Category: <span>thoughts by Kristi Huseby</span>


“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God; so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist.  After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.” John 13:3-5

Jesus knew who He was. He knew where He had come from and where He was going. This was God, the Creator of the universe, King Eternal, Yahweh, washing the feet of the ones He had created.

For the disciples, this was a “shock and awe” moment! No rabbi or any person of significant status had ever washed another’s feet. It just wasn’t done. The job of foot washing was always relegated to the lowest of the low, the refuse of society.

But Jesus never let society dictate His behavior, He never let it deviate Him from His mission. He had come to serve. Just hours from this moment, Jesus would demonstrate His greatest act of service, His coup d’état: the cross! He overthrew the norms, the status quo, and turned this self-driven, people pleasing society on its head.

After Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He told them,

“Since, I your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each others feet.  I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you” (John 13.12-14).

Do what I do. Serve each other.

Having the heart of a servant was a way of living for Jesus and it should be for those of us who are His followers.  It wasn’t one act of service, followed by a myriad of self-driven deeds.  It was a lifestyle of service. Unconditional service. No expectations. Service born from a heart that loves.

Jesus’ greatest act of service, the cross, came from a heart propelled by love. And so should our service derive from a heart of love for those He created.

Unconditional service is never easy. Unconditional service always has a cost, but it is a way of life for those who choose to follow. It marks us as true followers of the One who first demonstrated His love for us!

Lord, we confess in this every-man-for himself world, we have lost sight of this servant way of living.  We have allowed the world and its ways to color our perspective and justify our self-centered choices.  Teach us to have the heart of a servant and to live each day, following the example you set for us.  Amen.

By Kristi Huseby
Used by Permission

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We are Christ’s Ambassadors
Come Alongside – what it looks like to come alongside of people while Jesus draws them closer.

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The church I go to and work at has chosen to encourage everyone who attends, from age 12 on up, to read through the entire New Testament in eight weeks. 

When I first heard that we were going to do this, I confess I was a bit overwhelmed at the idea.  How was I ever going to do that during the busiest season of my life?  That’s a HUGE amount of reading in a very SHORT amount of time, I’m just saying!  BUT it is turning into one of the BIGGEST blessings that I have ever experienced!!

We all started reading this past Monday.  What makes this reading unique (other than the fact that we’re reading it in eight very short weeks) is that the Bible we are reading from has been altered a bit.  Before you start gasping for air and wondering what heretical thing we’re doing, let me explain . . .

It is the New International Version but they have taken out the chapter and verse marks and it reads like a story instead of an intellectual book.  They have also arranged the books by authors, i.e. Luke and Acts are the first books we read since they were written by Luke, and then we move into the writings of Paul which are arranged in chronological order.  Nothing has been taken from the Scripture and nothing has been added.  However, reading in this new format has caused me to see the Word of God in a new and fresh way.  I tell you all of this because I’m guessing that for the next eight weeks you will be reading in this blog the things I’m learning from my perusal of the New Testament Scriptures.

This week we are reading the book of Luke.  Last year I took on a project to copy down the whole book of Luke (I finally finished just a few weeks ago).  So I was secretly wondering if I would see anything new.  But as God has proved over and over His Word was a two-edged sword piercing my heart again with a very familiar passage.

The story takes place in Luke 2.41-49.  Jesus is twelve years old and has traveled with his parents to Jerusalem.  They are on their way home when Mary and Joseph realize that Jesus isn’t with them.  If you’re wondering how this could happen – let me tell you it’s easy when you have numerous kids, bunches of relatives and multiple caravans.  It’s easy to think they are with someone else, only to find they’re not.  (I speak from experience.)

When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.  After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions.  Luke 2.45-46 (NIV)

When his parents saw, him they were astonished.  His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this?  Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

Why were you searching for me?” he asked.  “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”  But they did not understand what he was saying to them.  Luke 2:48-50 (NIV)

I’ve always struggled with this passage of Scripture because it sounds like Jesus is scolding his parents.  At first glance it seems that he might just possibly be a bit disrespectful.  But after reading this again this week, I saw something in there that I’d never noticed before.

It says that his parents returned to Jerusalem and then it took them three more days before they found him!  I always thought that it took them three days to get back to Jerusalem.
Think about it.  They had searched in Jerusalem for three interminable days before it dawned on them to look in the temple!

