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Living with intention

This is the thought and my prayer for this month. To live with intention.

To love with intention.

To speak with intention.

That nothing would be idle or just a filler.

To be vulnerable with intention.

What I think of intention, I think of as purposeful. Not rushed. Not influenced by anyone else or how they feel. But confident in the actions being taken are the ones that will be finished in a proper manner.

This may cause me to slow down at things. But it will also free me from being over committed. And the events or things I do put effort into will be done better and more productively than if I were to have rushed through them.

I didn’t really have a bible story or verse in mind when I started writing but as I wrote, Jesus lived with intention and purpose. Not pushed around by the people or the events he found himself in.

Im reminded of the woman at the well. He intentionally chose that well at that time for. Her. He chose her with intention. He asked her intentional and purposeful questions and then answered her in like manner.

Intention. Purpose. Not driven by society’s standards or the other people’s opinions of her. He intentionally loved her as a daughter of God for indeed that is what she was.

 

Even in the routine and mundane, live intentionally. Live purposefully. God will use this time for His glory. Live as Jesus lives – intentionally, purposefully, and full of love cultivated from a close relationship with His Father, or Heavenly Father. Allow yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit, His intentions always lead you and others closer to the throne of God.

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Happy You Happy Life

I recently did a devotional on the YouVersion app and it was titled Happy You Happy Life.

Normally I am pretty skeptical about the word HAPPY (please refer to the previous post – Happiness is okay) but to be open and transparent, the end of the year was preeeetttty miserable for me. So I literally pepped myself up to this because I am not supposed to be miserable due to Jesus in my life….and yet during the events that sent me spiraling, I was supposed to be overjoyed at what had happened…..instead of a downer. I needed help.

Starting the devotional I read the first day and I was hooked! So hooked I needed to share what was causing me to be happy with the few people who pay attention to my social media accounts, which are normally filled with pictures of my beautiful dog (#sweetbellepepper) and my amateur bakes.

I wasn’t alone in feeling this spirit of imbalance during the holiday season. You are smiling at the parties and when your mind isn’t on the disappointments in your life…..but when you’re alone….

In the shower where the water brings out the dark thoughts and tears.

In your bed.

In your devotion time.

In your car.

The disappointments come in like a flood and you do your very best to keep it together. Normally, failing at that. Which only makes it just that much harder to remain composed.

I went through it faithfully – everyday reading the devotional and the scriptures that went with it. Then I would create a picture of what I got out of the devotional. Shared it. Then went to bed. I did it this way so 1) I would have God’s Word and what He spoke to ME as the last thing I processed mentally that day 2) I would look at it all day the next day to remind myself of what God had spoken to me

Huge success. Not just for me, but for those who saw it. They needed to hear that God was with them in this season (even if it wasn’t difficult) because when they do go through difficult seasons, they have HIS word (not mine because I honestly can’t remember most of what I wrote) to remember. They have access to a pictorial reminder that they can look at constantly.

The devotional ended (it is only 14 days) BUT the message of Happy You Happy Life is in my theme for this new year.

Instead of New Years Resolutions, I discovered that people have a word for the year.

My word is HAPPY. The hashtag ( I am a millenial in some aspects after all) I am using for all year is #happyyouhappylife Because everyday there is something GOD himself has placed in the day that is designed to remind you to be happy and filled with joy because He loves you, He saved you, He wants to be with you, and He wants to talk to you. He wants to lean back and listen to what you have to say to Him. He wants to whisper in your ear sweet “nothings” than can change your life. His sweet “nothings” hold more weight than our loftiest of speeches.

God not only has things He has specifically place in each day for YOU to bring a smile to YOUR face but He wants to do these things so we share His goodness. He also does this in a new way!

Everything God does is for His glory and He rarely does the same thing the same way twice. Thus my verse, technically verses, for the year. Isaiah 43:18-19 (conglomerate of versions – NKJV, NLT, ESV)

Do not remember the former ways or consider the old ways, it is nothing compared to what I am about to do. For I am doing a new thing, See! I have already begun it! I will even make a pathway in the wilderness and I will create rivers in the desert.

Isn’t that just overly exciting? Especially when it looks to be literally the same old same old. To have God promise that the old will not stay and that He is doing new things and He is already starting – is beyond amazing to me. I know He means it, if not for you then definitely for me because He quite literally posted it everywhere. All over my social media, in my devotions, even my Bible fell open accidentally. WHAM! There it is.

