Friday, May 15, 2015

It’s Not Always What You Do

If you have read any of my previous posts as I have shared this Christian journey, you know I have had a bit of struggle along the way.  I didn’t feel as if I was doing anything wrong. If fact, I felt I was doing fairly well. I was reading my Bible; I was praying; I wasn’t doing any of the things of the world God had delivered me from. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong, yet I knew something was not right because I felt stuck or in a holding pattern. In short, I didn’t feel God’s presence as I once did. I knew He was there, but something in the relationship was stagnant.

Last night I went to a worship service and came forward when the call went out for prayer. The woman of God told me that on THIS NIGHT, you are delivered. It wasn’t an instantaneous thing. In fact, I couldn’t really feel the hand of God until the woman of God removed her hand. But when He came...

I cannot fully describe what it’s like to KNOW you are in the very presence of God. I heard someone once describe it as having liquid sunshine flow through your veins. The closest I can come is comparing it to that feeling of being in love. There’s a difference in loving and being in love. It’s like that rush I got when I hadn’t seen my fiancĂ© in a while (we were at different duty stations serving in the US Air Force). I’d talk with him on the phone and be assured of his love for me, but when I would see his car come around the corner and know he was with me – it took me to a whole new level of love and emotions. It was liquid sunshine.

Anyway, that was the feeling I had last night. And to seal the deal and make sure I didn’t depart from His presence (and anytime there is a separation it is we who do the departing for He has promised never to leave nor forsake us and He is not a man that He should lie) I got another word after the service. I was reminded, very specifically, of things I used to do and told to return to those things. I knew it was the voice of God speaking because again it was very specific. The vessel He used to remind me of what I once did, had no way of knowing the things she reminded me of. It was God.

So today, as I returned to my first love, seeking Him as I once did, He allowed me to see something I’d seen before, but never fully considered. It’s not always what you do that separates you from Him. 2 Chronicles 12:14 KJV says, “He did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.”  The NIV says, “He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the LORD.”  To put it simply, by not actively (or in my case whole-heartedly) seeking God, I by default, began to drift from God. As the woman of God mentioned last night, it’s like Peter walking on water to Jesus. When he began to sink it wasn’t because he did something wrong, he simply lost focus. James 4:17 NIV say, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

It is sin that separates us from God – all sin. And I was reminded today, sin is not necessarily something wrong that you do. Sometimes it’s the good that you fail to do. Saying I was not seeking God as actively or as wholeheartedly as I should may not sound like sin to some. Call it what you will, it made a difference in our relationship. When God called me out of the workforce, He told me very specifically to seek His face. I did just enough to get by even though I knew what it was He desired of me. It wasn’t what I was doing that caused me to feel far from God. It was the thing I’d failed to do.


A dear sister wanted me to return to the altar last night to complete my process of deliverance (I kind of ran away – in praise.) What she didn’t know, couldn’t know, was that my deliverance was from disobedience and it could only be completed where it began. Dear sister, I’ve received my deliverance. May God keep me as I press forward, never forgetting, “It’s not always what you do.”

Saturday, May 9, 2015

An Unquenchable Appetite for God’s Righteousness --- “What Are You Hungry For?”

This post was taken from my book "From The Shepherd's Heart - A Devotional" (available on dutchesshorton.com, Amazon, and BarnesandNoble.com) It's become an important part of my journey as my desire grows stronger for the presence of God and less for the presents of God. It keeps my passion for Christ flamed and I hope it flames up a passion in you as well. ~Dutchess


          In the 1980’s a gospel recording group called the Truthettes released a song about a little boy whose soul was blessed during church service. The young man, unable to fully express what it was he was feeling, came home from the worship service and told his mother, “I’m so hungry.”  The mother, not realizing just what her son was trying to convey, had him follow her into the kitchen so that she could make him a sandwich.  It was at this point in the song that the boy declared, “I don’t want no peanut butter and jelly.  I want my soul to be saved.”2  
          Sunday after Sunday the Word of God is preached in churches all across the world.  Unfortunately, Sunday after Sunday the people of God hear that Word and think no more about it until time for the next worship service.  They do not allow the Word to really get into their hearts and stir up a hunger for the righteousness of God.
          To hunger for God is to desire God, to seek after God.  It is to desire Him above all other things -- our daily bread, personal comfort, wealth and riches.  Matthew 6:33 tells us if we seek Him first, we’ll receive the other things we desire.  In fact, Psalm 37:4 tells us if we delight in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart.  He’ll satisfy our hunger if we hunger most for Him.
We know that to hunger for his righteousness is to be blessed. (See Matthew 5:6)  If we turn to Jeremiah 29:13 we will also see that if we seek after Him we will find Him if we seek Him with our whole heart.  We need to stop being so ambivalent about the things of God and develop a hunger for Him; a hunger that grows and becomes a full-blown craving for more and more of the living God.  Once you have it (and He’ll give it to you if you ask), He will turn and satisfy your mouth with good things.  (See Psalm 103:5)



Father God, we who have a hunger for you and your righteousness thank you and praise you, for we know we shall be satisfied.  For those who have yet to experience an unquenchable appetite for you, we ask that you stir up in them, in us, a desire that cannot be ignored nor satisfied by anything other than you.  Fill us all until our cup overflows and your righteousness pours forth from us and is a blessing to others.