I loved deep diving into scripture and I’m teaching my Sunday school students how to deconstruct a verse so that they can get a deeper meaning and apply it to their life. So, I’ll be sharing these handouts I’ve created for my students with you! Feel free to share them with your kids or with anyone who may benefit from them!
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.
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In the very heated climate, we currently live in it’s easy to get sucked into the, “breaking news,” frenzy, but are breaking news and the media become the modern day golden calf idol for Christians?
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!
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!
There are more days than less when I feel like anything but a conqueror. Instead of feeling like a conqueror, I feel weak, tired, less than, and defeated. There are days when I just want to put the covers over my head and simply give up because the day in front of me is so overwhelming that I don’t want to face it alone. When I slip into this pit of defeat, I’m reminded that it isn’t my strength, but through the strength of God who loves me that I will get through the day. Regardless of how stressful or impossible it appears to be, God lifts me up to higher ground.
I run into trouble when I throw on depend on myself. When I think that I’m in control and a conqueror of my own is when I realize how weak I really am without fully relying on the one who loves me. God created us to be conquerors, to withstand even the unspeakable trials that fall upon us and he empowers us to stand against the spiritual battles we face every day. When we accepted Christ we were endowed with the Holy Spirit and the real power that comes through Christ.
If you’re in a season that is getting the best of you, that is tearing you down I want you to read Roman 8:37 and remember that not only are you a conqueror through His love, you are MORE than a conqueror! Sweet sister, put your full faith in the Lord and you will see a mighty blessing take place. You will experience what God is able to do in any situation big or small through you! Meditate on this scripture and etch it in your heart and mind whenever you are doubtful and ready to give up. God isn’t finished with you he is just beginning and there is much to conqueror in your path, but you are equipped with an everlasting love and the most powerful ally that ever lived…Jesus Christ. Now, stand firmly in the conqueror God created you to be!
The Lord has been speaking to my heart to dive deeper into the scriptures, to look behind the words and their meanings to understand the context in a way that is powerful and applicable to my life. This scripture in Psalm 9:10 has three words that have been piercing my spirit in this season. The words are trust, seek, and forsaken. I want to give you my study notes as I let this Psalm sink into my mind and spirit.
Trust: To have confidence, to entrust, firm belief, reliability, the strength of someone or something. :
Seek: To search for, sought after diligently, to reach out, a desire to obtain, to resort to, to discover.
Forsaken: To leave behind in the sense of abandoning, to leave in straights or helpless, to set apart, to turn away from entirely or renounce.
There is no other word that brings more comfort than His Name…Lord. When we know His name, and really understand the significance of his name and who the Lord is in our life as our deliverer, our Father, and our Savior we should be overwhelmed with the assurance of his love.
We can trust in His name, meaning we can have complete confidence and a firm belief in the reliability of his strength in all our circumstances and in every season when we are weak. Our God is unchanging and stable in all his ways. We can believe in his promises and entrust to him every fear, uncertainty or hope we have because he will safeguard as only our heavenly Father can do.
God never leaves our side, even when we feel alone. It isn’t God that’s grown distant it is us. That’s why we need to diligently seek the Lord and the word that is life-giving. When I feel distant from God I have to ask myself have I stopped desiring Him, his word, his commands. Have I gotten lazy in discovering and digging deeper into who the Lord is to me?
We will experience seasons, where we will wonder, ‘where are you, God?’ In those difficult days, we have to remember His promise to never forsake us. God will never abandon you, renounce you, or leave you behind because His love for us is eternal. His death on the cross is an unbreakable bond of his love us in our sinful natural self. Even in the darkest days, you can trust that when you seek him and know his name that the Lord will comfort and keep you.
I’m standing in for a bible study class tomorrow that is on the Book of Psalms. Awhile, back I was studying Psalms and it was amazing to me how much of God’s character and heart was revealed to me and who the Lord is to me personally. This is just some of the characteristics that stood out to me. Psalms is a reminder that when we seek God he reveals exactly who he is to us.
Truth and Freedom are hot topics of conversation that are fiercely debated in our society and rightfully so. We should always seek the truth and fight for freedom for all people. But, real truth and genuine freedom don’t come from our lawmakers or the Constitution, it comes from Jesus, our salvation. Without Jesus, we are just slaves in and to this world to sin and to the lies, it tells. Truth is Jesus. When you’re aware of the truth, when you live it in your daily life and accept it in your heart, the chains that the world keeps you in is broken.
In truth there is freedom. The freedom that can’t be bought, that isn’t given to you at birth but the freedom that comes from Jesus. The world’s truth is distorted and gives you a false sense of freedom. How many of us said when we were younger, ” I just need to find myself.” I banked on finding myself for years! I searched for truth in the world and believed that freedom was based on my terms. Word of advice, to find yourself, first you must seek Jesus and accept him otherwise it’s a futile attempt that leaves you wandering in a wasteland. Identity doesn’t lie in self it lies in who you are as Christ and when that’s understood that’s when you find real truth and freedom. As disciples of Christ, we are so blessed that our freedom is secure in the truth of Jesus! Identity doesn’t lie in self it lies in who you are as Christ and when that’s understood that’s when you find real truth and freedom. As disciples of Christ, we are so blessed that our freedom is secure in the truth of Jesus!
Truth and freedom come with a price, not the price that Jesus paid, but it demands of you that go against the grain. It requires that you turn away from the world’s belief system and its falsely perceived idea of freedom and turn away from its norms. The counterculture life of being a Christian isn’t always comfortable, but when has being a follower of Christ ever been comfy? It requires courage and a deeply rooted faith that can stand among the criticism and not follow the crowd even when it seems easier. As disciples of Christ, we are so blessed that our freedom is secure in the truth of Jesus and doesn’t depend on the knowledge of the world!