Life’s Simplicity

Don’t even think about following the bread crumb trail of evil—you’ll end up with worse than bread crumbs.

Life really can be simple but our human nature is to convolute our life by attempting to take control rather than surrender all to Him. And I am grateful in His grace He chooses to continue to teach me how to simplify my life.

Fearing the Lord is honoring Him. Following His guidance. Speaking words that encourage and brighten the life of others. Troubling thoughts that are given to Jesus and asking for Him to replace them with His thoughts about our identity in Him. Actions that cause others to take notice that there is something wonderfully different about you!

Shunning evil is turning aside from it. Don’t even think about following the bread crumb trail of evil—you’ll end up with worse than bread crumbs. This doesn’t mean we turn away from the evil being committed around us and around the world, no, rather in those instances we ask God how can we be a part of the change for His kingdom.

I love the word nourishment! It makes me think of satisfaction. God is our satisfaction in all areas of our life. Another reason to stay connected to Him daily for His nourishment to flow to us non-stop! Truly, the choice is ours it didn’t stop when we chose Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. Everyday we have the opportunity to choose Jesus. Not for salvation purposes [that choice is one time] but to choose Him daily for His wisdom, guidance, knowledge on how to live life.

Fear, shun, nourish. I pray you choose all three today and every day!

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

The vines hung down like ropes with big green leafs and swayed softly in the light afternoon breeze. Some had large, deep red flowers while others were the palest of pink. Trees were tall and mighty and even fragrant. Some created a canopy along the path from here to there with just enough space to allow the sun to shine through in certain spots along the way. There was such peace there in this garden that was meant to be lived in forever.

The couple who lived in the garden took great care of it. They prepared the soil by pulling weeds, tilling, planting and watching with great anticipation as new life sprang forth from their efforts. It was as if this work they lovingly labored at was a connection to something greater than themselves.

One day they were in their garden and they sensed a subtle change. The vines had stopped swaying in the breeze, the flowers didn’t appear as vibrant and the trees weren’t giving off their fragrance. They didn’t think much of this change and continued with their daily work. That too, seemed a bit harder on that day.

The ground that once was easy to turn over had become hard like clay and took great effort to prepare. They noticed more weeds than usual and while they still watched with anticipation for new life to spring up, that appeared to happen more slowly or not at all. And their connection to something greater than themselves felt small and far away.

It wasn’t long before they started to quarrel with one another and they stopped going to their garden because they no longer felt any joy or anticipation. It had simply become a chore.

After an extremely long season filled with doubt, fear, worry and confusion, they went back to their garden which was completely overgrown and full of weeds. Weeds so tall they were choking what little life was left in their once peaceful garden that brought them so much joy. They chose to work in their garden once again and before long they cleared the weeds, tilled the soil and began to plant and something miraculous happened—their connection to something greater than themselves was restored. They decided that day, right there in the garden, that they would work a little each day tending their garden and cultivating the rich soil so it would never become hard as clay again.

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Wednesday Encouragement

No, I am not calling you a fool! When I read this verse it brought to mind what I see posted on other social media platforms. It has been my experience that we tend to post mostly about God’s love and encouragement, even prominent Christian influencers, and hardly anything about the uncomfortable and sometimes hard truths. This isn’t a negative thing it is actually wonderful. But it causes me to wonder, if we believe all of God’s Word is the inerrant truth why are we not also posting the uncomfortable and hard truths?

I love God’s Word, all of His Word. My heart’s desire is to disciple others back to His Word where He teaches us about His love and where the truth of His Words convict us to make positive changes in our life so others will desire Jesus too. If our actions and our words don’t line up with our profession of Christ as our Lord and Savior then we miss opportunities to be the light Jesus left us to be.

Time is short, the harvest is overflowing and it isn’t about you. It’s all about Jesus.

Shalom!

He Calls You His

Their names were changed. Have you ever done a name change? When I was thirteen I added the name Marie to my middle name. When I applied for my driver’s license I added my second middle name to my license, without question or legal proof of the addition. Times were much different when I was 16!

