Be Still and Know: Be Day 1

Hi guys,

I heard about this three week study by Rebekah Lyons and I thought it was a great idea.

Basically I will share a part of the study and my thoughts but I don’t want to spoil or steal her entire email and repost it here because that would just be weird!!unnamed.png I also want you guys to feel free to follow along too!

To sign up for the emails containing the “Be Still and Know” study click here.

So today I am going to answer Rebekah’s questions so you can get a feel for how the study is, and feel comfortable to answer these questions honestly too.

  1. Is there something specific holding you back from stepping into Christ’s freedom right now? Perhaps risk, fear, doubt, or heartbreak?

Over the years I have struggled to “feel” like I’m enough so I compensate by “doing” enough. I think it will always be a sensitive area of my life that will slowly continually be purged by the Holy Spirit. However, do in part to a struggle in my 20s with anxiety and panic attacks, I think I have learned to let things go more quickly and also to give everything to God in a different way. I feel that my reliance has shifted positively to what He can help me do versus the pressure that can come with feeling like it’s all up to you.

  1. Free people free people. Is there a way you might help someone else discover Christ’s freedom?

I don’t profess to have it all figured out and I am definitely open to being used in new ways by God to help other’s discover their freedom. But speaking from my current experiences only, I have found blogging and leading studies at church very rewarding. When it comes to blogging I can get out my feelings on issues, or talk about what I’ve learned from a mistake, or a revelation I’ve had that I think people will benefit from. And in a similar way when I facilitate the Shine curriculum through my church I can help women to see their value and purpose.

Thursday Inspiration 1.29.15

Isaiah 61:1-7 [ Announce Freedom to All Captives ] The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because Godanointed me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of his grace— a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies— and to comfort all who mourn, To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, Messages of joy instead of news of doom, a praising heart instead of a languid spirit. Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display his glory. They’ll rebuild the old ruins, raise a new city out of the wreckage. They’ll start over on the ruined cities, take the rubble left behind and make it new. You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks and foreigners to work your fields, But you’ll have the title “Priests of God,” honored as ministers of our God. You’ll feast on the bounty of nations, you’ll bask in their glory. Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt, Your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever.

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Friday Inspiration 1.23.15

“Ever Be”

Your love is devoted like a ring of solid gold Like a vow that is tested like a covenant of old Your love is enduring through the winter rain And beyond the horizon with mercy for today

Faithful You have been and faithful you will be You pledge yourself to me and it’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You Father the orphan Your kindness makes us whole You shoulder our weakness And Your strength becomes our own You’re making me like you Clothing me in white Bringing beauty from ashes For You will have Your bride

Free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame And known by her true name and it’s why I sing

You will be praised You will be praised With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord You will be praised You will be praised With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

I love this song because there is something for all of us in it. God is devoted and loves us all uniquely. His love endures. He is faithful. He Fathers the orphaned. He is kind. He carries our burdens. He brings dead things to life. We are His Bride and we are free of shame and guilt through Christ alone. He is worthy. He will be praised. Every knee will bow. Every tongue confess. He is Lord. Thank God, He’s Good.

Tuesday Inspiration 12.9.14

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Psalm 63:3 (MSG)

2-4 So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
drinking in your strength and glory.
In your generous love I am really living at last!
My lips brim praises like fountains.
I bless you every time I take a breath;
My arms wave like banners of praise to you.

It’s been a long day and I’ve been having some flashbacks to some painful experiences in my past for whatever reason. But I love this Psalm. And no matter what sad things I’ve remembered today, this verse still makes me happy. Sometimes at church during worship I look up to the ceiling and pretend that I can see Jesus looking down on me. He can see me and I can see Him. No matter how painful my 20s have been I think I can finally see Jesus with 20/20 vision. In His generous love I can finally live. No matter what pain I’ve endured, or no matter what happiness I’ve felt, He’s still bigger and better than anything good or bad.

I hope this simple verse reminds you that no matter what negativity might be thrown your way today — that you have the ability to still look Heavenward and know God sees you, and loves you and because of that you can still have positivity and joy.

