Courtney Kacer

REVIVAL

Life happened…and continues to happen.  I always thought when I truly surrendered my life to Christ that Jesus would always be #1 in my life.  I wouldn’t allow life to get in the way and detour me from my calling until Satan started to use the very blessings that God gave me over this last year to bring Jesus down to #2. 

This last 2 years have been the best years of my life.  I met my now husband on Eharmony and quickly fell in love.  After waiting for several years for the right man to come along, God blessed me with my husband today.  Since then, we have married and are soon expecting our first child.  We have also found our dream home and moved.  It’s been a whirlwind of blessings from God and I couldn’t be happier, or could I be?

Over the last couple of months I have slowly started to feel an emptiness inside me; a void that I haven’t felt in quite some time and I couldn’t quite pinpoint it, until today.  At first I thought it was just me being sick from my first trimester of pregnancy, but it wasn’t.  I have been so consumed with being happy and so full of joy that I forgot to have a real relationship with Christ.  Relationships take effort and I was not putting in my effort at all.  I got wrapped up in trying to be a good wife, working full-time and continuing my relationships outside my marriage all while forgetting the one thing that I needed to have 1st on my list.  I still praised and thanked God for every blessing, went to church, and even went to bible study, but I was just going through the motions because my real priority and desire in my life was my husband and maintaining a household.  Well at least trying to maintain a household, still working on that one…

It was easy maintaining God as my #1 priority when I was single, but it was much harder when I got married and tried to find that balance.  Life happened to me in the best way possible, and I let my relationship with Jesus fall through the cracks.  For the first time in a long time I sat down and did my devotionals and dove into the word.  There is where I found my heart to be filled to the top erasing the feeling of emptiness that I was starting to have.  It goes to show that you can have everything you want in this life and can still be empty when you don’t have Jesus.

As I sit here writing this my heart is genuine with praise and thanks to Jesus for continuing to be there even when I said thank you for the blessings and then left Him behind.  So as I start to ask myself and Jesus what he wants to call me to next, I hear Him whispering in my ear a verse that I have always loved. 

Be Still and know that I am God. – Psalms 46:10

It’s time for me to get back on my schedule of making Jesus # 1, spending time in the word daily, and praying fervently.  It’s time for me to do a 180 degree turn towards Christ and ask him to REVIVE my heart.  It’s time for a revival and I can’t wait for God to lead me and you in the right direction.

How are you doing today?  It’s the beginning of 2017 and everyone has their goals that they are trying to reach.  Are you trying to fill the void with things of this world, or are you trying to fill it with Jesus?  It’s not just time for a revival in my heart, but a REVIVAL in everyone’s hearts.  Let’s pray for God to return a burning desire in our hearts to follow Him and for our relationship with Him to grow deeper.  My word for 2017 is REVIVAL.  What is yours?

Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? – Psalm 85:6

Courtney Kacer

Courtney.Kacer@women180.org

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO FORGIVE

Why is it so hard to forgive?

I have been asking myself this question lately.  Why is it so hard to forgive people whether it is big or small?  If Jesus calls us to always forgive, why don’t we have the heart that makes it simple and easy?  It comes down to a couple of different revelations that I have had over the last few days.

1)      We are selfish people through and through.  We live with a sinful heart that just can’t completely understand the magnitude of what forgiveness does.  We forget that we want and need forgiveness on a daily basis, yet why should we extend that hand of grace to others?  We feel entitled to get what we are owed.  We should get an apology or what is due to us because we deserve it.  There are so many times where I have been stubborn in my forgiveness because I felt that I was owed something all while forgetting what Christ did for me.

2)      We feel that by forgiving someone by definition means we need to be friends or reconnect some sort of relationship with them.  This is more understandable with the major hurts in our lives.  Maybe you were abused at some point in your life, or an unspeakable thing has been done to you.  Maybe your spouse or significant other cheated on you during your relationship.  Whatever it may be it is extremely hard to forgive someone that has done some major damage to your heart and soul.  The truth of the matter is though that forgiving someone does not necessarily mean reconciling with them. This is a long process that happens through time.  We can forgive someone but still decide that a relationship with that person is not possible, or we can put boundaries up. 

3)      We forget the ultimate act of forgiveness that was given to us personally.  In the back of my mind I know that Christ died for me and what a sacrifice that was, but when I am in the midst of being angry with someone I forget really what type of sacrifice it was.  I truly believe that if we could humanly grasp the full concept of the sacrifice that Christ made for us, and we could keep that at the forefront of our mind, then we would be able to have a heart that forgives a little more easily.

4)      We think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person we are forgiving.  My very imperfect mind will always say at first, why should that person deserve my forgiveness when they can’t apologize?  My big a-ha moment was when I realized that the act of me forgiving someone was not to give them a gift or to bless them, it is was an actual gift and blessing to myself.  Caring around a torch of anger, frustration, or disappoint for someone lays a burden on your shoulders that takes a toll on you.  God doesn’t want you to carry that burden.  He wants you to be free from the shackles hate and rage.  God always wants us to glorify Him by the act of forgiveness.

There are so many things that we do that need forgiveness.  I couldn’t imagine having to try and forgive someone who abused me, or cheated on me.  I know that there are so many of you out there that struggle with not understanding the pure evil that may have been done to you.  You struggle with the anger and the questions of why me?  And now you get angry with the very fact that God is calling you to forgive that person when we all know very well that they don’t deserve it.  I can’t stand here and try and understand that level of forgiveness, but I do know that God is a loving God and He wants us to heal through living a life that remains in Him.  Forgiving someone is not a gift that we are to give to that other person.  It becomes a blessing from God to us when we give the anger and hurt to Him to carry leaving us to be able to live a life that is filled with His love and joy.

We here at Women180 are praying for you right now.  Forgiveness is one of the hardest things we are called to do, but nonetheless called to do by God.  It is a continuous struggle that never gets easier.  We pray that you lean on God for wisdom and guidance and for Him to show you the way.

Matthew 18:21-22 says Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?  Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Courtney Kacer

The Truth About Happiness

It is too often that I forget that happiness is not the same feeling as joy.  We often intertwine happiness and joy thinking they bear the same definition, but when I really think about it happiness seems to be a temporary and sometimes fleeting emotion.  It comes and goes according to the situation.  When joy comes to mind it gives me a sense of peace and contentment even through the hard times.  It links with a feeling of consistency and can only truly be achieved when we know that Christ is our Lord and Savior. 

I recently connected with a new Author, J.E. Berry and she just wrote a book on just this topic.  The Truth About Happiness gets released today July 7, 2016 and will be available on Amazon.

