Posts

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

To Celebrate or not to Celebrate?

With the day of Halloween approaching, many of us who are Christians, have our views about whether to celebrate this holiday or not. Halloween like any other Christ-centered holiday has been turned into a secular holiday. Originally Halloween was a holy holiday for the saints. In fact, the word Halloween comes from the word ‘hallow,’ which means ‘holy.’ Halloween began as ‘Hallows Eve’ meaning holy evening. It was the night before ‘All Saints Day’ which is dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and the faithfully departed.

According to The Free Dictionary, hallowed means “to make or set apart as holy, to respect or honor greatly; revere.” We use the word ‘hallowed’ in the Lord’s prayer “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” Matthew 6:9

So how does a holy holiday meant to honor the dead, become about worshipping devils and demons?

Halloween is believed to have been derived from a pagan holiday, Samhain, which was celebrated on the same day as Hallows Eve by the Northern Celtic People. Pagan resources will say this holiday was ‘Christianized,’ when really it’s origination is entirely Christian, having originated from the Roman Catholics.

To celebrate All Hallows Eve, the Church held a vigil, where they worshiped, prayed and fasted (in honor of the dead) prior to the day of the feast. Even though both holidays may have similarities in celebration of the dead, the pagan and Christian holidays are separate, not associated with one another.

Is it true Halloween is on the same day as a pagan holiday? Yes.

Is it true the origination of Halloween was in fact intended to be a holy holiday? Yes.

Halloween, just like any Christian holiday has been altered to conform to secularism. Christmas has become about Santa Claus, Easter has become about the Easter bunny and Halloween has become about the devil.

Does it mean that Christians should not celebrate these holidays just because they have been secularized? Of course not! Otherwise, we would not celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas or the resurrection of Christ on Easter. Just because the world changes the definition of something doesn’t mean Christians should conform to it.

Romans 12:2 ESV
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

As Christians should we participate in this holiday?

If we participate, does that mean we are conforming to the pattern of this world?

Our decision to celebrate or not celebrate should be based on the truth and God’s desire for us. Whatever we decide, I don’t think there is a wrong or right answer. How we choose to celebrate or not to celebrate, can shine Jesus’ light to others.

As Christians, when we allow our children to participate in Halloween it doesn’t mean they are worshipping the devil. Halloween is an opportunity to open the doors of the church for those who normally don’t attend. That is why we see churches inviting the community in by hosting trunk or treats or fall festivals. It is a chance to expose Jesus to non-believers.

Even though the world has made this holiday about evil and darkness, it is an opportunity for Christians to shine the light of Jesus.

What better way to shine the light of Jesus than in the dark?Click To Tweet

As Christians, we can make choices in how we celebrate this holiday. We can choose not to allow our children to dress up as vampires, murderers, demons or devils. We can carve jack-o-lanterns with a cross and put a candle in it. We can hand out candy that has a Bible verse on it. We can pray for the boys and girls who come to our door that may not know Jesus.

7 Ways to shine the Light of Jesus (Click on link to download).

7 Ways to Shine the Light of Jesus during Halloween

How we choose to celebrate or not to celebrate this holiday can be a light to others. If you choose not to celebrate, share why and allow it to be a light to others during this dark holiday. If you choose to celebrate, let it be for the glory of God. Let His light shine through your family for others to see.

How do you celebrate or not celebrate Halloween?  Please Share! 

What are your thoughts on Halloween?

Happy Halloween!

“ the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NIVClick To Tweet

Did you enjoy this blog post? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!

I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!


Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox

This is What Happens When We Trust in God’s Power

This is what happens when we trust in God's power

“Don’t just do something, Sit There!” quote anonymous.

One might think this quote is backwards but it is written exactly as it should be.  It captures the essence of someone who is paralyzed by their fears and makes them think I’m powerless, my situation is hopeless.  This is what fear does to us to keep us exactly where we are, to keep us stuck.

Sometimes I don’t think I give God enough credit.  I’ll be honest, there are times I want to dial a miracle or a drive-by request asking God for a miracle only He can do, but not really put in the work in.  I think, ‘wait you want me to be patient and work for that?’  ‘Can’t you just give it to me?’  Well, that’s not exactly how God works.

If it were up to me I’d have a menu of miracles I could access anytime upon request.  ‘God can I have a slay your giant miracle?  Or how about a bringing down the walls of Jericho, that’s a good one.’  Or better yet, a protect me in the fiery furnace or shut the mouths of lion miracle when I need it, just in case.

If it were up to me, I’d want ALL the miracles God could give me, so I didn’t ever have to be uncomfortable.

God's miracles aren't for my own convenience but to display his power through me.Click To Tweet

From the beginning of time, starting with Adam and Eve, if there’s one thing God wants us to do, it’s to TRUST Him.  When we do, our circumstances change drastically and miracles happen.  A previous post I’ve written called Letting Go of the Miracle may sound like these posts contradict one another.  But there’s a difference.  We can put our hope and trust into a miracle that may never happen the way we want it, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t able.

