Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Living Beyond our Pasts and into the Futrure

Do you have a closet of skeletal bones that if the door was opened, you would be horrified?  Do you have past sins that pain you when you think upon them?

Yeah, me too.  My heart aches at some of my past choices and sins.  Sometimes I think upon them with such shame and wonder what in the world was I thinking!?

Actually, I know exactly what I was thinking when I was buried in the sins that cause me great shame.  I was a broken mess searching for clarity, worth, and anyone to save me.  I looked for anyone and anything to validate me and tell me that I mattered.

Any chance you can relate?

If I think about it hard enough, I can still feel the terrible gnawing at my heart.  The quiet, but powerful begging for someone to love me.  Gracious, there are times I just want to give that old girl a hug.

I am proof - as you may be too - that ugly messes can turn into beautiful and mighty workers for Christ.

There are still times, however, that the stupid devil tries to get me to feel the bitterness of shame and regret.  The pest screams at me when I'm feeling down that I will never matter because of my past.  He likes to tell me that if my biological father didn't love me, no one else really does or will either.

He's a liar.  In fact, he's the father of lies.  He has no truth in him.  You and I should NEVER believe him.

If  I feel the heavy heat of shame try and overtake my heart, I have to remind myself that Jesus' ways are not my ways.  His thinking is not mine.  He isn't seated on His beautiful throne reliving my disgusting sins.  He is not reliving yours either.  He is filling His heart each moment with love for us. He is looking upon our obedience and desire to live for Him and saying, "That's my girl!  I have faith in you, sweet child."

You may be reading this and thinking, "How on earth can you be so sure?  You have no idea of the sins I have in my locked up closet."

I know because Jesus tells us it's so.  Allow me to show you-

{If you have a Bible available, read the entire account in Luke 7:36-50.}

Luke 7:36-50 tells us that Jesus was at the home of a Pharisee dining when a woman who was labeled a sinner came in and wept at His feet.  She cleansed Jesus' feet with her painful tears and rubbed her very expensive fragrant oil on them.  The Pharisee was outwardly horrified and disgusted.  He asked Jesus if He knew what kind of woman was touching Him and how on earth He could allow it.

The town had labeled the woman a sinner.  You can be certain they had names for her and liked to make themselves feel superior by condemning her.  We are all sinners so I am led to believe that she had a very open sin that the town knew about.  The Scriptures do not detail her sin but if my guess is correct, I would say she was a prostitute.  I would bet she had a harried past and felt great shame and embarrassment.  I would also bet that many in the town treated her like yesterday's trash and looked down upon her.

Jesus sternly tells the Pharisee that those who are forgiven much, love much.  Jesus also assures the woman that she is forgiven. 

Read Jesus' words and allow them to penetrate to your core.  If needed, write them on an index card and keep it with you to read often until you know without a doubt that those sweet words are spoken directly to you and about you.

Luke 7:50
And He said to (insert your name),  "Your faith has saved you.  Go in peace."

He does not shame her or validate the Pharisee.  He actually calls the Pharisee out for being...well a Pharisee.  

In Luke 7:44-47, Jesus basically calls the Pharisee out for being so condescending, rude, and pious.  I love it!

Jesus isn't about to let people condemn His loves and get away with it.  He stands for us every single time.

Let me show you a few verses that prove my statement above.

Luke 6:37-38
Do not judge and you will not be judged.  Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure - pressed down, shaken together, and running over - will be poured into your lap.  For the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  

When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, "The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her."

James 4:11-12
Don't criticize one another brothers.  He who criticizes and brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law.  But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.  There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy.  But who are you to judge your neighbor?

See what I mean - Jesus doesn't take judging and condemning lightly.  When you experience them, know that Jesus sees and doesn't like it.  Nobody messes with His girls!

The best part of this story is told to us from the account in Matthew 26:13-

I assure you:  Wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her.

Jesus assures us that our faith will be remembered, not our sins.  Our legacies will be based on our faith and devotion to Christ, not on our harried pasts that make our hearts heavy at times.

Isn't that an awesome balm for our hearts?!  I don't know about you, but that is beautiful music to my heart!  He takes our uglies and turns them into our beauties.  He takes our past (our testimonies) and uses them to show the glory of His love and Kingdom. 

Now that is some amazing mercy and grace!  Let's all shout amen and hallelujah!

