Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Better Things Are, The Harder They'll Be

Huh? Is that the first thought that popped into your mind when you read that? When things are good, that means they are easy, right? So when things are going good in your life, it can't possibly make your life more difficult. That would be an oxymoron! Well, those typical worldly rules of "good people reap only good things" gets thrown out of the window when it comes to a devoted Christian. Now, that is not to say that the Christian life is one of misery and that you will spend your life doing good things and getting only bad back. Not by ANY means! The Christian life is the most beautiful and rewarding thing you could ever experience. But it is also the most persecuted and targeted life choice you can make. When you give your life over to Christ and lay your heart at the foot of the cross accepting him as your Savior, you will have an immediate target placed on your back. Satan, the devil, the enemy...whatever you want to call him, he will immediately start plotting ways to deter your path and make you second-guess your choice. Every inch closer that you grow to God, the enemy loses an mile of power. Power is what Satan craves most, and it is the only way he knows how to operate and manipulate. When we live for Christ and obey the Word (The Bible), we make the devil angry because he gets worried and scared by being reminded that the end of his time coming near. He wants to take as many souls with him as possible, and each time someone seeks The Lord, he feels one soul possibly slipping out of his grasps, and he panics.

So what does he do? He starts manipulating your mind and heart with doubt, worry, fear, and hurt. If he can get you to distrust God or take you away even a little, then he knows he has all of the leash he needs to pull you close enough to sink his teeth into you! One less hour a week that you spend studying the Bible, turns into 5 hours less a week. One missed service turns into 2 months of missed services. Involvement in several study groups turns into "I'll just study on my own." It happens slowly, and sometimes is almost unnoticeable until it has already damaged your life and your relationship with God. If you are secluded, the enemy has a lifeline into your mind to play his tricks and plant his lies. And if Satan isn't enough, we have his pawns. People planted on this earth that will ridicule Christ-followers, chastise us, and condemn us. If they can get us to doubt God or aid Satan in causing something bad in our life, then he and his pawns can likely cause us to blame God and turn from him when things happen in life, instead of praising God and turning to Him. So you see, trials are not a sign of us not being favored, not doing right in life, or not being loved by God. Rather, they are a VERY strong sign that we are on the right path, that we are growing closer to God, and that we are achieving victory. It shows we are on our way to doing great things for the Kingdom!

Keep in mind also that God will not cause you to have trials in your life, but He may allow them to continue and have you walk through them. This refines us, and teaches us to be more like Jesus Christ. This also speaks of our true heart and motives, and reveals our own strengths and weaknesses. This is not done to make us feel less than, but so that we can work on ourselves and improve our walk with The Lord in order to become closer in our connection with God. Trials are often blessings in disguise, if only we would look at them with an open heart instead of an accusatory selfishness. The harder we are pursued by trials, the greater glory and praise that is being brought to Our Father! Still confused? Maybe some of the below Scriptures will help to bring you understanding. For those of you who are already strong Christians, you know how this works and why it works this way. For those of you who aren't or are new Christians and still not quite sure why this occurs in our journey towards a closer relationship with Christ, please feel free to contact me for further discussion via phone, email, or web. I would love to converse with you about this, let The Lord guide me in aiding your understanding, and develop continuing fellowship with you! God has us all here to help each other, and community is one of His greatest blessings! Please feel free to email me at saviorsgraceministries@gmail.com , or message me at http://www.facebook.com/SaviorsGraceMinistries. God bless, my beloved brothers an sisters in Christ. Stay steadfast in your walk with Our Lord...the blessings you will receive in the end are immeasurable compared to anything this world can do for you!

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." (James 1:2 MSG)

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." (Romans 8:18 NIV)

"We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance." (Romans 5:3 NLT)

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12 ESV)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Positivity Is Power

Many people do not think it's possible to think positive in light of any situation. Indeed, some situations can be tragic beyond belief: death, sexual abuse, physical abuse, poverty, drug addiction, imprisonment, starvation, the list goes on. Most anyone would respond, "How on earth can you find positivity among any of those things?" The answer is, in our human selves, we can't. We can only find these things if we look to God for understanding and hope. There are times that we cannot see through our pain or sadness to find the silver lining. There are many situations in which one would say there is absolutely no silver lining. But if we look to Jesus, and we take a moment to step back from the situation and approach it as someone who is loved and protected by Our almighty Father, we are better able to see these things. That way when we put ourselves back into the reality of our situation, we are able to cope with it better and find joy in every circumstance, no matter how devastating.

