The Holy Ground You Stand On Each Day

“I move away from the windows to stand in my living room, the one where I spend many hours each day. But this moment is different than many others; in this moment I’m aware that I am standing on holy ground – right within the walls of my own home, the world in which I live, move, work, and breathe.

This holy ground is ordinary, yet it’s not. It’s quiet. It’s sacred. Standing barefoot on this ground, I am in awe of His wonder. I’m silenced by His Presence. I’m stilled by the realization that while I sleep, He moves. While I dream, He creates. I stand in the place of ordinary. His whisper reminds me it is holy ground.

My ordinary, His holy. I see ordinary. He sees holy.

Seeing the ordinary of day in and day out dulls my senses to His holiness. I need to see that my ordinary ground is anything but ordinary. It is holy.

Exodus 33:7-11 we see Moses pitching a tent and meeting the Lord. Fascinating.

“The Lord would speak to Moses face-to-face, as one speaks to a friend.”

“Moses entered his ordinary tent with complete awareness that it was anything but ordinary. An ordinary tent became holy ground because the Lord was there with Moses face-to-face.”

“We stand on holy ground every day and yet we don’t always recognize it. It’s time we realize these holy ground places into which God invites us to truly know Him and remove our shoes. We have walked too long in the shoes of who we think God is, who the world has told us he is, or who we have created him to be. May we ask him to illuminate our hearts and minds with his word.”

Excerpts from Illuminate-Seeing God by the Light of His Word, Renee Robinson. A 14 day audio devotional to help you see God with fresh eyes.

It takes weakness to experience God’s strength

I stood in church and heard the Lord whisper this to me: Your greatest weakness is your strong capabilities.

Ouch.

Self-sufficiency. I’ve got this. I don’t need help. I will conquer this. Oh the pride.

Who likes to be weak & needy?

But that is right where we need to be to see the magnificent strength of our Savior.

He isn’t our Savior for salvation only, but also the daily battles, the moment by moment needs.

It takes a humble heart to say, “I need help. I can’t do this alone.” And the Lord loves a humble heart. Who does the Lord favor?

“My hand made all these things, and so they all came into being. This is the LORD’s declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at My word.” Isaiah 66:2

You are loved beyond measure.

Lord, create in us a pure heart. Renew in us a steadfast spirit. We confess our pride which says we don’t need you. May we lower ourselves and look up and see our great need is a gift. Thank you that you meet our every single need. Amen.

 

How to Silence the Feed to Heal the Soul

 

Irritation, quick-temper, distracted mind, forgetfulness. These are a few signs I needed more than a social media detox. I was in need of soul healing.

I’ve been writing for years about the importance of removing ourselves from the grips of screens in order to reset our minds and souls. I’m six weeks into my current social media fast and continue to experience healing.

I wrote an article over at Bubbling Brook titled

MORE THAN A SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX: HOW SILENCING YOUR NEWS FEED CAN HEAL YOUR SOUL

In the article I share how I realized I desperately needed to silence the feed and the signs that my soul was healing when I followed God’s prompting for a break.

I hope you will find practical steps as well as encouragement to step into a time of healing with Jesus.

Prisoners of Hope

Ready to quit

That’s it. I quit. I simply can’t do this anymore. Maybe homeschooling teen boys isn’t the best idea.

Closing the door behind me, I allowed the churning washing machine to drown out the noise throughout the rest of the house.

Seriously??? Who tossed detergent all over the walls and sides of the machine?

 Scrubbing furiously the mess off the wall, I longed to clean the fury staining my heart.

Screaming at my kids left me exhausted, filled with guilt and shame. This opened a door for a thought-waged war.

  • You should’ve put them in school.
  • They are regressing.
  • You are holding them back.
  • Their attitude is from yours.
  • You’re ruining your family.
  • You should quit.
  • You can’t control them.
  • You can’t write to encourage people; look at your own mess.
  • You are trapped.

Prisoner of circumstance

I confess I’m prone to feeling a victim, a prisoner, of circumstances at times. As I escaped to the laundry room, all my thoughts were condemning messages lacking all hope.

My husband called to check on me. He offered his best effort at encouragement. “There’s hope.”

