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.

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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.

Proverbs Study Day 30

The last Proverb! It has been a wonderful journey for me and I hope it has been for you as well. I love how God’s Word speaks directly to me, right where I am. Let’s see what today brings.
 


Proverbs 30

The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message. I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God. I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense. I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One. Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down? Who holds the wind in his fists? Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? Who has created the whole wide world? What is his name—and his son’s name? Tell me if you know! Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar. O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the lord ?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name. Never slander a worker to the employer, or the person will curse you, and you will pay for it. Some people curse their father and do not thank their mother. They are pure in their own eyes, but they are filthy and unwashed. They look proudly around, casting disdainful glances. They have teeth like swords and fangs like knives. They devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among humanity. The leech has two suckers that cry out, “More, more!” There are three things that are never satisfied— no, four that never say, “Enough!”: the grave, the barren womb, the thirsty desert, the blazing fire. The eye that mocks a father and despises a mother’s instructions will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures. There are three things that amaze me— no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman. An adulterous woman consumes a man, then wipes her mouth and says, “What’s wrong with that?” There are three things that make the earth tremble— no, four it cannot endure: a slave who becomes a king, an overbearing fool who prospers, a bitter woman who finally gets a husband, a servant girl who supplants her mistress. There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise: Ants—they aren’t strong, but they store up food all summer. Hyraxes —they aren’t powerful, but they make their homes among the rocks. Locusts—they have no king, but they march in formation. Lizards—they are easy to catch, but they are found even in kings’ palaces. There are three things that walk with stately stride— no, four that strut about: the lion, king of animals, who won’t turn aside for anything, the strutting rooster, the male goat, a king as he leads his army. If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil, cover your mouth in shame. As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels.


 

 
What did I learn from this chapter today:

Today I am reminded that God knows exactly how I feel. He knows me heart better than I do. I think I can forget this at times. I often bring before Him my shortcomings, my lacking, my failures and He reminds me that He is with me in those places too. Without Him I would be lost.

I look around me and I see God everywhere and in everything. Everything and everyone is God breathed. He is our Creator and I can go to Him with all things. He understands so much more about me than I ever will. Who better to go to in all things?

I know I am full of imperfection and that’s ok. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ is with me always and is transforming me dramatically. I am amazed, joyous and humbled by the works He has done in me, in my marriage, in our life as a whole. The more we give, the more He provides. As I step out in faith, uncertain of where I will land, Jesus meets me right there and raises me to places more beautiful than I could ever imagine. Truly amazing.

You can hear about the wonderful works God does or you can experience them yourself. Quiet your minds, open your hearts and sit before the living God. Ask Him to show you where He wants to work in you. Ask Him to show you how to grow in your faith. He is a kind, loving and gentle God, He will walk you through it.

My prayer for today:

Lord, thank You for walking me through healing and growth in a kind and gentle manner. You are so good to me. Today I pray that Your children turn to You in all things. I pray that You soften their hearts and open their eyes. I pray that they don’t get in the way of Your works, as only we can. I pray that they take those steps that can feel like leaps, in faith, knowing that You are right there. We know that You are a most powerful and merciful God and we choose You. You are amazing and You love with a love that we can only begin to understand. Do a mighty work in our lives Lord, we choose to pause and give You the space You need. We will do our part and follow You as You guide us to better things. 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 17

Good morning, let’s dive in amd see what our passage says today.

 


Proverbs 17

Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting—and conflict. A wise servant will rule over the master’s disgraceful son and will share the inheritance of the master’s children. Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the lord tests the heart. Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander. Those who mock the poor insult their Maker; those who rejoice at the misfortune of others will be punished. Grandchildren are the crowning glory of the aged; parents are the pride of their children. Eloquent words are not fitting for a fool; even less are lies fitting for a ruler. A bribe is like a lucky charm; whoever gives one will prosper! Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool. Evil people are eager for rebellion, but they will be severely punished. It is safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than to confront a fool caught in foolishness. If you repay good with evil, evil will never leave your house. Starting a quarrel is like opening a floodgate, so stop before a dispute breaks out. Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— both are detestable to the lord . It is senseless to pay to educate a fool, since he has no heart for learning. A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. It’s poor judgment to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for a friend. Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin; anyone who trusts in high walls invites disaster. The crooked heart will not prosper; the lying tongue tumbles into trouble. It is painful to be the parent of a fool; there is no joy for the father of a rebel. A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. The wicked take secret bribes to pervert the course of justice. Sensible people keep their eyes glued on wisdom, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth. Foolish children bring grief to their father and bitterness to the one who gave them birth. It is wrong to punish the godly for being good or to flog leaders for being honest. A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.


 

 
What I learned from this chapter today:

What is speaking to my heart today is that we choose obedience in order to be in good standing and to walk in the ways of our Lord. This obedience must be from a place of love and honor. Should we choose to go against God’s ways, we will find darkness creeping in and destruction in our lives.

When I follow God’s will, I am changed. When I hear Him and allow Him to rebuke me, I am transformed and reap the rewards.

I have come a long way since I started walking in Christ, and I still have a long way to go. I find myself struggling in doing the right thing and remaining even tempered in times if injustice and stress.

My prayer for today:

Lord, I thank You for reminding me that Your ways are good. You love us and want the very best for us. You love me right where I am, that love has never and will never change. I choose life. Please wrap Your truth around my heart so that I always remember. In the precious name of Jesus I pray these things. Amen.