My Identity is Steadfast

Occupy all of me, Lord, with your Truth and never relinquish from me the security of your salvation. Guard my thoughts from the enemy and fight for me with your faithful armor. Rise victorious in my life so all can see your eternal beacon of hope in me. Enable me to see your faultless intentions for your servant. Never permit your praises to depart from my lips. Drive out the pit of Hell from the deep corners of my existence. Cease all cynical patterns of perception and assist me to dwell in your forever peace.

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough

Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up

Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?

Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

You say I am held when I am falling short

When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours

And I believe, oh I believe what You say of me, I believe

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me

In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity

Lauren Daigle

My passion and purpose are feeling fuzzy and far away.

He shows me a glimpse of His will and plan for my future.

Why are my circumstances not changing?

His hope trickles down like rain to wash the fear away.

I can’t feel you or see where you are in this situation.

His presence blankets me with security.

Why am I here?

His creation will sing His praises for all time.

The feelings are so negative, how can I see out of it?

He shelters me tucked under His mighty wings and steadfast hands.

Why can’t I see past myself?

He doesn’t give up on me and never will.

Who am I?

He loves his children and calls me His own.

What happens if I fail?

His peace transcends anything I could imagine.

Who do I salute in this fallen world?

He is my victorious King who fights for me.

I feel all alone and no one cares.

He has my back and loves me unconditionally.

I feel shame creeping in seeking to destroy my peace.

He vanishes all doubt and fear with a whisper of a prayer.

I can’t believe I did that.

He completely forgives and forgets.

I don’t succeed at anything.

He didn’t make me by mistake.

I feel empty and weak.

He stirs up His mighty fire within me.

I don’t know what to say.

He touches my tongue with His Truth.

Oh I have days I lose the fight

Try my best but just don’t get it right

Well I talk a talk that I don’t walk and miss the moments right before my eyes

Somebody with a hurt that I could have helped

Somebody with a hand that I could have held

When I just can’t see past myself

Oh Lord help me be

A little more like mercy

A little more like grace

A little more like kindness, goodness, love, and faith

A little more like patience

A little more like peace

A little more like Jesus

A little less like me

Zach Williams

High School

With all of the COVID-19 regulations causing a major change for high schoolers across the country, it has caused me to do some reflecting on my high school experience.  I encourage you to do the same.  Whether it has been a year or 60 years since graduation, there is always new insight to gain by reflecting on where you have been and where you want to go.

I always said that I hated high school.  I was super shy and I didn’t have many true friends.  You hear of many people who refer to high school as their glory days, so I always thought that I wanted a different high school experience than the one I had.  However, looking back, I realize as an adult how fast that time of life went and I’m thankful for the opportunities that I did have and the wonderful people who were there for me.

Let’s just say I was super quiet and reserved growing up.  To say that I was introverted would be an understatement.  But, many of my teachers saw potential in me that I didn’t see in myself.  I was given opportunities in FFA and 4-H to be a leader and it helped shape the rest of my life.  People saw potential in me and didn’t let me sit idly by.  That is one of the biggest reasons why I became an agriculture teacher and still volunteer with the 4-H program.  I want to make that same impact on students and encourage them to become the person that they are meant to be.

It was hard for me to put myself out there and make friends.  Oftentimes I shut people out because I was afraid that they wouldn’t like me.  I tried to imitate others and even idolized people that I thought were more outgoing and liked by others.  It makes me want to go back and relive those times and shake the tiny, weak girl inside that was afraid to be herself.  I had awesome people that were willing to be my friend and help me out, but I was so self concerned that I couldn’t see it or didn’t let them get as close as what I should have.  It was my fault that I didn’t enjoy high school and make the most out of the opportunities that I had.