While many of us wish we could erase our past sins, they are actually what have caused our hearts to be so devoted to our Savior.  Because we have been forgiven much, we love Him so very much.  He cleaned up our messes and threw His loving arms around us.  He welcomes us into His great Kingdom with open arms and a love that spins our heads with great devotion.

Be encouraged, sweet friends.  You are loved with a great fierceness by your King.

Loving you all will an overflowing heart of adoration-

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Purity of Jesus' Love

Jesus led me to the book of Song of Solomon recently and I am head over heels in love with it and it's writer.  To be honest, I never really dove into this book because I didn't see Jesus in it.  I wrongly believed it was a book about the love of a husband and wife.  Yes, it definitely is but it is so much more.

Song of Solomon encompasses many truths and themes.  All of them are deep and lavished with God's crazy, unfailing love for us.  In this post, we will focus on the theme of purity.  Before you rush to close this site, allow me the chance to show you that our past has nothing to do with our purity.  Jesus is not about guilt and shame nor am I.  We will cover guilt and shame in this post and I will hopefully prove to you that you need not feel either.

I am so grateful for the love and mercy Jesus has shown me in spite of, and in the midst of, my awful messes.  He took this girl full of shame and sin and gently wiped me clean and put a crown of beauty on my head. 

If you think your past defines you, I can 100% guarantee it doesn't.  If you are knee deep in sexual sin at this very moment, I promise you Jesus is waiting with an open heart to wash you clean.  He sees a beauty when He looks at you.  Don't let the lies in your head convince you any differently.

Now let's dive in and learn about the purity of Jesus' love.  May you be blessed and find freedom.

The beauty of Song of Solomon is that it frees our hearts and allows us to be shameless and wildly passionate in our pursuit of the love Jesus has for us.  Too many people believe that being a Christian means that life will be a bore.  Sadly, they subscribe to the notion that Jesus girls are prim, proper, lacking laughter, and in bed by 8pm!  Thankfully, that is just not true.  Women on fire for Jesus laugh often, love big, feel passion, wear bright colors, and stay up late.

Having a relationship with Jesus leads to untamed love.  Untamed love leads to the abundant life Jesus promises in John 10:10.  Girlfriend, get ready to fall crazy in love as you learn that Jesus is beyond crazy in love with you.  He is ravished by you!

The word purity is synonymous with freedom and freedom in synonymous with joy.

Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines the word pure as unmoved with any other matter...free from dust, dirt, or taint...free from harshness...free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes.

1 John 1:7,9 reads...
But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from ALL sin.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  

In order to be cleansed from sin, we must confess our sins to Jesus.

Confession is more than saying the sin we committed.  It involves being sorrowful for it.  Sorrowful is not the same as shamed.  Hear me when I say that please.  To be sorrowful is to be sorry and desiring to turn away from the sin. 

Shame is from the devil.  Sorrowful confession is a gift from Jesus.  They are complete opposites.  If you feel ugly, broken, and condemned, I can assure you that is not from sweet Jesus.  Tattle to Jesus about what the devil is telling you and then watch Him take action for His baby girl!

As we confess our sins, we must trust that we are being cleansed and purified.  Look back at the definition for pure.  It states that to be pure is to be free from what weakens and pollutes us.  Sin does both, but Jesus takes His love rag and shines us back to a beautiful woman of purity.  He does this because he adores us.  He knows what sin causes and He doesn't want us to suffer.  He already did that for us.  There is no need to repeat the torture.

Read Isaiah 1:18.  Jesus is speaking this to you and over you.
Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they will be like wool.  If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land.


Now let's talk about the guilt and shame the word purity can conjure up in many of us.  I have no doubt that many women reading this do not feel pure.  You may feel trapped by past or present sexual sin.  You may have suffered sexual abuse and have never felt pure. 

Sexual sins and abuse can leave us feeling tainted and used.  Our eyes may flow with tears at the desperate desire to feel purity, but as much as we try we just feel dirty, shamed and rotten.  I write this with an understanding and loving heart.  You see, I have been in the pit of sexual sin.  I know what shame wears like.  It is a heavy burden that leaves us feeling weak and torn down.  I never thought I would feel pure.

But God...

God rescued me from my sins and shame.  If He can cleanse me and create life in me, I have no doubt He will do it for you too.  In fact, I am beyond convinced He will.  He wants nothing more than for you to feel and know His love and redemption.  He longs to make you as white as snow.

Let's look at Matthew 26:26-28...
As they were eating, Jesus took bread. blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take and eat it; this is My body."  Then He took  a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them and said, "Drink from it, all of you.  For this is My blood that establishes a new covenant; it is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins."

