The Battle is Real

Have you ever struggled with something over and over again until it just felt like you’d never be free from it? Yeah, me too. I found myself in that all so familiar place again in the wee hours of the morning. I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep because my mind was racing with thoughts that had me riddled with fear.

There’s that word again. That word that I thought I had conquered. F.E.A.R. I prayed over all the things that seemed to cause this monster to raise its ugly head and laugh at me yet again. Still, it laughed. At one point it seemed that its laughter was louder than my prayers. Louder than the still voice saying, “I’ve got this”. I finally was beginning to dose back to sleep right about the time my alarm goes off.

I know, I know, you might be saying how could you have such fear? Do you not believe in God? Do you not believe that He will take care of you? I know right? Those were the same things that satan yelled as I made my way to make that first cup of morning Java. He also used the old, all too familiar phrases, “What is wrong with you? I have you right where I want you. You don’t really believe do you?” When I say a battle was raging this morning trust me it was raging. Until… I make my way to my quite place and open the Word. My verse for today was Psalm 118:5-6: I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a larger place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? Take that satan!

But of course, he wasn’t finished with me just yet. He continued to condemn me for my unbelief. He told me, “Something’s wrong with you. You really don’t believe God will take care of you or you wouldn’t have these bouts with being so fearful of things happening to you and your family. Now mind you I’m sitting here reading God’s Word and satan’s trying to be louder than those Words screaming off the page at me. So I thought, “ok let’s look up unbelief.” What I found touched me and has changed me without a doubt! I ran across Matthew 13:58 – And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. WHOA! What? So I looked the same verse up in the ESV… same thing… And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. Because the people of Nazareth did not believe the teachings that Jesus was teaching He did not do many mighty works there. That brought tears to my eyes as I read those words. But, then I also remembered the verse Mark 9:24 – And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. That’s it! I cried out immediately, LORD, I BELIEVE; HELP MY UNBELIEF! Guys, I’m not kidding satan fled!

I’ve told you this very personal battle time because our battles are real. Satan is real! He will stop at nothing to stop you dead in your tracks. To shut your praise down and stop you from living a life that God intended for you to live. Will he leave me alone for good? Not on my life! But the key to shutting him down is God’s Word. I know next time I awaken with fearful thoughts that hinder my sleep and my peace I’ll get up and go straight for the weapon that’s more powerful than the fear. And I will cry out once again for God to help me. Satan can’t stand up to that. God promises in James 4 verse 7: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. That’s a promise that I’m going to hold tight to.

The Messes We Make

Have you ever prayed for something or someone so long that you think, “My prayers are never going to be answered?” I imagine that’s how Abraham’s wife Sarah felt. In studying through Genesis for several months now, I noted that God promised Abraham in Genesis 15 that He would bless him with children, but later on we find that when Sarah still could not conceive she took matters into her own hands and gave Hagar to Abraham. So, as a result of Sarah’s mistake we ended up with Ishmael. Although later she believed when she hears God tell Abraham that she will conceive in her old age.

Then we have Rebekah having Jacob to deceive his father into giving him the blessing that she thought would be given to Esau. Although God had already told her that the elder shall serve the younger (Genesis 25:24) she panicked. Because of her doubts in the midst of knowing that Isaac was going to bless the firstborn, she talks Jacob into deceiving his father and stealing the blessing. Because of this, we end up with an angry and revenge filled Esau. Then in Genesis 36 you have these two tribes (Ishmael and Esau) joining together through marriage and eventually they become enemies to Israel.

My eyes opened to the fact of how we can make a royal mess when we try to push God’s promises to fulfillment instead of having faith and trusting in Him to be faithful. I believe that had Sarah waited, she could have saved a lot of heartaches. I also believe that if Rebekah had trusted in what God had already told her instead of in the heat of the moment not trusting, Isaac would have given the right and the same blessing to Jacob without Jacob having to use trickery to steal it from Esau because according to what God had told Rebekah it never was Esau’s. A lot of things could have been diverted had all involved trusted God to be faithful. But we can’t pass judgment too quickly on these because how many times have we done the exact same thing? What would our lives look like had we trusted God to be faithful in every circumstance? I know my life would look totally different. But as we learned in the story of Joseph in Genesis 50 what Satan means for harm God will use for good if we will let him.