The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names:

Daniel was called Belteshazzar.

Hananiah was called Shadrach.

Mishael was called Meshach.

Azariah was called Abednego.

Daniel 1:7 NIV

Nebuchadnezzar took these four noble men of Israel, not coincidentally, from the lineage of Jesus, the tribe of Judah, and fed them daily delicacies from his own kitchen. He placed them in training for three years at which time they would serve the king. But, he changed their names.

But God had named them first.

  • Daniel’s name means God is my judge.
  • Hananiah’s name means God has been gracious.
  • Mishael’s name means who is what God is?
  • Azariah’s name means God has helped me.

As mentioned earlier, they were in training for three years before they would begin to serve the king. It can be like that in our life at times. We feel, sense, hear God’s call and anointing on our life but there is preparation to do.

When God calls us to His will for our life He begins by training us. Sometimes training is short and sometimes it can be a long process. He is always gracious and kind to show us each next step when He feels we are ready to move on.

Many times training involves an assessment of our heart by us. Perhaps there are things we are to confess and repent of so we can receive God’s healing and deliverance.

Training reminds us to be patient and wait for God to move. Many times easier said than done. However, we can trust that He has His will for our life under control. Our responsibility is to do only what he shows us regardless of all our wonderful ideas! As God trains us He opens doors of opportunity for us according to His timing and not any sooner.

Like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, who identified with the tribe of Judah, our identity is in Jesus the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

Nebuchadnezzar had their names changed to those of Babylonian god’s. As if that would cause them to disobey God. Their Hebrew names say it all, especially later in their story when they would find themselves in a fiery furnace.

  • God judged them worthy and righteous not to die.
  • God was gracious to them.
  • God helped them.
  • God reminded Nebuchadnezzar that no one is like God!

Our faithfulness is to God alone. These four men are excellent examples of a life lived believing in and trusting God. And we can be confident that whatever name the enemy calls us. God calls us His.

Living Righteously

Do we step off the path at times? Absolutely! Sometimes a minor course correction is needed and sometimes it can be a major correction.

Living a righteous life takes courage, it takes boldness, it takes wisdom.

You can do anything through the strength of Jesus. He promises. He wants you to do more than keep your head above water. He wants you to walk on the water of any situation in your life in the victory He won at the Cross for you!

Let’s stay tethered to Jesus together. Cheering, encouraging and holding each other accountable along the path of life and restoration.

#discipleship #belikejesus

Builder of the Family Name

I often marvel at the grace and humbleness of royal families that are in the news frequently. They always seem to have a smile on their face and always seem to be kind to the press and paparazzi even as our culture has an odd sense of curiosity about them. They always seem mindful of their behavior upholding the family name.

Johoiakim was king of Judah during a period of time when Nebuchadezzar, king of Babylon took Judah captive. Nebuchadezzar ordered his chief of court to gather Israelite men from the royal family and place them in Nebuchadezzar’s service.

These royal men were builders of their family name. Through them the continuance of the Nation of Israel would be born.

Likewise, every believer in Jesus, the moment they believe, becomes a part of this ancient royal family. We may not wear crowns, and robes, and jewels of old and we may not be followed incessantly by the press and photographers. But we are royalty. We are sons and daughters of the Most High King. We are princes and princesses in the kingdom of God.

We have a royal duty and responsibility to not only build our heavenly family name but to bear our family name with integrity. To be honest, kind, gracious and humble. To practice forgiveness and learn how to hold one another accountable for Christlike behavior. Please don’t misinterpret. Accountability does not mean we are better than each other. Accountability is loving one another in Jesus and learning His characteristics together.

Accountability requires discipleship which is critical to a believer’s life. When we are open to be discipled and to disciple we grow together in our faith. We enter into community with one another and allow ourselves to ask our core circle of friends to hold us accountable.

