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Where Do You Keep Your Faith?

This post was very convicting to me.  In my quiet moments with God, parts of my heart reveal my weak flesh and flaws that I can’t hide from.  These moments expose areas of my heart that need tending to and areas I still need to grow.  I am guilty of not always being open and truthful with who I am, trying to keep it all together so others can’t see.  In the end, I am left empty-handed, with the only option to surrender it all to God, allowing him to have every crevice of my heart, burdens and all.

The struggles we go through can seem never-ending in a world filled with evil and deceit.  In my trials, I question, do I really give it all to God and where do I keep my faith?

Where we keep our faith determines how we are going to make it through to the other side of our trials.Click To Tweet

I can honestly say in my walk with God, my faith has been all over the place.  There have been times my faith has wavered, I walked away and I even coward to worldly pressures to follow the crowd.  Looking back I can see standing firm in my faith was the very thing I needed during those times–but yet I chose the other way.

These soul-searching moments are when we ask ourselves if it’s so easy to walk away where are we really keeping our faith?

  1. Do you keep your faith in a Box?  I know this sounds silly, but really there have been times I try to put God in a box.  I limit God’s abilities by putting parameters on His timing or asking for things the way I want them.  Really His divine authority over all things goes way beyond my limited vision.  Faith doesn’t always fit neatly into a box.  Having faith doesn’t make my life easier or even pretty, in fact, my life can look pretty messy at times.  Keeping my faith in a box doesn’t allow for God’s full potential to be working in my life.  Limiting my faith to four walls of a box doesn’t allow me to experience God’s greatest blessings that go way beyond that box.  To experience the awesome and crazy moments I have to step out in faith and allow God to lead me to where He is asking me to go.  Stepping out of my comfort zone takes courageous faith that will always lead me to God’s greatest blessings.
  2. Do you keep your faith in a Corner?  Have you been guilty of only calling upon God when you need Him?  I sure have.   Life is going well then tragedy strikes and we ask God, why did you let this happen?  I then look around and realize the question to ask is why have I been so blessed up until this point?  God isn’t someone we take out when we need Him, but a constant presence and relationship.  He desires to be in our daily lives, not an occasional passing.
  3. Do you put your faith in the evidence you see?  I have also been guilty of not trusting in God and putting my faith in what I see.  Our circumstances can pile up and seem so defeating when our own eyes convince us that our situation is impossible;  there is no hope.  But then God intervenes and shows up in ways we couldn’t even imagine.  I am ashamed that I have doubted that He is able.  I may not always understand God’s plans, but I know when we put our faith in His abilities it drastically changes our situations from hopeless to hopeful.
  4. Do you keep your faith locked up?  Have you been guilty of keeping your faith so tightly locked up you don’t ever let it out for others to see?  I have been one to coward to worldly pressures and persecutions.  I’ve kept my mouth shut when I should have spoken up.  All for what?  At the expense of me possibly feeling embarrassed or not part of the crowd?  I am ashamed of my response because I know Jesus would never turn His back on me and yet I turned my back on God.  Can you relate?  Keeping my faith locked up doesn’t allow others to see the light of Jesus or allow God to have all of my heart.  What’s the point in having faith if we never let it out from being shackled?
  5. Do you keep your faith in your heart?  The only time I have ever been able to stand firm in my faith is when I have kept faith in my heart where it can grow and prosper.  God never intended for us to keep our faith hidden under a rock, but transparent for others to see–all for his glory.  Our faith isn’t just for our own benefit but for others to experience the love of Jesus.  Our faith is no good when we keep it to ourselves, it’s meant to be shared with others.  Keeping our faith at the center of our hearts allows God to grow us in ways we couldn’t imagine.

Faith isn’t faith when we keep it in a box, in a corner or shackled up in chains.  Faith is trusting God in advance. These questions have challenged me, where do I really keep my faith and is my faith evident in my life?  How about you?  Can you relate?

Where do you keep Your faith and is your faith evident in your life?

Have you ever walked away from your faith?

Don’t worry you’re not the only one who has abandoned their faith.  Join me next week as we take a closer look at the disciples who also wavered from their faith.

Keeping our faith no matter what our circumstances allow us to experience God’s greater blessings waiting on the other side.  Stay faithful, I promise God always has something better and greater on the other side of our trials.  You are loved!


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5 Ways God Equips Us to Go From Victim to Victor

Most Everyone has seen the movie Hunger Games.  The Most highlighted sentence on Kindle in the Hunger Game series of books is, “How can we expect to go in this world prepared if we are not equipped with what we need?”

Exactly.

It all comes down to, Preparedness;  being equipped with the right tools to be in a position of readiness.  Having the right tools will make us go from not just being a Survivor or a Victim but becoming a Victor.  Nothing Tells the story of Preparedness better than David and Goliath.

