Matthew 11:28 – Rest in Him, He’s got you… now go!

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“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” NIV

Ever look at that verse and wonder, “when do I have time to rest?”  I ask myself this question from time to time and then God reminds me what “resting in Him” really is.  We can actually get a lot of work down while resting in Him.  I am a great multi-tasker, but sometimes have a difficult time focusing on one thing at a time.  My thoughts are all over the place and usually, so am I.  How else would a single mom function, right?  I’m also an assistant manager of a hotel in Orlando Florida and I should be getting ready for work very soon.  And the day begins, running here, running there, running everywhere.  Ha!  Jesus tells us to come to Him and He will give us rest.  Any time that we are weary and burdened, even just a little bit, it will blind us from the joy that fills our hearts.  When our minds are so preoccupied we miss it all.  No matter what we are doing we can step back and say “Jesus give rest to my soul” and then the worries, and frustrations melt away and we are free to see the beauty that surrounds us.  It’s a simple verse that can change your day and ultimately your life.

In all things, learn to rest in Him.

Matthew 7:7&8 – Ask, Seek, Knock

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“7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.
8 For everyone who asks, receives: the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks the door will be opened.” NIV

That sounds easy enough, doesn’t it?  Or does it?  First of all let’s think about who we are talking to here and who He is.  I think, a lot of times we put God, in a box, so to speak and when we do ask for something we have the idea of how He will or “should” answer our prayers.  This is mistake #1!!  The verse says ask and it will be given to you, but it doesn’t say how, or when.  It goes on to say seek and you will find.  Are you looking for something?  Searching for answers or just thinking about them, playing around possibilities in your mind?  We can’t just think about it, we must seek it, if we really want to find something.  And to find the truth, we should seek in God’s word and in prayer to the one who has all of the answers.  And then once we ask and we seek, we find a door, what do we do?  Do we go barging in?  No we knock and the door will be opened for us and then we must walk through it.  So this first verse is more work on our part than I originally thought it to be.  Reading the next verse again says if we ask, we receive, if we seek, we will find, and if we knock the door will be opened.  This reinstates that we have a part in God answering our prayers.  He will guide us, and He will give us strength and wisdom, but we must look for Him and follow Him as He guides us down the path that He has chosen for us.

James 1:2-4 – Joy is to know God and to trust Him

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“2-Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds
3-because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
4-Let perseverance finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, no lacking anything.” NIV

I’ve been sitting awake since 2am and thinking for an hour now.  Usually, I get upset when I can’t sleep, but tonight I’m not.  I’m sitting on my patio spending time getting to know God and allowing Him to change my mind, my heart and my life.  What I’ve learned is that as I get closer and closer to Him I start to see things from a different perspective.

As I reflect on these verses I think of so many things that God is doing in my life and in the lives of those around me, right now.   Do I consider it joy, when I face problems?  Ummm, no!  Why would I, they suck right?  Let’s face it, when we start to go through something REALLY challenging or hurtful, is our initial response to look up to God and say, “Thanks God”, and be truly joyful about it? Let’s look at verse 3, there’s a process here, and a reason.  Why should we be joyful?  Because God is doing something in us that is far greater than the circumstances that we are facing.  We can have joy because we know that God wants what’s best for us and that His love for us is beyond our comprehension.  There is also an enemy that is after our heart too and He will do anything to keep us from the path that God has chosen for us.  So when we choose to have joy as we face trials, we choose trust in God, when we complain, we choose trust in the enemy.  This is kind of huge!  We must stay alert and be aware that the enemy wants to steal our joy, getting inside of our minds telling all kinds of lies that damage our heart and destroy the life that God intends for us to live.  I ask God 2 questions when I face challenges in life, “What do you want me to see in this?”  and “What do you want me to do?”  I used to just complain and ask why and try to figure out the situation, or how to avoid it.  After several life experiences I’ve learned that a lot of times situations that I face were a gift from God that were a blessing in disguise.  I’ve also learned that in any challenge that I face the enemy has no power over me as long as I stay close to God and ask those 2 questions and don’t believe his hurtful lies.  The answer is to KNOW God and to trust Him!

Blessings and Frustrations – God loves you, get used to it!

