We are fearfully and wonderfully made and all has been predestined. Remember always – there is nothing wrong with you – You were created by the Master’s hand. So if on day three, you are having a ” I can’t moment”, “I don’t know why moment”, “Yeah right moment”, be blessed and know that you are a God made human – there is no stamp on you called “made by human”; Breathe and know that you have sisters interceding on your behalf, CAUSE WE COMING OUT OF THIS!
Side note: I will be sending Psalm 27 to Jill Will and hope that you are comfortable sharing feedback here as we are in this together. God Bless You!
It’s Resurrection Sunday evening and I’m a little tired from all of my celebrating. I went to Maundy Thursday service, Good Friday service and Easter service at two different churches. After I went to the early service at my church, I was inspired to visit another in the afternoon. It makes sense that I tired feeling , I have spent a ton of time worshipping and praising the Lord. I’ve been to four services over this long weekend and have heard a total of 10 different messages. Each individual message definitely spoke to me. This includes pastors who shared on the each of the seven last words.
Each and every service I went to was extremely powerful. The words were so on point. I know that I know that I know Jesus died and he rose again for me. He certainly died for you too. Redemption has been granted. The resurrection is real. Jesus is alive for us all and in us all who believe, accept and know.
For a moment, I’m going to focus on me. I’m not really taking this as a selfish moment. I am, however, putting myself on blast – a sort of public accountability session. Can I spend this much time with the Lord and in the company of believers, live through so many spiritual and emotional experiences and still be the same ‘Joy” I was? This is not just limited to the services. I’m also counting all of the effort of the Lenten Challenge. It is possible that all of it is just temporary. Should it be? Of course not! There should be some lasting change. Will there be?
Just as I prepared to type these words, I took a moment to check my twitter account. Unwiittingly, my friend Aqua Copeland gave me the answer.
@Favored1Aqua We can’t stay trapped in the same condition, issues, and situations year after year. We have #Resurrection Power!
Clearly, I took on the #LentenChallenge to be transformed. I’m looking for self-improvement and a greater spiritual connection. I’ve created some positive momentum. Will it stick? Or will I simply go back to my old ways? When I had the opportunity to add old stuff back in to my diet after the stroke of midnight, I didn’t miss a beat. Chocolate was popped into my moth. Fish was on plate. Cheesy carbs were also added. While I don’t plan to gorge myself as I have done in the past or eat some of these things all the time, I really have yet to commit myself to plan. I could slip into a new bad habit without focus and effort. I am working and praying on a better path. The evidence will be when I act on it.
How I take care of my body temple is only one aspect of making sure that I’m GospelFit and drawing closer to the Lord and connecting to “Resurrection Power!” Even though, I’m feeling a little tired, I’m also feeling on fire for the Lord. Continually working to build my relationship with the Lord needs to bear some tangible fruit. I’ll be praying, meditating and focusing on translating that feeling into action. What about you?
Mark 15:37-39 (NIV) 37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. 38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
Imagine standing in front of Jesus and finally recognizing that He is the Son of God. It must have been such an awesome experience. I think of the blessing that the centurion had for actually being in the presence of Jesus. It also brings to mind the opportunity that he may have lost. Jesus walked in his midst before while He was alive. Did the centurion know Jesus before the end? Was he changed by that experience? Was he drawn closer to God?
Surely, we know that Sunday is coming! Jesus is near. During this lenten season, we may have taken steps to get ourselves closer to the Lord. We may have faltered. Today ends our Lenten Challenge. However, it does not end our journey. We are standing in the presence of Jesus and we can be transformed.
There are so many levels of transformation during this season. Some of this transformation occurs because we want it to and we are willing to put in the work to be a better disciple for Christ. We are putting time in the Word and with God in Prayer. We also work on taking care of our body temples in a manner that is pleasing to God. For we know that we are to honor God with our temples.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
The ultimate transformation and gift from the Lord is that Jesus died and rose again for you and me. He has cleansed us for now and eternal life. Knowing that we are free from the condemnation of sin is powerful and should help us to lead lives in the abundance that God promised and plans for us. Ultimately, our goal should be to stand in His presence and hear the words, “Well done.”
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.
“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!
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
This Sunday we has a sermon on tithing. This can bring up some difficult feelings when people think about it as being forced to give 10% to God. We could think about it as having 90% for ourselves. However, that is really an aside. The message really had me thinking about my thoughts about my attitude surrounding my giving.
