What God Wants You to Know Today

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore, I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 (ESV)

Did you wake up feeling defeated this morning?

Are there regretful actions or words on replay in your mind?

Did you blow it in a big way?

Girl, have I been there!

But I’m here to give you a word from the Lord. God started speaking to me yesterday about you when I went and shared the word with some sweet women in jail. You see … these ladies need hope because their life situations are pretty dim right now. So many are experiencing the consequences of their poor decisions, and they are mourning their sinful actions.

God reminded me that we all need some encouragement too.

The prophet, Jeremiah, spoke these scriptures in Lamentations to the children of Israel after they were taken captive by the Babylonian empire. The Israelites were in great mourning and despair because God’s judgment had brought the consequences of bondage upon them for their sin. 

In truth, the Israelites deserved death for their gross idolatry and sin, but our merciful God spared their lives.

This scripture in Lamentations reminds us that no matter how we sin or mess up, God’s steadfast love for us never ceases. According to the Hebrew interpretation, the word steadfast far exceeds the basics of mercy, grace, forgiveness, and compassion.

This word steadfast translates to a “great love.” That’s the kind of love we have from God, a love that hangs in there when we are at our worst in the most challenging situations of our lives.

And no matter what … God will not break His Covenant Love. He proved that over and over with His chosen people.

Every morning that we wake up, we get another chance at making things right or learning from our mistakes.

If we’ve repented … we can start over with God.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences there may be. But it means that God in His unfathomable love will give us mercy to navigate those circumstances.

So, don’t wallow in defeat because the enemy has convinced you that you can’t overcome certain situations or mindsets. You can, in the name of Jesus! (Philippians 4:13)

Don’t think your transgressions are so bad that there is no forgiveness or redemption for you. (Acts 3:19)

Choose today to grab hold of God’s mercy and don’t look back.

With true repentance … God will pave a way of mercy that will take us to new places of hope, redemption, and victory. (1 John 1:9)

God’s got some fresh mercy for you today, friend, so wash your mind in His love and start over.

Love,

Mel

When We Know Something or Someone isn’t Good for Us

Just because I can

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 1 Corinthians 10:23 (ESV)

I scroll away until I feel that shift in my spirit. You know, the post that stops you in your tracks and feels like a dagger thrust through your back? Or it may be the purposeful or unintended omission of acknowledgment? Or the distorted or twisted comment that’s left open for personal interpretation.

Oh, the woes of social media. I’ve come to realize that I have a love-hate relationship with all things online. I’ve even limited my activity to 15 minutes a day, but of late, I haven’t had the heart to jump on for a few minutes. I don’t mean to appear anti-social or ignore those I love, I’ve just concluded that unless I am sharing God’s hope, social media isn’t helpful for my mind or emotions.

God’s used this situation to remind me of the scripture in 1 Corinthians 10:23:

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.

The apostle Paul is warning us about abusing our Christian liberty. This chapter has many precious truths, but verse 23 is rolling around in my heart and mind. 

Paul refers to the Israelites self-indulgent and careless discipline that led to sin. Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should.

The Corinthians didn’t seek after the things that built them up them, they pushed the envelope, practicing what they could get away with and still be a Christian.

They didn’t see there were activities or even people that fractured their fellowship with God or distracted them from faithfulness.

We all have habits, people, or situations in our lives that we know are not spiritually helpful, yet our flesh wants what it wants. Unfortunately, the trade-off for gratifying the flesh comes later in circumstances that deplete us emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

If we know something is harmful or isn’t beneficial to our lives, shouldn’t we run from it?

Paul warns about habits that lead to sin. He even mentions being led astray by the company we keep. (1 Corinthians 10:6-22)

He basically says, “I have the right to do anything I want, but if that anything enslaves me in sin, then I don’t need to do it. (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Breaking free from those things that are oppressive, impure, discouraging, or pleasing to the flesh may be difficult, but not impossible. (Matthew 19:25)

In truth, we know what edifies our soul or what wounds or violates our consciences, don’t we? 

So, I’ve started asking myself a couple of questions to get to the gut of my feelings:

Does this activity harm my emotions or distract me from God’s truths, leading to sin?

Does this activity or person splinter my peace, or do I feel encouraged?

