Lysa TerKeurst’s audiobook, “It’s not Supposed to be this Way” explains how she coped with deep personal loss.  A broken marriage,  cancer diagnosis, and days of excruciating pain shattered her into dust.

Lysa was like a beautiful and delicate glass flower created by God. But when God squeezed the beautifully delicate glass flower in his hand, the glass was too fragile to withstand the pressure.  It shattered into dust.

Maybe you have experienced a shattered life too. In our broken world, we encounter deep hurt, grief, and sorrow on a daily basis. When we first feel the initial shock of a life shattering event, we may feel paralyzed.  Unable to move forward.

Processing loss is painful and tough work.  Sometimes we would rather ignore it.  Stuff it deep inside the darkest part of our heart where no one will see it.

And if stuffing doesn’t work, then maybe numbing it will do the trick.  Another glass of wine, a muscle relaxer to take the edge off, one more plate of your guilty pleasure, a little harmless flirting… anything pleasurable seems like it would be a step toward gaining control of your life again.

After all don’t we deserve to be happy?

We decide to toughen up and refuse to allow anyone to hurt us ever again.  We will ourselves to become hard like a beautiful metal rose.  We want to stand firm, unyielding, and unchanging.  So when the hard times squeeze our metal form, nothing changes.

But if we remain unchanged, then we won’t grow into spiritual maturity.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1: 2 – 4 BSB

No one would ever choose the events that splinter our hearts into a million pieces.

But what if we lift up the shattered pieces of our life to God.  Allow Him to mix the dust with His “living water” and create a gorgeous rose of clay.  When the Lord places the clay rose in his hand and squeezes, the “living water” holds all the bits of dust together as they are forced between His fingers. Our Lord, carefully transforms our clay shape and molds us into a new clay rose, more beautiful than ever.

If you are holding tightly onto the last few pieces of dust that once was something beautiful, I want you to know that God hears your cries.  He is near you even if your feelings are screaming otherwise.  Don’t believe the lie that the enemy whispers.

Fight back with truth!

The righteous cry out,  and the LORD hears; He delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted; He saves the contrite in spirit. Psalm 34: 17 BSB

Friend, I encourage you to tell the Lord about how you feel about your loss. It helps to release those feelings to the one who you can trust. He already knows, lift up the remaining ashes to Him.

But what if days, weeks , months, and years pass while you are waiting to be delivered from your sorrow.  What if you begin to wonder why?  “Why did God allow this to happen?” Why won’t this end?

It is healthy to mourn and grieve during a long period of suffering. Even Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus (John 11:35).  Lift up all your feelings to the Lord.  Place all the guilt, anger, confusion, and despair at the feet of Jesus. God created you with emotions, so honestly talk to Him about the feelings you are experiencing.

While many of the feelings are normal part of the grieving process, it is important to sort through the lies and replace them with God’s truth. In a hard season, you are at risk to believing any lie.

After a long time of suffering, a person may begin to think they are being punished by God for some sin that occurred in their past.

While it is true that sin causes suffering and death, not all suffering is caused by sin.  People can be hurt by others’ sin.

Jesus was innocent.  He lived a perfect life free from sin, but he still suffered.  Jesus willingly went through the suffering process in order to defeat sin and death. God used the cross, an instrument of torture and transformed it into a symbol for hope.

Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have a promise for an eternal future. We won’t ever die if we live and believe in Jesus (John 11 : 25 – 26).

God restored Jesus and God will restore you too. When you are uncomfortable, allow God to comfort you with his word. When you feel weak, allow His truth to strengthen your spirit.

Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; break into joyful song, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people, and He will have compassion on His afflicted ones. Isaiah 49: 13 BSB

Blessed be the LORD, for He has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart rejoices, and I will thank Him with my song. Psalm 28: 6 – 7 BSB.

If you have ever read the story of Job in the bible, you can see how his earthly life was intertwined with heavenly purposes. Although Job didn’t understand it, his life was preserved on the pages to serve as a reminder for us all.  Life sometimes doesn’t make sense and certainly doesn’t feel fair. But God can do all things.  He can pick up our dust and make something even more beautiful.

And even though we may feel stuck in the middle of our story that is still painfully being written. We can skip ahead, because we know how our story will end.

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4 )

And God will wipe away every tear from your eyes too, no more death, no more sorrow, or crying.  No more pain.  They will all pass away before our eyes.

God can use your story to comfort others just like Lysa TerKeurst.  She allowed us to see her raw emotions, and how she lifted them up to Jesus daily.  She is no different from any of us.  She is fragile and broken.  But she is allowing our Lord to use all those pieces of dust to help others.

And it’s okay to seek professional Christian Counselors who can listen and offer encouraging words of truth.

Reference:

Lysa TerKeurst, “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way.” inspired this post and the “rose story” belongs to her. If you are walking through a season of loss and desire a friend to encourage you with truth, strong fighting words from scripture, and to help filter the lies…then I encourage you to check out her book from your local public library.

You can download her audio book on Hoopla for FREE if you have a library card.

But if you are wanting to purchase a book, then consider using my affiliate link to purchase, Lysa TerKeurst’s book, “It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way

I receive a small commission which will help offset the cost of this blog.  Thank you dear friend!

I am a Hope Writer

Do you have a story that will help others?

But maybe you don’t know how to get that story out of your heart and into the hands of a reader.

If that’s you, then let me introduce you to my favorite online writing community who has encouraged me to live out my dream.

So if you’ve ever wanted to write a book, grow your blog, or just be accountable to your dream. This is the best place for you.
 
Every week they offer live training for their writers, bringing members behind the curtain to ask editors, agents, authors, and other publishing professionals the questions you want to know.
 
Here are some of the people I have enjoyed learning from last year as a member of Hopewriters:
 
Ann Voskamp (author, NYT bestselling author of One Thousand Gifts)
 
Jeff Goins (writer, entrepreneur)
 
Marion Roach Smith (author – The Memoir Project)
 
All of these conversations are available right now inside hope*writers (and each week they add more!)
 
Hope*writers provides the training and guidance you need to become a working writer without self-promoting.
 
They are committed to giving you the tools and perspective you need to share your words.
 
That’s the good news.
 
The bad news is hope*writers is only open for new members until this Friday (1/17/2020).
 
 
I hope to see you in there!
 
Abiding in Christ’s Love,
April Jollie
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How to Pray Fervently

Do you leave for work in the morning without praying?

Does your mind wander when you bow your head?