I was way too concerned with what other people thought and way too often I tried to manipulate people to try to give me things because I was very selfish and narrow minded.  However, after having worked with many high school aged children over the years now, I do have to say that many kids have that same tendency.  It is hard when you are that age to think about others rather than yourself and to focus more on what you do have rather than what you don’t.  That is why I always harp on my students to find the positives, be grateful, and live with integrity.  It is because I wish I could go back and be a better person than the one that I was.

Animals were my best friends during high school.  When I couldn’t put myself into social situations with people, I turned to my animals for companionship.  I was blessed to grow up on a farm and get to work with horses, pigs, cattle, and a dog. I am so thankful that I got to show in 4-H and it really gave me goals to work towards and a passion for animals and agriculture that is still strong today.  Thank you to my family for the opportunities that you gave me to work with animals and for always believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.

So, even though I wish I could go back and change so much about my high school experience, I know that God was there all along guiding me and giving me a whole lot of teaching moments along the way.  I really became the person that I wanted to be in college and enjoyed my four years at UNL tremendously.  I can see God’s hand guiding and providing for me, even before I had a real relationship with Him.  I thought I was a Christian growing up, but it wasn’t until a few months after high school that I truly became a servant for the Lord.  Even though I am definitely far from perfect now, I try to help young people know the Lord because I know that He greatly changed my life.  He was the one that took the brokenness of high school and put me back together during college.  He is the one who has always been there for me and always will be.

I want to thank all of the people I knew in high school.  I might not have appreciated you the way that I should have, but looking back I’m sure glad that you were there.  I hope you get some reflecting time during this crisis and can see that God has been there all along.

The Heart of the Home

God does everything for His glory.  Sometimes we don’t know how something is going to honor God when it starts, but over time we see His grace, mercy, and providence.  Even when we make mistakes, doubt His presence, or forget His goodness, He is still on His throne and loves us unconditionally.

When I first bought this house, I thought it was a mistake.  I didn’t want to do it.  I hate debt and didn’t want the financial responsibility of home ownership.  I thought that I could never take care of a house as a single lady.  But, slowly, God changed my heart.  He knew what I needed way before I did.

After I had a host of freak out moments, the diamond that God was making through the rough started to emerge.  I saw a lot of sweat, tears, and dedication go into making my century old house a home.  The laughter and love that came because of those hours spent painting, cutting, and nailing, will never be forgotten.  I saw God’s hand of service and love come from my family members stepping up to help me in my time of need.

My family lived God’s love by serving me this summer, even when I wasn’t easy to love.  They cared for me even when it took work and effort.  Even though they will never be able to get back the hours and weekends spent working on my home, it was quality time well spent with loved ones.  When I was indecisive and broke down crying, I got a hug instead of a lecture.  I literally have the best family a girl could ever ask for.

I now look around at my super cute little house and get a sense of warmth and gratitude.  I see my family in every nook and cranny of this house.  I could never forget the memories made or the love shared in making this house my home.  Even though I might not always live here, my heart will forever be in this place.

Jesus was the ultimate servant and showed His love to us by giving of Himself to save us on the cross.  We can model that sincere, genuine concern for others by helping our family, friends, and neighbors in times of need.  It is time we open our eyes to see and our ears to hear the signs of opportunity around us.  I’m so thankful that my family did just that for me.  God is always near and is working through the people around us.

“…But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15

The Nostalgia Bug

Nostalgia is an interesting thing.  It gives you the warm-fuzzies thinking of all of the wonderful memories and great times had with family and friends.  The rose colored glasses come out and you remember only the good times.  Nevertheless, it also gives you a hint of sadness and depression thinking that those days are gone and you can’t go back.

Facebook is a great tool for reminiscing on old and fun times.  I got Facebook the summer before starting college.  Tonight I went back through a lot of the photos taken from that summer and time in college.  It was a photo album of all of the growing that I have done in the last 11 years.  It is funny to see how things have and haven’t changed over the last decade. 

I had tons of fun in my college years.  I made many wonderful and thoughtful friends.  I became a true Christ-follower.  I had my whole life ahead of me and I was excited for the future.  I had animals and deep roots in my family and home.  I would consider these years to be my “glory days” or time in my life that I blossomed and became the person that I wanted to be.  It is entertaining to look back at pictures and see a much slimmer, tanner, and blonder version of myself.

Looking back, I’m definitely not where I would have thought I would have been at age 29.  If you would have asked me in college where I would be now, I would have said working in 4-H Extension, married, living on a farm/ranch, and doing my own ministry with animals and fitness.  The interesting fact is that none of those things are really in place.  I’m not saying that they won’t ever happen, but that is not my story so far.

Maybe this is just me, but I tend to have the “grass is greener on the other side” philosophy oftentimes.  I have this yearning for something more.  Each year I get wanderlust and start thinking about what my life is lacking.  I think of all of the experiences I don’t have or all of the things that I want to do.  I want more out of life.  We only get one chance and it goes very quickly.  I don’t want to sit on the sidelines and pretend everything is fine.  I want to be a better version of myself everyday.

Even so, I don’t usually do much about it.  I sit on my couch a year later and write about the same longing.  I might make little steps here and there, but I always end up in the same spot.  Is this an early mid-life crisis of discontentment or is this something more ingrained into my personality and who I am as a person?

Change is definitely a word that I would use to describe my past year.  I moved to a new town and started a new job.  My parents moved and my family farm is being sold.  I don’t have any livestock animals anymore and even my dog lives with my grandparents.  I haven’t taken any classes in the last year.  I even got a new-to-me vehicle.

I thought that if I made enough big life changes that this gap would be filled.  I would find where I was meant to be.  I would feel content and ready to start the next chapter of my life and stop looking at the past.  However, here I am yet again.

I’m wondering if God is wanting me to recall some of the lessons I have learned from my past.  Examples:  When to keep my mouth shut and not say anything.  How to be a better and more considerate friend.  How to not be so selfish and vain.  Why serving others is more essential than looking out for myself.  Why I need to keep in shape.  Finding out what my spiritual gifts are and how to use them.  Why God is my highest priority in life.  Spend more of my time with family and friends rather than in-front of technology.  Why looking the part and trying to impress people should not be my main focus.  When I need to ask for forgiveness.  There are many more lessons I’m sure that I have learned over the past 11 years and many I’m still working on.

Hope is a word that I have been focused on a lot lately.  Not only for those affected by extreme loss and weather phenomena recently, but on a more intimate and personal level.  How do I still have hope in this state of wanderlust?  What does hope mean to me?  How can I live more of my daily life with overflowing joy and hope?  How can I share this hope with others?

The future is uncertain and many things might not come to fruition like you thought that they would.  Some dreams will never happen and others you won’t want them to anymore.  You might want or need things to change.  However, hope is what God calls us to as His people.  He wants us to know that He is our provider, friend, and life-planner.  He knows all things past, present, and future.  He knows what we need and when we need it.  We can wander off course, but He is our anchor still there waiting for us to return.  We have eternal hope because He loves us.

Even when we get discouraged at our current circumstances, God knows the reason why we are still there.  He is teaching us something through those long hard days/weeks/months/years.  Why we will never be satisfied is because we don’t truly belong here.  We belong in our eternal home in Heaven with Him and we are just passing through.  Therefore, we need to share our hope of salvation with everyone.  We need to leave the past behind and focus on the eternal impact we will have on the future of the people around us right now.  Our hope needs to spread like a flame of joy to the people around us.  We need to be His advocate here where we are planted right now, but we should also be preparing for wherever He might have us go in the future.

Read 1 Peter 2:11.  Actually, read all of 1 Peter.  I know it makes me want to give everything in this world up to follow Him.  I’m ready and willing, Lord.  In Your timing and Your will.  Amen.

