Judging a Book by its Cover

Pulling one from the archives with a little make over. Originally posted July 2013.

I’m old school when it comes to reading. Whenever possible I like holding a book in my hands, feeling its weight and turning the page with a sense of satisfaction as I read on. And I must admit the cover will either draw me in and captivate me into reading more or cause me to not give the book a second glance. Yes, in some instances I do judge a book by its cover.

Many times we can look at situations in our life and see only the negative. Somehow we’ve taken our eyes off of God above and placed our vision firmly in front of us. We fall into the trap of judging our circumstance by its prickly, misshapen and unappealing exterior. On the outside perhaps this ‘book’ has been passed over many times seemingly discarded and worthless.

Let me ask you, what if this time God has chosen you to read this ‘book’ acquainting yourself with the characters and their story and sharing His love with them? This ‘book’ is most likely not your normal genre of choice. But what if you choose not to read and you miss a plethora of blessings and opportunities? What if you were chosen for such a time as this?

What if we loved like Jesus?

And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

Esther 4:14

In Heavenly Places

Only God could have taken a dream He placed into my momma heart so many years ago and spoken it into existence by the very one the dream is for.

Have you heard We Are Messengers? This song is not new but I discovered it not long ago. Yesterday was one of those particularly hard days. Not only was I emotionally spent it was a busy day requiring my focused attention. A day where I knew my adrenals were not stress free nor happy. To top it off, my phone was about to ring its last [at least it made it past the proverbial two year mark] and this had me inserting a trip to the phone store of life. Thankfully Holy Spirit kept me from falling down the rabbit hole of self-pity.

Even as I sat on the edge of that rabbit hole, asking God many ‘why’ questions He still chose to be gracious and kind to me as He always is.

Toward the end of the day my son called to check in on me. We talked for and hour and a half. And like many of our conversations my son asks deep theological questions. Questions I have yet to answer for myself. My son is at a crossroads in many areas in his life. We talked about God placing a passion for good work inside us and when that passion comes alive it comes alive! At the end of our conversation my son said something that I told him I would not have expected to hear in a million years. He said, and I paraphrase, “Sometimes I think about throwing in the towel and becoming a Youth Pastor [he also stated no disrespect to YP’s] I think about Ed and Rhonda [the retired Children’s Pastors at our former church] and how they got to teach kids about the Bible. ” I responded, “Did you just say you think about becoming a Youth Pastor?”, and immediately started laughing. Stick with me. I said, “You don’t understand.” To which he responded, “I don’t like the sound of this.” I then went on to tell him that since he was a little guy I always felt he would become a Youth Pastor. And then there was the time after church one Sunday years ago when he ran across the church lawn with his ‘sword’ in hand and his ‘cape’ around his shoulders shouting, “Leviticus Charge!” I told him that Leviticus means, “he the Lord called.”

This morning as I sat down to spend time with God, brushing off the dust of yesterday, I decided to listen to “Everything Comes Alive” and was immediately filled with hope. This song reminds me of God’s goodness. We say God is a good, good Father. Why? Because in His grace, mercy and compassion He gives us gifts that fill us with hope and joy and perseverance even though He doesn’t ever have too. Only God could have taken a dream He placed into my momma heart so many years ago and spoken it into existence by the very one the dream is for.

How has God been good to you? I would love to hear your stories in the comments!

Leap of Faith

“Dad,” I said, “I want to go to Teller School. I want to learn how to become a bank teller. This school teaches all the basics of becoming a bank teller and they even help with finding a job! The only thing stopping me is the cost and I don’t have the amount needed.”

My parents were depression aged kids, they grew up in an era in our country where a large percentage of people lost their jobs overnight, businesses closed and money was tight. When my grandparents immigrated to America from Italy they landed in Rhode Island and bought a farm that included the upper end of a lake. My dad and uncles worked hard on their farm and had a milk delivery business. My dad use to tell us stories of how he was still delivering milk by cart and buggy, sharing the road with new fangled automobiles, during the early part of the twentieth century. His savings account was cash ‘hidden’ in between the mattress. For the longest time he didn’t trust banks, likely a carry over mentality from the Great Depression. Asking to borrow money took a huge leap of faith on my part!

I’d like to say that because I was the youngest of five and the only girl, his sweetie and thought I had him wrapped around my pinkie was persuasion enough for him to say yes.

I’d like to say that because I was the youngest of five and the only girl, his sweetie and thought I had him wrapped around my pinkie, was persuasion enough for him to say yes. Okay, that may have been part of the reason but as I reflect back I believe my dad saw the value in investing in what would turn into a career of three different jobs within the industry of finance using the skills I learned at the Institute for Teller Training. And, I paid every penny back!

Leap of faith. We hear others say, “I took a leap of faith and applied for that job, asked that person out for coffee,” or whatever else requires a leap of faith. I can’t recall ever hearing someone say, “I took a leap of faith and believed in Jesus!” But Jesus is exactly where faith comes from. It is His gift to us. As we continue to surrender ourselves to him He continually renews and grows our faith so we can know what He prefers. Faith is God’s divine persuasion which guides us to make choices that help us live inside His perfect will for our life.