Mary and Joseph had seen the angels, the shepherds and the wise men.  They’d experienced the virgin birth of their son but in the ten to twelve years since all of that had happened they had forgotten who their Son really was and they went last to the place they should’ve gone first!  No wonder Jesus said what he did.

I couldn’t help but wonder as I read this if I have done the same thing?

I have a problem . . . What’s the first thing I do?  I get on the phone and talk to a friend.  I try to fix it on my own and only after that doesn’t work do I finally bring it to the ONE I should have gone to FIRST.  Why is prayer always my last resort instead of my first inclination?  Could it be that I’ve lost sight of who He is and what He has done in my life in the past?  Could it be that I don’t really KNOW who He is?

by Kristi Huseby
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FURTHER READING

FIRST PLACE – by Karen Huffaker

• First, Not Finally by  Kathy Cheek

For Me or For Him? –  by Marilyn Ehle

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Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. . . Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?Matthew 16.24-26 (MSG)

Long ago, when I gave my heart to Christ, I jumped into the driver’s seat and expected that He would ride shotgun.

I gratefully invited God to sit beside me, to be my copilot on this journey called life. I wanted God in my life to help me do what I could not do myself, expecting that He would navigate around the difficulties and smooth out the road.

But Jesus said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let ME lead. . . “

For much of my life, I have had this propensity to want to be in control. It’s easier this way — at least that’s what I like to tell myself. It’s just plain scary letting someone else drive my car, even if it is the God of the Universe, who knows me better than I know myself.

For a long time, fear kept me from turning over the keys to my Savior. Fear of what He might do. Fear of where He might take me. Fear of what He might ask me to do. I was so focused on ME that I couldn’t embrace HIM.

God calls each one of us to pry our hands from the wheel, hand over the keys and leave the driving to Him. Surrender is never easy and the fear can seem overwhelming.

But relinquishing control, leads us to a place where there is freedom in following, joy in trusting, and peace in surrender. It is the road less traveled.

Heavenly Father, I know this journey of letting go, is the hard road to travel and will be a course that won’t be completed until I step into Your presence. Pry my hands from the wheel and teach me how to walk this pathway of Trust, this journey of Surrender, and this road of Submission. Amen.

Thought: Ask God to reveal the part of your life you’re hanging onto control of – maybe you already know what it is. Take a step of courage and hand it over to Him. (You can do it!)

By Kristi Huseby
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

• Out of Control –  by Mary Pinckney

We Don’t Control Tomorrow – by Phil Ware

Learning to Give Control to God – by Helen Lescheid


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thoughts by Kristi Huseby Thoughts by Women

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.” Romans 5:3-4 (NLT)

Recently, I watched a friend bury his beloved wife. His heart is cracking apart with grief. The loss and loneliness are a crushing burden he carries every day.

It seems almost sacrilegious to read this verse about rejoicing when we face trials in respect to my friend’s circumstance. Does God really expect him to rejoice in this devastating sorrow?

Ephesians 1:5 says, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”

Do you see the joy and pain in this verse? God’s adoption plan was sending His only Son to die in our place. What pain! What sorrow!

Look what it says next, “He wanted to do it and it gave him great pleasure!”

Pain and Joy. They seem so diametrically opposed to one another and yet, their mutual presence is at the core of God’s rescue plan for us!

Why should this journey of following our Savior be any different?

Joy comes from knowing God and trusting His way. Joy comes from the deep springs of the soul. It doesn’t happen overnight, it’s developed over time as we grab hold of His hand and put one foot in front of the other. As we walk His way.

Jesus said in John 16.33 (NIV), “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Thought:

– Will you choose joy in the pain of your circumstances? What blessings are there in your pain? Take some time today to focus on the good, instead of the bad and make a list of signs of God’s goodness in your life.

– Are you embracing the joy and the pain in your life?

By Kristi Huseby
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Further Reading

• Hope When You Can’t Fix It – by Laura Rath

Too Much Grey! A Devotional by Allan Mitchell

Jesus Makes Us Overcomers – by Helen Lescheid


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thoughts by Kristi Huseby Thoughts by Women


“… And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38


Have you ever given a gift to someone, one that you poured your heart and soul into, only to discover it was never really used? How disappointing it feels to have someone treat so carelessly something that we put so much effort and love into making or searching to buy for them.

God has given those who follow Him a gift He poured His heart and soul into – the Holy Spirit! But do we use this gift or let it sit on a shelf collecting dust?

