Tag Archives: Prayer

30 Days of Gratitude-Day 21- Changed Heart

Heather Murdock

I’m grateful for God’s power to change my heart.

Several months ago I let frustration and resentment build up in a relationship with someone I care about. And I felt justified. As time went on, I became more resentful, and my heart began to harden against this person. I started to fixate on all the things I didn’t like, all the ways they had hurt me, which prevented me from seeing anything good. One night in an angry vent session to my husband, I stopped short and said “I need to pray right now.” As we prayed, the Holy Spirit reminded me how much God loves this person. I felt a strong conviction and I knew what the Lord wanted from me. My voice cracked as I choked out, “Lord, please help me love them too.”

This was the beginning of a change of heart. Over the next few days, every time I thought of this person, I prayed. I prayed and cried as God softened my heart, making room for love and compassion. I could finally see this person as broken, someone needing my forgiveness. In my brokenness, Jesus has always met me with forgiveness, compassion and mercy. Not only does He call me to respond in the same way, He gives me the power to do it.

In the Bible,  to repent means to change one’s mind. The Bible tells us true repentance will result in a change of action. Imagine yourself walking down a hallway. Now abruptly turn and walk the other way. A 180 degree change in direction. That is true repentance. With repentance comes God’s power. When my thoughts are in alignment with His, then my actions are, too.

I knew in this situation God was calling me to take action. He wanted me to speak the truth to this person, to confront them with a desire for restoration. To speak the truth in love.

But I was nervous.

It takes courage to take a stand, but it takes real courage to put a friendship on the line to speak the truth. And it takes humility to speak that truth in love.

God had been preparing my heart. Gone was the bitterness and resentment; what remained was love and concern for a dear friend.

I’m thrilled to share with you that with prayer and obedience, our conversation was absolutely blessed. In fact, before I could even begin to share my heart, they revealed they had been having revelation about some of their behavior that was hurtful and wrong. They welcomed my feedback and agreed with my concerns. They invited me to continue to speak into their life, to help them with these issues. 

I sat there amazed. Amazed at the power of God. Amazed at the living God who is real and active and who cares so deeply for His people.

As believers, we ache for an experience of God. Some believe experiencing God will result in some sort of supernatural ecstasy that overwhelms and shakes our core. We cry out like Moses did for God to show us His glory. But I believe I experienced God and His glory in this intimate moment of truth with my friend. Exodus 34 tells us that God’s glory is the manifestation and revelation of His love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness and justice.

When we repent of our bitterness in relationships, and allow God’s love to flow through us, we experience God’s glory. We experience God.

Who are you holding bitterness and resentment against today?

How is that impacting your life?

He wants to set you free. Those who know and live the truth are free. Free indeed.

I encourage you to pray right now. Pray for your heart to soften and for bitterness to be replaced with forgiveness and openness to possibility.

All things are possible with God.

What are you grateful for today?

 

30 Days of Gratitude-Day 19-The Joy of Giving Up My Agenda

writing-in-an-agenda_21174474I’m still working on writing about my 30 Days of Gratitude. I challenged myself to write everyday for 30 days about what I’m grateful for. That started in November! In the midst of family holiday craziness, job promotion, ministry building and just life in general, I quickly discovered that was an impractical challenge. However, I’m committed to completing the challenge, even if it’s revised a bit. I will write about my 30 Days of Gratitude even if it takes the rest of my life lol!

Isn’t that the essence of perseverance? Choosing to never, ever give up.

Today I’m grateful for course correction.

I was thinking the other day about the times that I have given God my agenda. I don’t mean that I surrendered it to Him. I mean I literally gave Him my agenda.

It might look something like this:

Meeting: Meet with Jesus

Time: 5am

Attendees: Heather and Jesus

Who Called Meeting: Heather

Purpose of Meeting: Hear from Jesus so I can become more like Him and help others do the same

  • Pray- 2 minutes
  • Read Bible-15 minutes
  • Pray- 10 minutes
  • Listen-5 minutes
  • Journal-10 minutes

Adjourn

Action Items: Share what I learned on my Social Media, Implement at home, work and throughout my day, Disciple people, Repeat

Follow Up: Heather

Isn’t that hilarious? Here I am meeting with the CEO of the entire universe and I’m dictating the agenda! And it’s more than that. I’m meeting with Him to get something out of Him. I’m meeting with Him to go accomplish something. I’m meeting with Him to move my agenda. 

Yes, Jesus wants to transform me into His image and use me to help others do the same. Yes, He wants to meet with me consistently. Yes, He wants me to implement what He’s teaching me.

That comes out of the overflow of being with Him.

What He really wants is me. He wants my heart. He wants to be together. He wants to be the Lord of my life. God is a relational God and He made us in His image to be relational people with Him and each other. God lives in community within the Trinity and made us to live in the same way. Genesis 2 says the Lord God said it is not good for man to be alone, so he created a helper. He created community because He is about relationships. 