Does this activity cause me to lead others astray?

Your gut questions may look different from mine; we each battle the flesh in different ways. But I encourage you to take a soul inventory to identify those habits or people that may be bringing you down. 

Honesty with God is helping me decipher what His good and pleasing will is for me.

Yes, all things are lawful, but that doesn’t mean they are good for me.

I’ve wasted too much life on things that are not God’s best; how about you?

Melanie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Do Broken Hearts Go?

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The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Do you ever feel like the troubles of life are similar to a leaky faucet that’s constantly dripping loss?

Is there an unwanted change or a new wound that’s caught you off guard recently?

Unfortunately, that’s what we get when we live in a fallen world.

But the enemy’s plan is to pull us down emotionally, spiritually, and physically to a point where we can’t cope.

Whether you’re mourning the death of loved ones or the loss of health, a job, a marriage, friendship or even unforeseen drama, the enemy’s goal is to put you in a state of depression so that you’ll give up and react sinfully.

I experienced a serious tango with depression after the tragic loss of family two years ago. The grief of losing two family members at one time alone is enough to rupture one’s emotions, but the enemy complicated our grief with a full out assault that involved even more loss.

Depression can certainly stop the flow of life and that’s where I found myself for the entire year of 2017.

Through God’s Grace … I found my way out. The word of God is so precious to me because it was my lifeline.

Recently I was invited to share my story on the “Women Finishing Well” podcast. This is a beautiful new ministry that is aimed at helping women learn to leave a legacy of faith that will bless generations to come.

I was thrilled when Chris Syme asked me share my journey because to be honest … I want something good to come out of all the chaos and loss that we have experienced.

In this short podcast we talk about:

-Defining grief as a season and how God brings balance to our seasons.

-How the enemy of your heart can complicate your grief.

-Defining your season of mourning and its purpose for the healing journey.

-How to share your grief with others.

-How looking back at God’s faithfulness helps us deal with our present hurt.

-Why you should keep an inventory (journal) on how God shows up in your grief.

I would so love it if you would take a listen – here is the link. I believe God would encourage and provide hope for your brokenness.

The truth is … there is nowhere to take our broken hearts except to God. He is the only one who will handle them with tender care and divine guidance.

God loves you my friend. He sees your brokenness. He won’t leave your hurts undone. Take your broken heart to the Father … He’s waiting to comfort you.

Father, you tell us that you are close to us when we have a broken heart. We ask today that you remind us that you love us and want to help us navigate the hard places in life. Thank you for your promise to never leave us alone. God, show us the path to healing. Shine the light in our souls to block out the depression. Help us to pray honest prayers and to keep turning to you in every moment that we feel overwhelmed. Heal our broken hearts Lord, please. In Jesus name, amen.

Scriptures to encourage you:

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.                     Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Food for Thought:

Do you have the peace that passes all understanding? Have you given your heart to Jesus to be the Lord of your life? And if you did … did it change you from the inside out? If there wasn’t a real-life transformation … there is a good chance you didn’t give your heart completely to Jesus.

As a child, I thought I made a decision at the age of 6. But years later, I realized as a young adult that I had no victory in my life because I had never made Christ the Lord of my life. At the age of 26, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me. Praise God! I don’t know where I would be today without Him?

If you would like to ask Jesus to be your Savior, below is the Salvation prayer that Dr. Charles Stanley provides on his website. I encourage you to take inventory of your heart and honestly seek the truth. Peace, victory for living, and eternal life are only a prayer away.

SALVATION PRAYER

Dear God in heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.

I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.

You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.

Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.

Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance.

 Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.

Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life. AMEN.

If you prayed this prayer, I encourage you to reach out to someone and let them know. In fact, you can send me a message – I would so love to encourage and send you some materials. Your next step is to find a Bible believing church that will help you grow in the Lord. To be around other believers will accelerate your growth in the Lord.

Thank you for stopping by friend – I pray you find God in the deepest valley’s and seek Him in every way! HE LOVES YOU BIG!

Love,

Mel

Why You Are Enough

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Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19 (ESV)

The conversation was light and friendly enough to pass the social meter test, but the pointed tone of her dialogue was lacking. It was clear that I didn’t measure up to her standards. The heart knows when it’s been embraced and this person’s distance is close enough to discern. In fact, this relationship has been a source of constant prayer for many years. I can’t put my finger on the problem, yet I know its there.