I am blessed by a group of women who hold me accountable. They have no problem speaking truth, sometimes hard truth into my life. I welcome their voice in my life. They help keep me from tumbling down the rabbit hole of spiritual darkness.

Accountability partners. Don’t leave home without them.

Today’s reading is Daniel 1:3-4. Ask God for His revelation and journal any words, impressions or thoughts. Meditate and pray on these.

Shalom!

YHVH

She is the only one I never corrected even though my husband would gently remind her. My husbands grandmother would always call me Teresa rather than Terese.

Our names are important to us. Our names let others know how to address us. And while our names are not our identity, they are our identifier.

During ancient Israelite culture names were very important. Parents chose names, many times, to coincide with a season of life they may have been in.

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah. Daniel 1:1a.

Jehoiakim’s name means the LORD raises up. How amazing it must have been for Jehoiakim to go through life with his name as a constant reminder of who he was and Who he belonged too. It get’s better. Jehoiakim’s name is derived from the name YHVH which is the proper name of God.

You and I, we may not have a name that means the LORD raises up and we don’t have to. As a believer in Jesus you are called, His child. He raises you up simply because He loves you. You don’t have to do anything in your own strength. It is the power of Holy Spirit that propels you in the direction He wants you to move. It is YHVH in you and through you.

We do have a responsibility when we are called a child of God. Our responsibility is nurturing a deep and intimate relationship with Him. Stay connected to Him and meet Him in His word daily.

Today I encourage you to read Daniel 1:1-2 and ask God to open your eyes to what He wants to reveal to you and how He wants you to apply this to your life. How will His revelations help you to grow in Christlike behavior?

Shalom!

#discipleship

Maximum Potential

I grew up with a very skewed view of God in a religion that taught me to fear God not revere Him, or at least that was my take away. Nonetheless, I started a relationship of prayer with God at the early age of 8 and I have literally prayed almost everyday since then.

One night, right before I trusted in Jesus and asked Him to be my Lord and Savior, I was at a low point in my life and exhausted. I asked God, what would it look like if I simply stopped praying? Immediately in my mind I saw a camera and the shutter on the camera began to slowly close. Once closed there was complete darkness. That was enough of an answer as if God had verbally spoken to me!

Plérophoreó is God’s power bringing the believer to maximum potential “matching” their true knowledge of Him. Properly it means bearing (wearing) the work of God to the fullest extent, to the full capacity of the individual believer who is fully persuaded by Him. (biblehub.com)

Over the years my true knowledge of God has changed drastically. I no longer fear God in an unhealthy way and I am continually learning what it means to revere God; to properly honor him with all of me. My actions, my words and my thoughts.

I want to be fully persuaded by Him. I don’t want the fears or greed or temptations of this world to encroach on my life. That takes work on my part. I have to be willing to choose to make time for Him.

In what ways do you make time for God? This isn’t a rhetorical question. I would love to hear in the comments how you journey through life with Jesus by your side.

#belikeJesus #discipleship

Precious Jewels

My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) Colossians 4:10.

Like a treasure trove of a long lost sunken ship, it’s shimmering precious jewels-rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds yet to be discovered, is God’s word.

Paul wrote these words in a letter to the Colossians that he entrusted friends to deliver as he sat in prison.

One of his friends and co-laborers that stayed behind with Paul was Mark, the author of the Gospel by that name.

Early in Paul’s missionary journey Mark had deserted Paul. I imagine Paul was most likely hurt and also a bit bitter.

But, here this verse is lavished with forgiveness, grace and love. The same virtues Jesus lavishes us with.

This course correction, this heart realignment, this forgiveness can only come from spending intimate time nurturing your relationship with Jesus.

Try this: Ask Holy Spirit to lead you to a book of the Bible to read. Write out two or three verses and ask Holy Spirit to reveal His heart to you, asking Him what He wants you to know. Journal your thoughts and put into action what He has given you.

Rest in Him.

#belike Jesus.