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Ever had mixed emotions?  Can you can look at a situation and say, “I am blessed” yet, look at this same situation and get so frustrated?   Being able to see our blessings in the middle of frustrating circumstances is God showing His face in our lives.  It’s little reminders that He is here and He wants to shower us with blessings in the middle of trying circumstances.  There is a reason for them, and God loves us too much to take them away.  We must keep moving forward, being very careful not to step towards the right or the left but staying on the narrow path that God has set before us.  The path that leads to our promised land.  The path may travel through the desert, but along the journey we will be blessed, we will learn, grow and live.  Living is not just merely breathing, I’ve done this, been surrounded by people and feel alone, just surviving with a painted smile across my face.  Living is when we die to ourselves, let go of the mask and the costume our world has created and just be, receiving all the God has for us, allowing His perfect love to overflow our hearts as we travel through the desert.  We will see paradise when others see hell.  His light will shine through us as we travel through our darkest moments with Him.  So why be afraid of the dark, when we have the light inside of us?  There are times we get scared and forget the truth and we step away, or run from the darkness, into a darker place still, with our light created by the world.  This light helps us see that we can do this on our own, we can turn to other things that encourage us and make us happy and numb the pain, yet eventually this wordly light fades, let’s call it a flashlight, and say the battery dies.  Sure, you can change the battery and keep traveling down your own path with your own light, but eventually the battery will die again.  God’s light never fades, darkness can not overcome it.  When we let go of our plan, our coping mechanisms, our worries, the lies that flood our minds holding us back from where God wants to take us, we experience life, the life that Jesus gave his life for us to live.  It’s a life that money can’t buy but it’s worth more, so much more than anyTHING we could EVER imagine.

STAY BLESSED 🙂

GOD LOVES YOU, GET USED TO IT!

The Beauty of the Storm

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The air is refreshingly cool and calm
The only sound are the birds singing their song
So peaceful, so lovely, so serene
A cool breeze blows while the little birds sing
Only moments before, the rain poured down
The sky, dark black, made a thunderous sound
In the midst of the storm, the earth begin to shake
So dark, so fierce, until everyone awakes
The birds have stopped their singing as it begins to rain once more
The sky not quite as dark and fierce as before
A slow steady rain falls, the sky, dull gray
So calming, so dreary, this unusual day
Life, like the weather, changes with each breath that we take
The storms come and they go, the choice is yours to make
When all is calm, when dark clouds move in, what do you see?
In the midst of it all, can you still see the beauty?

afterthestorm Remember His promise 🙂

Galatians 2:20 – New Life

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“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

This is a beautiful love story that a lot of us don’t understand.  Most everyone believes in God, but what about His Son?  What about Jesus!?  Do we really understand His story and how it changed EVERYTHING?

Before Jesus came to earth, the world was mess and the ones who believed in God were so “religious” and habitual.  Not that it is bad to have healthy habits, however, the state of our heart is what matters the most.  Jesus came to take religion away and to give us so much more than we can imagine.  He came to heal, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally.  We belittle emotions, but they control a lot of the world.  A lot of us do what we “feel” like doing, rather than what we should do.  Jesus came to show us a new way.  He taught us to help others, to give, not to be in a hurry, not to say no when you can help someone in need.  He taught to love and to forgive and to understand when someone hurts us, it’s because they truly don’t know what they’re doing, to us or themselves.  He came to give us a new life filled with hope, mercy, grace, peace, joy, and love.  I don’t know why we seem so afraid to give up ourselves and allow Him to live through us when without Him we complain that something is missing and try so hard to fill it with ANYTHING that makes us “feel” good.  It’s all so temporary, and usually goes away so quickly.  But when we allow Jesus into our hearts we truly begin to live.  If we make the choice daily to allow Him to live through us, then a huge weight is removed from our shoulders.  We feel stress free, even when the world says we should be freaking out.  Our circumstances don’t get easier, in fact they typically get more challenging, but we aren’t alone and we can still live in peace, filled with joy all because of His love for us.  Even if you’re single, you don’t have to do life alone.  Jesus wants to romance your heart in a way that you’ve never experienced before.  He’s a “gentleman” though, He’s not forceful.  You have to receive ALL that He has to give you.  The only way to understand that is to get to know Him.  Ask him to forgive you for anything that has left you feeling guilty, He wants to set you free from that and help you make better choices.  Then ask Him into your heart, to fill you up with all that He is.  Give yourself away to the one who will make your heart soar and then go out and share His love everywhere that you go.

Romans 12:2 What is God’s Plan for My Life?

renew“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Have you ever been frustrated with God because you don’t understand His will for your life?  You may look at the circumstances that you are going through, or some that you have been through and wonder “What exactly is God thinking?  If His will for my life is good, pleasing and perfect then why are these things happening?”  I know that I have asked myself these questions time and time again.  And here in Romans 12:2 we have the answer to understanding God’s plan for our lives.  We can’t think like the world does because we belong to God.  The closer that we get to Him by staying plugged into reading His word and praying daily the more that our minds are renewed and we begin to see things differently.  However, we also must stop allowing anything that is contrary to God’s promises for us, to take up space in our minds.  We have to learn to think “outside of the box” and allow God to answer our prayers the way that He knows best and ask “What do you want me to do?”  As well as “What would you like me to see and understand here?” It might not be a bad idea to ask God to renew our minds each morning and begin our days in prayer and reading God’s word.  A lot of times He will answer our prayers and speak to us through His word.  A lot of times the answers are already there, we just don’t “see” them yet because we are waiting for His answer in the way that we vision it to come.  We must stop putting God in a box and realize that He will answer our prayers, but almost all of the time, no where near the way that we had expected.  A friend of mine shared this image on facebook last week and it describes so perfectly how God answers a lot of our prayers.