Putting our hope and trust in what He’s able to do, in His divine power, allows our hearts to be freed from our own expectations and desires, allowing for God’s greater plan to happen within us and through us.

This Is What Happens When We Trust in God’s Power

Miracles happen.  The unexplainable.  The unimaginable.  The unexpected.  But let’s be real.  When we put our own expectations of what God’s miracles should be, we limit His infinite power, putting Him in a box, not allowing for His bigger miracles to happen.  When we put a timeline on his miracles, of when WE think he should answer our prayers, we’re bailing on His biggest blessings.

Have you ever been in a situation, looked all around you, saw nothing but defeat, the enemy surrounding you and thought there's no way out, no way my circumstances can be resurrected?Click To Tweet

The Israelites sure had a lot of these moments.  Especially right before they crossed The Red Sea.  The Israelites had just been delivered from being under the reign and rule of Egypt for the past 400 years.  They had endured 11 plagues that included a bloody river, flies, frogs, darkness and hail.  They had seen God’s miracles and provision first hand.

Yet they knew Pharaoh (the ruler of Egypt) and what he was capable of.  I’m sure as they departed for their journey they kept looking back to see when was he going to come back to get us?  The Israelites knew God was going to deliver them, they just never knew HOW.  God had a plan all along.

As they were wandering in the wilderness they were about to be enclosed by the desert and The Red Sea, with no way out.  Then God told Moses, “For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, “They are wandering in the land;  the wilderness has shut them in.  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD” (Exodus 14:3-4).  

Sounds so crazy that God would harden Pharaoh’s heart, yet once again to come after the Israelites he said could go.  Pharaoh had a big army of over 600 chariots.  Imagine this scene, The Israelites who didn’t have any weapons to defend themselves were standing backed up to The Red Sea, with nowhere to go and their enemies were charging at them.

At this point the Israelites were doubting and said, ‘Wouldn’t it had been better if we just stayed in Egypt, instead of dying here in the wilderness?’ (paraphrase Exodus 14:12).

God says to Moses, “And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots and horsemen.  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD” (Exodus 14:17)

What the Israelites were failing to see, is God had brought them to this place for His own very specific purpose.  God wasn’t going to take them somewhere, where He couldn’t protect them.

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and  made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.  And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.  The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horseman” (Exodus 14:22-23).

And then the unimaginable happened.  Not only did God provide a way out for the Israelites in their impossible situation, He also destroyed their enemies, the Egyptians!  The very sea that provided their escape was the very sea he used as the downfall of their adversaries, so they could never come after or harm them again!

Here’s the deal.  God would have never delivered the Israelites out of Egypt without providing a way for them to get out.  HOWEVER……… Even though God parted The Red Sea, the Israelites HAD TO WALK THROUGH IT ONE STEP AT A TIME! 

The Key to allowing God’s Miracles to happen is TRUST.

T– Thankful.  Being thankful in our trials, giving God our trust in advance.  It says, I know what I’m going through sucks, but I know God is good and will praise in him in trials no matter what.  There’s always something to be thankful for no matter how bad our situations are.

R– Release it to Him.  Admitting and acknowledging our trials are beyond our control, allows us to give whatever we’re going through to God and allow Him to handle it.

U– Unexpected (allow for it).  When we allow for the unexpected in our lives and stop putting God into a box, expecting the miracle and outcome to be a certain way, we allow for His bigger blessings.

S– Satisfy.  When God is the one who is our ultimate provider of all things and when we believe what He has for me is ENOUGH then we will always be satisfied and abundantly blessed in any situation.

T– Trials.  Our trials, God’s glory.  When we allow for our trials, struggles, heartache, pain, scars of the past, suffering, all to be for God’s glory, we allow for His greater story to be written through us.

You may feel OVERWHELMED by your circumstances right now.  You may feel life is just spinning our of CONTROL.

We are not powerless in our situations.  We have the choice to keep taking ONE STEP AT A TIME.  Don’t try to take on your situation by yourself all at once.  Practice this TRUST acronym.  Start being thankful.  Practice releasing your burden to Him.  Allow for the unexpected.  When we do, we learn even if we have nothing, God is all I need (in him we have everything).

You are loved my friend!

How has trusting in God delivered you from your circumstances?

Has Fear ever paralyzed you?

Did you enjoy this blogpost? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE E-book The Jericho Prayer and a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.

I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!

In Him,


Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox

Why We Should Let Go of the Miracle

Have you ever prayed so hard for something, for someone a situation for weeks, months, years and the outcome still hasn’t changed?  What if that miracle, that outcome we’re praying for isn’t what God wants?

Of course we all WANT good health, our families to be SAFE, our kids to make good choices and not fight, our spouses to love us unconditionally even when we mess up.  Lately I’ve been seeing so many families going through so some hard devastating circumstances–their child has cancer, dad has cancer, there’s been an accident or a death.  There is a desperation for God to come through to resurrect our devastating circumstances.

But, what happens when God doesn’t come through and grant us the Miracle we’ve been asking for?

Doesn’t God care?

