Be Humble

The devotional that follows is not one that I have written. Repeat, THIS DEVOTIONAL WAS NOT WRITTEN BY ME!

I was reading on the YouVersion Bible App this morning, catching up on a devotional I’m doing with a good friend of mine (sshhhhh, I’m a few days behind…lol). And while on my stroll through, I walked into the arms of a devo beauty talking about humility. It was such an awesome reading, I thought I’d share it with you all. Humility is not always an easy thing to walk in. Pride can slide in really quick, and knock the humility right out of us if we aren’t careful. I was really blessed by this reminder this morning and it is something I will be meditating on.

As you read it, allow it to challenge your thinking and sink into your heart. When you’re finished, whisper a prayer to God. We could all use some help in this area😊. I hope you enjoy. God bless☺️🤗

“Our church has a lot of influence, and with that comes a stewardship of influence. I feel responsible to leverage the influence—the platform—we’ve been given. Additionally, we live in a culture that applies constant pressure through social media to “build a platform.” It seems so natural to want to be insta-famous. And that’s not all bad.

Many people use their platforms for good. However, that pressure can become dangerous very quickly. It’s actually quite easy to justify self-promotion. I find in myself a growing obligation to clarify when an idea was mine or to make sure others know that I created the thing others are applauding. It’s sad, but it’s true . . . and it’s so dangerous.

1 Peter 5:6 says: Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

This is so clear. My role is to humble myself under God’s leadership and sovereignty. God’s role is to do the lifting. When my heart is healthiest, God is doing the lifting. When my heart is nastiest, I’m jockeying for position and fighting for credit and applause.

Today, focus on humbling yourself under God’s leadership and sovereignty. Let what God says about you be what defines you. Take the role of a servant and embrace it, whether anyone notices you or not. Take advantage of every opportunity to lift someone else up, even if it means you might not get the credit or the applause for something you initiated.

Your job: to humble yourself.
God’s job: to lift you up.

Clay Scroggins
North Point Community Church”

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV

“This devotional content was retrieved from YouVersion Bible App. I do not own its contents.”

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December Writing Prompt

Happy Friday Everyone!

As a writer, I am often searching for things to help get my creative juices flowing, and when I find the right something, it’s always such a blessing to me. In my efforts to be a place of encouragement and inspiration for all those who read my blog, I would like to offer you my own ‘something’. Below, I have attached a writing prompt for the month of December, with its link underneath it. I pray it will not only encourage you but that it will uplift you, motivate you and draw you closer into who God is. Enjoy and God Bless!

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December Writing Prompt

The Lord Is In This Place Too

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“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”          Psalm 23:4 NKJV

Elevation Worship has a song called, “Here Again”. The first time I heard it, I honestly did not understand what it was fully saying. But as I listened to it over and over again in the stillness of my room, its lyrics began to pierce my heart.

Have you ever gone through a time in your life that made you feel like you were in the deepest pit you’ve ever been in? Have you ever had your heart broken? Lost a loved one? Got let go from a job? Felt like you were walking around aimlessly or directionless? Received an expected bill with no money to pay it? Gotten a terrible test score? Have you gotten some unexpected, painful news? It’s in times like these that life can seem hopeless. As if it was caving in and there is no way out; tears seem to sit tirelessly on the porch of your eyelids. I know this place all too well. Maybe you’re sitting in this place right now, and you don’t know where to turn to.

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.” Psalm 120:1 ESV

“But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the Lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3 ESV

My life has been a myriad of ups and downs, as has all of our lives. And it is in these times that we can easily forget God, and we feel forgotten; not only by those around but God Himself. The pain sets in, and we can begin to feel the pressures of life. And if you’re anything like me, you can shift into superhero mode really quick; grabbing a hold of the falsehood that we can handle it all by ourselves.

This is such an empty and burdensome mindset to have, yet as human beings, we dig our boots in and we let this mindset settle on our heads, like a hat wrapped around our chin in winter. Don’t get me wrong, enduring and pressing on in the face of adversity is a good thing. But without God, without His boost, without His direction, without His strength, it is all in vanity and can cause us to be like a hamster on its wheel. It is when we forget to seek God, or even just remember that He is with us in that place, that we begin to take wrong turns.

“Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

In this passage in Deuteronomy 31, Joshua was getting ready to take Moses’ place, and lead the Israelite’s, God’s chosen people, into the land God had promised them. They had been wander in the wilderness for 40 years, and it wasn’t because God left them. It was fear that kept them from moving forward. It was their inability to remember that God was with them no matter what they came up against, that caused them to suffer for so long.

