The Holy Spirit-God’s Grace Within Us

Holy Spirit-God's GraceWithin US

Titus 2:11-13 NIVFor the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I accepted Christ at a young age and at that time I did not have a full understanding of what it meant to be saved. I accepted Christ because I believed in Jesus and I believed in God. I did not know anything about the Holy Spirit. As a matter of fact, I barely knew much about Jesus as a kid. I knew God. I remember being taught that we should pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV) and I wasn’t even sure how to do this. So instead of praying without ceasing, I talked without ceasing. I was always having a silent conversation with God, He was my confidant. As I grew up, we stopped going to church so my spiritual growth was at a halt. I still believed and I still talked to God like He was my best friend, but I did not learn all the things that I should have about Jesus, the Holy Spirit, faith, grace, forgiveness, etc. It was not until my twenties that I started to study the Bible on my own and go to church sporadically. In my late twenties I really began to get involved in church and became devoted to studying my Bible and developing a strong faith. Now I know Jesus and I know the Holy Spirit. I’m so amazed when I look back over my life and see how I was guided by the Holy Spirit although I did not realize the Holy Spirit at work in my life at the time. So many relationships I avoided that I thought I just knew better than to befriend them, but really it was the Holy Spirit directing my path. So many things that I never tried and not because I did not know people who were trying them but because I had wisdom from the Holy Spirit and did not know. There have been many things happened in my life that I thought was just coincidental and when I look at it now I know without doubt that I it had to be the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is one of God’s greatest gifts to us as believers. Luke 11:13 NIV says that “The Holy Spirit is a gift of grace”. The Holy Spirit is the constant evidence of God’s grace because the Holy Spirit now indwells in us. John 14:15-17 ESV states, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

I hear a lot of talk about grace and a lot of talk about the Holy Spirit but usually they are not spoken of together. So in this post, I just want to put the two together and show why the Holy Spirit is the greatest gift of grace ever given. First, let’s look at Titus 2:11-13 NIV, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Although these verses describe grace, they also describe the Holy Spirit. And I would venture to say that these verses are intentionally describing the Holy Spirit. When you look at the whole chapter of Titus 2, it details how we should set examples for those watching us. Without the Holy Spirit indwelling within us, we could not set good examples because we would be subject to the flesh which would not allow us to live godly lives. We would have no self-control without the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:16-17 NIV says, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh”.
Let’s look at the similarities of grace and the Holy Spirit based off of Titus 2:11-13:
In my opinion, the Holy Spirit is the best representation of God’s grace. Without the Holy Spirit, believers would not be able to operate in the grace described in Titus 2:11-13, because the Holy Spirit gives us the temperament and the instruction to live godly lives. I am glad that I serve a God who knew that I could not live a holy life without help and gave me a Helper.
Much love until next time,

High Expectations Seasoned with Grace

High Expectations with Grace

Philippians 3:14 (KJV), “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.
When my 7 year old, Felicity, was around 4 years old she was a wee bit mischievous and I found myself correcting her quite often. One particular time, I don’t remember what she did, but I do remember telling her not to do it. Would you believe that she did it anyway? I was so upset that I raised my voice at her and she burst into tears. It broke my heart to see her cry but I just could not get over the fact that I told her not to do something and instead of keeping my command, she did it any way. I picked Felicity up and carried her to the couch to explain why I was upset. Through tears she said, “I’m sorry mommy. Do you forgive me?” I replied, “Of course I forgive you baby, I will always forgive you.” Ever since that day, I have had numerous similar conversations with all my children, usually stemming from them being disobedient. As they have gotten older, I have increased my level of expectations for each in regards to how they communicate when they are upset, what chores they are given and how I expect them to be completed, I expect them to complete our normal routines without having to be prodded over and over, I expect them to listen and follow instructions without complaining or procrastinating (depending on the age of the child that I’m talking to), etc. Now I rarely have days where all of these things happen, so instead of getting angry and raising my voice I have chosen just to correct them and forgive them. I find that I am like a broken record because I’m constantly explaining my expectations to my kids. I do this because I can’t give up although that would make my life easier, because my goal is to raise kids who can function without their parents one day. I fully look forward to the day where all of my kids are adults, living on their own, and productive citizens to society and the Kingdom. But until that day comes, I cannot grow weary if I expect to reap the harvest that I want.
Does this sound familiar? Being told not to do something but doing the exact thing we were told not to do? Disobedience with forgiveness as a given? High expectations that are not met consistently? Being told the same thing over and over only to complain or procrastinate? Constant correction done in love? Our relationship with God mirrors our relationship with our children so much that I am almost certain that one of God’s purposes for giving us children is so that we can see the error in our own ways. In my post Self-Reliance is NOT a Kingdom Principle, I mentioned that God has high expectations of us. Which is why “the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son” (Hebrews 12:6, NIV). Just like parents, when God gives us clear instruction, He expects us to follow directions. The Bible is full of God’s expectations of His children, and just like we do with our children, these expectations are repeated over and over again from the Old Testament to the New Testament.
These are just a few of God’s expectations and these are generally the ones that are the easiest to keep. I think of these as the basic commandments, these are the commandments we teach our young children. But as we become more mature in our faith, God’s level of expectation rises in the same way we increase our expectations of our children as they mature. Just read Colossians 3 for a detailed list of the expectations God has for believers who are mature in their faith. I’m going to give you Colossians 3:8 from the NIV for a little snippet. It states, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” This whole chapter is filled with instructions on what not to do and what to do. It is a wonderful representation of the expectations.
As I read through this list again just now, I saw a couple of things that I failed at just this week. Romans 3:23 NLT states, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Although God sets the standard, He also knows that we will have a difficult time meeting the standard. The beautiful thing about our God is that He does not expect perfection but the constant striving to meet His expectations. In Philippians 3:14 KJV, Paul says, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Even Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, was only striving; He did not meet all of God’s expectations, but he never gave up. That is what God expects from us, He gives us the standard to live by and then we judge ourselves by the standard. And when we fail, we correct ourselves and keep striving. The grace that we receive is that God continues to offer blessings upon blessings even though we continue to fall short of His standard. I do this same thing with Felicity every single day. There is not a day that goes by that she does something that she knows that she should not do, but there is also not a day that goes by that I don’t forgive her and show her my love in different ways. She doesn’t deserve many of the things she receives from her father and I, but it’s something about her humbleness and genuine apologies that makes us want to bless her with a new toy, a special excursion, or even a snack she loves. God does this for all of us if we just humble ourselves and genuinely repent of our sins. Remember God wants to bless us, the least we can do is eagerly attempt to do His Will.

