Fulfillment

Aren’t we all looking for some kind of fulfillment in this life? Where do you go for it? The TV? Relationships? Food? Alcohol? Our society inundates us with these empty promises. False fulfillment. Temporary satisfaction that leaves us feeling the emptiness deepening. Our very foundations begin to crack when we rely on the things of this world.

Take a moment to stop right where you are and think about where you look to for relief in the midst of the storms.

How do we handle the unknown, the pain, the suffering, the injustices that are all around us? Who do we look to? Where can we find true peace?

Psalm 29

1 A psalm of David. Give honor to the LORD, you angels; give honor to the LORD for his glory and strength. 2 Give honor to the LORD for the glory of his name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness. 3 The voice of the LORD echoes above the sea. The God of glory thunders. The LORD thunders over the mighty sea. 4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. 5 The voice of the LORD splits the mighty cedars; the LORD shatters the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf and Mount Hermon to leap like a young bull. 7 The voice of the LORD strikes with lightning bolts. 8 The voice of the LORD makes the desert quake; the LORD shakes the desert of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the LORD twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare. In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!” 10 The LORD rules over the floodwaters. The LORD reigns as king forever. 11 The LORD gives his people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace.   

 

The voice of the Lord is mightier than anything this world brings to us. He created this world, why would I think anything could be bigger than Him? How easily we forget who watches over us, who created the very air we breathe. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is mightier than the circumstances we face.

Today I choose to pause in my stressors and anxieties and bring them before my God. I choose to smile in the face of adversity, knowing that I have a mighty force before me, behind me and within me. All of this will pass, all will come to an end, but I have an eternity before me that I can look forward to. I will be in the very presence of our great Creator and will bow before Him full of joy.

All of this is temporary, I cannot stress that enough. We all know our time here is short and that we need to make the most of it, but what does that mean exactly? What am I to make the most of? Simple pleasures? Physical fulfillment? Drowning away my sorrows and numbing myself? What does God say? What is the meaning of life?

Romans 12 New Living Translation (NLT)

A Living Sacrifice to God

12 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 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!

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,

“I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.

20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”

21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

 

Read this, study this and apply it to your lives. Let the Lord work through you and you will truly be amazed at what comes out it. Stop searching and look to the Creator of all things. He will always lead you to a place of true fulfillment.

May God bless you today.

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Proverbs Study Day 9

Thank you all for coming along this journey with me and hearing how God’s word is working in my life. I truly hope that you too are being impacted with this study.


Proverbs 9
Wisdom has built her house; she has carved its seven columns. She has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table. She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come. She calls out from the heights overlooking the city. “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says, “Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.” Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you.
But correct the wise, and they will love you. Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more. Fear of the lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment. Wisdom will multiply your days and add years to your life. If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit. If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.
Folly Calls for a Hearing
The woman named Folly is brash. She is ignorant and doesn’t know it. She sits in her doorway on the heights overlooking the city. She calls out to men going by who are minding their own business. “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says, “Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!” But little do they know that the dead are there. Her guests are in the depths of the grave.

 What have I taken away from this chapter today:
Again God reminds us that fearing Him is a good thing. A healthy fear of the Lord leads to a life full of peace and joy. When we fear the Lord and accept His invitation to have a personal relationship with Him, we begin to see just how empty our lives were before Him. Prior to accepting Christ into my life, I knew that I was missing something but had no idea just how empty my life was. Even today, as my relationship deepens, I am blown away with the fruits being produced. God is so good and once you truly taste the salvation offered, you will never want to go back to that place of emptiness and selfishness. Success and true Godly fulfillment are not the same.
When I reflect upon my life before Jesus, I can see how many times He was right there calling out to me. I refused to accept His invitation to the feast of life He offers to us all. I allowed misconceptions and human errors to keep me from digging deeper. I actually hated Christianity for the better part of my life. I laugh when I think of all the reasons and the uneducated statements I would make on a regular basis.
Part of me wishes I listened to God’s call earlier and part of me is thankful that I can truly understand where people are coming from when they are rejecting Jesus and attacking me as a believer. I get it and I can share with them from that place.
My prayer for today:
Jesus, You are truly amazing. I thank You for never giving up and for Your unconditional love. Thank You for walking with me, even when I was Your true enemy. I ask that You continue to work in this life You have given to me and to use me as You see fit. Let me be a light in the darkness that surrounds us all. Let all who read this be changed and look to You for more. In the precious name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.