The truth is, everything we seek in our agenda with Jesus comes THROUGH an intimate relationship with Him. The DOING that we’re so prone to jump to, comes from BEING with Jesus. 

That’s hard of us, isn’t it? Just being. Why is it so hard? I think it’s because just being with someone without doing requires us to be vulnerable and bare. It requires us to be transparent and without pretense. It’s much easier to hide behind the doing.

I have experienced the joy of giving up my agenda. And what joy it is! Joy and peace and love and freedom and contentment and wholeness. That’s what being with Jesus is like. I must admit, though, I still sometimes look to find my identity in what I do, but He is faithful to correct my course. He is faithful to remind me that He IS the truth, the way and the life. All truth about who I am comes from Him. He reminds me who I am. I am His. And that is enough.

Lord, you are enough. Help us to learn to just be with you. Help us to let go of our agendas and just be. Help us to believe that our identity is only found in and through You. Help us to open the deepest part of our wounded souls to your Presence. Help us to trust you. Help us to breathe in your grace so that our lives overflow with the power of being with You. In Jesus name amen.

What are you grateful for today?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Days of Gratitude-Day Fourteen

emerson1I’m grateful that Jesus is my Teacher.

He never stops teaching. Right now He is teaching me about humility through a profound little book called, “Humility” by Andrew Murray. This book, steeped in biblical truth and and soul-ripping Scripture, has challenged, convicted and encouraged me and I’m not even half way through it.

Last year during our local IF Gathering, we were asked to write on a small stone a word the Lord had given us for the season we were in.

I wrote the word Obedience. 

That word has been seared into my heart as I have triumphed and failed and floundered and celebrated and failed again. 

Jesus is teaching me the heart of obedience is humility.

I think sometimes we get it backwards and think that obedience leads to humility. And maybe it does. But I think the Lord is showing me something deeper. Humility leads to obedience.

Not humility that is done, but humility that IS. Not doing humility, but BEING humble. And that state of being can only come from a life deeply rooted and established in Christ. A life that is emptied so that it may be filled with Christ. Pride and humility can not coexist. One is from the pit of Hell, and the other from the Heavenly of Heavenlies. I can not seek to build my reputation and further my agenda while emptying myself at the same time.

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Matthew 23:12

It’s so upside down to our natural way of thinking.

But our natural way of thinking is corrupted and flawed since the day Satan tempted Eve with the fruit of pride. We can not rest in our natural way of thinking, or it will lead us astray.

I must be nothing so that God can be all. I must lower myself, still lower, so that Christ can fill me with His power and grace.

“Just as water ever seeks and fills the lowest places, so the moment God finds the creature abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and to bless.”

I have sought the character of Christ from the moment I accepted Him as my personal Savior. My heart’s desire has been to have a deeply intimate relationship with Him. But there is so much more. I have only begun to scratch the surface.

I’m so grateful for the grace of God that not only saves me, but empowers me to live out His life in my own life. We as believers must put our eyes on Jesus and study his life of humility. We must earnestly pray and seek the humility that not only saved the world, but transformed it. We must pray and seek with a singlemindedness and fervency to overcome the schemes of pride from the enemy.

Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. 

How can we live that out in our everyday lives?  In our leadership, our homes and our communities?

We need you, Teacher.

Lord, help us follow you. Help us live lives of lowliness even in the midst of leading our families, our jobs, our platforms and our ministries. Help me to get low, lower still, to live the life of this High Calling. 

What are you grateful for today?

 

30 Days of Gratitude-Day Eleven

emerson1Man, I’ve got a lot going on in my life right now. And they’re not small things. Each one feels really weighty; really significant all on its own. And to be totally honest, I don’t know how any of it’s going to turn out. But I’m ok with that. I really am. I have this peace and confidence that I’m exactly where I need to be and that God is working it all out. 

Today I’m grateful I can trust God with the outcome.

Phew! That doesn’t sound like me. Well at least not the me that I lived with the majority of my life. You see, before Jesus, I was constantly sweating the small and big stuff. Outcomes were all I thought about. My mind would bounce back and forth over details and people like a volleyball. I had this consuming desire to know the outcome, control the outcome and worry about the outcome. I did a really good job of acting like I was ok with whatever was meant to be. But I didn’t really mean it.

Do you play that same game of mental volleyball?

I’ve learned the size of my peace is connected to the size of my trust in God. That’s it. When I trust Him, I’m at peace. 

How can we learn to trust Him more?

