Faith in Work: Honoring in the Dark Season

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 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving- Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

What a blessing it is to rise up every morning excited about the opportunity you have to do a good work.  Although there is no perfect job as there are problems at every employer, I do believe that when you are at a job you love, it doesn’t feel like work.

But what happens when there’s a difficult season? Maybe there’s a lot of change going on at the job or maybe you’re in a season where you feel overlooked and waiting to be noticed for your hard work.

Every Believer says promotion comes from God, which is true but what do you do when it doesn’t come in the way that you have hoped.

This verse reminds me to change my perspective of how I work. I believe God honors hard work, He sees it and notices every detail. I know that I need to trust Him even when I am having a hard time at work. It’s a reminder that I’m not working for my supervisor or the CEO of the company, my ultimate work is for the Lord and it is up to me to trust that He will walk through this difficult season with me.

Even when it seems as if your work is unnoticed and that you are working hard and not reaping benefits from it, trust Him through it. Friends, I know it’s hard but when we can press through during the difficult seasons, we can come out on the other end stronger. Our Father is able to see far beyond our current circumstances so we have to trust that He has our best in mind.

If this season is difficult because of a co-worker, boss or things within your own heart, lay it at His feet. Don’t carry negativity with you  this season, it will only make it harder. Instead choose to have joy even through the difficulty.

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The Woman from Shunem

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Later Elisha asked Gehazi, “What can we do for her?”

Gehazi replied, “She doesn’t have a son, and her husband is an old man.”

 “Call her back again,” Elisha told him. When the woman returned, Elisha said to her as she stood in the doorway, “Next year at this time you will be holding a son in your arms!”

“No, my lord!” she cried. “O man of God, don’t deceive me and get my hopes up like that.”

But sure enough, the woman soon became pregnant. 

-2 King 4:14-17

I love this story of the woman of Shunem. The Bible never tells us her name but I love her heart to serve. In this story, the wealthy woman and her husband had invited Elisha to stay at their home whenever he would pass by. Because of their generosity, Elisha wanted to bless them; however the woman told Elisha’s servant that she was well taken care of and therefore she did not make a specific request. However the servant saw an opportunity for Elisha to bless her anyways.

Her response to this blessings makes me wonder if this son was something that she longed for. Something that maybe she stopped believing God for or it could very well have been a blessing she never knew she needed.

The servant saw an unspoken request. He saw an opportunity. He saw something that she could not get for herself, that money couldn’t buy it.

I love how sometimes the greatest blessings are those things that we don’t even ask for.

I think about how when a coworker has a big event happen in their lives whether it be a birth of a baby or death of a loved one; how we rally together and deliver food without ever being asked. We know there is a need and we want to help provide for it.

I think we are all believing God for something. Maybe you’ve given up on a dream and stopped believing God for it. Regardless of where you are, I believe that He is still in the blessing business and wants to meet your need, He wants to meet you where you are. For some blessings it make take longer to come to pass but God will always provide even for the things we don’t even know to pray for yet.

I encourage you to read the rest of the story in your quiet time and see the dedication of this mom to her son but I want to leave you with this thought: Never miss an opportunity to serve someone because you never know how your generosity will pour back into you. Elisha was so filled with gratitude because of her heart to serve that he didn’t want to leave without blessing her and even with the blessing looked dead (read 2 King 4:18-37), he still honored her.

Our acts of service will not only bless those we are serving but in return, we will receive blessings we may not even know we need.

Today’s prayer: Father, thank you for always providing for us. I want to specifically cover those who have stopped dreaming, those who have stopped believing you for great things. I ask that you set a fire down in their souls and remind them of the great plans you have for them. I believe this is a time to believe you for bold requests. Increase our faith in you and give us the endurance to circle our desires in prayer.

Confidence in the Stillness

Sunset at tropical sea coast.

I have to admit it is difficult for me to be still. Even when I sit down to watch television, it is easier for me to listen to the TV as I search the web or craft up new ideas. Being still is hard; yet it is necessary. It seems to only come natural when I’m on vacation by the beach with a book in hand.

Years ago, I read the book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World which truly resonated with me. I have great desires to be like Mary and sit at the feet of the Father; yet I often allow others things to get in the way and win over my attention in the moment; leaving my Savior left there all alone.

Because of this, I have started giving Him the first part of my day. Before I check emails, respond to text messages or even check the weather; I give that time to Him. It’s our sacred, uninterrupted time.