Why wouldn’t God want to heal a child whose about to die?

Why wouldn’t God want a family to stay together and heal the person with addictions?

Why wouldn’t God want to fix this unbearable, horrendous situation that will only lead to more destruction?

In the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), there is a pattern of a message from Jesus and then a miracle to follow.   Behind every miracle lies a deeper message.  There is nothing wrong in wanting, hoping or praying for the Miracle.  Not to sound depressing, what if the miracle NEVER happens?  Where does that leave us?  

Why We Should Let Go of the Miracle

Here is the point I want to breakdown.

God is capable of anything, any miracle beyond what we could ever ask of him. What part of the miracle are we putting our hope in? The Gift of the miracle or the Giver of the miracle?Click To Tweet

When a Miracle happened in the Bible, they all started one of two ways–without any expectation/anticipation of the miracle or with a believing person or crowd who was seeking the Messiah not the actual miracle.

When Jesus healed the official’s son (John 4:46-54), the official sought out Jesus for a miracle to heal his son.  He traveled a far distance to find him.  The man believed Jesus had to be present to perform the miracle, but in this case his mere spoken words healed his son.  The official sought out the one who was able to heal and Jesus granted the miracle.

In John 5, the handicap man sitting by a pool was not expecting Jesus to approach him and ask, “Do you want to be healed?”  Jesus merely instructed the man, “pick up your mat and walk.”  This man had no expectation to be healed and simply followed his instructions and was healed.

When Jesus fed the crowd of the 5,000+ people in John 6, they were seeking more of the Messiah and what he was able to do.  When they were seeking and following him, they had no expectation he would feed the entire crowd with just two loaves of bread and five fish.  They were seeking what Jesus was able to do, wanted more of Him not the reward of the miracle.

When We Let Go of the Miracle-

Letting go of the Miracle is HARD.  

When we hold onto the Miracle, we put our Hope in WHEN or IF THE MIRACLE happens, we’re then seeking the GIFT.

Letting go of the Miracle, puts our Hope in what God is ABLE to do and TRUST He knows what’s BEST, we’re then seeking the GIVER.  

Sometimes we have to ask ourselves hard questions and sit in the reality of the truth.  What am I putting my Hope in the GIFT or the GIVER?

I’m not saying let go of the miracle and lose your hope.  I’m saying let go of OUR expectation of WHEN the miracle WILL HAPPEN.  We can’t put God in a box and DEMAND, ‘God, I want this miracle to happen, DO IT!’  We can’t EXPECT God ‘to FIX it‘ the way we want it.  When we do, we’re putting a limitation on the miracle of what He’s ABLE to do.

Behind Every Miracle There’s a Deeper Message

Sometimes the deeper message isn’t God changing our outcomes, isn’t ‘fixing it,’  or even the miracle–it’s changing our perspective and changing our hearts.  Sometimes God is waiting for the Breakthrough or the Miracle to Happen within US.  If our hearts aren’t in the right place, we will never be able to receive the greatest miracle God has for us–Peace and Freedom.  Eternal peace and freedom resides in God’s outcome of what He’s holding in His Hands not our circumstances that fall in this world.

There is PEACE and FREEDOM when we stop displacing our hope in things that may never happen and TRUST IN GOD'S OUTCOME, what he has for us is ENOUGH and more than we'll ever need. Click To Tweet

Jesus NEVER  performed Miracles to PROVE Himself or give another sign He was ABLE.  He is ALWAYS Able and CAPABLE of the IMPOSSIBLE.

Are you praying for a Miracle?

Where Do you put your Hope, in the Gift or the Giver?

Is there an unsettling struggle in your life and you can’t put your finger on it?  I challenge you to sit with these hard questions and be truthful and honest with your answers.  We will never regret pursing the truth.  Join me next week when we discuss, “When God’s love is the outcome.”  Your are loved my friend!

Did you enjoy this blogpost? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.

I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!


Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox

 

Why It’s Important To Pursue Life With Grit

This is why it's important to pursue life with grit

Have you ever met a person who has been through the unimaginable yet has an unbreakable spirit?

Why do some people merely survive and some thrive when put in the same circumstance?  It’s the same reason why boiling water has the ability to soften a potato or harden an egg, the circumstances are the same but the properties are different.

What is Grit? and Why it Grit Important to Have in our Lives?

Grit-  means to have courage and resolve; strength of character. 

But really there is so much more to grit.  There are characteristics of those who choose to live a life with grit.  Living life with grit, requires a motivated spirit, intention, and discipline.

There have been times in my life when my courage has been dismantled, my confidence dwindled to broken pieces–Why?  Because I clung to the disparity between my circumstances and what God was able to do. I focused on MY weakness and allowed fear to hold me back instead of allowing my weakness to be a platform for God’s STRENGTH.

When I say Live Life with Grit, I must remind myself DAILY to live and practice them EVERYDAY.

3 Ways to Live Life with Grit

Embrace The Process.

God doesn’t guarantee us a life without battles, but shows us a way to find rest amongst our enemies when we sit at the table he has already prepared for us (Psalm 23).  When we rest in HIS POWER and abilities of what He’s able to accomplish, we witness His glorious plans unfold within us.

I think we sell ourselves short in our culture and next generation.  We have become a very self-serving, un-empathetic culture that disregards authority and looks within ourselves for our own moral compass.  Probably because dopamine supplies in our brains are depleted from every temporary reward of self-gratification everything instant, fast, and convenient.

There are rewards in persevering, enduring, pushing through the battle.  Rewards in sticking it out.  Rewards in crossing over to the other side.

We have all done this in our Christianity as well, instead of putting ourselves out there, we choose playing it safe and cling to comfortable–limiting ourselves to how God will move within us.

The gritty life requires trusting in the one who knows.  Relying on Him for our provision of courage, strength, and wisdom.  Living in the battle with Christ that He’s already won, not running from it.  When we embrace the process, we embrace God’s purpose for us.

We can do all things in Christ, who gives us Strength. Phil. 4:13Click To Tweet

Living gritty builds our faith and courageous muscles.  You’re life isn’t just a bunch of checkboxes you’re someone who pursues life with a passion.

Trust in the One Who is Able.

Grit is the character of Jesus.  He had an unbreakable spirit that endured so much, especially when he was on the cross.  He endured taking upon our own sin, was beaten, mocked, all for us. We can learn from the character of Jesus and what it means to live gritty.

Gritty people TRUST God to provide Holy Courage, a Holy Confidence, a Holy Bravery, and a Holy Strength that’s resilient against whatever is opposing them. It means relying on God to have the courage to stop or the courage to start.  It’s having a fighting spirit that perseveres, endures and doesn’t ever give up.

Instead of avoiding hardships gritty people RUN to them, because they know trials make their courageous muscles STRONGER.  Gritty people BUILD and EMBRACE RESILIENCE because resilience helps them get to the other side of hardship.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we DO NOT GIVE UP. Galatians 6:9 verseClick To Tweet

Gritty people ADAPT a positive attitude even when everything is falling apart.  They EMBRACE CHANGE well because they are confident in the ONE who PROVIDES for their PROVISION.

Pursue Growth.

Gritty people learn how to be content in all circumstances. They step out of their comfort zone. They pursue growth, excellence-- they pursue the BREAKTHROUGH like IT'S their job. #choosegrittyClick To Tweet

“I know what it is to be in need, and Know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”  Phil. 4:12

They are a person of influence, they want to make an impact or difference in this world.

Gritty people put themselves in situations where they can see God move. They take risks, seek wisdom and realize no risk, no growth.  They have a passion and zeal for life that allow them to live victoriously in Christ.  They desire and pursue living in the healthiest version of themselves in Christ.

Gritty people are humble enough to learn from their mistakes, don’t let failures hold them back but allow them to be the driving force to propel them forward.  They don’t play the victim but live as a victor.  They live in the battle that has already been won.

Do You Feel Like You’re Lacking or Falling Short?

Is there Grit in Your Life?

Living life with grit life is the difference between winning the gold medal of just showing up to practice.  Grit helps a person pursue hardships of life with courage.  When we move from a checklist to living into healthy patterns of living we embrace God’s purpose to live life and live it to the full.

Want more ways to build your courage and live gritty?  Here are 3 Ways to Make your Courage Stronger and a downloadable bookmark to remind you God is with you.

Prayer-  Lord Jesus, please help us stay focused on what you are able to do and not our inadequacies, not where we constantly fall short but in your Holy Power.  I pray we will seek you for our wisdom, courage and confidence so we can pursue life with grit and allow your greater plans to move and work within us.  It’s not up to us and our strength but yours, Help us surrender our hearts to you everyday and be intentional, letting go of checkbox living and performance, Lord.  We love you and trust you, in Jesus name.  Amen

Did you like this blog post? Share with others!  Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox?  Subscribe to my blog and receive a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.

I would love to hear from you!  Leave Your Comments Below.  I pray your week is filled with God’s abundant freedom!  ​In Him,

Need a reminder to live life with more Grit?  Here’s a FREE Bookmark as a reminder!  Click on link below.   Be Strong and Courageous Bookmark

we are not alone..


Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox

Dear WIFE: An Invitation to Practice Connection

Dear Wife: An Invitation to Practice Connection

After years of marriage, we can go on auto-pilot. You pick up the dry cleaning, and I’ll pick up the kids. It is Taco Tuesday and church on Sunday, and one day you wake up and realize you have just been going through the motions. This happens to couples all the time. Their once hot and heavy romance turns into a situation where they are more like roommates than lovers. Or maybe your husband works long hours and you stay home with the kids. By the time he comes home, he is looking for love and all you want to do is collapse when it comes time for bed. There are millions of other possible scenarios, but the bottom line is God has SO MUCH more for our marriages. When Christ is the center of your life, the connection you have with Jesus overflows into every aspect of your life, including your marriage. When we walk in the fullness of Jesus it changes our hearts, our marriages and it changes us.

