A Thursday Reminder

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Photo: https://proverbsmomma.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/what-does-the-bible-say-about-me-2/

Happy Thursday everyone. I wanted to share this picture because it is awesome to remember in the midst of what the world calls us, we can hold on to the truth of what God calls us.

I hope this blesses you. Which one are you reminding yourself of today?

This is mine:

Proverbs 8:35-36 (MSG)

32-36 “So, my dear friends, listen carefully;
    those who embrace these my ways are most blessed.
Mark a life of discipline and live wisely;
    don’t squander your precious life.
Blessed the man, blessed the woman, who listens to me,
    awake and ready for me each morning,
    alert and responsive as I start my day’s work.
When you find me, you find life, real life,
    to say nothing of God’s good pleasure.
But if you wrong me, you damage your very soul;
    when you reject me, you’re flirting with death.”

Wednesday Inspiration 1.7.15

I caught myself today on the commute to work. I was putting on my makeup and it was just one of those days where I needed a little pick me up. I grabbed my lipstick and put it on because it’s a good color and all that and figured it would do the trick. I took one final look in my compact mirror and thought to myself— I look like a clown today. 

I’m not one of those girls who looks #flawless. I don’t always have the best hair days. I wake up the majority of the time with a brand new pimple on my face. I’m no makeup artist. But these are all external things. You just have to look at Instagram or Pinterest to be reminded of what us ladies are interested in. Most pictures on Instgram are selfies, or makeup tips, or manicures, or OOTD (outfits of the day) and all sorts of surface things. Over the years I’ve learned to be on Facebook and Instagram less and less because of this. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:19-24:

When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?

In other words oftentimes the invisible parts of yourself (like organs for example) are much more important than your fresh manicure, or rock-hard abs. Right? But I do think society is so concerned with their outward appearance that it filters it down to each one of us. We think, ugh, I wish I had better hair, or I would be happier if I had a new outfit, or I would get more likes on Instagram if I took a photo of myself in a bathing suit, or whatever it might be. It’s somewhat normal to want validation and approval from others, but ultimately I’m on Ann’s team. I want to be more than what I look like. The Kingdom of God needs some fierce Christian women. Women who doesn’t strive for the perfect closet, or the most beautiful photos of themselves, or the coolest lifestyle blog with the most VIP events and connections and endorsements. Women who strive to be more like Christ, and who are trying to make the tough decisions if it means going where God wants you to go. I’m not saying the glory of God can’t exist and be made glorified in “worldly” arenas, but I don’t ever want to strive for these banal things. I want more extraordinary things for my life and for the lives of women everywhere. Our acceptance and standing in life is so much higher than what the world tells us is important. If I have a bad hair day, but post a beautiful blog about my Savior what is more important? Maybe my awesome hair will get more approval online, but I want to do the “hard and holy” things because even if they are invisible they are more significant.

God I pray that as a community of women we learn to value more significant things than what we often settle for and buy into. Yes it’s awesome to be a women and enjoy a nice outfit or a great blow-out at the salon, but our value and significance should not be bound to these things. This world needs more women of God than women of the world. Your people need more Christine Caines and less Christine Teigens…(just saying). Help us to become mighty women of God. Help us to elevate the spiritual and demote the physical. In Your name..amen.

Found on ellafrancessanders.com

Have courage and be kind.

“I have to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life has to offer: have courage and be kind.”

I saw this movie trailer today and it brought me unexpected encouragement. For those of you who keep up with my happenings on this blog you know that I was approached about a potential new job. I was filled with a combination of curiosity and guilt. Curiosity because it is a fantastic company with lots of potential to figure out what I really want to do with my career and guilty because I feel very loyal to my current employer and genuinely love all the people I work with.

Well all of this resolved yesterday when I received a call from the potential new employer and they offered me a substantial raise. I had prayed to God, God I only want this job if it is from you. You brought me to my current job and I love it here, but if my time is up–albeit sooner than I ever thought–make it clear to me. I want them to either choose someone else or offer me a significant raise. And much to my surprise they offered me the latter.

I still have to break the news to my boss during our weekly meetings together tomorrow and I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t very nervous to disappoint him but ultimately I believe this opportunity is too good to pass up and more importantly I believe it is from God. I didn’t look for it. It came to me. In the same way that this current job came to me. God’s ways are not mine, and part of being a Christian is learning to go when He says go, and being okay with being uncomfortable.

