Reflecting for the New Year|By Heaven Harris

The Christmas season is the perfect time to reflect on the year as it comes to a close, and the perfect opportunity to dream for the year ahead. Every year, I pray that God blesses me with a word and/or scripture that will mark the year and season I am stepping into or still walking in. Every year, He is exceedingly faithful in my request. For 2018, my words were JOY and ROMANCE, and my scriptures encompassed those very words.

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” -Hosea 2:14

“He brought me to the banquet hall, and he looked on me with love.” -Song of Solomon 2:4

This year, my divorce was finalized. As that part of my life was coming to a permanent close, I struggled to understand how joy and romance could possibly be what God was trying to incorporate in my life.  I felt empty and void of either. However, God knew the place He wanted in my life. He wanted to be my husband and show me a different side of His perfect and true love.

For the entirety of this year, I let Him pursue me and allure me through every high and low. I let Him romance my heart straight into the healing I was longing for. As my heart healed, my joy was daily renewed in ways I never experienced. It has not been easy. It has taken intentionality.  It has also taken honesty. There have been days when I have thrown my hands in the air yelling, not wanting His love or presence.

My intention is never to hurt Him, but in the humanity of it all, sometimes I feel I have nothing to give or even the energy to receive. Can we just take a moment to be thankful that even in those vulnerable moments, He never leaves or forsakes?

Actually, it has been the most vulnerable moments that He shows Himself a strong tower, and I can be nothing but thankful.

As the scripture goes, His grace is sufficient, and His strength and power are made perfect through our weaknesses. My heart simply desires that He shines bright through my pain and weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9 paraphrased)

That wilderness spoken of in Hosea 2 was lonely at times, yet I never felt more surrounded. As I reflect on 2018, there were so many opportunities for me to let God in and romance me more.  Yet, I sit with contentment that He has my heart in a way that He never has. I sit knowing that there are worldly desires I never thought would be quenched that He miraculously replaced with an urgency for Him and His touch. I find myself hungry more for a touch of Heaven and less for pleasing people. I want eternity to be my mark.  

My prayer for you in this season of reflection is that you can see His hand in everything you have encountered this year, even those hard parts.  Even more, I pray that 2019 has your heart fluttering with hope for what He will continue to do for and in you.

My word for 2019 is MARVEL. My scripture is Isaiah 54 (NLT).

In this chapter, it speaks about a barren and desolate land. One that has been riddled with storms. I too have battled many storms in my life. But, God has a promise for this city as He has a promise for you and me.

11  “O storm-battered city, troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you with precious jewels
   and make your foundations from lapis lazuli.


12  I will make your towers of sparkling rubies, your gates of shining gems,
and your walls of precious stones.


13  I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace.


14  You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies will stay far away. You will live in peace, and terror will not come near.


15  If any nation comes to fight you, it is not because I sent them. Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat.

16  “I have created the blacksmith who fans the coals beneath the forge
and makes the weapons of destruction. And I have created the armies that destroy.


17  But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!

Read the rest of Isaiah 54 here.

I will walk into 2019 clinging to such a love letter, and I choose to begin this year with pouring out into your cup the overflow of mine. I believe these scriptures are for some of you, and the shaky ground you stand on. Embrace His heart for you in this upcoming year. He is ready to give you every desire of that precious heart of yours.

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Let Us Return to the Lord| By Tori Savoy

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“Just give up on me. I am not worth it any longer,” I told, or basically yelled, toward God.

My guilt had overwhelmed me, and I felt as if I would never be good enough to be loved by a perfect Savior. Even though I knew God gives us forgiveness, I could not quite forgive myself enough to accept God’s love again. I kept failing Him time and time again. I did not feel deserving of His love. All I felt was shame.

But Romans 8:35-39 (NLT) tells us differently.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?

36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)

37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The love of God is something we could never earn, and if we cannot earn it, how could we lose access to it?

One of the most impactful books of the Bible for me is the book of Hosea. A prophet of God, Hosea was given instructions to take Gomer, a prostitute, as his wife. Yet, over the course of their marriage, she remained unfaithful and went chasing after her lovers.

Eventually, she became used up and worthless to the point no man wanted her. However, Hosea bought her back for a costly price.

“She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, “I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.'” Hosea 2:7 (NIV)

“When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, ‘Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD.’” Hosea 1:2 (NIV)

This story is a representation of God’s love for us. We have chased after our lovers whether that be a person, money, or success to fulfill us. God knew before we were even born that we would rebel and be unfaithful to him. Yet, He willingly chose to go to the cross and pay the highest price for our souls.

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Yes, there will be consequences to our decisions, but God is always waiting with open arms to forgive and shower us in love.

“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.” Hosea 6:1 (NIV)

The Devil will fill your heart with shame. But God will shower it in forgiveness. The Enemy will make you feel hatred for yourself. But God will reign down His love upon you. No matter how broken you return, God just wants you back in His arms so He can mend you.

If you are dealing with guilt over mistakes you have made, God is calling you to return to him. He is waiting with open arms and unending love for you. Nothing can separate you from that love, and no love of this world can compare to the love of a Savior.