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Friday, March 29, 2019

Walking by faith

It’s so important for me to remember that my thoughts create my feelings. Therefore, if I am feeling anxious or fearful, then I just need to examine my thoughts. Satan loves to mess with my thoughts. If I have some apprehension about a situation, then he jumps all over it. Right away my thoughts become plagued with the worst case scenario. He loves to create doom and gloom in our lives with his fictional stories of what might happen. 

Faith, however, is the opposite of fear. When we place our trust in God, then we believe that He will work it all out to our benefit. We believe that He is all-powerful. God is always in control. The Bible gives us many examples of faith to follow. In order to please Him, God wants us to walk in faith. When I am struggling, I go through my Bible and read scriptures on faith. Here are a few I have saved. 

Matthew 6:30 (KJV)
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Matthew 8:26 (KJV)
26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

Matthew 17:20 (KJV)
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Mark 4:39-40 (KJV)
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

God knows what we are going through. Our trials are meant to strengthen us and to increase our faith. God doesn’t want us to be fearful. He wants us to be strong in our faith. Therefore, we have to step out in faith and trust Him. We have to turn loose of our control and surrender it all to Him. While we don’t know how He will work it all out, we have to walk in the belief that He will, in fact, work it out for us. When I am really struggling, I like to remind myself that God created it all. Nothing is too big for him to handle, nor beyond His reach. 

Photo by Levi Bare on Unsplash

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Inhale peace, exhale stress

It’s all simple. God makes things easy for us. We are the ones who make things complicated. Especially when we try to be someone that we are not, and live a life that is not aligned with God. 

Most of the time, God makes it so simple that we stumble over it because we are expecting something hard. 

For the last few days, I have spent several hours each day outside. I’ve been digging in the dirt and just enjoying the beauty of nature. When I’m outside and the sun is shining and I can hear the birds chirping I am content. It is as if my mind slows down and I am able to be fully present in the moment. I forget to eat and lose all track of time. 

Being outside, playing in the dirt, is good medicine. When I just allow my mind to clear and stop thinking, then God directs me and puts His thoughts in my mind. If I am troubled about something, He gives me new ways to think about it. These moments with the Lord are so special. It’s amazing at what we can hear when we shut off the noise of the world. 

So today, I encourage you to spend a few minutes outside. Turn everything else off and just be in nature. Let your senses come alive. Take in the beauty. Hear the beautiful melody. Smell the wonderful fragrance. Breathe in peace. And allow it all to help you. 

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Take care of yourself

How often do we show up as ourselves? How often do we make decisions based on the needs of our authentic self? 

I am a people pleaser. I enjoy doing things to help others. While sometimes it is okay for me to put the needs of others before my own, it shouldn’t be how I live my everyday life. If I am constantly pushing my own work and needs aside to help someone else, then I am not being true to myself. 

This is so incredibly hard for me. Honestly, I don’t know how to balance it all. I want to be a caring, thoughtful, loving person. I also want to take better care of myself. Therefore, I need to audit my intentions and look at the whole situation before I make my decisions. Why do I want to help? Is it because they need me or because I want them to like me? 

Sometimes we just need to dissect it all and see why we do the things that we do. If I am acting out of love, then I should definitely do it. However, if I want to help someone else for any other reason, then I should be truthful with myself. Especially, if it will cause hardship in my own life. And when it causes hardship, then I can’t give with an open heart. I usually feel some type of resentment. 

God wants us to help other people. But first, we have to help ourselves. In an emergency situation, we should put on our oxygen mask before we try to help someone else. We should pay our bills before we help someone else pay their bills. We should do our work before we offer to help someone else with their work. 

When we pour into ourselves, then we will have more to give others without breaking ourselves in the process. Let’s use a cup of water as an example. If we are constantly pouring out of our cup, then it will eventually be empty —without enough to nourish our soul. However, if we constantly pour into ourselves and nourish our own souls, then we will be able to pour from the overflow, instead of emptying the cup. 

The first person that God wants us to care for is ourselves. Then we will have so much more energy, love, compassion, and patience to give other people. 

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Shine a light to God

Philippians 2:14-15 (KJV)
14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

In all honesty, I have absolutely nothing to complain about. All of my needs are met, and I even have many things that I want. My soul is peaceful and my heart is joyful. Therefore, I need to embrace peace and joy. 

