The secret to abundant living

Psalms 100:1-5 (AMP) Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness and delight; Come before His presence with joyful singing. Know and fully recognize with gratitude that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with a song of thanksgiving
And His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, bless and praise His name. For the Lord is good;
His mercy and lovingkindness are everlasting, His faithfulness [endures] to all generations.

We are four weeks away from Christmas. This year my church has picked a family from the local domestic violence intervention center to shop for Christmas. We were given a list of items they would like and have created ornaments for people to get so they know what to shop for. Some items are candles from a well know chain, jewelry, clothing, gas cards (for the mom), and then there are the big items like an ipad and a Canon G7X. Wow! You may be saying that is too big of an ask. Some even judge and say how dare they ask for something that big. They were asked though. Many of their friends have them, why should they not dream of having one themselves.

I was raised by a single mother with three small children. My sisters were three and I was five when my mother got out of an abusive marriage. We lived in some cramped spaces and spent evenings on the stairwell of the night school. That did not keep her from enrolling us in things like dance classes and softball. We were close to family and they would step in and help at times. We never felt neglected.

Not everyone will have that support system. That is why it is important to seek out others. It is not just a one way seeking. I was reading an article about why it was believed that Christians are not giving their best at this time of year. It is because we look at obvious opportunities to give and do not like to be stretched to give. We need to seek out extravagant giving opportunities.

What does that have to do with the above verse? I believe the level of your thanksgiving and gratitude is gauged by the words that come out of your mouth. My husband and I started our marriage out with a two income family. Within a few months I started back to college full time and he stared full time ministry (making not even a third of what he was before). That year we bought our first house, we signed the papers with his college degree being his work history and he was still in the other job. Our first Christmas in that new house was not what you see now. We had a tree, but that was it. We made sure to get for others, but when it came to each other, we just did not have it. We are tithers. We would rather do without, and have, than not honor God with the tithe. Then there was a knock on the door by our realtor. Since we had recommended her to so many people, and they bought houses from her that year, she wanted to gift us. She blessed us with three hundred dollars.

Do you want to know my secret for attracting things like that? We never complained about what we did not have. We praised God where we were. Thanksgiving was always what we showed. Nobody knew how much we were struggling, not even my family. We did not try to credit card our way to looking better (even though I had to put bills or groceries on them sometimes). We did have to borrow money from family once, and paid it back. Never did we give up on God and putting Him first. We did not throw in the towel and say, “this putting God first thing does not work.” Who am I to limit God on how He sustains us? We are to look at His face and not His hands.

Matthew 6:33 (AMP) But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.

Let us remember to put Him first in our lives. Where your heart dwells that is where your treasure is. My circumstances are never going to be better than my praise. My life is not perfect, but that does not mean His goodness is not always on my lips. Give Him your praise and thanksgiving! This is the secret to living the abundant life.

Will those kids get everything on that list? Yes!

Father, I praise you for who you are. You are a good, good father. You know every detail of our lives and desire to shower us with your love. When you sent your Son you gave the ultimate gift. Thank you for the reminder today to be thankful and to look for opportunities to bless others. Whatever I have is yours. Let us see each other the way you desire us to. We are not against each other nor competing, but encouraging each other to grow deeper in our relationships with you. Thank you for your Word, that it is life giving. Let it change me and mold me. Let it reveal your character so that when other options come my way I will know which voice to listen to. Thank you for the people you have placed in my life. Thank you that everything you placed in my hands I will choose to glorify you with. Let your light burn brighter through me. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Something to Ponder

Luke 2:19 (AMP) But Mary treasured all these things, giving careful thought to them and pondering them in her heart.

Have you ever just sat down and thought about how far you have come? My husband and I like to do this together sometimes. We will sit down and talk about all the people we have met, the things we have done with our family, and the home we have made. We will talk about the moment we met and if we could have ever imagined sitting there together twenty seven years later. We will talk about our church and the changes that have happened. We will encourage each other, because there are times when we think they are set backs, but there are exactly where God want us to be. We talk about our growing moments.

