Turn to God

Guest Post by Miss Libby Whitlow

Have you ever had a bouquet of your favorite flowers? I did- from my mom and dad on my birthday. Once the flowers got shriveled and dead looking, I had to throw them away so they wouldn’t stink up my room.

We can think of our hearts as the beautiful bouquet that God has created for us. Sometimes we can have happy moments or events in our lives that build us up inside and make us feel good about ourselves. Other times we can have sad moments that can tear us down inside that make us cry and make us feel bad about ourselves.

God takes us through hard events in our lives like the death of someone we loved, breakups , or stress and anxiety from Covid-19. (You know- getting your assignments for school turned in on time or your work’s projects/papers you have to get done and turned in on your boss’s desk by a certain time.)

The devil can use times where you are sad to get in your head and break you down even more. The devil can rob your flowers (your heart) of water and that can cause your flowers to shrivel up. If you don’t take control of the devil trying to sneak in your mind during these times, your flowers can start to stink and ruin your relationship with God. When we go through heartache, you need to turn to something to help you through the hard times. I encourage you to turn to God in prayer and to Christian music.

Psalm 119:28 says, “My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to Your Word!”

When I’m sad and I need to remind myself that God is always here for me and that he will never leave me, I listen to the song, Famous For by Tauren Wells. This song reminds me that God is great and that he is always working in my life.

God is still rolling stones in your life (just like Lauren Daigle sings in Still Rolling Stones) . When God gives you moments where He takes you from your best to your worst, just know and trust that God did that for a reason. He will be with you every step of your journey and it will make your relationship with God stronger than ever.

Keeping your heart fresh like that bouquet of flowers is a choice we can make. “And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Revelation 21:5

Backstage Pass

Easter Sunday I posted a scripture out of Matthew that accounts for one of my absolute favorite moments in the Bible – the moment that veil was torn.

Now y’all, I’m not a Biblical scholar – just a girl that loves Jesus with her whole heart – and I won’t get into an argument about the exact height and width of the veil. But I can say this without a doubt, fabric of that magnitude doesn’t just rip. It was a sheer miracle.

No pun intended.

Check out Hebrews 9 to really dig into exactly what this means for us.

Jesus died.

For me.

For you.

And when He did He became our way to the Holy of Holies. Before that infamous rip little ol’ me and little ol’ you weren’t getting a backstage pass. We weren’t good enough. We still aren’t – but Jesus is.

And He is standing in the gap for you and me.

Get excited.

Get to Jesus.

Because you GET to.

“But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people,” Hebrews 9:7

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split,” Matthew 27:51

It’s not Over.

Guest Post by Mrs. Beth Holder

Later he appeared to the Eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table. He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who saw him after he had risen. Then he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. —Mark 16:14-16

So the Lord Jesus, after speaking to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word by the accompanying signs.—Mark 16:19-20

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”—Acts 1:11

What a glorious celebration! Easter Sunday is such an amazing celebration! It’s not all about the candy and the eggs. Jesus conquered sin and death. He paid the debt we owe, so that we could experience salvation from eternal punishment.

…but, that was yesterday. Easter Sunday has come and gone. What now? Mow the yard, eat the candy, figure out something to make with the boiled Easter eggs, go back to work like normal? It seems a bit anticlimactic to just go back to everyday life when just yesterday we celebrated the most exciting event in history. The story isn’t over, though. We have a mission.

Jesus appeared to the disciples and He rebuked their unbelief. Are we sitting in a period of unbelief? All God’s promises come true. May we seek forgiveness for our complacency and doubts. Let’s not allow the excitement of Easter to dwindle. Keep it alive by sharing the news that He has risen. Jesus commanded us to share that message of salvation. One day, He’s returning to claim His own. Let’s not be found sitting in despair. Let’s be found celebrating salvation and sharing it for others to experience. Let’s take on the excitement of Mary Magdalene who “went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord!’” (John 20:18) There’s an exclamation at the end of her pronouncement. She was obviously, and rightly so, very excited! Because of Easter, we have life, glorious life!

Good Eye

Guest Post by Mrs. Carrie Hunt

Matthew 6:22-23 The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.

In Matthew 6 Jesus is teaching His famous Sermon on the Mount. He gives very practical advice on how to give, pray, fast, and how to deal with anxiety. It is all very easy to understand and apply. But found in the middle of this portion of text are these two obscurely worded verses.

The phrases “good eye” and “bad eye” were a common figure of speech used in 1st century culture. It communicated how a person saw the world. If a person saw the world as a good place and trusted God was on the move and in control, they were said to have a good eye. Likewise, if a person saw and only lived for their own desires or only acknowledged the negativity in the world they were considered to have a bad eye. It is similar to our modern day figure of speech that someone sees the world through a glass half empty or half full.

God’s desire is for us to have a good eye. He wants us to be looking for His goodness in the world and to consider ways to join Him in His plan to bring the Kingdom of God to earth.