This Scripture passage is the Last Supper.  The beautiful first communion is with Jesus, by Jesus, for Jesus, and for all of us.

Jesus knew he would soon be the sacrificial lamb.  He lovingly and willingly went to the cross for each one of us.  He was aware of the suffering and pain He would endure.  Yet, He did it anyway.  That, my friend, is what pure love looks like.

I write this with the deepest love and compassion for all of you.  He did not go to the cross so we could wallow in our guilt and shame.  He did it out of pure love.  His pure love leads to our purity.  Period.

Notice that in verse 28 Jesus clearly stated that He was pouring out His blood for the forgiveness of sins.  Let that sink into your sweet heart.  Jesus knows and loves you with a deep and passionate heart.  Won't you allow Him to cleanse and purify you?  He's waiting with open arms.

Psalm 43:4
Then I will come to the alter of God, to God, my greatest joy.  I will praise you with the lyre, God is my God.

As I write this, the song "How Can it Be" by Lauren Daigle sings to me.  Oh pure one, go listen to it and let the words invade your heart.  Raise your hands in the air and ignore the cleansing tears that roll down your beautiful face.  You, sweet child of God, are forgiven and pure.

Before we conclude, allow me to show you the biblical definition of purity.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for purity is 'niqqayon'.  It is an emptying out or being clean.  Biblestudytools.com states the following and it is profound.

"Purity is opposed to being guilty."  Let that penetrate your brain and find its way to your heart.  God purifies you when you confess.  Once you are washed clean, there is NO guilt.  God does not call you guilty.  He calls you pure.  The two cannot exist together. 

If you struggle with guilt, take it to God.  confess your heart and trust Him to remove the guilt. 

Rest in His purification.

I pray that your heart is full with the knowledge of your purity.  No matter what you have done or gone through, you are clean and pure.  The love and promises from Song of Solomon were penned with you in mind.  Remember, Jesus is ravished by your purity and beauty.  You, dear one, are passionately loved by your King.

Loving you with a full heart-

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Weekly Scripture Study {WSS} Intimacy with Jesus

Our WSS is a bit different this week.  I believe to truly tuck Scripture within our hearts, we must be able to apply it and understand it.  We could just memorize the words, but I feel we get so much more from God's word when we truly know and understand what it means in our lives.  

Our memory verse and study this week is - 

1 John 2:3
This is how we are sure that we have come to know Him:  by keeping His commands.

As you dig deeper into this verse, you will learn how to develop and cultivate an intimate relationship with Jesus.  You will see that intimacy with Jesus brings freedom, joy, and pure love for Him and His children.  

There truly is nothing as beautiful as sharing an intimate relationship with our King.  You will feel loved and beautiful.  You will know you are heard and have worth.

Oh, how my heart sings with joy and excitement knowing that you will go deeper with your Love this week and beyond!

Another thing I have added is the memory verse you can cut out and keep with you.  I have written the verse 4 times in larger font so that you can place it throughout your home.  Be sure and keep one in your purse so you will always have the verse with you when you are away from home.

As you grow more intimate with Jesus, you will feel His presence and hear His precious voice more and more.  Oh what joy you are about to encounter!

Loving you all-

Thursday, October 12, 2017

5 Ways to Avoid the Trap of Comparison

Comparison is an ugly game.  It creates feelings of superiority or failure.  Either are detrimental to our spiritual and mental health.  Comparison is the devil's game and his intention is to pull our focus off of God and onto ourselves. 

God created us in His image and with a purpose in mind.  He did not mess up on the day He created us. He knew perfectly well who we were to be.  And I can promise you this - we weren't meant to be like anyone else.   His ways are vast and way beyond our human thinking.  We are wonderfully made and He desires for us to know this well (Psalm 139:14).  

So with that in mind {and hopefully our hearts}, let's learn some sure fire ways to avoid falling for the enemy's ridiculous game.  He will rue the day he tried to tempt us to compare ourselves rather than celebrate who we are in Christ!

1.  Begin each morning with Jesus.
Each morning provides us a day to do wonderful things for the Kingdom of God.  We may never know how we are impacting others, but God surely does!  In order to be the good and faithful servant we desire to be, we must set our hearts and minds on Jesus.  When we do, we will be less likely to compare ourselves to others because we are filled with His love and mindset.  Beginning our days with Jesus not only prepares our mind and heart to combat comparison, but it shows the devil that you are not going to play is idiotic game.

