A Consuming Fire

On Monday, I unexpectedly got to get my MRI done early. Yesterday, I got my results back.

Nothing. They found absolutely nothing. My brain & head are 100% healthy.

God is good, am I right?! He hears our prayers. He answers our prayers. He heals. He renews. He strengthens. He is so good.

My symptoms aren’t gone…yet. But I will continue to pray for that daily. & I believe so strongly that He will deliver me from this trial with His mighty, mighty hand.

It’s hard to understand why I’ve been feeling the way that I have. But I do know that God has revealed Himself to me in ways that I never knew He would. He has revealed to me wisdom that I seriously just can’t contain.

So lean in on this, brothers & sisters in Christ. God will give us many blessings in this life, & He will take many away. But why is it that we wait until He takes them away to appreciate them? Why do we wait until we are sick to appreciate being healthy? Why do we wait until we are dying to appreciate life? Why do we wait until our spouse has left to appreciate their friendship? I took so many things for granted before I fell into this sickness. I would rush through taking my dog for a walk, dread making dinner every night & put off going to the gym after work. Now, I seriously celebrate when I have the strength to do ANY of those things. I am only now recognizing how the Lord had blessed my life so graciously with good health for so many years.

I really believe that I am going through this so that I can share this with you: you are so blessed. I am so blessed. We have been given another day to taste the goodness of our God. We have a Savior who took our sin, along with our guilt, & did away with it for good. We have the hope of eternity in our hearts-an eternity in the presence of God. See, this is not something to be taken lightly. This gift of life that we have been given needs to start being experienced with a responsibility like we’ve never known before. The Word says in Hebrews 12:29 that our God is “a consuming fire.” He is not a gentle breeze that blows through every now & again to remind us that He is still around. No, He is a consuming fire. His strength is uncontainable.

He is moving among us, you guys. He is changing lives, He is changing people’s eternities every single second. He is calling us to fight, to advance, to conquer. He is healing people, saving people, raising people up. He is training leaders to speak for Him in a world that really only seems to want to speak against Him. His power cannot be quenched. THIS is the God you serve, the God I serve. THIS is the One we believe in. The One we put our hope in.

Live like you know who your God is. Thank Him for what He has poured into your life. Use the talents He has given you to advance His Kingdom. But do it now. Don’t wait-there’s a reason the Lord has spoken certain dreams into your heart at this very time. Because before you know it, you may not be able to act on these things anymore. Let yourself be consumed by Him, let Him set you on fire today. & keep on burning for Him-today, tomorrow, forever.

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The Heart of the Matter

It may be time to get to the heart of the matter, precious Daughters of Christ. The Word speaks so much about our hearts, and how it is of much importance to keep them on the path of righteousness and integrity. Specifically, in verse 23 of Proverbs 4, we are commanded, above all else, to guard our hearts. In the ESV, it tells us to keep our hearts with vigilance. The truth is, your heart is the foundation on which you build your daily life. Your words, your thoughts, your intentions, are all dictated by the state of your heart. Matthew 12 verse 34 says, “For our of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

You want to know what a woman who stands in the truth of the Lord looks like? She looks humble, but so confident in her King. She looks broken, but so complete in what He has done for her. She looks grateful. She exudes love. But most importantly, she walks in discipline. To be vigilant means to keep a careful watch for approaching danger that may be ahead. It is not passive. It is alert and cautious. Because a woman who stands in truth understands that she is guarding something incredibly valuable, something not to be taken lightly. She understands that what she lets into her heart shapes her walk with her Father & the direction of her life. She won’t allow trash into her heart, because she knows how precious it is to the One who created her.

Let His Word creep into your heart. Let his Truth surround it & prayer consume it. Position yourself so very close to the Lord, & ask Him to help you to be diligent to continuously choose Him over everything else. Choose to protect the beauty that the Lord has given to you & so lovingly paid the ultimate price for. Don’t give it away to anything else-it simply isn’t theirs for the taking.

Who’s Fighting Harder?

It is always through words that ideas and concepts are conceived. It is through communication that things are understood among people. Words are what create and develop morals in a society as a whole. They encourage, discourage, insult and compliment. They give advice and counsel as well as display opinions and decisions. So why, if words are so crucial in so many ways, are they so passively used? Why are they flying from our tongues without consideration a lot of the time, if these exact words are what hold the “power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21)?” 

I believe it is because the enemy is alive and well and is in full pursuit of our lives. Because he wants to make sure we are fed lie after lie, and he does it through conversations and relationships as he knows how impactful those things are-on even national levels. False teachings and harmful ideas enter our minds and slip so seamlessly off of our tongues, and spread from person to person to where it becomes a normal and accepted way of thinking. Then, our society begins to idolize and develop itself around that idea. This is how the devil easily invades our lives. And imagine the leg up he has now that information can be passed to millions with the push of a button. 

With this, we see a call to believers, to counter the ideas that are being spread, with our words. When we decide to speak our ideas, the devil finds that he is held back from his plan to destroy. But if we are being honest, who is really speaking louder in this world right now? The devil or God’s people? We know that God’s voice is louder than the devil’s ever could be, but we are His church-His bride-and we are called to be His voice, His love and His passion here on earth. We are given the divine calling to be Jesus to the lost and broken. So are we stepping up to override the devil’s lies with God’s truth? Are we creating roadblocks for him or just enabling him to pass right through? 

The words you may speak to somebody may decide where they spend eternity. They are surely being fed plenty of deceitful thoughts, and it is our call to oppose those thoughts. God will do the rest, as His voice can be heard much louder than any of ours. But He has given us a purpose, to love and stand up for those who are far from Him. Don’t let the devil fight harder for those souls than you are. 