I have a friend who's daughter fell off the curb and cut her whole face up badly in doing so. She stated what a blessing it was, and people looked at her like she was out of her mind. Until she went on to tell them that about five steps further ahead there was a very deadly snake hidden in the grass that the daughter would've stepped right on or near and most certainly been bit. The bite to this child from this particular snake would've absolutely been fatal. So the blessing? A scraped up face that will heal in a week or two, versus losing her daughter's life in an instant. Her daughter (who was 6 at the time) even stated, "Mommy, God saved me from that snake." Gratefulness and positivity, even in her pain. Another friend I know lost her child in a tragic car accident. Anyone would logically say there is absolutely no positive angle you can pull from that. But again, if you look deeply and lean on God, you will see it. God gave her that child to enjoy for all of those years, God has given her the memories that sustain her every single day and keep her near to her son. She finds joy in looking at his pictures, joy in remembering the times they spent together and how much they love each other still. Those are the hidden blessings that stem from a tragic occurrence.

I know another friend of mine who battled cancer, and he lost. In a matter of only four months he went from not knowing anything was wrong with him (working full time, playing on his basketball league, and being filled of life), to almost unrecognizable and passing away surrounded by friends and family. I was holding his hand when he received his diagnosis, and also when he took his last breath at the age of 34. This was only 2 years ago, and the pain is still deep in missing him. No blessing in that? Again, there are plenty present, but it took even me some time to see them. He brought joy to so many peoples lives, and that was evident by not only those surrounding him at the hospital, but those at his celebration of life, those that remember him every single year on his birthday and the anniversary of his death, and those that don't go day without thinking of him...of which I am one of those. The positive we bring out of this is that he is no longer in pain, he is no longer slowly wasting away, he is no longer wondering or scared of what will become of him. The positivity for those of us still here on earth, would be the memories, the time spent with him, seeing how many lives he impacted and the passion to keep his memory alive. The sheer gratitude of him existing in our lives for the period that he did.

This world knows a lot of pain, a lot of sin, a lot of unanswered questions. I know a rapist, I know a murderer, I know molester, I know a physical and emotional abuser, I know someone with a severe drug addiction, I know someone with a severe sexual addiction, I know someone with a deadly eating disorder. None of these are beautiful things, none of these are things that we enjoy to hear, see, or know about. But yet they are still reality on this earth, and we will be affected by them whether we like it or not. The difference is in how we approach these things? What will we take away from them? Will we learn to change the way we look at things, or will we let these things change us and our faith in God? I am not saying trauma is easy to overcome, I have had more than my fair share of many kinds of betrayal and assaults against me. But I am living proof that forgiveness and positivity can take you worlds apart from feeling like a victim, to feeling like a survivor. Positivity does not change your circumstances, but it does change how you are able to get through them. It gives you strength, it helps you focus on your blessings, it keeps you in the present instead of lingering in the past or fretting about the future. Positivity is a very underestimated emotion; yet it is also one of the most powerful. It takes much practice, but it is possible. We can find the good when we see God, we can find the good when we think of Jesus and his sacrifice for us. If he would give his life for our sins and suffer unbelievably more than any of us could ever imagine…doing all of this as a perfectly flawless and beautiful human, should there be one single thing in our lives that we cannot give thanks for what find gratefulness in?

That does not mean are supposed to jump for joy, send up balloons, or throw a party when something terrible happens. Of course not. But this does mean that in order for us to bear things better, in order for us to support others who are going through terrible ordeals, we need to focus on the positive and focus on healing. Focusing on the bad or staying in the past only keeps us in the clutches of the enemy, right where he wants us, slipping away from God. I hope the following verses will help you to see that finding the positive in things is not only possible, it is essential to live the joyful and abundant life that God desires for us to have. Through the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly…He never leaves our side for a moment. It is we who leave Him by giving up or becoming hateful towards Him and the situation we are in. Find your strength in Our Savior, find the blessings all around you in your life, and pull something positive from every situation in order to make you stronger for the next one trial to come. There will be more, but at the end, there will be the ultimate reward of seeing Jesus face-to-face and sitting at the right hand of God. Press on!

"Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 MSG)

"Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass." (Psalm 37:5 AMP)

"Do not pay back evil with evil or cursing with cursing; instead, pay back with a blessing, because a blessing is what God promised to give you when he called you." (1 Peter 3:9 GNT)

"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9 NLT)

"Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]" (John 14:27 AMP)

"Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts." (Proverbs 4:23 MSG)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Weight Of Life...

This post is coming to you today from a very personal perspective, but one that I hope will support and encourage you in your own journey somehow. As I sit here, with it almost 10 o'clock at night, the kids are asleep in bed, and I just finished a 30-minute "cry-fest". I don't think I have ever cried so hard in my life. All of the kids were just hugging me and telling me it's going to be okay. In our crying, there is healing, and a desperation that draws us closer to God than anything else, I believe. Tears are the stairway to the Father, and the release of toxins from our heart and soul. The weight of my life, the responsibilities of it, and the reality of bearing this load alone for the majority of my life has been weighing very heavily on me the last week or so. I feel it now more than I ever have before. As each month and year passes, it gets harder to be everything to everyone all the time. Mother, friend, disciplinarian, teacher, taxi, cook, maid, confidant, provider, caregiver, comforter, advisor, wage earner, student, nurse, encourager, delegator...and so much more. I am overwhelmed, sad, longing, exhausted...but through the tears I am also grateful, appreciative, determined, and hopeful. So of course, I turned to God and asked for His comfort, and He brought me to the Scriptures. I found comfort in these tonight:

"...for each one should carry their own load." (Galatians 6:5 NIV)  I am doing this and carrying the full load for my family, and although very hard, I should be proud I am doing whatever it takes to bring provision and honor to my family and the Lord.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9)  I must persevere...it will not be easy, but there will come and end time after this human life in which I will be able to rest and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

"Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Timothy 5:8)  There would be absolutely no excuse for me to not provide for my family, I do not want to be worse than an unbeliever, so I must shoulder what is necessary to maintain our survival and comfort.

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17)  Things may be hard, but in all things there is good. God brings beauty out of ashes and if we are thankful in all things, He will make sure we are blessed tenfold for all we are put through. We must look through the trials to see the blessings.

I just thought I would share these things with you, and what showed me the way to endure and persist throughout the years, no matter the situation. I love God's Word! <3  I listened to my favorite song, which always helps me cry every last tear out...both in anguish and in love! This is my favorite song:

 "Blessings" by Laura Story

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
 Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
 We pray for healing, for prosperity
 We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

 And all the while, You hear each spoken need
 Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

 'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
 What if Your healing comes through tears
 What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
 What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

 We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
 We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
 We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
 As if every promise from Your word is not enough

 And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
 And long that we'd have faith to believe

 'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
 What if Your healing comes through tears
 What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
 What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

 When friends betray us
 When darkness seems to win
 We know that pain reminds this heart
 That this is not,
 This is not our home
 It's not our home

 'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
 What if Your healing comes through tears
 What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near

 What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
 Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
 What if trials of this life
 The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
 Are your mercies in disguise

Saturday, March 15, 2014

What AREN'T You Doing with Your Time?

This is a question that we do not ask ourselves enough. We all assume we already know the answer. “I’m busy. I am always doing something. I work, I take care of children, I clean the house, and I run errands. What am I NOT doing with my time?” Hmmm…good point. What AREN’T you doing with your time might be a better question than what ARE you doing with your time. I'm sure that most people would agree that too much idle time and laziness are no good, but what if your days never have enough time to accomplish all that is on your to-do list? Let's take a minute to look at this; you’re a parent involved in your children's lives, you drive them back and forth to school functions, back and forth to leisure activities, appointments and everything else that calls your attention to raising them. This isn't so bad is it? Oh, but don't forget, you work a full time job as well. Who's cooking dinner? Who's keeping the house clean? Who's doing the yard work? Does any of this sound familiar? Is there any time left in the day for you? How about those of you who are doing this all yourself? By the way, did you remember to brush your teeth on the way out this morning?

