God Knows The Heart

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So, the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites, as it is written: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain” their teachings are merely human rules.” You have not let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”                                                      Mark 7:5-8

As we read in the book of Mark, Jesus’ opponents which was the Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem questioned Jesus about why he and his disciples were not living according to the tradition of the elders. Trying to embarrass him and undermine his authority. When with the crowd he had been teaching, they questioned Jesus about eating with ritually of the elders would never do which is to eat with unclean hands.

The tradition of the elders was an oral interpretation of Israel’s ancestral custom. The Pharisees considered this tradition legally binding all Jews, even through not all followed it. Mark’s gospel of the explanation of the purification ritual demonstrate he is not sympathetic towards the tradition.

Jesus first responded to his opponents by quoting from the Prophets and the Law, sources important than the tradition of the elders. He said his adversaries were people who honored God with the lips but not with their hearts. They taught human laws as divine doctrine which can also be found in Isaiah 29:13 which states “These people come near to me with their mouths and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”  Finally, Jesus responded directly to their question about the purification regulation. However, he addressed the crowd, not his opponents, thus resuming his position as a teacher with authority. He told the crown that nothing went into a person could defile them. Rather it was the things that comes out of a person’s mouth that defiles them. In other words, things that a person puts into their mouths such as food could not defile them, it is what comes out of a person’s mouth, which truly comes from the heart  Jesus’ new teaching about inner purity calls us to reexamine our tendency to engage in long-held traditions and rituals rather than the transformation of our hearts. It also challenges our tendency to hold on to human traditions as if they were divinely commanded. Finally, it calls us to reexamine the exclusive stance of our faith communities. This last challenge may be the hardest call of all, if our faith is predicated on a versus then understanding. Just as traditions and purity regulations helped preserve ancient Israel’s religious and ethnic identity and faith is a hostile world, so traditions and purity rules help preserve traditional biblical Christian identity. Are we like the crowds following Jesus or are  we like Mark’s first readers, are confronting Jesus. Do we hang on to traditions and rituals remaining exclusive in our thinking in order to protect our traditional faith and identity? Or do we let God open our hearts-even if such action subjects our faith and identify to change?

We need to remember what Jesus tells us as well as his disciple, God is not interested at our human traditions, which is that we come to church on Sunday mornings and sit in the pew, we then feel that we did our Christian duties until next week. We are called Christians because we are followers (disciples) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we should live our lives according to the teaching of Christ. More important is what God told Samuel in the book of 1 Samuel 16:7 God does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Eileen

 

 

 

 

How To Created A Better Prayer Life (Guess Blogger)

I am so glad you are here! I’m Ashley, I am 26-years young, a coffee-addict, Army wife and future Chaplain’s spouse, INFJ, extroverted introvert and a 2 on the Enneagram. Originally from Indiana but currently in Missouri, I love Jesus, summer nights, ice cream and coffee dates with my husband, comfy sweatshirts and the feeling of finishing a good book.

 

I have a heart for helping other women learn to plant deep roots in Christ and grow in their faith; I struggled for many years to achieve any kind of deep spiritual growth and I have a passion for helping other women who may be struggling too. You are not alone.

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Prayer is one of those basics of our Christian life, but can be one of the most difficult to begin implementing. A lot of Christians say they need to pray more but struggle to make prayer a daily habit.

Prayer was something I really struggled to incorporate into my life when I became a Christian. I had no idea what I was doing or what to say and this kept me from growing in my faith for a long time. Eventually, I learned more about it from watching others and learning from more mature Christians, but it still overwhelmed me.

When you start to think about who you should be praying for and what you should be praying about, it can start to get incredibly overwhelming. We worry about what to say and how long to pray for and a bunch of other things that don’t really matter.

Learning to pray and pray consistently is just like any other positive habit you try to implement; it’s going to feel odd at first because it’s new but the only way to make it part of your life is to just start.

You might stumble a little and miss some days, but the more you do it, the easier it will become.

Here are some simple ways you can have a better prayer life, starting today!

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Keep It Simple

Praying every day really doesn’t require a lot of time and can be done anywhere. After I realized that, I was convicted pretty hard and made the decision to make prayer a priority in my life.

Simplicity took me a long time to get my head around, because talking to the Creator of the universe made me feel like my prayers had to be articulate and long and full of zealous words. But prayer is really just a conversation, just like if you were talking to a friend about your life.

