When Worry Steals Your Joy

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Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up – Proverbs 12:25

This week has been filled with a lot of worry. As I prepared to be off work for a while, I found myself feeling as if I was being pulled in numerous directions with not enough time in my day. New responsibilities fell in my lap, last minute requests came to my inbox and I barely had time to sit at my desk.

I rushed my devotional time to make it to work early and found myself too exhausted to even try again before bed.

Time or the lack their of got the best of me. The fear of not checking every item off of my to-do list brought on worry. It weighed me down and left me feeling like I had done a whole lot yet nothing productive. Towards the end of the week, I surrounded myself with people who built me up again and brought it all back into perspective.

The truth is worry can steal your joy. The enemy knows exactly how to distract me. He uses my desire for perfection to keep me focused on everything that’s not done instead of truly focusing on my priorities – spending time at the feet of Jesus and being in community with others.

My coworker said these words last week, “sometimes we have to make time to make time.” This resonated with me because as someone who needs a to-do list, I can’t forget the most important thing which is spending time in the Word because that’s where I am refueled and get my joy.

Maybe you experienced something similar last week where you were in a box of worry. Can we commit this next week to not focusing on getting everything done right but focus on the things that are truly important?

Father, I thank you that your mercies are made new every morning. Help us to not allow our duties to overwhelm us to the point of worry but help us to cling to you every day for the encouragement that we need to keep things into perspective. You have not called us towards a life of perfection but a life that honors you. Lord, I need thee and help me to never forget that.

 

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The Beauty of the Veil

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Last year, I wrote a post about the Cross being an invitation. This year as we approach Easter weekend, I am seeing the Cross so differently yet beautifully.

When I see that old rugged cross, I realize how privileged yet unworthy I am to sit at His feet. I was recently studying God’s Covenant where we looked at the Tabernacle in the old testament versus what we receive today.

In the old testament, on the Day of Atonement, the priest was the only one allowed to walk through the veil (curtain) and go into the Holy of Holies to put the blood of sacrifice on the mercy seat. During this time, all of the other people could go into the tabernacle but it was the veil that shut them out. It was the veil that separated them from having access to the mercy seat. And it was the mercy seat which allowed them to meet with God.

In the new testament, we see the veil mentioned again in Matthew 27:50-51 which says “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.” 

Friends, the veil was torn to give us access to kneel at the mercy seat and talk to Jesus for ourselves. It is the veil that grants us that nearness that our hearts long for. We no longer need a priest to go on our behalf, we have been given an invitation to a V.I.P. seat to meet with Jesus.

“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death,Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him.” – Hebrews 10:19-22.

We can’t take this for granted. Jesus died for our sins and gave us the privilege to meet with Him in a way that makes us one with Him. It is my hope that you grasp hold of this truth today.

As I prepare my heart to remember all that Jesus did for me on the cross, I am so appreciative that the veil doesn’t keep me from His presence. I am so in awe of all that He endured for me. And I truly want to reverence Him for who He is.

I want to leave you with Jesus’ prayer for His followers. It my prayer that you dwell in these verses this week. That you truly allow it to prepare your heart for this weekend to remember all that He did for you and the oneness you’ve been given when you accepted Him in your heart.

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!” – John 17: 20-24

Amen.

All in the Details

pexels-photo-268941.jpegI’ve recently been studying the different covenants God made with man. This has been very intriguing to look at the story of Noah, Abram, Issac and Jacob in a new light. As interesting as each of the covenants have been; there is one thing that specifically stood out to me and it’s the details.

If you take a moment to read Genesis 15:9: The Lord told Abram, “Bring me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”

God was very specific in what He wanted sacrificed. He was specific in what He spoke.

As I pondered on this more, I began to wonder why we limit God in thinking that He can’t give specifics today. God was meticulous in how He formed the world, how He knit us together in our mother’s womb, and how He created us as masterpieces; yet when we approach Him in prayer, we put limitations on what He can do.

Maybe you are believing God for something in this season and you are looking for specifics, I pray that you are reminded of how He can and will provide the details needed to make the right decisions.

Let us remember that He is a God who specializes in the details but it is up to us to seek, pray and believe.

 

 

 

Court the Bible

pexels-photo-372326.jpegI recently read an article about marrying the bible this year and it made me ask myself what if we truly approached the Bible as we would a new courtship? When you first begin to court, you have these butterflies that fill your heart. You are constantly thinking about the conversations throughout the day. You are intentional.