Endurance

Growth can be painful, there is no doubt about that. I would even go so far as to say that all growth involved a level of discomfort. Some journeys are more painful than others.

I have been walking with the Lord for quite a few years now and He has been gracious. He knows what I can handle and what I cannot. I tend to think that surviving the tragedies in my life is enough. I came out of it, I survived and that is all that needs to be done. I found Jesus, I am forgiven, isn’t that enough? Well, of course it is. I can rest in the peace He has given me through the years. He certainly is not holding my past against me, only I do that. He does however bring me back to the places of extreme pain in order to bring me healing. This is not comfortable. Whenever past pains surface, I try to push them aside and move on. This has always been my preference. What is the point of rehashing past hurts? Well my friends, the thing is, if these pains continue to surface than true healing has not taken place.

I have come to a place where I am beginning to see that when true healing has taken place, I can look back upon these experiences with acknowledgement and am able to share with the sole intent of helping others. The way I know that I still need healing in these places is when they surface with anxiety, depression, when I feel me closing off to not feel all that goes along with those memories. When there is still pain. When I am tired from the effort that it takes to keep that part hidden, I know it is time to allow God to work there.

All too often we try to keep parts of our selves separate. Sometimes this is necessary for survival, but cannot be a long-term solution. Compartmentalization  can be a great way to survive the tragedy, shame should not be the reason we keep those feelings and memories locked away. We can become prisoners of what may have started out as a survival technique. The funny thing is that we can become so used to this state that we forget how heavy a burden we carry. I carry many burdens and God has been moving in these places. It is not easy.

Personally, I would prefer that these parts of me would just die and disappear. I don’t want to delve back into the wounds that seem so far away. Yet they are ever near the surface and come out in the anger, anxiety, impatience and coldness that comes out of me. I must feel, acknowledge and replace lies with truth in order to heal.

The problem is that if I feel too much at once, it will cripple me. If I try to face my past without Jesus, it will make me crazy. This is why I chose to lock up those parts of me. It was easier. Safer. Just the thought of it makes my heart ache as I type these very words. Acknowledging, feeling, allowing these places to once again become part of me scares me more than words can describe. How can I allow such horrors to become reality again?

There is another side to this that I struggle with, guilt. I look at all I endured and compare it to others in this world and begin to shame myself for even feeling the way I do. I begin to look at the horrors people face that make mine look like nothing. There is a lie that I have come to believe, I have no right to feel this pain because it is not as bad as what other’s endure at this very moment in time. I have no right to feel this pain or to experience healing because the horrors I face were due to choices I made. I tell myself that it could have been worse, I should be thankful. What right do I have to mourn when others are enduring far worse than my wildest dreams?

The truth is that I can very easily become tangled in the lies of this world. Yes, there are people suffering through terrible terrors in this world. However, this should not keep me from feeling my own pain. Yes, I have made horrible decisions that have left deep scars, but that doesn’t take away my right to mourn and to find healing.

As I struggle through these things, I begin to think that I cannot be the only one. I am certain that some, if not all of you, can relate to this in some way. As I begin to see that I need to be healed in these places, I want to share it with all of you. We have the right to mourn, we have the right to work through the pain, we do not need to live with it locked away somewhere. When we try to keep portions of ourselves buried we set our selves up for failure. In an essence we are telling God that we don’t need Him in these places. We cannot hide anything from our Lord, He knows everything.

Today I decide to give it all up to God. Today I lay it all down and give up control. I cannot manage the pain on my own. No longer can I continue to bury my past in hopes that I will never have to face it again. Today I choose life. I know that when I allow Jesus to do the work He wants to do in me, I will find true freedom. Only then will I experience true healing and peace, not this made up contentment I keep trying to manifest and convince myself of.

I encourage you to look deep inside and ask The Holy Spirit to show you where He wants to heal you today. We do not need to manifest issues or to create problems where there are none, that is not useful. We do need to allow God to do the work in us that He desires. Allow him to free you from the pain, the lies and the wounds left festering. You and I are not worthy in and of ourselves, but Jesus has made us so. All we have to do is turned to Him, confess our failures and our sin, He will do the work if we allow Him the space to.

Love you all.

Miracles

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

A man once said that all the miracles that have taken place in the Bible have one thing in common, they were in response to a problem. We all have problems, being a Christian does not make us exempt. Quite the contrary, it can open us up to even more. Being a Christian also allows us to experience miracles in response to those problems that arise.

