In Genesis 16, Hagar ran away after being mistreated by her master Sarai. Out in the desert, the desolate place, the angel of the Lord visits her. This visitation encouraged Hagar and in Genesis 16:13, she responds by saying, “I have now seen the one who sees me.”
God is the God who sees. This seeing is not referring to Him sitting in heaven and just staring at us. It is not passive, it’s a seeing filled with action. We spend our time trying to get others to see us and forget that we are already seen by the true and living God. He not only sees, but He responds.
He sees when we pray in private and He rewards us. (Mathew 6:6)
He sees the weeping we do at night but turns our situation around and gives us joy in the morning! (Psalm 30:5).
He sees when the enemy is coming in like a flood in our life, but He responds by lifting up a standard against the enemy. (Isaiah 59:19)
He sees how we sow in tears, but he causes us to reap with songs of joy! (Psalm 126:5)
He sees us hiding like Gideon was because we don’t know who we really are in Him. He sees that the enemy has bullied us long enough and pushed us into hiding. Fear has robbed us of our purpose. He sees that we focus on our weaknesses and have made that our identity. He sees where we are, but He also sees who He made us to be and He calls us by our right name!
When all is well, it’s easy for me to take my gaze off of the one who sees me; it’s easy to set my sight on other things. Often, it’s my afflictions and desperation that causes me to see the one who sees me. There is something about having my back against the wall that makes me look to God. The dark causes me to search for the light.
As we come to the end of another year, perhaps you have not seen the fulfillment of what God spoke to you. We put our own timeline on when the word should come to pass and when it doesn’t happen when we expect it to; we become discouraged. Our impatience makes us feel forgotten by God and we shed tears while asking, “Do you see me, God?” God absolutely sees you, and in His perfect timing, He will respond!
As of late, God has been challenging me through others on my incorrect and even limited understanding of certain scriptures. It has been uncomfortable but good! We need tension for growth to take place. As believers, we don’t know it all and there are always opportunities for growth. It takes humility to sit and listen and allow the Lord to use others to challenge us to consider a different perspective from what we hold to be true or to add to what we already know. It’s unfortunate when we always want to be the teacher and not the student. We assume we know it all and are not open to being challenged. Acts 18:24-28 tells of Apollos and him being willing to learn from Aquila and Priscilla. Apollos loved the Lord. He was a very intelligent and well-spoken man. He taught the truth he knew with fervency, but he had a limited understanding because he knew only the baptism of John. Acts 18: 26 says, “when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.” Apollos accepted the invitation to learn more. What humility! Great growth came because of his humility and God used him to continue preaching the gospel with an even greater understanding. What an example for us as believers to follow.
It is necessary to offer a word of caution on our willingness to allow others to teach us. We must always pray and ask the Lord to help us discern if what is being taught is true before we receive it! There are many that teach error and the tradition of men. What they share satisfies itching ears and appeals to our flesh and it is easy for us to abandon what we know to be the truth and pursue a watered-down gospel. Allow the spirit of truth that lives in you to help you discern what teachings to receive. I close with the words of Philippians 1:9, “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.”
Being saved is not about always getting it right but more about what you do after you get it wrong. Until I breathe my last breath, I will have moments where I fall short. This statement is not a nod of approval for sin but more of a realization that I am continuously being perfected and I daily need the grace of God. Last night I got in a pretty heated discussion with my husband who is also a believer. We were both determined to get our point across and win the argument. Things quickly escalated, and we allowed our anger to get the best of us. Then silence. Within a few minutes after our discussion, conviction set it. We yielded to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and apologies were said and my husband led us in a prayer of repentance. We went to bed forgiven and filled with peace. The narrative could have been a lot different if we continued in our anger. It takes humility to come back and apologize after you mess up. It pleases our heavenly Father when we have a humble heart and will repent after we sinned and not to be dug in and prideful. God knows we are not perfect, but He delights when we submit to being perfected by yielding to the convictions of the Holy Spirit after we mess up. I think about the story of David’s sin in 2 Samuel 11. When confronted about his sin by the prophet Nathan, David did not push past it or make excuses. Instead, He responded in humility and prayed the words in Psalm 51, a beautiful prayer of repentance.
Do you struggle with acknowledging your sin after you mess up? Do you try to push past it and pretend like it never happened? God is not looking to cut us off because we mess up; He is filled with mercy. However, we do the cutting ourselves when we refuse to acknowledge our sin. God resists a proud heart but lavishes his grace on the one who is clad with humility.
