It’s Just No Fun Doing It Alone!

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fellowship

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

Reflections: You know, there is definitely something to be said for taking the time to fellowship with other believers, particularly those with such sweet Spirits that you literally feel the warmth of God’s love flowing from them, even over the phone. Such people create such a wonderful, nurturing environment that is so welcome during both good times and bad.

I have to admit that I often suffer from the “Lone Wolf Syndrome.” The experience of having some people jump in and out of my life has made me a bit hesitant to open up and depend on others. And if I’m honest, the habit of self-reliance has become a part of my nature (to a fault–this is something I’m working on). I somehow allow myself to consistently fill the role of the rock and strong shoulder for people around me, but play the quiet martyr suffering in silence when I go through times of trial (yes, I’m working on this, too 🙂 ).

There’s a REASON that God cautions us against forsaking the fellowship of believers, and instead encourages us to lean on and support one another. I understand this reasoning every time I leave a gathering of my sisters feeling refreshed, renewed, and strengthened by the Spirit. These relationships gird us up and help us to stand strong in the midst of trials, but they also serve to hold us accountable—to ourselves, to our calling, to our brothers and sisters in Christ, and to God.

If you have not already found a group of believers with whom you can fellowship, or if those with whom you used to break bread  were only in your life for a season (for whatever reason), I encourage you to be intentional about seeking out the fellowship of other believers. We all need that support and love, and it’s always wonderful to know that the people of God are standing in agreement with you and lifting you up in prayer. This journey can be a rough one, but take heart, God never meant for us to walk the road alone. 🙂

Shine bright!

Also read:

Proverbs 27:17 – “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

What Do You Worship?

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Worship

WORSHIP

Exodus 20:3 – “You shall have no other gods before me.”

Colossians 3:2 – “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

Reflections: Webster defines worship as “the feeling or expression of reverence (usually toward a deity).” So, I ask you, what do you worship? What do you revere? What do you idolize? The reality is that anything that we idolize or worship, in essence, becomes like a god to us. I heard a song the other day that completely changed my perspective about what it means to have idols. The song was Clear the Stage by Jimmy Needham. During the bridge of the song, he sings,

Anything I put before my God is an idol,

And anything I want with all my heart is an idol,

And anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol,

And anything that I give all my love is an idol…

He goes on to say that we must clear the stage of our hearts and minds to get to a place where we can give God our true worship. (Good song, by the way! If you haven’t heard it, you should definitely give it a listen.)

Anyway, again I ask, what do you worship? What do you spend your time focusing on and desiring with all of your heart? Of course, we are going to want and work for and think about things in this life. We’re human! But we have to be careful not to let our earthly desires take the place of God as the CENTER of our lives. Worries, relationships, responsibilities, aspirations…they so easily consume us and take our minds captive. It’s up to us to guard our thoughts—against stress and anxiety (because that problem is NOT bigger than your God!) and against distractions that may distance us from the Lord. Pay attention today to the course of your thoughts, and be careful to set your mind on things above, and not below. Our God is a jealous God, and He does not like to share the spotlight. 🙂

Worship - It's all about Him

No Limits! (CONFIDENCE)

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Holding Hands

CONFIDENCE

Ephesians 3:20-21 – “Now to Him, who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory…”

ReflectionsI am constantly reminded of how often I “put limits” on God in my life—through my fear, worry, and lower-than-necessary expectations. Though I know I serve a mighty God, I sometimes find that I’m afraid to hope and believe in the big blessings, because of certain past requests that, as yet, have gone unanswered (or so it would seem). Slowly, though, I have begun to understand that it really is all about (1) motive and (2) timing. The Word says that God hears and answers prayers if we first seek Him—His guidance and direction—before we make our requests. Answers to some requests made in flesh and not in Spirit may very well be “No” or “You’re not ready yet.” However, if we truly desire His will above our own, and make our requests with a Godly purpose and a righteous heart, then we know He hears us, and we know we have the petitions we have asked of Him, whatever they may be. If we have this confidence, the only thing left to do is to wait to be amazed. If we seek God first, and give Him space to bring into our lives our mate, our job, our healing, our financial restoration—instead of chasing after these things in our own power—then we open the door to blessings far beyond anything we could ask or think.