I actually found another WordPress Blogger who feels the same way:

“Those times when you feel so led and so scared at the same time….THOSE are the opportunities God wants you to pursue and not because you can handle them alone, but because you can handle them with Him.  And when you choose to obey God and go down those scary, unknown paths….it is then that He knows how much you truly trust Him” – http://michelletraudt.wordpress.com/tag/getting-uncomfortable/

In other words some people love singing the song “Oceans” by Hillsong but not all of them are comfortable in the deep end. I definitely don’t like it..figuratively and literally. But Jesus calls us out on the water into uncomfortable terrain:

Matthew 14 (MSG):

24-26 Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o’clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. “A ghost!” they said, crying out in terror.

27 But Jesus was quick to comfort them. “Courage, it’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”

29-30 He said, “Come ahead.”

When He calls us out we can take courage in knowing it is Him calling out to us, and therefore we don’t need to be anxious in where we walk out to. If He called us we can go.

I also like Isaiah 51 (MSG) which begins:

1-3 “Listen to me, all you who are serious about right living
    and committed to seeking God.
Ponder the rock from which you were cut,
    the quarry from which you were dug.
Yes, ponder Abraham, your father,
    and Sarah, who bore you.
Think of it! One solitary man when I called him,
    but once I blessed him, he multiplied.
Likewise I, God, will comfort Zion,
    comfort all her mounds of ruins.
I’ll transform her dead ground into Eden,
    her moonscape into the garden of God,
A place filled with exuberance and laughter,
    thankful voices and melodic songs.

in other words I am one solitary woman. But God is calling me and blessing me and multiplying me. I used to loathe going to work before this current job. I have spent many days over the past five months here being transformed. I was in some ways beaten down and discouraged because of the verbal abuse and stress from my last job that in comparison this place was a cakewalk. It restored me to better health. And honestly, I would have been content to stay here for a long time, I was happy to no longer have to look for another job. To rest. But God is never done. He’s not content to leave us in any one condition for too long. My God, the God of the Universe and everything and everyone, He wants to transform everything including me. He wants to make what I see as dead into an Eden..into a paradise. He wants every place to be filled with “exuberance and laughter, thankful voices and melodic songs”. 

While Disney gets it right to an extent by turning what is “dead” or poor or unnoticeable in Cinderella is what God already authored in my life and has been writing into every human heart since the beginning of time. Through taunts and tears and discouragement in my past my Father finally brought me to a green pasture. And being who he is, He’s not content to leave me there. He wants to bring me to the “castle” not because I need Him to, not because I asked Him to, but because He has the power and desire to.

“Some Day My Prince Will Come”

http://goo.gl/DjHevi

“Dip the apple in the brew. Let the Sleeping Death seep through. [the poison on the apple forms a skull] Look! On the skin! The symbol of what lies within.” – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

I remember growing up and reading the Bible and wondering why I was being punished for what Eve did in Genesis. It seems kind of unfair right? I didn’t eat the fruit—why am I being punished? For some reason on November 6th I was thinking about this and put a note in my phone. Again on the way to work this morning I remembered this part of the Bible. The very first woman. And out of the blue it clicked to me in a simple phrase “We might not have eaten the apple but we accepted the lie”. What I mean by this is…the sin wasn’t even really about the apple. It was allowing the lies of the Enemy to enter into our thoughts, change our identity, change how we view God, and in that skewed reality, we act sinfully. You see Eve’s temptation to eat the fruit began in the mind. I imagine her laying fully free in the grass, or walking in the sunshine totally free, totally naked, and totally happy. She was content in who she was. She could walk with her husband, she could be in the presence of God. Nothing was lacking. But Satan slithers by, and hisses deception. He begins to make her question her freedom, her identity, and what God has given her. Her doubt of self starts in the mind.

Genesis 3 MSG

The serpent was clever, more clever than any wild animal God had made. He spoke to the Woman: “Do I understand that God told you not to eat from any tree in the garden?”

2-3 The Woman said to the serpent, “Not at all. We can eat from the trees in the garden. It’s only about the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘Don’t eat from it; don’t even touch it or you’ll die.’”

4-5 The serpent told the Woman, “You won’t die. God knows that the moment you eat from that tree, you’ll see what’s really going on. You’ll be just like God, knowing everything, ranging all the way from good to evil.”

When the Woman saw that the tree looked like good eating and realized what she would get out of it—she’d know everything!—she took and ate the fruit and then gave some to her husband, and he ate.

There’s a few problems here. The first is that Eve already has a distorted vision of who God is. After all God told Adam in Genesis 2 that they were forbidden to eat from the tree. But she goes a step further and basically says, we can’t even touch it. I don’t remember God saying that do you? Now I wasn’t there…obviously. Maybe she wanted to add an extra layer of protection and for her own sake said to herself “Now Eve…don’t even touch it. You know if you even touch it you will be tempted”, or maybe Adam wasn’t paying attention when God told him that, and like a game of telephone when it came time to tell Eve he retold the instructions wrong. Who knows. But part of me wonders if at the heart of it all, Eve was already misinterpreting what God was warning her about.

