The new year has arrived. I am stronger than I have ever been. I didn’t make any real New Year’s resolutions other than to love God and love myself. I asked God for revelation and He was faithful. I know that being committed to these two specific values, I will be able to show the love of Christ to others.
This renewed mind started before the new year and I am grateful for that because I wasn’t caught up in the whole new resolution mindframe. No problem with that. I just didn’t want to be.I believe that when things are going well and everything flows, there is the tendency to distance the Lord with busyness. Involvement in regular daily living overshadows our time spent with the Lord. At one point I was moving so much, I lost focus and my need became my priority. Everything had shifted. Until I couldn’t handle it anymore.
I have to say my energy was being used on the wrong things and focused in the wrong direction. But praise God, He pursues us consistently because He loves us so much. God’s love pursues us until we have surrendered all to Him.
As I continue on this journey, I find that in the depth of my relationship with Him, faith, strength, hope and peace grow. This is now once again my priority. It is easy to slip into the busyness of our lives. His Word says to delight in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart. The things you desire change as the relationship with the Lord deepens. I believe this is a key factor because God desires that we worship Him and not anything else.
I have shared some of the hard things I went through in 2016. I want you to know that where I am now, I wouldn’t change a thing. The higher spiritual ground is worth it. I am excited about the new year and certainly believe God is doing a new thing in my life.
(Isaiah 43:19).”Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.”AMP
Last, but certainly not least, I am resolved to keep my writing commitment. I had to seek the the Lord regarding the challenges I faced and do the reading He required. I look forward to sharing more and reading more from my WordPress friends. I wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year.
3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually].” AMP
Short and sweet but truth for you. Although the trees mostly cover the sky and you only see a glimpse of it, it is still there. So is God. Right now you may only have a glimpse of Him, but He is there. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Even if you only have a glimpse right now, hold on. Your breakthrough is beyond the trees (trials, challenges, etc.).
While the following questions were answered by me from a devotional I did today, I wanted to share them with you. I am not looking for answers on the post, of course. But thought as we continue on this journey, when we probe deep within ourselves about our relationship with Christ, we can move forward in growth. The key is to be honest with ourselves because God already sees and knows.
Do you feel like you have to earn Jesus’s love? Why or why not?
I used to. Today I know that Jesus loves me in spite of myself. I used to beat myself up regularly if I failed in trying to get something right or change behaviors that I thought were ungodly or not aligned with His will for me. I kept making some of the same mistakes over and over again. His love for me is always a comfort and a reminder that I didn’t do anything to earn His love in the first place and I can do nothing to keep it.
How has God’s love changed you?
God’s love has given me a peace that surpasses understanding as stated in His Word. The last two years of trials and challenges has shown me true strength. His love has erased the fear I used to have of living. His love has shown me that no matter what happens, I have hope, in Him. Even if I should leave this earth, I have a place with Him in heaven. How truly awesome is that!
What is Jesus calling you to put aside so you can follow Him completely?
Financial worry is at the top of the list. Yes, I had to answer this question honestly for myself. While I do go into prayer, I reflect on my reactions. Sometimes tears would result or me trying to figure out the next step based on what I can see and my limited resources. Based on the trials I have experienced over the last two years in particular, and over the years as a single parent, I would say this has been a thorn for me. I read an article today about Jonah and Deep Sea Surrender. I have included a link should you desire to read it. It is a poignant article.
Jonah did not surrender his rebellion to God’s will until he was swallowed up by the fish. And, as a thought by the writer indicated, it still took three days for him to get out. I believe the point here is that God’s love pursues us until we have surrendered all to Him. No matter what it is. After surrender, you still may not receive all the answers you think you need. The ultimate point is that you are now ready to be used for His purpose. Beyond that, you get a deeper understanding about Him and you.
You are an Individual by God’s Design…
Today, I thank God for all that He is and I can’t even comprehend all that He is with my finite abilities. I am so thankful for all that encompasses who we are because of who He is. I was reading Psalm 139 this week and the concept of “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” just resonated within me. This culture is obsessed with individuality and doing things differently so that you stand out. Have you ever considered that we will always be different because we are individuals? Five people can do the same thing and there will always be a difference because five different people did it. Whether that difference is large or small, it is different.
I have spent a great portion of my life passing on opportunities because I couldn’t figure out how to be different. Well, duh. Just because I am doing it makes it different. Being in a culture so consumed with doing things differently, looking for the next big thing on the market, are we passing up the joy and pleasures of just enjoying creativity, whether similar or different?
I am not sure who I am speaking to today. I just know the words are flowing and someone needs to know that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” just because God made you. He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb. He counted your days before you had any. In the flow of learning how to love yourself, you must begin with appreciating the fact that you are an individual, you are special and that God in His greatness believed you were meant to be here as you because He gave you life. Not as someone else, not an imitation of someone else but Y.O.U. It is said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. Flattery is fine in the shallowness that it is but who you are as an individual is greater than any form of flattery you can give someone else.