May God’s divine persuasion grow exponentially within you as you continue to stay connected to Him and you begin to live the abundant life in all areas that Christ came to give you.

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Live Deeply

How do you live deeply? what are those moments that you take to refresh your soul?

Is nature where you feel most connected to God or perhaps a walk along a sandy beach at sunset looking in wonder at the deep and spectacular colors in the sky and praising God?

What are your passions? Where are the places you go and the things you do where you allow God to capture your heart and you know deep within you, you are in communion with Him?

Posing many questions today. I believe reflection is an integral part of our relationship with Him.

Whatever you choose to do today I pray you choose to live deeply with Jesus in that moment and in His presence.

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The Good Part

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Wherever you find yourself today I encourage you to choose the better part. Choose Jesus and He promises any time spent with Him will not be taken from you. He invites you in to lay all your cares and burdens at His feet.

So many times we are quick to quote John 3:16 and many times we forget to add the verse that holds its hand. John 3:17 tells us Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, He came to save the world through His actions on the Cross.

I understand that many of you believe the Bible is only a group of stories written over two thousand years ago by men not God. I get it. Before I became a believer I couldn’t get past the first sentence on the first page. I understand that some of you who are believers struggle to understand this Book as well. All of this is okay. God knows, He sees and He understands. Most importantly He loves you and I pray He blesses you with the faith to believe in Him and understand these words written over centuries ago.

Shalom!

Your Hearts Desire?

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A friend recently shared the exciting news that one of her family members was water baptized. Yay Jesus! She explained that she had been praying a really long time and that she asked one of her prayer groups to pray with her. And then she told me that her prayer group told her not to get her hopes up.

I stopped her mid-sentence and asked her, “They told you not to get your hopes up? Why would they say that to you?”

Stop right here and think about some of your responses in conversations that you have. What are some of the things you say that are rote, off the cuff, or an automatic response? If we believe one way (in hope and expectancy that God is going to answer our prayers), why would we answer another way?

When we delight in the Lord by staying tethered to Him consistently (daily), offering up praise and worship simply for Who He is He gives us the desires of our heart. Why? Because He begins to lay His heart over our heart and His desires become our desires.

If Jesus Himself set the example and was water baptized why wouldn’t He answer our prayers concerning those we are praying to take the step of water baptism? I can guarantee you He will answer this prayer every time because it is the desire of His heart!

Precious One, choose your words wisely. Words are so very powerful. Our responsibility to one another is to speak truth and encouragement no breathe doubt. I don’t think my friend’s prayer group intentional or purposely told her not to get her hopes up but I do believe they didn’t think before they spoke.

Know God’s word, know His truth, know His promises.

Shalom!

#thereisalwayshope

©teresejmbelme2018

 

 

He Calms the Storms

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I am thankful for the storms of life because they cause my wayward heart to turn toward Jesus with an opportunity to trust Him more. Storms whip up my faith and remind me of God’s promises. Jesus rebukes the wind and tells the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Are you telling God how big the storms are in your life or are you telling the storms how big, mighty and powerful your God is?
#peacebestill #omnipotentGod #tetheredtoJesus #seekHimfirst
Shalom!

The God of all Grace

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Whatever your situation is right now at this moment, God sees you. He promises after a little while He WILL restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. #standandresist with #firmfaith and on the #promises of a Mighty Warrior God who fights for you.

Shalom!

 

Living in Hopefulness

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In June I attended the SoCal Christian Writers Conference. I had planned three full days of mostly non-fiction writing workshops. During one workshop, which was actually on website building etiquette, I overheard another instructor mention her workshop was next and that it was on magazine writing. I felt God nudge me to change my plans and attend this particular workshop, so I did.

As soon as the instructor started speaking God began showing me an article He wanted me to write. The information was coming so quickly I had to ask Him to slow down! I ended up pitching God’s idea, quite informally, to the instructor who happens to be the editor for SoCal Christian Voice. She loved the idea and encouraged me to write the article.

Then the doubt set in. “You’ve never written a magazine article before” “You don’t even know how to write a magazine article.” “What does writing a magazine article have to do with writing Bible studies?” Lies, lies, lies, because my God knows all about writing magazine articles.

Throughout the remainder of the conference God kept creating opportunities for me to talk with this editor, to the point it was becoming a bit awkward for me. One of the last conversations I had with her was when I noticed one of her latest books (it was hot off the press!) she had written with three other authors, one of the authors was there with her. I exclaimed that this was my passion and her colleague handed me her business card and told me if I ever needed help to contact her.

And that is what magazine writing has to do with Bible study writing. You see, their latest book was a Bible study.

Here is my third published piece (first of many with SoCal Christian Voice) and I am as giddy as if it were my first and I hope I ALWAYS feel that way! I encourage you to subscribe to SoCal Christian Voice (its free) as well as their national site One Christian Voice.

All praise, glory and honor to my Savior Jesus and you know, BUT GOD!!!

Here is the link to the article Shepherd’s Gate|Living in a House of Hope.