It’s All About Love

Have you ever imagined what the world look like if love didn’t exist?  Life wouldn’t be worth living if love didn’t exist.  Love is why we exist and why God created us.

According to 1  Corinthians 13:1-3, If we have faith and not love we are nothing.  If  we give all that we have and not love, we gain nothing.  No matter what we say, what we believe, what we do, if we don’t have love, we are bankrupt.

In the English language, love is a very broadly used term.  We use it to describe food, people, relationships, clothes, etc.  There is not much distinction between what we really like versus what we really love.  For example, I love potato chips and I love my husband.  Even though I used love to describe both a thing and a person, the context of love is different.

So how do we differentiate the different types of love?  

The word love is used all throughout the Bible and has four different translations.  The definition of love is so much better understood when translated according to the type of love being described.  By learning the four different translations from the Greek language, we have a better understanding of what type of love the verses in the Bible are describing.

Agapē– means “love.”  It’s the highest form of love, charity; the selfless love God gives us and we give God. 

Philia– usually translated “brotherly love”, meaning friendship love. Where the city Philadelphia was named the “city of brotherly love”, now is the “city that loves you back.”

Storge– is also called “familial love”, it is the Greek word for natural affection, a love which a parent gives their offspring and vice versa.

Eros–  (erotic) Eros refers to “passionate love” or romantic love. 

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to love each other with Agapē  love, the way God loves us.  

10 Bible Verses That Describe God’s Agape Love For Us-  

1.  God doesn’t merely love, He is love. 1 John 4:8 “God is Love.”

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:8-10

2.  Without love we are nothing.  1 Corinthians 13:3 MSG

“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”

3.  Everything God does flows from his love.  1 Cor. 13:4-7,13 NIV  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”  1 Corinthians 13:4-7

4.  The epitome of God’s Agapē love, his sacrifice for us.  John 3:16

“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.”

5.  A Father’s love for His son.  John 3:35

“The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.”

6.  Agapē love makes us united and complete.  John 17:23

“I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

7.  How a son loves his father through submission and obedience.  John 14:31

“but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.“Come now; let us leave.”

8.  When we love others the way God loves us, others will know God’s love.  John 13:34-35

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

9.  We are apart of God’s family, we are his children.  1 John 3:1

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!

10.  When we give Agapē love for one another we are giving love the way God gives us.

“Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”  1 John 4:21

To follow Jesus is to love.  We are called to Love.  Let us love one another.

What Bible Verses remind you of God’s Agapē love for you?

How has God’s Agapē love affected you?

Our world could use some love right now.  As brothers and sisters in Christ, What can we do to show others God’s Agapē love?

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth.”  1 John 3:18

Go Deeper:  Family Bible Reading Challenge! Nothing grows our love stronger and deeper than when we fill our hearts and homes with God’s words, especially when we read scripture together!

Will you join me over the next 10 days?  Let’s do this together!

Want a way to show others God’s love?  Here are #FREE Valentine Printables for Valentine’s Day!  Click Here. 

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Join me next week as we dig deeper into the love of Jesus!  I would love to hear from you!  Leave Your Comments Below.  I pray your week is filled with God’s abundant love!  

Wikipedia was used to define the Love terminology definitions.


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10 Ways to Always Be Content

Contentment.  Let’s face it we are human.  Especially in my family, not all of us are content all the time at the same time!  It’s important to be reminded and focused on what is the source of our contentment.  Contentment can be found in a lot of places.  But not all places can provide us with a source of contentment that eternally fulfills and satisfies.  

There will always be someone who has more than us, has a bigger house, nicer car, nicer clothes or who is thinner.  Where does that leave us?  To be constantly trying to keep up, comparing ourselves to an unattainable measure?  Where is the hope and satisfaction in the never-ending race for more?  When is enough, enough?  

Contentment isn’t always about what’s in front of us, or waiting until we have the next best thing, but what’s in our hearts and in God’s plans for us.  Being content is accepting God’s truth in who he says we are and allowing it to be enough.  

