How to Resist the Devil – 1 Peter 5:8

How to Resist the Devil 1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.

                                                             1 Peter 5:8

Are you on fire for God? If the answer is yes, chances are you’re in the crosshairs of the devil’s devious tactics. Satan’s goal is to devour and destroy Christians just like a roaring lion seeks out its prey. He is constantly setting traps for us to fall into. He knows our weaknesses and how to exploit them. And he will use every weapon in his arsenal to bring us down.

We are under attack, not just from an unbelieving world, but from our greatest foe the devil himself. Satan knows that he cannot have us because we already belong to Jesus. There is nothing he can do that will ever take us away from our Savior. (John 10:29) But Satan can turn us into ineffective Christians so that we won’t share our faith with other people who may also believe.

So, how can we resist the devil and live the life of steadfast faith God has for us? Like any military operation, if we want to successfully combat our enemy we need to understand and recognize the tactics that will be used against us. Here are just a few of the devil’s tricks…

Deception

Lying is what Satan does best. He is the father of lies, so deception is the first tactic he tries. His lies are cruel, and he knows exactly which lie will stop us in our tracks. He will tell us that we’re not good enough, that we don’t deserve it, that we can’t do it, and so many other hurtful things.

Satan wants us to fail and he will tell us whatever it takes to stop us from being effective Christians. But we don’t have to listen to Satan’s lies and we certainly don’t have to believe them.

He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

                                                                1 John 4:4

While Satan delights in deception, Jesus delights in salvation!  We can resist Satan’s lies and fight back by knowing the truth. Jesus has already defeated the forces of evil! Our Savior is greater than any enemy we face! And we are already victorious because of Him!

Temptation

Temptation is everywhere. Some temptation is just from being human, like eating that extra piece of cake. But some temptation is more sinister and comes from our enemy, the devil.

Thankfully, we have this promise from our faithful and loving God…

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.

                                                               1 Corinthians 10:13

Temptation will always be around us. But God promises us a way out and the strength to bear up under it.

Discouragement

Satan wants us to be discouraged and he does that by reminding us of our past sins. He will make us feel defeated and like we are already a failure before we’ve even begun. Whether we are sharing our faith, getting ready to go on a mission trip or just going about our day, Satan will try to discourage us from doing what God has asked of us.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.

                                                                  Hebrews 8:12

Satan may remind us of our sin, but God doesn’t. God not only forgives our sins, He forgets them. He doesn’t bring them up again and He doesn’t use them against us. So, when discouragement from Satan threatens to take hold of us, we can turn to God and find His love, mercy and forgiveness.

Distraction

“If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.” Adrian Rogers

Distraction is one of Satan’s most effective tactics because it doesn’t look like an attack on the surface. Instead of telling us to do bad things, he’ll create a long list of distractions for us to deal with. These distractions come in many forms. But they are all meant to steal away our time from furthering God’s kingdom, even if it is only for a little while.

Satan is very good at keeping us running around in circles simply for the sake of busyness. He knows that if we’re too busy cleaning up the mess he made, we won’t have time for what God has for us. Sometimes, he will even use good things to distract us from God’s plan. If we say yes to a project that a coworker or friend wants us to do, then we might find ourselves too busy to spend time connecting with God and making His plan a priority in our lives. These distractions are harder to deal with because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Satan knows that too and uses our kindness against us.

No matter what distraction the devil throws at us, we have a weapon to defeat it, the stillness of knowing God.

Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10

Busyness and stillness are opposites just like Satan and God. If Satan can cause us to be busy, then we can’t experience the peaceful stillness that comes from time with God.

But if we see that our time is being stolen by the enemy, we can stop him by saying no to his distractions. We can choose still instead of frantic.

Therefore submit yourself to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
                                                                James 4:7

These are some of the many tactics that Satan uses against us. We can successfully learn how to resist the devil by recognizing his devious tricks. And by knowing God’s truth and submitting ourselves to Him. Then Satan will have no choice but to flee from us.

Stay steadfast in the faith, my friend!

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By | 2018-10-31T12:18:23+00:00 October 29th, 2018|Christian Life, Halloween|4 Comments

Does the Devil Know Your Name? -Acts 19:15

Does the Devil Know Your Name? Acts 19:15

But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”                    

And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”

  Acts 19:13;15

The devil may seem like a strange topic for us to study. In our society, you just don’t talk about Satan and his demons. If you do, people will point at you and call you crazy. That being said, the devil and his demons are very real and they are out to take down Christians any way they can. So there is an important lesson for us to take away from this verse.

The words spoken by the evil spirit are very interesting. And they lead us to three very important conclusions.

First, the demon says he recognizes Jesus.

Satan and his demons where once angels and had direct access to God. (Revelation 12:9) They don’t dispute the fact that Jesus is the Son of God because they know it is true. They know exactly who Jesus is and what He has done for humanity.

Second, the demon knows about Paul.

Paul was on fire for Jesus! Everywhere he went he was preaching the gospel and winning people to the kingdom of God. The devil and his demons were very aware of this. If we back up a bit and look at Acts 19:11-12 we can see what Paul was doing that made the demons aware of him.

And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.

Paul was traveling through Ephesus and God was allowing him to perform miracles and cast out evil spirits because of his faith in the Lord Jesus. When we think of the city of Ephesus, we usually think of the inspiring book of Ephesians. But during Biblical times, Ephesus was known as a place full of false magicians and wizards who would use incantations. When the people of Ephesus saw the miracles that Paul was able to perform in the name of Jesus they started talking about it and word caught on about what he was doing. Some men (the exorcists in verse 13) decided that they would do the same thing for their own purposes, probably to make money. But they had a problem, they didn’t know Jesus. And because they didn’t know Jesus, they couldn’t perform the same miracles that Paul did. They just didn’t understand that God had the power, not Paul.

Third, the evil spirit asks, “Who are you?”

This is the part I would like for us to focus on because it pertains to us too. These men didn’t have a good answer ready for the evil spirit when they were asked, “Who are you?” But as Christians we do! We know Jesus! That’s who we are!

So, back to the question, “Does the devil know your name?” I’m confident that he knows mine! He loves to come around and torment me with my past mistakes. He likes to put doubt in my mind and tell me that I’m no good. And he likes to distract me from the things God would have me to do. Growing up I was afraid of Satan. Isn’t that what we’re taught? Satan is the bad guy and we’re supposed to fear him. But over the years I’ve developed a new outlook. I think Satan should fear me! Like Paul, I’m on fire for Jesus and I hope you are too! My goal in life is to lift the name of Jesus high so that everyone will know Him as their Savior. That might get me brownie points in heaven but it puts a target on my back with Satan and his demons. But that’s okay with me because no matter what Satan does to me I will always belong to Jesus. And I know that I am forgiven for those things in my past and I will be with Jesus in heaven someday.

Let’s be clear, Satan is actively seeking to destroy us. (1 Peter 5:8) If he can’t destroy us, then he’ll try to cause us to become ineffective Christians. As long as we don’t tell other people about Jesus or do the good works of the church, Satan will leave us alone. But as soon as we decide that we are going to live for Jesus one hundred percent you can bet that he will know our name. Satan has many tricks up his sleeve and he will use every one of them to try to hurt us. He knows exactly which buttons to push. For some of us, it’s doubt, or illness, or reminding us of our past failures and sins. For others, like myself, it’s distraction. No matter which devious trick he pulls, you can always count on Satan to knock you down and kick you in the teeth when you least expect it. That’s what he does best and he relishes in seeing Christians suffer.

But Jesus is greater than any enemy we face. (1 John 4:4) Satan and his demons are no match for Him. Jesus is already victorious over the powers of darkness! And because we are saved, we share in that victory. As believers, we don’t need to fear the devil because Jesus has already defeated him. There is nothing that Satan can do to us that will ever change the fact that we belong to Jesus, and he knows it. That’s why he should fear us!

Christians are called to be outspoken about our faith in Jesus Christ. If we speak up and show up for Jesus, the world will hate us just as they hated Him. And the devil will hate us too. But really, what does it matter if someone as small and insignificant as Satan hates us? Jesus is the Son of God, our Redeemer and the Savior of the world. Satan cowers in fear and hides at the name of Jesus, the name above all names.

So, does the devil know my name? What would I say if I was asked this question today? My answer would simply be this, “I’m the girl that knows Jesus by heart and I’m the girl He died for!” That answer alone is enough to send the devil and all of his demons running scared.

What would your answer be? Does the devil know your name? Let me know in the comments below.

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By | 2018-10-16T12:42:02+00:00 October 16th, 2018|Christian Life, Halloween|3 Comments

Monday Motivation – Psalm 27:13

We all have times when it seems like all is lost and nothing good will ever happen again. But the goodness of God is always with us. In the good times, He is our champion, pushing forward to bigger and better things. In the bad times, He is our confidant and comforter, reminding us of happier memories and giving us the strength to keep going. So, if you are experiencing a downtime, don’t despair. Look up and see the goodness of God all around you. Blessings!

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By | 2018-10-01T11:00:28+00:00 October 1st, 2018|Christian Life, Fall, Monday Motivation|0 Comments

Living Water – John 4:10

Living Water John 4:10

Is the summer heat making you feel thirsty, tired or maybe even a little burnout? Are you yearning for a cool drink of Living Water?

It seems like summer has flown by fast, but August is just beginning. And that means soaring temperatures are still in the forecast, at least for a little while longer. So, as the mercury continues to rise, we look for ways to keep the heat at bay. We know the drill…stay inside with the AC on when possible, wear sunscreen when we go outside, and most importantly drink plenty of water. If we don’t, we just might find ourselves lacking the proper hydration and in need of some serious refreshment.

August is also the time when our thoughts turn to all of the obligations the coming fall season will bring. Our lives are about to heat up with the new school year, work, family and friends, church activities and so much more. Honestly, it’s a lot to handle. With each new thing we add to our list, we pour a little more water out of our figurative cup. Before we know it, we’re caught in the day to day feeling spiritually dehydrated with a cup that has run completely dry. We feel depleted and crave spiritual refreshment. Or as the psalmist so beautifully puts it…

 

My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.  Psalm 143:6

and

 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You,       O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  Psalm 42:1

These two verses speak so eloquently to the craving of a thirsty soul, searching for what will restore and renew. So, the question becomes, how can we fill ourselves with Living Water every day? The good news is, we don’t have to look far to find it. Here are three tips to stave off spiritual thirst when life gets too hot.

