When Worry Steals Your Joy

person hands woman pen

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

This week has been filled with a lot of worries. 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 thereof 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.

Reckless Love: Interrupted yet everlasting

stack of love wooden blocks

A couple of months ago, a co-worker sent me a link to a song titled Reckless Love. If I’m honest, when I first saw the title come through, I wasn’t initially interested because there’s a negative mindset that comes with the term reckless. But I finally caved in and gave it a try.

As I listened, the words began to pierce at my heart and as much as I didn’t want to keep listening; it made me reflect. I remembered what it felt like when God gracefully broke me – when He took everything that was once familiar to mold me into someone new. He changed me, but what it took to get there wasn’t pretty. It was uncomfortable; it interrupted the life I knew; yet in the midst of it, I felt Him near.

Being a Christian never implies that life will be easy; there’s nothing that says we will never endure hard times. Our manual says the opposite.

When my back is up against the wall; I have the choice to release control and allow God to do what only He can do, yet whenever I depart from the very Word that I’m called to stand on there is nothing that my Heavenly Father won’t do to get the attention of His daughter. He will stop at nothing to turn our hearts back to Him.

I’ve learned how in the midst of recklessness comes a love that runs so deep. A love that is everlasting. A love that I can’t even comprehend the truth of its depth. But I feel it, I see it and I know it.

In Luke 15:3-7, Jesus tells the parable of the lost sheep and shares this very concept of going after the one until it’s found. I find comfort in knowing that He will stop at nothing to keep us near Him.

Click here to listen to Reckless Love

Being Faithful in Your Singleness

Single woman alone swinging on the beach

For some odd reason, being single has some people feeling as if they have a disease. Everything around you says that you should be in a relationship, yet everything gives a false representation of how that relationship should be.

As much as there’s a desire for companionship, I believe there should be a deeper hunger for a relationship; not with a man but the Man.

Paul reminds us of how being single allows you to be solely devoted to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:34). It is also a season filled with purpose yet I like to call it a season of preparation.

As much as social media will show relationships on your news feed, it can also give you a false representation of love. People share what they want you to see. You begin to draft these fantasies about love and miss the love that’s available for you every day.

The Lord has given you the gift of singleness in this season and it is your choice in how to accept that gift. This is a precious time to tune in to Him for what you are to learn in this season.  I believe that singleness is a time to get to know our Savior so much more. In getting to know Him, you will learn so much about yourself. God can grant you a desire for something more. He will change and mold you into the woman He created you to be.

It is my prayer for single women to understand how singleness isn’t a mistake, a disease or a punishment but it is a sacred season to know our Father in a way that will only come when our eyes are constantly fixed on Jesus.

He desires for you to know Him and understand His resurrecting power that can equip you for various seasons of life.

Will you commit to being faithful to Him in this season? Not distracted but totally focused on the One who is Love.

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.

When we became Believers, we entered into a new covenant of grace which gives us direct access to our Father.

“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 is 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.

Faith in Work: Finding Joy in the Day to Day

Stressed business woman

I just finished Tim Keller’s book Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work. I appreciated this book because it showed the importance of seeing the value in our careers regardless if you are in corporate or ministry.

Tim gave an example of a doorman at an apartment in New York, who was known by the residents for his positive attitude and how he took pride in helping people. He took the initiative to learn the residents’ name and when asked why he took so much pride in his work, he mentioned how it’s the people in the building that he cares about.

When I read this story, it reminded me of the security guard at my employer who knows every employee by name. He is the first person you will see in the morning and he makes sure the elevator is waiting for you. He takes pride in the people at the office. He brings joy early in the morning. When he is not there, you miss his presence. He simply radiates with Christ’s love.

Colossians 3:23 says “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

It is so easy to get bogged down in the day to day tasks that you find yourself losing joy in what brought you to work. When you’re constantly listening to people complain, surrounded by deadlines and work politics, it’s hard to find the energy to press on but what if we truly approached work as it is unto the Lord? Not to make our boss look good or to make the company more money, but if we can commit to walking in the light every day so that those who may not know God will sense something different through our presence.

Work can be a part of your ministry if you choose to work unto the Lord. There may be someone on the job who may only know Christ through you. There may be people who need to see an example of a servant leader. Or maybe that company needs your help to bring a new sense of purpose.

There are so many reasons as to why God has you where you are, but friends, know that it is on purpose. Let’s be committed to working smart and intentionally being the salt and light in the workplace.

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

Close up on white mug beside laptop

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 into 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 than 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

Fit people working out in weights room

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).