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So why is this?

The very next day another friend shared this image on facebook:

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As our minds are renewed, we begin to view most everything from a different perspective.  I’ve learned that a lot of times I think I’m losing something, I’m actually gaining so much more than I lost.  Of course this doesn’t always happen right away, but it happens in time.  It’s also been more work on my part than I expected, how else would I grow though?

Closing Prayer:

Good Morning Father,

Thank you for opening my eyes to understanding a little more about your plan for my life.  There are a lot of unanswered prayers, or so it seems, but I know that you are answering them all, just in ways that I don’t see yet.  Help me to understand what I need to and to let go of trying to figure everything out.  I know that in time the bigger picture will be more visible.  For now I just wanna be close to you.  Let me hear your voice, see your face, and feel your touch.  Come close to me and comfort me when my emotions want to take over and blind me from you.  Take the bitterness that is in my heart and fill the empty space with your love.  Forgive me for missing the blessings that you shower me with.  Thank you for loving me the way that you do.

I love you!

Me 🙂

John 15:10 – Living Words

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I’m sitting on my patio as the cool morning breeze dances across the sky.  Isn’t it neat how one word can make our minds think differently?  How many of us focused on the word “dance” in the last sentence and what kind of thought did this put in our minds?  Can we visualize the breeze dancing through the sky, through the trees, dodging the leaves?  The breeze blows, the breeze dances, it’s doing the same thing yet it sounds so different.  We have put labels on words, however when we open our minds to understanding that the meaning can possibly be so much more than we first see, perceptions change.

The Bible is called the “living word” but why is this?  So many people argue over the meaning of this book, and it can be found in so many translations which can alter the meaning quite a bit.  So, how do we go about reading it and understanding it?  They are just a bunch of words in a book, that people wrote years and years ago, aren’t they?  What I have found is that these words give life to my heart and provide an understanding to life, about God, about others, about ourselves, about any circumstance that we could imagine and then some.  All of the answers to life’s questions are found in this book.  Today we are going to focus on one verse, found in John 15:10 NIV –

“If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love.”

Opening prayer:

“Good morning Father,

Open the eyes of our hearts today, to see the meaning that you have in these words for us.  Lead me as I meditate on your word and share with others what you share with me.  I ask that your word penetrate our minds and saturate our hearts preparing us to receive all that you have planned for our lives.  May your words transform us into the ones that you created us to be.  We were made in your image yet this world has covered up our true identities.  Help us find ourselves, by finding you.  In Jesus’ sweet name I pray.

Amen.”

How do we remain in the love of Jesus? First, we must know the love of Jesus. The word “love” is used so much in our world, yet it has lost it’s true meaning. The love of Jesus, is something that we don’t see as much as we could see. It’s here, but it’s like a buried treasure, just waiting to be found. It’s everywhere. We walk around with blindfolds covering the eyes of our hearts and that’s why we don’t see it. It’s more than a feeling, yet we feel it. It gives life to our souls while killing the humanness that sometimes hold us back from seeing, from experiencing this perfect love. We search for it, out there, when all along it’s inside of us. We even turn to religion and try to be a better person and earn our way to Heaven, when we can’t, really. We can try to love others, when inside we kind of judge them anyway, what is this doing to our hearts? How do we keep His command to love? Truly? I ask God to show me the answers to these questions because they are questions that I’ve asked over and over again? I’m learning, kind of. But there’s still so much to unpack here. Again, it’s one verse, one command to remain in His love and He even tells us how, by keeping His commands and He has even done the same, kept His father’s commands and remained in His love. So, why is it so confusing and so difficult? Am I the only one that feels this way? He tells me that what our minds are filled with directs the course of our hearts and what we focus on helps us see. When we search for His love like the buried treasure that it is, once it’s found a relationship begins. As we walk with Him, He begins to romance our hearts. When life gets tough, He holds our hand and walks with us. When life is great, He’s there too to celebrate the joy that we have found. When tears fall, He comforts us and wraps His strong, gentle arms around our entire being and a peace floods our souls. He is our strength, our friend, our Savior, and the one who fills our hearts with EVERYTHING good! When we receive all of this, then we are truly remaining in His love and we can’t help but keep His commands because it becomes our hearts desire. We change from the inside out, not the other way around. So when we live in His love we can begin to view life through His eyes and it becomes a BEAUTIFUL view.

