My Wilderness Heart & His Promises

The children of Israel missed the purpose of the wilderness.  It was meant to perfect them and not destroy them.  When they were delivered from slavery, God led them to the wilderness.  They weren’t meant to stay there forever, it was in preparation for the promised land.  In Deuteronomy 8:2-3, God explains through Moses the purpose of the wilderness.  It was to humble them, to test what was in their heart and to see if they would obey God.  They weren’t prepared to possess the promise, they had to go through a spiritual detox if you will.  The first generation REFUSED to let the wilderness perfect them. They CONSTANTLY complained, lacked faith, refused to obey God, created idols and in many ways flat out rejected God!  Time revealed that the real wilderness was in their heart! 

If we get the promise when we still have a wilderness heart, the promise will prove to be a curse instead of a blessing.  The state of our heart towards God will determine our ability to possess and rightly steward His promises.  What has been your response when going through a wilderness season?  Do you see it for what it is and praise God for perfecting you and preparing you?  Or are you like the children of Israel and constantly complain and refuse to allow God to perform surgery on your wilderness heart?  A promise is on the other side of the wilderness, I encourage you to submit to the process!

James 1:2-4 NLT Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

What Satisfies Your Hunger?

Do I hunger for the bread of heaven or the things of this world?  What I consume the most determines the answer to that question.  If my focus is on gaining more money, status and pleasure from this world, then my diet will reflect that. Most of my time and energy will be spent on feeding my flesh while my spirit man starves.  The things of this world bring temporary satisfaction and it will fade and leave me hungrier than before. However, when I am hungry for more of God, spending time in His presence becomes my main priority.  I don’t make excuses as to why I can’t, I make it happen.  Real hunger births desperation and desperate people are driven to action.  I love that my Jesus responds in a very loud way to people who are desperate for Him; ask Blind Bartimaeus and the Woman with the issue of blood. Truth is, I become satisfied and never hunger again when I continually feast on Jesus, the bread of life.

The ongoing question we must all ask ourselves is, “Am I willing to deny myself the “bread” of this world so that I may feast on the bread of life?”  What’s your answer?

John 6:35 Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Eat All Of It. Mathew 4 Bible Study

In Mathew 4 Jesus was extremely hungry because He had been fasting for 40 days and 40 nights. The devil tried to take advantage of Jesus’ vulnerable state and tempted Him to turn stone into bread to satisfy His hunger. Jesus responds to the devil that man should not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Mathew 4:4). Notice Jesus didn’t say we should live on SOME of the word but ALL of it! Many only want to feast on the feel-good parts of the word of God; quick to get the dessert and would rather skip over the meat and potatoes so to speak. Without hesitation, we gobble down scriptures that tell us that God is going to prosper us. We push off our plates the parts that admonishes us to bear good fruit and the warnings that follow. We want to feast on passages that tells us He will protect us from our enemies,  but are hesitant to eat the parts that tells us about the consequences of our sin and the fact that followers of Christ will suffer.  However, to be fully nourished spiritually, we must take heed to Jesus’ statement in Mathew 4:4 and EAT all the word!

 

But God! Mathew 1 Bible Study

I was never one to pay attention to genealogies in the bible because they bored me. However, my perspective is changing as I continue to study the bible and learn more about the different characters. For example, as my knowledge continues to grow, I get excited about the genealogy in Mathew 1. I see so many, “But God,” examples in this passage. Allow me to explain.
I see names like Rahab who WAS a prostitute.
Jacob who WAS a deceiver.
Ruth who WAS a pagan.
The key word is WAS. These people had a marred past BUT GOD!
But God forgave them.
But God used them for His glory.
Their past did not hinder God from using them and ultimately changing them! I love this because I am living this truth. My life is a continuous ‘BUT GOD’ testimony!
It’s not your past mistakes that disqualifies you. Instead, its your decision to continue in those mistakes and not come to the one who is able to make all things new…again and again!
I would love to hear from you. Do you have a “But God” testimony? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Be Blessed,
Anika

2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Relationships. Lesson 40 of 40

Relationships can be messy. Being vulnerable with others can be hard. Many insulate themselves from forming deep meaningful relationships with others to avoid feeling pain. What a lonely road to take. The risk involved with relationships is worth it, a thousand times over. I ditched the idea of playing it safe.
I chose community
I chose vulnerability
I chose to persist despite the messiness that comes along with relationships
I chose to encourage and to receive encouragement from others
I chose to correct those I love and receive the same medicine when given to me
I chose to cry, forgive, and try again
And I am so glad I did

My husband had a surprise party for my 40th birthday. When the blindfold came off, I saw a room filled with people who had contributed to my life during different seasons and in different ways.

Some had seen my tears, celebrated my success, been my dancing buddies, experienced my stubbornness and pride, listen to me go on about the big dreams inside of me, listen to my deepest confessions, entertained my silliness and laughed at my corny jokes, picked me up when I was low, witness my mistakes, made me laugh until my side hurt, hugged me when I needed it, supported me when I was scared to move forward, and prayed for me when I did not have the strength to pray for myself.

I have learned that the risk involved with forming deep meaningful relationships was well worth it. I am grateful! How about you? Do you avoid forming deep meaningful relationships or have you let your guard down? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Celebrate & Rest. Lesson 39 of 40

Some of us get used to always being in the grind. We become addicted to business and we forget to take the time to rest and celebrate! I find that the longer I go without rest, the more unproductive and mean I become. Rest entails having moments of physical reprieve. We all need adequate sleep and moments of refreshing, we were not meant to always be on the go.

My husband gave me a surprise birthday party for my 40th birthday, and boy was I surprised! I had an awesome time celebrating with friends and family. I cried, laughed, and got loved on. By the end of the night I had such a sense of rest.
I have learned that celebration can also be a form of rest. The right kind of celebration can leave us feeling refreshed in our spirits. There have been times where I have gone to church physically exhausted. However, when I make the choice to dance and praise the Lord and CELEBRATE all He has done I walk away feeling so refreshed and focused. Celebrating who God is and what He has done is a form of rest. I encourage you to take the time out to celebrate and to rest.

Psalm 23:1-3 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.