It sounds like there's not much time in the day for any extras that aren't centered around checking items off your never ending list of to-do tasks. Where in the busyness of our schedules are we fitting God into the equation? Does He even have a set place, or is His place whenever you can find time for Him? Unfortunately, many people are living their lives with God as an afterthought, "If only I had more time..." So, if what you AREN’T doing with your time involves: you AREN’T putting God first, you AREN’T taking time to be alone with God each day, you AREN’T taking time to read God’s Word, you AREN’T increasing your prayer life, you AREN’T allowing yourself to rest and listen for the Holy Spirit’s voice…then is everything that you really ARE doing really mattering in the way it should? Time is a precious gift and unless we take the initiative to allow time for God then our days, months, years and our lives will pass by I the blink of an eye as we remain stagnant, still caught up in our hectic schedule with no peace to be found because we are lacking a relationship with God. 

"I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own, it is not for man to direct his steps." (Jeremiah 10:23) 

As Christians, our lives are not our own, we've given ourselves to God and He should be the first place we go to balance the time in our lives. It's not about removing something from our schedules to make time for God, it's about God being the foundation of your schedule and building everything around Him. How do we find balance? How do we prioritize time? How do we find the energy and the strength to do everything that a typical day demands of us? Well, if we AREN’T looking for those answers in the Word of God, we will never find them, and we will never have balance, or the strength to accomplish the priorities of our lives. The power to persevere, accomplish, and prioritize is given to us, after we give ourselves fully over to Christ, Our Savior. He comes first, and everything else is secondary.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)

With God as the foundation of our lives, what should our time with Him look like? A better question might be, "What am I looking to receive from Him?" The answer to that question is simple. If your are consumed by the distractions of this world, you'll receive nothing. Jesus says, "My sheep listen to my voice..." How do we even hear His voice if we don't take the time to listen, if we're constantly in a rush? Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." Be still and listen, be still and hear His voice, be still and know that He is God. Now does this mean we have to sit in a silent room, void of other things and people, for countless hours every day in order to give God the time it requires to deepen our relationship with him? Absolutely not. God is with you, wherever you go. You can find him in your morning routine, in your lunch hour, in those moments after work when you kick your shoes off and close your eyes for a moment, or before bed when you help ease yourself to sleep by reading His Word. You can seek Him constantly throughout your day, but you have to make a willful attempt to do so.

“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.” (Haggai 1:9) 

Our lives are filled with responsibilities and other activities, but these shouldn't be the things that pull us away from God, instead it should be the craziness of our lives that draw us near to Him. Our time is not our own, it belongs to the Lord. The busyness of our lives can take us away from our life with God, and away from doing God’s Work. He doesn't want us to be overwhelmed by our circumstances; He wants us to find peace. We do that when we seek Him first, and through Him, everything else will find balance. How do we seek Him? By giving Him your time, taking the time to be still and listening to His voice. When we hear Him, when we allow Him to place all of our responsibilities into His rightful timing and perspective, when He turns chaos into order, it is then when we are confident in knowing He is God and can find peace and rest from the world.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

Without God as our main focus in all things, we're living for ourselves. When we live for ourselves, we falter. Only God can keep us on the straight and narrow path, and bring us up out of the pit when we are being crushed by the demands and responsibilities of life. Are you using your time to live for yourself or are you honoring God by using your time to build a relationship with Him, to live for Him? Take time to think about how you are spending your time, or again, how you AREN’T spending your time.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Temptation, Intimacy, Lust, and Pleasure: Twisting Biblical Terms For Worldly Accommodation

Our society in this day and age has powerfully skewed us in the way of our thinking, and in the things that we strive for and that we notice as important. The true things I importance and motivation have fallen away from what should be long ago. God's design from the beginning was for us to live an abundant life, to appreciate and desire beauty, to feel closeness and fellowship with others, to crave fulfillment physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We were not meant to simply live this life, we were meant to live it joyfully and abundantly. In saying this, I have noticed how many individuals (and even churches) seem to twist Biblical principles to either reinforce an argument they have, or to make God's laws, commandments, and words for into the needs and desires of their own life, so that what they feel and want would then be okay. The way I noticed this most is in people's use of certain terms God used in the Bible. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be looking at each of these terms individually and dissecting the difference between human nature and God's nature. Let's take them one by one...spend these few days with me as we study the world's view of these terms versus Our Creator's:

