Safe and Untouched

Standard

Isaiah 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

I love this verse. As amazing as it is, life can be difficult sometimes, and this verse reminds us that no matter what we go through—rising waters or burning flames—when God is with us, we are protected; we will make it through…tried, tested, but ultimately unscathed. With God by our side, guiding us, protecting us, giving us strength, we can endure the storms of this life that rail against us with complete confidence that if we hold to our faith, we will not be consumed. There’s such peace and joy to be found in that knowledge.

Yes, of course, it may be better (we often believe) if God just shielded us from any trials and challenges that may come our way, but the reality is that we often emerge from these seasons of adversity stronger, more centered, and better able to stand firm in our faith when next the winds and waves of life beat against us. We can’t always avoid the storms of life, but it’s so amazing to know that we have a God who walks with us, takes our hand, and even carries us through the tough times to ensure we make it to the other side.

Footprints

If you’re going through the storm today, feeling beaten and battered by the winds of life, hold on. God is with you. He is your strong tower, standing tall in the gap to keep you safe…protecting you, keeping you…and you WILL make it through.

You’re A Star!

Standard

WISDOM

Daniel 12:3 – “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

“You’re A Star!”—Has anyone ever said that to you (or have you said it to yourself)? In the context of fame and fortune, this statement may or may not be true 🙂 ; but according to the Word, beloved, there is one thing of which you can be sure—when you walk in wisdom and strive to lead others to righteousness, your countenance will shine like the brightest star in the heavens forever and ever! And believe it or not, the wisdom that we seek is accessible to everyone!

James 1:5 states that if any of us are lacking in wisdom, we have only to ask, and it will be given to us. All we have to do is ask, and God will bestow upon us the knowledge and wisdom we need to be happy (Ecclesiastes 2:20) and protected (Proverbs 4:6-7); to gain understanding (Proverbs 3:13), bring peace to volatile situations (Proverbs 14:1); be considerate, merciful, fruitful, and sincere (James 3:17); and live lives that are righteous and holy (1 Corinthians 1:30). As we share this knowledge, this peace, this holiness and righteousness that wisdom affords, we are, in effect, sharing our light…the light of God’s love.

let-your-light-shine

And as we let this light shine within us, we bring honor and glory to God; and we draw others to us who long to experience the peace, joy, and fulfillment that God’s love and wisdom provides. Like a star, you can light the way for someone who is lost in darkness and seeking a way into the light.

let-it-shine1

Shine Your Light!

2 Corinthians 4:6 – “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine our of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

Song: “This Little Light of Mine” by Addison Road

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

let-your-light-shine

Agape Love

Standard

Agape

LOVE

(I thought I’d re-post this one from 2014 in honor of Valentine’s Day)

Romans 8:38-39 – “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Reflections: Have you ever felt truly loved? I’m not talking about that fly by night, flash in the pan, fleeting love; I’m talking about everlasting, AGAPE LOVE, where you are seen and known and cherished unconditionally and beyond measure…the type of love that, in reality, you can only find in the heart of your Heavenly Father…

Our souls long for this love, our hearts yearn for this connection; but far too often…

We seek it in all the wrong places

In a sea of blank faces

In the company of false friends

Winding up at dead ends…

…And ultimately, we end up feeling unfulfilled, because THAT love—that soul-fulfilling, heart-wrenching, mind-blowing, never-ending love—is only available in one place: the arms of our almighty God.

As Valentine’s Day draws near, and we are surrounded by people consumed by the pursuit of love, know that you don’t have to look far to find it. You have only to look to the Father, who waits for you with open arms and an open heart to hold you close, take away your cares, and give you peace and love that surpasses anything you’ve ever known.

Happy (Almost) Valentine’s Day! (You are truly loved!)

Song: How He Loves Us by New Breed (Original)/How He Loves Us by Anthony Evans (Remake)

Love - John 3-16

Giving Your All

Standard

LOVE

(Our theme for this month! ❤️😊)

1 Corinthians 2:9b – “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

I read this passage the other morning, and it made my heart smile to think of the abundant life that God wants for us. He wants to give us so much, and all He asks for in return is our love. We’re not talking about that love that simply gives lip service to our relationship with God, we’re talking about truly LOVING Him—with your heart, mind, and soul. It seems like such a small request when compared to what He promises in return—blessings the likes of which we have never seen or heard, and of which our minds have never even conceived. This is what He has in store for us if we would only fully surrender our hearts to Him. He doesn’t promise that the road will always be easy once we surrender (in fact, Jesus assures us that we will experience troubles), but throughout it all, we know His promises; and we can be assured of the abundant, unimaginable blessings that wait for us on the other side of life’s valleys.