 

#1 Go directly to the Source.

“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 

“Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again;  but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”

                                                          John 4:10; 13-14

Close to where I live, there is a quaint little town called Eureka Springs. It’s a beautiful place located in the majestic Ozark Mountains. It began as place of refuge for the sick. People in Victorian times believed that the many natural springs in the area had healing properties and would go directly to the water source to be healed. Today, the springs are still flowing, they can’t be stopped. And people still flock to the town to bathe in their natural waters.

This is how I see Jesus, He is the source of living water in our lives. He has the power to heal whatever ails us. And He is like one of these natural springs. An unending flow of living water springing up and a force of nature that cannot be stopped. The deep spiritual thirst inside of us can only be quenched by knowing Him. So, He offers us the gift of living water which is eternal life. And it’s not just a little drip every now and then, through Him we have an unlimited amount of living water springing up directly from the source and flowing through us.

#2 Draw from the wells of salvation.

Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

                                                            Isaiah 12:3

 

Digging a well is no small feat. You’ve got to get in there and dig down, deeper and deeper until you find the water shelf where the fresh water lies. But once you hit pay dirt, the well is there for you to draw from every day.

When our lives become like a barren wasteland, we thirst for the joy of our salvation. And sometimes we have to dig deep to find it. But the wells of salvation have already been dug for us, all we have to do is draw the water from them.

#3 Drink the Water.

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

                                                          John 7:37-38

Our physical bodies need drinking water every day to survive. Without it we become thirsty and parched. Then, we get cranky and cotton mouthed. Eventually, we will die. That kind of thirst is a terrible thing. And in the middle of a crisis like that nothing could possibly taste better than a tall, ice cold glass of water.

As much as our bodies need water to survive, our spiritual selves need living water every day to flourish. Without it we will wither away. But we don’t have to thirst because our belief in the Son of the living God creates rivers of living water that flow out of our hearts. Faith is the key to keeping our cups full. In the midst of our thirst, Jesus calls out to us, “come to Me and drink.” There is no need to thirst or want. He is there ready to pour living water into our empty cup and fill it full to the brim, renewing our spirits and refreshing our minds.

I truly hope and pray that you will be blessed by these scriptures as you drink the Living Water of Jesus. Have a happy and safe rest of the summer!

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“Summer”

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By | 2018-07-31T15:43:09+00:00 August 1st, 2018|Christian Life, Jesus|4 Comments

Monday Motivation – Deep Calls to Deep Psalm 42:7

Would you like to fully grasp the meaning of deep calls to deep? It is a longing from deep inside of us to understand what is deep inside of God. To be close to Him and have a real fellowship with the One true God.

There will be times when it seems like the waves are taking us down and we’re sinking fast under the weight of life’s demands. But God’s promises are still true. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is still there, lifting us up and keeping our heads above water. So, if you feel like you are drowning, stand firm on the promises of God. As you ponder the meaning of this verse I encourage you to go deeper and let God’s love pour over you like a waterfall. He is calling you deeper.

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By | 2018-07-06T13:33:57+00:00 July 9th, 2018|Christian Life, Monday Motivation|2 Comments

A Random Text – Habakkuk 3:17-19

A Random Text Habakkuk 3:17-19

The day wasn’t turning out the way I had planned. My to-do list was getting longer not shorter. I felt stressed and overwhelmed. Then, a dear friend sent me a random text in the middle of the day. She asked me to read Habakkuk 3. I immediately sent her a text back and said “OK”, with a smiley face emoji. But I had no intention of reading it, at least not right then. Maybe later when everything else was done. I was right in the middle of a project and I wanted to get it finished.

But God pulled on my heart strings and whispered, “You need to read it”.
I answered, “Okay, I’ll read it later tonight when things calm down”.
God whispered to my heart again, “You need to read it now”.

I sighed as I resigned myself to God’s plan for the day, grabbed my Bible and started to read…

Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines:
Though the labor of the olive may fail’
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls-
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.
                                           Habakkuk 3:17-19

Wow! I felt like I had been struck by lightning! All of these years later, Habakkuk can still cut straight to the point. It’s easy to praise God and find joy in our salvation when things are going great in our lives. It’s so much harder when life isn’t going our way. But no matter what situation we are in, God knows what we need even when we don’t.

It’s easy to #praise God and find joy in our #salvation when things are going great in our lives. It’s so much harder when life isn’t going our way. #BibleStudyClick To Tweet

Habakkuk knew that his people would soon face hard times. They were going to be without the basic necessities they needed to survive. There would be no food and no water to sustain them. But Habakkuk had confidence that if they put their trust in God, He would see them through.

If Habakkuk could find joy in God under such dire circumstances, then surely I can too. There’s an old saying that we all know, “Into every life a little rain must fall”. Well, when it feels like it’s pouring outside, instead of feeling defeated I’m going to praise God. He is the one who gives me strength to get through the difficult times. So this is my promise to Him for all that He has done for me.

Even though the bills are piling up, and it seems that there will never be enough money to pay them all…

I will praise You!

Even though my house is filthy, company’s coming over and there’s not enough time to clean…

I will praise You!

Even though my health may be failing and I feel weak…

I will praise You!

Even though I’ve lost a loved one and my heart is broken…

I will praise You!

I’m so grateful that I have a friend who would point me to God during difficult times. Even though there’s no way she could’ve known what was going on in my life that day or that I needed these words spoken into my heart, she followed God’s lead and sent me the text. But God did knew everything that was happening. And He used a seemingly random text to take away all of the stress and overwhelm I felt that day. He replaced it with a song in my heart and praise on my lips. God is good! And He is worthy of our praise! So, that’s how a random text taught me to praise God! I pray that it will do the same for you!

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By | 2018-06-12T13:49:30+00:00 June 13th, 2018|Christian Life, Faith|2 Comments

How to Weather Life’s Storms – Isaiah 4:6

How to Weather Life's Storms - Isaiah 4:6

And there will be shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and rain.

                                                                 Isaiah 4:6

Every spring I wait with great anticipation for my irises to bloom. I look forward to seeing them sprout up, as they emerge from their winter slumber. They belonged to my Granny, who I loved and admired so much. And they remind me of how her laughter could fill the room or how her homemade chicken and dumplings were the best around. My heart is full of these memories and so many more. And I always feel like celebrating when that first iris opens! But this year was a little different, the irises decided to appear on a cloudy, stormy day. The sky was gray and the wind was whipping around. Later, I found out that a nearby town was hit by a devastating tornado. The trees were uprooted and homes destroyed, it was a mess! It’s not surprising to have tornadoes here in Arkansas and Oklahoma because we have a lot of them, but this one was unexpected.

Life is like that too, you just never know when a storm will be brewing. In fact, if you’re not currently right smack in the middle of one of life’s storms, you can bet that one is just over the horizon and headed your way. So today I’d like to talk about how to weather life’s storms.

There is a purpose to life’s storms

There are three kinds of iris in my flower bed. Most of them are yellow with large blooms. Then there’s the tiny blossoms of the small purple irises. But my favorites are the huge white ones. I only have a few of them, but with their giant flowers, they’re showstoppers! What makes them so unique is that they have a special kind of beauty, one you have to really look hard to see. From afar they are completely white, but if you look closer you can see a faint hint of lavender peeking out from the center.

Finding the beauty in life’s storms can be just as difficult. You have to really look close to see it. But the beauty is not in the struggle, it’s in the fact that there is a purpose to life’s storms. God has something He wants to teach us and He has put us in the eye of the storm for a reason.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

                                                                Romans 8:28

Sometimes it’s hard to understand how God could cause all things, good and bad to work out in our favor. But because we have been called according to God’s purpose, He promises that He will. Even if we can’t see it now, we can have confidence in God’s ability to use this storm to bring about good in our lives. So I encourage you to look closely at the storm you are facing and discover what God’s purpose for it is.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 #BibleVerses Click To Tweet

God is our shelter from the storm

Every year there is at least one tornado that destroys a neighboring city. In the aftermath of the storm, the only thing left standing in a house is the bathtub. That’s why we have storm shelters in this part of the country. If you don’t live in the Midwest, you may not be familiar with storm shelters. They’re big metal boxes with a door that slides shut and they’re buried underground to protect us from the tornadoes. In addition to the shelters, we also have tornado sirens. They’re loud, really loud! When the wind picks up and they go off, that’s our cue to run to the storm shelter and hunker down until the storm passes by.

In the midst of life’s storms God is our shelter. He’s the One we run to for protection when life becomes too much. David knew this very well when he was hiding from Saul and wrote these words.

Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in Thee: And in the shadow of Thy wings I will take refuge, Until the destruction passes by.

                                                            Psalm 57:1

What a comfort it is to know that God, the Creator of the universe is our shelter in the storm! He is always there, ready to cover us with His grace. As the storm rages on around you, run to Him and take refuge under His wings until the destruction has passed you by.

Keep looking to Jesus in life’s storms

When one of life’s storms hits us, it may feel like we are being tossed around by the wind and rain with no end in sight. Peter must have felt this way too during the storm on the Sea of Galilee.

And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately, Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

                                                           Matthew 14: 29-30

I’m sure we all know this story pretty well, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded to keep looking to Jesus.

Peter started out with his eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and his heart was in the right place. But then he stepped out onto the water and became scared and distracted by the storm raging around him. When he took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink. So he cried out to Jesus to save him. The Bible says that immediately Jesus reached out His hand to help Peter. There was waiting, no begging, just immediate assistance from the Savior.

It’s so easy to be distracted in the storm. Just like Peter we start out with our heart in the right place and our eyes on Jesus. Then something happens and we look away. We began to sink. And we cry out for Jesus to save us. So He does and we turn our gaze to Him again until the next time a storm hits and we start the process all over again. Jesus is always there with us in the middle of our storm. And He is always willing to reach out His hand and pull us out of the water. Thank you, Jesus!

Luckily for us, storms don’t last forever. They blow in suddenly and leave just as quickly. My irises may have been a little beaten down when the storm was over, but their beauty was still intact. And life’s storms may spin us around like a tornado, but when they’re over, we’ll be just like those irises, standing tall with our beauty intact.

Jesus promised us that in this world we would have tribulation. So, there is no doubt that storms are sure to come our way. But with God’s help we can learn how to weather life’s storms. Be well and keep looking to Jesus!