In the story of David and Goliath, a war had come upon Israel.  For 4o days a giant named Goliath came out in full armor, to fight the Israelites.  No one would fight him because they were afraid.  One day David came from the fields where he was tending sheep to bring his brothers’ lunch.  David wondered why was no one fighting?  David was just a teenager at the time, the youngest of all his brothers.  He told King Saul he would fight the giant.

Can you imagine what everyone was thinking, how can a boy defeat a giant?

David then went out wearing no armor just his tunic, carrying only his rock sling and a bag of 5 small smooth rocks.  Doesn’t sound like he was very prepared does it?  David swung his sling around with one rock in it and flung it exactly to the only exposed area on Goliath’s forehead.  Goliath fell to the ground and the rest is history.

David didn’t become another Victim he became a Victor.  

Not everyone can slay a giant and become a hero like David did.  The reason David was a Victor and not a Victim, because God Equipped and Prepared him.  He made him ready for battle.  He gave David everything he needed to win.

David had

  • A Willing obedient heart from God

  • God’s strength

  • People encouraging him

  • The Plan God gave him

  • Courageous Faith

David didn’t have any military training, he didn’t have a sword, armor or any other battle equipment to defeat Goliath, he just had what God intended him to use;  His sling and His Faith.   The rock sling seemed to be an unlikely choice to slay a giant, but sometimes God’s plans don’t always make sense.

 5 Ways God Equips Us to go From Victim to Victor:
1.  KnowledgeProverbs 2:6 “For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”  Knowledge is Power.  The More we learn the more we grow.  Seek the Experts for Advice.  There is no one better expert than God.  He has provided us with the most powerful resource in the world;  The Bible.  Staying in the Word, reading our Bible daily, equips and provides for all of our needs.  Ask God, ‘please equip me with the knowledge to have a heart of understanding and wisdom to make good choices for 2018.’

2.  Strength–  2 Corinthians 12:9 “My strength is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Our weakness is God’s opportunity to display his strength.  We grow in our weaknesses.  When we step out in faith, even in our weakness, God will use it to transform it into His strength.  God will use our trials and struggles, to develop more perseverance and endurance.  Ask God, ‘help me to trust in you and step out in faith even in my weakness.’  He will use our struggles for something better, I promise.

3.  Encouragers–  Thessalonians 5:11 “Encourage one another and build each other up.”  Everyone needs someone to motivate them, push them to their upper limits.  No pain no gain.  Ask God to be surrounded with encouragers who can help motivate and help reach your goals.  God is your biggest fan you can always turn to him.

4.  A Plan–  Every adequately prepared person has a plan. Good thing God is in the plan making business.  When we live in the plan God has for our life, we are living in the best plan ever.  How to Make a Successful Plan for 2018

5.  Prayer Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.”  Pray for God for help to equip you with the knowledge you need, for strength, encouraging people and to live in the plan God desires for you.

We may feel like we are facing a giant.  For 40 days no one stood up to fight Goliath because they were fearful.  They were fearful of his size, fearful of losing and fearful they may die.  The difference between the Israelites and David is he had Faith.

God will Slay our Giants if we Let Him. He will equip and prepare us for what we needClick To Tweet 

So How does one go from Victim to Victor?

When we allow God to equip us with the right tools so we will be prepared for the plan he has for us.  I promise, when we allow for God’s plans we will always be victorious.  Our goals will never be achieved if we are not prepared.  We wouldn’t jump off a boat in the middle of the ocean without a preserver just like we wouldn’t take a test without studying.

God has designed us to be VICTORIOUS!  For us to be a Victor and not a Victim!

How are you Preparing Yourself for the New Year?

Will you continue to allow your Giants to bully you?

 Or Will You Allow God’s Plan to be your Plan for Your New Year?

We don’t always have to understand God’s plan, we just need faith like David, so God can carry out his plan through us.  You are loved!

“For those who Hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

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May your New Year be Filled Abundantly more with God’s Blessings of Love, Joy, Peace and Freedom! I would love to hear from you!  Leave Your Comments Below.


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Top 10 Things I would like to Leave Behind in 2017: A Year in Review

At the end of every year, it’s always fun to reminisce about all the fun and happy memories one has had over the year.  It is also a good time to write goals and get rid of any junk or clutter getting in the way of reaching our goals.

I don’t know about you, but I love getting rid of clutter to help clear paths to achieve goals.

I asked my family what is something you would like to leave behind this year?  What is something you do not want to take into the New Year?  Here are our Family’s responses.  (You can Probably guess which ones are our kids’ responses)

Top 10 Things to Leave Behind in 2017:
1.  Negativity–  Nobody likes a Negative Nelly.  Negativity is a sure way to a bad attitude which never leads to anywhere good.  In 2018 I want to trade negative attitudes in for positive ones.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”  (Ephesians 4:29).

