Monday Encouragement No. 8

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

This rest that Jesus offers is meant to be an consistent internal thing for us. One of the ways we rest is by laying our burdens down at His feet and choosing to take His easy yoke, recognizing that we cannot do the work He has called us to do without surrendering our all to Him. As I’ve thought about this recently, I realized that I have been “yoked” (see picture above) with heaviness and an overwhelmed feeling more often than I’d like to admit. Unfortunately, that does not allow me to live in the fullness Jesus promised in John 10 and is not a great witness to others. I cannot be in a place of rest with Jesus, nor help others pick up His yoke and experience His rest for themselves when I’m feeling overburdened with a heavy yoke that Jesus has not asked me to partner with. I don’t see this truth as condemning, but freeing. As we pick up His yoke and rest in His sovereignty, Word and ways, suddenly our heavy overburdened places are replaced with joy, gladness and a renewed attitude toward God, ourselves and others. Are there any “yokes” in your lives that need to be let go of so that you can partner with Jesus and take up His yoke?

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Monday Encouragement No. 7

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8

Sometimes in the midst of whatever is going on in my life, whether good or bad, as I reach out for God, I will hear quietly in my heart, “Do you trust Me?” Even when my heart is breaking or I’m fearful of the road ahead, His Spirit gives me the strength to say “yes”. Not always does an immediate feeling of peace come, and I’m forced to remind myself that perfect peace is not necessarily a feeling and the absence of a problem, but rather the presence of Emmanuel, God with us, in the very fabric of our being and in every situation. This radical trust in God is what we are called to. I’ll be praying that our trust in Him continues to grow deeper roots and ask that you do the same for me this week.

Monday Encouragement No. 6

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives, and he who keeps on seeking finds, and to him who keeps on knocking, it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 (AMP)

These verses are invitations from Jesus to come into relationship and communion with Him. Sometimes I think of my heart as a house with many rooms, each one having its own door. When this walk with the Lord started, I had no idea each season of life would bring with it new doors and new invitations from Him to explore the depths of His goodness while bringing freedom and growth in places I wasn’t even aware needed His touch. Giving Him permission to enter into our most vulnerable places isn’t always easy especially when some of us are really good at building walls to keep everyone out, God included! Time after time though, God is found faithful in “dining” with us in what we consider our weakest places…and He enjoys dining with us in this way!

One of these “rooms” that I’ve been walking through lately is being transparent with Jason about my own insecurities, and giving him permission to speak affirmation into those areas. Given my prior issues with trusting men, this feels like a monumental step toward healing. Unlike God, Jason doesn’t know the things I’m struggling with or the lies that creep around my mind unless I allow him to join me behind some of those walls that I’ve built up over the years. In similar fashion, Jesus asks to have permission to walk with us through life, assures us of our position in His family and reminds us of our purpose to love Him and love others radically. Not only that, but He gave His life to make this relationship possible. Although He already knows everything about us, He is delighted in being in consistent communication and fellowship with His daughters. And we are encouraged to keep asking, seeking, and knocking in response.

What doors on the rooms of your heart is God knocking on so that He can come in and dine with you? Is there anything holding you back from giving Him permission to do so? What comes to mind when considering what you have been asking, seeking and knocking on God’s doors about? I’m praying that these questions and the dialogue exchanged between you and God in these areas will be filled with joy and hopeful expectancy in what our loving Father has purposed for you in His will being done here on earth as it is in heaven.

Monday Encouragement No. 5

Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live to him.” Luke 20:38

And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” Luke 24:5-7

Praying this Monday is filled anew with the wonder and joy that new life in Christ and new mercies everyday bring. May our hearts and minds be steadfast and hold tight to the truth that we do not have to keep going back to old ways of thinking or doing. Our old way of life and our sin nature was crucified with Christ over 2,000 years ago. We were buried with Him and raised to new life (Romans 6), so that we do not have to relate to God, ourselves or others according to the temporary things to which we were once enslaved. Our foundation for victorious living, even when we don’t “feel” like it is firmly fixed in eternity in Jesus Christ. My prayer for us this week is that if there are places where we are tempted to think and act in accordance with a way of life we are no longer bound to, we would know that our old selves apart from Christ cannot be resurrected – but instead we get to share in the everlasting inheritance of intimate fellowship with the Triune God because we were bought and brought into new life by the blood of Jesus!

Monday Encouragement No. 4

A few weeks ago, Jason and I played a movie trivia game with some of our friends. As you may or may not know, I am extremely competitive, so I was sure to pay close attention to the clues given so that we could win, because I generally don’t view losing as an option. The next morning, I felt convicted about how I don’t always apply this same intensity, purposefulness, and alertness to what God is speaking to me through His Word. It wasn’t a condemning feeling, just a “gut check” on how much God desires our time and attention…and how this relationship with Him is always a win win. The conviction was out of a place of His loving desire to interact with His daughter throughout the day – and a merciful reminder to pay attention and be alert!