The synopsis of this book really makes us dive into what makes us happy and our worldly views.  We can start to look at the real meaning of Joy and what it looks like to get rid of the roadblocks that get in our way of experiencing the contentment and peace that God wants us to receive.  J.E. Berry describes it perfectly below:

The great dream of the world. To be “HAPPY”. But what does that even look like in our eyes? Do we have a true grasp on what that means or even how we draw it from the source? Most of us have started off with a false perception of what happiness is. Rather a believer or not.

In a world struggling to define and understand what happiness looks like, The Truth About Happiness comes as a cool breeze where there seems to be little air to breathe at all. Offering clarity on the topic of happiness through biblical truths and encouragement to help readers carry out those truths. Addressing practical struggles, such as suffering, choices and perception, with practical scripture text to produce spiritual growth, discovery, and personal Bible study.

The Truth About Happiness is a personal journey for each reader. Each chapter focuses on areas that can keep us from experiencing the fullness of joy in Christ while offering encouragement and hope through Scriptural truth. Each chapter also includes a personal reflection and challenge for readers. The author offers an honest look at real life topics while challenging readers to actively weed out the hindering seeds deep within and walk with Christ toward a life He has designed for them.

Women180 definitely recommends this book and we hope that you will put this on your summer reading list.  Click on the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/Truth-About-Happiness-Exchanging-falsehood-ebook/dp/B01G2OATB2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1466597041&sr=8-2&keywords=the+truth+about+happiness+book

J.E. BerryAuthor

Untamed Wisdom

 Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_antonioguillem'>antonioguillem / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_antonioguillem'>antonioguillem / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Wisdom can come in many shapes and sizes.  In the past few blog posts we have discussed being wild at heart which can move us into a phase of rebellion, but the question is how do we get ourselves to transform into the people we really want to be?  How do we transform our hearts to be full of contentment and joy? At the end of the day having our hearts content is what we are truly striving for in life right?

It all comes down to having wisdom and knowing that’s God’s truth is wisdom.  We will continue to chase our tails trying to find that one thing that makes us happy, until it doesn’t anymore, and then we move onto the next worldly treasure.  We will constantly reside in a state of restlessness because we just don’t know what that missing piece is to be completely joyful.

Why did you run off secretly and deceive me? Why didn’t you tell me, so I could send you away with joy and singing to the music of timbrels and harps? – Genesis 31:27

God wants us to come to him and lay our troubles at His feet so He can carry the burden.  He wants us to whole heartedly seek Him instead of finding temporary satisfactions within the boundaries of this chaotic world.  He wants to set us free with His truth.  His truth being that God sent His one and only son to die for our sins.  To die for our selfishness, to die for people like us even in the midst of our denial. 

I remember when I was looking to fill the void that I had during my rebellious years.  I was so consumed with trying to make me happy that I was desperate to fill that painful need in any way possible, except turn to Jesus.  I ask myself over and over again, why?  I had the answer to my troubles staring me right in the face, and yet I still turned my back and thought that I had a better way.  My way just led to a deeper depression and a deeper longing and desperation to fill that need. 

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. – John 8:32

The answer to my problems was me being able to fully surrender to God.  The wisdom of truth needed to be planted into my heart and not just my head.  God says that if we fully seek Him then He will show himself to us in ways we could understand.  He will open our eyes and our hearts to His truth and His wisdom. 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

My challenge to you today is to think about that void you may be feeling.  What are you trying to fill it with?  Is it working or do you find yourself disappointed and looking for something more after a short period of time?  Maybe you run to food for comfort, or alcohol to tune out painful memories and situations.  Maybe you go from one relationship to the next and wondering why none of them work out?  Maybe you go shopping for the next big thing to heighten your status.  Whatever it may be let’s challenge ourselves this week to dig deeper into why we do certain things and whether or not that leaves us feeling empty or joyful. 

If you feel a little more on the empty side I want to encourage you to reach out and pray to our heavenly Father and ask Him to guide you.  Ask Him to show you the truth and teach you His wisdom, and then hold on for the ride of your life as God fills up your heart with joy and laughter.  Loving our God and His son Jesus Christ was the best choice I ever made and it wasn’t until I asked Him to show me Himself did He change my heart to fully surrender to Him.

As God has worked on me over the last few years, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but I can finally tell you that I believe that I am transforming into the beautiful butterfly God had intended for me to be.

 

Courtney Kacer (Smith)

Come find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest @women180

 

UNTAMED - REBELLION

If you were to sit down and ask my parents what I was like as a child they would definitely smile and say “a little rebellion”.  I was the child who weighed possible punishments to do things I wanted to do.  If what I wanted to do was worth the spanking or grounding, then I would do it.  If it wasn’t then I would save that rebellious activity for another day.  I remember my dad telling me I could only go so far on my bike one bright sunny day.  He wanted to be able to see me and know that I wasn’t too far away.  I chose the spanking that day when my dad caught me flying by the boundaries he had set for me.  Sound familiar?

I am an adultnow and I would like to say that I grew out of that stage of my life, but not so much.  When I turned 18, all I could think of was how I didn’t have to live under my parents rules.  It was me time and I was about to make my own decisions.  I had my own rules.  The consequences of my decisions did not come in groundings nor did they come in spanking or lessons learned from my parents.  They came in guilt and shame and a whole lot of disappointment.  This time I couldn’t blame it on my parents being unfair.  I only had myself to blame.  

My decisions to better myself with a crowd of people who were just as rebellious as me ended in years of turmoil.  I thought I found my freedom in drugs, alcohol, and sex, but what I found instead was a prison cell.  Years of shame and insecurities came after and feelings of worthlessness.  I was Alice falling down the rabbit hole with nothing to grasp onto.

I finally reached out in the right direction and took a hold of Jesus’ hand and my life transformed.    I write to you today because there are so many of us out there that have this wild heart that naturally likes to rebel.  We tend to think that we need to tame ourselves and we have to sacrifice giving up control in order to follow Christ.  For some of you that may mean rejecting the one thing that can truly give you freedom, and for some of you it may mean that you struggle with fully surrendering to Christ.

It wasn’t until God started to transform my heart did I realize that the answer to my question was that it wasn’t a sacrifice to follow Christ.  It wasn’t just a bunch of rules I needed to follow.  It was a blessing to follow Jesus.  The rules to follow melted away as my heart desired to transform my life to live to glorify Him. 

Don’t let your thinking of having to tame yourself detour you from what your heart longs for every day.  Let your heart and mind open up to the idea of being untamed.  Redirect your wild heart to be wild for Jesus and let Him work in your life and grant you the freedom that you so long for.  This goes for those of you who may not yet know the Lord and those of you like me who do know the Lord but struggle sometimes with feeling too tame for our natural tendencies.  