2.  Fear–  Being Scared of the unknown is a sure way to get into a vicious cycle of worry and anxiety.  Who wants that?  Not me.  The best thing to trade our Fears in for is more Faith.

“Trust in the Lord with All your Heart, Lean not on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

3.  Poor use of Time–  I want to trade in any Lack of Planning in for being more intentional and purposeful with my time.  The best person to give our time to is God.  God will provide all the time we need when we give it to him.  Time spent with God is time well spent.

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

4.  Busyness–  Filling my time with busyness and distractions is a guarantee for burnout and being tired.  This year I want to let my ‘yes’ be ‘yes and my ‘no’ be ‘no’ (James 5:12) so I don’t overcommit or overextend myself.

5.  Regret–  Allowing fear to dictate actions is a good way to get into a pile of regret.  Living a life of love the way God intended us to live, helps to leave regret behind and look forward to the life that God has designed for us.

6.  Accumulating Stuff–  This year is a year to live with less.  When I have less, I have more room for what God has intended for me.

“He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)

7.  Silly Arguments–  Maybe you are a better person than me, but I would like to trade in silly arguments for positive, encouraging remarks.  Who really cares if the toilet seat wasn’t put down?  Instead of being quick to start a silly argument I want to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19).

8.  Sweating the small stuff–  Worrying about every little thing leads only to more worry.  Worry never changes the situation or the outcome, it only brings more grief and worry.  In 2018, I want to trade worry in for more Trust in God.  He’s Got it!

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”  (Matthew 6:34).

9.  Disorganization–  When you consistently can’t find your keys, clutter starts to pile up and life starts to spiral out of control;  maybe it’s time to trade in the clutter and chaos for more order.  Take the time to get rid of clutter and organize your spaces.

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”  1 Corinthians 14:33

10.  Disconnected–  I have gotten into a bad habit, of spending time on social media when I should be present with whoever I am with.  Just because there is downtime doesn’t mean I have to pick up my phone.  This year I want to be present with whoever I am with, not trading face to face interaction in for screen time.

Have you made a list of things of your Fun Happy Memories from 2017?  

What would you like to leave behind in 2017?  

It is a good activity to do with your family to start with a clean slate for the New Year!

Prayer:  Dear God,

I want to start my New Year off to the right start.  Help me identify the clutter in my life, anything getting in the way of reaching my goals you desire for me.  Help me use the time you have given me wisely and keep my path clear of junk and live how you designed me!  In Jesus name.  Amen.

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May your New Year be Filled Abundantly more with God’s Blessings of Love, Joy, Peace and Freedom! I would love to hear from you.  Leave Your Comments Below.


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The Great Escape

In a few days, Christmas will be over.  Gifts will be given and presents will be opened. Just because Christmas will be over doesn’t mean the story of Jesus ends.

A very important prayer was answered over 2,000 years ago that changed the course of our lives forever.  During the time of the birth of Jesus, King Herod an appointed Roman ruler was king of Jerusalem.  He was a very ruthless and mean man.  He murdered his wife, his 3 sons, his mother-in-law, uncle, babies in Bethlehem and many others.  He was not a person the Jews wanted as their king.  They very much were waiting and praying for a new king, one that would save them from Herod’s rule (Matthew 2:1-2).

It all started with the Magi, the wise men who were following a star that predicted the birth of Jesus, the king of the Jews.  Even though the Magi were Gentiles, they went to seek Him in Jerusalem the Jewish capital city so they could worship Him (Matthew 2:2).  But after meeting with the chief priests and teachers they discovered baby Jesus wasn’t in Jerusalem but born in Bethlehem.
When King Herod heard the news of a possible king being born, he was angry.  He called upon the Magi to tell them “Go and make a careful search for the child.  As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him” (Matthew 2:7).  What the Magi didn’t know was Herod was an evil man and never had any intentions to worship the new king.
The Magi were overjoyed when they finally met baby Jesus and Mary.  They brought them gifts and bowed and worshipped Him (Matthew 2:10-11).  In their rejoicing, Satan was at work behind the scenes, using Herod as his vessel, creating a plan to have baby Jesus killed.
I love how God intervenes to protect His will and plan. 
How was baby Jesus able to escape the evil plan of the devil?

3 Ways God Intervened:

  1. God warned the Maggi about Herod’s evil plan in a dream.  The Magi decided not to return to Herod but back to their country by another route (Matthew 2:12).  Herod learned he had been outwitted by the Magi, that he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under (Matthew 2:16).
  2. God sent an angel to appear to Joseph in a dream.  The angel said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.  Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him” (Matthew 2:13).  So Joseph and Mary left with baby Jesus to Egypt until the death of Herod.
  3. After Herod died God sent another angel in a dream to Joseph telling him it was safe to head back to Israel (Matthew 2:19).

