This Christian walk is no bed of roses for sure. Some days it’s more like a terrifying roller coaster ride that takes you on breath taking dips and turns all while people stand on the sidelines laughing, scorning and pointing fingers at you.
Christianity certainly isn’t for the weak. And if you serve God in any capacity, you better have a thick skin because it’s harrowing out there in ‘Jesus loves you’ land.
I’ve been mistreated by more Christians than I’ve ever been by non-Christians.
We ‘Jesus loving folks’ are pretty hard on one another.
I stand up for Christ and get pummeled to the ground. I don’t stand and feel guilty for not doing so. The enemy calls me a coward while God reminds me that He gave me boldness.
Then if you are trying to live close to Christ and please Him in any sense, you got your own mess going on. The enemy tries his best to thwart, condemn and dismiss you in all regards.
And I can’t forget that the world puts Christian’s under a microscope. They wait for every fail and opportunity to call us out on scripture yet they interpret God’s word ignorantly because they don’t study context.
It’s much harder to be a Christ follower than to NOT be one at all.
I’ve been feeling this heavy weight of my faith lately.
It’s made me long for Jesus to come back every day.
The enemy keeps whispering ‘what’s the use in pressing on?’
But God is so good to sit with me and speak hope when the world is ugly.
Every stinking day, He pursues me in some way … and even more lately since my heart has been hurting.
He knows all about the heaviness of life, relationships, ministry, loss, unfair judgments, and disappointments.
He knows all about this flawed heart that struggles to process the arrows from the enemy. He knows when my reactions and thought patterns are sometimes less than pleasing as a result … and He celebrates when I get it right.
He also knows that no matter what is thrown at me … I know and acknowledge that He is all I got.
HE’S IT for me.
I’d be ruined without Him.
He’s the only reason I hang on.
So I know it may come as no surprise to you, but I’m not perfect.
Far from it.
But God recently told me that’s okay because He knows I’m trying.
I’m a pretty honest girl. There’s no pretense here. No fakeness.
You always know where you stand with me and that’s how me and God do life together.
So today as He has done so many times before … He reminded me;
“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” Philippians 1:6 The Message
Perhaps you are feeling a heaviness in this walk we are called to? Maybe the enemy is trying to make you feel less than … worthless?
Maybe he is using another’s actions to bring you down?
Take heart my friend … we will never be perfect and God knows this.
The important thing to remember is that we keep looking to Him and live out the righteousness of the blood that Jesus shed for us.
Perfection is over rated because it leaves out the love factor.
This love factor keeps me running back into the arms of a Savior who loves me, my flaws, my hang ups and all my hurts.
I’ll take Jesus over perfection any day. Press on my friends.
Today let His Grace Like a Wave wash over you – worship with Elevation Worship.
Stillness. A place my soul is learning to rest in. It’s a place where I am all alone with my thoughts and the Lord.
It’s been a gradual journey to get here. Little by little He sets activities aside, narrowing the focus to Him.
Some days my introverted side loves the quiet, other days the extroverted me wants community with hearts most like mine.
At the core of this stillness is surrender. So I press in, soaking up the truths that He makes me aware of … and for the most part I get them immediately. Then there are times when He has to thump me on the head like a ripe melon.
Today the stillness finds me at my middle son’s hospital bedside. Sickness has a way of bringing life to a halt.
So I surrender my thoughts and plans for this time … to wait, to focus, to listen, and to rest in His unwavering faithfulness.
I eagerly anticipated this day … to celebrate my risen Savior. There’s a sadness that we couldn’t be in the Lord’s house as a family today. No festivities, fellowship, or good food.
Of course Aaron’s sickness didn’t catch the Lord by surprise. So with every detail or event that the Lord allows to touch my days … I linger … waiting to hear His voice. Today in the quiet He reminded me of a few simple constants that my heavy heart needed to recall.
1 – When life takes a curve rendering you helpless and powerless … He is fighting for you and stands guard over every overwhelming detail.
The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:14
Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them. The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes. Deuteronomy 1:29:30
2- When you are tempted to worry … pray instead.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
3- Let your faith kick in.
And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:22-24
Yes sometimes those directives are easier said than done, especially if fear creeps in. But though we go through these life bumps … He hasn’t deserted us.
In fact, it’s for the sicknesses we have … that He hung on a cross and died.
It’s for the many regrets that nag our memories … He willingly laid down His life.
For all the brokenness, the mistakes, the hurts, the barren places … for every inadequacy we are or feel … He became the sacrifice.
