Category Archives: God

The desires of your heart: Do you really know what they are?

In the book of Psalms it states that if you ‘delight yourself in the LORD, He will give you the desires of your heart’.  For a long time I asked God to introduce me to my husband so we could get started on the family I’ve had tucked away in my mind for at least the past ten years!   Recently, in one of my discussions with God a thought popped in my head that although I had requested my God given husband many times, this had not truly been my heart’s desire.  I didn’t quite understand this immediately but as I continued to marinate on the thought it became clearer as to why what I thought was my heart’s desire to usher in love was actually quite the opposite.  When in relationship, my thoughts and actions did not align with someone seeking to give and receive love from a man.  They were the actions (many times) of someone bitter and highly suspicious of anyone of the male persuasion.  If introduced to a guy one of the first things I would wonder was what was wrong with him or immediately pick apart things I didn’t seem to like about him in an effort to keep myself from wanting to get close.

I can honestly say that I’ve had men in my life that truly loved me (as best they could) and for a long time I focused on the negative effects of the one mentally and physically damaging relationship I had many years prior instead of recognizing what was before me.  They had offered me love and I did not truly accept what they offered.  As a result, the relationships were dead before they began, buried under a mound of past hurts, insecurities, frustrations and fears.  Of course there were other issues at play, but I know this was my biggest part in the demise of our relationships.  I could see love, always just over the horizon and thought I was eagerly paddling towards it but since I refused to do the soul work of breaking through the waves of the past love always seemed to remain at bay. 

I had based my theory of love on the relationships I knew about which mainly consisted of womanizers, women that seemed to have perpetually broken hearts and first hand experiences of dealing with men that were not mentally mature enough for a relationship.  I accepted these ideals, ingrained them into my mental perception of what ‘all’ men were and lived them out through my speech and interactions with men.  Men were dangerous, they would cheat on you and never stick around.  Throughout my life I began to accumulate the burdens of distrust, insecurities, over-analyzation, fear and judgement some through my own experiences and many through observation and they continued to grow larger and heavier.  So when love did present itself I acted from a place  of a woman laden with baggage instead of one free to love.  The bright  side is that eventually, I became a woman eager to lighten her load!

When I take stock of my actions in relationships and in relation to men in general I can see that my heart’s desire was not for love.  The desires of my heart were for the perpetuation of what I had known in the past and so that’s what I chose to live out.  I  didn’t trust men, spoke extremely negatively of them and always seemed to focus on the worst possible outcome, for example if I texted my boyfriend and he didn’t text me back within a certain amount of time my mind automatically flooded with thoughts of him cheating (a bit cray, yes I know).  So in an effort to ensure that my heart and head are on the same track I’ve been taking the time to focus on the positive, to accept what is and truly grow in love (starting with myself).

If you are wondering if your heart’s desires are truly matching up with your thoughts I would recommend doing the following

  1. Do a soul check:  Regardless of what your heart’s desire is, be it a job, a house, a baby or relationship, take some time to sit and think about how you truly feel concerning these things. Ask yourself if this really is what you want in your future?  Do you want it because you’re on societies time table and think you should have them by now or  are you receiving pressure from a source outside of yourself to push for these goals?  Make the all too common pro/con list.  If it turns out that these are things you really do want ask yourself if you are profiting in some way by not having them or is there a false fear that comes along with having what you truly think you want.  For instance if you  want a new job but are afraid of leaving the security of the job you currently have or maybe possess anxieties around job interviews or change in general.  In my case, I am working through a tremendous fear of someone else attempting to control me, giving up freedoms I have grown accustomed to and being cheated on.
  2. Flip the technique:  Once you know some of the mindsets holding you back, begin to counteract these by speaking life into your situation.  In other words turn the negative thoughts into a positive one.  For instance with a job, there is the possibility (and hope) that you will be much happier in your new position and or have increased job security.  In my case one of the things I try to focus on is trusting men and always acknowledging the security and contentment that will come along with my desired relationship.  If you tend to focus on the negative always remember to envision the flip side of the outcome.  Condition your mind to focus on the positive shifts whenever a negative fear based thought attempts to thwart your progress.
  3. Take action:  Take some action consistently towards your desire, set a goal of daily, weekly or monthly action steps or whatever will fit your schedule and work towards your desire.  It could be applying to a job a day, attending resume workshops or joining a toastmasters group to improve your public speaking and interview skills.  For me, taking action to better myself in relationships isn’t quite as concrete, but I chose to begin by loving me and consistently taking stock of my feelings and thoughts when in certain situations.  I have begun a daily meditation practice in addition to reading scriptures, prayer, affirmations, loads of videos and podcast but mostly taking the time to fully love and accept myself while expressing love to the people God places in my life.

