At the right time…

At the Right Time...

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Prayers are answered

      • Your faith enhances

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you been here?

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

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

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

Don't be fooled!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

God Can Use Even a Squirrel! Never Doubt His Sovereignty!

God Can Use Even a Squirrel! Never Doubt His Sovereignty!

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

Psalm 139:10 ESV

Back in April, my husband, Austin, rescued a baby squirrel. My husband is what I like to call an animal whisperer. He loves animals and is fearless. Plus, animals LITERALLY come right up to him to love on him. Well, this squirrel did the same thing. He walked right up to Austin.

We believe the squirrel was about 4-5 weeks old. Austin looked for the mom and went through all the correct protocols before deciding to bring this squirrel home.

If you have ever been around a baby squirrel, then you know how rowdy they can be, which is why he named him, Rowdy.

At first, I was a bit apprehensive about having a squirrel in my house because I already spend hours taking care of an elderly dog with dementia. The idea of taking care of a baby did not thrill me. Additionally, we were on our way out of town for a much-needed long vacation, and I was not planning on taking a squirrel to the beach. But that is what we did!

Quickly the squirrel stole my heart. We even considered keeping the squirrel to rehabilitate ourselves until we realized all the work and care involved. Also, my dog, Moo-Moo, was quickly bonding with the little guy, and we didn’t think it was good for the squirrel not to be around other squirrels, nor for Moo-Moo to bond with something we cannot keep. 

Let me tell you, my Moo-Moo was an excellent stand-in father. He even helped Rowdy learn how to go to the bathroom by licking his private areas. Who knew my pup was so tender-hearted too. I always assumed he just wanted to eat the squirrels.

I have always enjoyed watching squirrels – they are probably one of my top five animals. I don’t know why other than they used to be my dad’s enemy, and I always felt bad for them. My dad, who was an avid gardener, killed squirrels. It always upset me when I saw him carry the little innocent thing to the woods as a little girl. 

My dad, however, saw squirrels as a pest because they would ruin his tomatoes. I always wanted to save the squirrels, and it’s a promise I still carry out to this day. My husband, Austin, and I joke all the time because I want to see a pregnant squirrel, which God answered in May. Do not ask me why – I just did!

I love watching nature. I love the wisdom and peace both nature and animals can provide. God has used nature and animals to teach me so many of His life lessons. I want to share with you the life lesson He taught me with Rowdy the squirrel. But first, let me give you some backstory!

In 2016, while I was on my deck balcony, I noticed something itty bitty hopping through the freshly cut grass. This thing was so small I could barely make it out, as the blades of grass were taller than this hopping thing. After a few minutes, I noticed this thing was a baby squirrel. I immediately texted the maintenance man, Aaron, who I befriended, and asked him to meet me at my apartment when he had time. I knew Aaron loved animals and was a bit more fearless than I was at the time. 

Aaron came over immediately, and he picked up the baby squirrel that had to be only a few weeks old. We searched for the squirrel’s mom but believed we found her dead. I asked Aaron if it would be okay if he took the little guy to his place. Aaron agreed it would be better for him to take the squirrel than me. I lived in an apartment, and Moo-Moo seemed like he wanted to eat it, but seeing how he responded with Rowdy, I could have been wrong.

That was that. The baby squirrel and Aaron left for the country, and I never saw that squirrel again. I always regretted that I couldn’t take care of the squirrel. I always was bummed that I allowed the Spirit of Fear to stop me from doing something I felt God asked me to do. I was too afraid to hold the baby squirrel or take care of it, even though I wanted to.

I kept praying for another opportunity to help a baby squirrel, so when God answered my prayer through my husband, I was not about to say no. Thank the Lord that my sweet husband remembers how much I love squirrels, so he was so excited to bring this little guy home! I was not as open as I wished I had been about the whole ordeal. Thankfully, God uses people to carry out His mission, and He spoke to my husband, and my husband helped me recalibrate and overcome the Fear.

We packed the car, put two dogs and a squirrel in the car, and headed to the beach. The following day, Rowdy woke us up with some interesting noises. I never knew squirrels made this extremely high pitch monkey-like sound. It was extraordinary and odd. Admittedly, I was still in a bad mood as I allowed Fear to run rampant in my mind. 

