Valentine’s Day

It is a lovely day honoring those we love. To cherish our spouse. A day of cards and candies for children already sweet enough. On the other hand, it can feel discouraging for those who don’t have a significant other. Regardless of where you fall on this Valentine spectrum hear me out. In addition to the mushy stuff, today is a day to honor God, be compassionate to ourselves, and bless someone in our lives.

This day is more than a reminder of our precious love story. It is a reminder of the ultimate love story. “Because of this, the love of God is a reality among us: God sent His only Son into the world so that we could find true life through Him. This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins.So, my loved ones, if God loved us so sacrificially, surely we should love one another” 1 John 4:911 The Voice Translation. Take time out of your busy schedule to sit down and have a quality quiet time in honor of Valentine’s day. Spending time with God will without a doubt sweeten your day! Try something different such as praising Him in a new way or writing out Scripture or recording your prayer.

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The Father gently and compassionately handcrafted every cell in your body. He thoughtfully constructed your character. Zealously selecting your talents. The beauty He bestowed on you has depth beyond physical appearance. He delights in You. You dear friend, are the apple of His eye. God is pursuing you. He is doing a mighty and awe-inspiring work in your life beyond your dreams. Blessings are around the corner.

I want to encourage you, precious friend to take even just five minutes to be compassionate to yourself. It can be something extremely simple. A few examples include; making a cup of tea, reading a book, enjoying some time of silence, or doing a face mask.  Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God’s mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship Romans 12:1.

Lastly, do something sweet for someone outside of your family. Maybe even someone you aren’t close to or someone enduring a struggle. We love because He has first loved us. 1 John 4:19. We are called simply to love on another and to share one anothers burdens. Send a note of encouragement. Offer to help a new Mama with her children. Make a meal for someone who is chronically ill. Ask your friends how you can be specifically praying for them and then pray with them there. Find a simple way to let another person know that you care.

Wishing you a day consumed with love. A day of joy. Time to honor the Lord, those you love, and yourself.

 

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Live Loved: Advent

 This is our fourth week of advent, which focuses on God’s love for us. In addition, our love for Christ and for others. God desires nothing more than your love.  He cherishes who you are today with all your imperfections. “The Eternal your God is standing right here among you, and He is the champion who will rescue you. He will joyfully celebrate over you; He will rest in His love for you; He will joyfully sing because of you like a new husband.” Zephaniah 3:17. God invites you in to have a deep personal relationship with Him. To live loved every day from here on out. God’s love for you surpasses human understanding it is that complex and beautiful.

The Christmas story is laced with love. Christmas points us to the cross where Jesus displayed His amazing love for us. Jesus lived loved in His ministry. God’s love is evident through Scriptures, creation, and our personal lives. “ This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins” 1 John 4:10.

An element of living loved, is giving love. Christ enables us to love others. You can give love from where you are today. You don’t need to be wealthy or healthy. You only need a willing heart to serve the Lord and to give love to others. He will surely direct your steps. He will deeply bless your words. A hug, words of encouragement, or praying with someone goes a long way.

Additionally, living loved is praise God with a thankful heart for the simple blessings in your life this advent. Worship Him as the shepherds did in the Christmas story with a sincere heart. Mary also praises the Lord for His favor, “My soul lifts up the Lord! My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator! For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s name!” Luke: 1:46, 47, and 49.

As Christmas draws near find someone to give love to; someone to encourage. Practice living loved this week. You are a child of the one true King. Reflect on His amazing love, which is evident in your life. Remember times this year that you felt His love and praise His holy name. Consider how you can live loved this advent season as well as in the new year.

God,

We praise you for the gift of Your Son consumed with Your love. For His example of love. Thank you for loving us. Allow us to live loved no matter what events play out in our daily lives. Enable us to give love to others. Let us be a blessing to them. May our hearts forever sing Your praises. Bless these days leading up to Christmas. We love you, Lord.

