God Sees and God Cares About Your Heart

God Sees and God Cares About Your Heart

Growing up in the church, I regularly heard the word diligence, “be like the ‘dilig-ANT’ Dad would say”, or I’d read “…go to the ant you sluggard (lazy bones) observe her ways and be wise…no one has to tell them what to do…so wake up sleepyhead…”(Proverbs 6:6) Diligence meant working hard, doing what needs to be done and not being lazy! “See a need, fill a need” was a quote from the movie ‘ROBOTS’, that ran through my head constantly. I became very work oriented. If I wasn’t working hard, I wasn’t pleasing my parents, friends, employers, and more importantly God!

My family was a part of a ministry that taught families how to become Character Families. Achieving true success by applying the Character Qualities of Jesus Christ, to life. We taught scriptures, songs, and stories to help them understand each character quality and how to display it. The opposite of diligence is slothfulness – such a negative picture, in my mind, of what we looked like if we weren’t working hard and going, going, going! 

Diligence was defined as ‘Accepting each task as a special assignment from the Lord and using all my energies to do it quickly and skillfully.” Problem was, I lost sight of the ‘assignment from the Lord” part and just accepted every task given to me, and used all my energy to do it quickly and skillfully. I became a “yes woman” (and to be completely honest, I married a “yes man”). Looking back, I realize, that I am STILL very works based. If my kids are not DOING something productive, I tend to give them a job or get onto them asking, “what could you be doing to help?” Sometimes I’ve even seen my husband sitting on his phone, not doing anything productive (in my opinion) and feel resentment in my heart about all the things that need to be done and wonder why he isn’t helping! I had begun to get exhausted as I took on tasks, not wanting to say yes, but saying yes to please people anyway. 

I know there are many of you reading this that feel the same way. As a wife and mum of 5 who homeschools, has a baking business, and helps run a children’s ministry (insert here whatever it is you regularly do), it feels like the work is never done and that we don’t have time to be lazy! “I’ve got to get the kids to this, that or the other sport/school/church event! I’ve got to do this, that or the other thing for my coworker/family member/friend.” Let me encourage you to think about it from a different perspective: God has given me opportunities to be diligent and to do everything I do, with my whole heart, as if I’m doing it for the Lord— seeing every task and activity in life as an assignment specifically from Him and using ALL my energy to do it quickly and skillfully—FOR HIM. Finish the dishes AND wipe the counters-FOR HIM. Teach your children to put their toys and clothes away AND pick up the rubbish—FOR HIM. Demonstrate to them, by example, how to change their perspective.

I’m learning that no one else may ever notice OR care about the work we do as wives, mothers and employees… in some instances it’s even expected-that’s what you’re SUPPOSED to do. BUT GOD! God notices! God cares! God SEES us! If WE can see our day to day activities as individual assignments FROM GOD to grow our character and see Him as our ‘employer’, we don’t need to worry if others don’t recognize what we do for them, nor do we need to wonder whether we are appreciated or be concerned when we are overlooked or taken for granted. Instead, we can be motivated to fulfill the instruction of Ecclesiastes 9:10 “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” 

Let’s change our perspective to the Lord’s. Let’s take on our daily tasks with the motivation of love and an attitude of joy, and see them as opportunities to serve and be a witness for the Lord. Let’s ask Jesus to be Lord over each aspect of our day, to help us see that ultimately it is He who we are serving, and that with a changed perspective we CAN be content and do every task as if Jesus Himself asked us to do it for Him! We CAN do ALL things through Him who gives us the strength and the empowering of the Holy Spirit to do it.

Am I doing this _____ as if I’m doing it for the Lord Himself and not merely for others? (Colossians 3:23) The DOING of the work is a given. It’s a constant; it doesn’t end. The HEART of the work, the ATTITUDE in which it is done, is the key. THIS is the part that God cares about…and that we should care about.

We would like to thank Bree Elam for sharing this post.

Starting a friendship with a woman you admire is intimidating. How do you approach trying to start a new friendship? Also…any verses to help with friendship?

Starting a friendship with a woman you admire is intimidating. How do you approach trying to start a new friendship? Also…any verses to help with friendship?