I read somewhere this thought: “When I get to heaven, I can’t wait to ask Moses what it was like to part the Red Sea. But what if he asks me, ‘What was it like for you to have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of you ALL the time? I just experienced moments with Him, but you had Him ALL the time! What was that like?’ And I reply, ‘Well, it was all right, I guess.’” Can you imagine saying that?

So many of us are “trying” to live the Christian life in our own strength and then we wonder why we’re struggling, why it’s so hard. It’s as if we never realize that God has already given us everything we need to live this life in the gift of His Holy Spirit! We just need to enjoy and rely on this gift, every day.

Surrendering frees us from the bondage of “trying harder” and opens the door to the Holy Spirit’s incredible work in our lives. A gift freely given, but at such a great price — do we take that lightly? It’s time to take Him off the shelf, time to embrace this incredible gift, time to surrender our hearts completely over to Him.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit! I don’t want Your Spirit on a shelf in my life. Your Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in me, is the most intimate part of my life, making me fit for you. I don’t want to take your gift for granted. Amen.

By Kristi Huseby
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Further Reading

•  Spiritual Oxygen: Are You Getting it?

The Holy Spirit and Oxygen Tanks by Kyle Norman

Understanding the Holy Spirit

 


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thoughts by Kristi Huseby Thoughts by Women


“Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’?     Matthew 9:5


Jesus asked this question of the religious leaders who were outraged that He would say to the paralyzed man his sins were forgiven.

These “spiritual” gurus had watched Jesus grow from a little boy into a man.  To them he was a snot-nosed, skinned-up-knees boy, born from a mother who had cheated on her husband and now was as an adult claiming to be God!  How dare this kid from Nazareth say, “Your sins are forgiven!”  In the words of Vizzini from Princess Bride, “Inconceivable!

It was a simple question, with a simple answer but one they refused to acknowledge.  The religious leaders rejection of Jesus’ authority, created a chasm in their hearts between who Jesus was and who they wanted Him to be.

And we are not much different than they, if we’re willing to admit it.  Often, the divide is long and wide between who Jesus really is and who we want Him to be.

We want the love of Jesus, not His justice.  We want a comfortable Jesus, not one who pushes us into the unknown.  We want to trust God with our eternal destination, but refuse to allow His “interference” in our everyday living.

The simple fact remains, Jesus is God; able to heal the sick and forgive sins.  True followers of Jesus refuse to let their own desires define Him and allow Him to be the Jesus He is!

Lord, I confess my propensity to create You in my own image, rather than allowing You to be the God You are.  Open my eyes to Your truth, teach me Your ways and help me to follow You with a pure heart.  Amen.

By Kristi Huseby
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Further Reading

• Unshakable – A Devotional by Roy Lessin

God’s Covenant Devotional by Terry Stead

How to be Saved


thoughts by Kristi Huseby Thoughts by Women


My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, you people; (pour your hearts out to Him), for God is our refuge.Psalm 62.7-9 (emphasis mine)


Growing up I was taught that God desired to have a relationship with me. But my pursuit of that relationship looked more like a rote exercise than anything else. It was less like a relationship and more like a student in a classroom.

Prayer became a list of what I needed and an expectation of God to answer. Because after all, I reasoned, God says He will give us what we need if we ask, right? It’s in the Bible somewhere?

I think many of us approach prayer as if God is our great Santa Claus in the sky and we’re disillusioned when He doesn’t come through for us. We have pursued prayer not to hear from God or to form a bond with Him but to get what we need.

God wants so much more for our relationship with Him! He sacrificed His only Son so that we could have a union with Him that is beyond all others! God is here! He has come near.

Will you pull up a chair and sit in His presence today? Why not discover who He is and pour your heart to Him? He is waiting.

Lord, I confess that I have followed after You more to get what I want than to know You. Change me. Open my eyes. I want to follow hard after You. Show me how to live in relationship with You. Amen.

