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Mirrors

03 Aug 2017, Posted by admin in Weekly Encouragement

Written by Remaliah Evans

It was Sunday morning and I was supposed to be praying with team members before church. I was there in body only; my mind was on Housewives of Atlanta. At the time, it was a new show and I had just finished binge-watching season 1. I stood in prayer and thought, “I can’t believe that NeNe said that!” And then I felt convicted. I was supposed to be praying, and my mind was on the Housewives. I stopped watching the show because I realized that I was using TV to escape.

The eyes are powerful and we are often led by our eyes; hence multimillion dollar ad campaigns. Over the years Coca Cola, Microsoft, Kia, and Jaguar have each paid for an eight million dollar Super Bowl commercial. In 2011 Chrysler paid 12.4 million dollars for a two-minute Super Bowl commercial. Millions are spent on television commercials because we are captivated and consumed by what we see most.

When our eyes are constantly on entertainment and social media we can easily be lost in a world that doesn’t even exist. We are immeasurably influenced by what we see. Looking back on my teens and early twenties I am astonished at how much I allowed pop culture to influence my life. I loved music videos and I started to aspire to be like the people in the videos, whether I wanted to admit it or not. I wanted to be the girl who didn’t care what anybody thought, and did whatever she wanted. I wanted to be pretty girl that stole the spotlight when she entered the party. Then I wanted to be the person throwing the exorbitant parties. I did not simply “grow out” of this; my aspirations changed because my eyes were soon on something and Someone else.

When I rededicated my life to God, one of the first verses I learned was 1 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. Let’s break this down a little:

  1. When I look at God, it is with an unveiled face. There no longer has to be any separation between me and Him because He died on the cross.
  1. When I look at the glory of the Lord it’s like a mirror. It’s like a mirror because I am made in His image, and when I look at my Father, I should look like Him. I should see Him in me. There should be evidence that He is working in me and through me.
  1. As I sit in my Father’s presence, I am being transformed by the Holy Spirit and going from glory to glory. When you have a moment, read the Vine’s extensive definition of the word glory. Glory is the nature, character, and the acts of God manifested. Going from glory to glory means walking, talking, thinking, loving, and acting like my Father. I want to look like Him.

How can I see God? Soon after learning 1 Corinthians 13:8, I was I taught James 1:23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror. The word of God, and Jesus are one according to John 1:1;14. Therefore as I read the Bible I see God! James 1:23 says that the word is like mirror, which means that when I read the word I can see the parts of me that look my Father and the parts of me that don’t. I then get to choose what I am going to do with what I see. Am I going to pretend I don’t see character issues, cyclical patterns, or wounds. Or I am going to submit to God, sit in my Father’s presence, and allow Him to transform me as I choose to keep my eyes on him.

We are to behold God and His word continually as our mirror. Interestingly, anything that we look at long enough becomes a mirror, because as we constantly look at something or someone we inevitably, even if subconsciously, choose whether or not we want to mirror their actions. Thus, we choose to keep our eyes on God and His word. The more I am transformed by Him, the more I am light and the more I love like He loves. God’s loving-kindness brings us to repentance and into relationship with Him. Therefore I want His loving-kindness flowing in and through me so that I can lead my family, friends, and anyone I know to Him.

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The Voice of the Heart

26 Jul 2017, Posted by admin in Weekly Encouragement

Written by Remaliah Evans

Silence is powerful. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent and discerning if they hold their tongue (Proverbs 17:28 NIV). Learning to be quiet has kept me from much outside turmoil, however verbal silence does not always address the heart issues within. Holding our tongue is a first step toward maturity, not the end result. The mouth reveals the heart. As Jesus said, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. What we say out loud and the inner dialogue we have with ourselves reveals our heart.

There are times when words escape my mouth, and I immediately wish I could take them back. I can’t.  Instead of focusing on the misspoken words, I make a choice to look at my heart.  I don’t always like what I see there, but that praise God that I am being transformed by Him everyday. As we take them time to look at our heart, God is faithful to reveal the areas in that need softening and healing.

