Some days we just need a little extra encouragement, don’t we?

The past few weeks, for me, have been tough ones for many reasons. But in the midst of it all, my Abba Father has been so faithful to speak comfort into my heart.

We are His children! He loves us more deeply than we could ever fathom!

Today, as I was praying over my quiet time, the Spirit drew me to James. I sometimes forget how much I love this book. Yes, there is encouragement here, but James also gives us many reminders to check-up on our heart attitudes.

When we feel wronged, it’s human nature to lash out. That’s not our Father’s nature, and we are to reflect Him.

I encourage you today, pray & read through this short book. Take a look at your reflection in God’s mirror. Are you reflecting Him or the world in word and deed?
I definitely need to do some polishing on my reflection today!

**Father, thank You for Your mercy! Thank you for love us and allowing us to be imperfect children, but also for reminding us to strive to perfectly reflect You! Help us to daily check our heart attitudes for anything that is not of You. Heal our brokenness and help us to live in the fullness of Your joy everyday! Amen!**

Be blessed!

-De

A Call to End the Silence

My heart has been so heavy over the past weeks…maybe months. I no longer have the desire to turn on the daily news. I barely ever want to peek at social media because in the desire to see what my friends and loved ones are up to, I’m bombarded with the craziness that is occurring in our world.

I’ve found myself wishing it would just all go away. (Yes, I know, lovely attitude there…just being real.)

As I sat in prayer this morning, God spoke louder to me something He’s been whispering to me for a while.

stop being silent

Church, we’ve been too silent for too long! What has our silence brought us? Just look around!

  • Churches across the nation are more divided than EVER…and NOT over things that matter.
  • Reaching the lost for Christ has become more difficult because too many “Christians” do not live out what they claim to believe.
  • Sin nature in our country has overtaken our culture partly because Christians have taken their focus off of evangelism & discipleship.

I could continue a nice long list, but that’s not the point.

The point is that we need to WAKE UP! We need to rediscover the urgency of the Gospel! We need to STOP attacking each other over things that don’t matter! We need to STEP UP and PRAY for our leadership (both in the church and the nation) before we open our big mouths to tear them down to others. And, maybe, let’s be a little more Christlike and NOT tear them down anyway, just pray and pray some more.

Christians, we need to UNITE & PRAY like never before. We don’t have time for our petty differences of opinions. There are lost people dying and going to hell at a faster rate than I’ve ever seen. We need to grab onto Christ, bind ourselves to Him and His mission, and GO for what is absolutely the most important ride of our lives!

We can no longer be silent about our faith. We must fulfill the great commission. We must GO! We must TELL! We must LIVE a life fueled by and filled with the LOVE of Christ!

Matthew 28:18-20

Ephesians 4:1-6

1 John 3:11-24

1 John 4:7-21

1 Corinthians 15:1-5

Be blessed & LOUD!

-De

 

A Prayer For Our Nation

As I sat before our congregational prayer time this morning, I found myself reflecting over the events of the past week.  Not personal events, but those that deeply impact our country.  And honestly, not only the past week, but so much longer.  As my pastor hubby called the church to a time of prayer, the Holy Spirit led me to Psalm 85.  As I fell to my knees, my heart cried this prayer for our nation.  (Italicized words are mine.)

Return to us (our Nation), God of our salvation,
and abandon Your displeasure with us (and forgive our abandoning of You).
Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger for all generations?
Will You not revive us again
so that Your people may rejoice in You? (Father, oh please, revive Your people.  Let revival begin in each of us.)
Show us Your faithful love, Lord,
and give us Your salvation. (Fill us with Your love for all, so that we will not fear sharing Your truths. Our nation’s only hope is You.  Spark a revival in the hearts of Your church, grow it there until it can’t be contained.  Then allow it to spill over into the streets, cities, states, country & world, Father. )

God is our only answer, guys!  We keep allowing Him to be pushed out of every aspect of our nation.  He will never abandon us, but we are continually abandoning Him.  This, my friends, is why there is so much hate, so much anger, so much apathy everywhere.  Will our country ever return to God?  I don’t know, but as believers, will we continue allowing Him to be pushed out?

prayernation

I ask that you take this chapter of this book of the Word of God and meditate on it.  Join me in praying it during this week leading to Memorial Day.  If the thought of losing our nation to the world doesn’t pierce your heart, it’s time for a check-up.