Take those thoughts captive and bring them to the Lord.  Ask for Him to change your heart and your attitude and realize that true freedom, joy, and contentment means being rebellious against our old ways. Let’s untame our hearts to be wild for a life that strives to glorify Christ.

Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good. 

Psalm 25:7

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 

 2 Corinthians 10:5

Courtney Kacer (Smith)

 

 

Untamed - Wild at Heart

 

We are all wild at heart.  Wild in the sense of us wanting to be free to do whatever we want to do without a care in the world.  A longing for that true sense of freedom bubbles up on the surface of our hearts.  Have you ever just had those moments where you just think to yourself if only I could just not care about the consequences that may arise with me just letting completely loose?  I know I have.  If I am being completely honest, sometimes I feel constrained by the “rules” that I should be following as a child of God.  My heart wants to do something or many things that would definitely not glorify His kingdom.

There were times before I was a Christian where I would think that I would have to sacrifice “my freedom” in order to surrender and give my life to Christ.  There were too many rules I would have to follow and I would not be able to live a life that would fulfill my desires.  

There were several years in my life where I gave into making Courtney happy in every moment.  What I wanted right then and there is what I would do.  Temporary satisfactions were fulfilled no matter the price.  You could say my days of drugs and alcohol would label me a wild child.  I was free to do what I wanted, when I wanted and I was soaring like an eagle, or was I? 

I look back to figure out why my heart finally drifted towards Christ and it comes to one answer.  Giving into what I thought was fulfilling my wants and needs was really driving me to be enslaved within the prison walls of this world.  We are not meant to just live this life, but eternal life.  The void that I was trying to fill was really the need for a relationship with Christ that would give me this eternal life.  

Satan wants us to continue on a path that serves only ourselves.  We may think we have everything we want, but let’s be honest if we do not have Christ there will always be something missing.  Our perception of having to tame ourselves to follow Christ is one of Satan’s lies.  God made us wild at heart, we just have to redirect it towards Him and His kingdom.

Throughout the next four weeks we will be talking about how we can become untamed for God and live with the wild freedom that God intends for our lives.  If we block out Satan’s lies then we won’t feel like it is a burden to follow Christ and His rules, but we will be able to look at following Christ as the answer to our freedom.

Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. - 1 Corinthians 7:21

[ The Believer’s Freedom ] “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. - 1 Corinthians 10:23

[ Life by the Spirit ] You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. - Galatians 5:23

Courtney Kacer (Smith)

Arm Yourself: Equipping Ourselves with the Armor of God

My dear sweet sister in Christ, Michelle Moore wrote a book to help equip ourselves with the Armor of God.  Once I opened the book I couldn’t put it down.  Michelle takes experiences in her life and intertwines it with the lessons we need to learn to fully equip ourselves for battle.  The battle of spiritual warfare.  Some of you may know exactly what I am talking about, and some of you may experience this every day but not know exactly what to call it.

Spiritual warfare is so prevalent in today’s society.  As the world spirals downward into pure darkness, the bright shining lights that have a heart for God become the ones for Satan to bring down.  Satan attacks us left and right, trying to throw us off our game, trying to destroy the good we are trying to do for God’s kingdom.  We need to arm ourselves with the best armor we can so that we may continue to live a life that glorifies God.

Michelle goes on to talk about the shield of faith, the belt of truth, the helmet of salvation, the shoes of peace, the breastplate of Righteousness, the sword of the Spirit, the robe of love, and the power of prayer.  One of her most important pieces of truth is learning who we are in Christ.  We can’t apply these pieces of armor unless we know that we have the authority to use them. 

Michelle states, “No one can take any of our pieces of armor without our permission first.  So let’s resolve from this day forward that no one will take from us our true identity, which is found in Christ.”

The best part of reading this book was reminding myself that as a child of God, I have power in the name of Jesus.  I think we often forget that.  We get so busy in our day to day lives that when a slew of things go wrong, we chop it up to just having a bad day.  We need to be in close fellowship with Christ everyday so that we can draw near to Him and live on His strength.  This book reminded me of the different pieces of armor we can put on.

Arm yourself is a great reminder for women like me who have been a Christian for a while, but it is extremely valuable to readers who may have just accepted Christ into their lives, or maybe you are seeking the truth of Christ and haven’t quite committed yet.  There is a war going on for our souls, and the longer we stay in the dark to who we really are, the easier it is going to be for Satan to win.

Satan can’t keep knocking us down if we know how to put our armor on.  I highly recommend this book and hope that when you are looking for your next book to read, you think of Arm Yourself:  Equipping Ourselves with the Armor of God by Michelle Moore.

Please check out Michelle’s website.  The book is available on Amazon.  Click the links below.

http://www.michellemoore.org/

http://www.amazon.com/Arm-Yourself-Equipping-Ourselves-Armor/dp/1490848878

 

About the Author:

“Wife. Mother. Blogger. Author. Worship Leader. Bible study leader. These are just a few of the many hats I put on every day. If you were to take a closer look you would see hats I put on that I have had to hand over to God through the years…Depressed, insecure, hopeless, anxious, fearful, angry, heartbroken, wounded, ashamed.

Praise God He is a miracle maker, prince of peace, counselor, redeemer, healer, and He fought for me! Now I can say with confidence I am restored, set free, victorious, loved, chosen, set apart, a true daughter of the king!

God has inspired me to inspire you. I want every woman to know there is freedom and healing in the awesome power of Jesus! My book, Arm Yourself, starts off with my personal testimony and the struggle I’ve had with depression and anxiety. I go on to explore how the study of the armor of God saved my life and in each chapter I explore what each piece of armor is, how to use it and what it protects. I want women to not just learn to cope, but to learn how to arm yourself!

Not So Different

    I sit here reflecting what our world has become and is becoming.  It is headed on a very dark path that just keeps getting darker.  The terrorism that has hit different countries over the last few decades increases and we wonder why?  What is going on where people think they are justified in taking innocent lives in the name of the their beliefs?  I can’t imagine that our world has come to that, but can I?  As I sit thinking about Easter Sunday coming up it dawns on me that the justification of taking innocent lives has been around for thousands of years which brings us to the death of Jesus Christ.

    Jesus was born for one purpose, to die on the cross for all of our sins.  He lived a life full of every temptation imaginable so that he could relate to us, yet still living a perfect life.  Jesus did nothing wrong, but in the eyes of the religious leaders of the Jews, Jesus was a criminal.  They were set in their ways and their laws and had no room for a Savior to come to save the world.  With Jesus claiming He was the Son of God, the Jews were charging Him with blasphemy.  He threatened their positions as high priests and the jewish law which in turn led them to take Jesus out of the picture.  Jesus was innocent, yet the leaders sentenced Him to death.  In fear of the reaction of the religious leaders, the other people said nothing when the Romans questioned them.