When God’s truth and love are the sources of our Joy and Contentment we will be abundantly filled and eternally satisfied.  May God’s truth and love fill every crevice of your heart, filling you beyond measure so your cup runneth over.  

Here are 10 reminders when discontentment gets the best of you.  I pray you will hold onto these verses when you feel your heart and mind are drifting to a place of discontent.

We will Always Find Contentment when…….

1.  Our Treasures are Stored in our Hearts-  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.”   Matthew 6:21

2.  When God Provides for our Needs.  “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”  1 Timothy 6:6-8, Philippians 4:19

3.  When God is the Source of our Riches.  “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, not to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.  Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  1 Timothy 6:17-19.

4.  When God is the Source of our Love.  What gives you love?  Can money love you back?
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.  For He, Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.  So we may boldly say:  The Lord is my helper;  I will not fear.  What can man do to me?”  Hebrews 13:5

4.  We are Thankful in our Circumstances.  There is Contentment in Thankfulness.  A thankful heart is a happy heart (Proverbs 15:13).  “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.”  Philippians 4:11

5.  We Trust in God’s Plans.  There is Contentment when you trust in God’s plans.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5, Jeremiah 29:11 (For I know the Plans for you).

6.  When God is the Source of our Provision and Peace.  “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink;  nor about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns;  yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?”  Matthew 6:25-26

7.  When we Seek Him First.  “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  Matthew 6:33

8.  When God is the Source of our Strength.  You can rejoice and be content in trials when God is your source of strength.  “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:10

9.  When our Hearts are Filled with God’s Desires.  “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.”  1 Timothy 6:10-11, Proverbs 19:21

10.  When we Rejoice in Him and Stand in His Presence.  “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  (Psalm 118:24).  “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  (Psalm 16:11).

I pray these verses will provide encouragement, comfort and be a reminder when discontent starts to settle in.

Prayer-  Dear God, I pray that I will keep my eyes and heart focused on you to keep me within the boundaries of your love.  I pray I will seek you always, trust in your plans for me, be patient for your timing, be content with what I have.  I pray my discontent will be a warning sign to be still with you and present in your presence and trust in you.  I pray these verses will be a reminder of what you have in store for me, your truth will fill me and protect me from the shouts of the world.  You provide for all my needs, You are Enough.  Thank you, Lord, for your provision and for thinking so highly of me to make a plan for me.  I praise you, in Jesus name, Amen.

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I would love to hear from you and all that God is doing in your hearts!  I pray that you will be filled with God’s truth and love which leads to eternal contentment!  


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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

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

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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Making a Successful Plan for Your Goals in the New Year

New Years Resolutions, Goal Setting, and Fitness Challenges are all the hype at the beginning of each year.  Making resolutions for healthier living, setting goals and signing up for challenges are great, but will never be successful without making a plan or a strategy.

Goals are great.  They give us a focus, a direction and motivate us to move in a positive direction.  They initiate growth and help us reach something we thought wasn’t attainable.

Are you seeking Financial Freedom?  Dave Ramsey Financial Peace guru has a financial success plan for you.  Are you a writer that has been wanting to write a book?  Chances are Michael Hyatt who has developed Platform University has the keys to success that you need.  Want to become a better parent?  Drs. Fay have developed Love and Logic parenting strategies that take the struggle out of discipline.  Want to develop healthier habits of living without feeling overwhelmed?  Rick Warren has written the Daniel Plan that focuses on Faith, Family, Fitness, and Food.

When we set goals, we turn to the experts for advice.  In goal setting and planning, there is no better expert than God.

Did you know in the Bible, God gives us instructions on how to use our time wisely and write a plan for our goals?

God provides Scripture of how to be successful in attaining our goals.

Setting our goals is just the first step.   Initiating a clear cut plan will set us up for long term success.