Truths You Need to Know Before You Commit

After talking with a friend tonight about some bumps in her dating relationship road, it reminded me that sometimes we stop leaning on God’s Truths.   We start to scoot our way onto the slimy-slippery slope of a worldly view of the dating scene only to find that we ended up miles from the narrow road God told us to take.  We fall away from our love manual called God’s Word.  We misplace our conviction that we are not supposed to pursue dating like the rest of this world.

If we don’t want to be divorced, if we don’t want to be lonely in our marriage, if we don’t want to sin, then we need to get right with God.  We will make mistakes; but, when we are completely sold-out for Him, our relationships stand a lot more of a chance of making it for the long-haul.  It might take a tediously long time to do the heart work necessary for you to be ready, but it will be worth it.  

Here are some Truths that I think might be helpful for you singletons out there tonight:   

-You need to love God more than anything.  The most important commandment:  “Jesus replied, “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”” – Matthew 22:37

-If you need another person to complete you or make you feel special, then you are misplacing your love for Christ onto another human.  Humans sin and will always fail you if you are looking for them to fill you up.  Only God can make you feel worthy of love, confident in who you are, and take away your inadequacy.  

-If you are looking to date because you want the intimacy and perks that come with a relationship, you really need to be observant of your actions.  Yes, God might place that yearning in your heart; yet, this should only be shared with your future spouse.  Giving too much of yourself mentally, spiritually, and physically to others will make you feel used and empty.  Only God can give you true intimacy and the desires of your heart.  Wait on the Lord and He will be faithful to give you what you need in His timing.  

-Traditional dating scenarios set us up for being good at divorce.  We commit to someone we are not sure is the right one and then leave them when it doesn’t work out.  Focus on friendships.  You don’t need to weed through dozens of losers before you find a good match.  Keep yourself pure and faithful to God. The rest of your life is a long time.  The more you settle in dating, the more likely you will settle with your future spouse.

-If you are not ready to be in a serious and intentional relationship leading to marriage, then don’t date.  Courtships take lots of work, time, and energy.  That time could be spent on things of much higher eternal value, like serving others, learning about God, and getting yourself healthy.  The more you focus your thoughts on God the less you are going to be thinking about lust and loneliness.  Singleness is not a bad word.  Read what Paul says about marriage in 1 Corinthians 7.

-Change is difficult, oftentimes not fun, and can be very scary.  However, it is not healthy to hold onto something you know is not right in the Holy Spirit because you are afraid of change.  If God is telling you to do it or give it up, then be obedient.  God will always be faithful to provide. 

-Everyone makes mistakes and will have baggage.  There is no such thing as a perfect person because only Jesus is without sin.  Even so, God doesn’t want you to be in a relationship of resentment and trust issues.  You either need to learn forgiveness or find a person that you more adequately match up with.  If it is your brokenness and sin getting in the way of a healthy courtship, then get right with God first before pursing dating any farther.  Yes, God brings people into our lives to help us and give us insight, but we should never use another person as our “love” doctor.  Our ultimate healer is the Lord.  

I hope that these Truths will help you to reconnect with your Savior and align your relationship goals with His Word.  The true love of Christ conquers all.  

It’s time to talk about SAD.

The old winter blues got you down?  Tired of being cooped up all day inside?  Ready for flip-flops and sun-tan lines?  Ready for green grass and sunshine?  I know I am!

For some of us, a longing for warmer weather isn’t where our melencholy stops.  For some of us, the winter can be a very dark and gloomy place.  It is not just cloudy days and snowy nights, but actual depression and sadness.  The longer, colder, and snowier the winter gets, the harder it is for some of us to live a normal, healthy life.

I’ve had SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, for as long as I can remember.  As an adult looking back, I recall times even in elementary school when I was suffering from winter depression.  I used to cry every year as a child before school started because I couldn’t handle being inside all day.  I used a tanning bed in high school and college to help ward off feelings of sadness.  My informational speech on the high school speech team was over SAD.  It has been my un-fair weather pal for the last twenty plus years.

SAD is more than just a little tiredness or a desire for warmer days; SAD comes with real symptoms that can control your everyday life.  Symptoms of SAD include:  sleeping more than normal, eating more than normal, apathy for things you like to do, feeling sluggish and drained of energy, and social withdrawal.  As the fall changes into winter, symptoms will get worse and worse until spring arrives.  This is because of the lack of daylight and the decreased amount of hours spent outside and the body cannot handle this change.  The balance of serotonin and melatonin in the body become out of whack and your circadian rhythm doesn’t know what to do.

I have to say, I have had all of those symptoms lately!  It took me awhile to realize what a funk I was in.  I was coming home straight from work, skipping my gym workout, and collapsing onto the couch.  I would fall asleep between 7:30 to 8:30 pm and not wake up until 6:30 the next morning!  I wanted to eat everything in sight, even though I hadn’t been burning hardly any calories.  I was making minor mistakes at work and letting things pile up at home that I would normally take care of right away.  After six or more weeks of this behavior, I have finally realized that SAD is back, just like it was last year and the year before and the year before.  You get the picture.

As a Christ follower, it is hard to believe that God allows this kind of negativity to enter our lives.  He knows that I want to be full of the Holy Spirit and walk around with lots of energy to help serve Him and love on others!  I know that God is always good, always has my best interest in mind, and has a plan for my life.  Because of the faith that I have in the Creator of the universe, I know that there is a reason behind every season.  Maybe my time in physical winter can bring hope and joy to someone else in their spiritual winter.  Maybe this is a testimony to how feelings shouldn’t dictate our lives and there is never a reason to go without hope.

With God’s promise that spring will come, I can joyfully endure the rest of the winter.  Last year, I came up with a list of activities that helped me deal with my winter depression.  Here is my list:  go for walks outside anytime it hits above the 30 degree mark, look up at the moon and stars as often as you can, be in God’s Word every day, journal your prayers when you are having trouble focusing, open the window shades and let in more natural light, exercise daily even when you don’t feel like it, make a list of all of the things you are thankful for, and have a friend or family member keep you accountable for your social engagements.

Today, I ordered two light boxes, one for home and one for work, that are supposed to mimic the sun and help get your circadian rhythm back in-check.  While I have enjoyed getting the extra Z’s lately, I have to say that I’m ready to have some evening energy back.    I also signed up for a 5K at the end of April, to help keep me accountable for my dates at the gym.  I’m going to start a during the week tv fast, to help me to focus on spending more time with God.  I ordered a TruVision supplement to help aid in weight loss and boost energy.  I’m hoping by the time April comes, I will be feeling like a happier and healthier version of myself.  Bye bye winter blues!

Ecclesiastes 1 has been the way of the winter…

“What do people get for all their hard work under the sun?  Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes.  The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again.  The wind blows south, and then turns north.  Around and around it goes, blowing in circles.  Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full.  Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea.  Everything is wearisome beyond description.  No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied.  No matter how much we hear, we are not content.” – Ecclesiastes 1:2-8

But, Romans 5 makes way for spring…

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment.  For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” -Romans 5:3-5

Commitment and Faithfulness

I was watching a show today that really got me thinking.  It was a fictional series about a CIA operative and the tensions with radical muslims in the Middle East.  I have no idea how much of it is true of course, as I’m sure much of it is made to be over the top for tv.  However, I found myself really questioning after I finished the season.

I don’t know much about the Islam faith.  I have not ever read the Qur’an.  I’ve only done a few quick Google searches looking for the outlines of their faith.  From what I have read, I understand that they believe in God and most of the Old Testament.  They believe Jesus was real, but they think of Him as a prophet rather than the Messiah.  They believe in a prophet called Muhammad.  They believe in peace, family, and devotion.

What really got me thinking in both the show and my research is how committed and faithful Islamic people are.  They pray like clock-work five times a day and they fast for a whole month each year.  Their faith is a true lifestyle and they are 100% devoted to trying to follow God’s will in every aspect of their life.

