Month: January 2019

  • You Are God’s Beloved

    There are a lot of days when I look back and think with disappointment, “Well I was definitely not my best self today.” You know those days, when you lose your keys in the freezer and go to work late with your shirt on inside out, only to find out you forgot about a meeting. By the time you get home you’re short-tempered and muttering under your breath at anyone who dares to even raise an eyebrow to you. And then there’s your friend over there, with her perfect everything, living her super-duper life where nothing goes wrong and everything goes right, and how on earth does she get perfect brows and winged eyeliner every single day?!

    Truth be told, I don’t like myself on those days. I hate feeling less-than and insecure, lost in comparison to those who seem like they have it all together. It leaves my mind spinning, and suddenly everything is about me. I over analyze people’s moods, second guess the conversation in the break room, and ultimately doubt my own value. But that mindset is not of God.

    I recently started following a podcast called Things Above with James Bryan Smith. It’s a podcast dedicated to training the mind to focus on “things above” based on the Bible verse Colossians 3:2. My sweet friend, I recently heard an episode called “God’s Beloved” that I could not wait to tell you about. I was practically weak with excitement. The message is this:

    You are God’s beloved on your worst day, in your worst moment.

    If you’re like me, you’ll read that sentence twice, feeling sure you’ll find a typo, but it’s correct, even if it feels a little hard to believe.

    In our culture of comparison and striving for recognition and validation, it is a surreal thought that we can be loved just as we are. It is downright mind blowing that we could be loved when we are at less than our best. But in Christ, beloved is exactly what we are. Not based on our accomplishments or merit or charm, but because God created us, knows us fully, and delights in us (still).

    So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”

    Colossians 3:12

    We are chosen of God, holy because of Christ, and so very beloved. Let that sink in. Go ahead and marinate in it for a sec.

    In order to believe that we are God’s beloved we are going to need a power greater than ourselves, and that is the Holy Spirit.

    James Bryan Smith reminds us that in 1 Corinthians 12:3 “no one can say, “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. In the same way, we need the Holy Spirit to work in our lives to help us believe that we are beloved.

    When we embrace our belovedness to God, we begin to see the belovedness of others. It changes how we interact with the world around us and gives us a heavenly perspective. It changes how we handle an off day at work, an insecure feeling or how we talk to our loved ones when we are tired and stressed. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” because we are beloved. We can live a life with our minds free from comparison and striving to stand out in the world.

    We are already seen and valued by the One who matters most. You are God’s beloved!

    P.S. I hope that you’ll take a the time to listen to this episode of the Things Above podcast. The episode is around 10 minutes and full of encouragement and great nuggets of wisdom. I hope you will be as blessed by it as I have been.

    Read more

  • You Can Do This!

    Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:1-3

    Last week we talked about setting some faith goals that will help you seek the Lord and grow in our faith more this year. One thing I have found over the years is, that when you set out to accomplish a new goal, especially one that involves growing your faith, you must be prepared to face some difficulties and obstacles. Satan likes to get us off our game, especially when we are first starting out.

    When these obstacles come, it is easy for discouragement to set in and we give up before we really get started. Even with my best planned efforts, sometimes I get discouraged when the change I want doesn’t happen as fast or in the way I had hoped for. The author of the book of Hebrews seems to be speaking right into this type of situation. He is encouraging us with these verses in chapter 12 to not give up–the reward of our efforts will be worth it!

    When I start to get discouraged, I sometimes find encouragement from others who have gone before me. I can tell myself, “Hey, if my friend Suzie can do it, maybe I can too!” Knowing others have conquered something that I want to conquer helps me stay the course. Their victory over the finish line or through a difficulty, helps me remember that there is victory waiting for me too.

    Encouragement can only take us so far; we must also get serious about the goal. We need a steadfastness that says, “no matter what, I’m committed to making this happen.” Verse one says that we are to throw off everything (not some or just a little, but ev-er-y-thing!) that is hindering our faith and growth in the Lord, especially the sin that can entangle us like a vine and pull us away from God. Part of the “no matter what…” is to be willing to let God take away the things that are not helping us but hindering us in reaching our faith growth.

    Once we have removed what’s hindering our progress toward the goal, we persevere. We need perseverance because obstacles will appear in our path and we will sometimes lose sight of where we are headed. Things will be going well, and then you or someone in your family gets the flu or you go on vacation or you have out-of-town guests visiting and you get thrown off the path toward your goal. It’s in these challenges that we must rely on God’s strength and the encouragement of others to persevere when the going gets tough.

    We can overcome with perseverance when we have our eyes on the prize–stay focused on the goal. In the goal of faith, we keep our eyes set on Jesus. Not only is He our example but He is our guide. He has gone before us and endured more than we can possibly imagine but has made it to the other side, victoriously! He truly is the author and perfecter of our faith.