    Jesus was tortured beyond recognition and crucified on the cross.  Nails were driven into his wrists and ankle bones to hold Him on the cross.  So much innocent blood was spilled.  Just as in Jesus day, innocent blood is spilled today.  Most recently, the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels.  My heart breaks with seeing the connection of behavior more than two thousand years a part.  People justifying the deaths of others to uphold their beliefs.  So what are we to do?  We pray…

    We pray for the victims and their families that God comforts them through these dark times.  We pray that God reaches the hearts of the people who don’t know Him.  We pray for the terror to subside from these senseless acts of evil and is replaced by the strength of our Lord knowing that one day there will be judgement.  We pray for peace to fulfill our souls once again.  And as Jesus said with His last dying breath, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do,”  we pray for the terrorists themselves that God drastically changes their hearts in the hope that they may one day know the one true God. 

    We may never understand why these acts of terrorism happen, but just as God used Jesus’ death to save the world, we trust and hope that God will somehow use these acts of terrorism in a way that could help others.  We have no idea what that looks like, but if we grasp onto hope rather than grasping onto fear we can move forward in healing.

But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish. - Psalm 9:18

We wait in the hope of the Lord; he is our help and our shield. - Psalm 33:20

Courtney Smith

www.women180.org

Courtney.Smith@Women180.org

 

 

Who AM I? -- I AM SAVED!!

I am SAVED.

Easter is one of my favorite times of the year.  To acknowledge Jesus as who HE is and HIS mission- is truly what it is all about.  Often people ask, “Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?” “Wasn’t there another way?” Ultimately, the consequences of our sins would lead to our death.  The only way to save us from ourselves and the consequence of death through our sins was for God to beat it with death.  The death of Jesus Christ.  His blood was spilled so that we would not have to face our own death of eternal life.  Jesus through his death on the cross gave us eternal life – SALVATION.

Let’s dig into this a little deeper.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

God says that a person who sins must die (or be punished). BUT, we get the free gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus.  This is why Jesus had to die on the cross.  He gave us the pathway to righteousness to be able to be with God Himself.

“The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.” – John 1:4

Bringing light to everyone is exciting news to me.  We no longer have to walk in darkness.  We have a lighted pathway guiding our every step.  Walking in darkness leads to walking in our own transgressions which usually ends up in walking in sin.  This however is a choice.  We can choose to walk in darkness or we can choose to walk in the lighted path that Jesus provides.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

John MacArthur says it beautifully, “The Son’s mission is bound up in the supreme love of God for the evil, sinful ‘world’ of humanity that is in rebellion against Him.” 1   It amazes me that Jesus was lifted up on the Cross to take away any Judgment that you and I should have received.  It’s a humbling thought actually.  

“The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life...” – John 3:35-36a

I love this.  It is an immediate response when we accept Christ.  “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.” (Emp. add.) We don’t have to earn it.  We don’t have to do anything but believe.  

“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.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

How do you respond to this gift?  I admit I often take it for granted.  It is those times when I read a passage describing what Jesus did for us I remember and respond with great gratitude.  This past Sunday I watched – The Passion and through the beautiful music and interpretation I was brought to my knees.  As the tears fell down I looked up, thanking our Father for His great sacrifice. 

I end this today how I started last week.

I am SAVED.  

“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.” – 1 John 5:11-13  

Whoever believes in God’s Son has eternal life.  Isn’t this Great News!! There is such simplicity in this verse. Reminds me of the statement “it’s not about what you do, but who you know”. 

As we head into all our Easter Celebrations, let us not forget.  Let us remember that through His death on the Cross – we are Saved.  But let us also not forget the next important thing - that Jesus rose from the dead, and for this, we can praise and thank God for all eternity.

Debbie L. Wayns

 

1 The MacArthur Bible Commentary – John MacArthur

BroomTree International

Women180 likes to highlight certain Christian organizations that are doing unbelievable work in God’s Kingdom.  This month we would like to highlight an organization that is moving mountains to bring God’s truth and word to the “unreached” population.  

Who are the unreached? An unreached or least-reached people is a people group among which there is no indigenous community of believing Christians with adequate numbers and resources to evangelize this people group without outside assistance. Can you imagine living in the darkness of extreme, war, poverty and brokenness WITHOUT a flickering light of hope in your surroundings? Never having heard of Jesus- His grace, hope, joy and redemption? Maybe you intimately know or have known this darkness.  Can you remember how your life changed when your senses experienced God’s light?

One of the greatest commandments Jesus made to his disciples, was to“Go, and make disciples of all the nations.” (Matthew 28:10)  Literally, “GO.” 

That can be intimidating for most of us. For centuries brave missionaries have shed their comfortable lives to go live among the unreached across the globe. We’ve entered an era where reaching these groups has gotten easier and easier, yet nearly 3,000 people groups (about 2.8 billion people) still live in this spiritual darkness. Why is this? Despite grand efforts from the global Christian church:

  • 99.7% of missional resources are directed toward where the church ALREADY IS.
  • only .3% goes where the church IS NOT. *

BroomTree International is a ministry that is bridging the gap from simply “giving” to faithful servant missionaries, to “investing” in His faithful servants of the African church who have the culture, proximity and understanding to reach the unreached in places we cannot go. 

“Our process is to Gather, Explore, and Facilitate both ministry and strategic partners who work together to fulfill the Great Commission.  Working together will multiply talents that make greater impact in reaching unreached people groups of the world today.” – BroomTree International

BroomTree’s mission statement is simple.  Serve faithful servants who make disciples for Jesus Christ.  They assist by directing resources for short term needs that advance long term strategies. They work together to make disciples through His church who advance His kingdom on earth to glorify His name.  

It’s not just about sending people over for a few weeks to help out where needed.  It is about equipping indigenous churches with the knowledge of God and the tools and resources to then go out and make more disciples. To bear fruit that REMAINS and transform communities to walk daily in the word.

Ladies, our main purpose in life is to bring people to Christ and grow not only our relationships, but to help others grow as well, yet I sometimes feel that we stay in our own little bubble.  We often don’t think about how we can help those in faraway lands, but we can ALWAYS help.

You may be thinking how can I help? There are a couple different ways.  The number one way to help reach the “unreached” is by fervent prayer.  We may not be able to travel around the world, but we can pray for God to open up the hearts of the people who don’t know Him.  We can also pray for the people who are on the ground, traveling to dangerous places.  We can pray to give them strength, wisdom, courage, and the resources to be able to do God’s work where we cannot.