Also Read:

1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV) “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

Shine bright!

Self - Confidence - Ant

It’s Not Always About Me? Really? (SELFlessNESS)

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Selflessness

SELFlessNESS

Colossians 1:16 – “For in Him, all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and FOR Him.” [emphasis mine]

Reflections:

So…it’s not all about me…

I know!! I was just as shocked as you are! *smile* Seriously, though, when we are in the midst of a troubling situation, it’s easy to forget that our purpose on this earth is not to fulfill our own worldly desires. Our true purpose is to serve God and be obedient to the call He has placed on our lives, even if that calling takes us to or through places and circumstances we would rather avoid.

I think that when we hold desperately to our own plan, instead of letting go and seeking the plan that God has put before us, we end up making our lives much more difficult in the long run. God does not promise that the path He selects for us will be easy, but He DOES promise that He will never leave us or forsake us, that He will guide us through it all, and that in the end, it will all work out for our good and His glory.

So, the next time you find yourself absorbed in your “stuff,” take a moment to remember, it’s not about you, or me, or any of us; it’s about God, and the work that He’s called us to do.

Shine your light!

RELIANCE (F.R.O.G.)

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Full Rely on God

Fully Relying on God (F.R.O.G.)

2 Corinthians 5:7 – “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Reflections: This is a popular phrase these days. I see those cute little frogs everywhere emblazoned with the acronym, F.R.O.G. But how many of us really rely on God as we should? Fully relying on God is not just about trusting Him to deliver us from our mess, though that is a part of it. F.R.O.G. also entails seeking Him first, in all things, so we can avoid the mess in the first place. Our goal should be to become totally dependent on God, pursuing Him with fervor, seeking His guidance in every area of our lives. Before we make any big decision, we should first consult God and pray (then wait) for His direction. In this way, we can ensure that we walk a righteous path, and that God will truly bless the endeavors we ultimately pursue.

Also see:

James 4:13-15 – “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’”

FAITH (Part 2)

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II Timothy 1:7 – “For God has not given us a Spirit of fear, put of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND.” [emphasis mine]

Reflections: This morning was a rough one. I woke up struggling with my arch nemesis—fear. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say that the burdens of life were trying to weigh me down, and I was looking around wondering why God had not yet shown up! But eventually, I realized, “This is the moment.” This is the moment that we encounter so often in life, when we have to make a choice between giving into fear and anxiety and choosing, instead, to walk in faith, believing that God is moving on our behalf even when we can’t see it. Choosing the latter may not immediately change our present circumstances; but the choice brings with it a sense of peace and hope, and our faith sets the stage for God to move in our lives in a mighty and miraculous way. FAITH is fuel for the miraculous; and the bigger our faith, the more room God has to show up and show out!

The truth is that fear and faith cannot operate in the same space. When we choose faith, fear must vacate. 🙂 So, the next time fear threatens to overwhelm you, choose to trust God instead. Believe that somehow, some way, He will step in and turn your situation around; and in time, all things will work out for your good and His glory!

Shine your light!

Philippians 4:6-7 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

FAITH

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Matthew 6:26 – “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

Reflections: I find that I worry a lot these days. I worry about money (or the lack thereof), I worry about bills, I worry about my car, my house…I worry about my nonprofit and my students, and I worry about my family and my friends. Then I have these moments of clarity, when I realize the true extent of this worry—which is really just another term for fear—and I have to remember and acknowledge that fear only exists in the absence of FAITH. If I am walking in my faith, as I should, then I could more easily rebuke the fear that wells within me. Constant fear is an affront to FAITH, particularly in the face of scriptures like Matthew 6:26, which remind me of God’s love for all of His creation, from the birds of the trees to little old flawed me. He will always be there for us, watching over us, protecting us, and providing for us…as long as we believe. If God be for us, who can be against us? Whom shall we fear?

John 16:33 – “Rest in the peace of God’s presence. Do not be weighed down by burdens and problems, because God is your burden bearer. In this world, we will have trials, but do not fear, for He has overcome the world.”

Let Your Faith Be Bigger Than Your Fear