Action Step: If you tend to rely on spiritual reading or a lot of talking in your prayer, try sitting in silence and listening for God’s words of love today.

by Kristi Huseby
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

Listening to God – by John Grant

The Listening Heart – by Terry Stead

To Whom are You Listening? – by Katherine Kehler


thoughts by Kristi Huseby Thoughts by Women


“The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.” Psalm 46:7 (NLT)


In first Samuel chapter one we are introduced to Hannah, a woman unable to bear children. While she is at her yearly visit to the temple she makes a vow to Jehovah Sabaoth that if He will give her a child, she will give him back to God for all of his days. (1 Samuel 1:11)

It’s interesting that she doesn’t use the name Jehovah Jireh (The LORD provides) or Jehovah Rapha (The LORD heals). Instead she chooses to use a name that proclaims the might and power of God: Jehovah Sabaoth, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

Hannah called on the Lord of Heaven’s Armies in her time of great need because she understood through His might and power, nothing was impossible with God. By calling on Jehovah Sabaoth she was reminding God of His superiority over all things and declaring her faith in His almighty power to open her womb.

Do we really believe in the Lord of Heaven’s Armies like Hannah did? Do we believe He is the God of the Impossible? The supreme ruler over EVERYTHING?

Do we dare pray like Hannah, asking God for the seemingly impossible?

This past year a group of ladies from our church decided to take God at His Word and pray the impossible. At the end of the eighth month period we had twenty-eight “impossible” prayers answered!

What insurmountable burden are you carrying? Will you choose to believe like Hannah and pray the impossible?

Oh LORD of Heaven’s Armies, teach me to trust; not just say that I believe but readily and wholeheartedly take You at Your Word and pray the impossible. Give me eyes to see how you will answer. Amen.

Begin today to pray for the “impossible” request in your life that you have doubted would ever get answered. Pray daily and look expectantly. Don’t limit God. You just might be amazed at how He answers your prayer.

By Kristi Huseby
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Further Reading

• Eyes Wide Open – by Kristi Huseby

Everything is Possible by Bill Bright

Our God Is an Awesome God? – by Marilyn Ehle


Thoughts by All thoughts by Kristi Huseby Thoughts by Women


As a young girl, I looked forward to potluck dinners in the basement of our small church.

I would stand at the top of the stairs and inhale the smell that was wafting its way up from the kitchen, causing my mouth to water and then I’d race down as fast as I could.

The various and sundry dishes seemed to stretch on forever.

My favorite thing to do, before it all began, was to walk up one side of the tables and down the other, trying to see all that was there. If I stretched my neck and stood on my tip toes I could just get a glimpse of what was in the those wonderful smelling dishes.

The good old standbys always brought a smile to my face; fried chicken, orange jello and deviled eggs. But other dishes like vegetables or weird salads would make me wrinkle my nose and rejoice that at this dinner I didn’t have to have a “no thank you” helping. And then there were the desserts, as usual the ladies of our church had out done themselves with warm brownies fresh out of the oven, enormous cakes, and pies galore.

My joy of potluck dinners was born out of a love for food and fellowship. My favorite thing about potlucks was that my parents weren’t as attentive to my eating habits which enabled me to eat whatever I wanted. This meant that I could forego the vegetable dishes and fill up on desserts to my heart’s delight.

I also enjoyed the freedom to be able to pick and choose what I wanted to eat. At home there weren’t a lot of choices. I had to eat a little of everything, even if I didn’t like it. I learned early in life not to complain because that would only get me more!

My love for potluck dinners was raised to new heights, when I realized for the first time that if I put something on my plate and didn’t like it, I didn’t have to eat it! That was never the case at home. The mantra, “Clean Your Plate” had been adopted by my parents, and there was no hope of changing it. Believe me, I tried.

Recently when I sat down to spend some time in the Scriptures; I was struck with the fact that I have a tendency to love God’s Word, like I love potluck dinners! Let me explain . . .

I choose to feast on verses like Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT) “The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”

But turn my nose up at verses like Matthew 5:44 (NLT) “But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”

My desire for things that are easy and tasteful hinders me from developing strength and depth as His disciple. And I can’t help but wonder if this is what Paul was alluding to in 1 Corinthians 2:2 (NLT) “I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready. . .”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there are verses in the Bible that don’t have any value but the point I’m trying to make is that we hamper God’s work in our life when we pick and choose what we like and don’t take it ALL into account.

God’s Word is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. I readily confess that I don’t like to be cut open, to have my sin held up to the light of His Word. It’s so much easier to steer clear of God’s cleansing work in my life and focus on His unending love and faithfulness. But God desires so much more for me and for you!

My question to you is this: Are you approaching God’s Word like you approach a potluck dinner? Do you find yourself choosing the verses in God’s Word that are tasty and appetizing and avoiding those that seem distasteful or hard?

Lord, I confess in my heart of hearts I have approached your Word like I do a potluck dinner. I have feasted on Your grace and avoided Your commands. Thank you for extending Your mercy to me and open my eyes and my heart to ALL that you want to teach me. Amen.

by Kristi Huseby
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Further Reading

•  Where to Start Reading the Bible

The Holy Spirit Enlightens

Enjoying God’s Word 


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I walked in from our garage into the kitchen and immediately smelled something awful! It was permeating the whole house.  I figured it was either coming from the garbage or the refrigerator.  I checked the trash and didn’t find anything too smelly in there.  So my next exploration led me to the fridge, it was full at the time and it took some sorting out to find the culprit!

I found it!

We had a nice science experiment going on in our refrigerator with a few spoonful’s of re-fried beans!  I couldn’t believe that such a little amount of food could cause such a great stink in our house!

Smell is a powerful thing.

A small whiff of an odor or fragrance can you take you back to a memory from long ago – your Grandmother’s perfume, laundry hung on the line to dry, bread baking in the oven.

The Bible talks about the aroma that a believer, who is a captive of Jesus Christ gives off.  Look at 2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.”

Have you ever stopped to consider what kind of a smell you are giving off?  Is it a sweet fragrance of surrender to Jesus Christ or an acrid repugnant odor of sin hidden in your heart?

Holding onto our sin is like carrying around a big smelly bag of trash.  We get used to carrying that bag and it actually feels good at times, we feel justified in our attitudes and our behaviors.  We don’t even realize that that big bag of trash is causing us to stumble and fall and to miss out on so much more that God wants to give us.

A big bag of smelly sin

How easy and comfortable it is to wallow in our sin, to justify it and excuse it while never realizing that it is weighing us down, tripping us up and holding us captive.

I have found that in my own life, when I allow sin to take root that it quickly takes over and I need to surrender to Jesus Christ and allow Him to dig it out and expel that odorous sin from my life.

Just as a refrigerator cannot rid itself of its own smelly contents, we cannot clean up our life on our own.   We need a Savior to rescue us from our depravity, our foolishness and show us where we need to go – that Savior is Jesus Christ.

Have you given over your bag of trash to your Savior?   Have you surrendered those areas in your life that are holding you back from wholeheartedly following Him?  What’s stopping you?

Exchange that smelly bag of trash for the fragrant aroma of following Jesus – I guarantee you won’t miss it!

by Kristi Huseby
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A Lingering Aroma – A Devotional by Marilyn Ehle


Further Reading

•  A Lingering Aroma – by Marilyn Ehle

•   The Fragrance – by Rod Marshall

•  My Lord, My Companion –  by Hope Tshuma


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Thoughts by All thoughts by Kristi Huseby Thoughts by Women


I grew up wanting to be perfect.  I’ve no one else to blame for this but myself.  I hungered for people’s approval of me.  I longed for them to affirm what I did and who I was.  I had huge expectations for myself and for everyone else around me.  If people didn’t say just the right thing about what I had done or if they overlooked it, I would live in a puddle of despair.  If they did value it than I would live on a mountain top high for a couple of days and then be right back in the puddle once again looking for affirmation and approval.  It became my insatiable quest.

My life looked a lot like a cup with a hole in the bottom of it.  The more I had poured into it, the more poured out of it.   When more was poured in the fuller I felt but it would be a false sense of fullness as it would eventually seep out the bottom and I would be left empty once again.

It was a thirst I couldn’t quench and a hunger I could never satisfy.

Jesus said to the woman at the well in John 4, . . .

Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.  But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again.  It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”  (John 4.13-14)

The woman at the well had the same problem I had, she sought her identity, worth and value from the people in her life.  She was on an insatiable quest to be filled and she looked for it in all the wrong places.  She believed, like I believed, people were the answer to this voracious thirst so she ran around holding out her cup wanting man after man to fill it, only to be left empty in the end.

It wasn’t until she met THE MAN, the perfect man, the one who could truly satisfy the thirst in her heart where she was finally fulfilled and the ravenous thirst was gone!  Jesus met her needs in a way no one else could.  She found her worth and value in Him and she no longer needed to look anywhere else.

Do you see what Jesus said to her?  “If you drink from the water I give, you will never thirst again!”