I think the serpent knows that the woman is vulnerable–not only is she alone, but she might not know her value. Maybe as a human woman this is something we were all capable of from the very beginning. I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t struggle with her value.

So here is a golden opportunity for the serpent to make his case and he plants another seed of doubt in her mind and says God didn’t really tell you the truth Eve. You don’t die when you eat the apple…you just finally get to see the whole picture..not just what God wants you to see.

Ouch.

I’ve definitely been guilty of doubting God’s wisdom. If we’re honest we all have. Here’s some common things I’ve experienced or heard from others: God doesn’t want what’s best for me..if He really loved me He would give me this job, Doesn’t God notice that I want this relationship, He’s punishing me. God doesn’t forgive me. God doesn’t notice me. God is a jerk, He just likes her/him more than me–I’m not His favorite. God wants me to tithe but doesn’t He know I’m already struggling to make ends meet. God didn’t heal my sick family member–He must not care.

You see as humans, we question our value and importance to God. I think this is something we were unfortunately born with. God wanted to protect us from knowing the bad, and instead of trusting His wisdom and protection we allowed ourselves to feel like we’re missing out. We’re being overlooked. We’re not important enough. Whatever the lie is. And so we take a bite out of what we think we will get if we trust in our own judgement, only to find out that it wasn’t as good as it looked.

God never meant for us to worry. God had it all under control. As a loving Father He wanted Adam and Eve to run through the Garden carefree, exposed to Him, nothing hidden, no shame. They could have everything they wanted–except what would ruin them. And instead of trusting His goodness, they believed the lie. They doubted and questioned who God was. If He really wanted what was best for them. They believed He was holding out.

This reminded me of Snow White. We all know about the young beauty who the Queen was jealous of. To me this is exactly like the Bible. Satan was jealous of God’s creation. Satan wanted to be like God. He was mad and wanted to be worshiped as well. It’s almost understandable that he would be upset that man was made just a bit lower than God (Psalm 8:5) or that God gave man dominion over the Earth. So instead of sitting back, Satan did something about it. He encouraged Eve (Snow White) to eat the fruit (poison apple) that would result in her downfall.

But God wasn’t defeated. Through Christ God made the ultimate checkmate. Google defines checkmate as “a check from which a king cannot escape.” Satan might believe that he is the reigning King over the Earth, but he is delusional. Jesus rescued us all through His sacrifice on the cross, and Satan was thrown from heaven. Checkmate:

Luke 10 MSG:

18-20 Jesus said, “I know. I saw Satan fall, a bolt of lightning out of the sky. See what I’ve given you? Safe passage as you walk on snakes and scorpions, and protection from every assault of the Enemy. No one can put a hand on you. All the same, the great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God’s authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you—that’s the agenda for rejoicing.”

I think it is always important to guard your mind. If Satan whispered to Eve in the garden he can do that to all of us now. The thing is you can choose whether you give him permission to do so. After all, mankind struggles with who they are and who they believe God truly is to this day. This mindset ultimately sets the stage for what you start to internalize and what you are capable of. No matter what our shortcomings though, Jesus is the ultimate Prince. Fairy tales might not realize this but the first story of “true love’s kiss” was thought up in Heaven when God sent Jesus to wake us up from what Snow White taught us to refer to as the “Sleeping Death”. So many of us are walking through life dead inside but seemingly alive on the outside. Even those of us who have already accepted Jesus as Savior. We need to remember that through Jesus we have been brought out of our “Sleeping Death”—we are wide awake. We can see things clearly now. We know forever that God is good and His promises to be faithful are always delivered. Snow White cutely tells us that one day our “Prince” our “true love” will come and save us. But I think the actual cry of our human hearts through this story is that we all really want Jesus, we want God, to “carry us away to His castle where we will live happily ever after”. Right? Human love pales in comparison to the love of Christ. To the love of God. This story just touches on the actual desire of our human hearts.

Eve might have fallen in Genesis 6 but God only waits 9 verses to deliver His “apple” to Satan:

Genesis 3:15 (MSG)

14-15 God told the serpent:

“Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed,
    cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals,
Cursed to slink on your belly
    and eat dirt all your life.
I’m declaring war between you and the Woman,
    between your offspring and hers.
He’ll wound your head,
    you’ll wound his heel.”