This year my prayer is that I will stand firm on God’s promises and that I will remember all the times that He has been faithful. I pray that I will trust Him more this year than in the years past. That’s my prayer for you too. May we learn by the examples that He has given us in His Word. That we will make up our minds to trust Him more, so when those heat of the moments come, we will be able to stand firm because we have already determined in our hearts that no matter what we will trust Him and His Word to be faithful.

The Seed

I have a best friend that I have had since middle school. Although we may not speak to each other every day the bond is undeniable. For example, one day I had this overwhelming heavy heart feeling that made me burst into tears. I didn’t know why I was crying but my friend kept coming to mind. Later, I called and she stated that her dad had been rushed to the hospital with a heart attack. I went to be by her side. He was in and out of consciousness and upon waking he would try to remove the port in his neck. So we took shifts to stay and watch him carefully.

As I was sitting with him one morning I noticed someone’s bible close by. It was her mom’s bible, which intrigued me because it was old and very much had been used. I opened it and just to pass the time, started reading to myself… The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear Matthew 13:1-17.  I finished reading and reached for my journal and wrote a quick prayer asking the Lord to help me lay seeds that would produce a hundredfold harvest for His glory. I prayed that God would use me in order to bring glory to Him and Him alone. As I went to lay my journal aside, her dad woke up only for a moment to say, “Tab, how did you get those seeds so fast?” I was so stunned to say the least! How in the world did he know I had just prayed that? I had not read or prayed out loud, so how did he know? I believe that God used her dad to reveal to me what I wouldn’t have heard otherwise. Later after coming home he didn’t remember anything of that moment, but for me it was life changing.

For years those verses would pop up out of the blue. One occasion was when I went to a conference right after that experience. On big screens of the auditorium, as we were being seated, a video was playing of a woman planting seeds and there were those same verses. As I watched this video I was so moved that all I could do was to bury my face in my hands and cry as I heard those verses ring across that huge auditorium.

Recently I felt God urging me to write. I know, I don’t understand either because I’m not a good writer, but I do love the Lord so with much prayer I started this blog. He even used that to remind me of where this all started and henceforth the name Hundredfold Harvest. I pray that this will be a place where you will be inspired and encouraged to seek hard after God in order to lay seeds that will return a hundredfold harvest for His honor and His glory!

Trust

Trust. That one little word has had me on an emotional roller coaster for the past few months. Knowing what God wants me to do and doing it without worrying or without any anxiety can be very tiring in and of itself. I’ve worried that I may have heard Him wrong (or maybe that was a little wishful thinking), I’ve worried about the finances that it’s going to take away from our family in order for me to obedient to Him, and I’ve worried at how I will be perceived by others.   Not to mention, if I’m even capable of doing what He’s asking in the first place. All of these things have been, to be honest, very exhausting! And while I know the answers to these worries it doesn’t stop my flesh from doing it. But I’m so glad that God continues to speak to me and settle my anxious heart.

The other morning during a session of feeling overwhelmed and on the verge of an anxiety attack, I felt Him encouraging me to trust Him. That one word. T-R-U-S-T. Then I started thinking, “What does that word REALLY mean anyway?”  So, I looked it up in the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary.  Sometimes we just need to look a word up to refresh ourselves on the true meaning. When I did this and read the meaning of the word, I was so moved and felt His presence even stronger. The following is the definition:

1a: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something

1b: one in which confidence is placed

2a. dependence on something future or contingent: hope

2b: reliance on future payment for property delivered

3a: a property interest held by one person for the benefit of another.