There are times I think that every fiber of my being believes that the Lord is going to continue to provide. I know that I know that God loves me and I act accordingly. In these times, being a good steward is just as important as when I let doubt creep hang around. However, the difference is the future that I cannot see is more securely rooted in the Lord. When this happens, I act confidently and step boldly into each day. Don’t think I know where my financial blessing is at that moment. However, I am more comfortable with the fact that I have absolutely no idea who everything will unfold. As I ask God to order my steps in those moments, I am firmly planted on the path he puts before me.
When my pastor spoke on tithing and the self-righteous attitude that the Pharisees had, I took a moment to think about my perspective on whatever I gave. I’m certainly not feeling self-righteous and boastful. However, I’m not giving with the knowing that God is my supply. It’s really not the act of giving that I need to question. Rather, I need to examine why I’ve let the little seed of doubt creep into my head. I’ve been in situations before where the next dollar was nowhere to be found and God delivered. I can say I am the ultimate witness. One would think with a testimony from time and time again, I would be unmovable in my financial faith. I’m not. Or really, I wasn’t. In that moment, I decided to make a change.
I am the person who plays close attention to the words I say around my financial situation. I truly believe that words have power and the most powerful words are the ones I’m telling myself inside my head. Sunday, I flipped the switch in my head. I conformed my words to the life I plan on living…and the plan starts now. Trust, I’m not broke. I have more money now and more sources of funds than I did when God blessed me before. However, I was acting as if all I have was leaving me. It’s not. More importantly, God made a way for me to have what I have and is blessing me even now and in my future.
The interesting thing about a complete positive attitude adjustment is that it frees up space in your mind for other ideas to come in place of the doubt. Some of the ideas that came to me in the minutes and hours after service have significant $$$ potential. If I remember that God is leading all of my life and I know that all things are possible. When I have that knowing, new possibilities exist.
This is true for me and you. Check your giving attitude. A change just might free you and give comfort in your current and growing abundance.
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!
Nehemiah 8:6 (NIV) Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.
It is time to praise the Lord! No matter what is going on, praise the Lord. Sometimes, it seems as if things are not changing. It may feel as if time is stuck on an unpleasant moment. Know in those moments that praise will make it better.
Part of the praise in the down times is a reminder that God has delivered us before. Things have been less than perfect before and the Lord has seen us through. There have been things that some of us have thought we wouldn’t survive, but we did. In fact, we have thrived all because of the love of God. This is a love that is always with us.
Deuteronomy 31:8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
When you know that God is so good, there are moments that you can’t keep it inside. The deep knowing of this is something that you will share in all times and use to encourage yourself when things look less than ideal.
There are times when you may need to do your own little praise dance. These may be the best when you know things are good. When you know that you have been blessed and everything around you is going well. It could be a simple moment when you share with someone else that God is good or you could be praising Him. Recognizing, feeling and knowing that God’s love is always with you can be transformational.
Romans 8:39 (NIV) neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Our challenge during this Lenten season is to fully appreciate how much God loves us. The ultimate sacrifice for our salvation and for our lives connects us with God’s power in every moment. Truly a reason for praise. Amen!
John 3:3 (NIV) Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.
I want to see the kingdom of God. Don’t you? Being born again is the foundation of our faith. Jesus tells us in John 3:3 that we must be born again to see God’s kingdom. What then are we to do? How can we ensure that we are born again?
It isn’t by our works. We know this from Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) which states: 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
This being “saved” is being born again and spiritually renewed. Our new birth happens as we trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. This is what this Lenten season is about. Recognizing that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again is our first step to salvation. We need to believe this is true for our spiritually rebirth.
2 Corinthians 5:17(NIV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!
We become new in Christ. We grow in our trust in the Lord as we commit to our journey in Christ. When we seek out the Lord, we allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct us. Our life on earth and our life everlasting will be changed for the good.
Have you confessed that the Lord is your Savior? Do you know for yourself that Jesus died to save you of your sins? Are you building your trust in Jesus Christ? If you are already committed to Lord, do you need to renew yourself during this Lenten Challenge?
John 1:12-13 (NIV) 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
If you have yet to commit yourself to the Lord and wish to do so, now is your time. Believe in your heart and live the life you confess with your mouth. Below is a prayer of salvation. Be clear, it is not the prayer that saves you. It is your belief that Jesus Christ came to save YOU from your sins. Salvation starts with your faith.
“God, I know that I have sinned against you and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness—the gift of eternal life! Amen!” from GotQuestions.com
I pray for you in support and know that all who accept are truly born again.