Enough to share

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.

As I was reading these verses yesterday, three things jumped out at me: (1) I need to reflect His character, when I do this I can lead others to Him; (2) Being deeply rooted in Him helps me accomplish number one; and (3) This will result in me becoming increasingly more established in my faith.

John 15:1-8 (TPT) I am a true sprouting vine, and the farmer who tends the vine is my Father. He cares for the branches connected to me by lifting and propping up the fruitless branches and pruning every fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest. The words I have spoken over you have already cleansed you. So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine. “I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me you are powerless. If a person is separated from me, he is discarded; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire to be burned. But if you live in life-union with me and if my words live powerfully within you—then you can ask whatever you desire and it will be done. When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who glorify my Father!

I have to be attached to the vine (Jesus). His roots run deep! Rooted there I am going to grow. When I grow I will begin to produce fruit. The amazing thing about this fruit is that the nourishment that comes from it is meant to be shared. When I share my fruit from this vine, others will want to see where it is planted and will eventually become rooted as well. This is what increases my faith. My expectation and passion will grow. I start making more Kingdom impacts. I am beginning to reflect His character.

The amazing thing about this fruit is that the nourishment that comes from it is meant to be shared.

Whenever I think of reflecting God’s character it makes me think of His glory. We are to glorify His name when we pray, when we worship and when we talk about Him in the streets. It also makes me think of Moses and how his face glowed after being in the presence of the Lord. I came across this verse, 2 Corinthians 3:13 (AMP) and we are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites would not gaze at the end of the glory which was fading away. The glow from Moses face would eventually fade. Then we go a few verse down, verses 17-18 (AMP) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]. And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit. I am no longer bound to my mistakes and my short comings. I like how it says that we are “progressively being transformed.” This year my goal is progress. Part of that progress is coming out of my comfort zone. I am an introvert by nature. I feel awkward when I have to start a conversation ( I feel like our teenagers today who do not know how to answer a phone). When I see the fruit of what my God encounters do bring, it increases my faith.

I want to lead others to a fulfilling relationship with the Father like I have. In order to do that, I need to reflect His character. I need to be attached to the vine (Jesus). Growing in God is so very rewarding. Giving nourishment to others will increase your faith. The Holy Spirit will draw those to you, but He cannot do that if we refuse to leave the comfort of our homes. This is me too. I need to get out more and I need to step into more serving opportunities (outside of my church). Fruit is meant to be shared. People need to see that it is not perfection He is after, it is progress. They need to see me mess up and depend on Him in my recovery. His glory does not fade anymore, like it did from the face of Moses, it radiates through me because I am in Christ (whose glory never fades).

I pray this encouraged you today. Wherever you are in your walk with Christ, know that we should never feel pressured to be at any faith level, just keep making progress. Keep growing. Stay rooted in Jesus, He is the vine. Take a step to give nourishment to others, it will increase your faith when you see fruit growing in their lives.

Please feel free to message me at amanda@desiringformore.org if you need prayer.

Changing Our Mindset

Philippians 4:6-8 (NKJV) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

One of the joys I have in ministry life is leading youth. I have been doing it for a few years now. My favorite part is see that spark ignite, that “AHA” moment that this Jesus stuff is so real no body can take it away from them. For the past few years we ask our youth to write down topics that they would like for us to discuss. One such topic was about negative thoughts.

Years before leading youth I ran a child development center, also known as a day care. Parents would come to me frustrated at their child’s behavior. I had to encourage them to praise the behavior they liked, not just react to the behavior they did not like. We all crave attention. Unfortunately, as a world, the negative gets our most attention.

We all crave attention. Unfortunately, as a world, the negative gets our most attention.

So here I am researching the view point of negative thinking from a teenager. The way they have grown up is vastly different from how I did. When I was growing up, the internet did not become accessible to our homes until I was out of high school. Game systems did not, well mine did not, save your progress. If your mom turned it off you had to start from the beginning. I am raising two teenage boys. I am still very strict about them having social media, but it is really hard to control what videos pop up on their screens…and they have a lot of them!

I typed in “Where do automatic negative thoughts come from,” in my google search, and I came across an article from M.Farouk RadwanMSc. Did you notice I used the word “automatic?” Why would I choose that word?