New Creation

New Creation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV).
That is the verse that I cling to on a daily basis. Make no mistake, I am a work in progress. There are days where I don’t feel like a new creation, the days where I’m not feeling especially friendly towards others. Sometimes I don’t want to extend grace to my clients because I’m frustrated with problems that I feel are no big deal, but are very big problems to them. There are days I yell at my kids because I’m short on patience and I forgot to ask God for His peace. I also have moments where I become upset at my husband because I expect him to read my mind, not realizing that while most of the time we are in tune with each others thoughts and feelings, that is not always the case. I have so many examples that I should be ashamed, but God continues to extend His grace to me when I don’t deserve it.
Just a few days ago, Kevin (my husband) and I were talking and he said something along the line of “Just because we are new creations does not mean that all of our thoughts are righteous thoughts, that’s why we have to continually take our thoughts captive”. Our conversation continued from there, but I knew that I wanted to write out my thoughts on that for this blog. I know that Kevin’s statement would have made a world of difference to me when I was newly saved, and it is still a good reminder for me. God does not expect us to no longer make mistakes, He does want us to repent and take the necessary steps to not repeat the same mistakes. Eventually we should get to the level of Christian maturity that we auto-correct our thoughts before they become our actions.
Let’s take this conversation to scripture. Becoming a new creation is not just a one-time event, it is a daily task. In Luke 9:23 (NIV) Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Every single day of your life you must deny your flesh and your will and choose to follow Jesus and strive to do the perfect will of your Father. Once you become born-again, the enemy’s attacks become more targeted and more frequent. Just know that these attacks are intended to make you feel unworthy of your calling in Christ Jesus. Jesus was tempted by Satan and gives the disciples wisdom on how to overcome temptation from the enemy. In Matthew 26:41 (NIV) Jesus says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”.If Jesus was tempted by Satan, know that we will be tempted as well. If Jesus had to pray to not succumb to temptation, you better believe that we do too!
Satan is not your only problem as a Christian, your flesh is problematic as well. Galatians 5:17 (NIV) says, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:19-21 goes on to name some of the things we battle within the flesh such as, sexual immorality, impurity, idolatry, hatred, discord, jealousy, selfishness, and drunkenness to name a few. Just because we received the Holy Spirit when we were saved and became new creations does not mean that the flesh dissolved, in fact, it’s just as sinful as ever. But we have to be on guard and practice denying ourselves and accepting the Holy Spirit’s lead on all matters in our lives. The more we do that, the more disciplined we will become and the closer we get to being a true disciple. James 1:2-4 (NASB) states, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
So what can us Christians do daily to achieve our goal of denying the flesh and letting the Spirit lead? Well, I’m glad you asked! First, we need to realize thatwe have the mind of Christ, according to 1 Corinthians 2:16. Since we have the mind of Christ we can combat any attack that comes our way, whether the attack is from Satan or our flesh. Having the mind of Christ means that we can resist temptation, we can say no to sexual immorality, jealously, hate, judging others, and selfishness to live righteously. We have to renew our minds as it says in Romans 12:2 (NIV), “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.” When situations arise that can easily lead us into an ungodly place, renew your mind that immediately. You have to be quicker than the flesh, that is why I always say stay on guard. Most bad decisions happen in a split second. That bad decision can be as simple as speaking negatively about another or lying to someone to stay out of trouble.
Being a Christian is not for that faint of heart, but the benefits of righteous living far outweigh anything that I had before I was saved. The joy alone is worth the journey. Knowing that I am living for God allows me to put away my selfish desires and do what I enjoy most, which is helping and empowering others. And having God work everything together for my good gives me a peace that truly helps to eliminate worries and fears. Add that to the fact that I’m going to Heaven, there is no greater goal that I have than being with my Father one day. Those are just some of the benefits that are impactful to me, you have to figure out what the benefits are to you. When you know how being a Christian is beneficial to you, then you can hold on to those benefits when times are hard and when things are falling apart but you don’t understand why.
I know that we have already looked at a lot of scripture today, but I want to leave you with two more to meditate on, in addition to the ones mentioned earlier, that you can recall when the enemy is attacking you or when your flesh and the Spirit has a battle.
  • Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

