ILLUMINATE

Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to illuminate Christ in us?

John 14:26 (Full Chapter)

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

I don’t know about you but I wasn’t really taught about the Holy Spirit in my early Christian walk.  I knew that God was a great and mighty God.  Creator of all things, my provider and my protector.  I knew that He gave up His only Son for my salvation and to lay out a path of examples for me to follow. But then what?  The Holy Spirit was this uncharted territory that no one really knew how to explain or even wanted to.    So here I went trying to live my Christian life still by my own understanding.  Let me tell you, that didn’t always turn out so well.  My understanding is limited and as I age, I find that it’s even more limited than yesterday.  My decision making was based on what I thought and I didn’t understand that God had also given me a help, the Holy Spirit, to guide me if I would let him.  I’m still a little foggy on how to do that but I’m learning that if my eagerness to do is not been lead by a period of prayer, waiting, prayer, waiting, listening and a heaping full of gut (inward guidance), then most likely I’m not waiting on the Holy Spirit to help me with my walk.

I definitely don’t have the Holy Spirit thing all figured out.  I definitely don’t always do enough praying and waiting.  I definitely don’t always allow my gut to lead me instead of my head & heart.  But I’m learning.  I’m listening.  And I’m eagerly awaiting His guidance.

So I encourage you to seek out the Holy Spirit that you’ve been given for your guidance.  Allow Him to help you through your days.

Lord, I thank you!  You have left nothing to chance.  You gave me a beautiful life, you gave me your son for my forgiveness so that I would have hope for a beautiful eternity and you’ve given me the Holy Spirit to walk with me through my beautiful days.  I’m grateful!  Lord I pray that others, those I love and those I do not know, will seek you as they live here on earth so that they will be with me in heaven.  Amen!

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Why?

#fmf

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

James 1:5-6 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

We tend to ask “Why?” when things don’t go the way we wanted them to go.  We ask “Why?” when bad things happen to the innocent.  We ask “Why?” when we can’t seem to change our own sin.  Why do we ask why?

Do we lack the faith to know that God is in control even if we don’t understand the outcomes?  Do we lack the hope to give to others who are in the midst of a trial?  Do we lack the trust to leave it up to God teach us what we need to know and give us the strength and power to make the necessary changes?

If our faith, hope and trust is based on our own sight then it definitely can lack but if it’s based on the unseen Christ we will lack in nothing.

We will not ask Why when we suffer or see suffering of this world because we understand it is of the fallen world but we will rejoice, being filled with hope, courage, strength and endurance because of our knowledge of Christ.

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Psalm 9:10

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

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Hope,Courage & Expectations

For several years now, I have had the hope that only God can give.

I didn’t always have that!  I don’t know that I even really understood there was such a thing.  I found courage in myself and held high expectations on others.  Early in my life I recognized that my expectations only lead me to discouragement and pain.  People have failed me in my life.  As I’m sure that some could say of me.

The last 10 or so years I have studied long on the subject of boundaries.  Boundaries are a necessary part of our lives.  If we don’t hold strong to our boundaries, others will surely walk all over us or we could walk all over others.  I have learned so much about myself through this journey of study. I have learned that the word boundary was not even in my vocabulary.  I learned early in my years that my God given boundaries could be violated without any consideration.  I learned that allowing those violations to direct my decisions would lead to even more fractured boundaries in my life.  But this journey into a life with boundaries has strengthened my Hope, Courage and still working on the Expectations.

Philippians 1:20-21

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Boundaries are internal and Expectations are external.  Since my boundaries were non-existent and my internal radar was turned off, I was guided only by the direction of others.  My thought process was determined by how I felt the people around me felt about me.  I was missing the internal guide (Holy Spirit  John 16:12-15).  This process set me up for living with expectations of others.  Expectations in the world of boundaries can be a slippery slop of disappointment.  Many in my life have failed in my expectations. From childhood traumas to adulthood sin, the expectations of others has dug a pit in my life.  But NO MORE!

