Luke 23:46 46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.
When we are troubled and going through issues or we have a plethora of circumstances that are consuming our time, money, emotions, or attention, it can become difficult to feel like God has EVERYTHING under control. We may become so consumed with what we are GROWING through that we forget to pray. We neglect the power of crying out to our God, Who, yes has everything under control. Can We Talk?!
During this Lenten season we are reminded of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection. Jesus, being fully man felt some of the same emotions that we experience. He experienced rejection, anger, pain, doubt, and fear. In His final minutes on earth, His question to God was, why have You forsaken me. Rest assured that just like with Jesus, God has not forgotten you. He was in control then and He is still in control now. The Word promises that He will never leave or forsake us.
As we press through this last week of the Lenten Challenge, take comfort in knowing that whatever you are GROWING through God is with you. He knew that you would have these challenges before you today. He is not caught off guard or surprised by your circumstances. God didn’t get busy and when He turned His attention back again, there was Jesus on the cross. His plan for Jesus and His plan for reconciling our hearts back to His was predestined. Your life in Him is predestined. God knows that you are able through Him to handle all the challenges you face. Trust Him to heal and handle the issues, situations, and circumstances in your world. He is still in control. He is as close as your next whispered prayer.
John 19:17-18 17 and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew[a] is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them.
Are you in a period of testing right now? We know that tests and trials are designed by God to make us and mold us. We are made stronger by the tests and trials that we endure. You’ve heard folks say, that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Our tests are not designed to kill us be to strenghten our faith. Passing our tests allows us to move to the next level in God, teaching us and preparing us for what lies ahead. Can We Talk?!
As believers, it does not matter who you are and what your relationship is with the Lord you WILL face tests and trials. Our faith is tested when we go through trials. In the 1st chapter of James, he tells us to count it all joy when we face trials of any kind. He goes on to say that the testing of our faith PRODUCES perseverance. And when perseverance has finished its work in us we will be mature and complete, lacking anything.
Today, you might find yourself restless or discontent. You may be ready to give up or quit. Remember that God may testing you to teach you how to stay. He may be teaching you how to stand in the midst of adversity and uncertainty. If you quit you have forfeited the benefits of perseverance AND God will not be able to bless you at the next level, that next level blessing that will require you to know how to stay.
So if you are praying for a spouse and God is testing your staying power, He won’t send that spouse until you learn how to stay. Marriage requires staying power. If you are praying for that great career that can help you get out of debt, give you purpose, and help you care for your family, but you quit every job you get, God won’t bless you with that career until you learn how stay. Jobs come and go. Careers require staying power. TODAY you may be learning how to stay and stand through TOMORROW’s lengthy sickness of a loved one, a rocky marriage, or through the antics and confusion of a wayward child. Do you have what it takes to stay?
What is God trying to teach you today? It will bless you in the future. Surrender so that you can move to next level of your life. Learn how to stay. Learn how to stand in the face of obstacles and opposition. He will be standing right by your side.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10
When we look at verse 9 what comes to your mind? To me it says hang in there. When we want to do something good do not get so tired of doing well that we just stop and fail. I remember when I was in college and being chronic anemic I was always so tired, however, I pushed myself so hard to stay up, finish, and turn in a project. For anyone that does not know how this affects the body, mind and ability to complete any activity, it makes you sleepy all of the time, better yet fatigued and you have slept all night, but you want to go right back to bed as soon as you wake up.
How does this tie in with our Lenten challenge you ask? Well let me tell you. At times, the journey is trying while we eat and drink all of the things that we usually would not consume on a daily basis. At times, we may have been tempted to get tired and slack off. We may have been tempted to have that cake, pie, or that chocolate that we were craving. Just remember, with constant prayer, we can overcome any temptations that will keep us weary and not finishing our challenge.
Hang in there everyone…you are not alone in the challenge-we can finish strong our blessings are well on their way.
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“None of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely live. Ezekiel 33:16
When I read these words, I instantly felt mercy, grace, love, strength, freedom, power, and relief. The type of relief that comes when you know and can say that God has not given up on me; there is still an opportunity for change. Change first must begin within us, before it manifest to the outside. When I read this scripture, I used to think along the lines of the obvious sins, like violating the 10 commandments, but what about the sins that we commit against ourselves.
