I really had no idea what I was going to write about this morning, but as always, God provides. As I sat down at our computer desk, I was flooded with the thoughts of how things come full circle. Of how, God prepares you for what you’re going to need later. As I spoke these last two weeks, first on Mercy, then about how I had needed to apply mercy that very week. It’s all just so incredible how God works.
It’s true though. Another great example, is one of my Pastors, was recently moved to write a book, like couldn’t shake the urge. And, when she sat down to really start writing it, she started going through her notes from previous years, and realized, she had practically already written it. Now, her book is available to everyone, and it’s a message of Goodbye Panic, Hello Peace. You can find it for sale here. #Godshowedup!
I have another friend, who started a home business in the past couple years. She’s a home & life organizer, she helps people declutter their houses, and their lives with creative and positive solutions, while being understanding and supportive. And recently when she was going back through some of her paperwork and different things she had collected (articles, documents, etc.) , she realized that this had been a passion of hers for years. And, here God had helped her make it into a business. #Godshowedup!
Even with the example of my mercy story, and the many, many other stories I’ve related to you over the almost 1 year I’ve been writing this blog. I felt compelled this week, in the fact that 1) I’ve been writing this blog for almost a year (?!?!? What?!) and 2) this week, I had yet another miraculous series of events that has compelled me to reflect in awe and wonder as to what the future will hold. Many, many moons ago, my husband and I had a candle business, and in our first real year of running the business, we turned a profit. But, then, life got in the way, and we focused on various other things for a long time, but as a lot of things have calmed down, and we’ve had the ability to refocus some efforts… here we’ve come full circle. Now, over the years, it’s been very tempting to restart the business, but it’s never been a good time, or we couldn’t focus our efforts. But now, it all seems right. And, with the internet businesses better than ever, I’m more optimistic than ever. I also had a girlfriend recently who was getting rid of a bunch of candle stuff, that I took off her hands for her ;). I mean – #Godshowedup!
It’s really incredible, when you leave everything in God’s hands, you do start seeing God’s hands in everything. I could go on and on, but I’ll just share a recap of this year’s areas where #Godshowedup. Because when you let him, He’ll show up, every time.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you!! Thank you for being the incredible, amazing, Good Father that you are. Thank you, that you show up! Thank you for being faithful. For wanting the best for us. Thank you that you are the Good, Good Father, who slowly shows us all the things we need to work toward your will for us. Thank You for laying your hands on our lives. Thank You, for all that you do Father. My words cannot express my gratitude for your will and hands in my life. I pray that everyone reading this experience the amazing awe and wonder that I have experienced at watching you work my life, for your good. I love you Father, and I appreciate all that you’ve done for me, and I ask that you show everyone here how much you show up. I pray that they let you work your hands in their lives. I know that you are the ALMIGHTY GOD WHO SHOWS UP, EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK! And, I’m so grateful for that. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Women’s Alive Conference is this next weekend! This is held in Brookings South Dakota, every year in October. A time for refreshment and renewal. A time for women to get together and encourage each other, and to soak in God’s word, and make lasting relationships with each other, and God. It’s October 18th & 19th. Crystal Jones is the guest speaker this year.
If you would like to join us, please register with the Holy Life Tabernacle. (Click here) It’s only $20!
Or if you would like to donate, click here, and chose Women’s Alive Conference in the options.
As I have been overwhelmed this past couple weeks, with all the things. Fun things, enjoyable family things, life things, I have struggled to get to church on Sunday morning. Ever since I hurt my back, I’ve noticed that I tire easier. Get worn out. And, have to take life a little slower. Which is a blessing-since I’ve lived a good portion of my life at Mach 3, but sadly these past two weeks, I didn’t wake up in time to get to church. So, then when I heard this past Wednesday that we were having a guest speaker – who I listen to their podcasts – was speaking. I knew, I had to go. And, I wanted to go. But Satan pulled his old tricks, and started making me feel guilty about not spending time with my family during a weeknight, when we’ve been so busy. He also made my work absolutely crazy that day, so I would be dog tired by the time I got off work. And, I had forgotten to do anything about supper and now I had no time to make it. But, right at the last minute, I dug my heels in – and said, I’m going to church. And, my pastor’s voice rang out in my head, “If you don’t go, you’ll miss an opportunity.” I had to attend. Those small words were just confirmation that I was going to be blessed, and I was meant to hear the words that night. And, I was not disappointed. Because, did we ever doubt it, #Godshowedup!
This past Wednesday, Bill Vanderbush was the speaker at my church. What a blessed word!?! Revelations were made and had, and #Godshowedup. Without a shadow of a doubt. I’m sure everyone had their own revelations, but as I have digested these things for a couple of days, I will share what was revealed to me.
It’s been bothering me for some time, that we have Religion. That when people ask what I believe in, and I say Jesus Christ, they then ask what church I go to. Or what denomination I am. Or whatever. I don’t fit in a box. I don’t necessarily believe what any of the “religions” are teaching. I believe the Bible. I believe in the feeling I get when I’m praying. I believe in Jesus Christ, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit that lives inside me. I believe that God is alive and well, and working in my life. I believe that Jesus died for my sins and was resurrected to make a new covenant for man and God, and that I have the Holy Spirit of God living inside me that is my connection to my God, and that enables me to do all things. I struggle with the fact that humanity has fallen so far away from God, that they believe you can put Him in a box. That He is this clearly defined thing that we can sum up in words like, “Catholic, Lutheran, Non-denominational” to know what it is I believe.
Oh my goodness. I just want to shout it from the mountaintops. I believe in GOD. I believe in the Almighty Father, who is the Alpha and Omega. I believe in the God, who raised Christ from the DEAD. Who raised Lazarus from the DEAD. Who healed lepers, and paralytics, who knows all things, and sees all things. Who is the VICTOR. Who defeated SATAN. Who saves me from me, and you from you. I believe in the GOD who removes your sins so completely from your life that you can be a new person. Like, literally, a new person. A NEW CREATION. I believe in the God, who after man had broken his covenant (Adam & Eve) made a way to have a new covenant that we couldn’t break – because Jesus would make that covenant for us, and we can’t break something that we don’t have. I believe in the God who performs miracles. Who created us. Who created everything we see. I believe in the God who breathed life into us, and spoke creation into existence.
It just breaks my heart that so many “believers” out there, seem to miss the mark. They’re like, “Yeah, I believe in God, and that Jesus died for my sins.” But DO YOU? Do you really? Do you understand that the God you believe in, LIVES INSIDE YOU? He’s not somewhere out there. He’s INSIDE YOU. You and Him are one. And I’m one with Him. Do you truly understand that the SAME GOD who raised Christ from the DEAD, lives inside you??? That if You believe, that you will receive, that what you give, will be given to you? I ache that I seem to be part of this small faction that understands the amazing, awesomeness of the fact that God wants to have a personal relationship with me, and that He lives inside me. And, that we are ONE. That I am sent to bring others to this revelation. That if you truly understood that God LIVES in YOU, You would be on fire too! That it would bother you that not everyone seems to be getting it! They have not truly received the Holy Spirit, to understand that God has re-established this connection that we lost for thousands of years and was only reconnected after Jesus came and re-established it. That we can feel everything God wants us to feel. Love, peace, joy. They’re all ours to be had.
Months ago, someone revealed to me, that Jeremiah, was nick-named the “weeping prophet” – and in that moment, something rang true in me. I identified with Jeremiah. I then began to read Jeremiah, and I wasn’t understanding why I had identified with him. But, for months, it’s been nagging at me. The weeping prophet. But, just now, as I’m writing this to you. It all makes sense. I have this connection with God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ. I have this incredible, amazing feeling, deep down in my bones whenever I’m reading the Bible, or praying, or just walking around living life. Because I know, that there is a God, and he loves me, and you, and wants us all to be saved, and to understand what it’s like to have this relationship. And, yet, here’s the rest of the world, living in depression, and hate, and sinfulness, and despair, and they don’t seem to have any idea, that there’s a God out there that wants you to feel Amazing! That wants you to be happy, and have the best things in this life, and the next. And, that if people truly understood the connection that God wants to establish in you, that you would feel that way too. I ache and I weep because I want to airdrop this feeling into everyone. I just want everyone to get it! On every level. Just like Jeremiah. I’m not weeping for myself, or for God, but for everyone else.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your wisdom and your understanding. Thank you for imparting your Holy Spirit to us, and for saving us from ourselves! Thank you for speaking to us. Thank You that You sent Your Son to save us, and to make a new covenant that cannot be broken. That You don’t leave us where we’re at. That You are the Great, Amazing Father who blesses us. That you watch over us and guide us. Thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit that You may live inside us, and give us this amazing connection to You. Bless Your Holy Name Father. May we live forever in You. IN JESUS NAME!! AMEN!!
I’m going to be promoting this one for the next several weeks. It’s the beginning of Operation Christmas Child! This particular mission, is very near and dear to my heart. What an incredible opportunity. For less than $20, you can make a shoebox for a child, and drop it off at a local collection center, and spread love and the good news around the world. From right where you’re at. In every shoebox, Samaritan’s Purse puts a leaflet that gives the Salvation Story in their language, and as they’re distributing them, they share the story of Jesus Christ.
If you’ve been with me for a while, you know, that all of this started because I trust in God’s timing, or try to, anyway. If you’re just joining, I’ll catch you up. Last year, in April, I had been praying for a Bible Study for about 2 years. I had been going to different ones I had heard about here and there, but the timing wasn’t right. I couldn’t do it on the particular night they had it. They didn’t have it as often as I would like. Different stuff. It just wasn’t working out. Then, as I’m walking to my car this crisp April morning, I heard this whisper as clear as if someone was standing behind me and had breathed on my ear. “Why don’t you start a Bible Study?” I actually turned around to see who had said it. I was in disbelief. Me?! Start a Bible Study? I just started going back to church? (In the grand scheme of things, I hadn’t been attending church as long as I had felt it necessary for someone who leads a Bible Study’s caliber required.) But, my doubts only lasted a moment. Yeah, that’s a good idea. I know a couple people. I’m going to see them both tomorrow (up to this point, the only time I would ever be seeing both of them in the same day. Coincidence? I think not.) So, when I saw each of them the next day, I asked. They would love to. I also informed another life-long friend that I was starting a Bible Study without thinking she would want to attend, and lo-and-behold, she invited herself. We had gone from a concept to our first meeting within two weeks. Since then, we have lost a member, gained a member, had a member go on hiatus and come back.
Then, this past May, I threw a kick-off party. I invited everyone I could think of. I wanted the Bible Study to grow. We had grown personally so much. We now had this tight network of people that we could count on to pray for each other. To be there with us, when life was throwing us hard balls. To have “jam sessions” where we just talk about life, how God’s working in our lives, or getting guidance when we don’t feel like he’s working. We rented out a room to support “everyone” that was going to show up. We made bars, had games, prizes, everything. And, not one new person came. I was disappointed, but that’s ok. Not everything always goes according to plan. But, I haven’t given up. I always have to remember – not my timing. Now, since May, on a random Tuesday, we got a new member. Who has been a great addition to the group, and hopefully feeling that same sense of fellowship that I know the rest of us have grown to depend on. And then, this past Tuesday, another new member has joined. And, I have whisperings that this coming Tuesday, we’ll have another. We have almost doubled in size – since May. Without a party. Just God nudging people’s hearts to attend. 2 of the 3 weren’t even invited to the May party, I believe. Look at God’s timing. Look at how #Godshowedup. I’m so grateful. Not necessarily because I just want more people, but I cherish the Bible Study so much, that I want others to have that in their lives. I want others to grow. To have that sense of fellowship. To have a network to help them work through life. To have people praying for them.
It’s so important to trust and wait on the Lord. To know that He will fulfill His promises. That if we take leaps of Faith, He will catch us. This blog is another testimony to God’s timing. He had been laying it on my heart to start this blog for some time. Then, one day, I had said during morning prayer, if I have time today, I’ll do it. He proceeded to make everyone cancel their plans with me that day, before noon. Within a few short hours, everything I had on my calendar, had been wiped clean. Text after text came rolling in, can’t make it, can we do it another day? and so on. Ok, God. No more signs. Since then, I have had people share their testimonies about how this is just what they needed to hear that day. I’ve had people print and save some of my prayers for themselves and for others. I’ve had a total of at least 344 visitors (I don’t believe my website catches all who read it.) What an encouragement, for myself and for those who read it. I never aspired to be a writer, but the Lord has stuff to say, and I have prayed to be a mouthpiece. May God always bless the work of my hands. I hope this encourages you, to pray that God use you. To pray that you trust in his timing and his path. May the work of your hands always flourish and may you see and cherish the moments where God shows up! Because they’re amazing! And they never get old. And God is most definitely alive and working today. I hope that you’re a willing vessel to bring His Kingdom to Earth, that you may see His works, and live in His awe and wonder.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You! Thank you for showing up! Thank you for your timing. Thank you for instilling a trust in us, to trust in You. May we be vessels for Your work and Your Word. May we have the patience and the peace that surpasses all understanding to know that You’ve always got our backs. That You will always fulfill Your Word, and that You only want good things for our lives. Bless Your name Father that You are the Good, Good Father who watches over us and protects us, and that You have everything done in Your timing and not our own. That we may always continue to see Your work and wonder in our lives. That we may be a blessing to those around us, and that we may bring Your Kingdom to Earth. That we may shine Your light into the lives of others. That we may be beacons of hope, the hope and assurance that You provide, and that we may guide others to Your Light. Thank You for all that You do Father. May we always bring glory and honor to Your name. IN JESUS NAME! AMEN!!
Hurricane Dorian has left much of the Caribbean devastated. Please take a moment to pray for these people and their families. Samaritan’s purse is there, helping as much as they can. To read more: Hurricane Dorian
This past week, an important discussion came up. Which church do you go to? I’m not sure if I’ve discussed this before here, but my ladies Bible Study group is not church-specific. It is compiled of ladies that have come together through networking, a couple of us go to the same church, but most of us don’t. And, one of the things I really love, is that the churches we do attend, are all different “denominations”. Because please believe, denominations were not God’s idea. That is a tool that Satan has used to keep us separate, and sometimes, even pitted against each other. The more I read and understand, the more I see the enemy’s handiwork and understand how’s he’s got some people so twisted. – Anyway, today I would like to discuss the importance of church – in the sense of gathering together and fellow-shipping with others.
Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. All Church. And we are the Body. Collectively and singularly. The Body. Together we are supposed to be functioning as extensions of the Head, doing all the Body work as combined efforts. And singularly, working as an individual within the Body to further the efforts of Jesus Christ, which means putting our own effort in. So, we are supposed to have a church group where we can “plug in”. You can attend and get fed the Word, fellowship with other believers, and spend time in unified worship of our Father. And, this is what 75% of church-goers are doing. (By the way, that’s 75% of the 38% of Americans that are attending church every week). But then- there’s this whole other step that we’re supposed to be doing. We are not supposed to be going to church – just to go, just to get fed, just to feel better about going? We are supposed to be furthering the Kingdom. The church has WORK to do! The Body doesn’t just lie there, on a big chaise lounge, eating grapes, waiting for the Son to return. Also, Christ didn’t say he was the Head of a building (stationary and ungrowing), or the Head of a tree – that just stays where it’s at. He purposefully picked the Head of a Body. A moving, growing, changing thing that can manage and operate the world that it’s in.
We are supposed to be using our gifts to plug in and help the Church expand and grow. We are supposed to be helping one another and figuring out how to win more souls, how to get more people coming to the Faith – and hopefully coming to Church! We are supposed to be growing as believers and helping other people grow too. We are not supposed to be at church to go through the motions. And, if you are a believer, you should be going to a church. It’s important to have a relationship with Jesus, and read your Bible, but iron sharpens iron. Humans are pack animals, no matter how much some people want to say that they’re loners, we have an inherent sense to be a part of a community – some people just prefer smaller communities. The more we go to Church, the more you should want to go to Church. The more you grow, the more you should want to talk to others about what you’re learning to try to understand the concepts more. Church should challenge you to want to grow. Church should be a place where you can challenge others to grow. A place where you can plug in and be a part of the body, and also find your place within the body to help the body move into new space and further the Kingdom. We were never meant to sit still.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You! For all that You’ve done. Thank You for sending Your Son to die for us. Thank You for Your grace, and Your wisdom. That Your wisdom may flow into us, and give us a deeper understanding of Your Word. Bless Us Father. Bless the work of our hands, and our thoughts, and guide us in the way that we should go. Show us Your way Father. Show us where we’re supposed to be and guide us to get there. May we grow ever stronger in You, and may we bring others too, to bask in Your light and love, all the days of our lives. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
History suggests that church planting remains the most effective form of evangelism.
The church is God’s primary vehicle to advance his kingdom on earth. The goal of our evangelism and mission work is to establish new churches and strengthen existing ones. We don’t randomly scatter seeds with the hope that something grows. We strategically plant churches that will become strong enough to plant more. Learn more about EveryNation Church Planting here.
Many moons ago, I talked about how God is Love. God is Love. He is everything that is love, He is all those feelings, He embodies it, He is the definition of it. And love feels so good doesn’t it? To love, to be loved, all the good things that love gives us. And, God himself, is Love. And in John 13:35, it says, And everyone will know you, by your love. Because if we are true believers in Christ, You should be striving to be like Jesus, and if Jesus is God, and God is love. You should also be love.
As a few weeks ago, I was talking about how, if we’re just striving to be like Jesus, then, you will see your fruits. They will just come naturally, as you continue to grow and draw closer to God. One of the fruits is Love. And several times throughout scripture, God tells us to put on love.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-8
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
1 John 4:7
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
1 John 4:11
“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. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
1 John 3:16-18
“Do everything in love.”
1 Corinthians 16:14
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
One of the biggest things that hurts my heart is believers who acknowledge him with their lips and then deny him by their lifestyle. Or deny Him by speaking out in hate against others. Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand that we get wronged and get upset about things that happen to us. But we’re not supposed to let it fester. It’s not supposed to continue to live in us. Even Jesus had righteous anger in the temple against the gamblers and hypocrites, but then he moved on. He didn’t bear that grudge. He didn’t continue to beat them over the heads with how wrong they were, physically or verbally. In the very next verse, he starts healing the sick and goes about his business. Because He was here to do the Lord’s business.
One of the most difficult conversations I have, is trying to explain that I believe in the Bible and am a follower of Jesus Christ, when we have such a bad wrap – because of all these people who obviously weren’t grasping the main point of the Bible and being a believer. We have the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, even the Klan is said to have religious ties. Not to mention all the horrible things that have been done by people throughout the ages, while clinging to the “guise” of Christianity while doing it. It’s hard to make others understand, that those people who did these things were really missing a big point of the Bible. We are supposed to be love. Others should know we are believers, by our love. We are not supposed to seek vengeance, or put others down because of what they believe, or judge them, and we are definitely not supposed to be hurting anyone who doesn’t believe the same things we do.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full.35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
As I was having this disagreement with another believer at one point. Who had a very strong disliking for a specific group of people who did not believe in the Bible, they were up on their soap box, telling me how immoral it was and how wrong these people were. And, I looked at them, and said, “I understand that, but how are you supposed to win any of those people over by telling them that? By hating them? Who wants to come into a community and a relationship with God, when the example that they have, you, is spewing hate and filth? You know, God created them too, and wants them to be saved too, and you’re not winning any souls with that attitude.”
We have to remember that we hate the sin, not the sinner. We all sin, and in the eyes of God, all the sins are the same. A lie is just as bad as murder. Not one of us is above another, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. In this century, and the last, and the next to come, the world needs more Love, more God. More of Him, and less of us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you. Thank You, that you are better than us. That you love each and every one of us so much, that you sent your Son to die for us, every one of us. I ask You today Father, to take out our hearts of stone, and give us hearts of flesh. Hearts like Yours Father. Wash us in Your Word. Remove the logs from our eyes, that we may see the world as You do. Give us supernatural peace and understanding to love one another, to love ourselves, and to love You. To know that You are the Good, Good Father who loves us. To see that we live in a fallen world, and that others should see your light, and know your love, by our love toward others. Bless the work of our hands, and the words from our mouths, and the people in our lives by our love – which is Your love through us. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
A mission finder! Help out here! Spread the Love of God’s Word. This particular mission, is a agency that will connect you where you are. You can go on short trips or long trips, local or the other side of the planet.
I think one of the most powerful things I’ve learned in the past couple years as a new creation in Christ, is that only the devil wants us looking back. Any time, we start to fixate on the past, that’s the devil’s handy-work. Every morning you wake up and you get a new chance to make new decisions. Every day, you get a new chance to forgive yourself and forgive others. And, one of the most powerful tools that the devil has is You. Your own mind. Your own insecurities. Your own anger. You. And if he can keep you in the past, then you can’t live in the now, and you can’t move forward. Sure, you’re still getting up and going places, but where are you in your head? God knows this. Why do you think He gave us the helmet of Salvation? Because some of the biggest battles you face, are going to be with yourself.
I like how the New Living Translation says it, “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.” Phillipians 2:12
I know how hard of a battle this can be. I’ve been an addict, an abuser, and been abused. Trust me, there’s been a lot of Salvation to work out. When I was called to write this blog, those were definitely some items that were trying to hold me back. Who is going to believe me? Who is going to want to read my stuff? I’ve been in the lowest of the low places. But, I just have to remind myself that God has forgiven me, and that I’m trying to share his word and bring others to the Faith and have a closer relationship with him. Because if God can forgive Paul (a murderer) who turned out to be one of the biggest advocates for Jesus Christ, He can forgive me, and He can forgive any body else who asks for it. And please believe, I have not admitted some of these things openly before because there are people who read my blog who don’t know these things about me, and could think differently about me because of it. But we all have our own struggles, and I have overcome all of mine. Because God has set me free. And because I serve the one true God who will watch over me and guide me and has been urging me to be honest and open with my audience. Because He has forgiven me, and I have forgiven myself, and I have forgiven others, and I don’t live there anymore. I’m only looking forward. And, now, here I am, a new creation in Christ. And, I’m not special. It’s available for everyone. You just have to work for it.
Sometimes, it’s crazy to think what my life used to be, compared to what it is now. But that’s part of what’s so amazing about your relationship with Jesus Christ. He removes all your transgressions, as far as the east is from the west. He washes you white as snow. If you ask for forgiveness, He doesn’t just forgive some of the things, He forgives ALL of the things. Sometimes Satan tries to sneak in there and tell me that I’m not worthy of God’s love, that I’m not forgiven, that I’m going to suddenly get in trouble for something that happened 10 years ago. But those are all lies. They’re all in the past. I haven’t lived there for 10 years. And, I’m only looking forward. I continually am working out my Salvation with fear and trembling. But, I just reassure myself that I am a child of God, Holy and Beloved. That God only wants good things for me. I have spent a decade becoming a new creation in Christ. I am sad that Satan had a hold of me for so long, but I have spent 10 years being a new person. 10 years growing into this new creation. And, I am looking forward to the next 10 years, because it can only get better. I am a child of the Overcomer.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your incredible love. Thank You that you forgive ALL things, and that we can all rest assured in Your Salvation. That You are the Overcomer, and that You give us the strength and the Salvation to be overcomers ourselves. Thank You Father, that you only want us moving forward. That we do not live in the past. Thank You Father, that you gave us Paul as an example of anyone who seeks your Salvation and your word can be a Child of God. Thank You that you sent your son to die for us. Thank you for all that you’ve done, and may we all continue to work out our Salvation with fear and trembling. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!
When I was a teenager, I went on a mission trip here to help out for a week. A homeless shelter in downtown Atlanta. Preaching the Good Word and trying to save souls and lives.
This past week, I just received the title up there of what I would be discussing. How to pray through. It has become one of the most powerful tools that has effectively changed how I think and how I act as a Christian. I read a book a couple years ago, that spoke on this topic, and it really opened my eyes to all the different kinds of prayer you can do, all the concepts behind prayer, all the ways and situations we could and should be using prayer in. And, thank God, I will never be the same. It is incredible, the power of praying through. If you haven’t heard of this concept, let me share some information about it, then I’ll share a story of one of the first times I really applied it.
So, I’ll admit, I’m a nerd, and I love Science, always have, always will. But here, I’m going to share some information, and share how it applies to our prayer life. So, a couple years ago, I was reading an article about information they were discovering about the brain and how we think, and they have since grown and expanded this information and you can read more about it almost anywhere if you’re interested. So, we can grow up thinking one way, and being a complainer and griping about all kinds of things all the time. And just thinking that everything that happens to us is the most awful thing ever, and telling everyone and their dog about it. Or — every time, we start to think that way — we can stop that thought in its tracks. And think about something positive. If we start doing that – thinking about something that makes us happy when we start stressing out – and we have to keep at it. Start getting stressed out – think happy thoughts – quite literally. You can actually REWIRE your own brain. Let me say that again. YOU CAN REWIRE YOUR OWN BRAIN. Now, God told us this a long time ago, but you know, it takes us humans a while to catch up sometimes.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
So, if you continue to battle those negative thoughts, by thinking good thoughts when they start to creep in, you eventually will be thinking that way – naturally. You can rewire your own brain. — I cannot stress that enough. God has given you the power to rewire your own brain. You can do this. And, it’s incredible. I’m going to show you two different ways I have applied this.
I’ve touched on this before in the Year of Great Loss, but we’ll dig a little deeper today. One of my family members was in jail for a crime they didn’t commit, waiting for their hearings and trial. Their bail was set at an astronomical amount. But, at one point, our family had set another bail hearing to try to get it reduced. Now, I absolutely had no means to give the bail money, even if it was $100. But, I was convicted that he would be getting out on bail. I had set myself that he would be released. That was the only possible outcome that day. For weeks in advance, that was all I was praying about. Not only that the bail would be reduced, but that some angel would come and give the bail money, and he would be released. I couldn’t stop praying about it. God was about to give us a miracle. I knew it in my bones. I went and visited him one night, just days before the hearing, and after the visit, my in-law and I walked the courthouse block and prayed that God was about to work a miracle. I wrote that he would be released in my prayer box the night before and thanked God for his miracle. I was so sure of it, I was acting like it had already happened. I had a dream just days before that I was going to give him a hug. This was absolutely happening. The day came, and I was fasting and praying all day long, and I received a call (I had to work), that not only had his bail been reduced, but someone had put up the money and HE WAS OUT!!! GOD IS GOOD!! I had prayed through, and #GOD SHOWED UP!! I knew that it was going to happen. I trusted God, and He showed up!! But, that story, is one of the many where God has showed me that He loves His children, and He shows up. Praise God!!
Flipping the coin
Now, another part of this rewiring of the brain concept, is a little different. For a while, I’ve had a family member that stresses me out. Like, really stresses me out. They kinda live in chaos, and every once in a while that chaos seeps out into my life. And, after a few very interesting and stressful situations, one of Satan’s little demons snuck in and grabbed a hold of me. His name is Anxiety and Panic. After these situations, I started to live in fear. Live in a constant state of being afraid. Afraid that the phone would ring and chaos was about to ensue. Afraid that there would be a knock at the door, and I was about to have another horrific incident of terrifying mayhem. I couldn’t think straight. I was terrified all the time. I wasn’t living my life because of it. I couldn’t make plans. I couldn’t do all kinds of stuff because I just couldn’t. Those demons had a death grip on me, and were choking me. I was being suffocated by it. And, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t do anything (I mean, I was going through all the motions of life) but I was checked out, and I was checked in to Satan’s hotel of pure anxiety and fear. And, one evening, the phone rings and here is chaos. And, I am freaking out, what am I supposed to do? How do I stop this? What?!?! AHHHH!!!! And, I look over at my husband, and he’s just hanging out. Now, a tiniest snip about my husband, he grew up in chaos similar to what I’m currently experiencing. And, I go, “How?! How did you do this? How can you be so chill?” And, he just says, “What are you going to do about it? What can you possibly do?” And in his words, my chain-breaker showed up.
Although my husband is not currently a believer, God used His words, to channel my Holy Spirit, to tell me that I needed to stop. Just stop. Stop living in fear, rip those demons from around my throat and send them back to where they belong. And, from that moment on, whenever those demons try to sneak back in, I start thinking positive thoughts. I memorized a verse, I would recite that verse to myself in my head. I started thinking about all the good things God has done for me. Now, I will admit, sometimes I still get a little panicky. I start getting nervous about something I think might happen. But, I just start reciting that verse in my head again, and it starts calming me down.
Colossians 3:12-15 “12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
But God has given me the peace that surpasses all understanding. I have to let go. Chaos is going to happen, at some point, at some time or another, whether with my family member or someone else or something else. It’s like death and taxes… inevitable. There is no way I can live in this fallen world and think that I’m untouchable and that just because I’m a believer that I get to be over here living this perfect life without Satan trying to sneak in here and mess stuff up. But, I do know, that God tells me not to fear. Do not be afraid, for I am with you, and I hold you up with mighty right hand. That I’m on the winning team. That no matter what happens – I just have to pray through it. Sprinkle some praise on it. Thank you God for giving me my life, that it may all glorify and honor you. That you may bless the work of my hands, and use it all for your glory and your goodness. I can tell you that I no longer live in a state of constant panic. I am no longer a giant ball of nerves. My chain-breaker has set me free.
Dear Heavenly Father, THANK YOU! Thank you that you are the chain-breaker. That you SET US FREE! Thank you!! Thank you for all that You are. Let us all come before You, that you may show us how to free ourselves from those demons that wish to steal, kill, and destroy. That You may help us change our thoughts. Change the way we understand life. Bring us to Your level. Lift us up with Your mighty right hand. Remove these thoughts and this fear from our lives. Rule our hearts Father. Show us to not be afraid. To be the warriors you’ve called us to be. To watch over us, and help us watch over ourselves. To remove the veil from our eyes that we may see the schemes of the devil, and that we send him packing. Bless us Father. We are the head and not the tail. Watch over us. Guide us. Make our paths straight. Straight unto Your Holy Kingdom. That our paths may shine bright and show others the way to You. Bless Your Holy Name, the GREAT I AM!! IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
It’s hard! It’s hard trusting your parent when you’re growing up to know what’s best for you. Maybe not so much in that manner, not like you’re thinking as a kid, “I hope they’re making the right decisions.” You’re just thinking, “this is what I want, why won’t my parent let me have it?!” Or, “I don’t want to do it that way, I want to do it MY way.” Right? We all had these moments growing up. It’s just part of growing up. It happened to everyone, we thought we knew better in all of our kid wisdom… And we were so wrong, weren’t we? Now that we’re adults, we know and understand that many of those decisions were made in OUR best interest or for OUR good. Now, little differences between our natural parents and our SUPERNATURAL Father, is our Heavenly Father, is always looking out for us, and He’s always the perfect parent.
So, in this, we are the children. In all of our kid wisdom, we are charging ahead, trying to do it our way, and thinking we know what’s best, but the Father has a better plan in mind. I think part of this kid wisdom we retain is because we’re still maturing as Christians. And, as we grow, it becomes easier to trust God and know that He’s in control, and He’s doing what’s best for us. Same thing in the natural, as we grow, we trust our parent’s decisions more and more. We gain the understanding that maybe we don’t know all the answers and that our parents have a better understanding of the world, and maybe they know what’s best. I believe, that as we strengthen our relationship with God, it becomes a little easier all the time to know that He’s got it figured out and we just need to trust Him.
Let me share some of my life experience here to show you what I mean. When I first started out as a “baby” Christian (as an adult – we’re not counting all the years that I was saved and “going through the motions”). I was going to church, and really starting to get this connection with God, and feeling the Holy Spirit stirring in me. I made the decision that we were going to move to Arkansas. We started selling/gifting pretty much all our stuff, we notified our family in Arkansas, we started saying good-bye to all our friends and family here, I sold our mobile home. We are hitting the road Jack! And, at one point, someone asked me, “Have you asked God what He thinks about all of this?” And, in the moment they said that, I knew, God said No. I knew it, but I never straight out asked God, it was just as soon as they said that, everything in my body screamed, “NO”. But, as children do, if you don’t ask, they can’t tell you “No”, Right? So, I didn’t, I never asked, I just barreled ahead, this is what we’re doing. And, two weeks before we were to leave on a “scouting” vacation to start putting some more stuff together, I got the job offer of a lifetime. Haha, I mean, the one thing God knew better than anyone, let’s put this in front of her. And, for 3 days, I struggled. But, I was only struggling with myself, I knew that this was the path, not Arkansas. And, I took the job, and we had to re-build everything right where we were. Now, looking back, I know that this is what God wanted. Just a few years later, my dad would pass suddenly, and I would’ve regretted my decision to move away SO MUCH! I’m so grateful God saved me from me. I wouldn’t have the amazing job I have now. I wouldn’t have my ladies’ Bible study group. I wouldn’t have so many things, I wouldn’t be a member of the church I am now, I could go on and on. Hindsight is 20/20. Thank God, He saves us from us.
Fast forward, a few years later, and we’re living in our rental. I have grown much deeper in my Faith, and I’m spending a lot of time in prayer and reading my Bible, sharing time with God, and just burning for our time together. And, the landlord knocks on our door one morning (in the midst of a million other things happening) and says, he’s going to demolish the house in 45 days. We need to move. I don’t even know where to begin, but I didn’t start looking for places to live right away (for some reason?). I talked to a few people, and our sister-in-law had a house lined up to move into October 1st, I didn’t even check anything else, we just accepted. Come to find out, after we have moved in 75% of our stuff, this landlord is Crazy (like certifiable), and we’re going to have to move again (or pay 3x the rent….), and low and behold, the day we start looking for another new place, this little house pops up (just hours before), that is “perfect”. Not really what we love, but better than anything else that you can find mid-semester in a college town. We take it. And the rest, is another story. But, see how all of that, worked together? I’m just following God’s lead, everything was syncing together like a giant puzzle, every time it seemed like one piece fell into place, another one was ready. We couldn’t have ended up where we are without it.
One of the really big moments that happened in the midst of all of this, was a moment I had with my son. We hadn’t quite moved out of House A (the one that was going to get demolished), and my son is outside on his skateboard, and I came out to watch him from the porch. I called him over, and I said, “How are you doing buddy?” He says, “I’m fine.” I said, “Really? Wow. I mean, we all have a lot of stuff going on right now. I’m not fine.” He kinda looks at me. And, sits down next to me on the step, and I said, “You know. It’s OK to not be OK. I mean, we have A LOT of stuff going on right now, and to be honest, I don’t know what’s going to happen next.” And, in this moment, that little kid and I just broke. And cried. And, I said to him, “You know, no one in that house is OK right now. There are a lot of things happening, and moving is a big deal, and I don’t know where we’re going to go or what’s going to happen next, but you know what I do know? I know that God’s got this, and that it’s all going to be OK eventually. That we just have to trust Him.” Then, we prayed for a little while, and we picked ourselves back up, and went about life. And, eventually, everything was ok. But, I mean, just a few short years of growth, and I’m a totally different person. I go from not wanting to talk to God about my decisions, to not even really making decisions, just going with the apparent flow that is happening. And, showing my son, that I’m just trusting God for these things. He takes care of the sparrow, why not me? There are so many moments in my life this recent years, where I just, did my best, prayed it was blessed, and trusted God for the rest. And He does not disappoint. He always shows up. #Godshowedup. Every time. Because He doesn’t change. When you trust Him. He shows up.
Father, I pray today, that all those reading this, receive peace. Receive the overwhelming peace of the Messiah. Of the God whose peace surpasses all understanding. We do not know what’s best for us Father, but you do. I pray that you share your ethereal, overwhelming, overflowing peace with all my readers today, and every day. I pray that you air drop peace into their souls. That you steady their lives from within. That you resonate within them Father. That you quiet the world around them and share your ever-loving peace with them, in them, and that it may spread from the inside out. You, Father, take care of the sparrows, and you will take care of us. All the time. May we lean in to You Father. And you shelter us from the storm. This storm and all the storms to come. Thank You for all that you do Father, and all that you will do. May we always trust that You will show up, because You always do. IN JESUS” NAME!! AMEN!!
This week I’m focusing on a group that supports missions and missionaries. They sponsor mission’s trips and they help connect people with other groups and outreaches if you’re looking for missions but aren’t quite sure where to start.
Let’s talk this week about one of the biggest issues that faces Christians. Why won’t God answer my prayer? Right? We’ve all had this moment. Something is happening, and you’re praying, and you’re praying, and….. nothing is happening. And, you start to doubt, you start to wonder, maybe…. I’m not praying right, maybe God doesn’t love me enough, maybe whatever. Well, I’d like to take a little time this week, to go through some possibilities of what’s going on. I know it took me a while to figure some of these out myself.
First thing, we have to understand why God does answer prayer. God answers prayer, when it’s His will. So, as I’ve stated previously, you have to pray for God’s will to be exercised through you, you have to bring His will onto Earth. I’ll use money as an example: You can pray for more money, but then you have to be ready for the responsibilities of more money, be ready to give His portion back (you should already be giving Him his portion too), be ready to walk through the opportunities that He gives you to get more money. But, with all of this, it also has to be the right time for you to get more money (and only God knows when that is.) Sometimes, your circumstances have to be what they are for God to work the blessings He has in store for you, and if that means you need to be strapped for cash right now, then that’s how things are going to be for a minute. But know, that God does want good things for you, through your trials and tribulations, remember that God plays the long game. You need to as well.
This ties into the second one, which I’m sure we’ve all heard. It’s in His timing. This one is rough. ” But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8. The Lord’s timing is completely different from ours, and that makes waiting seem like it’s taking f o r e v e r. But, it’s true. God only does things when the time is right, and he never does it during the wrong time. And, as Christians, this goes back to trusting God. We have to implicitly trust in His timing. Again, it’s the long game. God’s got all the time in the world to make His will happen in our lives. Our relationship with God, is a marathon. Even the Bible refers to “running the good race.” “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” – Galatians 5:7 I like that it asks you this ^^ question right after, seems like we’ve all struggled with keeping to the Word sometimes. 😉
Sometimes, it’s not God’s will. —-OOOHHHH, ouch. Although that one is a little cutting, let me lessen the blow. Sometimes, it’s true, what you’re asking for, is not what God has in mind, but this is two-fold. 1) Because He has something better in mind, which again, we have to trust that He knows what’s best since He is the omnipotent God. 2) It’s truly not His will. —- Now, we as Christians are supposed to be trying to align ourselves to be more Christ-like, to be more in-tune with God, to have a heart and mind like God does…. not just for ourselves and our daily lives, but for our prayer-life. Then, if we are achieving this harmonious relationship with Jesus and our Lord, we begin to pray accordingly – more in line with the Father’s will – and therefore seeing more of our prayers being answered! <— See how all that melded together? As I grow in my prayer-life, I realize more and more, that I’m not praying for my outcome – what I think I want to happen in the situation. I am praying for the situation, and that God put His hand in there and do what needs to be done for the best outcome. A big part of that, is because I’ve been shown, that I obviously have no idea what the best outcome is sometimes because I’m over here thinking about options A, B, and C, and God comes out of left field and answers the situation with Option M – which no one even thought was possible or in the realm of being able to answer the situation. But, that’s really some of the most AMAZING work that God does sometimes. He completely exceeds our expectations and gives these miraculous answers, but we have to be ready and open for these answers too.
And, then, my final one. Which may be the most difficult one to understand at times. Going back to my post last week. We live in a fallen world. And, sometimes, our prayers don’t get answered because there are more things at work. Sometimes, when it’s a situation that the devil obviously has a hold of, it may take longer to win the battle. I feel that sometimes, we can pray all we want, but if you’re not dealing with just yourself in the situation, and the devil’s got a hold on the other players, those players are going to have to ask God to step in. He’s a gentlemen. Maybe the only thing you can do is pray that they see the light. Or try to pray with them. Continue to be a blessing of love and light in their lives, and pray that they ask God to enter the situation. ” For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12. Sometimes, it’s not our part to solve the situation, but to pray for the right person to do the right thing. No matter how bad we want it. This is a moment of let go, and Let God.
With all that being said, I hope it helps. I hope you have a better understanding of some of your situations right now, or some of your situations in the past. I hope you can apply some of this knowledge in the future. To know, that God does want what’s best for you, and for those around you, and to ALWAYS trust in Him. I hope that you continue to grow in your Faith and your understanding of the deep love the Father has for you, and that you may grow in your love with the Father as well.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you! Thank you for all that you’ve done for us. For all that you continue to do. For your great knowledge and understanding of our lives, and our hearts. I pray Father that you give deep knowledge and consolation to all those reading this. That you lay your hands upon their lives, and hold them close. That we may all share in the understanding that You do know what’s best for us. That Your hand may be at work in our lives, in all the best ways possible. That you give us the peace that surpasses all understanding as we wait for Your will to be done here. That You continue to watch over us and guide us in Your ways. That You bless the work of our hands and the words that come out of our mouths. That they may be blessings to those around us. That we show others Your light through our actions and our words. That all the world may know Your love, and that we may be a part in sharing that love. Bless us. Bless those around us. That it may all be for Your glory and honor. IN JESUS’ NAME!!! AMEN!
The Kulpahar Kid’s Home is a missions based in India. It’s the oldest missions there, and the ripe age of 72 years! This missions helps local children living in a very impoverished area get an (Christian) education, medical attention, and a home. They home over 90 children on these 32 acres, keeping them safe from the elements and helping them lead healthy, happy lives in an otherwise very dangerous and unstable area of India. For $60/month you can sponsor a child. Or you can just donate as your heart feels.
So last week, I touched on something that was an incredible revelation for me, and I thought I should dig deeper because it’s probably a big missing piece for others as well. We live in a fallen world. Now, I think we all know that and have probably said it at some point, but what does it mean? What does it mean for us? What does it mean for those around us?
In the beginning, God created a perfect world, and put Adam and Eve in it. And, if you remember, at that point, God walked around on the world, and interacted with Adam and Eve directly. And life was good. But then, along came Satan, and sin. And he tempted Eve into biting the apple. And because Eve and Adam had free will, they made a choice, falling into the traps of the devil, and so we – and the world – fell. At this point, death became the ultimate repercussions for sin. And the world became Satan’s domain. Because, as we know, God cannot be in the presence of sin. He cannot look upon it. We then, spend the next couple thousand years trying to get back to God, which obviously we cannot, and so God sent His son to give us that connection back.
When Eve bit that apple, God didn’t step in and put his almighty hand between her mouth and the apple. He could have. But He didn’t. He gave us free will. Free will to do what we wanted with our lives. Free will to make choices. And, with Satan at the helm, we make the wrong choices. ” The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
Big picture – when Eve and Adam bit the apple, the condemned us to living in Satan’s world. Think about it – after this God banished them from the garden (which we have never been able to find again on Earth.) and put them out to work the fields and endure hard labor and to always be bitten by the snake, and to always have the choice to crush the snake’s head. And then, God left Earth. I do not believe there is another mention of God stepping onto Earth after the garden. He gets close, he speaks from the heavens, he manifests himself into other things, but God actually stepping on the Earth – never happens again. Because, Earth, is Satan’s playground.
Here, Satan causes all these terrible things. He uses the minds of others to manifest his wants, to kill others, to hurt others, to damage things. To steal, kill, and destroy. That’s all Satan. And, it’s not God “allowing” it. This isn’t his place. As I’ve always said, He’s a gentlemen, and this isn’t his house. That’s part of why we’re asked to let God into our hearts, to give our lives to Jesus, to have a personal relationship with God. Because that’s the only way that God can do his will on Earth – is if we ask for it. We are his vessels to manifest His will here. Think back to the Lord’s prayer – “your kingdom come, your will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.” We have to bring it down. We have to speak it into existence. We have to overcome the Devil, and demand that God bring His will into this world. Because, Adam and Eve already made the choice for us, that He had to leave, and we have to make the conscious choice to bring Him back down here.
