Let there be light

 From the beginning of time words have had the power to bring light to darkness, order to chaos, and form to emptiness. Day by day God revealed His thoughts through the words He spoke-creating an illuminated universe. His words brought newness and transformation to a space.

 Over the course of our lifetimes, we hear words and messages spoken directly or indirectly to us. These words become the building blocks to our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world. Thought by thought, like bricks stacked to erect walls, our beliefs become the building materials we use to create our own inner world within our hearts and minds.

When a person’s beliefs are strong and firmly set, other beliefs cannot easily penetrate the walls. If we are to break down walls that no longer serve us in a healthy way, we need a power tool that can penetrate and that allows words through that can help renovate these spaces. Hebrews 4:12 tells us  “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

Scripture uses the word illumination to describe the “turning on the light” in the spiritual sense. When God’s Word enters our hearts, it gives light and understanding that brings truth to us about our beliefs. God’s Word begins to transform and renovate the spaces in our hearts and minds.

Are there words you have longed to hear? Those words are in His word. Write them down, say them out loud again and again.  In doing so, new building blocks are formed which become new thoughts and beliefs.  

Or maybe you have built faulty beliefs about yourself that now are barriers keeping any positive truths about yourself out. If so, I challenge you to pick up your power tool- God’s Word- and let renovation and transformation begin. As walls are penetrated, truth and the “the light” shine through.

   “For God, who said. ‘Let light shine out 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.”            2 Corinthians 4:6.

 Everything we will ever need to hear has already been spoken to us through Jesus Christ, The Word made flesh.  

May we earnestly look for Him, and in doing so there will be life-giving light.

Borders

🎶Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders🎶

Have you ever stopped and thought about that lyric? Cause I was listening to a cover of this song, and I felt that lyric. I can’t explain it but I felt like I needed to write about it.

I thought about the borders part. “where my trust is without borders”

I think we all have doubts. I think we all also put up borders when we get scared, or uncomfortable, or aren’t ready for something.

You start to not trust God anymore.

Maybe you start doubting what God is leading you to, to what He is calling you to?

Maybe you’re like me and you shut people out. You start distancing yourself because you’re afraid?

But think about that lyric. “Spirit lead me”.

Let the Holy Spirit, let God, lead you. Pull those borders down and let God lead you to where you are uncomfortable. To where you’re scared. To what you aren’t ready for yet.

Because He is still with you. He is still leading you.

I think sometimes we get too caught up in what we think is best for ourselves. We forget that God knows our heart better than we do.

He knows what is best.

He knows that you’re scared.

That you aren’t ready. He knows that you are having doubts.

But just take a minute and let Him lead you to where your trust is finally without borders. Let Him show you that you can trust Him; Let Him lead you to where you think you can’t fight for yourself. But remember, He has already fought, and He won your battle for you.

He can lead you so that your trust is without borders.

The Key

I’ve never shared my faith in writing or so publicly until a few months ago. That is a story for another post. When I agreed to write my first post for @raysofsunshineinc, I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about exactly. But a few days ago, I read Mrs. Ashley Pinner’s post on obedience and how “that silent obedience often has the loudest echo” and I knew then that this was the post I needed to write. 

That day I received confirmation through the Lectio 365 app and the verse, “Blessed… are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” – Luke 11:28

Obedience is a tricky thing. Sometimes we don’t want to be obedient… perhaps someone hurt us. Perhaps we feel we are too busy. Perhaps we feel what he is asking us is too hard or inconvenient. But I think we all know that God has a good and perfect will for our lives, that God is the God of forgiveness, and that God never fails.

At my church, we have been learning about the prophetic word. 1 Corinthians 14:1-3 says, “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging, and comfort.”

There have been several times over the past few months where God has asked me to do something or say something and obedience has always been the key to freedom.

The first was when I was reading the bible, and praying, I felt God say I needed to apologize to my dad. I balked a bit as I felt like I shouldn’t be the one apologizing. I should mention that my dad and I have been estranged for the past thirty years or so. He has been in my life, but we have had a great distance between us. This post is not the place to discuss what estranged us, but if there was ever going to be reconciliation, if we were ever going to recover what the locusts had stolen over the past thirty years, I had to make the first step in obedience. I called him and apologized for my anger, withdrawal, and frustration during that time and just like that, “Lisa, I forgive you.” I balled. I did. And there was such a sense of relief and freedom. 