I know God has amazing things – NEW THINGS – in store for us all this year. We just have to be on the lookout for them.

 

 

 

Oh and if you thought “pshhh that’s just a typical New Years verse, He doesn’t actually mean that for this year” errrr hold up! I’m skeptical and cynical as well (something the Lord is getting out of me) and because that is my natural inclination He gave me Philippians 1:6 juuuuust as a reminder of “Hey doubt GO AWAY!”

Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very [NEW] thing, that HE who began a good work in you, will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ

The NEW thing that He has already STARTED will be finished by HIM and Him alone. If God started it, it’s good. Since it is good, He will finish it and it will end well in my life. If God did not start it, it is not good. Since it is not good, God will end it and my life will be better without it.

HAPPY YOU HAPPY LIFE! GOD IS DOING A NEW THING!

Happiness is okay

I don’t know about everyone out there but I know the struggle I have with happiness – that it isn’t okay. I have heard for years that it is about being joyful instead of happy. The joy of The Lord is our strength. And this is so very true! When we know that we have made the choice to keep the Lord as LORD in every part of our lives then we can be joyful because He is in control, not us! That is amazing because we don’t have to worry about keeping anything up because we didn’t start it. Praise God for He keeps us! 

But beyond this amazing and praise inducing statement, there was the idea that happiness is fleeting and therefore not necessary. Which is honestly truly miserable. “Well the Lord is In control so I don’t have to worry but I can’t be happy about it either” I can totally see why when that message is presented it isn’t entirely appealing. 

In my own life, I LOVE the Lord. My life is centered around Him but I was so miserable because I felt like I wasn’t allowed to be happy. “God isn’t a feeling” “it isn’t about being happy, it’s about doing the Lord’s work” “happiness is momentary while joy is everlasting” 

So in all these sentiments preached by so many voices, I was miserable. I had become the miserable Christian that I claimed I couldn’t understand. How they could be miserable with Jesus in their life? And yet here I was…bitter, cynical, judgemental, and faking my smile and laughter so well I almost fooled myself. 

I can’t fool God though, and neither can you. 

God exposed my bitterness root that had sprung up about so many things in my life and the different plants it was sprouting. Doubt in God’s faithfulness, hopelessness, cynicism, judging people based on their double standards, and a servant mentality instead of a daughter mentality. All these weeds or plants that choke out thriving plants.

He showed me how far it had spread. He showed me that He wanted to take it away and REPLACE it with his roots. So I began to look up the opposite of bitterness and came upon sweetness, contentment delight, and happiness.

At happiness I wept. Because once the problem was exposed it also showed what had been missing from me. Not my behavior but IN ME! I was not happy. But by the empowering grace of God I can be happy instead of bitter! I can be content instead of cynical! I can be delighted in my circumstances and situations instead of doubtful that they will ever change! 

He wants to take our bitterness away and REPLACE it with Happiness! That and the sweetness of His love! Psalm 34:8, Psalm 119:103, Provebs 24:13 all describe the sweetness of the Lord! He wants that to be the root that grows in the garden of your heart, not the root of bitterness. 

Happiness is okay to feel! It is biblical to say I am happy! Psalm 144:15 Happy are the people who are in such a state; happy are the people whose God is Lord! Psalm 146:5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose help is in the Lord His God! 

 When we keep God as the center of our lives, keep our hope in Him, look for our help in God only, then we can be both joyful AND happy! 

Happiness is okay! Happiness is meant for us! 

If you’re one of those people who needs permission (I am) then let me help you. 

You have permission from God to be happy! You are allowed to enjoy life! 

If you only see the parts you think you’re missing, I encourage you to look at the Shunamite women in 2 Kings 4:8-34. She has no son and yet she lavishes love and hospitality on Elisha because she found that she enjoyed the presence of God that the prophet brought with him. She found happiness in the midst of otherwise hopeless circumstances and you can too. I can too. 

I am happy because the Lord wants me to be happy. My circumstances may not change. My situations may stay the same. But Jesus wants me to be happy in the midst of the trial. Lord replace our roots of bitterness with your garden of Happiness and sweetness and contentment!

Struggles that are overcome 

​It’s short today. 

Basically all of last month I fought through comparison. 

I fought it physically, comparing myself to other people’s appearances and trying to be like them. Trying to make my body do something it wasn’t designed to do. 

