What keeps us from loving God and loving others the way we should?
Matthew 22:37-39 (NLT)
“Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
I love how Jesus’ words in this scripture simply say “you must”. We do not have a choice.
But what does it truly mean? I’m talking about loving the Lord with ALL of your heart, soul, and mind. It means every part of you is for him. This is not something to take lightly. We do this by giving up the life we want and seeking the one He wants for us. We have to allow our heart to truly beat for Him. Our mind also belongs to Him – not this world. We must sacrifice our personal wants, desires, and ways of this world the way He sacrificed his own life for us.
– It’s guarding your heart with His armor and strength.
– It’s allowing Him to work through you.
– It’s not allowing your mind to be filled with the worry, hurt, sins of this world but His truth only.
– It’s not trying to figure it all out on our own. But finding peace with where He has us. (Matthew 5:9)
Finally, if you’re going to love yourself, you have to see it through the Father’s eyes. If we’re going to love the person that cut us off in morning traffic, beat us to the front of the line, or let us down when we were counting on them, we’re going to have to see them through the Father’s eyes. Patient and forgiving. He is sufficient for what we need to live out his commands.
Mean mommas oftentimes create mini-me versions of themselves. I don’t know how else to say it.
Empowering other women is a huge topic lately – as it should be. However, if we are truly here to empower other women then we need to model that behavior for our daughters – in public and in privacy.
It starts at home, y’all.
In retrospect, what’s done in the privacy of your own home – isn’t really private. After all, Alexa is listening to our every word.
This is actually where the rubber meets the road. It’s where the real us can really be us.
And who do we really want to be when no one else is watching but our daughter?
I want to be a strong, Jesus-loving, Bible-toting, verse-slanging, Holy Ghost filled woman that exudes love and grace in everything she says and does. That’s a tough feat – I know. But if we are gonna have goals shouldn’t that be the one to have?
▪️Strong mommas hold their tongues.
▪️Strong mommas often keep their opinion to themselves – because that’s what it is – an opinion.
▪️Strong mommas pay the compliment.
▪️Strong mommas don’t have any room for jealousy because they are filled with Jesus.
▪️Strong mommas lift other women up.
▪️Strong mommas don’t spew ugly.
▪️Strong mommas point their babies toward Jesus.
I want to raise a young lady that fights for justice and loves like Jesus. A girl that’s strong and sweet. A girl that’s brave and benevolent.
So when the door is shut and the blinds are closed and it’s just my little family – I’ll be trying my best to do just that. Lifting others up and leading my little family to Jesus. It’s my greatest calling. It’s my greatest goal.
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
This is not often the most popular message; however, it is necessary as a Christian. We read this scripture “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If you truly want to follow me, you should at once completely reject and disown your own life. And you must be willing to share my cross and experience it as your own, as you continually surrender to my ways.”Matthew 16:24, but often we tend to skip over the denying yourself and taking up your cross part and go straight to the following Jesus part. However, we MUST die to us before we can ever truly follow Jesus.
I recently had a dream of my own crucifixion. It was one of the most beautiful, humbling, powerful experiences I’ve ever had with Jesus. The reality is, we must crucify our flesh, our desires, our opinions, our thoughts, our plans, our characteristics, so that we can take on more of Him.
It says in Galatians 2:20, “My old identity has been co-crucified with Messiah and no longer lives; for the nails of his cross crucified me with him. And now the essence of this new life is no longer mine, for the Anointed One lives his life through me— we live in union as one! My new life is empowered by the faith of the Son of God who loves me so much that he gave himself for me, and dispenses his life into mine!”
Our wonderful Father is not asking us to die to us because He wants to create robots. He’s asking us to die because without the death of us, we cannot be fully alive in Him, operating in everything Jesus died for. Fully alive in Jesus means that we look like Him. It means that we walk in the greatest love, kindness, boldness, passion, compassion, patience, joy, peace, etc.
This world needs Christians fully alive in Jesus. We’re not fully alive if we haven’t died to us yet. We sacrifice our obedience to God because we haven’t died to our comforts yet. When we’re fully dead to us and alive in Jesus, obedience to Holy Spirit is always top priority. This world doesn’t need Christians that look like self. This world needs Christians that look like Jesus. This world is waiting, groaning, longing for Christians who look like Jesus. They need face to face encounters with the King.
Let’s take a moment to pray. Make this personal to you.
Holy Spirit, I ask You to come. I ask You to show me what it means to die to me so that I can fully live in You. I ask for a personal revelation of crucifying me. I want to stay close to Your spirit, close to Your fire, the fire that purges me so that I become like You. I love You God and I thank You for inviting me into this death. Dying to me so that I live freely in Jesus is the most wonderful invitation and I say yes. Amen.
So here is the thing, I have issues with feeling inadequate at times. Like, “How can God use me?” “What is my purpose for the kingdom?”