Photo Credit: worshipgifs.com

Friday Inspiration 11.7.14

Romans 6 MSG

6-11 Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.

12-14 That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God.

What Is True Freedom?

15-18 So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!

19 I’m using this freedom language because it’s easy to picture. You can readily recall, can’t you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God’s freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?

20-21 As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you’re proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end.

22-23 But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.

People often associate Christianity with rules. They don’t associate it with freedom. I think “religion” has a lot to do with this. So often people are used to pointing the finger at others in accusation of what they are doing wrong. So often people think because they are Christians now, saved and covered in God’s grace that they are somehow better than everyone else. God is better than everyone else, we’re not. Just because we took the Grace that He offered to us through Jesus doesn’t mean we’re Jesus now. We just turned away from what was hurtful for what was life-giving. Instead of pointing the finger at others, we need to point our finger up, to God. It’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about Him. Religion is making it about us. What we do to feel better than other people. What we do to feel like we’ve “earned” favor with God. Relationship with God, accepting God’s gift of salvation is saying, hey–I’m free. I don’t have to worry about what the priest thinks, or what the congregation thinks. You are no longer striving. God chose to draw near to you, you hopefully have accepted that and turned from your own selfish life, and are following Him. You listen to Him. You follow Him. You concern yourself with Him. In my own “freedom” I had the ability to make good choices or bad choices and if we’re honest we’ve all made both. But through God we have the ability to actually make the best choice and have true freedom which is only through Jesus. I’m not defined by the mistakes I’ve made. I’m not living a life grasping everything I can on Earth because YOLO right? No. This world pales in comparison. I wasn’t made for this world. No one was. We were made to live forever in unity with God. The law tells adulteress women you should be publicly ridiculed and killed, but grace says—“I don’t condemn you, sin no more” go find real freedom with me (John 8).

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Friday Inspiration 10.24.14

Part of life is growing. We don’t always like where we started out or the darkness from which we came, but you need to begin somewhere in order to grow. I remember as a child..I would write all sorts of silly feelings in my Lion King diary. I remember I was such a weird child because I actually made symbols for each letter of the alphabet and coded my diary so no one would be able to read what I wrote. As I got older I realized that took too much time and with my next diary I wrote it out in plain English. At some point I hated all of my diaries and ripped them into little pieces and threw them out. I think it was because my mom read parts of one.

The point is..even as a child writing in a diary I didn’t want to be remembered or defined by things I grew out of. Things I once thought. Mistakes I once made. As a CHILD I knew this. So how much more so do we feel this way as adults?

I think this image is beautiful because it’s simple in its truth. “I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be”. It suggests transformation. You don’t have to remain defined by the things you did..or the things that were done to you. You are endlessly learning who you are and more excitingly who you are being sculpted into; who you were created to be. It’s okay to look back and say “I no longer know the person I once was”.

The comforting thing is God knows who we truly are and is willing to walk with us through our transformational journey. In an excerpt from Isaiah 42 MSG it says:

But I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way,
    who can’t see where they’re going.
I’ll be a personal guide to them,
    directing them through unknown country.
I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take,
    make sure they don’t fall into the ditch.
These are the things I’ll be doing for them—
    sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.”

In essence, even though you might know who no longer, you still may not know who you really are now. But God does. He will direct us by hand through this unknown landscape. We’re not expected to do this alone. We also see this in the Bible when Jesus simply tells people to follow Him. They don’t get a map or an itinerary. They leave behind who they were, what they were once doing, for the promise that He knows which roads to take.

In Isaiah 40 MSG one part says:

Like a shepherd, he will care for his flock,
    gathering the lambs in his arms,
Hugging them as he carries them,
    leading the nursing ewes to good pasture.

God is tender with us. Therefore we need to be tender with ourselves..patient with ourselves. This is a process.