We often forget how special we are. We are divine masterpieces, formed in love; corrupted and deformed by sin; but reformed by grace. That is what Ezekiel 33:16 is telling me. However, sometimes we forget that about ourselves. In Psalm 139:13 King David wrote: “you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
We have been formed in love and are divine masterpieces. Sadly, we don’t always see ourselves that way. Instead of thanking God for the body he has given us, we wish we had a smaller nose, bigger hands, more hair, less hair, to be smarter, popular, etc. But God made each of us the way he wanted us to be and he did so in love.
One of our greatest sins is not having love for ourselves and when we do not love ourselves, how can we truly say we love one another and love God. Take a minute and remember the last time, the words that you spoke over yourself were not the most positive. Have you said, oh, I am too fat, I can’t do this, I got big, this that, or something else. Has there been something that God has required of you, and knew it was God’s voice and you have not done it. Have you cut yourself off from someone and let pride keep you away because maybe they would not understand, or even care? Have you decided that life really is not going to change, and you have stopped, praying fasting and trusting? Or even thinking about stuff and situations and ending the thoughts, so what, who cares if I do or don’t… you fill in the blank. You are not alone; many of us have fallen into despair one time or another. The danger is staying in any of these scenarios.
God is patiently waiting for us to start the process of self-love, for our repentance, and recognize that no matter what our physical features are, our mental state is – if we repent in our heart, God will remind us of His great love for us, deliver us from our bondage, and reform us into God’s own likeness – the blinders are removed from our eyes, the ever eluding joy is now all over us, and whatever sins we have committed will no longer be remembered and held against us.
The awesome thing is that God isn’t asking us to do that which he doesn’t give us the power to do. We can love ourselves; we can truly remove that pain, and love ourselves, then love our neighbors and truly love God. And as we are repentant of our negative self-talk, we have a guarantee of God’s love that sends the Holy Spirit into our lives to facilitate our changes. The more we began to let go, receive God in all of God’s glory, we will want to sing with David: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14a) and the past will no longer be remembered. Live Victoriously.
“The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” Judges 7:7 (NIV)
In today’s Lenten scripture we see Gideon preparing to go forth to battle. He is doing what he thinks needs to be done; getting as many people together as he can to be ready to move forward. . He must have been quite surprised for God to tell him to leave most of his help behind. This truly did not make common sense. This was against everything that Gideon knew to be true when preparing for combat.
The one thing that this portion of scripture struck me was that Gideon listened to God. No, it did not make any worldly sense to cut back on the troops needed to go into battle. But He listened! How are our listening ears these days? Think about this, what if God told us to leave something in our life, that we are comfortable with – just leave it alone. Actually, forget about this thing, and move forward. Don’t talk to anyone, don’t explain, just do it.
For those who will ask this question – how do we know it is God, while that is another blog topic, I will refer you to John 10:27: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (NKJV)
Would we trust God? Would we even believe that it was Him because he was advising us to do something that did not make any sense to us in our common sense approach to problems? Sometimes, I think that I have God all figured out, because I have been living awhile and I have seen some things, had experiences, so even when God sets up situations to change my patterns of approach and behavior, I have thought that I can make correction as if my way is better. Now, I am being transparent here, because before I can help someone else, I need to be truly honest about me!
Earlier, I said Gideon listened, why is that? In verse 2, God told Gideon that with so many men in the army, they would think that they were self-sufficient and thus, need not depend on God. And to prove his point God gave Gideon a command in verse 3 to announce to the men “Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead,” and as such 22,000 men left the army because they were afraid. God finally reduced the number to just 300 and clearly told Gideon that he was to obey Him in His selection.
Gideon listened, saw results, just as we have many times over in our lives when we have listened to God. I just believe had Gideon gone into battle with all of the people that he had recruited because it made more sense to him then he stood a great chance of losing the Lord on his side. Think on this, if 22,000 men who left, had actually stayed, what would have happened in that battle?
Sometimes God may call us to make an unorthodox move to send His word forth. Are we prepared to be used by God in such a manner as this? Some of us are just sitting there wondering what is going on and what should we do next. We must be careful that God isn’t saying, “Leave this, that or the other behind and move forward now!”
May, I suggest that we refresh, regroup and reorganize our thinking, so that God can do a new thing in us. As soon as we accept what God allows, new things will be exposed and opportunities will be abound because we are aligned in God! Be Victorious today!