You asked, and we answered! Over the next few weeks we will be sharing some of the questions that were submitted during our 2022 Harvest Women’s Retreat, and the answers from some of the women in our church.

Friendships in general are intimidating 😊. You are choosing to share your life with someone else in hopes to be accepted, valued, and loved. 

My advice to you when approaching a new friendship is just this…choose to. 

Everything we do is a choice we make. We can stay isolated, alone, and on the outside looking in, or we can choose something different. 

Every choice is a risk and every risk is just that…risky. 

But I know this to be true: God has godly friends for you and for me and it’s worth the risk to seek out and initiate friendship with women who are godly. Not every friendship you initiate will “work out” but that’s ok. The ones that are supposed to, will. 

I have a 3 invite rule. If I’ve initiated connection with someone 3 times and they aren’t able to make it work and haven’t initiated connection back, then I move on. It’s not personal…I don’t get my feelings hurt over it, I assume God is directing my steps and He has other people He wants me to connect with. 

I think the main thing you need to remember about making friends is that it takes time and intention. 

Here’s a few ideas when initiating friendships. 

  • Invite another mom to bring her kids over to let them play while the two of you visit. 
  • Meet at a park and let the kids play while you visit or pray for your families. 
  • Send random texts with funny memes or funny moments that you’ve had that day. 
  • Meet up for coffee or lunch. 
  • Invite a new friend to ride with you to Lubbock for a quick Sam’s pick-up. 
  • Ask someone to help you make a meal for a new mom or someone who’s just had surgery or is going through a hard time. 

There are lots of ways to connect with new friends, just be brave and initiate. 

Friendships have changed my life and I absolutely LOVE having friends. 

Here are a few of my favorite verses on friendship. 

  • Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
  • Probers 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
  • Job 6:14 “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”

May I leave you with this…God has incredible friends for you! I believe in you and I’m cheering you on as you take the risks needed to initiate godly friendships.

We want to thank Julie Snellgrove for answering this question

Whatever You Do, Work at it With All Your Heart

Whatever You Do, Work at it With All Your Heart

I have a 3-year-old daughter who is full of life, FULL of questions, and watches just about everything I do. Anyone relate? 

The other day, I found myself pressing pause on the never-ending task list running through my brain to sit down and color with Charis for 10 minutes. She opened the coloring book to a spot where there were 2 blank coloring pages right next to each other – one for me and one for her – and began carefully coloring. Sometimes she likes to be silly and scribble all over the page, but most of the time, she’s pretty careful to color inside the lines because she has someone in mind that she wants to give her picture to when she’s finished. As we color, she asks me 50 questions about why I’m coloring the flowers purple and the girl’s shoes red, and any other “why” that crosses her mind. Then she says “Mommy, ask me why I’m coloring inside the lines.” I oblige, and she answers, “Because, ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for man. – Colossians 3:23.’” Wow! I celebrated that she’s applying God’s Word to her life in her own little 3-year-old way, encouraged her, and then heard her little voice echoing this scripture in my head the rest of the day.

Life and motherhood are full of opportunities for sanctification, aren’t they? There’s nothing that will spur you on toward Godliness like having your child understand, live out, and speak a biblical Truth that you still sometimes struggle with well into your walk with the Lord.

If I’m being honest, I’m easily distracted. Sometimes I lose sight of the greater picture in the middle of all the things I do daily that seem mundane, tedious, repetitive, unnoticed, and even meaningless. And when I allow my feelings to distract me from the bigger picture, I can easily fall into a pattern of working half-heartedly or even begrudgingly.

Sometimes, though, all it takes is a simple reminder from my preschooler for my heart to remember that I’m a partaker of God’s divine nature and have been given everything I need for life and godliness.

His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 

2 Peter 1:3-4

Diligence is part of God’s very nature and is foundational to my spiritual growth.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8

When we work diligently, everyone in our life benefits. It brings peace to our own lives, serves those around us in a way that makes them feel the love of the Father, and brings Glory and Honor to God, the One who created us in His image and prepared for us good works to be done while we’re here on Earth (Ephesians 2:10).