In the beginning of Isaiah 57 MSG it says:

A Message from the high and towering God,
    who lives in Eternity,
    whose name is Holy:
I live in the high and holy places,
    but also with the low-spirited, the spirit-crushed,
And what I do is put new spirit in them,
    get them up and on their feet again.

So take to heart what His promises are today knowing that you are on your way. You are not held to who you once were.

Photo Credit: Pinterest (no image source defined).

Tuesday Inspiration 10.14.14

As awful as life can be and things that happened in our past — it’s important to remember ALWAYS that nothing is wasted. From personal experience I know that statement can make you feel cynical depending on the severity of your pain or horror of your experiences but it doesn’t make it any less true. I was thinking about my ex the other day. I’ve had some dreams the past few weeks and he was there. And at first I chalked it completely up to Satan trying to pick at wounds to see if they still hurt. I haven’t cried. I haven’t thought about it long after I’ve woken up. These are all good things. Signs of recovery even. Signs that pain has healed. I might not be 100% immune to that past sadness but I’m close.

Anyway I was thinking about it again just this morning after another dream, and it made me remember that I let go. There were moments where I questioned letting go even though it was a toxic situation. There were moments where I was grateful to have let go. There were moments of loneliness where I felt like having that relationship, no matter how bad, was better than nothing. There were moments where I’ve allowed the Enemy to whisper lies like no one will ever love me like he did, and really the list goes on and on. And this doesn’t have to be a relationship. I’ve learned over the past few years to let go of a lot of my expectations of what I thought my life should be. Where I should be. Who should be there with me. What I should be doing. And really you begin to realize that all of that stuff is amazing to you, but actually garbage. Sounds harsh right? But it’s true. The things I valued had a shelf life. Meaning they either ended quicker than I thought or were good and just not capable of lasting forever.

As I’m typing this the phrase “every good and perfect thing comes from above”. And it’s true. Do I still wish sometimes I would meet my husband already? Yes. Do I wish I made more money? Yes. Do I still wonder if/when my dad will ever get saved? Yes. Do I have all sorts of hopes and dreams and desires? Yes. But every day needs to be a sacrifice of what you think and want because you know God has better.

In Luke 9 (MSG) Jesus says:

23-27 Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?

In Matthew 4 (MSG) Jesus says:

18-20 Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.

21-22 A short distance down the beach they came upon another pair of brothers, James and John, Zebedee’s sons. These two were sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, mending their fishnets. Jesus made the same offer to them, and they were just as quick to follow, abandoning boat and father.

I love the simple fact that these men dropped what they were doing. In one story they dropped their nets in the middle of fishing, and in the other, they left their boat and father behind to follow Jesus. Granted today we are not fishermen but this applies. What if your net/what you’ve been trying to catch needs to be dropped. You don’t need to keep going on dates to find the “One”, you don’t need to send out 100 more applications for a job, you don’t need to keep seeking validation from your group of friends, or posting selfies on Instagram hoping to catch attention or praise. You need to drop those nets. You need to step out of the boat you think is going to take you somewhere–maybe it’s a job, maybe it’s a move out of state away from your church, whatever it may be. You need to get out of that boat to follow God on foot even if it seems like that’s the long way to the final destination.

I think we have a tendency to plan our lives and ultimately we risk settling for what we think is a good idea when God has a bigger picture that we can’t see.

What can you do today to leave behind the life you have planned for the one that God has waiting for you?

Photo Credit: http://www.vanessachristenson.com/2011/05/because-im-planner.html

Wednesday Inspiration 9.24.14

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This week I’ve gotten a few different messages from friends–one’s mom lost a job, another was having anxiety, and the last was going to rehab for an eating disorder. Sometimes it can seem daunting to be surrounded by problems and have no solutions for people. But ultimately we can always remind them that God is in control. He withholds no good thing.

At the end of Psalm 84 MSG it says:

All sunshine and sovereign is God,
    generous in gifts and glory.
He doesn’t scrimp with his traveling companions.
    It’s smooth sailing all the way with God-of-the-Angel-Armies.”