“There’s no hope. Well, yes, there’s hope in Jesus, but there is no hope for this situation. I’m stuck.” Why couldn’t I simply shut my mouth? Every time I opened it, words flew out that filled me with regret. I knew they weren’t true.

Prisoner of hope.

These were the words I saw in my notes app hours after my tantrum. Prisoner of Hope. I’d typed it exactly one month ago when I read Zechariah.

“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.” Zechariah 9:12

We aren’t prisoners of our circumstances. We are prisoners of hope. And He calls out to us, “Return to your stronghold.”

Return to your stronghold

I’d abandoned my stronghold while allowing the enemy to build his own.

A stronghold by definition is a well-fortified place. Scripture grants insights to both sides of strongholds.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

I was allowing my fears to run as wild as a toddler drunk on red food coloring.

War Well

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” 2 Cor 10:3-4

“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9

Back to Him I flee. Back to the safety of His embrace.

Return, O prisoner of hope.

We don’t let ourselves become prisoners of the enemy because we’ve been set free. We are redeemed. We are His prisoners of hope.

“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah 9:9

You are a daughter (or son) of the King. He comes to you.

I’d felt a raging monster, yet here He comes to me. Gentle. And I melt in His tenderness.

“Tell Daughter Zion, “Look, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.” Matthew 21:5

Our burden bearing King came toward us riding on a burden bearing animal. We need not carry the burdens, entrapping ourselves under the back-breaking weight.

What burdens do you carry? Your King is coming to you. He came. He is here. He is coming again.

You are His beloved, His prisoner of hope. Don’t let the enemy lie to you. You don’t belong to him. You aren’t his prisoner. You are a prisoner of hope.

 

 

 

 

 

What the Christian Response Reveals in Tumultuous Times

“Stop your fighting–and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” Psalm 46:10

We win!

“We win!” These are the words I continue to hear from the mouths and fingertips of christians in this volatile political and social season.

What does that mean?

  • If your preferred candidate wins office who most closely represents Biblical values?
  • If justice prevails in the courts?
  • If corruption is exposed and justice meted?

I’ve been baffled by these statements. Haven’t christians already won? Was the cross not enough of a victory? Did we forget God showed us the ending? Or have we misapplied His words and promises to fit our desires?

Exposing Idols

We have an idolatry problem. We have placed our rights, our comforts, and our freedoms on the altar. We’ve decided we will do anything and everything to keep what we want. In our desperation to protect our idols, we attack, we fight, and we demand.

We’ve idolized understanding, believing it is our right to know and understand all that is taking place. “Wisdom and strength belong to God; counsel and understanding are His.” Job 12:13

Please don’t misunderstand me. I love my life, my rights, and my comforts. I desire to stay informed. But are we desiring these in the name of justice and righteousness to the point we stopped caring about the watching world observing our fight?

Have we bitten the apple which bites back? Eve bit the apple, which she believed would give her wisdom and understanding of good and evil. We follow in her footsteps desiring to know more than God has unveiled for us to know. As it turns out we live in an age of more information than a soul or mind can handle. May we consume with great caution.

Information is “uncovered” and shared, and believers claim God is unveiling. Friends, satan appears as an angel of light. (2 Cor. 11:14) A friend posted the most dangerous tool we’ve used in the last year is the share button. I tend to agree with her.

What have we won? We can be right and lose.

Steve’s words echo in my mind, “You can be right and still lose.” More than being right is communicating the message. God has tasked us as His ambassadors to tell the world about all the corruption and demand justice. Oh, wait. No He hasn’t.

We can be absolutely right about much going on in the world, but how we communicate to a hopeless world is the difference between life and death for eternity.

Here’s our actual assignments:

  • Go and make disciples“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19
    • In our fighting, demanding, and posting, we are losing disciples. We are absolutely pushing away those God desires come to Him.
  • Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you. – “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:44
    • The christian culture is slaying the enemies with words and posts and calls to rise up.
    • The American church doesn’t understand persecution, so when our fears become a potential threat, we fight. The majority of the world on the other side of the globe lives under true persecution.
    • We are different. We can love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
  • Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, to love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
    • I don’t interpret act justly as demand justice. Yes, God is a just God. He demands justice. But He brings it. Some of us are used in our vocations or callings to do just that. But others of us are taking scripture and modifying it to give us permission to act out of our idolatrous desires.
    • Act. Love. Walk. These are all what we do, not demand of those around us. We act justly to all. We love mercy and show it. We walk humbly, not as one who is right and knows all.