This is the same thing that happens to us; we forget God in the face of adversity and we carry a burden we were never meant to. A burden I tend to carry around is that when life happens, I have to keep it all together and just to figure it out myself. But this is not what God desires at all!

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”     1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV

And on the day I heard “Here Again”, playing it on repeat, I sat on my bed, in the late hours of the night, as tears streamed down my face, I heard these lyrics:

“Not for a minute, Was I forsaken, The Lord is in this place, The Lord is in this place, Come Holy Spirit, Dry bones awaken, The Lord is in this place, The Lord is in this place”

As I listened, I was reminded. As I listened, I was overwhelmed by the Lord’s presence. As I listened, my sorrow turned into joy. As I listened, I was reminded that Christ was with me in the past, right now and that He would still be with me all the days of my life. I was reminded that He is with us even in the times we’ve forgotten Him, that He has never forgotten us.

Below is the link to the song “Here Again” by Elevation Worship. I pray it revives your heart, and your sorrow is turned into joy.

Here Again

Here Again (Extended Version) | Live | Elevation Worship

And remember: YOU ARE LOVED. YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN. YOU ARE NOT FORSAKEN. YOU ARE THOUGHT OF. YOU HAVE NOT BEEN LEFT TO FEND FOR YOURSELF. YOU HAVE NOT BEEN LED TO THIS PLACE, ONLY TO BE LET DOWN BY GOD. HE IS ETERNALLY FAITHFUL EVEN IN THE MIDST OF OUR FAITHLESSNESS AND DOUBT. YOU ARE LOVED!

The video was retrieved from YouTube. Images were retrieved from google images. Bible scriptures were retrieved from http://www.biblegateway.com. Lyrics were retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com.

 

Leaning on the Beloved

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A few weeks ago, I was searching the word for scriptures on love, and I stumbled onto Song of Solomon 8. Looking for more understanding of the text, I began looking up different commentaries.  As I searched online, I found a commentary written by enduringword.com, and as I scrolled down the page, my eyes landed on verse 5,

“Who is this coming up from the wilderness, Leaning upon her beloved?” Song of Solomon 8:5a NKJV

As I read further, there was a quote given from the preacher Charles Spurgeon who was known for his radical preaching and style. He beautifully paints an illustration of his understanding of this bible verse and how it compares to Christ and His church. 

“She leaned because she was weak and needed strength. She leaned because the way was long. She leaned because the way was perilous. She leaned because the path was ascending, going higher and higher. She leaned because her progress took her more and more away from others and more and more to her beloved’s side. She leaned because she was sure her beloved was strong enough to bear her weight. She leaned because she loved him.”

“Beloved, there is no part of the pilgrimage of a saint in which he can afford to walk in any other way but in the way of leaning. He cometh up at the first, and he cometh up at the last, still leaning, still leaning upon Christ Jesus; ay, and leaning more and more heavily upon Christ the older he grows.” (Spurgeon)

The picture Spurgeon painted set a fire in my soul and has helped me understand more and more of what our life with Christ should look like. When I read the scripture for myself, I see the trust and reliance the women placed in her beloved. She knew she needed him to make it to her destination and she loved the closeness her dependency brought. She knew that he could hold her weight (her baggage) and she willingly rested on him without fear. She was not frustrated with his help, but instead, she welcomed every ounce of it. She even trusted his navigation skills, without question, to get her to the place she needed to be. She did not fight against his hold, but instead, she sunk into it allowing his body to be what kept her standing and going. She was okay with the help of her beloved and she did not refuse it. What a beautiful picture that has been set before us.

But I now wonder, what my walk with Christ looks like. Does it mirror this depiction or does it clash with what God truly desires? How about yours? Does it exude the beauty portrayed above, or does it pale in comparison? Be honest with yourself.

In a world that tells us we must be independent at all times and stand on our own two feet, and if we want something then we have to make it happen on our own, this picture causes a conflict to arise against the lifestyle we have become so accustomed to. Though the world tells us one thing, God desires something entirely different.