The second moment of obedience came when I very clearly heard a word for my father at church. The word was that he would write a book to help people, it would give him greater purpose, and that he has a gift of intercession and healing. That weekend I invited both my parents over for a feast at my house. When I invited my dad over to my house (which he has been many times) this time, it didn’t feel like a burden, but a gift. And there was joy where there were ashes, despair, and devastation. Rather than praying exactly what God had told me, I prayed a simple prayer of encouragement and comfort over him before he left… something like, “God I know you are not done with him. He has a greater purpose on this earth.” Confirmation came quickly…the next day, he called me and told me he wanted to write a book.

I wish I could say that the third moment of obedience was the easiest… I wish I could tell you that it was instantaneous. But I am human and sometimes I don’t always do as I am told.

In reality it took over a month for me to say yes. I had no idea what it would be. But I knew that it was clearly God’s will for me to use my gifts and talents to help him. But honestly, you and I know it was more than that. It was a second chance. It was a gift. And it was God renewing places in my life long devastated and mending generational wounds.

Many times God is asking you to do something hard and “declaring (his) will and powerfully communicating his heart” (Pete Greig, How to Hear God, (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2022), p. 115 via Lectio 365 app. 

After I shared my faith publicly (again a story for another post), I heard God say, “they will be drawn to you not because of your reputation but because of your obedience, your devotion, and your vulnerability.” I felt him say “don’t shy away from those that need you most. Don’t be afraid to share my Love and my Word with them.”

So I will leave you with this, if God is asking you (or has been asking you to do something), lean into it. Ask for wisdom. Ask for confirmation. Ask for discernment. Ask for the “peace that passes all understanding.” And be obedient to what God is asking you to do. We are to use God’s words for others to edify, encourage, and comfort. Be obedient to those “God nudges” because there is beauty and freedom in the next step.

He restores my soul

Life is a rollercoaster of highs and lows, it’s ups and downs at every turn. As christians we will have wonderful mountaintop experiences, but we will also have moments in the valley. Whether you are experiencing a mountaintop moment or you feel like you’re in the valley, God’s love and presence remains the same. It is His promise to us that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

“For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:10

Through the highs and lows of life He is always there, but I think sometimes we tend to view God’s love and sovereignty depending on our present circumstances. With that being said, I think we feel that we are closer to God on the mountaintop. Our praise is elevated and our faith is stronger than ever before, usually because we have just come out of the valley. He may have just answered a prayer that we have been praying for a while, and we can recognize His grace and mercy on us better. It is the moment when we feel God truly reveals Himself and His Sovereignty to us. God uses the highs of life to renew our strength for when we face the valleys. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could just stay there in the peace that we feel when we are fully in the presence of God? Unfortunately until we are with Jesus for eternity this mountaintop experience is temporary.

I actually think because we live in such a fallen world we spend more time in the valleys of life. This sometimes brings with it a feeling of loss, like we don’t feel God’s presence or love as strongly as before. We think that God isn’t listening or we question if he truly cares for us. The Valley can bring with it feelings of fear, grief, worry, frustration, and etc. We may tend to question God’s plan and why He would let us experience these moments and feelings. Well, believe it or not the time we spend in the valley is a treasure from God. It is a time God uses to refine us and strengthen our faith. As christians we know we can’t make it without Him. We may be down for a moment, but we remember the mountaintop and how we felt His mercy and grace. God wants to draw us closer to Him, our Great Shepherd, who leads us. We learn to lean on Him and trust Him and ultimately that is what God wants. He wants our faith and love. He wants us to surrender fully to Him while we wait for that mountaintop!!

The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul;

He leads me in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil;

For You are with me;

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

All the days of my life;

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord

FOREVER!!!!

Psalm 23:1-6

Surrender All

A tiny broken bone can cause much pain and discomfort. Swelling, bruising. Being unable to walk correctly causes pain in other joints, the back, and other leg. Left untreated it causes even greater problems and possible surgery to correct. No one could tell it was broken, but when I surrendered to the doctor and had an x-ray it revealed the broken bone.

I realized while dragging this heavy boot around that our lives are much like that. We try to look and act normal but we are carrying around unconfessed sin, hurts from yesterdays, unhealed wounds, conflict with other people, un-forgiveness, etc. Just like the broken bone when left untreated, these create relationship problems, marriage problems, work problems.  Only Jesus can fix these. Only He knows and can see into our heart.  But we first have to surrender to Him. Stop, rest, confess, allow God time to mend you.

    “I surrender all, I surrender all, all to Him I freely give, in His presence daily live”

Do I really give all of me, am I living in His presence? 

