When It Hurts

wih

There are times when life just hurts, deeply.   We can take those wounds to the cross, crying out for God to bind them.  Time passes, and the wounds heal.  We pull off the bandages to see that God has created something new.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  ~ Psalm 147:3

However, even when we do our best to protect ourselves, an injury may find us again.  Old wounds are opened, new wounds are formed.  We may find ourselves tempted to keep those wounds bandaged, to protect ourselves from every being hurt again.

Do you know what happens to a healed wound that is kept wrapped up indefinitely?

It festers.  A new wound forms and it can end up being worse than the original.

While it is important to guard our hearts, we must be careful not to build walls.  A shepherd guards the gateway to the pen that holds his flock.  He doesn’t block the entrance with stones, keeping the sheep enclosed for ever.  A good shepherd takes His sheep out into the pasture, tending to their needs, and keeping them safe from harm.  He takes the sheep to choice areas where they will receive the nourishment they need.  At night, the sheep return to the safety of the pen.  The shepherd stands guard until it is safe for the sheep to return to the pasture.

We can guard our hearts against being hurt again, by surrounding ourselves with people who give wise counsel.  Guarding our heart also means that we are reading the Word, praying, and leaning into the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  When we venture out into the world or into relationships, we do so with our Good Shepherd.  And, when danger reveals itself our Shepherd takes us into His safety and stands guard at our hearts.

Our Good Shepherd doesn’t lock us into the safety of a walled up pen.  The Great Physician doesn’t bind up our wounds permanently.  He tends to our needs, helps us to heal, to learn from our errors, and then accompanies us when head back into the pastures.  He commissions us to:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.  Matthew 28:19-20

When it hurts, pray for healing.  Trust in Lord and put on the FULL armor of the God.  The harvest is plenty, and the workers are few. Do not be tempted to hide form the world, by licking your wounds, and allowing the hurts to root deeper.

Forgive.   Love.   Pray.   Trust.

What Defines You?

what-defines-you

What defines your worth?

It’s a real question, isn’t it? One I’ve been asking myself lately, as I learn more and more about who I am in Christ. I’ve chewed on it and rolled it around in my brain until I thought I couldn’t think on it anymore.

It led me to a second question:

Why do I assume I’m not likable/attractive?

Yeah, I’ve dealt with those feelings for a long time now. What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I feel like anyone will ever find me pretty? You know what, that’s a great question! I puzzled over it again and again until God finally pulled up one specific memory. I’ll give you the basics.

I was 11, maybe 12 (a very impressionable age), and not the prettiest flower in the meadow. My other friends were. Anyway, I was sitting in the church foyer during a wedding reception, talking to these two guys who were supposed to be my friends. (Keep in mind, these are junior high boys.)

Basically, the air had broken and in the middle of July, that’s not the best scenario. So I may have mentioned something about my being hot. Being juvenile boys, they took it and ran, insisting that I wasn’t. Meaning they didn’t think I was even remotely pretty.

It’s taken a lot for me to get over the hurt of this memory. For years, those three little words haunted me. “No, you’re not.” I let them stew inside my head, and I let them define what I thought other people would think of me. Because of those juvenile boys, who probably didn’t even realize the damage they were doing, told me I wasn’t pretty, I chose to believe it for almost ten long years.

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that they were being idiots, and I don’t need their confirmation of facts I already know. Neither do you.

Let me show me something.

“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had good plans for you…”

Jeremiah 1:5 (MSG)

If God knew you before you were even born, don’t you think His plans are perfect? Don’t you think He knew what you would look like, how you would sound, what your style would become? He put those things in you. He has good plans for you! And that’s not all.

“Oh, yes, You shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank You, High God-You’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration-what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body…”

Psalm 139:13-15 (MSG)

He knows you, inside and out. He made you! He knows every bone in your body. He knew what you would look like when He formed you, and God doesn’t make mistakes. He made you perfect!

I know you may not believe it now (even I have a hard time believing it sometimes), but to someone out there, some day, you will be the very thing they’ve been searching for all their life. To God, you’re already perfect. To that future someone, you’ll be perfect too! Everyone has different ideas about perfection, and despite the fact that you might sometimes feel like a failure, you’re not.