Sometimes our heads and hearts won’t agree and that’s life.  But if we are the only one’s holding ourselves back from our goals we can always get them on one accord!  Here’s to your dreams!

Let me know what other things work for you in the comments!

God Bless,

Court ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

A lifetime of Thanksgiving…

This year has been especially difficult for me, in fact one of the hardest that I’ve had to live through thus far.  I have, of course had friends and family to speak to, dole out an endless supply of hugs, spend time with or confide in when needed but I continued to feel quite isolated and alone in it all many times.  The realization that ultimately that thing, event, life circumstance is all yours to deal with can be crushing as you wonder how you will survive the aftermath.  It’s tough and no matter how many times someone says they feel your pain, they don’t, because it’s your pain.  No one else can cry your tears and in the end you are going to have deal with your internal struggles yourself.

This lesson I learned as my life pretty much crashed around me with a series of unfortunate events and diagnoses because I was (and still am) trying to make sense of it all.  It was so bad that I had no desire to do life any longer, I didn’t want to talk to people, write or go to work or class, I honestly just wanted to stay in bed and let life pass me by.   But I knew I couldn’t and life pushed forward so with a sometimes forced happy face I had to as well.

James tells us that when we encounter events that test our resolve and tribulations that torment us to count it all joy, but how? (James 1)  How are you grateful for the loss of a loved one, a diagnosis of cancer or the abandonment of divorce?  How are you grateful for that perverbial empty hole you have over a great loss or a transformational life shift? I have to apologize in advance because I don’t have all of the answers, but I can tell you what helped me get through some tough times this year and in the end give thanks for the realizations that came with them.

When you feel abandoned know that you are never alone: There were people that I thought I could beyond a shadow of a doubt depend on when the chips were down and although most proved to be dependable some showed me who they were & where they decided to stand in my life.  I found the sting of resentment rising up in my spirit against the latter, but I had to understand that everyone doesn’t have the capacity to love (I mean truly love) or to exhibit that love in a manner that’s recognizable to you.  And this doesn’t make them bad people, it just makes them unenlightened people.  Either way God will always be in our corner, so some nights when I cried into my pillow I would turn my tears into prayers.  Times when I was loneliest I decided to turn to God and read from His word, it really did make me feel better.  Thank God for people who you can call true friends but ultimately for God and the fact that He never leaves your side!

Don’t perpetuate more grief by focusing on what’s wrong:  There were times when I felt so down that my self talk was truly coming from a negative place because it was as if the bad news came back to back. I truly felt under attack, and it can be quite difficult to pull yourself out of the spiraling world of negativity, but even in the midst I would have to remind myself to focus on the positive aspects of a situation.  Someone in my family was diagnosed with cancer, but they are still here and we could love on them even more than before, so for that I’m grateful.  Life is but a vapor and sometimes the sting of the reality of death seems to wake people up to the fact that we aren’t here forever.  Thank God for the knowledge and wisdom to live in the moment and appreciate the good things in life and the people in our lives while we have the time to do so.

Focusing on others takes the pain away:  even if just for a moment.  While going through some things in my life I was a bridesmaid in a wedding I noticed that although we would spend some time focused on my circumstances, I was much happier to talk to her about the wedding or help her with planning.  It made me feel good to forget for a moment that my life wasn’t all fairy tales and sugarplums.  Getting your mind off of you and being less selfish will help you in dealing with your issues. Of course we will have times where wallowing can’t be helped as we are human but being less self-centered and caring for others is a great way to start to shift your mindset. Thank God for recognizing that selfishness only leads to increased loneliness and for opportunities to be a light in someone else’s world if only for a moment.

