Tag Archives: hope

As He is, so are we.

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I was graciously afforded a few days at the beach. Weary, taxed, and just plain depleted from the day to day, my husband lovingly booked me a few days away at my favorite place. For some reason unknown to me, the ocean makes me feel ever aware of the closeness of the Lord. It seems as I look out upon the vastness I can see with my eyes, I always seem to consider how much greater is the One who created this ocean. I realize in stark contrast, just how small I am. How small I am and yet, how detailed and intimately He knows and cares and values me. I am always undone by this great revelation and when I stand along the ocean shore, it hits me with such a deep force, again and afresh as each wave rolls in.

I was lying in the bed, looking around at my family sleeping and thanking God for each of their beautiful lives. Thanking Him that I get the opportunity to love each of them and to know them deeply. Thanking Him for how I see His beauty reflected in their existence. I also was hearing the waves. You see we kept the balcony door opened and were each lulled to sleep by the consistent roar of the tides. As I listened and thanked and exchanged love with my Lord, I was noticing how the ocean never sleeps, stops, gets weary, nor depleted. The Lord created the ocean to be exactly as it is, and without ceasing, it continues to produce waves, shelter sea life, bring beauty and majesty before our eyes. And with that thought, I also was considering how the Lord never sleeps nor slumbers. He does not need to sleep. He does not need to, so I can rest easy. I can rest easy because He is watching and protecting and planning and loving me and all the dear ones who are His. I found rest and peace and joy and went sweetly to sleep.

As I awoke, my dream of spending the day soaking up the sun and splashing in the waves with my children was quickly deterred by the dense fog and misty rain and gray skies. This surprised me, but I knew it didn’t surprise HIm. I asked Him what He had in mind for me and my family that day. He showed me this lighthouse a few miles away, and asked me to go there. I grew excited because my song for the year is ” My Lighthouse,” by Rend Collective. The song gives testimony to how God is the peace in our troubled seas. I’ve been seeking Him and knowing Him as such this year through every wind, wave, storm, struggle, fear, worry, or anxious place. He is my Prince of Peace and He doesn’t change even when my circumstances do.

So I climbed. I climbed and climbed and climbed. 203 steps up a winding way. Heart pounding but still fixed on hearing His voice as I was literally standing in what I’ve been calling upon Him as. I knew that He had a fresh word for me. I was expecting, asking, waiting. I reached the top and walked all the way around. The rain was hitting my face and I was waiting. Waiting for Him to speak as I was so sure He had something it would please Him to share with me, challenge me, and call me to. And then He spoke, “As He is, so are we.” He went on to share that I have been seeking and finding Him as my lighthouse. He has been the light to help me remember where I was going in the darkness. He has been he One who keeps my journey ever fixed on where the light is. He is the One who leads me safely to where I am called to go. He is the One who doesn’t change and doesn’t dim no matter how relentless the storm is. He is truly our faithful lighthouse and will never fail showing us the way as we seek Him.

And again says, “As I am, so are you Jenna.” You are called to STAND. You are called to remain when the storm is relentless. You are called to be unshakable when the wind and waves batter with no end in sight. You are called to shine brightly before all men while the storm is still raging. You are called to be the light of the world because I live in you. Your light is supposed to show the ones who are tossed to and fro in the enormous waves and winds of life, how to return to Me. How to find safety, refuge, hope. You are called to be a lighthouse to them. You are called to let your light shine so before all men. You are called, by Me, for Me, and with Me, to lead them home, out of the darkness, to safety, to hope, to life, to love.

And I wept. And I asked for help. And I prayed for wisdom. And I’m still seeking. This is what I am learning. How can I stand in the storm? How can I shine a bright light when I myself and being beaten by the wind and the waves? How can I lead anyone home? How can this be possible?

You see, if I take Jesus out of any equation, none of it would be possible, or even worth it. But He says in His word that with Him all things are possible, and I love because He first loved me. Therefore, I can’t. I can’t do any of this without Him. But I’m not without Him. He lives in me. He is the light of the world, and He lives in Me. So all I have to do, is let His light shine through me.

