His Grace is Enough

I saw a graphic shared on Facebook the other day that said: 

“She believed she couldn’t, and she was right. But God, when she gave Him every broken piece, of herself, He used it all for His glory.”

This isn’t a popular message right now- admitting your weakness, admitting your limits. You won’t get many followers, likes, or shares for it, that’s for sure!

You know what will?

 “Girl, you are in charge of making your dreams happen!” “Hustle and slay all day, girlfriend!” “Stop accepting less than you deserve.” “You are in control of your own life!”

..loudly shouts the widely successful author/speaker/entrepreneur/reality TV star/blogger/Instagram influencer/Facebook viral sensation.

That is the message that echos in our culture of women empowerment and it really is a message of false hope. The ultimate answer to our success is not found in our own abilities and talents. We cannot even take credit for those things because they were given to us as gifts from the Creator of the universe.

Beloved, if you are a believer, know that your life is much more useful in the hands of the Savior’s than in your own. His power and strength are really what we need.

This reminds me of the verses in 2 Corinthians 12 that the Apostle Paul penned:

“But [Jesus] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

(9-10, NIV).

This message is so countercultural, but so much truth can be found in it. Much like the apostle Paul, I believe it is important to gladly boast in our weakness for it shows the world that our faith truly lies in Christ and not in ourselves. Jesus tells us that there is strength to be found there, not because we are awesome and capable and in control, but because He is. 

Your strength isn’t about how hard you can slay or hustle. Real strength comes from total dependency on God.

For His strength will always be made perfect in our weakness. What blooms in your life will be beautiful because of Him. 

Author and artist, Ruth Chou Simmons says it this way: 

“God demonstrating His glory through your dependency is your real story, and He’s writing it day-by-day through deepening roots and newly formed buds.” 

Your story of walking with Jesus is not about your works or what you can do to look more like Him in your own power or strength, it is about working with grace and allowing it to do its work in you and through you.

The more you lean into His grace, the more you will see growth and maturity in your heart and life. Through this dependency on Him, you will make Jesus famous and not your own name. God alone will receive all the glory that is due His name.

We must remind our hearts that His grace is enough to walk through this life, even when we feel so incredibly weak and powerless and incapable of what we feel God has called us to do. May we learn how to surrender our life to Jesus every single day and trust that He will use it all for His glory. 

Are you finding yourself “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” to accomplish a task that the Lord has given you?

When was the last time you asked God for His help in an area you were struggling?

If you find it difficult to admit your weakness, know that a safe place to run is into the arms of God. May we not walk in our own strength and learn how to humble ourselves before God so we can see Him work in our heart and life. This will help shine a light on how real and faithful God is to the world who are looking for real strength to get through the trials of life. 

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An Anchor of Hope

I sat there on the bathroom floor browsing social media on my phone next to the bathtub as my boys splashed around in the bubbles, playing with their tub toys- just a typical day in the life of this stay-at-home mom. Suddenly, my heart sank as I scrolled Facebook and caught the headline, “CDC Confirms first St. Louis Case of Coronavirus.”

COVID-19 had made its way to our home-state of Missouri and suddenly, the anxiety many people around the world had been experiencing for months became very real to me. 

As this virus has spread across the nation, so has much uncertainty and panic as many have been told by government officials to stay shut up in their homes because of the danger of this extremely contagious virus. Many churches have closed their doors since no more than ten people at a time are allowed to gather. Many businesses have been shut down and employees have lost their jobs in the process.

Empty grocery store shelves, massive job loss, social isolation, endangered health, and sadly, even death have been reality for so many people during this time. Suddenly the comfort of abundance and security has been stripped from our society and many are looking for hope right now. 

Some believe that hope can be found in a vaccine or medication for all of this to go away. Although modern medicine is a blessing to our society and could solve the issue at hand, the real concern is that this pandemic is revealing that people are trying to find hope in the wrong source.

This is one of the greatest opportunities as Christians to shine the light of real hope to a fearful and hurting world- the hope of Christ!

