Who am I?

I have been in a strange place lately. A place of wondering who I am. I know for sure where I have been and I know where I want to go, but I think I can struggle with knowing who I am at this very moment. Is it the spiritual transformation that is taking place? Is it the change that is taking place in my professional life? Perhaps it is just an approaching my mid-thirties thing? Is it that Jesus is removing the negative filters I see myself through, is He showing me my true self?

Do you ever find yourself in one of those places? Who am I? What do I stand for? Where do I fit in? Do I make an impact? Am I succumbing to the pressures of my culture? These are some of the questions swimming around in my mind these days.

There is one fact that I can always stand on and that is the fact that I am a beloved child of God. I don’t always understand why He loves me so much, but I know that it is true. He tells me and shows me in so many ways. Often times we can forget that we are made in our Great Creator’s image and that He purposefully made each and every one of us. We can forget that we are stewards of the world we are living in and can take it all for granted. We lose sight of our core purpose along the way.

For some time now, I have been asking our Lord to allow me to see myself the way He does. I want to see the beauty He sees. I want to see the impact I have on those around me. I want to know His desires for me. I want to walk the path He has laid out for me. I want to see His lost children turning to Him. Perhaps He is answering that prayer and that is what I am feeling.

I pray that He is doing a work in you too. I pray that He break the chains that hold us back, that He allows us to see ourselves as He does. I pray that you start each day with a desire to bring Him glory in all you do. I pray that you know that He is ever present and loves you unconditionally. I pray these things in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

Ecclesiastes 11:5

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things. – Ecclesiastes 11:5

Words to remember! God is all knowing and works in ways we cannot comprehend. As I grow in Jesus, I find it so calming to know that He is at work in all things, rather I can see it or not.

Rest in the knowledge that you are God’s child and that He loves you more than you know. Rest in the knowledge that you cannot and will not understand so many things in this world and that is ok.

Be in peace today.

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.

I’m sorry, how much??

Today I want to share a part of my journey in Jesus with you, but let’s start with a prayer to prepare our hearts.

Father, we come before You this morning with open hearts, hoping for You to do a work in us. You know us better than we know ourselves and You know right where we are, this very moment. You love us more than we will ever understand and desire for greater things in this life. I pray that we keep our eyes on You in all things. In the precious name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.

I have been walking with Jesus for some time now and have learned so much, He has turned this life upside down and made me realize that I am now actually right side up. Do you understand what I mean by that? Can you relate to that feeling of a new start, a new chance, a view of love and grace that you never even knew possible? As I began my walk in Christ, I was able to look back at my life and see His hand on me. I could see that those impossible situations that nearly took my life were those moments when God came down and saved me. He had a plan for me. He has a plan for every singe person on this planet.

In the beginning I attended a church that opened my eyes to the Lord, but ended up not being a great fit for me and my family. As I was looking for a church home, I was told about my current church and it took me a long time to learn to trust them. I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for them to judge me and tell me I didn’t belong, but it never happened. The more I shared, the more I realized that these people were just like me. We all struggle, we are all lost and we have battles we are facing each day. This realization was a large driving force behind this blog. Let’s share and be transparent before one another. Let’s encourage those struggling with the same things Jesus has worked through in us.

This brings me to the topic of tithing. Can I tell you what a struggle tithing has been over the years? As a single mom, there was no way I could tithe, I told myself. As a newly weds we didn’t have the funds to pay our bills on time, never mind give up 10% right off the bat. We had all the right reasons to not give. We were serving in the church, our time mattered. We would give sporadically throughout the year and it would come close to 10% at the end of the year, or by tax time. Giving larger chunks here and there was easier.

I am a bit of a dork and absolutely love spreadsheets. I use them to track and figure everything, including our family budget, I have done so for years. We have about a year ahead mapped out at any given time. As God was putting this tithing thing on my heart, I would try a few different approaches, but was never giving on a regular basis. It was still a line item that was able to be moved, decreased and taken out all together if something came up. This went on for years. The cycle of conviction, feeling guilty, arguing with God over the numbers not adding up. My husband and I are not selfish people, we love to give to others and we want to please the Lord in all things. Our hearts desired to please Him, our flesh was getting in the way.