Jesus plugs up the hole in our heart and produces in us a fresh bubbling spring that never runs dry.  The insatiable quest is over!  The search for satisfaction is done.

So how do we drink from the water Jesus gives?  How do we let Him fill us, a God we can’t see, instead of looking to people, we can see, to satisfy us?

We must start with what we think.  Because what we think on, turns into a belief, which then in turn governs the way we live.  In Romans 12.2 it says,

“ . . . let God transform you by changing the way you think.”

If we are to begin to find our value and worth in Jesus it first starts in our mind.

In the movie the Help, Abileen says to Mae Mobley throughout the movie.  “You is smart.  You is kind.  You is important.”  Why does she do this?  I think she wants Mae Mobley to know deep down inside who she is no matter where she goes, no matter what happens to her, no matter what anyone one says to her.

I believe God has a similar message for us.  He wants us to know deep down inside who we are, no matter where we go, no matter what happens to us, no matter what anyone says to us.

 He wants you to know . . . You is special. (Psalm 139.13,14)  You is MINE.  (Galatians 4:7) You is Important!  (1 John 4.9)

When we think on this.  When we dwell on these truths, we will begin to believe we are special, we are His and we are important and we will no longer need to quest for our identity and worth in other people or in what we do.  We won’t need to because we are full up with Him.

He has plugged up the hole in our heart and we are finally satisfied!

By Kristi Huseby
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I have so much to be grateful for

– the people God has brought into my life, the family that I was born into and the many blessings He has poured out on me.  And I’m truly thankful for all God’s work in my life.

But over the last few years, I’ve become increasingly aware that there is a vast difference between being thankful for the things God has given me and living a life of gratitude.  Let me explain. . .

When we give a gift to someone, the most rewarding and pleasing thing for us as the gift givers is to see them enjoying and using the gift we have given them.  And on the other hand the hardest thing is to hear, “Thank you so much for this gift!  I love it.”  And then to see our present thrown in the trash unused and unappreciated.  Why?  Because we sacrificed part of ourselves in the giving of the gift and it was tossed away like a piece of garbage.

When we harbour bitterness in our heart, allow anger to control us, refuse to forgive, when we turn away from God, when our thoughts are focused on our self, we are not living in gratitude of the costly sacrifice Christ paid for us.  It’s as if we’ve thrown His gift into the trash and now live as if it is an insignificant factor in our life.  We diminish the price God paid for our sins.

Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice to give us His most treasured gift.  1 John 4:9-10 (NLV) says,

God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him.  This is real love — not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.”

So how do I live a life of true gratitude when I’m not perfect?

For me it has begun with allowing God to show me the depths of my depravity.  Seeing my sin the way God sees it and stepping into the sorrow and heartache this sin has wrought in my life and in the lives of others.  By doing this it has brought about a hatred for the sin and a passion to live in obedience to God and His Word.

God has also showed me that I cannot do this in my own strength; I have to live in dependence upon Him – seeking His way, His desires and His kingdom.  As I’ve come to see myself for who I really am, it has allowed me to see God for who He truly is and has brought a deeper meaning to His incredible sacrifice that He paid for me.

So let me ask you the same questions I ask myself on a continual basis:

Are you living a life of gratitude to your Savior, who died to set you free?
Are you diminishing the price He paid for you by the choices you are making?

By Kristi Huseby
used by permission

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FURTHER READING

Count Your Blessings

Bible Study:Thanksgiving for What God Has Done

Thanking Abundantly

Study on Thanksgiving

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“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3.16


Can you imagine what it must have been like for God the Father to see His ONLY Son as a tiny helpless baby in a feeding trough?

To be separated from Him in a way He had never been before.

What love there must be in the heart of the Father to choose this separation!

But this was only the beginning, in just a few short years the Father would experience complete and utter separation as He turned His face away from His dying Son.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3.1)

This great elaborate and loving plan was all for us! So that we might become His children.

So why as God’s children do we struggle to love each other? Why are we unwilling to lay down our desires, our plans, and our wants for our fellow Christians. Why are we so often self-focused, petty and unforgiving?

Jesus set the example. He refused to take advantage of His equality with God the Father. He was humble, servant-minded and willingly gave up His divine privileges.

