Posts

A Love That Transcends All Borders

There are some things in this life that are hard to describe unless they are witnessed firsthand.  I have been a nurse for almost 19 years and have witnessed some of life’s most amazing and devastating moments.  I would like to share with you one of those moments today that has been ingrained forever in my heart.  

This particular day, I had already finished a couple of cases in the operating room.  People who know me, know I wear a cross necklace.  As I entered the room of the next patient, he saw the cross I was wearing around my neck.  Before I had the chance to introduce myself, he held out his hands for me to hold.  He took my hands then said, “Do you believe Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior?”  I said, “Yes.”  It was obvious this patient did not speak much English.  He smiled and said in his broken English, “Then you are my sister.” 

Here was a man (probably of Russian descent) whom I’ve never met before, embracing and proclaiming me to be his sister in Christ before he even knew my name.  

As I was still holding this man’s hand, I responded back to him, “Then you are my brother.”  

What’s so amazing about this moment, it didn’t matter this man could barely speak English. It didn’t matter he didn’t know my name—he didn’t need to.  He only needed to know that I loved and accepted Jesus as my Savior.  We didn’t need to speak the same language to understand God’s love for us.  God’s love is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 NIVClick To Tweet

This man showed me it doesn’t matter if we are Catholic, Greek or Jewish.  When we accept the love of Jesus, we become the same lineage, united by the blood of Christ which makes us brothers and sisters.  In God’s love, there are no orphans left behind.  It doesn’t matter if we came from a broken home, a perfect home or don’t have a home.  The love of Jesus provides a home for everyone– his love is our home.  We are all apart of God’s one big family when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, adopted by the blood of Christ.

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”  Ephesians 1:5 NLT

Once we are adopted into God’s family, we become new citizens not of this world but of heaven.  

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;”  Philippians 3:20

God’s love is what transforms our hearts and our lives.  

“who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”  Philippians 3:21

My patient recognized I was a part of his family that day because I was wearing my cross.  What if I wasn’t wearing my cross?  How would others recognize we are apart of the same family?

Watching the news, there is so much division and hard to tell who is apart of God’s family because of our differences.  Even in our differences, God’s love is what unites us.  

His grace is what saves us.  When Christ lives in us, his loving kindness overflows from within us, allowing others to see the love of Jesus.  When we give the lovingkindness of God, others will know how much God loves them and in Christ, we are all apart of God’s holy family.

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!” Phil 4:1

There is no greater love than the love of Jesus.  God could have lived anywhere in the world but he chose to live in our hearts! (author unknown).  You are loved my sister (or brother)!

Are you apart of God’s one big family?

How can we show others we are apart of God’s family?

Want to tell others how much God loves them? Click Here For Free Valentine Printable Cards with Bible Verses!

Nothing unites us and draws us closer to God than when we read scripture together!  It’s not too late!  Join the Bible reading plan. 

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. 

Want to know more about being apart of God’s big family?  Are you my brother or sister in Christ?  Please introduce yourself, I would love to hear from you!    Please Leave Your Comments Below.  Have a Blessed Week!


Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox

The Scars of Life

 

Everyone has a scar.  Whether it be a scar from a childhood fall or an old battle wound, we all have them.  Some scars are more visible than others, whereas some scars are not.  Some scars are intentional to mark a rite of passage into manhood, to indicate which tribe a person is from, or worn as a badge of honor.  Some of the most painful scars of those that lie deep within a person’s soul that they don’t dare let out for fear of the pain it would cause.  Whatever the origin of the scar, there always lies a story.

After trekking 3,000+ miles from Alaska crossing Canada and the United States this past summer, my son had his good share of mosquito bites from all the campgrounds we visited.  Unfortunately, my son is the type of person who has allergic reactions to mosquito bites and as a result, there are welts and scars left behind.  Many times I had to remind him to stop picking at the bites because they would leave a scar.

He said, “I like my scars because they remind me of my stories.”  He was right.  We may not always like the stories behind the scars, but they make up who we are.

Do you have scars?  What story do your scars tell? 