God was always one step ahead of Satan.  He knew Satan was using Herod for his evil plan, in an attempt to stop one of God’s greatest plans ever—God is bigger.

God heard and answered the prayers of those praying for a new king and saved (Mary, Joseph and Jesus) from the evil hand of Herod. God provided a way to escape from the plans of the evil one.  His merciful hands had it under control the entire time.
Satan will always be at work trying to prevent God’s plans from happening.  Whatever our circumstances are please know, if God is able to provide Mary, Joseph and Jesus an escape from Satan’s evil plans then God is able to do the same for us.  You are loved!
The only temptations that you have are the temptations that all people have. But you can trust God. He will not let you be tempted more than you can stand. But when you are tempted, God will also give you a way to escape that temptation. Then you will be able to stand it.  (1 Corinthians 10:13 ICB).
God’s timing and plan are perfect in every way.  If God can answer a prayer from 2,000 years ago, He can answer yours as well.
Your Prayers Matter.  Don’t forget to include PRAYER in Your Christmas Story.   You never know what one prayer can do, it might just change your life or someone else’s.
Do you include Prayer in your Christmas Story?
What have you prayed for this Christmas?
Here is a Christmas Prayer for you.  

A Christmas Prayer-

Dear God-  Thank you for your amazing gift of Jesus this Christmas.  Thank you for hearing our prayers and sending us Savior, a Messiah one that will redeem our world.  You are so merciful and gracious.  Thank you for sparing us and delivering us from the hands of the evil one.  May your light shine through us this Christmas to others.  May they see your bright light and know you have sent them a Savior.  May everyone know and witness your love.  May everyone receive the greatest gift of all this Christmas, eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen
Enjoy your families and know you are loved!
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A version of this post was first published on www.alaskachristianwomensministry.com.

Want to know more about the Christmas Story and how you can receive God’s free gift of eternal life?  Please message below, I want more information or privately message me.


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Wise Men Seek Him

 

Have you ever been behind the scenes to a concert or TV/movie set?  Going behind the scenes really gives a different perspective of what actually goes into producing a live performance or show.  You get so much more in-depth information and details about the performance going behind the scenes.

Prophecies in the Bible do the same thing–they give us a behind the scene glimpse of what is to come.  The Christmas story is the fulfillment of many prophecies foretelling the birth of our Savior.  In Micah, we learn Jesus would be born in the town of Bethlehem.  In Isaiah, we learn Jesus would be born a king of the line of David and that a child would be born of a virgin.  One of my favorite prophecies of the Christmas story is in Psalms when we learn Kings would bring him gifts and fall down before him.

Psalm 72:10-11  “The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him;  the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts.  All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him.”

Over 2,000 years ago there was a lot going on behind the scenes of The Christmas Story.  Baby Jesus had already been born in Bethlehem and the Magi had already set out on their journey following the star that had come from the east (Matthew 2:1-2).

The Magi were a group of wise men probably from the area of Persia, who were some of the most intelligent men that existed during their time.  They studied astrology, maps, and stars things most of us wouldn’t pay attention to.

Have you ever wondered how did the Magi a group of Gentile men, end up in Jerusalem in search of the king of the Jews?

Matthew 2:1-1  “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?”  We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him”

According to the prophecy in Psalms, the kings were to come out of Tarshish, a land very far from Jerusalem.  They merely had one single star from the east as their beacon to guide them to the location of Jesus.

It makes me wonder, how did the Magi end up in Jerusalem?  Did they have copies of Old Testament Manuscripts and closely followed the prophecies that a star shall come out of Jacob and a scepter shall rise out of Israel (Num. 24:17)?  Or did they have a revelation from God Himself?

It amazes me the far distance these non-Jewish men traveled, to worship the newborn King of the Jews and how they recognized the star as the announcement of Jesus’s birth.

The Magi’s question, “Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews?”  caused the priests and Jewish scholars to provide the answer they were looking for.  They referred to the prophecy in Micah, that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem.

Matthew 2:9-10 “….After they went on their way, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star they were overjoyed.”

This star from the east was quite the miracle, now leading them to the actual house where Jesus lived!  Contrary to what modern day nativity scenes display, the Magi did not visit baby Jesus in the manger the night he was born.  Because of the distance of their travels, they did not arrive until months later.

Matthew 2:11 “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.”

In Matthew we see the prophecy in Psalms being fulfilled–kings will present him gifts, bow down to him and all nations will serve him.   Can you even imagine traveling for months, carrying the weight of these treasures, not really knowing where you’re going and depending on a star for directions?  
The Magi went far lengths to not just offer these gifts to Jesus, but to open them in His presence.  These gifts were worthy of a king depicting the picture of what one day will be given to the Messiah.  The Magi give us a wonderful example of what distance are we willing to go to worship and give God gifts the way He has given us.  
Even the wisest men were seeking Jesus the new king.Click To Tweet

Have you opened God’s abundant gift this Christmas?