God allows us to choose the course for our lives. We get to decide what kind of life we want to live. Do we want to be joyful and shine a light into the world? Or do we want to complain and be miserable? The choice is ours. 

Right now, I can cultivate joy in my life. I can thank God, in the present moment, for all that He has done for me and even for my future blessings. Every day I can choose to walk in His love and His goodness. By doing this, my life will become a living testimony for Him. 

We don’t have to wait for something great to happen to praise the Lord or to be joyful. This moment, we are in right now, is precious. It will never come again. Therefore, I want to enjoy it. I want to clear my mind of all the clutter and search for God. When I look for His goodness, then I can find it all around me. The more that I praise Him, the more that I discover to praise Him for. 

Today, I encourage you to look for the goodness of the Lord. He is in every breath and every beat of our hearts. If we just think about all the amazing things that our body does, without us even thinking about, then we would have an abundance of blessings. 

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Monday, March 25, 2019

Help those in need

Be there for people when they need you. 

I’ve heard my daddy say this so often. When people are in need, we have the opportunity to show them the love of God. We can’t wait until it is convenient for us. In order to help others, we have to move in the appropriate time. If we put it off, then we might miss the blessing of being able to help someone else. 

God has given me many opportunities to help someone else. Honestly, the way He wants me to help sometimes is not the way that I want to help. But if we are going to serve the Lord and do His will, then we need to be willing to do whatever He puts on our hearts. While some opportunities may be small and insignificant to us, they may be big to the one in need. 

Have you ever had someone help you in your time of need? Do you remember how that felt? 

Sometimes we just need to remember how kindness feels when it is received. So it will encourage us to give more of it in our lives. I still remember the nurse who warmed a blanket for me in the ER. I was so cold. My whole body was trembling and she took an extra moment to heat my blanket. The kind gesture brought me to tears. 

We should strive to be kind in some way every day, and look for the opportunities to help someone else. Because we never know when we will be the one in need. This weekend I had a specific need and I tried to find someone to help me. Even those with the ability to help me turned me away. Of course, God worked it out for me, but He also used the situation to teach me the gift of helping someone else. I pray if I have the ability to help someone else that I will always choose to help them. 

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Friday, March 22, 2019

God will fight for you

What a blessing it is to know that God will fight for us. God knew us before we were even born. His love for us is pure and strong. Nothing can defeat our God, nor destroy us. To destroy us, the enemy would have to defeat God, and that is not possible. Nothing can separate us from Him.

So often we focus our eyes upon the evil. We give more power to Satan than he deserves. Today, instead of focusing on the bad let’s focus on the power and greatness of God. I want Him to be the most important part of my life. I want to have complete and total faith in my Lord. I want to seek Him with my whole heart and allow Him to lead me and guide me through each step of my life. I want to be so close to Him that His marvelous light shines out of me. I want to be kind, tenderhearted, and loving to everyone that I meet. 

As the enemy troubles the waters in my life and the storms rage, I want to remember who controls the storm. Even the winds obey God. It is such a blessing to know Him. 

Recently, I met a man who was troubled without any hope in God. It broke my heart to talk to him and to hear his views on life. While I can’t personally help him, I can ask the Lord to help him. I would love for this man to feel the joy of God in his heart.

Sometimes we think that we are too small to make a difference. We believe the lies of our enemy and think certain situations are hopeless. But there is power in prayer. God hears our pleas. We just need to take them to Him. When we do our part, then God will do His part. 

Our God is mighty. He has grace for our every need. There isn’t a mountain that He can’t move. Today, let’s walk in that truth. 

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

Joy overcomes pain

In our minds, we can’t even understand how much God loves us. We have no idea how He protects us and the amazing plans that He has for our lives. The only time I can even begin to understand His love for me is when I feel His spirit move. When I feel His presence then I can feel His love. Especially when I am in the trenches of life—heartbroken and afraid. 

Yesterday, I was thinking about how the joy of God overrides the pain. When we are in hardship, the pain seems so great. It feels as if it might destroy us. But the moment that God brings us out of the pain, the joy becomes greater. 

Having a baby is the most intense pain that I have ever physically experienced, and yet when I think about the day my children were born, I don’t focus on the pain. I recall the joy of holding my babies and seeing them for the first time. 

