Above the Waves

Guest Post by Miss Brooklynn Manzer

Psalms 89:9

“you rule over the surging sea; when it’s waves mount up, you still them.”

Personally, I love the beach.I love the water, and I love the waves. The waves remind me of life, in a crazy way. You have to keep your eyes above the waves so you don’t go under. Just like you have to keep your eyes above all the stress, worry, anxiety, and all the other things of life. We have to keep our eyes on God.

We have to stay afloat.

God will put people in our lives to keep us floating. God will keep us floating. Without God we’re just going to sink.

To understand this crazy thing I’m trying to explain, think of the waves and the water as the stressful things in life. Worry, anxiety, stress, loss, pain, etc.. We have to keep our eyes above it all. It’s almost like the saying “keep your eyes on the prize” except we didn’t earn the prize, it was given.

To stay floating in the water of craziness, we have to remember that God will be there to keep us floating. He will give us people to help us.

Those people are the ones that helped make me into who I am today. One of those people is my Aunt Day-Day, Daisy Marino. She inspires me daily, and she keeps me floating. The day this is being posted is actually her birthday. So happy birthday Day-Day, love ya.

All of this to say, don’t let yourself sink.

Remember those people who help you. Remember that God is always with you. The hard things we have to go through are just temporary – we have a prize ahead of us.

Just keep your eyes above the waves.

Dear Lord, thank you for today. I pray that you will be with everyone as they go about their days today. I pray that you will help them to keep floating, and I pray for the people that you send to keep them floating. I also pray for the people who are sinking, that you would help them in their hard times, and that they would remember that they aren’t going to drown with you by their side. Thank you for Day-Day and the impact she has made on so many lives. I pray that she will keep on helping people stay floating. In your name I pray, Amen.

Free Indeed

Guest Post by Mr. Treson Behn

Last week, as my family and I were watching a movie called “Braveheart” together, I noticed that the main character, William Wallace, displayed many characteristics found in Christ.

Wallace was bold, passionate, caring and loving (well, sometimes… because other times wrathful and murderous, but that’s besides the point). He was not afraid of what other men could do to him, rather he stood up for himself and his people by going to war against England.

Later, after he defeated several large armies in battle, he was captured, tortured, and executed in front of a large crowd all because he refused to swear allegiance to King Edward. In the end, he forced one last word out of his mouth: “FREEDOM!” 

I bring the story of William Wallace up because a) it’s awesome and b) because I think Wallace displayed Christlike actions that Christians should emulate.

Look at this verse: “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal 5:13). 

As Christians, we have a greater freedom than the freedom found in any nation because we were once in bondage to something far worse than any country or government. We were in bondage to sin. But because of Christ’s great sacrifice, we have the chance to truly be free. Free from our past. Free from our doubts. Free from ourselves. 

With that freedom comes a choice, which is why it’s called, well, freedom, to either use for our own “flesh” or for the glory of God.

Today, as you go about and do whatever it is that you do, I hope and pray that you decide to use your freedom for the Kingdom of God and not the Kingdom of You because “Whom the son sets free is free indeed.” (John 8:36)

Lost & Found

Guest Post by Miss Kiley Kunk

Here recently I got back from church camp. Church camp is always the highlight of my summer. I get so much out of it, including what I’m here to talk about today.

Our pastor hit on being lost but then found. This really hit for me because as a teenager, I often find myself struggling to stay in the word or just do a simple Bible study at night.

I get so caught up in what the world has to offer that I lose sight of God. I then start to feel lost and lose my sense of direction. In these times, it’s important to remember that no matter how far from God you feel, you are never too lost to be found.

In Luke 15:4, Jesus talks about when shepherds lose their sheep. If a Shepard were to lose one sheep out of one hundred, he would then leave the ninety-nine to find that one sheep.

This is the same way with God. We tend to run from our problems instead of turning to God for help. At that point we’re at our lowest and feel like one in a million. We feel like we’re just someone that has no value and is useless.

God’s still holding on to you, and He never once left you. Our value to God is incalculable. The love He has for us never fails. No matter how much wrong we do, or how lost we may feel, He always finds us.

He’s not done

I’ve been in Hebrews this summer, which means I’ve learned a lot about the Old Testament and the New Testament – highly recommend.

This morning as I reflect on what I’ve learned so far through studying Hebrews I feel the need to say the following:

If you’re in a rough patch, season, or just a one time pickle that’s just about to do you in – don’t forget what God has already done in your life.

I’m not saying to dwell on the past, but I am saying to determine that God can take care of whatever “this” is too.

