Tag: Community

Honest in Community {Inspiring Women}

Hi friends! For the months of May/June, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan.

I don’t even know where to start. Perhaps, you can relate. I wholeheartedly believe in the truth we will look at today. I firmly believe we, as the Church, need to be honest with one another. So this is what I attempt to do, but it doesn’t always work out the way I hoped. This, I know. Why do I keep doing it? I wholeheartedly believe in trusting my Lord Jesus and obeying what He teaches us in His Word. Today, our truth is found in Ephesians 4:25 –

Stop lying to each other; tell the truth, for we are parts of each other and when we lie to each other we are hurting ourselves (TLB).

We are the family of God, Church. Yet for some compelling reason, we are busy fiddling with less important things that overshadow our priority for His Church – our spiritual family. Shouldn’t expressing honesty within our spiritual family be a given? I love this translation of the Scripture. When we don’t obey God in this, we are hurting ourselves. We need to love one another, and use our honesty as a way to do this.

We are urged to draw near to God in James 4:8. There is a lot of distance between church family members. It’s rare to see an Act 2 friendship, where there is gut-wrenching honesty and closeness. This closeness, this community, is no stranger to my blog posts. As you all know, this community is one I crave. But, it will not exist – unless we begin to express honesty in our conversations with one another.

I am thankful for the opportunities I have been given – to simply be honest. While honesty brings a multitude of emotions, which is no easy task to handle, it is better than the option of running away. We have been given such a precious gift in our relationships with one another. Let’s take the time to cherish the Christian community we have been given.

As Ecclesiastes reminds us, we desperately need one another. We don’t know how fierce of a battle someone is facing, unless they share. I have been doing loads of “sharing” on Facebook. While I may not get “likes” or “comments,” I firmly believe I am doing my part in sharing honesty like this one –

Screenshot_2017-06-24-00-55-29-2

I am obeying God. What others do with the content of sheer honesty is up to them, but I am joyfully, gratefully, and sorrowfully giving this over to God and being honest in how well (or unwell) I am doing – with my Summer. I am absolutely resolving to honor God, by sharing. I am not going to lie and pretend things are all sunshine and roses, unless (of course) they are.

When we share our honesty with one another, as the Church, we are giving God ample room to work in and through us. If we want to see God’s power in action, it is time to put away the lies and hurting ourselves by doing so.

In Christ,

Signature

The Jesus-Girl Who Confesses

Hi friends! For the months of May/June, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan!

As daughters of God who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ, we need to willfully enter our prayer closet and bring before God our desperate need for His forgiveness and deliverance.

The most sacred thing in our lives, is our relationship with God. No act of human influence can compare to Jesus Christ who has touched our souls, for He has chosen to rescue us!

Lord, I told you about the evil I have done. I am sorry for my sin (Psalm 38:18; ERV).

This is what we need to do, because we are accountable to God for what we have done. While we may avoid this truth, if we could, the reality is – we can’t hide from our sin. No one has been able to successfully hide from their sin. Adam and Eve tried to, but they ended up only hiding from God. Walk out of the darkness, by entering Jesus’ well-lit presence!

Before we can become a woman of influence, we have to be a woman with a humble heart who acknowledges her sin before a most holy God. We must allow Jesus Christ into our lives.

Here are some truths we must grasp –

(1) God is set apart, and cannot even look upon sin.

O Lord my God, my Holy One, you who are eternal. . . But you are pure and cannot stand the sight of evil (Hab. 1:12a, 13a, NLT).

(2) Even though it is uncomfortable to think about our sin, let’s find comfort in our Christian community where we all must confess our sins and turn from them. Also, let’s confess to one another, so we may be prayed for and healed.

But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace; he was lashed—and we were healed! We—every one of us—have strayed away like sheep! We, who left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet God laid on him the guilt and sins of every one of us! (Isaiah 53:5-6, TLB)

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:16, ESV).

(3) Most importantly: As we repent of sin, let’s celebrate Jesus Christ as our Redeemer. He has paid the ultimate price, and loved us with an eternal love.

. . . Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice (Psalm 51:7b-8, NKJV).

I invite you to enter a quiet place, where you can talk to God about the struggles with sin and seek His forgiveness.

Want to learn more about confession, sin, what God says, and having a relationship with Jesus Christ? I am hosting a daily devotional on 1 John over at Indoor Outreach. Join us, as we dive into God’s Word!

Signature

Choosing New Clothes {Inspiring Women}

Hi friends! For the month of May, we will be using a reading plan given to us by Sweet to the Soul Ministries. Feel free to stroll through their Facebook page and blog. They even have a journaling kit and Bible study for this month’s plan!

We all know we can influence others with the clothes we wear, but how are we willing to make a bigger impact? Take a moment and read our verse for today – 1 Timothy 2:9-10.

Assuming you have read today’s verse (1 Tim. 2:9-10), let’s proceed to why what we wear matters. He has set us apart, which means our dress should also be set apart. Following Jesus has made us daughters of the Most High God. We have been called His own and bought with a precious price (Jesus Christ – see 1 Cor. 6:19-20).

But you are not like that, for you have been chosen by God himself—you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own—all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9, TLB).

We have been set apart by God. That is how valuable we are – as a human being and daughter of the Most High God. God is to be our treasure, rather than our clothes. A lot of times, we can fall into the trap of letting our physical clothes matter more than our spiritual clothes.