Some of my most honest, raw and intimate prayers have been the ones with the fewest words. A prayer for safety can simply be “Lord I trust in your protection, please keep me and my family safe as we go. Amen.”

Don’t overthink it; just start talking to God about your life, your hopes, dreams, fears and anxieties. It will get easier over time.

Pray Scripture

Use the Lord’s Prayer found in Mathew 6: 9-13 as a guide if you are unsure where to start or how to pray.

  • Start with Praise;
  • Pray God’s will to be done in your situation;
  • Pray for and thank God for provision over your situation;
  • Confess any sin and pray for forgiveness; ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your heart and shine a light on areas that need forgiveness;
  • Pray for protection, safety and deliverance from temptation.

As you are studying the bible, you can also use any passage or verse as a guide for prayer. The Psalms are a great place to begin if you are searching for words for prayer and praise.

Find Prewritten Prayers

From guided books to blog posts, there are tons of resources out there for people who are unsure what to pray about or what to say during prayer. These are a great way to get you started and build your prayer vocabulary.

Just on Pinterest alone you can find pins with pre-written prayers for just about anything: anxiety, focus, healing, health, safety, your husband, your kids, your family, your finances, your friends, etc.

Start a prayer board on Pinterest and start grabbing some for future use. You can go follow my Prayer Board on Pinterest to get some ideas!

Practice Meditation

This may seem like an odd tip, but part of the reason we struggle to pray is because it requires us to slow down and be still in the presence of God. We feel like we don’t have time to slow down, and thus, struggle to pray.

I am not talking about the meditation you may be thinking about; I am talking about meditation on Christ & who He is, on the attributes of God, on His goodness and faithfulness and on Scripture.

Meditation can help you get into that habit of slowing down. It can put your heart at mind in a primed state to engage in meaningful prayer because you are already still and calm, instead of anxious because of all the things you have to do that day.

A good way to do this is to listen to scriptures while practicing deep breathing or reading through a Psalm. You can also play worship music and meditate on the lyrics. I have even created a playlist of my favorite worship songs on Spotify you can use!

By listening to or reading a short passage of encouraging Scripture, your heart is tuned to the Holy Spirit and speaking to God will feel like the natural next step.

Get Organized

The best way to fight prayer overwhelm is to organize it. Spend some time writing down all of the different areas of your life you want to cover in prayer. For example, your categories could be Personal, Marriage, Family/Kids, Friends, Church, Community, Requests, etc.

Under each category, write specific things you want to pray for. Choose 1-2 categories a day to pray through.

If you are someone who writes a to do list or uses a planner to schedule your day, write in your prayer time! Things that require discipline and forethought rarely occur organically during our day. It is important to make time for it and block it off in your schedule.

Set a reminder on your phone, write it in your planner, or leave post it reminders for yourself.

Use a Prayer Journal

Using a prayer journal completely changed my prayer life. Physically writing out my prayers helped me to focus and keep my mind from drifting.

You can use any blank journal for prayer, but the one I use is a yearly prayer journal from ValMarie Paper. It takes care of the Organizing and Journaling all in one!

 

A big thank you to Ashley for sharing about prayer, you can find more with Ashley at faithfullyplanted.com

Overcoming the Paralysis of Fear (Guess Blogger

I am Sharon Fletcher, and I am so grateful that you took the time to stop by and fellowship with me!  I am a sinner saved by His grace.  I am a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.   I am a wife to a courageous, loving and selfless man, a mother to 3 bright and beautiful children.  I am a pharmacist. I love helping and encouraging people, and all things pretty (home decor) somewhere in between.  I hope that in sharing my journey, others may be inspired and encouraged, find rest in the word of God, and experience times of refreshing.

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So…I have noticed from talking to my sister friends and from statuses on my timeline that an old unwanted “friend” (enemy) has been hanging out a lot these days.  And he is rearing his head as fear and anxiety.

Constant anxiety about bills.  Insurmountable debt.  Definitely more going out than coming in.

Constant fear of losing another loved one, or yet another family member becoming ill.

Constant anxiety from an overwhelming amount to tasks to accomplish in what seems like not enough time to accomplish them.

Strained and difficult relationships.  Fear that someone will take more from you than what you have to give:  Your peace,  your joy,  your sanity.

Fear of not being good enough.  Or, that you will never measure up to someone else’s expectations.

Fear of the unknown.  What’s going to happen as a result of my actions, reactions, or decisions?