1 Peter 4:1-2 (NRSV) Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh,[a] arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), 2 so as to live for the rest of your earthly life[b] no longer by human desires but by the will of God
I got saved when I was a pre-teen. I recall thinking there are so many restrictions associated with being a Christian. You can’t do this, that or the other. You can bet that all of those things I wanted to do were things that were harmful for me. I can see it now, but certainly could not appreciate the danger back then. Even as I grew up I still thought this life of being a believer comes with so many restrictions, why would anyone commit to this way of living. Still, as I reflect now I wanted to do whatever I wanted to do, whenever I wanted to do it. Can We Talk?!
Now that I have grown up and understand better my purpose and the purpose and power of my salvation, I understand that the boundaries, restrictions or the Laws were not designed to keep me in bondage, but they were designed to set me free. When I think about no longer being a slave to sin and giving into every desire of my flesh, I understand that I am set free by those boundaries. Do I still sin? YES. Come on, you know the answer to that. Am I under the dominion of sin? NO! There is a difference.
When we are under the dominion of sin, we HAVE to sin. We don’t have a choice. Sin may in fact, be our way of life. When I recognize the power over sin I have through the blood of Christ I am able to DECIDE or CHOOSE to sin OR NOT in every situation in my life. I am aware that the choices I am making are sinful and those choices have the potential to lead to death.
I hope that you can comprehend the freedom that your salvation affords you. When we are able to live according to the will of God, instead of being driven by our fleshly desires we are set free. As a believer there are certain activities that I choose not to partake in. But that does not mean that I am missing out on anything. In fact, the opposite is true. I have gained so much through this relationship with Jesus. Riches untold. Loving the Lord makes us want to live according to His will. For me, it means that I have freedom to live a wonderfully blessed life.
4 Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, 5 it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Love is an interesting word something that most of us tend to use quite flippantly for things we like, appreciate and want but the scripture, 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 truly sums up what love is.
I love my husband, I love my children, I love my parents, I love my sister and I love my friends. At the same time I canot say that the love I have for these special people in my life, has prevented me from displaying negative emotions towards them.
Lent is a time of reflection, prayer, deepening our relationship with God and a reminder of the great sacrifice that was made on our behalf, through Jesus because God loved us. Hopefully the Lenten Challenge has been able to support you in all of this.
For me the Lenten Challenge is a time to draw closer to God and learn from his teachings. This will enable me to love myself more by treating my body right through my diet and physical activity, whilst also enabling me to love others around me in a way that truly reflects what love is about.
God’s love for us is not finite, it is not dependent on our actions, it is not to control us, it always urges us on, it is never angry or hurtful, it will never fail us!
My prayer for me and for you is for God to open our hearts and guide us, such that we too can love ourselves and one another in the same way that he loves us.
Image courtesy of The Ruby Life
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Do you Trust Him??
First, let me start by saying that it is an honor to be amongst so many awesome people that are involved in this Lenten challenge. It has been a pleasure to read all of the posts that have been submitted here for this great event. To be honest, I was a bit nervous because I wanted to write well for each of you.
As I sat back and prayed before I typed a single word, I looked at my bible verse and the first four words put me at ease. “Trust in the Lord.” See many times, when we get nervous and we tend to tense up and doubt ourselves, but we forget to trust in the lord that he has our back through any trial that is upon us.
There was a time in my life that I did not trust in the lord, I am not ashamed to say that because I am sure not that same person today. I would question everything; I had trust issues as many of us still may have today. Did you guys see that “(HAD)”? Let me reassure you that since giving myself back to Christ 3 years ago it has been all or nothing. It is either trust him or you do not and I TRUST him!! It may not be easy at times, but I trust God with all of my heart that everything is going to be just fine. That even applies to our Lenten challenge.
See, with the challenge we are giving up things that we usually would indulge in to make us happy, comfort us, or just because. As I sit here right next to my favorite lemon cake, I take a drink of my lemon water, and I will not ask why. Sometimes, we need to give things up and not ask why, deep down it is to get us off that rigid road and back on a straighter smoother path to a better and healthier life.
Therefore, Trust that God is with you each day through this challenge…I know I do!
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Instead of focusing on my love, I’ve been thinking about all the people who have demonstrated love to me. Clearly, everyday I have been blessed. Often the blessings that come to me are through others. Support from others in projects that I start is a big way people have shown their love. The individuals may not have thought about it as love. However, I’m taking it that way. In fact, some support that I’ve received hasn’t even been because people are trying to support me.