I have started doing this with our sons. I will tell them a story about how far we have come. We have raised them to not have to struggle. That has been a blessing, but it also is not completely beneficial. They will be out on their own soon and they need to grow on their own. Mom and dad want to protect them, but we need to point them in the direction of who their true source really is. So I tell them about us trusting God and that we are where we are because of our faith in His promises. It is not magic, it is principles of the Kingdom at work. At the beginning of our marriage, my husband and I chose to put God first in all things. There is only one Savior and His Name is Jesus.

Our Christmas tree is already up. It may be early to some. We did have the tradition of putting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving, but as the kids are now teenage boys, they are off doing other activities. My husband has been at me to buy a new tree for a few years now. Why? Because of the shedding issue. Piles and piles of needles shed off every year. Finally, this year, it had to be done. The branches were broken, snapped while put in storage last year. On our way to pick out a new tree, I was telling my youngest about when we bought the old one. It was the year 2003 and I was expecting his older brother in just two more months. We had put a tree on lay away to use for his first Christmas. It was pre-lit with white lights. We had bought real trees before then, but our cats would drink the water and they would dry out (which is dangerous). My oldest will be turning 19 in a few months, so it did not quite make it twenty years. That is a long time to hold onto something.

The best part is holding onto the memories we made, and will continue to make. It was a great time to share about priorities and how far God has brought us. We talked about sacrifice on our way to pick up the new tree and what it means to be a good steward. We looked for opportunities to be a blessing to someone. We did not rush in and get the one item and then rush home. We watched out for others and allowed them to go first. I pray these moments we spend with them will be pondered later on. I treasure them and hope they do too.

Can you see how far you have come in your walk with the Lord? Can you look back and see all of the many ways that He has blessed your life? Can you look back and think of the majesty of it all? I sure can.

Father, I thank you for the person reading this right now. Let them know that they are loved and seen by you. We stand in awe of you. Your majesty is to be treasured. We are thankful for the life that you have laid out before us. May we take advantage of the moments to share your glory. We ask you to heal any broken area in our lives. We give it freely back to you. We have tried to fix things on our own or hold onto things too long, and it is time to let it go. Thank you for the growing moments. We thank you for putting people in our lives to grow us and for us to help grow. We are not called to do this alone. We thank you for placing us in the ministry of reconciliation. Help us see the way that you see. Help us love the way you love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

30 Days of Thanksgiving

Colossians 2:6-7 (AMP)  Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in [union with] Him [reflecting His character in the things you do and say—living lives that lead others away from sin], having been deeply rooted [in Him] and now being continually built up in Him and [becoming increasingly more] established in your faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing in it with gratitude.

Every November I start each morning posting what I am thankful for. A heart of thanksgiving will overflow with gratitude. It is the fruit of us being deeply rooted in Jesus. It is proof of our faith. It helps build our faith because we choose to overflow in it with gratitude.

Last week my church finished up a six week small group plan following Get Out of Your Head, a study in Philippians, by Jennie Allen. The final chapter talks about anxiety. Could we be focused on fear of a real or, often really the case, perceived threat? Can we trust God, even if?

Philippians 4:8 (AMP) Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].

Philippians 4:8 is one of my go to verses that I often meditate on. Why? My mind wants to spiral into some crazy thoughts. Often we think of all the things that can go wrong when presented with a challenge. In reality the more success we have is when we focus on all the things that can go right. The same is with our relationships. If I cannot think of our brothers and sisters in Christ this way, I have a deep issue that has not been rooted in His love. If I cannot bring our minds to think on things that is worthy of praise, if I cannot implant His Word in my heart, I have a deep rooted issue centered on not trusting God.

A couple of years ago a church that we had a semi relationship with (our youth groups would get together) hurt me pretty bad. They had started using some of my youth leaders to do various helps in their church, without us knowing. These leaders eventually left ours to join in with their leadership team because of the relationship they developed. My heart hurt and we cut ties with that other church. Even though what they did was wrong, I became so consumed to what they did and what they are doing that bitterness and eventually depression set it. I had allowed it to do that to happen a year ago. I still had friendships in that church, but I cut off all communication with the pastors. I stayed away from my friends because I did not want to spew my hurt onto them. I do honor the office of a pastor and we should not use the reason of hurt to talk bad about them (James 4:11). When I did come together again, with my friend, I did tell them why, but I did tell the I her I was working through my hurt. I always encourage her to honor her pastors, to join in and help with the vision of the church. I have also started to pray for the church, not to see their errors, but to fulfill the vision that God put inside of them. I am not ready to see them again. I will continue to pray. I focus my mind on what is worthy of praise. They are called by God with a purpose. They are bringing people into the Kingdom.