Point #1: We need to be concerned about how we dress, and make sure it reflects who we are as a daughter of God. We can allow what we wear, reflect the change Jesus is doing in our hearts.

If we want to be able to follow Jesus and minister to others, we need to come into realization that others will look at our clothes – before they get close enough to look at our hearts.

Point #2: We need to ask Jesus for the spiritual clothes He says we need. When we look at the Word of God, especially Galatians 5 and Colossians 3, we are given a picture of how our lives can change.

We can become a woman of God, who fully knows her identity rests in being a daughter of God, and live changed lives.

Point #3: We can allow seeking Jesus to become bigger than fascination with clothes that fade or get ruined by that cup of coffee. Let Jesus show us His Designer spiritual clothes. Become consumed with the clothes your soul wears.

We have been made new, and can become anyone we want – far better than we could ever imagine. This is the hope we have found in Jesus Christ. We can be someone who has a heart that is passionately for Him, His Church, Salvation, and even loves our enemies!

Point #4: We are given a vision of how we can be changed by the power of our great God. Take a look at these bullet points on Col. 3:12-15.

  • Know your value in God! He loves and chose you as His own daughter.
  • Clothe yourself in the fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5:22-23).
  • Forgive others, as Christ forgave you.
  • Love others, and seek His peace to guide your decision making.
  • Choose thankfulness.

1 Samuel 4-8 (Part 3)

“The Lord is a holy God. Who can stand in front of Him? Where can the ark go up to from here (6:20)?”

God set apart Eleazer to guard the Ark. This was his primary purpose aside from knowing God, because God had a specific task for this man.

God is declaring to the world that He is holy. God is not simply one of their buddies, but He is absolutely holy and cannot even look upon sin.

Before we are in the battle, we need to learn that God is absolutely holy. God is far smarter than we are. And, God is all-powerful. When we step into battle, we are not the first one to see what we will experience. God goes before us.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged (Deut. 31:8).

When Life is Good. . .

For twenty years, the Ark remained at Kiriath Jearim and life was good. The people of Israel turned back to the Lord – which is the most important indicator of “life is good”.

Samuel’s honest wisdom applies to us too.

If we really want to return to God, we need to do so with all of our hearts and seek Him alone (see 7:3-4).

The people of Israel gathered together, fasted from food, and repented before the Lord that they had sinned against Him (see 7:6). This is something profound, but we often don’t see this anywhere in our culture – today.

How often do we see our loved ones coming together, fasting together, and being prayed over as we truly repent?

Worship in the Battle

Israel’s hearts were changed from that day. You can sense it, as you read their heartfelt plea to Samuel – one of God’s prophets. “Don’t stop crying out to the Lord our God to help us. Keep praying that he’ll save us from the power of the Philistines (7:8).”

Worship guarded their hearts. As they worshipped God in the midst of their battles, God answered them (see 7:9). He did not abandon them, but He answered their prayer. Worship was their weapon against the enemy. As they worship, God acted with a mighty hand – displaying His power before the enemy.

The Illustration of Pursuing Worship

Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel (1 Sam. 7:10a).

This is a powerful verse, that we need to remember in our daily lives. Many of us face great battles. What are we doing in those moments, when we could be worshiping the Lord our God?

The Lord has helped us every step of the way (7:12b).

Godly Leader

Samuel was a leader we should seek to learn from. He was an incredibly leader who stood for God with unwavering faith and a heart for worship (see 7:15-17).

Deuteronomy 1-2

See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your [ancestors] (1:8).

Israel was told to go and take possession of the land. While God gave the Israelites special land, God has given us sacred spiritual land. We need to go and take possession of it. We do this by seeking our Lord Jesus Christ and being sensitive to the direction of the Holy Spirit. Also by keeping the Bible close to our hearts, and using it as our road map for life (see Joshua 1:6-9).

Fear –

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place (1:29-31).”

We have been urged by God to not be afraid. God loves us and promises to fight for us, His people. This is the truth we need, as we set our feet on this journey of seeking after our Risen Lord – Jesus! We don’t need to be afraid, because God has shown us that He will fight for us!

They will be afraid of you, but be very careful. Do not provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land, not even enough to put your foot on (2:4-5a).

God prepared the Israelites, as they went into pieces of land. I can understand why God would need to direct them to be careful and not harass (see vv. 9). It is easy to want to “poke the bear,” so to speak by taking pride in the fact that others are afraid of us. When others are afraid of us, we have to be very careful.

Our Spiritual Possessions –

God urges His people to begin to take possession of it and engage [them] in battle (2:24b). The time had come, where they would begin to experience the place God was calling them toward.

There is a parallel between God giving them their land, and the spiritual possession He is desiring to give us. In our own lives, how are we listening to and answering the voice of God? If we cannot hear Him, it is possible that our sins and distractions are louder than His voice. Our sins are always louder and more distracting than the voice of God, which greatly hinders our spiritual walk and the possessions God wants to give us.

I am not talking about financial blessings that rain down from Heaven, like televanglists assure you. While God make you filthy rich, I doubt that is His plan for our lives. It might very well cause us to quit seeking God.

However, God does want to bless us!

God wants to give us enormous blessings that this world cannot begin to give. As we seek after the things of God, we will face road blocks, trials, and great difficulties. This is because of the enormous level of the spiritual possessions God wants to give to us – the people He calls His own children through Jesus’ death and resurrection!