My Word For 2019…Finish

Finish

Philippians 1:6

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” 

Happy New Year! I can’t  believe another year has come and gone. As I grow older the years go quicker! There were the usual joys, sorrows, gains, losses and ups and downs in 2018 and life lessons as well. Waking up today, the first day of 2019 with my daughter and dog snuggled up beside me, I felt an overwhelming gratitude for God’s great gift of life. Whether I’m going experiencing the highs or the lows, I’m grateful. I also reflected on how I’m using my life to glorify God. If I’m being honest, I experienced a lot of disappointment in 2018. I wasn’t disappointed by God, but by me. I have this aching feeling that I’m not living on purpose, that I’m holding myself back, and not jumping fully into God’s plan for my life. My unfinished list would make your head spin, so I’ll spare you!

This morning after reading scripture, I sat with God, just me and Him and asked Him to speak to my heart. I desperately needed the Lord to reveal a word, to me that would give me insight into how I needed to change my heart, transform my mind, and motivate me to not just make a fly by night resolution, but a life altering change. It’s amazing what God will reveal when you’re still and present.

The word God revealed to me was…Finish. I had to laugh because boy does my creator know His creation! Here’s the thing, I’m a pretty good starter, I think I have some good ideas, and when it comes to my daughter I finish things, but somewhere in the middle of a pursuit, I get stuck. I don’t finish. It drives me nuts, it makes me sad and disappointed and it keeps me in a rut. Not finishing actually makes me not like myself very much. Why? Because I know that I’m not in alignment with God’s will. It’s as though I’m running a steady race and then BOOM! I hit a wall. Instead of finding a way around it, I just kind of sit there, staring up and too paralyzed to move.

It reminds me of Galatians 5:7, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” Instead of believing the truth, that I can accomplish all things through Christ, and lean on Him, I get wrapped up into my own insecurities and it robs me from completing the race! Not only did God give me a word this morning, He went deeper with a prescription! In my heart He revealed to exactly how to finish.

F- Faith: My faith has to lie in God and not myself. I have a little problem called stubborn self-reliance, that keeps me back from the grace of faith.

I- Intentional: I have to be deliberate about finishing and not just starting. Discipline, preparation and action have a played a big role for my lack of finishing.

N- Now: The time is not in the next couple days, or month, or later, it is now. Too often I plan for the future without taking the steps in the now. Two years later I’m talking about what I plan to do instead of just doing it!

I-Inspiration: Surrounding and immersing myself in what inspires me is key. I need to refine my vision and be inspired by it every day. Keeping inspiration in front of my eyes, in my heart will help me to manifest it in my life. Also, finding inspiration through reading God’s word and being inspired by His  truths and not the lies the enemy wants me to believe about myself and my gifts.

S-Self Control: God made it clear that discipline, wise choices, and the willingness to stop doing what I know produces the same results will keep me from hitting that wall and give me the endurance to finish. My procrastination is a direct result of my lack of self-control.

H-Hope: God revealed to me that I need to renew my hope. Even in the failures, I have to remember my testimony, my cloud of witnesses and the truth that is hope that lies in Jesus Christ my Savior.

Will finishing be easy? No, after all habits, are hard to break, but I do know that God didn’t reveal this to me for me to fail. He has already equipped me for victory, for purpose and to finish what I start. I pray that you have a wonderful 2019 overflowing with blessings, gratitude and a renewed sense of purpose!

Shed Your Old Wineskins!

unleash

Holding on to habits and patterns that no longer serve us keep us bounded to the ordinary. The enemy wants our feet to be cemented in a holding place so that we can’t move forward and do God’s work. Breaking bad habits is difficult because to some degree it’s comfortable to do what you always did even when the results are less than favorable. So much of the discouragement and that unsettled feeling of not living our authentic life originates from the patterns we adopt. We’re unsettled because we’re not pursuing God’s plan for our life. Going against God’s grain leaves us frustrated and feeling like we’re missing something. Internally and spiritually you know there’s something else you should be doing, but you’re habits stop you. This is one of the ways the enemy distracts you from God’s plan. He wants you believe that you can’t change. That you are who you are, and there is nothing you can do about it! These habits are in your DNA. How many times have you heard people say or maybe even yourself, “I can’t help it, that’s just who I am.” That my friend is an excuse that you’ve been conditioned to believe but that good news is you can change your CONDITION!

Be intentional about choosing something different. Adopt habits that honor who you are in God, choose the patterns that take you to the next level God has for your life! When you choose to break the strongholds in your life that are holding you back from God’s best, you will be unstoppable! Unstoppable not in your power, but in God’s power and strength, so that ultimately you can glorify the Lord!

Maybe some of your habits originate from a belief pattern  you had before you knew Christ. You are a new creature in God! Step fully into your identity! No longer do you have to hold onto an old way of life  that doesn’t reflect who you are as a daughter of the King! You can’t expect to do new things when you’re grabbing onto old ways. Scripture tells us you can’t pour wine into old wineskins because it will break and the wine will spill out. What are you trying to pour into your life that doesn’t seem to stick? Are you frustrated because you have a vision, something new that you want to pursue, that’s put on your heart by God, but it keeps falling through? It’s time to change your wineskin!

Think about the habits you need to release. You know what they are, because they haunt you. Every day, every moment, and every year that you are not walking fully in your purpose is because of a choice that you can change.  What have you gained by holding onto unhealthy and unwise habits? The answer is nothing! If anything you lose something every day, the community around you loses something, your family looses something because they are not getting the woman God designed you to be!

Bad habits are like friends who don’t have your best interest at heart. It’s difficult because you’ve grown accustomed to the toxic relationship by making excuses, by refusing to see the hard and ugly truth because you want so badly to hold on, to believe that it’s not that bad. But, it is and it dishonors who you are and soon you become okay with that and you accept the unacceptable. Knowing when to quit is freeing and allows you to stand in your truth and in God’s truth for you.  Stop cheating yourself and others out of God’s extraordinary vision for your life and start living your best life by releasing what doesn’t serve you any longer!

 

The Lord Settled the Matter, But Have You?

Isaiah 1 18

Have you settled the matter of your sin? When we say yes to Jesus Christ as our Savior we have settled the matter. Christ paid for our sin debt in full, dying on the cross for every one of our sins, but the question is do we believe that the matter is settled? Or do we continue to live in bondage, shackled to guilt, and shame never fully resting in the blessed assurance of our redemption through Christ? The enemy stalks us with our sin. When we choose to continuously live in the shadows of our sin it distracts us from God’s work. Sin’s hold on you isn’t by mistake, it is a deliberate part of Satan’s plan to keep you distracted, and doubting your faith, and identity in Christ.

Our mind and spirit are in a battle with the enemy and every day we have to ask ourselves,”Who am I in Christ?” “Am I a new creature?” “Do I believe I am forgiven?” It’s one thing to say I am a child of Christ, it is another thing to live as a child of Christ. Jesus loved us enough and deemed us worthy to save us from death, but we must be willing to accept his grace and his forgiveness. Why is it that so many of us spend years living in shame, beating ourselves up and stuck in the past because we refuse to forgive ourselves for our sins?

Yes, we should repent, confess, turn away from sin, and be remorseful, but repeatedly punishing ourselves is useless. When we refuse to forgive ourselves we are saying that Christ’s forgiveness isn’t enough, that his death on the cross doesn’t cut it. There is absolutely nothing in this world you can ever do that Christ’s grace and forgiveness can’t cover.

You can’t live as a new creation if you’re living with an old mindset. You are divinely designed! God’s plans for you are bigger than your sin. Yes, your sin was like scarlet, red as crimson, but the Lord settled the matter, so let it be settled in your heart, mind, and spirit.

You’re a Boss…But at What Cost?

I spend a fair amount of time in my car shuttling my daughter around, running errands, and rushing off to meetings. Traffic is enough to make me want to jump from a moving car (which would be ugly), so I entertain myself by singing aloud (much to my kid’s chagrin), listening to podcasts and thinking about my to-do list for the day. However, sometimes the greatest form of entertainment comes from the cars around me, especially the license plates! Do you see what people put on their plates? It’s fascinating and gives me a much-needed chuckle when I’m at a stalemate for 20 minutes! I came across one plate that made me pause, it said, ‘IMABOSS.’ It caught my attention because I thought about how being in power and control has a tight and detrimental grip on society. Everyone strives to be a boss! Authority, submission, and dependency are associated with weakness and is frowned upon heavily.
 
As a single parent, it’s normal for me to assume the title of boss. After all, I’m holding it down! I solely manage a household, cook, clean, pay the bills, mow the lawn, work, and do everything in between. Circumstances dictate that I’m in charge, so why is being a boss a bad thing? The issue creeps in when my independence clouds my need for dependence on the Lord. I get so caught up in trying to do all and be all that I forget that I could do nothing without God! When I’m in boss mode I also forget that everything I do should be to the glory of God and not the ego which cries out, “look at me I can do it all on my own, I don’t need anyone, did I prove myself yet?” Being a boss for me stems from pride, fear of failure, and ego. I’m not the boss, God is and I learn this lesson often.

 
Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” When you’re the boss it is natural to lean on your own understanding, to trust in yourself to make decisions and plan out the course of your life. You are the authority in your life. For some of us who’ve been the boss for so long, submission and dependency conjure up feelings of helplessness and fear. There’s nothing worse for a boss than to feel a loss of control. The problem with being a boss is that there’s a cost.
Leaning on God is a gift that removes the unnecessary mountain of burdens we place on our shoulders when we want to be the authority. Bosses tend to believe that there way is the best way. They follow their own beat and stay on the path they believe is the right one, missing out on God’s perfect plan for their life. God’s authority is our protection, a shield that often stops us from ourselves! But if we are looking through our boss vision we can’t see God’s bigger vision for our life. When IMABOSS I spend countless sleepless evenings in a state of anxiety. I get caught up in a situation and because I’m super independent, I drive myself to the brink of insanity thinking about a solution, worrying about the next step, holding so tight to the situation that it consumes me. When I submit to God he takes it from me. He releases me, maybe not from the situation, but he unbinds me from the outcome. We can trust that God has it resolved and his grace is sufficient.
 
Being a boss is overrated. Being a child of God is the best position you will ever attain. There is a cost to being the boss, and it is a loss. A loss of God’s blessed assurance that he is in total control of your life and has the details all figured out. Do yourself a favor relinquish the boss title and relish in your title as a daughter of Christ.

When Looking Back Turns Us Into A Pillar of Salt

The quickest way to become an ineffective Christian is to keep looking back and living in the past. Remember Lot’s wife? She was told to not look back, to flee, but the temptation to look back on a city that could no longer serve her turned her into a pillar of salt. She was left unable to move or go forward. Don’t allow yourself to meet the same fate as Lot’s wife! Be the salt of the earth by trusting God and resisting the urge to live a life that you’ve shed. Don’t allow your resistance to change to affect who God created you to become! Check out the newest post at my author site.

https://www.cherewilliams.com/what-i-m-writing/when-looking-back-turns-us-into-a-pillar-of-salt

Defeat the Darts of Discouragement and Fear Through the Shield of Christ

joshua

There are two powerful darts that aim to shoot us down, snatch away dreams and inject poison into our hopes and tries to deflate our faith. Those darts are fear and discouragement. Have you ever got shot in the gut by one of these darts? Most of us experience the unpleasant effects of fear or discouragement when we are burning up to do God’s work. When we are on purpose and intentionally trying to live out God’s will for our life, that when the darts come flying out of nowhere.

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Some of you are probably licking your wounds as you read these words. Maybe it was just a  few weeks ago that you had boundless energy to do God’s work. The path in front of you felt familiar because God had planted the seeds in your heart, to carry out his will and you felt fulfilled because that’s exactly what you were doing, then all of a sudden bam! You’re hit with a wave of fear, intimidation, pessimism and a stream of negative thoughts that scream how unworthy and ill-equipped you are to be on this path.  After the fear gets cozy it ushers in discouragement.  All the confidence and enthusiasm you were bursting with is slowly drained by the poisonous dart that has intentionally found its way to you.

Fear and discouragement are the heavy artillery used by the enemy to derail you and extinguish the fire you have as a follower of Christ. If you’ve been under attack you know how debilitating and paralyzing it is to your spirit. So, how do you loosen the grip of the enemy’s hold in your life?

Just as God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous he commands us to do the same. How can we do this when we can barely see above the fear that’s clouding our vision and the discouragement that invading our heart? We can only do it through the assurance that God is with us always. If God who is all-powerful, omniscient, never-changing, who is limitless in possibility is always with us then fear and discouragement are already defeated. The Lord is our shield protecting us from the darts of the enemy. Through our faith and assurance, our courage and strength are born. We can be encouraged by the knowledge of the scriptures that assure us that God has our back.

When I’m in my groove and on my path of purpose a  huge mistake I make that gives the enemy a clear shot is when I become self-reliant. The courage and strength I experience in the beginning are born from Christ, but then that old prideful self-appears and foolishly  I start to rely on my own abilities, skills, and strength,  placing my protective shield in a corner. The enemy is crafty! When he sees I’ve taken off my armor he will take full advantage of my unprotected state, target my weaknesses and vulnerabilities with a full-on attack. Suddenly I’ve veered off course. I’m deflated,  doubtful and feel like a balloon that’s been popped. All that zeal for God is replaced with a hesitancy to go forward. Ladies this isn’t what God wants for us!

The key to strength and courage is allowing it to pour in through Christ. Let him fill you with his blessed assurance, let him wipe away the tears of discouragement and resuscitate you with a heart of encouragement! You have nothing to fear as long as you continue to be rooted in Christ. We don’t have to be strong on our own, we can’t! We need the Lord of infinite power to permeate our life to be a force field against the darts of the enemy so that we can become the masterpiece the potter had always planned!

 

My New Year’s Resolution…To Smell Good!

dinner party!

I get bored with the same old New Year’s resolutions. You know, save money, lose weight, exercise, get organized, etc. They are all worthy goals and worth pursuing, but this year my goal is to simply smell good. No, I don’t have a hygiene problem, so if you happen to see me, please give me a hug! I promise there is no BO! Yesterday, I was catching up on some sermons from our church since we were away on vacation and my minister spoke of smelling good as Christians, based off of Corinthians 2:14-15,”But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.  For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” This scripture made me pause and reflect upon my own aroma. How often do I give off a pleasing aroma to my family, friends, strangers, neighbors, and church family? I also asked myself how often do I just stink? Or was I inconsistent in the aroma I was giving off to others which is just as bad as stinking!

Very hesitantly I had to admit that sometimes I was stinky. I didn’t mean to be smelly, but there were days that I allowed the stinky flesh to take over instead of allowing the sweet-smelling spirit of Jesus persevere, which is always regrettable. Regardless of any other goals, I hope to pursue, none is really more important than representing the love of Jesus. I want to be held captive by Christ’s triumphal procession and not held captive by my own ego. I realized the opportunities and assignments I missed to spread the pleasing aroma of Christ and how that doesn’t fit with God’s purpose for my life. I’ve spent some time thinking about when I have smelled good as a follower of Jesus and the joy it brought to others and I want more of that! I want others to look at me and see me as different, as a woman who loves Christ, who smells sweet and spreads that aroma in all circumstances.

My prayer is for God to reveal to me when I’m stinking and help me to choose the sweetness of his aroma. In a world that gives us plenty of situations to be downright smelly and I know I have a challenge in front of me. Out of the many goals of New Year’s past, this one means the most. I believe it is kingdom work that is life-changing. If I hope to maximize my God-given time on earth in a way that is pleasing to my Father,  some pretty tough self-examination of my actions are needed, which require me to look at how my life is or isn’t glorifying God and to be consistent and honest with myself and God. If I want to spread the sweet aroma that Corinthians speaks about my life has to be less about me and my desires and more about Christ’s desires for me as his servant. So, I’m looking forward to seeking God more diligently, diving into his Word more intently, and trusting fully in the Holy Spirit and hopefully, I’ll start smelling better every day!

 

God’s Heart For You In Your Sin Sickness…It’s Like Your Momma’s Heart, But Bigger!

When You're Sick That's When God Wants To Draw You Even Closer

Last night my sweet girl had a 101.2 temperature, she was achy and downright miserable. You know what happens to your momma’s heart when your child is sick. Waves of helplessness wash over you and if you could switch bodies to take away their pain you’d do it in a millisecond. After I gave her a dose of medicine, I laid in bed next to her feverish body, hyper-aware of every twitch, murmur, and move she made. That’s what we moms do right? We stick right by our kid’s side. Do you think I cared about getting a good night sleep or catching whatever bug it was she had? Absolutely not! Why? Because I love her with every breath of my body. My heart and will always cause me to reach out and draw her into my arms.

It made me think about when we’re sick and how God reacts to us, specifically, when we’re sin-sick. That type of sick caused by sin. You know what I’m talking about right? When we’re stuck in sin it makes us sick. It could be physically, spiritually or emotionally sick or all three, but it’s bad. The thing about sin is it tricks you. It doesn’t make you sick at first, but soon, you start feeling a little off. Deep down you know what’s happening, but hey sin feels good right? So, that nagging feeling is easy to shrug off, but eventually, that sin infection life spreads causing all kind of havoc. Sin-sickness effects our heart, our mind, and our spirit with unexpected side-effects.

When I’m sin-sick  I tend to pull away from God. Why? Because I’m ashamed, embarrassed, and disappointed in myself. The enemy’s voice is telling me I’m useless, pathetic, weak and will never amount to anything. Sound familiar? It’s a loud voice you can’t miss it because it’s persistent and convincing. Being sin-sick is serious and when we isolate or pull away from God who is our medicine it only gets worse and is prolonged. So why do we do pull away? I believe there are a number of reasons, but I believe the common causes are a few factors:

  • Denial, anger, sadness, and embarrassment that we still fall for sin’s old tricks.
  • Shame that we are not as spiritually mature as we thought we were.
  • We don’t want to face God because we feel like we let him down (as if he doesn’t already know what we  did:)
  • Simply, we aren’t ready to stop the sin because it feels good, it has become a habit, or we feel like we’re in too deep to stop cold turkey.

When God’s child is sin-sick He’s like us mommas in that God tries to pull us closer to Him even when we are pulling away. His desire is to cover us with his incomparable love and heal us from the sin that’s at the core of our illness. When my daughter is sick all I want to do is hold her, it’s an automatic reaction just like getting her well is my top priority. Nothing matters, not my job, my to-do list, my house, nothing but the restoration of her health is on the agenda.That’s how God looks at us when we’re sick. We are God’s priority. He doesn’t want us to remain sin-sick, to suffer in disobedience, or to hide behind a shame that we don’t have to carry.

The Lord wants to see us restored to a place that allows us to glorify Him. So many of us continue to suffer from sin-sickness because the enemy has cornered us in our most vulnerable state. When we fall into sin the enemy has an open door to bombard us with lies. His schemes are easier to carry out because we are spiritually weakened. Sin compromises our strength just like the flu knocks us on our back. It chips away at the spiritual immunity that protects us. Sin is loud and it will do its best to drown out the Holy Spirit.

If you are suffering from some sin-sickness right now, please let God be your refuge. Don’t isolate, run, or allow shame to keep you from accepting your healing. Let him love on you and restore you back to the spiritual health that he always intended for you to live in.  Think about how big your momma’s heart is and how your heart aches when your child is sick. When you’re sick God’s heart is aching for you too and He wants nothing more than to be your healer and to deliver you from the sin infection that is attacking your spirit. God wants you to know you are not your sin, you are his child, uniquely and beautifully created to glorify Him and live a life free of shame and bondage. Don’t allow sin-sickness to draw you away from God, instead allow it pull you closer to his loving arms.