Tag Archives: God

3 things that happen when you become a Jesus Freak…

I can remember when I first truly started on my path of what it looks like to live for God.  I begun carrying my bible everywhere, talking about God A LOT in general conversations and studying as much as I could.

Once, while talking to a friend about God and my new journey, she abruptly interrupted me and told me that, it was nice, ‘but just don’t become one of those Jesus Freaks’!  At the time I was slightly taken a back because unfortunately, I had grown into a woman that thoroughly enjoyed people pleasing and shied away from rocking any boats.  And if I were to look like a Jesus Freak that would be akin to capsizing the entire ship!  Besides, who wanted to be seen as an odd ball?  So, unless I encountered someone that had a passion for God, I stopped talking about Him as much with others in fact I usually didn’t even bring up my beliefs.

Fast forward to today when recently, for whatever reason I noticed that I have become increasingly bold in my expression for Jesus and my walk.  I think that unabashadness comes with age, maturity and growing in relationship with Him.  In His word we are called to speak of him boldly and without fear.  In fact in Revelations cowards are grouped in with murderers, idolators and sexually immoral people who will be thrown into hell.  Now, this girl loves hot weather, but spending an eternity swimming in a fiery lake of burning sulfur is in no way appealing to me.

In today’s society, it seems okay to be obsessed with fashion, fitness, and entertainers, but if you bring up God or Jesus too much you’re labeled a freak.  Fortunately for growth, I have learned to embrace the fact that I don’t look like the world and am resembling it less and less everyday!  There are life shifts and events that have occurred as I walk out this journey and these are three major ones that you may notice as well!

1. Success Shift: When we begin to dig into what God wants our lives to look like our entire view of successful living shifts.  Success becomes increasingly God focused and less goal focused.  God tells us that His followers are not to look like the world because friendship with the world is enmity with Him (James 4:4).  Nor are we to be conformed to (Romans 12:2) or love the world and if we do, the love of the Father is not in us and 1 John 5:19 tells us why!   If we are consistently consuming God’s word instead of things of this world (television, radio etc) we can begin to acquire a taste for the things God desires of our lives and less of what this world dangles in our faces as the carrot of success.  We have the desire to stop running the rat race and run towards the things of our Father, to stop living for the lies of ‘success’ in this world and the success of eternal life with God.

2. Loneliness:  As we grow closer to God we may find ourselves alone and slowly cut off from relationships that do not serve the purposes God has set forth for our lives.  Although it can be a lonely space, it is a great one!  As you begin to realize a couple of things and understand how fulfilling this space of solitude can be.  You learn that you are not alone and that God is calling you into deeper fellowship with Him.   In Psalm 4:3 we learn that The Lord sets apart the godly for himself and Deuteronomy 14:2 tells us that He set’s apart those that are Holy.  As much as we would like to hurriedly get out of the situation of being alone it is often best to sit and spend that time with God.  There is nothing wrong with asking Him for godly friendships or relationships at this time, but there is nothing like getting to know Him in this time of quiet and solitude.

3. Persecution:  We are all aware that there are people dying for their beliefs everyday, but many of us are fortunate enough to have the ability to enter churches and bible studies without the fear of death.  Our persecution may not inflict as much damage, but can come in the form of people criticizing you and your beliefs or ostracizing you because no one wants to hear about the God you serve.  And guess what this is okay,  Jesus was persecuted and tells us that all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12).  The bible tells us that the persecuted will be blessed and that we are to pray for our persecutors.

So, next time someone calls you a Jesus Freak simply say thank you and pray for them!  You never know it may be just the thing that will bring them a little closer to God.

God bless,

Court

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Doors will open…

The store was small and quaint, but it still caught my eye as I walked down the street. There was no one in sight as I peered through the large glass window and was instantly intrigued, it was a book store.  It looked like it was full of old books and as a writer and avid reader (and shopper) stumbling upon a new bookstore was like finding a tiny piece of heaven on earth.  I hopped up the four crumbly cement stairs towards the chipping wooden red door and pulled the handle fully expecting it to open immediately.   But it resisted, so I pulled a second and third time with the same results.  I let go and walked back down the stairs to ensure the sign truly read ‘open’ which it did.  Determined, I bounded back up the stairs two at a time and tugged at the door, I jiggled and turned the handle but it just would not budge.  Maybe it’s closed, I thought to myself and just before I decided to retreat and make my back onto the sidewalk, defeated and bookless the door swung open.  ‘Sorry, I was in the back, sometimes that door sticks and the odd thing is, it will only open if you don’t try to force it.’ The merchant smiled as she held the door open for me.  I made polite conversation as I slid passed her to make my way to the nearest bookshelf.  I had been right in thinking that the bookstore was a gem, I purchased some great older books no longer in print and happily left the store, this time opening the door gently and easily.