Hebrews 12:1-2 CSB/NKJ says Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin which so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Brothers & sisters get free, make things right, get rid of the weight, burdens that are holding you back, and causing you to stumble. Let Jesus heal you and set you free. We have so many cheering us on to live a life of joy, strength and freedom.  Forgive, forget, ask God to show you what you are carrying unnecessarily. Don’t let the past ruin the present relationships in your life, don’t let fear overtake you.  Don’t leave it for days, months or years. The master surgeon, our Father, Jesus can and will take it and heal it. Let it go, give it up, surrender!

Mary’s version of Hebrews 12:1 “I’m surrounded by loved ones, friends, family, and those who are in heaven cheering me on. I must let go of sin & past hurts, letting my thoughts wander, things that get me off track with Jesus. I can run or limp these days with endurance, able to accomplish and finish the plan God has designed for me, if I only keep my eyes on Jesus, the one who endured the cross and suffering because of me.”
Broken & Surrendered,  
Mary

This boot is heavy! I’m ready to lay it aside so I can walk normally (it hasn’t even been 24 hours yet). I’m not sure why things happen the way they do, but this has me stopped. I’m a server, doer, and caretaker. I struggle to make myself stop – I know I need to and it seems God has provided me an opportunity to rest that I cannot refuse. He has my undivided attention now and for the next 4 weeks!

Silent Obedience

The book of Acts is full of brave, honorable tales following the great Paul.

Paul’s conversion from murderer to missionary is prized and celebrated,

often overshadowing the obedience of Ananias.

The incredible, silent champion, Ananias.

God called average Ananias to seek out and speak to Saul, the infamous murderer.

Instead of making excuses or running in fear, Ananias responds, “Yes, Lord.”

He wasn’t distracted by the noise around him or fear within him.

He wasn’t concerned with receiving credit or glory.

He only wanted to obey God and impact eternity.

So, he followed orders, found Saul, and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Ananias didn’t walk on water, survive a furnace, or defeat a giant,

but his silent obedience set off a series of events that changed the world.

Ananias changed the life of Paul who planted churches and penned parts of the Bible.

So often, we believe that our service is ordinary and our obedience is unimportant.

The underlying truth is that Ananias was a silent champion who changed history…

and we are chosen to be silent champions too.

You were chosen for the family that you serve day after day…after day.

You were chosen for the classroom that you show up for every single day.

You were chosen to obey in every avenue and assignment that God gives.

✨That silent obedience often has the loudest echo.

The prayers you pray over your kids before bed every night.

The early mornings you spend reading your Bible.

The tiny ways you serve your husband.

The times you give and serve and love.

They may not be seen or heard by man,

but they are echoing into eternity.

Influenced

Hi. 👋🏻

My name is Daisy, and I don’t want to be an influencer.

I don’t want to be an influencer because I’m human, and humans fail.

They fail miserably.

Checkout Merriam’s definition of influence: the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.

Y’all, that’s a pretty heavy burden to bear if you really think about it.

You know what I do want to be though? I want to be a follower – a follower of Jesus Christ.

The truth of the matter is that as humans we will be influenced by someone or something.

And if I’m gonna be influenced, let me be influenced by Jesus. Let me be influenced by the words penned in that leather bound book written all those years ago.

Let me follow Him.

Jesus, influence me to be more like you.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24

Adversity

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.”

Ecclesiastes 7:14

Adversity: a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune.

As a Christian, adversity is a pretty familiar word to me. Life is hard and has many curves, and at times it’s so easy to just give up or give in.

That’s the point where you learn to take a stand and face adversity straight up. In order to do this, here are some things to help:

1. Maintain a good attitude:

When trouble arises, it’s so easy to give in. It can take over our physical, emotional, and spiritual strength. Rely on God and resist the temptation to give into trials so that you can overcome all obstacles. This will give the best positive outcome.

2. Trust God:

Often when we face adversity, our self esteem can take a major hit. Remember that with God ALL things are possible, and nothing you face is greater than him. Adversity is an experience – not your identity. Don’t let it define you.

3. Rely on your support system:

Everyone gets down at times, but that’s where your support system comes in to cheer you on! Never be afraid to ask for help or prayer. You can’t always rely on your own strength, but good thing we have an Almighty God that can carry all of our weight.

4. Don’t criticize yourself:

You aren’t perfect!! Don’t allow mistakes to set you back. Learn from them and push forward.

5. Don’t neglect self care:

Your spiritual, mental, and physical health are very important. Stay focused on God and spend quality time with him, for your strength comes from him and not your own doing.