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By | 2018-05-16T12:10:17+00:00 May 16th, 2018|Christian Life|6 Comments

Power of Prayer – James 5:16

Power of Prayer James 5:16

As I was researching this post, I came across some articles that claimed the power of prayer is a mysterious force. Honestly, I just don’t believe that. Prayer is not a mystery that we can’t comprehend. Like most things pertaining to God, it is simple and easy to understand. So if prayer is not a mysterious force, what is it?

Prayer is our direct line to God. When we call on Him, He hears us and He answers. It’s simple, maybe too simple for some people. Maybe they want it to be mysterious and complicated for some reason that is beyond me. But I believe in a God who loves me and wants to hear from me as much as I want to hear from Him.

Prayer is powerful! And the power of prayer is real and tangible. As real as anything we can see or touch. It is a source of strength that we, as Christians, can tap into at any time, day or night. This verse from James sums up this power perfectly.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

                                                               James 5:16

Prayer has the power to make things happen. Not because of our own strength, but because we have been declared righteous through faith in Jesus. He is the reason that our prayers have power!

Elijah was a righteous man. He prayed for the rain to be withheld and the Lord answered him. Then he prayed for the rain to come and the Lord answered again. Elijah didn’t just say a little prayer every now and then, he prayed continually and earnestly that God would keep the rain from falling and then that He would bring the rain. (You can read more about Elijah in 1 Kings)

Because we are righteous in God’s eyes our prayers are effective and powerful tools. We just need to practice the same kind of faithful and consistent prayer that Elijah did. Then the results will be undeniable.

Prayer has the power to make things happen. Not because of our own strength, but because we have been declared righteous through faith in Jesus. #Prayer #FaithClick To Tweet

In order for us to see the power of prayer in our lives we must first believe in it and have faith in God.

Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

                                                             Mark 11:22-24

With His words here in Mark, Jesus emphasized the power of believing and having faith.

Sometimes we pray but we don’t really believe that anything will actually happen. Or we pray and think that our problems are too big, too small, too whatever for God. We have “a wing and a prayer” mentality. Kind of like luck or happenstance. Maybe our prayers are heard and maybe they’re not.

But what Jesus is talking about here is the condition of our heart. Do we really believe that God will hear our prayers? Do we have faith that God will answer us? Because if we want to see the power of prayer, we must truly believe in it.

We can have confidence in the power of prayer.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

                                                            Hebrews 4:16

Prayer is not a last resort. Even though we may see it that way sometimes. When something bad happens we try to fix it on our own and only turn to prayer once we have failed. (Believe me, I’m guilty of this sometimes too!)

But prayer is not our last hope, instead it is our greatest offense and our best option in all circumstances. No matter what is going on in our lives, good or bad, God wants to hear about it. There is no need to worry about if it’s okay or how they will be received. We can boldly take all of our problems right to His throne of grace in our time of need.

I my life I have seen the power of prayer many times. But never more than when my mom had cancer. The doctors gave her about three months to live, however God gave us three more years together. And I have no doubt that it was the power of prayer at work. So many people were praying for my mom. Our family and friends, two whole churches, even people we didn’t know. They were all praying for her. And guess what… God heard their prayers. He listened and He cared. He knew that our family was in need and He didn’t let us down. It was during this time that God allowed me to experience the power of prayer firsthand. I could see how prayer is the solution to all of life’s problems and how we can have complete confidence in taking everything to God in prayer.

So you see, there is nothing mysterious about the power of prayer. We are simply having a conversation with a loving and faithful God.

Isn’t it amazing to know that the Creator of the universe, the One who spoke the world into motion wants to speak to you? God loves you and He wants to hear from you. So, today, I pray that you will claim the power of prayer and see the undeniable results in your life.

Until next time, God bless!

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By | 2018-04-11T14:57:47+00:00 April 11th, 2018|Christian Life, Prayer|5 Comments

What I Learned Moving My Website from Weebly to WordPress

What I Learned Moving My Website from Weebly to WordPress

Have you ever felt like you made a huge mistake? Yeah, me too. Many times. My latest huge mistake moment came when I realized I’d picked the wrong website server.

Some time ago God had told me to build a website and blog. I immediately thought, I can’t do that, I don’t know any of that technical mumbo jumbo. But I began researching and found Weebly. It’s drag and drop interface seemed like the perfect fit for my non-technical skills.

I spent months and countless hours building my website, only to find out that I really couldn’t get anyone to see my site or read my blog posts with Weebly. It seemed that I had missed the boat and was paddling my little website into the big black sea all alone. This is when I discovered WordPress and found out that everything I needed to do in order to see my little website get going was on WordPress.

Now, I had two problems. I didn’t know how to use WordPress and I needed to figure out how to move my website over to it.

Again I did some research and found out that moving a website from Weebly to WordPress is not an easy task. That was a real gut punch. I decided I had two options, give up or figure it out. Well, I’m no quitter, especially when God has told me to do something. So, even though it seemed like an impossible task, I resolved myself to the fact that it was time to make the move.

With a lot of trepidation I began by setting up a WordPress site where I could transfer all of my Weebly stuff over. Setting up the new site was the easy part. I had 115 posts and I don’t even know how many pictures to move. I thought it would take about a week to do it. Well, it ended up taking six weeks, a lot of headaches and some shear determination. In the process I learned a lot about WordPress, and more importantly God taught me some great lessons on following Him even when it seems impossible. Here are my three big takeaways from this experience.

#1 Be Patient and Persevere

Rejoice in hope, be patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

                                                 Romans 12:12

When we think of affliction it’s usually in the physical form. Someone who has a terrible disease or debilitating disability. Although I wasn’t afflicted in a typical way, I felt I was afflicted in a mental and emotional sense. The frustration I felt grew bigger every day until I wanted to throw my computer out the window. Mentally, I thought, I just can’t do this. Emotionally, I felt drained. About half the way through I wanted to give up completely. My normal “can do” attitude was gone. But God whispered from deep inside of me, “Keep going. Don’t give up.” I knew I had to finish what I started so, I put blinders on and pressed forward. I found a rhythm, get one post transferred and then the next and the next. Still it seemed like there was no end in sight. Patience and perseverance became my only goal. Patience because it was taking so much longer than I expected. And perseverance to keep at it no matter how long or hard it got. After weeks of endless hours staring at the computer screen, I suddenly realized everything was moved and it was time to make the permanent change over to WordPress.

#2 Trust God when change is scary.

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you.

                                             Psalm 56:3

I don’t know when or how but during this six week period my Weebly site became a security blanket to me. It was a backup just in case a transfer didn’t take. Now it was time to delete the Weebly site and make the move permanent. All of the hard work I had put into building that site was about to disappear with one click of the mouse and my security blanket was going to be pulled out from underneath me. It was scary! I hemmed and hawed about it and walked away from the computer multiple times. Finally, after much deliberation, I decided it was now or never. I sat at the computer staring at that delete button and prayed, “Please God.” Those were the only words I had in that moment. And with that I clicked delete.

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you. Psalm 56:3 #BibleVerseClick To Tweet

It took some time for the new WordPress site to become active. That next day of waiting was full of stress and dread. Doubt filled my heart. What if it doesn’t work? What if I can’t fix it? But I put my trust in God and believed that He had it under control.

#3 God makes the impossible possible.

With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

                                                 Matthew 19:26

I may have had serious doubts about my technical abilities going into this move, but I had zero doubts about God’s ability to bring about His will in my life. When I saw my new website up and running I can’t tell you how much relief I felt. God is good, always good. But it took me being obedient to Him and stepping out in faith to see the goodness of God in my life. I give God all of the credit. He did it. Without Him it would have been an impossible task for me to accomplish on my own. But with God the impossible became possible.

I know it may seem that this post is all about me, but in my heart it is all about you. I want to encourage you to seek God, persevere through the difficult times, trust Him when change is scary and see the impossible happen in your life too.

When you follow God you will never go wrong.Click To Tweet

Has God asked you to do something that seems impossible? Are you thinking of taking that leap of faith? You may feel that the deck is stacked against or that you’re facing an impossible task. But when you follow God you will never go wrong. May God bless you!

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By | 2018-02-21T11:37:07+00:00 February 21st, 2018|Bible Study, Christian Life|0 Comments

Race to the Finish – 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

Race to the Finish 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into submission, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
                                                                                          

                                                            1 Corinthians 9:24-27

During Biblical times, there was an athletic competition similar to our Olympics. The Isthmian Games where held in the city of Corinth every two years. Athletes would train hard and devote themselves completely to the Games. Then, and only then, they would be allowed to compete in an event. Along with the bragging rights of a true companion, the winner would receive a pine wreath crown. The Apostle Paul likened the life of a Christian to that of a competitor in the Isthmian Games. But instead of bragging rights and a crown of pine, after we have run the race, we receive eternal life with Jesus.

There are certain qualities that an athlete must have in order to perform at the Olympic level. And I thought it would be fun to look at some of these qualities and compare them to what we as Christians can do to perform at a top level in our walk with Christ.

First, we need a Goal.

Every athlete has a goal in mind when they practice and when they compete. Without a goal there wouldn’t be a desire to win or a reason to show up at the competition. That goal is their main focus in life and their eye is always on it. They are always in pursuit of their goal and nothing will stop them from achieving it.

Every Christian has a call from God on their life, and each of us should set our goal on that call. We should be pressing forward or deliberately pursuing that goal. Just as an athlete sets their eyes on the gold medal or a Super Bowl ring, we must set our eyes on Jesus and make sure that He is the main focus of our lives. He is what we are pressing toward. His call on our life is the goal, and nothing will keep us from getting to that goal.

Every Christian has a call from God on their life, and each of us should set our goal on that call.Click To Tweet

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
                                                                                              Philippians 3:13-14

Second, we must work hard and show Discipline.

It takes hard work to get from the goal to the prize. We tend to think that people are born with a natural ability to be a top tier athlete. Either you have it, or you don’t. But an athlete needs discipline to reach the top of the podium. It is everyday practice and discipline that makes them able to train their bodies to perform at such a high level. Discipline makes them get out of bed every day and practice, even when their body is tired or injured. Discipline propels them forward when nothing else will. Discipline is what creates winners.

Just as an athlete needs discipline to go from a goal to the prize, we also need discipline in our daily lives. We should be training ourselves by praying, reading and mediating on God’s Word. These are some of the ways that we can work to put our faith into practice every day. When we do, God promises that we will be rewarded for our efforts and our goal will become closer and closer.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
                                                                                          1 Corinthians 15:58
                           
Third, we should have endurance and Perseverance.