From Condemnation to Conviction

From condemnation to conviction

The enemy is very crafty and will try to use something intended to glorify God to make you feel bad about yourself. A couple of weeks ago I was asked to do something that would seriously help a singe mother. I kind of wanted to help but it was going to be an inconvenience for my family. The enemy swooped right in before I made a decision of whether or not to help and made me feel horrible about not wanting to help a single mother. “How could you not, you’ve been a single mother before?” the enemy taunted. “You are so mean and selfish!” he screamed. “You never want to help anyone unless it fits into your schedule,” he went on and on. Satan was condemning me and he was using things that I have heard from my family in the past to make me feel like I was a horrible Christian.
Satan had me feeling so bad about myself that I had to pray. I prayed because I know that I’m not a bad person and that I had not even made up my mind not to help, I was just thinking about the implications of helping and how my family fit into the picture. While I was praying, the Holy Spirit said, “Let us not grow weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9a NIV). I was convicted by the Holy Spirit, and I knew that I was being called to help this young lady, so that is just what I did. And wouldn’t you know it, the inconvenience to my family was so minimal that I cannot even call it an inconvenience.
Satan will always use your past to condemn you, but “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV). Yes, in the past I was a little selfish, I liked things to operate on my schedule. But now that I’m following Christ Jesus more closely, I realize when someone has a need, it isn’t going to always fit into my free time.
So how do you turn condemnation into conviction? You need to recognize when you are being condemned. When those thoughts come into your head, ask yourself if these thoughts line up with the Word of God. God wants us to use Philippians 4:8as our model for thoughts:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things (NKJV)
This passage does not tell you to think of your negative past, but of praiseworthy things. It doesn’t say put yourself down, it tells us to think of noble things. It doesn’t say think of your unfavorable characteristics, but to think of your lovely characteristics. God uses things that are “just” and “virtuous” to convict us at times; but never to make us feel bad, only to glorify Him.
2 Corinthians 2:16b says, “But we have the mind of Christ.”I know that it doesn’t always seem that way, especially when Satan attacks our minds with condemnation. When this happens we have to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).
Also keep in mind that turning condemnation to conviction does not mean that God will tell you to do the thing that Satan is condemning you about. Whatever God convicts you of will always line up with His Word.
Satan may try to pull a fast one on you. For instance, if some friends invite you out for drinks but you don’t drink anymore because you tend to drink too much, Satan may try to convince you to go out and drink through condemnation. He’ll say things like, “Oh now you think you are too good to hang out with old friends”. “Now that you’re a Christian you can’t have any fun anymore, you are boring!” “You’ll never win your friends over to Christ if you don’t spend time with them”. Yes, the enemy will try to condemn you using Jesus as the reason you should do something. But when you ask God for help, He will come back with Ephesians 5:18 “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit”. Or Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.”
Conviction is a good thing that believers receive from God as a form of discipline, correction, encouragement, and love. When you are convicted view it as the love of your Father.
In addition to prayer, meditate on these verses to turn any condemnation into conviction:
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • Philippians 4:8
  • 2 Corinthians 2:16
  • 2 Corinthians 10:5
May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Self-Reliance is NOT a Kingdom Principle

self-reliance is not a kingdom principle

In the past, I struggled with being self-reliant. I really adopted the independent woman persona, trying to do all things by myself. It was like I had something to prove. I wanted to be seen as an organized, multitasking, well put together superwoman who did not need anyone’s help. It was not until I started studying my Bible, praying, and hearing the Word of God through my Bishop that I realized thatbeing self-reliant is not a Kingdom principle. It took some work in building my faith, but I learned to rely on God way more than I rely on myself. Well, in the last couple of weeks, self-reliance has reared its ungodly head in my life again. So this morning I prayed that God remove this spirit of self-reliance and replace it with remembering to call on Him every day. My ultimate goal is to glorify God with everything that I do, but I cannot glorify God without His guidance. Right after I prayed, the Holy Spirit led me to read John 15 (NLT), specifically focusing on verses 4-5. Jesus says in these verses,
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
God does not want or expect us to make it on our own. He wants us to remain in Him so that we can produce much fruit. Isn’t this just what we were created for? To produce much fruit in Christ Jesus? But right here, Jesus lays it out plain for us, we cannot produce much fruit without Him, because apart from Him we cannot do anything. I always thought being independent was the most desirable attribute of a woman, but God has definitely changed my viewpoint. I thank Him for that revelation in my life. Trying to be independent would have led me down a lonely road, I probably would have never considered getting married if it wasn’t for that revelation.
The truth is God was helping me even when I was not actively trying to remain on His vine. God does that for all of us. I want you to do me a favor and think back over your life. I mean go all the way back as far back as you can remember. Remember all of the situations that you have been in, that you should not have come out of unscathed or should not have made it out at all. Think of all the things you tried that you knew that you shouldn’t try, but you tried anyway. Think of all the addictive substances you used but thank God that you did not become addicted. Think of the unhealthy relationships that you knew you should have left but you stuck around longer than you should. Think of the people who you hung around that you knew were a bad influence but you let them pressure you into making horrible decisions. And when you recall these memories just start praising and thanking God, because your life could be so much worse than the blessed life you are currently living.
The reason God kept saving us, and continues to save us, is because we have larger purposes to fulfill. God keeps rescuing us despite our free-willed mistakes because He has high expectations of us! He created us for specific purposes that He knows we are capable of executing with His help. God is just waiting on us to ask for His help in accomplishing His perfect plan. So when you get tired of spinning the wheels of independence and self-reliance, call on God. With Jesus Christ interceding on your behalf, God will begin to prepare you to walk in your abundantdestiny.

