The Peace of Jesus

This blog isn’t at all what I envisioned. I just returned from a weeklong trip to northern Minnesota, a nineteen-hour journey from the Nashville area. I had a lot of time to plot and strategize on the drive there and back. My main goal when I returned home was to “hit it hard”, meaning that I intended to let loose with both barrels on this site, to expose darkness.

That is how it often works, me planning and God laughing as He totally alters my course. Instead of the both barrels being unloaded, I instead offer a message of peace and surrender, not of battle. Don’t get me wrong. We’re in a battle alright and unable to let down our guard. Still, while we celebrate the season and focus on the fact that God came in the flesh, Immanuel, God with us, we also need to seek His peace in our lives. It takes a concerted effort to allow Peace to reign supreme when the world is pulling us a dozen different directions, even good, family-focused directions.

Besides the busyness of the season, it’s easy to keep our minds trained on the darkness surrounding us to the extent that we fail to narrow in on the soon-coming Light. That’s something I address in Daybreak, the fact that we must fix our eyes on Jesus more than the rising darkness. Christmas allows us to do just that, an opportunity to stand in awe that Jesus came as a baby to save those who would accept His offer of forgiveness. It’s also the perfect time to remind one another that He’s coming again to rescue those who are His. Love comes for the beloved.

Right now, in this season when many are usually open to hearing the name of Jesus, those who most of the year aren’t, let them find you as His ambassador of peace rather than one of hostility. My both barrels in this season will never show unbelievers the peace I know in my walk with Jesus. 

Do I shy away from telling the truth? Absolutely not. I was able to speak truth to someone while on my trip. It didn’t seem to do much good, but there’s no way I can know the outcome or how the Spirit might work in the hardened heart beating in that unsaved soul. What I do know is this: That person saw me as someone who came in peace, someone who came in love. I know those two things were more faithful witnesses and landed a more solid impact than two barrels would have.

The holiday will soon pass, and I will cock my gun and begin to fire, reload, and fire again. When I do, I need to ensure others see Him in me even when I do hit them with the impact of the hard truth of where we are on the kingdom calendar. Will you pray that for me and for you? We are of no use to the kingdom if we present ourselves as ambassadors of this world. While speaking to a Christian group in Minnesota last week, I told them something I’ve found as a sad truth these past years. Christians often give Christians a bad name. I know I have. I’m sure you have. May we no longer be any witness but one who bears witness to the real Jesus, the One who loves enough to come, to die, and to rescue.

Blessings to you this Christmas. Fix your eyes on Jesus, knowing His eyes are fixed on you.
Lisa

The free Daybreak ebook download page is now available. Click here to check it out.

Daybreak print books are available on Amazon, and signed copies will soon be available at LisaHeatonBooks.com.

Welcome Back, Little Bird

It’s good to be back, to have an outlet where I can pour all these words out so that I can be filled again. Right now, I feel so full that I could burst. That’s what a blog is for me, a place to overflow the goodness of God. That’s what you’ll find here, me sharing insights and understanding the Spirit imparts through the infallible Word of God. In my journey of faith, I’ve discovered I can’t keep God’s wisdom to myself. It always finds a way to flow onto the page, whether through fiction or nonfiction writing.

For a season my words have been expressed through fiction work. I’ve known that was God’s direction for me. Just as I knew that then, I know now is the time to step back into blogging since a stream of ideas and imagery has cascaded over me in the past few days. That’s how Jesus seems to best guide me, by saturating me with words in streams and currents until I’m simply overflowing and in need of an outlet.

The portion of today’s title, Little Bird, has significant meaning for me. Two years ago I was in the midst of a nonfiction project, You. Are. Loved. After the conclusion of the book, the Lord laid on my heart several additional chapters that I offered as free supplemental material on the YouAreLovedBook.com website. In order to best share the background of Little Bird, I’m including an excerpt from the web chapter, Live in Reckless Service. For context, I was writing about Mary and Martha and how Jesus said that only one thing is necessary, and that Mary had chosen “the good part.”