I fought it emotionally. Comparing my weakness to others (probably their strengths) and thinking I was wrong (I’m not, not when I’m feeling as God has me to) 

I fought it spiritually. I was asked to speak in a small way at an event. An event I cherish. An event where thousands of women from my state come. Can you say TERRIFIED! I fought my memories of past speakers and the expectations that I thought people would have. 
But all of these have been rendered useless as weapons against me. My physicality is that which God has designed. My emotions are that which God has ordained and blessed. My walk with Him is precious to Him and is different from everyone else. These same truths apply to you as well. 

I don’t know what you struggle with comparison over but I know we all have looked at someone else and said “I wish I was like them”

God has not designed us to be like each other, but to be more and more like HIM. 

I encourage you to stop striving to be someone else, be the person God has designed you to be. And be an imitator of Christ, not His creation.

I still have hourly reminders of what God says about me in His word and that has been an integral part of my movement forward. I still struggle in small small ways but I remind myself of the truths in God’s word and those struggles are overcome! 

Only through God’s word are those clingy pesky problems losing their grip on my heart and soul. Through God’s word, you can experience the same freedom. 

Self-love

Love yourself

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself”

 Matthew 22:39

Don’t burn me at stake for title – there’s a reason for the title. 

This month for me is about loving myself so that I can truly love those around me. This isnt about loving myself above all else, this is about loving the creation of God that is, me. If God loves me, then I should love me. Flaws and all. 

As part of my self-love month challenge I created alarms that go off every hour to remind me what God says about me. And to remind me of the the phrases that are triggers of self-doubt; not to create self-doubt to counter it. 

I’ve always stopped worrying about my physical appearance so intently – it had become an idol of negativity for me as it is for so many people as well. 

This month challenge for me has a goal – At the end of the month I want to be able to say in full confidence that I love myself as I am, as God has created me to be and that confidence will not shaken or removed by anyone or any circumstance. 

People may have expectations and I will do my best to meet them but overall I must meet God’s expectations.

His expectations?

Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man [Insert your name], what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”

 If I do this everyday, in everything I do – from work to driving to interacting with my family to shopping to church to cooking to cleaning to whatever else – then I have met God’s expectations, and that is enough.

We must do this with God’s help, we cannot do this alone. You aren’t good enough to do this on your own, that is why you need Jesus. I’m not good enough on my own to do anything (except screw up), and I don’t like screwing up. So I need Jesus. 

No matter what I’m doing or how good I feel about my effort, I need Jesus to lead me and be my strength through it, to make whatever I am doing of Kingdom worth. To make the effect a lasting effect and brings a more clearer picture of Jesus who is to the people around me. 

Love yourself this month because Jesus loves you. When you know that Jesus loves you and you love you, then people around you will know that Jesus’ love is indeed real and is more than capable and WILLING of loving anyone. 

Reminder

Here is a little reminder about God. 

It is something “small” that sometimes we simply trivialize. 

But we CANNOT make this amazing truth about God small. 

One – God is not small.  God created the universe which is ever expanding. A small God cannot make a universe that has no end.  (I love the ever expanding universe, so many mysteries and things to be discovered. Another physical analogy for God’s greatness)

Two – God is not trivial. Therefore nothing about Him is either. He is the one who made us, made the universe, made everything else in between and beyond that we don’t even know about yet. We get to delight ourselves in His vastness. “I like your muchness” (quote from life action Alice in Wonderland. I speak in movie quotes and it helps be my reminder. God I like your muchness)
Reminder

God is good. (See why I prefaced it this way?)

We as long time Christians have made this great truth and reduced it to cliche status (I hate cliches, but I’m guilty of using them too)

But God is good. He is ALWAYS good. He never stops being good. 

Think about that for like 30 seconds – we have a hard time being good (nice to people, not giving into temptation, not thinking sinful thoughts, not saying sinful things) for like 30 minutes. (Trying to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I know I can’t make it 30  minutes)

Yet He never stops being good. He never stops having our best interests at heart. He never stops. He never sleeps. He is always good. 

Word it how you want so that it isn’t the cliche “God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good” 

Some people might get upset with me about this – I know how I perceive it when others tell that to me which means I’m not the only one to view it that way. While the phrase may have been over used, used by older Christians as a platitude, as a non-answer so that no one had to address the difficult situation before them, or simply as a Christian conversation filler ; this does not negate the truth in that phrase.

