus consume our smallest tasks and constant thoughts? Jesus warned the church of Ephesus of the calamity that losing sight of their first love brings about. Christ recognized their faithfulness in so many ways – and yet they had left their first affection (Revelation 2:2-5).

· Ask the Lord to search your heart and show you where you are placing your delight. Repent of delighting in the lesser things and seek Him to delight yourself in the only One who is worthy of praise. “But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find Him, if thou seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29). So ask our faithful God to help you delight in Him!

Is Jesus Your Singular Focus?

Sisters, to delight in Christ is to love Christ. And to love Christ is to seek Christ. By God’s grace, I am learning to delight myself in Him. He alone can fulfill my deepest desires (Psalm 107:9). In Christ, I am complete (Colossians 2:9).

Please join me in delighting in and seeking Him!

Is Jesus your greatest passion? How do you cultivate a heart solely focused on Him? We’d love to hear in a comment below.


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