A track runner is trained to only see the hurdle in front of them, not to look past it for the next one. They jump over the first hurdle, then move on to the next. Eventually they get to the last hurdle and then the finish line is in sight. They show perseverance through each hurdle until the race is over.

That’s how we need to be, focused on what God has put right in front of us. There will always hurdles to overcome in life and many things will distract us from our goal. At times the finish line will seem to be just out of sight. But when we have perseverance and look to Jesus, “the finisher of the faith” we will be able to run with endurance and see the finish line clearly up ahead.  

Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
                                                                                             Hebrews 12:1-2

It’s easy to feel weighted down and discouraged. When you don’t see any forward movement the finish line seems so far away. But Jesus has already won the victory for us! And when we set our goal on Him and run the race before us, we will receive everything we need to make it to that goal. We can race to the finish with confidence in our Savior Jesus Christ.

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By | 2018-02-12T16:29:28+00:00 February 7th, 2018|4th of July, Christian Life|0 Comments

Jesus Name Above All Names – Philippians 2:7-9

Jesus Name Above All Names Philippians 2:7-9

but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name.

                                                                   Philippians 2:7-9

 

As I sat in church, I felt like I was just going through the motions. I’d had a lot on my mind lately and it was hard to focus on the reason I was in church, to begin with. Then, God spoke to my heart and gently reminded me why I was there.

Jesus. He is the reason. He is the One who gave His life for me. And He deserves my awe!

There is no one else like Jesus. He alone is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and the Name Above All Names. He is the only One worthy of His title. The Father has exalted Him above all else, and I must do the same!

There is no one else like Jesus. He alone is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and the Name Above All Names.Click To Tweet

Sometimes it’s easy to forget and get caught up in the mundane things in life and lose focus. So, today I ask myself, has Jesus become commonplace in my life? Am I giving credit where credit is due? Do I live my life in a way that brings glory to Him? Am I in awe of the One who died to save me?

Jesus understood what He was facing when He came to earth. He knew He would be separated from the Father as He never had been before. And He realized that a brutal death reserved only for the worst of criminals awaited Him.

It’s true, Jesus could have saved Himself from such a painful death. If He had simply said, I’m not the Son of God, I’m just the son of a carpenter they would have let Him go. Likewise, He was capable of calling upon all of the angels in heaven to come down and defend Him. With their power and might the earth would have easily been destroyed.

But Jesus didn’t do either of those things. Instead, He did as the Father asked, left behind the glory of heaven, humbled Himself and became a servant. He did it for you and for me, so we could live with Him forever. Because of His great love for us, He gave Himself! And for that sacrifice, God has exalted Him and given Him the name which is above all names. He alone is worthy of our praise!

Today, my prayer is that you will know the love of Jesus. May His peace and glory fill your heart and mind as you focus completely on Him.

Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? If not, I ask you to please read the Accepting Jesus page. Many of the answers to your questions can be found there.

Together let’s celebrate Jesus, Name Above All Names!

Please leave a comment below and share the great things Jesus has done in your life.

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2 Older Comments.

Rebecca L Jones

11/22/2017 10:17:40 am

Such truth in your post, cares of the world, lust for other things, how easily it sneaks in on us. I love the artwork. Happy Thanksgiving.

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

11/22/2017 11:12:02 am

Thanks so much! I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

By | 2018-12-11T22:38:08+00:00 November 22nd, 2017|Christian Life, Jesus|2 Comments

Light of the World Matthew 5:14

Light of the World Matthew 5:14

You are the light of the world. A city on the hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 

Matthew 5:14-16

About a month ago, there was a commercial on TV for Bring Your Bible to School Day. It showed a group of teenagers wearing a basket on their heads as they went about their day. It was funny and a little bit silly too, but it conveyed the message clearly that our light cannot shine when it is hidden under a bushel.

Sometimes we find ourselves figuratively wearing a basket over our heads. Maybe we’re afraid of what people will think of us if we share our faith with them. Or we mistakenly assume that everyone has already heard the good news of Jesus. Satan would like for us to believe these lies and keep our faith to ourselves.

But Jesus has called Christians to be the light of world and to put our light up on a lampstand for everyone to see. It is our job to reflect the glowing light of Jesus and to be bold enough to take the basket off of our heads and let our light shine bright. When we do, these three things will happen…

Jesus has called Christians to be the light of world and to put our light up on a lampstand for everyone to see.Click To Tweet

#1 Opportunities to share our faith will open up.

How can someone ask us about our faith if they don’t know we have it to begin with? When people see us, they can tell that there is something different about our lives. And they want to know what that difference is. With each person we meet and with every question they ask, God opens up a new opportunity for us to share our faith. A seemingly chance encounter in the grocery store checkout line, or a random meeting at the DMV just might be the perfect time for us to share our faith with someone who needs the light of Christ in their lives. My pastor likes to call these “chance” encounters divine appointments. God loves to give them to us, especially when we least expect them. So, let’s be on the lookout for our next divine appointment and take every opportunity God gives us to let our light so shine before men.

#2 We will show the path to Jesus.

A lighthouse points the way to safety. It stands tall and shines brightly to keep a ship from crashing into the shore. And just like a lighthouse, we point the way to safety. Our light stands tall above the darkness of this world and shows the path to Jesus. It is a shining beacon of hope that keeps the unsaved of the world from crashing and burning into the despair of Satan’s lies and guides them into the loving arms of the Savior.

#3 We give God the glory!  

Most importantly our light gives God the glory for what He has done, for us and for everyone else. God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and be raised again to save us! And our lives have forever been changed because of it. We no longer have to live in guilt and shame because we have been forgiven. By letting our light shine, we are showing the world what Jesus has done for us and for them. And we give God the glory that rightfully belongs to Him.

We point the way to Jesus by reflecting His radiant light for everyone to see.Click To Tweet

Christians are the light of the world! The city on the hill and a shining beacon of hope. We point the way to Jesus by reflecting His radiant light for everyone to see. His light cannot be overshadowed or hidden from view. So, today I pray that we will be the light of the world and give glory to God for what He has done. May God bless you!

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6 Older Comments.

Ruth@plantedbylivingwaterr

11/2/2017 11:14:22 am

I definitely believe in divine encounters! It has happened to me numerous times.
May the Lord daily give us courage to let our light shine in the dark world around us instead of our trying to hide it under a bushel.
Thanks for this great reminder!

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

11/2/2017 11:26:55 am

Hi Ruth! Thank you for your encouraging words. I’m saying a prayer for you today. May God bless you and give us all the courage to be the light of the world!

sue

11/3/2017 10:38:29 am

so true – how can someone ask me if they don’t know i am a woman of faith? super reminder and praying today I’ll shine and that someone will ask. Light to shine. Invited to invite.

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

11/3/2017 03:59:30 pm

Thanks Sue, Praying for you today that your light will shine bright. God bless!

Rachel Lee

11/3/2017 04:06:14 pm

Connie, I love your ministry! Very original!

You wrote, “Sometimes we find ourselves figuratively wearing a basket over our heads.”
Yep. I can definitely relate to this. It’s a shame, but it’s true.

I believe in divine encounters, and I truly try to view every “chance encounter” as a divine encounter. We never know how we may impact another in our day to day life!

-Rachel

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

11/3/2017 04:29:44 pm

Hi Rachel, Thank you for your kind words. They have uplifted me and encouraged my heart today! I’m saying a prayer for you, that you will also be encouraged.

By | 2018-02-12T16:41:29+00:00 November 1st, 2017|Christian Life|0 Comments

Salt of the Earth – Matthew 5:13

salt of the earth, salt and light, Matthew 5:13

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 

      Matthew 5:13

Everyone loves salty food! Potato chips, French fries (anything fried, right?), pizza, pretzels, and the list of yummy foods could go on forever… But doctors and dieticians tell us not to eat too many salty foods because they’re bad for our health. And they say we should check the amount of sodium on food labels. But more important than the amount of sodium in our diet is the amount of salt in our spiritual life. Even though we may not sprinkle salt liberally on our food it should be sprinkled on our hearts abundantly. Our spiritual health and the spiritual health of those around us depends on this kind of salt, even if our diet doesn’t.

We’ve all heard that Christians are to be “salt and light”. But what did Jesus mean when He said that we are “the salt of the earth”? And how can we apply that to our day to day lives.

To fully grasp what Jesus meant when He spoke these words, we need to understand the purpose of salt in Bible times and what salt symbolizes to us now in a modern world today. So, let’s look at some of the keys elements of salt together…

#1 Salt is Stable

Salt is a very stable substance. The molecules of sodium chloride form an ionic bond that is very strong. In the same way, salt symbolizes the strength of our stability in Jesus. Our faith is firmly bound together in the tangible, real truth of the Living Christ. This stable foundation we have in Him is as factual as the science of salt molecules.

#2 Salt is Life Sustaining

Salt is essential for life. Our physical bodies need a small amount of salt every day. Without the trace amount of minerals and electrolytes in it we will die. But spiritually, we must have an overflowing amount of salt. For ourselves, so that our spirit will flourish in this life and the next. And to season the lives of the people around us with the salt of God’s wisdom and love, so that they can have this life sustaining nutrient too.

#3 Salt creates Thirst

Each of us is born with a spiritual thirst inside of us. It starts out as a longing or a feeling of being parched but not knowing why. The longer this thirst goes on, the bigger it becomes. Until one day it’s full on dehydration that quickly becomes an undeniable need and must be filled right now.

Movie theatres put a lot of salt on popcorn to make us thirsty so they can upsell us a giant soft drink. As Christians, we don’t want to “sell” anyone our faith. We just want them to know who Jesus really is and to understand that our life is different from theirs because of Him. So our goal is to sprinkle our spiritual salt around in a way that allows the world to see Jesus and become thirsty for what He offers. The “secret” Christians have is simple. We know that Jesus is the only One who has the power to quench the spiritual thirst inside each of us.

Each of us is born with a spiritual thirst inside of us. It starts out as a longing or a feeling of being parched but not knowing why.Click To Tweet

#4 Salt Preserves

God created our bodies with a need to eat. And with that need comes another, preserving food for future consumption. Since God created us, it’s no wonder that He also gave us a natural way to preserve our food with salt. But modern technology has replaced our need to preserve food naturally. Now that we have refrigerators, chemicals and 24 hour grocery stores we’ve conveniently forgotten how to salt meat and can vegetables. But salt has been used as a food preservative for centuries.