Mark 1:35
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark out, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place.  And He was praying there.

Jesus knew the importance of beginning His day with prayer.  Talking to His Father prepared Him for the day ahead.  If Jesus did it, then we surely should too!

2.  Keep a small spiral notebook with Scriptures that speak to your heart about God's love, your worth, and your purpose.
Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God's word is alive and active, sharper than any double edge sword.  Have you ever pictured that image in your sweet head?  A double edged sword is pretty powerful!  No matter what direction an enemy came at you, you would have protection and fight.  That is what God's word is.  It is powerful at fighting off the enemy and protecting us from his nasty schemes.  When we pack God's word into our hearts, we have power.  We are called to use His word to fight.  Fighting is not a passive event.  It requires strength, determination, and power.  When the enemy tries to defeat us with comparison, we can fight back with God's alive and active word.  He calls us to use His word against that nasty little tyrant!  Read from your tiny little notebook throughout the day.  When you feel compelled to enter the comparison arena, you can call to mind God's words and fight off the nasty thoughts.  Rise above them and be a mighty princess warrior shielded and protected with the beautiful double edged sword given to you by your loving Father.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is alive and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow.  It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.

3.  When you feel comparison creep up on you, take it to God immediately.
2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take every thought captive to obey Christ.  This means we are to make sure our thoughts and mindsets line up with the word of God.  Comparing ourselves to others does not line up with God's word or plan for our lives.  We are created in a unique way; each possessing gifts and talents that promote God's Kingdom.  We must ask the Holy Spirit to alert our hearts when we are falling victim to comparison so that we can turn our eyes back to Jesus and remember who we are in Him.  Jesus is ready and waiting to help us when we call on Him.  Ask Him to help you see your worth, talents, and gifts.  Ask Him to allow you to see yourself as He does - cherished, loved, and amazing.

Isaiah 65:24
Even before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.

4.  Recognize your gifts and talents and embrace them.
As stated above, each of us has a specific talent that God has given us to serve His Kingdom.  YOU were created to make a difference for God.  We each have been entrusted and gifted.  Unfortunately, our gifts go unused when we look to others' gifts and wish we had theirs.  That, my friend, is just what the enemy is banking on.  When our talents go unused, we are not serving God and His Kingdom.  The devil thinks he is pretty snazzy when he sees us doing this.  Let's show him that we are daughters of the One and Only King and embrace our talents.  The devil can't have our gifts!  Let's be proud of our gifts and talents and use them to bear so much fruit that the enemy is disgusted and walks away with his head hanging down!

James 1:16-17
Don't be deceived, my dearly loved brothers (and sisters).  Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above.

5.  Limit your time scrolling through social media.
We all do it.  We aimlessly scroll through social media.  We may do it because we are bored or because we are curious.  Either way, it can lead to a big nasty case of comparison.  Let's be honest, people are posting their best selves.  Everyone's families are perfect, so screams social media.  We aren't privy to authenticity when we are peeking into others lives through social media.  This is a sure fire way to fall into the comparison pit.  We must limit our time viewing other's lives.  We must keep in check that we aren't seeing reality and be aware when our hearts are being pulled in an ugly direction.  Too often, social media takes the place of God.  Just because someone is posting Scripture alongside their perfect life, doesn't mean reading their posts is worshipping the Lord.  True worship comes from heart to heart time with God.  

2 Corinthians 10:12
For we don't dare classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves.  But in measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves to themselves, they lack understanding.

Comparison is an ugly thing.  It pull our focus from Jesus onto ourselves every stinking time.  I can guarantee that!  We must always be aware because our enemy lurks around like a lion waiting to devour God's children.  He knows if he can make us feel badly about ourselves, we will not work for the beautiful Kingdom of God.  We must keep our hearts and minds on the One who gifted us.  

You've got this!  Each and every time you feel the pull, use this list to get your heart back on the One who loves you like crazy.  You are a beautiful creation with so much to offer.  YOU were created to impact the Kingdom and make a difference.  Let that sink into your  precious heart.  

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

I love you all with the most tender heart-

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Weekly Scripture Study {WSS} The Joy of Security in God's Love

Romans 8:38-39
For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth, or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!

This week, we are going to convince our souls of God's glorious truth.  There is nothing - nada - that can separate us from Jesus' love.  Period.  Nothing you have done or will do can cause Him  not to love you.