Psalm 139:14 – “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” (NKJV)
With a tendency to listen to the outside voices of the world – the ads, the suggestions, the constant barrage of doing it better than the next person – we forget that we are individually wrapped for God’s purpose for our lives. He knows you better than anyone including yourself. He created you. Whether you are making a difference in a small circle or a large one, you are making a difference. Measuring ourselves by standards that are unrealistic and unfeasible to boot, we miss the joy and the pleasure of truly living. Enjoy who you are today because “you are fearfully and wonderfully made.” Praise should go forth just because of this one Scripture.
It seems like just yesterday I committed to my writing. Going strong for a while and a windstorm hit. I was knocked down but not out. Tossed about but still standing. Trusting God no matter what and even when I was missing in action for a few weeks, I knew that I would be back. The commitment was real. This year has passed swiftly with all its challenges.
Romans 8:35-39 – 35What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? 36As it is written: “For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As I sit and reflect on decisions now made, I am still looking forward to each day and the new year. Not going to make a bunch of resolutions to try and stick to. I am going to continue living in the now, even when the going gets rough. I have to say that writing has been a help and a comfort. I am truly grateful for all the friends that I have met along the way. Reading the posts from other bloggers has been strengthening and encouraging. You never know what an impact you make on someone else’s life just by sharing yours. Not talking about dirty laundry or anything like that. I am talking about the realness of this journey. The truth about how hard it can be sometimes. But also about the resilience that exists in us to get up and keep going. One might just call it faith.
I have faith in God and know that others do as well. I also know that we are to help each other. I say a big heartfelt thank you to all those that have helped me. We may abide in different places (cities, states, and countries), but the written word has blessed me from near and afar. I would like to say to my blogger friends, keep writing. Even when it takes a follower a while to get to your post, know that when the writing comes from the heart, you never know whose life is impacted. Sometimes the like isn’t there, doesn’t mean it wasn’t read. There was an online discussion about clicking like and it doesn’t appear time was taken to even read the post. I personally love responding because I love reading. I have resolved in my spirit not to get caught up in the likes. I appreciate them, of course. But as I move forward on this writing journey and prepare to add photography, I am excited. I share because it is who I am.
I have always loved to read and write. I am still partial to the hard copies of books and writing in my journals. The computer is fine and I type pretty fast but each method has an endearing quality that makes me appreciate both. There are times when reading on the computer or the phone is appropriate. The phone is needed especially when you are waiting in some type of line (DMV, grocery, etc.). The hard copy is appreciated in downtime and curled up in a blanket with thoughts on appreciating the different things life has given us.
As we welcome the new year, let us end this one with a bang. Gratitude for still being here. Gratitude for God being who He is in our lives and giving thanks to Him for His mercy and grace because of His Son Jesus Christ. We cannot out give God anyway. Thanksgiving Day can’t be the only day we give thanks. Of course, it is a different atmosphere with great food, family, and friends. There is a different level of appreciation in me now to put first things first and truly live.
I would like to give God praise today. He shows up when we need Him. He is always with us but there are times when you know that you know God made an appearance for you and for the others around you. Today was such a day for me. I didn’t realize how much I truly needed Him today but He did. He was there. The Word of God says that He inhabits the praises of His saints. He does. Nothing is impossible when you trust and believe in Him.
I just want to bless you, Lord.
I just want to bless you, Lord.
I just want to bless you, Lord, Praise your holy name.
I just want to thank you, Lord.
I just want to thank you, Lord.
I just want to thank you, Lord, Praise your holy name.
I just want to praise you, Lord.
I just want to praise you, Lord.
I just want to praise you, Lord, Praise your holy name.
This is my song I sing to the Lord (if I could really sing) and would make a record for worship. Hopefully, my sister will one day make this for me and all those who want a simple song of worship for Him. I do recognize that even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket, God does recognize our worship and it is music to His ears. He desires our hearts and today God moved my heart towards Him even more.
I love you, Lord. And I lift my voice just to worship thee. Oh, my soul rejoice. Take joy, my King, in what you hear and let it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.
All she ever wanted was to belong. She sat on the monkey bars, her heart beating thunderously, waiting for what would come next. The atmosphere had changed but she couldn’t put her finger on it. Something was amiss. The other girls were treating her differently. The whispers and snickering made her uncomfortable. She didn’t know how to broach the subject. It didn’t matter. Nona knew that something bad was going to happen soon.