A farmer knows that it takes time for a seed to grow after he has planted it. He doesn’t plant a seed and run out the next morning expecting to see a harvest, that would be absurd! The seed has to be watered and tended to, but the farmer knows that if he gives the seed proper care, harvest time will come.
Creation testifies that there is a time to plant and a time to harvest (Ecclesiastes 3:2). Each season is necessary and serves a distinct purpose. We know of this truth but somehow it is hard to live it out because we become impatient! We don’t enjoy waiting for the seed to grow. If we could write the narrative, it would always be harvest time! But sorry to tell you, folks, that’s just not the way it works.
When the seed is first put in the ground, it develops roots; it is anchored. But without roots, there will be no fruit! The deeper the root, the sweeter the fruit. However, we must remember that roots don’t grow overnight, it takes time. What seed has God given you? Be patient. Pray to be rooted and strengthened in the faith (Colossians 2:7). Just because you can’t see what is going on beneath the surface doesn’t mean there is inactivity. God calls us to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). I need to get to the place of saying, even if I can’t see it I still believe God is at work and a harvest will come from my seed! When I understand this principle, I rejoice in the season of obscurity, the season of silence, the season of being buried beneath the soil, and the “not yet” season. Ask the Lord to help you discern the season you are in and to learn the lessons He is trying to teach you. Having the correct perspective helps me to rejoice because I understand that I am being developed and if I am patient, harvest time will come!
I recently published a video for my YouTube channel on how we do family devotions. From the looks of the video, it would seem I had it all together. However, some events that took place after publishing that video was a great reminder that I really don’t.
It was a long day and my outburst of wrath at every child in sight confirmed that the day got the best of me.
I had committed to staying off my phone, but by the end of the evening, I had the phone in hand scrolling on Pinterest looking for an escape from my current predicament but none helped me escape my reality. I have been following the Carnivore Diet for three months with great success and had just recorded another video saying I no longer crave the wrong foods. That evening, I suddenly began to crave the animal cookies I bought for my kids. I went to find them and took a handful and justified eating them because they were organic. I had intentions of going back and getting seconds of the cookies but after a few bites; I realized they were really not what I wanted. I felt guilty knowing I had given in to eating what I shouldn’t and to get no satisfaction from it made me frustrated. As for family devotion, I wanted no parts of it. My husband had a late evening so that meant I would have to do family devotion by myself. Given my behavior that day, I felt unqualified.
I decided I would take the shame and guilt I felt from the failures of the day with me to bed. BUT GOD! As I sat there in my upstairs hallway bogged down by defeat, He spoke to my heart. He told me I didn’t have to wait until the morning, I could start over at that moment. I began to cry and His affirming words broke down the wall and bridged the distance between us. I repented for my wrong actions and lack of self-control. At that moment the shame, guilt, and frustration I was feeling were replaced with the peace and joy of God. As the tears flowed, I began to praise Him for His love and the way He repeatedly makes repentance possible. After I got it right with Him, I called the six children upstairs to get it right with them. I apologized for my behavior and we then had a time of sweet fellowship in God’s word and prayer. I went to bed free of shame and guilt from wrong choices. My head hit that pillow, and I was at peace. This incident was another reminder of the truth in Proverbs 28:113, “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”
What is the purpose of me telling you this story? Often we mess up, whether big or small and we try to stay away from God or continue along the path of sin because we allow the enemy to trick us to believe that God is not interested in forgiving us. I want to remind you as God reminded me a few nights ago; you don’t have to wait to start over, you can start over right now. If you mess up, don’t carry that shame and condemnation around with you. Confess it to God, get right, not tomorrow not next week but right now!
Over the years, I have observed that the more I eat the correct foods, the more I crave what is good for my body. However, when I deviate from eating clean, I resurrect the sugar beast. When I give in to those wrong cravings, I am left feeling sluggish, bloated and guilty. I have a choice to either practice self-control and go back to eating as I should, or I can continue to give in to the sugar cravings giving it even more power.
Isn’t this how it is with our spiritual walk? When I press and sacrifice to be in God’s word, I gain the proper focus and I develop a greater hunger to seek His face. I crave being in His presence. However, when I allow distractions to get the best of me, it’s only a matter of time until I choose binge-watching videos on YouTube or mindless scrolling on social media over being in God’s presence. My mind gets cluttered and I compromise my ability to hear His voice. Being in His presence then seem like a chore instead of a privilege. I have the choice to repent for not prioritizing my relationship with God or I can continue to feast on the things that distract, giving it even more power. I am so glad that God gives us the opportunity to stop and turn around. The question is, do we make good of this opportunity or do we continue down the path of feeding our flesh instead of our spirit?