That God is good. He did not put evil in the world – he is not evil. He is good in that he gives us the choice between him who is always good and the devil that is allowed in the world. Evil is allowed so that God is chosen. Evil has its judgement day coming very soon. Make no mistake about that. Evil only had right now before sentencing and imprisonment. Good has now and forever. 

He is GOOD! HE NEVER STOPS BEING GOOD. HE IS ALWAYS GOOD. 

My spirit is overflowing with this not and sorrow that I have been guilty of trivializing God in His goodness. 

Lord Jesus, forgive us for forgetting that you are good. You are always good. You never stop being good. Forgive us for placing you in a box of our making – the box being our definition of what we think good is. Jesus show us what your goodness is. Reveal your goodness to us and through us. Help us to remember this at all times. The fun times, the sad times, the painful, the pain free, the numb times, the stressed times, the quiet times, the overwhelming times, and everything else in between. You are good. You are always good. You never stop being good God. We by God ourselves at your feet to see your goodness. To experience your goodness in a way that we never have before.  

Be blessed in your adventures – I encourage you to find the way to phrase it that it speaks to you and that you can say it that doesn’t make you feel like you’re saying a cliche.  For me it is as I have repeated. God you are good. You are always good. You never stop being good. Thank you for being good.  I added that last little bit. 

Here is the song that sparked this within me. I love this particular singer (the passion and sings with gets me excited and motivates me to sing that passionately about Jesus!) I also love the simplicity of this song. It has been my theme for well over a year. In case the link doesn’t work, it is the shorter version of King of my heart sing by Jeremy riddle and Steffany Gretzinger 

https://youtu.be/KQVRbHv3dHo

Crossroads

God has placed each of us at a crossroads.

Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right of to the left, I will be with you. A voice behind you saying, this is the way walk ye in it.

Our cross roads are different. They come at different times in our lives. They come under different circumstances. They come involving different people.

But all the same, we each come to a God crossroads.

God longs for us to turn to Him and say “Lord, where do you want me to go? What choice will not be a hindrance to your will? Which way will bring you glory?”

Sometimes these are MAJOR choices…and other times it is…how will I react in this situation?

We had our ladies meeting last night, and the point of the message came to – my choices might affect someone else’s decision about God.

Meaning if I chose to act like a jerk and give free reign to my complaint, will that bring someone to Jesus or stop them? Or if I chose to bite my tongue, have anger and do not sin, give my complaint to the Lord – will that bring someone closer to Jesus or stop them?

There are times when a true social injustice towards others is committed and it is then our duty to respond in a Godly manner and then there are times when it is you under attack and the Lord must come to your defense. You have to see the situation for what it is.

But you also have to ask God’s option and do that! You don’t have to follow God’s will – He gave us free will. But we all have had the times of us doing our own thing and falling flat on our face with  our hands in our pockets. When we do as God wishes us, then we succeed, He gets glory, and His kingdom and unconditional love progresses forward.

I don’t know about you but I defintely want God’s will to come to pass in my life at every opportunity. I’m making it a daily habit and throughout the day to always ask ‘ Lord, what am I to do? How do I act? How do I react? How do I speak in this situation? Which way do you want me to go?”

I hope I”m not alone in this, for the benefits of doing God’s will are second to none.

Enjoy

These past few weeks have been a mix of joy and sorrow.

More joy than sorrow.

Brain surgeries, people leaving the church, painful misunderstandings.

New members at church, new friendships, new vehicles, new ministries, new revelations from God, new fervor for the Lord.

I just want to encourage each one of us, to enjoy the goodness of the Lord whenever you can. If you do not take the time to enjoy the good times, then the bad times are not balanced out.

We all have those sorrowful moments – deep sorrow, fear, doubt – and those are going to happen. However, the outpouring of God’s goodness is what makes those moments enjoyable!

You can say the pain comes in the night but joy comes with the morning. Hold on to the last good thing that increased your joy in the Lord and enjoy the new one that is to come!

There is always a new outpouring of Gods goodness to come – we must enjoy it.

There is a story in the old testament about King Saul’s army. King Saul and his army have the attacking army on the run after fighting all day. King Saul makes a decree that anyone who eats or drinks anything before the army is overtaken. Well King Saul’s son did not know about the decree and ate some honey he found in the forest.

It is discovered and the men who are exhausted bring him forward for having broken the King’s decree. Johnathan makes his case “did my eyes not brighten when I ate the honey?”

