Survival Secret #5: Give Yourself Grace

Survival Secret #5: Give Yourself Grace

Part 5of 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

Ephesians 2:8 NLT

You are not going to do everything right. You will mess up. You will make mistakes. You may even try to get God to move by doing good works instead of through your faith.

Stop believing you have to be perfect or do something right to be worthy or used by God! That kind of thinking will cause you to drown in bondage. Thinking like that is proof that you agree with the devil’s lies, not the Father’s truth or Word. Remember, no human being is perfect.

God knows you are not perfect. He doesn’t ask YOU to do things perfectly. Instead, God asks you to trust Him and live according to His Word. God wants you to be obedient to Him, not your excuses. Within that request, He asks you to give yourself and others the same grace He gives you!

 

God wants you to be kind to yourself. He does not want you to belittle or hate yourself.

You are going to have days where you do accidentally make a mistake. Or maybe God humbles you, and your eyes become open to your pride or some other shortcoming in your flesh that the Holy Spirit is working out of you. When God convicts you where your flesh is dominant, don’t get upset. Instead, rejoice! Yes, maybe you will feel deep sadness by this conviction. That’s a good thing. That means you care, and you want to do it God’s way.

We all have blind spots. When the Holy Spirit illuminates that blind spot inside you, rejoice because God is helping you become righteous! There are so many marvelous things that occur when the Father does this, and you feel this conviction because only the Holy Spirit can change you. It’s that conviction that goes right down to your belly that will help you renew your mind to doing something the way God encourages it to be done instead of how the world screams it should be done. That conviction is what is necessary for you to break up with that self-righteous way of thinking.

Maybe you responded with worldly thinking or had a lapse in judgment. That is okay. You are not perfect. You are a human. I will keep saying that because it is so crucial that you understand that you will fall short or mess up at times. Again, that’s okay.

What is not okay is when you choose not to listen to the Holy Spirit’s conviction. What is also not okay is when you decide to criticize yourself, hate yourself, inflict pain or punishment on yourself, wallow in your self-pity, or respond with anything other than grace. You have the mind of Christ, and if you have a relationship with Christ, then you know He would not put you down. He might correct you humbly and with love, but He will never shame you or be mean to you.

If Jesus will give you grace, and the Father will provide you with His grace, then why aren’t you giving yourself grace? Do you think you are better than the Godhead?

It doesn’t matter if you see it or not. When you fail to give yourself grace, you believe that your opinion is more important than what God says about you, and that is self-righteousness at the very best. When you start depriving yourself of grace, you encourage antichrist thinking inside of you! And you know what happens?

That storm you are walking in picks up speed and power. Everything will start to become worse, harder, more overwhelming, and the Spirit of Fear will gain leverage. You will feel discouraged, afraid, anxious, and weak because you are surrendering your God-given authority over to the demonic forces.

Now watch out because if you struggle with an Unloving Spirit and the Spirit of Self-Pity, then know they are potentially coming to knock on your thought door too! And oooooh, those spirits are ugly and mean! These spirits are going to tell you that you are not loved by God, by your family, friends, or even by yourself. They will say God cannot use you and tell you your life is pretty much over! Specifically, Self-Pity will try to make you feel bad about yourself and encourage you to wallow in the woes of mePsh, what a literal lie from hell! Stop it! Break it off, now in Jesus’ name!

Be the Warrior for Christ you are in your spirit and rise up declaring what God says about you!

The power living inside of you is mightier than all of the demonic forces in the world combined. You are going to have to break agreement with those Spirits by saying what God says about you! It’s okay if you don’t know the verse verbatim; just say what is in your heart.

Now, if those spirits challenge you, don’t get in an argument with them. Instead, tell them you will go look up the verse, and while you put your finger on that address, with your God-given authority, tell them to get their crap and go! They can’t stay. Break agreement with them and repent for even agreeing in the first place.

It’s important to remember sometimes Spirits come and train you to think a certain way and leave, and other times they are still within you. These spirits may try to come back because you are choosing to agree with lies that you aren’t good enough, worthy enough, or capable. Or your mind might produce those thoughts the Spirits trained you to think! But God says YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS YOU (Phil. 4:13).

What Paul is telling us in Philippians 4:13 is you can do all things which are in God’s will for you to do. Guess what? It’s in God’s will for you to show yourself unconditional love and grace. How many times does the Bible say to love?

Well, I tell you that I have never counted. Still, my quick internet search says that the word “love” is mentioned 442 times in the King James Version (KJV) and the New Living Translation (NLT) mentions it 759 times. The difference in number is due to certain words not translating directly into the word “love.”

My point is that God wants you to love everyone, and that includes yourself. Start showing up and responding with love in all things!

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

Paul tells you that love is the greatest of the graces because it is most helpful to others and God. Love allows you to be others-centered, not self-centered. Yes, loving yourself allows you to show up more for others because you are not obsessively focusing on yourself, acting like the world or God’s kingdom revolves around you! The opposite of love is hate, and hate comes from the devil, and all things that come from the devil rob you from life! Stop it!

Give yourself grace.

When you give yourself grace, do you know what you are doing? You are permitting yourself to be a human, make mistakes, not be perfect, and grow in Christ. Giving yourself grace is giving yourself the permission to be as you are, with the understanding that you are still walking things out.

We are all walking something out. Now the size of it might vary, but as Paul says, we all fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:32). It’s in our weakness that Christ’s power is made perfect (2 Cor. 12:9). Choose to let Christ’s power rest on you!

You cannot make decisions with the information you do not have. You can only make decisions with the information you have at that time and with the guidance of God. Sometimes you will make bad decisions. Even if you pray and acknowledge the Lord in all things (Prov. 3:6), you will have to take a leap of faith at some point.

You might be unsure what God is really asking you to do, so you step out in faith. Guess what? You might leap on to the wrong path. That’s okay. Pray to God. Ask for His guidance to be clearer, repent for the miss-step, and once you hear what He is asking of you, move.

This world is harsh. Please don’t make it more difficult by being a jerk to yourself. God is made stronger through your weakness. The Bible doesn’t say that God blesses the proud, arrogant, or people who believe they are all that and a bag of chips. It says the opposite:

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
(James 4:6 KJV)

You see, my Warrior, God’s grace is what benefits you. God’s grace enables you to resist the devil, to draw closer to Him, to weep when you sin or act doubleminded. God’s grace is what saves, but God does not want you criticizing yourself in His grace because that too is doublemindedness.

You cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24) and accepting God’s grace and beating yourself up is straddling the line of light versus darkness. Accept God’s grace and allow yourself to breathe. Forgive yourself for messing up. Rejoice in the opportunity to grow and learn from your mistakes. For it is God that blesses you to cleanse your hands, purify your hearts and minds.

Part of humbling yourself is learning how to give yourself grace and forgive yourself as the Father does. It’s also part of surviving the storms that the enemy brings. As you continue to walk in godly humility to humble yourself, God will exalt you!

Survival Secret #5 might be the most important one for you to remember. It’s the one that can help you keep the peace that Jesus has given you. Choosing to provide yourself with grace amid hardship will help you continue renewing your mind to God’s ways.

It’s effortless to hate on yourself. It’s incredibly easy to do what the world encourages when you feel you have messed up or are facing a storm because you are afraid. But God makes the foolish things the wisdom of the world (1 Cor. 1:20). Beating yourself up will only fuel the storm because the storm is not coming from God. Yet sometimes, it can be encouraging to remember that your life storms are what will put you on your God-given path! God can redeem everything if you let Him. If God is for you, who can be against you? I hope it’s not you!