'The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps' Proverbs 16:9Click To Tweet

5 Ways God Helps us Make a Plan for our Goals-


1.  Write them Down–  We have to start somewhere.  Putting the pen to the paper and writing them down is a good place to start.  A goal becomes a reality when we write them out.  “Write down the vision and make it plain on tablets, For still the vision awaits its appointed time;  If it seems slow, wait for it;  it will surely come; it will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:2-3).  Start first by reviewing your year.  Ask yourself what areas did I succeed in?  What areas do I still need to work on?  I separate my goals into 5 categories;  Faith, Family/Friends, Finances, Fitness, and Fun.  This will better give you a vision for our goals.

2.  Pray for your Goals–  When setting your goals, ask God what are the desires he has for your heart.  “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart”  Psalm 37:4.  It is okay to set your own personal goals.  God has probably given you certain skills and talents to be able to achieve your goals.  Allow room for God’s plan to take place, so he can do his work within you.  Once your goals have been written, keep your goal list nearby and continually pray over your goals for the upcoming year.

3.  Be Intentional–  When writing your goals, be specific and purposeful.  This will allow your goals to have vision and direction.  Give your goals an attainable and measurable outcome.  “Plans of the diligent leads to profit.”  (Proverbs 21:5).  Give your goals a realistic time frame, be diligent and your work will pay off in the long run.

4.  Prioritize–  Review your goals and star 1-2 of them that are highest priority or most important to start working on first.  This will help provide you with a direction and focus of which goals to start working on.  No one gets anywhere by being lazy or taking on more than they can handle.  To make your goals a reality, they take proper planning, commitment, dedication and motivation.  Giving your targeted goal the quality time they need will set you up for success for the future.  “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth”  (Proverbs 10:4).  

5.  Make a Schedule–  Be realistic with your time commitments.  The best way to be successful in reaching your goal, is to schedule time in your calendar and stick with it.  Make your goal a priority and you will reap the rewards of attaining them.  Most importantly, plan your time with God, put him in your schedule, but let him do the planning.  Scheduling time with God will be the best plan of your life.  For He knows the plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11).  

How do you want to be more successful in this upcoming year?  

What Goals  Would you like to Accomplish in the New Year?

God isn’t interested in us becoming better, he wants us to be better than EVER!

Our goals become a reality with prayer, proper planning, prioritizing them and making a schedule.  Writing goals not your thing?  Make it simple and just pick one word to describe your year–it’s a good place to start.  

What word describes your upcoming year?  Join me next week and we will talk about what our word is and how to make a strategic prayer plan that will set you up for a successful new year!  I want to hear your goals and what word you picked!!!

Did you like this blogpost?  Please share with others!  If you would like to read more encouraging messages, Subscribe to my blog and an encouraging message will be sent right to your inbox or like my Author Facebook page to catch the latest posts.  Have a blessed week!!  

Praying for a Successful New Year and that is filled Abundantly with God’s blessings in your life!  Happy New Year!  

I would love to hear from you! Leave Your Comments Below.


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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!

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!

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.

 

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Anchored in Hope

I will never forget the time we had to take our daughter to the hospital when she fell off a stool.  It was dinnertime and she was wiggling around on a not so stable wooden stool.  I had asked her to please stop wiggling around because she was going to fall and get hurt.  She was 5 years old at the time and was working on her listening skills.  I turned around to plate my dinner then heard a loud crash and immediate screaming.  I turned to see streams of blood running from my daughter’s finger.  She had smashed her pinkie finger under the wooden stool onto the tile floor.  I immediately picked her up and applied pressure to her finger with a paper towel.

We knew she needed more than stitches.  As I drove her to the hospital, fear filled her mind with what was going to happen when she arrived in the emergency room.  She was deathly afraid of needles and hospitals.  Our son had died a year earlier and her perception of hospitals was, when a person gets sick they might not come home.  I kept reassuring her that the doctors would fix her finger and she definitely was coming home with me.

After the doctors examined her, they confirmed she needed surgery.  In life, there are some things that can only be explained as God orchestrated moments.  Because the next part of the story I never imagined happening, not in a million lifetimes.  Since Brooklyn’s finger was an open wound she needed IV antibiotics.  She needed to stay overnight and receive her surgery in the morning.  We were in the same hospital our son died.  As the attendant was wheeling my daughter down the hall, everything looked so familiar.  I asked, “Are we going to the intensive care unit?”  He said, “Since the new hospital was built, the old intensive care unit is now used for surgery overflow patients.”

If you can even imagine, we were taken to the very unit our son had died only a year and a half prior.  I couldn’t believe what was happening.  I started questioning God, “Why did you bring me here?”  Our Father in heaven knows exactly what we need to achieve wholehearted healing.  He knew what I needed even when I didn’t.  He knew I needed to face my fears head on even if it hurt.

When we let go of what we hold so tightly onto, God will fill it with something so much greater and better.

Brooklyn had a successful surgery, everything went well.  After we were discharged, I asked Brooklyn, “Will you walk into Bowen’s room with me?”  I knew if God brought me all the way here, I mine as well visit the last place I held our son alive in our arms.  When I walked into the room I received an overwhelming gift of peace that went beyond understanding.  I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit with me, telling me ‘You don’t have anything to fear or worry about, I have your son and am taking care of him.’  I felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders that I have never felt before.  When I walked towards where God was asking me to go, I received the greatest reward of hope and peace.

I received another gift that day.  The hospital where our son died was a place of horror for me.  That day, God replaced my horrific memory with a new one.  The same emergency room door we walked out of with empty arms, is the same door we walked out of holding onto our daughter’s hand.  God was a replacing our painful memory with a healing one–one that offered an endless amount of hope.

Have you ever felt hopeless in your situation?

Our daughter is ten years old now and remembers the day she fell off the stool.  Her finger is a daily reminder of how God restores and renews us.  Whenever she sits on a stool we still mention don’t wiggle around!  It’s amazing the pearls of wisdom that come out of the mouth of babes.  She recently sat on a stool that was anchored to the ground.  She discovered she could wiggle around all she wanted and the stool would never fall.  She said, “I need this stool to keep me safe.”  She recognized there is safety when things are anchored to a strong foundation.

Hebrews 6:18 NLT

“So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.”

God keeps His word and promises.

Hebrews 6:19 NIV

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,”

 

Like an anchor holding a ship safely from drifting off,  our hope in Jesus ensures our safety.  A ship’s anchor goes down to the bottom of the ocean to ground it.  Our anchor is secured in the true heavenly sanctuary that anchors to God Himself.

When storms come our way we can be kept safe when our hope is anchored in God. Click To Tweet

 

Are you anchored in Hope?

 

What gives you hope in your storms?

 

God is faithful, He will never leave you.

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Hope for Our World

As I watch the news of the devastating flood in Houston and the missile strike threats from North Korea over the past couple of weeks, I am reminded of the depth of devastation that exists in this world.  I am saddened how thousands of people are displaced from their homes because of Hurricane Harvey and how North Korea’s dictator victimises the people who reside there.

Both situations are devastating.  As a nation, we can rise up to help Houston but are left helpless in how we can help free the victims in North Korea.  In North Korea, there is no freedom of speech, freedom of religion or freedom to live as a human being.  I was shocked as I watched the video of a young girl who escaped North Korea and told her horrific story at a One World Conference.  She painstakingly describes the life North Koreans live under an evil dictator’s rule.  People are executed for merely speaking an opinion or reading an unauthorized book.  They live in below poverty conditions, work in Nazi-like labor camps, and live in fear every day of what their evil dictator will do.  It is unimaginable that this treatment of people is allowed to take place in our current world.  We can only hope and pray for the freedom and safety of these people, that dictator Kim’s evil ways will be stopped and for the direction of our world to be headed back towards God.

The condition of our world reminds me of how the Israelite’s must have felt when they lived in exile under the Babylonian empire. Their nation had been through exile before for 400 years under the Egyptians and again under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar. At the time, their situation seemed pretty hopeless. Their present circumstances seemed unlikely that God was going to fulfill His promise of restoration.