"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)

Temptation: The worldly definition is "to perform an action that one may enjoy immediately or in the short-term but will probably later regret for various reasons." It is also noted as meaning "the state of being attracted and enticed without anything to do with moral, ethical, or ideological valuation." Sounds pretty good right? And much of that is true. However, the way the world views the word "temptation" is almost always meant in a physical or sexual instance. Temptation of a man wanting a woman, temptation of a woman wanting a man, temptation to be intimately involved with someone outside of their relationship. Temptation to look at something that you believe brings you pleasure, temptation to have something or someone that you currently don't have, temptation to think about someone or something that you shouldn't be thinking about. All of these are sexual in nature, and all of these are what the world is focused on. The world urges us to indulge, and tells us that we can get away with it, and it's not that bad.

"So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." (James 4:17)

Now, let's take a look at this through Christ's eyes. With the guiding of the Holy Spirit, we can see the true intention in which God meant this word to resonate with us. Through God's meaning of the word temptation, we learned that it can mean many things. It can mean a test, proof, a trial, or an enticement. It is a way in which God tests us to reveal to ourselves and to the world our true character. Now, it is not God that dangles temptation in front of us, but God does allow it to take place and watches it play out sometimes. If temptation is dangled in front of us in the way we spoke about in the above paragraph, we can be sure it is from the enemy. If it includes wrong and impure thoughts physically or mentally or weakens us spiritually, that is of the enemy. But if temptation comes in the way of walking through a hard problem instead of trying to get around it, pushing through a rocky relationship instead of running from it, or striving to walk the narrow path when everyone else is walking the wider one...those are sometimes temptations we have created on our own that God will allow so that we can learn from them. Those temptations are still of our own doing, by allowing those thoughts in, but sometimes The Lord allows us to experience them in an effort to help us gain His strength, trust in Him, and to grow within ourselves and in our relationship with Christ.

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you're tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Temptations come in the way of our uncertainties with ourselves, our insecurities, our fears, our worries. We are tempted to think wrongly of ourselves or others, we are tempted to envy the success or achievements someone else has, we are tempted to procrastinate or be lazy in our day when we are given bold opportunities to use our capabilities to be the best we can be. So much of what God was talking about when he talks about temptation has to do with emotional, spiritual, and mental…not the physical. We will have physical temptations at times, and hopefully when we do, if we are focused on and have our hearts in the Lord, even those temptations will be in themselves kept pure and faithful within our relationships and will be grounded in our respect for God and others. There are also physical temptations that are pure in nature that God did speak about. The temptation of food when you are hungry (such as Jesus' temptation to make bread out of stones to relieve his own hunger), the temptation to take the easy route in a situation to save yourself pain or strife (such as when Jesus had the opportunity to free himself from a pinnacle by jumping and relying on angels to break his fall), or the temptation to make yourself into an idol (such as when the devil told Jesus he could have all the kingdoms in the world, if he would worship him). The temptation to go right when everybody else in this world is going left. The temptation to say, "Okay, just this time. I will let the enemy in just a little bit, and I'll repent and do better next time."

"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire." (James 1:14)

But God uses these moments. He uses every single one, whether as a way for us to have closer relationship with Him, as a way for Him to take care of us, as a way for Him to help us live a good, pure life and walk in Christ's image. The choices are ultimately ours, but if we are grounded in The Almighty Father, we already know the right path to take and the true answers. When we want to honor God, respect others, and love ourselves…we will make sure to stay far away from temptation, and at the onset of any sign of weakness, we are to immediately turn to God and lean on His strength. For what He provides is more than sufficient, if only we will choose to seek Him above all else!