When we hold onto wrongs done to us, refuse to forgive and live as though it’s all about us, we cheapen the gift. We denigrate the sacrifice. We belittle the price that was paid for us.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.John 4.11

Lord, I confess that it is easy to say I love You and then turn around and mistreat my brother or sister in Christ. It’s not what I say but what I do that proves my love for You. Forgive my self-centeredness, my penchant to hold onto wrongs done to me. Give me a heart of forgiveness and love. May what I say and the way I live be a true reflection of You. Amen.

by Kristi Huseby
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

True Love – A Devotional by Daniel Forster

Alphabet Of The Father Heart of God – by Sylvia Gunter

•  Salvation Explained


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I hate feeling empty.

Emptiness leaves me feeling hopeless, worn out, used up, exhausted and alone.

In Ruth 1:20-21 (NLV)  Naomi says, “Don’t call me Naomi. . . Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me.  I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty.

We are given only a glimpse of the heartache and sorrow that brought Naomi to the point of such emptiness and despair.  What must it have been like for her to travel home to her native land empty?  Did her heart break a little more with each step she took?  What pain she must have experienced as she traveled farther and farther away from the family she buried.  Naomi feels used up, spit out and with nothing left to give emotionally, mentally, physically or spiritually.

What has left you feeling empty?

I experienced a time of intense emptiness after the break-up of a close friend.  I didn’t want the friendship to end and I worked with everything I had in me to hold on to the last remaining remnants of our relationship but it slipped through my fingers like sand and I was left with a gnawing emptiness that wouldn’t go away;  a pain in my gut that never seemed to lessen.

At the risk of being redundant, let me just say that emptiness leaves us empty. 

But without the emptiness how can we be filled?

Think about it, if we’re already full, how can God fill us?

What if emptiness is a good thing?

What if it is part of God’s plan you, for me?

When we are empty of our self; our arrogance, our own dreams, our thoughtlessness – than God is able to fill us with Him.

For me, the loneliness and pain I experienced drove me to my knees and created a space for God to fill.  The emptiness allowed me to see God in a way I had never seen Him before.  It brought my heart into a place of surrender.

Our faith as believers is anchored in emptiness.  The empty tomb is the cornerstone of our faith. We serve a risen Savior, who died and left the tomb of death, never to return!

Then the angel spoke  . . .  “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead . . .”   Matthew 18:5 (NLV)

We have a lot of things in this world that cause us to become empty – empty bank accounts, wayward children, broken relationships, the death of a loved one, regret and on and on . . .

I want to encourage you to embrace the emptiness . . .  and allow God to fill you with His Holy Spirit.

Remember, it is only through our emptiness that we can be filled!

by Kristi Huseby
Used by Permission


We are filled with the Holy Spirit by faith alone. However, true prayer is one way of expressing your faith. The following is a suggested prayer:

“Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have been directing my own life and that, as a result, I have sinned against You. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I now thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit.”


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.


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Further Reading

•  Understanding the Holy Spirit

•  More than a Father

•   Going Deeper with God


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The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do. Psalm 33.13-15 (NLT)


I saw a car the other day that looked normal but as it turned the corner, I was caught by surprise – the whole passenger side was completely smashed in!

Have you ever considered that people are something like that car? We have a good side that we parade around for all to see and a dark side that we hide from view.

In the book of Matthew, a young man comes to Jesus wanting to know how he can have eternal life and Jesus tells him he must obey the commandments. The young man proclaims that he has obeyed all of them. He’s parading his good side for Jesus to see.

He then asked what else he needed to do.

Jesus told him, “. . . go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew. 19:20-22)

With laser-like precision Jesus goes after the dark side of his heart.

Showing off our good sides and concealing our dark sides is second nature, but we can’t hide our dark sides from God.

Jesus is in the business of changing EVERY PART of us – the good and the bad. This process of change can be terrifying, excruciating, seemingly unbearable at times but it’s in this struggle and pain that our true beauty can be brought forth.

Will you let God in to work on your dark side?

Lord, thank you for loving me even though you know everything about me. Thank you for never giving up on me. Show me how to surrender ALL of my heart to You. Amen.

Spend some time in prayer asking God to show you your own “dark side.” Then meditate on the saving grace Jesus offers you and lift those sinful tendencies up to Him. It might help you to journal about it so that you can watch the progress as He works on your heart.

by Kristi Huseby
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

•  God Sees, He Knows – Deborah Yemi-Oladayo

•  God Sees You – by Kathy Cheek

•  The One Who Sees It All – by John Grant


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