Another – closer example – would be the Year of Great Loss, all this crazy, horrible stuff was happening. And, I’m over here going, “God, why are you doing this?” “What is the point?” “Why is this happening to me?” But see, even Satan can make a puppet that looks like God. And, if he can convince us that it’s God’s fault that bad things are happening – then, ooooh what a way to shake your faith?!?! Turn you against your Savior? Make you believe that the one thing that can save you, is the reason you’re in the mess you’re in?!!? Then, he’s GOT YOU! God doesn’t do these terrible things! He did in the old testament, but He has made a new covenant with us.
And, if you think about it, during the my year. Satan was picking at me, doing all this mayhem. Turning me on my heels. I’m begging God in prayer to stop whatever’s going on. Then, during a prayer one morning, I had this revelation, that it wasn’t God. That it was Satan. Then, I changed the game. Realized that God and I were on the same team. That we had the Victory, together. That – we – together would defeat Satan’s plots. And, if you remember, as soon as I knew who I was battling against – it only got worse. It was like Satan was like, “Fine, if you know who you’re messing with anyway,” And then proceeded to roll up his sleeves and pull out all the stops. It only spiraled into this nightmare of chaos. (I never said it was going to be easy.) But, guess what? Who’s got the victory? I do. God and I do. Because as the rest of John 10:10 says, ” The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. ” or as Luke says, ” Stand firm, and you will win life. ” (Luke 21:19)
Believe in Jesus, give your Life to God, pray for Him to make you into the vessel He needs to manifest His will on Earth. Understand who your enemy is. Pray that God opens your eyes to the schemes of the devil. Pray for the peace that surpasses all understanding. Give your problems to God that He may make them into blessings. I mean, when I consider the Year of Great Loss, while it was happening, it seemed that there were no blessings in it. But, I’ve grown so much since then. I’ve used those experiences to grow. I’ve used them to help you grow, to help others around me grow. My life is so blessed now. And, even in the days that it’s not, I know who my real enemy is, and Satan will never pull that wool over my eyes again. I hope this helps. I hope this blesses you. I hope it removes the veil that Satan so enjoys having over many of us. That you never fall for this trick of the enemy again, and that you may be stronger for it. Take the victory, my dear friend.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank YOU!!! Thank you, that you have given us the victory. Thank you for this time together. I pray Father, for all who read this, that they may never falls for this trick of Satan’s. That they may always see who’s really running these puppets. That they may have the deep understanding that we live in a fallen world. That You only wish for us to have life, and have it to the full. That you rain down your blessings upon us. That you watch over us, and lay your mighty hand upon our problems. That you guide us in your amazing wisdom, in your understanding that surpasses all understanding. That we may trust in You, even when we cannot see the forest through the trees, that we know who guides our steps, and where our Faith belongs. That You may always show us the way out, always show us where our next step will be. That you are Jehovah Shammah – the God who is there. You are here, and where we’re going and all the places in between. That We may understand that, and speak your kingdom into existence-here. Thank You Father for all that You do, and all that You are, and that we may draw ever closer to You. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
This week, I’m focusing on Samaritan’s Purse. They do a lot of incredible things, and I’m sure many of you have heard of them over the years. Operation Christmas Child (which will definitely be a focus of mine in the month’s to come – as it is very near & dear to my heart) – but this week, I’m promoting because there is a current Ebola crisis happening, and Samaritan’s Purse is in there getting their hands dirty to help out. So, even if you cannot give – please pray for them. Pray for the workers, pray for the mission, pray for all those who are suffering this terrible illness. Pray for healing. Keep them in your prayers. Pray for them now. May God bless you and keep you always.
I’ve been jamming out to one of my favorite Christian rock bands recently, who were really popular when I was pretty new to the Faith – DC Talk. And, at the intro to one of their songs, they have a little saying that really got to me this week.
The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today
Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips
Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.
DC Talk, What if I stumble
This tied into another revelation I had this week. Our Faith is something we are constantly working through. ” Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, ” Phillippians 2:12
I say all of that to say this, our Faith is not something that we just have. We work on it. We exercise it. And the more we exercise, the stronger we become. Now, I would say in order to exercise it, you have to understand what you have. I think my Faith has grown significantly since I truly started to understand what my Faith meant. At its core. Let me attempt to explain.
We are saved by Jesus Christ who died for us that we may be free from having to pay for our sins, which also enables us to have a direct connection to the Father. – this is where a majority of Christians stop.
Our connection to the Father enables us to have a personal relationship with the Almighty.
In our relationship with the Almighty, we are to work toward being Christ-like – as He was the perfect example that was sent to us.
We attain this movement toward being Christ-like by exercising the will of the Father in our lives, and bringing Heaven to Earth (manifesting the will of God on Earth through us.)
We are able to perform the will of the Father because the Holy Spirit lives in us, and through the Spirit we are able to perform the will of God. (But – we do have to “activate” it by speaking it into existence through prayer or speaking).
By working for the Father, through the Holy Spirit, we become more Christ-like.
^That’s it! That is what we are to be actively doing as Christians. I believe that is what is meant by “working out our salvation”. As I stated a couple weeks ago, it’s not that we are trying to attain fruit, it’s that we are trying to be more Christ-like, and the evidence of our behavior to be more Christ-like will be evident by our fruit.
Now some of you may be asking, how do I help bring God’s will on Earth? Or why does God’s will need to be on Earth? Couple key things to understand here.
After Adam, Earth was no longer perfect and it became the kingdom of Satan. That’s why, when bad things happen, it’s not God doing it. God only wants good things for us, but we live in a fallen world. God doesn’t do the bad things, but He does see us through them. So – in understanding that this is Satan’s domain, we have to be the ones to speak the Will of God into existence. God is a gentlemen. He always has to be asked to enter the situation. You can’t just expect Him to show up. You have to be the vessel that helps manifest his will into this world. That is part of why you have the Holy Spirit, it enables you to do the Will of God, when you ask for it.
I personally think that’s a lot to take in. This past week, it all literally came together like a giant ethereal puzzle that I had to digest. I was getting all these bits and pieces, and even my blog has been evidence that I’ve been putting it together, but this last week, I was slammed with the real, whole, entire concept that just put it all together.
One of the things I would implore you to try in the coming weeks, if you are interested in growing your Faith and deepening your connection with the Father, would be to pray this prayer over your life.
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. – IN JESUS’ NAME! AMEN!!! (Ephesians 1:15-23)
This week I’m focusing on the “Alpha House” out of Sioux Falls. This organization is a non-profit that focuses on helping unexpected pregnancies. They help teens who want to keep the child become more prepared, enabling them and connecting them with networks of organizations that will continue to sponsor and assist throughout the child’s life. They also help parents navigate the adoption process if needed. *As you will see they also have information about abortion, but in no way condone, refer, or perform them. They are mainly focused on trying to help parents of unexpected and/or unwanted pregnancies find help and assistance to ensure that the baby is placed in a healthy, happy home with informed people, and that those people know that they are loved and supported throughout the child’s life.
I was having a really hard time thinking this week about all the various things I could tell you, that I couldn’t really settle on one thing. But then, as I sat down to discuss this week, I realized it’s really been on my heart that some of my original items didn’t get as much spotlight as I felt they deserved. They were the reasons that I started this blog, were these stories. They spawned the need to share with the world what God is doing in my life. Some of the original #Godshowedup. So, I decided I wanted to give them another boost. Sometimes to move forward, you have to remember where you’ve been.
The Bible Study
So, about 6 months after my dad died, it’s morning time. I’m getting ready for work, I’ve been praying (I was now back to really praying – praying for this person, these problems, etc.) And secretly, praying for a Bible Study. Oh Lord, give me a Bible Study, give me some people to help me grow. I had been praying for this for a couple years, off and on. Sometimes, thinking I’d found one, but scheduling would make it so I couldn’t go, one thing or the other, etc. But here, on this frosty April morning, as I’m walking out to my car, had just finished praying, getting ready to start my car and let it warm up for a few before I head off to work, and I hear it, clear as day. “Why don’t you start a Bible Study?” I stopped dead in my tracks. I felt like someone had just knocked the wind out of me. “Me? A bible study? That’s crazy….” And, then, “Well, maybe not so crazy. I have a couple Christian friends…. Maybe they would like to be a part of it.” Now, conveniently, for the only time that I can recall, I was going to see both of them, independently, the next day. So, I posed it to both of them, and they were both ecstatic. They would love one. Then, I told my mother about it in church the following Sunday, I’m starting a bible study, and my mom wanted to join. Alright, let’s do it!! So, we did. Now, because of all of this, I had resolved myself, that when the Holy Spirit tells me to do something, I do it. The bible study, was just the beginning.
Fast forward to months later, and here the Bible study starts to bring forth some fruit – or more appropriately cookies… Chocolate chip cookies to be exact.
So, when our bible study started, first of all, we dug in deep. Most of the ladies present were fairly well versed in the Lord, had seen him in our lives, etc. Therefore, we all felt pretty comfortable that it would be ok to just jump into a hardcore bible study entailing the Armor of God. Which, was incredible, and for the most part what a lot of us needed. But, when we really started getting our feet wet, getting the rhythm of being in a bible study down, and finally got through this hardcore meat-and-potatoes bible study. We all decided that maybe the next study would need to be an appetizer, or a dessert, and as the quasi-leader-ish person of this study, I did my homework on getting some promising books for the next study, and as a joke, wrote down a book that had “chocolate” in the title. This book is supposed to be a totally light-hearted fun filled study for a wide-variety of groups, and it really has been, but to bring us to where we are now. It has recipes in it, and every couple of bible study evenings, we make some of these items together as a group. But, part of the catch with these is that, you’re not just supposed to eat these yourself, you are supposed to share them. Share them with non-believers or believers, or whatever. They’re conversation starters, and oh how God has blessed that. Conversation starters they are.
So, our first real recipe that we’re supposed to be making is cookies… The most amazing little chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever eaten. Now, go out and share them. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not a very outspoken person when it comes to my faith, or at least, I wasn’t. So, now I have two small bags of 6 cookies each, and I’m supposed to share these with a scripture, to encourage someone… Great.
Now, for the weeks leading up to this, I had started be-friending a lady at work a little bit. And, we were really getting on good terms, and life was going great, the whole fast-friends business. Loving it! So, of course, the Holy Spirit says, share the cookies with her. And, I’m like, “But, I like her, and I don’t want to scare her off.” And, then, I was reminded of my Bible Study, the bible study that has led us here. The bible study that the cookies came from. And here, the Lord is nudging me to give her the cookies. And so, I did. She was overwhelmed. She was touched. It began conversations of the fact that she had been wanting to go back to church, but how, and fears of religion, and, and, and….
And, all these conversations I never would have had, had I not shared the cookies. Had I not moved with the Spirit, to reach out, to someone who I had absolutely no idea ever went to church, let alone had been feeling the tug of the spirit to come back. And, we have since only grown stronger, and I have only continued to encourage her in her faith, and thanked God for the incredible experience and opportunity. *Small disclaimer, the other cookies that I shared have not brought fruit that I know of, but maybe that will be a story for a later day.
Spoons (pt 1)
Ladies bible study, next chapter. Can I just say, for a book that was supposed to be light – and more like an appetizer, we are digging deep and taking a bite out of our faith here. *Little background noise here, there is a lot happening in all of our lives since this bible study has begun, and all of this is just building, and everyone has been doing a lot of growing.
We finally get to the end of the 3rd chapter of this book, and it’s spoon time. We decide to melt some chocolate and make these little spoons, that again, like the cookies, we’re supposed to share with people. This time though, I have no idea who I’m supposed to be sharing with, so they just kind of sit there, on my vanity, where I pray, hanging out for a few days, and to be honest, I forget about them for a minute. Fast forward to Friday morning, my son is getting ready for school, and I’m taking a minute to pray for the day. I put my hand down, and “Oh yeah, the spoons.” Well, I better bring them with me because otherwise, I don’t know who else I’m going to give them to. One lady I know’s name pops into my head. Oh, I bet she would appreciate one, I don’t really know her that well, but sure. So, I get to work, and I make an impromptu oragami box to put them in, and bring them up to her office. And for the lack of anything better to say when she looks at me standing in her doorway, “Hi. Good morning, I, um, have a gift for you.” And practically drop the box on her desk. I had a put a little note in there, stating something to the effect of “God bless you” and have a wonderful holiday. And, she is just overwhelmed! She begins to cry a little, and hugs me, and just thanks me over and over. We have a little discussion about our faith, and how I got to giving her little chocolate spoons this morning. And, it’s all very incredible. And she says to me, that tomorrow morning her niece is coming over for coffee, and she’s going to save her spoons and share the gospel with her then. WOW! How incredible. I’m on cloud nine. These spoons are amazing, and God is amazing. And, until an hour ago, I had no idea who I was going to share the spoons with. *And, this is just one of the spoon testimonies. – spoons – to be continued. ❤
Spoons (pt 2)
Spoons continued. Please know, we are within hours of sharing the spoons with the lady who’s going to share them with her niece. I’m trying to get back to work, and I kind of have another lady in my head, because you know – ladies bible study – sharing with ladies… right? Wrong. So wrong. 😛
So, I get a phone call, from a higher up (like higher than my boss.) Hey, Stephanie, please bring me blah, blah, blah, work stuff. Ok. *Please note here, I absolutely love my job, love the people I work with – whole separate story, but just cannot emphasize that enough, I love my job and the company I work for* So, Ok, bring you stuff you need for a meeting – check. But, as soon as I put the phone down, the Holy Spirit goes – Hey, give him a spoon. And, I’m like, No – that’s crazy. I like my job, and he’s a big boss, and I’ll get fired. And, the Holy Spirit is like, Give him a spoon…. And, I’m like, aw man. Here we go. Now, in these following moments, I’m walking around grabbing the materials requested to bring him, and I’m “rationalizing” in my mind, “Well, maybe that’s why I have my second job right now, is because I’m going to get fired. It’s going to be OK, you know, I have a good church, and a good support system, and God won’t let me fall, and I’m supposed to share these spoons, and … I’m going to get fired. Well, maybe I won’t get fired til Monday….” On and on it went. But, I packed up the little spoons, and I wrote a little note, stating I’m in a bible study, and I’m supposed to share these to share my faith, and Jesus loves you – essentially. And, I go to the office, and I drop off the stuff, and I bolt (because he’s in meetings – so at least I don’t have to see him face-to-face). I’m no sooner back at my desk when the phone rings. Are you kidding me? I answer.
“Um, hi there. Well, thanks for running that stuff right over for me.”
“Oh yeah, no problem.”
“Well, I’m really calling about the other gift you left on my desk.”
*My brain says: Of course you are… “Oh yeah, sure.”
“That’s really thoughtful of you, I really appreciate it.” *I’m now absolutely, 210% floored. Excuse me, what? I was slack-jawed on my end of the line.