You will emerge from the fire:  knowing that there is another side to the anguish you feel is priority.  Most likely you will emerge stronger that before, I truly believe the adage that whatever doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger. Even if we feel as though we have nothing to be thankful for presently, we can praise Him in advance for blessings to come! Thank God for challenges in life that grow us up and make us stronger and more like him.

Be careful what you ask for: I remember saying a prayer just before I received some of the bad news for God to increase my faith because I wanted a faith like Sarahs, like David’s and Abraham.  I told God that whatever had to be done to do so and not long after the punches started to roll in.  Now, am I saying that it’s a result of that prayer, I don’t know.  But I do know that we receive test from God and we receive trials from satan, either way our response is the same and that’s to pray and pray some more while keeping focused on the optimal outcome and pushing towards Yahweh.   But with anything in life, be it kids, a degree or an increased faith walk, make sure you’re prepared to work for it and navigate your way through the test as best you can. Thank God for answered prayers and the strength, fortitude and ability to pass the test that sometimes come along with them.

God bless and Happy Thanksgiving (let’s eat)! ‚ėļÔłŹūüéČ

We all fall

I can definitely say that within the past couple of weeks I have failed in some areas that in my mind were under control¬†but somehow, when tested,¬†I found myself back at square one going through the motions of dealing with the discouragement of failure.¬† I don’t know what it is for you, not keeping a consistent schedule for reading the bible, breaking a diet, drug usage, falling back into sexual sin, or blowing your budget,¬†it can be devastating to make progress but continually backtrack, especially if it’s something you’ve dealt with for years.¬† Sometimes you may want to give up completely, especially if you feel like you’ve let God or people¬†in your life down. ¬†I’ve been there A LOT, but please¬†don’t give up, continue to strive for excellence and keep pushing forward. This quote puts it perfectly, ‘failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker, failure is delay, not defeat, it is a temporary detour, not a dead end.¬†¬†To be¬†totally honest, I wrote this particular blog¬†out of the failures I’ve encountered within the past couple of weeks,¬† it helps me to move forward and I hope it will be helpful¬†on your journey to success as well.

  1. Remember that God loves you and will forgive you:¬† We serve an awesome God, who truly loves and wants a relationship with us.¬† Although sin can separate us from Him and we are definitely outside of His will when in sin, we are able to repent (read about true repentance here) and seek His forgiveness, which He has promised to extend as we extend¬† that same forgiveness to others. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you‚ÄĚ (Matthew 6:14).
  2. Forgive yourself:¬†I notice that¬†Many times after I make a mistake or fail at something important, like blowing my budget when I have a gazillion bills to pay or falling into sexual sin with my boyfriend I am the only one beating myself up about it for days or weeks at a time.¬† I can be extremely hard on myself and at times this crosses over to other people I’m in relationship with as I can force my expectations of perfection onto them.¬† But by reliving the moment I’m keeping it alive and allowing past occurrences to play a major part in¬†my present.¬† Worrying, calling myself names, dwelling on the false sense of being a failure all contributes to a feeling of being stuck and of pain.¬†¬†¬†Whereas if¬†I focus on forgiving myself and¬†recognize my¬†humanity while taking full responsibility for¬†my mistake¬†while learning from the lesson¬†it brings a sense of strength and true compassion for one of the most important people in¬†my world, me!
  3. Recognize that everyone fails at some point in their lives:¬† Scripture tells us that we ALL fall short (Romans 3:32). but through His grace and by our faith we are saved!¬† I am so happy that I have a God that truly loves me and understands that I will fail, but gives me the strength¬†and provision¬†to get up again and continue on my journey with Him.¬† Although perfection is the goal it is a continuous effort that I’m not sure¬†I will reach in this lifetimes.¬† Failures will happen, but it’s how you recover that matters the most.
  4. Right your wrongs (if you can):¬† If you’re able to return the dress you bought that blew your budget do so or if you failed at¬†practicing patience with¬†your kids or¬†speaking kindly to¬†your¬†husband when frustrated then¬†truly apologize and make an effort to search out strategies that will help prevent future occurrences.¬† Although, you can’t actually go back in time you can rectify or try to make amends for some mistakes.¬† As long as sorry doesn’t continually cross your lips for the same infraction and it’s genuine those that love you will most likely find it in their hearts to forgive and let it go.
  5. Focus on the future not your failures:  In Philippians 3, Paul tells us not to focus on things in the past but to push forward towards what Christ has for us.  This may be more difficult for some, as we have to get in a habit of controlling our thoughts and not allow them to control us.  It is an art, which honestly I have yet to conquer myself but will as I grow and practice. There are many great resources online and books on the topic, but to start off try this: when a thought comes into your head that drags you back to that failure focus on the lessons learned and not the negatives, think about something else or a positive that came out of it.  The bible tells us to think on positive things and replaying a mistake is doing just the opposite of what God told us to do.
  6. Get your game plan together:¬† Life is kind of like a game, full of obstacles, set backs, wins and successes but¬†the best players always have a plan!¬† While our plans may not always work out as we’d like, I truly believe that a failure to plan is a plan to fail.¬† In His word, God tells us that He will always give us a way out of temptation and that we have the power to resist temptation and flee the devil.¬† We have power, we just have to use it.¬† If you find yourself constantly falling into the same trap or¬†giving into the same sin make a plan to help prevent even taking that route in the future.

I hope these pointers help, what are some things you do to prevent wallowing in failures, please share below!
God Bless,
Court ūüôā

The fear of relinquishing control

Hannah is absolutely one of my favorite women in the bible but throughout her life she was mocked by Peninnah because of her barren state.  Due to the constant torment and reminder of having a closed womb Hannah becomes so depressed that she refuses to eat even though her husband is offering her double portions of food.  We find her pouring her heart out to God so much that Eli, the high priest, thought she was drunk.  She tells God that she would give the child up to Him if she could have children.  In return, God opened her womb and when she finally had a child she offers Samuel, the boy she prayed, to Eli the high priest, she rejoices and gives praises unto the Lord.    God had answered her prayers with her one dream of having a child, Hannah  in return gave her dreams over to God to work for His kingdom.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been told to always be careful what you pray for, because God just might give it to you.¬† Although I want to hand over control of my life to¬†God it can be extremely difficult.¬† Honestly, I’m afraid of what I would have to give up even though I know in the end God will bless me and ultimately I’ll be happy with His decision.¬† This afternoon, I prayed for God to change my heart and give me the courage to hand everything over to Him.¬† As a self-proclaimed task checker, list maker and control freak this was no easy feat!

Hannah showed such bravery in making the vow with God.¬† The very child that she was so depressed about not having to the point of starvation, she vowed to give right back to¬†God if¬†He opened her womb.¬† Although James tells us it is better to not make vows, but just let our yes¬†be yes and no be no but in both Ecclesiastes and Deuteronomy it tells us that if we make a vow we should honor it swiftly and Numbers let’s us know that we should always honor it.¬† Basically be men and women of our words and Hannah was just that as Samuel spent the majority of his life dedicated to serving God.

Do you think you could ever dedicate your dreams and desires totally to God?  What is something that you need to hand over to God at this moment?  Are there things in your life that you have made idols of and need to ask God to take away?  Is there something you want desperately that you focus on it constantly instead of focusing on God and His desire for you life?  Share below!

Beyond Winter

winterFor many of us spiritual winter is a time of brutal coldness, boredom or lonliness. ¬†Generally, as a population that thrives on the hustle and bustle of summer life seasons, it can be difficult to appreciate the stillness of winter because since there is always something to do our minds are kept occupied. ¬†In contrast, during winter seasons we can’t think of anything else except the feeling of being stuck and frozen in the bitter coldness. ¬†We can eagerly long for warmer days in opposition to recognizing the usefulness of winter. ¬†I am guilty of it, I literally can’t stand winter and going through a life season of it is so painful¬†that my gut reaction is to immediately¬†want out! ¬†Because who wants to live with pain right?¬† But in the book of James he clearly tells us that we should count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations.¬† In my case I have in the past done the opposite and tried to find happiness in through escaping on a vacation¬†or preoccupying my¬†time with frivolous activities or tv shows so I don’t have to think about the issues of life, basically anything to not deal with the frigidness winter.¬†¬†From time to time I¬†can¬†also have spiritual tantrums where I am very angry with God instead of thanking Him for the time of spiritual growth and education while in this stage of life.

As I look back on these times in my life wether it’s being jobless, single or just going through a heartbreaking time I can recognize the necessity of embracing the stillness of winter. ¬†While this wasn’t easily done in the midst of it, I can clearly see the needed time of rest and self reflection. ¬†I also often find myself depending on God the most for answers & companionship in these times.¬†¬†It’s important to try and look beyond now, towards a seasonal shift while patiently waiting, growing and preparing for a time of bloom.

My advice to you, while difficult I know, is to practice knowing that this is a season bound to change and be grateful for it.  You will work again, love again and feel so much joy that laughter is uncontrollable.  Believe this with your heart and know it in your spirit because that is where the only meaningful truth lives.

Be blessed & live purposeFULLy

Court

When we grow weary…

Do you ever feel as if you want to give up dong the right thing?¬†¬†When you¬†get tired of putting others first, don’t have the desire to control your tongue, or grow weary of praying and seeming to get no answers.¬† If you do then I can totally relate,¬†one thing that I struggle with from time to time is patiently waiting for God to reveal or send my significant¬†other my way.¬† Although I realize the purpose in waiting and growing while I do, it can become extremely¬†discouraging to want something and not be sure when or if it’s coming.¬† Recently I grew very frustrated with the waiting process and was close to just giving up and accepting a date from a guy I had no real interest in.¬† Now, I know¬†some people will say that it’s just a date and not that big of a¬†deal.¬† But¬†months ago I told God that I didn’t desire to go out with anyone that¬†I¬†had no future with¬†(you can read about that here).¬† This¬†man¬†was someone I knew from the past and¬†I know I would have gone out with¬†just so that I didn’t have to deal with momentary¬†loneliness and boredom.¬†¬† I truly¬†desire to stand by the fact that I am waiting with¬†the¬†goal of growing closer to God and into a godly woman.¬† So, instead of going out,¬†I called my cousin who helped talk me off the ledge, but what¬†truly kept me from taking the leap¬†was when I typed into my internet browser ‘tired of doing good’ and the first result was Galatians 6:9 -Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (NIV).

If my computer had hands this verse would have been a big¬†slap, because something struck me and I knew that I wasn’t fully¬†appreciating the moment,¬†but¬†attempting to escape what I had deemed boredom instead of embracing it as a time to grow closer to God.¬† This verse is what truly pulled me through¬†and kept me from giving in.¬†¬†¬†Sometimes I feel like the father in Mark 9:24, where he exclaimed to Jesus, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”¬† Because if I truly believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt that my husband was coming would I continue¬† to have these moments¬† of frustration?¬† If we believed God when He said that whatever we asked for in His name He would do, would we stress about that job, our kids or whatever else is causing us mental anguish at the time.¬† Believing in God or knowing that He will do all He has promised and many times much more, even though we don’t see it on the horizon or have no idea how He will bring it about, is¬†how faith¬†works.¬† ¬†He is pleased by our faith, he is¬†delighted when we truly believe with our hearts in Him,¬†so in moments when we grow weary of the process, the question becomes where is your faith?¬†¬†¬†I¬†must truly believe without a doubt that God will not allow my waiting to be in vain.¬† I have to ask Him to¬†grow my faith so that when test come (even minor one’s¬† like I faced) I can see¬†them for what they are and know that my days of doing what is right¬†are not in vain and I will ultimately be rewarded for my diligence and obedience.¬† We can’t be afraid to take action by being still and patiently waiting for God’s best while doing the work to become His best.¬† We are¬†sometimes so afraid that because our right now is stagnant or we don’t seem to be reaping the rewards of doing the right thing or¬†life isn’t going the way we want that we will never get the chance to finally fly and have that dream career, publish that book, buy that house or have a wonderful marriage.¬† Many times we think this because¬†we see everyone around us¬†seem to take off or we are just tired¬†of waiting for our turn to leap,¬†but I’m praying that¬†you have the resilience to keep doing what you know to be right.¬† I pray that you have the faith in God¬†to¬†believe that one day, when the timing is perfect, you will certainly soar.