As I made my way home, I thought about how that door was kind of like some instances in my life.  Sometimes I want in so badly and or to get to the next level or stage in life so quickly that I’m doing everything in my power to force things to happen except be patient and wait on God to open doors that I can not.  I tug, throw tantrums, scream, kick, or bang on doors & many times they still don’t open in my timing, it just leaves me breathless and frustrated.  And often times when they do open, I honestly am not too thrilled about the outcome.

I’m no expert, but I challenge you the next time you are upset about where you are in life to just chill out, find somethings to be grateful for in the moment and stop pushing against right now.  This isn’t to say stop dreaming, striving or grinding towards goals but it is to say to dispose of anxiousness and impatience that isn’t truly serving you. Maybe you will notice as I have, that when we wait on God, when we are patient and when the timing is right, doors will open.

God bless

Court

The freedom in letting go…

Something I have been hard at work on in life is not holding on to things or people that should no longer be in my inner circle.  For me it’s a necessary step in my journey towards maturity and a relationship with God. It has been a difficult task for me to not grasp so firmly to some of the things I felt played a pivitol role in my life up until now.  But eventually I realized that I had focused only on the anguish and trauma perceived in releasing the things, dreams and people that I thought I couldn’t do without but hadn’t focused on the joy and freedom found in the beauty and satisfaction of letting go. Many of us find it challenging to let go of things, situations or people but learning to do so at any age in life will ultimately bring you more fulfillment and greater joy!  Below I chronicle five areas in life where I have or am currently learning to release and maybe they might help you on your journey to freedom.

Toxic people: research has shown that although people in contented and fulfilling relationships are generally healthier, the same does not hold true for those in tumultuous or trying relationships. Not only do these interactions cause stress and anxiety in your life mentally but can take a toll on your body physically as well. Women are especially vulnerable to these negative effects which includes a lowered immune system by decreasing the T-cells, heart issues and sleep abnormalities. (WebMD) The studies that I found focused heavily on romantic centered relationships, but evidence also existed for other types of relationships such as friendships or colleagues. The ability to distance yourself may be easier said than done in these cases and may require more mental distance than physical. Ignoring or confronting the behavior will eventually come into play to help decrease the toll it is taking on you mentally and physically. Reducing your stress while in a negatively influenced relationship may look different for different people, yoga, meditation, exercise, journaling and praying are all viable options for some people.

Bible verses to remember in dealing with toxic people: Titus 3:10, Galatians 5:25

Clutter: I’ll be the first to admit that my ‘office/prayer room’ has slowly converted to a  storage closet/junk room. It’s full of clutter, things I don’t need, use or wear. The original purpose of the room has vanished amongst a pile of shoes, books and clothes some with tags still attached.  Since I’ve been on my journey of letting go, I’ve started to slowly declutter this room by finding good homes to the things that are in optimal quality or tossing things that aren’t. By now most of us have heard that clutter can actually cause us to become less focused and can limit our ability to process information (Princeton University Neuroscience Institute) so decluttering can not only be a burden releaser but also make you more productive!

Bible verse to remember in dealing with a cluttered home: Proverbs 24:3

3. Stresses: as mentioned previously not only can unhealthy relationships cause undue stress, but situations that bring us feelings of anxiety or frustration also create a great deal of stress in our everyday lives.  The best and worst thing about stress is that most of it is brought on by ourselves!  Which means there are steps we can take to decrease the amount of stress in our lives and it can end with you.  Something as simple as clearing out your email inbox, getting more rest or not worrying about situations that are beyond your control can begin to eliminate a lot of the stress that we cause ourselves.

Bible verses to remember if dealing with worry and stress: Philippians 4: 6-7, Matthew 6: 24, 1Peter 5:7

4. Outcomes: learning to detach myself from outcomes has been a major task in my growth journey. It can be quite difficult to deal with the frustration and disappointment of not having things go as planned or the way I desired.  But learning to release these desires is a great way to bring peace to a less than optimal situation.  I discuss some ways to do so here.

Bible verses to remember if dealing with letting go of outcomes: Proverbs 3:5-6, Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28

Baggage: Carrying over baggage from one relationships will definitely ruin the second before it’s begun.  By baggage I’m specifically talking about destructive emotions and stinking thinking including bitterness, jealousy, rage, anger, hatred, cynicism, malice, un-forgiveness, self-deprecation and vengefulness. Of course we will experience some of these negative emotions at some point in our human existence as a natural occurrence and to an extent they help us make our way through the maze of life. However, research has shown that living with them on a consistent basis can be deteremental to your health with the ability to cause heart disease and a higher risk of stroke (news health.com). The goal is accepting that feelings such as anger, jealousy or vengefulness arise but are not necessarily beneficial to act upon in a salacious manner or even react to immediately instead of responding at a later time and are definitely not worth holding on to. Using your emotions as indicators and not dictators could possibly save your life!

Bible verses to remember if dealing with negative emotions: Ephesians 4:31-32, Proverbs 14:29, Philippians 4:8 and Ephesians 4:26

God Bless,
Court 🙂

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” (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 🙂

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

Guarding your heart when dating

couple heart bottom

Guarding our hearts is crucial to our walk with God, in Proverbs 4:23 we learn that we are to keep our hearts with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.  This tells me that it is an ongoing process and it will take self control and effort on my part.  Throughout the bible we see that God actually searches our hearts and in Matthew and Luke we learn that out of the mouth the heart speaks.  We can choose to store good and peaceful things or evil things in our hearts and our true character is built based on what we have built up within our hearts.  I definitely want God to be happy with what he finds in my heart so I know that I must be vigilant about protecting it and filling it with good fruit.  The heart is fragile and even in our bodies we have the ribs as protection around the physical organ so why would we think that there shouldn’t be added security around our spiritual hearts?

There are many aspects to guarding our hearts and can stem from the obvious such as the company we keep and the places we go to the not so obvious like not watching certain television shows and listening to some music.  Throughout my dating experience I have learned that making sure to protect your heart early on can save you a lot of heartache later.  Just because you feel sparks when a guy touches you or there is always excitement built around your encounters does not mean that this is God’s best for you or that you are going to be compatible in the long run.  In the past I have given my heart to boyfriends completely, only to end up heart broken as the relationship unraveled for whatever reason.  Part of the reason in each of these cases was improper protection of my heart.  I have come to a place in my life where I desire to relieve any preventable heart break and genuinely pursue relationships God’s way and under His protection or not at all.  Throughout this process, I have grown to understand that guarding my heart does not mean building an impenetrable wall or hardening my heart as I had in the past.  It does however mean placing boundaries around my heart as a safe guard to allow the right people in.  Below are five ways  I plan to use when dating going forward, let me know if you think of more!

  1. Loads of prayer! – Philppian’s 4: 6-7 tells us that we are not to be anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let our request be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ.  Of course this scripture pertains to so much more than dating but I can clearly see that the first and probably most crucial step in guarding my heart when pursuing a relationship is prayer!  Upon meeting someone that I may have an interest in I will pray for discernment, wisdom and for the Holy Spirits guidance when navigating the relationship.
  2. Release the outcome – So many times I think I held on to the thought of what I created and shaped our future as a couple to be that I failed to look at the reality of what actually was.  It’s a harsh reality, but sometimes when this is done the other person may not even be at that level in the relationship yet, so while you’re thinking about how great his last name sounds with your first he’s contimplating if he wants to see you or the other girl that he’s dating this weekend.    Just as a general  character trait (and sometimes flaw) I hate to give up on anything, but eventually realized that there comes a point when you have to let go of the future and give it to God.  Constantly thinking about the future you could have with a person rarely leaves much room for truly getting to know them in the present.   Not being tied to a particular outcome will make it a lot easier to let go of them if they turn out to be  a wrong fit.  Whereas if you have already built a mental future with a person it can be sometimes be quite difficult to even think of replacing them with someone else.  In 2 Corinthians 10:5 – we learn that we are to take every thought captive so that we can obey Christ, which means although it may be difficult I can and must control my thoughts.
  3. Practice the art of detachment  – Remaining emotionally detached  and keeping my emotions in check is easier said than done, especially if I genuinely like someone and enjoy their company.  I usually will want to spend as much time as possible with them, getting to know more about them, talking to them throughout the day etc etc.  There is nothing wrong with getting to know someone, but there is something wrong with making them the center of your life, in other words an idol.  Remaining detached and regularly realigning with what keeps you grounded (for me reading the bible, connecting with God, friends and family) on a regular basis will help you from losing yourself while finding out about your partner.  Although you will devote time to them, always keep doing you and live your life.  Being able to view that person from an grounded point of view and not one that’s emotionally charged can help make a realistically sound decision about them.  Once you have your heart and mind invested in someone it can be difficult to see things clearly sometimes to the point where even glaring red flags may be overlooked on a consistent basis.
  4. Limit physical contact – Personally once intimacy has come into play my attachment to a person goes up 100%and as Christian women we know that fornication is wrong, but there are so many other types of physical contact that can set small fires which eventually cause a huge uncontrollable roaring fire.  Even something as simple as talking about sex which can plant seeds or sending certain photos can cause a brother or sister in Christ to slip.  Early on I plan to set boundaries with my partner letting him know what types of touch and interactions I wish to reserve for more serious levels of our relationship.  Since the bible only indicates sexually immorality as a sin I think couples should do what works for them and many choose to only go out to public places, in groups, not to kiss or even hold hands initially.  In an interesting article I read on phycology today they noted that  touch is one of the most fundamental ways of fostering and communicating intimacy in a romantic relationship.*  The question is how quickly do you want to fan that flame?  Self-control will ultimately have to be practiced on both ends, especially if you’ve had sex in previous relationships.  By  limiting physical contact you create room to get to know the person on a truly intimate level and are allowing the relationship to flourish in other ways without having to lean on sex or other physical acts which can always be explored later.  God tells us that we are to flee from and put to death, like literally slay and destroy, all sexual immorality which is an earthly or fleshly desire, if not we will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Since we are His bridegroom, we can pretty much say that we are in a committed relationship with Jesus and married to Him spiritually but will refrain from cheating on Him physically!
  5. Give purpose to your dating (courting) – Although it may not always be possible, I know that clear  communication is key to making a relationship work and being on the same page as to the purpose of your union can only come about through taking the time to candidly discuss your relationship goals.  If one person wants to date for the sake of seeing where things will lead and the other is focused on marriage the relationship could take a drastic turn for the worse if these desires are never communicated.  In the same vein, both couples could be seeking marriage but one a year down the line and another ten years down the line.  I also don’t believe that communication should be limited to just talking about marriage, but also the significance of your individual walks with God and how you plan to come together to further His kingdom.  Can you do more for His kingdom as a team or as singles?  So many times people become a couple for selfish reasons, but the more I grow up in Christ I learn that relationships are for His glory and not solely for the pleasure of the two people involved.  If the relationship is within God’s will and the focus on God it will be blessed.

God bless!

Court😊

*The Power of Touch

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

Sorry Beyonce

beyonce grown womanBeyoncé’s ‘Grown Woman’ occasionally blares through the speakers of my car radio or iPod when I want to get a good workout in.  But yesterday while listening I gave the song a more critical ear and thought about the misguidance of the lyrics.  Mainly, because as grown women we may be able to do what ever you want, but as women of God we don’t.  If you think about it no one really is, you’re always subject to someone else’s desires weather it’s your boss or your kids.  If you are married you are to submit to the headship of your husband and God and if single to your heavenly and earthly fathers.  Even Queen Bey herself probably take some guidance from her husband.

Our flesh is literally like a child, it want’s to do whatever it wants, when it wants and how it wants but as children of God we are held to a standard that is above fleshly desires.  While the world may view this as a bad situation to be in, it’s actually a benefit which in the end protects our bodies and hearts.  As godly women growing in our walks we usually become even more aware of the words we speak and when our actions are made out of fleshly desires.  This means that you no longer have the urge to go off on that cashier that placed your eggs at the bottom of the bag so that by the time you got home they were cracked, or honk like a mad woman at the driver who obviously didn’t know that drivers were allowed to go over twenty miles per hour on the expressway.  Or even if you do have the urge, you take it to a higher power and proceed in a more enlightened manner.  As someone that is a recovering road rager I speak from personal experience!  In Romans 7:15, Paul writes I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do (NIV).  Speaking from experience your flesh will have you constantly wanting to do all the wrong things, it’s almost like a small fire that grows with each minute that it isn’t expressed until you are so engulfed in flames that you almost can’t resist the temptation.  Getting the flesh under control is a lifetime feat…But God!  Read 1 Corinthians 10:13, in the latter part of the verse it will tell you that when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can endure it.  Great temptations will come, but there is a greater God that will allow for a way out, if we choose to take it.

So, why don’t we give into the pleasure of indulging in everything we want or letting it all loose and showing the world how we really feel at a time when we have the right to be angry?  I’ll put it this way, you could indulge and eat brownie sundaes every day, smoke two packs of cigarettes a day or refuse to connect with God regularly but there will be consequences to your actions and they might not be so pretty.  My question to you (and myself sometimes) is what type of seeds are you sowing through this action?  Seed’s of love or hate, seeds of wisdom or foolery?  In Galatians 6:7-8 it states, Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.  Nuff said!

Be blessed,
Court 🙂