I was reminded of the passage in Matthew 13 where Jesus encourages the disciples – “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (verses 16 and 17)

What has God been speaking to you through His Word lately? We have been given eyes to see and ears to hear. God has made our hearts good and ready soil and has given us grace to not have dull hearts toward Him. How blessed we truly are to be alive in a time where the Spirit of God dwells within His people!

Oh, and we did end up winning the movie trivia game – mostly because I married a filmmaker/videographer who knows a lot more about movies than I ever will. 😉

Monday Encouragement No. 3

“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling or falling into sin, and to present you unblemished [blameless and faultless] in the presence of His glory with triumphant joy and unspeakable delight, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and power, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 24-25

God is ABLE! To keep us from stumbling. To provide an escape when we are tempted. To present us as a spotless bride. To deliver us from ALL fear and attacks of the enemy. We are hidden with Christ in God for all eternity. We can find rest in knowing that our abilities are not what matters most, but rather God’s ability to keep His promises and sustain us by His Spirit with the grace needed for this very moment.

Monday Encouragement No. 2

“See that you do not despise or think less of one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven [are in the presence of and] continually look upon the face of My Father who is in heaven. [For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.] “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them gets lost, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountain and go in search of the one that is lost? And if it turns out that he finds it, I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that did not get lost. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones be lost.” Matthew 18:10-14

I’m sure that we can all think of a person (or people) in our lives we are praying the Lord will continue to search out and pursue until He has won their heart. Be encouraged today that Jesus will not lose one person entrusted to His care – and that He is interceding with you on behalf of the “lost sheep” in your life. I pray that we’re reminded today of the patience, sweetness, passion and kindness that Jesus showed each of us while we were still lost sinners, without hope in this world. May He restore to you today the joy of your salvation and the tenderness that came with the discovery that He has always been your first love and will be so continually throughout eternity.

Monday Encouragement No. 1

“And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:22-25

Speak strength to the weak places. Last week, I was reminded that the “mountains” in life won’t move if I don’t even have the courage to speak to the “mole hills”. Whether you’re facing a mountain today or something that may not be as intimidating and appear as a mole hill, speak God’s truth and life over circumstances, decisions, loved ones and yourself. Our mole hill moments can become mountains if we let them. So, to each mountain and mole hill, may we proclaim His sovereignty and truth, believing that He is providing everything pertaining to life and Godliness and every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus!

Praying you have a great week! If anyone has any specific prayer requests for this week, please message me or share general asks in the comment section!

on the shores…

The angel of God, who had been going in front of the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them. The pillar of the cloud moved from in front and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. It was a cloud along with darkness [even by day to the Egyptians], but it gave light by night [to the Israelites]; so one [army] did not come near the other all night.” Exodus 14:19-20 (AMP)

With three days to go until the wedding, the question I’m asked repeatedly is, “How are you doing?” I don’t understand why there is a hush in my spirit and my words fail to come together. God’s Word is alive and active, and it’s the only Place I can find language in the thick of transition.

Lately I’ve been reading about the Israelites leaving Egypt after 430 years of living as slaves in a foreign land. Today, I read the above verses, and I noticed for the first time that God’s Presence moved from leading in front to standing behind the Israelites. They were delivered from harsh slavery with taskmasters that demeaned and abused at every opportunity. The Lord moved after the Israelites observed the Egyptians pursuing them. When the Presence of God moved behind them, they could no longer see the enemy.

In this account of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, I found my language. With the wedding coming up, it feels like I’m standing on the shore of the Red Sea, looking back at that which used to keep me enslaved. Instead of seeing the enemy, the sin I lived in before Christ won me over and brokenness – all I can see is God’s Presence. He has delivered me from all of my enemies, even the one of self-destruction. And, instead of seeing fear on every side, all I can see is Him, protecting me, directing me, and instilling a peace my mind can’t grasp. The unknown path of deliverance and freedom before me. The promised land awaiting, full of potential and part of the inheritance God has in store this side of heaven. Changes abound all around, yet the true and unrelenting Trustworthy One is in my midst, shaping and molding me in further preparation for this new union.

A year later…

One post per year is a good pace, right?

Some thoughts…

Is this what we want? To be swept up in a love so secure, passionate and lasting that not even death can extinguish it? A love so deep and real that only eternity is sufficient enough for us to explore the breadth, width, length and height of it? What if unconditional love became our most precious commodity? Our prized possession? And furthermore, what would happen if we actually walked in the reality that love is not some fleeting feeling but the Person of Jesus Christ in all His fullness? He is God. God is love. Therefore, Jesus is love made manifest in flesh and blood. I’m faced with a choice – trust my whole being to the immutable character of this perfect God or rely upon the transitory nature of my temporary affections to motivate and drive everything I do. The former yields compassion, life, understanding, healing and purpose, the latter builds walls which keep love from entering in or pouring out onto others. May our lives be marked by the former.