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

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

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

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

Jesus Calms the Storm:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YIKES!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choose to be content and grateful where you are.

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

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

Here are a few key lessons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Things Believers Must be Mindful of…

5 Things Believers MUST be Mindful of...

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

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

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

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

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

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

2. Be Mindful of Who You are Listening Too

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

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

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

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

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

3. Be Mindful of Your Gut Feelings

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

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

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

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

4. Be Mindful of Your Brother/Sister in Christ

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

  • Behind idols are dark powers

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

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

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

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

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

5. Mindful of What's Driving You

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

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

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

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

 

The path that seems right to you:

  • It might offer you more options and require fewer sacrifices

  • Does this align with Jesus at all?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verses to bury in your heart:

Anxiety, Fear, and Worry:

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

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

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

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

Sleep:

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

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

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

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

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

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 Contemplative Question of Why Worry? God Help Us!

The Contemplative Question of Why Worry?

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18 NKJV

Why Worry?

In 2019, I found myself on a journey with the end goal of retraining my mind and heart not to be troubled (John 14:27) and casting all my cares on to God (1 Peter 5:7). I can honestly say worry has become a more fleeting thought. I am not 100% free from it, but I rarely get consumed with worry and fear.

Yes, I have times when concerns come, but I now cast all my cares and worries on the Father (1 Peter 5:7). Usually, my concerns or worries disappear within a few hours at max, unless I am sleep-deprived. Oh me, that’s another story when I am tired! It’s quite a peaceful way to live. I encourage and invite you to also embark on such a journey! If I can do it, you can do it!

I know many people worry. I have read studies that the average person spends 4 hours a day worrying, and the average parent spends 9 hours worrying!! Come on, guys, that’s wasting your bandwidth. That’s a lot of time worshiping the devil when you could be praising the Lord Jesus! Plus, it is merely practicing poor stewardship with your time, energy, and even finances. Stewardship is vital to God. Now, don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes we don’t realize we are in a battle with the devil until we are already spiraling and consumed by the fear. That’s okay, repent and shift your eyes back on Jesus. If you can’t get out of the death trap, call a friend who is strong in the Lord to encourage you.

 

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness (Matthew 25:21)!'

For me, everything I worried about or became overly anxious about rarely – if ever – happened the way I imagined it would. Now, I know this is not always the case. As I am sure, there are times when fears happened, but I can’t recall any. I know in those moments, what I feared and the reality I walked through never wholly aligned. I always made things worse than they were! That tells me that those events were not nearly as bad as I imagined, but that I allowed fear to consume me and stop me. Plus, it is true you can do all things through Christ (Philip. 4:13), but you have to remember to rely on God’s power and not your own. Invite Him into everything!

Now, I want to take a few seconds to clearly say fear can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Job makes this very clear.

What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me (Job 3:25).

Job said that, and it happened just as he said – the thing he feared came upon him!

Please remember, fear and faith are equal in dimension. They both demand fulfillment. They are both spiritual principles. One represents God, and one represents the devil, but they both demand fulfillment.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

Fear can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. We humans do work to create our most dominant thoughts (Prov 23:7). I believe this is why Proverbs spends so much time teaching us how to protect our hearts, walk righteously, keep our focus on God, and understand the power of godly wisdom!

20 My son, pay attention to what I say;

turn your ear to my words.

21 Do not let them out of your sight,

keep them within your heart;

22 for they are life to those who find them

and health to one’s whole body.

23 Above all else, guard your heart,

for everything you do flows from it.

24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;

keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;

fix your gaze directly before you.

26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet

and be steadfast in all your ways.

27 Do not turn to the right or the left;

keep your foot from evil.

(Proverbs 4:20-27)

Both the Bible and Neuroscience say we work to create our most dominant thoughts (Proverbs 23:7), which is why our hope in Jesus has to be bigger than our fears. For that to occur, you must trust the Father.

Your hopes need to be based on God’s known will and knowledge for mankind on the earth. Knowing God’s will requires reading the Word because it tells you what His (God’s) plans are for mankind. What’s even better is as you start to read the Word, your mind will become renewed, and then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2). But understand God cares about what is in your heart. If you can’t read the Word as much as you wish, let Him know. Invite Him into everything!

As a believer in Christ, you must guard your heart. The word “heart” in Proverbs 4:24 and Proverbs 23:7 is referring to your soul – your mind, will, and emotions. Remember, it is Jesus who can liberate you by setting your soul free from sin (John 8:34-36). It’s easy to forget this: when you participate with fear thoughts, you are sinning (Ephesians 5:11; Philippians 4:6-8)!

It’s my experience and what I observe in my clients that all worrying is a waste of time and is entirely unproductive. Oh, that’s right, the Bible echoes this truth too (Matt 6:27).