Prayer:

Father God, Wow! Thank You for your amazing grace. Thank You for sending Your only begotten Son. Jesus, thank You for Your selflessness and obedience to Your Father. I know that I don’t always do things the way You encourage. I know I don’t always give grace to myself or others, but I am asking You to help me better give and receive grace. Please help me to be obedient to Your Word in everything I do. Please help me keep my eyes on You, not on my feelings, antichrist thoughts, or what the world screams. If I am doing anything against Your will for my life, please recorrect me and make my path straight as Your Word says. Thank You for all my blessings. Thank You for loving me. Thank You for softening my heart and developing my character to be more like Your Son, Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Survival Secret #4: Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Survival Secret #4: Keep Your Eyes on Jesus!

Part 4 of 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Focus on giants – you stumble.

Focus on God – Giants tumble.

Max Lucado

We are continuing forward with this series, 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm. Here is a quick recap:

Secret #1 is the promise that the Father will come and rescue you. He wants you to be with Him more than you do! Thank the Lord for the Father’s love and zeal towards us.

Secret #2 is God will never abandon you nor forsake you! He is always with you, even when you feel He’s not.

Secret #3 is God will never give you more than you can handle.

Today we are talking about Secret #4: Keep Your Eyes on Jesus!

I find this to be the best secret of them all! By leveraging this secret in every area of your life, you will QUICKLY begin noticing the victorious changes that will happen in your life from doing so. Unfortunately, it seems most people forget the power of Keeping Your Eyes FOCUSED on Jesus!

Do you know what most people do instead? They keep their eyes focused on the storm, tribulation, suffering, or the giant in the situation. Essentially, they are focused on what they can see. They allow their carnal mind to take charge, causing them to go by sight, not faith. However, Paul clarifies we are to go by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). As the only way to please God is with faith (Heb 11:6).

When you focus on the problem of a matter, you stumble and turn away from God. Even if you do not realize it, what you are saying to God is that you would rather depend on your own resources than trusting Him. It’s just like what Max Lucado says – “Focus on giants – you stumble. Focus on God – giants tumble!” Survival secret #4 teaches you how to rise over your obstacles! The only way for you to rise in a storm is by focusing and believing in God’s promises, not your circumstances.

Jesus tells His disciples in John 16:33:

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world (NLT).

It seems people forget the last sentence in this verse. I cannot begin to tell you how many pastors I have heard use this verse in discussing resilience and the truth that hardship will come to you, but they always leave out that last part. The most important part of the verse is where Jesus’ promise and peace come into play.

Yes, on earth, you will have trials and sorrow, but take heart because Jesus has overcome the world.

Jesus tells us to take courage in Him because He has overcome the world. Do you see the victory in this truth? If Jesus is part of the Godhead and the Holy Spirit is the greatest power to exist, do you see how victorious you are when you choose to remain in Him (John 15:4)?

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me (John15:4 NLT).

What Jesus is telling you in John 15:4 is that you are to make constant, moment-by-moment decisions to follow Jesus. You cannot be passive about this. You must be proactive! That is why the Word reminds you so many times to keep your eyes focused on Him!

You must remember, when the devil is trying to bring you down – he has already lost because Jesus has already overcome the world. It’s done. Jesus overcame the world by rising from the grave. Rest on that truth instead of getting caught up in the lies the devil is trying to sell you, typically through fear.

Here are five ways you can abide in Jesus:

  • Believe Jesus is the Son of God (1 John 4:15)
  • Receive Him as your Lord & Savior (John 1:2)
  • Do what God says (1 John 3:24)
  • Continue believing in the Gospel (1 John 2:24)
  • Relate in love to the community of believers, Christ’s body (John 15:12)

John 16:33 contains a powerful promise that is also offered to you! Jesus promised the disciples peace through their union with Him. The world, Satan’s system, is the opposite of God’s. Satan will give believers terrible trouble and opposition. But that’s just a fact of life. The truth is that Jesus has beaten Satan’s system, won the victory, and overcome the world.

With Jesus, you are never alone. Not only is there a body of Christ to rejoice and mourn with you (Rom. 12:14), but Jesus is also always with you as we learned in Survival Secret #2. Despite the inevitable struggles you may face, you are not alone! If the Father did not leave Jesus alone, He’s not going to leave you either! The question is, what are you going to put you focus on? What are you choosing to believe?

Jesus Christ does not abandon His disciples to their own struggles! You have to remember the ultimate VICTORY has already been won. You can claim the peace of Christ in the most troublesome times. Jesus wants you to have peace! He gave you peace, but not as the world gives it.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid (John 14:27 NLT).

Stop focusing on the problem and focus on Jesus. You have to believe that Jesus will show up for you because He will. You have to begin saying to yourself, Well, I cannot wait to see how Jesus turns this on the devil’s head. Sometimes the chaos of a situation is the exact strategy of how God will work it out. Do you remember how Peter tried to stop the high priest’s servant, Malchus, from taking Jesus in John 18:10-11? Peter didn’t recognize God’s plan, nor did he stop and pray to ask what the plan was! Peter just reacted in the midst of confusion and pressure and was actually going against what God wanted and needed to happen. Imagine if Jesus did not go to the cross!

Never does Jesus promise the absence of trouble. Instead, Jesus supplies strength and comfort for every burden you are called to carry. Jesus offers peace. It is the peace He modeled every day. Jesus’ peace did not flee conflict, pain, or death. Perhaps you have noticed that the more intense Jesus’ difficulties were, the more apparent His peace became. How did He derive this peace? Through an intimate relationship with God, the Father! Jesus allowed the peace of God to move into His heart and life to restrain the hostile forces (sin, fear, and doubt) and offer comfort in place of conflict. Jesus will give you that same peace if you are willing to accept it from Him! Are you ready to accept the peace Jesus offers?

As mentioned above, many people assume the word peace means the absence of conflict. Jesus promises His peace will become apparent in the very middle of trouble and conflict, but you have to keep your focus on Him. The devil is like a magician. He wants you to focus over there so over here he can do his trick.

Trouble can help remind you to ask for Jesus’ peace! Sometimes the Father will immediately stop the storm when you ask. But, more times than not, God’s answer will not usually mean the problem stops, but He does promise that Jesus’ peace will see you through that difficult time.

In closing, are you relying on Jesus’ peace in the face of trials? Or are you focusing on the circumstances?

Prayer: Father God, help me keep my eyes fixed on Jesus instead of the problem. Help me surrender my cares to You so I can keep my heart free from trouble. Father, help me to rest on Jesus’ peace and Your love for me. I ask You to help me grow in the peace and rest that Jesus offers me. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for sending Your only Son to die for me. I am choosing today to receive the promises and gifts You have given me. I ask You to help me keep my eyes on You and not on what I can see. Father, help me to use my faith to change what tomorrow brings. Thank you for growing me in Your faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

SURVIVAL SECRET #3: God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle

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

Part 3 of 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm3

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

"Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved."

 -Psalm 55:22 ESV

I hope everyone had a joyful Easter. What a beautiful day to reflect on the power of Jesus and the VICTORY He gave us through His selfless sacrifice.

We are continuing forward with this series, 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm. Secret #1 is the promise that the Father will come and rescue you. He wants you to be with Him more than you do! Thank the Lord for the Father’s love and zeal towards us. Secret #2 is God will never abandon you nor forsake you! He is always with you even when you feel He’s not.

I cannot speak for you, but just those two secrets bring me so much comfort. Amid a storm, it can be incredibly easy to forget these truths and turn your attention to the storm instead of your Protector, Jesus Christ! Of course, God has more than six secrets to help you battle the storm. One thing that is so awesome about God is that there is so much wisdom, power, and truth in the Bible to comfort you.

Let's move to surviaval secret #3: God will not give you more than you can handle!

In 2012, the Christian hip-hop band, Group 1 Crew released a song called “He Said.” There are a few lyrics in this song that have always stuck out to me.