You do not have to wait to feel good to start having a time of thanksgiving. Joy will start to come out of your praise. Praise even when you are hurting, that is the way out of it. Start with just one. You might say, I cannot come up with thirty things. Just think and be thankful one day at a time. Before you know it, you will have filled the whole month with thanksgiving. Here are a couple of ideas if you need help:

Father, I thank you for challenging us to see the best in others. My hearts desire is to grow close in your presence, because in your presence is fullness of joy. I repent for speaking words or having thoughts that slander my brothers and sisters in Christ. I choose today to think on things that pure, lovely, virtuous, and to not take an account of a suffered wrong. I speak blessings on those that hurt me. May they be successful and favored in every place they go. May they minister the gospel and set people free by pointing them to your Son. I am thankful for the forgiveness you have given me so that I may freely give it to others. Thank you for leading me. Thank you for the friendships that I have. I thank you that we point each other back to Christ. I thank you for surrounding me and rooting me in your love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

My Jerusalem

My Jerusalem April 2, 2022

Romans 12:9-13 (MSG) Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

For most parts of the country this week, the temperature dropped, but not gradually. It dropped like we just saw a patrol car and we were going fifty miles over the speed limit! If you are like me, you still refuse to turn on the heat, because it is just going to be hot again by the weekend. My kids and I have been walking around the house in hoodies. My husband is sleeping during the day (he is on third shift) so he does not get to enjoy the crisp fall weather during the day. By my request he has taken the weekend off. Why? So that we can serve as a family, with our church, in our community.

My city has an ministry that is called Way 2 Serve. Twice a year they hold an event called My Jerusalem, taken from the book of Nehemiah. Churches, small groups and individuals gather and are sent out to do home repairs in our city. I have been doing it with who ever I could get to go with me for a few years now. The past few times we have been getting together to do it with our church. It is a wonderful way to put in to practice the above scripture.

The Amplified Bible says this, “Be devoted to one another with [authentic] brotherly affection [as members of one family], give preference to one another in honor; never lagging behind in diligence; aglow in the Spirit, enthusiastically serving the Lord; constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength], contributing to the needs of God’s people, pursuing [the practice of] hospitality.”

When my husband and I sat down to write the vision for Connect Church we knew people got excited about missions. My husband grew up on the mission field. He lived in Belize for ten years. He saw what it was like for those who came and did short term missions and the expense it was for them to make that trip. It is an opportunity to go into all the world. However, we wanted to make the biggest impact. We needed to start here. So we came up with, “We exist to touch the world through our community.” As a church we do not have to start up programs when great ones are already going on in our city. We joined up with Way 2 Serve.

We are looking forward to repairing a home so that someone can get their home back. We are looking forward to showing genuine love. We do that by taking time off, by getting up early on a Saturday, by braving this cold snap and putting our hands to the needs of people. People need to know that they are seen. They need to know that they are loved. There have been times that we did not get to meet the home owner. There have been times when I spent all day with them because they had to tear down to the jousts to get the rot out. Every project is different. The heart is the same. We are honoring each other. Enthusiastically serving and practicing hospitality. We get to do this! How can you get burned out by making the biggest impact in someone’s life?!

Father, I thank you for the love that you have shown us by sending your only Son to die for us. Let us continue to show love for others in doing good to those who are in need. Thank you for gifting us with the ability to do it with a glad heart. Let this weekend glorify You. Our heart is to bring people closer to you. Let us be the hands and feet that shows your love and mercy. Lead us. We rejoice in hope because of our confident trust in Christ Jesus. We thank you for the impact that we will make this weekend. Let your love flow through us. We thank you for the leading of the Holy Spirit and wisdom on how to accomplish the tasks before us. We praise you for giving each one of us and small part to do something big together. Thank you for the church body that you have planted us into. We strengthen each other to do the work of the ministry. Let us walk boldly as ministers of reconciliation this weekend. In Jesus Name, Amen.