When I remember this, I can work wholeheartedly in everything I do, as if I’m working for the Lord and not for man, because I really am working for the Lord and not for man.

When I’m diligent in disciplining my daughter, I’m working as God’s agent for her good and for His glory.

When I’m diligent to keep my home in order, I’m working for the Lord so that my home is a place where my family and others experience the peace of His presence.

When I work diligently in my job, I’m representing His excellence to my sphere of influence and drawing those around me to Jesus. 

Elisabeth Elliot, a missionary, author, speaker, and woman of incredible wisdom, summed it up this way:

This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.

So I want to encourage you today like Charis encouraged me: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for man.

Because you really are working for the Lord.

We would like to thank Catherine Dunn for sharing this post.

What do you do if you are older and think that you have wasted your gifts or didn’t know what they were?

What do you do if you are older and think that you have wasted your gifts or didn’t know what they were?

You asked, and we answered! Over the next few weeks we will be sharing some of the questions that were submitted during our 2022 Harvest Women’s Retreat, and the answers from some of the women in our church.

Just because we are older doesn’t mean it’s too late to use the gifts God has given us.  I’ve found that in different seasons of my life, I have been able to use different gifts.  Maybe you think you have wasted your gifts, when really, you have just been using gifts doing the things that you were called on to do at that point in your life.  For example, as a mom, I used the gifts of administration or service many times, organizing my children’s activities and providing for their needs.  Now that my kids are grown, I have the chance to apply those gifts to other areas of life, like church or volunteer work.  So, my gifts were not wasted when they were used in my family.  I believe that spiritual gifts are useful in all areas of our lives, not just at church.

Sometimes getting a little older gives me more time to practice using some gifts that I hadn’t explored before.  Being older brings with it lots of experiences that have (hopefully) developed some wisdom.  Because I have been through some things in life, I can offer encouragement and empathize with women who are just now experiencing them.  I have testimonies that I can share.  I have had a longer relationship with the Holy Spirit to understand some things that I did not understand earlier in life.

If you do not know what your gifts are, look at the things you are drawn to.  Do you love to give to people?  Do you enjoy organizing things?  Do you enjoy working with children or babies?  Do you thrive on Bible study or telling others about Jesus?  What you enjoy can give you a clue to your spiritual gifts.  Also, ask your best friend or your husband what they see that you are good at.  They can often recognize your giftedness when you have overlooked it.  

If you think you might have a gift but are not sure, why not just try it?  Step out of your comfort zone and take a chance – just once.  You might be surprised at the outcome.  Take a turn at serving in Kid City.  Offer to help by cooking or serve on the greeter team.  Offer to pray for people and write them an encouraging note.  If something grabs your interest, go for it!  You may think that your gift is not an important one, but EVERY gift is worth celebrating.  And it’s never too late to get started.

We would like to thank Sheri Warren for answering this question.

Grow to Become a Diligent Woman

Grow to Become a Diligent Woman

What comes to mind when you hear the word Diligence?

I think of the ant that works away during the summer…I felt like a joyful ant growing up. 

When I was 5 years old, my family would wake up and get dressed at 4:00am, and we’d drive to work the cotton fields.  I would run through the fields carrying jugs of water and placing them strategically under tall weeds to keep cool.  I would go back to grab the hoe and help my family work so we could help the beautiful West Texas cotton thrive without weeds hindering their growth.

My mother was a single mom, and I was her only child until I was a teenager. My grandmother lived with us, whom I lovingly called mom as well, and she practically raised me while my mother worked.  She had twelve children, and some lived with us.  

I sometimes think about how both of my mom’s worked hard all their lives. They were diligent women.

I didn’t get a chance to meet my father until I was older, although I did have eight wonderful uncles that taught me how to tell time, gave me lots of quarters to buy stuff, took me fishing and let me listen to Mr. Roboto by Styx, George Strait, and Neil Diamond – why?  Those apparently were some of my favorites!  My uncles also showed me how they worked hard at their jobs, and they loved softball.  There were so many other endearing memories that were made growing up in a big family.  These were diligent men in my life.