Philippians 1:6

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

God is still working on me! It will be a never ending process until the day I die. But what I have learned through my boundary setting process is that I’m the only one in  control of how I move through life.  I am the only one in control of how I love people.  I am the only one in control of whether I allow the Spirit to guide me or others.  I have also learned that regardless of the childhood traumas or the adulthood sins, I can not let the failed expectations of others keep me in a pit of hell.  They are in control of them not me.  I became free when I removed my expectations of others.

This journey that God has had me on, has been rocky.  My hope has been hanging on by a thread at times, my courage has been weak and my expectations of what God could do through me has been shallow.  He has taught me much.  Without hope, I have no need for courage and without courage, I will never take the steps needed to fulfill my expectations of what God can do through me.  Change is a necessary evil.  It’s not easy, in fact it’s painful, but it’s needed.

There are a couple areas in my life that have been life long struggles (Romans 7:15-16 ) I share with you a testimony of great expectations in my life.  Now the Hope that I know is truth and the Courage that I know He gives me comes with the Expectation that He can also change me.  I am grateful for those God has placed in my life who hold me up, encourage me and walk my days.

I know Lord that you have great plans for me.  I know that you fully understand my weakness and you will give me the strength needed to conquer them. I pray Lord that I will allow the Holy Spirit to guide me.  Amen!

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I have already Attained

Philippians 3 (Full Chapter)

v16 : Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

All my life I  have never felt like I measured up.  I’m not exactly sure why that is.  Until a few years back when I realized that I will not ever measure up and that’s okay.  At least not on my own!

I stopped looking to others for my worth. I stopped measuring myself by the yard stick I measured others by.  Truthfully, if everyone was honest, my measurement of them was most likely greater than their measurement of themselves.

I will never arrive but I continue to move forward to Christ.  He measures me great and worthy.  He measures me with overflowing love and grace.  He measures me with hope in eternity.

I will mess up again and again but He will forgive again and again.

He gives me all I need and makes me all I am.

Lord, I thank you for loving me.  I thank you for helping me see truth.  I thank you for forgiving me when I stumble.  I ask you to help me be brave.  I want to speak your truth to those who waver.  I pray that you will protect those I love and walk with them closely.  Amen!

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Loves Truimphs over Death

Love triumphs over death!  As I sit here and tears roll down my cheeks this phrase makes me glad.

Romans 3:23

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

I found out last night that a family and a dear sister in Christ is mourning the loss of an adult child.  Even though that child had grown, left the home and had many struggles, the love that my dear friend had for him had not wavered.  Sadly some of our sins have higher consequences than others, but we all sin. And that lead me to the reminder that even as much love as that family and that mother had for her child/son/brother, God’s love for him was so much greater. Then that lead me straight to my sin and the wonderment of His love for me.

Ephesians 2:4-5

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

Thankfully and with much prayer this son knew the Lord.  And even though his sin eventually cost him his life, God is rich in mercy and His love was great.  This son now suffers no more and is alive with Christ by grace.

1 John 4:9-11

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

So we are to love.

1 John 4:19

We love because he first loved us.

Because He first loved us.

Sadly some of our sins have greater consequences than others, but we all sin and we all can rejoice because Love, God’s love, triumphs over Death.

Lord, I ask you to be with my friend and their family.  Give them a peace over this lose knowing that their child/son/brother suffers no more.  I pray Lord that this be a reminder to us, to love.  I pray Lord that this also remind us that sin has consequences.  Help us Lord overcome our sin and triumph over death in Your arms. Amen!

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Will Not be Hidden

Psalm 50

The Mighty One, God, the Lord,

    speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
From Zion, perfect in beauty,
    God shines forth.
Our God comes
    and will not be silent;
a fire devours before him,
    and around him a tempest rages.

His majesty will not be hidden! Don’t be fooled into believing that we are on this earth to do as we desire and that the end will not draw near or will not be judged.  It has been said, “He giveith and he can takeith away”.  Our God is a mighty and loving God, he is gentle and compassionate but also angers.  Seek Him and walk in His leading!

Lord I am in awe of Your love for me.  I am grateful for Your grace.  Help me Lord walk on Your path of the straight and narrow.  Help me fight off the temptations of Satan.  Keep me safe from my own destruction.  Be with those of my family and the world that need You in their lives but do not know.  Amen!

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Priorities and Sacrifice

Luke 12:34

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

When we are a child, our brain rules our motives.  As we age hopefully our heart will become part of our decision making process.  As it says in Luke, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  If I find my treasure in material things then I’m going to put money ahead of all things.  My priorities will be numbered with #1 being determined by how much I will make or what will that get me.  The sacrifices I make will most likely be those of relationships, memories and love.

As I have aged, I realize what is a priority to me.  I am abundantly aware of the sacrifices I have to make.  I treasure relationships.  The treasures in my life are people I love.  That is where my heart is, those are who I sacrifice for.

Romans 5:8

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I am a sinner!  No doubt about that.  I strive each day to do better.  Yet, God showed his love for me, yes me, a sinner.  Sacrificing his son, Christ, and allowing Him to die on the cross for me.

Now, since my treasure is relationships, my family, my husband, my children and grand children have my heart.  To sacrifice them would be painful.  I will sacrifice for them but I would find it hard to sacrifice them, but God did that for me.  So, to make Christ a priority in my life will take sacrifice from me.  Sacrifice that I’m willing and eager to give.  My time, my money and my pride.

Philippians 2:4

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Priorities and sacrifice usually do not go together.  Our priorities stem from our own interests.  What do I enjoy, what do I want, how will that make me feel and the list continues.  Sacrifice usually stems from the needs of others.  What do they enjoy, what do they want, how will that make them feel and the list continues.

So could it read… Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Making your priority Christ, sacrificing for others and allowing love to be your treasure.

I list my priorities, with the top 2 being Christ and family.  I love them beyond and they are my treasure and my heart is filled.  To sacrifice for them is to put Christ above myself and put their interest before my own.

Lord, I praise You and thank You for in every way filling my life.  Forgiving me when I fail and walking with me when I get back up.  I thank You for being faithful to me while I learn to be faithful to you.  I ask You Lord to speak firmly to me as I list out my priorities and make it clear the sacrifices I must make.  Amen!

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Shame

I have lived with my fair share of SHAME!

Psalm 34:4-5

I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

Like the circle of SHAME in the picture with me, the little dot in the middle, shame can engulf you and keep you captive.  It can cause you to make bad decisions, push people away for fear they will learn of your shame, create guilt which will lead to more shame.  This was me.  Me for many years.  I put on a good front, plastered a smile on my face and dressed the outside up real good but the inside was overtaken.

But also like the picture there are paths to escape from the shame.  To not allow it to surround you.   It’s called courage.  But you might say, “I have no courage”, “I am not strong enough”, and my response would be, “No you’re not but your Jesus is”.

Psalms says, “I sought the Lord, he answered me, delivered me and he made me radiant and my face will not be ashamed”.  I was not courageous, I was not strong but with Him I am now unashamed.

Do not let shame engulf you, seek the Lord Jesus, surround yourself with others who will lift you up in prayers, who will support you when your weak and walk side by side with you through it.  Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to walk that path with and He will also place just the right people in your view to help you.

I was reading a book by Brene’ Brown called “The Gifts of Imperfections” and it has some really good tips.

Shame resilience equals Courage:

  • Name it
  • Talk about it
  • Tell your story

How to recognize your shame:

  • Who do you become when you feel shame
  • How do you protect yourself
  • Who do you call to work through it
  • What’s the most courageous thing you can do for yourself

Factors of a Resilient Person:

  • Resourceful
  • More likely to seek help
  • Believe that they can do something to help them manage their feelings
  • Know that Social support is available
  • Will connect with others

Pushing through & Digging Deep

  • Deliberate in thoughts & behaviors through prayer and meditation
  • Inspired to make new & different choices
  • Get going – take action

And this one last thought……….

Only when we know our own darkness well, can we be present in the darkness of others. We realize compassion when we share humanity.