My Calling

Matthew 10:41 (AMP) He who receives and welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous (honorable) man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.

October is Pastor Appreciation Month, most churches celebrated and honored their pastor’s yesterday (ours did it the first Sunday). To be called into the pastoral ministry is a joy. We are tasked with the duty of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry, the ministry of reconciliation, as we were called into it first.

My husband and I have been on a series called “Restore” all year. We have taken the past few weeks to tackle a subject regarding “My Calling.” We find that many in the church start to chase after their calling. Leaving, and forsaking the covering of their pastors, and seeking out those who will promote their calling. Did I just say covering? Is that not old fashioned? Do you not think that this is anything new? The letters in the New Testament were not written to the unbeliever, they were written to the church. Hebrews 10:25 talks about not forsaking the meeting together as some have come into the habit of. What would the writer say about the church today, staying at home, watching on You Tube and disconnected from serving one another?

Hebrews 13:7 (AMP) Obey your [spiritual] leaders and submit to them [recognizing their authority over you], for they are keeping watch over your souls and continually guarding your spiritual welfare as those who will give an account [of their stewardship of you]. Let them do this with joy and not with grief and groans, for this would be of no benefit to you.

I understand there have been abuses. Your pastor does not have the right to tell you who you can marry, where you can live, what job you are to take, nor what car to buy. Your pastor does have the right to tell you that the counsel you have chased after to build up your calling, is not where you need to be. The pastoral calling is heavy and will come with more responsibility.

The initial verse of this is Jesus speaking. Jesus went to His hometown. He desired to see people set free where ever He went. The same power to heal and bring back to life flowed through Him every where He went. Why did it not flow freely in His home town? They still saw Him as the boy that grew up there and not the man who walked in freedom that all the other towns were able to receive from. They could not receive from Him because they saw Him as common. How do you approach the gathering on Sundays? Do you go with expectation? Or are you expecting the same thing every week?

Pastors are vision carriers. They have a passion to see you become free and to do the work of the ministry. That is not always vacuuming or cleaning the bathrooms, but sometimes it is. What it really is…the ministry of reconciliation. Who are we doing the serving with? Those who need freedom in their life, just like you. Do not get so caught up in the work that you do not see the person you are working along side and not get to know them.

I do a lot of one on one care. I will invite someone to do an activity and get to know them. I will find out how I can pray for them, direct them in the Word, share my own struggles and how I am overcoming in the Word, find out their interests and just get to know them. That is what it looks like. Then I will help them do the same for someone else. Not everyone will have a relationship like that with me. Some still see me as the teenage girl, that wore short skirts, dating the pastor’s son. Some still see me as the young woman that would roll her eyes. Does that mean I am not the person I am today? I do not remember that young girl, even if others do. That does not mean I will not serve them.

During this Pastor Appreciation Month take stock of how you see your pastor(s). Pastors, take a look at how you lead and serve the people God has called you to. We are connected for a reason and the reason is the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). We are no longer bound, but free. Freedom takes work to figure out, there are root areas that will try to keep us from putting on the newness (Colossians 3:10) we have become, it takes all of us to get there.

Father, thank you for your goodness, mercy and grace. Let me see the people you have called me to with fresh eyes. I no longer want to see them as common. Your Son said that if I would receive people with honor and see them as righteous that I would receive a righteous man’s reward. I want all that you have for me, so I choose today to lay down my rights and stand on Your truth. Forgive me for not receiving from the pastor(s) you have placed in my life. They have only wanted to see me free and I repent for fighting them in my stubbornness. I surrender my heart to You. Let it be tender and responsive to Your Holy Spirit. I choose to surrender today. Thank you for giving me the ministry of reconciliation, so that I can share Christ with others. I do not take it for granted. It is the calling that you trusted me with. I will not run the race in vain. I choose you today. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Confident

Psalms 27:13-14 (AMP) I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord.