It was the same way when I got saved. My soul was so troubled and burdened. I couldn’t eat or sleep very much while I was under conviction. And yet, when I think about getting saved all I remember is the joy and the amazing peace that filled my troubled soul.

This morning, as I was reading my Bible, I read this verse.

Ephesians 3:13 (KJV)
13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

I thought about it for a moment and realized that God has brought glory out of my every tribulation. My best stories are the ones of great suffering. They give a beautiful glimpse of God’s amazing love for me and my life. I love to revisit my trials and to see how God has brought glory out of the pain. It makes me feel so loved by Him. 

P.S. If you enjoyed this please share it so your family and friends can read it as well. :) 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Don't sweat the small stuff.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. 

This needs to be my mantra. So many times I have allowed myself to get upset over things that don’t even matter. Instead of releasing minor irritations as soon as they arise, I tend to hold onto them and think about them throughout my day. In doing this, I allow the enemy to steal my peace through my own negative thoughts. Notice I used the word allow. The enemy can’t steal our peace unless we allow him to take it. 

We can teach ourselves to release irritations as soon as they occur. Right away we can seek the truth and the level of importance on the situation. How often do we give up our peace and joy over something so small, and make something important that is really not important? 

Proverbs 4:23 (KJV)
23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

The enemy uses our thoughts to attack us. He wants us to take the small, inconsequential matters into our hearts so that we can nurture our heartaches. Anytime we embrace a grievance it grows. We can get ourselves worked up and actually create a hardship when there isn’t one. Therefore, when I notice myself getting upset by things I ask myself a few questions.

  1. Is it true?
  2. Is this important?
  3. Is it worth my peace and joy?

These questions center me and help me to see the situation as it is, not how I have perceived it to be. During the times when everything and everyone is getting on my nerves, then I also use journaling, meditation, and prayer to help me to center myself again.

Frustrations and irritations are the work of our enemy. The sooner we can notice him, the sooner that we can ask God to help us to overcome him. 

P.S. If you enjoyed this please share it so your family and friends can read it as well. :) 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Faith over fear

Life can change in an instant. We don’t know what the future holds. For some, that thought can be filled with excitement and wonder, and for others, it may be filled with fear. The good news is that we get to decide how we will view the present moment and the future. Do you want to ponder each moment by faith or fear?

We can look at each day with dread and fear about what might happen and allow those thoughts to make us miserable. Or we can take this verse into our hearts and allow it to strengthen us each day. 

Romans 8:28 (KJV)
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

God always does what is best for us. Sometimes what is best for us might be hard. Growth is painful. But when we can embrace the pain and allow it to mold us into a stronger vessel for God, then we will be able to receive a beautiful gift from our trial. 

Our suffering has a purpose. Each time we go through hardship, we gain experience. The experience strengthens our faith. Without any hardships in our lives, then we wouldn’t need God. As it is, we need Him every moment of every day. Our hardships can bring us closer to Him. Especially, if we draw closer to Him. 

Instead of looking at the what-ifs in our lives as something bad, we need to see them through the eyes of faith. When the enemy brings our fears upon us, we need to replace our fearful thoughts with thoughts of hope. We need to focus on what we hope will happen, instead of what we fear might happen. 

P.S. If you enjoyed this please share it so your family and friends can read it as well. :) 

Monday, March 18, 2019

God loves us right where we are

God doesn’t cast us away when we fail and come short. He understands that we are only human. We make mistakes and go in the wrong direction at times. Regardless of the times that I have sinned, God has never forsaken me. He is always there, with outstretched arms, waiting for me to come home. 

While the devil judges us, condemns us, and tries to destroy us, our God loves us—just as we are. We don’t have to do anything to earn His love. He gives it freely to us all.  Even when we are at the bottom. Jesus doesn’t turn away from us. His love shed on the cross has already covered our sins.

The devil tries to make me feel as if I have to live perfect in order to shine my light out to others. But Jesus tells me that His grace is sufficient for me. I can’t live perfect. Trying to live perfect takes away from the greatness of my Lord. All God wants from me is my obedience. When I decide to follow Him, regardless of the circumstance, then He is pleased with my efforts. That’s when He will use me to do His work. 

Serving the Lord and doing His work is a personal experience. We can’t follow the crowd or do what we think that other people want us to do. In order to be fruitful for God, we have to follow Him—and only Him. We have to make sure that the Lord is our Shepherd. 

So, how do we know if we are following the Lord?