King David gives us an excellent prayer regarding our heart. In Psalms 51:10 he prays “create in me a clean heart, Oh God and renew a right spirit within me.” That is a powerful prayer. David was well acquainted with sin and sin’s consequences, and he was crying out to God for help. We are to rely on God, His word, and the power of the Holy Spirit. It can be easy get offended or stay offended when we are not seeking God daily. Yet, it amazes me that when we do seek God daily, the offense still comes, however it is abundantly easier to forgive and walk in love.

When we fail we must choose get up and forgive as Jesus has so faithfully forgiven us.  I am an over thinker and anger seems to be the only emotion I know at times. So when I’m offended I can overthink the situation and then just sit there and get angrier and angrier all by myself unless I go to God, choose to forgive, and repent for my unforgiveness. We are deceived if we think unforgiveness and resentment is hidden deep within; the roots might be deep but the fruit is usually on our lips. I don’t ever want to hurt someone or displease God in what I say, so I am constantly forgiving, making the choice not be offended, and then asking God to create a clean heart within me.

The treasure in this process is experiencing God’s great love for us. He reminds me to pray when someone offends me and when I’m complaining to Him about the offense. Do you know how hard it is stay angry with someone you’re praying for? It’s virtually impossible because as the Holy Spirit leads us, we learn to pray God’s goodness and promises for them. When I have tried to villainize someone in my mind, the Lord is quick show me my part in the problem, and also remind me of the goodness within that other person.  I often ask God to allow me to see people how He sees them, because God always sees someone who is worth dying for.

Beyond wanting a clean heart so that I can please God, I also want a clean heart so that my vision is clear. When my heart is dirty, my vision is blurry, meaning I see and I hear everything incorrectly. If I’m already offended then it doesn’t take much for something else to offend me. If I am holding on to sin, shame, and rejection then it’s hard for me hear God speak and it’s hard to receive correction or apply wisdom because I’m distracted and hiding.  Like the prodigal Son, we can always repent and pray because God is with us.

In Psalms 139:7-8 David says,  “where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?  If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.” It seems David has come to the end of himself and realized that he can’t run from God; that’s a lesson in itself. In this verse we find that God is faithful to stay with us even when we are stubborn in our hearts. That said, this verse is not a license to stay stubborn and rebellious. The Lord is faithful to keep calling us that He may restore us into right relationship with Him.

As we mature in Christ, our goal is to write His word on heart so that we do not sin against Him. Our heart can be so filled with the word of God that we sound like our Father, we know exactly what His voice sounds like, and we know what is on His heart.

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The Power of Words

13 Jul 2017, Posted by admin in Weekly Encouragement
I never realized how much negative words could affect my life. I would use words like “now you know that was so stupid, I can never get anything right.” I would hear words like this growing up: “You will never amount to anything,” “You will probably be a tomboy when you grow up.”  As I grew older, I noticed that the negative words spoken over my life had an adverse bad effect on my life in as a teen and as an adult. I felt like a failure because I did not achieve certain award and accomplishments in high school- all because of the words that I had spoken over my life and because of the words that I allowed others to speak over my life.
Then I received Jesus as my Savior and Lord, and I found out that life and death are in the power of the tongue. I started thinking about the words before I would release them out of my mouth. I also watched the words that I would speak to my son. I never called him stupid. Instead, I would use words to encourage him and build him up. The words we speak to and over our children are life-changing. Build and encourage your kids each day.
My granddaughter came over to spend the weekend with me, and she shared that her teacher said that she was a slow learner. I had her repeat Romans 8:37 and Philippians 4:13 which states that she is more than a conquer and that she can do all things through Christ that gives her strength. She put this BIG smile on her face and gave me a BIG hug, and she said, “thank you granny I am not slow I am a winner, and I can do all things through Christ that gives me the strength to accomplish all of my goals.” I let her know that she is beautiful and wonderfully made as well according to scriptures.
Let us start speaking words of life into our lives and not words of death. Proverbs 18:21 ESV: Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. Ephesians 4:29:  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Proverbs 15:1: A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up.
Sometimes the way we answer someone can be very severe.  Proverbs 21:23 ESV says Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. Now that is a hard one because I can be very opinionated at times, but I am learning.  The word of God has much to say regarding words. So let’s study and become DOER’s of God’s word and not hearers only deceiving ourselves (James 1:22).
Words that I have spoken in the past have gotten me in a world of trouble. Now I use wisdom and discernment, and I try my best to think before I speak, and this saves me from unnecessary predicaments. Proverbs 21:23: Whoever guards his mouth and tongue, keeps his soul from troubles.
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Who’s Your Hero?

15 Jun 2017, Posted by admin in Weekly Encouragement

Written by Judy Smith

My family and I were watching a movie together at home with my great grandson. During the movie the hero stole a police car, rammed it into a building, and set fire to the building in order to smoke out the men inside. He then illegally bugged a room, held a receptionist against her will, and hacked into a computer system. Despite this laundry list of crime and mayhem he was deemed the hero of the story.

My grandson and his wife began discussing the trend toward bad boy heroes. “Where are the heroes with values that children should pay attention to?” they asked. My great grandson loves Jesus and understands the importance of honesty and integrity. However these law-breaking “heroes” really grab his attention.

Many of today’s heroes aren’t merely flawed, they have a dark side. They have angry streaks, and use illegal and immoral means to win the day in the name of their cause. Even some of the heroes of the faith in the Bible had moments of moral failure, and poor judgment. When we set our hero standard by anyone but Jesus, we risk forming an inadequate definition of a hero.

Jesus always spoke truth. He sacrificed everything for those He loves. Jesus is our protector, conqueror, and has flawless character. Revelation 17:14 “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

As I continued discussing heroes with my great grandson I shared with him that one of my heroes is Corrie ten Boom. She and her sister Betsy were prisoners in a concentration camp because they had hidden Jews in their home. When Corrie first arrived to the concentration camp she told her sister Betsy that she could not bear the lice that lived in their filthy blankets and mattress. Betsy replied, “thank God for everything, even the lice.

It turns out that because of the lice, the officers and guards kept their distance, allowing Corrie and Betsy to hold bible studies without fear. Eventually Corrie made it out of the concentration camp. God can turn our problem into a blessing. I had the privilege of meeting Corrie ten Boom before she passed at a church in Lynwood California. I was a new Christian and she was the first Christian hero that I admired. Who are your heroes?

Thank the Lord for His beautiful example and all of the others that He brings into your life. He is faithful to bring you those that will uplift you, encourage you, and keep pointing you back to Him. Ephesians 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Crippled At The Table

03 Jun 2017, Posted by admin in Weekly Encouragement

Written by Kelly Elders

Have you ever felt so inadequate? You have all these dreams and goals yet there is this inadequacy that you struggle to develop? You’ve read, listened and tried your best to develop this area yet it’s still a struggle. What if you weren’t meant to be great at everything but at one thing? Would you need God if you were great in everything? Would you need others if you could do it all?

Maybe it’s your heart that seems so crippled with fear, worry, stress or depression? Does your heart struggle to forgive, move forward or love those who wrong you? You find yourself trying yet struggling with insecurities and every time you are inspired you can only see all of your flaws.

God invites all of us to the table, the weary, the hurting, the gifted, the inadequate, the fearful, the depressed, wherever you find yourself today. He invites us to sit and to be covered at his table. When we sit at His table He covers all of our faults, fears and yes even sin. We come imperfect before a perfect God because Jesus is our covering.

2 Samuel 9:7-10

“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”

Mephibosheth bowed down and said, “What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me?”

Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family.10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.”

HE WAS INVITED WITH NO COVER CHARGE

Just as Mephibosheth never earned his place at the table. He only humbly bowed before David. He shouldn’t even have been left alive according to tradition but he remained. Most wouldn’t have considered him a threat, courageous or even worthy yet David the king invited him to eat with him every day. No matter your area of struggle you are invited by the King to take part in all He has to offer. It’s not a matter of accepting sin or weaknesses but to know that we are no longer defined by them. Where we are weak He is strong.

The table is a place of freedom, provision and acceptance. We need to make time to sit with Him and there He will give us all we need. He has prepared a place for each of us to sit but it is our responsibility to come to His table.