Don’t let the mean girls of this world define you. There will always be a voice trying to tell you that you’re not good enough. Don’t listen! The Voice above all other voices says “you’re perfect.” He leans down and whispers, “I made you, and I won’t leave you. I’m not going anywhere, and I’ll always look after you. You. Are. Mine.”

Why do we feel we need to go anywhere else to find our true worth? The One who created worth wants to hold you. Forever.

To Be Seen, To Be Known

ToBeSeen

Have you ever felt invisible, as if no one can see you?  A few weeks ago, I sat with a woman who was lamenting about being overlooked.  Her heart wanted desperately to be seen as valuable, worthy, capable, and a blessing.  As we dug deeper through our conversation, she shared that she had been overlooked her whole life.  Then she said these words.

I think this is why I am fat.  I am making myself seen.  You can’t help but see me.

At first, I was stunned to hear this woman speak these words.  I have known her for years, and I would hardly consider her a woman who was invisible.  She was one of the first women I was drawn to at our church, because of her beautiful heart for God. Her infectious sense of humor and her wisdom.  I sought her out, and yet she feels invisible.

Then I began to reflect on women in my circle. Including myself.  There is the woman who incredibly loud, The woman who dresses over the top for all occasions.  There is the woman who is always up for anything, the life of the part.  The woman who posts a million photos on Facebook and Instagram.  The woman who always has something to say in every conversation.  The woman who is quick to raise her hand, volunteering on every committee and project.

I wondered, how many of these women were just trying to be seen, to be known.

I thought about all of the times when I have cried out to God, and it seemed like He didn’t hear me.  I thought about the number of occasions I was waving my arms at God saying “pick me, use me” and felt He had passed me by.

Have you ever felt invisible to God?

But whoever loves God is known by God.

1 Corinthians 8:3

His word tells us that He knew us as we were being stitched together in our mother’s womb, that he knows our voice, He knows those who belong to Him, he calls us by name.

Last week, I stood in line at the Deli section of the grocery store waiting for my number to cue.  I watched the people working behind the counter rushing to serve each customer efficiently but quickly.  When it was my turn, I used all the manners I had been raised with.  Please.  May I have…?  Then, as she handed me my last package, I glanced down at her name tag.  “Thank you, Linda.  Have a great weekend.”

I was no different than the customers before me, with one exception.  I called her by name.  I saw her.  She was known.  I watched the stress lift from her face, her eyes light up, and the corners of her lips turn up into a smile.  I made eye contact with her, smiled back, and went about my day.

She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

Genesis 16:13

The Lord knows you, by name.  You are His, and the Lord is the Good Shepherd, who tends to the needs of His flock.  We may not always understand where our Shepherd is leading us, or why He asked us to wait.  But, he has not forgotten us.  He is the Shepherd, who seeks the one lost sheep.  The Creator who provides for the sparrows of the field.  The Lamb, who was slain for my sins, … your sins.  He gave His life for you that you would be covered by the blood and saved FOR eternity with Him.

When the road is weary, the wait is tiring, and your strength seems to fade, remember His promises.  Wait on Him.

Isaiah 40:28-31

 28Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.

      29He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.

      30Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,

      31Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

Taming The Tongue

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Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. ~

Psalm 141:3

Several years ago, I was serving with a team of women in the church.  I was the person in charge of the task, although I had a leader over me that I reported to.  Every month I met with my team, and we would come up with plans for accomplishing our assigned task.  Every month I would present it for approval, and every month we were shot down.  We felt like we were just treading water and honestly questioned if they really wanted this task completed.  We could never make headway.

That is when it started, the frustration building.

“Why are we even bothering to meet?”

“You should just tell the church to do whatever it wants, and stop wasting our time.”

“Maybe we should just do it on our own; they don’t even care.”

The excitement that once motivated us toward volunteering for this project had faded.  As the appointed leader, I heard their complaints.  I must confess, I was frustrated too.  The complaints about the project, however, began to shift to complaints about the church, and then to specific people.