Faith is Spiritual Not Logical

Faith is Spiritual Not Logical

A couple of weekends ago, something totally illogical happened in my life. I had a credit card payment due on Friday. I looked at the bill and I kept mentally reminding myself to make the payment, but in the busyness of the day I still forgot. I ended up going to bed that night without making the payment. I awakened suddenly at 3:25 AM and remembered the payment again. It was too late, it was a new day and the payment would be considered late. And we all know that a late payment is not good for your credit score. So I prayed that God would touch the heart of whichever company representative that I spoke to later in the morning and allow them to not report my payment as late. I officially got up around 7:00 AM and logged into my credit card account online to make the payment. When I look at my billing information it read “No minimum payment due”. Huh? I just looked at my bill yesterday. So I decided to open up the PDF version of my billing statement just in case there was a system glitch, and the bill said, “No minimum payment due”. How could I not praise my Lord God? This was not logical! There was nothing about what just happened that could be logically explained, unless you are a Christian.
I have come to realize that being a Christian comes with benefits ranging from small to mind-blowing. But to be honest, anytime God moves in my life in a way that is inexplicable, my mind is blown. This is not the first time God has done this in my life, some are so amazing that you would not believe it if I told you. My reason for saying that faith is spiritual is because when you are asking God to do things in your life, be prepared for Him to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20 KJV). The power that works within us requires faith. With faith in God anything is possible. With faith, I found the courage to start this blog. And it may not seem like much right now, but with faith, I know that it will do exactly what God has planned for it and I’m not going to worry. And with faith, I have found time to write my blog posts, research ways to spread the message here, in addition to being a wife, mother of five, friend, and have a full time job. I honestly did not believe that I would be able to do so, but God is carving out time just for me to focus. Thank you Lord God!
See, one of the main reasons that I started this blog is because I have a tendency to be overly logical. Typically, everything has to make sense in order for me to understand it and I work best with things that are easily understood. A lot of people treat faith in this same manner, they will not act on God’s promises because they cannot make sense of how God will fulfill those promises. I hope to help at least one person with this by writing this post. Maybe you want to believe in God but struggle with believing in someone that you cannot see. Maybe you believe in God but you don’t see where you fit into His Divine plan for humanity. Or maybe you have received instruction from God, but you are afraid to take a leap of faith. I’m here to tell you that one of the most beautiful things about faith, is that it does not have to make sense. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” If you only do things that make sense to you then you are not practicing faith in God but faith in yourself. We have limits, God does not. When you put your faith in yourself or others, then you will only go as far as your mind and talents can take you. When you put your faith in God, you will elevate to heights you did not even know existed so you had no idea how to even plan to get there. What do you have to lose by following God and putting your faith in Him? If you have been repeatedly let down by man (including yourself) I implore you to put your complete trust in the Creator of the universe. He has your best interests in heart, after all, He is your Father. All that He asks is that you follow Him and be obedient to Him. Which is not a lot to ask when He gives us way more than we give Him. He wants to give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4) So the question is…are you willing to live in the unknown and follow God even when you have no clue what the plan is in order for God to bless you and elevate you, so that you can glorify Him?
God bless you all!

