Joyful Like Jesus

For me, their utter joy was a small glimpse of Jesus and I want to be more like that.

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At a prayer service a couple of weeks ago God began stirring something in my spirit; a new look on joy. I believe I was purposely placed a row behind these two men that night. These guys looked like they had probably seen their fair share of tough times, but that is not what stuck out to me. When the worship music began, you could feel the Holy Spirit radiating from them. You could tell that these men had truly laid everything they carried at the feet of Jesus. They swapped out their burdens, giving them to God and receiving joy. Y’all, I do not think I have ever witnessed a person that happy. They didn’t have to speak to me, didn’t have to tell me their names or life stories. But they affected me. So much that weeks and weeks later, I still cannot get them out of my head.

For me, their utter joy was a small glimpse of Jesus and I want to be more like that.

I could put up a front and tell you I’ve always been pretty happy but that would be a lie. Actually, in the last eight months, God has been doing some major changing in me. See, I used to let my circumstances define my happiness. I’m not saying I’ve lived some awful life because in reality God has blessed me beyond measure. But I let things get to me, I carried burdens Jesus never meant for me to carry. Things like my earthly dad not being in my life, my anxiety, and many other things were all used like excuses for the attitude I had adopted. I felt like, in a way, the world owed me something, like my actions and feelings were justified because I had circumstances. I was unhappy.

Jesus did not die on the cross for me to be like that. His death did not give me some kind of right to a negative spirit. His death, was for our life. I was unhappy because I was putting my joy in the world. But God calls us to place our joy in Him.

Though you have not seen Him, you love him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. – 1 Peter 1:8

“Inexpressible and glorious joy”? 

I’d say that is an exact description of the men I told you about. Want to begin looking more like that? Me too. The great thing is through Jesus Christ, we can. Let joy become your prayer and God will begin a change in you. Pray that He could not only give you the gift of joy, but also teach you to give that same joy to others. That He would teach you to live in a way that others might want to know more about Jesus, because that is ultimately our goal as His followers, right? Pray against negativity, that when you are faced with adversity you would rise above, giving it to Jesus and not letting go of your joy because He created you to be a overcomer. But friends, when you pray big prayers even bigger changes occur. Don’t let that scare you, let God create you to be more joyful like Him, I promise you it will be worth it.

  • J – Jesus first.
  • O – Others second.
  • Y – You last.

And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord. It shall rejoice in His salvation. Psalm 35:9


 

Giving Grace Freely

We’ve all been hurt. Some of us in the past, some of us in the present, but at some point all of us in the future. Maybe your best friend betrayed you, or your daddy left you, or you were overlooked for that job promotion. No matter the circumstances, it all hurts and it all boils down to rejection. I read about a study the other day where the pain of rejection was actually linked to physical pain, makes sense right? In the moment, that pain of rejection is like a fresh wound; all you can focus on, forgetting that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I guess somewhere along the way, we’ve learned to be aware of our own pain and struggles. Even basing how we are and see the world on those things, in our heads we’re the only ones who hurt. We forget that everyone else also has a past filled with circumstances that may have left them a little bruised and worn. God sees us, and all our pain. He sees the pain we cause others, the pain we cause ourselves, and the pain that’s been put on us. He sees all the screwed up things we do, and you know what? He gives us grace. Let’s just take a second dig deeper in that word. 

Grace– the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. Originates from the Hebrew word Chen meaning favor. 

Free and unmerited? Absolutely. The grace that God gives us, Jesus died for. That grace? It completely covers all of or sins; past, present, and future. See, with God, there is no lack. His fullness can’t be added or subtracted from. It doesn’t rise nor fall with human actions. He’ll be the same God He is today, tomorrow and all of the tomorrow’s after that. Why is that? I can give you the answer in a single word: grace

If God gives us this amazing gift of grace then why do we interact so poorly with each other? We get so wound up over the rejection from others that we forget that God will never reject us. When you start fully living in your identity in Christ then you start to notice the hurt of others around you. You then start letting God strip away all the layers of self righteousness and selfishness. This is when you learn to fully and freely give grace to others. You have to let God teach you to understand that others hurt just like you, and the hurt they may have caused you probably stems from somewhere in their past they too were hurt. I’m a firm believer in the statement: hurt people, hurt people. If you’re living in hurt, you’re going to cause hurt. It’s unavoidable. But friend, you’ve gotta give that up. Let God wash His mighty grace over all your old wounds. 

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6

Let God humble you, begin freely giving grace. Next time someone throws hurt your way, stop. Stop focusing on your hurt and try to understand theirs. Don’t write them off and exiling them from your life. Instead, pray for them. Try extending them a little sliver of the grace Jesus Christ died for. Speak to people and who they are not what they’ve done. When we start looking at grace like a amazing gift we can freely give, that’s when revival will start. That’s where it’ll change. 

Maybe God Wants Us Lonely

I know that kind of sounds awful, but it’s in those moments when you feel like it’s you against the world where you can more fully understand God’s unfailing presence.

Sometimes, maybe God wants us to be lonely. I know that kind of sounds awful, but it’s in those moments when you feel like it’s you against the world where you can more fully understand God’s unfailing presence.

Loneliness is awful when sent by the enemy, it can strike at any moment. The enemy doesn’t care if you actually have a huge support system or no one at all. Loneliness doesn’t factor in age, gender, race, or any of that when choosing its victims. See, the devil wants to get in your head any way he can, and in this day and age when having tons of friends and a significant other is the main focus everywhere we look, why would he not choose that route to attack? He wants to come in and make you so focused on worldly relationships and emotions so that you lose sight of God. He wants to hide from you the fact that God is always there.

Sweet friends, instead of falling prey to this trap or even attempting to run and hide from it, God desperately wants us to draw closer to him. Our sweet Abba wants us to crawl into His lap so He can embrace us and guide us through the pain. It’s in these tender moments where we begin to understand God’s unfailing presence. Through the loneliness is where we can gain an even deeper, intimate relationship with our Father. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus even says,

“Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

With Jesus constantly with us, how could we ever be lonely? I pray that Jesus’ sweet words comfort you, through this moment of loneliness or maybe even a full season of it. Want to know the best weapon to defend yourself from the loneliness? Prayer. The best part about prayer is: God’s ears are open twenty-four seven, you only need to speak to Him. David says in Psalms, “Where can I flee from you?” . The answer to that? Nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. Take comfort in that and call on Him to cover you with protection and give you peace.

All Souls Matter 

My heart has ached everytime I have seen the news later. Black lives matter, white lives matter, police lives matter… All of these sayings have become a fixture in the media. Now, I’m not saying that I feel any race or persons life matters more than another’s that isn’t the point I’m tying to get across here. But, have you ever just thought: 

All souls matter?

The lost, the saved, the prodigal children, the unbelievers.. What do all of these people have in common? Jesus died for them all, so that they all cold experience the amazing love from our Father. God desperately wants them all to surrender their lives to Him. No matter their skin color or profession. Abba wants ALL of their souls to enter the Kingdom of God. 

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:27-28 

“We are all one in Christ Jesus”, huh? We sure aren’t acting like it. Nowhere in that does God tell us to only love and care for those who are like us. As a matter of fact, in Mark 16:15 Jesus says: “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” We as God’s children must go and share the good news with everyone. We must be ligts in this dark and scary world. So hat maybe, just maybe some of the lost can put down their hatred and pick up the love of Jesus Christ. 

Friend so, this world is in so much trouble. We must reverently pray and try to share the Good News with as many of them as we can before its to late. I read this somewhere the other day and it’s worth remembering, this earthly world may be the closest thing to hell as we ever get but to the nonbelievers it’s also the closest place they’ll ever get to heaven. 