“If more people from the team would speak up, they might listen.”

“It’s all Pastor’s fault; he’s never supported projects like this anyway.”

“I’m not surprised; Pastor has always been dismissive of ideas.  Sometimes I think he just gives enough permission so that you’ll leave him alone.”

The more talking was going on, the more frustration grew.  Thoughts were beginning to influence how we all viewed the church, the people overseeing us, and even our place in the body.  This ultimately led to a confrontation with another member.

What I had not realized was that I was working with a very unhealthy team.  I didn’t catch on to their complaints shifting into gossip.  What I saw as a legitimate conversation about our frustration had turned into a gossip and complaining session, and I was just as guilty.  I wasn’t just guilty the moment I began to share my opinions, I was guilty the very moment I allowed their feedback to turn into gossip.  I had let their voices influence me.

Then when the fellow leader and I ended up in a confrontation, those voices were unsurprisingly silent.  I am very grateful that the Lord put someone in my life who could help me see what was happening, and that I was able to apologize and reconcile with my fellow leader.  Gossip is a sneaky, sneaky thing.

Gossip is a like a spider web. Have you ever walked down a sidewalk and into a web?  You couldn’t see it coming, and you may not have immediately realized you walked into it.  But, as your senses catch up you realize what you have done if you are like me, panic follows.

When we think of gossip, we often think of the intentional spreading of lies about someone.  However, gossip can also be spreading truths… truths that were not ours to share.  In church, gossip can often be disguised as “prayer requests” or “venting”.  When serving on a committee or ministry, it can often come in the appearance of complaints.

We can often get caught up in gossip and not sense it until it is too late, just like the spider web.  And, like a spider web, once it is on us… gossip clings to us, and it’s hard to shake off.  We may even panic as we realize what we have done.

Once someone knows you are receptive to gossip, they will return to tickle your ears again.  When something is so sneaky and pervasive, how do we know the difference between someone who really needs to just talk something through or someone who is spreading gossip?

Some cues I watch out for:

  • Is she speaking about herself & her own problems?  If not, ask her if she has permission to share this with you.
  • Would she say these words to the person(s) involved?  If not, she shouldn’t be speaking them to you.
  • Is she trying to involve you in a situation that doesn’t concern you?  If so, point her back to those involved and encourage her to take the issue up with them.
  • Is she trying to get you to handle or solve the problem for her?  If so, suggest ways in which she can resolve the issue herself.  Take yourself out of the equation.
  • Is she speaking lies or truths just to make conversation or make herself feel better?  If so, don’t hesitate to point out that she is gossiping, and it is inappropriate.

When you begin to put boundaries in place on how you handle gossip tossed in your direction, you will change everything.  True gossipers who are just out to run their mouths will avoid you.  Those who may not realize what they are doing will learn to tame their tongues.  An added benefit is the more you put up boundaries against gossiping, the less often you will find yourself getting caught up in them.

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 4:29

Conflict, Attack and Situations That Seem Impossible to Overcome

conflict and attack

Conflict is something a lot of people struggle with, including me. I use to be a person who did not deal with conflict well at all. I was either way too emotional and blowing up or I shut completely down and cut the situation off (even though I may have been rightfully upset). First, I praise God that I have come a long way and am no longer the person I use to be. I have gone from those two extremes to a better balance somewhere in the middle, and I can manage conflict better. However though I was responding differently on the outside, on the inside it was still taking an emotional toll on me. I was still holding the weight of situations in my hands having yet to release them over fully to God. I got to the point where the build up was too much, and I cried out to God, and He told me He wanted my FULL surrender in these situations.

Yes, I had made progress, and it was awesome.  However, God wanted to continue to develop me and train me to release my hold on my situations and hand them over to Him. He wanted me to seek and acknowledge Him; He wanted me to trust Him and believe in His Word. That I can do all things and overcome all things through Christ who strengthens me. He wanted to show me the changes I had made and needed to make would develop our relationship.