This is exactly what Jesus was talking about when He said that we are “the salt of the earth”. As Christians we understand that Jesus is the only One who can truly preserve life. And we know He took our place on the cross and became the life preserving salt that we desperately needed Him to be.

But because of what Jesus has done for us, it is our responsibility to be the salt for others. Not that we can preserve their life, we know we can’t. But we can point the way to Jesus, the Preserver of life!

#5 Salt can lose its flavor

When salt loses its flavor, it also loses its purpose and becomes useless. The common practice in Jesus’s day was to throw tasteless salt out onto the street where it would be trampled on by people and animals.

Sometimes we lose our saltiness as believers. We don’t intend to, it just happens. We get caught up in our mundane daily routines, go through crisis after crisis or get hurt by another church member. Little by little we lose our taste for salvation. The incredible joy we once felt diminishes and we find ourselves just going through the motions. Then, one day we wake up and realize we’ve lost our purpose too. We’ve become ineffective Christians, something we never wanted to be. But unlike salt, that cannot regain its flavor once it is gone, we don’t have to remain stuck in this pattern of joyless, tasteless being. We can turn to Jesus and regain the purpose and zest for salvation we once had! And we can once again be useful and productive for the kingdom of God!

Jesus has called us to be “the salt of the earth”. Because, when we share our faith, we are giving the unsaved world all of the redeeming qualities of salt. We are showing them the stabile foundation we already have in Christ. And the thirst quenching, life sustaining, preserving power that they can have in Jesus too. Together, may we season the life of an unsaved person with the knowledge and grace of Jesus Christ each and every day!
God bless!

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By | 2018-07-31T15:57:59+00:00 October 25th, 2017|Christian Life|0 Comments

Where is God When Bad Things Happen? Part 2

Where is God When Bad Things Happen Part 2

Last week we asked the question “Where is God when bad things happen?” and I shared with you some of the Bible verses that have helped me when life takes a turn for the worst. If you missed it, you can read it here…

Today I would like to continue our discussion by sharing with you the stories of the two hardest days of my life and the answer to prayer I received as a result.

Each and every one of us will be affected by the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives. When it happens, as it surely will, the pain can be devastating. I hope that by sharing my story, in some small way, it will help you to understand how much God truly loves you and wants to give you comfort when bad things happen.

Each and every one of us will be affected by the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives. When it happens, as it surely will, the pain can be devastating.Click To Tweet

My Granny was one of the most influential people in my life. Her immense joy and strength were always a source of encouragement for me. Most people saw Granny as a fun loving lady who lived life to the max. And a handful of people probably would’ve said she was a little intimidating. That always makes me laugh. Because even though Granny was fiercely independent and would always tell it like it was, she was also a big hearted woman who loved her family and friends and would do anything in the world for us.

Growing up, I wanted to be just like Granny in every way. And I think I got my wish, because the older I get, the more I act like her. Some would say that is a good thing and probably others might say I should rethink my life strategy. But either way you looked at it, Granny was a force to be reckoned with because she lived life on her terms.

When we heard the news that she was in the ICU on life support my world stopped turning. It’s as simple as that. It’s the one time in my life when I completely lost it. I fell to the floor crying and screaming. I’ve never been one for hysterics and usually I’m in control of my emotions. But that moment was different. The pain came from so deep down inside, bubbly up and spilling out of me. All I can say is that I felt like life would never be the same again. And to some degree it isn’t.

I remember the drive to Tulsa from our home in Arkansas very well. There had been a huge ice storm the day before. That two hour drive turned into three because the icy roads were so difficult to pass. The time ticked by so slowly and all I wanted was to be by her side. I prayed, for her, for us and I asked God, “Why?” Why did this have to happen and why did it have to happen now?

For a year and a half, my mom had been going through chemo treatments. We wondered if each day would be her last, never really having a grasp of what the future would hold. Our world was already extremely hard. The everyday had become unbearable, and now this. You see, Granny had been fine. It was my mom that we had been worried about. One day Granny was the picture of health, living vibrantly and fully. The next, she was in the hospital dying. It just wasn’t fair. But in the car on the way to see her, knowing it would be the last time, I prayed that prayer. “Why?” And God answered. His words were short and to the point but they have never left me. “I am still on My throne and all is right in the world”. That may not sound like the answer I was looking for but God’s words are always true. And there is comfort in knowing that.

Another year and a half after Granny passed away, my mom passed from the cancer that she so bravely fought for three years. Watching her suffer and die the way she did was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. Every day of those three years I prayed that God would heal her. On that final day sitting next to her bed, holding her hand and watching her struggle, my prayer changed. And I begin to pray, “Please God don’t let her suffer anymore. Take her home to be with You.” God heard my prayer, as He always does, and about an hour later she was in the presence of Jesus.

Those two days were the hardest of my life. Losing the two women I was closest too almost killed me. But each time God pulled me out of the pit of my despair. He didn’t leave there to sink all alone. He heard my prayers and answered them.

I will always love and miss these beautiful women who shaped my life in unexplainable ways. They meant more to me than I can ever tell. And my life will never be the same now that they are not in it. But I am so grateful that God let me have them for a little while.
So the question remains, “Where is God when bad things happen?” Simply put, God is still on His throne and all is right in the world.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
                                                                                            Hebrews 4:16

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16Click To Tweet

God is not a faraway being in a gilded cage. He is a loving Father who knows the pain we feel and sees every tear we shed. When our world falls apart and the pain is too deep to comprehend, this is our invitation to bring all of our brokenness directly to Him. It’s an open ended invitation to seek Him in every situation we face. Nothing is too big for Him to fix and nothing is too small for His attention. God wants us to confidently come to Him and lay our burdens at His feet so that we can receive mercy and grace to help us in our need.

My dear friend, if you have lost a loved one and are reeling from the pain it has caused, I pray that you will understand that God is still on His throne and He has you in the palm of His hand. He will not leave you to face this hurt alone. Take your burden to Him and be healed by His mercy and grace. May God bless you always!

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2 Older Comments.

Rebecca L Jones

10/13/2017 08:40:15 am

I am sorry for you loss, may He open our eyes to the fact that healing is ours, and how to believe He has already accomplished it.

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

10/13/2017 01:57:19 pm

Hi Rebecca! Thank you for your kind and reassuring words. God has healed my broken heart as only He can.

By | 2018-05-16T18:18:00+00:00 October 11th, 2017|Christian Life|0 Comments

Where is God When Bad Things Happen? Part 1

Where is God When Bad Things Happen? Part 1

Every time we turn on the TV there is another terrible tragedy unfolding right before our eyes. Hurricanes, floods, wildfires and terrorist have suddenly become common news stories. But these things aren’t just stories, they are earth shattering events in someone’s life.

We truly feel for the people touched by these tragedies and we want to help any way we can, so we give to charities out of the goodness of our hearts. Yet, somehow the tragedy seems far away and removed from our own lives. And we always think these same things won’t happen to us.

But the truth is, all of us will be affected by a serious tragedy at some point in our lives. Our turn to experience hardship will surely come, whether it’s the death of a loved one, our home destroyed by a natural disaster or another unseen event so bad that we never could have imagined it in our worst nightmare.

When a tragic event strikes, it wreaks havoc on our already chaotic lives, turning everything we know upside down. The little bit of security we’ve worked so hard to create for ourselves is pulled out from underneath us. And the peace of mind that we strive for becomes a distant memory. As the pain wells up in our chest leaving us breathless, we realize just how fragile life really is. Then, we’re left to wonder “Where is God when bad things happen?”

My dear friend, I have felt your pain. I have experienced the torment of watching a loved one suffer and die an agonizing death. I have seen everything I once thought important taken from me. And in my despair, I have searched for an answer to this question. But I want you to know that waiting for you on the other side of the pain is hope. Hope that the situation you’re in won’t last forever and hope that tomorrow will be a better day. I would like to share with you some of the Bible verses that have helped me to get through the pain and see that hope of better days to come.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
                                                                        John 16:33

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. John 16:33Click To Tweet

It stands out in my mind that Jesus didn’t say trouble might come our way, or its possible bad things might happen to us. He said unequivocally you WILL have tribulation. I know that’s not a very comforting thought, but stick with me, I promise it gets better. Jesus backed that up by saying He has overcome the world! That’s a pretty amazing statement when you think about it. Jesus has overcome the pain and suffering we are currently facing. He has overcome every sin that separates us from Him and keeps us from the peace He offers. And He did it by dying in our place so that someday we will be with Him in heaven. Then, instead of sorrow and hardship we will have the unlimited joy and peace that only comes from knowing Jesus as our Savior.

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
                                                                        Psalm 34:18

The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18Click To Tweet

When we are grief stricken, words fail us. Nothing anyone can say will ever be enough to set things right again. In this moment, what we need most is to be in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. And that is exactly where we are. God has promised that in the midst of our pain, He is close to us. He understands our pain and all of the reasons we have a broken heart.  And He wants to comfort us and give us a safe place to rest within His care.

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
                                                                         Psalm 30:5

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5Click To Tweet

The pain we have today may feel like it goes on and on with no end in sight. But God promises that tomorrow will come and with it, hope for a brighter future. So, whatever you do, don’t give up, because morning is coming.

As you read this verses, I hope they will provide you with the same source of strength and courage to keep going that they have given me over the years. But if you are still wondering “Where is God when bad things happen?” the simple answer is this…He is exactly where He has always been. He hasn’t left and He hasn’t changed. He is still right next to you, ready to lift you up and see you through this tragedy you are facing. So, I pray that you will feel the closeness with God that you are longing for. And that you will know, your hope for a better tomorrow is waiting just around the corner. May God bless you greatly!

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God bless!

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2 Older Comments.

Rebecca L Jones

10/4/2017 03:04:19 pm

Joy comes in the morning. ( Love the handbag. )

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

10/4/2017 06:38:59 pm

Hi Rebecca! Thanks so much for your kind words. God bless!

By | 2018-05-16T11:36:50+00:00 October 4th, 2017|Christian Life|2 Comments

Monday Motivation – Proverbs 14:26

The book of Proverbs is often said to be an instruction manual for life. The central theme and the first bit of wisdom taught within its pages is to fear the Lord. That doesn’t mean to hide or tremble in fear, but rather to fully understand who God is. To be in awe of Him and His power. Once we understand the enormity of God, we are His children and He is our Father. Just like a father here on earth is obligated to love and protect his children, God promises us His love and protection. We have a safe home in Him and a place of refuge when life becomes too much. To fear the Lord is a wonderful thing because once you know Him you will never be the same!

