You Are Heaven Devotional
“You have captured my heart, my treasure, my bride. You hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes, with a single jewel of your necklace.” - Song of Songs 4:9
I have found that sometimes it is difficult to consider God as our Lover. We think of Him as the Holy One, the Father, the Creator, the Savior, even a Friend, closer than a brother. But I believe God deeply desires for us to understand how radically, relentless and recklessly that He loves us.
Jesus came to Earth, took on all our filth and sin, and took it to the cross. He died so we don’t have to receive the punishment that was inevitable for us, because he was in love with us.
Recently, I just married the love of my life, Austin Cain. We have a beautiful love story and I’m so in love with him. I have never gotten tired of him. I am so challenged and encouraged by all of our conversations, and I never laugh so hard or so often as when I’m with him.
Austin and I are both broken lovers who often love out of our selfish hearts to get something in return, or to manipulate, or fill a void in our heart. We wish we didn’t but we are very imperfect and very much sinners.
Jesus Christ is a perfect lover. He never gets tired of us, He loves spending time with us. He so incredibly, unselfishly embraced the cross because He knew that in dying, we would find living—with Him forever.
Jesus loves us, not out of emptiness, but out of the fullness of His never-ending source of love. That never-ending source of love then spills over into our hearts, starts filling us and then running over and brimming over.
“I feel like I’ve never been so high, like I’m never gonna die, You are Heaven.” This song “You Are Heaven” is about love. It’s about when I have been so intoxicated with God’s love that I feel more alive and vibrant than I ever have before. It’s about how the love of God in my life is paradise.
On this side of heaven, there are not many moments when we feel this way in and out between the grind and pain of life. But because Jesus embraced pain, He embraced death., He embraced the gap that separated us from Him, we will never die. We will live forever with our Lover. That is Heaven.
Based on the song You Are Heaven by Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Franni Cash, Andrew Bergthold, Martin Cash, Kyle Briskin. Original post by We The Kingdom is available on YouVersion based on the album Holy Water.
Last Updated: February 2, 2023
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” - 1 John 4:7-10 I've heard it said that we spend most of our adult years trying to get back to the purity of the childlike place when we were young, before we were confused by the brokenness of our influences and our darkened world. We are born with brokenness inside of us and look to thousands of different things to fill our void, most of which leave us more broken than before. We are looking for someone or something who will heal us and unveil truth to us. We learn from our parents. Oftentimes, we find ourselves regurgitating the very words or the very things they said or did first to us. We learn how to walk, to talk, to act, to hate, to love, to gossip, to rejoice, to put down, to build up, to abandon, to abuse, to fight, to make decisions and to decide what to believe. We learn very good, beautiful things from our parents and we also learn detrimental, destructive things. Even if our parents were wonderful, they were still broken too. We still continue on our search for how to live and how to be. As we grow older and become adults, we learn we are responsible for our actions and we experience the painful consequences. We run into walls, we bleed, we toil, we strive and yet we're still broken. The beautiful thing is that oftentimes, the more broken we are, the clearer we are able to see past all the false fillers and we can see that the love of God is the only thing that will fill the void in our soul. We quit trying to keep up our pretenses, we quit trying to elevate ourselves to feel better, we quit running to cheap things to fill ourselves. We meet our true Parent, our true Father, the Perfect One Who has been loving us all the while and patiently waiting for us to realize that He is ready to fill us with Himself and help us relearn life through the lenses of Love. Our guard comes crashing down when we see that it's not about how cleaned up, nor how rebellious we can be to get attention. We have been loved all the while. We come to know God and understand Him as His love takes control and fills our souls and runs over into the lives of those around us. God is Love, in Him there is no darkness. We are His children and we belong to Love. Based on the song Child Of Love by Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Franni Cash, Andrew Bergthold, Martin Cash, Kyle Briskin. Original post by We The Kingdom is available on YouVersion based on the album Holy Water.
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even when we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!)” - Ephesians 2:4-5 There have been a few times in my life when I have felt totally and entirely numb. Whether is was something terrible I had done or something terrible that had been done to me, I have been so broken that I have felt nothing. I remember sitting in chapel during my senior year of High School and the speaker asked us to anonymously write down our dead honest feeling at that time. I had never had anyone ask me to write down my honest feelings about something. I had always felt that people viewed me as that fun-loving girl and only wanted me to report joy and happiness. It was a room full of girls, so I hid my card and discreetly wrote “numb” on it. We all folded our cards and passed them up front. The speaker pulled out a few and listed them off, “stressed”, “excited”…. “numb” and the room went silent. Or maybe it was just the sound of holding my breath and my blank brain frozen in fear. I thought everyone could see it was me. She wanted to prove the point that we all are human, we all feel painful emotions and God is not daunted by our darkness. Admitting my numbness was the first step for me in voicing my need for God and my need for something better. God's presence in our lives is one that is so strong, so vibrant, and so loving that it de-thaws our frozen hearts, heals us, and brings our senses back. It is not instantaneous but He is always moving in our lives. His heart is to revive us. The song “Holy Water” is a celebration of feeling alive again. 'When we were dead in our sins, He gave us life!' 'Like sweet, sweet honey on my lips, like the sound of a symphony to my ears, like Holy Water on my skin.' Whether you feel numb, sad angry, hurt or alive, joyful and free, God's heart for you is to revive you. He will finish the good work that He started in your heart. Admit your honest feelings and brokenness to Him and that will clear the way for you to realize His revival at work in your life. He will take care of you. He forgives you, He cares deeply for you and He unconditionally loves you. Based on the song Holy Water by Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Franni Cash, Andrew Bergthold, Martin Cash, Kyle Briskin. Original post by We The Kingdom is available on YouVersion based on the album Holy Water.
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Don't worry?! For someone who has been a chronic worrier those words are hard to hear. I've spent so much of my life allowing fear and anxiety to dictate my decisions and control my mind. I've wanted to surrender control to God, but I've been reluctant to let go. I thank God for His incredible patience as I have walked out this journey. The irony is the more I surrender control and cast my cares onto Him – the less anxiety and worry I experience. But I have found that it is easier said than done. It's a daily practice. A daily surrender. A daily picking up of my cross. A daily dying to my flesh. And His mercy is ever ready to gently (and sometimes less gently - He knows best :)) usher me down the aisle towards the marriage supper of the Lamb. He's always preparing His bride to be ready for Him in eternal matrimony where fear will NEVER be allowed. Peace is a Person. His Name is Jesus. His Name is God the Father. His Name is the Holy Spirit. This song came to me at a time where I was really fighting anxiety. I love how honest David is in the Psalms, yet always giving God the honor, He alone deserves ... “How long oh Lord?! Where are You God - have You forgotten about me? ... (then) - I will trust in Your unfailing love”. Man, there's beautiful tension in that. And in that tension is where the cross comes all the more alive. He alone is able to meet us in the mess and deliver us - either out of the fire or bringing peace smack in the middle of it. When my mind is like a battlefield And my heart is overcome by fear And hope seems like a ship that's lost at sea My enemies on every side And I'm tempted to run and hide Your gentle whisper reaches out to me Peace that holds me when I'm broken Peace that passes understanding When the whole wide world is crashing down I fall to my knees And breathe in Your peace If ever there was a time, we needed the peace of God, it is now. Peace is part of the fruit of His Spirit. Peace is a promise to God's children—the blessed assurance that no matter what fiery trial we are walking through, we can truly rest in the profound TRUTH that we are deeply loved by the Creator of the universe, and He is holding us in His embrace both now and forever! Come Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace. Based on the song Peace by Bethel Music and We The Kingdom. Original post by We The Kingdom is available on YouVersion based on the album Holy Water.