    So, while there may be times that you start to grow weary, do not give up. Stay the course and keep running that race to the finish line! You can do it–you got this! And more importantly, God’s got you!

    Read more

  • Seek the Lord in the New Year

    Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” – Psalm 105:3-4

    Okay, so we are now two weeks into the new year. If you are like me, you have set some new goals for yourself and started the new year super excited to achieve them. Maybe you’ve even been chanting, “This is the year!”

    For me, this is the year that I want to conquer early mornings! You see, I am not a morning person. My bed is warm and cozy and my eye lids would rather not open until the sun is up (which this time of year, is fairly late!). But for years now, I have had a desire to get up before my family and have some time in the early morning to spend with the Lord. I can picture it now: the house is quiet and peaceful, I’m sitting in my comfy chair by the fireplace, curled up in my fuzzy blanket, sipping on my chai tea while I’m spending time with my Lord.

    And, while, yes, over the years I have still found a way to make time with God happen, I have always looked longingly toward that early morning picture. It just seemed out of reach. I recently came to realize that the main thing that has gotten in the way of me achieving this goal, has been the “I can’ts”. The “I can’t get up that early because I just not a morning person.” Or the “I can’t function that early so I would be unproductive.”

    I am determined this year to stop limiting myself with the “I can’ts” and have the courage to say, “with God’s help, I can!” While I know it will be hard at first, with possibly many difficult, half-awake mornings, I believe that I can get to the other side and reach my goal of that vision I have for my mornings. I know that if I can persevere through the hard stuff at the beginning, I will get to the place where it isn’t so hard and I will reap the fruit of my persistence in seeking the Lord.

    Maybe you have set a goal to seek God more this year too. If you haven’t yet, what is one goal you can set that will help you grow in your faith and relationship with God this year? Whether it is to have time with God each day (even if it is only 15 min), to be in God’s Word, to pray more often, go to church consistently or finally check out that small group bible study, God will bless your efforts. Any goal that draws you closer to God is a good goal! And I have found that when I put my faith first, my other goals in life tend to fall into place as well.

    So, what is that one faith step that you have not taken because of the “I can’ts? If you are willing to trust God and give Him that “I can’t”, he will turn it into something beautiful. He will strengthen you to do what you didn’t think was possible and grow your faith in the process.

    I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Phil 4:13

    It is our hope that by the end of this year, you will be able to look back and see growth in your faith and a list of ways you have been stretched, trusted in God and experienced Him more fully. May you find joy in seeking the Lord this year!

    P.S. If you have a faith goal that you would like us to pray about for you, please email us or comment below and let us know. We would love to be praying and encouraging you in your walk of faith!

    Read more

  • Who I Am In Christ Resource

    Recently, we had a chance to connect with our friend Stephanie Broersma. She has an incredible ministry called Reclaimed Ministry where she helps broken brides journey toward healing and recovery from marital betrayal. Stephanie shares our heart for helping women know their identity in Christ.

    We believe that knowing how much you are loved by God has the power to change everything. When you see yourself through the eyes of Christ and cherish the unique way in which you were created, the effect ripples out through your family, church and community.

    Because we are human and at times very broken, we sometimes need reminding and affirmation. So Stephanie has put together a great printable to help us all remember that in God’s kingdom, we are accepted, secure and significant. Our hope is that it will help remind you each day of who you are in Christ.

    Click the image below to download this free printable and put it somewhere that you will see it. You can post it on the mirror, or put a copy in your Bible to use for a daily devotional thought. However you use it, may you be blessed as you experience the love of God.

    Read more

  • Something New

    This is what the Lord says—he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters…“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. – Isaiah 43:16, 18-21

    Each new year brings a sense of a fresh start–an opportunity to hit the “reset button”. Whether you are a resolution maker or not, the new year is an opportunity to leave behind the things of the past, whether bad habits or simply bad memories, and look forward to new possibilities.

    This past year was one of those difficult years for my family. It was wrought with several physical ailments and the loss of loved ones. While there were also many good memories made and many wonderful things to be grateful for, it was one of those years that we are glad to leave behind.

    I love this verse because it is a reminder to me that God, my God, the God who parted the sea so His people could find a way through, is asking me to leave behind those things that are not of Him and not dwell on what has been, but rather focus ahead on what He has prepared before me. God is always in the business of making all things new. As we shift our perspective, we can see the new things he has before us.

    If you are feeling like you are coming out of the wilderness of last year; take heart, he is making a way through that wilderness and bringing His living water to the wasteland. His hope springs up before us! We are His chosen people, who He is making new each day–His beloved. He delights in making all things new and providing for His people.

    As we go into this new year, my prayer is that we can have eyes that see all that God is doing around us; that we will see His wondrous works springing up before us. We have a new start in Jesus. He is our hope and our future!

    Read more