Today, I challenge you to face whatever adversity comes your way. Rely on God and trust him to help you get through whatever it is. Remember, and never forget, that you’re loved, and God is never far.

Without ceasing

Do you ever feel like there is never enough time in the day? 

Most days, I start the day with my to-do list and end with too many unchecked boxes thinking, “Hopefully I will have time tomorrow to get it all done”.  

Life gets so busy that when I stumble upon verses like 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “pray without ceasing”, I feel the pressure of it instead of seeing the freedom in it.

At first glance, I wonder…How in the world am I supposed to fit continual, constant, unceasing prayer into my already packed schedule? It seems like such an unattainable goal! I begin to feel like my prayer life is not what it should be, but then the Holy Spirit within me does what He does best….reminds me of the truth. 

God doesn’t call us to stop living our lives so that we can give all our time to prayer. He calls us to pray in the midst of our busy schedules. 

We should not view prayer as just another item on our to-do list. Instead, we should seek to live in a way that we are constantly connected with God as we stumble our way through our daily routines and busy schedules. In the midst of our busyness God wants us to pause and during that pause we can…

• Praise Him

• Thank Him

• Worship

• Cry out to Him

• Just talk to Him

“pray without ceasing” is God’s way of calling us into connecting with Him each and every day.

This quote was in a bible study I have been doing this week:

“The only person who dares wake up a king at 3am for a glass of water is a child. We have that kind of access.” -Tim Keller

We have access to our King, 24 hours a day. Seek him continually. He wants to hear from His kids.

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It is well

“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

There’s this weird dichotomy in my life right now. My kids are grown-ish, 28, 24, and 20. So they need me less, but my mom and dad, who are 86-87, need me more. We are empty-nesters, technically, but my parents live on the same property as us by choice so that we can help them as needed. They say when you’re raising kids that the days are long but the years are short, and while that is definitely true, it’s also true when you’re helping “raise” your parents in their elderly years.

I often say that my particular set of old people are like toddlers with money and driver’s licenses. Y’all, I feel this in my bones! They are fiercely independent, yet many times physically unable to complete the chosen task. Their reasoning skills and reflexes are slowing. Is it scary? Oh my gosh, yes. It’s scary and humbling to watch your parents grow old before your very eyes. My world-traveler parents now have many, many days where they don’t leave their house. Church, which was always a constant, now becomes more vital than ever as it serves not only for worship and spiritual connection but also for some much-needed socialization (that after-church lunch with friends is the highlight of the week!). You can see the changes coming, you see them fighting those changes with all their might, but to no avail. Their world is shrinking and that’s a hard pill to swallow for all involved.

And then there are my kiddos. Y’all, watching your kids grow up to be who they are meant to be is the MOST REWARDING thing I’ve ever experienced. They’ve found their “people” – the ones they lean on, who they go to when the going gets tough. They have friends, loved ones, extended families and church families to help guide them along the way. So they need me less. Don’t get me wrong, they still need Brad and I. We still have lots of conversations, some of them tough, many others hopeful for the future. They seek us when they navigate the world, but we are not their only source now, and to be honest, I love that.

So here’s where the dichotomy lies. My children’s worlds are opening up, expanding as they explore new freedoms and adventures. My parent’s world is growing smaller seemingly by the minute. Brad and I are somewhere in the middle of all of this. Yet what I notice is a common thread running through it all – peace.

Peace as my newlyweds work as one to craft their shared vision of their life together.

Peace as my middle finds his “person” and genuinely smiles at all the future holds.

Peace as my youngest discovers her inner strength and footing all on her own.

Peace as my parents look back on a life well-lived and well-loved.

Peace as my husband and I navigate this new phase in our lives.

Peace.

In all ways.

Do we have struggles? Sure. Do we have hard times? Absolutely, just like everyone else. I find myself close to tears many times throughout my daily tasks. Happy tears because I’m so dang proud of my family and who they are, but also sad, nostalgic tears because my parents’ world is quickly shrinking. But I’ve noticed this “calm” throughout them that I often wasn’t sure I’d ever experience. If you know me then you know that I can be somewhat of a control freak, so when things don’t go the way I think they should go I tend to struggle a bit (okay, maybe a lot). But, even when days are hard and there are happy/sad tears and sometimes rude awakenings, there is calm. It took me a long time to get here, but I realize now that the peace I feel is faith. Faith that things will work out EXACTLY as they are meant to, because God is in control. He’s got this, I just need to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

“When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say

It is well, it is well with my soul.” – Bob Kauffman & Sovereign Grace

Indeed, it is well with my soul.