I am currently reading a book by Joyce Meyer called Confidently You. There are many good points in it and I highly recommend it, especially if you lack confidence. The root for the lack of confidence is fear. Fear can be such a stumbling block that it will cause you to be defensive, stagnant and harbor resentment to those who walk in confidence. She wrote something on stagnation that I want to share:

Stagnation is an enemy of confidence, because where stagnation is, lethargy, despair, discouragement, and even depression can follow. Stagnation takes place for many reasons – stress, laziness, becoming too busy, increased responsibilities, or simply losing interest in activities that were once exciting and fun. One of the major causes of stagnation is fear. People often refuse to move forward because they are afraid they will make a mistake, afraid they will fall, afraid others will ridicule or reject them, afraid their friends and families won’t understand and support them. Or they are afraid they will be out of God’s will, or perhaps they are afraid of all the unknowns that lie ahead of them if they take a confident step of faith. They are so afraid of negative possibilities involved in moving forward that they do not even consider the positive potential of stepping out and trying something. Confidence is the opposite of fear, and that’s why confident people do all they can do to avoid stagnation.

Joyce Meyer Confidently You

Here I am standing in awe of how far along I have come these past 11 years. Eleven years ago I took a group of women on a trip to see Joyce in Atlanta. This was the first trip that I had taken the lead on. In the past I had planned events and sat in the background allowing someone else to take the lead. Someone else would do all the speaking…I just made sure the chairs and tables were arranged, the food was prepared, there were drinks, napkins, plates and cutlery. I would be there early to set up and the last to leave for clean up. I never wanted to be the person to speak. I could organize the activities, but speak, that was not me. Eleven years ago as I was sitting in that auditorium I asked God to help me with my fear. I no longer wanted to live a narrow life that only had room for me and my fears. I decided that I wanted to live a confident life. I no longer wanted fear to rule me. I realized that I could not sit around and wait for fear to go away. I may still feel fear, but I have to take action anyways. The Word says to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9). Courage is not the absence of fear. It is taking action in the presence of fear. I could no longer be led by my feelings. I needed to stand confident in the Lord. That Sunday, I took the microphone and did my first presentation to the church. My confidence comes from the Lord.

Ephesians 6:13 (NIV) Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Here is what I learned about waiting. If I waited until I no longer felt fear, I would have never moved. If I waited on God to remove the fear to stand in my calling, I would never have moved. The word wait does not mean to not take action. The word wait means to stand firm, however, I cannot stand firm until I do my part. When I stand firm (wait) I am confidently expecting the Lord to be my strength. I do not have the confidence to preach a message that will bring correction and to bring you closer to Jesus without His strength.

What is it that is keeping you from moving? Is it the lack of confidence? Is it because fear has made you stagnant? We all should know who we are in Christ, should grow in the knowledge of His Word, but it is when we start to pour into someone else that true freedom occurs.

Father, I thank you for the person reading this today. I thank you that they are growing more and more each day to reflect your glory. You are such an awesome God. Your Name is above ever other name, including fear. Thank you for bringing boldness to me when fear tries to take over. I thank you for being the voice the propels me to keep my focus on what is pure and lovely. I thank you for your Word. Your character and nature is to comfort us, but it is to stretch us. We know that we can walk boldly into the throne room of grace. I thank you for sending your Son and the Holy Spirit. I choose today to stand firm with the belt of truth, with righteousness on my heart and my feet ready to go because they are clothed in your peace. I stand in faith today that whatever trial may come at me, you are there. I thank you for the people you have placed in my life, even those in authority over me, so that I am made stronger. I choose today the mind of Christ and to test everything against the character and nature that is found in your Word so that I will not stumble when the enemy comes as a voice of light. I have spent time in your Word and will not listen to the voice of a stranger. I thank you for opportunities to show your goodness today. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Just the way you are

Philippians 4:8 (AMP)  Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].

This week I had a discussion with a friend and they were talking about how they desired to speak in a way that people would receive them. Like me, they feel like people do not receive them because they come off too harsh (just blunt). Their heart (and mine) is to say these things out of love and to point others towards Christ. There is no ill intent, just to make it plain.

Here is what I stated, and what I have to put in front of myself, we are all responsible for how we receive. Why is Paul making these statements on how to think? Paul has sent harsh letters of rebuke. He has sent letters of encouragement. He wrote the most quoted verses on love. Preceding the verses above he talks to the church about being anxious and worrying. He encourages them to live a life of thanksgiving to God. He tells us that we need to guard our hearts.

