God is really laying a message on my heart this morning that I need to share.

You know what holds us back from joy, peace, and contentment? Expectations.

Expectations of how we should be, look or feel. Expectations on how others should be, look, or feel. Expectations on how life should be, look, or feel.

Expectation are like the sign that was nailed above Jesus’ head on that cross. Everyone expected Jesus to be king of the Jews in a way that wasnt His character. Many times we nail signs above others heads expecting them to be something in a way that isn’t their character. Same goes for the expectations on ourself and our life.

Now, that loud voice in our heads will tell us that our expectations are valid, and it is easy to agree with that voice, isn’t it? That voice is loud and proud and….full of hate, negativity, and bitter roots.

There is another voice. It is a stil small voice. It is a voice we must seek to hear. It isn’t loud but it is mighty. It is there to serve us and to guide us. We must intentionally go to this voice and deny the loud one. This is the voice of the Spirit of our gentle Savior and mighty God. This voice pulls away temptation, expectation, and condemnation. It is still. It is small. But it is mighty! Invite that Spirit to stand between you and that loud voice. Cut out the bitter root with the sword of His words

God tells us that two commands fulfill all the others. Love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and love our neighbor as ourself. (Matthew 22:37-40) This is not an expectation. It is a command. He does not expect us to be able to fulfill it on our own. He knows we can’t. But His command can be fulfilled through Jesus who has fulfilled it all perfectly. Through Him we find our strength to do all things God has commanded. (Philippians 4:13) We go to that cross and see every expectation and sin that was ours washed away by the blood of Christ who never held either of those in His own flesh. We are given much forgiveness, grace, and mercy through that cross so we are commanded to give much forgiveness, grace, and mercy through that cross. (Luke 12:48)

Let go of expectations that turn us into victims. God gives us everything we need. Amen? Do we all agree on that? Then what else are we expecting? We have all we need in Christ. That leaves us room to rejoice! To pray for ourselves and others! To praise! To have compassion! To see the fruits of the Spirit grow and become evident in us!

As Christians we walk with the Spirit not by the flesh. That flesh may speak louder than the Spirit but that Spirit is the same Spirit that gave Christ strength for the cross. (Matthew 26:41) That same Spirit rose Him from the dead and that same Spirit lives in us. (Romans 8:11). That is the power we have over that loud voice. When that voice gets loud, seek the still small voice and you will find the power and strength of Jesus. When we have been given that what else could we expect?

Study it like you will teach it

Many years ago I entered into a job that had so many processes it was a challenge to learn. Sometimes I would get discouraged because the lightbulb wouldn’t come on right away and I would struggle to understand it.

One day the lady that was training me told me we were getting a new member in our department and she wanted me to train him. I thought she was crazy! I didn’t know this job well enough to train someone on it! She refused to listen to my insecurities and reminded me that she would be right there if I needed her help.

So, then, as I was doing my job I was thinking about having to train someone else. I started thinking of questions he might ask like “why do we do this that way? Or why do we do this at all?”

Then, instead of doing these processes because “that is just the way we do it”, my brain started reasoning all the “why’s”. I started making connections to how doing the process this way leads into this process needing to be done that way and then the next process makes sense because it combines the first two processes….etc…

Bam! Lightbulb on!

The new guy came in and as I was training him I was getting even more understanding about my job. Through that I learned something that carried me through many difficult times of not understanding something. If you really want a deep understanding about something, study it like you are going to teach it.

Why do I tell you all of this? Because for so long I just accepted things in the Bible that I didn’t understand and moved on thinking it just wasn’t understandable. I wouldn’t stop to ask the “why” questions. I would just barrel over it and accept the process without understanding it. I…was…so…bored and discouraged trying to read my Bible.

Does that sound like you? It is a great act of obedience to study our Bible’s daily. And like all of the obediences God has laid out, it is beneficial for our lives in so many ways! If it wasn’t then He wouldn’t instruct us to be obedient to it.

But being obedient without understanding what you are reading isn’t really getting you anywhere is it? No light bulb moments leads to being very disinterested in what you are reading.

Solution? Study it like you are going to teach it. Research those “why” questions instead of barreling over it. Pray for the Spirit to bring understanding and to guide you to the resources that can help you. Guess what will happen when you do? Lightbulb!! 💡

The truths in God’s word being finally revealed to you will make you desire it even more! Study it like you will teach it and who knows, maybe someday you will. ❤

“man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”
Deuteronomy 8:3

Refined by the fire

I am in the middle of many uncertainties. What makes it even worse is I have been here before and never thought I would face this type of uncertainty again.

This really feeds into my blame game routine. At the heart of it all, I blame myself. I am responsible for my consequences and my stinking thinking makes everything consequences from a mistake I must have made.

If I was to put myself in the story of Job then I would be the friend that was asking him what he had done to deserve such a fate. Except I say it to myself.

I can also compare myself to the diciples who once asked Jesus why the blind man was blind. Was it a sin he did or maybe a sin of his parents? Except I start pointing blame wherever I can for the circumstances.

I know the truth, and my Spirit is willing to hear it. But this flesh has gotten the better of me lately and has left me depressed and maybe a fit of panic here and there. Bitter roots are forming and resentment is real.

I know God will walk me through everything and this fire I am going through is here to refine me and not consume me.

But my flesh says “seriously? You know this is your fault, right? Your obedience was quite lacking and now you want to cry through the consequences. Do better and this wouldnt happen.”

These thoughts leave me feeling so far from God. Like He is disappointed in me. The enemy sure knows how to twist truth into lies. Like a roaring lion he sits and waits for a weak spot to show itself and he digs in.

These are the times that I am thankful for the Spirit guiding me to study His word so consistently for the last few years. Not only do I know where to go to renew my faith but I have His truth written on the tablet of my heart. So when the flesh starts spewing its lies that still, small voice comforts me. He pulls me out and sets me on the solid rock. The bible studies I was so obedient in following has led to an arsenal of truth to fire back at the flaming arrows the enemy has directed at me.

I am not alone. I am not unloved. Even if noone on this earth loved me…He does and what more would I need? Except even then, He gives me more. He gave me a whole church family that shows me love and would come into this battle with me in prayer, no questons asked. That leaves me thankful for that still, small voice that instructed me to get back in church consistently a few years ago as well.

So, if today you are also in a sea of uncertainty let me fill you with this truth. God is good. He wants only what is good for you. If He is burning away what wasnt from Him right now then rejoice. He will restore you to His will and plan. Hold on to that hope. This, too, shall pass and if you let Him refine you then it will not consume you.

I am reminded of David who wanted to build a temple for God. God told him a temple would be built but it would be for his son to build it. Since David couldnt build the temple he decided to stock all that was needed to build it so his son would have all he needed when it was his time to build it.

I feel God telling me, “I see you want My ways and you want to change and grow your faith. That is my Son’s job. He has sent His Spirit to change, grow, and guide you. The only thing you are to do is stock your arsenal with the tools and weapons that are needed. He will rebuild you.”

Yes, a weak spot has been exposed. Yes, the enemy took notice and dug in on it. But God knew it was there all along. He will use that enemy to refine me. I will not be consumed by him because I am already consumed by Him. Where I am weak, He is strong and His power is about to be made very evident in my life. Amen!

Put your armor on soldier. Build up your weapons. Stock that arsenal. He will do the rest.

The sin struggle

Struggling with sin and lounging in sin are two different things.

When you accept Jesus as your savior then His Spirit comes to reside in you which causes a struggle between the Spirit and your flesh over sin in your life. The Spirit begins a work in you that changes your heart and your flesh fights against that. Rest assured, the Spirit wins in the end but you do feel the struggle.

If you are proclaiming that you believe in Jesus and that He died on the cross so you are forgiven and saved, yet you are still sitting pretty in your sin with no worries over it then you may want to reevaluate your relationship with Christ.

I dont speak this in judgement or in anyway trying to declare whether you are saved or not, but I was once one that claimed a salvation I dont believe I truly had. You see, there is a big difference in knowing who Jesus is and what He did and in actually believing IN Him and following Him. Even the demons know who He is and what He did. Knowledge is nothing without wisdom.

I truly love you all. Therefore, I want you all to hear the truth and know Jesus. He is everything. You are His everything. Know the truth so it can set you free!

Matthew 7:21
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Romans 12:2
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 8:9
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

Ezekiel 36:27
I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

Christ lives in me

I have been struggling lately. Struggling with all the “I can’ts” I can’t stop over eating. I can’t stop losing faith and being disappointed. I can’t stop being angry. I cant stop worrying about what is going to happen. I read a bible study yesterday that really focuses on seeing Jesus at the cross when battling sin. It was one little sentence that stuck out. It wasn’t the focus of the study but the Spirit sure made it a focus for me.