Ever since I was asked to contribute to this page, I have worried that I wasn’t worthy or had anything worthwhile to say. I don’t always have the most catchy or witty things to say, and I questioned if anyone would even want to read anything that I wrote.
I began to write a “cookie cutter” lesson on my computer at school, but then the Lord stepped in. I came home to finalize that post only to find out that I had not saved it properly. Lost – everything was lost! I had to start over from scratch. Then the Lord spoke to me and said, “I am doing a NEW work in you! I have something else for you to say.”
Isn’t that just like the year we have had? All the plans and paths we thought we were on suddenly changed almost a year ago, and we have all had to adapt and readjust. I believe strongly that this is a time in history where God is going to do amazing things. We just have to be willing to be true disciples of His.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
EVERY Christian, not just those in formal ministry roles, are called to make disciples of all nations. The Lord has been showing me lately that my “nation” might just be my neighborhood. We all have a sphere of influence that the Lord has entrusted to us with whom we need to share the love of Jesus by simply doing life with each other.
You don’t have to go to a foreign land, have a degree in theology, or have a formal role in ministry to make disciples of those around you. Moms are called to love their children and families like Jesus does, and that is a mission field for sure. Teachers can positively impact students lives by loving them like Jesus when they need it most.
People in this country, probably more than ever, need Jesus and are seeking Him, even if they don’t realize it. The words we speak can either speak life or death into someone’s spirit, and I pray that all that I say or do will point the people I come into contact with to the cross.
Over the course of my life, I can look back on the everyday people I have come into contact with that have ministered to me in a meaningful way, many of which had no idea what they did. They simply lived their life out in such a way that it pointed to Christ. Rather that be a praying Grandmother that got me through many trials in life, to a caring teacher that offered extra encouragement at just the right moment, or a friend that offered to be present and listen just when I needed it.
When we fill our hearts, souls, and minds with the word of God, that overflow naturally impacts those around us and could quite possibly change the trajectory of not only their day but also their eternity.
I want to encourage anyone reading this to be filled with so much Jesus that it can’t help but overflow, to be intentional about relationships, and to treat your neighborhood as your mission field.
Now go out and make disciples. Yes YOU! I’m telling you to go out and make disciples!
True confession. I am a little obsessed with plastic dishes. I really like them. I love when Spring is just around the corner and value stores begin hawking brightly colored plates, bowls, and cups with gaudy prints in tropical patterns. Likewise, I have one large cabinet dedicated to reusable bowls with lids, good for leftovers and lunchboxes. I love getting new, pristine bowls with matching lids that I don’t need to search for. There is a hierarchy in the world of plastic containers. Tupperware is at the top! It costs the most, but it lasts forever. It seals perfectly, doesn’t leak, and washes easily. We all probably have a piece or two from our mom or even grandma at home! It is the gold crown on the plastic heap. Then there are the mid range plastic dishes like Rubbermaid. They have some quality pieces, but they aren’t quite in the Tupperware league. Next in line you have the toss and take varieties of plastics. I like these guys. They are good in a pinch, and I keep them long after the recommended one use. Doesn’t everyone? Last in the hierarchy are the empty cottage cheese, sour cream, and lunch meat containers. These bowls can be used just like the other dishes, but they are essentially free. Sure, they don’t seal as well, so you don’t want to transport liquids in them, but they are good in a pinch.Yes, they can be useful, but if someone forgets to clean their lunchbox out over spring break, I don’t feel nearly as bad about throwing them away as I would a Tupperware.
You may wonder what plastic dishes have to do with your relationship with God. You see, I am a Christian and have been for the better part of my life, but I have always felt more like a cottage cheese container than a Tupperware. I see all those Tupperware Christians. They seem to have life all together, they are stain resistant, and their lids never leak. You would never throw away a tupperware that got left in a lunch box over Spring Break. You would wash that sucker until it gleamed! It seems so valuable compared to the cottage cheese dish with the label wearing off the front and a lid that is a little bent and crooked. I feel like if God looked at me like I look at my plastic collection, He might just be tempted to say, this little cottage cheese container has really hung in there, but maybe she just isn’t worth the effort to save anymore. Maybe she’s just too worn out, after all this time she still leaks a little, and she certainly doesn’t hold everything together like a Tupperware. I don’t pray enough. I’m not good enough. I could always read and study the word of God more. I give in to panic and fear more than I like to admit. I don’t feel shiny and I certainly don’t have my life all together. If God looked at Christians like I look at plastics, I’m pretty sure I would be in recycling or the trash can.
Thankfully, God does not see me as a cottage cheese container. I am not at the bottom of the Christian heap, or worse, discarded. God sees me through the eyes of Jesus who died to give me a new life. He sees me fully reconciled to Him. He wants me. And if my lid is sometimes a little crooked, He is reshaping it and helping make it straight. He seals me in His righteousness. He teaches me to trust in the process, knowing that sanctification is ongoing for a lifetime. He says to me, you are mine and you are worthy. He knows I am not perfect, but he loves me anyway. And though I know He wants me to have a clean heart, he doesn’t throw me away when I give in to sin. He washes me, removes the stains, and holds me close. You see, the cottage cheese dish is just as valuable to God as the Tupperware. So if you have trouble sleeping because of worry, or you complained about your week instead of showing your gratitude, or you yelled at your kids this morning, it is really okay. Ask for forgiveness, and try again. And when your husband asks you if you are going to keep another cottage cheese container, you can just look at him and smile as you put another valuable vessel in your overflowing plastic cabinet.
