Be Blessed

We use the word “Blessed” a lot – especially down here in the good ol’ south. In fact, I’m wearing a shirt right now that says “Blessed”. Coincidence?? I think not!

God Knows exactly what He is doing! We hear “Bless your heart!” or “Blessed and highly favored.” Or we say “I’m so blessed because of: high paying job, new boat, nice car or house, an accomplishment, good health, the list goes on. We see it used every single day. But what matters most to God is faithful obedience from the heart. Let’s look and see who Jesus says is blessed and what that means for them.

Matthew 5:3-12

Blessed are…

the poor in spirit = theirs is the kingdom of Heaven

those who mourn = they will be comforted

the humble = they will inherit the earth

those who hunger + thirst for what is right = they will be filled

the merciful = they will be shown mercy

the pure in heart = they will see God

the peacemakers = they will be called children of God

those who are persecuted because of righteousness = theirs is the kingdom of Heaven

Jesus continues on saying, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because great is your reward in Heaven.”

Nobody wants to be sad, and it’s not natural for our flesh to want to be humble. It’s not natural to want to be a peacemaker or pure in heart all the time. We don’t usually go through hard times and persecution and immediately think, “I’m so blessed.” But we totally should! These things are HARD, and we need our savior who fulfilled all these things perfectly to help guide us.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to say that you’re blessed. There are many reasons to feel blessed! But my prayer is that when I see this word, hear this word, or use this word, I would be intentional and be reminded of the characteristics of the person Jesus says is blessed.

That’s exactly what He wants from us. For us to lay it all down and ask for help, and have that one on one relationship with Him. So go and mourn, be humble, be merciful, be a peacemaker, be pure in heart, and be Blessed.

Jesus is Better

Jesus is better

A lot of the time when we get around to the new year we try to better ourselves. We seek the desires of the world trying to get skinnier, get richer, or get happier. But the question we need to ask ourselves in this coming year is how can we strengthen our relationship with Jesus?

In a world that is constantly letting us down we need to know that we can find our strength and hope in a Savior. We have gone through pandemics, protests, and a countless number of different things that show how fallen our world is. We can find peace in knowing the One who really knows. We may see things fall and break and disappoint us but just like Job says “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.” Job 19:25

Just like Asaph writes in Psalm 73:26, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Even though we may get let down and the world fails we find strength in God our redeemer. When we put our focus and trust in Him the world letting us down doesn’t worry us because we know that He has us in His hands.

I know that we can get caught up in trying to please ourselves and trying to impress others, and we can forget what our true purpose is. There’s no amount of money we can save, no amount of weight we can lose in this new year that will ever compare to the joy and peace we can get from a close relationship with our creator. Our Jesus is better than anything the world could ever try to give us or we could try to give ourselves.

2022

Happy 2022 🤩

I’m so excited for this New Year. I feel so much hope within my soul. I feel refreshed. I feel renewed.

Last year my word was “Focus”. This year God gave me the following words “Focus on the Mission”.

I immediately felt like I failed for a whole year because ummmm that’s the same word. My teacher’s pet self hung my head in shame until I truly listened to what God was speaking to me.

It is the same word.
But it’s not.

Same word.
Different focus.

I’ve been diving into 1 Peter 2:9 this morning has my focus verse for the year and just wow. It’s packed full of beautiful promises and a charge to proclaim those beautiful promises.

I’m excited for 2022, y’all.

Let’s open our eyes to what God has already given us, done for us, and the promises He will not break.

And let’s tell everyone.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” 1 Peter 2:9

If you have a word or verse I would love for you to share it with me. 💛 I would love to write it in my prayer journal and pray over it and you.

Keep Going

As we look back at our 2021 resolutions slash goals slash unreachable nemesis that we will never obtain – insert whatever emoji that made you feel right here – what grade are you giving yourself?

Pass or fail?

A+ or F-?

And what is that grade based on?

Is your mindset more grumbling or more growth?

If I’m being honest I think we should all get an A for surviving this crazy Covid era – end of story. I think we should all get an A for just showing up. For not giving up. For not losing our ever loving minds through all of this mess.

I digress.

I personally do not do resolutions anymore. Reason being, about 12 years ago I decided that every single year my goal every single day would be to get over myself.

Nowadays, I think that’s what we call “an unpopular opinion”.

