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Every step

Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. – Mark 5:19

As I’m coming off this season of busy, I’m thinking about how every step matters. It’s a step in the right direction. How many steps it took to get here. To get there. To get to where I’m going.

You know, looking back on my life, I took a lot of steps. Steps in the wrong direction. Steps down bad roads, and wrong turns, and dead end streets. And many times, I purposefully took that step. I knew, I didn’t care. Took that step and stayed there, took another step further. I went so fast down that way, my own friends and family didn’t recognize me. I had turned into a monster, that frankly scared people. I was so far down that road, I couldn’t see the way back. The forest for the trees. I was pretty content there too. That’s something a lot of addicts don’t talk about. We’re not usually sitting around in self-loathing wondering how we got here. We’re totally happy here. We don’t need saving. We’re good.

And now, today, to think back, I ache. I ache because of the pain I caused my loved ones, but not really for myself. I don’t feel bad for myself, I did that, but thank God for his grace. For his everlasting, loving light. For his reassuring, guiding light back. Always reminds me of how he’s a gentleman. He could’ve done all kinds of stuff to try to snap me out of it, and he did send a couple messengers/nudges over the years, but I had to come back on my own. No one else could do it for me.

And now, I’m so different. So different from before. And what’s super crazy, is I liked both of me. I liked the old me, but I love the new me. I’m so grateful for all the baby steps that got me here. I’m thankful for the incredible grace that allows me to not be defined by my mistakes. I’m not who I used to be. Thank God, he saves you from you.

As I was reading Ephesians today that all kinda flooded into my head. I think that’s part of why I like Paul so much. I can relate. Although I’ve never killed anyone, Paul was one nasty dude. And a lot of times, when I think back on who I used to be, that’s who it reminds me of. This completely different person, totally transformed by the grace of God. Just like my buddy, Paul. Sometimes it’s just really incredible and inspirational to think about the little miracles that God is doing every day. And the really inspirational part to me, is that no one is ever too far gone, for God to bring them back. We can always come home.

I AM AN EXAMPLE OF WHEN #GODSHOWEDUP

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you! Thank you for being the incredible miracle-worker that you are. Thank you for your incredible example of Paul, to show us for thousands of years, that no one is too far gone. We can always come back home. We can always come back to you Father, and live in your over-abundant grace and glory. That we can always believe in you, and trust in you. We can always count on you to be there for us in our times of need, and in our times of plenty. That you are the Good, Good Father that always provides, always heals, always forgives. Thank you for your everlasting love Father. For all that you are and all that you would have us be. For all the days of our lives. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

Channel to Brazil – Talk about a mission group that saves people! I first discussed them in God’s Plans. And they were the first mission that I started focusing on when I started Mission’s Circle. “Our work is all about offering a pathway out of poverty for children. With 35 years of experience of working in Brazil, our programs are designed to support families and build stronger communities.”

You can read more about them here.

And donate here.

Encouragement

Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock. – Isaiah 26:3-4

It’s funny how much we all need encouragement sometimes. I have been struggling with my blog lately. I think particularly because I had never wanted to write a blog in the first place. So, trying to figure out direction is difficult. I had never had a plan. And to try to make one now seemed so daunting. Plus, as I stated before, I had plenty of things going on, so trying to add one more thing just seemed like a lot. It had even crossed my mind that maybe my blog had reached a natural end of sorts and maybe I was just done?

But then, as always,#Godshowedup to reassure me that this was not it. That I could continue to follow the Spirit and God would give me things to write about. Then, sharing my story last week, I had a few readers reach out and tell me how encouraging they found my blog and looked forward up reading it – which of course, only encouraged me more. Then, as I was reading Galatians this morning, even more encouragement poured forth.

The apostle Paul experienced the same struggles. He brought Barnabus and Titus with him to Jerusalem, and then saw him falling into the old ways due to environment and social pressures, and makes this monumental speech, that just rallied me!

Galatians 2

Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

As for those who were held in high esteem—whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not show favoritism—they added nothing to my message. On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised. For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles. James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the circumcised. 10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.

Paul Opposes Cephas

11 When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.

19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” –all emphasis my own

Imagine speaking before all those people with such boldness and ferver. To be so in the Word, and encouraged by the Spirit to face adversity and even your own brethren falling into the wayside that you stand your ground and rally the troops!

Here I am, send me! No job too small, no soul left behind.

Thank you, Father!

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your encouragement! Thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to live inside us and those around us that they may be in tune to our needs. Thank you for sending the Word that we may always have a Word of Encouragement. Thank you for blessing our lives with your overwhelming, overabundant love and grace Father. Thank you for all that you do for us, and all that you are. Bless the work of our hands and the words from our lips each and every day. That we may see the needs of those around us and be so in tune with your Spirit that we do your work when those around us need it. Thank you Father for all that you have done and all that you would have us do. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!

Mission’s Circle

Channel to Brazil – These guys popped up in my head today as I was thinking about which mission to support. I first discussed them in God’s Plans. And they were the first mission that I started focusing on when I started Mission’s Circle. “Our work is all about offering a pathway out of poverty for children. With 35 years of experience of working in Brazil, our programs are designed to support families and build stronger communities.”

You can read more about them here.

And donate here.