This was just the beginning of a at least 5 minute conversation, where we just briefly touch on my ladies bible study and what denomination I am, and then this happened.
Him speaking, “Well, I’d like to share this article with you about some stuff that’s happened to me. I’d fallen away from the faith for a while, and then a lot of really miraculous stuff happened, and I just have this little article that someone else wrote about my experiences, and this may seem a little crazy, but you gave me the spoons, so maybe not. Would you mind if I shared with you?” “Oh absolutely!!” So – disclaimer – now I’m thinking, an article – like newspaper article, like little blip of a whatever, but that’s cool, I’m excited, this’ll be neat, and look at God show up, how incredible?! Like, I’m already ecstatic, and I can’t wait for his e-mail to come through.
Um, people, this was a four-page magazine article about him having visions/dreams (while he is fallen away from the faith), waking up in the dead of night, with inexplicable dreams and then he’s given a word. A word that will take him to Bosnia…. where these dreams come true…. and he assures me that the stuff that has happened since then is even more miraculous… WHAT?!?!
Because I shared a chocolate spoon people! Because I listened to the Holy Spirit nudge me to talk to him. To her. To them. To GO!! To GO where you are. We have since discussed that he and his wife are trying to write a book and get it published, and I just so happen to know some people who’ve published some books…. ?!?!
The Holy Spirit moves, and lives, and if you’ll let him, LIVE IN YOU!! & And Through you! And you too will have and experience the incredibleness that is God. ❤
I had an interesting experience this week. With this warmer weather, and the joys of summer coming into play. The gorgeous sunsets, the beautiful evenings, all the events that summer has to give us, and the bugs. Ugh, the bugs. I know they’re God’s creation too, but they need to stay out of my house. The only thing my husband and I can figure out, is that we had a neighbor shuffle recently in the house/apartments next to us… and someone has bed bugs. Now, I have never had bed bugs before, but it doesn’t take long to figure out why everyone hates them so much. During the time when you are sleeping, these little guys are feeding. A time when you are supposed to be safe and secure, resting and relaxing, and here are these little parasites munching away and disrupting you, when you are you’re most vulnerable. Just like Satan.
So, yesterday, when I got off work, I stopped by the store, and loaded up on supplies. Thursday before I went to bed, I had done some homework, and put together a game plan. And, as my family lovingly calls it, I went into full on “Mom mode”. Bad situation, handle it, move on. I hit the ground running, tackling the worst room first, cleaning EVERYTHING! And, it was kind of interesting, the whole time I was cleaning, vacuuming, and bagging everything up, I was reminded how we have to clean Satan from our lives. You have to get in there, and do every little inch of everything, otherwise, he’ll slowly creep back in. You have to make sure you’ve got everything covered, a plan for all of it, otherwise, you’ll miss something and he’ll use that chance to eek back in. But, also, once you’re done with the first sweep, you have to be diligent, you have to continue to keep an eye on it, so you can act at the first move to keep him at bay. These little guys are no different.
Funnily enough, right in the midst of all this, I also received a phone call from the bank that my debit card had been hijacked. Seemingly from the very mundane place where I grabbed lunch on Friday. Since my picking up lunch on Friday, there were a few attempts to use my card at some odd places around town – even though my card was with me. But, the bank was all over it. My debit card was quickly locked out, and the situation was under control. Again, like Us battling Satan. Swift crackdown. You can’t let him have the foothold, otherwise, he’ll just dig right in (and wipe you out!). You have to remember sometimes, you’re not his first victim, and you won’t be his last. He’s been at this game for thousands of years. He is the Father of Lies and deceit. He has ruled over kings and kingdoms, he has coerced people into doing unthinkable things. We are up against the most formidable foe. But, take heart, we are with the Victor. We are on the winning team. And God has a victory plan for us. We just have to live in Him. We must stay in His strong tower, and He will keep us safe.
As I quoted last week, “A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” (Charles Spurgeon) We have to keep His words in our heart so that when times such as these come, we are prepared. You have to read the Bible and be in The Word when times are good and peaceful, so that you have that ammo in your belt when you need it (and maybe there isn’t a Bible close by). You have to be so immersed in the Word that you can handle these situations when they’re happening. This, is the Strong Tower. The Tower that you make in your mind, with the Word, through building your relationship with Jesus, through prayer, through listening to God, through fellowship. All of these things work together to create the Strong Tower. You can’t just go to church on Sunday, and keep him out the rest of the week, and expect to have a Strong Tower – it’s more like a little, baby outpost (easily overrun). God’s not calling you just to go to church, that’s not what saves you. He isn’t calling you just to believe in Him, you have to trust Him. You have to immerse yourself in this relationship that you are called to have. Your relationship doesn’t end on Sunday. If you think about it, this is the only relationship that we treat this way. I’m only going to see this person, at this time, on this day, and only talk to them when I want to, but they’ll still be there for me? How would you feel if someone treated you like that? We are called to have a relationship, in every sense of that word.
Even to go back to my earlier analogy, a couple weeks ago, that He is the Tree of Life. We are the branches. We have to be connected, otherwise we’re dead. The next thought would be, how are you connected? Are you one of the little branches way out at the edges that easily breaks off? Or are you one of those big mama-jammas down near the base, tapped into the trunk, shooting off little branches of your own? You need a chainsaw to get those guys off, they’re so deep in there, you could cut them off on your own if you wanted to. Also, those big branches are healthy, aren’t they? Because they’re tapped into the source. The trunk that gives nutrients. When the weather gets tough, they’re still solid. Not those little guys, they break, sometimes with the slightest wind, they snap off into the air to be tossed about. Which one do you want to be? That’s the question here. That’s what you need to be asking yourself. You have the key. You have the trunk right at your fingertips, GRAB IT! Dig deeper. Don’t let the excuses of not enough time hold you back. Make time. This is your salvation! Let the grace of God live inside you.
What does the Bible say?
” The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. ” Proverbs 18:10
For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. Psalm 61:3
For he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours because we have sought the LORD our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.” So they built and prospered. – 2 Chronicles 14:7
For thus the Lord says to me, “Go, station the lookout, let him report what he sees. “When he sees riders, horsemen in pairs, A train of donkeys, a train of camels, Let him pay close attention, very close attention.” Then the lookout called, “O Lord, I stand continually by day on the watchtower, And I am stationed every night at my guard post. – Isaiah 21:6-9
God, in her palaces, Has made Himself known as a stronghold. – Psalm 48:3
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. – Psalm 1:1-3
But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the lovingkindness of God forever and ever. – Psalm 52:8
Each of them will sit under his vine And under his fig tree, With no one to make them afraid, For the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken – Micah 4:4
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls – Proverbs 11:30
“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 7:17-19
“They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands. – Isaiah 65:22
Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness. – 1 Peter 2:24
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you! Thank you for sending your Son to save us. Thank you for making a way, when there was no way. Thank you that we can have a personal relationship with you. That we can live in your Word, and have you build a strong tower within us. That we may know that You are God, in every part of our lives. That your hands may be at work within us, and that we may worship You in all that You are, and everything we do. We thank you Father for your Amazing Grace and Mercy! That you may help us to grow in Your Word. That we may be Your branches. That others may see Your light by us, and through us. Give us the still peace that You are, give us the glorious grace that we need, give us every nutrient You have Father. Give us the words, give us the actions, give us everything we need to live and grow closer to You. Help us be the Victors in You Father. Help us crush Satan under our heel. Make us the head and not the tail Father. Shine Your glorious love in us, and through us. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Kid’s Night Out! is this week!
Sponsored by my local church. They advertise in the papers and invite the whole community to a night filled with games for kids, and FREE BIKE GIVEAWAYS. They do this via Raffle. We’ve given away hundreds of bikes over the years, and while we’re raffling, we also share THE GOOD NEWS with everyone in attendance.
So, I had an interesting experience this week. I started a ladies bible study group about a year ago, and over the course of the year, as I’ve shared with other women, I’ve received a lot of people telling me they would like to get involved. This past week, we were getting ready to launch our new book, so I had a kick-off party. I invited every single person who said they were interested over these past few months. I invited some other people who I thought might enjoy it. I shared the word like I was starting a church. I organized games, prizes, drawings, snacks, had the first chapter of the book made in mass so everyone could get a preview. It was going to be GREAT!! I was so excited. All these women getting together to share and grow in Jesus.
Now, my “core” group is great! We are all friends outside of group, we’ve grown and shrank over this past year. We’ve been through some rough stuff and some great stuff. We’ve gotten together and hung out, outside of bible study. We’ve been there for each other. We’ve had nights where we had so much going on in our lives that we’ve just shared and been there for each and to give encouragement or advice, or just shared testimonies of how Jesus is working in our lives, instead of doing the actual “study”. We’ve crashed other bible study events because someone else was doing something that we thought we’d all enjoy and set our lesson plan aside. We’ve had craft and cooking nights, where the items we make are meant to be shared with people outside the group, to share our testimonies and bring others to the faith, or simply encourage them on their walk. I’m so proud of this group, and so encouraged by them. They’re exactly what I want and what I need. I believe that this is a big part of why I have grown so much in my walk over the past year, is because I needed this. I needed a core group of fellow believers to help me digest everything I’m learning during the week, to help me apply these things to my life, to share their experiences, to share scripture they know and give me insight on what Jesus says I should do in this situation. And, I do the same for them. Part of what’s so fun about our group, we don’t all go to the same church, nor are we the same denomination. And, I believe that we’re all changed, and definitely better believers, and better people for it.
Now, back to the party…. We set up, we had a room big enough to fit everyone reserved, we had name tags, snacks, everything. My core showed up, helped set up, brought their snacks, we arranged tables, got the games out. And waited…. and waited…. and no one came. No one. Not one new person. We waited a good 45 minutes after we we’re scheduled to start. Not one.
But, you know what? We still had a great time! We learned new things about each other, we’ve all been hanging out for over a year, and I still learned new things about my group that I didn’t know. We won all our prizes 🙂 Everyone went home with something. We all decided that we really enjoyed doing the games and we would start doing something with new games at either every meeting or every craft/cooking night. We had a really good discussion about stuff that’s been going on. We worked out our schedule for the summer. We definitely ate a lion’s share of all the chocolatey good snacks and really enjoyed each other’s company. We made arrangements for the following week. And, everyone reminded me, that people weren’t saying “no” to me. And, I get that, but I was so excited because this whole experience has done so much for me, and I wanted to share that with others, but I guess that’s just not part of the plan yet. And, that’s ok. I’ll have another one in the fall. The people who are supposed to be here, are here, and the doors are always open. As we all know, the Lord has timing for everything, and we just have to trust it.
What does the Bible say?
Now, as my mother always says, when the bible has a “therefore” look at the before.
1 Thessalonians 5:8-10 ” But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.”
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
1 Thessalonians 5:12-28
12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.
28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Now, I believe that Bible studies are important because you need help. You need a group of people praying for you, a group sharing with you, giving you advice, helping you grow, reminding you what the Bible says about your situations, because:
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14
You are going to face trials. You are going to struggle. Because you’re a believer, and because we live in a fallen world. And, you need support. Just like you need church. Just like Jesus had the Apostles. Our relationship is with the Lord, but having those around you to encourage you and help you grow, I believe, are just as important.
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” – Matthew 18:19-20
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you. Thank you for our experiences. Thank you for our chances to grow. Thank you for everything you do for us. Thank you for sending your Son to save us. Thank you for encouraging me in the Faith today, and every day. Thank you for the blessing of believers that you have brought into my life. I pray that you bring these believers and encouragers into the lives of everyone. That you may lay your hands upon others to encourage and to grow, and to find their people to help them along their walks. That you may lay the same fire in their hearts to grow closer to you Father. That everyone can find encouragement in those around them, that they walk closer to you Father. I just pray for your blessing in our lives. I pray that we see your work everywhere, and in everyone. Words cannot express how grateful I am that you laid it on my heart to start my own Bible study and that you gave me such an incredible group of people to grow with, and I pray for that blessing on everyone reading this. I pray that everyone finds a group or fellow believer to have such a relationship with to grow. To learn your word, to make them better people. Thank you so much for all You do Father, and what you will continue to do, in all our lives. IN JESUS’ NAME! AMEN!!
Mission this week:
Each week, I’ve taken to supporting a mission outreach, here’s this week:
I’ve had a story in my heart this week. And it all started with stumbling across this picture. It spoke to me. AMEN!! Sometimes, Faith will make you look stupid… until it starts to rain. I mean. It just flooded me with a particular story, which led to another, which has brought me to another…. and two of them, were after I saw this picture.
Let me share an interesting moment. Several years ago, my life had blown up in my face. I had just left a job of 5 years, with one of my favorite people, to start a new career path, and we were going to buy a house in the little town that the new job was in. And, I was loving the job. Everything was great! And, then, one day I got pulled into the CEO’s office, and proceeded to get eaten alive by the CEO and his right hand. I was able to pull out of buying the house in time, but it was all mortifying and heartbreaking! I still had a job, but if stuff was going to be like this, I wasn’t sticking around. And, in the midst of this angst, I put in an app at one company. That’s it, just one, and prayed for the best. It was all just taking a minute for me to really wrap my head around what was happening, so I hadn’t really hit the streets with my application yet. Then, our 1 vehicle started acting up, and I didn’t feel comfortable driving the 30-45 minutes to this job I was planning on leaving, anymore. So, I just quit. Turned in a resignation online, and just gave up. – This was on a Friday. I got called in for an interview on Monday. That all seemed well and good, couple days went by, I get called in for the next interview. Now, this job was entry-level, but bills don’t care right? So, I go in for the second interview, and I’m thinking I’m going to be talking shop, which I can do. And, they throw me a curve ball, and give me a manager who I don’t think has done “shop” a day in her life. So, I’m answering the ticky-tacky questions that they’re required to ask, and we get all done, and she just flips the paper over, and looks me dead-in-the-eye, and says,
“What are you doing?” “Excuse me?”
“What are you doing? You obviously are way over-qualified. What are you doing?”
She caught me so off-guard, I just told the truth.
“Well, my career just blew up in my face, I just backed out on buying a house, and I still have to pay my bills. I’m good at running machines, you have machines, and I just need some time to think and figure out what I’m going to do.”
“Ok, thanks for coming in.”
So, of course, everyone’s like, how’d it go? blah, blah, blah. And, bar none, worst interview ever. But, that afternoon, they called, and I started that next Monday. That was over 5 years ago. I spent a year on the floor, four years as a Quality Technician in the Evaluation Lab, and I just got promoted to being a Buyer. Look at #Godshowup! It all seemed like utter madness when it was happening, but I wouldn’t have thought of it myself. Which is why I’m so glad, God has better plans for us, we just have to trust Him and HE WILL BRING THE RAIN!!!
