Stop It!

My twelve month old little girl cries when she is in her carseat, alone in the back seat. She gets so scared to be alone. She bends her head up to look toward the front where she knows I am sitting. Today, I was in the passenger seat and reached back to hold her dainty, little hand and it was enough to comfort her for the ride.

My little one is too young to know how to calm worries on her own. I can feel that way in my own life sometimes. I don’t want to worry, but how do I actually stop my mind from going there when I am facing some serious struggles?

The word “worry” comes from the old English word “to strangle,” and that is just what worry does. It strangles the peace and joy out of our hearts and minds. And it is a sin to worry!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6)

Supplication is when you realize you are lacking. God wants us to humble ourselves before Him and ask Him for help with our worries- with a thankful heart. I know I am lacking and need Him to come through for me, and I know I have so much to be thankful for, even in my trials!

And oh there is a lovely, beautiful promise if we obey verse six, that makes our obedience so worth it.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

Even in a scary world stuffed full of reasons to worry, we can overcome this because God wouldn’t ask something of us that isn’t possible for us to do. Training our minds to trust Him is possible!

When we take out the worry, we need to fill that void with something good, so it doesn’t creep back in.

“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8).

With God’s blueprint to kick it to the curb, we can stop the worry! It is possible to live a freeing, fulfilling life without it, if we just do what He tells us. So, I am telling myself this too, dig into Philippians 4. And “Stop it!”

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Dare to Love

Awhile ago, one of my children said he does not dare to make deep connections here in Utah, because we may not stay here for a long time. It was hard on him leaving family and friends in Maine when we came here. But, I told him, I think God still wants us to love as deeply as we can. After all, Jesus did and He knew He wasn’t staying on earth a long time.

Lately, some of my closest besties and I have been going through tough life relationship lessons. They are the kind where you want to take a step back, put a wall around your heart, and not put yourself out there so much, because it hurts. Sometimes it’s hard to feel sad, so we try to shield our hearts.

But, is that what Jesus wants us to do? He loved big! He wept with his friends. He walked into the crowds of people who needed healing and saw for Himself the hurting people. He touched them and let their lives and sorrows seep into His. He didn’t put walls up, or step back into a safe corner and hide. He did not shield Himself from heartache. He dug in. And He loved so deeply.

This is my command: Love each other” (John 15:17).

With Christ living in us, how can the sad things of the world that effect precious lives not be deeply life changing and heart changing? People are precious to Jesus. It is these tough life situations where love meets sorrow that make us soft and more like Him.

It has to be good to always love big. It’s God. It’s the Gospel. Maybe, we need to just feel it and if it means we have crushed hearts, so be it. Let our hearts be sad for others and with others when need be, and just go through the tough stuff deeply. Love big.

Who We Once Were

When I think about who I was before I had a relationship with Jesus, I think “Yuck!” But, occasionally, I believe it is good to look back on where we came from and remember who we used to be, because it makes what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross, so awesome! Also, we should all be ready to give an account of our testimony of who we once were and the new life we now have in Jesus.

Ephesians two tells us who we formerly were:

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins (vs 2:1).

You formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (vs 2:2).

You lived in the lusts of your flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and mind (vs 2:3).

You were by nature children of wrath (vs 2:3).

You were dead in your transgressions (vs 2:5).

You were separate from Christ (vs 2:12) .

You were strangers to the covenants of promise (vs 2:12).

You had no hope (vs 2:12).

You were without God in the world (vs 2:12)

You were far off (vs 2:13).

Dear Lord, let us remember with thankful hearts what we have been saved from. Help us to be ready to tell others the testimony of what you have done personally in our life, that we may humbly shine for you.

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).

One Thing I’m Thankful For

When I arrived in Utah, the whirlwind of it all was a lot to bare. I was overwhelmed with saying goodbye to my family and friends, and my roots in Maine. The responsibilities in my life added to it made for a tough season. But, God’s grace carried me through and now it has been five and a half months. I can look back and see His sovereign hand on my family and I. It has not been easy or pretty at times, but God has met us in the hard places and is growing us. One thing pressing on my heart as I think about my life here in Utah, is the love God has given us in His Church.

