Walking with Jesus

I am so quick to say that I want to be Christ-like. My mind immediately thinks of His love, kindness, and gentleness... all things I long to exemplify. But I am struck by everything else it means to be Christ-like; His suffering, sacrifice, forgiveness, and humility. This is why Jesus asked people to count the cost of following Him. "A servant is not greater than his Master." If Jesus laid down His life, we must be ready to do the same. He left us an example, and in 1 John 2:6 it says, "whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked."

What would it look like for you to walk like Jesus did? Are you willing to embrace this day with sacrifice and humility? Ask God to give you the heart and mind of Christ today as you live out your faith. Wouldn't it be amazing if someone were to say, "I spent the day with ____ (insert your name), and it was the closest thing I've ever felt to walking with Jesus."

Suit Up

Do you ever get so overwhelmed and discouraged being a woman? There are so many obstacles to endure in one day. Before I open the door and enter the war zone, I spend time with my King. In other words, I suit up and put my armor on. No sooner do I put my foot on the enemy's territory than my shield goes up and I am darting arrows as fast as I can. Then I lose my bearings and drop my shield and the enemy takes me down. The enemy is not some creature from another place; it's someone I know really well. It's me, my flesh.

When I received Christ, I received the Holy Spirit. I now have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Hebrews 10:16 says, "This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds." I have no excuse; God gave me a part of him. He gave me the same power He gave Jesus. I ask myself daily, "Why do I waste such a priceless gift?" So many times it's my flesh that is first to cross the finish line.

This is when I go into my quiet chamber (my closet), enter the throne room, and get on my knees and say, "Forgive me Father. Once again I thought I could do it in my strength. Please fill me with your Spirit till my heart and soul are overflowing." I am now confident to fight my enemy and enter the battle. I now pick up my cross and follow Jesus.

"So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!" (Hebrews 10:35)

We Need Each Other

We need each other. There is nothing more encouraging than a brother or sister in Christ "spurring you on to love and good deeds." But just as deflating is a brother or sister who talks you out of your convictions. I am tired of this! God has given us the ability to be a life-giver to someone's faith, to breathe a flame into a fire for the things of Christ. If my convictions line up with scripture, I need to hear someone say, "You will never regret this in light of eternity." Or, "It may be difficult, but you have to do what the Spirit is leading you to do!"

Do you find yourself giving courage (encouragement) to other believers? If not, could it be that you are holding back so that you don't have to feel any conviction? Ask the Lord to search your heart on this, because He is waiting to use you in the life of your friend, husband, child... Ask God to give you the opportunity to be a life-giver.

"Encourage one another and build one another up." (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Fear

As I woke up this morning, I came face to face with my worst enemy—FEAR. I hadn't even started my day, and it was gripping me so tight. Instead of going to my closet and praying, I just continued my morning routine. Two words kept going through my head: WHAT IF, WHAT IF. I put my stuff down and headed straight to my closet to visit my Father.

It was there in my quiet chamber that my Father reminded me that He is always there and will never leave me or forsake me. I then felt the fear start to slip away, and the peace overtook me. Then those two sneaky words came back into my mind again. This time I thought, WHAT IF I don't put God first, WHAT IF I don't show compassion to those in need, WHAT IF I forget I am not of this world and WHAT IF I forget what my real purpose in life is.

This was when I realized FEAR can be my friend and not my enemy. Proverbs 3:7-8 says, "Don't be impressed with your own wisdom.  Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body
 and strength for your bones." I must fear the things that pull me away from the one I love. But I must embrace the FEAR that keeps me on the path to meet my King. The great I AM THAT I AM.

Let Your Faith Be Bigger than Your Fear

"Let your faith be bigger than your fear."

This was on a plaque I recently purchased, and oh how I need this to be true of myself! I am constantly battling with fear. It seems to be the weapon of choice for our enemy, because he knows it will cripple us and keep us from experiencing everything God has for us. To deny yourself can be scary. What if God asks me to go somewhere or do something that is difficult? If I truly surrender myself to God, how do I know He will come through? We naturally think of how things are going to affect us. Have you considered how it will affect your walk with God if you don't follow Him wholeheartedly? What will happen if fear continually keeps you from laying down your own desires?

"...for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control" (2 Timothy 1:7).

Fear is not from God. God wants us to walk in the confidence of who He is, and what He can accomplish through us. God is faithful, which means He can be trusted! As you surrender yourself more fully to Him, your faith will increase, and it will be much, much bigger than your fear.

When I Am Tempted

Being a woman in the world we live in today is no easy task. Every pleasure and indulgence is at our feet. The world tells us to be beautiful. We need to wear this, tuck that, nip this, and enlarge that. It teaches we need to be true to ourselves and follow our heart, even though God tells us our hearts are wicked. We are taught we have rights and no man is our master. We are to stand up for what we think is right regardless if it goes against God's word. We learn at a very young age that we may spew any word from our mouth that defends what we believe. My question is, what do you believe to be the truth?

As I read Mark 8:36 I am reminded that the world offers me death, but Jesus gave me eternal life. "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?" Why do I get pulled into the world knowing the suffering and pain Jesus bore on my behalf? Never forget our life on this earth is just a blink of an eye. But please remember there is no end to eternity in hell, and that will be the penalty for a rebellious heart that rejects the truth. The thought of many who will forfeit their souls and never stand before the HOLY OF HOLIES just rips my soul apart.

Praise God for his perfect love. Even though I deserve death, his son paid the price for my eternal life. When I am tempted to dabble in the world and live on the edge I need to close my eyes and envision Jesus suffering on the cross. I need to see him as He painfully reached up for that last breath and to believe He inhaled it for me. It's because of this gift to me I have the ability through his spirit to walk away from the temptations that are all around me. Through God's strength I can say "no to the world and yes to Jesus". Thank you Lord that you are next to me all the time. "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5c).

Choose People Over Possessions

Our church is walking through the book of Acts right now. Reading how the early church got started, there is one thing that continually stands out to me: "All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need" (Acts 2:44-45). This is not the only reference to this kind of "wild abandon" in regards to their stuff. It's rather convicting, considering how very tightly we hold on to our things.

When I was in high school, a neighbor who I barely knew came over and asked to borrow a white shirt. Apparently she had to have one for work that day, and I could sense the urgency. Immediately I thought of the verse that says, "If someone asks for your shirt, give them your jacket as well" (paraphrased). It wasn't necessarily in the right context of the moment, but I knew I had to give her my very nice, almost new blouse to wear. One of my family members seemed upset at me. "What if it gets ruined?" they asked, "Didn't you just buy that with your own money?" That way of thinking didn't line up with what I read in the Bible. It was a very small but poignant moment for me to choose people over possessions. If you have so many things that you would never let go of, or such nice things that you can't bear to let someone borrow them, maybe it's time to reprioritize. Why not consider selling something you own for the sake of your brothers and sisters in Christ? It could be that the very act of losing something dear will cause you to find the One most dear.