Do you think I can withstand battering wind, waves, lightning strikes, darkness, pain, exhaustion and doing more than I ever imagined or believed was possible for me? NO! But can Jesus? Absolutely and so much more. He can do all things. Nothing is too hard for Him! He has given me everything I need to stand- He has given me Himself. I need nothing more. Further more- through every storm when I have wavered or forgot to ask Him for help- He has still been there. He has been faithful. He has been true. All of my days, and hours, and moments spent with Him is what brings the strength to stand when it’s hard. All of my love and adoration and awareness of His presence in each day good or bad, is the truth even when I can’t see it or feel it. I can stand in the storm because who He is when it’s calm. I can choose to believe what I know when I need it the most instead of choose to question it in that place.

In each day, each choice to live for Him, each moment of decision to believe is what has prepared my feet to stand still, on my Rock, who can’t be shaken, when everything is being destroyed around me. I don’t find strength from the storm- but from the One who can calm the storm and I know Him because He is with me always. In the good and the bad- I can praise Him. When it’s a time of rejoicing or a time of weeping- I can thank Him. He is faithful and He is true and I can trust Him. He is always good and I am always loved, no matter what it feels like. As He is, so are we. I will choose Him. I will choose to love and trust and stand upon Him- in all times and rejoice in all things.

1 John 4:17 17 In this [union and communion with Him] love is brought to completion and attains perfection with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment [with assurance and boldness to face Him], because as He is, so are we in this world.

Matthew 5:16Amplified Bible (AMP)

16 Let your light so shine before men that they may see your [a]moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and [b]recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.

Matthew 5:14Amplified Bible (AMP)

14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Ephesians 6:13-18The Message (MSG)

13-18 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

Job 38:8-11New International Version (NIV)

“Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?

Luke 1:37Amplified Bible (AMP)

37 For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

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Still standing, firmly rooted

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So my kids have been sick for a little over a month with one well week, in which I worked and worked and worked to catch up on all that fell behind when I was care giving full time. Thinking I would get to the end of that week, and what felt like a marathon, would be over. Then that evening, they started with being sick again- and even last night-another night with no sleep, high fevers, administering medication and breathing treatments. (My 3 yr old had never even taken antibiotics before this October and now he has been on two rounds with a total of three ear infections! THIS IS CRAZY!)

And as my exhausted body laid in my bed listening to the symphony of coughing, I was tempted to ask God why? Why when it would be so easy to keep His children from suffering, is this whole world filled with injustice and sickness and and and????. Then I remembered that a friend of mine recently heard from God about how much time He has to spend with us reassuring us of all that we already know. When we go through storms we often choose to question the TRUTH we have already experienced and that cycle keeps us stuck at that level. By questioning what we have already learned, we miss the opportunity to be ungraded into a new understanding of who He is to us, for us, though us, and with us. (It is SO important to be linked with others who seek Him because we all only hear in part and see in part and we ALL NEED EACH OTHER!) So I decided to pray instead- ‘God I know you ARE faithful, I know You are good! I believe You are protecting my family from more than I could ever understand and I want to thank You for that. God I ask that You would teach me more about You through this unique set of circumstances. Amen.’ And with that I was able to rest a while with peace until I was needed again.

Did my circumstance change? No! But my heart did. I chose not to question all that I know is true- but to position myself to learn MORE! Would my circumstances eventually pass and life return to normal? Yes- I get that this is temporary. However living with the passive mindset of “This too shall pass,” isn’t going to get me anywhere. How I navigate through each unique set of circumstances MATTERS. And as I type that, I feel its important to say that I am not  talking about denial, and faking that I’m okay no matter how long and /or hard it is. Here is the truth- I’m exhausted and kind of sad that this is all happening at Christmas because it’s not the “fantasy” Christmas time experience I had been dreaming of for this year. Another truth is, someone asked me if I needed anything today and my reply was simply, ‘hope’- even though you and I both know I have an eternal hope that is the anchor to my soul-I honestly felt like I could use a fresh dose.

I get tired, overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, and sad-it’s true. But I am choosing to take those emotions to the Lord and ask Him to show me His provision for me right into my very weaknesses or depleted areas. AND HE IS FAITHFUL! Navigating well doesn’t mean it won’t be hard- it means as I share with Him what’s hard about it- He can teach me more about who He is for me in my weaknesses- and if I learn more about Him through any part of life and can share it with even just ONE PERSON- it has been worked together for good and I have not “suffered” in vain.