Enter Amanda Davison. Sometime last year Amanda had a big God-sized dream to help wives thrive in their marriage through community. Amanda formed the non-profit ministry A Wife Like Me and developed an online space to gather wives in community. She assembled a team of authors from across the country to help her implement the vision that God gave her to start a community and a movement of wives. Women who were committed to growing in relationship to Jesus and their husbands by practicing Biblical principles in their marriages. The A Wife Like Me team has written its first book in response to the needs of women through our gathering space and feedback from the blog.

Dear Wife: 10 Minute Invitations to Practice Connection with Your Husband

We have a fantastic team of contributors at A Wife Like Me team who have come together to contribute monthly blog posts and provide Biblical resources for wives. We’ve had the best time coming together under Amanda’s leadership to dream, plan and pray how to best serve wives. And thus Dear Wife was born. Dear Wife is written by seventeen different contributors from the A Wife Like Me team. All the contributors who wrote this book are accomplished authors, speakers, and Christian leaders who have walked through fire in their marriages and have lived to tell about it.

Dear Wife Contributor Team

Dear Wife begins with a sweet invitation to draw near your Savior Jesus Christ and contains 26 invitations, with ten-minute practices, to grow in your connection with your husband by growing closer to Jesus. Each invitation includes scripture from the life of Jesus and a devotional application, and thought-provoking reflection questions to grow closer in connection to The Father and to your husband.

My two invitations in the book are the third invitation entitled What We Really Need and the final invitation Surrendered Service. 

Dear Wife: 10 Minute Invitations to Practice Connection with Your Husband

Do you wish you had more alone time with your husband? Do you find yourself going through the day-to-day busy routine of life while your marriage is on cruise control, without intentional time together spent connecting? Do you desire deeper intimacy and love with your husband?

Being married is great, but being married and feeling intimately connected is what every wife desires.

Dear Wife provides you with twenty-six heart-changing invitations to discover how Christ desires connection with you and how through connection with Christ, you’ll develop deeper connection with your husband.

In this book, you will:
Replace boring and busy with building deep intimacy and love
Swap ongoing complacency with intentional connection
Spend guided alone time with your husband and God
Experience more depth in your marriage relationship
Restore and build connection with God and with your husband

Dear Wife is available for preorder now and releases 5/1. Dearwifebook.com #dearwifebook

Misty Phillip is passionate about helping women overcome challenges in life by seeking Jesus, studying the Word and growing in grace. She is the author of The Struggle is Real: But so is God Bible Study, Founder and host of the By His Grace Podcast, sought after speaker at MistyPhillip.com and contributor to both Dear Wife and to A Wife Like Me.

Website: MistyPhillip.com

Social Media Facebook , Instagram, Twitter


Did you find this post to be encouraging and helpful?  Please share with others who are in need of prayer.  For more encouraging messages, Subscribe to my blog to receive a FREE ebook and weekly message of hope right to your inbox or like my Author Facebook Page. to keep updated on posts.

I would love to hear from you!  Leave your comments below.  Have a Blessed Week! In Him, 

The Top 3 Most Powerful Influences In Our Life

 

Influence (Noun)-  the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others:

We are all under the influence of something.  Cops use this phrase all the time, he was driving under the influence.  Now there are breathalyzers and blood tests to measure someone’s blood alcohol level.  When a person comes into the ER they tell us “I only had 2 drinks,” but the results of their blood tests, tells the real story.

In 2016 over 10,000 people in Colorado were arrested for DUI’s.  Being under the influence of alcohol clouds judgement and allows not good choices to impact the future.  Being under the influence, influences them in ways they would normally not be influenced.

'Do not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead, be filled with the Spirit.' Ephesians 5:18Click To Tweet

I don’t know if you’ve come across this verse before.  But I always found it odd how the Holy Spirit is compared to wine.  Looking closer I see why.  Being intoxicated on wine ruins our judgement controlling our minds.  Paul is trying to express to the Ephesians be filled with the Holy Spirit instead which leads to self-control.  Sounds boring right?  In reality we receive so much more in our self-control.  Being filled with the Holy Spirit isn’t just a one time filling but a regular pattern of life.

What Really Influences Us?

FRIENDS.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been influenced by my friends when I was growing up.  Somewhere along the way I valued what my friends thought more than what God thought.  I fell to peer pressure over and over again, reaping the consequences every time.  We are who we hang out with.  If we hang out with others who curse chances are we’ll start cursing.  If we hang out with others who (fill in the blank)  ______________________ chances are we will start doing what they are doing.  We are influenced by those in our inner circle.

“Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”  1 Corinthians 15:33

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”  Proverbs 27:17

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Proverbs  13:20

THE WORLD.  “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:2
There have been so many times I’ve been intoxicated on worldly treasures.  I made them more than God.  I pursued worldly treasures instead of what God desired for me.
How often are we lured away by everything the world has to offer?  We form little g, gods we bow down to allowing them to rule us.  We chase dangling carrots, empty promises of being rich, false images that fall apart don’t last–all for what?  This year I want to ask myself, what influences me?  Following the world or Jesus?
POSITIVITY.  “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  Proverbs 15:1.  I admit I have gotten into bad patterns of negativity at times.  I’ve allowed negativity to encroach my thoughts and spill out into my actions.  How much more are you impacted when someone responds in love?  When a person could have chosen to get angry and yell, but instead chose to speak love.
JESUS.  His influence changed the hearts and lives of the world while he was on this earth and still impacts us even after he’s gone.  The legacy of love, kindness, compassion, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, joy and patience is insurmountable.
I’d like to say church influences us.  But really many of us, me included, for years have shown up to church sat there, listened to the message, let’s be real here, zoned out and thought of the hundred other things I’ve needed to do.  I’ve sat there taking up space, but my heart wasn’t focused, wasn’t present.  After leaving church, life just went on as if I never went.  The message didn’t seep through.
The message didn’t influence me.  Why?  To be under the influence one has to receive.  One has to partake.  One has to be engaged.  We can’t just expect to be under the influence of something by merely taking up space or by osmosis.  Just like a car can’t run without it’s gas tank being filled with gas over and over, our spiritual lives can’t be influenced without being drunk on the Holy Spirit.  Sounds weird right?

Being influenced requires a regular pattern of life.  A regular filling.  A regular receiving.

We may get mad at God and ask why has nothing changed in my life?  The answer may be what influences us?  Who do we hang out with?  What do we spend most of our time doing?  What music do we listen to?  What words come our of our mouths?  What are we really putting into our hearts, minds, mouths and minds?
There may not be a blood tests that measures what is the level of our spiritual influence.  But there is an indicator in our lives that lets us know what influences us–what fruit is growing in our lives?  An apple tree is recognized by its apples just as a lemon tree is recognized by its lemons.  The fruit of kindness, gentleness, joy, peace and self-control is evident when it is growing in our lives. (Galatians 5:22-23)?

What kind of fruit is growing in your life?

If you would like to know what is preventing growth in your life, revisit the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13.  Read what sets a person up for success and eternal growth.  There is no one else who influences us more than Jesus.  His influence has transformed our hearts and lives forever that makes an eternal difference.

What Influences Your Life?

Did you enjoy this blog post? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive the FREE E-Book “The Jericho Prayer,” and a weekly Monday Message.  Like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!

I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!


Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox

 

A Selfless Love

Today we are going to hear a story of great selfless love. Have you ever witnessed an act of selfless love that touched your heart beyond measure?  Last week we talked about how we are all apart of God’s one big family when we are brothers and sisters in Christ.  God’s family started with the greatest selfless love of all— the sacrifice of his one and only son, Jesus.

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  Ephesians 2:13

Selfless love all starts with a sacrifice.  It never expects anything in return.  When this type of love is given, a person always receives more than they give.

One of the most selfless acts of love has to be when a mother gives her child up for adoption.  I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to surrender over motherly rights to another mother.  How selfless of a birth mother to put her own child’s needs above her own.  It reminds me of what God does for us everyday.  By giving up her motherly rights she gives another woman a chance to be a mother who may not be able to become a mother on her own.  She gives her child a chance for a better life than she could give herself.

I have worked in the operating room as a nurse anesthetist for over 13 years and in that time, I have witnessed hundreds of babies born.  I will never forget the selfless love of the mother who gave her baby up for adoption.

An Act of Selfless Love
We had gone back to the operating room to prepare for a cesarean section.  Usually the husband or close family members comes back to the operating room to witness the birth of their new born baby.  This time there wasn’t a husband or family member, but the adoptive mother who was present.  When the baby was born, I felt overwhelmed with emotion for both the birth and adoptive mother.  I was in a quandary because the birth mother was my patient whom I was taking care of.  I usually tell the mother congratulations after her baby is born.   This time however, I was trying to console the birth mother who was crying and congratulate the adoptive mother who was rejoicing at the same time.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.”  Matthew 18:5

I was overjoyed for the new adoptive mother but at the same time saddened for the loss the birth mother must have felt.  It makes me wonder if this is how God feels about us?  He loved us so much that He sacrificed his own son for us in order to be apart of His family.  He paid the price for us through the blood of Jesus.  In Christ we are all united by the same spiritual DNA, the blood of Jesus.  There are no orphans in God’s selfless love“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you”  (John 14:18).  

“For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”  (Galatians 3:26)

God’s selfless love makes our adoption complete into His big family.  How beautiful it is when you see an adoption story?  One where you know a child is now going to have a life where they are loved by family regardless of them being adopted or not.  We are all God’s children, he loves us all the same whether we are adopted or not. 

“He predestined us[a] for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”  (Ephesians 1:5-6)

In God’s family we become new citizens of heaven of God’s household.  In His selfless love we are made complete.  

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:19

Have you ever witnessed an act of selfless love that stirred your heart?

How has God’s selfless love impacted your life?

Did you enjoy this blogpost? Please share with others!  Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox?  Subscribe to my blog and receive a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts. 

Nothing is greater or bigger than the love of Jesus. You are loved! 