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment. John 7:28

Brothers, my hearts desire and prayer to God for them is that they be saved. Romans 10:1

So, Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly, I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.” Acts 10:34-35 

Waiting like Ruth

Does it ever feel like you’re constantly waiting? Waiting on God to do something in your life? Do you feel like the waiting isn’t worth it? It’s worth it, I promise. 

In the book of Ruth, she shows some serious patience and faith in the Lord. Ruth’s husband dies and instead of going back to her family which was customary at the time; she vows to follow Naomi wherever she may go. Talk about loyal. 

Ruth shows us that sometimes in life you must wait and then wait some more. Living out life truly waiting on God means you must put all your faith in Him. Putting all your faith in Him means you must be patient and not worry about things. Naomi said to Ruth, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out.” Ruth 3:18 God is saying this same thing to us constantly, He wants us to put all of our faith in Him and trust that everything will be okay. 

In Psalms 37:9 it says, “delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” You cannot just expect God to give you all the things you are so desperately wanting without you putting in a little bit of work. In this scripture, “delighting yourself in the Lord” simply means putting all your faith and trust in Him. Even in the waiting, when it seems like God is doing nothing, He is. He is in complete control, always. God has SO much in store for us, but we must first learn that it is in His timing; not our own. If God sent us all the things He has planned for us on our time, they would never work. He is teaching you, through every season of waiting and hardship. Lean on Him for strength and you will come out stronger than you could ever imagine. I promise; wherever you are in your life right now, God put you there for a reason. Whether this is preparing you for the next season, or it could even be a blessing in disguise. Trust in Him, he won’t lead you to failure. 

I Want a Husband but. 

I want Jesus more.

This is something that has taken me so long to honestly get to. I used to be the girl that CONSTANTLY went on dates or was talking to boys. If I wasn’t, I wasn’t happy. I based all my happiness over what guy I was talking to at that moment. All my friends were in relationships, and I wanted that. I wanted to feel wanted. There was a place in my heart that was aching to be loved. I didn’t realize that I was trying to fill a space for God love with worldly love. It wasn’t until I finally stopped and gave it all to God until I was truly happy. Putting all my trust in God wasn’t the easiest, there was this voice in the back of my head saying “well, God doesn’t know what kind of guy I want. It’s up to ME to find me someone.” But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. When you give God all your trust, He will give you the desires of your heart. The love that God has created for you is SO much better than any worldly romance. God created marriage to honor Him. He didn’t create this twisted version we have of love that revolves around sex, looks, and money. The love He created is SO much better. I’m not saying you shouldn’t want a spouse, because that’s a desire that our Father laid upon your heart. You’ve just got to stop searching and put it in Abba’s hands, only then will you be truly satisfied. 

Scriptures to help you thrive through this season of singleness:

  • To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
  • For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11
  • But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33

Lean on God through this season; focus on becoming so focused on our Father that He will have to point out the one He has for you. Stop searching for a worldly love and focus on the most amazing love there is, God’s. 

Rearview Mirrors

Picture this. You’re driving down the road, jamming out to the radio and you see a cop in your rear view mirror. Now I don’t know about you, but even if I’m driving perfectly fine I start slightly freaking out about my speed and how I’m driving, afraid I’ll get pulled over and get a ticket. Sometimes I feel like we get like this with our walk with God. We get so used to just going along then we get a glimpse of something behind us and the paranoia sets in. Stuff that wouldn’t even make us flinch before is suddenly a struggle to get passed. This is when we need to lean on God, through the seasons and tests in your life the enemy will try to trip you up by bringing up things from your past or just starting that small voice of paranoia when you look back. Don’t let this mess you up. Lean on God, let him be your stronghold. 
Psalm 18:2

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 

Let God guide you and deliver you away from this. Let Him teach you to be stronger through the test. It’s okay to look back, but look how far you’ve came. Not how much you still lack. 