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

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 NIV

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” Exodus 14:14 NIV

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV

 “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” Psalm 127:1 NIV

In all of these scriptures, the common thread is that apart from dependency on God, we can do nothing and can go nowhere meaningful. I don’t know about you, but being successful according to man’s standards, yet missing the plan and purpose of God for my life, is something I don’t want to be a part of. No matter how rich or seemingly influential I could become, if it’s at the expense of my purpose in God’s will, then the world can have it all…no matter how big or how small it may be. Truly meaningful success and influence in the world can only come from being in the will and purpose of God. God told the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Leaning on Christ, as we walk through this life, will bring us to the expected end that God Himself has ordained for us. Think about it, it’s nothing like following a set of directions only to get to the end and the final result is not at all what you expected. But many of us live our lives like this, and Jesus, our Bridegroom, just wants us, His Bride, to look like the Shulamite woman in Song of Solomon 8:5. He wants His love (that’s us) to lean on Him as we journey through the ups and the downs, the mountain tops, and the valley lows, in this thing called life. Our lives here on earth is only temporary, and then we’re gone. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t want to get to the end of many days and realize I leaned more on myself and the ways of man and not on the One who gave me life. And because of this, many people were left untouched by Christ through my life, my purpose left no mark in the earth for the Kingdom of God, and ultimately my life meant nothing because it was not lived out the way God desired. 

“Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days FASHIONED for me, When as yet there were none of them.” Psalm 139:16 NKJV

In this scripture, the word fashioned means, “to mold into a form, to plan and to frame. Did you know that God has already written the days of your life? That He has already shaped the path that He wants each of us to live out? We are not always mindful of the activities we choose to take part in and if they are what God wants us to do, and because of this, we are not always walking on the path He designed for us. But know that He has created a path specifically for you with your purpose in mind. Every manufacturer knows the purpose of their product. They know what they created it for, what it can do, the limits it can go without breaking down, and the work it is able to do at its maximum capacity. In the same way, God knows what we are capable of, but it takes a leaning and dependency on Him to bring it forth in the earth.

He knows the journey is not always the easiest or the most enjoyable at times, and He even knows the loneliness that comes with life, and that is one of the reasons why Christ walks beside us. He wants to be there to support us, to walk with us, and be the strength for us when we are weak. He desires to be our resting place and our guiding light. We can get nowhere fast without Him, but it’s only with Him, leaning against Him, can we make it to the expected end He has fashioned for us; journeying together and leading us to all those He desires for us to influence and share the Gospel to. Directing us, in His strength, to make to impact He designed our lives to make. 

So will you lean on Him, and journey with Him? Will you trust Him with your life and destiny, no matter the cost? 

 

All scripture passage were retrieved from, https://www.biblestudytools.com/.

Love is___________

While reading my devotional yesterday from “100 Favorite Bible Verses”, it suggested that wherever you see the word love or it, place your name there. As I inserted my name, I realized how easy it is to miss the mark of giving out and showing the love that God gives to us. I realized that even the smallest shifts in our attitudes can taint that love that God desires to be seen through His children. I repented, asking God for forgiveness and help to show His love to the world, even in the tough moments of life.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭NIV‬‬

To show love to people, is to show Christ to people. Today, do your own personal love inventory and place your name where you see love and it, and in your weak places of love, repent and ask the Holy Spirit for help. We aren’t meant to do this on our own; loving people can be hard. This is why it is so key for us to lean on the Holy Spirit for strength and help. It is in our weaknesses that God’s grace comes in and bridges the gaps in our lives. It is not by our own might nor by our own power but we overcome bleak areas in our lives by the Spirit of God. So let us lean on the One whose love is perfect, and allow Him to teach us, bridging the gap and developing in us His perfect love.

God Bless!

Known

Do you know that you are fully and completely known by God? David said in Psalm 139 verses one through four:
Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.”
then he continued in verse 16,
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
What a revelation! There is nothing about us that God is not acquainted with; not our attitudes, our insecurities, our stubbornness, our confidences, or even the things we ponder on deep within our heart. Nothing about us is unknown to God, and nothing about us surprises Him either.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” Psalm 139:17-18
Even after knowing everything about us, the good, the bad and the indifference, we are told that God’s thoughts of us are still GOOD, and that they outnumber the grains of sand in all the earth. How can God love us this much?! I cannot fathom the awesome wonder of His majesty. I am mind blown every time I read this passage. To be loved beyond our own humanity is the nature of who God really is, and knowing that is such a comfort to my soul, like a hot cup of cocoa on a blistering, cold day. It just melts all of my worries away.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17
He sent Christ into the word to save us because He loves us. Not because we are perfect and make the right choices and we are kind to everyone, but because He loves us and He knows we can’t get it together on our own. The manner of love He chooses to love us with supersedes our own understanding.
Below are the lyrics to a song called ‘Known’ by an artist named Tauren Wells, along with a link to its YouTube video. On rough days, and days that I just need to be reminded of God’s love and presence in my life, I put this song on repeat. And by the third or fourth time it plays, I am up on my feet, and singing with joy to the top of my lungs. I hope that this does for you what it somehow always does for me. Save this song to a YouTube playlist, or add it to your phone, because there will always come a day that we will need our chins lifted up and be reminded that we are not loved in a limited way by God, but that we are fully loved and fully known by Him! God Bless!
Known by Tauren Wells
It’s so unusual it’s frightening
You see right through the mess inside me
And you call me out to pull me in
You tell me I can start again
And I don’t need to keep on hiding
I’m fully known and loved by You
You won’t let go no matter what I do
And it’s not one or the other
It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace
To be known fully known and loved by You
I’m fully known and loved by You
It’s so like You to keep pursuing
It’s so like me to go astray, ooh
But You guard my heart with Your truth
The kind of love that’s bullet proof
And I surrender to Your kindness, oh
I’m fully known and loved by You
You won’t let go no matter what I do
And it’s not one or the other
It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace
To be known fully known and loved by You
I’m fully known and loved by You
How real, how wide
How rich, how high is Your heart
I cannot find the reasons why
You give me so much
How real, how wide
How rich, how high is Your heart
Now, I cannot find the reasons why
You give me so much
I’m fully known (fully known) and loved by You
You won’t let go (no you won’t let go) no matter what I do
And it’s not one or the other
It’s hard truth and ridiculous grace
To be known fully known and loved by You
I’m fully known and loved by You
It’s so unusual it’s frightening
I’m fully known and loved by You
Lyrics taken from google.com. Bible passages taken form biblegateway.com. Video link taken from YouTube.com.

 

God Over Everything

design (17) “Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.” John 15:4

Before we were born, God created us in our mother’s womb with a predisposition to Himself. He created us in such a way, that at our core we would have a desire for something greater; something greater that could only be filled by Him. And if not attended to, it would get covered up by all of life’s responsibilities, desires, and demands.

During some personal time with God, He helped me understand how important it is to have Him in the right position of my life. He spoken into my heart, “All you have to do is stay connected to the Vine and the fruit will grow. Spending time with Me should become a habit like brushing your teeth, or filling your stomach with food. Our time together develops a regular appetite for Me in your life. Over the course of your life, habits that draw you away from Me have already been developed. So even though I created you with the natural disposition to My presence, it can become covered up by things in life, like boxes stacked one on top of the other; putting the box you think you need the least at the bottom of the pile…Me. Then, life’s other responsibilities begin to get piled on top of My box. So when life gets crazy, and you need Me, you have to fight to get passed all the other “boxes” that have covered Me up. There has to come a time when a re-positioning happens in a person’s life when all those other things get removed and I become a priority, and placed in the highest position.”

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 NKJV

Many times, we decide to take care of our own business first, and when we feel up to it, or if we have the time, then we take care of God’s business. This is not what He desires. He wants true fellowship with His children. He craves for us to be close to Him at all times.

He doesn’t want what is left of us, but He wants all of us.

We tend to put God on the back burner because of the things piled up in our lives that overshadow His presence and importance in our lives. As a result, we become  self-reliant and dull in comparison to what He originally intended. He longs to be our one and only source and for us to cling to Him, but instead we have allowed life, in many ways, to make us blind and deaf to Him.

“For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the LORD, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.” Jeremiah 13:11 ESV

Reflect on your life and ask yourself, “What has caused my ears and eyes to be closed to Christ?” Then ask Him to search you and reveal the root of this.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:24-25

God loves to examine us. With every examination, our eyes and ears open up more and more to the areas of our lives that we have become closed off to our Father. This draws us into Him, and it strengthens our relationship. He is our lifeline, and we can do nothing truly good and fruit producing without Him. 

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV

One day while sitting at the lake, as I quieted myself to hear the Lord speak, He told me, “When you spend time with Me, it gives Me the opportunity to pour things into you, and to also take some things out of you; things you don’t even realize are present in your life. It allows Me to place things on your heart to pray for, in your life and in the world. It brings humility and plants seeds within you. And when you continue to come to Me, even when things are rough in your life, I am still able to produce good fruit in your life for people to eat on and be nourished.”

Our Creator loves working on us, even in the harsh weather life brings. Some of the greatest adversities in our lives produce some of the most amazing fruit. Some of the greatest pain we experience has the potential to create incredible beauty in the lives of others.

 It’s not easy staying connected to the Vine in the midst of all of lives responsibilities and burdens, but the only way to produce Godly fruit is to stay in continuously connected to Christ. He wants to show His glory through us and to us. Reflect on where you have placed Him in your life, and ask Him to help you put Him in His proper place. Draw closer to Him and watch the beauty that begins to blossom through and in your life.