And finally the stillness reminded me that … one day when I see His face … all the longings in this patched up heart will become obsolete. He will fill in all the cracks of my soul with a love that completely fulfills.
I’ll be whole. What a comfort. What a faithful Savior.
So if and when you find yourself at a place where you are forced to be alone with your thoughts … there is a good chance the Lord wants to remind you of a few things.
It’s good to hear from the Lord.
I challenge you friend … Don’t resist the stillness.
Happy Easter to you. Ain’t God good?!
What do you fear friend?
What keeps you up at night?
What circumstances tempt you to intervene or provide a solution?
What are you afraid will never change?
Fear is a life sucker for sure.
If I had a dime for every time that fear has caused me to step out of the will of GOD … oh my … I would probably be sitting on a tropical island this very moment drinking a little fruity drink with a tiny umbrella … non alcoholic of course.
Oh the Spiritual and emotional ground that fear can steal.
Fear of loss, fear of the future, fear of man and what he thinks.
King David grappled with fear many times. We see this in the scriptures as he ran for his life … crying out to GOD … begging rest from his enemies.
But David’s struggles and victories, give me hope.
The Psalms he penned all those hundreds of years ago reveal a man who was desperate for GOD to show up.
How many times have you been desperate for GOD to show up in your life?
Maybe you are desperate right now?
David landed smack dab in the middle of desperation. The man after GOD’S own heart was on the run from a jealous, King Saul who wanted to kill him.
In first Samuel 21 we learn what fear made David do. He lied to Ahimelech, the priest, claiming to be on a special assignment for King Saul. In addition, he faked insanity before King Achish of Gath.
David reacted to fear in extraordinary ways to say the least. And in truth … his actions were not customary to his true character.
Can you relate? What has fear caused you to do that went against the grain of your conscious? Your character? And even your faith?
Oh the story gets better. David flees Gath and continues to hide from Saul. In chapter 23 of 1 Samuel, David finds himself faced with fleeing again after he helped Keliah defeat the Philistines. Once again, GOD reveals to David that Saul is coming for him, so David flees.
David stayed in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but GOD did not deliver him into his hand. 1 Samuel 23:14
And Saul sought David every day … but GOD did not deliver him into his hand.
Oh my … sweet friend … just like David, we are fleeing and fighting for our lives in so many regards. And yes the struggle is real … it’s exhausting … it’s discouraging … but GOD is in control of our situation.
Let me prove that HE sees and cares about what you are going through.
“When Saul and his men went to seek him, they told David, and he came down to the rock and stayed in the wilderness of Maon. And when Saul heard it, he pursued David in the wilderness of Maon. Saul went on one side of the mountain, and David and his men on the other side of the mountain; and David was hurrying to get away from Saul, for Saul and his men were surrounding David and his men to seize them. But a messenger came to Saul, saying, “Hurry and come, for the Philistines have made a raid on the land.” So Saul returned from pursuing David and went to meet the Philistines; therefore they called that place the Rock of Escape. 1 Samuel 23: 25-28
Oh my! Did you just see that? GOD sent the Philistines as a distraction to draw King Saul away!
How cool is that?
Oh friend … GOD sees your fear … your desperation … and HE is working on your behalf … even though you may not feel or perceive it. Time and time again we see GOD’S faithfulness played out on the pages of His historical word.
So what can we take away from this encouraging story about David?
1 – We must guard against fear causing us to sin … and turn away from GOD. We must not step out in flawed wisdom and make poor choices that separates us from GOD’S presence and will.
2- TRUST GOD in the overwhelming moments of fear. Get honest and cry out to Him just like David did in the Psalms. Pour out your heart and pen your own Psalms to the Creator.
3- Never underestimate the omniscient GOD who sees everything … especially what we can’t see. HE knows the exact moment of our deliverance and it will be right on time.
4- Believe that HE is always working on your behalf. He is your defender in all regards.
“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” Isaiah 64:4
5- Openly rebuke the enemy who brings fear into your life. If you have been born again, you have authority over Satan in the name of JESUS. Don’t let him put fear on you.
6- Trusting GOD protects your peace of mind. You can’t fear and trust GOD at the same time. GOD doesn’t contradict himself in that way. Trusting GOD cancels out fear.
We have a COVENANT GOD who promises to never leave or forsake us. Man will let us down, but GOD will never forsake us.
Sweet friend, won’t you let a trustworthy GOD take care of your fear?
Elevation Worship … I Will Call Upon The Lord
What does your prayer life look like?
Do you say a quick prayer on your way out in the mornings … or do you often forget? Do you find yourself praying as you turn out the light only to fall asleep and not finish talking to God?