One other key I find to ALWAYS be fruitful is to give thanks. When I’m exhausted or undone- I choose to give thanks for all that IS good- and not allow a moment in time to define my whole life- I move up and forward- not down and backwards. This too shall pass and when it does I want to come on the other side stronger and more aware of who He is in me and through me and for me and with me. So I am saying yes to being honest about where I am, no to complaining. Yes to giving thanks, and no to questioning what I already have learned is TRUTH. When storms rage- I will choose to stand on what I know is true- not question it. THEN I WILL BE FOUND STANDING, FIRMLY ROOTED in Him when all of it does pass. AND THAT MATTERS! HE WILL GET THE GLORY! HE WILL BE MADE KNOWN! THAT IS WHY I LIVE!

Love and be loved=Success

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Trying to follow Jesus on this Earth proves not to be a task which entails comfort or instant gratification. Quite the opposite. It is a long journey, a process, of strengthening and endurance. It is filled with opportunities to make high quality decisions based on faith in who God is, or to reveal your unbelief and then be built up in that place by His power to be able to move forward with a firmer foundation. There are many times when you step out in a direction and the point of that journey wasn’t at all why you began- but something deeper. Our constant misunderstanding of what God is up to- is the very reason we are called not to lean on our understanding- but instead to TRUST. It is TRUE what the Word says- His ways are ALWAYS higher than our ways- and yet we seek to understand with our finite minds this incredible INFINITE God. Our lack of understanding doesn’t have to stand in our way- if we let go and lay down our need to understand, and we can only do that as we begin to enjoy and rest in the fullness of His great love for us, to move in the broad place of freedom and hope and joy and protection that is only found in intimate relationship with this With-US God whom we can know and love and not have to understand.

Recently I have been learning about how when the devil tempted Jesus- he tried to get Jesus to forget He was loved by the Father. I am coming to see, in my own life, every temptation I face- there is a moment of amnesia about the great love the Father has lavished upon me- I am found lacking in my own strength, my own wisdom, hope- there is actually nothing but lack when I take God out of my equation. If I choose to make decisions in fear and hopelessness and the urgency found in both of those states- I will never be making quality, forward moving, destructive-cycle breaking decisions. Instead, most likely, I will making destructive, pain-birthing, selfish decisions that will not only delay my becoming but could also hurt others.

So what is the disconnect? How can someone be moving fully in the love and liberty of being loved by God in one moment- and in another be in such despair that you can’t find one reason any of this life stuff is worth it? I believe the truth lies in the fact that our enemy comes to steal, kill, or destroy everything that God wants to give us. Our attack will always be directly aimed at what God is doing. The first lie you have to believe is that you are on your own- and in most cases in my experience this comes subtly from a person in your life and their message sounds like wisdom- except that they do not include God in their expectation of who they think you should be. If we begin to mediate on a message of perceived failure in ourselves that was communicated from someone who only values and see success as far as they can see on this earth- and you have been busy investing in the Kingdom of God- in eternal riches- you will begin to see yourself as foolish- a loser, a failure- this is often the first lie I believe when I begin to forget who God says I am.

Truly that is the hope of the enemy- to take our God-given IN CHRIST identity.Our enemy knows that when we take Jesus out of the equation we will find it near impossible to love ourselves. You see Jesus taught us that there are only two commandments we must follow- to love the Lord with all of ourselves- and then to love others as we love ourselves. HMMMM- how many do you know that love themselves, treat themselves with the value and worth that God says they possess? The core hope of any attack from the enemy is to get us to hate ourselves, whether we realize it and can articulate it or not- our actions, beliefs, interactions, and perspectives will show this. If we hate ourselves- we deny ourselves from being able to receive the full measure of God’s goodness and love towards us- and then we are depleted in our love tank- it is impossible to love others.

So let me share something that was absolutely solidified in my life this week. Here is what doesn’t matter- other’s opinions of you. The essence of who you are is NOT defined by the amount of dollars in your bank account. The outcome of your life will not be how big your house was, what car your drove ( or if you even had a car). You aren’t defined by how right you were all the time or if your proverbial ducks were always in a row. The summation of our lives in the end is- did you learn to love? Did you freely receive and freely give love? That is all we are called to do. When we are loving, regardless of our circumstance, we are in the absolute will of God for our lives. Loving others, sowing into their lives, believing in them, praying for them, celebrating with them, supporting them, is investing in a eternal portfolio and the return on investment is greater than anything we can imagine. Choosing to follow Jesus- to seek out His will for your life- to rest in Him and not trust in the sweat of your own brow- is never foolish.  Even when you don’t land where you thought He was calling you- you are always going to land in Him- and that is success.