At times I don’t feel heard. Hours are spent with me pouring out words onto pages. Much of what I do is technology based, online and behind the scenes, so I don’t actually see or hear a response. That leaves me feeling like I’m calling out and no one’s listening. Feelings lie, though, I know that.

In order to keep my heart in check, I have to continually ask: Am I singing just so people will listen, or am I singing for an audience of One? For me, it always has to come back to “just One thing”–Jesus and what He’s called me to do.

Recently, I was out on my back porch spending time with Him. A noise erupted, one that drew my eye outdoors. Here’s an entry from my journal that tells the story:

You just taught me a valuable lesson through a little bird. She landed on the railing of the deck, a tiny little thing. Then she let out a call so loud that I had to see her beak move to be sure such a loud voice came from such a small bird. Still she’s calling, this time from the tip top of the umbrella. Her message seems urgent as she turns this way and that way to call.

Observations:

No one seems to be listening as she sits all alone. There are no crowds of birds and bees and butterflies gathered around and still she lifts her voice.

Other birds call in the distance, different messages than hers. She doesn’t seem to even notice, or if she does, their indifference doesn’t faze her. She keeps her message her own without trying to sound like all the other voices.

She has no idea that You and I sit behind her listening, with me learning from her freedom to be who she is and sing her own song.

She always, at least, has an audience of One.

Maybe she’s praising you, her Creator and Sustainer, for the beauty and peace of the morning.

Maybe  she’s singing out of her gratitude of living here in this courtyard, a place of protection and provision.

When needed, she sings out. When not, she goes about her business of being a bird.

She stays in her lane, singing her song for the day.

My little bird, we’ll call her Mary, sings from her heart and allows nothing to stop her. No matter who’s listening or not, no matter that her song sounds different, she just sings. Her heart is filled with love for and gratitude toward her Creator. That’s her motivation.

Isn’t it incredible how God can use nature to speak to a discouraged heart? His message to me was simple: Keep singing, little bird, even when you don’t feel heard. That’s a little phrase that keeps coming to mind, spurring me on when I’m in a slump.

Do you need that same encouragement to keep singing? I know there are times you get your feelings hurt when you’re overlooked and undervalued. Even when your heart is in the right place, it’s never easy to keep running your race when discouraged. Paul gives good advice when he says, “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Two years later this message strikes me with even greater force: My voice matters. I may look and sound different than others and present the times in which we live in a different way than most, but I’m to keep singing, keep blasting a loud sound of alarm. I spent too many years undervaluing the gift of storytelling that God has given me. I don’t anymore. The one encouragement that completely turned me around was at a women’s event. I was to speak after a gifted teacher and was feeling the weight of that. I said to her, “But you’re such a great teacher.” Her eyes grew wide, and she said, “But, Lisa, you’re a storyteller. Jesus was a storyteller.”

Bam! That’s all it took. I am a storyteller. God made me that way. Now, with a little more maturity under my belt and a whole lot more understanding of His love for me, I can honestly say that I’m honored and amazed and excited to have been knit together in a similar fashion as Jesus. So here I am, an early bird chirping outside your window as day breaks, singing my song, “The King is coming! Time to prepare.”

All this to say: I won’t shut up. I won’t back down. I won’t fold. Instead, I’m doubling down my efforts. With all that’s happening in our world, with the understanding of Who will soon set out to get His bride, I suggest you wet your whistle and get to singing your own song, Little Bird. Or Big Bird, whichever you are. 😉

Watch for more to come.

Blessings,
Lisa

New blog coming in November.

After taking two years off from blogging and writing four books in my spare time, I’m ready to begin again. I have so many words pent up that I can hardly contain them. My best friend calls me a waterfall. I guess that’s mostly true, but only because that Jesus of mine is a waterfall first. He’s been pouring into me in ways like I’ve never known. All I can do is reroute the flow of water onto you.

It’s like I’m drowning in His Word, yet finding I can breathe underwater. His Word is breath to me.

Watch for something soon.
Lisa 

 

The daybreak site is well underway with the main page being accessible by early November.