You’ve Got Purpose

I wrote quickly and with purpose. In my 15 year old mind there was no way my Big B [my nickname for the youngest of my older brothers] wasn’t coming home for Christmas. He had never missed being home for Christmas. So, I sat down and wrote a very firm but gracious letter to his commanding officer aboard the U.S.S. Harry E. Yarnell.

But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.

2 Timothy 1:8b-9a.

God had a purpose. He sent His only Son. Jesus had a purpose. He hung on a cross to forgive you and me of all our sin. Holy Spirit has a purpose. To take up residence in the heart of every person who proclaims Jesus as Lord and Savior and continually guide them toward Christ-like behavior.

You and I have a purpose. To live a holy life. This holy life we are called to live isn’t because of anything we have done by ourself. We live a holy life because of Jesus purpose and His grace. We live a holy life with the ever present help of Holy Spirit. We live a holy life by staying tethered to Jesus consistently. By reading and studying His word, through prayer and in praise and worship of Him.

Jesus gives our life purpose and in that purpose we find meaning for the direction of our life. Along with Christ’s purpose we have His grace, which was given to us before the beginning of time. How amazing is it that grace was ours before the beginning of time simply waiting for us to choose and accept?!

Jesus fulfilled His earthly purpose and destroyed death and brought life and immortality illuminated by the truth of the gospel. Because of this we can live here and now unafraid of death and know we will live an indestructible life of immortality with Him in eternity! Good News indeed.

I must have written an extremely persuasive letter or his commanding officer had a heart for a teen girl who desperately missed her brother. My brother was home for Christmas that year.

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Pumpkin Spice Incense

What is your favorite season? I love the anticipation of the Fall season. The crisp morning air, the changing colors of leaves to yellow, orange and deep red before they lazily fall to the ground, cozy sweaters and fleece lined slippers and everything pumpkin spice!

When the ancient Israelites burned incense the smoke is said to have been symbolic of the prayers of God’s people. Have you ever thought about your prayers having a fragrance? Close your eyes and think about your prayers reaching up to God as a beautiful fragrance of your choice. How would this cause you to view your prayer life differently?

If praying has become monotonous, a chore or another check on your ‘to do’ list ask the Creator of creativity to help you to become creative in your prayer time! Ask Him to help you see that each prayer you utter is a sweet smelling request that is pleasing to Him. You can even burn your favorite incense, candle or oil in a diffuser during your prayer time.

However you choose to freshen your prayer time hold onto the truth that as you set your prayers before the Lord he hears you and each one is an amazing smell to Him.

As for me, well, I can experience Fall all year as I imagine my prayers reaching God smelling like pumpkin spice!

Sirens

We were traveling along a road that had switch backs in the form of bridges crossing from one side to another and back again over the beautiful green and calm water of the Sacramento River in Northern California.

As we approached the last bridge I heard a siren and my heart began to race. Instantly I was a six year old first grader ducking under my desk, chest knees, knees to floor, clasping my hands behind my head as I ducked my head between my knees. It was a drill, it was only a drill.

The siren I heard that day was a relic from many years past when we were taught in school that should our country be under attack by the enemy, who might drop bombs in our area, duck and cover was our best hope of surviving an attack. We were in NorCal… It was the early 70’s…The entire upper half of the state was not thinking about any enemy or bomb dropping. The Vietnam war had ended and it was all about hippies, choppers and free love.

So why, on this recent day, upon hearing this hideous siren, was I momentarily gripped by a memory I haven’t thought of in over 50 years? Fear. It may have been by human doing in an attempt to keep us safe that actually caused many of us to allow the spirit of fear a small advance in our lives but it was the enemy of fear none the less.

There are many fears the enemy uses to try and keep us bound up rather than living a life of freedom in Jesus. Is/are there fear(s) you hold onto creating a stronghold/stumbling block in your life? Keeping you from nurturing a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus? Whispering in your ear keeping you from reading His love letters to you in His word?

Fear is a LIAR.

But there is hope. There is always hope. If you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior you have the authority and power of Holy Spirit in you to stomp on the head of fear or any other low life in the mighty, precious, life giving Name of Jesus!

Beautiful Friends, stay tethered to Jesus, asking Him to give you Scripture that you can write down or memorize about His truth about fear. Join or start a prayer text group or join a Bible study. Together we can stomp out fear throughout the Body of Christ and mobilize against the enemy as one.

The next time I hear this siren I will turn it back on the enemy and use this sound as a reminder to squish the head of fear in Jesus Name!

Shalom!

If you need prayer please email me at tbelme@gmail.com

Hurricane Dorian and an Atheists Call to Prayer

Do you pray? Do you believe in the power of prayer? These aren’t judgements whether you do or not, they are simply questions.