All of these fears.  All of this anxiety.  It was all created to stop you.

To paralyze you .

To keep you in bondage and to stop you from moving forward.

To keep you from living and being effective.

To keep you from raising children of destiny.

To keep you from being a warrior.

Sometimes, he goes as far as to tell you that you would be better off dead.

The truth is, YOU are a mighty weapon.  And satan wants to do everything in his power to stop  YOU from stopping HIM in his tracks.

That’s right, you have a very real enemy.  And his job is to make everything look so big, so impossible, so insurmountable, so unachievable that you feel like it is useless for you to even try.

So you become paralyzed.

We see this as the Israelites were about to cross over into the Promised Land.

In the bible, while Moses and the Israelites were in the wilderness, God spoke to Moses and told him to send a group of men to explore the land that He had promised them.  The land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey.

So, leaders from each tribe went to explore the land for 40 days.  At the end of that period, they gave a report.

“The people are too powerful!  The cities are fortified and large!  There are even giants in the land!  We can’t attack those people: they are stronger than we are!  We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them!”  (Numbers 13th and 14th chapters).

This is exactly how our fear and anxiety speaks to us.   “It’s too big!  I can’t do that!  It’s too hard! What if it doesn’t work?  I couldn’t possibly get that done!  The report from the doctor was not good, I won’t be able to bounce back from this!”

The more we think on it, the more we focus on it, the more we believe it instead of the promises of God, the bigger it gets.  And the bigger it gets, the more it keeps eating away at our peace, our joy, and our sanity.  It makes the issues look like giants and us feel like grasshoppers.  And the bigger it gets, the more we forget about God’s promises and provision.  And we become paralyzed.

We won’t move because we believe our fears more than we believe God.  We shrink back.  We become prisoners in our own mind.  We become hostages to our own thoughts.  At that point, the enemy has done a might fine job of keeping us from being all that God has created us to be.

The Israelites grumbled and complained.  They would rather stay in the wilderness or go back to slavery than walk into the abundance that was promised to them by God.  They did not want to move forward.  All because of fear.

But there is an anecdote.   It may not happen overnight.  It will take some effort.  But, just like in every other situation, if you consistently apply it, it will work.

That anecdote is rehearsing the Word of God, and praying with confidence that He hears your prayers.  It is our greatest weapon against the enemy, who works so hard to make your fears and anxieties look so much bigger than your God.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.””

— PHILLIPIANS 4:6-9

I am going to share with you some key points that may help in overcoming the paralysis of fear and anxiety.

  1. Please realize that EVERYTHING BEGINS IN YOUR MIND.  This is such an important concept to grasp.  If the enemy can speak to your thoughts words that are opposite of what God says and get you to not only meditate, regurgitate, ruminate, and rehearse these lies, but also to believe them, then he has a leg up in the battle.  Instead, meditate, regurgitate, ruminate, and rehearse the Word of God.  My pastor always says that the devil with tell you a lie about the truth.  So, whatever comes into your mind that is negative, that is condemning, that is demeaning to yourselves or others, quickly combat that thought with a thought that is opposite.  Be intentional about your thoughts and what you allow yourself to dwell upon.
  2. Pray with confidence, knowing that He hears you, and that you can cast your cares on Him. When praying, it is so important to believe that He hears us and will answer our prayers, according to His will.  We have to believe that His word is true, and that He is a promise keeper.  He is not like one of our friends or family members.  He WANTS us to cast our cares upon Him.  He WANTS you to tell Him about all of your worries and troubles.  He doesn’t get tired of us calling on him, sis. (1 Peter 5:7).  It is amazing how much peace you experience just by doing this.  The situation may not change immediately.  It may not change at all.  But, oh the peace that you experience and the grace that He gives you to go through it is PRICELESS! And you will find in the end, that YOU will be changed.  And through this, you will find the strength to make it, and the courage to take another step.
  3. Know that you are in a battle, and know WHO your REAL enemy is.   It is not your spouse or ex-spouse.  It is not your boss or co-worker.  It is not your child.  It is not that mom.  It’s not your sister or brother.  It is not your bank account.  Your REAL enemy is satan.  And he is out to steal your peace, your joy, and your sanity.  He is out to keep you paralyzed, so that you will not move forward.  So that you won’t take that job. So that you will stay in that toxic relationship or friendship.  So that you won’t take on that project.  So that you won’t do what God has called you to do.   Don’t let him take anything from you sis!  And if he has already stolen it from you, then take it back!  The best weapons that you have are prayer and the Word of God.  At the end of the post, you will find Scriptures to meditate on and to help combat your enemy against fear and anxiety.