If you have traveled many self inflicted valleys as I have, you may be thinking, "yeah, but....".  The terrible, no good, very bad devil loves to convince us that we are unworthy and shamed.  He would love nothing more than to convince you that there is no way in - well, the devil's stomping ground - that God could possibly love you.  You are broken, dirty, and used up.  It would be impossible for God to love you, let alone use you for His glory.

The devil is a rotten and stinky liar.  He wants you to believe his hate filled lies so that you pull away from your Redeemer and live in pit after pit never trusting or living in freedom.  He is nothing but an awful and gross deceiver.  There is no truth in his words that he pokes you with on a sometimes daily basis.  

From here on out, we are speaking God's truth over our lives and into our hearts.  

Jesus loves us unconditionally, on purpose, without hesitation, in spite of, and forever and ever.

Be purposeful this week in memorizing this portion of Scripture.  Allow it to permeate the deepest parts of your heart.  Repeat it over and over until you cannot help but believe it.

You are loved in a mighty and powerful way.  Believe it, sweet friend, and go forward in truth and joy.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Joys of Obedience

We often hear that obedience to God is our ticket to living in freedom and joy.  I raise my hands to the heavens because I could go for a strong dose of freedom and joy over certain areas of my life.  If you are breathing, I'm confidant that you, too, could use some life changing freedom as well.

As I sat in prayer this morning, I realized that maybe I don't even truly know what obedience looks like.  I have a confession to make - I have really struggled with a pit of fear and worry.  I have made the pit part of my life and now it just shows up and thinks I've invited it in.  In reality, I guess I have.  I have allowed my mind to think upon the worry and play it out in my head a million times a day.  Oh how I wish I were exaggerating....

I pray daily for God to release me from this mindset.  I even beg for freedom some days.  Can you relate?  You may not be struggling with fear, but do you feel held captive by something in your life?  Captivity can seep into our marrow so deeply until we decorate it and call it normal.  Anything that prohibits us from pure joy and freedom is called captivity.  The definition of captivity is "the state or period of being held, imprisoned, enslaved, or confined".  (Dictionary.com)

Jesus came to set the captives free and give us a life of abundance.  I realized that I am the hold out, not Him.  He longs to give us the desires of our hearts when they line up with His will.  I truly believe Him when he says:

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy.  I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.  John 10:10

That thief is none other than our enemy.  He wants to steal anything good that Jesus offers us.  His lies convince us to search for freedom outside of Jesus.  Every time we buy into his lies, we find ourselves in captivity.  In order to be set free, we must whole heartedly be obedient to God.  Period.

But what is obedience?  How can we truly be obedient to Christ and live the abundant life He offers us?

Hollman's Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines obedience as to hear God's word and act accordingly.

Sounds good, right?  But how do we implement this into our lives?  For years, I have heard that I needed to be obedient to Christ, but I don't think I ever sat and really examined what obedience looks like.  I assumed that if I was living as God instructed, I was being obedient.  After researching the definition and passages in the Bible, I believe it goes way deeper.

After dissecting the definition of obedience, I came up with 3 ways that we can become obedient children of God.

1.  Prayer

We must pray daily and consistently.  To pray, is to have conversation with God.  Just as we talk with loved ones, talk with Jesus.  It is not meant to be fancy.  In fact, He doesn't call for us to be theologians and use elaborate terms.  Jesus longs to hear from us right as we are.  Simply, prayer is just talking openly and honestly with God.  Nothing you say will shock Him.

1 Thessalonians 5:17
Pray constantly

I believe that praying constantly means having our hearts set on Jesus.  He does not expect us to neglect our duties, our loves, and ourselves.  Having a mindset for Christ is essentially praying because we are doing everything for Him and through Him.  For example, when you prepare a meal for your family, you do it because you love them and want to offer nourishment in a delicious way.  Loving your family through cooking for them is having a heart for Jesus because He gave you your family and expects you to take care of them.  When you do so with a loving and kind heart, you are in the mindset of Christ.

As we pray (stay in the mindset of Jesus), we must recognize the ways He speaks to us.  He desires a relationship with us.  A relationship by definition is between two people.  Jesus speaks to us in so many ways.  Unfortunately, all too often we don't hear because we never slow our minds down enough to hear Him or recognize Him.  Jesus speaks to us through His written word, through others, through song, through that still small voice we hear - just to name a few.

Prayer is obedience to God because it causes us to think upon Him and His ways.  It creates a relationship and allows His love to richly flow into our lives.  When we seek Him and invite Him into our lives through prayer, He always shows up.

Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart.

2.  Trust Jesus in all things

Trust is giving our whole hearts to Jesus, no matter what.  Trust means relinquishing the idea of control and fully opening our hands and giving Him everything we are holding on to.  This can be a tough one because we are under the falsehood that we are best at orchestrating our lives.  Letting go of our need to be in control can be very scary.  What if we hand the reigns over and then life doesn't go the way we planned?  I have discovered in the areas of my life that I totally trust Jesus, I have perfect peace.  Believe me, those areas were far from peaceful before I decided to trust Him and allow Him to lead me.  I am in awe and amazed at the beautiful blessings He has given me because of my decision to let go and trust.

Psalm 28:7
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my hearts TRUSTS in Him and I am helped.

Isaiah 40:31
Those who TRUST in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.

Can I get an amen!?!  I love the Lord's promises.  I think we could all use some soaring on wings like eagles.  

3.  Surrender our lives to Jesus

To surrender means to give up control.  When we surrender to God, we set aside our plans and eagerly seek His.  We look to His ways and desires and align our thoughts, actions, and beliefs with Him.  We live to serve Him and know Him.  As we go about our days, we can't help but share His love with those we encounter.  We pray for discernment and hearts that will recognize our sinful ways.  When we completely surrender to Christ, our hearts will be filled with the joy of the Lord and we will find great strength through Him.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.

Surrendering takes effort and daily action.  Just saying we surrender will not do.  We must be proactive and mindful every single day.  Philippians 4:4-9 is a wonderful instruction manual for surrender.  We will be wise to write it on our hearts and walk in it daily.

Philippians 4:4-8
Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your graciousness be know to everyone.  The Lord is near.  Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Growing in our obedience will take time.  Beautiful flowers do not overtake gardens over night.  They grow slowly and gracefully and before we know it, their radiance shines so brightly that we can't help but be attracted to them.  God sees our desires and efforts to be obedient children of His.  He knows our deepest hearts and longs to help us along our journey.  All we have to do is ask for His guidance, strength, and wisdom.  It may be difficult to become completely obedient, but I know it will be so worth it.  Nothing feels as good as freedom and joy in Christ.  

Won't you join me on my obedience journey?  Oh the joys that await us....

Loving each and every one of you beauties-


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Weekly Scripture Study {WSS} The Joy of the Lord's Strength

Psalm 28:7
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.  Therefore, my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with song.

Ever feel like you are the last person standing on a dodgeball team against a team loaded with brutes?  Does it feel like the hits just keep coming and your strength is depleted?  You may not feel like this today or tomorrow, but you for sure have and will again.  

In those days, and everyday really, we need the strength of God to carry us.  We need a strong brute to surround us and fight off all the pesky dodgeballs flying our way.  Left to our own, we want to run and hide under the bleachers and hope that no one hears our gasping for breath and the sniffles that accompany the tears rolling down our sweet faces.  We need a hero to rush in and save us - to fight for us and help us wipe off our tears and battered clothes.

Your hero, and mine, is waiting for us to place our full and complete trust in Him.  He sits on the sidelines never taking His eyes off of us.  He patiently and lovingly waits for our attention and devotion.  He waits for us to put down our arm with the dodgeball we are about to hurl through the air and trust in His love, His protection, and His strength.

When we rid our hearts of the idols we have been trusting and rest in Jesus, He strengthens us.  He allows us to do all things through Him (Philippians 4:13).  He doesn't just place some strength in us and walk away.  He helps us and shields us.  He surrounds us and dares the enemy closer so He can show him who you belong to - who has your back.  

Can you imagine all of the things and people the Lord has shielded you from when you are completely trusting in Him?  Yeah, me neither.  I'm certain the list is quite long.  I'd love to see it when I arrive in heaven.  You too?

The last portion of this verse illuminates what happens to our hearts and souls when we are filled with the Lord's strength - when we trust that we are protected by our Great Shield.  We can't help but rejoice with song.  I can recall many occasions when my heart was overwhelmed by the Lord's strength.  I knew without a doubt that it was not I who had strength, but the Lord.  Left on my own, I would have been a crying heap in a corner with a blanket over my body.  I bet you have fond memories of your songs of rejoice too.  With complete trust, we can sing those songs often and rejoice in the Lord's strength and protection.

Oh, how I pray for you as you study and memorize Psalm 28:7.  Jesus sees your heart and He is rejoicing over you, sweet one.

Loving you forward in Jesus,