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1 Peter 5:8 – Be Alert but Not Afraid

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This was my verse for yesterday, and even though I haven’t made time to do this every day, I’m still going to complete 21 days in the word, and blogging on each days verse even if it’s not for the day that I should have.  Why am I saying this?  Because I feel like it matters.  I have been getting so distracted by things beyond my control and they have brought me to a place of total confusion and frustration.  Is that a coincidence?  I don’t think so.  Here’s why:

1 Peter 5:8 NIV “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”

If I’m sharing what God is saying to me, to us, then the enemy wants to stop that.  If one person here’s the truth and no longer dwells on the lies of the enemy but learns about life giving salvation, then it begins to change the course of our world because it begins to change the course of our hearts and the thoughts that we allow to take up space in our minds.  It is a big deal, what we think about!  It is a big deal, what we mediate on regularly!  It really matters!  The things that we allow to occupy space in our minds plant a seed in our hearts.  Those seeds grow and impact our lives, as well as the lives of those close to us and those placed along our path each day.  So, it makes sense that this is the area in which this devil works the most.  In our minds.  The enemy does everything that he can to bring ruin to your holiness.  He doesn’t really care about your happiness.  In fact, he will whisper tempting lies that promise happiness.  We have all fallen for it.  I believe.  But temporary happiness can sometimes lead to future pain and even deep wounds.  He knows what he’s doing.  However, Jesus came to give us life by bringing joy and peace to our hearts as we are growing closer to our Holy God and following His plan for our lives.  He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world, but Stay Alert!  When Jesus comes into the story, everything changes.  EVERYTHING CHANGES!  We all begin to live, hearts are healed, hope is found, comfort and strength and peace flood our souls, and Heaven comes to earth.  Could this happen?  Yes, and one day it will.

Until then the enemy is guarding the Jesus inside of our hearts from coming out, the same way that the enemy guarded the tomb of Jesus after he died.  It didn’t work then and it’s not going to work now.

Put on your armor of God and fight the good fight

Ephesians 6:10-18

John 15:17 – Every Rose Has it’s Thorn

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Now, I am a few days behind on my writing, but it’s my favorite day of the week, Sunday.  I have the day off of work and I get to see my church family.  I have a lot going on in my mind and my heart and I have some time on my hands to write now, so maybe I can catch up and really soak in all that God has to say to me.  I really wanna get more focused on Him.  So let’s do that now.

John 15:17 NIV says, “This is my command: Love each other.” … That’s it.  Two small sentences consisting of 6 words that sum up the entire meaning of the bible and God’s plan for our lives.  Have we ever really thought about what this means?  What if we memorized this verse and every time that we became frustrated and angry, disappointed and hurt, we meditated on this verse and ask God, “In what way would you like for me to live out this verse in my life RIGHT NOW?”  How differently would our words be?  Would we handle a situation in the same way?  How would we view life’s circumstances or the actions of another?

Loving each other is selfless, and by doing so we can learn to have faith in God’s guidance by allowing Him to speak and act through us, ESPECIALLY when we don’t feel like it.  When we feel like being alone, so that we can dwell on the horrible things that are happening all around us.  We feel like no one wants to listen or really cares.  If we take this opportunity to express God’s love to another in need, He finds beautiful ways to express His love to us.  Our hearts begin to live again, and smile through the tears that no one sees.

The enemy wants to steel our joy, and sometimes he will do so by trying to convince us that temporary happiness is what we need.  This is a lie.  True joy is what our hearts desire, the joy that is found in living a life in relationship with Jesus.  When we learn this we become a threat to the one who wants our hearts too.

What we often feel is so far from what’s real.  When we love each other, we join and encourage, uplift, walk beside of and inspire another heart to see the truth.  It doesn’t always feel good.  But it is good.  Every time we do what we know is right to do when it feels like a part of us is dying, but that part that is dying shouldn’t be alive at all, we grow.  I could write about these six words from John 15:17 for hours, it could be a novel, a great story, a fairy-tale almost about how we can give life to a dieing world, just by loving them.  Oh wait!  It is a great story, a story of salvation, and how a perfect God came to earth in the form of a man to show us paradise, to bring Heaven to our hearts.  This story is found in the bible.  These words give life to our hearts and wisdom to our minds that lead us down a narrow path filled with roses and thorns.  Enjoy the beautiful journey, and even though the roses have thorns, stop and pick them anyway.  🙂  Just be careful! 🙂