Bible verses for Fall Proverbs 14:26

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Your Labor is Not in Vain – 1 Corinthians 15:58

Your Labor is Not in Vain 1 Corinthians 15:58

Does it seem like no matter how hard you work nothing ever changes? Are you worn out from the demands of daily life? Believe me, I feel your pain. We’ve all been there and sometimes we just need a little inspiration to get through it.

No matter how weary or exhausted you feel right now, God doesn’t want you to remain there. He wants you to be energized and ready to take on the world. So, He gave us some much needed inspiration for a time such as this. Here’s His promise for a worn out, down-right tired heart.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
                                                                                                                                         1 Corinthians 15:58

Let’s break this down into bite sized pieces and find out exactly what Paul meant when he wrote these words.

My beloved brethren…

Like many of the promises within the Bible this one is meant for us, the body of Christ and not the whole world. God has so much that He wants to give us, but we must be a believer first in order to be partakers of His promises.

as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
                                                                                    2 Peter 1:3-4

Steadfast…

We are to be focused on Jesus, and to continue focusing on Him even when life throws us a curveball. At times, it can seem to be a hard task, but if we remain steadfast we will see a real change happening. Instead of the daily chaos of life, that steadfast attitude will turn into a peace that stays with us.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
                                                                                  Philippians 4:7

Immovable…

Many people have called me stubborn over the years and I’m sure they didn’t mean it as a compliment. 😉 While being stubborn about silly things that don’t matter is not the right way to be, stubbornness in Godly things is always good. The Apostle Paul is calling on us to not be wishy washy, but instead to stand our ground and keep the faith when it really does matter. We know that God does not change, His ways are always the same. Likewise, we are to be, stubborn, single-minded and immovable in the ways of Christ.

God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.
                                                              Psalm 46:5

Always abounding…

As I read this verse, the catchphrase, “under promise and over deliver comes to mind”. It’s about an abundance of love for our fellow man that flows out of us and covers them with the love of Christ. And it’s about going that extra mile even when we’re tired and exhausted because we want them to understand exactly who Jesus is and what He means in their life.

But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
                                                                                   Hebrews 13:16

Work of the Lord…

The work of the Lord is wide and varied. It can mean different things to each one of us. So the question becomes, what has God asked of you specifically? At home? At work? At church? And in any other area of your life? If you are unsure of God’s plan for you, simply ask Him. He will tell you. Then when you have the answer, you can put it into practice in a way that is pleasing to Him.

equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever, Amen.
                                                                                   Hebrews 13:21

Not in vain…

Whatever we do for the kingdom of God, it will not be in vain. God has promised to reward us for our efforts. That reward may come in this life, and wouldn’t that be great? But if not in this life, our reward will definitely be waiting for us in the next.

And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
                                                                                  Revelation 22:12

When we labor for the Lord we lose nothing and gain everything. He has promised to equip us with what we need for the work He has given us. And He has promised to repay us a hundredfold for our sacrifice. So, my dear friend and fellow laborer, my prayer for you today is that you will not lose heart when fatigue sets in and that God will energize you for the work ahead. May God bless you and give you rest!

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By | 2018-09-02T15:24:35+00:00 September 20th, 2017|Christian Life, Jesus|0 Comments

Carry or be Carried – Matthew 9:2-8

Carry or be Carried Matthew 9:2-8

We like to compare ourselves to the people from the Bible. But it’s usually the strong, noble ones that we look to for inspiration. Like Esther and her unwavering faith in the face of adversity, or Paul’s resolute attitude about his imprisonment. They did amazing things for the kingdom of God. And sometimes we are like them, empowered and ready to fight the good fight. But other times we are more like the paralyzed man in Matthew 9 who had to be carried to Jesus. At first glance his story seems like a sad one and not someone we would want to be like. But God’s word is clear that this man and his friends had faith in Jesus and what He could do.

Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven you.”

And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”

But Jesus, knowing what was in their thoughts, said, “Why do think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say ‘Arise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”- then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” And he arose and departed to his house.

Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men. 

                                                                                                                        Matthew 9:2-8

#Jesus is the goal of every believer. And to experience His healing touch when we are weak is what we need most.Click To Tweet

Jesus is the goal of every believer. And to experience His healing touch when we are weak is what we need most. Within this story, I see two ways for us to get to Him.

First, we are like the paralytic man who needed to be carried to Jesus. He had faith that Jesus could heal him if only he could find a way to get to Him. But he couldn’t do it on his own, so his friends carried him to Jesus. Just like this man, we all have times of weakness. It may be a physical, emotional, mental or spiritual pain. Whatever the cause, we need a friend to carry us to the Savior, because we are not strong enough to get to Jesus on our own. In our pain, they are the light that leads us to Jesus, the only One who can heal us of our hurt.

Second, we are like the friends of the paralytic man. They too had faith that Jesus could heal their friend. So, they made a plan, put their friend on a bed and carried him to Jesus to be healed. Sometimes, the roles are reversed and our loved ones are weak and need us to carry them to Jesus. It’s our turn to be the light pointing the way to Jesus. As much as we may want to fix whatever is hurting them, the best thing we can do, is to be a friend who will take them to Jesus so that He can heal their pain.

We are not always strong, sometimes we’re weak. But that’s okay. Because #Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9Click To Tweet

We are not always strong, sometimes we’re weak. But that’s okay. Because Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 If we are willing to accept that God can use us even in our weakness, then a whole new world of opportunity opens up for us to serve in God’s kingdom. We can display the same kind of faith that the paralytic man and his friends showed by taking our hurts to Jesus. Then, when we allow Jesus to work through us, even when we are weak, we are strong. The next time we find that we are weak or that a friend is in need, let’s remember that Jesus is the only One who can truly heal us. Carry or be carried, either way, just get to Jesus and be healed by His grace and power!

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By | 2018-09-18T18:27:50+00:00 September 18th, 2017|Christian Life, Friends, Jesus|4 Comments

3 Promises for Tough Times – Jeremiah 31:3-4

3 Promises for Tough Times Jeremiah 31:3-4

Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt.
                                          Jeremiah 31:3-4

Jeremiah was in a pickle. God had given him the unenviable task of telling the people that they had failed God and He was about to unleash His wrath upon them. Ouch!

Judah was in a covenant relationship with God. They were His chosen people, yet they chose to worship the pagan god Baal. The king of Judah had been defeated in battle and now the people were the subject of Egypt. Soon, God would allow brutal Babylon to rule over them for seventy years. Yes, tough times were on the horizon for the people of Judah. But instead of turning to God for help, they chose to continue worshiping their false gods and idols.

So, God sent Jeremiah to call Judah out on their wicked ways and tell them to turn back to Him before it was too late. But they ignored Jeremiah’s warning of God’s coming judgement.

Faced with the people’s indifference to his message, Jeremiah had his own choice to make. He could go with the flow and follow the people’s lead, or he could remain faithful to God and His will. In the face of adversity and a growing defiance from the people, Jeremiah chose faith over popularity.

God remained faithful to Judah, in spite of their disobedience. He remembered His promise to restore His blessing. And because of His everlasting love, God showed His mercy on a faithless people and gave them a new covenant.

This story from Jeremiah isn’t just a piece of history from long ago. It is meant for us right here, right now! Just like Judah, sometimes we find ourselves facing tough times. And just like Jeremiah we might be in a pickle.

When tragedy strikes us close to home, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The pain is too close and the struggle is too difficult. It’s almost impossible to see how anything in our lives can ever be right again. We’re at the crossroads and we have a choice to make. We can decide to turn our backs on God like the people of Judah. Or we can turn to God for help and rely on His promises during the tough times to come.

The Bible is filled with so many blessings and promises from God! Each one of them meant to give us hope for a better tomorrow. Within Jeremiah 31:3-4, there are three promises from God to help us in our time of need. Once we understand them, we can face any hardship with a new perspective and resolve.

#1 An everlasting love…

God loved us before time began and He still loves us now in the midst of the storm we are facing. God’s love for us is an everlasting love. It has no beginning and it has no end.

But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…
                                                                Ephesians 2:4-5

God showed His mercy and demonstrated His great love for us by sending His Son to save us and give us everlasting life. Through the sacrifice of Jesus we have the ability to experience this everlasting and unending love of God.

#God loved us before time began and He still loves us now in the midst of the storm we are facing. Click To Tweet

#2 I have drawn you…

Because of God’s lovingkindness, He stretches out His hand to us and draws us to Himself. Even when trouble surrounds us and all seems lost, God has not forgotten us. He draws close to us in our need.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
                                                         James 4:8

#3 Again I will build you…

Whatever hardship we have endured, whatever sin we have committed, God has promised to rebuild our relationship with Him.

You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Christ Jesus. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,
Behold, I lay in Zion
A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no
means be put to shame.
                                          1 Peter 2:5-6

As Christians, we are the building project of God. He is the contractor, building a spiritual house for us to dwell in. Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the building, keeping our spiritual house from crumbling and falling to pieces. God has formed us into “living stones” to be set upon the cornerstone of Christ. Each stone is carefully and deliberately placed, making us the walls of the house firmly set on the foundation of our faith. But our sin tears down the house God is building for us. So, He forgives our sins and builds the house back up again. We are imperfect so, the building goes on and on. It is a continually building and rebuilding of our lives. And it will only be completed once we are in heaven with Him.

Jeremiah’s story is a testament of a faithful servant who endured many hardships yet followed God anyway. Today, his story stands as a reminder to us that tough times will come, but we have a loving Heavenly Father who is always faithful to the end. We may make bad choices or get knocked down, but when we make Jesus the cornerstone and main focus of our lives, we will never fail. God will honor His promises to us. He will show us everlasting love, draw us with lovingkindness and pick us up and build us again.

If you are facing tough times, I pray that you will turn to God and be encouraged by these promises. God loves you, He will draw you to Himself and He will build you again.

God bless!

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God bless!

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2 Older Comments. (These comments cannot be replied to, but you are welcome to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.)

Bonnie Lyn Smith

9/18/2017 03:41:51 pm

Amen! So awesome to find your blog via #FaithFilledFridays! I love this! Tweeting and pinning!