Or maybe you don’t pray because God hears the prayers of the righteous and well, …that doesn’t match your lifestyle right now.

Perhaps, you’ve prayed the same prayer so often, you wonder why bother?

Your enemy loves it when you don’t pray. Because then you are defenseless, unprepared, and open to attack.  What you don’t think you are under attack?

Open_war

Priscilla Shirer in her audio book, Fervent, reminded me that the Enemy of my soul desires to destroy:

My spiritual passion,

My identity in Christ,

My family,

My focus,

My Calling,

My Purity,

And not just mine, but yours too!

So, don’t just leave your armor laying around.

armor

“Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed,

and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Ephesians 6: 13 – 17

Dress Properly For Your Day

If you believe in Jesus Christ, then you have spiritual armor.  You just have to buckle God’s truth around your waist, allow the righteousness of Jesus Christ to cover your sins, and be ready to share the gospel of peace.

But before you walk out the door, pick up your shield of faith. There are too many arrows flying in our direction everyday to leave home without it.  Set the gift of salvation over your mind and pick up the word of God which victoriously battles all evil.

Don’t let anything keep you from praying because…

Prayer1

Priscilla Shirer shared her method of praying using the acronym PRAY.

Pray_yes

If you don’t know how to begin praying, Priscilla suggests that we begin by praising God for who He is.

He is the one true God, Our Provider, the One Who Hears, the Eternal One, Almighty God….

We should repent of any thoughts, actions, or words we’ve spoken that have broken the Lord’s commands.

Then we should ask the Lord for what we need.

philippians4_6

If you are wondering what Yes means, it refers to scripture promises.  Whatever you are praying to receive there are scripture verses about your topic.

You can use biblehub, bible gateway, or another online bible to locate verses for your need.

For example, I often need wisdom to make important decisions in my life. By using an online bible I can locate many verses about fighting fear.

I select one that reminds me that the Lord gives us the power to sift through our thoughts, rejecting harmful ones and choosing healthy thoughts to dwell on.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5

Write Down Your Prayers

Priscialla encourages us to write down our carefully crafted prayers on notecards or sticky notes.  She says to pray them often against the enemy in the specific areas that he targets us.

Here is an example that I wrote to battle fearful thoughts.

P – I praise you Heavenly Father.  You are mighty in power to defend me against the evil one. Thank you for drawing me close to you and for giving me everything I need to send the enemy of my soul running for cover. Father, you are always the victor in spiritual warfare.  Thank you Jesus for comforting me when I’m tempted to be afraid.

R- Forgive me Lord for entertaining fearful thoughts instead of allowing your power to take them captive.

A- Lord, reverse the damage that’s been done to my mind. Allow your power to run through my inner being to strengthen me with your spirit. Allow me to see how you are moving in my life so I will remember your power is vast.

Y- You have given me power to… destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5     In Jesus Christ’s name,  I pray, Amen.

Check out Fervent

If you have a public library card, you can download the book for FREE by downloading the Hoopla app on your phone.  You can listen while walking, driving, or washing dishes.

If you don’t have a library card or prefer the feel of a book in your hand, then you may find it using my Amazon affiliate link to purchase Fervent Prayer by Priscilla Shirer. Please keep in mind that the above link is an affiliate link which supports this ministry.  So, thank you for reading!

Are you interested in making progress in your writing journey?

I am a Hope Writer

Hi friend!

Quick note just to let you know that hope*writers has opened their doors to new members!

This is my favorite online writing community because they have helped me get my words out of my head and onto the page for you!

Every week they offer live training for their writers, bringing members behind the curtain to ask editors, agents, authors, and other publishing professionals the questions you want to know.

Here are some of the people who I have learned from in the hope*writer community in the past year:

Ann Voskamp (author, NYT bestselling author of One Thousand Gifts)

Chad Allen (editor, Baker Books)

Ian Cron (author and Enneagram teacher – The Road Back to You)

Jeff Goins (writer, entrepreneur)

Joseph Michael (Scrivener coach)

Marion Roach Smith (author – The Memoir Project  which is a Great Book!)

All of these conversations are available right now inside hope*writers (and each week they add more!)

Hope*writers provides the training and guidance you need to become a working writer without self-promoting.

They are committed to giving you the tools and perspective you need to share your words.

So if you’ve ever wanted to write a book,  or grow your blog, , this is the best place for you.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is hope*writers is only open for new members until this Friday.

If you feel like you’ve outgrown Google, ditch the robots and find your writing people! Learn more and get signed up today right here

I can’t wait to see you in there!

April

More Hopewriter Resources

With the start of a new year, is one of your goals to finally make
progress in your writing journey?

My friends at hope*writers teamed up with over 20 writers like you and asked them, “What worked for you?”

From empty nesters to stay-at-home moms, from school teachers, to professional counselors, these 26 incredible women share the keys that finally unlocked the door to help them share their meaningful words without sacrificing their meaningful lives.

This brand new video series is a project that hope*writers has been working on to help you take that next step, must most importantly to help you figure out what the next step is! It is a FREE video series hosted by long-time hope*writer member, and published author, Niki Hardy.

See how hope*writers can help you on your writing journey here!

If you would rather read, here’s a FREE pdf about the Top 20 Questions That Writers Ask. 

There is also a FREE pdf called the Newbie’s Pocket Guide to Writing.

If you like to take Quizzes, you can take the quiz Hopewriter Path to discover where you are on the writing journey.

Do You Have godly Friends to Encourage you to Read the Bible?

Join our online group as we begin reading through the bible in 2020. Scripture will be posted in our Facebook group, so that you can ask questions, post comments, and be able to easily share what you are learning with others.

Go ahead click like and follow my Facebook page today! Just click the link below, friend. I’ll see you there!

Click here to follow, “Abiding in Christ’s Love” Facebook Group. 

Follow Me on Instagram  for encouraging scriptures.

Know someone battling cancer? Visit My Pinterest board for 21 days of encouraging verses to share with others.

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One of the most precious groups of friends that I have been blessed to meet with regularly are women interested in studying God’s truth.  If you don’t have a group of friends to meet with weekly to share life with, then you are missing out on smiles, hugs, and laughter.  We were meant to fellowship with one another.

So, conquer your fear and join a group in 2020. If you don’t have time, no worries.  You can meet with a group online.  Just announce in your Facebook feed a bible study that you are interested in and see if any of your friends will join you.  It will be a blessing to share with a friend what speaks to you. If you don’t have Facebook, then call or message your friends.