God’s Will and Your God-Given Purpose are Not Interchangeable Concepts

God's Will and Our Purpose are not the same

God’s Will has been made out to be some elusive concept with no real answers to the question “What is God’s Will for my life?” I have read numerous books by authors who I will not name because I still have much respect for them. Also these authors are not incorrect, but just misleading to me (remember, I’m the woman in who needs complete understanding). I had been on the journey of finding God’s Will for my life for years in hopes that I would figure it out before I died. I read books and articles, listened to numerous sermons, and prayed. During one of my prayer times, God told me that I was looking for His Will desperately, but I was going down the wrong path. God said, “Just open your Bible and there you will find My Will.” I obeyed, and instead of using my previous discovery methods, I just read the Bible eagerly searching for answers. But I was still lost. One morning, after praying once again for God’s Will for my life, my oldest daughter asked me how she could figure out God’s Will for her life. And instantly God told me that we have been using the wrong terminology all along. See, what my daughter and I were seeking was God’s purpose for our lives, not God’s Will for our lives.
In that moment, the Holy Spirit gave me such clarity on God’s Will and my purpose. What was revealed is that God’s Will and my God-given purpose were not interchangeable concepts, but finding my purpose was dependent upon my obedience to God’s Will. God’s Will is found in scripture, and His will for me is exactly the same for all believers. God’s Will for our lives is for us to obey Him, acknowledge Him, and glorify Him with everything we do. Throughout the Bible you will discover passages that unearth God’s Will for His people. Here are just some of the many verses, but please let this list encourage you to study the Bible more and more:
  • Ephesians 5:15-20 15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18-give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
  • Jeremiah 29:11-For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3-It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality
  • 1 Peter 2:15-For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.
These are just a few. The Ten Commandments are a high-level summary of God’s Will for man. But the only way to know and fully understand the Will of God is by reading His divinely inspired Word. Only once you understand and are walking in the Will of God will you find out your purpose. Hebrews 10:36 (NIV) states, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” The more you become obedient to God’s Will, the more He will show you your individual purpose. In John 15:1-5 (NLT) Jesus says, “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
Remaining in Jesus (which is God’s Will) causes you to produce fruit. The fruit that you produce is linked to your purpose. So if you are like my daughter and I, on a constant search for your purpose, just follow God’s Will and your purpose will soon be revealed.
Much love and God’s blessings,

Confession: I Believe God Cares About Everyone But Me

This post is going to be a little personal because it is about me. I’m writing it to help me overcome this but I’m publishing it in hopes that it will resonate with and help someone else. This is a problem that I did not know I had until I realized that my husband has to repeatedly ask me a simple question, “Have you prayed about it yet?”
Let me give you all a little background on me. I’m the kind of person who has faith that with Jesus anything is possible. I believe that if you ask anything in the name of Jesus Christ, God will do it for you (John 14:13) I am an intercessor, often going into prayer for family, friends, even strangers who have no idea that I am praying for them. I have seen countless prayers answered and I believe these things came to pass because there were at least two of us praying while gathered in His midst (Matthew 18:19-20). But when it comes to praying for myself, Kevin has to remind me. When I’m not feeling well and laying in bed in pain, Kevin comes in and asks, “Have you prayed about it yet?” When I’m frustrated with the kids and on the verge of a snapping, Kevin calmly asks, “Have you prayed about it yet?”. When I’ve had a hard day at work and cannot seem to shake what is bothering me, Kevin asks, “Have you prayed about it yet?” Unfortunately, my answer is usually “no”. Kevin is great and just goes into prayer with me immediately, but lately I have been wondering why this seems to be my regular answer.
To be completely honest, it means that I don’t think that I am as deserving of God’s help as everyone else. At first I tried to justify my lack of prayer to mean that my problems are relatively small problems in contrast to other people’s issues. Then I had to look at this and realize that I am not taking God at His Word. 1 Peter 5:7 (ESV) tells us to cast “all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you”. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” What stands out about these two scriptures, is that they both tell us to go to God with anything. They don’t tell us to only go to God with big problems or only in desperate situations, the Word says “all” and “every”. I know and have proof that God can and will move on my behalf and offer up His peace and healing. But if I’m not asking Him to, then I have a low sense of my value to God.

Isaiah 43:1b-4 (NIV) is a beautiful description of how much we mean to God.
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers; they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze, for I am the Lord Your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;…Since you are precious and honored in My sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV) says, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing”.
Luke 12:7 (NIV) says, “Indeed the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows”.
These are all wonderful reminders of God’s love for us and how much we mean to Him. God has given me so many blessings that I did not pray for, imagine how blessed I would be if I took all of my concerns to Him as He requests of me. This goes for every Christian. If we would just put God first in everything, and go to Him, He will do just what He promised. God is not just the Almighty, He is our Father. And our Father wants us to depend more on Him and ourselves less.
The next time Kevin asks me, “Have you prayed about it yet?” My answer will be “Yes!”
Does this resonate with you? If so, chime in below!!!