“Trust in the LORD with all you heart; and lean not on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

Walking through this life on earth can be so tiring at times. The storms around us can become fierce and I know that I can find myself seeking to find shelter and struggle to keep my eyes on the only true shelter. My flesh screams out for me to turn to things of this world when my Soul cries out to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

I do trust! Even when I am feeling tattered from the pressures of this life, I trust that the Lord is in control and will not forsake me. I know that every single person that breathes, has struggles. In these moments, the Spirit is with us. He meets us in these places and this is where those miracles happen. If I am not experiencing a problem that seems impossible to overcome, then how will I experience the Lord moving? I will not.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

When I choose to be content with what the Lord provides, I am acknowledging that He is in control. I struggle with control quite a bit and don’t even realize it most of the time. I am not in control. Alone I am powerless and at the mercy of circumstances. In Jesus I am protected and cared for beyond measure. I am a child of God and need not worry or want for anything. In Him I find my strength.

“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,” – Ephesians 3:17

I am human, I walk this land in this body made of flesh and experiences stressors all the same. Unexpected trials and speed bumps come up out of nowhere it seems. My emotions respond and I grow tired. I am grateful that I have a strong foundation and can stand or lie down on this foundation in full knowledge that miracles occur every day. I am rooted in the knowledge that God is moving in every moment of this life given. As trials come to be, I have a choice, I can allow my faith to grow in this knowledge or I can succumb to the pressures of this world. I choose to lean on my Lord in faith and to wait and watch the work He performs. In my struggles, I need to leave the space God needs to perform the beautiful miracles I long for. If I don’t step back, I am not allowing Him to step in.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[g] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.“- Matthew 6:25-34

Thank you Jesus for walking with my in all my days and for taking care of me in all things.

Marriage is….

Beautiful, difficult, exhausting, fulfilling…what do you think?

I think relationships of all kinds are challenging and that is a good thing! We need to be challenged in order to grow. My friends challenge me differently than my children, who challenge me differently than my husband and so on.

Lately I have been reading a few books, articles and listening to podcasts that have revolved around marriage and want to share with you a few points that really hit home. I think we all need to be reminded of these key points.

  • Your partner is not responsible for your happiness.

Again, I think this can apply to all relationships we encounter. We are not responsible for another’s happiness, nor should we rely on them to bring us happiness. The thing is that we need to find our own happiness in this life. We make that choice every day. Those we choose to have relationships with in our lives can most definitely enhance our happiness, but they are not meant to be the source.

‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoices; and with my song I will praise him.’ – Psalm 28:7

Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and He needs to be the source of my happiness. This does not belittle the happiness my husband brings to my life. Quite the opposite takes place when I put this into action. When I decided that I was expecting too much from my husband and that I needed to really look deep inside myself to see what was missing, I found that I was expecting my husband to fill a place in me that is only meant for the Spirit. Sure I was still praying and studying and asking God to fill my life, but something was off. I was essentially expecting my husband to be perfect. I was not extending the same Grace that is extended to me with each and every breath I take. I was holding my poor husband up to a standard that he could never meet. I was stunting his growth by not allowing him the space he needed. I was stunting my own growth by expecting him to satisfy my every need. I expected him to read my mind, know my thoughts, see my emotional turmoil and to respond in the exact manner I wanted him to. Well, that is just impossible. There is only one that knows my inner most needs and that is Jesus.

‘You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ – Acts 2:28

When I saw what was happening and decided to make changes, my marriage was transformed. It was difficult to make the changes needed, but God is faithful and He has brought me such a long way. I know that I have a long road ahead of me, but I am already seeing the fruit being produced in my obedience.

  • We are to minister to one another.

I don’t know about you, but I was in a place where I thought I was ministering to my husband, but I was really just telling him what he was doing wrong. When you are in as intimate a relationship as a marriage, you see the good, the bad and the ugly in that other person. They also have the great pleasure of seeing these things in you. At this time, I believe you have another choice. You can start weighing the good and the bad, take notes, and hand them a plan for how they can be a better person. The other option is to love them completely and walk beside them on their journey. We need to be ministering to each other, this includes our spouses.

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” – I Peter 4:10

There is no competition in marriage. Really, we should not be competing with anyone, not spiritually. We all have our own, unique walk and cannot race to a finish line. It is my job to minister to my husband. Without manipulation! I have begun to see that I need to seek only to serve him and not remind him of how he should be serving me. That was tough, I didn’t even realize that I was doing this. I was telling him how he fell short of my expectations. I thought I was sharing with him how I was feeling, but I now see that I was really coming from a place of expectation. I was expecting him to change his approach and behaviors in response to my emotional needs. I have started a different approach and am trying to be mindful of the words I use. I try to not speak out of emotion, typically I regret anything that comes out of my mouth when I am emotional. I have been looking to serve him. I don’t want to take this for granted. I am the only person in this world that can be this close to him and I want to be the light and love that he needs. That he deserves.