The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8 NLT) so what would our lives look like if we approached God similar (and eventually better) than earthly relationships. If we set aside time to get to know Him: opening the Word daily and actively seeking to let it resonate in our hearts. That is when we will truly experience this love; God’s love.

My approach to the Word lately has been “Holy Spirit, teach me what it is that I am to learn about you today.”

I recognize how at times, reading the Bible can be difficult but as believers we can tap into the Holy Spirit, which lives on the inside of us, for wisdom and understanding.

As we continue to break old habits and start new ones, I want to recommend that we approach our daily readings with the intent to develop and strengthen an intimate relationship with God.

Let it be our goal to know Him (Philippians 3:10 CSB) this year. Let it be our greatest desire above anything else.

 

Wait Expectantly

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Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord

Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly- Psalm 5:3

There’s something special about the morning. The quietness before all of the day’s hustle. The reminder of  how we’ve been given another day on earth, another day to choose joy; yet it’s another day to press in to God.

I have found that to start my morning with Jesus (and a cup of coffee) sets the tone for the day ahead. It’s my protected time to open my Bible with no distractions and truly tune into whatever the Lord wants to say.

What better way to start your day then with our Heavenly Father. I desire His Holy Spirit to teach me more about His word, I desire to be filled and reminded throughout my day, but friends, I desire to know Him better and to seek Him.

He desires for us to bring our requests to Him and to wait for Him to provide. My biggest mistakes come from going ahead of God and not waiting. No one enjoys the wait; yet when we choose to wait, at just the right time He will bring whatever it is to pass. At just the right time, He will provide.

I love how this Psalm ends with “expectantly”, which means the excitement for what’s to come. Whenever I book a trip, I remain in a place of excitement for the trip ahead. It doesn’t matter if the trip is just around the corner or if I have to wait six months to hop on the plane, I stay excited because I know it is coming. 

Why do we approach our requests to God any differently? The airlines can cancel the route, the weather can completely cancel out the trip; yet I disregard all of that and remain excited because the trip is booked and therefore, I know I’m going.

Is our God not more faithful than anything in this world? Yet, I have been guilty of asking and being unsure if it will come to pass. I believe when we bring our requests to God, we can stay in a place of excitement because God will work out the details for our good. It doesn’t matter when it will happen, we have to remain full of faith that at the right time, it will.

God wants more believers to devote themselves to dwelling in Him and remaining excited about what He can and will do in our lives.

Will you make a decision to stay in a place of faith and expectancy?

 

 

 

Healthy Living in 2018

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A couple of months ago, I watched the documentary What the Health, thanks to a friend who decided to wreck my entire life. This documentary was hard to watch yet informative. It made me think a lot about the foods I put into my body.

Am I becoming vegan? Well no.

Although I don’t eat terribly bad, it made me think about making a lifestyle change not just for me but a lifestyle which would include how I chose to raise my unborn children.

Whenever I bless the food, I always include …”let it be a nourishment to our bodies,” which essentially means let it supply us with what’s needed to strengthen us in our health and bodies.

I’ve said this prayer out of habit since I was a child, but if we if really lived with the mindset of strengthening ourselves.

I know we just finished feasting on Thanksgiving and Christmas which is the easiest excuse for us to eat, eat and eat. And honestly I’m not saying not to eat your favorite foods, I am suggesting that we be mindful of the foods that we eat on a daily basis, still treating ourselves to those “like to haves” but making our choices smarter.

As the New Year’s resolutions and goals begin to take shape, I want to recommend that you set a realistic goal to be healthy in 2018. To truly be committed to being mindful of what you eat and grabbing a friend to workout with a couple of times a week. You owe it to yourself to be healthy, strong, and equipped for whatever God is calling you to do.  Whatever it is, you will need the energy and the willpower to do it. Prepare now so that you’re ready when He reveals himself to you.

The Start of New Beginnings

Group of people hugging outdoors; sunset2017 had a very difficult start but one thing I quickly learned is I could either dwell in the tough moments or become a student of it. No one is exempt from the storms of life but if you commit to seeing the lesson in the storm; it can change your perspective and set the tone for the remainder of the year.

I’m so thankful that during personal storms, standing in prayer for others and seeing the physical storms this year that I was still able to hear the whispers of hope. Although 2017 wasn’t always great; I was committed to making memories & choosing joy anyways.

I’m grateful to close this year out strong but even more grateful for the start of new beginnings.

Whatever you’re believing for in 2018, my prayer is that you truly commit to the journey and the lessons along the way. There will be good and bad days ahead but if God is our rock and salvation, we will not be shaken (Psalm 62:6).