Finally we had come to a place where we were giving up control. God had been doing such amazing things in our lives and we were seeing that none of what we possessed was really ours. We were given these things by our most gracious Lord and we were abusing what was given to us in a way that was unintentional, but was still happening. We made the difficult decision to tithe every single week no matter what came up financially. We decided to trust our living God and ask Him to show up for us. He tells us to test Him in this area and so we were. I pulled up my spreadsheet and worked the numbers the best I could and we left those weeks that didn’t add up in God’s capable hands. I mean, the Creator of this vast universe loves me and here I was thinking He couldn’t possibly make the numbers work. As I put things into perspective, I was excited to see what would happen. Then an amazing thing happened, wlost a huge chunk of income out of no where.

I mean the timing was no coincide in my mind. The small steps we were taking were quickly becoming leaps. We were stressed and uncertain as to how we were going to tithe and feed our family at the same time. That’s what our flesh was saying. Our hearts knew better, we know that God provides for His children and so we adjusted that spreadsheet as well as we were able to on our end and lifted all those negative balanced to the Lord.

He showed up. As He promises us all, our Lord showed up and continues to show up every time. Those weeks that seemed impossible were blessed in abundance, I kid you not. Between overtime that was not supposed to happen, to mileage checks, to unexplained payment of vacation time early, our God showed up. Those weeks that shouldn’t have added up turned into such blessings for our family.

We still struggle with seeing those impossible weeks showing up on our spreadsheet, but now we have the experience to look back on. We know that we will be taken care of.

Those line items that were once negotiable are set in stone in our eyes. God’s money is not to be touched. We see that our grocery budget is suffering and we are tempted to pull from that tithing box, but we don’t and we wait in expectancy.

Tithing regularly has truly been such a blessing. I have heard people say this so many times and never really understood. Today I understand and pray that you all do too. To see our God show up for us and to take care of us is beautiful. To know that I can give up control and see things blossom in ways I never thought possible. My faith had grown tremendously in this. My knowledge of God’s love has deepened and this has trickled into other areas of my heart.

I want you all to know that tithing is difficult in the beginning, don’t beat yourself up! Every child of God struggles in one way or another in this, area, you are not alone. Giving God back a portion of what He gives us so freely, there are no words for the magic that takes place there. Try it, test God there and take that leap of faith. He won’t let you fall.

Perspective

These past few weeks I have been seeing a lesson in perspectives quite a bit. I can generally see situations from other’s perspectives and that helps to understand others in ways not possible if I chose to only process from my own.

I also try to stop often amd look at my situation, my day, my work, my life, from God’s perspective. He lives outside of time, He is the Creator of all things, He is the creator of me. He loves me right where I stand, who am I to not love myself the same? I am not worthy, however our Lord and Savior,  Jesus Christ, died for us anyway. I may come in contact with people that I don’t feel are worthy of my time or resources, but that is not my call. They are God’s creation and they are in my life for a reason, it’s up to me to choose to love and give despite my human heart.

As I sit in traffic I can easily have the perspective of frustration and anxiety for the unplanned interruption. If I allow my perspective to change, I begin to think of the accident that caused the traffic. I can then choose to pray for those involved, pray for healing, peace and for the Holy Spirit to be by their side. I can then think of their loved ones and pray for their peace and love as well. In this traffic I can then look from the first responder’s perspective and pray for them to be filled with wisdom, healing and to lift them up in their most precious line of work. I can look at all the cars sitting there along side me and try to see them from God’s perspective, these are His children, these are His purposeful creations, weather they know it or not. They are loved by the living God, do they know it? I can choose to pray that they find His love and the salvation that is always right there waiting.

As I go about my day, I can easily just go through the motions and react out of emotions and selfishness. This is the easier way but God has called us higher. We are to look past the flesh, step out of our self, push past the emotions and look deeper. The beauty that can come out of those moments is beyond anything I could even begin to describe. That’s where lives are transformed.

My husband is God’s child, my children are God’s creation, this planet we walk, the solar system we stare at in amazement, they are all created purposefully by one God. Every single blade of grass, grain of sand and leaf have been thought of and created by our Lord. I am here on purpose, do I live with a purpose or do I choose to just go with the flow and live from a place of a self centered perspective?

How do you live? How can you broaden your perspective and live for a higher cause? Let us come along side one another and walk in a way that impacts this world in ways never thought possible. There is power in the Father, in Jesus and in the Holy Spirit. Do I allow that power to flow through me?

I pray that we all move through this day with a higher perspective. I pray that we bring life and healing to those our Jesus has placed in our paths. Let us be filled with awe, peace, love and wisdom.