I think there are three key steps:

First, we’ve got to get to know Him. Think about the person or people in your life you trust the most. You trust them because you know them. You know their heart, their character and their faithfulness. That’s the same way we learn to trust God. We’ve got to spend time with Him in prayer. Prayer can be just a conversation with God. We’ve got to study His Word and listen to His voice. Just being in His presence fills us with peace and serenity as his Holy Spirit begins to minister to us. There is something very powerful in the ministry of presence.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5

Second, we need to thank Him. I am learning that one of the most powerful ways to connect with God is to start by thanking Him. When we thank God for everything in our life, I mean really go through the list of blessings, we magnify Him. And when we magnify Him, we realize how much bigger He is than all of our problems. We exalt His character over our challenges and we begin to worship Him. When we worship, there is no room for worry.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Third, we need to choose to trust Him. There’s a lot of things we choose to do. But when it comes to trusting God, many times we think it will just happen over time. As we mature in Christ, we do learn to trust Him more, but we also must choose trust. We can choose fear, or we can choose trust. Too often we choose fear, or we let fear have rule over our mind. In the book of Romans, Paul encourages us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We must choose over and over to put our minds on Christ and to trust our Lord. The more we make the choice, the more we build our spiritual muscle of obedience. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

I pray that you will begin the process of choosing to trust God. I’m praying with you.

What are you grateful for today?

30 Days of Gratitude-Day Five

emerson1This is Day Five of my 30 Days of Gratitude. If you’ve been following along with my daily postings, you know that I have taken the opportunity to use November as a time to focus on my attitude of gratitude. God’s Word is pretty clear about His will for us as followers of Christ. That is to be thankful in ALL things. 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Today I’m grateful for music.

I’m grateful for the music in church that floods my heart with the joy of worship. I’m grateful for the freedom to express my love for God through intimate lyrics and poetic melodies, voices lifted in once accord, raised together to touch the gates of Heaven. I still cry in church when the music plays.

My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you– I, whom you have redeemed. Psalm 71:23

Music is like a time machine. It can take you back to far away places; places filled with people that you don’t want to forget. People that may not be part of your life now, but are a part of you forever. A part you don’t want to forget.

Music can even soften some of the sting of bitterness.

My family is filled with musicians and I have many fond memories of summer nights around the campfire playing music and singing together. If I listen closely, I can still hear Dust In The Wind wafting through the breezes…

I never want to forget the people around those campfires. Some are gone now, but never forgotten.

Music brings people together. I love the times in my kid’s rooms when we lay on their bed and listen to music together. Listening, appreciating, reflecting, just being together. Music  inspires great conversation and revelation about life and love. The key I am learning as a parent is to listen to what my kids think about what they hear. Music has helped me to be a better listener. 

And I think one of my favorite things is to listen to my husband teach our kids about music. Music is his passion and his love for music shines as he talks with them about instruments, arrangements, musicians and eras. They take it all in with serious attention. It makes me happy to watch them explore and enjoy together. I watch these moments of connection with joy and peace.

Music brings people together.

Music captivates the heart and captures the imagination. I believe it’s the language of Heaven. 

And God rejoices over us with singing.

What are you grateful for today?

 

 

 

 

Wrecked to Rescued

Yesterday morning in my time with Jesus, he spoke clearly into my heart as I struggled over my failures.  I teetered on the cliffs of condemnation as the enemy hurled stones of deception and defeat, but Jesus rescued me.

“You don’t have to perform for me. I love you with an everlasting love. I want to help you. Let me help you. I didn’t judge Peter as useless when he denied me three times. I prayed for him.  I pray for you. Cast your cares onto me.”

That kind of grace is like a foreigner in a strange land. My experiences don’t match up with it. My experiences tell me failure is unacceptable, performance is required, judgment is harsh. I’m so thankful that my experiences are not my God.

Peter denied Jesus three times, yet became one of the greatest Christian leaders of all time. His failures and his faith have become beacons of hope for people all around the world. This encourages me that I, too, am redeemed and can be used to bring God glory.  I’m encouraged that I don’t have to be discarded as the enemy would have me believe.

Jesus wants to transform our failures by using them grow our faith and the faith of those around us, just like he did with Peter. He wants to rescue us from the wreckage of our failures.

How does Jesus use our failures to grow our faith?

First, by meeting our failures with grace. Grace encourages growth. Grace inspires and empowers.  Grace covers condemnation.

Second, by praying for us. The Bible is filled with examples of Jesus’ dedication to his prayer life. Jesus prayed for his disciples. He prays for you.

Third, by using them to teach us the reality of 2 Corinthians 12:9.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Fourth, by using them to draw us into a deeper, more intimate relationship with him. When we fail is when are the most likely to run to the open arms of our Heavenly Father.  He invites us to call him Daddy so that we can nestle our faces into His broad shoulders, completely vulnerable and unashamed. We don’t have to have it all figured out. We can just be with him. He has it all figured out.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

Turn back to Jesus in your failures. Let him redeem your failures into monuments of faith and hope. Don’t let the enemy get a foothold. Jesus is praying for you.

What prevents you from believing his love for you?