Let Your Light Shine

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You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV).

When I was younger, I remember my parents would tell my sister and I to keep a flashlight by our nightstand. We had once scattered the home looking for matches and a flashlight before so this was our way of keeping it handy in case the power ever went out.

When storms would come and temporarily knock out our power, we had a source that would illuminate our room and bring a sense of calmness.

In the same way, we as Christians are called to illuminate this dark world that we live. Each and every one of you has a calling to reach someone who may not know Jesus. You are called to bring light to a dark situation.

The typical lamp used in Jewish homes was very small but produced maximum illumination. Although you may feel small or inferior, you have already been granted access so that through the Holy Spirit, you can bring maximum illumination to someone’s life by drawing them closer to their Savior.

There is someone in this world waiting to be saved through your obedience. He or she may not even realize it yet but through your obedience to use what God has placed in your hands, will help open the heavens for them to experience God in a fresh way.

I want to encourage you to not keep your gifts or your story to yourself. Use it in a way that brings glory to God and helps bring someone to His kingdom.

Before I close, I want to leave you with the Message translation to help shed more light to this scripture.

 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. -Matthew 5:14-16 (MSG).

How will you begin to use your light to shine for someone else?

Music to My Heart

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I have always had a very eclectic taste in music and what I’m listening to really depends on what I need in that moment. Lately, I have truly experienced worship on another level. There’s always a line or two of a song that resonates with exactly what I need at any given time. Sometimes it may simply be a song that I keep on repeat throughout the whole week.

There’s something about the words that provide comfort and sometimes even spark interest to look up scriptures for full context.

I wanted to share some worship songs that I love; these songs set the tone for my meeting place with Jesus.

As we gear up for the holidays, I hope that you find comfort, hope and joy through some of my favorites right now.

  1. Peace be Still. This song speaks to my heart in a special way. I have been so guilty of allowing fear to cripple me from taking the next step and this song provides comfort that even if I’m afraid, God is still with me; therefore I want to have the confidence to know if God tells me to go, I will do just that

2. Worship You Forever. This is my arms stretched wide song. This song is so simple but it is a sweet reminder of reverencing God for who He is.

3. Resurrecting. There’s something about the words “the resurrecting King, is resurrecting me” that gets me every time. This song reminds me of what our Savior endured so that I may live.

4. Holy Spirit. I love this sweet song because it invites the Holy Spirit to meet me where I am.

5. Speak to the Silence. This song was on repeat at the beginning of the year. The words “speak to the silence of my heart” and “I will wait for you,” has truly been my anthem. Although I may still tend to go ahead of God at times, I make a conscious effort to wait on the Lord to speak to me.

6. Yes; The song brings tears to my eyes every time. There’s something about the simplicity of saying yes to God and truly surrendering your plans over to Him. This song is highly encouraged to listen with a box of Kleenex handy

7. Christ is Enough. I heard this song for the first time during baptism at my church and it was as if a revelation hit me that He is indeed enough. It doesn’t matter if He ever does anything else for me; He is simply enough.

8. Spirit Break Out. The lyrics to this song remind me of how our praise and worship you should look like “a sound of heaven touching earth”

9. Gracefully Broken. This song reminds me of the beauty behind our brokenness.

10. Set a Fire; this song makes me want to do a lap across the room or simply fall to my knees. My constant prayer is to desire more of God and less of me

I hope you will enjoy these songs as much as I do. I’d love for you to drop me a note and let me know what song speaks to your heart during worship. It is my prayer that we always keep a song in our hearts to reverence our God.

 

 

My Heart is With You

Open book on wooden table on natural blurred background. Heart book page. Back to school. Copy SpaceFor though I am far away from you, my heart is with you.” – Colossians 2:5 (NLT).

So much joy fills my heart when I read this scripture.

There are some days where I truly feel that the Lord is near and with me. There are moments where I look up and know that it was the Lord speaking through me and who cleared the path for a given situation.

However there are moments (and sometimes seasons) where He seems distant. Prayers go unanswered, it’s as if He isn’t speaking to me at all and I simply just don’t feel His presence.

This sweet verse nestled in Colossians comforts me during those times. I love that regardless of how I may not feel Him near, I, as a child of the King, have His heart with me wherever I go.

My prayer is that in those silent seasons, that you will lean a little more into your Savior; that you always remember that He is with you wherever you go. It doesn’t matter how you may feel, remember the truth of His words which says “My heart is with you.