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,”
1 Corinthians 6:10
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
In this life I have messed up, fallen down, and allowed sin to get a grip on my life. I say things I shouldn’t to others, then kick my self around with regret and guilt. I will have a whole conversation in my head about how I should apologize, what I should or shouldn’t say, and how they will respond.
A few things I never expect is for that person to hug me or throw me a party. Yet, as we look at the prodigal son this is exactly what his father did when he returned home. (Luke 15:17-24)
The world beyond the prodigal’s home beckoned for him to come take a look around. Much like today, the world paints a beautiful picture of ‘fun’. It doesn’t show us the reality behind the scenes – the pigpens or the plan the enemy has to wrap us up so tightly in the bondage of sin that freedom feels impossible.
As we look further into the life of the prodigal son, we find him broke and in a pigpen. While feeding the pigs he thinks about how he would gladly eat the same things they were eating. During this time he came to his senses and thought about how even his fathers servants ate better than this. He starts home with many thoughts about what he would say to his father, never imagining his father would still be waiting and watching for him to return. His father saw him while he was still a long ways off, and runs to his son – hugging him even though he was dirty with the smell of pigpen still on him. The son had taken the money his father had given him, spent it on all sorts of wasteful ways, living it up with friends he thought he had, until he was broke.
Not only did his father hug him, he had the very best robe brought out to put on him. Then he had the servants kill a calf and not just any calf, but the best calf in honor of the return of his son.
I am so thankful that we also have a Father that never gives up on us – no matter how many times we fall. He is always there to pick us up, hug us, and dust us off. Just like the prodigal son’s father, He allows us to make our own choices – even the bad ones – and yet He is always waiting with arms open wide because He loves us so much more than we can imagine.
The prodigal son left to pursue the best the world had to offer only to find the world’s best was lacking. Our best life will always be found in the arms of our loving Father.
I come from a family that loves sports almost as much as they love me.
In my younger years we were heavy into softball. I can vividly remember my dad, and my big sister, telling me to keep my eye on the ball.
Because let’s be honest – I am easily distracted. I have a creative spirit. I’m a dreamer. Focusing on one thing is hard for me.
Since I’m focusing on how to focus this year, I’m working my way through Philippians 4:8. I had a huge a-ha moment while digging deep into “whatever is just”. Just comes from the Greek word dikaios which means deemed righteous by God. When we relate our lives back to this scripture the question is: Are we focusing on what’s deemed righteous by God, or are we focused on what’s deemed righteous by the world?
My dad and my big sister knew that for me to be successful I couldn’t let my eye wander. They knew that I could easily be distracted by shiny things, butterflies, or friends eating french fries in the bleachers. I had to have unwavering focus.
God knows that, too.
Today, I challenge you [and me] to be unwavering in your faith and your focus. If Godly success can be attributed by focusing on what’s deemed righteous by God, then that’s what I want to do. That’s what I need to do. And if that’s what I need to do, don’t you know the devil’s gonna be slanging all kinds of glitter my way.
Don’t take your eye off of God, y’all. And rest assured that He never takes His eye off of you.
Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 1 Peter 1:13
As Christians we spend a considerable amount of time wondering about the will of God for our lives, or at least I have in the past. In the last year or so God has been showing it to me in black and white.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells me His will is for me to rejoice, pray, and give thanks in all things. 1 Peter 2:15 tells me His will is for me to do what is right, to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Seriously, if I just work on those I’m going to be pretty busy.
In order to follow His will in these things I’m going to have to battle my flesh and keep it crucified. My flesh wants to stress out, discuss the problem with whoever will listen, and gripe when things don’t go as planned. To win the battle I have to stay in the Word and fill my mind with His truth. I have to obey Colossians 3:2 and set my mind on things above.
Things just look different from there y’all. God knows all the things. Things I can’t even fathom. He knows about pandemics ✔️, elections ✔️, and all the general craziness that swirls around in our personal lives✔️✔️. He has it all in the palms of His hands and that allows me to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. It allows me to continue to do what is right and not say or do things that would prove the foolish men right.
When we are obedient, when we focus on Jesus and strive to stay in His will in the small things then the big things will follow. (I think our host Daisy is a great example of that. ❤️.) We don’t do for the blessing, we do out of gratitude and love, but there are so many promises that say blessings follow obedience ( Psalm 91, Psalm 128, 1 John 2:17, James 1:25 ………) and God is faithful to His promises.
So today go forth, rejoice, pray, give thanks, do right, repeat.