Connie from Master’s Hand Collection

9/19/2017 07:26:24 am

Hi Bonnie! Thank you so much for your kind comment. I’m glad we could connect through #FaithFilledFridays . And I’m looking forward to checking out your blog. God bless!

By | 2018-02-13T13:40:36+00:00 September 13th, 2017|Christian Life, God|2 Comments

The Path Of Life – Psalm 16:11

The Path of Life Psalm 16:11

Do you ever ask yourself “how did my life turn out this way”?

When we graduate from high school or college we’re just fresh faced kids ready to conquer the world. We decide on the path we want our lives to take and start down it thinking only good things will come our way. Then, somewhere along that path, life takes an unexpected turn. The next thing we know, we’ve ended up in no man’s land and we’re left wondering what the heck happened. All of those plans we made for ourselves seem so far away and that fresh faced kid is just a distant memory. We’ve veered off the path.

David had one of these “how did my life turn out this way?” moments too.

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
                                      Psalm 16:11

When this psalm was written, David found himself in a precarious situation. His life had taken an unexpected turn for the worst. The young kid who started out as a meek shepherd and then became a celebrated hero when he defeated Goliath was on the run. David was hiding out in the wilderness because King Saul and his army were looking to kill him. They had caught up with David and had encircled around him. Death seemed imminent.

Many of David’s psalms talk about the feeling of enemies surrounding him and he must have been scared knowing that they were out there. But instead of sitting around being scared and wondering what happened, David trusted God to show him the path of life. He had experienced both the highs and lows of living a life for God. And he believed that God would take care of him at this critical time. Even at his lowest David could still praise God and experience the joy of being in His presence because he understood that joy, real joy comes from knowing God.

Even at his lowest David could still praise God and experience the joy of being in His presence. #Joy #BibleStudy Click To Tweet

But David’s psalm is more than just a lament about his own circumstances, he was pointing the way for us to the coming Messiah, the true path of life.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
                                                           Matthew 7:13-14

It doesn’t matter what our previous plans were, or the disappointment we felt when they didn’t work out. That path we chose for ourselves when we were young was about this life and what we would become in it. But God is more concerned with what will become of us in the next life. So He gave us a path of life. Jesus is that path, a path to eternal life. And this verse is our roadmap to Him.

You may have noticed that Jesus only gave us two choices on the path. We’ve reached that critical point in the journey where the road forks off and only goes in two directions. We must turn one way or the other to continue on and it’s an important decision worthy of serious consideration. We can either, turn left and enter through the wide and easy path. This is the worldly path that offers pleasure in this life but ultimately leads to hell and eternal destruction. Or, we can turn right and enter through the narrow and difficult path that leads to eternal life in heaven with Jesus.

Jesus said that most people will choose the wide and easy path. These people are just going through life and don’t give this decision much thought. Or they think that the choice can be put off for another time. But tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us and death may come when you least expect it. By then the choice has already been made and it’s too late.

That’s why Jesus urges us to choose the narrow gate. He loves every one of us and He died to save us. And He wants each one of us to be the few who find the narrow gate. Yes, the narrow gate is a harder, more difficult path to take and Jesus said that we will be persecuted for our faith. But our reward is in knowing our Savior and spending eternity with Him.

Most people don’t want to hear this hard truth. Because when they do, they are forced to choose which path they will take. And just to be clear, not choosing is a choice in itself, and not a pleasant one.

The decision to follow Jesus is life changing. And sometimes change is hard. So, if this life changing decision is hard to make, Jesus put it another way…

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
                                                           John 14:6

I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6 #BibleVersesClick To Tweet

This is a bold and clear statement. Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only eternal life. If we want to see the Father and end up in heaven when we die, then Jesus is the one and only way to get there. And we don’t do ourselves or anyone else any favors by saying otherwise. This is our God given promise, if we believe in Jesus, that He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world, then we will have eternal life with Him.

For most of us, we made the choice a long time ago to follow Jesus and enter through the narrow gate. But sometimes it’s good to look back on where we’ve been and how we got here. The path behind us, reminds us of everything Jesus has done for us and how far we’ve come. And the path stretched out in front of us leading the way to the Savior gives us something to look forward to.

Like David, we can experience the joy of being in God’s presence. And we can see the joy waiting for us up ahead when we’ve reached the end. This is the joy we can only find in knowing Jesus. It is a joy that fills us completely and gives us confidence in our faith. The path of life may be long and winding but with Jesus we will get there.

Is there an event in your life that has brought you to where you are right now? Are you asking yourself “How did my life turn out this way”? If you’ve veered off the path a little bit, it’s okay. The roadmap hasn’t changed and you can still get back on the path. Jesus is waiting for you with open arms. Today, I pray that you will remember all of the reasons you gave your life to Christ and be strengthened by that decision. And I pray that you will stay firmly on the path of life and see the joy waiting for you up ahead.

If you have not made the decision to take the narrow path, then I pray that you will understand the love Jesus has for you and choose to follow Him. To find out more about making this crucial decision please read “Accepting Jesus” by clicking here or on the tab at the top of the page.

God bless!

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By | 2018-08-27T13:17:18+00:00 September 6th, 2017|Christian Life, Joy|8 Comments

Because of Grace – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Because of Grace 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

This past week my faith was put to the test.  And I’m sad to say that I stumbled and fell. In fact, I face-planted. It was an epic fail!

My family has been planning a big renovation on our front porch for a while now. I knew that this project was going to be bigger than some others we have done in the past. And I knew that it would require a lot of time and physical labor. Because we usually do all of the work ourselves, I wanted to have everything else done and be able to concentrate all of my efforts on the porch reno. As the time to start the project grew closer, I began making preparations for it. I managed to get the laundry caught up, the meals planned and groceries bought, my blog post written and anything else I could think of.

But there was one thing I couldn’t foresee coming my way. Right in the middle of the porch reno, I started to get bug bites all over my body. They were small and itchy and more and more of them showed up every day. We had a flea infestation on our hands! I couldn’t understand why this was happening. We don’t have any pets right now and we treated the yard for bugs like we do every summer. But here I was, covered in flea bites from head to toe. It was awful and we’ve never had anything like this happen before. I was at a loss as to what to do.

I really didn’t want to take the time to deal with it. But it reached critical mass about three days into the reno and I realized I had no choice but to stop and deal with this distraction. Since I was waking up with new bites every morning, we thought that the majority of the fleas were coming from my bed. So, after reading online about how to get rid of my unwanted house guests, we bought some flea powder and sprinkled it all over the bed. The instructions on the powder said to let it sit for a while so went back to work on the porch. We spent the next few hours out in the heat, tearing up the front porch and peering up the joist boards.

Honestly, by the time we came in to vacuum up the flea powder, I was hot, sweaty, itchy and tired. I was really spent. But I couldn’t lay down and rest with all of that flea powder on the bed, so I started sweeping it up. My mind began to wonder, and all I could think about was how miserable I felt. It started as a simple thought, “thanks a lot God, I really needed this right now!” Immediately I regretted that thought. And immediately I wanted to take it back. But there it was, for God to hear. That thought took hold of me and filled me with shame and regret.

This one moment of weakness had made me question my faith. Not because of God, but because of me. If I was so weak that I couldn’t get through this little bump in the road, then how could I ever be an effective witness for Christ?

But God reminded me, I’m not saved because of anything that I have ever done or will ever do. I don’t have that kind of power. I am saved because of grace. Period.

God is good, isn’t He? I turned to Him and asked for forgiveness. He took the shame and regret that consumed my mind and replaced it with this verse from 2 Corinthians. I’ve been thinking about this verse last few days.

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
                                                                     

                                                                                                                          2 Corinthians 12:7-10

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 #BibleVerseClick To Tweet

The apostle Paul was arguably the greatest Christian to ever live. Yet, he needed God’s grace in his life too. He stumbled and felt weak. But when times were tough, he didn’t give up the faith. He persevered and turned to God for strength. As I prayed, these words Paul wrote so many years ago, became the beacon of hope that helped me get back up and continue on in the faith.

“lest I be exalted above measure”
Maybe I needed to be knocked down so that God could lift me back up. I definitely needed some perspective on the situation. It’s not as bad as I had made it out to be. God has seen me through worse than a few fleas, much worse.

“a messenger of Satan to buffet me”
I knew that Satan was the one tripping me up. He was waiting for a time when he could sneak in and kick me while I was down. I had been on the lookout for him, but he chose his time perfectly. Because in my weakness, I let my guard down. In that moment I felt like he had won. But he did not win. And he will never win. Because I belong to Jesus and no one can ever change that!

“My strength is made perfect in weakness”
My weakness was on display in my heart that day. I let it get the best of me. But as Paul said, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” There is so much I can’t do on my own and I need Jesus to give me His strength. In those times, I’m so glad that His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

“My grace is sufficient for you”
My salvation comes from God’s power and the saving grace of Jesus, and nothing else. He has saved me because I can’t save myself. It’s God’s grace that gives me the ability to move past this moment of weakness and find strength to persevere. Because His grace is more than enough to see me through.

I never would have thought that something as small as a flea could test my faith in such a big way. While the renovation and the fight against the fleas is not over, my faith is still intact. And after taking time to reflect, I realize… I may have had an epic fail, but God’s grace is more powerful than any moment of weakness. He is always faithful to forgive and restore me to His love and grace just as He promises. And He will do the same for you.

If your faith is being testing or, like me, you’ve had an epic fail, I pray that you will be comforted by the words of 2 Corinthians. And that you will know God’s grace is sufficient for you. He will see you through it, because of grace.

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By | 2018-04-24T19:54:15+00:00 August 30th, 2017|Christian Life, God, Grace|0 Comments

How to Overcome Doubt – Matthew 14:31

How to Overcome Doubt Matthew 14:31

O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
                                     Matthew 14:31

Doubt is a dirty word in Christian circles. It’s something we don’t talk about just in case the pastor is listening. And we pretend that we don’t feel it because we think our friends will look down on us if we admit it. But the truth is, we all have doubt. Every single one of us. I have doubt, and I bet you do too. Having doubt doesn’t mean we are bad or that we don’t love Jesus. It just means that we’re human. Because it’s human nature to doubt what we can’t see. We think if we can’t touch it or hold it in our hand, then maybe it’s not real. Sometimes doubt is just a fleeting thought. It comes to us in an instant and leaves just as quickly. But other times doubt lingers. It plays tricks with our mind, tears us apart on the inside and robs us of our joy.

