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?

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.

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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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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God’s Favor Over Sullied Food

Deep red and thick with the fragrance of fresh herbs and spices with an aroma so enticing my family and I would sneak dips of french bread into its richness while it was still cooking on the stove. But she knew, my momma always knew right when we were dipping and would call out, “Put the lid down.” Every Sunday my momma made her delicious homemade spaghetti sauce with enough pasta to feed an army and we welcomed whomever stopped by to enjoy a feast with us. Most Sunday’s she made meatballs to add to her sauce but every once in a while she added freshly made Italian sausage from my cousin’s store. Her oil and vinegar salad dressing was always perfect. She didn’t measure out the oil or vinegar she just knew by taste. My momma loved to cook, she was an excellent cook and baker and loved when her table was full with others enjoying the feast she prepared.

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

Daniel 1:8

While Daniel and his friends were in captivity the king had ordered they be fed from his own house; the royal food and wine. Daniel was not about to allow himself and his friends to be sullied by the king’s food that most likely included meat, fish, lamb, fowl and nuts, fruit and vegetables along with the wine to drink.

Many times other things look much tastier than what is already on our table. When what is on our table is from God nothing else compares in taste, smell, texture and satisfaction. God offers us food and drink that will never spoil regardless of how tasty something looks elsewhere.

We do have a choice to make. Will we choose what appears royally pleasing to the eye with aromas that seem delectable or will we choose the feast God has placed before us continually satiating our hunger?

I am afraid of my lord the king.

Daniel 1:10b

The chief official charged with overseeing Daniel and his friends was afraid that if he allowed them to forego the royal food and wine the king would punish him. Nonetheless, God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to them.

God does the same for us. He causes others to show us favor and sympathy which is a beautifully tangible reminder to us that His favor rests upon us simply because we have chosen Him and we are His kids!

As we stay connected to God [remembering there is no perfect way to spend time with Him except to ask Holy Spirit what that looks like for you on any given day] we don’t need to be concerned about fear. Jesus defeated fear and as we stand in His love for us fear has no chance at all.

Royal food and drink—we have no need because the Lord directs our steps directly to where His provision waits for us.

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Wednesday Encouragement

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