If you are the type of person who likes to meet in person, you could schedule a coffee house meeting once a week to talk about what you are reading. Or if you are like me and it is difficult to get out of house after a long day at work, then try an online meeting.

I highly recommend Zoom, because it offers 45 minutes sessions for absolutely free.  Grab a cup of hot tea and log into Zoom to meet with your online friends whenever it is convenient to meet. You don’t even have to have a computer, you can use the telephone Zoom app to speak with several friends at the same time.

Don’t think that you need the expensive leader guide.  If you can afford it, great!  But if you can’t afford it, then don’t let that stop you from getting started.  Many churches may even have leader kits with video sessions in their church library.  They may even allow you or your group to view it at their church free of charge.  You just have to schedule a time to view it!

If you don’t know what online bible study would be a good fit for your needs then check out the 10 different bible studies that I highly recommend.

Please keep in mind the provided links are Amazon affiliate links and if you purchase a bible study, you will be supporting this ministry.  Just click on the name of the book. Thank you for partnering with me to encourage people to study God’s word. 

10 Bible Studies to Read in 2020

  1. Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow – A Woman’s Guide to Finding Contentment

Calm My Anxious Heart is a 2 week bible study that I bought multiple copies of and handed them out to various friends. I even tucked a few into the free book cabinets at a local university. This book helped me to recognize that my habit to worry was keeping me from many things that would bring great joy to my life.  For example at one time, I was fearful of getting to know women in my church.  I was scared to start this blog and even more terrified to push the publish button.  So, if you struggle with anxiety Linda can help you define your life purpose and teach you to cast your anxiety on Jesus as many times as needed in order to fulfill it.

2.  The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer, a 7 – session Bible Study

The Armor of God bible study prepared me for the biggest spiritual battle of my life.  Priscilla Shirer is a dynamic speaker with colorful life illustrations. But more importantly she taught me how to strategically pray using God’s helmet of salvation, his breastplace of righteousness, readiness that comes from peace, God’s shield, and his sword- the Word of God. Because when you are at war, you need all your spiritual armor!  Not only will you learn prayer strategies, but you will be writing your prayers at the end of each week.  I still use the prayers and continue to write new ones depending on what I’m struggling with each week.  This bible study is accompanied with videos that you can download at lifeway.com/armorofGod

3.  Jonah by Priscilla Shirer, Navigating a Life Interrupted, a 7 – session Bible Study

The Jonah bible study helped me to realize that “doing nothing” is really disobedience. It prepared my mind to recognize all the interruptions in my life were really  divine invitations. It opened my eyes that I was seeking to have my own needs met, but was not nearly as anxious to see God’s purposes fulfilled in my life. This bible study is also accompanied with videos that can be downloaded at lifeway.com/women

4. Hosea by Jennifer Rothschild, Unfailing Love Changes Everything, a 7 session Bible Study

If you have never heard of the Hosea Bible Study written by Jennifer Rothschild, you are missing out.  She is an inspiring speaker who lost her eyesight as a teenager. While I have many excuses for not speaking at women’s events or writing a bible study, she made me realize that with God all things are possible. And I haven’t even starting talking about her bible study yet!

Before this study, I never understood why God would tell Hosea to marry a prostitute.  But I quickly learned that this story is really about us all.  We all are in a covenant with God and have been unfaithful to Him at one time are another.  However, our relationship with God doesn’t end there.  Even though we are sinners, God still calls us his children. He frees us from our anguish. And even when we run away from Him, He brings us home.  If you don’t feel loved, this bible study will show you just how much God loves you. Video sessions are available at Lifeway.com/Hosea

5. James Mercy Triumphs , by Beth Moore, 8 session Bible Study

Beth Moore’s James Mercy Triumps has been in the spotlight quite a bit lately, but don’t let that stop you from reading this study.  We should always examine all our teachers according to the scripture and I did just that.  I invite you to do the same. And this bible study challenged me to memorize James chapters 1 – 5.  I can’t even remember people’s names at work, so this seemed impossible.  But she encouraged me to ask God for the ability, so I did.  She recommended that I believe God will give me the ability and I did.  With God all things are possible. I started small and slowly increased a little each week. I practiced everyday for 30 minutes and was able to recite James 1 – 5, not by the end of 8 weeks but a little later. Those 5 chapters calmed my anxiety through my husband’s brain surgery.  God works through imperfect people all the time and He can help you memorize God’s word too.

6. Entrusted , by Beth Moore, a Study of 2 Timothy, 6 session Bible Study

I started this Entrusted bible study with my favorite group of women. But after the first week, I wasn’t able to continue due to my husband’s illness. While I didn’t view all the videos, I did continue the scripture readings. Paul’s final words to Timothy challenged me to not be scared to fulfill God’s call in my own life. This study reminded me that we all have been entrusted with the gospel.  We all have been gifted to share it. And God is calling us to be his servant.  He will be with you no matter what life brings your way.

7. Name Above All Names , by Jazmin Frank, An Invitation to Remember Who Jesus Really Is

Name Above All Names is a 31 day bible study to remember who Jesus is.  She walks you through the book of John discussing all the different names that describe Jesus. All his names show us how we can relate to Him. If you have any rough, doubting, or hurting places, this bible study will help you remember the one person you can always trust no matter what season of your life you are currently in.

8.  Battle Ready , by Kelly Balarie, Train Your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt, and Live Victoriously

Battle Ready helps you to take inventory of your life to see if you allow people to dictate your life.  Or maybe you have hopes and dreams that have been on hold for “awhile” now. Or perhaps you are waiting for God to change something or someone so that you can be happy. She gives you 12 Warrior strategies so you can live with the mind of Christ. This bible study helped me to realize that I have nothing to lose, and everything to gain! If you need to develop a new habit, Kelly can help with her five step approach.

9. Hebrews: The Nearness of King Jesus by Lisa Harper.

If you have never studied the Book of Hebrews: The Nearness of King Jesus, you will enjoy Lisa’s approach to showing you how Jesus is an up-close Redeemer. She tells you funny stories from her life, and then shares “theological scholar” information about the chapter of Hebrews.  This is also a 7 session video based bible study that you can access at bhpublishinggroup.com/links/hebrews

10. Why Do You Believe That A Faith Conversation? by Mary Jo Sharp.

If you do not feel comfortable talking to people about your faith, then this book, Why Do You Believe That will prepare you to be more confident. It introduces apologetics, helps you to inventory your own beliefs, and learn how to listen to others. Then she teaches you how to ask people questions and respond appropriately to them.  She identifies common roadblocks and strategies to overcome them.  If you would like to be a more effective conversationalist about faith, then I definitely recommend this bible study.

Guess what!  This is also a 7 session Bible Study and has video downloads available at lifeway.com/maryjosharp

Which Bible Study Speaks to You?

If you have already participated in one of the above bible studies, please share your thoughts about it in the comments below.

I am also interested in learning about which of these bible studies appeal to you.  When you take the time to comment, it helps me to get to know you better.  When I know what you are searching for, then I can share resources with you when I discover it.  That is one of my strengths, finding and/or creating resources for people.  So, let me know what kind of bible studies or resources you are looking for!

If there is an obstacle that you can’t seem to overcome in order to join a face-to-face bible study, or an online one….please let me know.  I would love to know what roadblocks you are facing, so that I can strategically pray for you to overcome them.

And if you don’t have an online bible study to join, then join mine.  You don’t even have to purchase a book.  I will send you a weekly email message with scripture for you to explore. But in order for me to communicate with you, I need for you to sign up for my weekly email list here. 

Here’s a Prayer I wrote during the Armor of God Bible Study

Lord Jesus, Thank you for dispersing your Holy Spirit through my mind, ambitions, and feelings. Allow me to feel your Almighty strength and holy courage building up my spiritual muscles. Fill me Lord with your spiritual energy.

I praise you Lord for being the protector of my heart. Help me to live my life as your child. Convict me when my mind lingers on the world’s opinions and refocus my ambition towards memorizing the chapters of James. Take away my anger, discouragement, and transform me into an encourager.

I thank you for helping me to choose books aligned to your principles.

Do You Have godly Friends to Encourage you to Read the Bible?

Join our online group as we begin reading through the bible in 2020. Scripture will be posted in our Facebook group, so that you can ask questions, post comments, and be able to easily share what you are learning with others.

Go ahead click like and follow my Facebook page today! Just click the link below, friend. I’ll see you there!

Click here to follow, “Abiding in Christ’s Love” Facebook Group. 

Follow Me on Instagram  for encouraging scriptures.

Know someone battling cancer? Visit My Pinterest board for 21 days of encouraging verses to share with others.

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I am a Hope Writer

Are you interested in writing?

Do have questions about how to become a published writer?

Are interested in becoming a Hope Writer?

If so, then watch this video about How to Make Progress in Your Writing Journey.

thought

In our culture, we are bombarded by bad thoughts about ourselves.

The TV model’s hair glistens and we frown at our own frayed frizzy split ends.

Our children say they hate getting up early every morning to go to school and we silently agree.

Our friends vent “She’s so aggravating” and we nod in approval. 

Yep, all bad thoughts. 

S. Baring – Gould explained that bad thoughts may distract us when we close our eyes to pray. They may even disturb a friendly conversation or keep us awake at night. He believes bad thoughts merely entering our mind is not sin, until we allow it to remain in our minds. He described evil thoughts as envious, discontented, profane, unkind, angry, or impure.

According to Matthew Henry we should strive against evil thoughts. He continues to say that we often speak the words, “I forgive you.” However, we struggle to forget.

In fact, I tend to hold onto the hurt. I call it learning from my mistakes but really it is hardening my heart. Building a wall to protect myself from being hurt again instead of trusting God. 

However Matthew Henry states, “But when God forgives, he remembers it no more.”

What? He doesn’t play it over and over in his mind analyzing it from every perspective possible? Just forgets? Like it never happened?

But what do I do when I’m having trouble forgiving and forgetting?

Matthew Henry suggests that reading God’s sacred truth and applying it in our daily life will create a spiritual change in our minds. He explains that we have been delivered from wrath and have found peace as a forgiven sinner.

This means my mind will be at peace if I completely forgive and forget.

But what happens when I attempt to forgive, but my mind is not at peace?

Matthew 9:4 (NIV) Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?”

According to Matthew Henry our Lord Jesus Christ has perfect knowledge of all that we say in our inner being. Sinful thoughts are offensive to the Lord.

But how do we recognize sinful thoughts?

Matthew 15:19 (NIV) For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander.

Seems easy enough to spot these types of sinful thoughts, but consider the scenario below. 

In the Publix parking lot a bumper sticker on a car says, “I don’t need a higher power, I have a cat.” 

An initial reaction may be a smirk because it is funny that cats act as if they are the supreme authority in a home. However, when I think of my husband saying to his work buddies, “I don’t need a wife, I have a cat.”

All of a sudden, it doesn’t seem so funny. It seems disrespectful. So although the person may not have meant to be offensive, perhaps the Lord may consider this to be false testimony or slander.  

So, now that I realize that evil or sinful thoughts are troubling my mind and robbing me of my peace, now what?

George Eliot wrote the following, “Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”

Praise God that we are blessed with such a friend in Jesus Christ. He came to save sinners, so we can always look to him.

Matthew Henry encourages us “to seek the grace of the Holy Spirit to keep down evil thoughts that work within” us.  He continues to say that Jesus searches our heart , knows our anxious thoughts, and still has precious thoughts of love for us.

So how do we seek the Holy Spirit’s grace?

Mark 12:30 (NIV) And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.

  1. Set your mind on things of the Spirit so that you can love Him with all your mind. It may be a good idea to carefully avoid everything that would “trigger” you  to “dwell” on bad thoughts.  This may even include Christian songs that focuses too much on your own desires. Instead, choose worship songs that focus on God’s attributes.

Everyone’s triggers are different. So when you discover your mind wandering to dwell on bad thoughts, make a note if something in particular sets you down “that path where you know you don’t want to go.” It could be a book, TV show, or even a movie.

If it is a book, stop reading. If it is a TV show, change the channel.  If it is not possible to replace the activity with a better choice, you may consider going for a walk to refocus your mind. Or find a quiet spot where you can reflect on God’s attributes.

2. Increase the amount of time reading the bible. It may be helpful to write down scripture that resonates with you, then read it out loud whenever you find yourself dwelling on unhealthy thoughts.

3. Spend more time praying. If you are easily distracted when praying silently, writing down your prayers may help you focus.  Random thoughts may still plague you, but rereading helps to get you back on track.