“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

God has used our church family to be the very Love we need in more ways than I can express. They bring us a living, walking piece of Jesus. When they see our lives are a mess, they don’t run from it, but instead meet us where we are at. They shed tears right along with us and tell us we are loved. We laugh together. We cry together. We live life together.

Each individual brings something we all need a piece of. We root each other on towards the joy of the Lord and remind each other to look up and to remember His grace, when we don’t see the next step in front of us. We hold each other’s arms up when one is too weak. We are the hands and the feet of Jesus.

What a joy and part of God’s grace to belong to His Church. It is like a piece of God Himself, a gift bestowed on us to get through this hard life. This week as I think about all that I am thankful for, just one thing is being apart of our little New Hope Bible Church, and a part of God’s Church because it is Love right here in my life.

In Awe of Him

I once heard a speaker talk about flat out lying on her face before the Lord, and I can remember thinking, “I love God. But, how does she have such a love for Him that she lies flat on her face in awe?” It wasn’t that I didn’t want that kind of love for Him. Honestly, I just didn’t know how to get there.

I can only tell you in my own life, it has been since I have seen His great love for me, that my love for Him has deepened, like I never knew it could. My soul says He is glorious. He answers. He is full of lovingkindness. He brings me out of every single burden. He gives me freedom from things I did not even know I needed to be free from. He moves mountains.

And His love for me has been displayed in my life through first, dying on the cross for me, that I can put my faith in Him and know my security is in Heaven. But, after knowing that, it carries on when He pulls me through trials, lifts me out of the muck, and sets me up on the rock.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).

Only a loving Heavenly Father and supernatural God can take the trials in life, the heartache, burdens, inadequacies, and chains and totally turn them into endurance, perseverance, maturity and completeness.

It is a promise. Hope for the weary. And it is from such a loving Father, so that we lack nothing. His great love for me grows the love I have for Him.

His Love Never Ceases

Some of you may have seen on my facebook lately, I have been putting up posts encouraging people to vote for my friend, Sabria as she was competing on the show, The Sound. Sabria has such a sweetness about her. She has a heart to share the gospel through song and truly shines for Jesus with genuine sincerity. Each week, my family was praying for her and cheering her on. It was quite fun! She made it to the top eight and then God had other plans for her.

We can have times when we think “Lord, it would be so great to do this for You,” and disappointment is painful when it seems so good, but it doesn’t work out. We all know God is still full of great plans for my sweet friend and truly His plans are even better than anything we can imagine.

“This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail” (Lamentations 3:21-22).

There are times we put effort into something that doesn’t go the way we had hoped. Yet, we can know our worth is in Him and our hope and trust is not shaken because no matter what happens in our life, and what direction God moves us in, His hand is still on us. We can trust that His plan is something better!

Because of the Lord’s great love for us, we are not consumed. We do not have to worry about what others will think or be fearful about what is next. Our great and loving God is Sovereign. His plan is the most perfect plan, and as it plays out, He will wrap us in love that never ceases and will continue to point us to Himself while fulfilling what needs to be.

When Someone You Love Is Going Through Heartache

When I was seven my parents went through a heart wrenching time. My Mother was to have her fourth baby, a little girl and they discovered my sister had passed away just before my Mother went into labor. My Mom had to deliver a beautiful 9 lbs 4 oz baby who was in heaven. I can remember the tears, the sorrow, and the effects of an ache that could not be touched. One thing my Mom would say is, “I want to talk about her. I want people to bring the conversation up and not forget about her.” When someone you know is going through a hard time, a struggle, an affliction, how do you comfort them?

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose” (Philippians 2:1-2).

This is a beautiful picture of the love and compassion we should bestow on each other. In Greek, therefore means “since,” encouragement means “nearness”, and fellowship means “koinonia,” which is a close-knit interactive relationship Believers have between God and each other. 

Since there is nearness in Christ, there is consolation of love, there is close relationship of the Spirit, affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

When someone is going through a hard time, sometimes we don’t know what to say. We avoid them. Sometimes we say the wrong thing, we try to fix it. We might say, “Just trust God, He gives and takes away.” Instead and most importantly, we should just remind them that we love them and we care.

United. Being of the same mind. Sympathetic. Functioning as one soul.

I know when my Mom went through losing her baby, there were people who just said, “I love you and I care.” And I am sure these people helped her heart to feel the love that she truly and desperately needed.