I would love to hear from you!  Please Leave Your Comments Below.  Have a Blessed Week!


Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox

Mountains and Valleys

Many of us have read or heard of the very popular Bible passage Psalm 23, where David talks about God being his Shepherd, how he leads him beside still waters and restores his soul.  One part of this verse stirs something deep within my heart in verse 4.

Psalm 23:4 ESV

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[c]  I will fear no evil, for you are with me;  your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Have you ever had a season in your life you didn’t want to be in, where you asked God, “Why am I here?”  “What am I doing in this place?”  With fists clenched, heels digging in the ground, telling God, “I don’t want to be here!”  Sounds like the valley of the shadow of death is one of those places.  Other versions of this verse also read valley of darkness or death.

What do you think David saw when he walked through the valley of darkness?

The valley David refers to in this verse is a valley in the desert of Judah.  Anyone who walks through this valley is putting themselves at risk of encountering anything lurking in the darkness, wildlife, bandits, even a random flash flood.

What strikes me, David is walking through the valley where there is a shadow of death.  Where there was a lot of unknowns surrounding him.  Anything could attack or happen to him at any moment.  Yet, he didn’t run away from the darkness, he didn’t take a different route, he walks right through it.

Do you think David knew he was going to walk through a valley of death?

I think many of us would have turned around if we knew what lied ahead.  We always wonder why God doesn’t share details with us.  If we really knew, we wouldn’t go where God was asking us to go.  David then says in response to walking in the valley, “I will fear no evil, you’re rod and staff comfort me.”  David knew even if he was in the valley he was safe and protected because God was with him every step of the way.

In Everybody Always, Bob Goff talks about fighter pilots who train in the valleys in between the mountains.  When asked why do they train at lower elevations where winds can get them, their response was, ‘so we can get better.’

God isn't always going to lead us to the safest route forward but to the one where we will grow the most. God knows without risk we wouldn't grow #quote @BobGoff #EverybodyAlwaysClick To Tweet

David knew walking through the valley would be hard.  But he also knew in the valley is where he learned to depend on and trust in God the most.  Walking through the valley will be dark and seem like God is far away.  When we trust in what God is able to do and not in what we see, He walks us safely to the other side every time.

It is so easy to praise God when we’re standing on the mountain but not always so easy when we’re deep in the valleys.

Imagine what would happen if we took the same approach as David?  If we faced our fears, our darkness and walked through them, depending on God for our guidance and comfort when we’re afraid?

In the valley is where we grow the most and receive the sweetest most unexpected victories when we trust God to walk us to the other side of our darkness.

Psalm 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

God goes and prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies.  God doesn’t promise we won’t have to walk through our valleys in the absence of our enemies, but in their presence.  As our enemies surround us God our Shepherd, the master of provision provides for us everything we need in the midst of our battles.

The enemies in our lives are powerless over us when we praise him in our darkness–when we push through holding onto God’s hand, when we trust and don’t know how everything will turn out.  God’s generosity of mercy and grace then overflows in us, all the days of our lives and we will dwell in his house forever (Psalm 23:6).  In God’s house lies a sanctuary of peace and love like none other that sets us free from the fears of any darkness.

The next time fear gets the best of you, allow God to be your Shepherd leading you through your dark valleys.  Pray Psalm 23 over your situation.  Close your eyes and follow the voice of the Shepherd.  Trust in Him, take His hand, He knows the way.

A voice cries:[a]
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all flesh shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Isaiah 40:3-5

What season are you in?

How do you allow God to lead you through your valley?

Did you enjoy this blog post? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE E-book “The Jericho Prayer” and a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!

I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!


Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox

Prayer Changes Everything

“When a believing person prays great things happen.” James 5:16 NCV

Do you believe prayer changes everything?

I admit, there have been times in my prayer life when I’ve prayed but didn’t really believe God was able. I threw prayers up to heaven not truly thinking anything was ever going to change in my life. But then something happens when we pray when we believe God is able.

When we start praying like it matters.

When we focus on His purpose.

God has the power and strength to do anything at any time, anywhere, yet he patiently waits for us in our unbelief. He uses prayer to shape and mold our unbelieving hearts, to make room for what He desires for us.

Our prayers mean so much to God. They move His heart. Imagine our prayers have the ability to move the heavens.

In Matthew 18:19-20 says, “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Have you ever had an experience when prayer changed everything?

Many times I’ve believed, God isn’t listening. I have prayed the same prayer for over 20 years and God still hasn’t answered it. Does that mean He doesn’t care or we should stop praying?

God hears our prayers. I believe God cares about what we care about because we are His children. Our persistent consistency gets God’s attention and shows our faithfulness. When we are constant in prayer, God sees what we’re passionate about. He sees what matters to us. A prayer a person has prayed for years is never wasted and will be used in greater ways than we could ever imagine.

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him.” (James 5:13-14)Click To Tweet

We are only one prayer away from the sick being healed. One prayer away from someone else’s breakthrough. One prayer away from lives being changed. One prayer away from God doing the impossible.