“For we are God's masterpiece…” - Ephesians 2:10 Would you do me a favor as you're reading this? Would you please walk to a mirror or open up the camera on your phone and look at yourself and say, “I am God's masterpiece.” Say it one time, say it ten times, say it a thousand times. If you're in a coffee shop, say it with a whisper to yourself or stand up on a table and say it with a shout to the whole room, but, wherever you are, say it until you begin to believe it. I just walked to a mirror in my house and did it. It was hard. My lips said the sentence, but at first my mind saw the same old flaws I've always seen. I saw the parts of me that I want to sometimes change. I saw the parts of me that I'm prone not to like so much, and I wondered if other people see those same things. But, I kept saying, “I am God's masterpiece” over and over, until it began to become rooted in my heart. I know deep down that I am, but sometimes I have a really hard time believing it. Praise God that my fickle, momentary belief doesn't change a thing about His truth. When you look into the mirror, you're staring at the masterpiece of God. You are the pinnacle of creation, His magnum opus, His joy, His delight, His beloved, the one He adores, His treasure. He's proud of you. You are the reason He sang the universe into existence. He did it all for you, that you might remember His wild love and boundless creativity, and there is not a single thing about you or me that He would change. Whether you are 15, 50, or 85, no matter your gender, no matter your race, no matter your battles, He's reaching His gentle hand toward you and beckoning you to see yourself the way He sees you. He knows we struggle; He knows we mourn, He knows we feel insecure, and He knows that sometimes we just want to give up. He knows that we are weary from trying so hard, and He's here to bring us home. In fact, He is home, and because He resides within those who have surrendered to Him, we are already and always home. What a mystery, what a promise! Look up and lift your eyes. Your future is open wide. He has GREAT plans for you. Your past is dead and gone. Your healing has begun. He's making ALL things new. God, the Father you've always needed, Jesus, the lover of your soul, and the Holy Spirit, the friend you've always wanted, together are the blessed Trinity of hope and promise, and there is nothing that our God will not do to remind us of His matchless love. You are God's masterpiece. You are God's masterpiece. You are God's masterpiece. Based on the song Dancing On The Waves by Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Franni Cash, Andrew Bergthold, Martin Cash, Kyle Briskin. Original post by We The Kingdom is available on YouVersion based on the album Holy Water.
"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." - 2 Corinthians 12:9 Sometimes we feel so alone. We can feel like our hope is lost and that we are without a future or purpose. I have even recently had these feelings and doubts. I've felt weak and helpless. These are the moments I find the real Jesus. It's hard not to associate the Lord with the blessings He gives us. And though those gifts are from Him alone, they are not Him. What I mean by this is the blessings are sent to attest to His goodness, but they are only reflections of His goodness, like a mirror reflects the beauty around it. If you sit and experience life through the mirror, you'll never know the fulness real life. If I just see and experience God as the things I have, I can never know the real Jesus—the Jesus that gave His life for me and took all my brokenness and sin. Our savior is able to identify with us in our suffering. He was abandoned by His friends and even His Father when He hung on the cross. He has felt the weight of shame and sin—our shame and sin—so we could walk free. At this moment, even now, He gives me beauty for ashes, strength for weakness. I've never known a love like His. This is my prayer in the hard season: Lord meet me in my weakness. I trust that You are good, that You have me and my future in the palm of Your hands. If You are all I have, that is enough. If You are all that I'll ever have, You will forever be enough! Based on the song If All I Had Was Christ by Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Franni Cash, Andrew Bergthold, Martin Cash, Kyle Briskin. Original post by We The Kingdom is available on YouVersion based on the album Holy Water.
Lift up your voice, for the war is not won on the battlefield, but in the mind. It's merely a matter of perspective. Ephesians 6:12 says we should not be misled, for we wage war not in the flesh, but in the spirit. Yet it's so easy to put our energy toward the wrong things. I took a debate class in high school and learned a beautiful technique called misdirection. One of the best ways to win was to distract the opponent from the real subject at hand. If you could get them to spend all their time and words squabbling over petty matters, they had little time to tend to the real issue at hand. The enemy knows this trick well. Remember that argument you had with your brother, or the resentment you feel toward your spouse? Misdirection. Do you feel all the tension in this world: nation against nation, brother against brother? The enemy is so good at making us think that each other is the enemy. This is why I love worship! It's the ultimate compass, the re-centering, the perspective giver! And guess what? It has another purpose. It's like gasoline. Worship magnifies our true King and Lord and gives us ammunition. There's a reason that both sports teams and warriors of old lift up a shout while going out onto the field. When we sing, our voices literally move the air around us. It turns thoughts and emotions to the energy that affects the world around us. In Ephesians 2:2 the devil is referred to as the prince of the power of the air. When we lift up a worshipful war cry against him, it literally tears through his living quarters and he must run for cover! So be wise. Don't put your energy toward shouting at that guy who just cut you off in traffic. Maybe next time take a swing at the real enemy and I'll bet you'll be surprised. Man, it feels pretty good to land a punch to the gut and knock the wind out of our real foe! Based on the song Don't Tread On Me by Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Franni Cash, Andrew Bergthold, Martin Cash, Kyle Briskin. Original post by We The Kingdom is available on YouVersion based on the album Holy Water.
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” - Lamentations 3:22-23 There's nothing like going to bed after a difficult day of stress or tragedy and waking up to what feels like a blank slate. But what's even better is when this happens to our souls. About four years ago, I went through a tragic experience that sent me into a multiple-month mayday. I vividly remember feeling nothing for the first time in my entire life. I was completely numb. Of course, I immediately ran to many vices in search of a cure. It's funny how in that moment, it made more sense to me to "amputate my own leg and replace it with a prosthetic" than to face the pain of the “bullets.” But the whole reason I was able to justify the "amputation" in the first place was so I could feel something. Anything. Even if it was only to convince myself that I was still alive. It didn't happen overnight, but somewhere along the way, something changed. I gradually became more and more aware of the pulse of my soul's heartbeat. The gift of life is like no other, but there is only one that supersedes it. That is the gift of salvation. It's one thing to wake up with breath in your lungs, but it is entirely another to wake up every single morning with a mercy that you've never met before. And there it is, waiting patiently for you when you wake up tomorrow. Based on the song Waking Up by Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Franni Cash, Andrew Bergthold, Martin Cash, Kyle Briskin. Original post by We The Kingdom is available on YouVersion based on the album Holy Water.
"But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." - 2 Corinthians 3: 16-18From the moment we're born, we immediately begin to struggle with the need to fit in. Some mysterious mixture of the way we are wired and the environments in which we grow up begins to form early on, and we are enticed to fit into the mold of being the person that we think everyone around us wants us to be. We become a player on the stage of life, ferociously trying to find the part that feels the most like our true self. We'll play a part for a while until that character is worn out or not well-received, and then we'll move on to the next, doing whatever it takes to be known and loved.I've worn every mask you can find at the mask maker's shop. It's an enticing place filled with the most beautifully impossible promises..“Got a little shame? Try this mask on. It's perfect for keeping people from knowing all the horrible things you've done.”Got a little insecurity? This is the one for you. It's called Pride, and it'll keep everyone from being able to see the things about you that you think they wouldn't love.”“Struggling with doubt? Our Distraction model is the ideal antidote to keep you from having to confront the deep places in your heart that scare you to death.“Carry these with you back to the stage of life, and you're sure to dupe everyone around you and even yourself into believing that you've got it all figured out.”I'm done. I'm finished being defined by the masks of my past. I'm finished being defined by fear. I'm not finished with the struggle, but I'm finished with hiding. Not because I heard a motivational speaker or read a blog or listened to a great podcast or had a great conversation, but because I've finally surrendered to the journey of self-discovery that I believe can only happen when we begin to see ourselves through the lens of God's perfect love. It started with acknowledging that I had indeed placed a veil over my heart that I used to hide from myself, the people around me, and even my Savior. I realized that until I was honest about my struggles, I'd never be known, and I'd always feel locked up. I'm constantly discovering cages that lurk in the hidden caverns of my heart, but I've learned that the love of Jesus is the light-beam key that unlocks each prison door. When we surrender our souls to His searchlight, we find the freedom to be our true self. I'm learning how to daily allow the Lord to remove the veil from my face and just be candid about my battles.Our song “Cages” ends with the plea “What I wouldn't give to be known”. We spend our whole lives trying to give it all we've got just to be known, but the beauty of the Gospel is that Jesus already gave everything. We don't have to try to fit in. We don't have to play a part. The director of the true play is in the business of tearing through the masquerade with His perfect love. Based on the song Cages by Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Franni Cash, Andrew Bergthold, Martin Cash, Kyle Briskin. Original post by We The Kingdom is available on YouVersion based on the album Holy Water.
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? ... If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.” It was 8am in the North Carolina mountains where I woke up 30 minutes before a gathering of 500 Young Life high school kids at Windy Gap camp. I was foggy eyed from having been to bed around 2:30 am. The speaker was going to be talking that morning about sin. There in my bed I was taken back in a vision to my high school days. The pain, confusion and misery were so real it was almost as if I was 17 again. God dropped this song on my heart, and it was written in 15-20 minutes before I was fully awake. I sang it for those kids shortly after that morning and many of them, including me, were in tears. There was a time in my life that I did my best to hide from the presence and Spirit of God. I ran as hard and far as I could. But even on the far side of the sea, in the absolute pit of despair and strung out from addiction, God ran to me as I cried out to Him for help. There's something about being raw and honest and vulnerable that sets the table for the Spirit of God to move in a powerful way. He saved me. And He saves me. Every day. He saves me from my sin, from my selfish ways. He hears my cries for help and He is swift to come running. Even still there are those moments where I'm aware that my heart is prone to wander when I cry, “Lord! Save me. I'm sinking”. And when I reach out, there is ALWAYS a Hand ready to pull me up. I think one of the greatest dangers for me is to think is that I'm any less utterly desperate for God on sunny days than stormy ones. I need Him now like I needed Him then. Yes, some days are sunny and some stormy, but HE is the Lord of them all! I like that this song doesn't wrap up in a pretty bow. It leaves off at the cry for help. The answer to this song can be found in many of our other songs and even more in the Word of God. But one thing is for sure - “Draw near your God (which this song does) and HE will draw near to you”! I thank God that He didn't leave me in my despair. These past two weeks have been really difficult. There are moments where I've felt like running and hiding. It's really hard to just sit in pain and feel it and let the Lord minister to your heart rather than finding a way to medicate the pain, but He's teaching me how to do that and to trust Him. I'm learning every day to trust Him more. Three steps forward, one step back, three steps forward, one step back...over time, that's a lot of steps forward :). I'll focus on that and NOT the shame that wants to tell me I'm no good and focus on the steps back that are part of being human. God is kind and loving and gracious. If He can show me mercy, and He lives in me, maybe I can show myself a little more mercy. I won't stop seeking Him. Man, I love Him!!!! Based on the song SOS by Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Franni Cash, Andrew Bergthold, Martin Cash, Kyle Briskin. Original post by We The Kingdom is available on YouVersion based on the album Holy Water.
You've heard it from the pulpit a million times. You've heard it another million sitting on that pew beside your mom. You've seen it under Tim Tebow's eyes and by this point you probably have it written in sharpie on the back of your hand. John 3:16. But why do we neglect the power and impact of a message or phrase based on its increasing occurrence? “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” If I'm being honest, I have always thought of and interpreted this verse as it pertains to me because it's what's familiar. “God so loved America” or “God so loved the town I grew up in” or “God so loved my high school.” It's all I've ever known. However, the amazing thing is that he actually loves you enough to love the whole world because it gives you a context for your identity. The fact that He loves you amongst the entirety of the globe must mean two things. One, that you are incredibly special and worth loving. And two, you aren't isolated. It's one thing to love a single particular color on its own like blue or green, but when you see that color incorporated onto a beautiful masterpiece of a canvas, all of a sudden it has an identity that, in turn, enhances its character. Based on the song God So Loved by Ed Cash, Scott Cash, Franni Cash, Andrew Bergthold, Martin Cash, Kyle Briskin. Original post by We The Kingdom is available on YouVersion based on the album Holy Water.