Prayer is a discipline for sure … but did you know that the enemy does whatever necessary to keep you from prayer?
“The enemy will seek to discourage you from doing it. Dissuade you. Disarm you by putting a distaste for prayer in your mouth. He wants to see you passionless, powerless, and prayerless.” Priscilla Shirer
Everyday we are at war.
The enemy has a plan to spiritually bankrupt our lives.
Across the pages of Priscilla Shirer’s book, “Fervent,” there are nuggets of wisdom and strategy. In order to do battle, we have to know how the enemy attacks. We can be sure that everyday he will come against our passion, focus and identity.
He will stop at nothing to attack our families, our confidence and calling. He lies in wait to take our purity, our rest and contentment. He goes after our hearts by wounding and soaking them in anger, hurt and unforgiveness. In addition, he goes after our relationships, causing dissension in our families and the body of Christ.
Many times we don’t recognize the enemy for what he is and does. That very use of deception is part of his strategy; however, we must learn to discern when we are being attacked and battle back.
Its time to do battle on our knees.
Priscilla says … “You and I can come to the Father through the mighty name of Jesus. We can pray like the victorious saints of God we’ve been empowered to be.”
She says that some days, prayer can start out simply as an obedient appointment, an act of discipline, because its the appointed time that we said we’d be there.
If only we’d keep that appointment like we do a needed doctor’s appointment when sick? What could God do in our lives?
Priscilla says that a good place to start is praying specific scriptures and promises from God’s word. You can never go wrong praying scripture. Often times I will pray Psalms 1 and insert my 3 sons names where the pronouns flow.
“Blessed is Matthew that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But Matthew’s delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth Matthew meditate day and night. And Matthew shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth for fruit in his season, Matthew’s leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever Matthew doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1-3
That’s the beauty of God’s word … when we don’t know what or how to pray, we can go to scripture.
Praying God’s word simply turbo charges our prayers by reminding God of His promises … and friend, God is the ultimate promise keeper.
Is your prayer life lacking?
Do you have no desire, focus or passion to pray?
Are you hungry for breakthrough and real change? .
There are countless stories and testimonies to fuel you faith and show you just what prayer can do in our lives. Priscilla will walk you through the areas of life the enemy attacks and give you practical application that is easy to follow and incorporate into your daily life.
If you need a strategy against the evil one or wisdom to discern his attacks, this is the book for you. If you long to see God move and restore your passion, peace and contentment … this book is a must have.
Nothing in our lives can change unless we petition the one who can change our circumstances.
“Fervent” is a prayer tool that every Christian needs in their tool box.
Priscilla gives the charge … we are all called to pray. What are you waiting for?
A long day of labor turned into an emergency C-section; yet 27 years ago today, a beautiful, bouncing boy with olive skin and big brown eyes, roared like a baby lion upon his arrival.
I remember being despondent over less than favorable prospects in my life. With one baby already, I felt weary thinking about the responsibility of another little life.
My husband didn’t know the Lord, and a new baby certainly didn’t encourage him to get help for an alcohol addiction. He made unwise decisions in numerous drunken stupors including quitting a very profitable job just months before Aaron’s birth.
That Christmas I felt hopeless. Two babies under the age of three, no money, and an unemployed, alcoholic spouse … the future made me very afraid.
We took our new baby home on Christmas eve and my emotions were bouncing around as though they were inside a pinball machine. I pushed through the day because my little Matthew eagerly anticipated the arrival of Santa.
Desperate to provide a normal Christmas, I crawled up in bed with Matthew, baby Aaron, and a bible. Reading scripture from Luke, I told my little boys why we celebrate Christmas. I kept it simple … but my smart Matt seemed to understand that JESUS was a special baby.
As I fought back the tears … little eyes soulfully sparkled with childhood wonder … and in that moment … I felt hope.
Suddenly, this miserable mommy with dismal prospects understood why HE … JESUS, came to earth as a baby.
The realization that JESUS came to give me life … an abundant life, free from chains and worldly pits of sin and consequences … spawned hope from despair.
Supernaturally the HOLY SPIRIT lifted the heaviness from my heart … and in that moment I knew … my future would be better than the hopeless place I wrestled.
I go back to that Christmas eve every year when we celebrate Aaron. The Lord always uses this day to remind me that new babies mean new life, and no matter what …
There is always hope because of the baby JESUS.
So I send these words out to those who are feeling hopeless today.
