Remain Open To Instruction

Remain Open To Instruction

There Is Always Something New To Learn

Well, I finished my Bible Study Fellowship class last week. We spent the year in Matthew. I have to be honest. I wasn’t thrilled to study through Matthew. I am not sure why I felt that way. It could have been because I have read through it before. I am ashamed to admit I thought this would be a boring year. But, boy, I was wrong.

It was such a great book to sit and soak in for me at the stage of life I was in this past year. I learned to name my emotions, recognize my numbing triggers, and process my feelings. It has been quite a year. This book was a very emotional read this time around. I have never experienced Jesus like I did this year. I have never fallen more in love with the person he is or felt the weight of the crucifixion as I did this year.

It was tough towards the end, and I realized I did not want to read the betrayal and crucifixion. So I found myself procrastinating and even dreading it. But, as accountability does, I had to work through it, and it was intense. The best part was how it lined up with resurrection day. It brought it to life, especially for my kids.

I was also able to teach the kid’s version to my boys in our homeschool class, and I cannot tell you how amazing it was. They enjoyed reading and learning about Jesus, and they both decided to accept Jesus into their hearts. They have already shown me they have discernment. I am in awe of how the Lord moves in their little world.

Reading Matthew like this, spending nine months in the book, has been a blessing. If you have never tried an in-depth bible study like this, I recommend it!

Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

You Are What You Say

I have been trying to drive this point home to my boys lately. My youngest can be very hard on his older brother. I am teaching them to help each other shine rather than diminish their flame. This week’s verse is Luke 6:45.

Luke‬ ‭6:45‬‬, A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

It can be hard in the heat of an angry moment, but It’s important to remember to speak positively and encourage others. It’s so easy to slip and let your anger flow, but we need to pray that God would change our heart and make it more like his so we won’t get angry and have slip-ups. I want my heart and mouth only to flow good things, full of love.

This week let’s meditate on this verse and make a point to encourage those around us, even if it’s a difficult interaction. You never know how much a kind word is needed!

Healing Comes First

Healing Comes First

First Comes Love, Then Comes The Therapist

I have noticed a disturbing theme in the news and social media. That theme is dysfunctional relationships. Of course, I know that people have had dysfunctional relationships forever. Still, we live in a time where people’s quarrels play out in front of the world, whether it’s celebrities in courtroom dramas or your average social media over-sharer. Whatever the case, it is necessary to point out how important it is to heal from our traumas before forming relationships with people.

I can speak from experience. I have lived in extreme toxicity and have been a very toxic person myself. However, I can look back at my shameful behavior through my healing, which is still very fresh and new, and see it for precisely what it is. Though I thought I was right in my behavior at the time, I can now see that I was acting out of trauma and letting my emotions erupt and spew uncontrollably.

I have seen marriages and relationships in the news lately, and it sickens me to watch. I recognize some of the toxic traits and behaviors. What stands out overall is people’s emotional immaturity. I got married in the church and partook in premarital counseling. I can see how this can be helpful to two people who are emotionally mature and have done some trauma healing. Unfortunately, that was not my case.

I wish I had known more about myself at that time. I wish I knew more about why I was getting married, who I was marrying, and what traumas we both were dragging into this marriage with us. I wish someone stopped and shook me and said, “Stop! You both need to go to therapy first, work on yourself, and then come back together and do couples counseling.”

I think this approach would weed out a lot of bad marriages from occurring and strengthen marriages that blossom out of healing. I know, that not everyone is up for therapy, and how they respond in therapy also would depend on where they are in their emotional maturity. Still, I think it could shine a light on many areas that get overlooked and glossed over in premarital counseling, which lead to significant problems as the marriage progresses.

My husband and I have had our fair share of drama, and we are in a much healthier place than we have been. We have been together a long time and have grown tremendously, but I can say that healing before would have saved us a lot of heartbreak warfare.

Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

Be Sweet On The Inside

This week I want to start on a positive note. I want to focus on the goodness that blooms from within when we live God’s way. So our verse this week is Galatians 5:22.

Galatians 5:22 "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness."

I saw a sign that said, “In the morning, give me coffee and Jesus” I think I need a double portion of both! I am not always the most loving, joyful, patient person, especially if I haven’t had coffee yet. But since we house the Holy Spirit, he will help us be better. Like coffee, He warms our souls!

I like the way this verse is written in The Message bible.

But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

I do not think I could explain it better. If you are struggling in any of these areas, it may be a sign you need a dose of vitamin GOD. I prescribe you open up your bible, put on some worship music, and spend some time basking in his glory! And maybe have a cup of joe.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Choosing Vulnerability

Choosing Vulnerability

Bruné Browns Advice for Living Whole Heartedly

Well, it is no secret I took time away from my blog. I have talked about my issues with authenticity and emotional detachment. I am seeing a therapist now, and I have made great strides. I can feel my emotions! She recommended a book by Brené Brown called, The Power of Vulnerability.

I can’t say this journey has been easy. I have never been able to accept that feelings are normal and not a sign of weakness. So when I looked for the book and saw it was an almost 7-hour long audiobook, I said, no way am I listening to some chick speak about vulnerability for 7 hours! I did, though, find a Ted Talk that was only about 20 mins long, and I thought to myself, what a great alternative!

The Ted Talk was excellent. Brené blew me away. She was fun and relatable, and she despised vulnerability as much as I did. But, she made excellent points and convinced me that I needed to buy the audiobook.

I am so glad I did. I learned so much about myself. I have come to find out that I avoid all feelings, even happiness, and joy. I also learned that I am vulnerable in ways I didn’t know. I also discovered the shields I use against vulnerability and how to recognize when I do so and change my practice.