I will never forget a woman I met on an airplane ride on the way to a friend’s wedding.  I sat next to her and her son–in which it was obvious they had both been in some type of accident that resulted in burns on their body.  At the time, I was a nurse in a trauma/burn center so I had an idea of what burn victims went through.  As the plane ride progressed I introduced myself to the woman that I was a nurse who worked with burn victims.  She immediately seemed relieved when I told her who I was.  I asked her, ‘do you mind telling me your story of what happened?’

Behind Every Scar Lies a Story.

Her story is unimaginable one that is a living nightmare.  Her family was driving home when a person under the influence of narcotics crossed the center line of the highway and hit the driver’s side to driver’s side head-on.  Her husband had been driving, she was in the passenger seat and their two sons were sitting in the back seat.  The vehicle burst into flames immediately upon impact.  Nearby witnesses rushed to the scene. Leslie and her son got themselves out of the vehicle.  No one could even go close to the vehicle because of the flames.  Leslie walked toward a Good Samaritan on the highway and asked, “please get my husband and my other son!”  The Good Samaritan saw Leslie wearing a cross necklace and said to her, “ma’am they are in a better place.”

In an instant, she lost her husband and her son.  Because of this man’s negligence, Leslie not only had to deal with multiple surgeries and heal from her burn wounds but also deal with the grief from the loss of her loved ones.  My heart broke for Leslie as she told me her story.  When we were about to exit the plane, I noticed Leslie had a little limp.  I asked her, “Do you want me to get a wheelchair for you?”  She said, “After all my hours of physical therapy, once I was able to get out of the wheelchair, I never had any intentions of getting back into it.  I don’t care how long it takes me to get somewhere, I will never return to that wheelchair again.”  Wow!  Her response amazed me.

Leslie’s story reminds me of the man who was paralyzed for 38 years.  Jesus approached the man and asked ‘Do you want to get well?’  At first, the paralyzed man doesn’t answer yes or no, he responded that he had no one to help him get into the healing pool.

“Then Jesus said to him, “Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk.”  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked”  (John 5:5-8)

Why do you think Jesus told the paralyzed man to pick up his mat first and then walk?

The mat, in this man’s story, represents a place of dysfunction which allowed him to lay paralyzed for 38 years.  Jesus tells the man to pick up his mat, so he couldn’t revisit his place of dysfunction again.  Jesus desired for the man to be fully healed not stay in a place of sickness.  It was probably hard for this man to live his new life as a healed walking man.  The only life this man knew for 38 years, was one of begging and lying paralyzed on his mat.   But then Jesus came and changed everything not only for this man but for us as well.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;  The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes, we are healed”  Isaiah 53:5

Jesus desires for us to be healed wholeheartedly in Him–He was wounded for our transgressions.  Our scars tell our story.  When we hide behind our scars we omit God’s greater story.

How do you choose to present your scars?  In shame and disgrace?  Or to tell God’s story of restoration, healing, and grace?

Jesus came to heal the sick–he was bruised for our iniquities.

“When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor–sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners” (Mark 2:17).  

There is healing found in the wounds of Jesus--by his stripes, we are healed. Click To Tweet

Our scars remind us of God’s story of what He is able to do in our lives.

Not every scar is visible.

Do you carry around deep scars that lie within afraid to reveal your story?

Leslie told me she was glad her scars were outwardly visible.  She said these scars were a reminder to others of the deep scars she had inside.  The scars she had outside were nothing compared to the pain of the scars she carried around inside.  I love how Leslie’s story progressed because she allowed for God’s love to progressively heal her.  It wasn’t a quick and easy process, it has been a long hard journey and continues to be hard some days.  If you can imagine she even came to the place of forgiveness to the man who took her family away from her.  Her willingness to forgive and trust in God’s plan allowed for her to stand on the path to wholehearted healing and never live in that place of brokenness again.

How do you carry your scars?  Do you allow for God’s greater story to be told?

Jesus has scars too.

The scars in life can be hard and painful.  Nobody knows our scars better than Jesus because he has scars too.  His scars tell the greatest story ever told–one of redemption, forgiveness, healing, love, restoration, and grace.  There is healing in the scars of Jesus.  He died for all of us–so we could be healed.  In verse 53 of Isaiah “by his stripes we are healed,” the Greek word healed is sózó which is translated saved, healed or rescue.  The origin of the word comes from safe or well.  Jesus came so we could be saved, healed and rescued from our iniquities and pain!