No matter how dark your world may seem right now …
No matter what the circumstance is …
No matter the diagnosis … the loss … the betrayal … the loneliness … the heartache and misfortune …
No matter the poor decisions … the imperfect situation … the longing …
No matter what life change that’s turned your world upside down …
Because of JESUS … there is always hope.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13
I encourage you sweet friend … ask the Father to fill you with the HOPE of Heaven that came down in a little baby … over 2000 years ago.
Merry Christmas my friends.
Click here to Worship JESUS this Christmas. Music by the group “Downhere.”
Happy 27th birthday sweet Aaron. You are the best Christmas present I have ever received.
If you were given only one chance to tell God what you are thankful for … what would it be?
Sometimes we can pick and choose our thankfulness … depending on the circumstances, but the Bible tells us to be thankful in ALL things.
It’s difficult to thank God for areas of life that aren’t easy … but it’s in the hard places that we can find an uncommon blessing waiting … if we open our eyes to see.
This thanksgiving I want to thank God for turning my world upside down in 2015. This place thrills and terrifies me all at the same time.
So Lord … here are the uncommon blessings you’ve opened my eyes to see. My how you’ve changed this old girl’s view.”
For the burdens that keep me spiritually alert … teaching me how to pray … and how to trust … Thank you Lord.
For the revelation of truth revealed in your word that challenges yet enlightens me … I am so thankful Lord.
For the peace that leaps with joy on the unknown path … oh the hope that’s growing in my heart. Thank you Lord.
For the surprise breakthrough that hovered over the impossible for too long; yet arrived in the nick of time … increasing my faith. Thank you Lord.
For the tears you collect when heartaches overwhelm and man lets me down, thank you for comforting me Lord.
For the bone breaking truth and conviction you speak into my life … thank you Lord.
For the cares that no longer hold me in bondage … Oh Praise you Lord for freedom.
For the boldness of honesty … and the call to stand … thank you God for filling me with courage.
For the deliverance from man’s greed and envy … Hallelujah for clarity to see oppression.
For the negative judgement and opinions of man … let them rail Lord, because you are for me. Thank you for being my strong tower Lord.
For healing hurts the enemy tries to use against me … Oh thank you sweet Jesus.
And Lord … because you always give joy to balance the pain … thank you for the sweet places too.
For the spirit of urgency that’s teaching me to number my days … thank you for making me productive.
For the laughter of little children who bring life to weariness … thank you Lord.
For the new kindred souls that dance to the rhythm of my heart, embracing my hand in friendship … how good you are O God.
For the love of words … thank you Lord. Help me to use them for your glory, the rest of my days.
This year … don’t pick and choose your thankfulness based on your circumstances. I challenge you … find the places that hurt and thank God for “ALL THINGS” He is doing in your life.
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
We have a “GOOD, GOOD, FATHER. Spend some time worshiping HIM for all things. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBwXHpKVS5I
Are your senses dulled by the natural order of things?
How many God fashioned pleasures have you rushed through or exchanged for man-made moments like TV or social media?
The Creator romances my senses like no other can.
Fall’s parade of color enchants my soul to the point of ignorant bliss.
Early in my youth I would drink of these delights, guiltless and unaware of the spiritual connection nature offered.
Bejeweled perfection constantly evolving, season after season, yet I was oblivious.
I loved being in the midst of His artistic backdrop, but I never stopped to question why the amber foliage or brilliant periwinkle skies make my heart sing?
I took the giver for granted.
For example, one might argue the sunset with every color of pink and salmon explodes in visual rapture because that’s the natural order of things.
But how can that be when every single evening sky since the beginning of time has never been duplicated by the master painter?
And why pink on a Tuesday?
Why the occasional yellow with a hint of orange the day after?
Can it be He remembers how color is an aphrodisiac to my soul?
Does He consciously think about tickling my senses….all for my pleasure?
Can it be He is that sensitive, caring and loving?
Can He possibly love me so much He designs the perfect fall day with vivid intense color and a host of rustling leaves whispering joy in my ears?
It’s just a fall day you say, He didn’t make it just for you.
Maybe so….but how can it have such a profound effect upon my soul unless He knows and cares about how it makes me feel?
God is ever pursuing us like an old fashioned suitor.
The master creator is ever awakening our soul…showing us His handiwork….longing for us to praise Him…..so we must.
I believe He specifically fashions my pleasure every day.
With every cornflower blue sky He tints, I close my eyes and smell the Indian summer.
My mind is catapulted back to my prayer warrior grandmother who loved October’s pageant of colors most, just like me.
I remember her spaghetti with baseball sized meatballs and the velvety yellow daffodils I picked every spring blanketing her hillside farm.
I recall animated bed time stories and sweaty, bareback pony rides.