Brené gives mantras to help you manage challenging situations, and I have shared them several times with my family and friends. She encourages us to make our mantras as well. One that I have written on a note on my computer says, “I am not responsible for other people’s emotions.” I need that reminder often. One of hers I love and use is, “Choose discomfort over resentment.”

I took so many notes, and I will be reading more of her work. If you struggle with any vulnerability or confidence problems, I recommend this book. I could go on all day about the things in this book, but I linked the Ted Talk below as a sample.

Have you read any of Brené Brown’s books?

Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

Delighting In The Lord.

I read this week’s scripture the other day, and I thought it was beautiful. So I have been working on memorizing it. The bible tells us the Lord delights in us, but do we take the time to delight in him? So this week, our scripture is Psalms 27:4.

Psalms 27:4, The one thing I ask of the Lord— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord's perfections and meditating in his Temple.

When I was little, I had a very skewed view of God. I feared God would send me to hell if I did wrong. I remember thinking it would be impossible for me to be good enough living in the world. So I wanted to be a nun because I thought it would be easier if I lived a life devoted to God without distraction. I didn’t have much Godly instruction growing up, but I did have one thing right. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.

I know now that my salvation is not based on my actions but on the work of Christ on the cross. My life is far from a quiet, distraction-free existence of servitude, but it is still essential for me to find quiet time to delight in my Lord. I need to be in His presence. It’s home to me.

This week let’s seek most to be in the presence of God, meditating in his word, and delighting in his perfections!

Fighting Temptations

Fighting Temptations

Jesus Provides The Strategy

Satan attacks us on three different fronts. He knows our weak spots, and his tactics haven’t changed. He used the same scheme on Eve and Adam in the garden in Genesis 3 and on Jesus in Matthew 4. Satan attacks the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

If you read in Genesis 3, Eve is convinced to question God’s trust and love for her. She sees the fruit is good for food, pleasing to the eye, and suitable for obtaining knowledge. Here you can see Satan’s three-part attack. As we all know, Eve and Adam fail miserably.

In Matthew 4, we read about The Holy Spirit leading Jesus out to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Again, we can see the three-part attack. First, Satan tells Jesus, who is hungry from fasting, to make bread out of a rock. But, Jesus does something that Eve and Adam did not do. He refutes Satan with scripture and tells him, “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

We continue to see that Satan now takes Jesus to the top of the highest temple in Jerusalem and tells him to prove he is the son of God by jumping off the top. Satan tries to use God’s word against Jesus and quotes Psalm 91:11-12, for the scriptures say, He will order his angels to protect you, and they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. Jesus is not impressed, and he tells Satan, “The scriptures also say, you must not test the Lord your God.”

Finally, we see the culmination of Jesus’ triumphant denial of Satan’s attacks. Satan takes him to the peak of a very high mountain and shows him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He offers this all to Jesus if only he bows down to worship him. Now side note, I have always had an issue with this because I thought, who does Satan think he is offering Jesus the world? He is offering Jesus to take what is rightfully his without the cross. My Jesus prevails. He says, “Get out of here, Satan! The scriptures say you must worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.”

After that, we read that Satan left and that is exactly what will happen when you resist him. He will go away. James 4:7 confirms, “Humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

He Has Risen!

In honor of our Lord and Savior and the resurrection holiday we all just celebrated this week, I want to focus on Matthew 28:6. I usually use the New Living Translation, but I am using the New International Version this week. I think the wording is more profound in this case.

Matthew 28:6, "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay."

First of all, the good news was that our Lord was not there. He had risen. Our whole faith is rooted in these words, in the belief that Jesus conquered death on that cross. And the following words, “Just as he said he would.” So faithful, so trustworthy. Our Lord said he would, and he did. Jesus is a promise keeper. Let’s meditate on that this week.

I hope you all have a blessed week!

Sins of the Flesh

Sins of the Flesh

You might be thinking, what the heck are sins of the flesh. We Christians are known for our churchy talk, but this phrase is straight out of the Good Book. It is our sinful nature. Inside, all of us desire to sin. This desire is in everyone, Christian and atheist alike. This craving calls us to things that are not good for our spiritual and, in many times, physical well-being.

Sins of the flesh are those iniquities that we desire out of lust. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us. We become a temple. Christians should be living through the Spirit. We need to keep ourselves from immorality because our actions affect ourselves and the world’s perception of Christ. God knew that we would need his help. That is why he sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.

Galatians 5:16 says, "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions."

So we should be living out of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps to keep us spiritually-minded. When we surrender to the Holy Spirits’ instruction in life, we will receive gifts of the Spirit. In Galatians 5:22-23, we read, “The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

We will know true love, joy, and peace when we follow God’s will for our lives. But, when we aren’t, we will feel guilt, anger, and shame. Now you may be wondering what these sins of the flesh are. I will leave you with the scripture below.

Galatians 5:19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

With God All Things Are Possible

This week, my encouragement is from Matthew 19:26. “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.”

In this chapter of Matthew, we can read about how Jesus was telling the disciples how hard it is for a rich man to get into heaven. He tells them it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. The scriptures say the disciples were astounded and asked who in the world could be saved? Jesus replies with our verse. With man, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.

With God all things are possible. Isn’t that incredible? We need to remember it is not by what we do that we are saved but by what Jesus did. We will struggle, but even when we fall short, Jesus is there. Jesus loves us, he already paid our debt, He will never leave us. Jesus picks us up and makes it possible for us to move forward. Jesus makes it possible for us to find joy and contentment so we can do better. He redeems us, and He makes all things possible.

I hope this scripture brings you encouragement this week!