4. Lean into your church community. Find a small group of women from church who will stand by you to encourage, love, and listen. It may be helpful to get an accountability partner to join you by reading the same portion of scripture. Even texting phrases to a friend is also handy, so you have your favorite verses within your fingertips.

We praise you Lord because you are pure, holy, and noble. We thank you for helping us recognize unhealthy thoughts.  Teach us to reject bad thoughts and replace them with your truth. Lord,  with you all things are possible. Empower us to forgive others completely, so that we don’t remember what needs to be forgiven. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen. 

If you have other ideas about how to battle bad thoughts that haven’t been listed, please leave a comment.  I would love to hear strategies that have been helpful to battle bad thoughts.

 

 

If you would like to join me in reading through the bible in one year, then read Genesis Chapters 1 -4 today. (If you do, let me know what stood out to you in the comments below.)

A few years ago, I tried this and it actually took me much longer than that one year. Which is perfectly acceptable because each chapter was read at the time that I needed to reflect on it.

But I did finish a few months ago and am joining a group of woman who are committed to reading through the bible in one year too!

Genesis 1 – 4 is a great reminder of the many things that God has done for us. Check out the list below of all our blessings:

1. The heavens and the earth
2. Day and night
3. water and sky
4. Dry land and seas
5. Seed bearing trees
6. Sun, moon, and stars
7. Living sea creatures and birds
8. Wild animals for dry land
9. He created us in his own image!

I especially love how the LORD God planted a garden in the east and placed man there. And even when Eve was deceived by the serpent and disobeyed God, He still provided for them. The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them ( cuz seriously they needed help, I mean fig leaves for clothes???).

And I especially love how God still provided for Eve even after she was banished from the Garden of Eden. For Eve said, “With the help of the Lord I have brought forth a man (Genesis 4: 1).”

Even though they no longer lived in Eden, the LORD was still looking upon them. He looked up them with favor when they did what was right. And He even warned Cain “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it (Genesis 4: 6).”

This is a great reminder of all our blessings and how the LORD is till with us when we royally mess up our lives. But the Lord is still with us looking upon us with favor when we do what is right. And warning us to master sin. With God’s help we can master sin.

If you would like to read through the bible in one year, on some days you will need reminders.  Or at least I did.  So join my Facebook group to receive those reminders and encouragements to keep reading even when we may miss a few days here and there!

Don’t get discouraged, just keep on reading.  Click on the link Abiding in Christ’s Love Facebook page to receive daily reminders via social media.

If you would rather receive the weekly reminders in an email, then sign up Here to receive a weekly email.

I’m so excited to have you all join me this year as we read through the bible together. I can’t wait to hear how God will speak to you through his word this year!

Do You Have godly Friends to Encourage you to Read the Bible?

Join our online group as we begin reading through the bible in 2020. Scripture will be posted in our Facebook group, so that you can ask questions, post comments, and be able to easily share what you are learning with others.

Go ahead click like and follow my Facebook page today! Just click the link below, friend. I’ll see you there!

Click here to follow, “Abiding in Christ’s Love” Facebook Group. 

Follow Me on Instagram  for encouraging scriptures.

Know someone battling cancer? Visit My Pinterest board for 21 days of encouraging verses to share with others.

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God has a plan for your life that is different from the plan for my life.  I have spent the majority of my life trying to determine what God’s will is for me and then mustering the courage to do it.  Fear will tell us there is a consequence for obedience, but the opposite is true too.  There are abundant blessings waiting to be revealed.

First step- Knowing God

Before we can discover God’s will for our life, we must know God himself. We need to recognize our identity as God’s creation, his child. In the same way we learned to be obedient to our earthly parents, we need to learn to be obedient to God.  As we walk in obedience with God, we learn to trust His ways. When we are obedient to His word, the Holy Spirit teaches us.

If we don’t know we are God’s child, then it is difficult to trust Him. If we don’t trust Him, then we end up relying on our wisdom and strength. Sooner or later this will end in disaster.

When we trust God and are obedient to Him then we discover true Joy.

Billy Graham wrote: “To know the will of God is the highest of all wisdom. Living in the center of God’s will puts the stamp of true sincerity upon our service to God. You can be miserable with much if you are out of His will, but you can have peace in your heart with little if you are in the will of God. You can be happy in the midst of suffering if you are in God’s will.  You can be calm and at peace in the midst of persecution as long as you are in the will of God. The Bible reveals that God has a plan for every life and that if we live in constant fellowship with Him, He will lead us in the fulfillment of this plan.”

In order to determine God’s will for our own life, we need to examine whether or not we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior.  For more information, read the article Finding Peace.

Examine Your Life for Things Hindering God’s Will

Next we need to examine our own actions with our relationships with family and friends. I believe that Satan acts against God’s will in your life.  So, be certain to be on the look out for people who may unintentionally hinder God’s will in your life.

Even Peter attempted to hinder God’s will in Jesus own life. But Jesus recognized Satan at work in him and rebuked him.

“But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me. For you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” Matthew 16: 23 BSB.

We need to do the same.  For example, a part of God’s will for my life is to write.  However, there have been teachers and well meaning loved ones who were not supportive in my endeavors. I had to recognize my sin of listening to them instead of trusting God’s power to use my abilities.

Confess Allowing Hindrances to Influence our Actions

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 BSB).

We need to be willing to follow God’s will in our life. Whatever task or wherever God may send us, we will need to actually pack our bags and go. Not, just talk about it, but actually take the first step involved in completing the task.

Where to Find God’s Will

If you are seeking God’s will, search Scripture. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal principles, commands, and hindrances to you.

But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 1 Corinthians 2:10 NLT

We should also pray when we are seeking God’s will about our plans.

In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3: 4-5 BSB).

This means that the Holy Spirit will reveal mysteries to you and enable you to understand them. The result will be peace.

Scripture to to use when praying about God’s will in your life

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect Romans 12: 2 NLT.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NLT.

For it is God’s will that you should be holy: You must abstain from sexual immorality; each of you must know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in lustful passion like the Gentiles who do not know God (1 Thessalonians 4: 3- 5 BSB).

Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! 1 Peter 3: 17 NLT

It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 1 Peter 2:15 NLT

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. 1 Peter 4:19 NIV

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words.  And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.   And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.… Romans 8: 26 – 28 BSB.

For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world. The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God remains forever.  1 John 2: 16 – 17 BSB.

A Prayer for You

Heavenly Father help us turn away from the world’s behavior and customs, but to allow your son, Jesus Christ, to transform us into a new person by changing the way we think. Help us to recognize your good, pleasing and perfect will for our lives.