Don’t be surprised by trouble.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Our peace isn’t in this world. It’s in Him. Christians we’ve veered off course and it’s time to come back. The world needs peace. It’s not found in a political system. Doesn’t history reveal this?

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice in as much as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12

“So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” 1 Peter 4:19

Silence the world to hear God

God directed me off social media several weeks ago. He didn’t say why. He didn’t say it was temporary or permeant. I’ve stopped asking God to give me explanations and understanding and have found the freedom in simply saying yes to Him.

Everything has changed in my heart as it relates to what is happening in our country right now.

I’ve been sad, mad, and scared. I started 2020 quite vocal in my thoughts and opinions. Some of those may be right, but my love began to grow cold. I was becoming cynical, self-righteous, and prideful.

I began seeing people through the lens of social media posts, narrowing them down to judgements based on 100 words they shared.

God called me out of it into a time of resting in His embrace.

Expect persecution and prepare now. How should christians respond?

It’s only in America we feel surprised by persecution. In his book, The Blessing of Humility, Jerry Bridges writes, “I predict the various types of nonphysical persecution will become more widespread and intense.”

“So we need to be prepared to respond in ways that honor God.”

This is what is weighing down my heart. How are we responding to the idea or threat of coming persecution?

Bridges continues, “I suspect that our own court system will eventually fail us, as more and more judges are appointed who have been trained in law schools that at best are indifferent to biblical righteousness and at worst are openly hostile to it.”

“It is quite apparent that the Bible no longer has moral authority in society as a whole. So we should expect increasing marginalization of Christians, and in some instances curtailment of our religious freedom. How should we respond? Certainly not in a combative cultural-warfare attitude. Rather, it should be based on the principle Jesus taught in Matthew 5:44: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

“As I observe the response of so many Christians to the eroding of what have been called “traditional values,” I am concerned that we are acting no differently than many nonbelievers who may care nothing about the Bible but who want to defend those values. Instead of loving those whose actions and lifestyles we oppose, we seem to engage in some form of action that is inconsistent with Jesus’ admonition to love our enemies.” 

Persecution brings blessing

In the following quote, Bridges sums up what has been stirring in my heart during my social media absence.

“Another important question is, How will we respond if our religious freedom is curtailed and our court protection fails us? Will we consider ourselves to be blessed because of being reviled or persecuted for righteousness’ sake? When push comes to shove, will we really believe that God is sovereign over all the affairs of humanity?”

“Will we believe that, despite many appearances to the contrary, Jesus is building His church and ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’ (Matthew 16:18)?”

Bridges states he asks these questions because he himself doesn’t know how he would respond when that day should come.

I’m realizing about myself that my eternal mindset needs to be sharpened. It’s time to live what we claim to believe. It’s time to smash our idols and be willing to love our enemies and pray for them. It’s time to see that it’s an honor to join Christ in His sufferings.

The American church, the American political system were never promised in the Bible. I love America. But we are not of this world. (John 17:16) Maybe we should live that way.

What do I want Jesus to say to me?

I don’t imagine Jesus will say to me, “Great political posts that incited your friends and enemies.” He likely won’t say, “Great job in turning the eyes of all who watched back onto world events and leading a crusade to protect your rights.” It’s unlikely He will say, “Great job using your wisdom to seek out all the mysteries I had hidden for your protection.”

You know what I want to hear Him say? Something along these lines:

  • “You joined in my sufferings well. Well done, faithful servant.”
  • “Well done, faithful servant, you kept your eyes fixed on me, what was unseen rather than seen.”
  • “Good job, child of Mine, you trusted in My righteousness and justice to prevail rather than fighting for your own.”
  • “Thank you for praying for those who persecuted my church. Many of them have joined you here today because of those prayers.”
  • “Well done waiting for my timing. It was but a mist. Here is your reward.”

Repent

Friends, I’m repenting. I’ve fought God in my heart as I claimed to fight for His ways. I’ve been wrong in many ways as I’ve navigated this unsettling season. But God is good, patient, and kind.

It’s our responsibility as the church to represent the truth of who He is. Jesus is the only answer. The only solution. The only way to true peace.

Peace will not be found here apart from Christ.

I encourage you to read Isaiah 41 as you ponder these words and seek God for your next steps in this season.

He will return for His church. We will stand in eternity and realize our time on earth was quite short. We have work to do to bring souls with us. Let’s be careful and wise as we move forward.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12

 

Does God Love the Righteous or the Riotous?

The Riotous on the move

Enough. My soul could handle no more. I turned my phone off.

Images of angry rioters chanting in streets, storming the Capitol, vowing for “justice” filled my news feed. This is nothing new to human history, but it does feel the last year has revealed the riotous heart of humans more than we’ve ever seen. I thanked the Lord He’d already led me to break from social media. I knew my soul would wilt under the weight of opinions and information overload.

God’s Heart for the Riotous

The Lord gave me two words: riotous and righteous, which I wrote in my journal. These are the whispers of God. He will give me words and phrases, but He will speak to me directly through His Word.

Following my Bible in a year reading guide, I opened to Matthew 9. My desire is to read familiar stories this year with fresh eyes.

God’s heart jumped off the page. “….For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:13

What I heard was, “….For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but the riotous.”

When the Righteous Repent

How like the Pharisees my heart can lead. My righteous indignation flares at the violence and anger swirling our nation into turmoil. I can cry out to the Lord to end the anger, deal justice where justice is due. Seeing my goodness in the face of flagrant sin is easy. Oh how Pharisaical we become.

May we “righteous” repent.

May we thank God Jesus has imparted His righteousness to us, without which we remain riotous in heart if not externally.

One of my boys borrowed a bar of soap from my shower. I keep it in a plastic container so it maintains its hard shape. The borrower of my soap failed to put the soap in the protective case, exposing it to a steady stream of rinsing water. Later when I tried to take the soap from the case, it molded into my hands like soft putty ready to take new shape and form.

Repentance softens our heart. A repentant heart gives itself over to the loving, shaping hands of the Father, effectively saying, “I’m sorry. I don’t need to place myself in my own protective case. I trust You, Lord.”

Riotous vs Righteous

What I see in culture is the “righteous” taking a stand against the “riotous.” The stand needed today is from our knees. Jesus came for the sinner, the rioter, the idolator, the drunkard, the adulterer. His heart is for the ones who don’t know Him.

Yet, I forget this everyday my righteous anger breaks out in my heart. As I read in Matthew 9 when Jesus called Matthew to be His disciple, my heart began to soften. The heart of Jesus breaks me.

“When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when He heard this, He said, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:11-13

Go and learn

Jesus gives us an instruction for today as much as He did to the Pharisees. Go and learn.

Am I willing to learn what His heart desires over what my human heart decides is right?

He desires mercy.

The definition of mercy is this:

  • the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty
  • compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence
  • something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing:

This is what He desires for us over our sacrifice. That our hearts be merciful, full of compassion toward the one who doesn’t yet know the heart of the Father.

What is Right? Where do we go from here?

Justice is vital in a safe society. I’m not saying rioters must be excused from their behaviors. But these are the ones Jesus came and died for. He came that all would know Him.

So what if the righteous effectively prayed for the riotous? Would this not form a more powerful weapon in our hands than the anger and judgement desiring to control our hearts?

What if we assumed a new position? On our knees.

We’ve lived many years in America where hearts lived under the cover of being fine. Circumstances are pressing on us revealing the truth of what hides in the heart, exposing the ones who thought they knew God but don’t yet, exposing the depth of our fears.

Does God love the righteous or the riotous? Both. May we remember.

Is God Who He Says He is?

He is good, King, eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere always. He is still on His throne.

Join me in thanking Him for His merciful heart, without which we’d all live hopeless. That merciful heart given to us is given for all, the righteous and riotous alike. May we repent of our arrogance and pride and humbly plead on behalf of those resisting the loving hands of the Father. There is not a hard heart, He can’t soften with His rinsing love.

Thank you, Jesus.

What lies do we believe?

My temptation when reading familiar scripture is to skim. Familiarity can block us from seeing what we’ve missed before.

