From A Listening Heart: Sharing some of my thoughts and "God moments" as God grows me in my faith and speaks to my heart, while I seek His face and to know Him.

My friend, something I have learned is that: Your past does NOT define you... It is through the eyes of grace, and how GOD sees you, and what you let Him do IN YOU and THROUGH you (because of your past), that defines who you are, and shapes who you become!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Walking Through Our Grief and the Valley of Death

Hello, So I wanted to share a lesson God has really been showing me and laying on my heart recently; it is the word "through"... 
In Ps. 23 it says "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." And if you notice, it's not where it says "He makes me lie down..." He lays us down in green pastures, so in other words... During the valley of death, He gives us comfort... But He brings us through and He even makes a table for us in the presence of those who are working against us.
Another place is in Isa. 43 it says "when we walk through the waters, the rivers the fires..." He is with us. But, notice we still have to walk through it! 
When the Israelites came to the Red Sea... And then the Jordan River... They had to walk through the pathway God had made for them. So again, THROUGH! 
He doesn't expect us to live and lay down in our grief. He expects us to go through it (with Him) so that we can get back to living and glorify Him, and sharing our story of comfort He gave us, so we can extend it and help others. But, in the process, we have to let go of our grief (and our hurt) and start living again... Otherwise, we are just laying down in the wrong place... And this allows the enemy to rob us of the healing and the future He would have for us. What we allow affects more than just us... When we lay down and accept the grief it consumes us. And then it's all we know, and we start seeing those who are here to help us stand up again and start walking as the enemy.
I hope you have a wonderful day,

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

And In Our Hope

(Romans 5:1-5 NKJV)
Therefore, having been justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand,
and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only that,
but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured
out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

It is in our hope, because of the love God has poured out in our hearts, that we may not be disappointed. Why? Because when we were yet still sinners, Jesus came and died on the cross, taking our sins upon Him and freeing us. Showing us that all is NOT lost, that we may still have hope for something better.

God is our HOPE, and without hope a person cannot survive. When a person cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel they can become discouraged, they must have hope that there is indeed an end to what they cannot see. When we are going through storms in our lives, when it seems as if our whole life is turning upside down; God reaches down and fill us with hope. And it is through this hope that we can preserve. Do you know why? Because God is faithful.

My friend when God gives you a promise, then know that He is mighty and more than able to see it through. God's will shall be done, and nothing can take out of His hand that which is His. When He gives us His Word, He will not stop until it comes forth-- no matter what the enemy does or anyone else says. So we can have hope in what He tells us. And this hope He gives us will not be in vain-- when it is all said and done, when the storm is over and the dust has settled; each of us will be able to look back and see that the LORD carried us through; that the LORD did what He said He would do, and we will not be disappointed. (If we do our part and believe Him and stand in faith.)

Our faith in the one who calls us will not be put to shame, no matter what the circumstances look like. The Holy Spirit, God inside of us, pours out His love for us, into our very hearts, strengthening us to bare the winds of tribulation as He moves us into all that He has for us. It doesn't matter where you were in your life, when You come to Christ; when you accept Him as Lord and Savior of your life, He steps in and claims victory, and His will shall be done. He will not be moved. It is our hope IN HIM not man, that sees us through. It is in the power of His Holy Spirit that we are victorious, not in anything we ourselves can do.

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more than, having now been justified by His blood,
we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
Romans 5:6-9 (NKJV)

My friend, know that God does not ask us to seek Him in vain. He does not tell us to search for Him, only to come up empty-handed. The Lord is all-powerful and He was working to bring us to Him long before we ever set out. For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens (He is God!), who formed the earth and made it (He established it; He did not create it empty, He formed it to be inhabited!): “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,  ‘Seek me in vain.’  I the Lord speak the truth; I declare what is right" Isaiah 45:18-19 (ESV).

We were no accident, God WANTED us. He created us to be with Him, and at just the right time, God showed His love for us demonstrating His character to us. And in doing so, He showed us that because He loved us first, we can begin again, and be made new in our hearts.

My friend, in our faith, we can believe what God tells us, because He IS who HE says He is. And in our faith, we find hope. And in this hope, we can believe.

For the Scripture says,

Romans 10:11 (NASB)

     Father God, thank You that You love us with a love that surpasses all understanding. Thank You that Your love for us is everlasting. Thank You for the hope that is poured out in us through Your Holy Spirit. Lord, thank You that while we were yet sinners, Your Son died on the cross for us so that we may be forgiven. Lord, we praise You because we can have faith and joy in knowing that even through hardships we can preserve because our hope is in YOU.
    Father, I pray for this reader with me today. Lord, may you strengthen them, and fill them with the hope that comes from knowing You. Lord, may they rest in knowing that You are faithful, and that which You promise to do, will be done, and that their faith, which produces hope, will not be in vain.
In Christ Jesus Name,

~ My friend, I truly hope YOU will have a very blessed day.


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Monday, August 28, 2017

There is Hope

(Ecc: 1:4-5 NCV)
People live, and people die, but the earth continues forever.
The sun rises, the sun sets, and then it hurries back to where it rises again.