The beginning of this teaching warns us not to collect treasures on earth where they can get broken, stolen or deteriorate, but rather give while on earth! The greek word that is used for the word good in the above passage is the same word we use for generous. If you believe that God is good and want to partner with Him then you would naturally be generous. Being kingdom minded means we use the things God has blessed us with to serve others. It will cost us. We should freely give time, resources, and forgiveness.

Let us pray for a good eye and set our focus on kingdom advancement.

No Easy Feat

My heart has been so burdened for people going through storms lately, but I feel the clouds lifting. I believe the storms are subsiding.

It’s so important to stand in the gap and pray for your friends. I know first hand how true this is. When I had covid I was literally so sick I couldn’t pray – but my friends prayed.

There are so many easier things to do besides interceding for others. Carrying a burden for someone else is no easy feat.

Playing on social media is mindless.

Netflixxing is entertaining.

Reading for pleasure is fun.

All of those things are fine, but not if God has placed a burden on your heart to pray for someone else. We’ve got to make some sacrifices – after all that’s exactly what Jesus did every single day He was here on this earth.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 1 Timothy 2:1

Don’t Quit.

Guest Post by Mrs. Samantha Nungester

“If you want to heal your hearts wounds, start healing your thoughts.” – Alexandra Vasiliu

I have had so many people say to me, “I just need to get away, yanno? Just get out of here for a bit. I just need a break!” This is the actual Truth of that statement: wherever you go, you take your mind with you.

Say I finally get the break Im so craving. I’m finally on a beach, soaking up the sun, and the only noise I hear is that of the waves crashing against the sand. That’s the secret to all my stresses and worries just melting away, right? Wrong! The reason that’s not the answer is because 9 times out of 10, I’m going to be sitting on that beach still dwelling on everything I “left at home”. The idea of escaping our reality for a bit is honestly detrimental because if our reality is in need of escaping from, then we aren’t truly living the way God intended for us to be living.

This is what Jesus said on the matter: ““Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.” (Matthew 11:28 TPT) JESUS IS YOUR OASIS.

Is it really that simple, though? Just turn it all off, hand it over to God and enjoy our lives? Absolutely. But as one minister said, “It’s our stinkin thinkin that limits us most.” It’s hard carrying a backpack full of life’s worries around and trying to run a marathon while we do it.

So, as challenging as it is, think positive today. Meditate on God’s Goodness and Promises. Don’t magnify the negative and the bad, but magnify God and His Word to be greater.

The best is yet to come, friends. Don’t quit.

Because He Lives.

Guest Post by Mrs. Kylie Lyday

Spring time, my favorite time of the year. A time of new beginnings & blossoms, sunshine, and remembrance. As the little girl I once was I loved Easter – more so than any other holiday. I loved the big dresses with bright colors I wore on that Sunday morning to church. I loved gathering with family, and loved seeing the signs “He is Risen” throughout the neighborhood. For myself, it was a time of celebration and remembrance. Remembering the one who brought us from death to life. Only Jesus can do such a thing as that.

“I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after death. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.” John 11:25-26

Before Easter was beautiful, it was once a dark time. It was once a tragedy. It was once heartbreak, cruelty, and difficulty – only until three days later. Many of us to this day experience dark, difficult, tragic moments and wonder when we will see the sunshine. When will we see easier times and hope. I feel Jesus wants to remind myself and others we already have our hope we are looking for. We have hope because He lives. We can face the fears we have because He lives. We can face the test results, anxiety, conversations, viruses, disorganization, busy schedules because He lives. Might I add that since He lives, so can you. Simply believe. Stop bearing your cross when He already took it up for you.

As we step forward into this Easter season, I hope you choose to truly live. I hope you are fixed in the reminder that He conquered death. Because He lives there is nothing you cannot do with His love, grace, and mercy. We find our life when we find the one who gives us life. What an honor it is to believe in his living power. With it, we get to truly live. Happy Easter. Always remember, He is risen.

Flawed.

Hey.

Stop staring in the mirror picking yourself apart.

Seriously. Stop it.

God did not make you to dislike yourself. Those self-deprecating thoughts are not from Him.

God made you in His image.

Soak that in. Really think on it.

The devil is a liar, and he would love nothing more than to rip your self-esteem apart ounce by ounce. He would love for you to be so down on yourself, so focused on your flaws, and so deprived of confidence that you can’t step out and step up for God.

Girl, you are not flawed. You are flaw-some. Every little thing that you think is wrong with yourself is actually right, and that’s the truth.

Flip the script. Take the things that you perceive to be holding you back and use them to propel yourself forward for God’s Kingdom.

You are made in His image, girl.

And don’t you ever forget it.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 5:10

Uncertainty

Guest Post by Brooke Wolcott

What is this feeling?  This uneasy, shaky, paralyzing anxiousness resting with my soul.  The struggle of my simple presence in the routine task of life.  Why I am so uncertain? A pure lack of confidence, consumed with worry, and reinforcing a debilitating awareness of self-doubt. Not completely confident or sure of anything.  Uncertainty, what is your deal? I need answers!  