The Parable of the Banquet Luke 14:21

21The servant returned and reported all this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the city, and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’

WHERE YOU LACK GOD LINKS

Where do you feel crippled? What area in your life makes you feel inadequate? Maybe you are really creative and have an idea to sell your items but have no business skills and you never move forward with the possibilities. Ask God to link you to the right people. We are connected for a reason and purpose. Some of the best pastors and leaders lead well not because they can do everything but are connected with people who can. The leader doesn’t have to be the most gifted or even the most talented as long as they connect themselves with those who are gifted in the areas they lack. It was God himself that said it was not good for man to be alone. We are better together than any one of us alone.

Mephibosheth didn’t have the ability to work the field or even the capacity but David connected him to those who did. He enjoyed the benefits while someone else had the ability. I believe we are being connected to the right people which will bring us into our purpose and rightful position.

Your name is on the invite but will you take time to sit with Him today? Ask God to link you to those you need and those who need you!

For more from Kelly Elders, please visit KellyElders.com

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A Woman Who Builds

18 May 2017, Posted by admin in Weekly Encouragement

 Written by Kelly Elders

Women Who Build Themselves

Jude 20-21 But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!

When you know you are accepted and loved then you will be able to love and be accepting of others. So many times when we are rejected or mistreated we think its about us but the truth is, its more about the other person. We need to resolve that we are loved and accepted by the One who really matters! Build yourselves strong in His Holy Spirit and no one will be able to tear it down.

Colossians 3:12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

There are some things we never leave home without like our underwear! I can only hope. He is telling us to make Love the “must have” in our wardrobe. The Love hat is the first thing we put on in the morning before we put on mom hat, business hat, work hat, ministry hat or anything other hat. Put on love and wear it well!

Women Who Build One Another

When I think of success in ministry, it is when others find success. Ministry is about others not ourselves. If you aren’t lifting others and moving them forward are you really doing ministry? We need to be cheering others on and forward. We don’t have time to compete, compare or criticize. Understand, your destiny has your name written on it and no one else can replace you. It was created and designed with you in mind. What God gives you, no one can take from you and what God takes from you, let it go. Insecurities will keep you from propelling others forward and in turn limits God’s ability to use you.

Women Who Build The Kingdom 

There are two types of builders. First, you have the Demo Builder. She has a hammer in one hand and a sledge hammer in the other. She designs and builds and it looks like its coming along very well but soon she is frustrated and begins using the sledge hammer to tear down all she has built. Sometimes it’s because what she has began to build doesn’t seem enough, she second guesses herself, or someone begins to criticize what she is building. If that person was building they wouldn’t have time to criticize what you are building. So its a constant starting over to either please others or impress others. God isn’t looking for cookie cutter homes but for a custom built home that no one else can build.

1 Chronicles 7:20-27 Descendants of Ephraim

20 The descendants of Ephraim were Shuthelah, Bered, Tahath, Eleadah, Tahath,21 Zabad, Shuthelah, Ezer, and Elead. These two were killed trying to steal livestock from the local farmers near Gath. 22 Their father, Ephraim, mourned for them a long time, and his relatives came to comfort him. 23 Afterward Ephraim slept with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. Ephraim named him Beriah because of the tragedy his family had suffered. 24 He had a daughter named Sheerah. She built the towns of Lower and Upper Beth-horon and Uzzen-sheerah.

Next, you have the Bold Builder, Sheerah. When her father, who was Joseph’s son, lost his sons he was so defeated. His sons were thieves and taking what didn’t belong to them. They were trying to succeed by taking from others and they lost their lives in the process.

Through all the grief of Ephraim you never read that he clung to his daughter or even looked to her ability but the chronicler mentions her name in the middle of a genealogy in which most of the women are never recorded. It contains fathers and sons yet we get this small and brief mention of a woman who dared to build! God will always make your story read by someone.

She was the granddaughter of Joseph who knew something about overseeing a city. Building was in her DNA! Sheerah had a vision and a dream and was able to build 3 cities. Can you imagine, during the time when women were not empowered and she builds not one but 3 cities! What could we build if we had a vision? She may have not had the cheering from her family but apparently she had a vision others believed and helped her bring to pass. She must have orchestrated contractors, mason workers and others to do the work. They trusted her ability to see a city that did not yet exist.

It says she built in the low and high place. No matter what situation you find yourself today high or low, choose to build. She built a city in the Lower Beth-Horon, a low place. You can build in a low place. Candice Lightner who lost her daughter due to a drunk driver chose to build in a low place. She developed MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, which helped bring awareness and change laws. She knew how to build in the low place.