Romans 12:2 (NKJV) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Part of putting on the armor of God includes: Ephesians 6:17 (NKJV) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

He writes:” In order to help you answer these questions I have to first ask you another one. Do you know why some people can’t live without their phones? Because their minds are already full of negative thoughts and they always need some kind of distraction to push the negative thoughts away.”

“Do you know why some people feel really bad when they are alone? It’s because they fall prey to their own negative thoughts and that’s why they always seek distraction in order to escape from these thoughts.”

“Where do negative thoughts come from? Let us suppose that a plate which had rotten food was spoiling the smell of your room, what would be the best way to get rid of the smell? Should you buy a Fan or get rid of the plate? While the second choice is obviously the one that will be chosen by most rational people still most people do the opposite when dealing with negative thoughts.”

“When trying to deal with negative thoughts most people will do their best to get rid of the smell instead of the food. Most people try to get rid of the negative thoughts directly using the different distracting methods without realizing that the only way to end negative thoughts is to change the beliefs that caused them in the first place.”

“‘I am sure they didn’t like me'” That’s a popular negative thought but did you ever try to find out what caused it? Most probably this thought is a symptom of a limiting belief such as ‘I am not an interesting person.’Now what do you think would happen if the person who got that negative thought distracted himself using their phone to watch youtube videos? The negative thought will always remain there and this person will get it again as soon as the distraction ends.”

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,  that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 

Reconciled- to restore the relationship that mankind had in the garden.

Once we accept Christ we have been reconciled.  Which means we have the same relationship with God as Adam did in the garden.  So when those thoughts enter our head then we have the tools necessary to change them.

How do we go in with the right mindset?  M.Farouk Radwan, MSc and his theory in psychology had a lot of insight but it was the core beliefs part he did not give a lot of insight in.  You know where I found it?  It is found in the Word of God and my relationship with Him.

How do you know when I have the right mindset?  It is because I am no longer concerned about being alone, my own success, but in wanting to see others succeed in Him.  2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us that we will be ambassadors (a representative) of the one who reconciled us. I recently watched “Soul” with my son on Disney Plus. In the movie the souls were thought to being sent to earth when they had discovered their purpose. Spoiler alert: It was when they had a desire to live. My desire to live is linked to my desire to know Him more. There are things that are going to distract me, that are going to make me want to live in the negative.

Please let me know how I can be praying for you. Email me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

Do we know our impact?

Yesterday was the Christmas service at our church. My husband’s message was topical, titled “From: God, To: You.” His main point was that God gave us the gifts of love and forgiveness when He sent His Son. In do so, those are two things we should freely give, but it is a choice.

He started it off with Luke 2:7 (NKJV) And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger. The King of the World was here. He was not born in a castle. He was born in a manger and wrapped with cloth that Mary had brought along with her. My husband reminded us to not despise the small beginnings. He reminded us that God celebrates when we begin, it is a step towards His promise.

The King of the World was here.

We ended the service with the song “Mary Did You Know.” We sung it by candlelit.

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would calm the storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby
You kiss the face of God
Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know? Mary, did you know?
The blind will see, the deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
Would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy
Is heaven's perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you're
Holding is the great, I Am
Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? (Mary, did you know?)
Mary, did you know? Oh

As we began to sing this song I gave this verse from Luke 2:19 (AMP), But Mary treasured all these things, giving careful thought to them and pondering them in her heart. Does that answer our question that Mary would know the great impact her son would make on this world? That because of Him I can come boldly before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). That two thousand years later He is still changing lives. I felt the impact of that moment.

2 Corithians 3:2-3 (NKJV) You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men, clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

The Passion Translation states, For your very lives are our “letters of recommendation,” permanently engraved on our hearts, recognized and ready by everybody. As a result of our ministry, you are living letters written by Christ, not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God – not carved onto stone tablets but on the tablets of tender hearts.

We have a choice in taking this two ways. We can say that is too much pressure, I am not perfect, how dare God expect me to live a perfect life. We could also see it as a challenge to be better. That I took the command that Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19),” literally. Wherever I go I have the potential to make a disciple because I am a living epistle. When we allow Christ to do the work in us, the living epistle is written on our hearts. Do you know the impact you make when you allow people to see that transformation? My prayer is that I draw deeper in my relationship with God and encourage others to do the same.

Merry Christmas!