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#Godshowedup

Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:25

Sometimes you just move in the Spirit. Sometimes things just work out and it all comes together. I was once again feeling guilty that I had missed my Saturday morning deadline, but as I’ve stated last week, still coming off of burning it on both ends. So, this morning I go to church. And, as I’m sitting listening to our Pastor’s report from India missions, I started thinking about how grateful I was to have such a wonderful church family. That maybe I should stop and talk to one of the Pastors afterward to see what I might be able to do to help keep this blog rolling. I’m just having a hard time getting into a rhythm again. To know what it is I’m supposed to be talking about here.

And, as I was kinda packing up my stuff and looking around, here came an usher, that I see every Sunday, but don’t think I’ve ever really talked to before. And, he starts sharing with me about this really motivational speaker he listens to, and she gives daily blessings that he shares with a list of people every day. That he encourages all these people every day. And, I shared with him that I have a blog and a ladies’ Bible Study. And, you know #Godshowedup. As he always does. He sent me a messenger. An encourager. Another set of resources to reach into. To find these people that encourage others every day. And, I appreciate it so deeply. I love that the Spirit moves and that those who allow him to move through them, will never be disappointed.

I’m so grateful to have a personal relationship with Jesus and to see the Spirit move in miraculous ways, every day. I am so grateful for everything that I have, and everything that I’ve been through to have such a wonderful testimony that God urges me to share with others, that they might also be encouraged in their walk. That they might have the veil lifted to watch for the ways God moves all the time. To continually remind me that #Godshowedup.

And, I did have a moment with the Pastor to encourage her and share how inspirational she is and how much I appreciate everything they do for the Lord and for others. To remind us, that the most important thing is to share the GOOD NEWS! To bring others to Christ. To encourage one another. To be here and to let the Spirit move through us to bring people to the Light and to build each other up.

Here is what I wrote during the service today, before my messenger showed up:

“Living in the Word has sustained me. Believing in Jesus Christ has made it so I can live. And I am winning at life. That I may be so grateful and blessed. This was emphasized again today as I sat in church. That I find it so uplifting and it makes me full. That I may not be lukewarm. Part of why it’s so important to have a church family and fellowship with one another. That you may be uplifted and encouraged, that you may grow in your faith. That may be in tune with the Spirit and be a channel for God to show up. That you may be in tune and understand when God shows up.”

And then, He did. Every time.

Image result for hebrews 13:1-2

God bless you all.

I can do all things

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

Sometimes, I catch myself burning it at both ends. Hence, part of why I missed last week. It’s definitely a struggle when you start running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Things slip through the cracks, and things have to be put down because you literally have too much on your plate. But, I have learned the warning signs of too much at once, and early burnout. I’m one of those people that when I start burning out, I get really sick too. So, I have to slow down and put a few things down, for the sake of me. You can’t fill up other people’s gas tanks, if yours isn’t full to give.

But, this last week, I noticed one thing. I had read a story about a dad telling his son how big God is, all depends on your closeness to God. He used the analogy of seeing an airplane. From far away, God seems really small, but as they approached the airport – the plane became huge. God, in your life, is only as big as how close you are to him. And this really stuck a chord with me. It’s true. And later that evening, I was laying down, and I had the overwhelming sensation that I was laying underneath a plane. That I couldn’t see anything for all the plane there was. It was really incredible, and I really enjoyed it, and it gave me an overwhelming sense of peace.

That’s been the other part of this too. I haven’t felt nearly as stressed in this season of burning at both ends, like I’m busy and doing all the things, but I haven’t been panicky because of it. Because I have the overwhelming peace of God. Which brings me to another thought I’ve been having this past week. I’ve been thinking of the prayer that our church says before every sermon.

“This is my Bible, I Am what it says I am. I can do what it says I can do. Today I’ll be taught the Word of God. I boldly confess, I’m about to receive, the incorruptible, indestructible, ever-living seed of the Word of God. I’ll never be the same, never, ever, ever, In Jesus Name, Amen. ”

The pastor leads us in that prayer before we receive the Word. And he doesn’t just say it, he stops and we repeat as he goes. I later came to find out that some of this is Joel Osteen too, but he’s added his own stuff too. The first couple times we prayed this, and I really thought about these words, I cried.

“I am what it says I am, I can do what it says I can do.” The Bible says, all things are possible with God. I am his workmanship. I am beautifully and wonderfully made. I serve the same God who created the universe and raised Christ from the dead. The God who gave barren women children, who healed lepers, who made the blind see, and the lame walk. The God who defeated the devil in sending his son to save us and reconnect us with the Almighty. That’s the God we serve. “And I will never be the same. Never, ever, ever. In Jesus name.”

It’s an incredibly powerful prayer, and to say it every week, reminding yourself what God says about you, and what you are declaring about your God-you will never be the same. Declaring these things over your life is critical. You have to speak life to yourself, and declare your life to God, and he’ll never leave where you’re at, He saves you from you. And I thank God for that.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all that you do for us. Thank you for all that you are. That you save us from ourselves. Thank you for sending your word, that we may grow in you Father. That you reassure us who we are, and inform us what we can do with you Father. That we are blessed because of you, and you continue to bless us, each and every day. Thank you Father God-for everything. IN JESUS’ NAME! AMEN!

Mission’s Circle

Lately, I have had these guys on my heart, Diamond Willow Ministries. Here’s their mission statement: The mission of Diamond Willow Ministries as a Christ centered organization is to empower and develop healthy Christian youth, families, and leaders by meeting current spiritual, emotional, and physical needs within the Native American community.

I’m not sure what all they need right now, but pray for them. Reach out to them. Thank God for their ministry and pray that He lays his hands upon it right now.

And as always, you can donate: here