A Beautiful Life

How do the people around you know that you follow Christ?

Is it because of the way you love them, have generosity towards them, and encourage them? Because of your grace and forgiveness towards them, and the way that you relentlessly believe in them? Or is it because you just simply tell them?

Read Chapter 8 of 1 Corinthians in your Bible, where Paul is warning the more mature believers to be cautious of the way they live in order to prevent the non-believers and new believers from stumbling. He stresses the importance of not becoming a stumbling block to others, as you are then sinning against Christ. In this chapter, Paul wants us to realize that the way we live as Christians is not only impactful, but crucial in other people’s faith and walk with the Lord.

If you never told anyone that you were a Christian, would they still notice something different about you? Would they wonder how you had peace in the midst of trial or kindness towards those who have hurt you?

Today, aim to get people wondering about you. Shine the light that following Christ has placed inside of you, and watch as people are drawn towards you. As believers, we have been given a great responsibility and influence over our world. Use this influence, and He will use your life as an example of His love. A beautiful life is the sign of a life full of Christ.

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Selfless Marriage

God made room for a lot of things in marriage. Things like love, grace, forgiveness, intimacy, honesty-He made plenty of room for all of it between spouses. But there’s just one thing I have been searching high and low for on that list. I have put it under a microscope looking for this one thing, but it seems that God must have accidentally left it out.

God did not make room in marriage for selfishness. He never intended for it to be there. But when it does creep in, it has to take the spot of something else. When selfishness finds its way into your marriage, things like forgiveness and grace find their way out. This isn’t because marriage was made to be a weak thing, only able to hold and support a small amount of emotion. It’s simply because selfishness just doesn’t belong.

I’ve been discovering that the more I put myself and the things that I feel that I am entitled to aside, the more I am finding God in my marriage. And not only that, I am also finding that my needs are being met even more now than when I constantly demanded them from my husband. The Lord created marriage to be a covenant in which both people’s sole focus was on the other one’s desires, needs and expectations. When both spouses are more diligent about fulfilling those things for the other person, a marriage experiences true strength.

Right before I got married, I had a friend tell me that the first time we disagree on which TV show to watch, I needed to let him watch what he wanted. It seemed silly and a bit insignificant at the time, but now I am realizing the complete opposite. When you throw selfishness aside in the little things, it adds up. Those things will happen daily, even hourly, and you will always have the opportunity to choose to fight for the interests of yourself or those of your spouse. Begin to practice in the mundane parts of life, and when those big things come around, you will be more likely to choose to be selfless.

God’s intent for His children to be bonded with one another, abandoned to oneself, is the world’s second most wonderful love story! He is so passionate, so on fire about your marriage and the powerful potential it has. When you rid your marriage of selfishness, you will not believe the love and grace that will be unleashed.

Philippians 2:3-4

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of the others.”

Fiercely Sprinting

Think of your life as a race. At the finish line is eternity in Heaven with your Creator. A perfect existence lacking in all evil and abounding in all good. A place where you will no longer have to thirst or hunger for anything to keep yourself running, because all will be fulfilled. But until then, the One who sits at the finish line has promised to provide you with all that you need to make it to Him. He has told you that He will feed your hunger when you seek Him out and quench your thirst when you ask Him to.

Are still you wandering around the path trying to find your own ways to satisfy what you need? Or are you experiencing the true fullness of His promises? And are your eyes fixed on the race, or on the glorious finish ahead?  

It is time to realize that you couldn’t be running this race without Him. That you are running to get to the end, because there is nothing greater than being in the full glory of the One who saved you. Chase after Him and let Him satisfy everything you need along the way, because what the world needs is people who are fixed on and passionate about Christ. People who get goosebumps when they think of Him, who chase after Him relentlessly, and who will never be satisfied until they see Him face to face. People with an unquenchable thirst for His Word, a hunger for His knowledge and a fire for His love. Those who know what is to come, and can’t stop praising Him for it. We don’t need any more believers who merely believe, but instead absolutely burn for Him.

Fiercely sprint to get closer to your Creator, and watch the world be changed by believers who refuse to merely believe.

1 Corinthians 9:24

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

Bold Faith

Because today I am ending a time in my life and getting ready to begin another, the future is on my mind.

This morning I was driving to my last day of work, creating a vision for what I would like my life to look like now, and coming up with some modest goals. These included starting up a ministry, leading a small group, taking classes online, volunteering at the food bank multiple times a week, making new friends, getting a part-time job, and becoming the greatest wife and housekeeper imaginable. I laughed at myself while the list went on and on, and decided I was getting in over my head a bit. But then I started thinking about the Lord and His bold vision for His children’s lives, and instead decided to add a couple more things onto my list.

The truth is, anyone who is making waves for the Lord is in over their head. But He is never in over His. I want people to look at my life and say, “that’s gotta be God, because there’s no way she could do that on her own.” I want them to marvel at the miraculous work that the Holy Spirit displays through me-a sinful, imperfect person-and praise God for His perfection because of it. If you want your life to reflect Him, you have to leave some space for Him to show Himself! This means stepping out in faith and pursuing some things that you won’t be able to accomplish unless He steps in. This means adding a couple more things to your list, trusting that you will succeed or fail for His glory. It may not be in His plan that you achieve everything you set out for, but He will never do great things with you unless you believe Him for great things.

God honors the dreams of those who have big faith, because those who have big faith honor Him.

Hebrews 11:6

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”