So with this new-found knowledge, it was only a matter of time before I was faced with a test a chance to gauge my comprehension of the lesson He taught me. Recently, I found myself at odds with my rental management company. This situation hit all my previous triggers anyone who knows me knows injustice and disrespect are big ones. This case included those and then some. I was too tired to fight and didn’t want to deal with this situation physically or emotionally, and I wanted to run, but I had to have a place to live. So I trusted God and waited for His guidance. Casting my burdens upon Him. I sought Him in prayer and allowed the Holy Spirit to move me to action. I activated my faith over the situation, and  I believed God could fix it. I SURRENDERED knowing that regardless of the results I would STILL trust Him and allow Him to guide me through this conflict.

In the end, the Lord delivered well beyond any expectation I could have had. I had a face to face meeting with the property manager and assistant property manager shortly after a lengthy email exchange with regarding them being unwilling to uphold their promises and honor my request. After our meeting, I ended up with more than they initially promised. Not because I asked for it, but because I trusted God, and I choose not fight in the flesh but to fight against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. He allowed me to gain skills to handle conflict without blowing up or shutting down and instead of holding all of my emotions within I can release them to Him, trusting Him.

When dealing with conflict, attack or a situation that seems impossible to overcome keep  these Scriptures close:

Trust God: we have to believe God before we can expect from God.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.Proverbs 3:5 NASB

Remind Yourself Who God Is: tell yourself who God is, in the midst of your situation never lose sight of who God is.

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 NASB

Tell Yourself Who You Are: Remember the authority that He has given to you.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NASB

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20 NASB

Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. Luke 10:19 NASB

Stay Alert: Be quick to listen  slow to speak and slow to get angry, don’t lose your cool, a hot head is a jumbled mind

everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger  James 1:19 NASB

Never Forget God Is With You: We have a tendency to forget God is with us. So it is important to REMEMBER God is always with you, He will never leave us.

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 NASB

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Healer, Redeemer. Lord, I need you.

Healer, Redeemer. Lord, I need you.

I remember once, as a child, I was goofing around in the house, and I broke a figurine that belonged to my mother.  I knew that I was going to be in ALOT of trouble.  She was at work, and I used the time to my advantage.  I carefully matched up the pieces, applied some fast drying glue, and held the pieces in place.  Crisis averted.  You couldn’t even see the crack; as if the piece was never broken.  Within a matter of months, I had knocked the figurine over a second time.  Unfortunately on this occasion repair was impossible.

There are some instances from my past that have left me broken, and I thought I was beyond repair.  In fact, I believed that there was no saving me.  Surely these mistakes and poor choices collectively were too much for God to see me as worthy.  In my brokenness, I had lost all hope and continued making mistakes.  Finally, someone was able to bring me to that place where I understood God’s mercy and grace.  I understood forgiveness; I learned that Christ died on the cross for not only the sins I knowingly committed… but even the ones I didn’t know were on the horizon.  He died for them all.

I was so desperate to walk forward in that freedom. Freedom from the mantle of grief and shame.  I had forgiven those whom others would deem as unforgivable.  I even forgave myself, which is sometimes harder than forgiving others.  I was trying to walk in victory. I stumbled often.  There was this one thing that kept haunting me, this one moment in a sea of others that I couldn’t seem to shake.  This one event that had such a hold of me that I would find myself crouched in a corner crying out:

LORD, take this from me!

I wanted so much to be like the figurine that I broke.  I wanted God to fix me to the point where the trauma was invisible.  However, the Lord didn’t heal me.

A few years ago, at a Women’s Retreat, a speaker shared that sometimes we hold onto a trauma as if it is too big for God to redeem.  She stated that by holding on to it we were in sin, and God couldn’t bless us until we stopped hanging on to it.  In retrospection after the retreat, I believed this must be my situation.  I confessed to the Lord about holding onto this trauma; I wanted to heal from my brokenness; and I prayed that He would give me the strength, courage, and peace to let it go.

It continued to haunt me. I cried out:

LORD, take this from me!

The Lord didn’t take it; I was becoming discouraged.  I convinced myself that it was Satan trying to hurt and distract me.  He was whispering memories of this in my ear.  It was his attempt to make me doubt myself, disqualify myself as worthy, and hold me back from the good work the Lord would have for me.  I rebuked Satan’s hold on me and waited for the freedom of healing.

