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.

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

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.

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! 😇🙏🏼.

STOP, Do You Know How to Receive God’s Wisdom?


STOP, Do You Know How to Receive God's Wisdom?

By: Austin Creecy

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

— Colossians 3:16

You can gain wisdom! We all could benefit from more wisdom in our lives. God wants to give you His understanding – His knowledge! James 1:5 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. All you have to do is ask God for wisdom, and He will give it to you! How glorious is that? Another example of how much God loves you! Now, remember you must be willing to do what He says!

 

God shows us through Proverbs how to gain divine knowledge, as well as how to put aside our foolish ways. 

 

The word Proverbs refers to “sayings of the wise.” The Book of Proverbs compares and contrasts what living wisely versus foolishly looks like and will bring. The goal of Proverbs is to clearly show the reader how to live life wisely and skillfully. 

 

It is believed that if one implants into his or her life the moral disciplines commanded in chapters 1-9 and masters the practical application of wisdom expressed in chapters 10-31, he or she will indeed have an abundant and successful life. 

 

Most of Proverbs was written by the wisest man ever to live, Solomon. He was writing to his sons. He hoped to make sure they lived long lives and lived them well for God. In doing this, he walks us through how to live wisely and how to live foolishly. 

 

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7 NIV).

 

The word “fool” in Proverbs 1:7 means foolish or silly but can also mean perverse. It views another as behaving like a “fool,” which signifies the individual lacks wisdom and allows the enemy to perverts what they perceive. 

 

Let’s say one is reading his or her Bible to check a box. Let’s assume said individual is not paying attention to the words or meditating on them the way God advises. Essentially, the person commits 30-minutes to God and then does the rest of his or her day without Him. Therefore, this individual would be participating with foolishness. 

 

God wants to be in every part of your life. 

 

God is good! He loves you so much. Yes, maybe the person in the example above is getting some insights, but the real question here is – Is the individual growing godly fruit? Remember, the Father is the vine, and His body of Christ are the branches. Jesus evens says a person can recognize another by their fruits. What fruits are growing on your vine? Godly fruits or fruits of the devil? 

 

Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law must not depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in all you do.” 

 

Please understand that merely reading the Word to check a box is not what God is asking. The Father wants you to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). He wants a relationship with you. He is asking you to grow godly fruit and abide by Him in all things. Reading the Word and believing God will do it all for you is foolish thinking! This kind of thinking makes an individual a fool in that department. 

 

Proverbs 1:7 states, “…fools despise wisdom and instructions.” I can attest to this as it is something I have struggled with in my past. I didn’t see my thoughts as being foolish, let alone even behaving foolishly. Yet, when I would sit down and reflect, I realize I didn’t want instruction or help. I was operating from a self-righteous stance, not a righteous one. I was playing the role of God instead of obeying God. 

 

After all, I was living what I believed at the time was the “right way.” At least that is the lie that the enemy was feeding me, and I chose to agree with it. 

 

Of course, the enemy wants us to stay foolish in our thinking and lean on our own understanding. However, Proverbs 3:5 reminds you: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” That means sometimes you will not understand why God is encouraging you to do it the way He is. That’s okay. Trust Him. He’s wiser than you!

 

I know some Christians struggle with thinking they are doing things the way Jesus would. Yet, when they take a closer look, they realize they are missing those subtle and sometimes not so subtle nudges from the Holy Spirit.

 

If you are anything like I once was, sometimes it’s a pile of nudges! 

 

It’s easy to struggle with pride. I have learned my pride can sometimes sound like this: “Oh no, you’re doing everything right. You are doing everything as close as you can to Christ. You do not see growth in your spiritual life because the Spirit just isn’t feeding you.” 

 

That, my brothers and sisters, are lies from the devil! 

 

The truth is I was struggling to grow in my spiritual life because I was spending more time checking boxes and being double-minded in some areas of my life instead of focusing on the word and keeping my eyes set upon the Lord. I thought my focus was on the Lord. However, when I held the mirror up to myself, I realized I was not. We all stumble at times – that is to be human. That’s okay. Quickly repent and move on. Our Father in Heaven is incredibly loving and forgiving. 

 

What we need to remember is God loves you so much!! If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

 

He will give you wisdom! All you need to do is ask. A healthy prayer life casts those prayers to Him, entrusting them with Him, and seeking wisdom or discernment when something is not adding up. The Father does not want to hide anything from you, but He also might not tell you everything you want to know. That’s okay. Trust His wisdom. 

 

For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6).

 

If you follow the passage above, you will ask the Lord for wisdom, and you will want to spend time in His Word. You must trust that He will show you, but it may be in His perfect timing, not yours. 

 

When I struggle with a lack of wisdom, I ask the Lord to guide me, and then I choose to abide in His prompts. If I feel I am not hearing Him clearly, I remind myself that I know His voice, then I read Proverbs or go to those letters in red. Who is better to learn wisdom from but Jesus Christ Himself! Do I need to remind you that Christ is God in the flesh?!

 

Usually, once I spend some time in His word, wherever that may be, He shows me the area I am struggling with and how to defeat it. Sometimes God guides me through a conversation with my wife or a family member. Sometimes it’s even a short conversation with a stranger. 

 

If you ask, God will show you. We must remember to be still, know that He is God, and listen to Him. Remember, Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.”

 

I have found myself at times behaving foolishly, yet I still believe I am doing the right thing. Except I start to notice life seems a little harder, and I don’t always clearly hear God. When I see this, I recalibrate and find life is more comfortable, more joyful, and smoother in all ways with Him guiding me. Walking with Christ next to you through life and allowing Him to guide you and fill you up allows for the opportunity for the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) to manifest in your life. Living in the fruits of the Spirit is EMPOWERING and FREEING! 

 

I invite you to take a moment today and ask God for wisdom. Perhaps you are searching for divine knowledge on how you live better for Him and His Kingdom. Or maybe you need wisdom regarding a current temptation or sin in your life. Perhaps you are looking for divine knowledge to navigate the normal day-to-day in this hectic, crazy fallen world. Whatever it is – ask God today and entrust that He is or will answer you! 

 

I hope that by gaining wisdom, you will hopefully STOP choosing to live foolishly and continue your growth towards being more like Christ. 

 

Your holy Heavenly Father loves you more than your human mind can even fathom. He yearns for a relationship with you! The Father can grow His relationship with His children to impart His wisdom – His way of thinking and seeing- on to you. 

 

The new year is right around the corner, and I hope you start, if you haven’t already, asking The Father to show you His wisdom and love for you every day so that you can be even closer to Him now!

 

Make gaining God’s wisdom a priority in your life! Don’t be fooled by the biggest fool of all, the devil. 

Wearing God’s Breastplate of Righteousness

God’s Armor: The Belt of Truth

Part 2 of 7

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

“Truth and the breastplate of righteousness—being right with God— strengthen us in all our endeavors. We need the shoes of preparation on any of life’s fields, along with the shield of faith—like football pads— to protect against the enemy’s attacks. The helmet of salvation, like a football helmet, also keeps us safe. Praying each day and putting on the full armor of God will help us gain an automatic first down—a deeper connection in God’s zone— and a sure win on any playing field.”

Jake Byrne

Good day to you! It is going to be a great day! Are you ready to experience all God has in store for you?

We are continuing forward with the psychology and Jesus series. Primarily I am writing about how to live intentionally and proactively with Jesus Christ. Remember, the devil is like a roaring lion waiting to see whom he can devour. Are you going to become the devil’s prey?

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Since the devil couldn’t care less about your prosperity, success, or cultivating a thriving life, he is going to do everything he can to stop you! You know he’s going to attack you! It’s one of life’s guarantees, but Jesus said he came to give you an abundant life (John 10:10). Therefore, the question arises, are you going to focus on the trials or the abundance Jesus brought to you?

Last week we talked about how to put on and apply the Belt of truth successfully. Today we are going to talk about wearing your BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS effectively and courageously.

First, let’s unpack the word “righteousness” concerning the Word and God.

Righteousness means “right standing with God.” Doing things God’s way, not the world’s way! The old English of righteousness is “right” and means wise, way, or manner. When you begin to trust yourself, you may find yourself operating more in your God-given gifts and talents. From there, your ability to discern wisdom will significantly grow, and I encourage you to practice that. The more you do something, the easier it is to build in it. The more you do it, the better you will get!

Now here is where things can get tricky. It would be best if you remember your worth. You must retain your worth concerning God and how God sees you, not how you see yourself. You must remember, in God’s eyes, you are fantastic, excellent, and loved. You must remember that God will never leave you or forsake you and that he is always with you regardless of whether you feel it.

Part of successfully wearing God’s armor is remembering how much God loves you, even if you won’t allow him into your world. God loves you, even if you aren’t living to His standards. The only difference is when you live by His standards, you become right with God; therefore, you are righteous. However, God will always accept you, and that’s powerful whether you realize it or not.

History of the Breastplate of Righteousness:

The Roman soldiers would have fastened the breastplate around their chest. Now there were two types of breastplates back then. The first type was fashioned by joining several broad curved metal bands together using leather thongs. The second kind was a type of chainmail made up of small metal rings linked together until they formed a vest.

The purpose of both types of breastplates was the same – to protect the soldier’s vital organs.

And guess what? That is precisely what God wants to do with you. When you place on the breastplate of righteousness, you are allowing God to protect your vital organs. Successfully wearing this armor comes down to whether you know what is in right standing with God – what God approves – versus what God does not stand for, agree with, believe.

If you choose to sin, then God can’t stop you from doing it per se. He can influence you and encourage you not to through the Holy Spirit, but you have free will. When you sin or do something outside of God’s encouragement, desires, or law, you have taken off the breastplate armor, saying, “Hey, God, I got this! I don’t need your help anymore.” Now, this is dangerous because, without that breastplate, the fiery darts from the enemy can begin to penetrate you.

He put on righteousness as his body armor and placed the helmet of salvation on his head. He clothed himself with a robe of vengeance and wrapped himself in a cloak of divine passion (Isaiah 59:17).

Application of the Breastplate of Righteousness:

Here’s the thing, God offers His righteousness to every believer in Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5; Philippians 3:9).

If God offers His righteousness to every believer in Jesus Christ, then what does it mean to put on and successfully wear the breastplate of righteousness?

Well, first, it’s choosing to believe and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. It’s understanding in your heart, not your mind. It is knowing you cannot be righteous (or in right standing) with God until you see Jesus as your Lord and Savior – as the Son of Our Father in Heaven. It’s learning to stand firm against injustice and corruption (Leviticus 19:15; Hebrews 1:9). Isaiah is a beautiful chapter in the Bible that talks about doing things even if you sense fear. It’s choosing to move forward even with the sensation of fear and trusting God to be your advocate and protector. Lastly, it’s knowing that God promised His protection against evil forces for those who have faith in Jesus (2 Thessalonians 3:3).

The application of wearing the breastplate of righteousness is more about walking in faith, your beliefs, and how much you apply God’s word in your life. If you’re a part-time believer, you’re going to get part-time results.

But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of our hope of salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:8).

In closing, think about how you participate in life. How do you respond to hardships? … to trials? Do you believe God’s promise his protection against the forces of evil for those who have faith in Christ? Do you focus more on your trials or Jesus’s abundance?

Take some time today to figure out how you can wear the breastplate of righteousness better. Do you need to love as God loves? Do you need to forgive as God forgives? Are you thinking with the mind of Christ or the carnal mind? 

Where does your breastplate of righteousness have holes? 

Prayer: Father God, I see how important it is to live righteously and obedient to You. I do not always do a great job of that. Please help me to successfully wear the Breastplate of Righteousness. Help me to do Your will in everything. I ask that You help me glorify You in everything I do.  Father, I thank You for growing me and pruning me to be a great, strong, and courageous Warrior for Christ. Thank You for giving me wisdom and understanding. In Jesus’ name, Amen.