You’ve got this!  Be strong and courageous!  Walk in your God given authority!  It may look too big.  It may seem too hard.  It may look like it will never work.  But one thing is for sure, it won’t work unless you do.

You have to take step.  At least one.  And then take another.  One step at a time.  And each step will get easier and easier.

Fight for you!  Fight for your peace!  Fight for your joy!

There is so much in you.  Fear and anxiety have dimmed your light for too long.  It’s time to take action.  Rise my sister!  Awaken the Warrior!  You’ve got this!  Take the job!  Open the business!  Start that ministry!  Mend those relationships!  Be that awesome wife and mom!  Whatever it is that He has put in your hands to do, do it!

He has given us all the tools and weapons that we need.  It is up to us to use them.  You are an overcomer!  Nothing can stop you, not even fear and anxiety…unless you allow it.

Love you all with the love of Christ.

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Who You Say I Am!

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How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues, you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues. Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege. In my alarm I said, I am cut off from your sight! Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. Love the Lord, all his faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.                                                                                 Psalm 31:19-24

 

Be of good courage, and God will strengthen your heart. God wants you to face adversity with confidence and firm determination. Because the Lord is with you and the Holy Spirit lives in you, you have everything you need to be bold. Cowardliness is not of His Kingdom. When you are feeling overwhelmed by your circumstances, remember who you are, a child of the eternal King! Invite the King of King into the very circumstances that are intimidating you, and let the light of his powerful presence strengthen you. When you choose to live courageously, he is pleased. And he is respond by strengthening your heart, thus increasing your valor.

Expect to encounter hardships as you journey towards heaven, because you live in a very broken world. This is why bravery is desperately needed among his followers. You also need hope. The Lord promise to strengthen your heart is for those who hope is in him. Courage and hope are closely connected to His Kingdom. So he urges you to hold on to your courage and your hope. They are more precious than gold.

Always remember that you are a Child of God

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

 

Another Jewel In Heaven (Guess Blogger)

I Like to introduce to all of you Jennifer Wagner:  Today, I am a stay at home wife, dividing my time between taking care of our home, directing church outreach, and blogging about life lessons, joyful living, and Christian values. When I’m not writing, I am typically curled up with my husband, binge watching Netflix, drinking caramel coffee, or snuggling our two cats, Basil and Mocha Rose! Welcome to our married life! We’re so glad you have chosen to join us as we laugh and cry together in this amazing life adventure!

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After the loss of our sweet babies in April, J and I were hopeful to try again. After just a few months, we were excited that our dream may be coming true. The cravings and mood swings were in full force. I was sleepy, nauseous, hungry, hormonal, bloated, and I had to pee about every two hours. It seemed like a wonderfully miserable time.

And then the bleeding started. We were bummed, but thought we’d just wait another month… Until the night I called J into the bathroom. The pain, blood, and contractions were clear. We had also lost this sweet baby. The loss of this child was such a shock. After all, we weren’t quite sure yet if I was even pregnant.

This baby was supposed to be our rainbow baby, but yet we’ve collected another jewel in Heaven. Lucy Grace, Arden Micah, and Orion Sage. Three….. three babies in Heaven. Our little family.

It’s been just over a week since the loss of our child. The raw emptiness still takes my breath away, as I sob and gasp for air. J still holds me as I drift off into space, not really knowing what to do with myself. Getting out of bed, eating, and connecting with people have become chores in and of themselves. J and I go through the motions. We laugh and talk, work and visit, but inside we both feel numb, empty… like something crucial is missing. We’ve lost our joy. We’ve lost our confidence and security. We’ve lost the excitement of trying to have a family.

Our first miscarriage four months ago broke our hearts. This time, it carries fear and doubt, alongside the pain and shock. Do we dare try again? How can we continue to hope, after this?