Nothing changes when our prayers are silent and when they go unspoken.

Everything changes when we pray.

Sometimes the biggest change that happens when we pray isn’t our situation, it’s our hearts.Click To Tweet

Do you believe prayer changes everything?

Would you like to make a difference with your prayers?

Whatever is important to you.  Whatever concerns you.  Gather two to or more friends to come together and pray about what’s weighing heavy on your heart.  Meet together in numbers, pray consistently with a fervent passion that shows God I’m serious, please hear my prayers.  One of the greatest tragedies is when a prayer goes unspoken.  God will use us to carry out his greatest plans.  God uses our prayers to fill our hearts with what He desires for us.  Our prayers matter and make a difference.  Don’t give up, keep praying with a believing heart. God hears our prayers and is able to accomplish the impossible.

Did you enjoy this blog post? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!

I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!


Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox

Christian Dyslexia

Sometimes as Christians I think we get it a little backward.  We start out on a journey to get to know God and then somewhere along the way we get off track.  I’ve been so far off track in my journey at times, when I looked around wondered how did I even get here?

One way to describe my detoured journey as a Christian is to take a peek into the mind of a dyslexic.  I’ve shared in the past of our daughter’s journey with dyslexia.  In her tutoring sessions, I’ve learned a lot of how dyslexic mind works.

A dyslexic’s mind flips around and substitutes letters in words.  They have an inability to interpret text, discern phonemes and distinct sounds represented by certain letters.  Teaching a dyslexic how to read can be a difficult task.  English in itself doesn’t make sense, for example, words like laugh, cough and tough.  The average American is taught these words make an ‘f’ sound.  When sounded out they are pronounced coff, laff, and tuff.  We are taught, just ‘memorize’ these words make these sounds, just accept it.  A dyslexic looks at these words and says this is a bunch tomfoolery, show me where the ‘f’ is, this is a nonsense word.

As Christians, we do the same in our own spiritual lives.  We are taught something our whole lives and just accept it as true and never question if what was taught was actually true.  Over time we’ve substituted and exchanged what we’ve been taught with our own formed beliefs without ever opening up the Bible to see for ourselves.

Sometimes We Get it Backwards

Our Salvation-  Somehow along the way we’ve complicated salvation and made it something it’s not.  We’ve made salvation about us, in how much good we do, not that Jesus died for us.  There would have been no point in sending Jesus if salvation were up to us.  Salvation isn’t, works + grace= salvation.  It’s salvation + grace= works.  No amount of good works could get us to heaven it would never be enough, God’s grace is what saved us which was paid for by the blood of Jesus.   Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Judgment-  Dyslexics also have the inability to determine the difference between words such as live and live–same word different pronunciation.  Without putting these words into a sentence, the context of their meaning is lost.  The same way dyslexics interpret text, we do the same, as Christians.  We interpret one piece of the Bible, without putting it into the entire context of God’s purpose.  We judge those who sin pointing our finger to tell them ‘the wages of sin is death,’ when we are sinners ourself, leaving out ‘but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23).  There is only one judge and that is God.

'So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.' Romans 8:1Click To Tweet

Love-  Ironically love in the English language is an exception word, meaning when a word has a silent ‘e’ the ‘e’ makes the vowel long like in the word cōve.  Love is pronounced ‘luv’ making the vowel short, not following the silent ‘e’ rule.  Love is not an exception, it’s our existence.  Love may not follow all the rules but it’s our purpose.  God is the creator of love.  Love is God.  “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love”  (1 John 4:8).   Love has become distorted, less about relationships more about stuff.  Our world has distorted what love is veering far from God’s design, seeking to fulfill love in places where love will never be found.  A life without love isn’t living life at all.  If love was about being fulfilled with everything in this world, there would have been no point in sending Jesus.

'We love because he first loved us.' 1 John 4:19Click To Tweet

English is a language that has exceptions and doesn’t follow the rules.  When teaching my daughter to read I have to explain to her words ending with ‘k’ and ‘ck’ make a ‘k’ sound except for the word stomach–another exception word.  But that’s just it, there’s always going to be an ever-evolving world that asks us to make an exception. That asks us to compromise our beliefs.  That asks us to take the JES out of JESUS and just leave the US part, making it about US.

We may have good intentions of doing something FOR God and along the way lose sight we were supposed to be doing it WITH God. This life was never meant to be lived just for US but with JESUS. Click To Tweet

So how do we break out of the dyslexia pattern?

By being equipped with God’s truth.  By staying in His Word in prayer. The more we educate ourselves and spend time with God’s words the better able we can decipher what’s backward and what’s not.  Even the godliest people don’t get it right.  We can be encouraged, we might not always get it right, but God makes up for our shortcomings.  He will set our paths straight when we trust in Him.

Can you relate?

Have you ever had a case of Christian Dyslexia?

Did you enjoy this blog post? Please share with others! Want more encouraging messages sent right to your inbox? Subscribe to my blog and receive a weekly Monday Message or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!

I would love to hear from you! Leave your comments below!


Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox