Unity is Very Good

Unity is the opposite of discord and division. Take a look at the news or social media and you quickly realize we don’t see much of it in our culture today. Everyone has their opinion and no one wants to listen to anyone else. People are fighting and bickering about everything. It’s heartbreaking because that is not how we should act toward each other. Where is the respect and honor for others? Where is the love? Where is the unity?

It should be different with believers. Jesus wanted his followers to be united. He prayed to the Father for us, requesting that we be one. When we honor, love and respect one another in unity people see God rightly represented through us.

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. John 17:22-23

Once a month I experience this unity when I meet with a few women for dinner and a chat. It’s always a wonderful time of catching up. We talk about pretty much everything, sharing the high points of the previous few weeks of our lives. Whatever we feel is important is a reason to share with each other. We honor, we encourage, we listen and we pray for each other.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers (or sisters) to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1

Spending time with these women, delighting in each other, is like a soothing oil. It brings healing to the soul. I leave these gatherings with a fresh sense of being loved on and of belonging. I’m thankful for these ladies. I love them and they love me. It really is very good to dwell together in unity.

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I Am Who I Am

My heart beat with an anxious flutter for a brief moment. Boom, boom. I had found myself lost in my thoughts.

Months ago, a specific name of who God is kept showing up in my life repeatedly. It followed me everywhere! God was displaying His love over and over, reassuring me. He continually reminded me, “I Am I Am.”

“God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 13:14)

I Am is complete authority, because I Am is God!

Fast forward many months and I find myself with that flutter of angst again. Similar to the previous unsettling circumstances. My heart had forgotten that God still sees.

As I felt the quicken of my heartbeat, I looked up just beyond my steering wheel and there I saw “I A M” on the vehicle directly in front of me! What?! God is so cool!

He continually drapes a beautiful tapestry of security, around the heart that trusts in Him.

What will you do if God asks you to do something crazy?

Does God ever lead you to do things that just seem insane?

For me, the answer is a big fat Yes!

It started with facing the fear of public speaking. It has always shaken me up. My stomach gets all tied up in knots, my hands start to shake, and I trip over my tongue. It’s not my favorite past time as you can imagine. But, one day I was asked to speak in front of a group of women and as my mind shouted, ” I could never! No way!” I heard a gentle voice in the back of my mind say, “Who made your mouth Mary?”

“Well, you did Lord.”

I agreed to speak and what a blessing it was to proclaim God and His grace over my life to others! Did I have butterflies in my stomach and stumble a bit? Yes! But I followed His request and there was no turning back! In the end, He poured such blessing over me for being obedient. It changed how I saw God and the challenges He placed before me. It set my path straight to His next request.

We were given the insane idea to be foster parents. “To him who has been given much, much is expected.” God spoke this over us time and time again. We said yes and I haven’t slept since January! 😂 But God has transformed our hearts and home in ways only He knew we needed. It’s like we never knew the depths of Gods love for us until we walked this broken road in need of His grace and mercy. Today, I speak Jesus into things and people I didn’t know existed. It has been hard, but such a privilege. I can see God moving and to be a part of that…Wow!

We live in a world that is hurting and broken. Hopelessness is as contagious as a cold and as deadly as poison. Only love, radical, sacrificing, Christ compelled love can bring true hope and transform lives. I am convinced that if we are willing to walk in His steps and love with His love, God will use us to shine His glory and grace in ways we can’t even fathom. So convinced that I’ve invited 250 people to my house for soup…at once. Insane! But God wouldn’t have led me to do it if He didn’t have a reason and a purpose! So pray for me y’all!

Let’s love like Jesus today. Let’s take risks and say yes even if it’s crazy! What’s more crazy than God Himself being made flesh, living with us dirty people, and then dying to save us?! Makes the crazy I’m led to do seem not so crazy after all.

God Hears All Our Prayers

God truly hears all our prayers, 1 John 5:15 says He hears us in whatever we ask. We do not need to worry that our prayers are a message in a bottle that we just have to hope reaches Heaven. God hears all our prayers and he answers them.

We have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit living within us, so that God is always with us. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever.” John 14:16. This Helper is the Holy Spirit, helping us through everything we face here on earth.

Not only do we have the Holy Spirit, but we have the Lord Jesus: “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” Romans 8:34. The Lord Jesus intercedes for us, he takes our prayers and speaks to the Father on our behalf.

God wants us to know that He hears us and have confidence in praying to him. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” 1 John 5:14. We need to pray in his will, and this means knowing our Bible, reading it and praying it to our Lord. The perfect words of the Bible gives us all we need to say in our prayers.

Often, I pray in my anxiety, I pray that whatever is worrying me will turn out okay. Anxiety is not something God wants for us: “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6. God wants us to have peace by praying to Him and He listens to us.

Prayer is a wonderful, beautiful thing! And God hears everyone of our prayers and he answers them. Keep praying to the Lord, He hears you.

The Complete Cure for the Groaning of this World

The blood of Jesus speaks more of a word over me than anything. At times, I am just looking for a word from Him and He always comes through, what He did on the cross for me is all I need to remember. He pours heaps of peace over my soul and it is well again.

I sought God and said, “Please lift the weight off my soul.” It is not just one burden, but all of the trials around me. It gets to me. My glass is usually half full, that’s just my peaceful nature I suppose. But, the chaos and sad things of living in a world in turmoil swirl from every direction. Thoughts spinning circles in my head and they say “get off technology,” “but, don’t put your head in the sand.” Hurricane Florence, the death of a loved one, a cancer diagnosis… the spinning through our brains, it can all be too much. Wild fires, suicide, trafficking, persecution, devastation unfolding at every corner. The news, it can be perplexing, and scary and leave us feeling hopeless.

We live in a time where creation and even our souls groan while we wait for Jesus.

“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God;” Romans 8:19

Yet, the blood of Jesus is always there and it speaks more a word over me than anything. So, He reminded me of this hope. We need to focus on this hope. The hope found in the blood of Jesus who made a way for what is to come. The hope we have of a future being in the presence of the Holy God Almighty, where every loose end is tied and every bit of glory is revealed.

“and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies” Romans 8:23

So, I sought Him. And He met me there, like always and He filled my heart with peace. And it is well with my soul. For when I look to the living Hope, where the blood of Jesus was poured out, I know that while we groan to see God’s glory in all of its fullness, for now we need to be here among the chaos and the trials. But, it’s okay. The news that swarms us, the sad things that we see from a distance or that come our way, will be nothing compared to the glory that is coming, because of the precious blood of Jesus.

May Grace and PEACE Be Yours!

Grace and peace are two words that are peppered throughout the scriptures. They can be found hundreds of times in the Bible, yet often times we quickly pass these words by without much thought.

To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ …Grace to you and peace from God our Father. Colossians 1:2

Grace is the favor of God. Just think of that! It is Gods kindness and goodwill towards us. We do not earn grace. God lavishes all His goodness on us through His Son Jesus. How great is His grace towards us!

Peace is often thought off as the absence of conflict or war. It actually means so much more. It refers to an inner completeness or wholeness. It is having peace of mind even when the stresses of life are present. Peace is contentment within our souls. Repenting of sin and trusting Jesus ends the conflict we have with God and brings peace.

The next time you are reading your bible don’t be too quick to pass by these two words. Stop and ponder what has been written. Remember their meaning and be thankful God has lavished us with His goodness and contentment by sending us His Son Jesus. May God’s grace and peace be yours!

Coffee & Stains of My Past

I am a girl who prefers all of her ducks in a row. Chaos or mess is not what I want in my daily cup of life. Slow and steeped with the perfect dash of approved goodness sounds absolutely wonderful to me.

But you know, life cannot be so easily fabricated like a perfect mocha iced coffee. It is okay when coffee stains permeate your car seats and “hot mess” might as well be the logo on your cute, new T.

I have countless stories of my past once saturated in coffee stains and ducks that could not even resemble a row. Even if you squinted. No longer are these things an embarrassment, but a testament.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I am a real life example that Jesus makes ALL things new. Nothing is exempt. Every story, nook or cranny He will rewrite… if you let Him. He is so incredibly faithful!

How He turns our mess into a beautiful message is beyond me. He surely is that good.