Give us thankful hearts no matter the circumstances of today, and remind us of the joy in belonging to Christ Jesus.

We confess our unholy actions, words, and images that attract our eyes.  Give us strength to abstain from sexual immorality. Thank you Lord for the freedom you grant us to control our own body in holiness and honor.

Help us accept your will when we or our loved ones are suffering. We know your ways are higher and trust your plan for our lives.

Thank you for giving us your Spirit to help us pray and recognize God’s will in our daily routine.

In Jesus name we ask these things and thank you for your goodness, Amen.

Do You Have godly Friends to Encourage you to Read the Bible?

Join our online group as we begin reading through the bible in 2020. Scripture will be posted in our Facebook group, so that you can ask questions, post comments, and be able to easily share what you are learning with others.

Go ahead click like and follow my Facebook page today! Just click the link below, friend. I’ll see you there!

Click here to follow, “Abiding in Christ’s Love” Facebook Group. 

Follow Me on Instagram  for encouraging scriptures.

Know someone battling cancer? Visit My Pinterest board for 21 days of encouraging verses to share with others.

Reference:

Below is my Amazon link where you can find a great resource written by Billy Graham. It will help you find biblical answers to the urgent concerns of our day. I highly recommend it if you regularly counsel others or are searching for answers to your own pressing concerns.

Christian Worker’s Handbook

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Recently my family traveled on the cruise ship, Norweigan Escape. We were all looking forward to spending  quality time together.  Relaxing dinners, no laundry, and exploring Roatan, Belize, and Costa Maya were the immediate attractions.  Piano singers and comedians caught our attention.

It didn’t take long to learn how important it is to view these shows before 11 pm.  Because after that time, the comic antics turned sensual and focused on drinking.

The world exerts pressure on us everyday, but especially seems to be challenging when looking for family entertainment on a cruise ship (Yes, I will be looking into future Christian cruises).

When the behavior of others around us are violating scripture principles, what do we do?  There are just some cruise ship scenes that people hope will never make it to shore.

So, how does a Christian family with adult children travel on a cruise ship but not be influenced by the sensual and party atmosphere?

When the Holy Spirit alerts us we shouldn’t be here watching, it is time to head back to our cabin early. But are we stuck in our cabin the whole trip?

Separating ourselves from activities that can serve as stumbling blocks in our Christian walk is necessary. Avoiding the upper deck pool parties, casinos, and smoky bars are easy.

However the topics of the Broadway plays were much more challenging. One choice was “After Midnight” which depicts snapshots of what occurs in Harlem. The other was “Choir of Men” which is a group of friends singing drinking songs in a bar setting.

Sometimes we need to trade the partying lifestyle in for a family game night. Playing board games in the cruise ship  library with my family was my favorite entertainment option.

So, if you are planning a future cruise…don’t forget to pack your favorite games.

Plan a Game Night For New Years

In case you are interested in gathering the family to play games on this upcoming New Year’s Eve, here are a few that my family enjoy to play again and again. Grab some chips, salsa, and cheese dip. Then meet everyone at the kitchen table for a fun evening!

Please be advised that many of the games that I’m sharing with you are difficult to find in stores.  I have provided an Amazon link for more information.  Purchases through the links are a quick and easy way to support this website. So, thank you in advance if you do decide to purchase one of my favorite family games by clicking on the game name. Enjoy!

  1. Legendary Encounters Alien Deck Building Game
  2. alien

This is my favorite game for the past several years! This Aliens game can be played with 2 to 5 players and usually lasts an hour. However this game is best played with teens 14 and above.  The reason is because it is based on the popular movie, Aliens.  So the card pictures show graphic scary movie scenes. It is not necessary to have seen the movie in order to play, but it does make it more scary.

All the players work together to combat the aliens by building a deck of characters with various abilities.  Some characters kill aliens while others scan rooms.  Having a team member to play the medic is important in order to survive the aliens’ strikes. Avoiding face huggers, chest bursters, and double tail whips are vital to surviving this game. Everyone wins once the missions have been completed and the team kills the Queen Alien!

2.Survive Escape from Atlantis

survive

This is a new game to our family and has quickly become a family favorite.  This game can be played by 2 – 4 players and usually takes about 45 minutes. Ages 8 and up will enjoy this game.

Building the game board is as much fun as playing the game.  As you can see in the picture above, there are different tiles of sand, stone, and trees.  You place all of your “people” on the different types of the land along with two boats on locations of your choice.

The goal is to get your people into a boat, avoid whales and sea monsters to travel to a safe island. If you fall overboard sharks are waiting, but there is hope!  Dolphins can assist your swimmers before the volcano blows on the main island.  Once the volcano explodes, whoever has the most points wins!

3. Sheriff of Nottingham

sheriff

This game can be played by 3 – 5 players and usually lasts about 60 minutes. The age for this game is 14 or above. The reason is because this game involves bluffing, bribery, and smuggling (not exactly Christian values, but you can win by being a honest merchant!) It is a great test of character.

As a merchant, you place various items like apples, bread, and chickens into a bag.  You hand your bag to the one player who is acting as the Sheriff of Nottingham for the turn. The Sheriff can interrogate you, accept money from you “not to check your bag”, or from others “to check your bag.”  If you are caught smuggling, all the contraband is removed and you have to pay a penalty.  If the sheriff checks your bag and you were honest, then the sheriff has to pay you!  The goal is to have the most money by the end of the game.

4. Labyrinth

labyrinth

Our family games nights started when the children were younger and this is one they wanted to play over and over!  One to four people can play and it usually takes about 30 minutes. It is recommended for the child to be around 8 years of age to play.

The fun part of this game is shifting the maze to be able to reach the treasure that you need.  Each player receives certain treasure cards they are trying to reach.  On your turn, you can shift a row of walls by placing an extra tile. The extra tile moves a row of walls to change the maze to block your opponents.  Once a player reaches all the treasures and returns to the beginning, they win!

5.Digging Dinos Jr Monopoly

Digging

This game was played so much by our boys that the box itself fell apart. Two – four players can play and our boys began playing around 5 years of age.  They continued playing until they were middle school age and it is still one of their treasured games that was NOT allowed to be sold at our garage sale (no matter how badly damaged the game box is).  It is still not for sale!