Above all else, as you move through life’s highs and lows, know that you are loved beyond measure; that you are never, ever alone; and that what God has in store for you is better than anything you’ve ever dreamed of!

Shine Your Light!

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

.

Love Thy Neighbor

Standard

LOVE
(Our Theme for the Month!)

Galatians 5:14 – “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

It seems so simple, the call to love your neighbor…to be kind and considerate, and to treat those you encounter as you would want to be treated. I find, though, that this is not something that comes naturally to everyone. Almost everyone and everything around us urges people to look out for themselves, please themselves, do what’s good for themselves…It’s so rare that we receive messages that convey this key command from God—Love your neighbor as yourself—to be selfless, sacrificing, and to consider someone else’s well-being above your own.

This decree becomes even more challenging to fulfill when we consider the fact that the “neighbor” to which God refers is not only your friend, your relative, or your loved one; but also your enemy, your adversary, the proverbial bane of your existence. Loving them as you love yourself?? THAT’S when things get really tough and really interesting. I think it’s important to note, here, that loving someone does not equate to serving as their proverbial punching bag. It doesn’t mean that you have to just sit there and accept unacceptable behavior. I think that God simply means that we are to show them the grace and mercy in their flawed state that God shows us daily in ours. In doing so, we begin to create spaces for change, for reconciliation, for redemption, and hopefully, for salvation.

So, in the end, the mission is clear—Love thy neighbor. Your love, your patience, your acceptance may be the very thing needed to bring about a miraculous and life-changing work in someone else’s life.

Song: Speak Life by Toby Mac
Song: Set the World on Fire by Britt Nicole

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Shine Your Light!

(This was a billboard I saw while driving one day that made me smile as I paused in the middle of my road rage lol)

The Everyman

Standard

SURRENDER

The other morning, I was thinking about how much Jesus was like the “everyman.” He wrestled with anger and fear; He felt disappointment when His friends let Him down; He experienced loss, rejection, false love, and betrayal…trying situations and emotions that most of us have experienced at one point or another in our lives. But the difference between Jesus and so many of us (outside of His being the Son of God and all 🙂 ) is that He knew exactly where to turn when He endured these earthly trials. He turned to His Heavenly Father and gave himself over, fully, to God’s will and His way. He surrendered Himself completely to God’s plan for His life; and in return, God gifted Him with abundant wisdom, unshakable peace, boundless courage, unfailing love, and a power beyond anything the Earth had ever seen!


What wonders could we accomplish, what mountains could we move, what strongholds could we demolish if we were only willing to give God our whole selves…holding NOTHING back? We would be earth shakers, mighty warriors of God, bringing His light and His love to a desperate and dying world and demonstrating with clarity to all around us the power and freedom that lies in complete and total surrender to God.

Luke 22:43 – “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Song: He Wants It All by Forever Jones

Shine Your Light!

Wrestling Angels (A Poem)

Standard

jacob_wrestling_the_angel_by_21stcenturydamocles-d3buwca

I’ve been wrestling angels…

Raging
Against the whispered words
Speaking truth
into my soul

Warring
Against the calling
I know is mine alone
To pursue

Fighting…
A soldier
On the wrong
Battlefield
A warrior
For the wrong cause

Struggling
To arrest the fear
Fluttering in my heart
The doubts
Coursing through my mind

WHY ME!!???

It would be so easy
To run and hide
To leave the task
To one better than I
But I am Yours
And You are mine
And if You call me…
I will come

I’ve been wrestling angels
Pleading
Resisting
Just one swift strike
And I am felled

Accepting
I rise
Blessed
Now set apart
To take the path
You’ve set before me

I am flawed
I am afraid
But I am Yours
And I will fight
For You.

Isaiah 6:8 – Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Genesis 32:22-31

jacob-wrestling-the-angel-of-god

Creative Commons License
This work by Nichole  H. Stewart is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License