We will never know this side of heaven why people choose to see what they see in us, or rather why they don’t see what they should? Or rather what God sees.

The pain of subtle rejection is the enemy’s playground. He loves to slowly chip away at our hearts with a steady repetition of slight snubs, outright oppression, and unfair eliminations. Reminds me of the beautiful Woodpecker that faithfully drills his holes into our Bradford Pear trees outside our windows on a daily basis. He’s always at it, come rain or shine.

But knowing my worth in Christ has been a theme in a long season of healing. God has made Himself real to me by ushering in His presence when my heart is downcast. The first chapter of Ephesians is helping me see the truth of who I am in Christ and all the benefits I have as His child. I challenge you to study this chapter in depth, marking the truth statements that you can recall consistently.

Knowing the truth will help us refocus on the lavish blessings we have “in Christ.” In the past, rebuffs would cause me to focus on my flaws and shortcomings. God has made it ever so real to me that the rejection I feel is not about me, it’s all about what’s going on inside of those who come against me.

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So, here are some truths that God reminded me of recently:

  • The measure of your worth is not found in man’s opinion. Your worth is measured by God’s unending love.

Goodness … if only we could grasp the Father’s love for us, then we would never care about man’s opinion ever again. You are beyond valuable to your Creator. He gave His son to die on a cross so that you could live and breath every day. (John 3:16) Your worth is equal to His only child’s precious blood. That’s a BIG LOVE. (Romans 8:37-39) Recall all His benefits that are evidence of His great love.

  • Faithfulness always outlives the enemy’s lies.

Keep showing up and being who God created you to be. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been redeemed from or the mistakes you’ve made. (Romans 8:1) God sees your faithfulness and when His purposes are exalted in your life, no man will be able to hold you back.

Show up, be faithful, love people (even those who look at you with that brow of disdain) and share the Gospel. God is for you and He is always fighting for you. (Exodus 14:14, Romans 8:31) You were given specific gifts to be used for the Kingdom, don’t let man determine your faithfulness to the Great Commission.

  • Regardless of our messiness, Grace is our anchor.

Fight for grace in your heart toward others and let God handle the rest. We can’t change hearts, only God can do that, but we can control how our hearts respond. Nevertheless, be encouraged! God can do a work in your critic’s heart and they could one day become your biggest fan. Where Grace abounds, trust is found. Trust God and His redemption process.

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  • Big Love covers it all. Your insufficiency and their insufficiency. Love regardless. Love even if you are disrespected, ignored, or discouraged. Just love BIG.

From one messy girl to another, God has shown me how important love is … even if it’s from a distance or practiced in my prayers.

Not everyone will believe in you, like you, or even love you. But I share these words to encourage you to continue on in your calling. The enemy knows how to discourage you and just who to use in that process. Don’t let him mess with your future, your purpose in Christ is of Kingdom importance. Believe who you are in Christ. Think about His love for you and recall all He’s done for you in the past.

Remember, you have a Father in Heaven who is always in your corner … and that’s why YOU ARE ENOUGH!

Love,

Mel

Trusting God with A Broken Heart #First5

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Do you live in a radical realm of faith where you know that God is the end-all solution for the hurts you encounter? For every loss, every disappointment, even death?

It’s hard to decipher how God can be the answer to everything bad that happens in our lives, isn’t it?

But the truth is … He is.

A lot has happened inside of me over the last two years.

A lot of healing and learning to live by the truth of God’s word.

It’s so hard to understand what God allows to happen in our lives.

The loss of a marriage, job … and even a child.

But even in these deep hurts, He is still a good God with a good plan for our lives.

For that reason alone, He deserves our praise.

God has used the Psalms to minister to me on so many hard days.

Today I am sharing a little of my grief journey over on the Proverbs 31 First 5 forum.

This study through First 5 is entitled “EVEN IF” and it’s been profound to daily read the truth that God uses as a healing balm for so many of my hurts.

I encourage you if you are hurting … dig into this study and let God use His healing words to transform your thoughts, feelings, and fears.

Here is the link for my devotion today … which is day 42 … but go find the First 5 App on your phone or the online forum and subscribe. I promise … you will be glad you did!