You are loved, my friend! I pray you seek Jesus for your wholehearted healing.  He has the power to heal, forgive and resurrect our circumstances into something greater!

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!

The reference from the Greek word sózó came from the website http://www.biblehub.com/greek/4982.htm.

Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

To Celebrate or not to Celebrate?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Christians should we participate in this holiday?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are your thoughts on Halloween?

Happy Halloween!

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

FREE Printable 7 Ways to shine the Light of Jesus Click link to download.

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

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

 


Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox

What to Do When You Don’t Like Your Life Season

I’m excited to share Janet Thompson’s new book Mentoring For All Seasons that just came out September 12th!  I am honored that I had an opportunity to be a contributor to her new book.  Be encouraged by Janet’s post how we may not always like every season we are in but can help each other succeed by mentoring or being mentored.

Janet’s Post

We’ve all heard it said, “There’s a time for everything.” Or “You’re just in a season, it will pass.” In fact, it’s Scriptural—

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”—Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

The good and pleasant seasons sound wonderful and just what God wants for us, right? It’s so easy to think that God couldn’t possibly want what we perceive as a bad or unpleasant season for us. And yet this Scripture passage tells us that God made both, and while we’re alive, we’re going to experience every season—the good and the bad—under heaven.

Pastor Rick Warren often says that life is like a roller coaster: if you’re going up and experiencing a good season, brace yourself because in about three weeks you’ll probably find yourself going down into an unpleasant season, screaming all the way!

We try so hard to hold onto those feel-good seasons, and there’s nothing wrong with that—we should have times of joy, dancing, laughing, loving, and peace. But when the not so good times roll, we need to remember that God has not left us. He’s walking right beside us through the mourning, weeping, uprooting, and war seasons, and that’s when a mentor is so helpful to remind us that she made it through her tough seasons and we will too.

 

CLICK TO TWEET

 

The focus of my book Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture has Forgotten is for us to remember how good God has been in all the seasons of our life. God never abandons His children. This is a message we need to share with each other and with the culture, especially during these challenging times we live in today.

Reasons for Not Liking our Life Season

Usually, we don’t like our life season because:

It’s painful or uncomfortable.

We’re jealous and like what someone else’s life looks like more than our own life.

We’re living with the consequences of our, or someone else’s, behavior or decisions.

We’re discontent or discouraged.

We’re not sure if God still cares about us.

What would you add to the list?

We all have difficult seasons we want to end. Or maybe we’re in a wonderful season that we never want to end. Many life seasons we have no control over, even though advertisers and the culture would try to make you believe differently. They set us up to fail either way by thinking if we just drink the right cola, take the right pill, own the right car, use the right cosmetics and anti-aging products, eat the right food, reach success . . . every season of our life will be heavenly. The aging clock is going to stop and somehow God made our lives to be different from everyone else’s life.

But that’s a lie and those who buy into it will never be content because everything God lists in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a season that everyone will experience.

What to Do When We Don’t Like Our  Life Season

We probably feel like crying, screaming, maybe yelling, getting depressed, ignoring, or trying to get out of it. If we’re honest, we’ve all been there.

But soon we realize that the only thing that works when we don’t like our life season is to ask God how He wants us to deal with it, and then listen carefully to how the Holy Spirit speaks to us. It’s that still small voice we hear guiding us when we cry out to God. We might not know how to get through the season, but God does. So often He’s talking, but we’re not listening.

Someone on a friend’s Facebook post asked how my Christian friend knew what God wanted. Did he have a direct line to God? I thought, Yes he does! Every Christian has a direct line to God the world doesn’t understand, and one we don’t use nearly enough: praying to Jesus who hears every word and the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us even when all we can do is groan.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

While writing this post, I met a woman whose husband has cancer. As she shared her story, I heard in my mind hug her and pray for her. Mind you, we had just met, and I had already told her I would be praying for her husband and their family since I understood having had breast cancer three times. But as she kept talking, I knew I was to pray for her now. So I said, “Let me pray for you,” and stepped forward to hug her; but she didn’t realize that I meant right then. I knew God meant right then! She needed it and she was so grateful.