Amen

Thankfulness

Tis the season to be thankful and pass the turkey. Thanksgiving is a magnificent holiday. A time of reflection. Recounting all the blessing in life. Cherishing moments with those we love most.

There are infinite Biblical lessons on thankfulness. Thankfulness in trials, daily life, and for the joys in life are a few examples. Eucharistia is the Greek word for thankfulness. Bible Study Tools additionally defines it as, ” gratitude; giving of thanks, thanksgiving”. An attitude of thanksgiving is a foundational element of a Christian’s life.  At the soul of each element we are thankful for is God.

Not long ago I heard a sermon by Frances Chan (The Author of Crazy Love). He had posed an excellent question, which I would like you to ponder. When is the last time you thanked God for your salvation? Additionally, when is the last time you thanked Him not only for material things but for who He is? Those amazing gifts He has graciously bestowed on you, which are not tangible. When is the last time you thanked Him for your personal relationship with Him? “Praise God for this incredible, unbelievable, indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15 The Voice.

While it is excellent to thank God for all the material things and all the countless ways He has provided for you. It is equally important to thank Him for who He is and Your personal relationship with Him. “Go through His gates, giving thanks; walk through His courts, giving praise. Offer Him your gratitude and praise His holy name.” Psalm 100:4 The Voice.  Praising God shifts our perspective. It renews our soul. Worship is as vital as air for the soul. 

Elohim,

We adore you. Praising Your holy name. Thank you for the breathtaking gift of salvation, sanctification, and Your agape love. Your love endures forever. We find deep joy in having a personal and daily relationship with You. You have abundantly blessed us beyond anything we could ask. We sing of Your faithfulness. We rejoice in You for the deep blessing of today. Enable us to cultivate a heart of thanksgiving. Deeply bless this lovely Thanksgiving day.

Amen

 

 

Living Loved

Living loved is an adorable phrase. It would look perfect on my wall or on a t-shirt. The concept is lovely, but actually living loved that is a different story. I had to ask myself, am I living loved? Honestly, it depends on the day. Many days, like tonight I do not feel loved and I do not feel like I am living loved. Living loved shouldn’t be dependent on our circumstances or the people we encounter it should come from the stability of the love Jesus pours out to us. This is a new concept for me. Maybe living loved is a new concept for you as well. We can work through what this practically looks like together.

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To live loved I need to be filled with God’s love.“I needed to reconnect with the One who knows how to breathe life and love back into the dead places. Jesus doesn’t participate in the rat race. He’s into the slower rhythms of life like abiding, and , delighting, and dwelling…” I need to have my quiet time, daily. Ideally, this would be three hours minimum. Realistically it is usually an hour and a half to two hours. No, it’s not impressive I am desperate for my time with God. Just like the amount of time everyone’s body needs is unique to them so is the amount of quiet time one needs.

Living loved is pouring out love. Some days this comes naturally. However, I become discouraged when I feel as though I am endlessly pouring into certain people with no response. Finding balance when pouring into people is essential. Blessing others  ultimately blesses us. Walking into a situation as Lysa says looking to bless others.

Precious friends, ” and live in love as the Anointed One loved you—so much that He gave Himself as a fragrant sacrifice, pleasing God.” Ephesians 5:2The Voice

Lord,

Enable us to lived loved completely confident in You. Thank you for the depth of Your love. Allow us to pour blessings into others lives. To invite others in and help them to feel loved. Fill us with Your goodness. We love you.

Amen

Dear Uninvited

Dear Uninvited,

Left out, less than, and lonely are just a few words to describe how you feel. The depth of you isolation makes you feel numb. Unworthy. Emotions race. Questions taunt you. Betrayal crumbles your confidence. Everyone belongs somewhere but you. Rejection slices into the core of who you are. The wound is deep. Lies replay like a broken record.  Burdened.

Sweet friend, you have not been set aside, but set apart by God. You are deeply loved. No matter what happens God can never love you more or less than He does in this moment right now. His love is flawless. Whole. You are completely cherished. God understands how every moment of your life will unfold. Before, He laid the foundation of the Earth, He had you on His mind.

You are invited in. Always accepted. And deeply loved by Jesus.

 

Silence So That…

Just a note before I begin, this post goes with the book Living So That By Wendy Blight and is specifically written for the online Bible study that I have the honor of assisting with.   With that being said, even if you are not in the study and have never read the book I strongly encourage that you read this post.

Are you going through the motions in your prayer life? I know life is super busy, your lucky that you have a few spare moments for a quiet time. We know that prayer is a dialog, not a monolog that we are so often tempted to have. We know from the Bible that God speaks to His people. He speaks to us in many ways such as dreams(Joseph), the Bible, other people(Moses spoke to Pharaoh) , an audible voice (Samuel or Moses), or a gentle nudge at the heart.

To sit with the Lord in prayer is powerful. Putting anxiety to rest and our chaotic thoughts to rest. Just being present in The Savior’s arms. Allow Him the chance to renew you. Allow Him the chance to speak to your heart.

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Around the time I was seventeen years old I had the privilege to travel to Taize. Taize is a retreat also known as a pilgrimage with over 5,000 teens and young adults from around the world held in France. This is where I encountered silence. This is where I encountered God’s nudge on my heart. This is where I encountered a deeper relationship with Christ. Worship was three times a day accompanied by eight minutes in silence.

Towards the end of my stay there, our Bible study leader asked us to spend an hour in silence. Let’s experiment and see what it’s like to spend an hour in silence.

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Just kidding! That never gets old. I know the look on your face was priceless. Anyways back to my story. After being told to go find a place to spend in silence, I ventured down to a place called the source. Its beauty is breathtaking. When you breathe in it’s as if you are breathing in peace and when you breath out along with the breath that escapes your lungs all your worries vanish too.

The time there flew by. That is where I let go of many things. Surrendering the future and letting go of the past.  Where God called me into ministry, though I am learning that word is used to describe so much more than pastoring. I cannot fully captive in words my experience with God in silence. The peace surpasses all understand. The joy is unthinkable.

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God speaks to us today. We need to have ears that hear and we must be intentional in seeking His voice. “Planned times of quiet and solitude are a good balance to a busy life. Cultivating a heart of prayer helps you see God’s perspective and to more fully experience His presence throughout the day.”

My challenge to you precious friend is for you to take two to five minutes of silence at least once this week. Silence is a break from the chaos of life, a chance to reconnect with God, and to worship Him in a new way.

Online Bible Study

Being mainly homebound is difficult. We long to be as normal as possible, yet our bodies seem to fail  repeatedly. Technology paves the path to socialization. Of course, being in person is ideal, but not always reality.

We weren’t made for isolation, yet slip into its trap all to often. Community is an essential aspect of life.

Online Bible study, is a fairly new concept. It provides a wonderful chance to get into the word of God, grow Spiritually, and to have some degree of fellowship. A Bible study or small group can also provide accountability. This is by no means only for those with a chronic illness. Just like at most churches, you get a mix of people coming from all walks of life.

About a week ago, I began my second online Bible study through Proverbs 31 Ministries. Proverbs 31 Ministeries is an excellent resource for women of all ages. ” Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who understands the challenges she faces, walks by her side, encouraging her as she walks toward the heart of God.”

I began participating in a Proverbs 31 Ministries Bible study about a week ago. We are reading, I know His name by Wendy Blight. In addition, to reading a section of the book daily (Monday – Friday) we have a private Facebook page where we are able to share with one another. For this particular study, there are a lot of women. For me, at this time, it is not realistic to read every comment (though I did try). I aim to read five to ten post and comment on a handful.

Another online women Bible study is Good Morning Girls, by Women Living Well. I highly encourage you to consider joining some type of Bible study or small group either in person or online. If you think you would benefit from an online setting make sure to do your homework, find out what the group believes. And, of course, pray over it before jumping in.