Maybe you wonder like I have – what does it mean to be a diligent person?

Diligent comes from the Latin diligere, which means ‘to value highly, take delight in,’ but in English it has always meant careful and hard-working.  If you’re a diligent worker, you don’t just bang away at your job; you earnestly try to do everything right.

The Bible defines diligence as: “the effort to do one’s part while keeping faith and reliance on God.  In other words, diligence and faith are two sides of the mystery.  One does not know how, despite one’s effort, it all works out; but diligence when combined with faith, assures spiritual success.”

I love to work! I love to be diligent in my work! I take delight in it. I love to display beauty and to exhort others. I love people and I love to let them know, without a doubt, that they are seen, valued, and loved! I’ve come to find out that although hard work is good and I’ve spent most of my life being diligent in most things, the most vital things to be diligent in, are the things that God wants for you and has for you.

I didn’t always have that.  I’ve had great examples of secular hard work.  I didn’t grow up in the church, but since the moment I gave my life to Jesus, I have never turned away.  I am diligent in my love for Jesus! Knowing that He would never fail me, leave me, or turn from me is what has sustained me. I’ve had many moments where I found myself learning about biblical diligence and truths that I had never seen modeled.  Ecclesiastes 3:1, says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…”

In 2018, God taught me to be diligent in my rest.  I’ve worked hard all my life and the game changer happened while attending Gateway’s Conference.  I had tears running down my face because Robert Morris’ story – being near death’s door—mirrored my story just the year before.  We were both healed, by the grace of God.  I remember hearing how God commands us – not requests, but commands us— to rest.  I now rest diligently.

It’s very important to find balance.  Sometimes you must pour more into your marriage, children, or work, but always— yes, always— find time to rest.  You are honoring God not only with your body, but with your heart, mind, and soul when you rest.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart…”

Scripture is so important in our day to day lives and I’ve held onto Romans 12:9-11 during different seasons of my life.  It says, “Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.”

I’d like to leave you with this important truth…spend time with Jesus and ask Him what he wants you to be diligent in during this season of your life.  The Holy Spirit is faithful in hearing and guiding you. God is good, all the time! I pray that your heart becomes diligent – able to make better what has been found in your due season of faith and to take delight in it.  God can saturate you with joy in doing the hard things.

I hope, while you’ve read this that you’ve been able to grasp a bit about me, how I grew up and what my heart is. My encouragement for you is to live out what Matthew 22:37 says, “Love your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul.”  

Grow and be diligent in new things.  Go from glory to glory.  Much love to you my sweet friends!

We would like to thank Mandy Villarreal for writing this post.

What Hinders God’s Divine Knowledge? 

What Hinders God’s Divine Knowledge? 

This month, we’ve been talking about Knowledge from 2 Peter 1:3-8.  

I’m going to get a little nerdy as we think about what hinders God’s divine knowledge. Philosophically speaking, there are four levels of knowledge:

  1. What I know I know. 
  2. What I know I don’t know. 
  3. What I don’t know but think I know. 
  4. What I don’t know I don’t know. 

Let’s toss out Number 4 because these are unknowable, right? If we don’t know we don’t know, then we don’t know. 😊

But what do we know? What do we not know? And what do we think we know, but don’t actually know? 

I can wallow in the 2 and 3 here. I can get frustrated by what I don’t know. And I can get stuck in a place where I think I know better. 

One of our twins struggled with eating from the very beginning. She started losing weight in the hospital, like all babies do, but she lost more than 10% in her first few days and that’s not normal, so we knew pretty early on that she wasn’t getting enough to eat. 

We knew there was a problem. And if you know me, I’m like let’s find a solution! 

Me and Google. We’re going to figure this thing out, right? 

There’s no peace in that, unfortunately.

And it leads to Number 3—where I think I know, but I don’t actually know. 

So I pushed and pushed and around seven weeks, Halle was finally diagnosed with a tongue tie. But she had some other issues as well, and so we had to wait to get it resolved. 

And I wish I could say I was patient. I wish I could say I just trusted that the doctor and other specialists working with her knew better, that they knew what they were doing. 

