Belonging

We need encouragement in our lives on a daily basis. We need someone to build us up and help us see our value and worth before the Lord. The devil and the world’s systems grind us down and wear us out. We need others in the body of Christ to remind us that we are God’s unique and irreplaceable creations, called to unique and irreplaceable places of ministry. We need to be reminded of God’s love for us and of our importance to the church.

Charles Stanley

When our children were younger and I would drop them off at school before they got out of the car I would say to them, “Remember who you are and Who you belong to.

As a believer in Christ your identity is in Jesus[.]. I know, I know, the world and the enemy clamor for our attention and we begin to look here, we look there, we look anywhere except up. It is vitally important that you and I stay connected to Jesus on a consistent basis practicing all the spiritual disciplines [I recently read there are at least twelve] throughout the day or by Holy Spirit’s leading. He is the only One who can help us keep our focus on Him.

Whatever your today and all your tomorrows hold I bless you with the knowledge and truth that Holy Spirit lives in you as a believer in Jesus and is available to you for whatever you need.

Shalom!

If you don’t have a Bible but would like one please email me by clicking on the contact me button at the top of the page or if you’re viewing from a mobile device click on the menu button in the upper right.

It’s Enough or God is Enough?

Two young women sat at the bar sharing their day with each other over hors d’oeuvres. They wore their game day best and were ready for some football! My husband and I and our friend sat at a table directly behind them. We too were wearing our game day best, however, we were cheering for the opposing team. We were in the land of the frozen tundra. Not the arctic but the state that is home to the football field known for that name. With the exception of the sweet older woman who wore all purple to rep her favorite team, we were the only ones not dressed in the hometown color.

The game started and as it progressed the hometown fans were loud and shouted in unison as their team made good plays. The place was eerily quiet except for my husband’s and my whoops when our team was doing well. Soon we noticed that every time we would cheer the two women at the bar would turn slightly and give us the stink eye [I guess they take their football seriously in the frozen tundra]. I mean, I like our team and I would have been disappointed if they would have lost but I wouldn’t have been giving the opposing fans a sidewards stink eye glance.

Soon one woman left leaving her friend to watch the rest of the game by herself. When it was clear that her team would not be the victors she abruptly got up, firmly pushed her chair in and left the establishment. Her body language spoke louder than any words she would have spoken. She was downright mad.

“My grace is sufficient for you…”

2 Corinthians 12:9

What caused her to be so mad? Is it simply because her favorite team had lost or is there a deeper issue? I don’t know the answer but it caused me to think about empty love tanks and the places we look to fill our love tank. I use to use food of the simple carbohydrate kind to comfort myself whenever I was stressed or upset [I also use to have a terrible anger issue that was a learned behavior as well as a spiritual stronghold. Praise God He delivered and healed me!].

So how do we ensure that our love tank is full and where ought we turn when we feel it beginning to deplete? God’s grace. His grace which He extends to anyone who believes in His Son Jesus is free. Like any relationship this takes practice. It takes a commitment by you to carve out time for Him daily.

When you allow yourself to accept His grace you become content and you acknowledge that God is enough. He is sufficient for anything you face in life. Even your favorite team losing.

If you need prayer or believe you are ready to ask Jesus into your life please email me by clicking on the contact me button at the top right or if you are on a mobile device click on the menu button.

Shalom!

What’s Your Fragrance?

Have you ever walked past someone and caught a whiff of a delicious smelling perfume or cologne and for a split second you were transported back to a special memory or event? When others think of you does your fragrance cause them to sense Jesus?

One of the greatest tragedy’s of todays Church is that we have been so poorly discipled. If we truly knew how to disciple according to God’s word and through the example of Jesus we would all serve without question. We would live in such a way as evidence we love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our strength and all our mind, we would love our neighbors as ourself. We would choose to think like Jesus, speak like Jesus, act like Jesus and love like Jesus. We would care so much about the welfare of others we would remember to consistently ask Holy Spirit for cleansing, deliverance and healing from sin that causes us to hurt ourselves, hurt others and leave many wounded and divided. We would honestly and graciously hold each other accountable so a hurting, exhausted and fearful world of people would truly see Jesus and want Him too.

Shalom!