The Lord didn’t heal me.  I cried out:

LORD, take this from me!

I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I felt defeated.  Terrified that this trauma was going to hold on to me for the rest of my life.  I wasn’t the entirely pieced together figurine, held together by God’s strength.  I was in pieces all over the ground, shattered.  Or, so I thought.

Last week, I attended a Women’s Event hosted by Authentic Intimacy.  It was at this event Dr. Juli Slattery shared a revelation that would rock me to the core. She shared that some women are healed of their past trauma.  These women are fully recovered and restored, living out their lives as if the trauma was wiped from history and their memory.  These healings are MIRACLES and miracles are RARE.  For the majority of us, God instead chooses to REDEEM our trauma. The process takes time, and for some of us we will not see full victory this side of Heaven.  Victory, however, is still ours because as the Lord redeems us, He will make beauty from ashes.  Our redemption becomes His story of hope to others just like us.

The Lord uses our redemption from our trauma and past to say to others who are broken…

Look to me, the Lord your God, for I can heal and redeem you.  I will make you a new creation, marking you as my own, and your testimony is the seal of my covenant with you.  I am the Lord who hears, sees, heals, restores, and redeems those who seek me with all of their mind, heart, and soul.  This child is not who she once was, and the same is the gift I gave to you on the Cross. 

An enormous weight was lifted off my shoulders that day.  I was no longer carrying a mantle of shame or guilt but instead burdened with a purpose, unlike anything I had ever experienced.  Instead of weight that pushed me down, this difficulty pushes me forward on the path He has set before me.  Each step I take, He walks ahead of me. A Good Shepherd leading the way to green pastures.

The Lord heard my cries, and he answered them by gifting me a purpose from my pain.

The Japanese have an art form known as Kintsugi. In Kintsugi, an artist takes a broken object and repairs the pieces with a lacquer mixed with gold, silver, and even platinum.  The point behind this art form is that the repairs are visible, indicating that the object had a past or history.  It honors the trauma that happened to the piece, honoring the brokenness as part of the object’s history instead of trying to hide it.  The piece is considered more beautiful because of these veins of precious metal that run throughout it, holding it together.

There are times the Lord chooses to heal completely and restore our brokenness, however for most of us the Lord instead pieces us back together with Himself.  We do have a past or history. However when others look upon us, they will see the blood of Christ holding us together.  He binds my broken pieces with the blood He shed for me.  Blood that is more valuable than gold or silver.  We are more beautiful because of Christ in us, on display for all to see.

For you know that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

1 Peter 1:18-19

I want God to Hear my prayer!

I want God to hear m prayer!

How do I pray and know God hears me? I honestly have to remind myself of the answer  sometimes when it seems like God isn’t there. The great thing about the God we serve is that He is always there, and He has not left us without direction. God has provided us an entire operations manual about life, The Holy Bible! The More that we read God’s Word, the more we will understand and learn what God expects from us.

And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25

Forgive We can’t expect God to forgive us of our sin if we don’t forgive others.(Matt 6:14-15) It’s also important that we try to resolve any conflicts with someone who may be upset with us. The Bible says in Matthew 5:23-25 if someone is angry or upset with us we must go to them and try to resolve the situation before we come to God. So if someone gets offended by something that you did or if you had a blowout with a neighbor make things right with that person. We don’t want anything blocking our prayers and preventing God from answering. If you’re not sure if you’ve done something to offend someone, I would recommend asking God to bring it to your remembrance so you can make it right. Doing this is a humbling experience because sometimes people get offended even when you think you have done nothing wrong. Before approaching that person ask God for the strength to be gentle, loving, kind, and patient with that person.

“We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.” John 9:31

Confess All Sin It’s important that we confess all sin to God and ask Him for help. Let Him know that you want to change and you need His help to live a life free from sin. It’s important that we humble ourselves before God and honestly check our lifestyle and actions.