Blessings to you all sweet friends!

Love, 

Melanie 

 

Trusting God When We Can’t See What’s Ahead #ForJon

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And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10

The service was just starting as I found my place in the choir loft last Sunday. The music started and immediately my eyes found Jon, keeping beat with the rhythm, slightly bouncing his knee up and down. It made me smile to see this sweet boy acknowledging worship in the Lord’s house.

I first told you about Jon in 2015 and I thought it would be neat to give you an update of how God continues to bless this boy and his family.

Jon is now 20 years old and he’s still defying the odds. He’s currently a sophomore at the University of Tennessee, majoring in mathematics. He’ll be going into the engineering program in the fall semester and it’s no surprise to regularly find Jon’s name on the Dean’s list.

Jon voting

Employed with a major government firm, Jon does CADnet drafting and actually started this job when in high school. Every morning he drives himself across town and navigates the madness of campus parking to make his classes on time. This still makes his momma a little nervous, but trusting God with Jon is old hat for my friend these days.

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If ever God’s hand has been on a child, it’s Jon.

Four years ago, right around Easter, Jon felt the Lord pursuing his heart on a Sunday morning. His older brother, David, sweetly led Jon in the sinner’s prayer as he asked Jesus into his heart. It was an unforgettable day of rejoicing for all, especially mom and dad.

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Jon faithfully attends the college ministry meetings at the local Pike House Coffee shop with a determined attentiveness.  There have been a few times Jon’s dutifully given the college pastor an update on the time, after all, punctuality is important for success, right?

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To run into Jon in the hallways at church makes my day. He always gives me a hug and says; “Hi! How are you, Melanie?” I always reply, “I’m good, Jon, how about you?” “I’m good,” he says, always. That’s our routine, and it’s sweet.

He’s still got that wit and can land the one-liners with perfect timing.

He gets more handsome every day and he’s always a true gentleman.

And he’s now an uncle which brings a new dimension of fun for the whole family.

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The obstacles that Jon has overcome in his 20 short years are a true testimony to God’s faithfulness.

Months after Jon’s birth, the unknowns for Mike and Kelli were paralyzing some days.

There were times that fear shrouded any visions of what they could imagine for their boy today.

But my goodness … God has outdone Himself with Jon.

I’ve watched my friends trust, day by day, consistently giving God glory for the victories … and it’s truly been victory after victory with Jon.

Trusting God in the darkness is hard … but what a testimony of trust we see in this family.

And so on this Light It Up Blue Day … Jon’s story is a good reminder that when we can’t see what’s up ahead … we need to remember who can.

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To look back at all that God’s done … here’s the link to my original post about Jon.

 

When We End Up in Emotional Bondage

P31 Devotion Collection WoundsIt’s so easy to sit and think about our hurts, isn’t it? To relive the moments that cause such a ripple in our souls, right? 

But are these thoughts causing you to collect wounds?

In days past, I found myself stuck in a quagmire of grief, loss, disappointment, rejection, and more since the tragic death of my step-daughter and son-in-law, two years ago.

There were days that I thought I was losing my mind, days that I begged Jesus to return, and days I just didn’t want to go on. I cut myself off from everyone and everything. I was easily hurt by everything that came my way. Unfortunately, the enemy was watching me every day, and he knew just how to complicate my grief greater.

Finally, I got tired of waking up hurting. There was a shift in my soul that reminded me that how I was living is not what Jesus died for.

It’s been quite a spiritual journey finding emotional freedom. Honestly, I didn’t think I would ever come back from the hurts – and I didn’t think I would ever write again … BUT GOD! 

I’m sharing a bit of that journey today on Proverbs 31 Ministries website. I’m grateful for the opportunity to tell you about the healing that God’s been leading me through these last two years.

Jesus came to free us from emotional bondage that holds us back in this fallen world! He came to give us abundant life! That means He wants us whole and walking in freedom.

I invite you to read a little about my journey and I encourage you with this thought: the best thing to do with a broken heart is to embrace God’s truth!

Thank you for stopping by today and thank you to Proverbs 31 Ministries and the Compel training program. My how the Lord has used this ministry to encourage me on many dark days – and for that, I am so grateful.

love mel