Recently we have been having passionate conversation in our home about the effectiveness of prayer [if you’ve been following Hurricane Dorian you may know that a group of believers in Jacksonville, FL gathered together on the beach and began to pray against H. Dorian]. The question has been posed that if God is all knowing and knows the outcome of where Dorian will hit, if it does, is it ineffective to still ask Him in prayer to stop the hurricane. My short answer is, no, prayer to God is never ineffective especially because we don’t know the reasons, aside from the obvious, why God has called us to pray about certain things.

After being informed that a group of Christians got together to rebuke Hurricane Dorian and based on the question that was asked, which is relevant, I dug a bit deeper and came across an article written by The Happy Atheist. You can read Mr. Mehta’s article here. I left the following comment on his article:

Thank you for your article. What you may not realize is that you just put out a call to prayer for everyone who reads and shares your article and believes in prayer to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

Thank you for content for my blog today. I will definitely be encouraging my readers to pray and share your article as a tool to encourage others to pray.

Only God knows the reason[s] He led this group of believers to pray. However, through their obedience to show up as a group on the beach and rebuke this hurricane in the Name of Jesus, The Happy Atheist constructed his article. Is it irony that God used someone who proclaims atheism to write an article that I believe will bring attention to believers around the world and unite us in prayer? Perhaps. Maybe this is two-fold, believers uniting in prayer and praying for the salvation of The Happy Atheist.

Dear friends I encourage you to not only read Mr. Mehta’s article and pray but to share, share, share (with grace of course) and encourage your readers to pray and share as well. Or, you can simply repost my article to your website. Either way let’s come together as the Body and use our gifts for the glory of His kingdom and the saving of many lives.

Unfriended

I saw that two real friends, people I have known for years, unfollowed me. Gasp!

Not long ago my husband and I were having a conversation about relationships. As he thought about a ‘friend’ he said to me, “I wonder what he really thinks of me? No, I really don’t care because it doesn’t matter.”

I told him about an app I have on my phone for one social media website. The app shows me who has stopped following me and who new followers are. I mainly use the app because of the accounts that follow only to unfollow later. I delete those accounts allowing me to interact with those who truly want to stay connected.

I simply have to release this to You and not care why

A few days before my conversation with my husband I was doing a routine deletion of these follow/unfollow accounts and I saw that two real friends, people I have known for years, unfollowed me. Gasp! I also noticed that they had not unfollowed other mutual friends. Yes, of course I looked! It is entirely possible it was done by accident as I have done this before. Or, maybe it wasn’t. As I thought about the possibilities of why, I decided not to fret. I told Jesus I simply have to release this to You and not care why. In that moment I experienced such a peace and calmness in my heart.

Human nature might be to immediately unfollow the real friends who have unfollowed us [oh, I thought about it!] but Holy Spirit reminded me of Whose I am. My identity is not found in who follows/unfollows me or how many likes I get [this is a delicate balance in the writing world because we are told we need to have a platform with followers, again all we can do is give this to God and allow Him to promote us and not be overwhelmed by striving for numbers]. My identity is in Jesus and Jesus alone. It would be exhausting to please everyone so I aim to please the only One that matters.

And at the end of the day the only thing that matters is if I shared Jesus with everyone I met so they would want Him to.

Chariots of Fire

Can you see them? The eternal, ancient warriors of heaven and their chariots of fire?

Many times we forget about the spiritual realm around us and perhaps we’ve become desensitized. We aren’t talking much about the enemy and how his hatred toward us causes him to wage war against us. It isn’t hocus pokus and not meant to scare us. Talking about spiritual warfare is meant to place us in a strategic mode of defense so when situations arise that seem hopeless we don’t cower and hide but stand and fight!

As a believer in Jesus and a part of the Body of Christ we join the ancient chariots of fire and are THE mightiest force against the deceiver of our soul. Do you believe this?

Worship, praise and prayer become spiritual javelins, tent pegs and mallets, bows and arrows and spears.

Pick your weapons and use them daily. Attack and counter attack. Retreat and strike again and walk in victory earth as in heaven!

What’s your weapon of choice?

Prosperity, Wealth and the Gospel

Like the spokes of a wooden wagon wheel there are many aspects to wealth.

What does wealth mean to you? Do you consider yourself wealthy

  • in love
  • in friendship
  • in kindness
  • in perseverance
  • in patience
  • in finances

In Proverbs 10:4 wealth is wealth. It is monetary wealth. Before you fall off your chair, if you are sitting, or raise your hand and utter, “but, but,” I am NOT preaching a prosperity gospel. I don’t believe in a prosperity gospel.