Finally, I got a hold of it and started befriending Rowdy. We limited how much time we held him to prevent him from being accustomed to humans, but it was very hard not to hold the cute guy.

He was so small and so precious. He was even teething, which just made him cuter. Finally, after a day or two of me freaking out because there was no way we could take care of the squirrel. The reality was I was going to take care of him, not Austin, because I work from home. Now at this time, I was taking care of my mom, working two jobs, and taking care of special needs dog. I couldn’t take care of another thing. We agreed we needed to find someone to rehabilitate him because we did not have the time to give him nor the space.

We found an animal rehabilitation nonprofit near the OBX (Outer Banks in North Carolina) and made plans to surrender Rowdy to them. They already had about seven squirrels they were rehabilitating. As we drove about an hour to drop off the little guy, I began to cry. I was afraid if these people were genuine or not, and I was so sad to see him go. I don’t like goodbyes! The entire drive, we prayed about the couple we were meeting asking God to protect Rowdy, and confirm if we should give this squirrel to them. At this point, I had bonded with the little guy.

 

He was so much fun to play with and love that I didn’t want to say goodbye even though that was the best thing. Thankfully, the man we gave Rowdy to was so sweet, full of love, and wonderful. We still connect with the couple because of how beautiful they are and for their love of animals.

On the drive, Rowdy curled up in my hands and fell asleep. That is when it hit me! As I was looking down at Rowdy curled in the palm of my hands, only wanting him to be safe, I realized that is what God wants for us. The love, gentleness, mercy, and grace I wanted to give this guy was what God wants to do for us. As he was sleeping in my hands, I remember loving on him and speaking life over him, letting him know I would keep him safe. Doesn’t God want to do this for us too?

The song “He’s got the whole world in His hands” kept coming to my mind as I watched Rowdy sleep. Perhaps this is when the Holy Spirit made this revelation come to life: God truly does have me!. All I know is it all clicked. God wants us to rest in His hands. Perhaps that is why he encourages us to be still and know that He is God. Sometimes we may not understand what God is doing or why He allows some things to happen, but He does work everything together for the greater good.

I remember looking down at Rowdy and only wanting to protect him. That is what God wants to do for us too!

Where do you need to let yourself rest in God's hands?

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your everlasting and unconditional love. Thank You for Your protection, mercy, and grace. Father, help me to see that I can rest in Your hands. Help me to trust You more than I trust myself. Father, help me to surrender everything to You. Give me a revelation that lets me know I am protected and safe because of 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.

A God Story: My Obedient Walk to the Castle 🏰

A God Story: My Obedient Walk
to the Castle 🏰

By: Elizabeth L. Creecy

Trusting God does not mean believing he will do what you want, but rather believing he will do everything he knows is good.”

Ken Sande

Some days I find myself asking God just to come down and talk to me through a bush or a donkey. Some days, I feel like walking with Christ is a bit of a guessing game. Do you ever feel that way?

I am currently walking out of perfectionism and always wanting to do things right. Nonetheless, some days it feels like a real guessing game. I am more risk averse. I prefer to get it right and not mess up. Do you struggle with this too?

There are days where I feel like figuring out what God wants me to do is a guessing game, which is why I find myself sometimes wishing God would come down and tell me exactly what to do in a 1+1 =2 type of way. I like clearer directions that are not ambiguous.

I know our Father does speak to us. Jesus makes that very clear in John 10:27-28.

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

I, however, would sometimes like it to be a bit blunter and more confirmed if you get what I mean. Of course, where would faith and free will be if He did that all the time?

I promise you nothing can stop divine intervention, especially when one makes it their mission to keep seeking and knocking for God’s will (Matt 7:7-8). I want to tell you about a God story that happened to my husband and me this past April, which will also explain why two newsletters were missed. Please forgive me.

We were not planning to buy a house this year. We decided with my mom’s heart surgery, me still in school, and the amount of time we had lost with one another due to this year being so hectic, it was not worth it. Well, God had a different plan.