Our church follows a Bible reading plan which is the Bible in six years followed by year seven reading the Bible in one year. This is the year to read the Bible in a year. I’ve attempted this multiple times and failed. This year my husband and I are leading a small group, so the accountability will hold us to the challenge.

As I began reading in Genesis 3, I slowed down to intentionally read as though I’d not read this passage hundreds of times. That’s when I saw what I’ve missed in prior readings.

A little backstory. In Genesis 2:16-17 God instructs Adam with the words “….you are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.” (emphasis added)

God is a God of freedom. Before He instructed Adam of what he should avoid, He started with pointing out what he was free to enjoy. Everything except the one thing.

God is good, and if something is off limits it’s only because God sees what we don’t see. It is for our good.

Jump to Genesis 3 and we notice the serpent doesn’t approach Adam, who had firsthand knowledge of what God said. He approached Eve with his lie.

The serpent plants the seed of doubt in Eve’s mind by posing the question, “Did God really say…..”

We don’t see Eve’s thoughts as she pondered the question. But we know how we toss and turn the doubts in our own minds.

While Eve is stating what God said, the serpent quickly added in his interpretation, which consisted of twisting God’s words into a lie.

The enemy is a liar. Plain and simple. He is a master at one thing. Lying. His goal is to speak lies in such a way that we accept and believe them.

The enemy desires we eat his lies.

In this all too familiar passage of scripture, this well-known story we’ve heard since Sunday school, I noticed something I’ve missed.

Genesis 3:6 “Then the woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”

The enemy fed the lie, planted doubt about the goodness of God, and waited. Eve considered his lie, which led to her accepting the lie and acting on it in sin.

All it took was consideration of the lie. Considering a lie about who God is, His nature and His goodness, is taking one step into the trap the enemy sets before us.

Consideration of the lie caused Eve to see her reality and surroundings in a new light, one cloaked in darkness.

The word “then” in Genesis 3:6 called me to pay greater attention.

Doubt changes what we see.

Lies morph truth into a false reality.

What we read in the Bible is that once the enemy offered the tantalizing lie to Eve, she looked at the tree and saw it the way the enemy described it to her. She noticed it was pleasing to the eye and offered good looking fruit, which all the other trees offered as well, but she saw it was “desirable for obtaining wisdom.”

God never said the tree offered wisdom. Wisdom comes from God alone.

“For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Proverbs 2:6

Considering the lie gave birth to desire. Desire led to acting on the sin.

Then the woman saw…..So she took some of its fruit…….

Following the seeds of doubt planted by the enemy, we see the “then the woman saw…..so she took some of its fruit…..”

What lies are you currently believing about the goodness of God? Do you believe God is good? Always or sometimes? To others or to you too?

If these questions seem to poke you toward discomfort, I have some resources to suggest.

 

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty.

I read this in 2016 and it opened my eyes to the goodness of God in all situations. She posed a question in her book: Is God good to me? 

Yes, we “know” God is good. But do we believe it to our core? And do we believe He is good to us? Even when we aren’t receiving what we’ve begged to receive? Do we trust His goodness?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The God-Shaped Brain by Dr. Timothy R. Jennings.

I read this book in 2020 and was deeply impacted by the stories he shared about how what people believed about God impacted their health, choices, and life. It was both powerful and deeply insightful.

This book caused me to really look at the lies I hold about who God is and how that can lead me towards choices that aren’t for my good and God’s glory. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ebook devotional

 

Illuminate – Seeing God by the Light of His Word by Renee Robinson

To overcome the lies and combat our fears and worries, we must know who God is. His character, His nature. The only way to fight against the darkness the enemy sends is to illuminate our world by the light of God’s Word. That holds full truth so we can cast out the lies we hold in our minds and hearts.

Illuminate is a 14 day devotion focusing on various aspects of who God is so when we are faced with the enemy’s planted seeds of doubts, we will choose not to consider his lies and walk into his trap.

When you purchase illuminate you will receive an audio devotion each day for 14 days. In addition you will receive the pdf transcript. Both are yours forever to revisit as often as you need.

 

If today’s devotion spoke to you, please share on your social media platforms or send to a friend who may be encouraged as well.