God created us with the personality that we have. When we draw close to Him we should grow in integrity and character. My character (moral nature) will align with His. My personality, the parts that make me unique to me, He loves. I do not need to try to be like someone else.

A few years ago I was going through a hard time with someone in the work place. I had led a meeting with our group about seeing value in each other, using the above verse. A couple of weeks later tension rose up again and one of the employees confronted me that she just did not like me. I asked her if she could see me through Philippians 4:8 and her response was that she could not. Being a Christians non-profit, this was not a good environment and I should have put in my notice, but I loved the organization. At that moment I realized that because of my personality she did not like me. Nothing I did was wrong. Now I could have done one of two things, I could beat myself up and sulk about not being a likable person or I could walk in confidence and knowing who I am in Christ and that the love walk means that although they may not like me I have value and so do they. I would like to say that I did the later, but the next six months were miserable there.

This is what I told my friend the other day, and what I wish someone would have said to me, are you speaking out of genuine love and and a desire to see them grow? If yes, then it is up to the one receiving to think on what is true, what is of value and what brings peace (especially if they are a brother and sister in Christ). We should be thinking of each other with the expectation that we want to see each other grow. We should challenge and encourage each other. It is the challenging part that we may not like, but we really do need.

Paul was not always liked, but he was what the people needed. You are too. You make an impact because of Christ in you. I am thankful for you and that God created you just the way you are.

Father, I thank you for creating me just the way that I am. I thank you that you put people in my life to challenge me and to encourage me to grow. I am rooted and grounded in the love of your Son, Jesus. I choose today to see the statements made to me, that encourage me to grow, as true, as honorable and worthy of respect I choose to confirm them by your word. I choose to see my bothers and sisters in Christ as pure and wholesome I choose to think on whatever is lovely and brings peace. Those that you have placed in my life are admirable and of good repute. There is excellence, there are areas worthy of praise and I will think continually on these things. You have implanted love in my heart and I thank you for opportunities to implant them into others.

I cannot stumble in peace

Psalms 119:165 (MEV) Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing shall cause them to stumble.

As I was reading Psalms 119 yesterday this verse jumped up at me. There are many verses in that section that I highlighted, but this one I meditated on a little more. Jesus is called the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). What does that really mean? In Matthew 10:34, Jesus tells us that He did not come to bring peace on earth, but a sword. What! Then there is this block of verses that can be taken way out of context: “For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his [own] household [when one believes and another does not].” (verses 35-36 AMP)

What is it about us that we are attracted to drama? The first place that our minds go to is that they just do not like me or they just do not want me. It stems from our root nature to judge the situation for ourselves. That is why we have to renew our minds daily. This is why we need to mediate on the Word daily. That is why the psalmist wrote, “those who love Your law have great peace.” The law here is the precepts or the first five books of the Bible that we have today. When the disciples led others to Christ, they did so by showing how Christ fulfilled the law (which means they knew it). When the thoughts of destruction or fear rise up that others are against us, we need to be grounded in the One who knows us.

John 14:27 (AMP) Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]

How can I not allow my heart to be troubled? I need to be rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:16-19). The hardest part of entering peace is first accepting that you are loved. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 AMP). I read this yesterday and it really calmed the storm of what others perceive of me: “He does not love you with the hope that you will be like someone else,” Lisa Bevere. He does not love me hoping that I will become anything more than He has created me to be. I was created to be His daughter.

I am here to tell you that you may battle rejection. You may fight the urge to hide because you feel like you do not measure up. Our hiding place is in Him. We can walk boldly into that throne room of grace because of Jesus and His great love. When we do not walk in His love, we walk in fear. We will walk in the mindset that we are not accepted. We will focus on other things that will not line up with the purpose for our lives, that is to glorify Him. When we choose anything else we will stumble.

Philippians 4:8 (AMP) Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].