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” Hebrews 5:7

Reverence God Humble yourself when you come before God. Acknowledge Him for who He is. Tell God how powerful and mighty He is and how thankful you are for His grace and mercy. The book of Revelation helps me to remember who God is. I think about how God’s described and that the angels in Heaven are worshiping Him this very moment, and it humbles me.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6

Thank God Tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has done. Make sure you thank God for the things that He is already doing and has already done. Don’t be ungrateful! We all have a reason to thank God. He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we could have eternal life. We should never stop thanking and praising God for that!

If you’re asking for something in prayer, let God know how what you’re asking for will bring Him glory. This helps prevent the “I want because I want prayers”. I urge you to memorize Scriptures. This will allow you to claim the promises of God in prayer. For tips on how to learn Scriptures Click Here.

It’s important that when we pray we have:

  • Forgiven others and have tried to resolve all grievances.
  • Confessed our sin
  • We thank God for all the things that He has done for us.
  • Most importantly, we must reverence God for who He is and come humbly before Him.

These steps do not guarantee that God will answer your prayer on your timing or at all. God is sovereign, and He knows what we need and when we need it. These steps can help make sure we are in right standing with God before we make requests to Him.

Friends, how many of us have them?

 
Friends2k 
 
“Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:18-20 NLT
 

This story about the paralyzed man speaks to how important it is for us to have what I call Kingdom minded friends. We all need someone to keep us accountable, encourage us, fight for us, and have our best interest at heart. Having someone, you can depend on that wants the best for you spiritually is important.

This story in Luke shows us how friendship should look. Have you ever told someone about something you were struggling with only for them to say “man that’s a shame?” The paralyzed man’s friends didn’t say “Oh well you’re paralyzed.” They heard about Jesus, a man who could heal and took their friend to see Him. We know these were real friends because when they got to the house, there was a  large crowd, and they were unable to get through, however,  this didn’t stop them. They took their friend to the roof. Can you imagine how strenuous this task was? There was a sea of people around the house where Jesus was. They made their way through the crowd to the roof of the house carrying their paralyzed friend. I can assure you that couldn’t have been an easy task to complete. After all of that, they then removed part of the roof so they could lower their friend down right in front of Jesus. Because of their faith and determination, Jesus healed the paralyzed man. I believe this was also because He wanted to let us know this is how we should care for one another.

When you have a spiritual support system, you know they care about your overall well-being. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not, they love you for who you are. Like in this story, they will fight for your healing. These kinds of friends won’t be throwing their good deeds in your face later. They do things for you because they care, not because they’re expecting something in return. I’m sure we can all use some friends like that.

The Bible gives us several scriptures that reference having support.

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”-Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NLT

You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoys its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.” James 3:18 MSG

“If another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” Galatians 6:1-3 NLT

The Bible makes it clear that we will need help from other believers. We won’t always be able to go at things alone. I’m still praying that I can experience this type of community for myself, and I know God will provide. Let God lead you to the right people. He led Jesus to His disciples; He can surely lead you to a community that you can do life with.

Prayer: Father God, thank you for all that you have done and all that you’re doing. We know that we are nothing without You. Help us strengthen our faith in You. Give us discernment before we enter into relationships. Lead us to people who will have our best interest at heart and will love us for who we are. Protect us from the evil one and keep us in Your arms. It’s in the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Are We really living for Christ?

Living for God 
 
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect”
Romans 12:1-2 NLT 

What is sacrifice?

The surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having higher or more pressing claim. (Dictionary.com, 2014)

The Bible says that we need to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. Meaning we have to live for Christ. We need to make it a habit to consult God in the choices we make.

I faced a tough decision recently and was unclear on what choice to make. Terrified of making the wrong choice. I wanted God to audibly tell me what to do. I had to make a choice and doing nothing was not an option. So I prayed a prayer of desperation.  I came to the Lord and said “Father you know my heart and that my desire is to please you. This is a tough decision and I want to make sure that I am moving in the direction that you would have me to go. Please give me discernment and a peace that surpasses all understanding around the right choice.”  I’ll be honest I still didn’t feel like I knew what to do. So I made my choice based on what would bring God the most glory. The choice that would allow me to serve the Lord the best way possible. Looking back I see that God’s silence allowed me to remember what I’ve learned about Him and apply it. Had I been looking in a worldly perspective it’s likely I would have made a completely different choice. Sacrificing my will for the will of God truly gave me peace. Psalms 32:10 tells us that we’re protected by the Lord.