The one thing staring us in the face, right now, is the participation of so many people in this Lenten Challenge. First, Gillian Stephens and Aqua Copeland so generously got on board to help make this 40 day journey happen. They reached out to their network and found others who were willing to get on board. These collaborators don’t even know me. Some may follow GospelFit on Twitter or Facebook, but probably haven’t connected it to me. What motivated them is their love of the Lord and belief that this concept is worthwhile. I have become the “everyone else” that the scripture references. I thank each and everyone one of them for their stepping out and demonstrating their faith in action. I am so grateful that the love of the Lord is so powerful and it blesses me all the time.
Now that I’ve done my little Holy dance of praise for others, I really need to make sure that I am open and letting God strengthen my heart. It is easy to say and to think you’re doing the right thing. Now, is the time for me to do more self-reflection and make some appropriate adjustments. I’m good most of the time. I’m working on getting better all of the time. Having found a community of people who love the Lord and can connect it with all of their entire life, I know that I have support. I know that my love will act like Luke 6:38.
Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
I know that the love of the Lord will always exceed and multiply whatever love I can share. The Lord has demonstrated this with His death at the cross and resurrection. What a blessing!
Colossians 2:6-7 NLT “and now just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
I want to open this blog with a story from my own journey “4HisTemple” :
I had started walking with the desire to improve my fibromyalgia and changing my eating habits at Gods suggestion. I could not walk 5 minutes when I started. At the time of this story I was regularly wogging a mile in 13 – 15 minutes. Wogging is a combination of fast walking and jogging.
I turned on my running app that would tell me when I had finished a mile and began the morning wog. With some praise music in my ears I talked about things with God. After awhile I decided to look at my app and see how much was left of my mile and saw it was blank. I began to worry and panic How would I know when a mile was up? How will I know when to stop?
I heard a voice whisper trust. It was God and He was telling me to just keep going and He would tell me when I needed to stop. With a mixture of excitement and anxiousness at the lack of control I continued down the hill and around the curve where my 30 second jog started. I kept trying to remember how many times I had circled and wishing I knew when to stop. Each time my mind wandered to myself, God gently called my attention back to Him. After a few circles around the track my conversation changed.
My legs began to burn and ache and I questioned God, “Are You sure I don’t need to stop? This is really hard.” He would respond, “I am running with You, not much longer now.”
Another circle, breathing heavy, huffing and puffing. Coming up to my jog, hurting bad. “God I don’t think my legs with hold me up much longer, are You sure?” God pressed me on, “I am right beside you, I will not let you fall remember I promised you in my word.” At that statement I rounded the curve to begin my 30 second jog again and hesitated. “Come to me follow me, I will not let you fall. Just a little further.” God seemed to be right in my ear. I began forward slow and increased then into a full run down the hill around the other curve and landed on my knees in the grass. God met me there and told me to pull out my phone. I looked at the app and had run 2 miles. Not because of my strength or desire, but on Gods strength and my desire to please Him. I stood up with breath and no pain.
“you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him.”
I had been trusting God from day one, just as you at the beginning of the lent challenge to strength, bless and sustain me as I walked. He had done that bringing me from less than 5 minutes to a mile. I had added Bible study and prayer to self control concerning exercise and food. It caused my roots to grow deep in Christ and trust Him. At the beginning I would not have been able to trust Him, but He knew I had not gone my full potential. He knew how far I could go and wanted to show me.
You have come so far don’t stop now!
You are starting the Second mile!
Victory awaits you!
Self control is daunting. The fight is even more intense when coupled with physical or mental ailments such as Fibromyalgia, fatigue, depression and anxiety. You may face one of these or a combination and I want to tell you victory is sure. Victory is guaranteed If you just hold on and listen to Jesus voice He will guide you and not let you fall.
When you feel yourself fighting urges to cave, wanting to eat some sweets or meat, hit your knees. He will take care of you, He will calm that. I have learned in my journey not to pray as the Pharisees for trial and trouble to be removed but rather that my desire to obey and please Jesus would increase. It has helped me in every area of my life, He is faithful. So faithful.
“Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
After this happened at the track I started wogging as God lead me. It is amazing, I still track my runs for my accountability partner as I can but I do not look at the app to see when to stop. Since this happened my faith and trust has grown. My thankfulness has as well, knowing that He will not take me further than I can go and will not let me fall as long as I trust Him. I am so excited for each of you! I know at the end of this Lenten challenge your faith, trust and thankfulness with be greatly increased as well! Continue in Christ as you have already accepted Him and started strong in Him.
God’s great blessings and love fill you.