Digging Dinos is a much shorter game than the traditional Monopoly and has lower denominations of money for children to count.  As a former math teacher, I highly recommend your young child to be the banker in this game.  Children love the dinosaurs and everyone wants to avoid the dreaded Tar pit.

Family Game Night

I hope your family has as much fun playing games together as our family does. A few tips to remember is that the goal is to enjoy fellowship with each other.  You can still have fun even if you aren’t the winner. Think of it as a great opportunity to laugh together no matter whether you win or lose!

I would love to hear about a favorite game that your family enjoys playing together.  Be certain to comment below.

A New Year Prayer for You

I pray that your happiness is on your hope in Christ and you receive wisdom how to live peacefully with everyone. I hope that your public behavior is a model for others. May you resist entertainment options laced with sinful ways and be able to overcome worldly entertainment options. May your family game nights be a blessing to you all. ( Adapted from Romans 12: 12 – 21). In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

DO YOU KNOW THE PROMISES OF GOD?

Join this FREE Bible study from the comfort of your own home and connect with others in a private Facebook discussion group.

The study begins January 6th 2020.  Go ahead and sign-up today! Just click the link below to join, friend. I’ll see you there!

Join the FREE Bible study here. 

Connect With Me

  1. Follow Me on Instagram  for encouraging scriptures.
  2. Like my Facebook page and receive links to some of my favorite authors from the Hope Writing Community.
  3. Know someone battling cancer? Visit My Pinterest board for 21 days of encouraging verses to share with others.

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One of my favorite traditions on Christmas Eve is to worship my King and Savior in song.  Whether you are with family, traveling or in the hospital I hope you enjoy this playlist with some of my favorite Christmas songs.

In case you are like me and never can remember the lyrics, I provided the lyrics below.  The lyrics are from public domain, so they don’t exactly match all of the videos. Artists tend to modify the lyrics, but they are pretty close. It is interesting to read through the old Christmas songs and hear how they are changing. At the bottom is a playlist that you can subscribe to and/or share with a friend.

  1. Away in a Manger by Casting Crowns

Lyrics are Traditional German Carol

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head; The stars in the sky looked down where He lay, The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes. But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.  I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky, And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay. Close by me forever, and love me I pray. Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care, And fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there.

2. Silent Night (Live) Hillsong

Lyrics by Joseph Mohr

Silent Night, Holy night, All is calm, All is bright, ‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child, Holy Infant, so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in Heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night, Shepherds quake at the sight; Glories stream from heaven afar, Heavenly hosts sing alleluia, Christ, the Savior is born! Christ, the Savior is born!

Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light. Radiant beams from Thy holy face, With the dawn of Redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.

3. Joy to the World by Chris Tomlin

Lyrics by Isaac Watts & George F. Handel

Joy to the world! the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare Him room, And heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n and heav’n and nature sing!

Joy to the world! the Savior reigns; Let men their songs employ; While field and floods, rocks, hills, and plains Repeat the sounding joy! Repeat the sounding joy! Repeat, repeat the sounding joy!

He rules the world with truth and grace. And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love, and wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders of His love.

4. Angels, from the Realms of Glory by the Piano Guys; Peter Hollens and David Archuleta

Lyrics by James Montgomery & Henry Smart

Angels, from the realms of glory, Wing your flight o’er all the earth, Ye, who sang creation’s story, Now proclaim Messiah’s birth. Come and worship! Come and worship! Worship Christ the newborn King!

Shepherds in the field abiding, Watching o’er your flocks by night, God with man is now residing, Yonder shines the infant Light. Come and worship!  Come and worship! Worship Christ the newborn King!

Sages, leave your contemplations, Brighter visions beam afar; Seek the great Desire of nations. Ye have seen his natal star. Come and worship! Come and worship! Worship Christ the newborn King.

5. The First Noel, by Lauren Daigle

Lyrics are a Traditional English Carol

The first Noel the angel did say, Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay; In fields where they lay keeping their sheep On a cold winter’s night that was so deep. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel.

This star drew nigh to the North-West. O’er Bethlehem it took its rest. And there it did both stop and stay Right over the place where Jesus lay. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel.

Then enter’d in there Wise Men three, Full rev’rently on bended knee, And offer’d there in His presence Their gold and myrrh and frankincense. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel.

6. O Come, All Ye Faithful by Jeremy Camp

Lyrics English translation by Frederick Oakeley and J.F. Wade

O come, all ye faithful. Joyful and triumph, O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him, Born the King of angels: O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation, Sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above: Glory to God, all glory in the highest. O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this holy morning, Jesus, to Thee be glory giv’n; Word of the Father now in flesh appearing: O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

7. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing by Amy Grant

Lyrics by Charles Wesley and Felix Mendelssohn

Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King! Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.” Joyful al ye nations rise, Join the triumph of the skies, With angelic host proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!” Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest heav’n adored; Christ, the everlasting Lord; Late in time behold Him come, Off-spring of the Virgin’s womb. Veil’ed in flesh the God- hear see; Hail the’ Incarnate Deity, Pleased as Man with man to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel! Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n born Prince of Peace! Hail the Sun of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, Risen with healing in His Wings. Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die, Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth. Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn King!”

You may listen to the whole playlist which includes more songs by the following artists:

O Little Town of Bethlehem by Elvis Presley

Once in Royal David’s City by Celtic Women

What Child is This? by Kari Jobe

The Snow Lay on the Ground by OCP Session Choir

We Three Kings by Dolly Parton

DO YOU KNOW THE PROMISES OF GOD?

Join this FREE Bible study from the comfort of your own home and connect with others in a private Facebook discussion group.

The study begins January 6th 2020.  Go ahead and sign-up today! Just click the link below to join, friend. I’ll see you there!

Join the FREE Bible study here. 

Connect With Me

  1. Follow Me on Instagram  for encouraging scriptures.
  2. Like my Facebook page and receive links to some of my favorite authors from the Hope Writing Community.
  3. Know someone battling cancer? Visit My Pinterest board for 21 days of encouraging verses to share with others.

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Stepping gingerly on slick mud sparsely covered by fallen leaves in the jungle, I drew near to a Mayan Temple named Chacchoben.

Listening to the bilingual guide explain how Mayans built temples to draw near to God, I thought how often we do the same.  We work tirelessly to create a ministry or home to please the Lord.

But while the Mayans built temples out of rock, the Lord built temples out of flesh and blood.

Do you not know that you yourselves are God’s temple, and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? … for God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3: 17 – 18 BSB. 