On one of the pod casts I was listening to, a gentleman said something that I absolutely loved. I do not have the exact quote but it was to this point. “The problem is that we keep asking the wrong question. We should not be asking how to have a better marriage, we should be asking ourselves how we can be better spouses.”

We cannot control other people. We cannot control circumstances. We can only control our own actions and responses. An attitude is an outward response of our inner feelings. Change cannot take place from the outside in, transformation can only come from the inside out. Today I choose to have a good attitude. I choose to minister to all people who God places in my life. I choose to look to the Holy Spirit for my joy and peace. I choose to give up all my demands and to ask Jesus to replace them with opportunities to serve. I choose to give up control and know that when I do, it is replaced with so much more than I could have ever imagined or demanded.

I choose life. I choose love. I choose to have an ever-deepening relationship with my husband and to not settle for a shallow version where I think I am getting what I deserve. The truth is that I don’t deserve any of it. I am a sinner and deserve nothing. I am an imperfect human being who has caused so much wreckage in my life and I cannot expect anyone in my life to live to a higher standard. That is not my job description. I am to love, I am to support, I am to pray, and I am to be still. I choose to keep my eyes on God and to let Him fill me so that I can minister to my loved one the way that they need me to.

 

Where have you been?

Almost an entire month without coming on here to write and I am not entirely sure why.

The past month has been quite interesting on many levels. I have searched some deep places of myself and faced quite a huge piece of my past hurts. This pain was buried long ago and was a much shallower grave than I thought. God is good and was with me on this journey along with a beloved sister.

We laughed, we cried, we fought the urge to run away. We were reminded to rest on God’s word and to see that He loves me despite it all.

I was obedient and shared when I felt it was time to share. I went to our meeting each week and didn’t cancel even when I knew it was going to be hard. I allowed God to do the work that needed to be done and walked away a better person than when we began.

I gained depth, perspective and peace in a short time. The best part is that I know this is just the beginning. I have many wounds that our Lord has healed in me over the years, but this is a much older and deeper wound than I have ever faced.

I will delve in more as I continue this journey and thank you all who have walked by my side through it. It’s amazing what change can transpire in a few weeks time when you allow it.

Through this process I feel like my marriage has deepened, my relationship with God has grown, my relationship with my fellow Christians has grown, my relationship with my children has deepened, and so much more than I can even put into words.

Today I tell you that no matter what you have done or are currently doing, God still loves you. That no matter how far you think you have fallen, it’s never too far. Healing can take place, this I promise you. It may be the hardest thing you ever do in your life, but it CAN happen.

Lean on the Lord, be real, be honest, face the abyss that you try hide within. You will be amazed at all the aspect of your life that will be changed. As I began to face the pain and shame I have held inside for so long I began to see how every single aspect of my life was effected by the festering wound.

You cannot run away from your past, you cannot cover up pain, you have to face it and work through it. You will be so happy that you did!

Taking care of my body

I have been following a low carb, high fat diet and have been feeling fantastic. I started this journey at the end of January this year and have been steadily losing weight due to my body running more effectively. I have lost a total of 35 lbs. just eating real food.

I eat when I am hungry and I eat until I am full. I do not count calories, I do not count carbs, I do not count anything! I choose to eat real foods, that means I have dropped most boxed foods. It’s not as hard as it seems. I do not eat pasta, I do not eat bread, I choose full fat condiments and it’s been great. I can delve into the science a bit more later on.

Real, full-fat foods are a great energy source for our bodies. Some days I feel like I am eating all day and that is ok! I just keep on making the healthier choices. There are also days where I hardly eat and that is ok too! I am learning to listen to my body and it has really been paying off.

Do I cheat? Yes I do! This is not a diet to me, it’s a lifestyle change. I know that this sounds cliché, but it’s true. If I choose to eat a food outside of what I have deemed the norm, it’s because it is worth it for me that day! Cheating was once a weekend thing for me, now it’s a single item choice any time it comes up. I was super strict in the first few weeks and have felt the way food effect my energy and mood. Now I choose healthier and happier me day to day.

I would love to chat with you all more about this. It’s been a short journey this far but so rewarding!