It is easier to have a conversation with God, but it takes us being intentional to listen.

It is my prayer that we will be women who are intentional to hear from God about the things in our world. To be confident in the stillness and to have it be an important part of our day. I want to be filled with His spirit before I leave the house so that I am better equipped to tackle the day.

Will you carve out time to be still in His presence and to actively listen to what He wants to say to you?

What is Your Word for 2019?

three white ceramic pots with green leaf plants near open notebook with click pen on top

My word in 2018 was “faith”. I am naturally a planner but what I am learning is sometimes you have to just let things be. If I could, I would plan all my days for 2019; yet what I learned about myself this year is the importance of leaving some margin in my plans for Jesus to move.

In order for my faith to rise, I had to let go and allow Jesus to move on my behalf. To be willing to go when plans change and to be willing to keep going when things are not happening as I thought they would.

2019 I am devoted to being intentional. I felt this on my heart for the last few months. I desire to be intentional with those in my world, to be intentional in spending time with my Savior and to be intentional with the time He has given me.

This year reminded me that tomorrow isn’t promised. Death is no respecter of age but if the Lord has blessed me with another day, I want to be intentional in how I spend it. The planner in me often works off a to-do list and it is my goal to check everything off but I want to intentionally do what the Lord is calling me to do that day. If it means that something doesn’t get done because I need to spend time with a friend who is hurting then I desire to be intentional to keep a “yes” in my pocket for what is needed that day.

Will it be easy? No, but I believe it is the word He has given me and my heart desires to steward it well.

There is a song by United Pursuit titled “Waste it All” and I think it truly depicts the kind of life I desire to live. It is about being intentional to spend your life devoted to Jesus.

What word has the Lord placed on your heart and how will you steward it in 2019?

Today’s prayer: Father, I pray that as we go into a new year that we will steward our time while being devoted to whatever you are calling us towards each day. I ask that you give my sisters a word or a verse this year to meditate on. My hope is that we will break our alabaster jars open this new year and pour it on you every day. Lead us in the way we should go Lord and let us not depart from your presence.

New Season: New Playlist

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2018 you can kindly go now! It seems as if so many people are hurting right now. There are so many people in my life who are being attacked by the enemy and on top of that, we have experienced much loss in the last few days. So much so that it has left my heart feeling desperate to experience more of Jesus. In the midst of storms, it is so easy to get down and isolate yourself but I am choosing to worship, in spite of.

I wanted to share with you my most recent top 5 list of worship songs that are speaking to me right now. These songs have been on constant repeat in my car and I hope that it blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

  1. So Will I/Do It Again by Osby Berry
  2. Here Again by Elevation Worship
  3. God is Good by Jonathon McReynolds
  4.  Known by Tauren Wells
  5. Surrounded (Fight My Battles) by Upperroom

Regardless of what you are facing in this season, I pray that you find your peace through worship. For me, worship allows me to take my focus off of my situation and keep my eyes on God. It doesn’t always erase the pain or change the circumstance but it changes me to look at those things differently.

I ask that you allow God to meet you today in the midst of whatever you are facing, which will help remind you that your God is bigger than your problem. I hope by choosing to fix your eyes on Him, it will bring peace that surpasses all understanding.

How Do You See Yourself?

person on a bridge near a lake

My coworkers and I are currently reading the book Identity Theft: Reclaiming the Truth of Our Identity in Christ.  When we completed chapter 4; we wrestled with the question on how we see ourselves. The question asked: Do you see yourself as a sinner striving to be a saint or a saint who struggles with sin?

As I went home, I began to think more of my answer where I stated that I often view myself as a sinner striving to be a saint and not a saint who struggles with sin.

I began to wonder why I view myself in that light. I recognize that I can be my own worst critic but the whole chapter was focused on being able to see ourselves as a saint. As it stated that we became a saint when we accepted Jesus into our lives.

I have always defined a saint as a perfect individual; someone without fault; yet a saint is someone with a closeness to Jesus.

I wrestled with this more because I have always held a “saint” to a high standard such as a pastor, bible scholar, or a Mother Teresa but now I wonder if I’ve been viewing myself through the wrong lens.

The truth is I want us to see ourselves as God sees us. To be confident in being set apart as Believers knowing that we will still have the struggles of sin but we have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us to overcome it.

It is my prayer that we begin to see ourselves through the lens of our Creator and as we begin to learn more about Him, we will in return learn more about who He created us to be.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. – Ephesians 2:19 (ESV)

 

Help My Unbelief!