Hebrews 6 tell us of this hope:

“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters [p]within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”

Hebrews 6:19, NASB

This verse shares the truth that Jesus Christ has made a way for us to be able to enter into fellowship with a thrice holy God. He lived the perfect life we could not live by fulfilling the law and laid down His own life as a sacrifice for us. Because of this, we are able to have hope no matter what we face in this life. And if that wasn’t good news enough, as our high priest, Jesus is also forever making intercession for us daily (Hebrews 7:25)!

As Christians, we must constantly remind ourselves of this blessed hope when anxiety comes in like a tidal wave and tries to overwhelm our hearts. We must fight the temptation to find our hope in anything else but Christ. Our hope should not be in a vaccine, medication, a booming economy, job security, a full pantry, positive statistics, or the government’s financial support.

Our hope should be built on Christ, our Solid Rock, the anchor of our soul, the only security we have in this life because that security is eternal. Our health and finances may be taken from us. No matter what happens, life in Him can never be taken away from us. For when this is all over, He is the only One who can save us from the curse of sin and death. 

In Him, we are forgiven and justified before a Holy God. In Him, we stand faultless before the throne of judgement that awaits us all one day. The hope of eternity in His presence should be the anchor in the storms of life. The only real hope we can stand upon is eternal life found in Jesus Christ. 

Have you been tempted to allow anxiety and panic to sweep you away during this difficult time?

Are you feeling hopeless because of your current circumstances and looking for relief in the possible solutions presented to us? Take your worries to the Lord today and ask Him to help your unbelief.

Are you spending more time looking at statistics and the news right now?

Instead of reading the newest headlines every day, open up your Bible and fill your heart with hope, not fear. The temptation during times like this is to focus on all the trials around you, especially if you are experiencing uncertainty, lack, or discouragement. Resist that temptation and use it as an opportunity to offer your gratefulness to God: everyday find three things to be thankful for and write them down to remind your soul of God’s goodness.

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Eternal Gains

A year and a half ago, my brother-in-law was involved in a tragic drowning accident. He was only twenty-five years old and had only been married for a little over a year. I watched my husband, his parents, and my sister-in-law experience the deepest pain imaginable – pain so difficult that it physically hurt. Through this great loss, we’ve learned to walk through the pain with Jesus, trusting that He will continue to heal our broken hearts and believing we will see our precious brother again in heaven someday.

As Christians, we are not ones who grieve without hope because, ultimately, our hope is set in eternity. Because of the cross, we do not have to taste death because our spirit lives on and we live forever in eternity. 

It is the cross that accomplished the forgiveness of sin and made a way for us to have peace with the Father, which is the core of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Believing this gospel sets our hope towards the life that is to come. This place is not our home.

The Bible is full of truth about eternity and wisdom on how we should live our lives while we are still here on earth. Jesus doesn’t promise that we will escape pain here on earth, but He does promise that He will be with us always (Matthew 28:20).

The Apostle Paul shows us in Philippians 1:21 how we should view our life here on earth:

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

NIV

While we are here, we know our mission is to live to glorify Jesus and tell others about Him by preaching the glorious good news to all those God places in our path. When we face great pain and loss of loved ones or are facing our own mortality because of a terminal illness, we can find hope and rejoice that heaven is our reward.

The honest question is do you focus too much on this life? Do you believe it is better here on earth? Are you only concerned about your legacy you will leave?

When we die in Christ we live forever.

Yes, there is pain.

Yes, there is great sorrow and many questions as to why now, Lord? We have lost loved ones what felt like way too soon. We’ve had a lot of ‘whys’ just because we are human, and humans have a very difficult time processing death. But the Bible is very clear about the glorious hope we have that awaits us as believers in Christ and the truth of God’s Word is what gave us great peace in the midst of our pain. Our faith is forever set on our sovereign Lord, knowing the cross has the final word in the end.

Death doesn’t have the victory because in Christ, we are given eternity with Him!

Death doesn’t lose its sting on our human hearts, but our spirits should be so full of joy at the thought of being in the presence of Jesus where there is no more suffering. What great gain!

Take some time and pray this prayer if you are struggling to fix your eyes on eternity: Father, help me to see this life with eternal lenses and embrace the promises of everlasting life with Christ. Help me through times of pain and suffering as I hold onto the hope I can find in Jesus. I will continue to hide my life in Christ until I take my last breath here on this earth or until Jesus returns in His glory.

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From Suffering to Glory

Even though I have so many wonderful memories during the holiday season, this time of year also holds some painful memories of experiencing the bitterness of death and loss. Sadly, I know this is the case for so many people. For me, November is the month that my dad was murdered (actually it will be 11 years on the 17th) and the month my husband and I lost our first baby early on in my pregnancy. Those were times where I had to endure some pretty heavy emotional suffering. Even though I was a Christian during those times, the pain was still very real and I struggled in my faith. I had to constantly press into God’s truth and surround myself with other believers who loved me and encouraged me during those dark times.

Pain and suffering are not something any of us look forward to, but while we live here in this fallen and broken world, it is inevitable. It is so easy to get caught up in the storms of our life and lose sight of the hope that is available to us through Jesus Christ. He is the anchor in that storm and promises to never abandon us. 

The suffering may not disappear, but the good news is that Jesus is right there with us to walk through it together. In the midst of the pain, the temptation is to give all of our focus on the battle we may be facing. I believe it is so important for us to keep a heavenly and eternal perspective when we are in the midst of a painful situation or even a painful season. We have to remember that our life here on earth is not all that there is to our existence.

There is a life to come where we are promised no more pain or suffering when we see Jesus face to face and when He returns in all of His glory. This is the glory that Paul tells us about in Romans 8:18:

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Romans 8:18, NASB

We will experience God’s glory in all of its fullness one day and what a glorious day that will be! Let us hold fast to that hope of eternal life that awaits us, free of all pain and suffering!

So take heart! We must press into God’s promises of what lies ahead.

Jesus is the anchor of our souls; He helps us not waver and is secure and strong.

We must remember that this place is not our home…we are just passing through!

The suffering you are experiencing cannot stand against God’s glory. Let us keep our minds fixed on heaven and fixed on Jesus Christ our Savior, in the midst of our storm.

Sadness and grief will come, sometimes like a tidal wave, but you have an anchor of glorious hope and His name is Jesus!

If you are currently experiencing a trial that seems too much to bear, take that pain to the throne of God. He hears every cry; the Holy Spirit is our great Comforter. Also, fight the temptation to isolate yourself and try to find a friend whom you can share your heart with and confide in. God never intended for us to walk through the valley alone. He is always with you, and He will send someone to be a listening ear and shoulder to cry on if you ask Him. 

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God’s Work in Progress

I have always been a list maker and fueled by accomplishment. Being successful and driven became the meaning behind every breath I took; I found purpose in my performance and productivity. I loved the high from “the hustle” and having my schedule full to the brim. I spent years upon year upon years crowding the margins of my existence with:

Dance class, gymnastics, cheerleading, running track, Student Council, Marching Band, Pep Band, Concert Band, Art Club, Peers Group, musicals & plays (“I can’t. I have rehearsal.”), auditions, performances, church choir practice, tutoring, youth ministry, college and career ministry, worship team rehearsals, Bible studies, prayer meetings, church leadership meetings, drama practices, event planning committees, speaking engagements…

…just to name a few.

This vicious cycle of constant hustle-mode was all I knew for well over 20 years of my life. I still wrestle with temptation to find my worth in my productivity and seeking my happiness when everything is “perfect.” I am what you may call a recovering “Type A” person. 

Then came the day, a little over five years ago, that my husband and I decided it was best for our family for me to leave my job after our first son was born and become a stay-at-home mom. Even though there was always a daily task-list before me:

Laundry, feeding, burping, diaper-changing, vacuuming, mopping, dishes, feeding, burping, diaper-changing, lunch, emails, phone-calls, feeding, burping, diaper-changing, dinner, feeding, burping, diaper-changing…

…I didn’t feel accomplished at all.

It felt like a non-stop whirlwind of tasks that never got crossed off. My days felt like a constant work-in-progress and I felt so defeated and disappointed in myself for not working harder to get it all done.

That is an exhausting way to live and if you are not careful, that type of mentality will creep into your spiritual life and soon you will be trying to work to earn God’s favor and love. Have you ever experienced these thoughts when it comes to your walk with God?

 I didn’t pray enough today. I haven’t read my Bible in over a week! Man, why can’t I get over this sin?! I am such a failure! Am I even saved?

But as Ephesians 2: 8-9 tells us, we know that we cannot earn our salvation because it is a gift from God:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

NIV

Just as God is sovereign in salvation, He is also sovereign in our sanctification. He is the one who is in charge of seeing us mature on our walk with Him.

The same grace that saved us is the very same grace that keeps us and molds us into the image of Christ, day by day.

From the moment of your conversion, you became God’s work-in-progress and the greatest news of all is that He doesn’t grow weary, stressed or exhausted with you. He will complete the work He began in us!

That is why I love this encouragement from the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:

“….being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:6, NIV

Your salvation has been gifted to you for the sake of Christ, for His glory, not ours. The gift to have faith in Jesus… He began that work!

Your inconsistences and failures are not going to change. Your disobedience, your lack in trust…none of that is going to change the work nor thwart God’s plan in your life. God starts it, God finishes it.

We simply need to lean on His strength and grace and ask for wisdom to walk in obedience. The Holy Spirit is our Helper and He will help you walk in God’s will. You don’t have to muster up your faith muscles to see that happen. You simply need to trust that God’s plan with your life will be accomplished, not because there is anything good in you, but because of His goodness and faithfulness! 

Do you struggle with trying to earn God’s love?

When you fail and sin, do you hide from God or try to fix it yourself by “trying to do better?”

Beloved, you do not have to run away from God. He sees it all and knows that you are going to undoubtably mess up. That is why He sent His Son Jesus to earth to live the perfect life for you; to fulfill the law completely for you. His death on the cross paid for your punishment of the curse of the law that you will never be able to uphold.

Come boldy to the throne of grace today and receive new mercies that Christ died for you to have. Lean on His strength and grace today and see the work that He started in you continue until His glorious return or when you meet Him face to face. Trust that He is working and yield to it. 

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Made for God’s Glory

When I was in my early 20s, shortly after graduating college, I was searching for the “perfect” job. I was so worried that I would end up in the wrong position and waste my gifts and my experience. Considering my degree was a BA in Theatre & Dance with a specialization in performance, once I decided not to move to a big city, I knew the chances of being able to find a job in the Midwest in my specialty were slim to none, so I was most definitely willing to compromise- for a period of time at least.

After nine months of unemployment after graduation, I finally landed a job as a receptionist in a small medical office as an insurance verification specialist for durable medical equipment. It did not make a lot of sense with my theater degree, but it was better than no job!

Since I wasn’t weighed down with being busy with classes, papers, projects, rehearsals, and shows, I was able to spend more time in my Bible and time in prayer, and the Lord truly began working on my heart. Instead of becoming so focused on my frustration that my job was not in my field, on my way to work in the morning, I began asking the Lord to give me opportunities to show His love to people that I encountered in that small medical office.

I realized that God had placed me there in that office not just to perform a particular job to get a paycheck, but ultimately, no matter what task I accomplished, I was there to do it all for God’s glory. I also realized that God cared more about people than He did about my productivity or accomplishments; He wanted me to show others more about His love and if possible, share truth about Jesus.

In Colossians 3:17, the apostle Paul says in his letter to the Church as Colossae:

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” 

NIV

He was reminding the Colossians that their ultimate purpose on this earth was to give God glory by showing God’s love and walking in peace with one another and to do all things with a heart full of gratitude. 

What does it mean to give God glory?

The word “glory” bears with it the idea of greatness of splendor of God as it pertains to the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the word “glory” is translated to mean “honor, dignity, worship and praise.” When we put the two together, we see that glorifying God means to acknowledge His greatness and give Him all the worship and honor and thanksgiving in all that we do and say. God’s glory is the essence of His nature- we bring Him glory when we revel in His divine essence.

How often are we consumed with our mundane activities that we forget who we are doing it for? I believe if we lose the motivation that we are doing it to glorify God, we are prone to grumbling and complaining, much like the children of Israel. We become ungrateful, and our hearts begin to grow hard and cold towards God. We begin to simply “go through the motions” in life and soon we are looking to other things to satisfy a longing in our soul that only living a God-glorifying life can satisfy. We were made to worship God, and He gave us the gifts and abilities in which to do that every day. 