So what are we to do with Proverbs 10:4? Like the spokes of a wooden wagon wheel there are many aspects to wealth. Certainly God provides all our needs and there are times that He blesses us with considerable financial wealth. In those times what we choose to do with that wealth perhaps is an indication of our understanding of proper stewardship.

What speaks to me the most from this verse is wealth in serving God especially as it pertains to God calling me to speak, teach and write[three spokes of the wooden wheel!]. Many times wealth is truly measured by our heart connected to God’s and the joy of the wealth that is Him. This leads to the condition of our heart and the practice of reflection.

I am very thankful when Holy Spirit highlights verses such as Proverbs 10:4 causing me to take inventory of my heart. Rather than thinking in one direction about God’s ordination for me it opens up my mind and heart to joyfully and simply serving God.

Proverbs 10:4 reminds me I am a wealthy women indeed!

The Laying on of Hands

The day I came home from the grocery store and witnessed her pure delight when I handed her that package of gum…

Even if it was only a pack of gum given to her ‘just because,’ our oldest daughter’s love language continues to be gifts. When she was younger it was challenging to fill her love language while raising a young family on one income. The day I came home from the grocery store and witnessed her pure delight when I handed her that package of gum will always remain imprinted on my mind. That is when I realized that gifts didn’t and don’t have to be the latest and greatest. For someone whose heart is filled to overflowing with a thoughtful gift, it really is the thought that counts.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.(NIV 1984).

2 Timothy 1:6-8

While gifts is not my love language I do love to give gifts and watch the surprise erupt into joy on the face of the person receiving my gift. God works through us to bless others and ultimately display His love for us with His knowledge that He knows exactly what we need. HOW gracious is He?!! Can I get an Amen?!

In today’s verse we find Paul encouraging Timothy to fan into flame the gift of God. Paul is suggesting Timothy take action. God has given the gift and now it is Timothy’s responsibility to learn to use this gift wisely for God’s glory and His kingdom and the saving of many lives. Because truly when we think about spiritual gifts, like gifts in the physical, they aren’t meant for us but for giving! For sharing Jesus with others by giving them hope that the sun really will come out again.

Laying on of hands can seem spooky, hocus pocus or downright uncomfortable to some. But it is Biblical. Perhaps we are not learning about this aspect of discipleship in our churches or through our own studying of God’s word and guidance from Holy Spirit or maybe it has been practiced out of context and abused and church leaders have put up their fingers in the sign of the cross attempting to ward off some sort of evil.

It is important to remember that the gift(s) is not given by the one who lays hands on the receiver the gift(s) it is given by God and God alone. To lay hands on another is God’s instrument of conveying His supernatural encouragement and revelation. When we pray for the one we are laying hands on we are seeking God’s guidance and confirmation of God’s will for that person. Some theologians believe it ought to be a regular practice in church for others to discover God’s will.

Do you ever wonder about the power you wield through your faith in Jesus by His Spirit. It may not be physical power and it certainly isn’t an abusive power. It is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and you, as a believer, have access to this 24/7/365. Doesn’t that leave you awestruck in wonder?! Power, love and self-discipline are all a part of your identity in Jesus. These identity characteristics, like gifts, are also meant to be used wisely.

And lest we think we can do anything in our own power, Paul reminds us that we cannot even suffer on our own. We need the power of God to push through and remain focused on Him.

I bless you with choosing to be a good gift giver through Jesus and the gifts He has given you and to be open to the gifts He has for you through the giving of others.

Perfect or Surrender

Some days it’s all about the prayer because if it isn’t then I’ll decide to do things on my own.

I use to be the queen of checklists. Okay, I still make lists. It’s either that or you’ll find me standing in front of the pantry wondering why I am there.

A checklist is how I use to approach my relationship with God.
Read my Bible ✅
Prayed✅
Did my Bible study✅
But this strenuous system soon burned me out and my time with Jesus became more of a chore than a relationship.

Jesus has taught me to live in the gray area where grace resides.

Terese Belme

I still practice the ‘check marks’ daily but I don’t put pressure on myself to spend time with Jesus in a certain way or in a certain amount of time. I suppose I should also add I am a black and white thinker and a rule follower and over the years Jesus has taught me to live in the gray area where grace resides.

These days it is so freeing to sit in His presence and choose to allow Him to show me how our time together will be. Some days I am immersed in His word and only have time to offer up a few prayers. Some days it’s all about the prayer because if it isn’t then I’ll decide to do things on my own and that can turn out disastrous for me and those around me. Some days its simply sitting in His lavish love not uttering a word-this one definitely takes practice! And, yes, some days all the check marks are accomplished but they are no longer check marks rather the ebb and flow of Holy Spirit guiding me.

What fills God’s love tank is that you simply choose to spend time with Him.

Today I bless you with a growing desire to spend more time in His presence.