Facing Challenges

We all face challenges in life.  It could be mental, emotional, or physical.  Hardship sometimes causes us to have unhealthy emotions.  When we face challenges, the devil tries to convince us that it is impossible to overcome it.  We begin to doubt ourselves and feel defeated.  Satan wants us to lose the power and authority we have with God.  But the Lord wants us to feel empowered to overcome any obstacle that comes our way.  In Isaiah 41:13 says, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’”  We are not alone in our battles!  God is with us every step of the way.

The decisions we make during hardships are crucial.  Our choices determine our future.  Our emotions can get in the way of making good decisions.  We can easily become impatient and angry.  We have to learn how to control our emotions to have a clear mind.  We must always be in prayer with every step we take to be an overcomer through Christ.  When we feel overwhelmed with our emotions, we need to “cast all [our] anxiety on [God]” (1 Peter 5:7).  We need to go to God in prayer so He can remind us He has already given us peace.  We just need to declare His peace over our lives!  In John 14:27, Jesus says, “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” 

Philippians 4:13 is a powerful Scripture that is well known and often misunderstood.  It states, “I can do all this through Him [, God,] who gives me strength.”  We cannot be overcomers through our own strength.  The only way we can overcome obstacles is through God.  We cannot do it alone!  We need God!

When we face challenges, God promises us rewards.  James 1:12 tells us “blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”  The Bible says “that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).  We not only get rewarded, but we build our character through hardship.  We grow in our faith and learn who we are as an individual.

The Bible promises us “that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).  I encourage you to persevere “so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4).  I pray you stay strong in your faith.  Do not let the devil get you down.  God is on your side and will always be there for you!

Declaration: You are a conqueror through Christ!

Our Past Is Just Our Past

I have learned something valuable this week. Your past does not hinder you from living for today. Yes, your past tells a story about who you used to be, but it does not determine who you are today. Your past is just that–your past.

We all have a history we would love to erase, but God intended it to be a testimony. It may not look pretty, but, in God’s eyes, our past is just a moment when we were beautifully broken, desperately needing His presence.

Let our past remind us of who God is in our lives, and how He turns something ugly into something beautiful.

Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

“Beautifully Broken”

Recently, I started reading a book called, “The End of Me” written by Kyle Idleman.  So far, it has been an incredible book about the beauty of being broken in the presence of God.  Jesus becomes real in our lives when we are broken for Him.  It is when we come to the end of ourselves that God shows up to pick up the pieces of our lives to put them back together one-by-one.  In Luke 9:24, it states that “whoever loses life will find it.”

In this book, the author portrays a beautiful picture of what brokenness really looks like.  In Luke 7, Jesus is having dinner with a religious leader, Simon.  Simon has disregarded all tradition by not greeting Jesus with a kiss on the hand, washing his feet, and anointing his head with oil.  Simon is rich and the people feared him so he intentionally did not honor Jesus as his guest in his home.  Simon wanted to be the master of his home, not Jesus.  At one point in the middle of dinner, a sinful woman enters Simon’s home uninvited.  She heard through the crowds Jesus was in town and was having dinner with Simon and other religious leaders.  While everyone else looked at her with judgment, Jesus looked at her with unconditional love.  She did not focus on the disgruntled faces around her and allowed Jesus’ love to overwhelm her.  You see, Jesus saw “her as beautifully broken” while the others saw her as tainted and untouchable (“The End of Me”).

The woman kept her eyes focused on Jesus and knelt at Jesus’ feet.   She began to weep uncontrollably and, with her tears, she cleaned His feet.  She let down her hair and dried His feet.  She then took an entire bottle of perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet.  In this moment, “she offers all that she has, because He has changed all that she is” (“The End of Me”).  A prostitute, known for our profession, “has become a living embodiment of cleansing” (“The End of Me”).  Jesus tells her that her sins are forgiven (Luke 7:48).  Her brokenness is recognized, and she is made whole again.  What an incredible imagery of being made whole in Christ in just one moment.

“Brokenness often overflows with hidden beauty.  It is redemptive by design” (author unknown).  The moment Jesus forgave the woman from all her sins, it was redemption.  She was not ashamed of her past; she boldly walked into a religious leader’s home to have a moment with Jesus.  This Biblical story reminds us to never be ashamed to bear our scars in the church or around our family and friends.  Our past tells a story of redemption–of who we were and who we are today.

If you look closer in the story of Luke 7, we see that Simon is carrying around brokenness as well.  He is so arrogant about his status that he refused to greet his guests with traditions.  He does not respect who Jesus is and only invited Jesus to dinner out of obligation.  Instead of receiving a blessing from Jesus, he received a rebuke from Him.  The sinful woman knew that she was broken and needed Jesus’ forgiveness, but Simon, on the other hand, did not recognize his brokenness.

Romans 3:23 states that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  The truth is, we are all broken people who need Jesus.  We can complete this sentence: “We are the people who _________________________________________” (“The End of Me”).  Who have debt, ignored the hurting, looked down on others, etc.  We are the kind of people who wants to avoid being honest with ourselves.  “Most of us have some conception, in our heart to hearts, that a lot of the pieces never seem to be mended.  But we will go to great lengths to avoid the full, honest embrace of our condition” (“The End of Me”).  “The only solution for being broken is brokenness.  Brokenness is the way to wholeness.” (“The End of Me”).

APPLICATION

When was the last time you recognized your brokenness and knelt at Jesus’ feet overwhelmed by His love for you?  Are you avoiding the brokenness that keeps on pulling you down and telling you lies about yourself?  It’s time to bear your scars and be real with God and others about your past or present life.  It’s time for you to be whole again through Christ.