In the precious name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.

Proverbs Study Day 29

Good morning Lord, we come before You with open hearts. Let Your Word seep into the depths of me.
 


Proverbs 29

Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery. When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan. The man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but if he hangs around with prostitutes, his wealth is wasted. A just king gives stability to his nation, but one who demands bribes destroys it. To flatter friends is to lay a trap for their feet. Evil people are trapped by sin, but the righteous escape, shouting for joy. The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all. Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but the wise will calm anger. If a wise person takes a fool to court, there will be ranting and ridicule but no satisfaction. The bloodthirsty hate blameless people, but the upright seek to help them. Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back. If a ruler pays attention to liars, all his advisers will be wicked. The poor and the oppressor have this in common— the lord gives sight to the eyes of both. If a king judges the poor fairly, his throne will last forever. To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child. When the wicked are in authority, sin flourishes, but the godly will live to see their downfall. Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad. When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful. Words alone will not discipline a servant; the words may be understood, but they are not heeded. There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking. A servant pampered from childhood will become a rebel. An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin. Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor. If you assist a thief, you only hurt yourself. You are sworn to tell the truth, but you dare not testify. Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the lord means safety. Many seek the ruler’s favor, but justice comes from the lord . The righteous despise the unjust; the wicked despise the godly.


 

 
What did I learn from this chapter today:

What hits me the most today is the fact that I once was that person who’s anger flared all the time. It still does, but God has done a mighty work in me.

I can look upon these words and testify from personal experience that the life I led was full of destruction. I was unaware of the pain and suffering I was experiencing and inflicting until it was gone. When I choose God’s path my burdens are truly lifted.

These are not mere words written long ago that are no longer applicable. There is power in the Word of God. I know it can seem impossible at first, but when you surrender and allow God to do the work in you that He desires, you will be blown away.

Today I challenge us all to surrender. Allow our loving God to work in us. Follow His commands and sit back in awe when He truly transforms our lives in ways we never thought possible.

My prayer for today:

Lord, I give You permission to work in this life. I know that I can get in the way of Your work and I don’t want to. I want all of You, for You are good. I have seen the beauty that You have brought into this broken life and I want more. I was to shout from the roof tops of Your glory. Today I choose You. This life on earth may be short, but we have eternity together and I choose the life You give over the death of this world. In the precious name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.

Proverbs Study Day 20

I can’t believe we’ve reached chapter 20! I have enjoyed going through Proverbs and have really felt God’s word stirring things up in my heart. God is good!

 


Proverbs 20

Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise. The king’s fury is like a lion’s roar; to rouse his anger is to risk your life. Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling. Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at the harvest. Though good advice lies deep within the heart, a person with understanding will draw it out. Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable? The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them. When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good. Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin”? False weights and unequal measures — the Lord detests double standards of every kind. Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right. Ears to hear and eyes to see— both are gifts from the lord . If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat! The buyer haggles over the price, saying, “It’s worthless,” then brags about getting a bargain! Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies. Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners. Stolen bread tastes sweet, but it turns to gravel in the mouth. Plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without wise advice. A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers. If you insult your father or mother, your light will be snuffed out in total darkness. An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end. Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the lord to handle the matter. The lord detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales. The lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? Don’t trap yourself by making a rash promise to God and only later counting the cost. A wise king scatters the wicked like wheat, then runs his threshing wheel over them. The lord ’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive. Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king; his throne is made secure through love. The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old. Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart.


 

 
A few things really speak to me here. The Lord’s light penetrates our souls and exposes all hidden motives. This is so true! As my walk continues, I find that He exposes more and more of me heart and this can be difficult at times. I crave for Him to cleans me and heal me, yet it can be so painful at times. I know that the period of unpleasantness is worth the wholeness and freedom found in Jesus when He is done.

The Lord detests dishonesty. He detests it, that’s pretty serious in my eyes. Let me not take part in gossip, dishonesty, or anything at all that will make our great Creator look upon me full of detest. Let me live in the Light and please our Lord.

My prayer for today:

Lord, please penetrate deeper into my very core. I pray that you shine in and through us all. I pray that we do not flinch as you uncover pieces of us we would rather not see. You show us to free us, let us remember that. Help me to remember that i don’t gave to always understand Your ways, I only have to know that Your ways are good and lead me to a life worth living. Thank You for the Word and all the wisdom and truth given. I pray that we all take heed and follow where You lead. In the precious name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.