Now, we know that Islam is wrong because they don’t believe that Jesus died for their sins and so they will not be able to go to Heaven.  Plus, Muhammad was not a prophet and the Bible is the true Word of God.  And of course there are a few other differences as well.

Anyway, I think we, as Christian brothers and sisters, need to take a lesson from the people that practice the Islamic faith and truly pledge our allegiance to God.  We need to stand up and be proud of being a Christian.  We need to live differently than the rest of the world and show Christ to everyone that we know.  Our faith should define who we are and what we do and how we do it.

How many Christians do you know who are lukewarm and half-hearted?  How many Christians are there who are complete hypocrites of what the Bible teaches?  How many Christians out there have never read the Bible and have no idea of what it really says?  How many Christians claim to believe in God but have no idea what that really means?

After researching today, I now know that radical muslims, muslims, and people practicing Islam are all different types of people.  Saying that they are the same thing would be like saying the KKK were true Christians.  We all know that they are not and they don’t follow the teachings in the Bible.

This got me wondering though why there is such a rapid rise in radical muslims and terrorist groups.  How do these people get so brainwashed?  They say it is in devotion to their faith, but then they do things that contradict what their holy book says.

I have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of lost people out there looking for connection, belonging, structure, and revenge.  These radical muslim groups, claiming to follow Islam, are trying to fill this void for them.  Giving them a “family” to belong to, a cause to die for, and an opportunity for blood shed.

These people obviously are searching to fill their purpose in life and instead of finding true life and freedom in Christ, they went to a cult instead.  What if we, as living parts of Christ’s body as the church, sought out these hurting and broken people and gave them a place to belong?  Think of how different the lives of these young men and women would be if they found eternal hope, peace, and salvation in Jesus instead?

I think our call to evangelism is as strong as it ever has been before.  We need to live out our Christian faith as best as we can to show the world that they can live a different and more fulfilling life.  Even if it is just being more purposeful in our conversations and actions with friends, family, and colleagues, we need to do it.  Read God’s Word, believe it, follow it, and act it out.  Don’t waste another day that you could have made an eternal impact for the Lord.

James 1: 5-8 NLT

“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.  He will not rebuke you for asking.  But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.  Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.  Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.  Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”

James 1: 19-27 NLT

“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters:  You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.  So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has placed in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.  But don’t just listen to God’s word.  You must do what it says.  Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.  For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.  You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.  But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.  If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.  Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

What if my life was a movie?

Romantic comedies are usually my favorite movies, especially this time of the year.  I fall for a good boy meets girl next door story every time.  Everybody lives happily ever after and rides off into the sunset.  Love has conquered all and peace will rain over their house forever.

In the movies, one day can change everything.  The characters are totally rocking it in their own niche and, out of nowhere, Prince Charming shows up and their life is changed forever.  In the matter of just days, they are in love and all is right with the world.

However, that is not real life.  Real life is messy.  Real life can hurt.  Real life can be really boring.  Real life can require a lot of patience.  Real life might not ever turn out the way that you have planned it.

Lately, I have felt God’s gentle tug on my heart saying be content.  Stop trying to figure out the future.  Be grateful for what you have.  Stop trying to live someone else’s life and be glad that you are where you are.  See how richly I have blessed you.  You don’t need a husband to complete you.  I already have.  If I feel like you need a mate, I will give you one.  Until then, be thankful and patient.  I may never bless you in that way, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love you unconditionally.  My love is enough and always will be.

I still hope that God has made me a husband out there and that he is waiting as patiently as I am.  But, as 29 years of age approaches, I know that God loves me no matter what happens in the future.  In His timing, I will abide.  You are fine just the way you are.

There is nothing wrong with romantic comedies.  But, I know that if my life was a movie, I would want it to be more meaningful and substantial.  Most of all, I would want it to point people to Christ.  So, for all of those of you watching, here is me starting a new chapter in 2019.  Looking up from the screen and into the world.  Seeing people, serving others, being in the moment, and living my life free of social stigmas.