Meaning. God is not making things go South for you. He’s not laughing maniacally at your struggles like a cruel tyrant. Instead He is generous and doesn’t hold back. If my friend’s mom lost her job–maybe God desires to get her out of complacency and into a job she always wanted but never thought she’d have. Or maybe he’s allowing her to rest. Maybe He’s reminding her that He is in control and she can just relax and stop trying to make ends meet in her own power.

For my friend with anxiety..God withholds no good thing. He is generous in His peace. He is a protector. Maybe she was used to being independent–relying on no one. And as life happens you begin to see that you really have no control over anything. Life happens and you are along for the ride sometimes. But God will anchor you. You might feel like you are in a whirlpool but He knows you won’t sink. In Matthew 11:28-30 it says:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

To sum it up. STOP WORRYING. Be anxious for nothing. Don’t be afraid. God desires to take you alongside Him and recover. He won’t run ahead of you, He wants you to learn from Him and watch closely how He does it. He is the Prince of Peace after all.

Finally for my friend. I’m assuming she’s in rehab again because I haven’t heard from her since last week but I look forward to her getting help. But I also hope during this time she remembers the true Healer is God. While therapy helps you work it out, God is the one that made us all new. In Him we can have hope of a new life. No where else. I think therapy is good to bring issues out of hiding but I know plenty of people who have gone into rehab over and over only to fail. It is a matter of the heart and the mind to me. And God, well He has authority to heal a bitter or broken heart and a mind filled with destructive thoughts. It is important to remember these things in HIs Word:

  • Genesis 1:27 — You were made in the image of God.
  • Psalm 8 — In the whole wonderful universe, He gives you a place of honor.
  • Proverbs 31:30 — Outward appearances don’t matter as much as what’s inside.
  • Zephaniah 3:17 — The God of the universe takes delight in YOU!
  • Romans 5:8 — God loves you enough to send His Son to die for you.
  • 1 Peter 3:3 — How you look is not what really makes you beautiful.

-http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/teen_booklets/truth-about-eating-disorders.aspx

I’m grateful that I’m in a season where I can remind people not to worry or to question God’s goodness in the bad times. Remember who you are and even more so remember who God is. You are stronger than you think and God is greater than you might believe in the midst of hardships.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Tuesday Inspiration 9.23.14

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The cool thing about being a Christian is that you are no longer bound to the mistakes you made in the past. You don’t need to rehash them or beat yourself up for them. Jesus didn’t die to cover you in His grace so that you would continue to be weighed down by shame. You are a new creation and your experiences, even bad ones, will help set others free.

2 Corinthians 5:16-20 MSG

“Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.”

Ezekiel 16:63 MSG

“You’ll remember your past life and face the shame of it, but when I make atonement for you, make everything right after all you’ve done, it will leave you speechless.’” Decree of God, the Master.”

Isaiah 61 MSG

 “The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me

    because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
    heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
    pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
    a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
    and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
    give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
    a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
    planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
    raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities,
    take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You’ll hire outsiders to herd your flocks
    and foreigners to work your fields,
But you’ll have the title “Priests of God,”
    honored as ministers of our God.
You’ll feast on the bounty of nations,
    you’ll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
    and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
    and your joy go on forever.”

Isaiah 50:7 MSG

And the Master, God, stays right there and helps me,

    so I’m not disgraced.”

Photo Credit: becauseofgrace.wordpress.com

Monday Inspiration 8.25.14

 

Hebrews 10:22-25 (MSG)

22-25 So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.

 

 

I think being strong and confident is always a good way to start off a week. It’s Monday. It’s a new day. It’s a new week. We have the choice whether we want to start the week begrudgingly or with gusto. This verse reminds me that I can do “it”. The “it” can be getting out of bed, or doing a presentation, or going to work, or really anything and we can do those things full of belief. We don’t need validation from anyone but God and He is the only one that can assure us that we’re “presentable inside and out”. We can rest in His affection for us. We can hold on to His promises. It is because we know who we are in Him that we can be creative in how we can encourage and help others. 

 

What can you do today to start your week off right?

 

 

 

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