What is you’re favorite part of The Christmas Story?

Even wise men need Jesus.  I hope you enjoyed behind the scenes of The Christmas Story!  May you open the abundant gift God has given you this Christmas, the gift of Jesus!  Have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!

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Would you like to know more about the Christmas story and what it means to you?  Message me below, “I want more information,”  or message me privately.  Merry Christmas!

 Barbieri, L. A., Jr. (1985). Matthew. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 22). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

3 Strategies Satan Uses Against Us

When you look at this picture what do you see?  The game of chess is an interesting game where one tries to capture the king to become the victor.  I love how the game of chess provides an opportunity for the underdog to win.  It’s not over until it’s over.  Even if all the major playing pieces are taken, it’s possible to still win.  In this game, the pawn can become a queen.  The pawn is merely an underdog until it makes its way to the other side and changes the trajectory of the game.

The game of chess requires perseverance and patience.  How many of us give up before the end of the game? Is it because we are weary and tired?  Or have we lost the confidence to believe that we can win?  In life, Satan can play us like pawns in his game of evil.  He throws temptations in our path trying to lure us away, he whispers lies in our ears to make us doubt and seduces us to believe life is better in the green grass.  He waits until we are at our weakest, most desperate moments to make his move.  He is evil and uses sneaky strategies to make us move where he wants us.  We don’t have to fall victim to Satan’s evil schemes.

3 Strategies Satan Uses Against

  1.  Unforgiveness-  Satan’s role in our lives will always be to tempt us.  When there is unforgiveness in our lives, Satan will always use this against us to tantalize us to the point of destruction.   Unforgiveness opens a door for the enemy to cause division and chaos in our lives.  Satan seduces us into believing holding onto unforgiveness is a better solution than forgiving others.  Forgiveness provides an open door for unity, harmony and peace in our world.  Forgiving others allows an opportunity for the underdog to win.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 NIV

“Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven–if there was anything to forgive–I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”

2.  Making Fear greater than God.  Satan will do anything he can to elevate our fears, trying to make them greater than God.  One of his primary purposes is to instill fear in our lives and take our focus off of God.  The other day we were at the park and my daughter said, “I’m thirsty.”  I said, “There is a water fountain over there, go get a drink of water.”  My daughter said, “I want a drink of water, but there is a wasp over there.”  I went over to inspect the situation to find the wasp had already left.  I told my daughter the wasp was gone, but she would not go near the water fountain because she was still afraid she would get stung.  How many times has the enemy done this in our lives?  He instills fear in us so we can’t go where God is trying to lead us.  Even though the wasp wasn’t there anymore she still wouldn’t go near where it was.  Allowing fear to dictate and control our responses and actions will always keep us from God’s greater plans.  When Fear > God, we will always live defeated life that is stuck.  When God > Fear, we will always live a life that is filled with God’s abundance and victory.

1 Peter 5:8 NIV

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

 

To read the rest of this blog post visit www.theprayingwoman.com

 

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Maranatha: He is Coming

Did you know the first ever marathon ran in history was by a Greek soldier?   He ran from the city of Marathon to Athens to announce the defeat of the Persians in the Battle of Marathon.  He ran an approximate 26 miles to deliver the good news of their victory.

Who knew that one man’s race for victory over 1,500 years ago, was setting the stage for the race many would run known as a marathon. I can’t even imagine running 26 miles after fighting in a battle, probably not having that much food or water and running in sandals (I don’t think they had running shoes back then)! My body would feel tired, hungry and exhausted if I didn’t get enough food, water or sleep.  This motivated Greek soldier didn’t exactly train for those 26 miles, he just ran!

Well anyone who has ran a marathon knows going out to run 26 miles the first day isn’t the best way to run this long race. There needs to be a gradual increase of miles over weeks and months. Rest periods need to be incorporated as well as adequate nutrition, hydration and sleep to be able to perform well enough to cross the finish line.

Running races can be compared to the race we run in life.

How do you run this race of life?  As a sprint or a marathon?

Do you live life like a sprint, trying to rush through life getting many things done in the little time you have? Or do you take the marathon approach–taking time to equip your self so your prepared for what lies ahead?  I for one have tried to live life both ways and found sprinting through life doesn’t get me anywhere faster except more weary and depleted. When I try to speed through life taking short cuts, I end up missing all of God’s blessings He intended for me along the way.   I usually have to backtrack my steps in order to get back to where I originally started.  I realized speeding through the process never got me anywhere anyway.