Are you finding yourself grumbling and complaining when you are doing mundane tasks throughout the day?

When you are tempted to complain about your daily activities, turn that into an opportunity to praise and thank God.

Are you questioning your purpose regarding what you are doing for a living, like your career for example? Trust that God has you exactly where you are supposed to be. Pray for wisdom and seek Godly counsel if you believe it is time for a change.

In the meantime, ask God for doors of opportunity this week to share the love of Christ with someone God has placed around you.

You will be amazed at how that will begin to change your perspective on seemingly meaningless tasks or situations that make you uncomfortable or frustrated. Suddenly, you will search out chances to glorify God and tell others about His amazing love through the glorious gospel!

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Let Not Change Move You

Growing up, I learned very early on that not much in my life would stay consistent and that the pattern of my life would include a lot of change, and sometimes drastic change. From my parents’ divorce to my mom’s remarriage to a man she met on the internet (remember AOL chatrooms?) to the birth of another sibling when I was in middle school to moving homes every two years throughout grade-school and middle school to my father’s constant on and off battle with alcoholism to a sudden complicated break up with my high school boyfriend of two and a half years. It did not take long for a heart of anxiety to be formed in my life because there was not much in my life that I could run to for security. 

So as I got older, I ran to other things, other people. I quickly became ensnared by alcohol abuse and did many dangerous things that only served to create glue-strong attachments to other people — things like an adulterous relationship with a married man and countless one-night stands with random men I followed home from the bar. I was constantly anxious and depressed.

But, after I graduated from college, my eyes were truly opened to my selfish, promiscuous existence and my deep desire to find something firm and secure. I hadn’t been to church for years, but one morning I went. During the worship service, God met me in my mess and convicted my heart. Immediately I knew I needed to stop running away from Him and start running toward Him.

In that moment, I realized He was the security and peace I was searching for. I told Him I didn’t want to live this life on my own anymore and I repented for my rebellion and unbelief. I knew that all I was searching for could only be found in Jesus. I resolved to stand upon the secure foundation of the Rock, Jesus Christ, who never changes. After that moment, my whole world changed as God began transforming my heart. It was by far the best change I have ever experienced!

You may not have experienced difficult and often painful change in your life exactly like I did, but I’m sure you have realized that change is inevitable while we are here on this earth.

Change is just a part of life.

How we handle that change is really where we will discover where our hope and sense of security lies. If change is causing us to worry or stress out, we need not to run to other things or people to try to fix our anxiousness. We will always be disappointed, left feeling empty and even more anxious. We must run to God.

Philippians 4:6 tells us that we must not allow anxiety to overwhelm us, but instead, we are to come to God in prayer and cry out to Him with our requests, full of a thankful heart knowing He hears us.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Philippians 4:6, ESV

Nothing is too small when it comes to our prayers to God; He wants us to come to Him about everything! God not only hears our prayers; He responds with giving us His peace and protection. 

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7, ESV

God’s peace is like nothing else this world can offer; it is beyond all human logic or reasoning.

He promises to protect our hearts and minds when we dwell on our position in Jesus, as forgiven children of God. He is not only the Creator and sustainer of life, but He is our heavenly Father that longs to protect and provide for us. 

So at the turn of 2020, are you undergoing a lot of change, whether by your own hand or by unforeseen circumstances? Is this change causing you to worry?

Instead of allowing these worries to drive you to other sources in an attempt to bring relief, make a list of these worries and take them to God is prayer today. He hears every request. You can find peace and rest assured that He is the One who never changes. Even if everything around you feels like shifting sand, remember that Jesus Christ is firm and secure.

While you are writing down your requests, listen to the old hymn, My Hope is Built on Nothing Less and reflect upon the One who is the only strong and constant foundation.

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What a Friend We Have in Jesus

One morning as I was walking our dog, Samson, tears suddenly started flowing, and I just began to talk to God. It did not take very long for me to realize that what I was wrestling with was the all-too-familiar feeling of rejection. 

I did all I knew to do.

I attempted to break the silence that so easily crept into the friendship, and there’s still silence on the other end.