God Chose You

What if I said that there was someone who loves you immensely, more than you could ever even imagine? There is someone, and it’s Christ.

        You’re sad. Lonely. Heartbroken and hurt. Whatever the exact emotions may be, they all suck right? You’re realizing that you can’t live like this. Day to day wondering how you’re going to make yourself get out of bed the next morning. Everywhere you look in this world there’s more hurt, there’s more people telling you for whatever reason, you aren’t good enough. Constantly seeing these seemingly perfect people in the media with their gorgeous hair, perfect skin, and lots of money. Everyone loves them while you can barely even seem to love yourself. What if I told you there’s more? What if I said that there was someone who loves you immensely, more than you could ever even imagine? There is someone, and it’s Christ. Listen to this:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Reading that gives me chills, the creator of the universe, God, chose you. Before He even made you, He knew what He would be calling you to do. He loved you, still does. Sounds almost too perfect right? It’s not. You are a child of God. I know, sometimes we get so caught up in day to day life that we may forget, but do you know how much your life would change if you started living out your life knowing that you are a child of God? Sweet, sweet friend, everything would change.

Don’t lower yourself to the world’s standards and opinions of you. You are not of this world, just in it. You are of Christ, remember that. He chose you. Don’t waste your life thinking og the world’s opinion; instead, think of our Father and remember that you are chosen.

When you feel yourself sinking back down, here are some words to remember.

  • John 15:16

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit –fruit that will last– and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”

  • 2 Thessalonians 2:13

But we ought always to than God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the

Sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.

  • Some manuscripts show this as: ‘because from the beginning God chose you.’
  • Ephesians 4:1

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you

have recieved.

God and the Single

So friends remember; singless nor marriage is the ultimate goal. Christ is.

“The only one who can truly satisfy the human soul is the one who created it.”

      In this world today it seems like absolutely everyone thinks that the answer to every one of life’s problems could be solved by the perfect spouse. It seems like from a young age it’s drilled into our heads by society that if you are single then you’re automatically unhealthy and your life must suck. But friends, this could not be farther from the truth. There is more to life than being in a relationship and that “more” you’re craving? It’s our sweet, sweet Jesus. See, there’s this hole in our hearts that God specifically created and designed for Him to be able to fill. It’s a God sized, nothing on this earth will EVER be able to even begin to fill it. This season of singleness you are in is not meant to be endured it is meant to be embraced. Use this season to serve our Father with everything in you. Give God your full attention. After all, the apostle Paul spoke SO highly of being single. He pointed out that in your time of singleness, you are blessed with the ability to serve God fully without being distracted by the needs of a spouse.

      So friends remember; singless nor marriage is the ultimate goal. Christ is.

 

Oh How He Loves Us

Oh How He Loves Us

          The Lord loves us SO abundantly, even after knowing all of our sins. You would think since we were extended this amazing love, that it would be easy to love others. Sadly, it is not. We get so caught up in what they may have done and create some crazy mental image of them; making them then seem unlovable. But God calls us to love everyone. Crazy right? I mean how in the world are we supposed to love people when they sin against us? When they may be rude and unpleasant? Grace. The Lord continuously shows us grace, accepts us and forgives us of our sins and loves us through it all.

Jesus said, “To love God with all your heart, with all your  understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings or sacrifices.”                                                                                                                                       Mark 12:33

We are supposed  to love everyone! No matter their age, race, past, ANYTHING. We are to love them all. What they may have done does not take anything away from God’s word. But, not only are we supposed to love them, we are supposed to love and treat them in a way WE would like to be treating; in Luke 6:31 Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would  have them do to you.”  How are we supposed to do this? Through our Father. It’s  only human to react and to hold grudges, so we must not walk in the world, we must walk by spirit. Pray about everything, this is something I struggle with significantly, we must give it all over to God. Pray for patience, selflessness, and most of all love. Pray for the Lord to teach you how to love like Him. Because, without Him we are nothing.