"So your life feels like it don't make sense And you think to yourself, "I'm a good person" So why do these things keep happening? Why you gotta deal with them?
You may be knocked down now But don't forget what He said, He said
"I won't give you more, more than you can take And I might let you bend, but I won't let you break
And No-o-o-o-o, I'll never ever let you go-o-o-o-o" Don't you forget what He said"

Those two highlighted lines brought me so much comfort when the Holy Spirit made them come alive to me. (To hear the song, please click on the link below the lyrics).

 God will not give you more than you can handle. He will stretch you, push you, and grow you, but He will never ever let you break! Wow. That’s awesome. God is always there with you (Deut. 31:6). Praise Jesus 🙌🏼!

Perhaps, as the song says, you feel like your life is not making sense with all the obstacles, challenges, and schemes in front of you. Maybe you’re wondering what is going on and where is God? It’s easy to get discouraged and feel like God has forsaken you, but those are lies from the devil because God’s Word says the opposite.

Our Father is so merciful. He PROMISES not to give you more than you can handle (1 Cor. 10:13). Again, God will not give you more than you can take. 

Sometimes it feels like Christians can quickly adopt the mindset of I am a believer. Bad things aren’t supposed to happen to me. I want an easy, obstacle-free life. But guess what? That’s chasing a fantasy. Everyone faces hardship. Everyone experiences suffering. 

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV).

From this verse above, we know the following:

  • Temptation does not come from God (James 1:14-1:15).
  • Trouble does not come from God because God gives life and is the source of love and blessing.
  • Everyone faces temptation, so don’t feel or act like you have been singled out. 
  • There is no shame in being tempted. 
  • As a believer in Christ, you can resist all temptation because God will show you how to resist it. God will even help you resist the temptation by helping you. 

Temptation is not limited to the lust of the eyes or living through your flesh. The soul’s three enemies are summarized as the world, the flesh, and the devil in Christian theology. Therefore, the temptation may come in the form of a lie as a thought that you think is yours.

 For example, perhaps God is asking you to move out of your comfort zone and take a leap of faith. And let’s also say for this example you struggle with Fear of Poverty. Well, the principalities of darkness could either be inside of you or have trained you to think in a certain way. When you contemplate trusting God and being obedient to His command, you may be bombarded with thoughts such as, but not limited to: 

  • How will I pay my bills? 
  • I can’t do this. This is too scary. 
  • What if I fail? 
  • What if I can’t do it? 
  • God, I can’t do that. That doesn’t make sense. How will I pay my bills? This request can’t be from you! 
  • Or other catastrophizing and fear-filled thoughts

With those thoughts, you may notice tightness, extra energy, or jitters running through your chest, and it will feel uncomfortable. You might find yourself worrying about tomorrow, which is a sin, as Jesus tells us in Matthew 6. If you are a bit like me, maybe you want to run away and hide. I get it but understand all of that is not from God, but the devil.

Notice all of these thoughts come from not trusting God, but self. What does Fear do? Fear wants to control you and keep you from moving forward! Fear wants to stop your future! Isn’t that partially what Jesus warned us about in John 10:10? 

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10 NKJV).

As mentioned above, God does not give temptation or trouble. However, He will provide you with tests and commands. Of course, tests can be scary, especially if you fear failure or you struggle with perfectionism. But God tests you for your benefit. Again, everything God does is to promote life and develop your character to be more like Jesus. The tests God gives you help you see where you need to grow, and then He will help grow you in that area if you choose to agree with Him. Again, He respects free will. 

As for those commands, God gives to His body. Well, those are impossible to uphold for a reason. That is why we must have Jesus Christ. We need His grace, mercy, love, and hope. We need Jesus to help us successfully navigate the tests and commands. 

The only way we can do the hard things like tests and commands that God gives us is to do it in UNION with Him! Yes, that means it might not be on your timetable, but it will be a result you are grateful for! When you remain in union with God, you are able to handle anything!

Here’s the most important key! You must do it by remaining in God’s love and loving others. 

"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing (John 15:5 NKJV).

When you remain and abide in Him, God will help you! Here are some ways that God will help you resist temptation: 

  1. God will help you recognize the people and situations that give you trouble. If you aren’t sure, ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your memory those instances you missed. 
  2. God will help you run from anything that you know is wrong.
  3. He will help give you discernment to choose to do what is right and pleasing to Him.
  4. He will encourage you to pray to Him and give Him all your concerns and fears. Then He will encourage you when the time is right to step out in faith, but you will have to choose to trust Him.
  5. He will help bring people into your life who also love Him and offer support when you are tempted.
Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts (2 Timothy 2:22 NLT).

I do understand how difficult walking through storms can be. Maybe you’re like me thinking; I wish God didn’t believe I could handle so much. Suddenly, you realize how awesome it is. He trusts you to SUCCESSFULLY and VICTORIOUSLY go through storms with Jesus. The issue is the devil has conditioned our human brains to focus on the storm and not the Father’s glory. I fall into this trap too. 

It’s like what Paul says in Romans 5:

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation (Romans 5:3-4 NLT).

Paul is telling you that perseverance can develop godly character if you allow it. God wants to use your trial to glorify Himself. He is hoping under the test you will look to Him to work out His purpose through every obstacle and problem you have. The cool thing is when you look to God to do His will – God will give you, His endurance. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that Jesus’ grace is sufficient for you, for your power is made perfect in weakness. When you get God’s seal of approval, you are filled with supernatural peace, hope, and joy. Jesus is always ready to give you, His yoke. The load will be more manageable. However, don’t fool yourself. It’s easy to be filled with God’s peace, joy, and hope and habitually keep reaching to retake all of the load. That’s okay. You’re walking things out. Just keep repenting and asking for the Holy Spirit’s help. You have to keep your eye on Jesus, not the problem (Hebrew 12:2; John 16:33). It’s precisely what Paul means when he says, If God is for you who could be against you (Romans 8:31). If that verse is not real for you yet, please ask the Holy Spirit to help it become real for you! You have to have a revelation on this stuff, which will be between you and the Father. 

 

PRAYER: Father God, Thank You for sacrificing Your only Son so that I could live in your freedom. I come to You today asking for Your help and strength. Please help me to see where I make life harder for myself. Please show me where I am glorifying the enemy in my life. Highlight all the areas in my life where I may be causing trouble or opening myself to temptation. Father, if You are testing me and I am failing – help me to see where I am failing. Father, I want to do Your will for my life. Somedays, it seems so scary and terrifying. Nonetheless, it’s what I want. Please help me to walk boldly, courageously, and fearlessly towards Your will for my life. Always remind me that You are with me and love me. Thank You for Your Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Survival Secret #2: God Will Never Abandon You!

Survival Secret #4: Keep Your Eyes on Jesus!

Part 4 of 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

The world’s philosophy is, “What can’t be cured must be endured.” But Paul radiantly testifies, “What can’t be cured can be enjoyed. I enjoy weakness, sufferings, privations, and difficulties.” So wonderful did he prove God’s grace to be, that he even welcomed fresh occasions of drawing upon its fullness. “I gladly glory … I even enjoy—my thorn.”

– J. Oswald Sanders

Last week I wrote about how our Heavenly Father WANTS to rescue you! He wants to save you and bring you home to Him. As I said last week, when we find ourselves in a storm, it can be pretty easy and natural for us to focus on the storm’s lack, hopelessness, fear, unknown, and discomfort. (Note these are all our senses – our carnal mind, not the mind of Christ which we have).

 Many times, that is what the devil tries to do. He sells you antichrist thoughts for you to believe against God’s Words, which makes it antichrist. These thoughts and sensations feel very real because that is how the devil tempts you – through your carnal mind and five senses. It is incredibly easy for one to be swayed by what he/she sees and feels when walking through a hard time.

Remember, the devil knows how to stir you up. He’s watched you and learned about you. But, our God is bigger than the devil! Our God reminds us His Armor is what protects us from the devil’s schemes.  

Our Father knows the intense difficulty all believers will face on this earth. He knows that believers will face suffering and persecution because Jesus faced it too.