ENJOYING THE LORD’S GOODNESS IS BRIGHTENING TO OUR LIVES! It is time to enjoy the Lord’s goodness and not walk around like a bunch of sour bills who call ourselves Christians.

Bad days happen – God is always good.

Acts 17:26-28

You belong here. Simple as that. 

God plants us according to the time and seasons that will be for glorifying to Him. 

It is all about Jesus. We can never forget that. We have access to the Father because of Jesus. We will not die if we go through Jesus. Our temporary problems become smaller in comparison with Jesus! It is always all about Jesus. 

He has placed you exactly where you are for His purposes! If you are in a dangerous or harmful situation – He does no thing to cause harm but always uses what the devil intends as bad for good. He has placed you and HE IS WITH YOU! 

We are here for a reason. To love Jesus. When that is our first priority, then everything else falls into place.

Finances – love Jesus with your tithe. The 90% will go further than the 100%.

Relationships (friendships or otherwise) – love Jesus with your responses. A gentle word turns away wrath. Love your neighbor as yourself. You don’t want someone yelling at you, don’t do it to them. Speak kindly or not at all. 

Time – love Jesus first. Jesus got up early to spend time with God. I get up early to spend time with God because HE is my priority. Purposefully set aside some time to pray and read the Word.

Body – love Jesus by honoring His definition of purity and marriage. Purity – no sex before marriage. This means none physically OR watching it (yes regular movies are included in that) OR replaying it in your mind. This sin God’s against you directly. Marriage – God intended for one man and one woman. Anything other than this is an unholy attempt to fill a holy void.  Loving Jesus with your body also takes the form in taking care of your body. Not doing harmful things to it (overeating, drugs, alcohol) God has made your body to be magnificent – try not to taint it. If younhave , ask for forgiveness and STOP! Don’t keep doing the bad. 

These things don’t disqualify you from being a Christian but what I’m saying is, if people can’t tell you apart from the rest of the world because you aren’t loving Jesus in every area, then what has Jesus done and why do they need him? 

These areas of honoring and loving Jesus make your life soooooo much better. It frees you from the worry everyone has when they don’t honor God in these areas. 

Something to think about – honoring God in every area. 

You are here for a reasonm. You aren’t an accident. 

You are created for a purpose.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Love the Lord your God with all your heart. 

This isn’t an option to give God only one part of our hearts, of our lives – it is God’s intention for us to give everything we are to Him. Is he greedy? No God has need for nothing. Is he jealous? Yes. He loves you so much, he wants all your attention. 

We think it’s cute when our dogs/pets or kids are jealous for our attention, yet when God, the one who created us and our attentions, is jealous for our time – that in unacceptable or impossible to do with our busy lives. Bologna. 

But we give our everything to God because He gave everything for each one of us. Us as a collective  of humans (not the borg – where are my trekkies) and each of us individually. He gave us His son – part of himself and all of himself at the same time, for us. And we can’t give Him his attention and time. 

We are charges with loving God with everything because without Him, we have nothing. 

People should see the difference between those who merely acknowledge God and those who have given everything to Him. Giving everything doesn’t always look the same. 

Sometimes it is seen in a missionary. They have given up moving where they want, in the culture they want, etc. Giving everything to God. Sometimes it is seen in a pastor. His/her full time job – hearing from God and listening to our issues. (There is more I know #PKLife but that is a lot of what happens). And yet sometimes it is seen in your co-worker who abstains from crude jokes, from gossip, from swearing (yes it’s in the biblie, let no un-wholesome talk come out of your mouths), abstain from alcohol or drugs or any kind, who honors even when humiliated, respects everyone. None of that is easy, but the profit of it by giving it to God is worth so much more than the ease of giving in. Your mind and mouth are clean – no one can accuse you. You havent been gossiping so no kids or rumors. You aren’t in anything that would flag a tox screen that would be cause for immediate unemployment or jail time. Your boss knows to trust you for always being honorable and respectful.

Is it easy? Hardly ever. Is is worth it? OF COURSE!

When we love Jesus with our whole hearts and minds and spirits and strength then He can fill us with His heart, His mind and thoughts, His spirit, and His strength. He can fill us because we have emptied ourselves to Him. 

Lord we empty ourselves out at your feet. We love you with everything – we need only you Father. We are emptied for you to do with as you please. Fill us, use us, whatever your will is Lord – we submit. We submit to you on God. You are Holy and Worthy!