by Blaire Stephens

OK so what is it? You know, that thing, person, place that keeps you from experiencing God? For me, many times it’s all three. I go throughout my day questioning where God is, what He’s up to, or to be perfectly honest, am I even hearing Him? I get so wrapped up in where He has me instead of who he has called me to be in that place where He has me. Why is that? Well on different days there are different answers to that question. You know what else? Regardless of my answer to that question, who God is and who He sees me as DOES NOT CHANGE (Malachi 3:6).

The grace that has been given that the Creator of the universe (the one who knows my faults, my “secret sin,” the sin I try to convince myself I don’t have) sees me as blameless! Seriously? After all I have done and the person I try so hard not to be, He still sees me without fault? Don’t take my word for it, because quite frankly that could be the worst decision you ever make in your life. Let’s look together and let the realization of His love swell up inside of us.

Colossians 1:19-20 says it pleased God to live in Christ so that we may be reconciled with Him. God doesn’t just put up with us or tolerate us, HE WANTS US!

Colossians 1:21-22 says:

“This includes you who were once far away from God. You were His enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him WITHOUT A SINGLE FAULT.”

The fact of the matter is that as a child of God I was evil but now…now I am called holy. I was not able to be looked upon by the Father because of my sin and now… now He has brought me into His presence, not because He has to, but because He wants to. Deep within His heart He longs to be with me and for me to be with Him. He not only wants me in His presence, but He provides a way. And then again, He doesn’t only provide a way, He leads me in just so everyone knows I’m His and He loves me! Song of Solomon 2 :4 says “He escorts me to the banquet hall; it’s obvious how much he loves me.”

Oh how He wants us to get that fact. He wants us, He wants you. In your mess, in your confusion, in your stubbornness, in your rebellion, He wants you. He wants to wrap you up in His arms and show you that regardless of what is going on He loves you and wants to change the world for His glory using you.


Longing for the Desert

by Blaire Stephens

desert-drought-dehydrated-clay-soil-60013What comes to mind when you think of a desert? Maybe you think of some strange lizard that you have only seen on TV, being excruciatingly hot, so thirsty you can’t even swallow, or feeling so alone that you can’t fathom that anyone else in the world knows what you are going through (or certainly not anyone who cares). Rarely do we see a desert as a place of honor to be longed for.

So I don’t know where you are today in your walk with the Lord. Maybe you are walking closer to Him than you ever have before. If that is the case, soak it all in. Take in all of those precious treasures He is giving you and let them be etched into your heart. But maybe you just aren’t there right now. Maybe you’re still just trying to figure out exactly how what you are going through in your life really “fits” in the big picture. Maybe you’re struggling to figure out who this God is, and if this God really is Who He says He is, and if so, can He really be trusted?

I don’t know about where you are, but I know about where I have been many times in my walk with the Lord and that is walking through this life one step at a time. Many times not sure where He is taking me or quite frankly what in the world He is doing. It doesn’t seem like the most pleasant place to the world, but oh how He walks with and loves on me while I’m there!

One scripture that has been such a part of my journey over the past year or so is Hosea 2:14-15. God’s Word says,

”But then I will win her once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there , as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.”

pexels-photo-112641It is impossible to relay all the Lord has spoken and continues to speak to me through these scriptures, but one thing the Lord is compelling me to make sure we all understand is that He has us right smack dab in the middle of His hand.

We have all faced something in our lives that has not turned out the way we imagined…be it failure, loss, or disappointment…we have all been there in some form or another. That is one thing that the LORD has used in this scripture to be such comfort. He knows where I am and He meets me there.

HE WILL WIN ME BACK ONCE AGAIN. God knows that I am one stubborn child of His and that I am going to mess up, but that doesn’t repulse Him. He doesn’t get tired of pursuing me. He is persistent. He wants me…He wants you that much!

HE TRANSFORMS THE VALLEY OF TROUBLE INTO A GATEWAY OF HOPE. God never feels “hopeless.” He knows the victory is already His and He wants to transform those valleys into gateways right before our eyes.

HE LEADS ME INTO DESERTS. God doesn’t always just sit back and let things happen. He is sovereign over them. Just like with the Israelites in Exodus 13. The LORD led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness for their good. There was not one millisecond of the God-led journey that was not for their good and His glory! As crazy and against how the world teaches as this sounds, the LORD does not only allow the wilderness, He appoints time for them! But, why?

SO HE CAN SPEAK TENDERLY TO US THERE. How many of us have had those times in our lives that we see God as only a disciplinarian waiting for us to mess up? I know I have, but that is simply not true. God is a God of justice and he does discipline His children, but as a Father longing for His children to do what is best for them. He desires things for my good pexels-photo-24165and His glory. It is by “divine discipline” (Hebrews 12:5-9) the Lord draws us “to follow closely to His word” (Psalm 119:67). He wants to speak tenderly to us. Those moments we feel we can’t go on, He has truth He wants to saturate deep within our spirit. If we listen, He takes the bitterness and makes it sweet (Exodus 15).

So, I don’t know where you are, but I do know wherever you are in your journey, He is right there with you. Longing for you to cling ever so tightly to Him. Patiently waiting so He can reveal more of Himself to you. To your heart. In your situation.

What is your desert today? What is that one thing you wish you could change more than anything in the world that the Lord may be using to draw you closer to Himself?

Someone once said “God wants to take our desert and turn it into dessert.”

May we never waste the desert and miss the dessert!