In other words, Jesus is coming to finish this. As one article eloquently states: “Another way to look at the comparison focuses on the site of the wounding, the head as compared to the heel. The serpent’s wound affects the seat of his intellect and control of his powers, whereas the Seed’s wound merely impairs His flesh for a short while, three days and three nights to be exact.” – http://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/4843/Serpents-Head-Crushing-the.htm. In the Bible God tells Satan Someday Their Prince Will Come, and He is right. Jesus came to save us, and He is coming again to take us.

Jesus thank you for coming to Earth to save us from ourselves. Thank you for not being done with us even though we would have deserved it because we turned our backs on you and questioned God’s goodness. Thank you that Satan will not get the final word and that we have the authority through Your name to resist every assault of the Enemy. All praise to you, forever, and ever. Thank you Jesus for coming for us so that we can live in your Kingdom for eternity. Amen.

http://goo.gl/jslO4m

Thursday Inspiration 10.2.14

1383655933525084Don’t believe God is good? Listen to this. My one co-worker is definitely a thorn in my side. We get along but we also collide. He can’t handle stress at all. He often is harsh with how he phrases things or acts i.e. if you make a mistake he’ll often laugh at you directly in your face and loud, or make a harsh comment that anyone would perceive as rude. Today I found out after the fact that I made a mistake with something and it was the kind of thing that I could have easily felt shame over. I’m a perfectionist so it’s often easy to feel guilty or bad about things that are just human error. I didn’t this time. I knew it was an honest mistake and said..next time is there a way for someone to check so no one can ever make this mistake again including myself? He said no because it’s something we should know better than to do. I stood my ground and said yeah maybe you guys all know better but I’m still new at this one aspect where I made the mistake and it’s not a habit for me yet. He cooled down I guess and walked out for a few minutes.

I wasn’t expecting this next part but he actually came back and apologized. Imagine that. Full eye contact and everything. Like got down on one knee next to my desk–no joke–and said it really wasn’t a big deal and that we’ve all done it.

I for one was SHOCKED out how out of character this was. All I can say is God is good.

I texted my mom about it right after it happened because she knows all about this guy from other instances at work and her response was perfect: “See how God makes people treat His Daughter”.

I know 100% His reaction was not only out of character but somehow it was a God thing. He could have been a jerk and never said anything apologetic or realized that although I made an error his reaction was wrong. He should know better. He should be soft. He should realize that I’m not the only one who has done this. Others have. It’s not the end of the world.

All in all–I felt God’s absolute favor. It was like in that moment Heaven stood between me and my co-worker and shielded me. I felt no shame. I knew in that moment who I was. I didn’t slack off and make a mistake. I was human and made that mistake. And even more than that..I was and am and will always be a daughter of God. And God will always make sure to stand up for me. He takes pride in me. And I felt safe that He saw fit on such a small occasion to make sure that I was treated respectfully.

God will ALWAYS protect His children.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Monday Inspiration 9.8.14

Today I feel kind of heavy.

It’s not how I’ve been feeling lately and I was literally just reflecting and wondering why. I think it actually started Saturday night when a random stranger exposed his “family business” to me while passing by in his car. Like normally I can laugh. How ridiculous and stupid and move on. But it was merely the fact that it was done at all that was bothering me–and the feeling of “gross why does weird stuff like this always happen to me?”

That same night out of the blue a friend of mine asked “So when are you getting married?” across the dinner table. No rhyme no reason. And then out of the blue last night I was hit with some memories from my past right before falling asleep and was swept over for a few moments in heavy emotions. 

So today I remind myself that I am a child, a princess of the King of the Universe. He has brought me near to Him. Therefore I do not need to turn around to the past, or focus on what people do to me or say to me that I didn’t ask for. All that movement does is loosen the “crown” from your head. God regards me and all of those who have accepted Him as seated with Christ in glory. If I continually set my eyes on things above–I will never risk my “crown” falling. 

God is absolutely faithful. He longs to spend time with me and remind me who I am. His feelings for me transcend what happens to me in this life and what people may think or say about me. His feelings also are more true than anything I might believe about myself. I will continue to renew my mind with His word and seek verses that remind me of his unconditional love. So often quiet time can create space for the Enemy to whisper lies but luckily we are equipped with the Truth of God’s word and are always able to call out to Him in our times of need. 

I am extremely happy that I’e been consistent in my blogging and connection with God but there is always room for improvement. I hope to be able to create even more meditation and prayer time to refresh my mind and heart with my Father’s sweet promises for my daily life and my future. 

“Father, fill my spare moments with thoughts of you and your love for me. I want to ponder your Word and your glory in my heart all day long” – Vicki P. Graham.

 

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com