So, I met a man last night, who has an incredible story. 38 years ago, he was going through a similar circumstance. He had dreams, goals, things he had figured out with his life. And, he failed. It all blew up in his face, and he said, the whole time that God was nagging at him to minister, and he kept saying, “I will when ….” whatever. Well, all his whatever’s fell through, and here God had gotten him all alone, and was like, “Go”. And, he says, “With what?” God told him, “with what you have.” He had coffee and bread. This man lives near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Near the favelas. Where some of the poorest of the poor live.
He went out on the streets with coffee and bread. He stumbled across some kids (12-14 years old) who were so high they couldn’t even tell him their own names at first. After giving them some of the coffee and bread, one of the kids asked this man to spell his name. “Ok, what’s your name?” “Cisero” So, he wrote down the kid’s name on a piece of paper. And, the kid said, “Now, I’m somebody!” That simple act had made those kids feel important. He asked them if they wanted to know Jesus, they did. He led them in the Sinner’s prayer, and talked with them a while more. Then, right as he was getting ready to leave, one kid yells out, “Hey, you coming back tomorrow?” The man said, “Yes. I’ll see you tomorrow.” This was the beginning of his ministry.
Over the years, he has helped thousands of kids break the cycle of poverty. He now leads a ministry group that orchestrates a school for the kids of the favela teaching them photography, music, art, computer skills. They have one of the only computer labs in the city! Feeding them every day! Feeding their entire families a couple times a year! Encouraging them to fellowship with each other and minister to others. Sometimes they help the kids all the way through college, and all the while teaching the love of Jesus. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE MINISTRY!! It seemed crazy, and then GOD BROUGHT THE RAIN!!!
So, I’m talking to the guy a little after service is over, and we start discussing some different stuff, and I tell him about my blog. This peaks his interest. He needs a Marketing Manager for their Facebook and social media. They’re so busy down there with the day-in and out of the kids and activities that they’re struggling to get the word out to people to help their ministry. Well, because I have my blog, I also have a social network. I tell him I will reach out to the ladies who also have Christian blogs to see if someone might have the skills he’s looking for. So, I get home last night and post it to the FB page. I’ve already had two people reach out who are both looking for a ministry, and have been to the area in Brazil and would love to be a Marketing Manager for him! People who have been praying – for rain! and – GOD BROUGHT THE RAIN!!!
Now, if I hadn’t started a blog, we would’ve had an entirely different conversation. If I had stayed home last night, I never would’ve met him. If I hadn’t…. believed that God would bring the rain. I don’t know that I’ve ever posted something to this FB group, except for the usual stuff we do, reading each other’s blogs, encouraging each other, etc. But, last night, I jumped on and threw it out there. And God brought the rain. He always does.
All of these stories have also inspired me to try to see if my ladies’ Bible Study would be interested in doing free will donations to featured ministries every other month. AND, I will be promoting a ministry in my blog. You can check out this gentleman’s ministry here, and donate or sponsor a child, or just pray for them! Because who doesn’t need more prayer?!?!
I hope these encourage you. I hope they bless you. I hope you know, that if you have faith, God will always bring the rain!! He never fails, never gives up, and he’s always there. One of my favorite Pastor Kevin quotes, “God has more faith in you than you do!” Tell him to BRING THE RAIN!! He will not disappoint.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your everlasting rain. Thank you for always showing up, right on time, all the time. Thank you that you give us the examples of Noah and people along our walks to reassure us that you will always bring the rain. You are the beginning and the end, the SAME GOD as Noah and Abraham, and who raised JESUS FROM THE DEAD, is the SAME GOD TODAY! You’re always there. Always watching, always ready to catch us, and show us something better. Give us the Faith and the peace to trust your will, and that you always have something better in mind for us. Thank you Father that you have more Faith in us than we do, and may we all learn to have the same Faith in you. Thank you for all that you are and all that you would have us be. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
To learn more about Marcondes Marques and his ministry. Check out @ChanneltoBrazil on Facebook or go to their website: http://www.thechannel.org
This past week has been a week of worry for quite a few people in my life. And the mix of things go from worrying about something small that is going to happen the next day and be over in ten minutes, to life-changing adult issues that could, and probably will, affect the rest of their lives. And, to be honest, I’m pretty proud, because I think this is the most chill I’ve ever been in my life. 3 years ago, it wouldn’t have been the same story. 3 years ago, I would’ve been a wreck. I would’ve have been worrying, and racking my brain on how to help all these people. But, I’ve really grown in the past three years. I’ve learned that God shows up. I’ve learned that the ONLY thing I can do sometimes, is pray about it and trust that God is going to put his hand in there and sort it all out. I have also learned that God is going to fix it, however he’s going to fix it, and that I need to trust what he does. Not all of my concerns have worked out the way I thought, or in a way that I feel is right, but I also know that I can’t see the big picture, so eventually, someday, it’s all going to make sense.
What does God say:
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. – Proverbs 12:25
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God – Phillippians 4:6-7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:7
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. – Isaiah 41:10
And, as I’m sure, many of you have heard in your lives, the Bible is quoted to have said, “Fear not” 365 times, which is one for every day of the year. Why? Why should we fear not? Because God has promises, and we need only to remember them.
The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still – Exodus 14:14
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – Isaiah 40:29
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, – Isaiah 54:10
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4:7
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
So, if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed – John 8:36
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. – Mark 11:24
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. – Phillippians 4:19
I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. – Psalm 18:3
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17
God is putting his hand on your life. God will step in for you. God will show up. God will be there, if you only let him. God has got it all under control, and you just need to pray for the peace that surpasses all understanding in Christ Jesus, to let him do it. Humble yourself to the Lord, and ask him to fix it, and to give you the peace to stand back and let Him.
You know, it’s always so incredible, and part of why I love my blog so much. There are weeks, where I totally know what I’m going to talk to you guys about, and then there are weeks like today, where I literally sat down in front of the computer without a clue of what we were going to discuss, and sometimes it’s just a word, and sometimes it’s everything that’s in here – just comes pouring forth from my fingertips. That someone who reads this, it’s exactly what they needed to hear. That God is speaking to you. I’ve received so many incredible testimonies of people moved by what is shared here. And, I pray that it continues, as long as it needs to. I pray that God continues to use me as a vessel to help others see his glory and his grace and his overwhelming love for all of you. That it may bless you and keep you, just as the ever-loving Father intended.
Dear Heavenly Father, you are such a good God, and I thank you for all that you are. I thank you, that you are actively working in our lives and that you care for us. I thank you for the opportunity to share with these people and help them grow in Your word. You are so incredible and amazing, and I thank you that you sent your Son that we may be your people. I just want to pray for anyone reading this, that they may see you Show UP! That whatever is troubling them may be overcome by you. That you are the Victor, Father, and that we need only to trust in your word and in You. That your blessings may pour out on our lives, that we become so blessed we don’t know what to do with ourselves but share the testimonies and victories with others that they may receive your blessings too. That you are the great and glorious God of all, and the SAME GOD who blessed Abraham, and the SAME GOD who sent his Son for us and raised Him from the DEAD, is the SAME GOD who is blessing us today. That NOTHING is too big for You God, and we need only to be still and let you have your way with us, and in us, and around us. May we be so blessed that all we can see is YOU. Thank you. Thank you for your blessings. IN JESUS’ NAME! AMEN!!!
If you would like some stories on how life can be a wreck:
So, if you’ve been with me for a while here, then you know, I completely see God working in my life. If not, feel free to take a stroll through some of my previous posts, like Christmas Story, Year of Great Loss, or How I’ve gotten here. But, the truth is, I absolutely see God working in my life. This is also evidenced by my Prayer Box. Which is a collection of answered prayers over the years, which, if you don’t have a way to record how God is answering your prayers, I suggest you start, since it really gives you a chance to reflect, and to thank God for all he does for you. It also is a testimony you can share with others, when they’re having questions about what your God does for you.
But, I’m really telling you that ^, to tell you this. What makes us so different? Do I have something you don’t? Do you feel like God isn’t showing up for you? He can. He absolutely will. If you want him to, he’ll step right in, and be all that you think he can be, and more. If you do feel like God is actively present in your life, AMEN! Good for you! I’m glad! It’s one of the most incredible and amazing feelings there is. It’s comforting, it’s amazing, it’s just bar-none, one of the best feelings you can experience, and if you’ve already got it, then I’m so happy for you. But, if you don’t… read on. Let me share with you a big part of how I got here.
Change the game
Obviously, if you don’t feel like God’s showing up, change the game. The first thing, I suggest, is prayer. Talking to God – makes you want to read about God, reading about God – makes you want to get around people who are experiencing God in their lives, and experiencing God in our lives – is the end game, right? Everything else kinda falls in after that. Once you’re really experiencing God in your life, you want to tell people about it, you want to volunteer, you want to draw closer, learn more, be more – all of it. But, if you’re struggling to have that connection, the most powerful thing you can do is pray. There’s a reason they’re called prayer warriors. They’ve honed their skills, they’re in battle, they’re making plans and waiting to listen to what the Father has to say about what they should do. They’re warriors, they’ve spent time on their knees, on their hands and faces, crying out to God, talking to God, sharpening their iron, and asking the Father for exactly what they need or want, or whatever. But, how do we get there? It’s going to sound simple, because it is. Take the time to pray.
Now, how do we pray? How do you pray? Well, their’s the Lord’s Prayer, which really is a very basic template that we can use. And, from everything I understand, if we follow that template, it gives you a really good start to get rolling.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
So, let’s take that. Starting with telling God how good he is. Thanking him for everything he’s given to us. There’s another scripture that tells us, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4. We start with telling God how amazing we know he is, or how amazing he can be, and thanking him for all we have. You can be as specific or general as you are comfortable. You’re proclaiming this, reassuring yourself and God that he is good, and you are grateful. Grateful that he sent his son to die for you and thankful for all that you have. He is the good Father, and he wants to do good things for you. Also, let’s remember that it’s much easier to ask for stuff when we’re talking nicely isn’t it? Get more flies with honey, start the conversation off on a good note.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,
Here it gets a little more intense. One of the hardest things for us to get through our heads, is that we need to ask for his will to be done. Not ours. His will, is always, so much better than ours. His will be done. Bring it down to Earth. Don’t ask for the specific outcome you want all the time, especially if it’s a tricky situation. Example: a very sick baby is in the ICU, you may instinctively ask for the baby to come home…. but what we really want is for a healthy baby to come home, no matter how long that takes in the hospital. Therefore: Heal the baby. Miraculous, overwhelming health, so the baby can come home. Proclaim the baby’s health over the want for it to come home. Right? That’s a very basic example, but really, you have to change the way you think a little bit. Think about what you’re asking for. Or, if you don’t know what you’re asking for (i.e. you don’t understand what the situation’s best outcome would be) then, just give it to God. “God, lay your hands on this situation. Give everyone the understanding and the wisdom to make the best choices. You, Father, are the only one who knows how to fix this, put the solution in the minds and hearts of those who need to know how to fix this.” We’re messengers and warriors bringing his will down to Earth. Proclaim it, give Him the in to the situation. His will be done.
Give us this day, our daily bread
Provide for me and my family, meet our needs, exceed our needs. Help me know throughout the day, what I need to do, and give me the strength to do it. Help me give bread to others.
And forgive us of our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
OOOOOOoohhhh snap. Can we skip this part? lol. This, is a good reminder, that every day, we need to forgive, because he forgives us. That grudge you’ve been holding, let it go. If God can forgive you, you need to forgive others. Ask for him to help you forgive others. I’ll be honest, I’m still actively working on this. I have a couple people, I need to forgive, and I’m continuously asking God to help give me the grace and the peace to forgive them. I know that the problem is my own, the people have shown repentance and remorse, and I need to forgive. I need to forgive because it’s what’s best for me, not necessarily what’s best for them, even if they haven’t acted sorry or said sorry, we didn’t say we were sorry originally either, but God forgave us, so we must also forgive. Take a moment to be honest with God. Or take the moment to ask for forgiveness about stuff you know you did wrong. We’re all sinners, struggling to get better, ask him to help you be better, it works. He will. He wants the best for all of us, but we need to be honest about it.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil
Ask Him to help you walk the straight and narrow. We all have monkeys on our backs, skeletons in our closets, and vices that we’re dealing with. Ask him to guide you to the better you. Give him the in to your conscience, to catch you up when you’re looking to slip up. Ask him to save you from you. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. He knows that, the apostles knew it, Jesus knew it, everybody knows it, ask God to help you with it. We are our own worst enemies, that’s why God put a God-shaped hole in us, because only in Him can we be complete. Only in Him can we conquer our demons. Only in Him can we aspire to be more than we are, in every way. And if you’ve got something that you’re struggling with, start spending that time with God, praying, reading, getting with the right crowd, whatever. Fill it up, with God time. He does not disappoint! I can personally attest to the fact that NOTHING else fills that hole like Jesus does.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen!
Amen and AMEN!!! We’re closing with a promise. Your kingdom, forever and ever and ever. He is the victor. Bring him down to Earth. Thank you God for being good. Thank you God that your kingdom reigns.
If you follow this template, you’re on the right track. You’ll be spending more time with God. Open up the prayer. Carve out time from your schedule to talk to God. I wake up 10-15 minutes earlier than I used to, just to be sure I have God time. I get down on my hands and knees, with my face on the floor, most mornings, and proceed to pour out my soul before I start the day. I ask him to guide my steps. I ask him to protect me and my family and friends and whomever else I’ve been asked to pray for. I ask for his intervention where-ever it’s needed. Feel free to step in at any moment God, I will absolutely step aside. I don’t need to fix everything, I can’t fix everything, and THAT’S TOTALLY OK!!! We are not God. We’re just his children, and sometimes with children, parents need to step in. Just let it happen. You’ll be a better person for it. Ask for the wisdom to understand when those moments are.
I think I feel so compelled to share this with you, because I recently prayed with someone, and when I got done praying. They lifted their head, and said, “You are praying totally different than I’ve ever heard. I don’t think we have the same God.” And, I responded, “Well, my God shows up. And my God knows what to do, and I just pray in a way that let’s him show up and do what he needs to do to fix it.” And, to be honest, that was a really hard prayer, over an incredibly difficult and scary situation, and I just started with, You’re the Good Father, we’ve messed up, but you love us, and you’re absolutely going to step in and save us, because that’s what you do, you’re the God that saves. – it was a lot longer than that, but I have never felt so calm and relaxed and confident about a situation in my life. But, I know that He shows up, you just need to step aside. And that person felt much better about the situation too, just because I felt so confident about it. But, trust me, that person and I used to pray the same way – the only difference is, I’ve changed the game, to how it’s really supposed to be.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you so much. Thank you for this blog. Thank you for this opportunity to talk to all these people. Thank you for being amazing! Thank you for all the incredible things in my life. Thank you for knowing more than me and knowing what’s best for me, and looking out for me, and all these people reading this. Thank you that they are taking the time to read this, that they want to draw closer to you, Lord. Watch over them Father. Keep them safe. Bless them. Bless their lives. Open your windows and pour out blessings upon them. Give them so much that they don’t know what to do with it all, and then give them more. Bless their relationships, bless their minds and their hearts. Reach in there, and make them hearts of flesh and hearts on fire for you, Father. Draw them closer to you Father. Help them fill that God shaped hole in their life. Forgive them Father, help them forgive others. Help bring us all closer together. Help us see what you want us to see, bless our hands and feet that they do your will. Help us bring glory and honor to you, in all that we do. IN JESUS’ NAME!!! AMEN!!
These past few weeks at my new job have been interesting. And, again, I deeply appreciate my guest entry last week, as that helped lighten my load, as it started to warm up here, and it created a whole slew of things to do. But, as I sit down, to wonder what we’re going to discuss here this week, it all became clear – in an instant. Be your best you. As my verse this week states: we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God made us just as we were intended to be. Be your best you. Easier said than done. I’ve had a couple reminders these past few weeks. I’ll share with you here.
Get it together
I’m a really organized person. Like really organized. It’s a control thing, it’s an OCD thing, it’s how my brain works, and when things get too messy, I struggle to cope and to keep up. Which is a far cry from where I used to be. But, how I got here is not too much of the point. The point is, with a new job, you have to switch gears. You have to get a new kind of organized. What worked for your old job, will not necessarily work for your new. And, in my new role, I’m moving at the speed of the internet, so taking the time to figure out how to organize stuff is not really up there on everyone else’s priorities, but it was jamming me up. What I mean by that, is my new boss would ask me a question about something, and because I haven’t gotten a system together yet, it’s taking me 3x as long to get the answer, get it together, figure out where that one thing was written…. UGH!!! Not me. Not me, at all. Although, he’s been incredibly graceful and understanding, I feel like I’ve got egg on my face. So, I took extra time these past couple days to start sorting, organizing, and putting myself back together. And, I already feel a lot better. Because I know, that my best self, cannot function under a certain level of chaos. But – it took me a long time to figure that out. Before, I would just buckle under pressure. Not understanding what my issue was. Not understanding why I suddenly just couldn’t do something any more. Retrospect – it got too messy, and I had not been taking any maintenance steps to clean it up. Or any extra steps to get it under control in the first place. Although you might not need to clean or organize to function, you do have something that helps you feel like you’ve got it together, and you need to make sure that when life starts spiraling, you’re taking the extra time or making time to do what you need to do, to be the best you. Otherwise, something’s going to give… and it’ll probably be you.
Give yourself some grace
Now, because I’ve learned from past mistakes, and because this isn’t my first rodeo. I also understand that I need to give myself some grace. We are always our own worst critics. And as you saw a moment ago, my boss has been very gracious, he gets it. This job is intense. You know the job’s going to be intense, when they’re forewarning you, in the interview. Straight-up. No beating around the bush. How do you handle stress? And, we strive to only work 45 hour weeks… Absolutely transparent about what I’m signing up for. And, although, it’s only my second week, I knew that I needed to figure something out quickly, even if it would go through major re-vamping later. And, my boss has told me, almost every single day, “Good job.” “You did well today”. Something. So, I know that I’m putting my best foot forward, and he is acknowledging that. It’s ok that I’m struggling for stuff here and there, I’m trying to catch 50 balls in the air, it’s no easy task. In the first few weeks, some stuff is going to hit the ground, and that’s ok. I think, everyone would be surprised if some stuff didn’t fall. I still feel really great about my job. I like my boss. I do not regret my decisions. I do not feel like I have to be perfect. And, I’m totally honest when I catch a mistake. And, everyone would much rather be told that a mistake happened and proactively do something about it, than catch it two weeks from now when it hit the fan. Learning moment. *By the way, that’s just something to live by. Own your mistakes, asking for grace in advance is much healthier than asking for it afterwards. And, it slips out of people’s memories a lot faster than when it all went catastrophically wrong and you spent twice as much time cleaning up the mess. Ain’t nobody got time for that 😉 Give yourself grace like God gives you grace. Every day, all the time. It’s hard being a human. Cut yourself some slack.
Know your worth
Here’s my favorite story of the week. My son was playing a new computer game the other night, and unbeknownst to us, it had a chat feed at the bottom of the screen. So, here’s my son, playing a brand new game that he’s been all excited about, and he’s struggling, and the trolls show up…. And, you know, they all start saying all this horrible garbage, because that’s what trolls do. Next thing we know, we tell him his time is up, and as he angrily closes out the screens, he turns around, and he’s got tears streaming down his face. And, I’m thinking, he’s upset because his time went by “too quickly” and he wants to keep playing. So I start saying, you know, we set a timer, timer’s done, man. He’s like, “No, it’s not that. It’s just that everyone sucks.” And I’m like, ? “What are you talking about? Who sucks?” He says, “All those awful people in the game.” Again, “What?” Then, he informs us that there was a little chat screen below the big game window (that we couldn’t really see from where we sit), and that he was having a hard time playing the game because he didn’t understand some of the stuff, and that people were making fun of him. OOOOOOHHHHHH!!!! *Mom moment* Well, honey, you can’t let those people get to you, they’re just angry little kids, they had no idea it was your first time playing. (disclaimer, my son is almost 10) The conversation continues, and morphs into a discussion where I finally looked at him and said, “I’m going to give you some real grown up advice here. You ready? You can’t ever let someone tell you what you’re worth. You have to decide that. You know, you’re an amazing little kid, you’re in Cub Scouts, you do community service, you’re learning the piano, you’re an A/B student, you’re amazing. You have a good heart. Those kids don’t know any of that stuff. Same thing goes for kids at school, they have no idea all the stuff you do, and even if you’re not good at some things, you’re an incredible human being.” He kinda just looked at me like I was stuck in the dark ages. So, “You know why I got this new job?” “Because it gives you more money.” “No, I mean, do you know why I got this new job when other people didn’t? I was up against like 20 other applicants. Why I got it?” He shakes his head no. “I got this job, because I walked in there and told those people I was worth it. Didn’t matter that I was one of the youngest applicants. Didn’t matter that I hadn’t done this job in over 5 years. Didn’t matter anything else. I walked in there, and I owned it. Because I knew I was worth it. Because I decided a long time ago, if I want something, I’m worth it. You know, when I was growing up, I got made fun of because I had glasses, because I was poor, because I lived on a farm, because I had an accent, because of whatever, but I realized one day, that I’m worth it. And no one else is ever going to tell me that, you can’t ever let someone else decide how much you’re worth. You have to know, then tell everybody else how it is.” <—- I think that’s some of the best advice that has ever come out of my mouth. It was a super proud mom moment. I hope it sticks. It’s true.
She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. – Proverbs 3:15
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Luke 12:6-7 (During a time when pennies were like a day’s wages)
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved – Colossians 3:12a
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. – Psalm 139:13-14
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God – Matthew 5:5-9
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. – Psalm 100:3
We are beautiful and wonderful to God. He made us. Every last bit of us, and although we are always striving to be better people in general and more Christ-like, we’re still worth it. Every day of the week! Every time! We’re always worth it! One of my favorite pinterest quotes is this:
I mean! C’mon! Think about yourself that way! I hope this helps. I hope it inspires. I hope you all know, I’m praying for you. For you to be the best you, but even if every day doesn’t feel like that, you’re still trying, being a human is hard. Take a tip from the Father, and give yourself some grace! ❤
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace. Thank you for your overwhelming grace and mercy. May it pour out upon us. Into our souls. Deep down in the depths of our being, so much, as to overflow onto those around us. That others may see your grace through us. That we may show your grace because we know your grace. Thank you for your blessings Father. Thank you for the lives that we live. Thank you that you are the great Father that knit us together in our mother’s wombs. That you remind us of how special and precious we are. That you, who created everything, decided the world needed one of us too. Thank you for giving us the chance to honor you with our lives. Thank you that your grace and mercy knows no bounds, and that you don’t leave us where we are but you are always helping us fine tune ourselves to be more like you. Thank you that we’re worth it. Every time, all the time. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!!
This week, I’m happy to have a guest entry. I’d like to introduce Jeff Struwe. We go to the same church, and we work at the same place. Jeff and I connected a few weeks ago after Sunday Service, and I gave him my card to hop online and check out my blog. He was so interested and excited about it, that I offered to have him do a guest entry for me. And, he did not disappoint! Jeff is working with a local group to compile a book, that I must admit, I cannot wait to read! I hope you all enjoy Jeff’s share as much as I did. ❤ Thanks Jeff!
The Wide Gate
Walking In Faith is one of those blogs that once I read the first one I look forward to the next. Stephanie Hale has created this blog who gives us life lessons while walking in faith. I am extremely privileged to be allowed to participate in this week’s Walking In Faith.
My personal testimony is perfect for Christ’s teaching in Matthew 7. And making a bold prediction, many born again Christians will admittedly agree.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7: 13-14
When I was 14 years-old a friend’s father paid for a one week Baptist bible camp in North Dakota. This was in lieu of payment for doing chores on their family farm. I concurred. What followed was my biggest life changing moment. On the next to last day of camp, I gave my life to Jesus. However, what followed for 39 years was anything but living a life of Christ. Our actions are our responsibility. I had no idea how to follow up once I gave my life to Jesus; regular bible study (daily), attending a bible based church, and the camaraderie with other born again Christians. You see, for the 39 years I did virtually what I wished. Nothing bad, but certainly not a Christian lifestyle. I basically put Jesus on a back burner and helped raise a family until after 20 years of marriage ended in divorce.
But never once did I feel miserable. A second relationship didn’t fare well either. But this time I knew things had to change. Not only was this last relationship a failure, but after working for 20 years with the Post Office – a job I really loved – work began to get on my nerves.
The Narrow Gate
I left everything behind and struck out for a place I referred to as home (South Dakota). I guess I was like Jonah. Trying to hide from God. We all know how that turned out and it was no different than my situation.
You see, I was walking on that wide path and realized destruction wasn’t far away. I needed to do something, so . . . I literally called out to Jesus and reminded Him that 39 years ago I gave Him my life. Imagine, reminding Jesus of my situation. After being hired by my current employer, the Holy Spirit spoke to me about finding a church. (#Godshowedup) I attended a few in the surrounding area of Brookings, but after dating a co-worker for a month or so, she brought me to Holy Life Tabernacle in Brookings. BINGO. Twelve years later, my most important day of the week is Sunday. Fellowship at the Tabernacle. And that co-worker? We have been married 11+ years.
I have to be perfectly clear though. Even knowing that I am on that narrow path leading to the greatest prize, Heaven, I must watch my step. And I know that many, many others are in the same situation I am. I would like to offer 2 Christian songs about my Walk In Faith. The first is the song, “I Am A Child of God.” The lyric is: “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.” You see, fear is the opposite of faith, and to walk in faith we are applying the teachings of Jesus and living with the Holy Spirit within us. The other is a song by Building 429. The title is “Where I Belong” and the lyric is, “All I know is I’m not here yet, This is not where I belong, Take this world and give me Jesus, This is not where I belong . . . “
Dwell on these lyrics. John 14:6 says, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Walking in fear is giving in to the devil and walking in faith is following Jesus. And Building 429 tells us that as followers of Christ, this world that we live on is temporary and living with Jesus is eternity. To all my brothers and sisters in Christ, walk on that narrow path that Jesus describes to us in Matthew 7. Walk in Faith and you will be rewarded the grand prize.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you have faith in us. Thank you that you do not leave us where we are. That you save us from us! Thank you that you have made a way for us to get to you. That we are reminded that You want us all to be saved. Whether we sin terribly, or whether we’re just not quite walking as straight of a path as we should. You’ve forgiven it all, you’ve removed our sin from us as far as the East is from the West. That we may always remember that you wash us white as snow, as the pure, freshly fallen crystal snow, that’s so pure. Our sin is removed by your blood, that you’ve paid the ultimate price and that we may honor our covenant with you by living in a way that you would want for us. That we may honor your name with all that we are, that we continue to straighten our feet and keep our eyes on the prize – our eternal life with you. That no matter where we’re at, we can re-adjust our steps and fall in line with your will for us. That you are the good, good Father, and that you only want good things for us. Thank you Father for all that you are, and all that you would have us be. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
God’s got a sense of humor. And, I had one of those moments this week, where I really felt like I had it all together. You know? Like, yes, I’m really understanding this. Really drawing closer to God. Felt the Holy Spirit and I really making strides. Just mmm, I got this. Then, the past snuck up on me. Came out of left field…. And, I just had to look up and laugh, because I knew God was giggling. Looking down on me, “Really got this all worked out, do you? Let’s see how you feel about this.” And, suddenly, I was all human again.
That happens though, doesn’t it? We feel like we’re really doing things, really getting tuned in, really growing. And then, something comes up where we have to apply what we’ve learned. Ugh! What?!? C’mon! But, that’s why we’re told, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” Phillippians 2:12
We’re supposed to be working out our salvation. We’re supposed to be learning new things about our salvation, about the plan that God has for us and what that means in our lives. Then, we’re supposed to be applying it. And, He gives us a clue as well, “with fear and trembling” – doesn’t sound like it’s going to be easy, does it?
So, last week, I wrote on Mercy. First, we have to understand Mercy, to extend grace. We have to embrace the concept of being merciful, because even as the old antic says, “forgive and forget” – first we have to forgive – then, we can forget.
Many, many moons ago, I had someone in my life, who was a nightmare. Someone, who I went to school with, so it wasn’t like there was a lot I could do to avoid them, but for whatever reason, we did not get along, and lots of bad things happened because of it. And, I had told myself that I had forgiven them. I had let all of that go. But, then, this person had grown up, and is now involved with a relative of mine. And, in part of me saying that I had forgiven them, I had refused to tell anyone what had happened so long ago, since I didn’t want to skew anyone’s feelings about this person. Everyone has the capacity to change, so I was trying to give them a chance with everyone else. But, I personally, kept my distance. In hindsight, that sounds super-forgiving right? 😉 But, this past week, my relative was in dire trouble, and there was no way that I could help without having to talk to this person. And, I talked to them, very chill, conversation was very matter-of-fact, helping get the situation handled, and moving on. And, then, because they now have my phone number, they texted me…. Here’s where God started giggling. This person, couldn’t even remember what all had happened, but was very sorry for whatever it was, and was hoping that I would forgive whatever it was and genuinely hoped that we could have a relationship. This person couldn’t even remember what they had done, and I’m over here holding on tight. Oh mercy me, time to work on my salvation.