All one of a kind memories and experiences no one else can claim.
Just a blue October sky you say, the natural order of things. I say nonsense!
He orchestrates my pleasures right down to the detail.
Oh yes, He is the God of detail who puts stripes on the wooley worm, mistletoe in the tree tops, and polka dots on the butterfly.
He knows the detail catches my eye, jogs my memory, and takes me back to a sweet, sweet time.
Every pleasure from His hands pluck the senses like a gentle harp…and when this divine moment happens…the sensory perceptions of our world can go a million different places.
And you can be sure we won’t all go to the same place.
The essence of our DNA, the creator has tailor-made in each of us, is beyond vast even before the sensory journey begins.
As the seasons spin, let him awaken your heart in the crisp evening breeze kissing your face.
Listen to the bluebird’s banter as the morning frost glistens.
Close your eyes and feel the pleats on the bumpy pumpkin.
Let the creator take your mind to a place only He can….and worship Him for His worth.
This season let the master creator romance your senses in a way like never before.
Let His creative handiwork give you wild pleasure…..and give Him pleasure back.
Praise the King https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLCrKmZd17U
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. Revelation 4:11
Often times I have the love, the peace and all these things under control … except … the very last command … self-control. It comes in a form of discipline because of my ADD. I have to work really hard to keep my mind from going a million places. And because it’s hard … I am tempted to take the easy route and give up at times.
Do you struggle with self control? Disciplines issues?
If we have no self-control … our desires for pleasure and comfort will quickly become our master. This is a very dangerous place – for then this “unholy master of self” will lead us to sin and hinder our spiritual walk.
The flesh wants what the flesh wants … so does the enemy.
We must constantly be on guard for areas in our life that can get out of balance. Too much or not enough of anything … can ruin us … just like a vine that can drown or starve from water.
Remember today … The enemy is at work to distract and discourage us. His methods of madness include condemnation and obstacles of the mind and flesh. He knows our weaknesses and will capitalize on the vulnerable places that render us weak.
The last thing the Devil wants us to do is become all that the Lord has created us to be. The last thing the Devil wants to happen is for us to walk in our destiny and fulfill all the kingdom initiatives the Father has for us to accomplish.
So today – be on guard – but pray for self-control in order to keep all areas of life in balance …. and put your mind on the Father.
HE has given us the HOLY SPIRIT to help us in all things. HE is the key to overcoming the flesh and living the life HE has called us to live.
“This I say then, WALK in the SPIRIT, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
She was the funniest girl in school with the coolest clothes. Everyone wanted to sit by her at lunch, but she decided who did. She formed a club and chosen members met on Friday nights at the skating rink.
Then her parents got a divorce. She told fewer jokes. The trips to the skating rink stopped.
I found her crying one day, and my sixth grade heart hurt because her world was falling apart. I could have been a good friend. Not like the one’s talking behind her back … but she wouldn’t let me.
Just like the popular girl in sixth grade, big girls have holes in their hearts too. We all have secrets, heartaches, betrayals and shameful details.
Wary of trust, a wall goes up blocking sweet connection on a Jesus level.
That’s exactly what the Devil wants when it comes to sisters in Christ.
When he separates us … he causes unity to fade.
With the fading of unity … the kingdom’s work is stalled.
So what is the solution? What can we do?
If we really want change … we have to be willing to change.
The scriptures say …
“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.” Philippians 2:3
The Greek interpretation for the word esteem means to lead … or go before. This made me think about not only putting others before myself … but taking the lead in loving my sisters first … before they love me.
I ache for this holy sisterhood to bond through the beautiful redemption process … to be real on a come to Jesus level … to find sincere connection and genuine grace.
What could happen if we all take the lead to love first?
What would that look like?
Perhaps a good starting place is putting our sister’s feelings before our own, letting selfishness fall to the wayside.
What if we put away all unfavorable perceptions and think only the best about our sister … instead of judging her in specific measures?
What if we forget previous clashes and renew our thoughts?
What affirmation for her if we’d speak truth in kindness, encouraging and praying for her.
What if we keep secrets in perfect trust and serve her in ways glorifying to our Father?
And because we are terribly flawed and we will fail her … we humbly ask for forgiveness … as we forgive.
You see in order for this sisterhood of messy hearts to flourish in Christ … grace must go both ways.
Oh what beauty is found in grace.
What hope is exchanged in love.
What redemption is mined from humility.
The meekness of a messy sisterhood can be a beautiful tapestry of merciful grace … if only we’ll take the lead to love first.
So tell me sister … will you take the lead?