I felt God encouraging me to remember His character, His ability, His strength and His truth. He wanted me to know that I can place my confidence in Him because of His attributes and what I’ve already known Him to be in my life.

Then I read 2a.   It reminded me of Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Also, 2b and 3a were very interesting to me. I can be assured that I am held in trust by the One that died in my place and in the future I will stand before God and Christ will say, “She’s mine. I bought and paid for her with my own blood.”

So, I asked myself this morning, “How can you NOT trust Him?”

The Lord can even use the Merriam-Webster Dictionary to get His Word across to this normally untrusting person!

Giving God Our Best

And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. Mark 14:3-9

The above passage moves me every time I read it. So much in this passage we can apply to our lives today. I’ve written a few things down that really moved me this morning and wanted to share them in hopes that they will encourage you.

The first thing that spoke to me was that the woman in this passage came and worshiped Jesus in a way that wasn’t the norm. I can imagine that as she came walking toward Jesus with the alabaster box in hand that she may have even trembled. Wonder if she thought like some of us do that she wouldn’t be accepted by those in attendance. That maybe they would even make fun of her or think that she was a fanatic or even crazy for that matter. But what impresses me the most about her was that none of those thoughts stopped her from worshipping her Lord and Savior the way that she felt would honor Him the most.

The second thing that stood out to me was that she gave Him her best. Some scholars say that the cost of that ointment was about a years’ wage. This moved me so much. This woman gave Him her best no matter the cost.  She gladly gave Him her best without thought.

The third thing is that Jesus heard what the others where saying about her and He rebuked them. Jesus had her back! She came to Him and worshipped Him and He took care of her when others came against her.

The fourth thing was that God honored her for her actions toward Him. He stated that wherever this gospel is preached throughout the whole world, that what she had done for Him would be told in memory of her.

In summary today, I felt God pressing me to come and worship Him in ways that will honor Him the most with my life. No matter if others think I’m crazy or if I’m not accepted by those around me. I want to live my life like this woman did. I want to give Him my best no matter the cost. I want to be bold in my walk as she was bold in her walk.

Lord, help us to be bold for You! Help us to live lives that honor You no matter the cost. May we honor You in everything that we do and everything that we say.

Lessons Learned

This week we have been making preparation to travel to Todd, NC to support our youngest son compete in his 4th marathon. In doing so, it reminded me of several years ago when God taught me a lesson regarding His love that I will never forget.

My son was then training for his first marathon. It was on a Sunday and he was doing what he calls his long run day. He called me and asked if I could come get him because he felt he couldn’t make it home. When he told me where he was, I was forty-five minutes to an hour away. I told him to sit and rest and I would be there as soon as I could. He in turn told me to not worry that he would make it home. Of course with me being his mom I was going to worry. I hung up the phone and started praying. I asked God to please help him make it home safe.

When we arrived at home we found our son sitting on the porch.   When I opened my car door this dog ran up to me just loving all over me and acting as if he was so excited to see me. While this may seem as no big deal, it was major to my husband and me. Most dogs run to him because he’s the dog person in our family not me. But this dog acted like he had known me forever. I asked our son where the dog came from and he replied, “I don’t know mom. After I got off the phone with you he came up and started running with me and ran with me all the way home.” Of course I about lost it! I knew that God had sent that precious dog to provide our son with a running buddy to offer companionship to him in order for him to make it home. When the dog ran up to me like he did I knew that was God’s way of answering my prayer beyond what I had prayed. God made Himself known to me that day in the most unusual way. I felt Him place His arms around me and whisper, “I love you beyond what you can even imagine. You matter to me.” I’ll never forget that day and while others may think I’m crazy I know that it was an expression of His love for my family and me.

Friend, I want to encourage you if you’re like our son was that day. If you are running and you’re exhausted with life and feel as if there’s no energy left in your body to continue to go one step further, call out to the One person that can rescue you.   When no one else can save you He can and will. God can refresh and energize you to provide you with exactly what you need to be able to continue on in this life. All you have to do is call out to Him. He will meet you wherever you are. Friend be strengthened today through His love for you. Remember that you are so important to Him and you are very loved by Him.

 

When You Seek Me

This week I have been studying John chapter 20. Every time I read this chapter the same emotions overtake me. It’s a chapter that I’ve never been able to get over and honestly hope I never do.

I love the part starting at verse 10 where the disciples go back to their homes but Mary, well she tarries longer at the tomb.   We have to realize that with everything she had experienced in the days leading up to this point how distraught she must have been and now to find her Savior, her Best Friend, her Master gone, how her heart must have been even more shattered. The pain must have been almost unbearable as she stood outside the tomb that day.

The passage says as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. I imagine that she just could not believe that He was gone so she stooped to look and when she did  she saw the two angels that asked her why she was weeping, in which she replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him”. She turned around to see what she thought was the gardener and begged him to tell her if he had taken her Lord away and if so, where he had taken Him. That’s when Jesus called out to her, “Mary”. She knew His voice and turned and said, “Master”. When He spoke her name I believe an overwhelming peace overtook her.

What stood out to me in this passage was that Mary went (verb-action word) looking for Jesus. The Lord made a promise that we can apply to our lives in Jeremiah 29:13 – You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all of your heart.   She went seeking Him and she found Him and when she did He spoke peace into her life. He gave her hope when her hope was gone. He healed her once shattered heart and spoke light into her darkness. You know, He can do the same for you and me, if we will seek Him with all of our heart.

Prayer:

Lord, we come to you today seeking You. We rest in Your promise that if we seek You with all of our heart, we will find You. Come speak our name and breathe peace and hope into our lives. We give You our shattered hearts today knowing only You can piece them back together. Lord, let us find rest and comfort in Your presence today. In Your precious Holy name Amen.

Finding Truth Beyond the Lies

Years ago, I found myself struggling with the pain of guilt and shame. I had listened to Satan far too long telling me that I was too damaged. He told me that God didn’t love me anymore and that He would never use me again for His Kingdom. He also told me that the relationship that I once had with God would never be again and that the best I could hope for was to be allowed to sit on the back pew of the church.   I had prayed over and over for forgiveness and even prayed that God would remove the shame that seemed to plaque me, at which I always opened my eyes to the same old feelings. I felt trapped in a deep pit with no way of escape. I told no one about the deep wounds of my soul that I tried my best to bandage on my own. I did everything I could think of to stop the hemorrhaging. I read my Bible on a daily basis and it seemed like I prayed constantly. I even started to believe the lie that God wasn’t even hearing my prayers or that He was hearing them but wouldn’t answer them because He just didn’t love me anymore. That I had fallen too far from grace to ever have a one on one relationship with Him again. And then it happened….

A friend told me about a book entitled, Your Scars Are Beautiful To God: Finding Peace And Purpose In The Hurts of Your Past by Sharon Jaynes. I thought the title was catchy but really didn’t go into the reading of it with much hope. See I had already bought into the lies of the Enemy so in my eyes there was no hope. I had already taken my place on the back pew and had become quite comfortable when I read a particular passage of this book. The author told the story in John 9 where Jesus came upon a blind man sitting by the edge of the road. Jesus spat on the ground and made clay and rubbed it on the blind man’s eyes. He then told him to go wash at the Pool of Siloam. Upon doing so, the man received his sight. Then she said it. The phrases that God used to break through the lies Satan had me believing. “It was not the dirt that held the miraculous powers. It never is. It was what Jesus did with the dirt that transformed it into a healing balm.” You see Satan had been using the dirt of my past to hold me hostage to guilt and shame. I had a choice. I could continue to listen to Satan and continue to believe that God could never use me again or I could get off that back pew and let God use the dirt of my past to bring healing to not only me but others that felt they had gone too far from His grace to ever be used again. Of course I chose the latter. I choose to allow God to use this dirt to bring healing in my life. I have since allowed Him to use it to bring healing to others as well by sharing my testimony.