I can’t make anyone want to have me in their life, and not everyone needs to be in mine, I get that. But I’m still fighting off the feelings that the spirit of rejection so gladly ushers into my heart.

It’s in these moments that I cling to those who embrace me, who accept me, and remind myself that I am loved.

First and foremost: Jesus loves me.

My husband loves me.

My children love me.

My family loves me.

And there are friends that surround me that fight for our relationship.

In moments like this, it is so important to run to the Word of God to replace lies with God’s truth. 

Proverbs 18:24 gives us instruction about friendship:

“A man who has friends [a]must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 18:24, NKJV

Although Proverbs 18:24 doesn’t necessarily say that friend is Jesus, I know that ultimately, He will always be there for me even when everyone else fails me.

Because people will fail us. People will reject us. Even our Christian brothers and sisters- this of which I struggle with understanding the most.

Many people rejected Jesus (and continue to do so), but while He was here on earth, even one of His very own disciples (Judas) rejected Him. And just a couple hours later, another one of His closest disciples (Peter) rejected knowing Him. THREE TIMES.

When we face rejection, we must remember that Jesus had to/has to endure rejection every single day as people turn their back on Him. No matter what, Jesus understands more than anyone what we experience when rejection comes our way. Thank God for Jesus’ forgiveness when we turn our backs on Him; He gives us so many opportunities to repent and make things right in our relationship with Him! Jesus understands and His arms are open wide, ready for us to cry out to Him about our pain of rejection.

If you are dealing with rejection, I want to encourage you that you don’t have to embrace the lies that you are unwanted or unloved. There is a Man who wants to be the closest friend you have ever had in your entire life. Everything could be stripped away from you or everyone in your life may walk away from you, but the Lord’s love for you will always be there.

In Christ, you are made worthy before God and are accepted into His beloved family. The cross is a symbol of God’s great love for you. Jesus died and paid the price for our sin so that we would forever experience a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Without a relationship with Jesus, you’re a sinner in God’s Holy eyes, but embracing Jesus, ushers in the greatest relationship you will ever know from now on into eternity. He wants to walk with you. He won’t reject you and will stick close forever and always. Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus! 

In you are wrestling with the pain of rejection, pray this prayer:

Abba Father,

I’m hurting. I don’t want to hold onto this pain.

I want to heal. I choose to forgive.

I want You to bless those who hurt me, even if they don’t want me in their life anymore.

Your Son was rejected, even by You, for a moment, out of love for me. Thank You, Jesus, for being the friend I need who sticks by me no matter what.

I love You. Thank You for always loving me.

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Beauty in Its Time

I have lived in the Midwest of the United States my entire life. We experience all four seasons, but it usually goes something like this: 5-6 months of Winter, 2-3 weeks of Spring, 4-5 months of Summer, and 2-4 weeks of Fall. By the time the extreme months of Winter and Summer are over, we get to enjoy the mild temperatures for less than a month most years. 

I have to admit, Winter is my least favorite season and out of all the seasons, and in the Midwest, it is the longest. I wait for Spring to come with great expectation, but come January, I am usually growing extremely impatient and ready to pack my bags and move our family to somewhere much warmer!

But, just like the year before, the temperature begins to slowly climb, buds begin to form on the trees, and the grass and plants begin to come back to life and show those vibrant green colors. Soon enough, fresh leaves are fully covering what were barren branches and flowers are in full bloom, welcoming us into Spring once again. I never have to worry if the seasons are going to change because they always do; God is a master artist like that and has it all under control. 

Just like seasons are set to a specific time that God ordains, so are events in our life, and on an even bigger scale, our journey with Him as it unfolds. Only He knows how to take a rebellious heart of stone and transform it into a heart of flesh that praises His Holy name. This profound reality of God forming a life into one who learns how to deny self and worship the Lord is not an overnight event. No, just like seasons change in their own time, the change of a life for the glory of Christ is a process. In God’s perfecting timing, we will begin to see the transformation. 

Ecclesiastes is a book in the Bible written by one of the wisest men to live, King Solomon. In this book, Solomon discusses the ebb and flow of life: time, foolishness, suffering, and wisdom are some of the topics that are poetically unwrapped throughout this Old Testament book. 

Chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes focuses on the concept of time in the heart of man. Verse 11 explains to us that God is the holder of time and specifically that “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (11a). The verse goes on to say that God “has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 11b, NIV). 

Often times, as humans, we become extremely discouraged when we fail or when we think we should be further along than we are, but God is continually working in our hearts and in our lives, and the process of conforming us to the image of His dear Son rests solely in His hands as we lean not on our own understanding, but trust completely in Him and His ways (Proverbs 3:5-6).

With the help of the Holy Spirit, we learn to walk in obedience. He leads us into all truth as we study the Word and renew our mind to replace old ways of thinking with God’s perfect will. 

Perhaps this process of renewing our mind and seeing transformation in behavior and attitude is slowed down because our eyes become too fixated on cares of this life and the temporal.

Our hearts were made to look to the hope in eternity, but if we are not careful, we can be consumed with worry when things are not changing as quickly as we would like them to or when our circumstances in our life are challenging or uncomfortable.

Soon we are trying to control things that go on in our life and forget to ask the Lord for His help or even acknowledge that He may be using all that may be difficult in our life to work for our good and turn it all into something beautiful. 

Do you feel like you are stuck in a “winter” season in your life and are longing to see blooms of new life?

Take those concerns to the Lord today in prayer. Write down the worries that are weighing you down and surrender them to God.

dOnly He is able to make things beautiful in its time. Don’t lose hope…Springtime is just around the corner!

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Created to Worship

Did you know that everyone was created to worship?

Yes, even those who would not consider themselves religious worship something or someone. 

Worship is ascribing worth to something or someone.

It is what you devote your time, your devotion, your affection, your finances, your heart to. If you allow yourself to really reflect on this, you will know in your heart where all of those things in your life are going to. 

As humans, we were created to worship God, but once sin came into the world, we started to worship anything but God. This tension, to worship God vs anything/anyone else, exists in the heart of every single man, woman, and child.

If you worship anyone or anything besides God Almighty, the Bible calls those people or those things idols. And when it comes to God, He doesn’t want you to give yourself away fully to anything or anyone but Him. He’s not egotistical or prideful, He just loves us so much and wants us to see the world and people like He does.

Worshiping God creates an atmosphere in our hearts that is conducive to see God mold us more and more into the image of Jesus Christ, His Son. We are fixing our attention and affections on giving God the upmost glory in and through our lives. Seeking God first and foremost in our life, means our hearts begin to long for the things of God versus the things of this world more and more each day that we walk with God.

The more we worship God by giving Him first place in our lives, our heart then becomes a breeding ground for selfless love to be produced in us and through us.

When the Lord begins to sanctify us and mold us and change our hearts, we are then able to love others with the Father’s love. 

In Matthew 22, Jesus responds to a group of Pharisees and Sadducees when he is asked what was the greatest commandment in the law:

“And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’38 This is the great and [o]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets’”

Matthew 22:37-40, NASB

In prayer one day, as I was pondering this, I began singing this simple chorus:
Cultivate the ground of my heart

Til it yields a harvest of lasting fruit

For Your purpose

For Your plan…

How does God cultivate the ground of your heart?

Through worship- seeking God Almighty first and foremost and surrendering your life completely to Him more and more every day.

Worship is not just singing to the Lord (although that’s important). It is denying yourself and saying “yes” to Him every single day of your life. From seeking Him in prayer or by sharing the gospel with those God places in your path or by praying for those who are hurting, every “yes” to God is worship. When we love God with all that we are, our hearts can’t help but overflow with His love for others. 

Worship is a lifestyle.

It is constantly telling God “More of You and less of me” every day. Every time we obey God and say “yes” to Him, we give Him glory. We give Him worth with our words and our actions. Every father wants to see their children mature and succeed their love walk, and our Heavenly Father wants the same for us.

Take some time to reflect upon what is getting all of your attention, affections, and time. Who or what do you worship? Yourself? Your plans? Your job? Money? Nice clothes? Everything in this world will pass away, except for love (1 Corinthians 13). Are there areas in your life that you are holding back from God?

The more we say “yes” to God, the more He molds our hearts and they will overflow with His perfect Love. 

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