After a rough week of falling away from each other in our grief, it became clear that now more than ever, we need to lean on our Savior and each other… And so we talked. We held each other, as poured our hearts out to the Lord and to each other. We named our child, Lucy Grace. We went on a spontaneous date. We came together and asked the Lord for help. It’s still fresh and raw. I still don’t know what to do with myself. I still fell numb and broken and empty and vulnerable. I still break out in sobbing tears. My hormones and baby belly are still reminders of what was. But through it all, the Lord is putting us back together again…

15 Scriptures to lean on after miscarriage, when the grief seems unbearable and all seems gone…

  1. 1 Samuel 1:27-28
    I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.
  2. Job 11:13-19
    Yet if you devote your heart to Him and stretch out your hands to Him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor.
  3. Jeremiah 29:11-12
    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
  4. Romans 12:12
    Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
  5. Exodus 23:25-26
    Worship the Lord your God, and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.
  6. Judges 13:2-3, 24
    A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth. The angel of the Lord appeared to her and said, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. … The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him.
  7. Matthew 5:4
    Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  8. Genesis 8:11-14
    Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”
  9. Luke 1:7, 13-15
    But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.
  10. Psalm 37:4
    Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
  11. John 16:22-24
    So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask Me anything. Very truly I tell you, My Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
  12. Psalm 119:49-50
    Remember your word to your servant, for You have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
  13. Hebrews 10:35-36
    So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.
  14. Hebrews 11:1
    Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
  15. 2 Thessalonians 1:11
    With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.

 

Thank you Jennifer for your blog post, you can also find more from Jennifer at The Newlywed Chronicles.com

 

 

 

Simple (Having An Expectant Heart) (Guess Blogger)

I would like to take a moment and introduce to you my guess blogger Bethany:

Welcome! I’m Bethany E. Donham and I love my life! I’m also in love with a man who is not my husband. But it’s ok, my husband knows all about it and encourages the affair. In fact we often talk about Him casually over the dinner table and His name comes up in our pillow talk on a regular basis. His name is Jesus. Have you met Him?

It’s because of this love affair that I started this blog. A lot of times I find myself  lost in thought over something Jesus is trying to teach me. Or I just can’t seem to understand something without writing it down. So this is more for me than anyone else. If you like what I have to say, great! If not, that’s ok too. These are true stories inspired by my daily struggles as a wife, mother of two girls, and Preschool Minister.

I treasure life, laughter, and above all else, love!  So, check it out. Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts too.

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I’ve always believed that less is more. Fewer activities. Smaller houses. Closer friends.

So, why is it a surprise then, when God shows up in the most humble ways?

Lately I have been amazed at how God has been responding to me. And if you are in a place where you feel like God has forgotten your hurt, maybe it’s time to get back to basics.

My heart hurts a lot. I know a lot of people who are hurting and God has wired me to practically feel physical pain when those that I love share their hurt with me. I’ll be honest and say that can become quite burdensome if I don’t keep it in check. I retreat a lot. I go off by myself a lot. I am not at all uncomfortable spending an entire day in solitude.

It’s during those times when I am still that I can hear God the loudest. Notice I did not say that He speaks the loudest when I am still. I believe He is always there waiting to say something, I can just hear him better when I am still. I draw up on Psalm 46:10 a lot. I have to.

Because when I am still I notice. I notice when He answers me.

I have two teenage daughters. (Prayers are always welcome on my behalf). They are loud, busy and always moving girls. They are always playing music too loud, running off somewhere or engrossed in the latest YouTube craze. Each one has a flair for the dramatic and have their own theater and dance outlets. They are priceless beauties and I am losing my grip on them more and more each day. As it should be.

Imagine a typical evening at my house when each one in their separate rooms have on their own favorite song. I don’t know about you, but if my favorite song is on, it ain’t at a low volume.

So it is with my girls.

What happens if I call to them? Do you think they would hear me? Do you think they would notice my voice?

Of course not. They continue dancing in their bedrooms or (and I have no idea how she does this with her music on let alone in the quiet) continue to work her Pre-Calculus homework.
I have to go directly to each one of my children, tell her to turn the music down so I they can hear me.

Do you need to turn your music down?

God’s not going to yell to get your attention. He’s just not. He’s a still small voice that speaks whispers into the hearts of those who are listening for it. He’s working every single moment of every single day and He delights in giving you your hearts desire.

But, can you hear Him? Do you see Him working?

What is so cool about God is that He’s God, but He doesn’t boast about it. He’s so complex but so very simple. He could move mountains. He can heal the sick. He can mend broken hearts. But He’s not going to be obvious about it. He’s a bit of a seek and find kinda guy. You gotta be looking for His handiwork in the every day.

I needed God to show up today. I needed a reminder that He’s still here even after a long week. I headed to my quiet space and told Him that.

And this is how He responded. This is the whisper into my heart.
Why do you need me to show up if I am always there?