To get over SELF. Listen y’all, when we do that – when we are truly putting others first like Jesus did – then we will find the true joy and peace that only comes from God.

Put others first.

Put self last.

Do I fail at this?

Absolutely. 100 percent.

Do I still keep working on it?

Absolutely. 100 percent.

Another thing I do every year is choose a “word” to focus on for the next 12 months, which makes my little word loving heart so very happy. I’ll share mine tomorrow, and I hope you’ll share yours as well.

I’m all about goals, and I’m all about growth. But more importantly, I’m all about grace.

As 2021 comes to a screeching halt, maybe you’re feeling like you didn’t quite measure up to what you set out to do. Maybe you’re even feeling a little bit of that two step forward three steps back mentality.

Just remember this, as long as you’re going then you’re still growing.

Keep going, sister.

Keep going.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Jesus stays

Anyone else get the Christmas blues? I mean we’ve built this celebration up since September thanks to the Walmart and Hobby Lobby.

Christmas everywhere. Christmas explosion.

I love it. The lights, the devotionals, the poinsettias filling church sanctuaries and the Christmas hymnals that go right along with them.

Then December 26th hits and moms all

across America start losing their minds – ripping the decorations down quicker than they put them up. Raise your hand if that’s you.

But don’t let the abruptness of the Christmas crash let you feel down, sister. The celebration shouldn’t stop. The lights are coming down but the one true light will never stop shining. The poinsettias will wither, but the love Jesus has for us never will.

Let that light shine within you all year long.

Let others feel that Christmas glow radiating from every pore of your body all year long.

December comes and December goes, but Jesus stays.

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” – John 1:4-5

All He Wants

All He wants is your heart!

Many people feel as though God, the Creator of All things, is so far away and that He couldn’t care less about them or their needs; God has so many other “important” people to listen to. To hear their individual prayers wouldn’t be worth His time. They believe to speak to the Almighty is for people who are “worthy” and for some reason those who aren’t have to “work” to somehow be just that.

The amazing truth to break down those lies is that God so loved the world that He sent His ONLY begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting LIFE!

God loved us then, and He still loves us now! Jesus paid it all, that through His sacrifice we can have peace and oneness with God! That through His blood we are equal heirs to the kingdom of Heaven! None of us are worthy, but when we accept Jesus as our Lord then His worthiness becomes our own!

When we give our whole hearts to God then can we truly break down those lies of the enemy that have made us blind to all the goodness of God! – Faith Sanchez

Let us adore him

Adore: to love and respect someone deeply.

Y’all know I love words, and this word is one I will always hold close to my heart. Way back in the day – long before Frank Marino mustered up the courage to say I love you – he told me that he adored me. Therefore, that word probably means more to me than any other word in the English language.

It’s Christmas Eve Eve, and all I can think about is how lucky we are to have Jesus as our King – how lucky we are to get the opportunity to adore Him.

I know that today you’ll be wrapping it all up – no pun intended.

🎄You have last minute shopping.

🎄You have last minute wrapping.

🎄You have to get that grocery order in.

🎄You’re cleaning.

🎄You’re not so patiently waiting on amazon.

🎄Guests are arriving.

However, in the midst of all the madness don’t forget why we are celebrating in the first place. Don’t forget to ADORE Jesus – because we GET to. It’s such an honor and a privilege that we often take for granted.

🎄Turn on praise and worship music.

🎄Read the Christmas story in Luke.

🎄Journal about Jesus.

🎄Set time aside and don’t let it be interrupted.

🎄Read a devotional with your family.

Adore Jesus today.

Adore Jesus everyday.

He adores you.

He adores you so much that He came to earth and sacrificed His entire life just so that we could be saved.

and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2:7

🎶 Sing choirs of angels

Sing in exultation

Sing all ye citizens of heav’n above

Glory to God

Glory in the highest

O come let us adore Him

O come let us adore him

O come let us adore Him

Christ the Lord🎶

Every Season

As Christians, we have devoted our lives to God. He takes us through our yearly seasons with endless blessings and more grace than we could ever ask for. But more than this, he takes us through our seasons of life. Whether this be our highest highs or lowest lows, he doesn’t “sit out.” He doesn’t make it to be with us once or twice a year. He is there continuously. Matthew 28:20 “… lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world”

While we can never do anything to deserve His mercy and grace, we need to be celebrating, worshipping, and being near to Jesus all year round. Not just when it’s convenient for us or when we’re in the holiday spirit.

“Jesus is the reason for the season” is a quote that hasn’t always sat right with me. While I 100% agree that Jesus should be celebrated and worshipped, the fact of the matter is, Jesus is the reason for every season. This means summer, fall, spring, winter, the Christmas season, and our seasons of life.

During this time of the year, many people find themselves in churches for the first time in months to celebrate this holiday. And while this is an awesome thing, this should be happening every first day of the week year round. Hebrews 10:25, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another…”

Just Jesus

I had something totally different to post today, but God woke me up with a new message on my mind.

Don’t let perfection steal your connection.

Tonight we host our small group, and I am so excited. The kids are going to have cookies and cocoa and decorate ornaments, and the adults will be talking about Jesus.

Sounds pretty magical, right? And in true hostess with the mostess fashion I want it all to be perfect.

Herein lies the problem.

Herein lies where the devil can sneakily slither in stealing all of my Christmas spirit without me even knowing it. Here’s where I – and I know I’m not alone – can go from mommy magic to mommy monster.

I want my house to be perfect tonight.
Guess what – nothing’s perfect but Jesus.

I want the food to be perfect tonight.
Guess what – nothing’s perfect but Jesus.

I want.
I want.
I want.

Y’all, we are talking about Jesus tonight. What could be more perfect? When I remind myself of that fact all of the stress of planning an event just disappears- as it should.

Ladies, here is your challenge: Don’t let the hustle ruin your bustle. Because in the words of Maggie Marino, “No one’s inspecting your baseboards, Mom.”

Let Jesus be your perfection. Not your house. Not your cooking. Not anything else.

Just Jesus.

“A merry heart does good like medicine.” – Proverbs 17:22

Standing in the Gap

“And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among our members. It stains the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

James 3:6 (CSB)

I know what you’re thinking. This is the perfect verse for Christmas. I mean, what says sweet baby Jesus, tinsel and twinkles, family and fun, better than the thought of our tongues being set on fire by hell? There may be better scriptural choices for Christmas joy, but if you’ll give me a moment I promise to deliver some advent-worthy wisdom through these words of James that fits this season like a glove.

When I reflect on this year, there have been good things, but those were often overshadowed by hard things. Pandemics, politics, racism, and hate crimes have filled our news feeds. And with all of this going on in our world, of course we talk about it. We use our words on social media, in the grocery store, at work, in our social circles, and in our homes. 

And let me be the first to say, my words have not always been good. I have said things behind someone’s back in frustration that should have been spoken with wisdom and gentleness to the involved party. I have reacted emotionally to social media posts, forgetting I do have the choice to keep on scrolling. I have said things that were too harsh to my husband and children. And I have too often left unsaid things that should be spoken. Things like “I was wrong,” “I forgive you,” “I’m sorry,” “I love you,” or “I appreciate you.”

And I thought as I read this verse, maybe you have, too. 

James says when we allow unrighteous words to fall off our tongue it starts a fire from the pits of hell. Pretty powerful picture he is painting, isn’t it? Our words can start a fire that Satan would love to fuel. And the more tongues he can recruit, the bigger the flames get. Before we know it, we’ve got a big blaze that’s hot, awful, and destructive. I believe this is what we have witnessed too much of in the last year, wagging tongues setting everything around us ablaze.

My husband is a firefighter and often points out nuggets of fire safety. One thing he taught me is that in a forest the best protection a homeowner has against a forest fire is to have a clearing around their home. The gap between the trees and the house is about more than aesthetics, it can preserve the structure if a fire occurs. Additionally, watering around the house in that gap provides further protection. Interesting how a small gap, a stop in the fuel, and a dousing of water can stop the spread of fire.

This Christmas, at the end of this fire-filled year, we have the opportunity to stand in the gap. We can douse ourselves in godly wisdom and pour it out to the world around us. We can speak a word of kindness, or maybe even an apology to that person who has irritated us all year, tell our loved ones how much they mean to us, and choose words that are fire-stopping. Who knows, maybe something you say in kindness will ignite a new flame, and more people will see and know the Jesus we celebrate this time of year. 

What an opportunity we have this Christmas. How are you going to use it?