I AM HERE TO TELL YOU TODAY- don’t quit because the direction has changed. Don’t buy the lie that you are foolish because God has a surprise for you. Don’t judge your worth by the approval or disapproval of others. Get in close to your Father- rest in Him, and ask Him to remind you who He says you are. Ask Him to show you any lie you are coming into agreement with. Ask Him to help you in your unbelief. HE IS YOUR PORTION-and He is more than enough! Lay down your need to understand and be positioned to receive His love- and then organically allow it to overflow out of you onto others. Just be loved and love- (which is what happens when we seek FIRST the Kingdom of God) and all things will be added unto you!

Secure/Rescue

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A while ago I was reading something and on the page was the word ‘secure,’ but my eyes saw the word RESCUE- however it didn’t fit within the context of the sentence, so I re-read it and comprehended that I saw a different word than was actually printed on the page. I asked the Lord if that was Him- and indeed, He had a message for me- that I now have been working through and working out and living- and just now- a moment ago- He nudged me to share this with you.

Rescue- Secure- The same letters make up these two words with very different meanings, and yet, strongly linked!

As I sought the Lord, He began to show me how when I feel insecure- I run to what I think will rescue me- and inversely- when I perceive the need to be rescued- I run to what makes me “feel” secure. As I have been asking Him to highlight this to me- some of these cycles are constructive and pleasing to Him, and some are not.

One day I was feeling really low about some truly hard bumps I was hitting and I found the urge to run to something I normally would turn to to make me “feel” secure- and the Lord highlighted this destructive cycle to me, and I had the thought, ” I could deny my flesh right now and run to Jesus and start to break this cycle.” Unfortunately that day- I chose to continue in my quest to satisfy my desperate need for security- a quick fix, if you will.

Shortly after, as I was spending time in His presence, He showed me this. He also began to show me the negative effects these cycles have had on my life and how far reaching the outcomes are when we choose anything other than Him for our security. How when we buy into false comfort or security in one area of our life- it slowly seeps in undetected to all the other facets of who we are. With this wisdom before me, I repented and asked Him to help me break the cycles that keep me temporarily satisfied and quickly depleted- when I could be filled to overflowing with no lack. I asked Him to come alongside of me and help me in becoming a woman who would settle for nothing less than His best for me- and to be willing to wait upon, yearn for, and rest in Him alone.

Am I still struggling? Sure. Am I making progress? You betchya! Me and Jesus are celebrating this new season of breaking through yuck that I have just been accepting for a long time.

So, I am sharing this with you and I wonder what are you settling for? Is there anything in your life you are leaning on for security that is really sinking sand? Is there anything you expect to rescue you which could leave you stranded? He alone is our source and if we place our trust and faith in anything apart from Him- we will be disappointed. But God- our Almighty God- is faithful and we can trust with Him as our foundation we are firmly placed.

Hebrews 6:13-20The Message (MSG)

God Gave His Word
13-18 When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line. He said, “I promise that I’ll bless you with everything I have—bless and bless and bless!” Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him. When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.

18-20 We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

Denial- it hurts everyone involved

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This is just a quick word on denial- and the scriptures to overcome the desire to “escape” into it! Praying this blesses someone- as the Word of God has and continues to dramatically alter and upgrade my life!

The absolute first step to overcoming denial is to admit what is happening is actually happening and stop pretending like nothing ‘really bad’ is going on. The need for denial is a self-protection mechanism which gives a lie to the person, “this is too big for you- there is nothing you can do anyways- in order to keep the ‘peace’ just keep quiet.”

But here is what is true- nothing is too hard for God- for with Him all things are possible- and there is hope in the blood that was shed for us. There is no peace outside of the Prince of Peace. We begin overcoming the need to escape into denial (which actually hurts everyone you are trying to protect) when we invite our Prince of Peace into the chaos. When we seek Him for wisdom- when we surrender our need to control the outcome because we know we can trust Him ultimately- but we cannot really trust ourselves. We can trust in His ways because He is God and we are not- and His ways are higher- taking His road always gives us an upgrade- we become more like Him. We can speak the truth of God’s Word in the Authority we have been given in Christ Jesus to the father of lies- and at the very name of Jesus, he has to flee. The only ground the enemy can take in our lives, and of those we have loved, is where we come into agreement with the message he is speaking. To break free we must make agreements with God’s Kingdom, with what is true, and break agreements and actions that follow with the kingdom of darkness. This is a process. But denial- is a lie- rooted in fear of loss. Any fear means we have not allowed God’s love to come into that place and we are still grasping for control.

We have an enemy-it is satan- not each other.

Ephesians 6:12

New International Version (NIV)
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Light and Darkness cannot co-habitat. 
1 John 1:5-9   
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
We need God to show us our transgressions, daily.
Psalm 139:23-24
New Living Translation (NLT)
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
   test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
   and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
We can discern the condition of our hearts by the fruit of our life. 
Galatians 5: 16-26 Living by the Spirit’s Power
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
When He reveals darkness, we can confess and repent and be cleansed and restored to righteousness.
1 John 1:9
New Living Translation (NLT)
9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
We then are free to love, because He first loved us- undeservingly.
1 John 4:16-20
16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other[b] because he loved us first.
20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister,[c] that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.[d]
We show this love by knowing we are not better than anyone- we are simply In Christ, and we work in love to bring one another to the understanding of who they are in Christ.
Philippians 2:3-5
New Living Translation (NLT)
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
We understand that our enemy is the father or lies and wants nothing more than to bring destruction.
John 8:42-50
New Living Translation (NLT)
42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! 44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! 46 Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”
48 The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?”
49 “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father—and you dishonor me. 50 And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge.
We overcome satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
Revelation 12:11
New Living Translation (NLT)
11 And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb
   and by their testimony.
And they did not love their lives so much
   that they were afraid to die.
And we lay down our flesh, pick up our cross, follow Jesus, and agree with His heart which is that none should perish, but ALL would have everlasting life in Christ Jesus!
Matthew 16:24-27
New Living Translation (NLT)
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?[a] Is anything worth more than your soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.
2 Peter 3:9
Amplified Bible (AMP)
9 The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.
So our lives journey and every aspect of it should align with our call to GO and make disciples of all nations- and to Love God and love others!
Matthew 28:19
New Living Translation (NLT)
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,[a]baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 22:36-40
New Living Translation (NLT)
36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
And we must understand in the new covenant what Jesus defines as murder, adultery etc. It is all about where our heart is- which is conceived in the mind.
Matthew 5:21-22
Amplified Bible (AMP)
21 You have heard that it was said to the men of old, You shall not kill, and whoever kills shall be [a]liable to andunable to escape the punishment imposed by the court.
22 But I say to you that everyone who continues to be[b]angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be [c]liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be [d]liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, You [e]cursed fool! [You empty-headed idiot!] shall be[f]liable to and unable to escape the hell (Gehenna) of fire.
Knowing this- and our sin nature- we are to commit to the constant renewing of our mind to become like Christ- to be able to fulfill the call to love.
Romans 12:2
Amplified Bible (AMP)
2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Amplified Bible (AMP)
3 For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons.
4 For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,
5 [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories andreasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One),
And as we do this, we will be quick to repent, and quick to forgive others. This is the only way to live- the only true life. Everything outside of the Word of God is rooted in fear, pride, or denial.

WE CAN OVERCOME! We do not have to be defined by the way we have always done things. We can choose today to break the destructive cycles and replace them with constructive cycles and move FORWARD! And trust me- every small step in the right direction leads to the world changing! And God loves the world! He said you were worth it- believe Him- I do!

Be patient and pray……

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Morning:
New Scripture to memorize: Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! (Romans 12:12-16 NLT)

Today’s Focus: Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

The other day I woke up so weary, so heavy-laden, and downtrodden about some current circumstances in my life. I woke up trying to think of how I could fix it, what could be a possible solution, what could I do to cause the others to see the truth? In trying to figure it out on my own, I quickly felt hopeless and defeated. And then the Lord gave me this (see above) scripture. I was to first of all rejoice in Jesus- which took my focus off of me and my understanding. The next step was to be patient.

Is this hard for anyone but me? I want to see things resolved. I want to see a resolution reached and everyone come into agreement somehow and be able to move forward in harmony. I do not LIKE having situations that are not figured out and filed away. YUCK! But the Lord was saying to me- it’s not the time or the season- you have to be patient.

But what is awesome about this verse is we see scripturally that being patient is NOT a passive stance- we are called to be patient AND keep on praying. So I chose His way yet again. I laid down my sense of urgency- I decided to trust in Him and His timing and keep praying for the perfect will of God to be done in this set of circumstances.

You know what? I didn’t get what I wanted out of that process- I wanted resolve- but I got MORE- I found Jesus, and His ways, and another portion of His love for me.

Today will you join me? Will you ask Him to show you where you are trying to hasten His pace? Will you choose Him and His ways? Will you keep praying and choose not to try to FORCE your agenda to happen? It will go well for you if you wait upon the Lord!

Jesus, waiting and waiting patiently is something we cannot do without YOU! Lord, I want to experience every last drop of what You created me for- and I praise You for intercepting my destructive cycles with Your word and Your instruction which brings life. I choose to go Your way and live on Your path. I need more of You Jesus- I need more of You. I love you Lord and today I choose to freely receive all of Your love, protection, blessings, and goodness into my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

Been stuck…but trying again.

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Hello Friends! In the face of accusation, I was believing I had nothing worth while to bring and further more that my life wasn’t worthy of being shared and if I’m not even received well by those who have known me the longest, then perhaps I should just be quiet.

But do you know what the Lord showed me? He showed me how Jesus wasn’t even received by those who had known Him the longest. In His own hometown, He could not be free to be His truest self because the familiarity of “knowing” Him kept the people from seeing the real Him. WOW!

The Lord also showed me how Hannah was tormented by someone in her world and it would often reduce her to tears and keep her from eating. Rejection and accusation hurt- but they only get to define us if we come into agreement the message which is trying to convince us that we are less than the Lord says we are.

Thankfully, I serve a greater authority than any other man- I serve Jesus. Jesus gets to define who I am. Although it is difficult- any time I begin to ponder on what these other people have spoken over me (which has silenced my voice for over a month as I have struggled deeply to discern what was true) I have to release them to the Lord and pray that His blessings, His love, and His kindness would be upon them. And then I ask Him to speak to me, yet again, of who He says I am.

One particular night, after an extremely troubling encounter full of accusation which brought deep sadness and heaviness to my heart, I asked the Lord to speak over me all night long who I am to Him. The first thing I heard were the words to this song:

You’re My Beloved, You’re My Bride, To Sing over You is My Delight, Come Away with Me My Love.

I sing over you my song of peace,Cast all your care down at my feet ,Come and find your rest in me

I’ll breathe my life inside of you, I’ll bear you up on eagle’s wings, And hide you in the shadow of my strength

I’ll take you to my quiet waters ,I’ll restore your soul, Come rest in me and be made whole.

And I was lost, yet again, in His love. My soul needed restoring, and I was weak and hurt and vulnerable, and the only place I could feel safe was in the shadow of His strength. I needed so desperately to know I was His and that He STILL delights in me, even though others express utter disgust with me. Do you see how powerful it is to bring your wounded places to the heart of the One who can heal them? Do you see how differently I may feel about the ones who are currently accusing, rejecting, and hurting me if I couldn’t turn to Jesus and ask them to bless, love, and heal them also?

Friends, my mind wants to take control- my thinker wants to defend myself, to lash back and PROVE that I am not any of the things they are saying I am- but what did Jesus do when He was being attacked- He shook the dust off of His feet and kept moving. He blessed and loved and kept His eyes fixed on the Father, staying in His will. He was not delayed, distracted, or defeated by any who did not receive Him, He simply kept focusing on the ones who did.

Although, my heart is still hurting, I am receiving this season of conflict as an opportunity to upgrade my response and to become more like Jesus. And I would love to encourage you today, that if you are being misunderstood, or accusation is being hurled in your direction, or if you are sharing in any of the sufferings of Jesus, accept the opportunity for upgrade. Keep your eyes fixed on Him who is the Author and Perfecter of your faith, and release those who are hurting you to the Lord believing HIs goodness and kindness will minister to their wounded places which are ultimately trying to wound you also. He is always the way!