So I say to you and to me, don’t let Satan’s lies keep you hidden away in Shame. It’s time to Break free!

Lord, I thank you for journeying with me through my life.  I thank you for stretching me beyond what I believed I could be stretched.  I ask you to continue to help me walk my path and I pray that I will continue to seek you always.  Amen!

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BRAVE IN 2018

My word for this year is BRAVE.  I have had many opportunities over the last couple years to act in ways of bravery.  But I definitely haven’t mastered it.  I definitely didn’t always achieve the exact ending to the story that I desired.  Some of the reasons for that may have been because of the other people involved but there is a good chance that my need for understanding what bravery is and who to call on, outside of myself, needs to be strengthened.

Psalm 27:14 

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.”
Notice anything?   Wait for the Lord and the Lord is with Him. Two very distinct statements.  I may think I’m being brave but am I waiting on the Lord’s leading for the perfect timing to speak up or act in my bravery? Am I asking Him to be with me?
I recently read the book “Braving the Wilderness” by Brene’ Brown and found it to be an excellent guide .   Things to look for as I’m waiting on the Lord and asking for his leading.
When facing the wilderness, this could be a situation or a particular person, we need to watch out for these things.
1. What’s okay in a discussion and what’s not.  What do you do when you find yourself in that situation?
2. When cultivating relationships look for reliability, because if you don’t have reliability your simply knee deep in BS.
3. Can you hold the other person/people accountable for less BS and more honesty?
4. Is confidentiality honored
5. Regardless of what we face, do we hold true to our integrity?  Choosing what conversations are productive or not.
6. Stay away from judging.  Ourselves or others.  Being willing to listen and not jumping onto the winner/looser mode.
7. What’s the most generous assumption about the other person/people around us.  And what boundaries need to be in place to be more kind and tolerant.
So I choose Brave.  God is with me always.  Jesus died for my sin and laid a pathway as a guide.  And I am given the Holy Spirit to walk with me daily, if I listen He will lead me.
I encourage you to be brave in your walk.  I encourage you to draw closer to our Lord and let Him mark out your path.  And I pray that we both will wait for Him to give us the words and actions needed to be BRAVE.
Lord, I trust in Your guidance.  I pray that I will wait and listen closely for your voice and the touch of your hand leading me.  Amen!
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Braving

Matthew 4:1-25

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple …

Braving the Wilderness……………… I don’t know about the wilderness geographically but I’ve definitely wondered through my own personal wildernesses.  Never like Jesus was in Matthew, never have I been led to a wilderness, alone and hungry for 40 days and 40 nights.   My own have been varied, varied in length and varied in circumstance but all were filled with temptation brought to me by the tempter himself.  Some of those temptations did not win over my soul but others did.  And the Spirit continues to help me with braving the wilderness.

I was reading/audio the book by Brene’ Brown called “Braving”.  I found the acronym she uses for Braving has a very applicable process.

B – Boundaries – Have respect, expect respect, say no, be willing to ask

R – Reliability – Do what you say you will do

A – Accountability – Accept responsibility for self and make yourself open to others

V – Vault – Confidentiality, be a safe place, don’t share things that are not yours to share

I – Integrity –  Practice values, stand for courage over comfort

N – Non-judgmental – I can ask. You can ask. Talk it through.

G – Generosity – extend understanding

These words will help us weather any wilderness that we find ourselves in.  Make it personal.  We can not expect this behavior from others if we don’t practice ourselves. To have Trust we must be Braving.

Does the acronym Braving encourage application that is clearly spelled out in the bible?

Yes!

Galatians 6:5

For each will have to bear his own load.

Luke 16:10-12

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?

Galatians 6:1-5

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.

Romans 14:12

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Proverbs 11:13

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

Proverbs 20:7

The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him!

Proverbs 12:22

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Matthew 7:1-5

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

2 Corinthians 9:6

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

 

Braving the Wilderness can be hard.  I pray that this will help you walk braver.  Listen to the Spirit and follow the words of the Lord.

Help me Lord was each day braver.  Amen!

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