Nona was very nervous at school the next day. She still had the unnerving feeling that drama was coming. Focus in class was challenging at best. Cynthia kept eyeing her in class and she didn’t know why. What did I do? Did I say something wrong to her? Her last encounter with Cynthia was when she and the girls were on the playground the day before she started having the nervous feeling. She finally settled that what was going to happen was going to happen.
The weather has been so perfect. I have noticed the small things. Fall and spring are my favorite seasons. Winter and summer are necessary, but I am in love with spring and fall. Spring shows the new beginnings and the harvests are manifest in the fall. The beauty of each season blesses me in different ways.
Enough with my ramblings. I feel renewed. With the depth of the challenges I have been faced with, I have come to some conclusions. I know that God loves me and is with me. No question or doubt. I know that I have had to make some decisions in order for God to bless me. Waiting patiently (or even with anxiety) is different from being in limbo. My limbo was of my own accord, recognized as such or not.
I have made some decisions and am stepping out in faith. I have been waiting on God to move but He won’t move in a situation where I cannot make up my mind. I have to stay focused on the thing that leads me to walk in His purpose for my life. I have been so much in my own head and trying to make sure that everything is perfect that I forgot about living it out. No, I am not talking about doing what the world does, but more importantly really letting go.
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
Yes, I am still waiting on doors to open but I understand what door I am at now. Although things are not manifest yet, I am hopeful, excited and looking forward.
Philippians 3:12-15 – “12 It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have indeed been taken possession of by Christ [Jesus]. 13Brothers, I for my part do not consider myself to have taken possession. Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus. 15Let us, then, who are “perfectly mature” adopt this attitude. And if you have a different attitude, this too God will reveal to you.”
Artificial – I need the real thing!
Job 28:23-28 – 23) “God understands its way and He knows its place. 24) For He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. 25) When He imparted weight to the wind and meted out the waters by measure, 26) When He set a limit for the rain and a course for the thunderbolt, 27) Then He saw it and declared it; He established it and also searched it out. 28) And to man He said, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”
One of the word prompts last week was “artificial.” This post is about choosing true wisdom over the artificial wisdom of this world. Job says “the fear of the Lord is true wisdom.” As much as we want to make it so, artificial intelligence is not true wisdom. The culture of our world today is based on developing science, digital accomplishments, fulfillment of self without boundaries and dismissal of God as a figment of the imagination of the weak. While this is generally speaking, of course, we must be honest and see that the Scriptures are being fulfilled; particularly the one that states “times will wax worse and worse.”
In our search for the truth, we must be aware of the artificial. Part of the enemy’s primary focus is to deceive us; looking for us to believe the lies instead of the truth of God’s Word. Just ask Eve how this went. Be aware that God’s truth does not change. This is one real way to test the validity of the information you receive. Facts change, the truth does not.
Artificial anything cannot fulfill you as you travel this spiritual journey. The truth is we all need Jesus, on the real tip. We have gotten to a place where the world thinks everything is a joke, even Christians and our faith. Part of this may be to disguise the real condition of people in today’s culture. Rather than surrender to God by developing a true relationship with Jesus, people would rather surrender to the flesh and the world for artificial fulfillment. It cannot provide what you need to sustain you in the long haul.
My birthday is Saturday and as take a journey of reflection, I realize that nothing I’ve turned to in my life could do me like Jesus. The good times are easy. But when the rubber hits the road, only Jesus will get you through.
Today finds me enfolded in the loving arms of my God. Although still going through, I am not in the same place I was even a week ago.
Truly learning how to be content in whatever state I am in is a liberating although challenging experience at the same time. When we say that we are ready to let go and let God, do we honestly accept what that truly means? Our expectations of what God has for us are sometimes immensely different from the actual experience He has planned. The one thing I do know is that truly trusting that He wants what is best for us and has our best interests in mind when He cares for us helps our understanding tremendously when the experience turns out to be different than we expect. God’s best for us is never just about this particular moment. It is also about our future as well as walking in His purpose for our lives and the others we are to impact for His glory.
If someone had told me twenty years ago, I would be where I am today, I would have been insistent that they were misinformed. However, I recall a vision the Lord gave me about that long ago and it seems He did tell me. I did not understand at the time because physical details were not apparent. The spiritual details were what He shared. I remember calling on the name of Jesus in this vision. I trusted that as the Word says, He is on the right hand of the Father ever making intercession for us. To know that even so long ago He knew my days and where I would be at this moment, it is humbling knowing that with all the wrong choices, mistakes, misunderstandings, etc. He would still be loving me intensely.
He said He would never leave me nor forsake me. How awesome is our God! He has me in a challenging place but I am not alone. The personal relationship is what being in this place is all about. Life is not life without the darts coming at us, the enemy seeking to steal, kill and destroy. Job says that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. He says that though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. So, I am content in Him because of Him.