Spiritual Exercise

Spiritual Exercise

According to the Library of Congress, the heart is “the hardest working muscle…it pumps out over 2 ounces (71 grams) of blood at every heartbeat. Daily the heart pumps at least 2,500 gallons (9,450 liters) of blood” (Library of Congress, 2017). It is safe to say that the heart has to be in constant use for us to continue to live healthy lives. Our hearts are not able to take breaks, they have to be in continuous action all day, every day. The heart does not get to take a break when it feels it has worked long enough. It does not get to put in a vacation request or take time off for the holidays. Even when the heart is sick, it is still forced to work. And though we don’t necessarily do anything manually to make the heart work, we must exercise and have a healthy diet in order to get the best and longest use out of our hearts.
Faith is like the heart of the spirit. When used properly, it is the hardest working muscle of the spirit. Believers should constantly use faith in their day-to-day lives. Like the heart, faith needs to be active to do it’s job. James 2:17 (NIV) states “…Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” With that being said, we must participate in spiritual exercise and feed our spirit with the Word of God throughout the day to develop our faith. You have to use your faith regularly because as muscles can lose definition when you stop exercising, faith can decrease when you stop your spiritual exercises. Do not give your faith a break! The enemy is constantly looking for a way to impart doubt into your heart and mind. 1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV) says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings”. Satan does not take breaks so neither can we. The only way to stand firm in our faith is to exercise our faith and grow this spiritual muscle. I’m going to give you four spiritual exercises that you should do every day (multiple times a day) to grow your faith muscle.

Four Spiritual Exercises to Develop Your Faith

Pray: Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV) to “pray continually”. Prayer is every believers first line of defense because it can be done anywhere, any time, without having to stop what you are doing at the moment. When we pray continually, it shows God that we realize that we need Him for His guidance and that we are not trying to operate independently, but we depend on Him in every situation. Prayer should be used when we are faced with worry, fear, or doubt. We should pray when we are dealing with difficult people or difficult issues. Prayer should be used when we are engaging in spiritual battles. Pray for more faith! Ask God daily to increase your faith. Jesus said in Mark 11:24 (NIV), “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours”. If you ask God to increase your faith and you believe that He will, it is already done.
Study:  I use the word study instead of read because study means “to apply oneself to acquiring a knowledge; to endeavor to learn or memorize; and to read carefully or intently” (dictionary.com). So, do not just read the Bible, take your time and take notes, do some background research about the text, and commit impactful scriptures to memory. Studying the Word of God is one of the best ways to grow your faith because the more you know about God, His goodness, and His Will, the easier it will be for you to learn to put your trust in Him. Don’t stop at reading, many churches have sermons online now, there are virtual Bible studies, you can even simply search for a topic in Youtube that will bring up awesome teachings. Soak up the Word however you can!
Believe:  From all of the prayer and studying you are doing, you should have acquired a belief in the promises of God. If you haven’t, continue to pray for increased faith. Without unwavering belief, there is no faith. In Matthew 9, Jesus healed several people and even brought the dead back to life all because these people had no doubt that Jesus could heal them. There is a story there of two blind men who approached Jesus and asked Jesus to heal their blindness. Before Jesus performed the miracle, He asked “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28 NKJV). The blind men answered affirmatively; then Jesus touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be to you” (Matthew 9:29 NKJV). And the blind men were able to see instantly. The moral of the story is that the men were only healed because of their unwavering belief that Jesus had the power to allow them to see. When you learn to stop doubting, you will see that faith releases the power of Jesus in every area of your life.
Obey:  Just as God is faithful to us by keeping His promises, we must be faithful to Him by following His perfect Will. Obedience is the action step of faith. James 1:22-25 (NIV) states
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
The phrases that I want to note are “Do what it says” and “not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it”. Obeying God is all about doing His Will. When you do His Will, He will bless you. And from witnessing the blessings taking place in your life, your faith will grow.
Get a good workout in today!
Much love,