He can.

He will.

He has.

Look at what He’s already done. Look at what He’s already brought you through.

He’s not done doing His thing, and to that promise I shout Amen. Well, I’m gonna whisper it right now because I have a 12 year old sound asleep next to me on the couch.

Y’all, don’t you dare throw in the towel, because God certainly isn’t.

And He never will.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

He’s Clapping

“Pay attention to who is clapping for you.”

Nope. Just no.

I have two questions to ask regarding the above statement:

1. If God is clapping for you then what does it matter if anyone else is?

2. Are you not going to clap for someone else because they didn’t clap for you?

Ladies, this isn’t the mentality I want to teach my daughter or my nieces or my students. The time and energy spent on seeing who liked what and who followed whom can be spent in the Word. It can be spent serving. It can be spent truly resting in His arms.

I want my girls to clap for others regardless if those same people clapped for them or not.

Because it’s kind.

Because they have a good heart.

Because they are genuinely happy for others.

Because they are confident enough to not need a clap back.

Ladies, clap for someone today.

Or hug them.

Or text them.

Not because they did it first but because lifting others up is the evidence of God living within you.

Because joy is contagious.

And Momma, that thing you are too scared to do because you’re too worried about what others will think or if they will clap – no ma’am. If God wants you to do it – if He told you to do it – you go right on ahead.

He’s clapping for you.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

State of Grace

Guest Post by Mrs. Pam Bryant

“I’ve heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.” Job 42:5

Sometimes I can read scriptures I have read many times before, and then one day one just kinda lights up and gets personal.

Have you ever heard so much about someone that you felt like you knew them? Then after meeting and getting to know them you realize what you had heard was only a part of who they were?

Growing up I heard a lot about The Lord…and through hearing I thought I knew who He was. It wasn’t until I had a personal encounter with Him, and spent time getting to know Him, that my eyes were opened. I realized how wrong my perspective of Him had been.

We read about Job and how he had many thoughts and questions about God during his time of trouble. He even listened to the advice and opinions of his friends and their thoughts of why he was suffering. But it wasn’t until God began to speak that his questions got answered and his were eyes opened.

In the middle of Job’s suffering he felt like God wasn’t anywhere near, but we can see that it was through Job’s grief that God was able to reveal to him His deep compassion and mercy – that He is always listening, observing and working all things together for His purpose.

It’s so easy to have faith when life is smoothly sailing along but then we allow fear and doubt to crowd into our mind when the storms come. Job’s storm caused him distress, doubt, and anguish, but after his personal conversation with God, he gained insight into God’s heart. It was no longer something he had just heard about, it was something he experienced personally.

In this life we will experience times of trouble, distress, and doubt. We may even have a friend list that consists of all sorts of flavors…with advice and opinions that are all over the spectrum. But there is no friend like Jesus.

He adds all the ingredients we need. He is a great listener and His Word gives us all the advice we will ever need. Through Him we have access to His peace that surpasses all understanding. Our happy place will always be found in the state of His Grace.

A Brand New Me

Guest Post by Mrs. Tracy Baker

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; making the most of every opportunity.” Colossians 4:5

Recently I was doing a Bible study over Colossians, and this verse that I’ve read many times jumped off the page and landed in my heart, specifically the last part “making the most of every opportunity”.

Really, it breaks my heart. How many opportunities have I missed, messed up, or even worse slammed doors that He opened? I need to be more aware of opportunities.

Every encounter is a chance to leave someone better than I found them. Each one is a chance to lift up and encourage someone who needs it more than I will ever know.

When I tell you this is completely against my nature believe it 100%. I’m pretty gifted at the eye roll and sarcasm, but encouraging is not my forte. Or should I say wasn’t??

Through Jesus I am a new creation. The old has passed away ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 ) and I need to put off the old self and embrace the new self. ( Eph. 4:22-24 ) As His child I can pray to be the light He wants me to be ( Matt 5:14).

I may never be the encourager that some of my friends are, but I can be better than I am. I can pray for the wisdom to see each encounter as a way to show Jesus to people ( James 1:5 ) I can pray to be able to control my emotions ( 2 Tim 1:7 ) and put myself second in tense situations ( Phil 2-3 ).

I can pray to be transformed from glory to glory ( 2 Cor. 3:18 ). By praying these things according to His word I am aligning myself with His will. By acknowledging Him I know He will show me the right path to take ( Proverbs 3:6 ). I’m so thankful that He loves me enough not to leave me as I am.

Lord, today I pray for boldness in each opportunity. Help me to get self out of the way and let Your light shine through.