And who of you by worrying can add one hour to [the length of] his life (Matt 6:27)?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to meditate on what I hope NOT to happen, primarily when my thoughts could manifest it! I notice, many of my clients occupy a large portion of their bandwidth with concerns, anxieties, worries, or stressors. These thoughts either happen, do not happen, or not to the degree they anticipated. Either way, isn’t it better to spend your bandwidth growing in God’s security than Satan’s torment? Isn’t His power more potent than that of the enemy?

Usually, I make a point to check in with my clients (and even myself) when I see that their worries didn’t happen as they feared. It can help one objectively learn how to navigate concerns, bring awareness to their thought patterns, and help them see they could benefit from learning thought-control (2 Cor. 10:5). Some even start to see the nonsense of worrying. It’s all about the future, and what if this or that happens! Just stop it! I believe in prophetic abilities, but when it’s driven by worrying… nope, I don’t buy it! I don’t buy it because God is NOT motivated by fear but by faith. Since He is inspired by faith, we are, too, be moved by faith as well!

A few of the significant issues I saw in myself and the clients who were addicted to worrying failed to trust God, themselves, and were selfish. They were inflexible and unaccepting of “tough seasons” or when life didn’t go as they wished. They wanted God’s will to be precisely what they hoped their life would look like. But, God will not mold to your will for your life; it’s the other way around. Does this sound a little bit like the book of Job?

These clients focused on what was missing in their life. What they were lacking. When they could have been praising and glorify God for what they had! You see, a grateful and thankful heart is a must-have mindset in God’s kingdom. You have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). I don’t know about you, but there is not a single place in my Bible where Jesus complains. He always asks the Father to bless what He already has (John 6:11).

But ultimately, they fail to trust God!

It’s hard to give thanks to someone you don’t trust because you are too busy trying to protect yourself…from God! Omniscient, omnipotent God? You don’t need to protect yourself from Him. He loves you. He is love (1 John 4:8). Plus, you cannot outrun Him or keep things from Him. He knows you better than you know yourself (Jeremiah 1:5). Take everything to Him through prayer. Think of prayer as an invitation to God, which invites Him into what is weighing you down. He will always R.S.V.P yes, and He will always help you if you let Him.

My point is this: What you are worried about, and the narrative that goes along with that worry will most likely not happen the way you see it! Now it can, especially if you spend a lot of time feeding those worry gremlins. I realized that all the time, energy, and bandwidth I WASTED on playing out those “what if” games of worry were just that a waste of my time and a huge distraction! It was just the devil trying to distract and consume me. It was the enemy trying to stop me from achieving God’s will for my life. Praise Jesus that He is stronger than the devil.

Before Austin and I got married, we had a pretty big argument about the FUTURE. I mean years in the future. We were arguing about bridges we weren’t even near crossing yet. I was worried and obsessed that one of my fears with him was going to play out. My fear was that if this plays out, our relationship would be over. It is important to highlight my behavior here. I was trying to control and protect our relationship instead of offering and releasing our relationship to God and allowing Him to do His will in it. Job did the same thing with his children. I had not yet become one with God. I had not allowed His nature and my nature to become one, especially in the area of my love life.

When His thoughts become your thought, you are spiritually changed. When His ways become your ways, you are spiritually changed.

Now, mind you, this is before I knew the Lord like I do now. Anyway, we got into some nasty arguments over this topic and the hypothetical what-if events. Still, the issue was real because I focused on conceptualizing my fears as realities or actual possibilities. Well, guess what?! When it came time for that fear to “play out,” the entire situation changed by 180-degrees. We fought for nothing! Literally, it all worked out. One reason I believe it worked out is that I started to trust God with the situation. I asked for His will to be done, and I asked for Him to be glorified through it. I became one with Him and reminded myself that I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4;13). If God wanted the “thing” I feared to happen, I knew He would make it worth my time and give me everlasting peace to handle it. God only gives us life. He will use suffering and temptation to refine us, but that refinement gives us life!

In 2019 when I was on the journey to surrender my worries to God and retrain my brain to trust God, that was my biggest takeaway. Things do work out when you trust, believe, and become one with the Father (Romans 8:28). It all works out when you trust God, but you must give up your life to glorify the Lord. The second part of my statement is vital! Jesus said it himself in Matthew!

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it (Matthew 16:25).

In closing, where do you need to become one with the Father? Where do you need to make His thoughts about something your thoughts? It will take time, but God is outside of Newton-time. Therefore, it might take you a few seconds to a few days. Or maybe it’s a place where you are in bondage, and if that’s the case, it can take longer to walk out of – but remember, all things are possible with God. Anytime I have been in a place of bondage and chose to start walking out of it, I walked out of so much more than what I thought I would. Plus, look at it this way: If you start now, you will be further on the journey away from said bondage in 30-days from now. Please don’t wait. Start now!

Prayer: Father God, thank You for your love and everlasting peace. I come to You in prayer, asking for Your help to get free from my worries, fears, and anxieties. I know worry is a waste of time, but I don’t have the revelation. Father, I ask the Holy Spirit to give me that revelation to get free from worry. On days where worry is really consuming me, I pray that You quickly help me see the enemy’s ways so I can shift my focus back to You. As I set off to face my fears and grow more in You, I ask that You reveal to me more of Your love. For Your perfect love saves me from fear. Holy Spirit, please comfort me and whisper scripture to my Spirit man as I face my fears in the Father’s strength. Father, I surrender to You all my fears, worries, anxieties, and stressors. I pray that You help me to only seek and desire Your will for my life. If I am doing anything that is against Your will, please change my heart. Help me to give you all of me! 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.

Let’s Talk Recognition…. Do You Crave Human Recognition or Recognition from God More?

Let's Talk Recognition... Do You Crave Human Recognition or Recognition from the Father more?

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven

Jesus, Matthew 6:1

What type of recognition do you crave? Recognition from the Father or humans? Would you say it is a mix of the two? Or can you confidently say that you are free from fear of man and the sin of competition, bitterness, envy, jealousy, perfectionism, or other sins that can cause you to crave human acknowledgment?

I ask these deep and layered questions to get you thinking. At first glance, it is easy to say: “I only care about what the Father thinks, not humans.” But, then on a second look, you may find yourself metaphorically dancing in front of humans to impress them or to get them to like you.

Have you ever done this?

I have, and that is why I want to share with you what the Lord told me by providing my latest example of where sin overtook me in a sneaky way.

Now before we dive into this, let me first explain recognition in a psychometric stance.

Someone with high recognition wants to be viewed as a socially desirable person to people. He or she may need the approval of others and is quite concerned about his or her reputation. Such a person’s reputation is a large part of what drives him or her to achieve acknowledgment.

However, a person with low recognition is unconcerned with his or her reputation and does not crave acknowledgment from others. He or she does not usually seek approval and recognition from others.

Where do you think you fall? It may be difficult for you to provide yourself with a clear-cut answer, as other psychometrics can mold this psychometric, but do your best to give yourself a number between 1 and 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest.

As for me, I am someone who once had a very high recognition score. Over the years, the Father and I have been working to lower my fleshly need for human recognition, and we have had great success. I have walked out of a handful of bad habits and grown more secure with the Father’s love. Big picture, I care more about what God says than humans do now, but it has taken me some time to walk out my need for human recognition, and I still fail. While I do not stumble like I once did, I still do stumble. However, now my stumbling is a little bit more subtle than it used to be.

One of my favorite things to do at night with the Father is to spend time reflecting on the day with Him. I like to invite Him in, and I ask Him and the Holy Spirit to highlight any worldly behaviorisms I partook in and anything I need to repent for, and where I could do things more like Christ.

I did this a few days ago regarding Rochester. The Father answered my invitation by showing me where I sought after human recognition over His recognition. It surprised me too because it was so subtle. The devil can be so sneaky sometimes.

It was my mom’s and my first Friday in Rochester, MN. I had gone with her to an appointment that would take about an hour and a half. Sometimes I could go back with my mom for the appointments, but this one I could not. After the nurse came and got her, I asked God, “How would you like me to spend my time?” I heard God answer by saying, “Why don’t you go across the street and get yourself a Starbucks Passion Fruit Tea. I know you like those, so go get yourself a treat.” That is what I did.

As I was leaving Starbucks, I heard a megaphone. I decided to follow the sound. Immediately I began thinking to myself, “hmmm…, is there a protest going on? I thought Rochester was a nice town.” (Not to imply non-nice towns have protests, but Rochester is the friendliest & calmest town I have ever been to. Therefore I was surprised when I heard someone on a megaphone).

As I was thinking that and following the noise, I began walking next to two nurses questioning the noise. We started talking, and the next thing I heard was the word “revival.” I knew it was street preaching or a street revival. I had to introduce myself. I got so excited. Before I continue with this story, let me first tell you the assumptions I fell for without asking God what He wanted me to do.

When I get excited, I can be impulsive, can you?

First, I assumed that since God wanted me to get Starbucks, He wanted me to go over and say hi because everything God-related must be from God. Well, we know that not to be true. But it’s an easy ploy to fall for, but we have to remember the Father did not want every church that exists to exist.

Secondly, I got caught up in the excitement of what these people were doing and forgot to ask the Lord what He wanted me to do. I do try to remember to always pray to God before speaking, but I forgot. I try to do my best to let the Father’s light shine through me, but this time I (accidentally) allowed my flesh to take control. Nonetheless, hanging out with these people was awesome. Their faith, boldness, and love for the Lord genuinely exude out of them. It was a huge encouragement to talk with brothers and sisters in Christ-like these. Together we prayed for a nurse and a police officer. We also had a great conversation with one another. I know my faith, boldness, courage, and fearlessness for the Lord grew with this street fellowship.

However, amid this fantastic experience for me, I was falling into my flesh quite a bit. Of course, it took me a few weeks of meditating with the Lord for me to see it, as this is how sly the devil can be. You can automatically agree with his schemes, not even realizing you are doing it.

These individuals were much braver than I was; at least, that is what it looked like. They seem to be more obedient to the Father too. I was amazed and encouraged by their obedience to the Father, and if I am honest, I found myself feeling less than and a bit jealous and envious, which is the fruit of the devil, not the Spirit. The couple I spoke with was from Florida, and they would travel around the U.S.A. and go where the Father told them to go. They didn’t worry about their finances, as they knew where God sends one, He provides too (Isaiah 58:11). I found this to all be so encouraging and faith-building for me. I was so encouraged. I began to buy the lies that I was not good enough. I felt like I needed to prove myself to them and show them what I was doing for God’s kingdom. I began to compare myself and the path God has given me to their course. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I needed to do more. While I can do more for God, the intentions were a bit wrong, if I am honest.

If I reflect with the lens of the Holy Spirit, I see my fleshly actions much clearer. I wanted the glory instead of giving it to the Father. There were numerous times where I was trying to show off my skills, capabilities, talents, and knowledge of the Word. I was falling into spiritual pride, and I wanted them to recognize my abilities. I was trying to get their approval.

Do you see all the self-righteousness I was doing?

I wanted to be the focus instead of letting God be the focus. Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Where you were so inspired and encouraged by someone, you began competing with them. Perhaps it was by trying to “top” their story, or maybe you kept bragging about what you were doing as opposed to listening. Whatever it was where you were trying to get favor with them, the humans, or the Father?

Jesus warns us about this in Matthew 6. He begins His sermon by warning against the temptation to parade one’s devoutness by performing deeds to be seen by others. In Matthew 6:2, Jesus continues by saying when people do such a thing, their only reward is the reputation/recognition they gain while on earth.

Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get (Matthew 6:1,2 NLT).

Admittedly, I fell into this. The Holy Spirit showed me that the Father would have rather me listened to them, loved them, & encouraged them. He wanted me to observe them and let them know I was listening. God told me earlier this year that humility and illumination were my words. What I see now is He was using that experience to help grow me in humility and meekness. Instead, I got caught up in the excitement of it all, which, I believe, is what caused me to fall into my flesh. I wanted to share with them about me and what I was doing for the Lord when God only asked me to listen, observe, and love them. Righteously so, as Philippians 2:3,4 tells us not to do what I did!

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too (NLT).

Even 1 Peter 2:11 reminds us to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against our souls (NLT).

I am delighted I obeyed the Lord and went and got Starbucks. I am thankful for the experience I had. I am incredibly appreciative of the Holy Spirit taking that opportunity to teach me how to act more like Christ and represent Christ better. Sometimes, the only way we can learn is by messing up and then allowing the Holy Spirit to sanctify us. Remember, the Holy Spirit is the only one who can change you, and when the Spirit convicts you, change will come about if you let it. I am so grateful for this growth!

In closing, where do you fall into selfishness? What creates envy and jealousy inside of you? Where do you crave human recognition over the Father’s? I encourage you today to pray to the Holy Spirit to help you learn these answers about yourself and then ask the Spirit to help change your heart. It is easy to be fooled by this world, but with the guidance and discernment of the Holy Spirit, you can quickly detect the world’s schemes, but you have to listen and pay attention to the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your love. Thank You for sending Your only Son, Jesus, to save me. I know there are times where I crave human recognition overdoing things Your way. Please Forgive me. I ask You to help me turn away from sinful and fleshly desires and only do what You want me to do. Please help me to see when I am participating in my flesh and not in my Spirit. Thank You for growing me, and thank You for using every opportunity to make me more like Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Survival Secret #6: Never Take Your Armor Off

Survival Secret #6: Never Take Your Armor Off

Part 6 of 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

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

Billy Graham

Good Morning, Warrior for Christ!

 

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

 

Survival Secret #1  The Father Wants to Rescue You!

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

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

Survival Secret #4 – Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Survival Secret #5  Give Yourself Grace

Survival Secret #6 – Never Take Your Armor Off!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Focus on what God is telling you to do.

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

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

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

When you walk with Christ, you are Victorious.

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

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

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

God is always with you. Be fearless and courageous.

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

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.