It was so simple. And I was reminded of the beauty of that truth. He is always there. In everything He created.

So, then I just wanted a simple reminder and confirmation. And you know what the Creator of the Universe did? He sent me a tiny bird to dance and dazzle me in the treetops.

Simple right?

But I was looking for it. My heart was expectant.

I think sometimes we don’t get what we ask for because we don’t expect God to follow through.

Why wouldn’t He?

Why would your Father give you a snake instead of what your heart desires? (Luke 11:11)

We aren’t looking for it. We are too busy on our devices or we’ve got our music too loud. Or our calendar is too full to just be still.

How many blessings have I missed because I wasn’t expecting the simple but looking for the extravagent?

Follow on Twitter @BEDONHAM

 

Be Uniquely You (Guess Blogger)

Let us all welcome Sharon today to Quiet Moments With God Blog.

Hey you!!!!  Thanks so much for coming to join me!  I am so honored to have you here!

I wanted to take this time to introduce myself and tell you what this blog is all about.

My name is Sharon Fletcher.  I am the wife to an amazing husband, mommy to 3 uniquely gifted, precious children, and a part-time pharmacist.  I am a lover of coffee, new experiences, being a tourist in my own town, and all things pretty!

Most of all, and I am lover of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  My heart is sold out to Him.

This blog was birthed from my trials and triumphs, tribulations and victories. It is my prayer that as I share my journey, others with be inspired and refreshed.  My purpose is to point others to Christ.

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Hey Hey Hey!!!  Rise and Shine!!!!  Rise to the occasion!  Shine on to greatness!!  God gave You a light that is unique to YOU and only YOU, and there is someone out there that needs you to let that light shine!

And that is what this blog post is about today.

I am a transparent person, a bit of an open book.  This is almost to a fault.  So I share a lot of my struggles, past and present, in hopes that the lessons learned from them will help someone else.  So, with that being said..

Growing up and into adulthood, I struggled with identity.  I wanted to be like my friends, my cousins, my siblings.  I wanted privileges that others had that I, at the time, was not afforded.  I wanted to go where they went and do what they did.  I had the mindset that what I had was not good enough.

I tried hard to be like my friends, especially the ones that everyone liked.  The beautiful and popular ones.  This was because I didn’t realize the precious jewel that I had within MYSELF, the jewel that He placed in me.  I never thought I was good enough. I never thought people would like who I was, but I desperately needed their validation.

Then Christ took me on a journey.

As I began to study Psalm 139, I learned how precious I was to God.  How He took the time to knit me in my mother’s womb.  That in itself makes me special.  Not more special than anyone else…just special.

I learned that He knew all of my words before they were formed on my tongue.  I learned that there is no where that I can go that He will not be.

I learned that my frame was not hidden from him.  My body. He shaped it.  My eyes, the way I talk, my teeth, the way I walk, my hair… He created it all.

I learned that His thoughts toward me are AMAZING, and I couldn’t number them if I tried.

I learned that His works are wonderful… and that includes me.

Through studying this Psalm, I learned that God took his time and carefully fashioned me.  He created me to be exactly how He wanted me to be.  And I am fine just the way that I am.

He did not create clones of Himself or others.  Although we are made in His image, He created unique beings that, together, form one great body.

I don’t have to parent like my friends that I admire.  God put something in ME that is unique to what my children need.

I don’t have to speak or act like my friends that I admire in hopes that others will like me.  He gave me my own special sauce and flavor that only I can add to the mix.  Validation from others is no longer needed or relevant.

I don’t have to look like the next woman, look how she looks in a bathing suit, or wear my hair the way she does to make me beautiful.  I am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made.  I have a certain finesse, style, and class that He gave only to me.  That makes me beautiful.  And I love it.

He gave each of us specific strengths, gifts, and talents that are unique to share with the others.

He put a special Light in you, that will ultimately draw others to HIM.

So I challenge you today, my dear sister!  Embrace your uniqueness!  Allow God to cultivate it!

Cherish yourself as much as He cherishes you!

Embrace what He has put in you!  You strengths, weaknesses, talents, flaws, charisma, and quirkiness.  Embrace it all!  It all makes you beautiful.

Be your own kind of Beautiful!  Own the finesse, style, and class that He gave YOU!

And the things about you that you know are not of God, submit it to Him to place on the Potter’s Wheel.  He makes all things new. You don’t have to try to do that in your own strength.

Rise and SHINE!!!  You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden!  God did not give you that light to be put under a bushel, but on a candlestick to give light to others! (Matthew 5:14-16).

Thanks Sharon, you can find her site at www. refreshingmomentswithsharon.com

What I Learned from Inability to Accept Help (Guess Blogger)

My name is Rebekah Lynn, and as a Woman of God and a single mother of three, my life revolves around serving God and my family. But it wasn’t always this way, my life and my story is far from perfect…but by the Grace of God, I have overcome many obstacles in my life that could have completely destroyed me.  I am normally a very private person, and I don’t usually like to share a lot. But as a saved woman, and a disciple of Christ I realized that my life is not about me. And once you have come to learn the truth about what Jesus has done for us, you have to share it. So that’s what I’m doing…I’m sharing His love and the transformational work He has done and will continually do in me.

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One day I ordered an Uber when I had my double stroller with me. After putting my children in the car I then head towards the trunk. I start to fold it up to put it inside of the trunk when the Uber driver comes over and asks me if I’d like his help. I politely tell him “No thank you, I’ve got it!”. Another day I’m about to walk into my grandmother’s house carrying my baby in his car seat, his diaper bag, my purse and a bag of food. My father who was already outside asked to help me, and I replied: “No thank you, I’ve got it!”. No matter if I am at the grocery store, laundry mat, in my home, or even someone offering to hold the door open for me I always reply, “No thank you, I’ve got it!”

An inability to accept help

Well one day after refusing to accept help, it dawned on me that this indeed was exactly what I was doing, refusing to accept help. Especially from men. I began to wonder why. What is wrong with me? Do I think I’m too good for the help? No, not at all. Am I even realizing at that moment that someone is offering to make things a little easier for me? No, I don’t think I do. So as I sat in deep thought, I realized I had many reasons for doing such things but I’ll only name 3:

#1

I am a single mother and I have been for almost 9 years now. I literally do everything myself. Late nights, early mornings, doctor’s appointments, parent/teachers conferences, sports, EVERYTHING. I do it all.

#2

I was raised by a single mother. My grandmothers are single mothers, although they the have all been married after the divorce they became single mothers. My aunts, cousins, all my major influences of womanhood and motherhood have been from single mothers. The strong black woman.

#3

I am not very trusting of people, especially men. Because of life experiences, I tend to believe people always have a hidden agenda. Some men think that a single woman with children must be damaged, insecure, or weak. And out of protection for myself and my children, I naturally have a guard up against men.

For example, I lived in Texas for a year by myself with no male family members around. I couldn’t go to the grocery store or even church without some male thinking I needed their assistance. One time a man at this church I had been to a few times and was considering joining offered to give me rides to places because he had noticed I didn’t have a car at the time. He insisted I needed help getting to stores for my children’s necessities and “maybe one day you’ll invite me over for dinner”. Of course, I declined, I also told his Pastor on him and never returned to that church

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Accepting healing

After analyzing these reasons, I began to recognize God was revealing things that needed to be healed. Although I don’t feel there is anything wrong with being a strong independent woman. Or a strong independent black woman for that matter, I do not want to be unable to accept help.  No one wants to block their own blessings. Not only that but I will be married one day and I do not want to carry that type of baggage into a marriage. Yes, I said baggage because for me it would be. It is a biblical truth that the woman is the helpmate, but a husband is a wife’s security and support. How would I be emotionally available to accept that level of support if I cannot accept the small, noncommittal instances right now?

God was also and most importantly revealing to me my level of trust and submission to Him. Now, of course, being a saved woman I know that I am nothing without GOD and I need Him every single day. But if I think I can handle everything by myself, when do I need God? Where do my faith and complete trust in Him come in? God desires for us to not only realize we need him for everything but for us to act like we know! And He WANTS us to need him for EVERYTHING. I can’t live a life completely dependent on God if I am still trying to be the one in control.