Psalm 85 (HSCB)

Lord, You showed favor to Your land;
You restored Jacob’s prosperity.
You took away Your people’s guilt;
You covered all their sin. Selah
You withdrew all Your fury;
You turned from Your burning anger.

Return to us, God of our salvation,
and abandon Your displeasure with us.
Will You be angry with us forever?
Will You prolong Your anger for all generations?
Will You not revive us again
so that Your people may rejoice in You?
Show us Your faithful love, Lord,
and give us Your salvation.

I will listen to what God will say;
surely the Lord will declare peace
to His people, His godly ones,
and not let them go back to foolish ways.
His salvation is very near those who fear Him,
so that glory may dwell in our land.

10 Faithful love and truth will join together;
righteousness and peace will embrace.
11 Truth will spring up from the earth,
and righteousness will look down from heaven.
12 Also, the Lord will provide what is good,
and our land will yield its crops.
13 Righteousness will go before Him
to prepare the way for His steps.

Pray and be blessed!

-De

What a Good Friday Looks Like

Again we’ve come to the time of year when we are truly encouraged to reflect upon the sacrifice Christ made for us.  As Christians, it should be at the forefront of our minds daily, but being creatures of this world, more often than not, it isn’t.

This evening, take a few moments to meditate on these verses from Matthew.  Read them.  Think on them. (I attached a video of a song.  I love to listen to music while I meditate on scripture.)  Make them personal.  He endured this…He did this for YOU!  No one else would ever do the same.  Only Christ.  Your Savior.

Matthew 27:27-61 (HCSB)

Mocked by the Military

27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into headquarters and gathered the whole company around Him. 28 They stripped Him and dressed Him in a scarlet military robe. 29 They twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and placed a reed in His right hand. And they knelt down before Him and mocked Him: “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 Then they spit on Him, took the reed, and kept hitting Him on the head. 31 When they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the robe, put His clothes on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.

Crucified Between Two Criminals

32 As they were going out, they found a Cyrenian man named Simon. They forced this man to carry His cross. 33 When they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Skull Place), 34 they gave Him wine[l] mixed with gall to drink. But when He tasted it, He would not drink it. 35 After crucifying Him they divided His clothes by casting lots.[m] 36 Then they sat down and were guarding Him there. 37 Above His head they put up the charge against Him in writing:

THIS IS JESUS

THE KING OF THE JEWS.

38 Then two criminals[n] were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 Those who passed by were yelling insults at[o] Him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “The One who would demolish the sanctuary and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders,[p] mocked Him and said, 42 “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel! Let Him[q] come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43 He has put His trust in God; let God rescue Him now—if He wants Him![r] For He said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” 44 In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with Him kept taunting Him.

The Death of Jesus

45 From noon until three in the afternoon[s] darkness came over the whole land.[t] 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Elí, Elí, lemá[u] sabachtháni? that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken[v] Me?[w]

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling for Elijah!”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, fixed it on a reed, and offered Him a drink. 49 But the rest said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to save Him!”

50 Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. 51 Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary[x] was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were also opened and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 And they came out of the tombs after His resurrection, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.

54 When the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they were terrified and said, “This man really was God’s Son!”[y]

55 Many women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and ministered to Him were there, looking on from a distance. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

The Burial of Jesus

57 When it was evening, a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph came, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 He approached Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Then Pilate ordered that it[z] be released. 59 So Joseph took the body, wrapped it in clean, fine linen, 60 and placed it in his new tomb, which he had cut into the rock. He left after rolling a great stone against the entrance of the tomb. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were seated there, facing the tomb.

 

Be blessed.  Today is Friday, but Sunday is coming!

-De

Stop and Refocus

When I sat down to have my quiet time this morning, I looked at my Bible study book and just couldn’t pick it up.  So after a little prayer, I began getting the kiddos working on their lessons for the day.  I really felt God wanting me to stop and refocus.  Not exactly what I wanted to do this morning.

Here’s a little insight…

Ok, so we’re working to get settled in.  Unpacking is just as much fun as the packing was. Moving-Homes-The-Unpacking-Nightmare-700x466I’m honestly, OVER seeing boxes everywhere.  But, unpacking and living in a place at the same time makes it slow-going.  That’s ok.  It really is.  But, here’s what happened over the past few days.  The hubby has started officially at the church.  He’s keeping regular office hours (and not just across the parking lot), so he’s not around during schooling hours if I need a little assistance.  (That’s really ok, too.)  I, however, during this transition have not been as diligent in keeping the Enemy out of my thought life.  That’s a very dangerous thing!  Little unpacking has been accomplished this week.  All of my time has been spent schooling & cleaning.  (I mean, you have to clean if you are going to live in a place…even if it isn’t unpacked.)  Insert LOTS of frustration over not being able to find items needed for cleaning.  More frustration over being interrupted by children needing assistance while I was looking for missing items needed for the cleaning task I was involved in.  Dishes. Laundry. Creating a home atmosphere. Sweeping. Vacuuming. Dishes. Laundry. Trip over a box. (Did I break my toe?) Try to develop a cleaning/shopping routine.  Realize it doesn’t work.  Try again.  Redirect kiddos back to school.  Etc. Etc. & repeat.

During all of this, the Enemy is whispering: “You are going to have to do this all by yourself.”  “Look at them all, playing around & not helping at all.”  “You’re never going to get anything accomplished.”   See where he was taking me?  UGH!!

Insert God saying “STOP!” “My daughter, I need you to refocus!”

Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the activities of her household and is never idle. Her sons rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her: “Many women are capable but you surpass them all!” Proverbs 31:25-29 (HCSB)

He directed me to read and meditate on Proverbs 31, again.  I love my Abba for times like this!  Sure, I may get overwhelmed at times, but I don’t have to listen to the Enemy’s lies.  As long as I recognize them, I can rebuke them.  God created me for the purpose of “watching over” my household.  That doesn’t mean I have to do it all myself, but I do have to delegate responsibilities & ask for assistance when needed.

Why do we, as women, make things SO much more difficult than they need to be?  😉

May I encourage you, sister, if you are feeling overwhelmed or discouraged with simply everyday life, take some time to stop and refocus.  Pray.  Listen to God.  Obey Him.  Maybe read through Proverbs 31. (And please don’t feel that you EVER have to live up to her example.) Be inspired by her!  Be encouraged by her!  God created you for a beautiful purpose!

Be blessed!

-De

Terrifyingly Exciting

How’s that for a title?  Seriously, though, God has brought us down a path over the past 6 months that is both very exciting and completely terrifying.

Where to start…

How about here:  About a year ago, at a women’s conference, I first heard the song Oceans.  You know the one.  I was so moved by it…literally moved to tears.  I wanted God to do that kind of work in me.  I wanted to not fear His will, whatever that may be.  I wanted to be willing to go wherever He called.  So, I began to make that my prayer.  Every time I would hear the song, I would make it my hearts cry.  God kept it on my mind and in my heart.  I would find myself singing it at random times, my heart’s prayer.

Fast-forward several months, late summer I believe, all I know for sure is that I was in the throws of a “Who Do You Think You Are?” season and totally in my genealogy state of mind.  My sweet hubby comes in one afternoon and asks me, “How close is Kershaw, South Carolina to where your ancestors are from?”  *Insert nerdy squeee*  Um, my great-grandfather was born there!!  Then he tells me that he’s been contacted by a church there.  Excitement ebbs a bit and terror takes over.

*God, that’s SOOO far from our family!*

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail

Deuteronomy 13.4Well, that’s all it is for several months.  My husband and I purpose to consistently pray for God’s will over our family & His church.  God revealed to my hubby two very specific tasks to complete at our current church.  Not easy tasks mind you, many nights of prayer went into these.  It was very difficult for him at times, but I love my man of God, he faithfully followed.  Here’s the most awesome thing…the morning after he finished the final of the two tasks, the church called him again.  (God doesn’t play games guys.  He is full of awesome!)  It was a serious call, a we’d love to talk more in depth call.  A terrify this little girl to the core call.

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed, and You won’t start now

So, we began the task of SUPER heavy prayer (with the addition of a few faithful prayer warriors) and conversations.  You’d think by this point in my life, and through all the things God has brought us through, I’d have no fears with following Him with blind faith…WRONG.  This little mommy is a worrier!  This southern belle is really a home body!  This planning girl doesn’t like for things to be “up in the air” or unknown.  (You’d also think I’d know by now that God doesn’t work like me.)    Ministry at the intersection of one place and another is HARD, I’m not going to lie.  If you are serious at all about loving and working for Jesus, you can’t just “check-out” from your current ministry home.  Things still need to be done.  Things still need to be planned and organized…even when you know you aren’t going to be the one to see it through.  I can’t even begin to accurately describe how hard that is.  My emotions have been a roller-coaster.  But, I know God’s holding us in His hands.

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours, and You are mine

And now, after many months (and I must confess, a Gideon prayer or two) God has finished the task of preparing us for His work in a new place.  We are going, with full faith in Him, to South Carolina.  We are excited to see the work He has for our family there.  Our hearts continue to pray for His church here, I know He has amazing plans for His precious people here.  Change is always difficult, but it can so often be a wonderful thing, especially when it is ordained by the Creator.  Commit yourselves to Him!  Follow Him without fear and question!  It’s terrifyingly exciting!

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

Be blessed!
-De

Take Off Those Steel-Toed Boots

2_timothy_3_16_by_treybacca-d5vmg7vBut as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2Timothy 3:14-17 HCSB

Preface: This verse actually popped up in my children’s lesson a few Wednesday nights ago.  That set it rolling around in my brain.  God has had it on simmer for the past weeks, allowing me to draw some amazing things from it.  Speaking its lessons to my heart.

How often do you wear your “steel-toed boots” to church?  You know what I mean…the imaginary armor you put on after a few weeks of the preacher’s words stepping on your toes.  It’s so easy to become exhausted of sermons stomping our toes into the ground.  You may even be tempted to ask your pastor to give your toes a break once and a while.  Ever been there?  I have.

You know what friend?  Don’t be tempted to ask your pastor to “tickle your ears.”  There are warnings against that.  Paul specifically warns Timothy of this just a few verses later:

I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of His appearing and His kingdom:  Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new.  They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths. But as for you, be serious about everything, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”  2 Timothy 4:1-5

Prayerfully, if your pastor is truly seeking God’s will, he/she will not listen to your counsel anyway.

We are human. We don’t like to be told we’re wrong in any way.  It hurts.  It makes us uncomfortable.  It often makes us angry.  We may want to lash out.  We may want to withdraw.  There are many ways we respond to rebuke or correction.

When your pastor or teachers are teaching the Words of God in truth*, friends they’re fulling God’s will for them.  If those words from scripture stomp on your sensitive toes…LET IT!  That usually means that you need it.  I know that is the case with me.  When something my hubby preaches just pierces me to the core, I know it’s time to get with God and do a check-up!  (Not always willingly…I have been known to throw a toddler tantrum or two.)

God’s truth can hurt as well as encourage.  I’ve heard messages in the past that I found incredibly encouraging only to be told by a friend how much it stomped her toes, and vice versa.

Let’s take those old steel-toed boots and toss them in the trash!  Let’s allow God’s Word to pierce our hearts and stomp our toes!  Only then, when we’ve been taught, rebuked, corrected, & trained will we be complete & equipped for the work He has prepared for us.

Be blessed!

-De

*Please be aware that there are “teachers” and “pastors” who do not teach the Word in truth but in twisted versions of the scriptures.  I encourage you to study the scriptures & hold them accountable.