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And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” – Mark 9:21-24 (ESV)

As I read these verses, I had so much respect for the father who was able to acknowledge his spiritual weakness and ask for Jesus’ help to change his heart to one who believes in spite of the circumstances.

I imagine that this father lost hope. His son had dealt with an unclean spirit since he was a child and the disciples had just failed at an attempt to cast out the spirit. This was personal, it was something that was likely hard for him to see his son go through and not be able to do anything about it. Yet in this vulnerable moment, he asks for Jesus’ help not only for his son but for his personal spiritual journey.

I began to wonder how many of us have also lost hope. Maybe you came into 2018, believing Jesus for something miraculous ;yet it is now the middle of October and you’ve lost hope that it will indeed come to pass.

I believe Jesus knows our hearts desires and knows that we are human and get weary in our waiting but I want to encourage you to be vulnerable and ask Him to help you in your unbelief. To help you in the moments where you struggle to believe that He can do what He has promised.  I believe He will honor that moment and provide the hope needed to keep standing and believing on what He says is true.

Father, thank you that you can meet us where we are. Thank you for understanding how our doubts can get in the way but Father help us to be an overcomer from doubt and seek you to help us through those moments so that we will continue to stand on your promises; regardless of the circumstance. Amen

Love Your Neighbor

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Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments. -Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)

As I was reading these verses, I noticed the words “equally important.” It made think of the importance that our Savior put on loving others. We see it shown throughout scripture how He would go out of His way to meet the needs of others and to be in community with them.

So often I focus more so on the first commandment of loving the Lord and immersing myself in his Word yet I don’t put as much energy into the second commandment. I know I have been guilty of not loving others well; of putting myself ahead of others and at times just not being as willing to step out of my shell to meet the needs of someone else.

These verses are such a beautiful picture of the Gospel. A picture of loving God and equally loving all of His people unconditionally. Not just those who are easy to love but intentionally choosing to love everyone He places in our path.

Father, thank you for sending your Son to be a perfect example of how to love others. Please convict us in moments where we put ourselves before loving others. Constantly remind us of how much Jesus gave of Himself for other people. Show us how to love all of your people unconditionally.

 

How much longer Lord?

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Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way. How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Turn and answer me, O Lord my God! Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die. Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!” Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall. But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.-Psalm 13:1-6.

As a child, I would often play hide and seek with my sister and friends. It was a fun game where you chose to hide yourself from an individual and wait for them to go on a search to find you. The best hiders were the ones who were never found.

As an adult, most of us don’t choose to be hidden. We don’t choose to be in position where we don’t want anyone to notice us or find us yet there are some seasons we go through where we experience this. The feeling of being overlooked, trampled on and forgotten. There are moments where it seems like everyone else is reaping the benefits while you remain stagnant.

How long, Lord?

We never know how long a storm will last but I am comforted by David’s words because he shows vulnerability in his prayers. He speaks from his heart and then concludes with “but I trust in your unfailing love.” David knew that God was with him but he felt the need to acknowledge his hurt/circumstances. He was honest with God but always reaffirmed his trust in God.

The truth is God knows our heart and He knows our innermost feelings so there’s no need to hide them. I love that we are able to go to God respectfully with our feelings whether good or bad, but I also love that we can hold on to His truths in the midst of every storm  knowing that He is with us and is working it out for our good.

Father, I pray for my sisters who feel as if you have hidden yourself from them. I pray that they will draw closer to you and experience you in a new, different way. Whatever season they are in, I pray that your Holy Spirit will fall fresh on them as they wait on you. Help them to trust in your unfailing love regardless of the circumstance.

 

When We Call His Name

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Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! (Acts 16:25- 26 NLT)

I imagine Paul and Silas singing an old hymn like How Great Thou Are, Great Is Thy Faithfulness or maybe a little Amazing Grace. The text said that the prisoners heard them and immediately their circumstances changed.

While reading the text, it made me think about my worship. Am I worshipping from a place of reverence or a place of want? I believe when we worship in a position of reverence regardless of our circumstance, we began to see it differently. Our perspective changes when we can sing while in the valley.

I find comfort in this text because midnight signifies a dark hour so even in our darkest hour, we are reminded that He is with us.

It was their worship that invited God’s presence and immediately they were free.

I pray that while in the valley, you always remember that He is with you. He is here and sometimes it is your praise that can break the chains off your situation..suddenly and immediately.