For change to take place-- room must be made. For new life to begin, something must die in its place. My friend, no matter where you are at in your circumstances, know that God is in them, and there is hope.

Several years ago I sat in my store that I had at the time, and thought about people I cared about that didn't know Christ. I felt a tug in my heart, as if the Lord was asking, "Would you die for them?" And, I said, "YES." I remember laying down on the floor with my arms spread wide, palms opened up, and in a very peaceful and most surrendered state, I repeated and said, "Yes."

I don't know what I expected that day, but the tug in my heart was so strong, that I knew it was the Lord. For days, I walked in an overwhelming peace and kept thinking, "If I died today, that would be ok with me."

About a month later I was in a car accident. I was coming around the corner after just having been stopped at a red light. When the light turned green the car in front of me went straight, but I turned. I hadn't gotten very far when I realized that a small group of kids (that had been walking on the sidewalk) crossed over the street right in front of me. I slammed on the brakes. My first reaction was to look in the rearview mirror, sure enough the car that I had seen coming up behind me, had turned the corner without slowing down, and was fixing to ram right into me. I looked back up and there was 1 high school kid that was about halfway across the road, but 3 kids were right directly in front of me with one more fixing to step off the curb into the street. All I could do was to put both feet on the brake and hold it down. I remember grabbing the emergency brake and pulling it up.

The car that had come up from behind me slammed right into me, picking the back of my car up off the ground, and then it fell back down. However, the front of my car never moved. It was as if something was holding it in its place. The 3 kids in front of me screamed and finished running across the road, the other one got back up on the sidewalk and ran off. And me? I sat there dazed and couldn't move. I was so shaken up. The driver of the other car got out (a young teenage girl) and came running up to me, crying and screaming, "Are you ok?"

The police came-- but while we were waiting, the girl and I moved the cars into the gas station parking lot to get out of the way of traffic. This young girl couldn't quit crying, and I remember that even though I was shaking so badly, all I could do was wipe her eyes and try to comfort her, telling her that everything would be ok.

When the police got there, we filled out the report. Even though she had rammed into me and eyewitnesses said  that the back of my car had been completely lifted off the ground and slammed back down-- there was no damage! And, only minor damage to hers. And those children trying to cross the road? No one had been hurt.

I found out that she had been talking on the phone and saw that the light was green and proceeded to turn the corner-- but never slowing down. Had I not been there first, she would have plowed into those kids. Had I not been stopped at that light before turning the corner myself, this young girl would have been the one to meet those kids stepping out into the road, and she would not have had time to stop.

I didn't die that day, and it wasn't members of my family that were saved. But I felt the Lord's presence, and an overwhelming thought, as if He had said, "I took their place." And it occurred to me that-- I took that young girl's place. The next day I could barely move. I hurt all over. My knees and thighs especially-- because I had stretched my legs out and with both feet, had held the brake to the floor, I guess in a sense locking the car up. But again, I kept reminding myself that no one had been hurt, so everything was ok.

I learned something that day-- sometimes it isn't in actual physical death that God asks if you are willing. Sometimes what He wants to know is, "Will you die to yourself?"

Truly, truly, I say to you,  unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
John 12:24 (NASB)

My friend, sometimes something inside of us has to die first before God can begin to grow something new in us and through us. I encourage you today. If you are going through rough times and it feels as if your world is crumbling down; then know that God is allowing it to happen so He will have room to do something different. Know that if something has died (maybe a job, friendship, or even a marriage) that God CAN resurrect the dead in a totally new way-- but if He chose NOT to, then know it is because He is going to do something completely new in you and for you. Know that you are not alone.

My friend, know that in the evenings as the sun goes down, God says I have been with you and I am watching you. But also know that in the morning as the sun rises, there is always hope. If your world is falling apart, THEN WAIT and let the Lord strengthen you. Wait and let His Holy Spirit comfort you. Wait and let the almighty God do something new inside of you.

Hold to God's Word as He leads you today: "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" ( Isa. 40:28-31).

Have a blessed day, and remember that with the one who loves you-- there is always hope, and there will be light at the end of your tunnel, even if you can't see it yet.


------------------ The 2nd part to this devotional "And in Our Hope" will be out in a few days. 

To read more devotionals written by Kassie, click here, to visit our website.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Letter of Hope

Psalm 34:18 (NCV)
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted,
and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.

The past several days, when thinking about preparing for this devotional, it has been on my heart to write a letter of encouragement instead. I don't know who will read this devotional/letter-- I don't really know who this is intended for... but what weighs on my heart is to tell you that there is hope, and to give you encouragement that your life is not over-- that whatever you may be going through, there is another side of this for you. There is MORE for you than what you may be seeing now. God has so much for you, if you will just let Him bring you through it.