Secondly, we can help by donating to organizations like BroomTree so that they can help equip the African Church with the tools needed to spread God’s word and change lives. We may not be called to do missions in the sense of traveling to unknown lands, but we are ALL called to be missionaries in spreading the Gospel.  There are so many ways to do that- and BroomTree is demonstrating how we can really focus on discipleship as a tool to transform lives.  Please take time to pray for BroomTree International and to pray on whether or not God is calling you to donate to help spread God’s great news.

Please take a look at BroomTree’s home page to learn how they are assisting local African church networks employ a disciple-making strategy. They started in Kenya in 2012. This year they have local servants traveling into South and North Sudan, Egypt, Chad and Uganda to train other churches in this strategy that will empower an entire continent to GO and make disciples of ALL the Nations.

“We are within range of penetrating every dark place on the planet with the light of the Gospel more than ever before in history. We pray that you will join with us.” - BroomTree

http://www.broomtree.net/

 

Courtney Smith

Women180.org

Courtney.Smith@women180.org

 

 

 

 

*(for more definitions and statistics visit http://www.thetravelingteam.org/stats/ or www.joshuaproject.net)   

WHO AM I?

I am so excited to introduce you to Debbie Wayns who will permanently be a part of Women 180.  We share a vision of helping women come to Christ and grow.  We want to encourage women who are struggling through this dark and fallen world and show them that there is continuous hope in Jesus Christ.  I can’t wait to see how God is going to use Debbie in Women180 and I am overwhelmed with God’s provisions.  Debbie will be doing a short 4 week blog series/study on who we are in Christ.  I hope you enjoy and I ask that you continue to pray for us as we walk in obedience to God’s path that He has laid out for Women180.

Courtney Smith

WHO AM I?

When Women180 asked me to write a blog for them my first thought was “Why Me?”  Am I the only one who still has an identity crisis from time to time? I admit these thoughts don’t happen as often as before I knew Christ, but Satan surely knows how to slither himself right into my path whenever I let my guard down. 

So I find it fitting for my first blog for Women180 to introduce myself.  I would generally start with my name, tell you about my family, and how long I’ve been in ministry.  But today I am going to do things a little different.  I want you to know who I am in God’s eyes.  This is a good reminder for me as I ask the “Why me?”  I have to remind myself who I am in God’s eyes all the time – so I can be the best I can be for God.  So here are a few gems that I have stored away in my heart.

I am SAVED.  

“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life. I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.” – 1 John 5:11-13  

Whoever believes in God’s Son has eternal life.  Isn’t this Great News!! There is such simplicity in this verse. Reminds me of the statement “it’s not about what you do, but who you know”. 

I am CHOSEN.  

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.  So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.” – Ephesians 1:3-6

This is a humbling verse for me.  The fact that HE chose me seems like an oxymoron.  It took me a few years to let this sink in – I just assumed I chose Him – which I did, but the reality is that HE chose me first.  Those times when I’ve felt left out or maybe lonely – I remember HE chose me and I can walk a little taller knowing whose team I’m really on. 

I am FREE. 

“And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” – Romans 8:2

I don’t know about you, but freedom gives me hope.  Not just freedom from my past sins, but the sins I’m surely going to do today and tomorrow (“for we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Romans3:23). Recently during a Jeremiah study I also learned that not only are we forgiven of our sins – but they will never again be remembered (Jeremiah 31:34b). I don’t know about you, but this was GREAT NEWS to me. 

Finally, and the one that warms my heart with such comfort. I AM HIS MASTERPIECE. 

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” –Ephesians 2:10

So here I am – Saved, Chosen, Free, and HIS Masterpiece.  O ladies, there are so many more amazing descriptions of who you are in Christ.  I pray this is an introduction of many more days we explore who we are in Christ. So the answer to my question, “Why me?” – Why not me? Yes, I am broken – an imperfect follower of Christ. But God says “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 35:18). We are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. (Psalm 139:14) I pray today you commit to knowing who you are in Christ.  Finding your identity in Him allows you to know you are HIS – and nobody, not even that sneaky Satan can take that away from you.

Debbie Wayns

 

SELF

I had a very big A-ha moment today during my quiet time with God.  I have been feeling like a cloud has been hovering over my head.  Ideas would pop into my head to write, but I couldn’t bring myself to open up my laptop.  Laziness would overcome me or I would just go blank with the idea that just ran through my head 5 minutes prior.  Why couldn’t I just write? 

The word SELF comes to mind.  My motives were all wrong.  When asked today in my study by Beth Moore to define biblical greatness and what it would look like on me, the answer was clear as day.  Selflessness.  My pride gets in the way of my obedience to God.  I know when God is calling me to do something.  Sometimes I drag my feet because I become selfish and just don’t want to do it.  I make up excuses of I am busy or I’m just too exhausted.  And sometimes…sometimes I do obey God, but for the wrong reasons.  It came to me that I sometimes walk God's path for me because of the blessing that I may receive for being obedient.  Ouch…that is hard for me to write on paper, but it is true.

I am actually in tears writing this because my heart really is to live a life following Christ.  I want to do everything to glorify God, but I find myself just drowning in my selfishness and looking forward to weighing what I am going to do according to what I will get in return.  If I am walking the path I think God has laid out for me, but doing it not to glorify Him, but to actually glorify myself, then I am being sinful.  

It pains me to know that I do not always put Christ first.  And it pains me that my pride continually gets the best of me.  As I read Luke this morning I found that I am not much different than the original disciples.  In chapter 9 verse 46 it says, An argument started among them about who would be the greatest of them.  They were actually arguing amongst themselves as to who would do a better job.  Their focus was on how they would be perceived rather than on doing Jesus’ work and glorify God in return.

Just like the disciples, God knows our thoughts and He knows our hearts.  If our hearts are not in alignment with glorifying God then what we think is being obedient to Christ really isn’t being fully obedient.  As I write this, my heart is full of conviction.  I kneel on my knees and ask for forgiveness.  Forgiveness of my selfishness and my pride.  The cloud is starting to dissipate and my desire to write is slowly starting to come back.

Lord,  

I ask for your forgiveness today of my selfishness and my pride.  It’s an ugly monster that keeps popping up into my heart.  I ask that you take that away and show yourself to me.  Overwhelm me with your presence and ignite my fire for you once again.  I pray for your conviction if the pride starts to rear its ugly head once more so that I may stop it in its tracks and re-focus on glorifying you.  In your name I pray.

Amen

I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze. Leviticuss 26:19

 

Falling Trees

                I sometimes feel like a tree that is falling.  The tree is in the direct line of the powerful gusts of wind that blows its way.  The tree stands tall for a while, but as time goes on it starts to lean.  The tree has roots in the ground that are to hold itself up, yet the striking gusts of wind don’t stop.  The roots start to give out and eventually the tree starts to lean heavily.  If the tree does not obtain a support system to keep it upright against the wind, the tree will be lost forever.  Sound familiar?

                We can sometimes feel like we are getting hit left and right with trials and tribulations.  They are hard, exhausting, time consuming, and emotionally draining.  There are times when we can honestly think there is no way out of the situation.  Doubt starts to rise in our hearts and we start to question the very foundation of our lives. 

                The holidays can be times of joy and laughter, but for some people it could be a struggle.  Loneliness, financial issues, and tension amongst family members can add to a less than desirable state of mind.  Depression sometimes sets in and a choice to retreat to anything to relieve the pain comes to mind.  It may be drinking, overeating, drugs, companionship, or many other things.  Hope seems to be lost, but is it really lost?

                Our natural tendency is to immediately relieve the emotional pain that we feel.  Unfortunately, Satan jumps on these moments of opportunity to tell you that the temporary pleasures of this world will help you to forget.  It will make you feel better.  For a moment…a short moment, you feel ok before the pain starts to show its ugly head again.  The negative emotions start to hit you over and over again just like the wind hitting the tree.  Eventually, you start to fall further into spiritual darkness and you start to lean.

                The answer is to grow your roots in the foundation of Christ.  Our roots in Christ strengthen our foundation and resolve against the enemy.  We always need a support system to keep us upright.  My support system is and needs to be Christ.  The more we stay in the word the stronger we get.  We grow through our trials and tribulations and maintaining our hope. Confidence stands against the wind.  Christ is our only answer.  Christ is our  real hope. 

                If you are in a pit of spiritual darkness I pray that God comforts you and opens your heart to look to Him for the answers and not the things of this world.  God can replace your loneliness and depression with the joy and peace of His very essence.  There is hope even through our toughest times.  We just need to remember that when we accept Christ into our hearts, we are purchasing our support system to keep us upright in the wind.  How exciting is that?!

You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17

Courtney Smith

Women180.org

Find us on Facebook.com/women180 and Twitter: @women180_cs

 

Girl Set Free

Freedom…a word that I feel we can sometimes take for granted.  We have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of being who we want to be, but not everyone has true freedom.  When I come to think of my life over the past decade or so I have felt trapped and enslaved to my habitual sin.  By my lack of understanding and by my own choice I was enslaved to sexual promiscuity and drugs.  I didn’t know how to claw myself out of the muddy pit that I had created and every time I tried to gain my footing, I was knocked down with the feelings of not being good enough or worthy enough of a better life.  My dignity had been lost.

Some women are enslaved by human trafficking and in situations of abusive relationships.  Situations that are unfair and give them feelings of no hope.  They want to make a better life for themselves but there is no way out without the help of others.  It is through organizations like Girl Set Free and ourselves that help women flourish in situations that seem impossible.  It is faith in Jesus Christ that can make a difference.  It is help from kind hearts like yours and mine that can help be the messengers of Christ.  

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1

Women180 sets out to find different organizations that help change and transform the lives of women both locally, and around the world.  After lots of research we are proud to support and come alongside Girl Set Free, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that is just starting to stretch their wings.  Girl Set Free is an ethical fashion brand developing artisan businesses through fair trade to empower survivors of injustice.  They help women get back on their feet by making clothing giving women an opportunity to flourish. 

Jeremy and Amy Kratzer are the founders of Girl Set Free, Inc and you can see the love and passion God has blessed them with to help these impoverished women regain their integrity and dignity and help them succeed and find hope once again.  Please click on the link below to find out more.  They are in the midst of kick starting Girl Set Free so they can produce their first fall collection.  We ask that you pray alongside Women180 for Girl Set Free, Inc. as they walk in Obedience to this call God has blessed them with.

Kickstarter:

https://kickstarter.com/projects/1258678282/girl-set-free-inc?ref=nav

Website:

http://girlsetfree.org

Being able to give the gift of hope to women in a world full of darkness is such a blessing.  I struggled with the concept of hope, love, and acceptance for so long.  I know how dark of a place we can live in, but Women180 is here to tell you that there is hope! God is our flashlight in the midst of a dark room.  He gives us freedom, and will send messengers to guide you into the freedom of Christ.  We will be praying for each of you to be aware of the freedom that Christ can provide for you and to take action in becoming free through Christ.

 

Prayers for Paris

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Many of us are trying to comprehend the events that happened in Paris last Friday night.  Unbelievable violence and evil was stowed upon innocent lives.  Fear and sorrow lay within our souls.  My heart is so truly heavy right now for the victims and the family of the victims.  I just keep whispering Jesus hold them close and tight.  

Tragedy hits us when we are not looking and shakes us to the core.  Satan uses evil to create vulnerability within us.  But as I think about it, when tragedy ensues united we become.  Our faith becomes stronger,  prayer becomes fervent within our lives, and unity binds together nations like never before.  Satan creates chaos, but God creates unity and strength.

As we look to this next week let's pray for the people in Paris and know that God was with His children during this horrendous display of evil.  He is with His children now and will be forever with His children.  Let's hold tight that our God is sovereign.  He weeps for the victims just as we do.  

My prayer is that God will give peace and comfort to every life that this touches, and I pray that miracles of people accepting Christ through this tragedy will be accomplished.  Healing will occur and can occur with hope and love through Jesus Christ.

Paris, we are here for you.  Hear our cries.  Hear our prayers.  Feel our grief for you.  Feel our love for you.  United we stand.  United we pray.  United we love.  United we hope.

"I have told you these things, so that you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

 

Inside Out

 Disney Pixar picture from the movie Inside Out

Disney Pixar picture from the movie Inside Out

I was looking at myself in the mirror as I washed my hands.  Something every woman does right?  I saw that my blouse that I was wearing looked a little odd.  I turned around a few times and did the whole side view thing to figure out what it was.  I turned around one more time and realized that I saw a big white tag.  I was wearing my blouse inside out.  The worst part was it was 3 in the afternoon and I had walked around my office the whole day like that.  You know people noticed, but they did not say anything.  They let me just walk around the whole day so that other people could notice that my blouse was inside out.

I went back into the bathroom stall and turned it back to the correct way and walked out.  Once I got over the situation I started to laugh.  I was frazzled in the morning with millions of things to do and instead of focusing on putting my clothes on correctly I let myself get distracted.  Can any of you relate?

How many times do we let ourselves become frazzled with our busy schedules and situations that hit us left and right making us feel completely overwhelmed and inside out?  I know it happens to me quite often.  When I took a deep breath, fixed my shirt and realized it was actually quite funny it reminded me of what we need to do.  We need to stop, take a deep breath and just whisper the Lord’s name.  Jesus is there for us.  Half of the time I picture Him leaning back and just shaking His head saying there you go trying to do everything yourself again.

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Isaiah 41:13

B.U.S.Y stands for buried under Satan’s yoke.  Satan wants to see us so busy and overwhelmed that we forget to lean on Jesus.  Our natural tendency is to go into control mode.  I can do this, I just need to rearrange this, and move this, tweak that, and so on.  What we really need to do is start on our knees and pray to Christ to help us manage our daily obligations.  We also need to tell people when their clothes are inside out.  It’s just the right thing to do. Haha 

When we make Christ our priority everything seems to be just right.  So when things start to get overwhelming make sure you stop and turn your shirt back inside in and whisper Jesus’ name.  He already has his right hand out, you just have to grab it.  What an amazing thing to be grateful for during this season.  We never have to worry about God leaving us as He dwells inside of us.

 

Bold Prayers

It was late Thursday night and I was laying wide awake in my hotel room in North Carolina. I was trying to process all of the information that I had received that day at the She Speaks conference put on by Proverbs 31 Ministries. It was a real blessing for me to be there. However, I was feeling overwhelmed and out of my league. I saw so many women who had a passion to write and speak…and then there was me; an unknown Accountant from Southern California who had, until now, never dreamed of seriously being able to write - but regardless felt I had a story to tell. I did not know or feel it at the time, but would realize later that God had brought me there for a reason.

Here was my dilemma; I was in the middle of writing my book with a deadline fast approaching, and I had serious writer’s block. I had written the hard, emotional part of my story, but then what? That was only half the book. Then it hit me right between the eyes. I had turned it into my project instead of God’s project. Wow!! What a revelation into my prideful heart. In the beginning, I was telling my friends that I was just being obedient to God and I was following His will for me and truly believe that was my heart’s intent. But looking back, I was not very obedient in that I dragged my feet for six months before I decided to jump in and start writing. And in spite of that, everything was going fine. But then gradually, over time, the one thing that I did not want to happen happened. I got in my own way. My heart started to be in it for the purpose of what I was writing, and how I was going to help so many women and daughters know that they are not alone with their struggles. The one thing I kept hearing was “I”. No wonder I had writers block. It wasn’t supposed to be my words pouring onto the paper, it was supposed to be God’s words.

So, in the middle of the night, down on my knees I went and began to pray. I asked for forgiveness from our Heavenly Father and fully surrendered my writing and this book back to Him. You see God wanted me to write this book for His purposes and not my own. His words need to be spoken to these women. So I boldly prayed for God to show me why He wanted me at this conference. What was the main reason He allowed me to come? Lord, download into my heart this next portion of my book so that I may write your message and not my own. Show me what your will is for me and I will follow. Forgive me for my prideful heart.

As I prayed and listened in the quietness of my room, I felt the Lord starting to speak to my heart. He told me there were many reasons why I was there and I will find them out over the next couple of days, but the main reason was for this right here; for me to ask for forgiveness for the state of my heart and to realize that God wants me in ministry and not ME-nistry. He knew I would only realize that surrounded by 800 other women who also felt God’s calling to write and speak.

A big point of this story is to illustrate how God not only gets our attention in a big way! But also how these experiences drive us to our knees in prayer. It is through prayer that we speak to and are guided by our Lord. It is there that he heals our heart, reassures us of his forgiveness and unconditional love, no matter how we screw things up. There are many different aspects to praying, but there are three main goals to help guide us in our prayer life.

1) Prayers require boldness. God wants you to boldly go to Him and ask for that forgiveness or for whatever need you may have. Maybe it is for a loved one who is ill, or maybe it is for a new job or for better finances. Maybe it is something that you think is small and trivial. It doesn’t matter. God wants you to BOLDLY go to Him with the trust and the faith in knowledge that God is a forgiving and loving God full of sovereignty. He wants to talk to you about those small things. He wants that relationship with you. So pray boldly.

2) Pray with specificity. Sometimes we pray in general terms. Be specific with exactly what you are praying for. Sometimes we may not know and that is ok, but sometimes I think we do know, but we are afraid to ask, so we pray in general terms forgetting that God knows our hearts and knows exactly what we need and want. He wants us to be specific in our prayers. It helps us also know when God is answering those specific needs and seeing His hands over matters in our lives. Keeping a log of our prayers also helps us to know when and how he answers.

3) Practice being silent in your prayers. Take the time to listen. We often talk and talk and talk in our prayers and sometimes that is needed. But sometimes we forget to listen with our hearts in how God is trying to respond to us. God loves to lay different things on our hearts as we are praying and it is so amazing when we hear it. Praying is a two way conversation and when we realize that, it opens the door to an even bigger prayer life.

When I followed these three steps in my prayer that night, God answered in my quietness. I felt Him say…now I can use you and oh by the way here is what you need to write about for the next half of your book. I was up almost all that night basking in God’s love and writing down His thoughts for His book. I was overwhelmed by His presence that whole weekend and God and I had such an amazing time together.

How is your prayer life doing? Do you feel close to God through your prayer or do you feel a distance when you pray? Perhaps you are like I have been in prayer. You pray because that is what you are supposed to do, it is more mechanical than spontaneous and quiet. Try relaxing and have interactive conversations with God and in quietness feel His love embrace you. Just remember, prayer time with God is personal time with Him and He loves to spend that time with your open heart and show you how much He loves you.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7 

 

Overwhelmed

I was up in Northern CA this past weekend visiting a friend and we decided to go on a late night walk down a path that was up against a preserve.  Unfortunately, the walk way was not lit up so we only had the lights from the neighboring houses and street lights from the opposite side of the walk way.  As we were walking back, there was a slight breeze that just made it a gorgeous night until we saw a dark outline of something right in the middle of our path.  We didn’t realize what it was until we got pretty close to it, and what was it?  It was a big snake.  Now I don’t know about you, but snakes are right up there with my dislike of spiders.  This fear rises up in my throat and my heart starts to beat faster than it should.  And I for some reason get really itchy.  Bottom line…they scare me, and I would rather not even know they existed.  As we started to quickly take steps backwards away from the snake a bike rider was coming towards us from the opposite direction not realizing the snake was right there.  She almost ran it over, but the snake sensed the danger of a rubber tire flattening him and started to slither further towards our direction.  My heart is pounding by this time and I just wanted to run.  As we turned around to walk the other way there was a bench where a couple was sitting with a dog which started barking like crazy scaring us even more.  We jolted across the plants onto the actual street and walked a whole mile out of the way to get back to the house.

In that moment we were completely overwhelmed with the snake on one side, and a dog barking at us from the other side almost putting me into a straight panic attack.  Which brings me to what we tend to do when we get overwhelmed in life.  Do you start to stress out so much that you have a break down and have a hard time functioning?  Do you turn to food, smoking or drinking too much?  How is your response to being stressed and overwhelmed?  Do you go to something else or do you go immediately to God?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” - Matthew 11:28-29

In this crazy and busy world we tend to forget that we are able to rest in God’s sovereignty and we need to rest and set our overwhelming burdens at His feet.  Sometimes we just need to stop and be still in God’s presence.  If we can remember to stop and take that deep breath and just whisper “Lord” then He can give us enough strength to get through the panic and sense of being overwhelmed with stress.

If we take the alternate route of thinking we can handle it, then we tend to make quick decisions to try and make sense of being overwhelmed only to take a longer detour than if you were to just stop and whisper His name.

So how can we get into the habit of leaning on God in these types of situations?  We must stay in the word and make sure we are spending quiet time with God.  

Be still and know that I am God.  - Psalm 46:10

The more we are in the word the more we are connected to God and closer in our relationship with Him.  We need to have fellowship with others through bible study and being consistent in attending a church.  Building a church community is so important in your walk with God.  The more we do these things, the more natural it becomes for us to automatically go to God first than to try and deal with things on our own.

So as we live life in this fast paced world let’s be still in God’s presence and not make those quick decisions that lead us to take a direction opposite of God's will.

 

#LoveWins

Yesterday the Supreme Court made a decision to make same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.  Along with this decision comes different opinions and views.  I see social media people changing their pictures to the rainbow theme and hash tagging Love Wins!  I see different posts with their different opinions and I have to say that out of everything that has been posted the one thing that was most prevalent to me was the #LoveWins.  

I started to ponder this a little bit as it was being used to show that Love can't be held down anymore by different discriminating laws and different beliefs.  That Love somehow was not winning a battle that was being fought because same sex marriage was not legal across the nation.  Once I understood the message that this #LoveWins was trying to portray I thought to myself, but Love has already won just not everyone understands or believes it.

God is Love!  He sent His only son down to this earth to die for EVERYONE's sins.  That includes the believers and the non-believers.  We are all sinful people and we needed that sacrifice of Love in order for us to be able to have a relationship with God.  The moment that Christ died on the cross was pure victory and that is truly when #LoveWins.  We just have to choose to seek it and God provided us the rainbow as a reminder of His promises.

As a Christian I believe that we have a responsibility to uphold and speak God's truth, but there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it.  God calls us to love our neighbor. It is one of the most important commandments.  We can still love people and not like the sinful behavior. The only way we are going to bring people to Christ is to take the judgment and hypocritical component out of our actions and to show them God's Love.  It is ok for us to speak that we believe different actions are sinful, but we need to also take a look at our own sin and make sure we are working on ourselves at the same time.  It is our approach in showing them Christ's love that will make the difference.  We do not need to throw harsh words at people to get our point across.  And although scripture is God's word and truth we need to make sure that when we are using scripture to make our point that we are also providing the context and the loving words to go along with it.

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. - 1 Corinthians 13:4-12

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:13

So now every time I see #LoveWins I am not going to see the same sex marriage has won it's fight, but I am going to be reminded that Love has already Won and made possible through Jesus Christ death on the cross and I am so glad that I have made the choice to follow Christ into eternal life with Him.

Chin Hair

Chin Hair

Ok Ladies, I know you can relate to this.  I was in front of my mirror in the bathroom getting ready for the day.  Part of my routine is looking for those nasty chin hairs that seem to pop up from nowhere every morning.  So I am expecting to see maybe one or two small little hairs ready to be plucked, when all of a sudden I see this chin hair that seemed to be a mile long.  Seriously?!  Where do they come from? I look at my chin every morning and on top of that I then feel my chin to make sure I got them all.  How does one magically appear and then to be that long?  It baffles me it really does…but of course this got me thinking about the sin in our lives.  

Sin is prevalent in our daily lives.  Yes…this may be a surprise to you, but we all sin every day. (insert sarcasm…) Some days seem to be harder than others, but we all fall short of the glory of God right?  

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23

Sometimes we seem to know exactly what God is convicting us of and we need to pluck it right out of our lives and turn away from the sin.   The sin is quick to show up and quick to get plucked.  Other times God may be trying to get our attention only to find that we are not paying attention and we find ourselves with a bigger problem to conquer than what it was originally.  It is that inch long chin hair that once was not visible for so long, but now is long, dark, and it sparkles in the sunlight bringing attention to its ugly self.  All you can think about was how long have people been able to see this?  This is so embarrassing!!

Sin can rear its ugly head and Satan will take full advantage of that sin making it as invisible to us for as long as he can until it starts destroying our lives, our self-worth, and our identity making us feel full of shame, guilt, and embarrassment.  The good news is that God convicts us for a reason.  He wants to see us strive to live a glorified life that praises Him.  God wants to see us blessed, so He will convict us when we are heading the wrong direction, and He will do what it takes to open our eyes to the sin that we do have in our lives.  The issue is are we willing to open our eyes to see Him pointing it out to us, or are we turning our head so that we don’t have to deal with plucking the sin out of our lives?  

If you are like me, there are some things that I would just rather not give up.  They give me satisfaction or at least I think the sin does for that temporary moment.  It gives me that short period of happiness, so sometimes I want to pretend I don’t hear God. I drag my feet…but the problem is, I can’t ignore God not if I want to glorify Him and live for Him.  So I need to open up my eyes and be brave enough to face the sinful issues in my life head on, and not when they get so big that it is a harder problem to tackle, but when God first convicts me.  

I don’t know what type of issues that God may be convicting you of right now, but I know the issues God is convicting me right now and it’s time for me to stop ignoring them and it’s time for you to stop pushing them away.  If you don’t know what God is trying to tell you then I pray that you pray that bold prayer for yourself for God to show you what He wants you to work on.  Being obedient to Christ blesses us in ways that we cannot fathom, so it’s time for me to get a brighter light and maybe a small magnifying glass to see those chin hairs sooner rather than later and pluck those ugly babies out.  

And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell.

Mark 9:46

On another note, my parents and I are going to Israel and Italy next week.  We are so very excited, but I would like to take this time to ask for your prayers that God protects us throughout this trip and that we return home safely.  I will be praying for each and every one of you throughout these next couple of weeks, and I cannot wait to share pictures and my journals from my trip.  I get to walk where Jesus walked and I am so very excited and blessed!!