Sometimes it is easier to believe that a pile of rock is holy than it is to believe that God’s Spirit dwells in us making us holy. Why is that?

Rain fell gently as I began the steep dangerous climb to the top of Gran Basamento just above the tree line. The Mayan Priest would climb to the very top of Chacchoben in order to draw nearer to God.

What do we do to draw nearer to God? Read our bible every day? Attend church weekly? Pray continually? These tasks don’t make us righteous.

The Mayans built temples, attended religious ceremonies, and prayed to many gods.  But these tasks didn’t make them righteous either.

They didn’t know that God sent Christ to earth. Or that Christ forgives our sins without requiring us to pour out our life blood. Jesus poured out his instead in God’s perfect plan of redemption for our souls.

All that God required is to believe in Jesus, to repent from sin, and ask Him for forgiveness.

Is it difficult for you to ask God to forgive you? Do you prefer to praise and thank the Lord for his goodness? Nothing wrong with words of praise and a heart of gratitude. But I don’t want to miss out asking Christ to cleanse my hands and purify my heart from sin. And I don’t want you to miss out either.

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.        James 4: 8 NLT

Near the top of Chacchoben, the priest would offer a human sacrifice to please the many gods they worshiped.  The Mayans believed dying in childbirth or sacrificing your life would allow your soul to go straight to the upper world. They believed that evil gods lived in the underworld, but this journey could be avoided by the sacrifice of their human life.

Christianity has some similarities, but one important difference.  Our High Priest didn’t ask for us to sacrifice our life blood.  We have not lived a perfect life and could never take away our own sin much less for anyone else.

But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Hebrews 10: 12 NLT

Instead of us climbing up the steep dangerous steps to God, Jesus stepped down into our world.

God sent Christ to be good news of great joy for all the people, even shepherds.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! For behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:  Today in the City of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord!  And this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2 : 10 – 12 BSB

nativity

So how did the shepherd’s draw near to God?

They hurried to find Jesus. When they saw Jesus, they spread the word about what they had heard about this child.

For unto us a child is born,

unto us a son is given,

and the government will be upon His shoulders.

And He will be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace

there will be no end.

He will reign on the throne of David

and over his kingdom,

to establish and sustain it

with justice and righteousness

from that time and forevermore.

The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will accomplish this.

Isaiah 9 : 6 – 7 BSB

So how will you respond to Christ?

Will you hurry to find Jesus? And once you find him, will you spread the word about what you have heard?

In a sermon today, Connor Neigenfind reminded me of Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus had climbed a tree to see Jesus over the crowd. When Jesus saw him in the tree, he didn’t keep walking past.  Instead he stated that he would be staying at his house!  Talk about inviting yourself over!

And because Jesus took the time to speak to someone who wasn’t viewed favorably with the people, Zacchaeus’ heart was changed.

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, half of my possessions I give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone, I will repay it fourfold.”

Luke 19: 8 BSB

He too desired to draw near to God and have his actions please the Lord.  And this is how Jesus replied to him:

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man too is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Luke 19: 9- 10 BSB 

Your call to action

What burdens are you carrying that you need forgiveness?  Or do you know someone who needs forgiveness, but doesn’t know Jesus Christ?  Someone who may be lost and searching.

This Christmas when you see a person who isn’t viewed favorably, will you be willing to visit their house? To invite yourself into their life? To get to know them and share Christ with them?

Do you know that Jesus prayed for you?

I am not asking on behalf of them (disciples) alone, but also on behalf of those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I am in You. May they also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

I have given them the glory You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one— I in them and You in Me—that they may be perfectly united, so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them just as You have loved Me.

Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, that they may see the glory You gave Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

Righteous Father, although the world has not known You, I know You, and they know that You sent Me. And I have made Your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love You have for Me may be in them, and I in them.” John 17 : 20 – 25 BSB

DO YOU KNOW THE PROMISES OF GOD?

Join this FREE Bible study from the comfort of your own home and connect with me in a private Facebook discussion group.

The study begins January 6th 2020.  Go ahead and sign-up today! Just click the link below to join, friend. I’ll see you there!

Join the FREE Bible study here. 

Connect With Me

  1. Follow Me on Instagram  for encouraging scriptures.
  2. Like my Facebook page and receive links to some of my favorite authors from the Hope Writing Community.
  3. Know someone battling cancer? Visit My Pinterest board for 21 days of encouraging verses to share with others.

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I am a Hope Writer

Additional Information about Chacchoben

I am the way, the truth, and the life

Filled with wisdom, and the grace of God.

The Christ, the Son of the Blessed One

I am the Bread of Life,

Whoever comes to me will never hunger,

And whoever believes in me will never thirst.

 

I’m from The Holy Spirit, and the power of the Most High

From heaven opening and the Holy Spirit descending like a dove

I’m the Son of the Most High, the one true God.

Sent to proclaim freedom for the prisoners.

From being delivered into the hands of sinful men.

To being seated at the right hand of the mighty God.

I’m from “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

And committing his spirit into his Father’s hands,

And on the third day being raised again.

 

I’m from the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega

One desert and forty days

From “Peace be with you.”

To “Look at my hands and my feet, It is I myself!”

Touch me and see.

 

The Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms is fulfilled.

The Christ suffered,

And rose from the dead on the third day

Preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name to all nations

I am sending you what my Father has promised-

To be clothed with power from on high-

Lifting up his hands, he blessed them, and ascended into heaven.

Will You Pray With Me?

Heavenly Father, you are blessed.  You are the one true God that is faithful and true. Jesus, we thank you for giving us peace, the gift of salvation and your righteousness. We confess that we are often distracted and may not honor you with our time as you deserve.  Thank you for sending us the Holy Spirit to reveal the meaning of what you taught. May we share with others the good news that if they repent from their sin, and believe that you are the way, the truth, and the life…they will be saved.  In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

DO YOU KNOW THE PROMISES OF GOD?

Join this FREE Bible study from the comfort of your own home and connect with me in a private Facebook discussion group.

The study begins January 6th 2020.  Go ahead and sign-up today! Just click the link below to join, friend. I’ll see you there!

Join the FREE Bible study here. 

Connect With Me

  1. Follow Me on Instagram  for encouraging scriptures.
  2. Like my Facebook page and receive links to some of my favorite authors from the Hope Writing Community.
  3. Know someone battling cancer? Visit My Pinterest board for 21 days of encouraging verses to share with others.

Blog_signature

I am a Hope Writer