God Bless,

Court ūüôā

The sacred morning

There is something sacred about mornings. As the blanket of night gradually concedes to the¬†brilliance of a new day.¬† Somewhere between the tug of sleep and the steady nudge of morning, I find my sweet spot.¬† The sun covers my body¬†in a warm blanket of light and the sounds of nature¬†beckon to me a¬†fresh start.¬† I cherish¬†mornings like this when I’m not awakened by the sound of an alarm clock, or a blaring television. When I’m not feeling rushed, nervous or anxious about the day ahead, but can awaken with ease and in my bodies own timing.¬† I find much reward when I am able to give these gratifying mornings purpose by spending time with God.

But honestly, most of my mornings are no where near this gentle or serene, in fact I¬†wouldn’t consider myself an early morning person at all.¬† So when I have to get up early¬†my usual mornings¬†consist of waking up to the harsh sound of an alarm clock which I have set to go off four or five times, rushing around groggy with sleep still in my eyes as I get ready for work (usually running late), walk my dogs, make my¬†breakfast etc etc.¬†¬†There usually is no time¬†for God, or at least I don’t¬†make time for¬†Him.¬† It’s easy on the weekend’s when I’m alone in bed to pick up the bible first thing and read but mornings like this it usually doesn’t even cross my mind.

Proverbs 8:17 states, …and those that seek me early shall find me.¬† In some scriptures, early, is¬†replaced with diligently, but either way our goal is to seek Him at a time when we are free of distractions and able to focus completely.¬† In the bible we see that Jesus, got up before the sun rose to pray so that there would be no interruptions or disturbances.¬† And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.¬† (Mark 1:35) This week I’m¬†taking a note from Jesus and will do my best to wake up early and pray.¬† Who knows maybe it will stick, if you want to join me comment below and we can help keep each other on task!

Below are some biblical quotes about the morning…

  • Psalm 5:3 In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
  • Psalm 143:8 (ES) – Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.¬† Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
  • Psalm 5:3¬† (ESV) – O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.
  • Psalm 30:5¬† (ESV) – For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
  • I also ran across this cool fact about essential oils¬†such as¬†rose and lavender which are best harvested¬†in early¬†morning because the yield is the greatest during this time.¬† The amount of oil diminishes throughout the day, much like our energy in some cases.

Be blessed, and here’s to a purposeFULL life!

Court

Silent Praise: Does God hear my silent prayers?

Growing up in the Catholic Church instilled a sense of quietude and stillness to my worship. So, when I decided, for numerous reasons, to seek spiritual fulfillment in other denominations it was quite eye opening to witness how others worshipped. Years ago while attending a nondenominational church the person leading worship told us to ‘open our mouths and shout to the Lord otherwise he wouldn’t hear our prayers’ (I’m paraphrasing slightly as I don’t remember his exact words). At that moment I allowed a simple ‘hallelujah’ tumble from my lips but I was confused, I’m talking Scooby Doo funny noises confused! I wondered if what he said was valid, did God not hear my silent prayers all these years? I was comfortable praying in silence, it’s what I did, I can even remember as a kid sending wrapped gifts to Jesus at Christmas for his birthday in my head, did Jesus really not get all my gifts?!