I had tried to talk myself out of it, and how many times is God trying to tell us what to do “right then,” but we’re dismissing His words of wisdom to see us through this season and on into the next one. That’s when a mentor can step in and do just what I was able to do for this woman, even though we barely knew each other. Can you imagine how much comfort can come from two women who have a personal mentoring relationship?!

God doesn’t want us going through any season alone, but He also doesn’t want us listening to anyone who isn’t giving us biblical wisdom. That’s why in Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, every season has Scripture to study together that applies to the various issues women might experience in that season.

Being a mentor, or a mentee reaching out to another woman for guidance, doesn’t mean the mentor has all the answers or the Bible memorized. It just means she’s willing to search God’s Word and pray together for Him to tell you both what to do in the life seasons you might not like right now; and then, you both reach out and help someone else going through something similar.

And that’s exactly what Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us we need to do when we’re going through a life season we don’t like!

Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness released 9/12/17 is available now for purchase.

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. (September 12, 2017)

She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet at:

womantowomanmentoring.com

www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker

http://www.linkedin.com/in/womantowomanmentoring/

www.pinterest.com/thompsonjanet

https://twitter.com/AHWministries


Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox

Where is Your Hometown?

I hope you enjoyed last week’s post Where do I fit in?  Do you ever feel like a stranger in your own skin?  Starting over in a new place can be exciting but also difficult.  I have to learn where the kid’s new school is, where the grocery store is, the vet, my work, the park, and anywhere else we need to go.  When I look around nothing is familiar and feel like a foreigner in a new land.

Starting over means meeting new people and asking simple questions like ‘Where are you from?’  Being in the military, these simple questions can be tricky to answer!  There is not a short and easy answer to give.  I was born and grew up on the east coast, moved to AZ for 10 years, then lived in Alaska now we live in Colorado.  So I guess I’m from the east coast and lived in AZ for most of my married life.

We all come from different walks of life.  Some of us grew up in the inner city and are used to taking the subway or bus for transportation.  Some of us grew up in neighborhoods and walked to school.  We knew all of our neighbors by name and even got together once in awhile.  Some of us grew up in the suburbs where the nearest neighbor was a half a mile away, but you could still call on them to borrow a cup or milk or an egg.  Whatever walk of life we come from, all of us come from somewhere that we can call our hometown.  There may be circumstances in life that don’t allow us to visit or go back to our hometowns, but we always know where our home is when God’s love resides in our hearts.

This is not our home.

Philippians 3:20 (NIV), “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,”

Paul was reminding the Philippians in this verse as Christians, we are merely aliens living in this world, our citizenship is in heaven not here.  We live in the world but are not of the world.  He encourages them, even when there is trouble in this world, we are in union with the things of Christ, not of this world.

1 Chronicles 29:15 (NLT), “We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.”

As Christians, we can rejoice because the life we live here on earth is only but a moment compared to the eternal life we live in heaven.  Our lives will only be a trace of God’s creation once we go to heaven.  There are so many times I miss my family and friends.  I wish I lived in the same town as them and yearn to be closer to them.  I am reminded that wherever I live this is only my temporary home–heaven is my final destination.

1 Peter 2:11-12 (NLT), “Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.  Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.”

In this new life and town we are living, God reminds me, it doesn’t matter where I reside, His love always brings me home.

In a world filled with hate and violence–God’s love brings us home.

In a world filled with destruction–God’s love brings us home.

In a world filled with devastation–God’s love brings us home.  

Home is where the heart is.

I don’t have to wait to live in my hometown to feel at home.  Wherever God’s love is present, I am always home.   Peter warns us in this verse to not give into the evil worldly desires but to rise up against them, so others will know our actions are from God.  Starting over in a new town can be hard, but I don’t feel like a stranger when God’s love resides in my heart.  His love turns a stranger into a friend.  He is the one who provides for my every need.

In this world, we will have troubles and struggles but stay faithful my friend, God is holding them in His hands.

Romans 12:12, 'Do not be overcome by evil, overcome evil with good.' Click To Tweet

Where is Your Hometown?  Do you struggle with not living in your Hometown?

 

Have you ever felt like a stranger in your own skin?  How or in what way?

 

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

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!

Facebook has changed its parameters of what posts pop-up in your feed.  If you would like to continue to see blog posts in your Facebook feed then follow these simple easy instructions.