One day at the end of March, I woke up and felt the Lord tell me to get our family and my company taxes in order because we needed to buy a house. I was a bit confused, mainly because I was not prepared to buy a home this year, let alone in the area He wanted us to buy. I immediately responded to the Lord’s request, and by the end of that day, our taxes were filed, and by the next day, we were pre-approved to buy a house. I couldn’t believe how fast everything was!

When the finger of God is on you, it's incredible how quickly things get done sometimes!

If you have been paying attention to the real estate market over the last few months, you know it is highly emotional and irrational. When it was time for me to buy a house, I never thought the inventory would be as low and competitive as it currently is.

Usually, houses get listed each day, but like many, Richmond, Va.’s market was not like that. All new listings were released on Tuesday or Wednesday, and no new listings would be revealed until the following week when the previous listings were removed, assuming the listing was sold.

When we first started looking, there was only one house we could look at in our budget, and it was a lemon. I remember leaving that house, talking to God, saying, “Well, God, if this is the house you want us to have, then it will work, but this house doesn’t get me excited at all. Did I miss hear you, God?”

We continued to look at houses over the next few days, and everything was lame and terrifying. A few days later, I was becoming a bit overwhelmed with all variables you had to keep in mind, the price of square feet, how quickly houses were selling, and how much more people were paying over asking. At one point, our relator looked at us and said, “be prepared to pay up to 50,000 over asking if you like a house.” Like… say what now?

Each night, Austin, my husband, and I would pray for God’s will to be done. We prayed for the seller’s heart. We prayed that God would bring us the house that was right for us. In the meantime, we chose to be obedient to where God was leading us to.

Then five days after we started this process on Wednesday night, Austin and I were lying in bed looking through Realtor.com when God led me to the Castle. As I started to look at the pictures, I began to freak out with excitement. I looked at my husband and told him I had found our house! I was 100% sure it was ours too! Immediately His peace and confidence flooded me, assuming me it was in fact the house He had for us. Crazy, right? No, that’s just our Father!

I never had the worldly experience of saying “yes” to the wedding dress, but that is how that moment felt. It was like YES; this is our house – this is the house God has for us. The house was bigger and better than I ever thought I would get in a first house.

The house God brought to us was the perfect size to start and raise a family in, invite friends and family over, and such. It felt like the house was uniquely designed for me and my unique ways. It was love at first sight for us too, so much so that we nicked named our place “The Castle.” Why? Well, because the house sits at the end of a cul-de-sac on top of a hill overlooking all the other homes.

Long story short, we looked at the house the next day, put an offer in, and by Tuesday morning, we found out we were the new homeowners. We were excited that the Lord had blessed us with this home because eight other people had offers on this house. While I am delighted that the Lord brought us a more functional and larger home, the home itself is only part of the God story.

You see, I was a bit lost on which path the Lord wanted me to walk in April. I was getting persecuted for my faith at a company I contract with as a mental health coach, my mother was going through heart surgery, and I was falling behind in my duties at Renew Ministries.

Additionally, I was confused about growing Renew, if God even wanted me to continue with Renew Ministries, and what God wants this ministry to do and be. Yes, I was full of doubt and confusion. I felt very lost, but I knew the Lord was with me and would guide me. I kept praying and asking for direction, but I felt like it was not coming, and I grew impatient.

I realized that I was worried about how God would do His part – a part that I had no control over – when all I needed to focus on was being obedient to what I already knew to do. That is what buying a house taught me – great obedience and trust in the Father. My confidence in hearing the Lord grew. It was one of those moments where you want to shout to your mom and say, “Look, Mom, I’m doing it!”

Not once did I get stressed out about buying a house. Not once did I lose sleep over the place. I always knew it would be ours. The peace I had during the home buying process was surreal.

That is when it hit me. It wasn’t about getting it right per se. It was about DOING what God had asked me to do. It was about being proactive and responding to His requests, not thinking about the results of doing what He is asking.

The best way to describe it is to think of a sidewalk square with an “X” on it. The Lord told me to walk to a specific sidewalk square, and that is what I did. Wherever the Lord told me to go, I went, and I didn’t think, catastrophize, or worry about what the next step would be. I just responded to His requests. I knew He would tell me the next step once I got to the first step, and He always did. I had complete security in that. I remember the first house we looked at. God told us to go, and I was so confused, but God wanted to see how responsive and trusting of Him I would be.

My biggest takeaway from the house buying experience with God was how to efficiently be obedient to Him and not question Him or figure out how He would do His end. It’s not about thinking ahead and being strategic in months to come. It is about doing what God is asking you to do right now.

Every time I would go where God was asking me to go, the next request would be revealed, but I might not have been given that next step if I didn’t take the first step. It is so easy to allow the devil and the Spirit of Fear to overwhelm you, causing you not to move or project into the future everything you don’t want to happen. Yet, God’s asking you to trust Him, move when He tells you to move, and remember that you aren’t alone because He is always with you.

Where are you dragging your feet?
Where are you consciously being disobedient because you feel like you can’t do it or are unsure?
What will it take for you to choose to be obedient to the Father and do what He is asking?

In closing, we moved into the Castle in mid-June and then took the last week of June to celebrate my birthday and take a much-needed vacation. Unfortunately, with all the chaos and part of our house still being a construction zone, I lost track of time because sometimes life happens so fast. I apologize for that.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your everlasting, unconditional love. I know there are times I am not obedient to You, and I repent for that. Would you please help me always to move when You say move? I want to do Your will Father and not my own. I know You have good things in store for me, even if I don’t understand them. I know I can trust You with my life, and You will not let me out of Your hand. Would you please help me to do Your will with gladness? If I have missed moving or doing what You want me to do, please bring that to my attention. I want to be a Warrior in Your Kingdom. Grow me. Teach me. Equip me. Help me only to do Your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Breaking My Autonomy with God

Breaking My Autonomy with God

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Galatians 5:17 ESV

Over the last few months, I have been consciously working with the Lord to break my high autonomy. The Holy Spirit has recently shown me where my need for independence and control is sabotaging my walk with the Lord and putting me into disobedience. He has shown me that I must work to break this stronghold within me so He can use me and take me where He wants me to go. 

 

He asked me to write about what He told me last night. I hope it helps you become more obedient to the Lord and opens your eyes to His marvelous and brilliant ways that sometimes don’t make sense until they do.

 

Last night at around 9 pm or later, the Father spoke to me. He told me, “I am going to break your autonomy. Your autonomy is a part of your flesh, not of me. It is hindering you greatly, and it’s time we crucify it. You asked me to remove every vine that does not produce life from you, and that is what I am going to do. The question is are you going to work with me or against me?” He said all of this after I had worked a 12-hour day and was just about to get in bed. Needless to say, the last thing I wanted to do was do more work. 

First, let me share some of my desires with you. I want to be obedient to the Lord. I want to grow my faith and operate in the mind of Christ. I want to turn away from the world's ways and do God's way. I want the Father to prune me of my fleshly and selfish ways. I want to build a ministry that helps people grow stronger in the Lord. I want to join with the Father to develop Warriors for Christ.

Recently, I have been working with the Father to prune me, and I have grown tremendously by having this desire in my heart. I have asked Him to help remove every dead branch from me (John 15:2). I have meant it in my heart, which is necessary for God to work in you. I told the Lord I was willing to do whatever He needed me to do. The number one thing I want more than anything is to do God’s will in my life. 

 

Once I heard the Lord speak to me about my autonomy last night, I shared it with my husband after writing it down. You see, writing down what the Lord was telling me was the obedience and sanctification part of breaking the core parts of my autonomy. God wanted me to write down what He was telling me, so I could write about it later. Initially, I didn’t want to capture what He was saying. 

Can we say LAZY!?

Typically, when I am in the Spirit, receiving connections and revitalizations, I lazily ask the Holy Spirit to remember it so I can do what I want to do. Why? Well, because usually, it is at a time that I see as very inconvenient. Do you hear the self-righteousness in my thinking? Yuck, Father, God forgive me. I repent!

 

 The Holy Spirit usually reminds me, but always in another inconvenient time where I would rather be doing something else. You would think I would have caught on to this insight sooner since the Lord has been doing this for the last 7 years, but I did not. I was foolish. Again and again, I would not do what the Holy Spirit continued prompting me to do. Ultimately, this caused me to forget the insight, or the insight would come across flat once I did share it. However, this time, I understood what God was getting me to do. I finally got it! 

 

He was using these inconvenient times to break my autonomy, teach me about commitment, and show me how to work for Him. (I used to struggle with perfectionism, procrastination, and the fear of discomfort. These are all ingredients that can lead one to lack commitment or responsibility). Since I don’t have a boss and can easily not do what I need to do, I need the Father to help hold me accountable. Especially because Renew Ministries is not mine, it’s the Lord’s, and I must steward this ministry well. 

You see, my flesh desired to do life one way, and it was against God's way. Anything that is against God is anti-Christ!

I have never done well working for a boss. I do not know why, but the second I am micromanaged or work for a company that lacks vision or leadership, I quickly start butting heads with them. Now, I am a very loyal person, but I don’t do well when I see corruption in a company or when I care more about the company than it appears the owners do. What I have learned is for me to grow this ministry, I have to learn how to work for the Lord in a way that represents Christ. I have to let go of my assumptions and judgments and do what God tells me to do. It’s not my job to judge people. And allowing other’s sin to stop me from doing right is foolishness. It’s just like what Paul says in Colossians 3:23-24:

 

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

 

Therefore, sometimes what the verse above means is doing things you don’t want to do. At times, you definitely don’t want to do it. 

On top of that, God is working to break the fear of poverty and the employee mindset within me. I need Him to do this because much of what the Lord is asking me to do does not bring immediate income. Therefore, God has been trying to teach me how to let Him guide my time and schedule instead of what the world says I should or should not do. That means doing things that may seem weird, awkward, or contrary to what the world says. If you have a fear of man, this will be hard to do. I encourage you to trust the Lord and not focus on what people may say about you. Besides, do you really care what a human has to say about you over the Father? 

My high autonomy has caused a great deal of tension and unnecessary stress in my life. I have been fired from jobs, I have refused to work, half-assed things I didn’t want to do, allowed fear of perfectionism to isolate me, allowed fear of failure to paralyze me, and I have thought I was better than I was. Just like a horse must be broken, my autonomy and pride needed to be broken. Earlier this year, the Lord told me my pride would break this year, and I welcomed the sanctification. I am so happy I agreed to let the Lord break it because it has been so freeing and amazing. 

What I have now learned is:

  1. God will ask you to do things when you don’t want to do them in your flesh. He is not necessarily going to follow the 9-5 schedule. Sorry. He’s not. He is going to tell you to do things when He wants you to do them. Sometimes it will work with your schedule, and other times, it’s going to feel like you are wasting your time.
  2. One reason you aren’t doing what God is asking you to do might be because you feel uncomfortable doing it. You will need to decide if you are going to trust yourself or the Lord.
  3. God may ask you to sacrifice something important to you so you can do what is essential and helpful for His Kingdom, which does not revolve around you.
  4. When God asks you to do things you don’t want to do, what He is actually doing is helping to grow and prune you to be more like Christ. Never tell God to wait. Tell your flesh to wait instead.
  5. Lastly, you are going to need to decide who your master is going to be. Is it going to be your flesh or the Father? Are you going to serve your flesh or the Father? Remember, you cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). 

The more you choose to obey God and do what He asks, the more you will grow in Christ and produce great fruit that will survive the fire. The fruit the Father produces is the MOST satisfying fruit there is. It is easy for humans to grow fruit we believe is essential to God, but it’s hindering our walk with the Lord in reality. Sometimes we think we are doing right when what we are really doing is being self-righteous. I invite you to ask the Holy Spirit where you are falling into your flesh. The answer will save your life. 

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV

Prayer:

Holy Spirit, please highlight where my flesh is getting in the way of the Father’s will for my life. Father, I ask you to prune me. Cut off every branch that is dead and show me how I can work with you in the pruning of the good vines. Thank you for everything you do for me. I pray that in everything I do, your will is done and not my will. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

How My Dog Taught Me Blind Faith and Trust in Jesus!

How My Dog Taught Me Blind Faith and Trust in Jesus!

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.

C.S. Lewis

Let me ask you a question, are you allowing God to lead you, or are you leading yourself, hoping God will bless your path?

It can be challenging to follow the Lord. It’s not as clear-cut as some things, but more abstract. At times it can even feel like a guessing game! That’s where faith comes into play!

Faith without works is dead (James 2:26).

I’m not sure about you, but sometimes I have no idea if I am doing what or going where the Father wants me to do or go! All I can do is pray, get counsel, discern, and step out in faith. I hope for the best, trusting God to reroute me if I have stepped out of His will for my life.

Yet, so many things can get in your way. Like fear, doubt, uncertainty, or feeling uncomfortable walking down a path God has directed you to walk. Let’s be real! The brain is not fond of the unknown or new experiences, especially when it leverages your fears.

Today, I want to share with you what a weird, late-night adventure taught me about blind faith and following Christ!

On January 10th, 2021, my husband, two dogs, and I were at our beach house. We love our beach house. All of us! We are big outdoors people, and I am a big water person, so you can find us at the beach quite often! January 10th is special for me for a few reasons. One, it’s the day Moo came into my life, and this particular anniversary marked a decade for Moo and me. The second reason is it’s the day before I married my best friend, Austin. Now, I have a really awesome husband who entertains my antics and adventures with Moo-Moo. Since Moo and I had been together for a decade, we made the day more about Moo and me.

Let me set things up a little for you. Our beach house is in a community, where there is an island in the middle that holds a few homes, the community pool, and the clubhouse. Daisy, my oldest dog, has to be walked quite a bit. I don’t talk much about Daisy because she’s like a cat and would rather be alone unless she can go on a walk. Now, Daisy is 15-years old and struggles with her sight and hearing. (Praise the Father that He is restoring her sight and hearing). For the most part, Daisy, a 7-pound Maltipoo is bed rested unless she’s on a leash.

Every day, we walk the dogs around that island, which forks off into a neighborhood at the beach. All in all, it’s about a 2.5-mile walk. Now sometimes, when we are heading back to the beach house, we will cross the beach road and walk on the beach home, as we are right on the beach road. Moo loves the beach, and Daisy loves the wind. However, the sand is not always dog friendly to the dogs that have hair versus fur. Our dogs have hair! That’s why we don’t always walk on the beach.

Now at night, we also walk the dogs just around the island because we try to walk Daisy as much as she wants. I couldn’t imagine not having 2 of my senses and being bedridden, so I try to do all I can for her to have a great life.

Here is where the lesson started:

It was about 8:45 pm when Austin and I took Moo-Moo and Daisy out on a walk. We planned to walk the island a few times and head home. I was in my PJs and slippers. The walk went as always until we got to the fork, where our morning walk breaks off into the neighborhood. Suddenly, Moo, first looking at me to read my face, starts pulling me down the path that goes to the neighborhood. I submitted out of curiosity, being obsessed with my dog, and it was our 10th anniversary. I figured maybe he needed to go number 2. We got halfway down the street in that neighborhood and had bypassed all his typical spots where he does his business. This is entirely out of the norm for him. In 10-years, he’s never done something like this.

I told Austin, “maybe Moo is taking us on a Lassie moment, and we are going to save someone!” Austin, too, was curious but didn’t think it was going to be a Lassie moment. 🤣 We talked back and forth about where Moo was taking us, figuring that maybe he wanted to go to the beach. You see, it had been a few weeks since he had gone on the beach.

I was fulling submitting to him and going where he wanted to go, in my slippers. We must do the same when submitting to Jesus. I chose to follow Moo. I chose to lay down my life for Moo (John 13:38) – to put aside my plans for that evening and follow Moo to where he wanted me to go. Jesus says in Matthew 16:24:

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Here Jesus plainly states what is involved in being his disciple: denial of self, crossing bearing, and following Him. When Jesus says we must deny ourselves, He means we must yield to His control so entirely that self has no rights whatsoever. I did this with Moo. I put down my will. Now, please don’t take this out of context. I know Moo is not Jesus. I am merely trying to make the parallel here. To make the abstract of following Jesus a bit more tactile.

Now, to pick up the cross means the willingness to endure shame, suffering, and persecution for Jesus’ sake. And to follow Jesus means to live as He lived.

I chose to do all of this at a very inconvenient time for me. Wearing slippers is not ideal when walking a 2.5-mile walk. I never once guided Moo forward. He had complete control. I only tried to turn Moo around, but he would have none of it. He put his little breaks on and crouched to the ground.

Here is a quick fun fact about Moo! He can get out of anything. He’s jumped 4 feet fences and climbed fences. He knows how to escape his crate and harnesses. We have gone through about 14-harnesses and have only found two that he can’t get out of, but I don’t put it past him. With that being said, I am always mindful when trying to turn him around. I kept trying to get him to go back to our place, but NOPE he wouldn’t! So we continued…

Here we were, Daisy, Austin, and I following and submitting ourselves to a 10-lb dog at 9 pm, in our PJs, with no flashlight or supplies. That’s when it hit me. This is what following Chris is like! It’s a choice. You have to make the choice to do it, but you also have to learn. If I was walking a dog that was not my own, I promise you I wouldn’t have done this. Essentially, you have to create a relationship with Christ to follow Him. It’s a good thing God works outside of Newton’s time.

On the walk, we didn’t have any light but the ambient light around us. Since I was with my husband, I was not too worried about what could happen. However, it’s important to note I can be a cautious person. But, as I took one step forward in the dark, I thought about what Psalm 119:105 says, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. I couldn’t see far in the darkness, but the Father illuminated every step I took. We could only focus on taking one step at a time. That’s what God wants you to do too. To trust Him. To let Him establish your steps (Proverbs 16:9). God’s Word is a lamp to your feet, but you have to know His Word. Make the choice today to commit to learning about who Jesus is!

We know that Moo would not take us into danger, just like we know we can trust the Father to protect us (2 Thess. 3:3). We know that Moo is a loving and hilarious spirit, so most likely, we were going to laugh our butts off once we got this unknown destination (Proverbs 3:5-6). I think it’s similar to our walk with Jesus. We know Jesus’ character. We know that Christ is the light of the world, and when we follow Him, we do not walk in darkness but will have the light of life (John 8:12). We know His character is only goodness and love.

Since we were following Moo to a destination only, he knew it reminded me of what Jeremiah 29:11 says.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

You don’t know precisely what God has in store for you. Still, you do know that His plans for your life are not to hurt you but to give you hope, which I think sometimes involves laughter or intense moments of joy, and a future. Since we know this, it’s easier to trust Him! The Father always wants to teach you more about Him and His kingdom. The question is, are you going to abide in Him and do what He asks you to do when He asks you to do it? Or are you going to put your will and desires ahead of the Lord’s?

Anyways, we kept walking, fully submitting to Moo. Never did I once dictate his next step except when I was trying to get him to turn around to go back home. Moo ended up walking us the exact path we walk to go to the beach. Immediately we started laughing because we couldn’t believe Moo knew the exact path to go to the beach, and we could see him doing this on his own too. I wasn’t excited to walk on the beach in my slippers, but because I love him so much, I did.

I never thought I would find myself walking with my husband and dogs on the beach in my slippers at 9 pm. If I’m honest, never did I want to walk on the beach in my slippers either.

My point is this. Submitting to Jesus is a choice. As Austin and I had consciously spoken about how we would follow Moo and see where he took us, you have to have the same curiosity and love. But it isn’t easy to trust or follow someone when you don’t know their character. That is why it is essential to read your Bible and do more than a 15-minute devotional every day. You must get to know Jesus’ righteousness.

John 10:27 says,

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

When you spend time with Jesus, and I mean more than 15 min a day, you learn who Jesus is, what He sounds like, and how he operates. Understanding this helps you to identify and discern when the Godhead is speaking to you or the devil. When you know his voice, and he knows you, it’s easier to follow him.

How can you better follow Christ? Is God trying to take you somewhere that you are refusing to go?

Prayer: Father God, thank you for all you have done in my life. Thank you for your unconditional love. Thank you for your grace and redemption when I mess up. I see that I don’t always submit to you. I see that my will gets in the way. Father, I ask you to help me to submit myself to you fully. Please help me to discern when I am going my way versus your way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.