Maybe today you are in a high place of position and influence, build! Use your place to build. Sheerah built Upper Beth-Horon, a high place. Every First Lady of the U.S. uses their position to make a difference whether in human rights, education or equal rights. Many have paved the way women enjoy today. If you are in a high place do as Esther did, use your influence to build. She saved the people of God just by using her influence with the king. She was born for this cause to save much people alive. You were born to build!

All you need is a vision, a will to do and love and nothing can stop you from building that dream, that child, that marriage or the kingdom! There is a Builder within us all.

For more from Kelly Elders, please visit KellyElders.com

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Brighter and Brighter

11 May 2017, Posted by admin in Weekly Encouragement

Four years ago I lost my Mom. On the day she died I remember thinking, “who’s gonna pray for me now?” I know that’s an extremely selfish thought, but it’s the truth.

My Mom and I fought regularly. Still, she prayed for me relentlessly. There is nothing like the power of a praying Mom, a Mom that declares the Word of God over her children. James 5:16 NLT reads the earnest prayers of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Praying parents emulate Jesus because Jesus lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). There is power in prayer and in the promises of God.

I experienced the power of His promises even as I grieved. We grieve when we lose someone we love, and we grieve when we lose something that we love such a job or exciting opportunity. Even so, grieving eventually ends because we have the promises of God. Ecclesiastes 3:4 tells us that there is a time to mourn and time to dance, and God promises to heal the brokenhearted and bind up our wounds (Psalms 147:3). Jesus promises that we have the Holy Spirit as our Comforter, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, and Strengthener (John 14:26 AMP), and the Word promises that our path shines brighter and brighter until it reaches its full strength and glory (Proverbs 4:18 AMP).

Mourning passed as I walked through the grieving process with God, and realized that I could trust Him with my future. Mourning passed as I realized I could trust Him to heal my heart and wounds. He was and is my Comforter and Ever-Present Help even when the pain felt unbearable and never-ending. As I grieved I felt pain like I’ve never felt before and my mind was nearly consumed with crazy-making thoughts because I just wanted to make the pain end. For the first time in my life I could understand how mental breakdowns occur.

Guilt, anger, and loss nearly crushed me. But God IS His Word and He flooded me with His Truth and counsel. He reminded me that I have the mind of Christ, that He loved me, and He told me to start expressing my emotions. God’s voice is unparalleled because it is absolute Truth always motivated by unconditional love. I knew that if I was not obedient I would likely lose my mind. It was challenging, yet God had already led me to a support group, surrounded me with supportive praying family and friends, and His grace secured me. Mourning passed because God promised that my path shines brighter and brighter. No matter what happens, He has already guaranteed that my future is brighter than my past. It was hard to believe that when I was grieving, however God has been beyond faithful to me.

How could my life grow brighter after death and loss? Only God can do that, and He did it for me. He placed three faithful women in my life that call me daughter. They cover me in prayer and nurture my growth. I’ve known two of them for nearly a decade, and one since I was eight years old. Last week, I remembered how I asked “who’s gonna pray for me now?”  The next day one of women told me “you are my daughter and I cover you in prayer.”

I cried when she said that she was covering me in prayer because I knew that God was answering me. Mom is not replaceable, yet God graciously provided loving people just for me ahead of time. One of the other women proudly calls me her daughter every time I see her and when she introduces me to others. It means a great deal to me because despite our quarrels, Mom was always proud of me and she believed in me. It’s not a coincidence that I still have a motherly figure in my life that is genuinely proud of me. Not because of what I do, only because I am her daughter. She was placed in my path to make it brighter.

My path is brighter than it was when Mom died because mourning has passed and I will see her in Heaven. My path is brighter because I know that God is still answering the prayers that she prayed for me. Mom always prayed for my protection and favor, and I have never had a broken bone or surgery, and I frequently enjoy favor and God-given opportunities. My path is brighter because I am growing closer to Him- my God who answers prayer, heals my heart, and keeps His promises.

Mom’s, may you be wildly celebrated and honored this Mother’s Day and always. Thank you for praying and declaring God’s promises over your children. Thank you for showing them who Jesus is and thank you for your unrelenting love. God loves you and your children. Your path, and the paths of your children will grow brighter and brighter. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you and your children all the days of your lives, and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (Psalms 23:6). Happy Mother’s Day!

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Guard Your Mind

20 Apr 2017, Posted by admin in Weekly Encouragement

Written by Beverly Richardson

Well, just this morning I felt like giving up on my God ordained assignment. I start thinking about every reason why I should not be on the assignment. Why God, did You choose me for this job? It is so hard, I cannot do it. I do not have time. I began thinking about how far I had to drive. I watched the daily news that said the price of gas was going to increase. I tried to think of all kinds of excuses why I wanted to quit my assignment before the assignment was complete. I had allowed these thoughts to fill my mind. Fear and worry set in, and I had no reason to be fearful or worried about anything. Then I realized that I had not spent enough time with God, in His word lately. I had to cast all of my cares on God because he cares for me.  I repented and asked God for forgiveness, and then I as able to get back on track.

We should be well aware of the various ways in which Satan works. He attacks believers when he thinks it will be to his advantage. Especially after a great experience, or right before someone is going to begin a new opportunity. He also attacks when believers are vulnerable physically or mentally, and when Satan believers when are alone. Christians, therefore, must always be on guard.  How do we guard our minds against the attacks of the enemy:

Action 1: Pray

Our first response to a spiritual attack should not be panic, but prayer. We can’t fight effectively in our own strength. But when we ask God for help and seek His power we experience victory.

Action 2:  Speak And Believe The Truth

Jesus personifies truth. In John 14:6 Jesus says I am the truth. Satan is a liar. Jesus said this about him: He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his nature, because he is a liar and the father of liars (John 8:44). Satan’s native tongue is deceit. One of the best ways to combat his untruth is to surround ourselves, our families, and our minds with truth.

Action 3:  Choose Not To Fear

The natural reaction to a spiritual attack is first fear, then worry. If we stay in that place of panic, we forget to do the first two actions: pray and speak the truth. And if we camp in fear’s tent, we shrink back from the joy and power Jesus wants to give us in the midst of the battle. Ultimately, this comes down to a question of our trust in God. Do we believe God is bigger than our worry? Than Satan’s attack against us? Than the fears that keep us up at night? We have a choice to give into fearful thinking or surrender it to God, and trust His word.

Action 4: Let Go Of Control

When we encounter a spiritual battle, we tend to want to make everything right immediately. We want the fight to stop, so we try to fix the situation. We can’t micromanage stressful situations. We can’t orchestrate outcomes. We are not God, yet we can utilize the guidance, strategy and grace that He liberally provides.

We must always be aware of the thoughts that travel through our minds. 2 Corinthians 10:5 Cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. In Proverbs 23:7 we read For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.

To stay free, we must vigilantly guard our thought life and choose to give our burdens to God.

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Dirty to Daughter

14 Apr 2017, Posted by admin in Weekly Encouragement

Written by Kelly Elders

My dad loves to grow hot chili peppers and jar them for the winter. If you’ve ever worked with hot peppers before you understand how important it is to use gloves. The oils from the peppers seep deeply into the skin and can cause burning and tingling. Yes, I am telling you from a bitter experience. Once you have these oils on your hands everything you touch becomes subject to its potency.

It can be the same with our mistakes. If we don’t know how to walk forgiven and in freedom we can continue to allow it to taint every goal and dream for our lives. It’s that one moment that should have cancelled our call, stopped the gift or removed the position but thank God for Jesus! I’m not talking about living in B.C. (before Christ) but while you have lived this Christian life. I look back at times when I taught things out of ignorance, when I gave up on the inside and made horrible decisions or when I was full of anger and strife all the while attending church every Sunday. I had to learn to clean up and continue learning even when everyone was watching. Don’t ever assume a person should be beyond sin. No one is ever too holy, too godly or too Christian to not make a mistake or sin. We are only too empowered to live in it. We sometimes only see what others want us to see and may not know the hidden struggles of people that we see every Sunday. When a person can’t tell a trusted person their weakness or themselves then they too have only blinded or chained themselves to it. Part of conquering sin is confronting sin. Every person should be able to identify their own strength and weakness in order to conquer what needs to be confronted in their life.

We can not allow these moments of failure, set back or sin to seep so deeply that we live a limited life with a limited view of our future. 

The Woman with the issue of blood takes us on a journey from Dirty to Daughter.

And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” (Mark 5:24-34 ESV)

The only thing standing between her and Jesus, were people.

Are your decisions are based on People or Purpose?

Is it because of where God is taking you or because you don’t want others to think less of you?

Religion serves to please people, Purpose serves to please God.

The People who stand in between:

The people who think you don’t deserve the call or position.

The people who don’t mind pushing you down so they can rise.

The people who only see your issue not your call.

The people who gave up on you along the way.

She was a woman who understood disconnection and loss. By law she was to stay separated from people and considered unclean (Leviticus 15:25). She was defined by her issue. Have you ever been defined by your issue? Jesus took away that label on the cross and we need to leave it there. There is not one issue in your life that you are not empowered to loosen from your life.

When Faith is the connection to reaching Jesus

In one moment of faith she went from dirty to daughter. She had only “heard” of Jesus and believed even before He arrived. She knew she could trust Him to heal if she could just touch Him. Jesus had never called a woman daughter anywhere else in the bible but here. He chooses the woman who was an outcast, who was separated and unclean. Reminding us that there is no sin or failure that can keep us from reaching out to Christ in faith and Him not respond.

Understand her life was at risk. It was not legally allowed for an unclean woman to touch anyone especially Jesus. She had to have touched many others in her quest to touch Jesus. The law says that anyone who touches an unclean woman is now considered unclean. Thank God, you are never too dirty to become His daughter. There is nothing too dirty that God can’t wash away completely.

This story is a reminder of His great compassion to stop, listen and respond to our hearts. He responds to faith not our issue. So instead of telling Him your issue, which He already knows, reach out to Him in faith. Take what He has made available to you which is freedom. He is waiting for someone to reach out to Him and know that He is the only answer.

Because of her faith she went from Dirty to Daughter. It’s what you believe about yourself as to how you think God views you. The freedom is in your faith! Jesus has already conquered the issue in your life.

You are a Daughter or Son not the issue, not the struggle and not the label.  Reach out to Him in faith and He will respond with freedom and wholeness.

Please visit: KellyElders.com for more from Kelly Elders

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The Middle

07 Apr 2017, Posted by admin in Weekly Encouragement

I was a daring, and nearly fearless child, raised on a farm. I would pick up snakes, climb trees, and distress my Grandmother. Concerned for my safety, she went through great lengths to instill a tremendous fear in me of snakes and heights. To this day, I am still a little wary of both.  I have asked the Lord to help me overcome these fears because I know that I am strong in the power of His might, and fear is not of God according to Ephesians 6:10 and 2 Timothy 1:7.

I know God helps me overcome fear because Psalms 34:4 reads: “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” I eventually touched a snake again and even rode roller coasters. Just as God helped me with those fears, I am confident He is healing and moving me past my deep hurts and issues as I consistently pray to Him.

Everything we undertake in life has a beginning and an end, therefore we should aim to start strong and finish well. Typically, we are excited at the beginning of an opportunity such as a relationship or a new venture; and we’re also happy in the end when we can celebrate our achievements and taste the satisfaction fulfilled desires.  The middle is another story because somewhere between the beginning and the end we face our greatest challenges.

The middle is where we develop the determination necessary to overcome and grow. We learn to finish what we start, and we become increasingly grateful that we don’t have to endure alone! Whenever we find ourselves frustrated, tired, or facing the temptation to give up, we can ask God for His strength and wisdom. We can decide in our heart to take authority over every fear that attempts to creep back in when we face difficult situations.

What fears are you struggling with today? Perhaps the fear of financial security? Fear of failure? Fears concerning your children? Is the fear so intense that you are hindered from experiencing the abundant life Jesus promises to His followers? Fear stands for: False Expectations Appearing Real. What unreal expectation are you living under that is keeping you in fear?

Get in the presence of God and trust Him. Don’t be afraid for He is your strength and song. His power is unlimited! When we are completely surrendered to Him it draws His power into our needs. However, fear can block the flow of His strength into us. Concentrate on trusting Him fully.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

Start strong, continue trusting, and finish well.

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