  1. Hover over the ‘Following’ button it will reveal a drop-down menu.
  2. From the drop down menu, Select SEE FIRST

 

Thank you all for your continued support!


Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox

 

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!

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

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


Subscribe

Receive Daily Encouragement Right to Your Inbox

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!

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!

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


Subscribe and Receive a Weekly Dose of Encouragement Right to Your Inbox!!

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!

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!

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.


Subscribe and Receive a Weekly Dose of Encouragement Right to your Inbox!

The Power of An Invitation

I will never forget the first time I attended my first Bible study in 2012.  I had been a Christian my whole life, went to church, read the Bible, but never attended a formal Bible study.  I could name a million reasons why I didn’t attend before then;  busy with motherhood, I worked during the week, I had to take care of the house, etc.  It’s funny how God has a way to always point you in the right direction.

I was at a point in my relationship with God where I knew He wanted me to take the next step towards a deeper relationship with him;  but I didn’t know how.  One day I was standing in the preschool parking lot talking with a friend, pouring out my heart to her.  I had just started to attend the same church as her.  As she was listening to me, she had opened the door to something bigger than I could have ever imagined.  She invited me to a Women’s Bible Study at the new  church I was attending.  I immediately accepted the invitation.  I was excited, because I knew God had used her that day not only to invite me, but to point me in the right direction towards what He had desired for me.

The day I stepped foot into my first Bible Study, I was hooked and I never looked back.  Once I started, I couldn’t get enough.  I wanted more.  Her  invitation to Bible study changed my life.  I never knew how much I was missing until I entered into God’s presence, opened up the Scriptures and allowed God’s truth into my heart.  My friend was faithful in listening to God, to invite me that day.  I only had to enter through the open door, God did the rest.

 

God used my friend in a big way that day.  I am so glad she listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to invite me that day.  Her invitation changed my life.  God’s words are what transforms our hearts, nourishes our souls, and gives life to our spirits.  God’s love is not meant to be hidden, but shared with everyone.

Just imagine if the three wise men never accepted God’s invitation to see the birth of baby Jesus.  They would have missed out on seeing the birth of their king.

Just imagine if Paul didn’t accept God’s invitation that day on the road to Damascus when he was blinded by the light.  We would have never seen God’s ability to  transform Paul’s heart, from someone who persecuted Christians to someone who risked His life to save them.

Imagine if the Disciples and the Apostles never accepted God’s invitation to become followers of Christ.  We would have missed out on the greatest message ever told. We would have never seen God’s ability through the Holy Spirit to grow the church.

We are merely vessels God uses to carry out His greater plan.  We are all apart of God’s great amazing story of the gospel.  If we never shared it with anyone, imagine how many  people miss out on the beautiful message of the gospel.

The worse thing a person can say is ‘No.’  God will continue to pursue their hearts.  You only need to be faithful in prayer of how God can use you.  

There will always be 101 things keeping us away from studying the Bible.  Not one of those reasons are ever good enough to keep us away from spending time with God.  When we give God the time He has given us, He will provide all the time we need to get everything else accomplished that He desires for us.

Have you been prompted to invite someone to church or Bible study?  You never know how God will use you to impact the life of someone else.  Your invitation might be the very thing a person needs to take their next step.

Have you ever accepted an invitation that changed your life?

How has Bible Study impacted your life?  

To learn more about why studying the Bible is so important Click Here.

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!

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


Subscribe and Receive a Weekly Dose of Encouragement Right to Your Inbox!

Subscribe

The Truth About the Facebook Fairytale

Chances are if you’re  living this day and age you are apart of the social media craze.  You have a Facebook account, Instagram, Twitter, snapchat, you name it.  You post pictures, sending messages of what you are doing in your daily life, painting a picture of what your life looks like.

Facebook doesn’t always tell the whole story.  It has become more of a fairytale than the real tale of our lives.  I love Beth Moore’s quote “Facebook is  Fakebook.”   Just because we see a perfectly posed family picture, a person smiling, doesn’t always mean everything is going perfectly behind the scenes.  The pictures we see are merely snap shots of what are really going on in our daily lives.