I sung in the choir my last couple of years in elementary school (and honestly I lip synced a lot, I was quiet, weird and honestly didn’t like the sound of my own voice, but that’s a-whole-nother story!!) but as far as praying from my heart aloud, the extent of my vocal contribution was limited. It mainly consisted of reciting the Lord’s Prayer, the Nicene creed and Hail Mary with other members of the congregation. All other communication that I had had with God was silent, between He and I, or so thought. Since that day in church, I’ve heard it said many times in various ways that you must open your mouth in praise to truly connect with God and over the years I have gotten more comfortable praying out loud, but continue to say silent prayers regularly. I recently decided to research how God hears our prayers and wanted to share some of the biblical information I found.

Throughout the bible we read about people praying out loud, even Jesus, but there are also some examples of silent answered prayers. One of my favorite people in the bible is Hannah because she had such faith as she yearned to have a child. Through the reading of her story I can almost feel her angst over the barrenness that plagued her, but she kept petitioning the Lord because she knew He was the only one that could truly help her. In 1 Samuel 1:12-13 it states that ‘she continued praying before The Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard.’ Hannah herself states that she had ‘poured out her soul before the Lord’. In another example in Genesis 24, we see that Abrahams servant ‘spoke in his heart’ prayers that were answered by God. In addition throughout the bible we are told that God searches our hearts and knows them, also in Psalm 94:11 it tells us that God knows the thoughts of man (although it goes on to say that they are futile) and in Job 42:2 we are told that no thought can be withheld from God. Although, I clearly see the importance and power of speaking verbally to God and singing praises to glorify His name these verses and stories are encouraging to anyone like me that sometimes can’t seem to get the words out and feels the need to sends up heart prayers. I also wanted to touch on some other ways you can pray or connect with God.

Writing down my prayers: I’ve always kept a journal since I was a child, although I’m not always consistent and may have missed a day (or a year) here and there I always find my way back to journaling. Many times I address my entries to God and am able to tell Him about my day, what troubles me or how thankful I am for the day.

Praying the scriptures: This is something that I’ve recently started doing is year. I have a notebook and write scriptures pertaining to certain situations, like loneliness or anger, and try to refer to them in times of need. I notice that praying them, whether silently or verbally, seems to help a great deal.

Love and parables: 12 Ways Jesus loved the church

shepherd

Most of us are aware of the fact that the bible teaches husbands to love their wives as Jesus loved the church, but I was really interested in delving into the deeper meaning.  Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us, he died so that we may have a closer relationship with God and bring us everlasting life.   So yes, husbands are supposed to die (both figuratively by dying to self daily and if need be literally) for their wives.  But there are other ways Jesus exhibited His love to people while here on earth below are a few ways I found throughout the bible.

1. Served: Jesus gave up everything to serve his sheep.  He performed miracles for them, healed the sick, literally gave life to the dead, washed feet and became the ultimate sacrifice so that we could have life through his death.

2. Cleaved:  Just as it states that a son will leave his mother and father and cleave to and become one with his wife we are the bride of Christ and we are to live in him and be one with him.  In the New Testament we see that he left the family he grew up with, his home town and went wherever he was needed for the church.

3. Pursued: Could you imagine if Jesus just sat idly by¬†and waited for people to come to him before telling them the good news?¬† That was not at all Jesus’ style, He had a purpose and knew what he was here to do and waiting around for someone to come knocking on his door wasn’t in the plans.¬†¬† He journeyed from land to land consistently spreading¬†the good news to¬†all that would listen.¬† In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells Simon and Peter¬†to¬†follow him, meaning they were to drop everything and go where he went. ¬†Once¬†it was¬†time to be about his¬†Fathers¬†work, his¬†ministry started he didn’t let look back and the pursuit started.

4. Taught: Jesus really did wash the church with the word.¬† He spoke in love and parables¬†with the main goal of bringing them closer to God.¬† He showed them how to pray, reveled things to them through God’s words and left a road map for life just for us to live by.

5. Spoke¬†with love: Even when Jesus was tired He wasn’t cruel or dismissive, he still took the time to explain things to His apostles and other members of his church.¬† He didn’t curse them out, spout of mean things and¬†was never abusive to them. ¬†There was no tit for tat played or retaliation planned. Can you even imagine if Jesus were the type to get even with people?!¬†¬†¬†We would all be in deep trouble!

6. Practiced patience: We see that Jesus had to teach the same things over and over, even using multiple parables to show the meaning of what He was trying to get across.  In Matthew 17:17 he asks how long must he stay with an unbelieving people, but even in exasperation he heals and patiently uses the opportunity as a teaching moment.

7. Prayed:  Even as he hung from the cross, Jesus prayed for the people who put him there.  There is no other way to put it than that is pure, undefiled, unconditional love!!!

8. Forgave: When everyone wanted to stone the woman who committed adultery Jesus was in the business of forgiving, he was quick to point out that none of us are without sin and that we shouldn’t condemn other’s because they sin differently.

9. Kept his word:  Although when Jesus was crucified the apostles and his followers were devastated to say the least and felt a little lost, he had told them that he would never leave them and that he was sending the Holy Spirit after he left earth.  He did just as he said he would.  Jesus was a man of his word, anything he promised we can rest assured that it will come to pass.

10.¬† Led by example:¬† Jesus didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk.¬† He showed the disciples how to pray and how to be godly men.¬† He was right there in the trenches leading the good fight.

11. Showed compassion: In Matthew 15:32 it states that Jesus had compassion for the people due to their hunger and in Luke 7 we see that he had compassion for a widow who wept over her only sons passing.¬† Jesus wasn’t an uncaring person who couldn’t empathize with others,¬†he was a gentle leader that came to¬†heal and enlighten¬†those he loved.¬† He had feelings and showed it through his compassionate acts.

12. Put God first: Jesus knew when He needed quiet time away and to spend with His father solitarily and made it a point to retreat.  If he knew there were a bunch of people around he would wake up early to speak to God and avoid the crowds, although these were the people he was sent here to save he recognized the importance of keeping God first.  In Luke 5:16, it states that Jesus would withdraw often to be alone with God and pray.  He deliberately took time to connect with God and to seek His will and guidance so that ultimately, he could do what was righteous for the people he led.

Can you think of some other ways?  List them below

God bless, shine on¬†and here’s to a purposeFULL life!

Court

Good Fruit: The Evidence

Woman eating orange

How do we know that we are producing fruit in our lives?  We are changed, sometimes others may notice the difference in you before you do!  The bible tells us how we can we tell that what we are doing is producing good fruit in our lives.

  • A change in our actions: Galatians 5 tells us that the¬†fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.¬† In contrast, the acts of the flesh are: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20¬†idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21¬†and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. We are told that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Decreased craving of fleshly desires: Although we all sin and fall short, if we are¬†walking in the spirit ¬†we will not consistently crave things of the flesh.¬† So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17¬†For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18¬†But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.¬†¬†
  • Desiring God’s will and righteousness: Your desire will be to please God¬†and to bring forth fruit unto God and not unto death (Romans 7:4-5):¬† In Ephesians 5:9 we find that the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness and truth.¬†¬†As followers of God, we¬†strive to seek first His kingdom, righteousness and will.¬† We recognize the fact that we are filled with the fruit of righteousness, that came to us by Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. (Philippians 1:11)¬† *Righteousness in Greek is dikaiosun√©: which means divine approval or God’s judicial approval.¬† Also see, James 3:17.
  • Answered prayers:¬† John 15:16 states that ‘ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained yo, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.¬† If we look back at John 15:7 it tells us that if we abide in Him and His words abide in us, we can ask what we will and it shall be done unto you.¬† If we are abiding in God, keeping the commandments and his word within us, what we ask should be aligned with His will in our lives.¬† Take a look at the stories of Hannah and Solomon, they asked with pure intentions and received because their will was God’s will.¬† In James 4:3 tells us that it is possible to ask amiss.

Share your thoughts below & be blessed:)
Court

*biblehub

Part One: Good Fruit

Part Two: How do I produce Good Fruit?