We serve a God who is bigger than our circumstances, who is bigger than what we can see.

In Ezekiel, God made a promise, “I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.” (Ezekiel 36:24)

At this time, the Israelites were living in captivity away from their country, under the rule of the very powerful king Nebuchadnezzar—who did not believe in their God. Then God intervened and showed the prophet, Ezekiel, a vision—a land full of dry bones.

God asks Ezekiel, “Son of man, can these bones live?” (Ezekiel 37: 3). Ezekiel then responds and says, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know” (Ezekiel 37:3).

God then directs Ezekiel to prophesy to the dry bones telling them to hear the word of God “I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life” (Ezekiel 37:5). As Ezekiel was prophesying, the bones started to come together, skin and flesh covered them, breath entered them, they came to life, stood up and made an army (Ezekiel 37:7-10).

Even though Israel’s situation seemed hopeless, God was showing Ezekiel what He can do in a hopeless situation, even under the rule of a powerful king. God showed Ezekiel how He was able to resurrect and make alive a valley of dead dry bones by merely breathing life into them. God’s fulfillment of His promise of restoration wasn’t dependent on Israel’s current circumstances, but His divine power [1].

Oh, how thankful I am our future is not dependent on what our leaders do or don’t do but the faithfulness of our God.

God goes onto to remind us, “O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them” (Ezekiel 37:12-13).

In the eyes of Israel, there was no hope for restoration for their nation. We serve an Almighty God. God’s power goes way beyond a valley of dry bones. He is able to revive, renew, and restore even the most hopeless of circumstances. If God can deliver the Israelite’s from exile, He can deliver us as well [2]. If God can breathe life into dry bones, renew, restore and rise up the nation of Israel out of the grave—He can do the same for our world.

In our present-day situation, God is showing us we need to be dependent upon Him more than ever. We need to stay constant in prayer, praying for our leaders, our government, for the direction and well-being of our world, and these social injustices are stopped.

There is HOPE for our World

 

Even when the condition of our world seems hopeless, we can always find HOPE in God’s truth, promise, and power of HIS renewal and restoration.

Just like Israel, we will be a nation that rises again at The Word of God.

“Breathe, O Breath of God.” [3]

“They came to life and stood on their feet—a vast army.” (Ezekiel 37:10)

At The Word of God, dry bones came alive.

Great armies arose out of death and destruction.

God’s great power is mighty and infinite. Nothing is bigger or can defeat it.

“You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.” (Ezekiel 36:28)Click To Tweet

By His powerful hand, He created us. God will restore us and bring us to the promised land [4].

How can we make a worldly difference?

Through our prayers. We can pray for Houston and North Korea.

Why should we pray for North Korea? 

'But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,' Matthew 5:44Click To Tweet

We can stop evil in its tracks when we pray.  God hears our prayers.  We need to pray for those who cannot speak for themselves.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.”  Proverbs 31:8 NLT

How can we pray for North Korea?

  • Pray for the safety, well-being, provision, and protection of North Korean under dictator Kim rule
  • Pray for their freedom, that they will no longer be victimised and set free from his reigning rule
  • Pray for dictator Kim that his evil ways will stop and no longer hurt people
  • Pray North Koreans will know God’s love, mercy, and grace and be able to live out their faith

Want to know more ways of how you can pray for North Korea? Click here.

How can we pray for Houston?

  • Pray for the safety and well-being for those affected by the flood
  • Pray flood victims will get the aid, food, and shelter they need
  • Pray for their healing and restoration for the rebuilding of their city and lives

Our prayers make a difference and will be heard. Keep praying for the well being of our world and stay present in God’s promises. We may not like present circumstances in our world, but we can pray for God’s divine power to intercede on the world’s behalf before it’s too late.

Labor Day is a day to celebrate our nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership.  Thank a military provider for his/her service to celebrate and honor our nation’s freedom–something some countries do not have.  Not all of us agree with our leaders all the time.  But we can be thankful that we live in a country where our leadership and military fight for our freedoms.  Thank you to everyone who has served to keep us safe and allow us to live a land where freedom exists.