Maybe you too have been listening to the lies of the Enemy. I pray that you find healing and that you realize just how much God truly loves you! Your eyes can be opened today, just as mine was years ago, to the truth that can set you free. Whether your “dirt” is heart break from bad mistakes/choices or if your “dirt” is pain from losses in your life, God can use your testimony to bring healing to not only you but to others. I hope that you will choose to let God use your testimony for His glory instead of letting Satan use it for his. Satan has used your pain long enough to bring destruction to you and those around you. Now let God use it to bring you healing!

At the Feet of Jesus

“And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.”  ~ Luke 7:37-38

I can’t seem to get over what takes place in Luke Chapter 7 verses 36-50. You know the story. The one where the sinful woman washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and dries them with her hair. I can so relate to this woman for my sins also were many and then Jesus rescued me. My heart becomes overwhelmed with His goodness towards me and just like the woman in the story I find myself crying tears of thankfulness at His feet.

In reading those verses again today the phrase that stood at to me was “at His feet” in verse 38. So I researched some of the times where “at His feet” were mentioned in the Bible. Here’s what I found.

Luke 7:26-50 at Jesus’ feet our sins are forgiven.

Matthew 15: 30 at Jesus’ feet we find healing.

Luke 8:35 at Jesus’ feet we receive a renewed mind.

Luke 10:39 at the feet of Jesus we learn who He is.

John 11:32 at the feet of Jesus we can intercede for others.

Revelation 19:10 at the feet of Jesus we can worship Him.

I want to encourage you with this today. If you need forgiveness you can find it at the feet of Jesus. If you need healing today whether it’s physical healing or healing from brokenness you can find it at the feet of Jesus. If Satan has used your mind as a battlefield for far too long you can receive a renewed mind at the feet of Jesus. If you desire to learn more of who Jesus is, you can learn it best at the feet of Jesus. If you need to intercede on behalf of someone else you can do so at the feet of Jesus. If you are long overdue to worship Him and thank Him for all He’s done in your life just go ahead and kneel at the feet of Jesus.  At His feet is everything that you are longing for.  Hurry! Run quickly and bow at His feet!

Always remember great things happen at the feet of Jesus!

Lord, Help My Unbelief!

“No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” ~ Romans 4:20-23

This morning as I read Genesis 15 a verse stood out to me. Verse 6 says, “And he (Abram) believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” The phrase that caught my attention the most was “And he believed the LORD”. The other verse that came to me was Luke 1:45: “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord. I could continue on and on with examples but my thought was this: Great things happen when we believe the LORD.   I know that is a very simple thought, but sometimes that’s hard to do. How many blessings have I missed because I chose not to believe the Lord? Although I may not have came out and said, “I don’t believe You Lord”, my actions have very well screamed it.

Sometimes we go through things that are hard to understand and we question God as to why we have to go through such trying times. Our faith may want to waiver and our hearts cry out, “Lord, I want to believe!” just like the father did in Mark 9. Remember that chapter? It’s one, which because I’m a parent, just tugs at my heartstrings. In this chapter a father brings his son that has an unclean spirit to Jesus. The father said, “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us”. Jesus’ reply was, “if you can! All things are possible for one who believes”. The father replied, “I believe; help my unbelief!” This takes me full circle to Romans 4:20-23: “No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.”

To the ones that are struggling just to hold on because of the hard trials that you may be going through, can I just offer a word of encouragement to you this morning? God hears your heart’s cry and although you can’t understand why things are happening the way they are you are not alone. He will never leave you. Call on Him and believe and ask Him to help your unbelief.

Lord, I pray this morning that You will help our unbelief!   Point out the areas of our lives where by our actions they scream unbelief. May no unbelief make us waver concerning Your promises to us. Help us to always grow strong in our faith as we give glory to You being fully convinced that You will do what You have promised so that You will count it to us as righteousness. In Your precious holy name Amen.

With Much Love,

Tabatha