In Jesus name, Amen.

Wildfire

Passionate people are my kind of people.

It’s the sparkle in their eye.

The inflection in their voice.

The whole vibe that they bring.

I just love it.

Passion is contagious.

Jesus was passionate.

He was passionate about helping others.

He was passionate about discipleship.

He was passionate about doing the right thing.

He was passionate about God.

We are image bearers of Christ; therefore, the same passion that He had should reside inside of us. Not only should it reside inside of us, but it should be overflowing. Everyone we meet should recognize that spark within us.

Others should see Him in our eyes.

They should hear Him in our voice.

They should feel Him when we walk in a room.

I hope you’re that passionate about Christ.

I hope I am, too.

Spread it like wildfire.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthian

My Shepherd

Guest Post by Miss Bailey Graber

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”-Psalms 23:1

I absolutely love this verse because it’s simple. I personally tend to overthink everything, so to have a verse that is short, sweet, and complete is a true treasure. Yet even while it’s only nine words, I still struggle sometimes with remembering it. 

The 23 chapter of psalms starts by declaring who God is and who He needs to be from our side of the relationship–our shepherd. But, life isn’t always perfect, and we don’t always have Him as our one guide. Why do we let that happen, and why is it that we fail to remember a nine worded verse? 

The simple answer would be the devil distracts us with shiny, new worldly items and promises us that they will make us more accepted…but we know that is a colossal lie.

It will always be a struggle to put God first if we allow the devil to distract us with these things. It could be as innocent as a ten-minute TV break, which turns into a thirty-minute break, into a three-episode break, which then turns into a binge-watch. The devil uses unintentional actions towards the Lord to intentionally mess us up. The truth is, it’s a struggle to put God first sometimes because we have to deny our fleshly desires and do the will of the Father. But putting God first doesn’t always have to be a struggle. 

So, start small.  Instead of checking the socials first thing in the morning, read the bible for five minutes. Instead of grooving to that song with some raunchy lyrics and a great beat, listen to some fun worship music. (Maverick City Music is a great one for that). 

Creating a habit of putting God first won’t happen overnight, so be patient with it. If you don’t know what to do to place God in the throne room of your heart, just do the next right thing that has Him involved. 

After the psalmist declares who God is, he orders himself to find every want and need in Christ. 

He points out to us that if God is our shepherd, not only does he guide us, but he provides for our needs. Why should we want anything but the Lord? He created us and cares for us. If we want something more than we want HIm, we should check our hearts to see who’s really on its throne. 

I’ve failed countless times at putting Him first, but the beauty of the gospel is that God is not only patient but forgiving too. He is gracious when helping us out of our troubles and forgives us when we fall short. While we are at the bottom of the ocean, He comes to us to save us. 

I encourage those of you, who like myself, find it difficult to remember the importance of those nine words to take the first step towards putting God first. He’s patient with us, so be honest with Him. If you’re struggling, tell Him so, and in return, He’ll help. Start small, and over time with practice, it will be easier to put God first. 

After all, He is our Shepherd. What more could we want?

Trust & Faith

Guest Post by Mrs. Kim Harris

What holds you back? What causes you to hesitate when it comes to abandoning your will and submitting to God’s?

If you are a believer in Christ you may think, “I’ve given my life to Christ and I’m saved”. That is true, but there are two separate parts to being a believer. The first, of course, is receiving redemption and forgiveness for our sins through Christ Jesus. It’s the second part, the on-going sanctification work within us that we often struggle with.

A lot of times we hesitate because we like being comfortable and are afraid the Lord will ask us to do something we don’t want to do. Other times we may not want to give up certain things or sin because we like doing what we want. We end up ignoring those parts of the Bible or the Holy Spirit when He convicts us, trying to show us the Lord’s will. You may have other reasons or fears that hold you back from saying, “Not my will Lord, but Yours be done”.

It comes to a question of trust or faith. Do we really trust God with our future? With our families, our finances, our very lives? The idea that we can control things is an illusion. Also, as a believer, we don’t get to just accept God’s grace and forgiveness but continue to live however we want in the ways of the world without dying to our flesh or submitting to God. The Lord requires our obedience. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands.”

So, whether you’ve been a believer for 3 minutes or 30 years, a teenager, stay at home mom or a CEO, Jesus is still beckoning us: “Take up your cross and follow me.” The question is will you? Let’s determine to start July with a resounding “Yes!”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. ~ Matthew 16:24-25 NIV

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. ~ Colossians 3:1-3 NIV

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. ~ 2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV