Does Your Heart Skip-a-Beat When You Think About Failing?

When You Think of Failure Does Your Heart Skip-A-Beat?

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Does your heart skip-a-beat when you think of failing?

Do you get anxious? Does the idea of failure create dread and fear in your being?

Many people, especially those with a Type A personality and who struggle with perfectionism, do not like to fail. They dislike failure so much that it can cause them to fear failure. Not only do they fear failure, but they also fear discomfort. They often find themselves in a vicious cycle, where they move from fearing failure to fearing the hurt inside them.

The fear of failure is a byproduct of the Spirit of Fear, and it is a greater struggle for those who struggle with perfectionism. When you struggle with perfectionistic thinking, you can easily find yourself with all-or-nothing thinking, following society’s rigid “shoulds,” fear of discomfort, unrealistic expectations, and fear of failure.

Therefore, when someone fears failure, there is a strong and deep-rooted belief that failure means they are not worth loving, that they suck, are stupid, and can never be wrong. Notice how the devil is tricking them! Essentially, these individuals believe love is earned based on one’s actions instead of freely given. And, if they mess up, that’s it for them. They are out, believing no one will accept them or love them for not being perfect.

Does this sound familiar?

However, what if you started to see failure as your friend as opposed to your foe? What if you flipped your beliefs about failure on the devil himself and saw failure as feedback or even God intervening?

What if you saw failure and success working together versus against one another?

Failure is not the opposite of success but part of success.

There is not a person on this planet who hasn’t experienced failure of some sort, but perhaps the ultimate failure is quitting.

What if you saw failure as feedback as opposed to a final destination that has grave consequences?

It is pretty funny how we see failure in the light of trepidation. The idea of failing causes some to freeze, flee, or fight. But, if you see failure as a tool that helps you recalibrate to try a new approach, you open up so many more possibilities.

Oh, and that motivation that is driven by fear as opposed to encouraged by faith disappears too! Besides, the fear of failure usually is a belief that we will never get o our goal, that we messed up, and now we are forever doomed!

Um... Hello, we serve a loving and POWERFUL Father who can redeem everything!

For instance, if you are playing darts and notice your throw is not getting you the numbers you want – you typically start to change how you throw the dart. You’re hoping the tweak in your throws gets you a more desirable result. Based on your results, you use that feedback to recalibrate and change your tactic. Failure offers powerful insight into information through feedback, which allows you to continue attempting to get the desired results while applying the newfound insights.

 

But, what if that failure was a success if you saw it from a higher point of view? Meaning, what if what you see as failure God sees as successful and all part of His grander plan – what would that do for you?

 

Besides, God knew you were going to do what you did. You don’t think He planned for it and included mercy, grace, and redemption in His will for your life?

I think, sometimes, what we see as failure, God sees as success. We have to remember that God’s ways are the opposite of the world, and sometimes His ways do not make complete sense at first.

Think about it. When Jesus was on the cross, how many people do you think believed they were “winning” and succeeding in destroying Jesus’ ministry? The devil thought he had won too. I think it’s fair to say for many, seeing Jesus on the cross didn’t represent Jesus as winning but failing or losing. However, as the world saw it, that failure was God’s most remarkable success for humanity!

Again, maybe what you qualify as a “failure” or “messing” up is actually exactly where God wants you to be!

As I thought about this insight, it made me realize that humans will sometimes see themselves as “failing” when in reality, God sees us as winning.

Perhaps we only conclude a failure to be a failure because we didn’t receive the results we expected and hoped to see. That’s EXACTLY what unfilled expectations create in us – frustration, disappointment, and even anger!

Yet, I wonder – did you ask God if that is what He wanted you to do? Did you ask if God saw that as a success or failure?

Likewise, I wonder how many times I have succeeded in my eyes, but God sees it as a failure. Have you ever wondered this?

As believers and followers in Christ, our definitions of success and failure are different than the world. Joshua 1:8 declares how we can be successful in God’s eye.

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success (Joshua 1:9).

Psalm 1: 2 also states how God sees success:

But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.

The world defines success as having lots of money in the bank, looking a certain way, having many friends, popularity, exotic travel, a large following, and being publicly known for something. Please know NONE of that will survive the purging process Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 3:13:

But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person's work has any value.

However, God defines success as staying committed to following Jesus, keeping one’s mind focused on what the Bible says, and obeying God.

Maybe that failure in your eyes is a win for God!

Next time you find yourself wanting to kick yourself or complain because you “failed,” ask God what His opinion is. If it’s in God’s will for you, you can do it (Philippians 4:13). Now make sure you wait on His time because it’s perfect! Maybe that failure is what is needed to put you precisely in the right place. If that’s the case, that’s a win!

Be mindful of what you see as success or failure. Stay aware of how you define success and failure. Remember to acknowledge and ask the Father what you should always do.

Psalm 37:23-24 NLT

The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.

Prayer:Father God, thank You for loving me. Thank You for giving Your begotten Son for my life. Father, help me to discern what is failure and success in Your eyes. Please remind me that when I fail to hit my worldly goal, I can trust You and that Your ways and plans are perfect. Father, I want to see success as you see success. Please help me to acknowledge You in everything I do. Guide my steps and give me the wisdom and discernment to know when to move or change directions. When I feel I have failed, Father, remind me of the truth and help me give myself the same grace You give me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Where Does Jesus Need to Calm the Storm in Your Life?

Where Does Jesus Need to Calm the Storm in Your Life?

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

In Matthew 8:23-27, Matthew shows Jesus Christ’s power over the natural world. The fact Jesus could do such is a miracle! Let’s look at the verses:

Jesus Calms the Storm:

23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. 24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.

27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”

Jesus and His disciple were crossing to the other side of Galilee in a boat. Most likely, the boat was a fishing boat, as many of His disciples were fishermen. The Sea of Galilee is a unique body of water – stretching 13 miles long, 7 miles wide, and 150-feet deep. The shoreline is 680 feet below sea level.

It’s not unusual for large, intense storms to suddenly appear, creating waves that can get up to twenty feet tall. Seeing as the disciples were professional fishermen, it is important to note they did not intentionally set out to sea in the middle of a storm. In fact, they were traveling at night, which significantly lowered the risk of running into a storm.

When the disciples realized they were facing a furious storm with waves breaking into the boat, they knew their danger was real.

How would you feel being in a boat with waves towering over you?

What the disciples failed to remember was who they were following and who was in the boat!

As the disciples were panicking about the storm, Jesus was in the boat sleeping. To sleep through this storm implies how exhausted Jesus was from His earthly ministry duties as well as His human nature.

Of course, the disciples seeing Jesus sleeping most likely only created more panic within their souls. Filled with panic, fear, and uncertainty, they frantically ran to wake up Jesus shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Can you imagine how the exhausted Jesus must have felt as He was rudely and abruptly awoken?

Personally, I imagine Him being awoken like how a terrified young child may wake their mother, but on steroids. There’s no logic running through their minds, only fear!

Perhaps they were feeling hopeless, believing only Jesus could do something about the matter.

One can only suspect how frustrated Jesus was with His disciples’ growth. We know He was not in the best of moods when He awoke because the first thing Jesus does is rebukes His disciples by saying You of little faith.

The disciples were very familiar and aware of Jesus’ power and authority at this point. The reality is the disciples could have very well calmed that storm too. They had failed to take their knowledge and understanding of His power and apply it to the situation. Such thinking most likely prompted Jesus to ask, why are you so afraid?

The disciples wanted Jesus to fix the problem, and Jesus wanted His disciples to trust Him. How many times have you been in a similar situation?

One discipleship pointer we learn from these scriptures is that there is NO ROOM FOR FEAR if you want to be a true disciple. Of course, it takes time to grow, renew your mind, and mature in this area, but for you to do that, you have to take ownership and accountability of that fear if it’s showing up in your life.

The actions the disciples showcased were more a result of a lack of faith or disbelief. The Greek word for “afraid” (diloi) means “cowardly fear.”

YIKES!

Can you imagine the sting of Jesus calling you out like that? He was and is the truth, and that truth had to sting for His disciples, just like it does for us when He calls us out for our sin. Thankfully, He quickly forgives us when we acknowledge our misstep(s).

Jesus wanted them to see that they were acting like cowards when they needed to have acted with their faith in their teacher. They needed to see with their spiritual eyes, not their carnal minds. We see that even though the disciples had witnessed Jesus do mighty and godly acts, they still had not grasped that Jesus was God and had God’s power over all of creation.

Nonetheless, Jesus stepped up to the plate. Where you are weak, He is strong. Jesus stood in the stern of the rocking boat and rebuked the storm. And, “just like that,” the storm stopped! Proof that Jesus is never out of control! Immediately the disciples were amazed. They were still questioning and failing to grasp who the mighty Jesus was.

When Matthew recorded this event, Christian persecution was beginning. Many see this story as an analogy of the persecution and trials of the early church. However, we can take it one step further, too.

Storms are going to come in this life – both figuratively and literally. As believers, we must remember that our peace does not come from that storm being gone BUT from a relationship with Jesus. Believing and holding on to the truth that Jesus has ALL the power over ALL the storms can bring tremendous tranquility if you let it.

Our souls become troubled when we see a situation not going the way we hoped it would. Quickly we can become frustrated, discouraged, and even hopeless when it appears to our human minds that it will never end or go the way we prefer. In these times, it is easy to have a tantrum in front of God – crying out to Him, pleading with Him, and begging Him to know why He’s not doing what YOU think is best in the matter and when YOU think it’s the best time.

However, when you truly realize who God is and that He controls both the storms of nature and the storms of our troubled heart – your contentment, faith, trust, and hope in Him will prevail.

Jesus’ power calmed the storm immediately! He can also help you deal with the problems you face. Sometimes, all you need to do is ask for His help!

Other times, you will need to have patience, trusting that His timing and ways are the best. It can take time for your mind to be renewed. In those moments, when your soul is breaking because you feel you are never going to get your problem solved, remember these things:

If you will delight in Him honestly and sincerely, He gives you the desires of your heart (Ps. 37:4), and His ways are tremendously more satisfying than yours.

Remember, God doesn’t want your heart to be troubled (John 14:1). He wants you to trust Him instead. In those moments, say this, I refuse to let my heart be troubled. Instead, I cast all my cares on to Him (John 14:1;1 Peter 5:7).

Choose to be content and grateful where you are.

16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT).

Next time you are facing a life storm, remember Jesus is still the master! He is in your boat with you! You are not alone. He may not stop the storm when you want Him to, but sooner or later, the storm will cease.

Here are a few key lessons:

  1. Sometimes the only person who can do something about the matter is Jesus. Choose to trust Him. Keep praying. And don’t give up hope.

  2. No matter how bad it appears to your human mind, God is in control.

  3. Jesus has drastically more resources than you do. It’s not over until He says it’s over. He makes the impossible possible.

  4. Those hopeless situations are the best situations to trust in God’s preserving power. Choose to grow from them.

You have the ultimate power, and it Is Jesus Christ. Trust Him. Stay Obedient and focused on Him! Believers get the final Victory!

Prayer: Father God, In moments of weakness, temptation, tremendous storms, and the sufferings or pains of life, do not let me lose sight of You or what is important. Father, I know it is easier to be devoured by the devil when I am exhausted, facing danger, and consumed by emotion. Teach me how to be strong. Please do what you must to grow my faith and help me to remember you are my everything. Would you please help me to remember You are in my boat during EVERY storm I must embrace? I do not want to be fooled or let my guard down to the enemy’s ways, but I know you are strong in my weakness. Father, help me to learn how to navigate every storm of life through Your Son. If You will not stop the storm, then use the storm to make me more like Christ. Your Word says I am to do greater works than He did (John 14:12). I want to honor and live that verse. Teach me how to operate in Jesus’ authority and use every storm to do that. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

5 Things Believers Must be Mindful of…

5 Things Believers MUST be Mindful of...

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Please don’t think there are ONLY 5 things that a believer must be mindful of because that’s not the case. There are many things that believers must remain aware of, but today we will go over 5 of them.

1. Make Up Your Mind Not to be Curious About Evil

Take a second to reflect on all the times mentally you were curious about evil! I know I have been. A few years ago, I was incredibly curious about the mentality serial killers had. Oh, and don’t get me started on some of the videos Facebook lets “slip” through the cracks. It is challenging to get those horrible images out of your mind’s eye if you are anything like me.

God told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 12:30-31 not to even investigate the idolatrous practices of pagans. Why? Because He knew they might be tempted to introduce those wicked practices into worship of the one true God.

We must remember that knowledge of evil is harmful, especially when that knowledge becomes too great of a temptation to resist. The truth is YOU DO NOT need to be curious about anything that comes from the kingdom of darkness. If you are thinking, well, I am because I want to know how it ends. Then let me save you some time. It ends in destruction, torment, pain, suffering, and torcher.

2. Be Mindful of Who You are Listening Too

Jesus made it very easy for us when He said, “You will know a person by their fruit” (Matthew 7:15-20). Before you choose to listen to anyone, especially on topics that pertain to your life, observe their fruit first.

In Deuteronomy 18:10-13, the Israelites were forbidden to contact anyone who claimed to communicate with the unseen world. We are held to the same standard today!

The verses provide 8-means of communication with the spirit world, which God calls abominations. They are witchcraft (a witch/warlock), soothsaying ( a seer; false prophet), one who interprets omens ( a palm reader, fortune teller, astrologer), a sorcerer (witch doctor), one who conjures spells (wizard), a medium (spirit medium – talks to the dead), a spiritist (a seance leader – communicates with spirits), one who calls up the dead (necromancer).

Instead, God asks you to be blameless, which means listening to God’s voice alone. If you are a new believer, this can be more difficult. Even as an older, more experienced believer, this can be difficult. God does encourage us to have godly counsel to help us. Therefore, you have to pray for God to bring you the right people to speak into your life. You will also need to test that person to make sure their fruit matches their words.

As you wait to find godly people to help you and guide you, stop going to your horoscope and stop thinking someone other than God can tell you your future. Instead, pray to God and meditate with Him.

3. Be Mindful of Your Gut Feelings

Romans 14:23 says: But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.

The Holy Spirit lives in your gut or belly (John 7:38) and creates that “gut feeling” or “intuition.” Therefore, YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO IT! The Holy Spirit is the greatest power of all – so it’s not going to be wrong or lead you astray. Now, of course, you can feel like you have a gut feeling, and it not be the Holy Spirit. While the Holy Spirit will never be wrong, your conscience is not an error-free guide. It can be easy to mix the two up or not know how to differentiate from the two.

Your conscience must be renewed and educated to the Word of God, which will also help you discern when it’s your will versus the Holy Spirit.

As believers, we must be mindful of when our gut is telling us to do something. IT IS A SIN TO VIOLATE YOUR CONSCIENCE. If you do anything that you believe is not right, then you are sinning! To go against your conviction would leave you with a guilty or uneasy conscience. The reality is anytime God is showing you something that may be wrong for you, you need to avoid it. In moments where you are unsure, take a leap of faith. First, pray, asking for clearer direction. Then wait for a moment to see if the sensation in your gut grows stronger. If it doesn’t do the option that brings you the most peace. If you do get clearer direction, then move forward.

4. Be Mindful of Your Brother/Sister in Christ

In 1 Corinthians 8:4-9, Paul is acknowledging many things that we must honor:

  • Behind idols are dark powers

  • There is no other God but one that is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

  • Not every Christian (new or old) understand the liberty which they have in Christ

When Paul says “weak,” he doesn’t mean physically weak. Instead, it is a term describing those who are excessively careful in matters of moral indifference. For instance, it is not wrong for a believer to eat pork as far as God is concerned. It would have been wrong for a Jew to do so in the Old Testament, but a Christian is at perfect liberty to partake of such food. However, a Jew converted to Christianity might still have doubts about this. He might feel that it is wrong to eat a roast pork dinner. He is what the Bible calls a weak brother. It means that he is not living in the full enjoyment of his Christian liberty.

We must be mindful of where our younger sibling in Christ is and work to honor them.

Think about how you can help keep them safe and growing for Christ.

5. Mindful of What's Driving You

Proverbs 14:12 – There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

Remember who you are and where you are concerning the Father. If you aren’t sure if something is biblical or not, do yourself a favor and look it up!

In a broader sense, the way which seems right to a man is his own way,

Self-will makes more sense because you see through this perspective, believing you have more control over the variables than you really do. The path of self-will usually doesn’t like divine guidance or human counsel.

 

The path that seems right to you:

  • It might offer you more options and require fewer sacrifices

  • Does this align with Jesus at all?

  • Does this solution look attractive because it allows me more time to do what I want?

  • Because it doesn’t ask me to change my lifestyle? Because it requires no moral restraint?

The right choice often requires courage, hard work, and self-sacrifice. Don’t be enticed by apparent shortcuts – they only make the path longer!

The self-will path ends in disaster and spiritual death.

It is incredibly effortless to make God and what He wants us to be mindful of the last priority. Instead, we have to make God and His ways a priority. Part of living as a mindful believer is clarifying your priorities and making sure what is number one to you is number one to God too.

Where is your focus? Is it on Jesus’ peace or the world’s worry

Where is your focus? Is it on Jesus' peace or the world's worry

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

I think it is fair to say a lot has occurred in the last two years. The world is very different from what it once was. With the ever-changing COVID news, the vaccine, and what is occurring in Afghanistan, it is hard not to think about the future! There are many unknowns that many of us find ourselves wondering about, stressing over, and ultimately freaking out about.

Perhaps you are finding yourself catastrophizing – projecting what you hope not to see in the future. Or maybe you cannot sleep at night because your mind is so concerned with the realities of tomorrow, in three days or a month.

When you find yourself worrying about the unknown, afraid of the unknown, or not having peace about the future, the Bible calls this the Fear of the Unknown of the Fear of Tomorrow.

The Fear of the Unknown is very real! It can create insomnia, steal your peace, increase your worry, stress, and anxiety, and even cause you to be paralyzed with fear. However, as believers, we must hold on to the truth that our Father in heaven did not give us a Spirit of Fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). Since He did not give us the Fear of the Unknown, we must keep God’s armor on us and defeat this lying spirit.

In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus teaches about worry. Let’s take a look:

25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today (NLT).

First off, the command “do not worry” does not mean you have a complete lack of concern. God knows you will have concerns, which is why He asks you to cast them on to Him because He cares (1 Peter 5:7). Additionally, that command is not encouraging a person to be unwilling to work and supply their own needs. God cannot bless sin. He tells us to work and live within our means.

Please note that concern motivates a person into action, whether praying to God or being obedient to what God says to do. At the same time, worry keeps a person motivated by fear causing them to hyperfocus and harp on things they do not want to see in the future or things that they cannot change. As followers of Christ, we are not to be self-sufficient but to rely on the Godhead!

Ultimately, Jesus is highlighting kingdom priorities! He is telling us what attitude towards life that His disciples MUST exemplify. Jesus reminds His disciples that they do not need to OVERLY worry about food or clothing because God will take care of them. After all, they are more important than the birds and the lilies. Jesus is trying to get us to see the bottom line here: disciples of Christ need never to let their fleshly desires of worrying about clothes or food take precedence over serving God.

You can trust God to provide food and clothing! He knows what you need, and He will give it to you at the perfect time! Even that money you are working for comes from God! It all comes from Him.

When you worry about what you will eat or wear, do you know what you are telling God? You are telling Him that you don’t trust Him to supply your most basic needs! If you do not trust God to supply your most basic needs, then how can you trust Him with His promise in Jeremiah 29:11?

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV).

Worry causes a person to pay attention to all the elements they cannot change instead of putting their energies to work in effective ways. Jesus makes it very clear there is nothing effective about worrying! Do you know what worry does?

When you worry, a dual temptation is put into motion. First, you begin distrusting God and what His promises are. Remember, God cannot lie, so you are calling God a liar in turn and unintentionally. The second temptation is you begin to agree with Fear as a practical action. You start to feel like you are proactive while agreeing with those fear-filled, demonic thoughts. What is the end result? You become double-minded and begin trusting the devil more than God. That is a dangerous place to be. When the devil has you on the hook, it’s easier for him to take you down even further or even devour you completely.

Whereas when you trust God in those moments of concern, casting those concerns on to Him, and believing through faith that He will come through at the perfect time, you also move into action. This is how deceptive the devil can be. He wants you to believe trusting in God is not the same type of action as agreeing with his Fear thoughts. Isn’t it amazing how he perverts the truth to trick us? Agreeing with God and His word takes less mental energy than choosing to agree with the devil and spending your bandwidth consumed with what you don’t want to see happen or have no control over.

When you work for God and wait on His timing, you won’t have time to worry! Seeking first to honor God as King and conform your life to His righteousness creates a vortex around you. When worry comes knocking on that vortex, it will always find you as occupied and unavailable. Can you say VICTORY?

When you find yourself worrying or afraid of the unknown, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, take note as that worrying indicates that you do not trust God in that area. Rejoice over this understanding because now you can go to the Father in prayer, discuss the matter, work to renew your mind to trust Him, and ultimately trust Him! Adversity is an opportunity to grow in God’s love, power, and authority, not crumble surrendering to the devil.

In verse 26, Jesus is teaching the disciples about TOTAL dependency upon God instead of humanity’s self-sufficiency. It’s easy to find yourself believing your future, finances, decisions, and anything else only depends on you and you alone. Again, that is a lie from hell! As believers, we are to depend completely on God! Besides, all you have comes from God. He will provide for your needs. He will give you a great future.

When you find yourself worried about the future, your finances, what you should eat or drink, change your focus. Perhaps you might be thinking, “Well, why is anyone hungry then?” Well, that’s a great question. But notice Jesus was not teaching that every case of hunger will be satisfied. He was teaching us to focus our minds, channeling our efforts and directing our energies not to mere bodily maintenance or things that give us pleasure, but to God’s eternal promises and purpose! Besides, man is not to live on bread alone (Matthew 4:4). Next time you find yourself worrying, ask yourself:

How can I become less worried about money and more focused on serving the church, visiting the sick, and learning the Bible?

Plus, doctors finally agree with Jesus about the ill effects worrying causes. In verse 27, Jesus tells us not to worry about those needs God promises to supply! What has worrying accomplished for you? It has accomplished absolutely nothing constructive for me. However, it has created more oppression, problems, and hardship in my life. Hmm, that sounds like someone… oh right – the devil does that!

It is common for people in today’s world to feel “lazy” while waiting for God to supply. In reality, you are working to grow your patience (fruit of the Holy Spirit), teaching your soul, and developing your spirit to place your life and needs in God’s hands!

The bottom line is worry has no place in the lives of Jesus’ disciples. It is the unbelievers who choose to showcase the fruit of worry. The followers of Christ have kingdom principles and a favored relationship with the mighty King, sealed with a promise that our Heavenly Father knows our needs and will provide them.

If you are finding yourself worrying, then see the worrying behavior as an opportunity to settle the question of priorities in your life! When you become a born-again believer, you enter a new kingdom and come from a new world! That means you are to be different than unbelievers whose priorities are comfort, money, fashion, security, technology, popularity, or whatever the trend is for that season.

In Matthew 6:33, when Jesus says “seek,” He says that is a command to fulfill a continuous obligation. To seek the kingdom means both to submit to God’s sovereignty here and now and to work for the future coming of His kingdom. When Jesus says “to seek his righteousness,” Jesus is saying to seek and to live as God requires. He is telling us we have to be completely and totally loyal and committed to the Father. When you are fully loyal, you will turn to God first for help. You will work to fill your thoughts with His desires. You will take His character and emulate it. You will serve and obey Him in everything.

Remember, all worldly things compete for priority. Any of them can easily and quickly bump God out of first place in every area of your life. When your priorities are right, all things shall be added to you! Are you consistently looking for ways to honor, represent, and always remember who your Lord and Savior is?

At the end of the day, you do not yet exist in the time frame of tomorrow. You are not even guaranteed to be alive tomorrow. You must remember to stay present. The truth is you exist right here, right now and today has its own matters that God is asking you to attend too. Do yourself a favor and continue practicing taking your thoughts captive. Tell those thoughts that you do not yet exist in the future. Today has its own agenda – choose to be a good steward of today!

Verses to bury in your heart:

Anxiety, Fear, and Worry:

Philippians 4:6 – Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

2 Timothy 1:7 – For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

John 14:1; 1 Peter 5:7 – I refuse to let my heart be troubled, instead I cast all my cares on to Him because He cares for me.

Matthew 6:34 – I do not worry about tomorrow but stay present to today. For tomorrow has its own worries and today’s trouble is enough. For I exist right here, right now. I am trusting God with all of my needs and my life.

Sleep:

Psalm 56: 3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.

Psalm 23: 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 3:24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

Psalm 3: 5 I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

Prayer:Father God, thank You for all Your promises and everlasting life. I come to You in prayer asking for Your help and guidance. Please help me to trust You as Lord in every area of my life. Please take away my fears and help me defeat the thoughts I have. I want to trust You with everything. Please help me to see that I can trust You with my life. Help me to believe that You will take care of me and that I am more important to You than the birds and flowers. Father, I know You love you, and I only want to do Your will in my life. I know I do not always trust You with my future and I am so sorry for that. Please help me to change my thinking and trust You in everything! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Are You Asking for Jesus’ Saving Help?

Are You Asking for Jesus' Saving Help?

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Jesus was coming down from the mountainside after finishing His Sermon on the Mount (Ch. 5-7). At this point in His ministry, it was common for large crowds to follow Him wherever He went because of the authority He spoke when teaching.

Let’s say people couldn’t get enough of His captivating teachings because of the drawing power. Ironically, the truth is self-verifying. Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth and may even dismiss it, but one cannot forget the truth!

As Jesus was coming down from the mountainside, a man SUDDENLY approached Jesus. The man wasn’t any man, but a man society saw as an outcast. The man was suffering from leprosy. Some people say you can think of leprosy as today’s version of AIDS. Similarly, it’s a terrifying disease with no humanly discovered cure.

Now the Greek word for “leprosy” was used for various similar diseases affecting the skin. Some of these diseases were highly contagious. Just like today, people were terrified of getting sick. It seems not much has changed in the years from Jesus’ crucifixion to now.

 Here’s how your life went if you were declared a leper:

  • First, a priest would declare if the disease was leprosy or not. (Back then, priests, under the Law of Moses, also served as physicians).

  • Once the priest confirmed it was leprosy, you were banished from your home and city. You couldn’t see your family either.

  • According to Leviticus 13-14, you were excluded from any social or religious acts.

  • You went and lived with other lepers until you got better or died.

  • You were considered and treated like you were “unclean.”

Now, perhaps the leper had overheard the Sermon on the Mount from a far distance. Maybe he was so overwhelmed with Jesus’ powerful words that the leper thought, “Surely a man speaking with such godly power and authority had God’s power inside of Him to heal me.” Of course, we can only speculate his thoughts. What we do know is that the leper desperately wanted to be healed. We also know he was bold and courageous enough to approach Jesus. Nevertheless, this brave man “knelt (worshipped) before Him.” He asked, “Lord, if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean(Matthew 8:2).

The leper took a huge risk coming to Jesus. What we can gather from the leper kneeling before Jesus is his great desperation, humility, and recognition of Jesus’ authority. It is not just the leper’s actions that display such truth. His words also revealed his faith! When the leper said to Jesus, “if You are willing,” – those words revealed the man’s faith and trust in Jesus’ authority and power in the matter of healing. The fact he said “if You are willing”suggests that the leper was allowing Jesus to decide his fate. Sense the leper was willing to accept whatever Jesus was willing to give him, it shows that the leper only wanted God’s will to be done in the matter.

He knew that if his disease could disappear, a priest could then declare him cured, but only Jesus could make him clean. The leper understood the HUGE request he was asking of Jesus. But, for the leper, it was worth it. He was hungry to be free from his chains, have his life back, and be reunited with his family and community. Notice all those things are also what God wants for us too!

The leper knew Jesus had healing power (Matthew 4:24). The only question was would Jesus heal him?

Notice the desperate plea of this man. He had a point of need. It was a need that was far beyond his control. A person’s point of need could be anything from physical illness, loneliness, finances to defeating the recurring sin in our lives!

Doesn't God often use our point of needs as a place in which He leverages to make Himself known?

Guess what Jesus did!

He reached out His hand, touched the man, and said, I am willing. Be clean (Matthew 8:3).” Now, remember if you had leprosy, you were untouchable. No one was going to touch you out of FEAR of getting the infectious disease. The fact that Jesus touched the leper shows Jesus’ love, power, and His heart of compassion. Jesus also showcases His sovereignty over the Jewish law, which clearly stated no one was to touch a leper! Again, what Jesus did shows that He did not follow the law when it contradicted His Father’s way.

Do not let what the world says control you! Let God's Word control you!

Miraculously and instantaneously, the leper was clean! The man got his life back – he could return to society and his family. Jesus gives life. He wants us all to be healed and in a relationship with Him.

Jesus was willing and able to meet the social outcast’s most basic need. If He is willing to meet the leper’s need, don’t you think He will meet yours too if you ask and believe?

Now maybe you’re thinking, “Well, I don’t have leprosy. How does this relate to my life?” Well, good, I’m glad you don’t have leprosy! But you do sin. Similar to leprosy, sin is also humanly incurable. Likewise, only Jesus’ healing touch can miraculously take away our sins and restore us to really living.

Notice the leper came to Jesus and asked Jesus to do what He thought was best about what was going on in His life. The leper wanted Jesus’ will to play out in His life. The leper knew he could not cure himself and could only ask for Jesus’ help. We have to do the same. We must realize we need Jesus’ help. We have to realize that we cannot heal ourselves and that only Jesus can.

Our Savior has the power to cleanse anyone and everyone from the life-sucking disease of sin. Jesus, and He alone, has the qualifying authority and power to cleanse a person from sin, empowering them to be a worshiper!

Do you know what two warnings Jesus gave the healed leper?

  1. To not tell anyone about what just happened

  2. To go to the priest and let him examine you

Jesus told the leper not to tell anyone of this great miracle because He knew better (John 2:24-25). Jesus was not finished with His apostleship, His mission. He was to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God. At this time in Jesus’ ministry, He didn’t want people constantly coming to Him for a miracle or only to benefit from His powers. Jesus wasn’t interested in being a miracle worker. He wanted to be people’s Savior! Ultimately, He wished to keep His full messiahship hidden until after the Resurrection.

Likewise, sometimes we have to keep our bigger goals, or the plans God has shared with us, individually, a secret because people may not understand or may get in the way.

Jesus wanted the man to go right to the priest to give his testimony. He wanted the priest to declare the leper healed, allowing him to be restored to his community. Jesus showed religious authorities that he was not anti-law but that He was the only one who could fulfill the law. The healed man’s testimony would highlight the truth – that the one who heals lepers had come. People believe this was one of the signs of the Messiah (Matthew 11:5).

In closing:

  • Where is God using your need(s) to draw your attention to Him?

  • Where are you not turning to God with your needs?

  • When was the last time you confessed your need for God?

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your everlasting grace and love. I ask You to show me where I need my attention drawn to You. God help me to see where I am not turning to You for my needs but to the world. Father, if I am living out of Your will in any area, please make that come real to me. Help me to live Your will for my life and no one else’s. Thank You for your grace, hope, faith, and unconditional love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

At the right time…

At the Right Time...

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)!

We live in a fast-paced world that screams GO, GO, GO! Yet, God says, “Be Still.”

It’s no surprise that once again, His way is the opposite of the world. Yes, He wants you to tend to your responsibilities, but it’s a balance. “Doing” is a part of life, but, for many, it is their only way of life.

Here’s the thing, being still with God is where marvelous, supernatural things occur. These things are way better than the “GO, GO, GO” lifestyle the world screams.

 Do you know what happens when you are still with God?

      • Your relationship begins to grow because you learn His voice quicker

      • Prayers are answered

      • Your faith enhances

      • You’re renewing your mind to think about Him before anything else!

      • You remind yourself why you are here – to worship the Lord and not follow the world!

Ultimately, being still with God reminds you that the Lord is God! When you are still before the Lord, you show Him and yourself that He is truly in control. It’s so easy to rely on our own strengths or find ourselves being still with idolatries like the gym, watching sports, that addiction, or whatever excuses or habits take precedents over spending time with the Lord. It’s also that much more effortless to sheepishly find ourselves walking the ways of the world following the wrong shepherd!

Part of walking with Christ requires being still with the Lord. Just like discipleship means learning to persevere until the end, keeping our eyes on Him! Here’s the thing being still with the Lord is really relaxing with Him. This means you could read a Christ-honoring book and invite the Lord in to the read or lay on the couch having a conversation with Him, or maybe it’s just being quiet with Him with your dog by your side. Being still with God is simply relaxing, being quiet and open with Him!

When you know that He is God, you trust His promises, plan, and you understand His character and the truth about who He is. This means it’s easier to let go of your plans (your will) – you know the ones you have been chasing after and stressing over. When you trust God, it’s easier to let go of what is frustrating, scarring, disappointing, or whatever-ing you because you believe without a doubt that His plans will come through in your life. You believe whatever plans God has for you will be better than anything you could imagine!

Living faithful to God means you trust His sovereignty and believe His way is the best!

Admittedly, I have not done the best job of sharing who I am with you. I take sharing the gospel very seriously, and I never want to share anything that is not accurate, which is why I aggregate commentaries, the Greek, and the Hebrew and keep my thoughts limited. I hope to share a bit of me with you in this letter, and I will share more in the future!

I am very passionate about Jesus. I spend all my wakening hours thinking about Him and learning about the Godhead. Sometimes, I get so frustrated because I want to grow this ministry so badly, but sometimes I feel very stuck on how. I, too, can fall into that trap of perfectionistic thinking, focusing on doing everything “right” instead of obediently focusing and doing what Christ is asking. Some days I find myself checking in with God and arguing with Him about what He wants me to do. Then I’m reminded that He is in control and that I will share the gospel regardless of what happens because I am so passionate about living for Christ. Every day I run into someone desperate to get out of their bondage and is looking in all the wrong areas for freedom. All I want to do is help people walk into freedom, share God’s love and truth, and encourage everyone to be BOLD for Christ – to be a Warrior!

The other day, I experienced tremendous presence with the Father.

I was still with God after a hectic few weeks, and it was amazing. In that moment of being still and choosing to shut my overactive brain off, I learned being with Him is where answered prayers can quickly come!

I was relaxing reading a great book about the women of the Bible. The book is called The Women of the Bible Speak: The Wisdom of 16 Women and Their Lessons for Today. It’s incredible. (Click the title to purchase the book – Renew will receive a small commission, but it does not change the price of the book).

As I spent time thinking about God, reflecting about what I was reading, and being with God, He quietly answers a prayer of mine. The prayer is answered out of nowhere too. He shows me how to do something I have been asking, seeking, and knocking for the answer for over a year now, if not longer.

After hearing His answer and leveraging hindsight, I believe He once whispered it to me before, but pridefully I disobeyed – not understanding all that I now do. I have been persistently asking Him for guidance and chose not to stop until I got some answer – direction or a change in heart.

Ah, the answer - direction - the response I hoped for! Praise Jesus!

Immediately a peaceful, freeing, and joyfulness transcended over me, manifesting in a sparkly grin 😄. Oh, He (God) is so good,” I thought! Just like that – it all makes a bit more sense. Just like that, I trust Him a bit more to be so good and marvelous.

The answer to my prayer blessed me on so many levels. It felt as if I “advanced” a step forward in the game we call life. I think to myself joyfully; Now, I’m that much closer to understanding what all of what He’s doing in my life means and looks like.

Have you been here? You know where you believe with all your might He has amazing plans for you, and you just want to know what the end result looks like, so you know what “moves” to make?

I am juggling the most “balls” I ever had to in my life, and I try to remain grateful and content. But, I would be lying if I didn’t feel overwhelmed by all my responsibilities. I find myself consistently praying if God wants me to do them all, and each time I get a “yes.”

Therefore, I believed there was a better way to manage it all. But I couldn’t think 🤔 of it, good thing God’s all-knowing.

Paul is so right – in our weakness, He is so very strong! I was about to give up. I was unsure if He even wanted me to do what I believed He called me to do. I told myself, “I give up on life.” Heck, I even texted my husband saying, I give up! I was done. I was tired.

However, what I was truthfully saying was this: “Here you go, Daddy. It’s yours completely. Do what you want with it.” I gave it all to Him vs. spending bandwidth constantly chewing on how I (emphasis on the “I“) was going to do everything on my plate successfully. At the time, I didn’t realize I was forfeiting doing it my way. I didn’t even know I was doing it my way until I sat and was still with Him, knowing He was God!

Have you been here?

It’s so easy to believe you have surrendered the “care” to Him, all while fearfully strategizing how you will do it. Unconsciously, you take the ball, running away from the most extraordinary quarterback to live! Only to stop, look back, and see that you ran off the field.

No, I’m not saying don’t be proactive. I’m simply saying that worrying is not being proactive.

There’s a time when you trust God will help you figure it out, remaining diligent and focused on the present tasks at hand (including being) and being free from the stress of the “care.” Likewise, there’s the lying 🤥 belief you’ve surrendered the “care” to God, when in reality, the “care” is weighing you down, stressing you out, and destroying the peace in your life.

Don't be fooled!

The devil is prowling like a lion 🦁 – pride keeps you vulnerable. Doing it your way is pride. Forcing the situation and being stressed out because you are not getting what YOU want is also being prideful. You have made yourself your god! Don’t worry, I have done this many times too, but each time I cry out to the Father, asking Him to help me not do that again. Every time He brings me back into the plan and grows me. God wastes nothing. He uses every moment to teach you if you let Him.

The last week and a half have been rough for me. Lots of strangeness occurring around me accompanied by odd symptoms I thought I had ultimately walked out of. Full of disappointment, I admit such thinking is not what I encourage others to uphold. I’m human too. I do badly want to be “perfect” always doing the right thing. Still, as God reminds me right before He answers one of my prayers🙏🏼, “no human is either entirely good or bad, but complex and that it’s My love that carries you through and forgives you bringing you into eternity with Me.” There are so many people in the Bible that were “complex.” But those complex people who God chose had a willing and open heart.

Sometimes we try to bring God’s will down to earth outside of His time frame, but He forgives us. He loves His children so much that even when we “act out,” He still keeps His promise.

If you don’t believe me, look at Sarah! How many times did Sarah try to advance God’s will without God in the picture? Sarah didn’t treat Hagar godly, but God still used her to do incredible things for His people. Don’t buy the lies that that one mess up will cost you your future with God. He can redeem all. Keep your heart open to Him, your eyes fixed on Him, and humble yourself to do what He says when He says. It’s obedience that matters.

Stay hopeful God loves you, and you don’t have to be perfect. God is faithful. At the right time, He answers prayers. At the right time, His healing manifests. At the right time, His favor comes upon you! At the right time, your understanding deepens. At the right time, your bondage breaks. At the right time, you see His time is perfect! His plans always prevail at the right time!

Remember freedom, peace, joy, and love always come. He's for you! Choose to make time to be still with God each day!

Prayer: Father God, I see how important it is to be still with you. Help me to make time each day to be still with You. Help me to think and do Your way in life and not my own. Today I ask that You show me how I can be still with You. In Jesus’ name, Amen

God’s Amazing Grace Saved You from the Enemy!

God's Amazing Grace Saved You from the Enemy!

By: Austin Creecy

In the midst of our failed attempts at loving Jesus, His grace covers us.

Francis Chan, Crazy Love

The Grace of God

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

God’s grace is one of the most powerful things discussed in the Bible. It is only by His grace that we are saved. Look back to the Old Testament, and you will see that the Israelites were given the Ten Commandments and the Law of Moses in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Ten Commandments and the Law are what God expected the Israelites to live by. He expected them to live by it unfailingly. Now, the devil is the ruler of this world until judgment day. So, the devil and his principalities of darkness have kept all humans in bondage. This is where grace comes in.

...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Enter Jesus of Nazareth! The prophesied Son of God. Jesus came to save all of us from being cast down with the devil into the lake of fire. He taught us who the Father truly is and who the Father wants us to be. He then went to the cross and was crucified, buried, and was risen to save us. Let that sink in for a minute. God sent His Son to be killed in a horrible way so that we wouldn’t have to spend eternity paying for our sin. 

 

You may ask, “how does this show God’s grace?” Or say, “It sounds like God is horrible since he didn’t stop the Sanhedrin from killing His son!” While you may think those things, we must look at what Jesus accomplished as the Lamb of God. 

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)!

John the Baptist knew Jesus was the prophesied son of God. He knew that Jesus would die so that we may live. When God gave the Ten Commandments, and the Law to Moses, part of that was about sacrificing animals, including unblemished (perfect) lambs, to cleanse the Israelites from the sin. The animal had to die so that the person who sinned didn’t have to. Jesus acted as the sacrificial un perfect lamb for all people who were and will be until the end of time. That’s right! You were saved by Jesus’s sacrifice before you were even born!

 

This is the grace of God. God knew we could not live up to what His expectations were. He didn’t want His people to continue dying. The Father wanted us to have life and more abundant (John 10:10). Our God loves us so much He allowed His Son to be killed on the cross for us to live without fear or thought of sin. 

 

We can live knowing that we are forgiven. God forgives all of us and wants all of us to know it. We know that if we have seen Jesus, we have seen the Father (John 14:7). Jesus cleansed lepers and hung out with tax collectors. Jesus showed the same grace as God offers all of us. 

"'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 22:37-40)

Jesus gave the Sadducees these two commandments when asked, “what is the great commandment in the law?”. Love God with all our hearts, soul, and mind, and love your neighbors as yourself. Do you give yourself grace when you mess up? There can be times we are hard on ourselves; however, we know we have had a bad day or just haven’t felt 100%. We know personally, at least generally speaking, what has caused us to make a mistake. That leads to us being kind to ourselves and giving ourselves grace. What Jesus says by; love our neighbors as ourselves is, give your neighbor or the others around you grace. Be understanding, and when they do something that irritates you, forgive them and move forward. I’m not saying you shouldn’t point out something they did wrong if it is a repetitive problem or telling them they hurt your feelings but come at it from the point of love and understanding.

 

If God showed us grace when we didn’t deserve it and allowed His son to die, then surely, we can do as He asked through His Son and love one another as ourselves. Love is the key love will lead to grace. Showing others love will find hope in the darkness, which will lead to peace in both your heart and theirs. 

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

Love God and love each other. Accept God’s grace and freely give grace to others. You will find so much joy from the Lord by doing this, and you will be building your treasures in Heaven.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for loving me so much that You gave Your only Son for me. Thank You for the grace You give me every day and the love that You show me. Help me, Father, to freely give grace to others as You do. Help me to give myself grace more as well. Father, allow me this week to show someone grace and let that work for good in Your Kingdom. I love You, God, and I am so grateful that You are my Father. In Jesus’s mighty name, Amen.

The #1 Thing That Makes a Committed Human Relationship Possible

The #1 Thing That Makes a Committed Human Relationship Possible

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Do not be hasty with your mouth [speaking careless words or vows] or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter before God. For God is in heaven and you are on earth; therefore let your words be few

Ecclesiastes 5:2 AMP

What do you think is the number one thing that makes a committed human relationship possible?

Go ahead, take a second to think. Okay, okay. I will tell you. 

 

The number one thing is keeping your promises! By keeping your promises, you directly & indirectly build trust with one another. 

 

As a child of God, you are accountable to Him for every word you speak (Matthew 12:36). 

And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak (NLT).

Since we are accountable to God for every word, we must speak truthfully and do what we promise. Perhaps you think that sounds easy, and in many ways, it is, but for some, it is not. 

 

Let’s turn to Matthew 5:33-37 to take a closer look at how we can keep our promises.

33 "You have also heard that our ancestors were told, 'You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.' 34 But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, 'By heaven!' because heaven is God's throne. 35 And do not say, 'By the earth!' because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, 'By Jerusalem!' for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. 36 Do not even say, 'By my head!' for you can't turn one hair white or black. 37 Just say a simple, 'Yes, I will,' or 'No, I won't.' Anything beyond this is from the evil one (NLT).

First, you must understand, back in Jesus’ day, much like today, people commonly made oaths or vows. Since God’s law was taken much more seriously than it is today, the religious leaders had created legal loopholes to get free from such obligation. Since Jesus knew what the religious leaders were truthfully doing, He told His followers not to use oaths. Jesus wanted their words alone to be enough (James 5:12).

Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned

(James 5:12 NLT).

Again, Jesus tells us not to make vows (Matt 5:34). The religious leaders designed a system articulating how one declares an oath is dependent on if they must uphold their promise. Their strategy was highly dishonest and contradicting because an oath, by definition, is binding and made light of in God’s law. The leaders said if you swear by heaven, earth, Jerusalem, then the promiser could break their oath without penalty because it was not made in God’s name.

However, who created the heavens, earth, and Jerusalem?

Jesus explained to His followers that an oath, a promise, is an oath – no matter how you cut it or what excuse you attach to it. He explained ALL promises are binding before God, and the words you use to do so are irrelevant.

Jesus commands His followers not to make promises but instead become so well known for their honesty and transparency that oaths were unnecessary.

He wants your godly fruits to shine loudly. Jesus wants your words to be intentional and matter so that no one would doubt or distrust your words.

It’s important to understand Jesus was not condemning oaths about the court of law or marriage. He was referring to those who add statements like “I promise” or “honest.” He said your words need to be so pure, intentional, and well thought out that no one needs to question them because they trust you by experience and reputation that you will do what you say.

Essentially, the real problem here is one’s integrity! How many people do you know whose words mean as much as monopoly money does at a gas station? How many times has your close friend, sibling, spouse, or parent said the words “I promise” only to never move on that promise?

As believers, we are held to a different standard – a higher standard. Jesus is notoriously presenting a traditional standard only to base it on a higher one. He will not let His people off the hook; instead, He sets the hook deeper. Understand everything that Jesus asks you to do – He knows you cannot do it without Him. It is relying on His strength and power, not yours.

Jesus simplifies what He is asking His followers to do in verse 37.

37 Just say a simple, 'Yes, I will,' or 'No, I won't.' Anything beyond this is from the evil one (NLT).

He emphasizes that His followers must tell the truth, allowing people to believe and trust everything else said. Jesus openly tells us that those who add an oath are implying their words cannot be trusted. Think about that for a second. Identify a person in your life who has exemplified their integrity. Do they reinforce what they say with empty words such as “I promise” or “honest?”

The phrase “from the evil one” is also translated as “from evil.” This reveals that those who are sinful and self-righteous need to back up what they say with promises or oaths. However, only a person needs access to oaths when they know they can lie and give false hope.

Matthew 5:37 is a verse that can help anyone stay more pure, honest, and transparent in their effective communication. Suppose you are someone who struggles to say no, implement boundaries, put too much on yourself, or worry about what God or others think about you. In that case, this verse can help you practice assertive communication and begin to break the Spirit of Fear of Man.

Believers must learn how to say “yes” & “no,” and mean it wholeheartedly. God cares about your heart attitude, so much so that He even says in Matt. 5:28 that if a man or woman looks at another man or woman with lustful eyes, then he or she has committed adultery in his or her heart!

But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matt 5:28).

Additionally, your response needs to be a simple “yes,” or “no.” You do not need to explain why you cannot do something that another human is asking. They are not your God. You do not owe anyone an explanation unless you feel the Father is encouraging you to explain it.

As believers, our integrity matters so much so. If we are going to win over more hearts and souls to Christ, we must be great examples. We have to showcase a more excellent way (1 Cor 12:31) of living that will get people asking questions and wanting the peace, freedom, and everlasting joy we hold through Christ.

I encourage you to start practicing saying “I am sorry, but no” when you cannot do something. I encourage you to start saying yes without false hope. If you can do something, but you don’t know when you can get to it, that’s okay, but you need to let the person know. Speak with transparency. You can say, “I want to do it, but I will need to check my calendar first.” Allow people to see the entire picture, not just a sliver of the truth.

I also encourage you to start praying about what the Lord wants you to do in a matter. Allow the Lord to guide you in the appropriate response.

Prayer: Father, I see where I add useless words to what I am saying. I see there are times where I add oaths to things You don’t want me to add. I want to abide in Your truth and Your ways. Please help me to let my words be sincere, concrete, and truthful. I ask You to soften my heart and keep my eyes fixed on You. I pray that the revelation of letting my “yes” be “yes’ and “no” be “no” quickly comes. I don’t want to harm people or give anyone false hope. Would you please help me to have integrity like Christ in everything I do? Thank You for Your grace, Your help, and Your wisdom in all things. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Stop Compromising with Fear of Rejection Now

Stop Compromising with Fear of Rejection Now

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

So I came to hate life because everything done here under the sun is so troubling. Everything is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

Ecclesiastes 2:17 NLT

25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

John 12:25,26 NLT

Do you love your life?

What do you think is important in life?

Most people think that food, clothing, power, money, and pleasure are important things. Are you living for those things? Seriously, ask yourself this question because I am talking about life or death here! You get to choose what you will do, but at the end of your life or if Jesus comes back first, you might not get a second chance!

Jesus makes it clear in John 12:25 that when we love our life, we fail to recognize that the soul is more important than the body. To love one’s life here and now on earth is to concentrate on one’s own success causing a person to lose what matters. Please know how God defines success and how the world defines success are very different. The ways of God are usually opposite of the world’s methods.

Are you concentrating on worldly success or godly success? I encourage you to watch out and be mindful of where your focus and heart are, as you might be losing what really matters. And living for Christ is what matters.

Perhaps that is why it is so hard for many of us to crucify the flesh? Most people allow their sensations, urges, and ultimately their body to dictate their life.

If we neglect our soul’s welfare, we indirectly lose our life. Whereas on the other hand, there are those believers who have their priorities in order.

Before I continue, please know if this message stirs up a negative emotion inside of you, please investigate it. I encourage you to be curious about what is causing you to get upset or angry at what you read instead of shutting it down. What I am talking about here is very serious.

To put it differently, if faithful followers of Christ love their own lives more than their Master, Jesus, they will lose the very thing they seek to maintain. One’s love for the Father must be such that all other passions are, by comparison, hated.

It’s vital to realize true disciples of Christ MUST be willing to suffer and experience rejection from humans even to the point of death. Yes, I wrote that! Are you ready to suffer and experience rejection for Christ?

Most believers are not, even though they say they are. Let me ask you, how much do you compromise to avoid rejection?

When you see someone who could benefit from hearing about Christ, do you boldly speak up about the life-saving power of Christ, or do you shy away? Or when you see someone who may need prayer, do you offer to pray for them, or are you too afraid of upsetting them? Or better yet, do you only think about Christ in the morning, and that’s it?

If you find yourself not speaking up about Christ because of FEAR of what one might say to you, please know that you have made humans your god.

I hate to break it to you, but serving Christ means making a RADICAL lifestyle change. As disciples of Christ, we are no longer from this world. We reside in the Kingdom of Heaven, and if that is truly your home, you will not act as the world does! Jesus makes it very clear He doesn’t like lukewarm water.

So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth (Revelations 3:16 NKJV).

Where do you need to make changes to your goals, interests, hobbies, career choices, or habits?

Whether you realize it or not, to follow Christ means going the way He went! On the contrary, following Christ does NOT mean walking down the path of earthly power and honor. Let that sink in for a moment. The devil is fooling a large portion of the body of Christ. They think they are serving Christ, but in reality, they are lukewarm at the very best. Unfortunately, some of the believers in the body of Christ might not make it to heaven – dare I say. If I don’t say it, who will?

Remember, everything Jesus did was to glorify the Father! Are you glorifying Him in everything you do or just some things?

When you choose to follow Christ and are serious about that choice, you must live for God’s glory alone. Again, some believers in the body of Christ are double-minded. They are trying to serve both the Father and the world. Let me be very clear, YOU CANNOT SERVE TWO MASTERS (Matt. 6:24). Which one will you pick? I am talking about a life-or-death choice here! There are no gray areas, which should be a good thing as some of you prefer thinking in absolutes or black-and-white.

To serve Christ means following Him. It’s like Simon Says type of following too. If you read your Bible, you know His disciples obey His teachings and resemble Him morally. They do what He said and exemplified. We are to do the same. We must apply the example of His death to ourselves.

What does Jesus really mean by “hating” your life in this world?

Here are four points to help you understand what Jesus meant.

1. Jesus wants you to be 100% committed to living for Him. He wants this so much so that you need to “hate” your life by comparison. If you don’t hate your life in contrast, your life will always compete with how He wants you to live and how you want to live. We know which one will win too.

  • Take a second to reflect on your life. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you reflect and highlight where you choose your life and ways over His.
  • Please don’t beat yourself up about this. Learn from it. Grow from it. Repent. Give yourself grace. We have to walk things out sometimes. No one but Jesus was perfect.

2. When you love your life, you start to become selfishly protective of it. It’s all about you! What happens is you begin to guard your time and energy so jealously that you squander it on your OWN pleasures and purpose.

  • Your life is not about you. I know, I know the world says it is. It’s not. Your life is about glorifying the Father and living for Christ. Now, you are uniquely designed to do something specific for God’s Kingdom. I promise you God’s will for your life will be more satisfying than anything you can imagine. God’s not asking you to be a robot but to make Christ the dominant thing in your life.
  •  Have you asked the Father what He made you do?

3. However, hating your life means consistently growing in Christ and using your resources to follow Christ. It’s putting godly values before your values. It’s about obedience. It’s putting others before you. It is most definitely putting what Christ says above what everyone else says.

  •  It does not mean that you long to die, are careless, or foolish with the life God has given you.
  • It does mean that you are free from self-centeredness and willing to die for Christ if doing so would glorify the Father.

4. By laying down our mission to strive for advantage, power, money, security, and pleasure, you can serve God lovingly and freely. You remove the competition, if you will.

  • Laying down your life for Christ is ultimately releasing and surrendering control to Christ. I promise you when you do this; you receive eternal life and the most satisfying joy you can imagine

As Warriors for Christ, we are promised the constant protection and presence of our Master. Boldly and courageously serving Christ now on earth as a true disciple means you will receive God’s approval in the coming day. Remember, whoever suffers shame, rejection, reproach on earth will be microscopic compared to the glory of being publicly commended by the Father in Heaven.

Where can you start being bolder for Christ?

Where are you serving two masters?

What can you do to truly start living for Christ?

I encourage you to read Daniel if you need some encouragement or your faith to grow!

Prayer:Father God, I repent for being doubleminded. I repent for not being braver and more courageous in my walk with You. Please forgive me. I want to be fearless in my walk with Christ. I want to be a true disciple. Holy Spirit, I ask you to help me live as Christ lived. Your Word says You will give me the desires of my heart. Well, I am asking You to start changing my desires to Your desires. Father, show me how I can renew my mind to Your Word. I ask You to highlight where I am failing to serve You. Father, I surrender my entire life and being to You. I ask that You help me to do Your will and glorify You in everything. Thank You for Your love and for helping me live only for You and not for me! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Survival Secret #6: Never Take Your Armor Off

Survival Secret #6: Never Take Your Armor Off

Part 6 of 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Oh that we would hunger to be filled with the Word of God; for there is no greater armor, no greater strength, no greater assurance that He is with us, and in us, when we go forth in battle equipped and nourished by His instruction and determined to stand firm on His promises.

Billy Graham

Good Morning, Warrior for Christ!

 

We are at the end of the newsletter series 6 Survival Secrets for Successfully Battling the Storm.

 

Survival Secret #1  The Father Wants to Rescue You!

Survival Secret #2 – God is Never Going to Abandon You!

Survival Secret #3 – God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle

Survival Secret #4 – Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Survival Secret #5  Give Yourself Grace

Survival Secret #6 – Never Take Your Armor Off!

What do I mean by "Never Take Your Armor Off?"

Always keep God’s Armor on your body! Sometimes God’s Armor is misrepresented as something you constantly put on and off. That’s not the case. 

You want to always keep God’s Armor on you! It can take time to renew your mind to keep this armor on you. That’s okay. Start with one thing, and after you have shown consistency for a few weeks, put on another piece of God’s Armor. 

Remember, spiritual warfare is a way to freedom, not a way of life. Sometimes it might feel like it is perpetual but remember in Christ. You have already won!

10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His[boundless] might. 11 Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places (Ephesians 6:10-12 AMP).

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness (Ephesians 6:13-14 NLT).

Life storms can be exhausting and discouraging. Remember to rest in God. He wants you to have rest and peace. The Lord is your joy and strength. It can be easy to think and believe you can only have joy and strength when life is going well, but that’s a load of baloney.

It can also be super easy to get overwhelmed and feel discouraged when going through a tough season or a storm. That’s okay too. When you catch yourself wallowing in self-pity, get up, get rid of it, and get back on track. 

Focus on what God is telling you to do.

If you are not sure what God wants you to do, then do the last thing you know God told you to do.

It may feel you are even ignoring the storm when you do this. However, what you are doing is choosing to go by faith and not by sight. Just as horses wear blinders to prevent them from getting spooked or distracted, you too are encouraged to put on spiritual blinders to keep you focused on God. 

Do not focus on the storm, but on God redeeming all that the enemy took. Glorify God. Get excited about seeing how God will flip this on the enemy. It is amazing how a storm or a tough season can be the best thing in your life as it can put you on a more excellent path.

When you walk with Christ, you are Victorious.

The war is over! The devil will try to fool you about that truth but remember that you have already won! That is why I encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus, not on the storm. The devil wants to take your attention away from Christ, don’t let him. 

He can only do this by you agreeing with his magic show. I say, “magic show,” because that is what it can feel like to me. The devil is going to get you to look over here at the top right corner, while at the bottom left corner, he’s doing the “sneaky” parts that make up the magic trick. Please stop it. Do NOT give the devil attention. He’s not worth your time. Glorify God. Tell that scoundrel to go in the name of Jesus.

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9 NLT)."

God is always with you. Be fearless and courageous.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your love, joy, peace, and strength. Thank You for being my rock, advocate, protector, and healer. Thank You for redeeming everything that the devil stole from me. I ask You to help me wear Your armor. Please grow me into a strong, courageous, and fearless Warrior for Christ. Teach me. Train me. Develop me into the person You want me to be. Please help me to use trails and storms as a way to glorify Your name. Thank You for helping me always to desire Your will over mine. I love You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.