A Biblical Response to Domestic Violence

Disclaimer: I am an advocate that works in a domestic violence shelter. I am fully aware that men are victims of domestic violence, but in this post I will use feminine pronouns for ease of reading.
You are probably reading this post for one of three reasons:
1.You are currently in a domestic violence relationship struggling with the idea of leaving.
2. You have left a violent relationship but you feel stuck because you cannot move past the fear, trauma, or psychological beat-downs that you are used to. You feel confused because you know that you deserve better but you still feel stuck.
3.You know and love someone in a violent relationship and you are trying your hardest to encourage him or her to leave. It hasn’t been successful thus far, but you are hoping to find some Bible-inspired message of hope that will jolt her enough to make her realize that she was created for so much more.
Created…that word has so much power in it! We were all created by God, the Most High, before we were even thought about by our parents. In Jeremiah 1:5a (NIV) God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” So what I’m telling you is that God created you for a specific reason, His glory. Isaiah 43:7 (NLT) says, “Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.” Since God created you for His glory, it stands to reason that He did not create you to stay in an abusive relationship. Listen here my friend, you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” according to Psalm 139:14 (NIV), which means that you are special to God. God created you with a purpose and a goal in mind that has gotten placed on the back burner because you have been in an abusive relationship that has made it hard for you to build a close relationship with God. But until you develop that relationship with God you will never find your purpose.
Please understand, I am not blaming you for being where you are, I just want you to want God more than you want your relationship with your partner. I want you to want God more than you want a place to live. I want you to want God more than you want to feel loved by another person. I want you to want God more than you want any drug or alcohol. I want you to want God more than you want predictability and a false sense of comfort. Once you place God at the head of your life, you will find it increasingly hard to stay in a relationship with anyone who does not treat you with love and respect.
Now it would be negligent of me not to mention that the only way to have this close relationship with God is to be saved and become a born-again Christian. There is no way to form this relationship or to realize why God set you apart until you take this step. I encourage you to begin reading the Bible and learn about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I also need you to find a church home where you can be saved and taught the Word of God.
Ask yourself this question, “Who am I?” The correct answer is that you are a child of God, which makes you the daughter of the King of all kings, which means that you are royalty. Ephesians 1:5 (NLT) says, “God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.” Galatians 3:26 (NIV) states, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” It is your time! You can no longer deny your heritage. You are royalty! It is time to carry yourself as royals do. Royals have clear cut boundaries that have consequences if crossed. As a daughter of a King, you have to realize that you are out of place and run back to the Kingdom.
Now that you know who you are, you need to figure out how to get out of the relationship that Satan wants you bound to. Satan wants you to feel helpless so that you don’t leave this relationship, he wants you to feel guilty about leaving your partner, and he wants you to feel responsible for the abuse. Don’t let Satan trick you! The longer you stay in this relationship, the longer Satan has you right where he wants you, and the more time he has to devise more schemes to keep you in the relationship. Remember, Satan’s ultimate goal in your life is to keep you separated from your loving Father.
It is time to pick up your crown again! It’s time for you to take control of your life. You may feel like this is an impossible task, but because Jesus has already overcome the world you have victory over this relationship. You just have to walk in your victory. Now I’m going to tell you to pray about it, and I’m sure you have. But I need you to pray that God shows you specific strategies to exit the relationship safely. Pray that God reveals people in your life who you can trust and who are willing to help you, even if you don’t know them yet. Pray that God gives you the courage to reach out to these people without being fearful, prideful, or ashamed. Tell God that you know that He “did not give you the spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). So ask God to manifest the spirit of courage, the spirit of power, and the spirit of love (self love), and the spirit of a sound mind. Pray for deliverance from evil and from the temptation to stay. Pray that once you leave, God continues to “supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Pray for forgiveness of your sins. Ask God to renew and purify your mind and body with the blood of Christ Jesus. When you pray, know that I have come into agreement with you.
After you pray, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). You can also go to their website at www.thehotline.org. They can help you plan your exit safely (safety plan), help you find shelters in your area, and help you find domestic violence counseling in your area. If you are a friend or family member of an abused person, there is a lot of great information for you on this website as well.
Remember my friends, faith without action is dead. So it is great that you prayed, but it is necessary that you take action too. It is time that you begin to see yourself as God sees you. God sees you as royalty.
If you have any questions please ask below.
Be blessed