Whatever Happens

Whatever happens. This reminds me of a movie [not one in particular] but one where the characters have been fighting the good fight. All looks lost and the encouraging character says, whatever happens…

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel

Philippians 1:27

Paul is encouraging the Philippians to stay strong amid the provoking, teasing and ill-treatment they were receiving and would continue to receive because of their proclamation of faith in Jesus and their commitment to share Him. Whatever happens.

Where I live and maybe where you live the ill-treatment we receive isn’t the possibility of stoning with large boulders or massive crowds surrounding us, taunting us with slurs and bodily harm [as Paul and the Philippians faced, however, this still happens in many parts of the world because faith in Jesus is against the law]

But, when you are provoked by the driver at the stop sign who doesn’t acknowledge you and simply drives through even though you arrived first. Or, you’re in that store or perhaps someone you thought you were building a friendly relationship with suddenly becomes curt and distant. How will you respond?

As believers in Christ we have the mind of Christ but do our thoughts, actions and how we live our life reflect this?

Are we allowing Holy Spirit to transform our mind to think like Him?

Are we putting on the full armor of God daily?

Specifically, are we putting on the helmet of salvation, which is the protection of our soul and also a picture of protecting our head where our mind and thoughts live?

Are we conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ?

Whatever happens?

Shalom!

There’s Something About Grandchildren

Grandchildren truly are the best!

Before our little lion chaser was born I explained to my daughter that it will be all about the baby. Not because people are uncaring but because babies simply do something joyous to our souls. Even with my mother-in-law, my husband and I are one rung lower on the children ladder!

For me the blessing of a grandchild is a second chance to be the relaxed and unhurried parent I wanted to be when my children were young. Being a grandparent is another opportunity to pour into our grandson from the growth and maturity of my relationship with Jesus.

If I knew then what I know now I would have said yes to Jesus years before our first child was born!

Counting Sheep

She stood just outside the make believe perimeter. A part of, yet not. She longed for their companionship, their understanding, their love and their acceptance. She doesn’t remember, really, how she came to be where she currently found herself—on the outside.

She had known this group for years. Her children grew up with their children. They had shared graduations, children getting married, the birth of grandchildren along with close calls and the grief of losing loved ones.

These were her people, her community, her tribe. Yet somehow she felt so disconnected from them. Did anyone notice? Did anyone care? Was anyone praying for her? Would anyone reach out to her?

In this moment she felt like the one lost sheep that unknowingly wandered away from the flock and couldn’t find her way home. She needed help, yearned for it, for someone in her tribe to help her find her way back into the fold.

Then Jesus told them this parable: “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the pasture and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders, comes home, and calls together his friends and neighbors to tell them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost sheep!’ In the same way, I tell you that there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous ones who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep is addressing the lost sheep as a sinner that is found and saved. But what about those within the Body of Christ? The ones that aren’t lost physically or spiritually rather emotionally. The ones that once were included but now feel disconnected not sure why nor how to reconnect.

Surely Jesus wants us to go after those within our believing communities that have lost their way, to ‘find’ them and carry them back to the fold.

Jesus wants us to be inclusive not exclusive.

If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both. 1 John 4:20.

Who is Jesus asking you to include in your circle of friends/influence? More importantly, what will you do?

Eternal Accountability

For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.

2Timothy 1:11,12.

Trust me. You’ve probably heard this phrase so many times you’ve lost count. Or perhaps you, like me, have used these two words in the past.

When we decide to trust someone we are relying on their character or putting our confidence in them to follow through on what they’ve promised to do for us.

Jesus left us with specific directions to go and make disciples of all the nations. Like Paul we are heralds and it is our responsibility to share the good news of the gospel message with everyone!

Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sin and my sin. When we choose Jesus we are cleansed of the sin that once plagued us and while sin will still tempt us, sinner is no longer our identity. We are righteous in the Righteous One.

When you place your trust in Jesus he safeguards your salvation until He comes again or calls you home. You can trust the character of Jesus and place your confidence in Him to follow through on all the promises you find in His word.

As heralds of the good news of salvation through Jesus we also bring with this message an eternal accountability to all who hear The Message. If you haven’t placed your trust in Jesus, what will you do with this message of salvation? I pray it burns in your heart until you are ready to make the choice for Him! If you already believe, what will you do with this message? I pray it burns in your heart until you are ready or continue to nurture a deep and intimate relationship with Him walking in His will in complete surrender! We all have room to continue to grow.

Of all the things I could ask you to trust me with, this one thing, salvation in Jesus, is the only thing that will stand up against the test of time.

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.

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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