In my stubbornness and disobedience God has showed me…..

Taking the marathon approach to life may be harder and longer but the reward is so worth it in the end.

So how can we make it to the end when there are days where life feels so heavy and defeated like we are climbing up a steep mountain going nowhere?

Or where can we find our strength on the days we feel as though we can’t take another step or carry any more burdens weighing heavy on our hearts?

Everyone’s race of life looks different.  Maybe you or a loved one is battling cancer.  Maybe you have gone through a failed marriage.  Maybe you have a prodigal son or daughter, praying they will return home one day.  Maybe you are a widow.  Maybe you are struggling financially trying to make ends meet.  Maybe you lost your job.  Maybe you have an estranged or strained relationship hoping it will be restored.  Maybe you battle addictions or are enslaved to your circumstances.  Maybe you have gone through a terrible loss.

These trials and struggles we face can be so heavy and burdensome.

Whatever race you are running, know God is with you and He never leaves you.

When there are days we are weary and burdened and the finish line seems so far away– rest in what God is able to do for us.

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

How will we ever be able to run this race and persevere to the end if we don’t allow God to carry our burdens or seek Him to find rest? 

God can carry our burdens for us much better than we can do on our own.  This race we run, is not for nothing.  The pain we go through is not to be wasted.  God cares about the struggles we endure and go through.  We can always turn to Him and seek Him for our every need.

”…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1

Carrying our heavy burdens on our own makes persevering to the end so much harder.

How do you run this race of life?  With God holding your hand or trying to run on your own?

Whatever race we run when we seek God, we will always persevere when we allow him to have our struggles.  We will always persevere when we stand in his presence and allow his truth to be alive in our lives.  We will always persevere when we hold onto His promises that “now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy” (John 16:22).

In the marathon race we run, there will be days we are weary and need his strength—then God reminds me, Maranatha “Our Lord is Coming.”

“Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.” Revelations 22:7

No matter what happens in this life we can rejoice because our Lord is coming.  Until then we will keep running this marathon until Maranatha, the day our Lord will come!  I promise you the reward is greater than anything we could ever imagine.  The enemy would like nothing more than to defeat and destroy us.  He can never change what God has already done for us.

Keep running the good race, the Lord is with you!

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This post was first published on www.akchristianwomensministry.com.


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The Victor’s Crown

Four years ago I had the unbelievable opportunity to participate in the 2013 Boston Marathon. It was unimaginable I was there. I looked around at the sea of runners thinking, how did I even get here? I didn’t feel worthy to be there, nor did I feel qualified even though I met the requirements to enter. This race was for elite runners and I wasn’t even close to that category.

However, none of that mattered once the gun went off. Everyone started running full speed ahead to achieve the same goal—crossing the finish line. This is where we were put to the test.

Were all the early morning training runs and nutritional diet going to pay off to get us to the end?

Marathoners are a different breed. Who in their right mind gets up at 4 a.m. and runs 20 miles? I didn’t consider myself a marathoner, just someone who needed to put the pain to the pavement. I was searching for a place to heal and God led me to running. Running is where I spent time with God.  In my training, God taught me so much. He showed me my hands and feet weren’t really mine anyway, they were His. He showed me I wasn’t really running for myself, but for Him.

When I was weak, His strength carried my feet further than I could ever carry myself. Running was a way to use the feet He had given me for His greater purpose. Running was a representation of what my son was doing in heaven. Even though he never had the chance to walk on this earth, he is now running in heaven.

At the beginning of the race, many runners ask each other, “What is your goal?” That means what time do you want to complete the race in? Most runners say they run the race to have fun and others say they just want to finish. Every runner receives a medal for finishing the race. At the finish line, it’s usually a time to celebrate the ending to the grueling endeavor someone just spent months training for. But this time it was different. In 2013 was the year of the Boston bombings. This day will forever be engrained in my mind. Moments before the bombs went off, strangers congratulated me for finishing because they saw the medal around my neck. After the blasts, congratulation turned into ‘I’m sorry.’

The instant the bombs went off the medal around my neck lost its meaning. It no longer mattered that I completed the race. What mattered were the lives that were injured and lost. Their lives were more important than winning the medal.

What happened that day was the result of pure evil. Satan may be able to change the meaning of worldly medals, but there is one thing he can never take away or change—“the crown of life.”

Revelations 6:2
“I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.”

In the Bible, there are many uses for crowns. Gold crowns are worn by kings and queens to symbolize their royal status (2 Samuel 12:30). Crowns are worn by high priests to represent their holy status (Exodus 29:6, 39:30). Another type of crown is a wreath of flowers (made of laurel, pine or olive branches), which were worn at banquets to honor someone in celebration. These crowns were also used at the Isthmian games and won as athletic prizes in Corinth.

All of these crowns mentioned above—their meaning can be changed in an instant. The word used to describe the crown mentioned in Revelations 6:2, is ‘stephanos’ which means ‘the victor’s crown.’

There is no amount of evil Satan can achieve to change the meaning of the victor’s crown.

Ironically the crown of thorns worn by Jesus the day he was persecuted, is considered the most victorious crown we can wear as Christians. What the Romans used to mock and persecute Jesus, God used for His ultimate victory.

The victor’s crown is a symbol of victory.

“Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.” Revelations 2:10

There is no crown greater than the victor’s crown.

Revelations 3:11-12
“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name.”

Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt defeated?

I sure have many times.  Chances are, in our defeat, we are listening to the lies Satan is whispering in our ears.  In the race we run, we don’t have to be extraordinary or wait until we achieved something great.  In our worthlessness, God gives us his worth through Jesus Christ. Satan can never take away our crowns when we wear the crown of life.   We can rejoice because the promise of God’s truth reigns victoriously over our feelings of our defeat.

Satan is the defeated one, not us.

Never let the enemy take away your crown.  We are victorious in what Jesus Christ has already gone ahead and done for us!  Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

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FREE Printable with 7 Bible Verses Reminding us of God’s Victory!  Click Link to Download Victorious Bible Verses-3

a portion of this post is a modified version from chapter 22 of “Waiting for Heaven:  Finding beauty in the pain and the struggle”  by Heather Gillis.  

This post was first published on www.akchristianwomensministry.com.


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Training For Heaven

The other day my daughter and I were on our way to a youth ski race. Kids on different ski teams compete against each other by going down the slalom course. The top 3 kids who achieve the fastest time in their age group win a medal. Usually my daughter is excited to go to ski team to have the opportunity to ski for a few hours. But this day she was having a little trouble. She groaned and complained how she didn’t want to go. She didn’t want to compete, she just wanted to ski.

I tried to sugar coat the situation and encourage her, she was going to have fun. She had already won three medals in the three races she competed in. In my attempt to encourage her I said, “Don’t you want to win another medal?” Her response was very convicting. She said, “I’ve already won enough medals, I don’t need another one.”

She was right.

Honestly, I didn’t care if she won or not. I just wanted her to to have fun and do the best she could. It was more about changing the attitude of her heart and working through it. Then I was convicted by her words.

How many times have I been trapped in the lie of achieving more? And when was it ever enough? Click To TweetI am reminded of when Paul was speaking to the Corinthians of the imperishable crown.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets a prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Paul was using the analogy of running a race to represent how are we living our physical and spiritual lives? In the worldly races we run, there will only be prizes given to the top winners. Even though everyone participates in the race, not everyone wins a prize. Only those who perform and achieve the best times win. Paul was teaching the Corinthians, what is the point in running a race to obtain a prize in which we only receive ourselves? If we are going to go through the training and effort in running the race, we should not do it just for ourselves. We should run to obtain the crown that lasts forever in which everyone receives who runs the race.

Paul’s words asks a deeper question. ‘What race are we running anyway?’ ‘Are we training to win another medal or training for heaven?’

Even though my daughter had performed very well in her previous three races, unfortunately this day she was disqualified. She assumed because she did so well previously she would do the same in this race as well. At the end of the race she had missed a ski gate. In the ski race, if a racer misses the ski gate they are disqualified—their time doesn’t count and are ineligible to receive a prize.

“Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:26-27

Paul was warning the Corinthians don’t become lackadaisical when running the race, be purposeful and intentional. When we run aimlessly, we become careless and lack discipline to complete the race to the end.

Oh how we can become disqualified from the race when we allow sin to reign and rule in our lives. We can become overly confident that we have already received and obtained the prize of heaven and become lax in our walk as Christians. God showed me an important reminder that day. He made me question what race am I really running, and what am I running it for?

Am I running to win a crown that will perish or the imperishable crown of life that is everlasting?

Don’t become disqualified from the race, keep your eyes on the prize. The race we run as Christians has already been won. When we participate in the race, we partake in the victory of Jesus—receiving a crown that never perishes! There is no greater prize a runner could receive than the reward of heaven. Heaven is the ultimate prize. That day with my daughter was a reminder to stay focused on the reward of heaven, so we can endure and persevere to the end.

Paul leaves us with words of encouragement. He knows the race we run as Christians will be hard. He knows it will take discipline and training. In all of our efforts, Paul reminds us we are all in training for heaven. When we run the race for the Lord, we will never be disqualified from receiving the greatest reward ever in heaven.

Keep running the race, keep fighting the good fight, You are victorious in Jesus Christ!

This post was first published on www.akchristianwomensministry.com.


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Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen?

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “If God is good, then why does He allow Bad things to Happen in this world?”