“If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:23 How can I hold onto someone’s sins, and condemn them, when they don’t even remember what happened? Why was I holding on so tight? I had done things far worse, remembered those things, and hoped that as I asked forgiveness they would find it in their hearts to forgive. Why am I acting differently? Because I’m human. But, more of you and less of me, God. Time to grow, time to apply what we’ve learned, and practice what I preach…. <— Ha, see what I did there 😉
So, I will be putting all of this down. Laying it at the feet of my Savior, and asking him to heal my heart, and let me grow. Let me know what it’s like to be more like him, and less like me.
Another thing that happened this week, and maybe you’ve seen it. Is this incredible video. This kid, who takes a moment to testify God’s mercy and grace to the world. Who publicly forgives his brother’s murderer, and says that it’s what his brother would want, and what God wants. As many comments state, we wish we could all be a little more like this guy, I challenge us to try.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for your mercy. Thank you for being such an incredible example for us. Thank you that we have the opportunity to continually work out our salvation. Thank you that You are the good Father who forgives all, and challenges us to do the same. That we may bless those around us with your eternal mercy and grace. That others may see your light through us. That this man’s testimony of your forgiveness and your grace may soften people’s hearts and lead people to you. And that it may have the ripple effect, that other’s may challenge themselves to be more like you Father, and forgive and forget and only want the best for all. More of you, and less of us. Every day of the week. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Going to take a short break from promoting Operation Christmas Child, to promote the Women’s Alive Conference! This is held in Brookings South Dakota, every year in October. A time for refreshment and renewal. A time for women to get together and encourage each other, and to soak in God’s word, and make lasting relationships with each other, and God. It’s October 18th & 19th.
If you would like to join us, please register with the Holy Life Tabernacle. (Click here) It’s only $20!
Or if you would like to donate, click here, and chose Women’s Alive Conference in the options.
Some time ago, I heard the best explanation for mercy and grace that I have ever heard. Grace is giving someone what they do not deserve, and mercy is not giving someone what they do deserve.
I feel today that we focus on grace a lot. Sermons on grace, discussions about grace, books about grace. Lots of focus on grace. Which is good. Grace is important. But what about Mercy? Maybe it’s easier to focus on being able to give people what they don’t deserve. It’s easier to give what they don’t have, or give more abundantly of what they need. But what about Mercy? What about not giving people what they do deserve, or at least, what we feel they deserve?
Maybe, we first need to understand God’s mercy for us?
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) …” Ephesians 2:4-5
“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:18-19.
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”Lamentations 3:22-23.
“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.”Psalm 145:8-9.
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face.”Psalm 89:14.
“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments …”Deuteronomy 7:9.
“But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.”Psalm 86:15.
“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.”Psalm 25:10.
Let’s note for a minute that many of these notes about God’s mercy come from the Psalms, mostly written by David. Who we know was first introduced right before he slayed Goliath, which would be one of our favorite stories about David. But let us not forget, that he is an adulterer and a murderer. And, yet, in Hebrews 11 – in the “Hall of Faith” is listed as one of our great leaders of Faith, and titled the “Man after God’s own heart.” Why? Because if anyone is going to appreciate the Mercy of God (not receiving what you do deserve), it would be someone who is an adulterer and a murderer. Especially during a time, when both of these crimes were punishable by death. By all rights, David deserved to die. Even in this day and age, we believe that most people who commit either of these sins, could be punishable by death. And, yet, he was a man after God’s own heart.
How can that be?!?
Because God has mercy, in abundance! Because “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.”Psalm 145:8-9. “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments …”Deuteronomy 7:9.
Because in order for God to show us grace, he must first show us mercy. He must first, not give us what we do deserve. If God didn’t first have mercy, He would be so busy punishing us, He wouldn’t have time to show us grace. And, in our ever present struggle to grow in our faith, and become more like Jesus, we have to take hold of this. We have to understand that to move into the realm of over-abundant, unrivaled grace, we first have to understand that we have to understand this mercy. We have to understand this relentless, abundant mercy of not giving people what they do deserve. If we’re so focused on trying to make sure that people know how wrong or bad they are, how are we supposed to extend grace?
God’s mercy is that if we commit sin, and ask for forgiveness, it is forgiven. Not, He’ll think about it, not He has to go deliberate, decide if you’re sin wasn’t too bad, not have you done enough after asking for forgiveness to determine that you receive forgiveness…. It’s just, you are forgiven. Simple. You are forgiven. You just have to ask for it.
But, let’s also look, at the fact that we had fallen away from God. We had broken our covenant in the garden, and were doomed to wander the Earth apart from God. God was separated. We were sinful things, who couldn’t follow 1 rule. #youhadonejob 😉 But, even after we had fallen, and were cast out of the garden. Did God give up? Well, obviously not. He started a series of complicated events to get us to where we needed to be again – back with Him. He began working everything together for His good, to get His son here, to get us back into His proverbial garden, by sending His son. Why? Because He has mercy. Because He created a God-shaped hole in our hearts, and He knew that we will do ANYTHING to fill it, but He knows that He’s the only thing that can fill it. So, in His Mercy, He sent us the answer to the question all of creation was begging for – where is our creator? What is our purpose? And, that answer, came in the form of Jesus Christ. But, think about that mercy, we didn’t even know how to ask for it, and He knew what we needed, and how to get us there. Also, the mercy involved, in not forsaking us and leaving us to perpetually wander without Him. This mercy, that we take for granted today. Because we do not know what’s it’s like not to have this option available to us. David did. David understood how hard it was to get back to the Father. Jesus Christ hadn’t come yet, so he was perpetually battling to get back from his fall. We simply need to ask.
But, yet, as we continue to grow deeper in our Faith, we also need to understand that some people are never going to ask, or maybe they don’t even know how. So, we need to dig deep, and tap into the Father’s mercy to extend that to them, without their asking as well. We need to understand, that we can’t grow deeper in grace, until we stop focusing on how much punishment everyone needs and how they need to get what they do deserve, because they don’t. And, that punishment, is not ours to give anyway. May He without sin, cast the first stone. For we are all sinners, and have fallen short of the glory of God. And, if we want to understand Him better, and grow deeper in our relationship with Him, and shine His light for others. First we need to start trying to tap into His form of mercy, so that we can extend grace.
Dear Heavenly Father, THANK YOU!! Thank You, for being the good, good Father, who sees where we are, and doesn’t leave us there. Thank you for Your INCREDIBLE MERCY. Thank You, that you love us so much, that You have sent us the answer. In Jesus Christ. That you have given us the instruction manual of the Bible. Thank You, that you gave us a way, back to You. Thank You, that You make it so we ALL can come back into Your garden. That we all may walk with you, and talk with you, and be called Your own. That you yearn for us so much, that You look past all our transgressions, every time we make them. That you forgive our sins so thoroughly that it’s, as if, we never did them at all. Thank You for being our Father, and the best example of mercy and grace that we can all strive for. May Your blessings rain upon us, in overflow, and may we all draw closer to you, and grow deeper in Your love, grace, and MERCY for all. That we may see mankind as You do, and see ourselves as You do. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Going to take a short break from promoting Operation Christmas Child, to promote the Women’s Alive Conference! This is held in Brookings South Dakota, every year in October. A time for refreshment and renewal. A time for women to get together and encourage each other, and to soak in God’s word, and make lasting relationships with each other, and God. It’s October 18th & 19th.
If you would like to join us, please register with the Holy Life Tabernacle. (Click here) It’s only $20!
Or if you would like to donate, click here, and chose Women’s Alive Conference in the options.
So, one of the other things that was really driven home last week, as I was listening to our guest speaker, Bill Vanderbush, was, this guy gets it. He understands one of the biggest things that has changed my Faith. The way I talk the talk, and walk the walk. He gets one of the biggest things our world today is trying to smother. What the world today cannot afford to let people know.
What if, we loved others-the way God loves us?
This is so incredibly important, let me repeat myself, What if, we loved others-the way God loves us?
Now, in order for us to get this from our heads to our hearts, we have to understand how God loves us. So, let’s take a moment to think about how God loves us. He loves us: when we don’t pray, when we don’t worship him every day with all our hearts, when we don’t say thank you for all the amazing things he does for us -every day, he loves us…. Even we don’t know that he’s there (before we become believers or understand the concept of God.) He loves us, even though we still sin. He loves us when we hurt those around us, intentionally or not. He loves us. He loves us, like you love your child. That swelling deep inside your bones, love.
Now, imagine-loving others that way…. Ok, I love my kid when he’s ungrateful and defiant. I love my spouse, even when they lie, whether it’s a little, white lie or something a little more serious. But, what about someone who’s done me wrong? Ok, I forgive that co-worker who stole my project idea… I forgive that jerk who ran into my car because they were careless and texting and driving…
But what about…. Someone who doesn’t believe the same things I do? What about someone who’s a different social/economic class than I am? What about a criminal? What about an addict? What about a murderer?
What about these people? Are we practicing God’s love here? Have we really reached down to understand the depth of God’s love in these situations? It’s all fine and good, when it’s suits us. But what about when it doesn’t? What about when we’ve been hanging on to our hate and prejudices for so long, we don’t know how to let go? To forgive. To love. Those who have wronged us, wronged those we love? What then?
We have to get to the end of Us.
It’s not about us.
You have to get over yourself. It’s not about you. It’s about God. And God loves ALL OF US. ALL OF US.
You have to remember, sin is sin, no matter how big or small. Lie is the same as murder, it’s all sin in God’s eyes. You are no better or worse than anyone else. We all put our pants on the same way, and we all go in about the same size hole at the end of this life. Holding onto that hate and hurt is just closing a door that doesn’t allow God’s love in. And, let’s all just take a moment to act like life’s too short for all that hate. Well, because it is.
In order to understand and exercise God’s love, we need to tap into his grace and mercy. And to understand his grace and mercy, let us remember that he tells us to forgive our brother seven times, and seven times seven, and seven times that. Why? Because if we forgive that much, we’ll lose count. That’s the whole point. God does that for us. How can we expect that God will extend that grace to us, but not to Joe-schmoe over there. Nope, he’s just too bad. Not worth saving… Saying it out loud hurts, but it’s true. That’s what you’re doing. You are saying that, that person is not worth saving. And you need to admit that, to yourself and to God, and ask that he forgive you and let you see that person the way he does. Because you can’t experience everything that God has to offer, until you get past the fact that this is not about you.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You. Thank You that you save us from us. That you have made each and every one of us with a God shaped hole in our hearts that we want to fill with you. That you love each and everyone of us beyond comprehension. That you forgive us seven times seven times seven. That you have an abundance of Grace and understanding that we can tap into to move past ourselves. That you can give us that grace that surpasses all understanding, so we can give it to others. I pray today Father that you overwhelm us with that grace, that we may truly understand how much you love us, so we can love others the way you do. So, we can move past ourselves and be more like you. So, we can shine Your Light into the world that others may want to come to You and know You by Your love, shone in our lives. I pray that we all become shining examples of Your love and understanding and tolerance and grace. I pray that we all become more like you, each and every day. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
It’s the beginning of Operation Christmas Child! This particular mission, is very near and dear to my heart. What an incredible opportunity. For less than $20, you can make a shoebox for a child, and drop it off at a local collection center, and spread love and the good news around the world. From right where you’re at. In every shoebox, Samaritan’s Purse puts a leaflet that gives the Salvation Story in their language, and as they’re distributing them, they share the story of Jesus Christ.
I cannot emphasize enough how powerful it is to pray. And yet, one of the most neglected things that we do (or don’t do) as believers. The importance of prayer. I must say, in the growth that I was talking about last week, where I did most of my growing was in prayer. Some of the times, where I was the most fed, was in that sacred time with the Lord. In that time dedicated to prayer. It’s like each step of our walk just draws us in closer, and brings us in to that deeper relationship with the Father. There’s a reason they’re called Prayer Warriors. Because it’s true. And when you meet a true Prayer Warrior, there’s just something about them. But, let me tell you a little secret…. You can be a Prayer Warrior too. Anyone can.
So, I was just like you. Had become a believer, was starting to go to church again, but this time. I had this fire inside me. This aching to make this more, to know more, to understand more. And, so I started reading a little 2 minute daily devotional. And, one of the things this daily devotional focused on, was at least 2 of the days during the week, you would just be praying and meditating on prayer/during prayer. Thinking about what you’re praying about. That was a seed. A seed that started to sprout. I started to realize that this prayer time had something to it. This supernatural feeling. This calm. This peace. This warm and loving glow. This sensation that I just couldn’t get enough of. And, so I started to focus more of my devotionals on prayer. Started reading scripture about prayer. Started studying some of the great people of the Bible, and what did they all have in common? Their prayer time.
David prayed. Moses prayed. Samuel prayed. Jesus prayed.
Did you know there are 222 prayers in the Bible? Here is a neat list I found online. Prayers for every occasion, prayers that can help you anytime, if you don’t know how to pray. Whether you want to follow a prayer, or just need somewhere to start. The important thing is, getting started! I had an interesting viewpoint introduced to me. When you think of how big the Bible is, any time something takes up a lot of real estate, you should pay attention! 222 prayers. There is almost a prayer in every book of the Bible. Some of the books, that’s almost all they are. That’s A LOT of real estate. It’s SO IMPORTANT. It is our DIRECT LINK to the Father. It is part of why Jesus came to gave his life on the cross, to give us the Holy Spirit, that we may TALK DIRECTLY TO GOD!
I challenge you this week to dig into prayer more. How much more can you apply prayer in your life? Prayer continually. When you’re stressed out, stop and pray about it first. When you are about to make a decision, ask God what he thinks. Get up every morning, and THANK GOD that your eyes opened again to give you another day — and maybe even ask Him what you’re supposed to do with it? Dig in, draw closer.
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for your many blessings! Thank You that you’ve given us a heart of flesh. That You want to have a personal relationship with us. This morning Father, I pray that you give everyone reading this a heart of flesh, that they may burn for You Father. That they want to draw closer to You. That they start praying instead of worrying. That You Father reach down inside them and give them a sense of peace that surpasses all understanding. That You watch over them Father, and all that they do. That they understand You Great Power and Incredible Love. That You make each and every one of these people A PRAYER WARRIOR after Your own heart. I pray that You change their lives forever. That You give them an insatiable yearning for time with You, and that the time with You bears fruit in their lives. That it changes them from the inside out. That they may feel the same way about Prayer time as I do, more than I do. That You may bless them all the days of their lives and that they grow deeper in Your love and their relationship with You Father. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!
Here is a great mission that anyone can do! Because anyone can be a PRAYER WARRIOR!! Here is a group that gives you an opportunity to become a missionary, just by praying! Because everyone needs prayer!! The Gideons. You know, that group that has made it so almost every hotel in the United States has a Bible in the room. The group that dedicates time and missionaries to distributing Bibles all over the world!