Will you Pray for Houston and North Korea?

“We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22 Amen!

In Him,

Heather
1. Dyer, C. H. (1985). Ezekiel. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 1298). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
2. Chisholm, R. B. (1998). The Major Prophets. In D. S. Dockery (Ed.), Holman Concise Bible Commentary (p. 327). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
3. http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/laurendaigle/comealivedrybones.html
4. Knowles, A. (2001). The Bible guide (1st Augsburg books ed., p. 335). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg.


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Where Do I Fit In?

As many of you know this summer our family embarked on a journey of traveling and new beginnings.  We trekked across Alaska, Canada, and many National Parks in our RV, until we arrived in our new home in Colorado.  Every place we move arises a lot of unknowns.  Where will we live?  Where will the kids go to school?  Which school is best for them?  Where will I work?  Who will be our friends?  What church will we attend?  What activities will we be involved in?  And mostly, will I fit in?

With each new move, I question will we have nice neighbors?  Will others be accepting of us?  Will I fit into this new life?  Do I really have to make a new life all over again?  Moving every 3-4 years in the military is just enough time to establish roots, which makes leaving so much harder.  I would never trade the amazing adventures our family has had traveling to our next assignment but would do anything to keep the friends and relationships we had, move with us.

As I get my footing in our new house, our new area we live, I can’t really just knock on someone’s door and ask ‘Will you be my friend?’  These things take time.  Moving really makes me lean and depend on God more for His provision of everything.  This new life reminds me of the parable of the new cloth and old garment.

Matthew 9:16  NKJV “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment;  for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse.”

Luke 5:36 NKJV “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one;  otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old.”

In this parable, Jesus is questioned about His actions regarding fasting.  Jesus is trying to explain the dangers of patching an old garment with a new patch of cloth.  That would be ridiculous to patch a new cloth on an old garment because when a person washes the old garment, the new patch of cloth would shrink and make the tear worse.  Jesus was challenging those questioning Him to understand, we don’t just cover up the old with the new.  He was offering a whole new meaning and message–we become new when our freedom, identity, and truth, comes from God Himself, not from following a bunch of rules.  Jesus was the new message, a fulfillment of God’s law.

Jesus was offering a whole ‘new cloth,’ one that didn’t cover up the old with the new.  In this new life I’m living I can’t try to fit my old life into my new one.  It would tear and not match up.  I can’t travel around with my life in a box and expect everything to match up wherever I go.  I have to be gentle with myself and allow for God’s timing and plan to fall into place, not my own agenda.  I am so thankful for Jesus’ message, I don’t have to try to fit in and be something I’m not.

When my freedom, identity, and truth are in Christ, I will Fit in wherever I go. Click To Tweet

FREEDOM

Galatians 5:1 “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

IDENTITY

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

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

TRUTH

John 8:32 “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
 
2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
Maybe you’re a single mom trying to fit in a married couple world.  Or maybe you’re a part-time working mom trying to fit in the stay-at-home mom world.  Maybe you struggle with temptations or sins and don’t know how to walk away and believe it’s better to keep them hidden to fit in.  Maybe you struggle with an eating disorder trying to fit into the world that says you have to be skinny to be accepted.  Maybe you struggle with addictions and don’t know how to fit in a world filled with pain.  Maybe you have stronghold reigning in your life that doesn’t allow you to fit in at all.
Where do you find your F.I.T?
Do you struggle with where you FIT in?

 

If I waited to find my acceptance and approval in the world, I may never Fit in.  Starting over can be difficult but when my F.I.T is found in Jesus, I will always FIT in wherever I go!  I don’t have to worry or fear the unknown when my F.I.T is in Jesus.  He fulfills my greater purpose, I don’t have to be something I’m not.

God’s love and grace are transformational.  We become victorious when His word is alive and active in our lives!

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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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