Surrendering control

So I began pouring out my heart before Him, being completely vulnerable and surrendered. I laid all the things I TRY to control at his feet, my insecurities, and worries and even wrote each one out on a piece of paper. This was an exercise I read about that truly helped me.Then I laid them out one by one before Him while praying on my knees. I want to be fully surrendered to God, I AM sold out! I want His will to be done in my life not my own. And to be an empty vessel for Him to use however He may choose. I cannot be empty by holding on to control. And that includes accepting the help He provides no matter how it comes. Trusting that he will not leave me to figure it out on my own (Joshua 1:9) and to give me the discernment to test the true intentions of the person offering. (Proverbs 18:15)

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Healing is a process

I know it will be a process but as soon as I accepted the healing God offered, it already began. It will be exciting to see the changes, and the growth as I continually become the woman of God He wants me to be. I’ve been learning that accepting help isn’t a sign of weakness but actually a sign of strength. Being able to realize you can’t do it on your own and submitting that control to God is key to our trust in Him. And recognizing that blessings come in many forms no matter how “small” they may seem. I want to be grateful at all times for all things God has done for me, even in the hard times.

So I hope you all will keep me in your prayers as I continue this lifetime journey of being like Christ. And I will continue to pray for you. I Pray we all continue to grow into the people God called us to be, and living our best lives! God bless!

Thank you so much Rebekah Lynn for your post, you can find more about Rebekah Lynn and her writings at  xorebekahlynn.com

 

 

Come To Me!

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Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden in light.     Matthew 11:28-30

These are the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ which can be found in the Gospel of Matthew, the first book in the New Testament. We as human beings go through difficult times in our own lives with very real disappointment and struggles. Rather it is a loss of a job, our home, a broken relationship, someone we love who is chronically ill or something worst someone we love has died, and left us behind.

Regardless of what our situation Jesus wants us to bring all of our problems and worries to him through our pray time. Yes, he already knows what troubles you, however he wants a relationship with you, and one way to do this is when we have our quiet time with him.

Trust Jesus at all times, he knows the pain and sorrow that you are feeling, and he wants you to pour out your heart in his presence.You need to release all those emotions in a safe place. Demonstrate your trust in Jesus by opening your heart in him, as you do so, he promise to keep it safe.

Remember that Jesus is a man of sorrows, fully acquainted with grief. Because of all he has suffered for all of us on a cross. As your pour out your emotions in his presence your heavy burden grows lighter. You no longer carry your sorrows alone. You release them to the Savior, and he then relieve and refresh your soul. Moreover, as your heavy heart grows lighter, you are freed to learn more on him, and who he really is. 

Come to Jesus and get to know who he truly is, in a everlasting depth and breadth. You will find that he is indeed a refuge, a safe place flooded with eternal love. Linger a while in His presence, letting His love soak into your soul.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Eileen

What To Do When You Can’t Find Thankful (Guess Blogger)

Gratitude is not always second nature. There are days when it seems all hope is lost. One of those everything that could go wrong did go wrong type of a day and rock bottom turned out to be a few feet lower than you thought.
Finding God’s grace in struggles can be a challenge but it is possible. There are times you feel like you cannot find thankfulness. Regardless how devastating the struggle or if you are just drawing a blank there is always something to be thankful for.
There are many places you can look to count things to be thankful for. Go to your facebook news feed and rejoice with those who are rejoicing. Did someones daughter take their first step? Did someones son graduate high school? Thank God for the family and the blessing. Still in need of more ideas? Head to the Bible. Thank God for the miracles, the stories told, the lessons learned, who He is, and His promises.

Worship music is a nice way to shift our perspective from us, our thoughts, sorrows, etc. to a Godly and heavenly perspective. Additionally, sometimes in the search for gratitude one simply needs to remember to take care of themselves, eating right and sleeping. Listening to others encounters with Christ and stories of His goodness encourages gratitude within. Sometimes we need to take time out to tend to our weary souls.
What do you do when it feels nearly impossible to find something to be thankful for?

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“Know this: my God will also fill every need you have according to His glorious riches in Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King.” Philippians 4:19
Jehovah Jireh (God My Provider),
From the moment, I open my eyes at the break of day till the time the sunsets You provide. Daily, You provide me with food, clean water, shelter, clean air, and clothing. You surround me with lovely people whom I cherish. People who challenge me to grow closer to You, people who make me think, and people who support me. A wonderful church family. You have given me purpose each day air kisses my lungs.

Daily, You provide me with just enough to thrive. Enough strength, determination, compassion, love, and grace. You have provided the beauty of nature.
You have provided me with a thriving relationship with You. Blessed me with the Scriptures and the gift of prayer. You have blessed me way beyond my comprehension. You have blessed me in ways that I am unaware of. You have blessed me so greatly, yet so often I do not acknowledge the depth of all my blessings. You are my great provider. I will forever praise Your Holy name.

Amen

thank you Victoria her blog is Chronically Hopeful 2014