But the truth is, I just stewed for three more weeks, struggling through seven feedings a day—about seven hours of my day spent trying to will my sweet, colic-y baby into eating. And all the while thinking, if only they’d fix this tongue tie, she would be better. Nothing else we’re trying is working. 

I KNOW if they would just do the procedure, she’d be better. 

Then, we got Halle’s tongue tie fixed around 10 weeks. And it made a teeny tiny improvement in her eating, but not really in her weight gain. 

I thought I knew. But I didn’t actually know. 

James 4:6 says that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. 

Do you know what pride is? It’s when we think we know better. When we think we know everything, God opposes us. And He leaves us there until we figure out that we need to surrender to His knowledge and His sovereignty. 

“I don’t know, but you know” has become one of my almost daily prayers. 

If I focus on what I don’t know, I’m frustrated. If I focus on what I think I know, I’m fooled. But if I focus on Him, I am fulfilled. 

We only have to know the One who knows it all. 

We surrender what we don’t know, or what we think we know, and we humble ourselves before the One who knows. We press in to know Him more.

And so that’s what I did. And true to His word, God met me. And in his graciousness, he gave me a word of knowledge about Halle. Since then He’s given me two prophetic words about her. 

These are not medical diagnoses. They are insights into her heart and her soul and have directed the way that I pray for her and for me. 

Sometimes we have to surrender what we think we know in order to get God’s divine knowledge, in order to be reminded of who He is and what He has accomplished for us and what we can do through Him. 

What unknowns are you facing right now? 

Maybe you’re in the midst of a big decision, and you don’t know which path to take. 

Maybe you’ve got a child who is struggling in this season, and you don’t know how to help them. You would fix it if you could, but you just don’t know. 

Maybe you’re waiting on a promise. You’re waiting on a word God has given you. You don’t know when He’ll fulfill it. You don’t know why it hasn’t happened yet.

God knows. 

Wherever you find yourself, God already knows. He knows you intimately. He knows your situation intimately. He knows all your doubts and your fears and your anxiety. He even knows when you think you know better. 

So, we can just lay it all down and take refuge in this truth: We only have to know the One who knows it all. 

We would like to thank Laura Brandenburg for writing this post.

True Knowledge Comes in Experiences

True Knowledge Comes in Experiences

Philippians 1:9-11 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.  For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return.  May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation – the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus – for this will bring much glory and praise to God.  

Knowledge is the condition of knowing something through experience. Experience is the key – knowledge is easily confused with preparation.  

We can read, research, and learn about something all day long – but until we actually dive in and give it a try we will never have actual knowledge on a subject, whatever it may be.  

Think of a mom – pregnant for the first time: we read all the books, have all the apps, gather all the baby gear – this is preparation. Knowledge grows as you experience the baby’s behavior and must adapt, adjust, and truly learn how to care for the child moment to moment, day to day, year to year. 

Think of school/college/training – we go to class, read the textbooks, do the assignments, pass the tests – this is preparation. Knowledge grows in the real-time work experiences, dealing with people, unforeseen circumstances, working through disasters and victories.

The same is true of our walk with God. Daily we should be reading the Word, praying for guidance, seeking truth, guarding our hearts, listening to the Spirit…. this is preparation.  

When we have prepared and trials come, and we all know they do, we have the ultimate source of life to tap in to. The Word will be readily on our lips to speak over a situation. We will know where to turn for the guidelines and guidance we need. We will have the truths of God hidden in our minds and we will be able to apply His promises over whatever is before us. Our hearts will be prepared to handle the fiery darts the world shoots at us daily. We will be in tune with the Spirit and know how to listen and discern for the Lord’s will and direction.   

This spiritual preparation will allow us to walk through the fire and come out refined – this is how we grow in knowledge and understanding.  Just as Paul prayed in the scripture above, we realize that through Jesus we are able to live pure and blameless lives while waiting on Jesus to return.  We will experience a life filled with the fruits of our salvation and a righteous character will be evident in our lives.  In this knowledge is where we find that true and unexplainable peace spoken of in 

Philippians 4:6 In every situation with petition and thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  

This process of preparing to grow in knowledge that leads to peace has to be continuously repeated until we meet Jesus face to face and He is welcoming us home as good and faithful servants.  

We would like to thank Jill Winders for writing this post

Knowing Him is Knowing Who He Says I Am

Knowing Him is Knowing Who He Says I Am

Growing up I always felt “average”. My older sister, Monica, was super smart…valedictorian, smart and very talented in drama and one act play. I remember her always just knowing things and loving books and reading and oh the theatre, she would shine on the stage. Erin, my younger sister, was gifted in sports. As a freshman in high school, she made the varsity team in both volleyball and basketball. My family spent Erin’s high school career cheering her on in the gym.  

And I was just average. Nothing special, nothing to really cheer for or receive fame for…just average.

Soon after Brad and I got married, we took a group of teens from our youth group to a camp at Oral Robert’s University. While at this week long camp I had an experience I’d never had before, and to this day I’ve never experienced something like it again.  

I was in a small group lecture with a group of kids from our church, and in the middle of this man’s teaching he looked at me, had me stand up, and he said these words over me, “The Lord says you’re brilliant.” And then he proceeded to finish his teaching.  

I was shocked.

Number one, I had never had someone call me out.

Number two, I had never felt brilliant a day in my life. I had always just felt average.

All this year we are looking at 2 Peter 1:1-10 with the intention that as women of God we would embrace His Divine Nature. In 2 Peter, the Apostle Peter is writing to Christians and he’s telling them, “Hey church, don’t forget, by truly understanding or KNOWING Jesus, you can be a part of or partake in HIS DIVINE NATURE.”

Friends…that is GOOD NEWS

In a moment, of me really having knowledge or knowing the truth about who Jesus is and who I am because of Jesus, I went from average to brilliant. When we understand the gospel and the exchange that took place when Jesus died on the cross, it changes our perspective of ourselves, and we begin to see ourselves through God’s lenses. We gain knowledge about the truth of what God says about us and the truth about His power and promises that work within us.  

Being brilliant has nothing to do with me. Being brilliant has nothing to do with the knowledge I’ve received or learned in a classroom. It has nothing to do with what our society thinks is important and puts value on. Being brilliant has to do with God’s Divine Nature.

I still have many days where I feel average and not brilliant. When I lean into the knowledge of who Jesus is and who He is in me, my perspective changes and I’m able to understand and know the truth.  

Friends…if we want to be women who embrace knowledge, women who walk in God’s Divine Nature, we must allow His truth to be planted deep in our hearts.  

An average person like me can gain so much knowledge just by believing what the Bible says!

I hope you’ll stay on this journey with me and continue to allow God to transform your thinking about yourself and ultimately your thinking about Jesus. When we embrace God’s word and allow it to be truth to us, we are letting knowledge be made complete in us. Because of this, we understand more clearly who Jesus is. That’s what I want, to KNOW Jesus more and more…I know that’s what you want, too. 

We would like to thank Julie Snellgrove for writing this post

Knowing His Words are Love and True

Knowing His Words are Love and True

Growing up it seems as if I always knew who God was. I was raised in a church setting and had my salvation by the age of six years old. I had a family who was highly involved in church and I studied his word through many church programs. I knew The Lord, I knew his word, but it wasn’t until adulthood I fully captured the true meaning and depth behind his word. 

Two things that come to mind when I think of KNOWING His word is first, knowing his words are always written out of a heart of LOVE. Our Heavenly Father always has the best intentions for us, no matter how we receive verses or biblical truth. The second thing is that his Word is always TRUE. That means when God’s word says things about you and how you were made in his image, it’s true. I want to explain more in depth on these concepts. 

First of all God’s words are LOVE. Growing up, I didn’t always look at scripture as loving. There’s one verse, in particular that stood out to me. “Numbers 23:32 You may be sure, your sin will always find you out.” That was a little terrifying for me my entire childhood and teenage years. I felt as if there was God lurking in the shadows ready to pounce on me as soon as I messed up. This turned a loving God, who wanted the best for me, into a God who was ready to call me out on my sins, not up to his heavenly realm. I was wrong, though. Every bit of scripture, every testimony in the Bible, every proverb and psalm written, every piece of the Bible, was written with the intentions of love, to guide us in a life filled with abundance and joy and all the fruits of the spirit. That’s when KNOWING God’s words are written out of LOVE that we get to have that entire perspective change.

The second thing that stood out to me is KNOWING God’s word is always true. Even when you don’t feel like you are made in his image. Even when you don’t think you fit the criteria of “Child of God”. Even when you don’t feel like you are forgiven, or accepted, or redeemed. His words reign true until the end of time. I have heard this said before, “if one thing in the Bible isn’t true, that invalidates the entire Bible and God is not a liar.” So on days where I felt less than virtuous or less than called, I remind myself that I KNOW God’s words are always TRUE, no matter what situation I face or what my emotions may tell me.

Knowing God in this way and his words in this way, has changed my life. It has lead me to a deeper, lasting relationship with him. It overflows into my marriage, the way I parent, the way I work, and the relationships I have with others. I want that for you, and I know God wants that for you too. I pray you know God’s words are LOVE and TRUE. 

We would like to thank Sarah Perry for writing this post

Be Alone with Jesus

Be Alone with Jesus

You want me to talk about solitude? Yikes is what comes to mind for me. I have been one that panics when I am alone.  I was with my family until I got married.  I got married and suddenly the husband is in the picture. Because of many reasons, one being I was very lonely even though I was living with my husband, we divorced.  I moved in with a friend and lived a year, but then I got an ultimatum to move.  I knew I needed to move, but I totally feared being alone. I wasn’t afraid of what could happen to me, but being a people person, it was hard for me to wrap my mind around this concept. I had never been alone, I thought, so how could I move into a place BY MYSELF!  

I was in church, but I didn’t rely on the Lord as much as I could have because I didn’t know that I could.  I didn’t even think about asking God to hang out with me.  Solitude to me seemed miserable.  What do you do when you are alone and lonely?  You find people to be around, and may I say, I didn’t always find the best ones to hang out with.  Eventually I quit going to church, so I found friends “in low places” as Garth Brooks said.  Not all of them were bad, but they weren’t in church where I needed to be.  I should have been seeking after the Lord instead of the wrong people.

I think of the story of Joseph and I relate to him in some ways.  In Genesis chapter 37 is where his story begins.  He has a dream about being “over” his brothers, and tells them about it…I would have told, too.  They take him away from all that he knows and are going to kill him.  And you know the rest of the story; he is taken to a far away place and is put in jail.  He is ALONE, and knows no one. I would have been so afraid.  This is where I didn’t relate; he talked to the Lord a lot.  And he did become great because of his relationship with God.  His times of solitude with the Lord is what got Him through. This is what I should have tried in my times of loneliness.  

And what about Job? Boy did he go through the fire. He was alone even though his friends came around. He might as well have been alone with how they treated him, but he stayed true to the Lord and spent much time of solitude with God and asked God hard questions. Job prevailed because God was right there beside him in his loneliness.  

Here I am today, retired with Dewitt, so we aren’t alone much. I have learned how to be alone and not be lonely. In December of 2010, when I started coming to Harvest, I truly began to learn how to spend time alone with Jesus. I had been in churches for most of my life, but I didn’t hear the good news of having a personal relationship with Him. I was afraid to be alone with Jesus because I thought He knew too much about me and didn’t want to spend time with me. Crazy! I would read the word, but not really hear it and apply it to me.  

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

This scripture is so special to me because I was weary of not wanting to be alone and running from Jesus, the only one I really needed to hang out with.

I cherish my times of solitude now. I read the word and talk to Jesus.  And I ask Him hard questions like Job and don’t feel like I am going to be struck down. I like my alone time so much that I stay in one part of the house while Dewitt is on the other. Sometimes I will text him or call him to ask something of him just because I am enjoying my time alone, and he does the same.  We do sit and talk to each other a lot, but sometimes it is just good to be alone with Jesus.

Here I am in my “golden years” and I am finally content with being me and spending quality time with Jesus.

We’d like to thank Debbie Crosby for writing this post