If you are remotely like me, the last 12-months has been filled with uncertainty.  What will be the outcome of our nation impacted by a pandemic?  How will our collective and individual futures be changed?  What about the loss of life?  What about employment opportunity, school, the short and long term effects on society as a whole?  Uncertainty masks itself in a variety of forms.  A chameleon by nature, adapting to each individual with the same detrimental result.  How are we to deal with this bottomless lack of clarity?  More specifically, as Christians who must functionally live in a world seemingly thriving on such a commodity, what are we to do?  Let’s make this a touch more personal and take the first step of confessing uncertainty’s presence in my own life.

A couple of months ago I turned twenty-three years old.  Instead of celebrating and enjoying the excitement for another year of life, I was consumed with a lack of clarity.  What was I to do with my life now?  What about my continuation of school?  What about the beginning of a young career?  What were my options now, post pandemic?  I had a few ideas that “sounded” decent.  Each would be “acceptable” and good career paths.  However, missing from each was my own desire to pursue, to personally invest the passion necessary to achieve.  What if I make the wrong choice?  With that one thought, I began surrendering the solid ground of spiritual truth for unstable worldly thoughts and anxiety.  What if I was not ready?  What if I’m not good enough?  What if I’m not smart or driven enough to excel?  What if I become a failure?  What if I’m already a failure?  What will others say?  Not knowing or having answers for the questions I was continuously asking myself left me feeling scared and defeated.  I mean, surely, one must always have certainty and clarity for the choices made in life.  Right?  As I dealt with these personal experiences, I turned to God’s Word for answers.

The Bible says in John 15:19 “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”  This verse quickly reminded me of the very real tension that exists between my spiritual walk in Christ functioning bodily in the everyday world.  We, as Christians, are not of this world (1 Peter 2:11).  Rather we have been called out of this world to a live a new life.  God has transformed us, given us a new heart and new spirit.  Therefore, was my seeking of continued comfort and certainty in the circumstances of the world misguided?  Was that my problem?  Was I really asking questions of myself and seeking counsel from the world?  What was I to do?  Take a deep breath….be still….   

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 (NKJV)  

I needed to guard my heart and shelter my mind in the truth of Christ and find sanctuary in His peace.  We all will continue to experience a chaotic world that has more than its share of difficulties.  God has a plan for each and every one of us.  And, yes, sometimes it’s not what we might expect.  All of us will face situations that are virtually incomprehensible.  When faced with uncertainty, we have a choice.  We can give in to the fear of the unknown or remain hopeful in God’s plan for our lives.  We can cower in the world’s shadow or be an example of Christ’s light to all.  Indeed, the complexities of this world are spinning quickly, but all is spinning under His watchful eye.  With each passing moment, we all are another step further along on His plan and the journey He has laid out for our lives.  This is right where we’re supposed to be. 

In Romans 12:2 the Bible says “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Imagine how settling it would be if we let go of all our worries and cast our cares upon Him (Psalm 55:22). Instead of seeking answers for our life, we simply and resolutely seek Him (Matt. 6:33). Together, let’s take it all in. Let’s enjoy every moment this life has to offer. Instead of worrying when we don’t have the answers, let’s choose to focus on Christ‘s peace and His guidance. Let’s walk purposefully in the plan He has for us. In His strength we can fulfill His calling of peace, hope, and love!

The real Flex.

Guest Post by Mrs. Kim Harris

Who wants to be foolish? Silly question, right? The irony is that even though it may sound ridiculous, that is exactly what we are if we don’t actively seek and aggressively pursue wisdom. No matter how smart, intelligent or well educated you may be, without wisdom and understanding from God, it means nothing. Wisdom doesn’t come from a one time prayer or a book. Wisdom comes from making, submitting to, and serving God a lifestyle. By prayerfully reading God’s Word, meditating on it, memorizing it and asking Holy Spirit to open your heart to what it is saying.

The second part of wisdom is putting it into action. We can be filled with knowledge and wisdom from the Word of God but if we don’t follow it or do what it says, it will be of no value to us. The Bible tells us in Matthew 4 that even Satan knows what the Word of God says. King David’s son, King Solomon, was the wisest man in the world but he did not apply it to his marital relationships. In 1 Kings 11, the Bible tells us he had 700 wives, 300 concubines and they led him astray and “turned his heart after other gods”. The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s Word are life changing, however, our lives are only changed to the extent we are wiling to let it be and surrender to His authority.

Read your Bible daily. Determine to pick it up first thing in the morning before you pick up social media. Spend time in prayer and worship. Ask the Lord to lead and guide you each day by the power of the Holy Spirit so that you can actively live out the wisdom He gives you each day.

Wisdom. It’s the real flex.

Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. ~ Proverbs 4:5-8

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. ~ James 3:13-15, 17 NIV

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. ~ Psalms 119:105 NIV