In my experience, there is peace with my decisions. I don’t get mad at other people for not believing the same way that I believe. I don’t judge them. I don’t need credit nor praise for serving the Lord. I just love the Lord with all my mind, heart, and soul. And I love my brothers and sisters right where they are in their lives. It is the love that reaches other people and gives them a glimpse of my Lord. 

Anytime I put myself above someone else, then I lose the beautiful opportunity to show them a glimpse of God. No one is inspired to serve God by self-righteousness. I know that I am in my own self-righteousness when I judge others and get upset with their actions. But when I can humble my heart and pray for them, and love them unconditionally, then I can shine them a light to the Lord. 

I never want others to feel judged by me. I pray that they will only feel loved. God’s precious love covers all sins. 

Isaiah 64:6 (KJV)
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

We are overcomers in Jesus

Years ago my mamaw gave me a snowball bush. Every spring I love to watch it bloom. As I was walking by it a few days ago, I noticed that the briers had intertwined with the branches. The briers were taking over my bush. So, I decided to get them out of my bush.

If I had noticed them earlier, I could have just pulled them out, but since they had grown bigger I had to cut them out. Trying to cut them and then pull them out of the bush was so hard. The branches were twisted together. I cut myself several times on the thorns. Bleeding and dishearten, I wanted to give up and forget it all. However, I also wanted to save my bush. During the process, God gave me some beautiful thoughts that I want to share with you.

When we notice the little things in our lives trying to take over, we need to take care of it right away. If we eliminate the briers in our lives while they are small, then it will be easier. If we want until we are entangled with our sins and consumed by them, then it will be harder for us to break free on our own. Once we allow it to go so far, then it feels overwhelming. I stood near the bush several times, trying to figure out how to remove the thorns. Finally, I realized I couldn’t do it on my own. My husband and children had to help me. In our lives, when we realize that we can’t do it on our own, then there is no shame in crying out to Jesus. He wants to help us. 

As I accidentally shoved a brier in my hand and the blood was dripping, I thought about Jesus and how He suffered for our sins. The pain in my hand reminded me of the pain He endured for me because He loves me. Once I was entangled in my sins. They were smothering me. I had no hope. I was bound by my sins. Until Jesus called for me. When I took that first step toward Him, then He released me from my bondage. I am free in Him. 

Today, I am so thankful for His freedom and love. Regardless of the snares, the devil has for me, God always has a plan to free me from him. I am so thankful to be a child of the King. Our God is strong—with grace for our every need. When we cry out to Him, then He will help us. Nothing is too big for our God. 

Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash

P.S. If you enjoyed this please share it so your family and friends can read it as well. :) 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Will you give your burdens to God?

Why do we try to carry the heavy burdens of life around every day? Most of the time, our hearts and minds are so full worry, fear, anger, shame, resentment, etc. that there is no room for anything else. God never meant for us to carry all of these things with us. He wants us to lay them at the foot of Jesus. When we give God all of our burdens, then we will have room in our minds and hearts to focus on the goodness of the Lord. 

Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

So often we burden ourselves down with worry. The Bible, however, tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. What if we all just decided right now to surrender our heartaches to God. He knows our situation. He already has a plan to help us. His love for us is greater than anything we can imagine, therefore, we just need to trust Him to do what is best for us. 

When we put it all in His hands, then we will see God’s hands in it all. We can’t turn it over to Him today and pick it back up tomorrow. Trust me, I’ve tried. But oh when we can totally give it to Him and know with certainty that He will take care of it for us. That’s when we can praise Him through the storms. I love it when He reminds me that He’s got my situation, and there is no need for me to pray about it anymore.

What burden are you carrying that you need to turn over to the Lord? 

P.S. If you enjoyed this please share it so your family and friends can read it as well. :) 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

How much time do you spend on your phone?

I am going on a digital detox. 

We don’t realize how much time we waste every day looking at our phones. It wasn’t until I actually saw the numbers, after auditing my time, that it really sunk in for me. As I stared at the number, I wondered what else I could have done with my time. How often do we put off something that needs to be done, and waste our time on something that is not important? The enemy is so sneaky. He entices us to drift for hours at a time and even rewards our behavior with momentary pleasure. 