Let God write your movie script.  Live each day thankful for what you have.  Focus on the gifts God has given you to impact others today and don’t worry about what will happen tomorrow.  God never forgets His promises to His people.

Jeremiah 29:10-14 NLT

“This is what the LORD says:  “You will be in Babylon for seventy years.  But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.  For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD.  “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.  I will be found by you,” says the LORD.  “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes.  I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.””

John 3:16-21

Merry Christmas!

This world makes it hard to slow down and remember our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our faith gets wishy-washy and all we have to show for it is hollow words and actions.

Maybe you love God and are a believer, or maybe you are an atheist looking for true love but can’t find it.  God will meet you where you are at.

His Word is all that matters.  Jesus came to die for you.  Your sins drove Him to leave Heaven, be born as a human, and die a horrific death.  But, He loved you so much that He rose from His grave and made a spot in Heaven for you with Him, if you will receive it.

What are you going to do knowing the Truth?

John 3:16-21 NLT

“For this is how God loved the world:  He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.  There is no judgement against  anyone who believes in him.  But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.  And the judgement is based on this fact:  God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.  All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.  But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

Remember who gave it all for you this holiday season.  Jesus is the reason for the season.

God bless America and thank you to everyone who has served to protect this country and everyone in it.

Just not feeling it.

Sometimes we go for days walking around like an empty shell, holding out our empty bucket and not even looking at the ones around us.  Our “feelings” throttle is stuck on empty and we have forgotten how to find the fuel to fill it back up.  We go about our routine, not turning on our mind and heart.  We feel a million miles away unable to find our way back.

This is what happens when we only acknowledge Christ on a superficial level.  This is what happens when we cease our conversation with Him.  It can make the “feelings” of peace and joy fade and leave us with a heap of discontentment.

At times we can get wrapped up in our “non-feelings” and make decisions that we don’t approve of later when we’re back on our “spiritual high.”  Common examples include online shopping, eating empty calories, and binge watching Netflix.  Instead of reaching for our true source of life, the Bible, or kneeling in prayer, we gravitate towards worldly desires which leave us broke, fat, and unhappy.

When that “spiritual funk” hits, we forget that God is still on his throne and in control no matter what.  Truth is truth whether we feel it or not.  Our salvation is secure.  God is still God and He is always good.  He still has a plan for our future.  Jesus always forgives.  The Holy Spirit still resides in us.  And, He already knows exactly how we are feeling.

We long to always be filled with joy and gratefulness.  The calming peace that only comes from a full understanding of Christ’s love and never ending grace, is what we want on display every second of every day.  We want our buckets to be so full that they are overflowing into everyone else’s around us.  So why is there a discrepancy from what we feel and what we want?

This yoyo of a life has to stop swinging and finally land in Christ’s capable hands.  The pendulum swing of the feelings throttle needs to finally land on a permanent full.  The bucket needs to be filled with living water, rather than worldly elements.

The answer to our issue is communion.  When we are in true communion with God on a deep soul filling level, it doesn’t matter how we feel that day.  His dwelling never changes and He is still inside of us.  The key to staying tight with the Lord is to never cease from communicating with Him.

Our talking might look different based on our circumstances or feelings; however, we should never terminate our conversation.  We need to do whatever it takes, whether it be praying, listening, fellowshipping, reading, watching, walking, journaling, etc.  If we start to feel the low hitting, we can’t let it.  It’s time to turn our radio to K-Love, open our Bible and read a few verses, call or text a believing friend, go for a walk outside regardless of the weather, put in a Christian movie, write a list of our blessings, or simply start talking to God about our day.  We can’t let ourselves sink to Satan’s temptation and draw away from God.  We need to stop slicing the umbilical cord of the true life-blood and privilege we have in Christ.  We need to continue our never ending conversation with our Creator and find out how full our heart, soul, and mind can be no matter our circumstances.