PRAYER

“God, take my broken pieces and remold them into what seems best for you” (“The End of Me”).  Lord, help me to be vulnerable and bear my scars so I can be mended and whole again.  In Your Name, Amen!

Dancing With Our Heavenly Father!

This week I am re-blogging one of my favorite topics: “Dancing With Our Heavenly Father”

I need to place my feet on My Father’s and soak up His presence. I want to be reminded of that this week while I spend time with God and get back to where I need to be — in His arms.

Faith.Hope.Love

In the Book of Psalms, chapter 25, verses 4 through 5, is a simple prayer that says “show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.”

One of my favorite quotes that I live by is, “Life isn’t about waiting for the rain to pass; it’s about dancing in the rain.” This quote, in my opinion, means standing strong when life is crumbling around us and all we can do is call out Jesus’ name. Even if it is a whisper, He hears us and He comes to our aid. God does not want us to live in defeat but He wants us to feel empowered by Him and be conquerors of this world.

“Dancing in the rain” means we fully trust in God no matter what…

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Don’t Allow Fear of Failure to Determine Your Success

My Weekly Featured Blog Written By Jay Colby
Title: Don’t Allow Fear of Failure to Determine Your Success

“Have you ever allowed fear of failure deter you from pursing something you’ve always wanted to do? Has fear ever determined your fate, for lack of faith or belief in your own abilities?

Many of us have likely been through situations in our lifetime when we let fear get the best of us. Often times, when we start to think about taking a risk or chance in life limiting beliefs can start to enter our minds. Reminding us we cannot succeed for whatever reason, and we probably should just give up before we fail. In our society, failure is looked upon in a negative connotation as something we should avoid at all cost.”

Jay Colby

Have you ever allowed fear of failure deter you from pursing something you’ve always wanted to do? Has fear ever determined your fate, for lack of faith or belief in your own abilities?

Many of us have likely been through situations in our lifetime when we let fear get the best of us. Often times, when we start to think about taking a risk or chance in life limiting beliefs can start to enter our minds. Reminding us we cannot succeed for whatever reason, and we probably should just give up before we fail. In our society, failure is looked upon in a negative connotation as something we should avoid at all cost. Therefore, many people pass on these limiting beliefs to their children and community believing that they’re saving them from regret and failure. Thus, causing many children and young adults to develop a mindset that there is only…

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Know Your Passion. Follow it. Live it.

What is your passion in life?
What are your dreams?
Are you using all your talents that God has given you?

God has given us all a passion in life to fulfill a dream or a talent.  What matters most is whether or not we believe in our dreams enough to go after it.  Or use our talents the way God intended it to be used.  A passion is defined as a “strong and barely controllable emotion” according to Google dictionary.

Let’s be honest here….How many of us run after our dreams or used our talents to the fullest?  Maybe some do….but many, including myself, hold back from running after our dreams or fully using our talents God has given us.  I can list all the things I know I have the ability to do, but I can also list the ones that puts fear in me or looks discouraging.  I convince myself that the dream is too big or that talent is impossible.

Lately, I have been listening to my mom about carrying out family talents.  It reminded me of a talent I used to do weekly and that was drawing.  There are many family members on my mom’s side who are artist.  My mom is an amazing artist who can oil paint, wood paint, and draw.  She has the natural talent to draw and paint anything — landscapes, animals, and objects.  I want to learn everything she knows so this talent does not die with my mom.  I want to continue teaching my children the creativity of art.  Recently, I started drawing again, and I have found that I truly love it.  It is calming, and the end result even amazes me sometimes.  I am now living out a forgotten talent that I enjoy again.  Below are some of my drawings:

I also love to sing, write, read, teach, and volunteer.  I am utilizing most of these talents on a weekly basis.  I enjoy worshiping and singing songs around the house and in the car.  I write blogs weekly.  I read a good Christian teaching books monthly.  I volunteer my time at the church with door greeting once-a-month and help with the youth weekly.  I have a passion to teach when the opportunity arises.  I have a passion for all these things and find time to do all of them while working a full-time job.  My life is full of things that I love to do and be a part of!

A dream of mine is to become an author one day to inspire others to find Christ.  Another dream is be married with children.  All my dreams have not come true, but I still believe that God will stay true to His Word.  If He put it on my heart, then I am going to believe these dreams will come true.

APPLICATION

What is holding you back from running after your dreams?  What is keeping you from doing what you love to do?  It is so easy to get discouraged and give up.  I am encouraging you today to pursue your dreams again!  I am encouraging you to utilize your talents God has given you!

Take A Bold Step Today!
Know Your Passion.
Follow it.
Live it.

The Cross Weekly Series: The Ultimate Sacrifice

Jesus replaced the rituals of burnt offerings in the Old Testament by giving Himself up as a burnt offering.  In the Old Testament, the people in the Bible would ask God for forgiveness for their sins by sacrificing an animal, in specific terms, to honor Him.  Burnt offerings was a sacred ritual.  Leviticus 1:10 says “if the offering is a burnt offering from the flock, from either the sheep or the goats, you are to offer a male without defect.”  Jesus is perfect in every way.

One of the most popular and memorized Scriptures in the Bible is John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  The agape love expressed in this Scripture is not something we can wrap our minds around.  It cannot be explained why someone would sacrifice himself to save the world.  This proves God’s unconditional love for us.

The cross symbolizes hope and forgiveness.  Jesus paid for our debts by dying on the cross.  The cross becomes just another story.  The meaning of the cross becomes numb, and we forget what it represents.  We should never let the story of the cross grow numb in our hearts.