Sometimes Facebook can get the best of me.  Everywhere I look there are pictures of perfect skin, perfect makeup, perfect outfits, perfectly plated dinner plates, manicured houses, perfect vacations, the list goes on.  I then become disillusioned in thinking, ‘Wow everyone has it so together,’ then realize these are the deceptive lies of the enemy.  If I’m not careful I can fall into his trap of doubting my worth by comparing myself to others or being discouraged that I have not done enough with my life.

I am someone who is not always honest and transparent about what has been really going on in my real life.  I would like to be better about posting ‘Hey friend I’m struggling today, I could use your prayers, will you pray for me?’  Instead I coward to what others think of me for fear their comments of what they will really say.  Facebook has become a not so safe place where we can reveal the struggles of our daily lives, for fear of criticism.  We can’t expose our real battles we face for fear of insults.  Or we fear when we expose our vulnerabilities, there will be no where to hide once the flaming arrows start launching?

I’m not saying we should use  Facebook  as a place to spill our dirty laundry, but as a place where we can feel safe and encouraged;  not attacked.

This has made me think what is our purpose in using Facebook and what do we use it for? 

Are we using Facebook as someone who casts out the  first stone or the one walking away with grace?

Are we portraying lies and fake facades of a superficial life that will never last?

Or are we displaying God’s splendor, displaying His fruit that is evident in our lives, in what we post, making it all for His glory?  Are we being transparent and real truthful and honest.

How are we really using Facebook?  As a weapon of the enemy or an instrument of righteousness for God?  Let’s find out.

Do we use Facebook to encourage and build one another up?  Or leave not so nice comments and cast judgements upon what we see?  Or are we silent stalkers who like to look at others posts but choose not to like or comment, but instead make assumptions upon what we only see on the surface?

Do we use Facebook to tell God’s story of what He is doing in our life? Or as a facade putting together an assemblance of the appearance of how great our life seems?

Or does Facebook attack our minds?  Tempting and luring us to mindlessly scroll through everyone’s lives taking us away from what we should be paying attention to?

How does Facebook really affect us? Do we allow the enemy to fill us with his deceptive lies of dissatisfaction? Making us desire more of something we don’t have?   Making us wish we had the life of someone else?

Or do we try to compete, try to keep up with the  Joneses, try to rise above the shouts of the world to be heard, to barely hear the whispers of the Lord?

Or do we compare ourselves to others,  allow the seeds of inferiority to be planted, that I’m not good enough because I don’t have what so and so has?

Are we being lured into the trap of the enemy, using Facebook as his weapon of destruction?  Or are we protecting ourselves using it the way God would like us to as His instrument of righteousness?

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”  Galatians 6:7-8

Have we become disillusioned in the lies of the Facebook fairytale?  Thinking this is what life should be like?  I promise you behind every smile, every perfectly posed family picture, there is a struggle and battle that lies deep within, that is merely resting right beneath the surface.  Truth is, life is messy.  Facebook may not always portray life’s messy moments and tell all of God’s story.

Next time you use Facebook, say a prayer.  Ask God to help you use it for His glory, to pray for those you see who need prayer.   Offer a word or two of encouragement.  Become an instrument of His righteousness and  build His kingdom.

We can break down the walls of the fairytale, build the walls of His kingdom when we tell His story;  allowing the  author of our stories to shine through our authenticity.  Truth is, fairytales never last.  God’s story is eternal and will never fail.  We need to tell the real tale of our lives, to tell God’s story.  Don’t hide behind the Facebook fairytale, allow the author of your story to be known.

When we hide behind the fairytale, how will anyone ever know it is Only God that got us through our trials and Only God that provided?  Hiding behind the lies, hides  His story He has written, keeping His story hidden in the dark.  His stories need to be brought to the light for all the glory be to God!  Amen.

“Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.” Romans 6:13

We are real people with real problems.  And that's okayClick To Tweet.

How will you use Facebook this week?  As a weapon of the enemy building up his armies?

Or an instrument of righteousness building up God’s kingdom?

Have you been  disillusioned in the Facebook fairytale?  How or in what way?

What truth has Facebook revealed to you?

How do you use Facebook and how has it affected you?

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

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


Subscribe and Receive a Weekly Dose of Encouragement Right to Your Inbox!