Knowing the promises of God helped me make a tough decision. It’s important that we stand on the promises of God and speak them over our lives. Know that if you make choices to glorify God He will protect you and give you peace! He will not put more on you than you can bear. (1 Corinthians 10:13) All things are possible through Christ who gives us strength. (Philippians 4:13)

If you’re in a situation where you’re not sure what the right choice is, tell God! Let him know why you’re apprehensive about preceding and ask Him for discernment and peace around the right choice. 

Prayer: Father God you’re more than worthy of all the praise and honor. We thank you, Lord, for being our protector, comforter, and provider. Father, we believe but, help our unbelief. Let us consult you and follow your direction in the choices we make. Provide us with discernment. Teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Protect us from the evil one Father God. We love you, praise you and worship you. It’s in the matchless name of  Jesus we pray Amen.

You gotta have faith!

Gotta Faith 
  
“Take control of what I say, O  lord,
and guard my lips.
Don’t let me drift toward evil
or take part in acts of wickedness.
Don’t let me share in the delicacies
of those who do wrong.” Psalm 141:3-4 NLT
 

 I love this Psalm written by David; it shows the power of prayer! This Psalm is written by David, and if you read Psalm 141, you can see it’s a prayer for safe keeping from wickedness.  I’m sure we have all been in situations where we have wanted to say or do something that we knew was contrary to God’s will. Sometimes it can seem as if people just want to test out your faith by pushing your buttons. David is my encouragement in those moments. I look at the life of David, and I see a man who truly had a relationship with God. David knew he could not go through life without God. He needed the power of God to help him in those tight situations. We can truly appreciate David’s example of relying on God in situations cannot handle in our power.

Can you imagine showing the love of God to someone who talks about you behind your back but, smiles in your face? Someone who attempts to slander your character with lies? What about someone who steals from you? What about someone who hates you enough to kill you?

I believe that the prayer in Psalms 141 was during the time where David was on the run from Saul, who was trying to kill him. Saul was very jealous of David. During his time on the run, David had two opportunities to kill Saul. Even David’s men were encouraging him to kill Saul. Their theory, God, was delivering Saul into David’s hands for payback. However, David being a man of God refused to kill Saul even though Saul was trying to kill him. This prayer in Psalms 141 could have been what helped David remain faithful to God and not kill His anointed one. We also see how God protected David during this time because Saul never captured David. God is faithful. He will provide. David’s story is proof that God will answer prayer and provide in our hour of need.

I thank Jesus for dying for our sins and sending us the comforter who can help us be like David when we run into trouble. Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) tells us about the fruits of the Spirit. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”  We should be excited this means we don’t have to rely on our strength when faced with trials and tribulations. Galatians 5:22-23 is another one of my favorite passages in the Bible, it’s so encouraging! It reminds us that we are human and apart from God we are imperfect.

We can all recall a time when we found it hard if not impossible in our strength to love or be gentle with someone, remain joyful in the midst of pure chaos and confusion, show kindness to someone whom you may not like, or maybe you’re like me and struggle with patience. I have good news; God will provide! So next time you’re in a situation where you see yourself lacking in one of these areas before you react pray! Ask God for the strength through the Holy Spirit to overcome the situation. As with David God will give you the strength to overcome!

Prayer:  Father God, we just want to thank you, Lord, for your protection, faithfulness, and guidance Lord. You’re so worthy of all the praise and glory. Guard the words of our mouth oh Lord and let us not partake in evilness. We thank you, Father, for the fruit of the Spirit that allows us to get through trying situations. Please remove anything in us that’s not of you Father. Continue to mold us Father into the faithful Christian men and women you’ve called us to be. It’s in the precious name of Jesus that we pray and give thanks. Amen.