Christ lives in me.

Christ lives in me then temptation stops at the door. He is right here in me at all times. I am never left alone. Everything the bible directs us to do or be is impossible for our flesh, but not for Christ who lives in me. Living as the fruit of the Spirit is impossible for the flesh, but Christ bears good fruit and He lives in me. This hit me hard. Look how many times this fact is stated in the bible. I listed some of the verses below. If you have truly accepted Christ as your savior and started walking this life desiring a better relationship with Him then guess what…Christ lives within you, too! We must realize the power that provides and use it! No longer fear temptation. No longer fear anything. Christ isn’t way off somewhere watching from a distance. His Spirit resides IN you! He is right THERE!! This has been a life changing concept the Spirit has revealed to me and I pray it does the same for anyone else struggling with knowing what they should do but doing what they hate instead. Read through these verses with this truth in mind: It is the Christ who lives in me that makes all things possible.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

John 15:5
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

Colossians 1:27
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Romans 8:9
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

John 14:19-20
Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.

John 14:17
Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

Romans 8:10
But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

1 John 4:15
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

Joy and peace is mine

One of the biggest things that has held me back from receiving the joy and peace offered to me through salvation in Christ is how I hurt people in my past. How can I receive joy and peace when people I had a hand in damaging are still hurting? That’s not fair. I should hurt with them. And I do hurt with them. It is just now my pain feels different. It feels shared. Like Jesus is right there with me. He suffered through pain He didn’t deserve so He could be there to take pain I do deserve. I look forward with joy and peace because I see what God saved me from. I know He will do the same for those I hurt, damaged, or directed down a wrong path. I do my part in saying I am sorry. He does His part by working in their hearts to give forgiveness and no longer use their pain as a reason to keep sinning. Exactly what He did for me is what He will do for them. God knew exactly what I would do and He put these people in my life anyway. He has a plan. He wants them, too. I will accept that joy and peace because I trust Him. I will accept it because me walking around in a defeated, sorrowful way will not lead one soul to my Father that heals. I want you to see the work God has done in me. I want you to see the Christ that saved me. I want you to see the Spirit that moves in me daily. That joy and peace is mine. I don’t deserve it but I inherited it the moment I submitted my life to the salvation offered by Christ. It is my inheritance and I fully accept it! You can inherit it as well. Pray for the power of God that redeems, resurrects, and relieves! There is more to life than this punishment you are doling out to yourself. You don’t have to live like this anymore. Let today be the day.

Ezekiel 36:33

“Thus says the Lord God: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt.

Lord, I pray over every soul that reads this. If they don’t know you, I pray that soul becomes so restless without You they have no choice but to give in. I pray if this soul does know you but still living in their punishment that they accept the inheritance You have offered. For the souls that have reached this level of joy and peace I pray You shine on them so others can find them and be led to You. In Christ name, Amen

The generation breaker

Picture this: you grew up your whole life abused, ridiculed, loved with conditions and hated for the same. Life was never just peaceful. Always on edge. Without even realizing it, you treat other people this way. Maybe you have kids and you treated them that way. You start to see it. You see how you treat your kids or others you love and it breaks your own heart even more. You stuff the pain away. Maybe you have been told “it’s not that bad” or “it could be worse”. But it feels pretty bad to you. It hurts. It doesn’t stop until you shove it down with drinks, drugs, sex, or food. One day you hit your knees and finally cry out to God. He pulls you up, grabs a hold of your heart and tells you “this stops with you.”

The Spirit brings on understanding. You see your past and you understand why you behave the way you do. You see how others actions were not normal and how they affected you. It makes you angry.

The Spirit pulls you deeper. You see how those people were treated by others in their life. You see how it affected them and how they behave. You feel compassion.

The Spirit pulls you to the future. You see where you leaned to God’s power to forgive. You see yourself reading the bible to learn more of this power. You see how this forgiveness and love took away the drinking, drugs, sex and food. You see how you treat others differently. You see how you treat your kids differently. They notice the change in you and it rubs off on them. They treat their kids differently. Their kids are raised up different and it attracts healthy, Godly people to their life. On down the line this Godly, healthy behavior is all they know. Generations to come have changed because one day God grabbed your heart and said “it stops with you.”