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Inadequacy…A Feeling Not Given By God

Recently as I was struggling with a very overwhelming morning of fear, insecurity, worry, and feeling completely inferior and inadequate, The Lord led me directly to the Scriptures to combat these feelings of negativity. I know in my heart these are all feelings from the devil, but sometimes they're just so overpowering and so manipulative in the way that they sneak into crevices of our mind. The slightest moment of weakness can easily take over all other senses. If we don't believe we are enough for ourselves, how will we ever possibly believe we would be enough for anyone else, or for God Himself? We compare ourselves to others, sabotage our own happiness, and see ourselves in a light that makes us less than who we are. In other words, we fall prey to looking through worldly eyes and heart. It makes us question everything, everyone. It makes us want to run away rather than risk being hurt. It brings us back to our past where we weren't enough, and we automatically assume that's the case in the present and that we will always fall short in everyone else's eyes as well.

However, when we turn to God, that weakness can be strengthened in an instant and our minds brought back to the positive reinforcement of His love. In order to avoid the pain, insecurity, and stress associated with merging two lives that both have pasts (whether a friendship, a family association, or a romantic relationship), we have to be secure in who we are and who we are with. If not, our own fears and insecurities will not only make us question ourselves and break us, but it can corrupt and destroy our relationships as well. We may never be perfect for anyone in this world, we may never be everything they want. There is one thing we can be sure of, however, and that is that we are always enough for God. We are always beautiful in Christ's eyes. We are enough, but we need to lean into God to see that and to feel that and to believe that…and then maybe, just maybe, we can believe that others may feel that same way about us as well. So in seeking the Scriptures, The Word can help us to bring to the light of God's truths instead of the enemy's despicable lies. If you struggle with any of these feelings or if damage from the past is coming back into your present, I urge you to pray over and seek wisdom on the Scriptures listed below. With God nothing is impossible, I am living proof. You are loved, you are enough, you are chosen! God bless!

"Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life." (Isaiah 43:4)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)

"Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." (2Corinthians 3:4-5)

"For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice." (James 3:16)

"A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones." (Proverbs 14:30)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Finding Ourselves Through Others

One of the most wonderful ways God works is through other human beings. He equips us with love, the Holy Spirit, and the ability to carry out His work and His desires here on this Earth. What an honor and privilege that is! To be able to use our brokenness for others to shine their light into. To be able to use past hurts, pains, and wrongdoings (either done by us or to us) to help comfort someone else or get them through a similar circumstance. Have you ever had that feeling that God has placed a certain person in your life for a specific reason? That feeling that this person just belongs in your life and is meant to help you grow and flourish? That is an amazing feeling when you know it is sent from God himself. Because God makes no mistakes. God never sets us up for failure. And God never puts wrong people in our lives. WE may allow wrong people into our lives or keep them in our lives for wrong reasons, but GOD will never place a wrong person in our lives. We were created to love one another, to help one another, to serve one another, and to teach one another.

"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." (Hebrews 13:16)

God teaches us how to love. Not in the way the world loves, but TRULY love. The world loves in a give-and-take way. They only give what they expect to get back...but they take without ceasing. God loves with an agape love. That is a love of sacrifice and in best interest of another, no matter what you do or do not get in return. It is not a love given with expectation or demands, but a love freely given because of the love Christ showed us. Those who have Christ in their hearts and as their Savior know this kind of love, because it is in them. Our Father lives in us, and He consists of only a pure love. Any part of us is not good on its own, but the part of Him that lives in us (the Holy Spirit) is pure and good and not tainted in any way. That is the part of us we need to lead and love with. 

"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14)

When we find someone who shares that same love of Christ...we can often feel it, sense it, and it shows through their words and actions. When you are involved with that person, your passion for Christ heightens, your fellowship with that person brings new light to things and helps you desire partnership in discovering God deeper. Friendships and relationships rooted in Christ are deep, binding, and blessed. You help keep each other accountable, you study together, you discuss together, and you are able to see and feel each others growth. That is a treasure, and that is a rare gift given by God to those who open their eyes and hearts to recognize and embrace it. If you have found such a person, hold on tight. Encourage them. Engage with them. Grow with them. Love them. They are sent from God and placed in your life for a specific purpose, one that carries out His plan and honors His kingdom. Do not let this world blind you to Christ working through others in a way that could change your life forever. He is able, He is working, and He is in control!
"That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ."  (Colossians 2:2)