If you think you are better or more significant than Jesus, well, I’m here to tell you, you are not. Since the Father knew that we would live in and face an evil world dominated by evil spirits, He has provided us Jesus’ authority and many verses throughout the Bible that says He, our Heavenly Father, will NEVER leave you, abandon you, nor forsake you!

You must understand that in Christ, you have the greatest riches, gift, possession, and survival raft ever created. What is it, you ask? It is possessing Jesus who promises I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)! This verse indicates the impossibility of Christ deserting His own.

Part of what Hebrews 13:5 is telling us is that we must learn to be content with who we have, what we have, and where we are – even in the midst of the storm. Now, many of you will first think of your material possessions before you think of your relationship with Christ. As a believer in Jesus Christ who is not from this world, you must understand and have the revelation that God’s sufficiency for your needs is all you need. If you don’t have this revelation yet, that’s okay. Keep praying and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal this to you. It’s like what Jesus says in Matthews 7:7:

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you (NLT).

Sometimes we call God a liar – unintentionally, of course. How do we do this? Usually, it’s through our actions and how we are responding during a storm. It can be easy to agree with God when things are going well in your life, but it can be an entirely new story when things are unstable in your life. I can’t speak for you, but when the Holy Spirit convicts me for thinking, doing, or believing that God is a liar, it goes to my bones. I immediately repent and consciously pay better attention, so I don’t fall into such a trap again – at least in the same area where I was convicted.

For instance, some Christians who focus on accumulating money or who may struggle with Fear of Poverty may be saying through their actions that God cannot take care of them the way they want. Yet, the Word clearly says,

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus 

(Philippians 4:19 NKJV).

Now yes, this promise is in congruence with the description of a believer’s faithful stewardship. In other words, if a believer has given their material resources to God, even to the point where the individual’s livelihood was endangered. God would supply their every need.

You see God’s asking every believer to walk in faith, not sight. The Father wants you to put your COMPLETE trust in Him. Now, He also understands it’s going to take time. That’s okay. If you are a babe, toddler, kid, teenager, young adult, or adult in Christ, you can always ask God to help grow you to fully and completely trust Him. But you have your part of doing as well. Faith without works is dead (James 2:26).

It’s incredibly easy to take Philippians 4:19 out of context and use it to soften the Christian walk. Especially for the Christians who are squandering their money on themselves with seldom thought for the work of God. Remember, God’s about servant leadership and sacrificial love. Yes, in a general sense, God will supply His people’s needs; however, Philippians 4:19 is a specific promise to those who are faithful and devoted in their giving to Christ, will never suffer lack. Another reason, for you to rely on God, not yourself or what the world says! Let me ask you, are you using your resources and materials to glorify the Father or yourself?

Yes, you have a part in all of this. God gave you free will, and He’s going to respect it. You have your work, where God has called you to be obedient, and God has His work; you can trust Him to do it because He cannot lie nor change (Hebrews 6:18).

Here’s the thing though, feeling rich, poor, anxious, insecure, hopeless, or fearful can cause you to fall for the lie to love money, which in turn can cause you to lack compassion for others and fall off God’s track for you. Trusting in God to meet ALL your needs will dissolve and wash away all contentment, and isn’t that the scariest part of all storms? You feel like something terrible is going to get in the way? Do you feel like God will not help you? Or maybe you worry God will not come in time!?

God’s ways are perfect (Ps. 18:30). You can trust Him to do what He promises! Below is a sampling of things God promises when you are in a storm:

  • Do not fear for God will strengthen me and help me (Isaiah 41:10)
  • The Lord is good, a STRONG refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him, (Nahum 1:7)
  • The Lord is my light, my salvation, and the strength of my life; who should I be afraid of? (Psalm 27:1) With such protection, I need not be afraid of anyone or anything!
  • Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).

Psalm 22:55 tells us to Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. This verse tells us that in times of trouble, the best course is not to run away from the storm but to cast the burden of the storm(s) on the LORD. It’s like I said above; God wants to do more for you than you may realize. He really does want to do all the heavy lifting! All you have to do is trust Him, stay obedient, and do what He says! Psalm 22:55 is telling us that God is requesting us to now and forever permit Him to bear the burden of our cares! Let God have it! It doesn’t matter if you understand or can even see how God can fix the situation. It’s not about you; it’s about Him.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths!

Are you letting God direct your paths? Or are you fighting God for control because you are afraid and don’t believe He has you?

Sometimes it can be encouraging to remember that not even Apostle Paul’s prayers were answered the way he hoped! God said to Paul; I will not remove the thorn, but I will do something better!! I will give you the grace to bear it. Paul, I’m going to provide you with what you need most deeply. Paul wanted God’s power and strength to accompany him during his preaching, and God saw the best way to give that to Paul was to keep him in a place of weakness. As humans, we can easily buy the lie that our life on earth needs to be easy, comfortable, and effortless.

I know it might be difficult for our human brains to comprehend what God told Paul and tell us with this verse below, but it is better than you may think.

And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Cor. 12:9 NKJV).

You see, God is telling us the companionship of the Son of God inside us, and the assurance of Jesus’ strength and grace is better than the removal of trials and suffering! It really comes down to where you are going to put your attention and how you will choose to show up! Never is God upset that you may be afraid or have a concern. He gets upset when we allow that fear to control us and stop us.

We see this with Paul. Instead of Paul grumbling and complaining about the thorn, he would rather boast in his infirmities. He would get down on his knees and thank the Lord for them. Paul would gladly endure them only if the power of Christ may rest upon him, which Jesus did!

You have to remember, like Paul, to be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV).

Express thanks to God, by praising Him and trusting that He will meet all your needs when you are obedient and faithful to Him. If He doesn’t answer your prayer like Paul, then rejoice and allow God’s grace to be enough for you! The Father will meet you where you are! He wants to do more of the work for you anyways. He needs an open and soft heart.  

As we close this survival tip, let me ask you: 

What do you need to start or stop doing to believe that your God is with you wherever you go?
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 NKJV).

Prayer: Father God, thank You for always being with me. Thank You for never leaving me. Father, help me to keep my eyes on Your grace in the midst of a storm. Give me the strength to always glorify You. Help me to trust You and not to lean on my own understandings. Father, I acknowledge I may not always understand why I am walking through a storm, but I know I can always trust You. I ask you to help me understand Your plan for my life. I thank You for redirecting me and establishing my steps. Father, I give You all of me and my life. I ask that You do Your will in every aspect of my life, and I thank You for your love, gifts, and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Survival Secrets #1: THE FATHER WANTS TO RESCUE YOU!

Survival Secret #1: The Father Wants to Rescue You!

Part 1 of 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

"He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm"

Matthew 8:26

Have you ever found yourself in a difficult season? Maybe it was with someone you love? Perhaps it was your career? Or perhaps you just felt the world was against you!

Whatever the situation was, did you feel overwhelmed and full of anxiety, stress, worry, or fear? Or worse, did you feel hopeless and contemplated giving up? 

Maybe you saw the storm slowly come upon you. Or perhaps you all of a sudden woke up in the middle of it. Whatever your situation was, were you also frustrated, confused, and annoyed at how this could happen? Were you wondering where God was?

I get it. I have been there too. It’s easy to focus on the problem. However, God doesn’t want us to focus on the negativity in the problem or even the problem itself; but on the opportunity for God to be glorified. 

I am very comforted when I read in the Bible how trials, problems, and hardships are great opportunities. I know, I know, I know what you are thinking. ….But I don’t want any problems; I want to live a simple life. Amen, I get it, but unfortunately, we live in a fallen world. Plus, without trials, what would grow your character? Your faith? Your endurance? 

Check out what the Bible says about trials:

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while 
(1 Peter 1:6).
 
No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who have been trained by it 
(Hebrews 12:11).
 
For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil 
(1 Peter 3:17).

Wow, look at all that hope! 🤩 God is saying this storm that seems too much for you is only temporary. It will end. One of the biggest lies most humans believe or start doing is that they see the issue carnally instead of spiritually. I know I fall into this. I go by only what I can see, but that is not faith! For we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). It’s like what 1 Peter 3:17 says, you might be suffering for doing what is right, but the world won’t like that. Let that sink in for a second!

It’s so easy to forget this truth: Satan is the king of this world (2 Cor. 4:4)! If God didn’t allow us to go through these trials, I think we would be more inclined to appease and feed our selfish desires. We would fall back into the ways of the world instead of renewing our minds to the Word of God. Part of surviving the storm is having a godly or Jesus-like mindset. I’m not sure about you, but trials help me grow closer to God. My problems help me to remember how blessed I am. Yes, it’s easier said than done. I haven’t arrived, but each trial is becoming easier and easier, especially when I ask God to do what He wants with it. 

Well, if this is resonating, keep reading! I will discuss the top six things you can do to successfully navigate the storm over the next few weeks. You must understand that you cannot survive if you don’t entirely give it to Jesus. Jesus is the answer. He is the way! Follow Him.

Get ready to learn how to successfully survive the storm over the next 5 weeks. Let’s start with SURVIVAL SECRET #1: THE FATHER WANTS TO RESCUE YOU! 

First off, difficult seasons can be trying for anyone, but we have a Father that loves us. He gave Jesus for you. That is saying something huge. Imagine giving your child up for humanity.

It can be pretty simple to forget that truth – or worse – feel absent from God. Please remember, the Father sees you as worth saving. The Father wants to go out of His way to keep you. You are the apple of His eye. You are engraved on the palms of God’s hands (Isaiah 49:16).

God loves you so much that He is going to look for you. Jesus talks about this truth in Luke 15.

3 So Jesus told them this story: 4 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. 6 When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away (Luke 15:3-7 NLT)!

Jesus explained how the Father would instead leave 99 sheep to search for you if that means you are safe. We both know you are the safest with Jesus. God is willing to leave the sheepfold because He knows the sheepfold are safe, whereas when you leave the sheepfold, you are in danger. God does NOT want you in danger ever. That is why He sent Jesus – to save us. Why would He leave the 99 for you? Because that is how important you are to Him. You are HIGH VALUE to the Father. That’s something you can remember to tell the enemy off too! Can you say? 🥳  WINNING WITH JESUS?!?!🥰. 🎉

God loves each one of His sheep so very much that He is always willing to seek out each one of us when we get lost. When He finds you, He will rejoice! With this parable, the big picture lesson is that there is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents. Joy happens when just ONE sinner repents! WOW! 

When you get swept in the storm, and Jesus needs to come and rescue you, there is probably something you need to repent. It’s okay. Do it and move on.  

Jesus understands how important it is to diligently search for the lost one. Not only does scripture say this, but I have experienced it myself. When storms come, and I allow myself to be washed away by them, Jesus has ALWAYS come searching after me. My experience with being storm chum🦈  has also taught me that there was usually some lie I bought or something I needed to repent. The cool part is the Holy Spirit always gently but with authority shows me where I was wrong and acted with evil. When God and I reconnect, He embraces me and reminds me of the truth – that He loves me and is for me! He then reminds me I can trust Him. You know what, if I am honest with myself, Jesus has always come through! 🙏🏼

If you are a bit like me, sometimes you are too consumed by your carnal sight to remember God’s truths. That’s okay. Recognize, Repent, Recalibrate and Receive God’s forgiveness. I have learned that sometimes the Unloving Spirit will try to trip me up again. I have to stay alert and sober, just like 1 Peter 5:8 says. 

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

One of the devil’s most excellent tactics is to pervert the truth. Perhaps an Unloving Spirit is trying to convince you, you are worthless. Maybe that Spirit is trying to tell you how crappy you are, and you will never amount to anything. All the Unloving Spirit wants to do is make you believe you aren’t worth loving and that you are absolutely unlovable. The Spirit wants you to consider the lie that God doesn’t care about you and that He would never care about you! Yet, there’s literally an entire Bible that says the complete opposite consistently! 

I am here to remind you today that as “real” as those thoughts can feel, don’t buy them. I know, I know, it can be hard to spot that little serpent. The Unloving Spirit is sneaky. It didn’t matter when the Spirit came in; it just matters that you stop buying those lies and stand up to it in Jesus’ name.

Next time you notice that Unloving Spirit trying to gain control, you stand up to that Spirit and remind them who is boss! Remind the Spirit that you are so important to God 💕 that God gave Jesus for your life. Remind that Spirit that even if you are lost, you can trust that Jesus is coming after you! You tell that Spirit you are made righteous through Christ Jesus. You have to stand up to that Spirit the second you realize it. 

Sometimes, life will go so fast that you won’t notice you were even in that storm. That’s okay. Don’t get mad at yourself. Again, that’s what the devil wants. Learn from it! However, once you repent, God has already forgiven you and forgotten about it. You have to have that same attitude. Let it go!

Part of surviving the storms is to remember that you are so important to God and worth rescuing. He wants to save you. IF you need His help, I encourage you to pray. He hears you! 

PRAYER:  Father God, thank You for loving me so much. Please forgive me on the days I choose not to believe in or see Your love. Help me to remain in Your love and Your truth. Help me rely on You and not be fooled by the devil. Father, give me discernment where I need it and help remind me to focus on You and nothing else. Thank You for saving me and giving me Your mercy. Thank You for forgiving me, and thank You for giving me, Jesus. During every storm, help me to acknowledge You and only You. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

7 Healthy Ways to Resolve Relationship Conflict

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds."

2 Corinthians 10:3-4

For the sake of this writing, I will focus on the husband-and-wife relationship, however, you can use these tips for navigating conflict in all relationships!

First off, the battle is not with your spouse, that friend, the coworker, or whomever.  

The battle is not against flesh and blood

(Eph. 6:12).

If the battle is not against flesh and blood, that then removes humans TOTALLY from the battleground. 

Yet, sometimes, in the HEAT of the moment, it’s not that simple to remember. That truth made me ask myself: What are some things you can start training yourself to do so you don’t fall for Satan’s bait? 

FIRST:  BE SLOW TO ANGER! 

Learning how to maintain or gain control of yourself might take time. That’s okay. I encourage you to ask the Father and the Holy Spirit to help you with this. However, I hope this article helps you understand the biblical truths into that conflict!

 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly (silliness/foolishness) (Proverbs 14:29).

Why does God want us to be slow to anger? Well, for one, it can keep those evil spirits out of you, and secondly, we are to imitate Christ! Christ only got angry at the spirits inside of people! But, let’s talk about the first reason, accidentally coming into agreement with the evil spirits behind the conflict. Again, it’s straightforward to forget the truth that we are not and NEVER will fight against humans but against those spirits.

When in conflict with people, your brain thinks you are in conflict with that person, but you are actually in conflict with the spirits within that individual. These spirits can control a person when the person gives consent. (It can be easy to give consent too). You won’t always see the spirits inside of the person, except for when those spirits are tormenting that person. If you are not careful, those spirits will manifest in you. What happens next is, both you and the person you think you are in conflict with will have spirits playing back and forth in what feels like a war zone, and you both become the victims! You both lose. The Devil has you both, and you are both experiencing his fruit: destruction, death, fear, and evil. I promise God does not want this. He wants love, compassion, sacrifice, mercy, and grace. 

You are wanted as a medium of expression for the principalities and powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.  Remember, Satan, and his kingdom cannot manifest in the physical dimension unless they have a vessel. Until those spirits have a vessel, they are caught in a place of torment themselves, between heaven and earth. The evil spirits only have thoughts of evil but with no way to express it. They can get you to agree with them by sending that thought through your mind and hoping you use your free will to grab on to it! The manifestation looks like saying that mean or unforgiving comment or accusing your spouse of doing something, and so forth, which leads me to the second thing you can do. 

SECOND: CAST DOWN ALL IMAGINATIONS OR THOUGHTS THAT ARE AGAINST GOD’S NATURE

That is why Paul reminds the Corinthians of what to do when evil comes into your mind, and it’s true for us today! 

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Cor. 10:5).

You are to hold every thought captive, casting it down and grasping it. I imagine myself tearing wallpaper down and throwing it out the door! 

Now pay attention because here is where many of the spiritual warfare teachings stop short. They teach you how to do warfare, but they do not teach you how to be obedient to God. 

Verse six says: And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled (2 Cor 10:6).  

You cannot have power over the Devil in spiritual warfare if you first have not fulfilled obedience to God’s Word. Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I am NOT talking about legalism here. It’s impossible to keep the law perfectly, but God cannot change nor lie either. 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (Eph. 2:8)

The Father will not heal you and let you keep the fear that’s causing your problems (Romans 12:2). If God did this, it would make Him unholy. It’s impossible to defeat the Devil if you will not fully submit yourself to the Father. 

THREE: SUBMIT YOURSELF TO GOD

James says, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

Praise the Lord the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will walk with you and teach you how to do this way better than any human could! 

Let me ask you, Where do you need to submit to the Father when you are in conflict with your spouse, sibling, friend, or whomever? Where could reminding yourself you are a disciple of Christ help you reflect God’s light in moments of conflict? 

Much of what the Father asks us to do requires stepping out in faith and trusting Him that His ways will be best, which is why we are to be obedient to Him! 

FOUR: SLOW TO SPEAK

… Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, (James 1:19)

 As a mental health practitioner, I can confidently say that most of the disputes/conflicts people have in ALL their relationships result from miscommunication! Isn’t the devil the author of confusion and perversion? 

When you are slow to speak, a few neat things naturally happen! First, you will naturally think about what you are about to say. Second, you will have more control in confirming that your words are edifying to that individual (Eph. 4:29). Third, you can respond with compassion, grace, and mercy, just as the Father does with you! Four, you can think about ways to listen to what the individual is saying and work to find an agreement! 

Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? (Amos 3:3)

To walk together, you MUST lay your pride down (Proverbs 13:10) and listen to find understanding (James 1:8). When you find understanding, you can walk with that person in agreement (Amos 3:3). When you walk in agreement, you can begin to communicate accurately. It becomes easier to listen to one another open-mindedly and compassionately because you know you are for one another instead of against! When you know someone is for you – well, that creates a lot less stress!

If you want to remain in a healthy, loving, and passionate relationship, you will need to learn how to do this. It’s a skill. It takes work. It takes conscious practice. Slow down. Ask questions that help you both better understand where the miscommunication has occurred. 

📖👉 Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm (Psalm 37:8). 👈 📖

FIVE: HAVE AN UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD FOR OTHERS

Stop thinking worst-case scenario. Love is a choice, just like thinking the worst-case scenario is one too!

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Cor. 13:7). 

It can be challenging to remember the one you are in conflict with is someone who wants the best for you. Do your best to remind yourself that your spouse also chose to be with you too! Assume best-case scenario. Take a second, breath, count down from 31 (as an emotion can only last 30 seconds before it does become your choice to carry it out). 

SIX: COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY

But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil (Matt. 5:37)

Say what you mean and nothing more! 

It’s important to remember communication can be hard to understand because we think in images, not words! Some words create concrete pictures in our minds, and others are more abstract.

For instance, the word “chair” is clearly depicted in your mind within nanoseconds. Yet, words like “justice” or “hope” take longer to form in the mind. It can also be the same with words like that draw a picture in our mind, but maybe not the specific image you meant. Maybe when you said “dog,” your spouse went to Shih-Tzu, where you meant Lab!

One of the best things you can say to your spouse in a spat saturated in miscommunication is: What did you hear, What do you see in your mind, or Can you paint the picture you see from what I have said?

 Additionally, abstract words will be influenced by the individual’s beliefs. Therefore, when you say abstract words, make sure you communicate precisely what that word means in your mind. Don’t assume your spouse gets it. 

SEVEN: FIGHT HEALTHY & WANT THE OTHER TO WIN!

Remind each other you for them. One of the best ways you can learn to fight with your spouse is by having this attitude: You have to want them to win, and they have to want you to succeed. When that occurs, you both are winning, practicing sacrifice, and showing self-less love. The Father sacrificed His Son for you, don’t be surprised that He asks us to sacrifice things in relationships too! 

The goal in romantic relationships is to always help the one you love to win! Love sacrifices, now that does not mean you are not to have boundaries. However, we will talk about limits another time. And if you both are willing to do what’s best for the other, you both will win. Have each other’s back and help each other become better, not bitter! 

Relationships can be challenging at times, especially if you struggle with self-righteousness. However, if you can focus on all the good things your partner does for you, instead of all the things he/she does to annoy you, you might naturally strengthen your relationship!

📖👉 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? (Ecclesiastes 4:9-11). 👈 📖

P.S: If you enjoyed this blog, I would be incredibly grateful if you could take just 30 seconds to share this blog with a friend on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Tag @RenewMinistriesOnline in the share, too, please! God bless you! 😇🙏🏼.

How to Focus on Your Goals and Live Intentionally Like Jesus!

How to Focus on Your Goals and Live Intentionally Like Jesus!

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV

One thing I consciously work to do is:  LIVE INTENTIONALLY! Sometimes I, too, need downtime or to do “mindless things.” As a follower of Christ, a mental health coach, and a teacher of the Word, I understand the importance of living by your values, even when it involves mindless activities. I am a big fan of learning. In fact, I “relax” by learning. One of my favorite things to do is play word searches to improve my focus and speed-reading skills. 

Most word searches have a word bank that helps you identify the words you have to find for that particular puzzle. Without that word bank, it would be tough to verify if that word you saw was a word you were supposed to find. That’s when it hit me! 

We need to create our own word bank but of goals.

When you know the word you need to find, your mind works with you to help you find that word. Your brain will start to filter out all the letters absent in that word you are looking for and begin filtering in all the letters that are in that word you are looking for. It’s the same with goals. 

Sometimes, you will come across another word in that bank when you are looking for a specific word from that bank. Why is that? Because your mind is consistently seeing the word bank and looking for those words in the sea of letters.

Your self-talk is similar to this! Does your self-talk sound like Jesus’ or the worlds?

Since your self-talk tells your mind what to look for, the brain then will only highlight what you are consciously looking for – there are too many stimuli in the world for your brain to filter it all in!

 When you are reading the word bank, you tell your mind what to look for. Your body works with and apart from thought! Now, this is an excellent example of what it feels like to participate with your conscious mind. The same is true when you engage in your goals, as mentioned above. 

Again, we work to create our most dominant thoughts. As a man thinks in his heart, so he is (Proverbs 23:7).

Sometimes, you stare at the entire puzzle; you are merely trying to take in all the letters in hopes a word pops out to you. Maybe then you decide to pick a certain word from the bank, looking for it in the sea of letters when SUDDENLY – 💥BAM💥  you find that word! This is an example of your mind responding to thought! It works the same way when we are in “life.”

When you re-expose yourself consciously to your list of goals, you help yourself achieve your goals. Jesus is a great example of this. Since He was always saying what the Father told Him to say. He never lost focus or track of His goal. Jesus never stopped thinking about His primary goals: glorifying the Father, staying in constant relationship with the Father, and teaching people about their authority in Him! It’s fair to say Jesus never lost sight of His personal mission in life!

You can re-expose yourself to your goals by reading your goals as much as possible, envisioning yourself achieving those goals, or intentionally meditating on the goals throughout the day. It will eventually get into your nonconscious mind. What we meditate on shapes up! As you progress through the days, life experiences, and life challenges, your mind will find opportunities that relate to or lead you to accomplish those goals faster. Of course, the same can be said by doing the opposite way of living. You know, when you focus on the short-term, flesh, and lust-filled things. You either are living intentionally by your values or passively not knowing what your values really are!

I am a firm believer your brain can be trained to work with you or against you. Satan can and will try to sell you lies. There are principalities of darkness who are chomping at the bit to teach you to think in a deadly way – in a way that torments, controls, and paralyzes you!  

Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).

Remember, Jesus always spoke what He wanted to see. Jesus only said life. He always stayed in agreement and in the will of His Father as well! We are to walk in that image! Speaking life, the solution, and always praising the Father. 

Most people fail at achieving their new year’s resolutions because they identify their goals, write them down, and then push them to the side. One needs to consciously participate with those goals every day as much as possible by reading them out loud and consciously meditating on them. It’s so important to see yourself accomplishing said goals too!

There are plenty of verses that speak to the significance of continually meditating on God’s word and not allowing scripture to depart from your eyes. The same is valid with goals. Proverbs 28:19 says:

Where there is no vision [no revelation of God and His word], the people are unrestrained; But happy and blessed is he who keeps the law [of God] (AMP).

This verse says that when the Word of God is not known or honored, the people run wild. The ones who obey the law (Word of God) are the truly blessed ones. We could take the same principle and apply it to our goals. If your goals are not known to you and are not honored by your choices, you will run wild and, most likely, miss opportunities or delay yourself from getting there. The reality is if you identify your goals and push them to the side, your focus will go with them too. Ultimately, you become more easily distracted by “bright shiny object syndrome.” You know where EVERYTHING seems like a great idea, and you can do it all! …. Only to find out that you can’t and that you have exhausted yourself trying to do so!

Ironically, neuroscience supports this. By consciously thinking and envisioning yourself accomplishing the goal that you want to achieve for a total of one hour a day for 180 days straight, you will have a 90% improvement in reaching that goal or gaining a clearer vision of that goal.  Either way, the results are in your favor! 

It's so important to live life intentionally, as Jesus exemplifies in the Gospel.

We know this to be true because the Bible is truth! However, neuroscience supports these findings because of how the Reticular Activity System (RAS) works and how God designed our minds. Car shopping is an excellent example of how one’s RAS works. When you are contemplating buying a particular car, your mind will highlight that car to your conscious mind every time it is close to you! 

You start to think, “hmm… this car is everywhere.” The reality is there are not any more of these cars than there were before. The difference is now you notice them! You told your mind what to look for, and it responded. Your brain starts to filter in the stimuli you put in through your self-talk and what you meditate on throughout the day. This is also the power of intentional living and having a single-minded focus….just like Jesus did. Remember, a double-minded man is unstable in all that they do (James 1:8).

Now since you, probably, weren’t aware you told yourself to look for that car, this would be an example of how your brain works apart from thought. Just like you don’t tell yourself to breathe! Notice how both conscious and unconscious thought guides you to action!? Perhaps, this explains Proverbs 23:7?

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior—one who manipulates].

You do what is in your heart (mind).

Thought becomes words - words become actions - actions become habits -habits become your character- and your character becomes your destiny!

I think this is why God reminds us to meditate on His word and told us so many times, “do not be afraid.” He knew precisely what would rotten the soul – and He was right! Duh

 However, when you do not live an intentional life with a clear vision, you are wandering. When you wander, your mind will still work as described above. The most significant difference is when you lack keen focus or direction, everything can become a path you could walk down, or everything becomes an opportunity. It will start to feel like you are treading water instead of moving towards your goals. 

A man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead (Proverbs 21:16).

 Living intentionally and practicing thought-control will bring you more useful information, and the other brings, potentially, more useless information. To bring this back to the word search, this would be an example of when you find a word that is not in the word bank. 

 When you look for what you are focusing on and only what you are focusing on, it’s easier to successfully and timely accomplish your goals. Think back to the last word search you did. Didn’t everything else become less important until after you completed the puzzle? 

When concentrating on a word search, the focus you have is the same single-minded intensity and self-discipline you need to achieve your goals. 

The Bible also says the same thing with the following verses:

So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened (Luke 11:9-10).

Let me ask you…

👉  Where do you need to be more intentional with your goals? 

👉  Where are you departing from godly wisdom in your life?

👉  Where can you start disciplining your flesh to be more like Christ? 

👉  Where can you start living more intentionally versus passively?

PRAYER: Father God, thank You for aligning my desires with Your desires. If there are any goals I want to or am pursuing that do not align with Your will, help me to see that and lose interest in them! Help me to live more intentionally and with a Jesus-like focus. Father help me to achieve only what You would like me to achieve. Holy Spirit help me to stay on the Father’s path for my life. Thank You for nudging me and loving me when I take a wrong step, and more importantly, thank You for getting me back on track. Father, thank You for sacrificing Your Son for me! Thank You for all that You are doing in my life, and I ask You to use me in Your Kingdom however You planned. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

P.S: If you enjoyed this blog, I would be incredibly grateful if you could take just 30 seconds to share this blog with a friend on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Tag Renew Ministries in the share, please! God bless you! 😇🙏🏼.

The Number One Way to Get Motivated and Stay Motivated

The Number One Way to Get Motivated and Stay Motivated

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

"The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.'”

Billy Graham

Are you ready to get motivated?

Many people contact me asking, “How do I get motivated?” Getting motivated can be challenging, especially if it’s around a task you don’t want to do. Remember, we (believers) do not work for human masters but for the Lord. Sometimes reminding yourself of what Colossians 3:23-24 can be quite powerful:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

I get it, though. Sometimes that’s simpler said than done. Some of what I talk about is simple but not necessarily easy. First, let’s get clear on how motivation is created! Perhaps this will help it all click!

Motivation comes from activation.

A ball does not get momentum until some energy force activates it! As the ball begins to move, it picks up speed (momentum).

Therefore, you must get activated! The only way you will get motivation is by starting. Through taking that first step, the activation occurs, which can lead to the creation of motivation. Now here’s the thing – Watch your feelings!

You might not feel like doing it; that’s why Paul tells us not to focus on how we

feel, in 2 Corinthians 5:7:

For we live by faith, not by sight.

Assuming what you want to do is in line with the Word of God and what God wants you to do, you are going to have to start even when you feel reluctant. Ultimately, God and His Word need to inform your feelings. When you are tempted to listen to your emotions or your feelings are overwhelming you, resubmit yourself to God (James 4:7) – look to what the Word says! If your feelings line up with what the Word says, then excellent, follow that! But if your feelings contradict what the Word says, then say “no” to those thoughts or that activity. Regardless of how strong those feelings are! Emotions and feelings are not always trustworthy. Remember, God’s Word is your foundation and guide! Live by the Word of God, not your feelings.

It’s okay not to want to do something; don’t beat yourself up for it. That’s what the Devil wants you to do anyway. If Satan can get you condemning yourself, he won’t have to! Instead, accept the fact you don’t feel like doing it! Acknowledge your feelings as a feeling, not the truth, while remembering that your feelings can change quite quickly, and then begin. Sometimes what you

don’t feel like doing is precisely what you do need to do. If I am 100% honest, sometimes you just have to kick yourself in the booty by giving yourself tough love and get down to work!

For example, I don’t always like going to the gym, but I love how I feel afterward. Sometimes I think about what it will feel like once it’s completed (long-term thinking), verse how it feels right now (short-term thinking). Or sometimes, I don’t feel like seeing clients, but then I remember how much I love what I do and that the Father wants me to serve other people, and this is one way of doing that!

Here's a quick trick that can alleviate those domineering and entrapping thoughts when you really don't want to do something that you know you need to do!

I tell many of my clients to set a timer for 20 minutes. The reality is 20-minutes is not much time at all. So set your timer for 20 minutes and begin doing the task you feel unmotivated to do. Even if that means sitting in front of the computer screen, standing on the cardio equipment, or whatever it is you need to do. Remember, you’re only going to be doing it for 20 minutes. You can do it for 20-minutes!

Now, if you don’t get traction, which can happen, then stop! Some days when I am unsure if I want to work out, I will do this. I know, after 20-minutes, if my body doesn’t want to work out, then maybe that is the day I need to take a rest day!

What about those where you would like to do a hobby but just don’t feel like you have the energy? What do you do? The same thing. Even if that means you stare at the computer screen or paper for 20-minutes. Allow yourself to gently ease into things. Watch your expectations. It’s okay to go slow.

You see, what usually happens is you begin activating your motivation by just doing the activity. You will find the 20 minutes will fly by too. Most likely, you will end up continuing on with the task of realizing that it was not as bad as you were making it out to be. Some activities might take more time to get into the grove of things making the first 20 minutes go by slower than you hope, and that’s okay.

Sometimes you aren’t getting traction because you aren’t clear of all the steps necessary. If that’s the case, take a few minutes to plan out all the steps you need to take to get you to finish the line. I encourage you to work backward from the goal. Also, make the steps smaller as it is easier to get you motivated and committed.

Other times you may not want to try the thing you would like to do or know you need to do because of fear. That’s okay. Again acknowledge that fear by doing what Jesus would do! Sometimes you will need to tell the Devil or his principalities to “get behind you” (Matthew 16:23) just as Jesus did! Bear in mind, the Father NEVER gave you a spirit of fear! For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). Tell the Spirit of Fear to get behind you, for it’s not coming from the Father. Allow the Father’s grace to be sufficient for you while holding on to the truth that YOU CAN do all things through Christ who gives you strength (2 Cor. 12:9; Philippians 4:13).

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Encourage yourself as the Father is encouraging you!

Lastly, do not forget that YOU CAN do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13, parentheses added). Perhaps reciting this verse would be a great way to encourage yourself but also to allow Jesus’ strength to move you versus your own.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your grace and power. Thank You for all that you do. Father, help me to stay focused on the mission You have for my life. Help me be motivated and do all the things that I need to do and don’t want to do. Help me fight laziness and the devil with Your strength and not my own. Help me to be productive and remind me that all I do is for You! I love You and receive Your love and Your plans for my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Be Brave and Be the Person God Designed You to Be!

Be Brave and Be the Person God Designed You to Be!

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

— Isaiah 64:8

Are you celebrating the individuality and uniqueness that you have to offer? Or are you comparing yourself to everyone else? Limiting yourself to be the person God designed you to be? 

There is no one else on this earth like you! Out of 7 billion-plus people in this world, there is only one you! You are special. You are one of a kind. You are the apple of God’s eye (Psalm 17:8).

Do not follow the crowd because you are fearful of embracing the person God created you to be. 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Following the world’s way and remaining in fear is precisely what the devil hopes and wants you to do (John 10:10). Besides, if the majority were “right” in their choice of living and thinking, wouldn’t they be happier? More prosperous? More courageous? More hopeful? 

As a mental health coach, I am always amazed to see the amount of hurt, pain, and suffering in people who have conformed to this world. I am convinced this is why Paul says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).” 

Paul warns us not to follow the world. I believe it is because he knew how it would ultimately destroy us. The only thing that can save you is renewing your mind through the Holy Spirit’s help and reading your bible. 

In fact, God tells us to keep His Word as the apple of our eye. 

Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye (Proverbs 7:2).

In all my years of working as a mental health practitioner, plus being someone who enjoys researching human behavior, I have noticed something eye-opening. Those who have a pure and robust relationship with Christ had minimal to zero “problems.” Yes, they had problems or obstacles in life, but they remained at peace because they genuinely trusted the Lord. They depended on Him, not themselves. I can’t say the same for anyone else! I think that is saying something. 

If you feel you need to change, it’s important that change is encouraged and influenced by the Godhead (The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). What will this feel like? Well, God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will do this in a way where you feel CONVICTED to change, not condemned. The devil is the one who makes you feel condemnation. Therefore, if you notice fear is your motivator, then the devil is the one who puts that on you. God is love, and He is going to convict you to change, not condemn you! He will also make away. The Father will never ask you to do something you cannot do! 

Do not be afraid of being judged because the truth is, people will judge you no matter what you do or don’t do. You cannot please everyone! When you walk in truth (John 8:32) and grow your relationship with Christ, the things you fear will begin to fall off of you, or you will start to walk out of them. 

Perhaps fear of man is something you struggle with, and you know this. One thing you can do is pray to God, asking for His guidance and help. Then you can go to the Word and find scriptures to meditate on to help you renew your mind (Romans 12:2) even faster. I once was terrified of man because of the extreme abuse I dealt with as a child, then one day, God brought me to this verse: 


No man shall take me out of His hand, for I have eternal life (John 10:29). 

I began meditating on this verse as much as I could. When I noticed I felt afraid of what a man could do to me, I would quietly recite this verse to myself. Immediately I would be comforted by the Holy Spirit and reminded that if a man did chose to assault me, it would be temporary. It would end, and I would go be with the Lord. It’s like what Paul says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21)

How you feel is how you feel, but please know your feelings are not the truth. Your feelings can lie to you and limit you. In fact, some neuroscientists are saying that our emotions have an emotional maturity of a 2-3-year-old! Let that sink in!!! 

You are entitled to your opinions, just as others are entitled to theirs. But that doesn’t mean either one of you is “RIGHT.” God’s Word is the TRUTH! Therefore if your opinion contradicts that, then most likely you too are wrong. Don’t let your pride consume you! Be the person you have always dreamt of being, and I pray that person reflects God’s light. Because whatever you do, if you aren’t reflecting God’s light, you will never be truly satisfied in life (John 6:35).

Jesus replied to them, I am the Bread of Life. The one who comes to Me will never be hungry, and the one who believes in Me [as Savior] will never be thirsty [for that one will be sustained spiritually] (John 6:35). 

Unsaved people, and unfortunately, even some saved individuals, will judge you regardless of what you do or don’t do. Therefore the best thing you can do is courageously follow Christ. Besides, give them a few seconds and they will go back to thinking about themselves again! It’s your life – be smart – follow Christ!

Remain alert. Keep standing firm in your faith. Keep on being courageous and strong (1 Corinthians 16:13).

Make yourself happy by CHOOSING to follow Christ! It is through the shedding of His blood that you are saved! Besides, people who judge are only motivated by their self-righteous insecurities, unhappiness, and other negative emotions and feelings. Essentially, they are a slave to the devil (Romans 6:20). 

Please do not be afraid to embrace the one-of-a-kind individual God created you to be. He knows you better than you know yourself, so please trust Him (Jeremiah 1:5). Do not be afraid to do what you desire to do because you fear what people will think or say about you (this would be fear of man). Remember, as you continue seeking God, He will give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37:4).

I promise you can’t please everyone, but you can please God, and it’s simpler than you think! It is also so much more satisfying than trying to please man who can’t agree on everything but just some things. Even still, there is someone who disagrees. Man is lost. God is not!

People who love you and honestly care about you will not judge you but encourage you to do what makes your heart sing and achieve your dreams. God does this as well. In fact, God is your biggest fan!

Surround yourself with people who encourage you, people who make you feel great about yourself. Avoid hanging out with people who drain you or create negative energy within you. 


Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm (Proverbs 13:20).


You were born into this world for a reason. You have a purpose.

PRAYER: Father God, Thank you for creating me to be me. Thank you for your unconditional love for me. Thank you for your forgiveness when I fail to love myself as you have designed me. Father, help me to walk boldly in the skills, talents, and uniqueness you have given me. Help me to grow my character to be more like Christ. I want to see myself as you see me. Thank you for helping me to see and love myself as you love me. In Jesus’ name.