His Word is good and that is why we should implant them in our hearts. Direct your mind back to the Word. I cannot get focused on anything other than His Word. Yes, there are demonic spirits out there that want to tear down every ounce of peace that we have. However, we do not fight against people. We should never put our mouths against people. People are not trying to indoctrinate us or our children, the enemy is. When we know the Word, when we spend time in relationship with Him, we will know His voice. All those other voices can speak, scream or yell, but they will not have access to my peace. Why? Because I am rooted and grounded in His love. It is not a passive love. It is an aggressive and passionate love. A love that I will pursue after.

Father, I thank you for sending your Son to be the Prince of Peace. Thank you for changing my mindset of what Your peace is. Peace is not the absence of trouble, it is knowing that we are grounded in love. You are my hiding place and my fortress of peace. I love your Word and it will not depart from my heart. Thank you for the ability to renew my mind. I choose to focus on You today. I choose to walk in love today. Show me opportunities to glorify You today. Lead me through the still waters. I choose to listen to Your voice today. I am loved because You are love. In Jesus Name, Amen.

My Most Essential Need

Psalms 105:1-4 (AMP) O give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the people. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; Speak of all His wonderful acts and devoutly praise them. Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those who seek and require the Lord [as their most essential need] rejoice.  Seek and deeply long for the Lord and His strength [His power, His might];
Seek and deeply long for His face and His presence continually.

Today we have so much information available to us at our fingertips. Last night my youngest and I laid on the couch looking at SUVs to purchase. It looks like we are in the market for a new vehicle and are starting our search. When I was looking for my minivan the criteria was for it to have the captain chairs in the second row, the third row had to have the ability to lay down for storage and a DVD player, for my kids, with the headphones. My husband found the perfect one and I drove it until the motor needed to be replaced. To our disappointment the warranty company decided to take the van down to totaling it, and since the repairs will cost more than it is worth, they canceled the warranty.

Here is the reason I am standing on this verse. Over and over again the Word will direct us to what our most essential need will be. Although, right now we have two vehicles to use, my husband’s truck and my son’s blazer, I do not have an immediate need to have something to drive. It is an inconvenience. If I did not have those then I would take advantage of the many ride sharing options in our area. I had once provided that service. My most essential need is to be in His presence. I cannot spend so much time and focus on needing a new vehicle that I negate the need for His strength. Although, time and again favor has been poured out concerning my van, He is still good and this is the next step He wants us to go in. Favor is still being shown as the service center will be putting it back together and the cost will be better than initially quoted. The warranty company will be sending us a check and we will be able to pay off the truck and only have one car payment.

Psalms 37:4-5 (AMP) Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him also and He will do it.

I will continue to delight myself in Him and enjoy every moment of it. He knows the what I desire in my next vehicle, and I will wait patiently for it. Hebrews 11:1 says, Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped…” I do not need to try to figure out and worry about how we are going to make another car payment. Therefore, I will not stop looking for people and places to plant seed. It is taken care of. He is my most essential need.

The news for my vehicle came on the heals of me returning from attending Icing this weekend with Terri Savelle Foye. It was an event that I got to attend free, including my airfare and hotel. She encouraged us to stand on Psalms 37:4-5 and Hebrews 11:1. Our Father wants for us to delight in Him. He wants to take us places that we have dreamed of (Ephesians 3:20). We are not promised to not experience trials and testings. Where does our faith stand? Why do I search for Him? For me, it is because I want Him to be my most essential need.

You may also have a need for a vehicle or you may be wondering how you will pay your light bill this month. With the rise in the cost of goods, it could be on how you are going to feed your family. Know this, God knows our needs (Matthew 6:25-34). There are many foundations in the Word with a promise and seeking Him first is one of them (Matthew 6:33). Do not lose heart, make Him your most essential necessity.

Father, I come boldly into the throne room of grace to worship you. I praise your name not just because of your goodness, but also because of who you are. You are the God who sees me. Thank you for sending your Son to redeem me into your presence. You already know the petitions of my heart. You know my every need before I even have to speak them. Above all else I desire you, I desire you as my most essential necessity. Thank you that I have breath in my lungs to continue to glorify your name. I will continue to speak of your goodness and sing praises of who you are. You are all I need and I put my trust in you. I know you have the solutions to what is going on and I have decided to listen to you and not become anxious in trying to work it out of my own. Thank you for your peace. In Jesus Name, Amen.