Before we go into how to overcome doubt, let’s look at where it comes from. If we can understand the source of our doubt, we can easily quiet it when it comes calling.

#1 Satan

All Christians have an enemy in Satan. He seeks to destroy us and doubt is one of the many tactics he uses against us. He will search for a way into our lives to achieve his goal of utterly demolishing us. Once he has found a way in, He is relentless in his attack. He will slink in, like the snake he is, and put doubt in our minds leaving us feeling hopeless. Then slink off again to look for some other poor soul to terrorize. But we don’t need to fear Satan or listen to his lies. Jesus has already defeated him. However, we need to be mindful of his plan to place doubt in our hearts and minds and learn to recognize his devious actions.

#2 Outside Sources

We are called to live in the world but not of it. But sometimes living in the world leaves us vulnerable to doubt. These outside sources are the things of this world that distract us. They could be the people we surround ourselves with, the things we read or watch on TV, social media, etc. Anything we put into our minds can cause doubt to form if we allow it to influence our thoughts.

#3 Ourselves

Sometimes our doubt is much closer to home than we would like it to be. At times, we can be our own worst enemy. Our view of ourselves can leave us feeling like we’re not good enough or that we’re a failure. These negative thoughts can cause doubt to creep into our minds if we allow them to take hold.

God, in His infinite wisdom, knows the innermost workings of our minds. He knows we have doubt and He knows that we wonder where He is when everything goes wrong in our lives. He understands our hearts and He has not left us alone to face doubt on our own. We can recognize what causes doubt and quickly overcome it with one simple God given tool…our Faith!

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
                                                                                     Hebrews 11:1

In Matthew 14:31, Jesus said to the disciples, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  The disciples had been with Jesus and they saw Him perform miracle after miracle. They had the unique opportunity of being an eye witness to the ministry of the Savior and they still had doubt!

At some point each of us made the decision to give our lives to Christ because the Holy Spirit showed us the truth of who Jesus is. Unlike the disciples, we have not physically witnessed the miracles of Jesus. But we know for a fact that God is real and that Jesus is the Son of God because of our faith. We may not be able to reach out and touch God or witness the miracles of Jesus with our own eyes, but we can see what He has done in our lives, around us and for us. We have seen the hand of God at work. This is the evidence of our faith. When doubt enters our minds, we can remember those times when we were so close to God it did feel like we could touch Him. If we look around we will see His goodness surrounding us.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
                                                                                        Romans 10:17

When we become firmly grounded in God’s truth, doubt will no longer have a hold on us. #GodsWord #BibleStudyClick To Tweet

We have the most powerful weapon on earth at our disposal, God’s Word. Faith comes by hearing the word of God and understanding the truth within it. We can grow our faith by reading the Bible and storing it in our heart. When we become firmly grounded in God’s truth, doubt will no longer have a hold on us. Instead of allowing doubt to destroy us, we can simply turn to the Scriptures and lean on the promises of God to get us through. Because God’s word is real!

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!”
                                                                                        Mark 9:24

Lord I believe, help my unbelief! Mark 9:24 #BibleVerseClick To Tweet

This is a prayer of a man who had doubt in his heart but still wanted to believe. It’s an honest and heartbreaking cry to the only One who could help him in his suffering. We all know how he felt because we’ve been there, on our knees begging God to help us in our pain and unbelief. When doubt creeps in, we have a direct line to God. We can shoot up a prayer to Him in a second and ask Him for strength and guidance.

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
                                                                                         James 5:16

Our prayers are not effective because we have great faith or because we are faithful to God. They are effective only because we are righteous through our belief in Jesus. This is our promise from God… He is always faithful to us and He will hear our prayers when we call out to Him.

Yes, we all have doubt, but doubt doesn’t have to keep us from experiencing the loving touch of God’s hand in our lives. It’s okay to have questions. And it’s okay to ask God to help us when we doubt. But we cannot afford to let doubt penetrate our minds and our souls. We must recognize it for what it is and stop it in its tracks. Our faith is the tool that helps us to overcome our doubt and seek God’s face in times of need. So today, I pray that each one of us will turn away from doubt, seek the Father and grow our faith in Jesus. God bless!

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By | 2018-08-01T10:34:14+00:00 August 16th, 2017|Christian Life, Hope|0 Comments

The Gift of Giving – 2 Corinthians 9:7

The Gift of Giving 2 Corinthians 9:7

I’ve been shopping for the perfect gift for my dad. While I was shopping I began to think about all of the things my dad has given me over the years, flowers on my birthday, jewelry for Christmas, and a Bible with a hand written note inside during a difficult time in my life. That Bible soon became one of my most prized possessions. Not because of the monetary value of the item but because of the sentimental value of that note from my dad. Sometimes when I’m feeling down, I read it and remember how much I’m loved.

Aside from giving me tangible objects, my dad has given me his time. Over the years he has always been there for me, taking care of me when I’m sick, listening to me when I’m upset and encouraging me to reach for my dreams.

But the most important gift I have ever received from my dad is actually a lesson in giving and what it means to give in a way that is pleasing to God. My dad’s spiritual gift is giving and I’ve been fortunate enough to witness his giving and to learn from it. Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned from watching him over the years.

#1 Be a cheerful giver.

So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
                                                                                     2 Corinthians 9:7

Pleasing God is more about your attitude than your action. What is in your heart? Are you giving only because you feel that you have to or are you giving because you truly want to give? Giving is not my spiritual gift and my natural inclination is to save money instead of giving it away. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t give, and it doesn’t mean that I can give with a bad attitude and still please God. For me, being a cheerful giver is something that I have had to learn to do and it has taken practice. But over the years my attitude about giving has changed. I have seen the way that my dad gives and the blessings that God has given in return. My dad has taught me how to be a cheerful giver and to always have gratitude for what God has blessed me with.

#2 Give without boasting.

Take head that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
                                                                                      Matthew 6:1-4

My dad is the kind of guy that leads by example. He doesn’t talk about it, he just does it. And that is how Jesus instructed us to be in our giving. Not giving openly seeking attention or praise from other people. But giving quietly and secretly, seeking only the approval of God. What we have to give came from God and if we give looking for our own glory then we are taking the glory away from God that is rightfully His. Our approval should be from Him. He sees what we do privately and He will reward us for it. The acknowledgement we receive from other people will only last for a short time but the acknowledgement from God lasts forever.

#3 Give of yourself.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
                                                                                     John 3:16

Giving is about more than money. It’s about giving of your time, your skills, friendship, compassion, etc. We all have something to give. We just have to be willing to do it. If God could give His Son and if Jesus could die in my place, what can I give in return?

#4 Be a blessing.

It is more blessed to give than to receive.
                                                                      Acts 20:35

I once heard a pastor say “Blessed people, bless people.” This is so true, because the more we have, the more we can give. This is what Jesus has called us to do, to be a blessing to those around us. So, I have strived over the years to learn how to give and how to be a blessing to the people in my life.

My dad has taught me so many life lessons and I’m grateful for all of them. But the lesson I will carry closest to my heart is the gift of giving.

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By | 2018-02-06T14:25:28+00:00 June 14th, 2017|Christian Life|0 Comments

Unfriended – Psalm 55:12-14

Unfriended Psalm 55:12-14

Have you been hurt by a close friend? Do you feel like you’ve been unfriended? How can you get through it and move on?

We celebrate our friendships. Especially those with our sisters in Christ. We feel that we have a special bond with our Christian girlfriends that we just don’t share with other people. We can open up about the hardships we face in life and share how our faith gets us through it.

But as much as we cherish these friendships, the truth is that sometimes they end. One day your relationship is thriving and the next thing you know, it’s over. I’m not talking about a casual friendship or someone that you see in passing, but rather that one girlfriend that you shared a deep and intimate friendship with. You told each other everything and you felt that you were closer than sisters. This is the girlfriend that you thought would be there for you until the bitter end. The one girlfriend that you thought you would never be unfriended by.

Maybe you had a falling out, or maybe you have no idea what went wrong. Either way, they’ve left you in the dust and moved on. Their life seems to be moving forward and you are standing still wondering what happened. The pain is real and somehow the idea that it was another Christian who hurt you makes it so much worse. You feel alone and betrayed.

Have you been hurt by a close friend? Do you feel like you've been unfriended? How can you get through it and move on? #Unfriended Click To Tweet

The words of David speak so well in a time like this. He too knew the pain of being abandoned by a close friend.

For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;
Then I could bear it.
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted
Himself against me;
Then I could hide from him.
But it was you, a man my equal,
My companion and my acquaintance.
We took sweet counsel together,
And walked to the house of God in the throng…

Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He will sustain you.

Psalm 55:12-14; 55:22

David was in terrible pain. It was not an enemy who had betrayed him. It was his companion and confidant, someone who David had worshipped God with. But in his grief, he was reminded to cast his burden on God, his one true friend. So what do you do when a friend hurts you? How can you find comfort and strength to move on?

Find closure if you can. Go to this friend and ask them what happened. Why are they shunning you? Let them know that you want to work it out. Maybe your relationship can be saved, maybe it can’t. But at least you will know that you tried to fix the problem.

Realize that God has a plan for your life and for theirs. God brings people together for a reason and sometimes He pulls them apart for another. It’s hard for us to understand this because we can’t see the future, but God has a reason for everything He does. Pray and ask God what His reason is. You may be surprised by the answer.

Wish your friend well and move on. Proverbs 17:17 says “A friend loves at all times.” Love and forgiveness may seem like an impossible feat at a time like this, but God can give you the heart to do it. Give it some time and try to move forward with your life. Forgiveness will come.

One of the most painful things we can go through is the breakup of a close friendship. It’s easy to become jaded and think you’ll never find another friend that close again. But if we turn to God we will find the comfort and strength that we are looking for. Our Heavenly Father loves us and wants to give us wonderful blessings.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I’ve been hurt by a close friend. I come to You now asking for the comfort that only You can provide. Please fill my heart with love and acceptance. Please help me to forgive and move forward with Your plan for my life, and please be with my friend as she moves on as well. I know that You have our best interest in mind and that you will take care of both of us. Thank you for Your gentleness in guiding me back to where I need to be. In Jesus name, Amen.

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May God bless you greatly!

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By | 2018-04-23T19:09:01+00:00 April 19th, 2017|Christian Life|2 Comments