In Luke 19, when Zacchaeus wanted to see who this Jesus was, nothing would deter him. Nothing was going to stop him from getting a closer look at this Man who was doing so much for God's people. When he couldn’t see past the crowd, Zacchaeus simply climbed a tree! The wonderful thing in this story is that when Jesus got to this tree he stopped right under it, and looking up, Jesus called for Zacchaeus to come down.  You see, Jesus KNEW that Zacchaeus was up there, but no one had told him this. In the same way Jesus knew where Zacchaeus was, HE KNOWS WHERE YOU ARE NOW.

My friend, whatever you may be facing-- know that God still has a whole nother chapter of your life waiting for you. In the book of Ruth; when Naomi lost her husband, she grieved. Later, when she lost her two sons, the pain was so overwhelming that when she went back home, she told people not to call her Naomi anymore as that name meant “happy”. She told people to call her Mara instead, because that name means “sad”. She didn’t understand why the Lord had left her with such sadness. She told her people that she had lost everything; she felt as if she had nothing left. But that wasn’t true. God still had a plan for her. God still had a purpose for her even though she was unaware of it. And God has one for you.

Just like Naomi, your life is more than what you can see right now. God is all knowing and can see so much more than you and me. There was still something Naomi had to do for God. He still had a job for her to do. God had a bigger plan. He also blessed her life again and brought her much joy. As a result of losing her husband and her sons, Naomi went home taking her daughter in-law with her. And by doing so, fulfilled the next needed step in the future of our savior.

You see, God had a plan for Ruth too. She (like Naomi) had lost her husband-- and at a young age. She didn’t understand why either. But God knew. God had a purpose for her, she had a destiny that was to be fulfilled. God needed her to be somewhere. And at some point in time God will need you to be somewhere else too.

We don’t know why God allows certain heartaches in our lives, but He promises that if He allows the pain, then something good will come from it. Even if it is the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or the loss of a job-- God will bring new life in place of what is now gone.

Sometimes we have to go through "intermissions" in our lives. A time of waiting between what was and what is to come. And when we come to these intermissions, it is hard to understand why. But sometimes God needs time to heal us and prepare us for what is ahead-- and sometimes it is because God needs to work in someone else and bring them to a point where they are ready to join us. Sometimes God just needs time to work in a situation, or some circumstance, before advancing us into the new He has planned for us. But rest assured God will not forget you in the meantime. He won't set you on some sideline, and forget to bring you back in.

Need an example? Look at Moses; "When Moses was forty years old, he decided to visit his fellow Israelites. He saw one of them being mistreated by an Egyptian, so he went to his defense and avenged him by killing the Egyptian. Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not. The next day Moses came upon two Israelites who were fighting. He tried to reconcile them by saying, 'Men, you are brothers; why do you want to hurt each other?'

"But the man who was mistreating the other pushed Moses aside and said, 'Who made you ruler and judge over us? Do you want to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?'  When Moses heard this, he fled to Midian, where he settled as a foreigner and had two sons (Acts 7:23-29 NIV).

When Moses found himself out in the desert after a life changing incident, he probably thought he was there to stay... But God had other plans for him, in fact Moses' life was far from over, it was just beginning. Moses' duration in the desert was only an "in between time" from where he had been, and what was to come. However, those were not wasted years. Far from it actually. My friend, God can multi task! At the same time God was waiting for the right time to come for Him to bring deliverance to His people, God was working in Moses during his stay in the desert. And when the RIGHT TIME came; God brought Moses front and center into the full purpose God had for him.

I love how Acts 7 states "The SAME Moses..." read with me: "Then the Lord said to him, 'Take off your sandals; the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.'  "This is the same Moses whom they had rejected with the words, 'Who made you ruler and judge?' He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. He led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert ( Acts 7:33-3 NIV).

God had not changed His mind about Moses. God had chosen Moses long before, and it was this same man (granted older and wiser), that God would bring back for another chance, and the whole second half of his life that was waiting for him. God brought him out, dusted him off and said, "Let's try again." But THIS TIME, it was going to be with the hand of God. You see before, Moses had been called, but he didn't have the anointing, so when he acted, it was in his own strength. But this time, God was ready and God was going with him, so there would be a huge difference!

My friend, SOMETIMES we can have a call on our lives-- something we were born and meant to do; but if God isn't ready and we move ahead, then we go without the anointing and it is in our own strength-- not His. So we have to wait. We have to wait for God to move, and sometimes we have to wait because HE IS WAITING until HE knows everything is ready for Him to move us into what He has called us to do.

God's purposes for Moses didn't change, he simply had to be moved aside until God was ready to bring him forth. Naomi and Ruth's lives were not over because someone had died, God was bringing them into something new. My friend, whatever you are facing, know that God is with you. No matter what has happened, what has died, who has left, or what was lost... God can bring about something new. God WILL fulfill His plans and purposes for you.
My friend, God knows how to bring you through difficult seasons. He knows how to bring you through the hurt and heartache. He knows how to bring you through the trials, and HE KNOWS HOW to bring you into all He has waiting for you.  Look up-- look out, and know God is watching over you. And His hand will not be held down when He is ready to move you.

Take care and have a blessed day,


My friend, if you found this to be encouraging, and would like to read some other articles, 
then please visit our page "A Call to the Weary" located at our Cypress Ministries website.