This is a very loaded question and will take more than this one blog post to answer.  The truth is we live in a broken world, that dates back to Adam and Eve the very day they ate the fruit from the forbidden tree.  But God is a loving God who created us and desires a relationship with us.   Yes, looking at our world we live in, it is corrupt, there is evil and devastation.  However, God allowed us to have free will and make our own choices.  God doesn’t make us do bad things, we choose to.

God’s love is a holy love. One that forgives and selflessly gives eternally forevermore. One that never leaves us.   There is never an end or amount of God’s love. But sometimes God’s love doesn’t feel very loving does it? Let me explain.

Six years ago my husband and I endured the biggest tragedy parents could ever go through—the loss of our son. He was born with an undetected kidney disease that was incompatible with life. He lived only two short weeks on this earth before he went to heaven. When he died I couldn’t believe God didn’t heal our son.

We prayed so hard for him to be healed, didn’t God hear our prayers? If God loved us then why didn’t He heal our son?

As time went by, I went before God with this very question and His response was “I did heal your son just not in the way you asked me to. He indeed is healed and living a life that is free from disease, pain or sorrow, he is no longer suffering.” Wow, God was right, He answered every single one of my prayers just not in the way I imagined.

Our life may have been filled with grief and pain, but there is not pain that God doesn’t already know.

God’s love is a sacrifice.

Our tragedy made me see more than ever, God’s love is a sacrifice, one that He sacrificed for us through his one and only son. The pain of our son’s death gave me a glimpse of the pain God went through when Jesus died. John 3:16 says, “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.”

Who am I to say I want this part of God’s love but not that part?  At the cross Jesus didn’t surrender half of His life for us, He surrendered all of it.  His love isn’t something I get to pick and choose the parts I do or don’t like. To know God’s holy love, to know the suffering of Jesus, is to know all parts of God’s love.

At the Cross, I lay it at your feet.

Every sacrifice requires 100% surrender. Our surrender is an offering to God.  The Hebrew word for offering (hiqrib) means “to present, bring near, offer.” How perfect is God’s plan, that He made an altar (the cross) for our burdens to be laid down as an offering, to bring us closer to Him?  The life we once lived before our son, died along with him.  The only chance we had to have a life filled with joy again, was to lay down our pain and grief at the feet of Jesus and allow God to crucify them at the cross.

I am crucified with thee.

At the cross, our surrendered burdens are crucified.  They were never meant to be carried beyond the cross.  Every act of obedience, every act of faith no matter how big or small, becomes a living sacrifice to God.   Our surrender allows God to become more in our lives, not our burdens (John 3:30).

God knows what it takes to produce the greatest blessings ever in Him, not anything this world could ever provide for us.   He knows what we need to rid ourselves of anything getting in the way of Him.  Through fasting, prayer, walking away from worldly riches, making sacrifices for God’s greater good, our love becomes a living sacrifice. We become an example to the world what makes us rich and loved isn’t by what we put in our wallets, closets or garages but what God puts into our hearts.

“For where your treasure is there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21). Our sacrifices allow God to produce His greater work with in us.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.[b] 2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] 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 12:1-2

This is where I die.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Every resurrection needs a surrendered offering, a sacrifice/death, and a burial.  This is how God’s holy love works to resurrect our circumstances and make us new in Him!  God’s holy love is the ultimate love.  He holds nothing back.

God’s holy love doesn’t mean we will be without tragedy or heartache.

At the cross lives a holy love, one that suffers, knows our pain and carries our burdens.

At the cross is where Jesus meets us in our pain and shows there is nothing we go through that he hasn’t already been through.   No one knows our pain and suffering better than Jesus. His love is the ultimate sacrifice.

There will always be another storm in our life but know we can always trust in God’s promises, His goodness, and love.  When our feelings get the best of us here are some great reminders.

In God’s love, we can find freedom from our burdens by resting in the truths of God’s love.

God’s love is always good and pure.
God’s love is always faithful.
God’s love is eternal and never runs out.
God’s love is perfect and always prevails.
God’s love is a relationship.
God’s love is where we can find rest.
God’s love is a sacrifice and is forgiving.
God’s love comforts us.
God’s love, loves unconditionally.
God’s love is extravagant and abundant.
God’s love paid our debt for sin.
God’s love gives selflessly.
God’s love never fails and conquers all.
God’s love heals, restores and renews.
Nothing is bigger or greater than God’s love.

Have you experienced and accepted God’s holy love?

How has God’s holy love restored and renewed you?

Jesus is my healer.  His holy love makes us complete!  I pray God’s holy love will abundantly fill our hearts and homes this week.  You are loved!

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.  Have a blessed week!

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

The definition of the Hebrew word for offering was obtained from www.biblestudytools.com

A modified version of this post was first published on www.akchristianwomensministry.com.


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