Community: The Time’s Now

Friends and readers,

I have a wee little announcement to make. For a long time, I have talked about the need for community. The passion for companionship with like-minded followers of Jesus Christ – is something that can drive many of us. It can influence our decisions and lead the way in our lives.

For my own life, I have felt the intense longing for companionship and seen how this longing can drive me the wrong direction if I am not careful. Even so, I have seen how we treat “needing community/companionship” as though something is terribly wrong with us.

The Bible teaches us about the truth. In the Gospel, we see humans with a sinful nature come to know they need Jesus Christ. In learning about our need for a Savior, we learn also about our need for His beloved Church.

We need one another.

We aren’t capable to live our Christian life on our own. We need our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, those who are experiencing the Gospel and His powerful transformation.

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we were made for community. And so, I am pursuing a new avenue in connection with this blog.

With that said, my announcement: I have made an online small group for my blog readers and myself to draw near to Jesus together, pray together, search the Scriptures together, and stay encouraged despite circumstances – together!

I want to invite you into a closed Facebook small group. Only God knows the outcome of such a step in faith. But, willfully I come and invite you all to join me too in our online small group. Don’t worry about the “what if’s” or “possibly not keeping up”. I invite you to come and join me. Let’s “do life” together, and just enjoy Jesus Christ – our Savior!

On Monday, we begin a four week Bible study on the book of Philippians. As someone who struggles in her quiet time, I invite you to join me as we dive into Scripture at our own pace and support one another in our walk with the Lord.

In Him,

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31 Proverbs to Light Your Path {Blogging-For-Books}

31 ProverbsIt’s no secret that Liz Curtis Higgs is one of my favorite Bible study teachers. I have reviewed several of her books, including her last devotional – which is much like this one.

Today, I am here today to joyfully share with you her new book. 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path is a devotional that meets us where we are, and walks us through specific proverbs found in the Bible.. The Lord has much to share with us, as we draw near.

We are invited into beautiful conversations about God’s life altering truths and their power. While we are met with God’s truth and learn what it looks like to apply them in our lives, we are given a special section at the end of each devotion – that might make the most difference in applying the devotional truths immediately.

In “One Minute, One Step,” we are urged to take the time to remember these special God-given truths and consider what it means for our own lives. It is by God’s absolute grace that we can hear His truths and allow the Lord to change our lives through them.

There are 31 Proverbs placed in this book that can radically change our lives. And, friend? It is simply the beginning. Jesus has so much He wants to share us, as we sit here in community with Him and each other. Let’s seek out our sweet Lord and take this gift we have been given.

My Story –

One night a few weeks ago, I found myself awake in an insomnia moment. After realizing “Okay, I am not getting to sleep,” I finally got up and grabbed my reviewer’s copy of this God initiated book and just kept reading.

I couldn’t stop, and truthfully I didn’t want to. The more I read, the more the Lord spoke to me – filling my soul with His truth!

As I continued to read, the sweetness of the Lord and His comfort washed over me. I just sat and continued reading as one day turned into seven days, and so on. That night, I made many notes, highlights, and even followed up on a specific urging the Lord placed on my spirit.

Friends, the Lord can use this book to speak to us. As we are being changed by the truths and our relationship with our great God through His Son Jesus Christ, He will change others. Our job is simply to be obedient.

For a long time, it was hard for me to read the Proverbs – because there are many transformative truths (“How do I remember them all?”). All we have to do is begin with one proverb, and start there.

Let’s allow Liz Curtis Higgs, to be our friend who shows us how the Lord is helping her apply His truths.

God can definitely use this devotional to speak to His people. Friends, let’s meet up, share our brokenness, and open up our hearts to His truth. The Lord will meet us wherever we are.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the “Blogging for Books” book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

No Perfect Relationship {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.

Following Jesus Christ and receiving His love should change our interactions with others, but especially with fellow believers. As a part of God’s Church, let’s consider how we respond to one another.

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends (Phil. 2:1-2, MSG).

This Scripture reminds us that we are being changed. God reminds us that a heart transformation is the result of our meeting and walking with Jesus Christ. We are entering our new life, and these are key things to expect in our relationships with other Jesus-lovers-and-followers.

  • Agreeing with other believers.
  • Loving one another.
  • Becoming knee deep in our friendships with others who are following Jesus Christ with all we have to give.

If we have been changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it is absolutely impossible to stay the same. We have been invited to follow Jesus Christ and enter His life-transforming new life. We cannot allow ourselves to become complacent in our relationships anymore. Let’s start striving for God’s best!

Note: The deeper we get in our friendships, the more likely conflict will arise. But let’s try to strive for God’s best in our responses.

While our friend may act one way, we can pursue forgiveness and reconciliation. The difference between our old life and new is – the Holy Spirit. We are giving God full authority to work in our lives, and seeking to remain obedient.

Our hearts and lives are being changed. In Romans 12, we are reminded of the truth that we are being transformed and renewed by our great God. He has poured out His mercy onto our lives, and His Voice is ultimately the only One that matters. This is why our “in Christ” relationships differ, from those in our “before-meeting-Jesus” life.

My church relationships are far from perfect. I am sure yours are as well. Thankfully, our great God is perfect and able to work in them through His Awesome power!

We have been birthed into new life, because of Jesus Christ who has loved us with an everlasting love and continues to save us on a daily basis. Let’s see how to apply this Scripture in our lives.

Let’s seek to honor Jesus Christ through the gift of these relationships. The Bible teaches us how to do this. I know our relationships will not be perfect, but let us aim for progress. We need to be able to see Jesus working in our Christian friendships. Choose to surrender, and give the Holy Spirit the authority in these friendships.

In Christ,

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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 –

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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,

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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!

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