This reminds me of the time when I had gained a few pounds (or ten), and I ripped my favorite jeans. I had been lying to myself and telling myself that it was fine and I didn’t care. I made excuses for the extra pounds and didn’t admit that I cared until I ripped my jeans. At that moment, as I held my favorite jeans with a gaping hole in them, I realized that I did care—very much. 

Anytime that we want to see where we are in our lives, then we just need to audit our days and look at the numbers. How do we spend our time? What are we eating? How are we spending our money? What devices are we using to numb our pain?

Lately, I have felt so tired. My energy has been low and I’ve felt frazzled at the end of the day. In those moments, I just want to lay around and waste time on my phone. But in doing that, I end up feeling even worse. I get on the right track for a few days and then I find myself right back to where I don’t want to be. So, I am doing a 30-day digital detox, and I am going to limit my time on my phone. My goal is no more than one hour a day.

I am going to use my phone, but I will not allow my phone to use me any longer. I will not allow it to numb me or to be my escape. Whatever we allow will continue in our lives, until we reach that place to where we realize that we’ve had enough. While I am trying to break a bad habit, I am going to replace it with good habits. I really want to meditate, journal, and exercise more. So, I am going to work on incorporating more of the good things into my day. 

Would you be willing to do this with me? You can set your own limit and add in your own good habits. 

Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash

P.S. If you enjoyed this please share it so your family and friends can read it as well. :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

God is our help

God dwells in our hearts. The same love, strength, joy, peace, wisdom, and knowledge that Jesus has inside of His heart, is inside of us. We have the mind of Christ. When we get saved, God gives us this beautiful gift. Our salvation is so much more than just going to Heaven one day. We can enjoy the beauty of God’s gift right now. 

I am not sure why this truth is so hard for me to understand. While my flesh does sin, my heart is as pure as God. At any time, we can seek His infinite love and wisdom to help us. God is always with us. We are connected to Him. And His love for us is greater than anything that we can even imagine. 

Therefore, when sudden fear comes upon us, we need to cry out to God. We need to take our problems, doubts, and fears to Him. God has the ability to help us with whatever we are struggling with. Being able to talk to Him about our hardships is such a beautiful gift. 

Today, we can choose to be distracted by the things of the world or we can center our hearts and mind on God. The same love that held Jesus on the cross is inside of us. We are the light of the world. God put us here to do His work. Let’s use our precious gifts to help others and to make a difference in this world. 

When we become discouraged or fearful, we just need to remember that God, in His infinite wisdom created the world, therefore He has the wisdom to help us.

Photo by Amanda Phung on Unsplash

P.S. If you enjoyed this please share it so your family and friends can read it as well. :) 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Who needs you to show up?

Who needs you to show up?

So often we go through the motions of life. We survive our days instead of enjoying them and making the most of them. It’s easier to drift through our days and do whatever we feel like doing than it is to live intentionally. When we decide to live intentionally, then we remove our excuses and truly show up for our lives. 

Right now, someone is watching our lives. While it’s easy for me to tell my boys how they should live their lives, it’s so much harder for me to show them through my own example. But, if we want to make a difference in the lives of those we love, we have to lead by example. Therefore, I have to show my children how to live their lives for God by my example. 

Our words are so much stronger if they accompany our actions. Others might not hear our words, but they will see our actions. It would be kind of hard for me to tell others to follow the Lord if I am not following Him myself. But if they see me following Him, then my life will be a powerful testimony to God’s greatness. 

Knowing this truth is what gets me out of bed in the mornings. I don’t always feel like reading my Bible, praying, writing or creating a video, but I show up anyway. I have found that if I just take that first step, then God will bless my efforts. When I open my Bible and read, even when I don’t feel like it, then I am showing up for myself. I need to read my Bible the most when I don’t feel like it. I don’t always know how to pray or what to even say. But when I humble my heart and start talking to the Lord, His spirit takes over for me and makes an intercession. Sometimes I don’t have a thought when I sit down to write, but if I open my laptop and pray for guidance, then God will come through and give me thoughts to share. When I show up, willing to do my part, then God will do His part. 

Half of the battle in life is just showing up. So today, who needs you to show up? I am showing up for my children and for those who feel overwhelmed by life’s circumstances. Every day I want to encourage someone else and to remind them that life’s hardships are only temporary. Sweet friend, this too shall pass. 

P.S. If you enjoyed this please share it so your family and friends can read it as well. :) 

Author shares message through Zippy the zebra