SET A FIRE

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Hi friends and welcome to Shebrews Good!

I think that we have all reached the time in the year when things begin to drag on. The end of school is near, summer is close, and warm weather is beckoning us to days spent in the sun. This lull of a time can push us into a place of complacency; a place where we feel dry and detached. This is the peak season for our prayer life to grow in scale, a season where you have to place your total trust in the Lord and rely on Him. Our souls should be on fire for Jesus and when we find ourselves lacking that, turn to prayer and the word to allow you to see the wonder of God.

Lord may I have a heart for You. May I see Your glory and faithfulness amongst the everyday. Lord, may my eyes be turned to You and through this season of valleys and dryness rely on You and Your word to guide me through each low point. Lord help me to shout Your praise through every trial that I face and learn to have everlasting joy. Amen.

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LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR

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Hi friends and welcome to Shebrews Good!

This school year has offered me so many opportunities to show love to those that it may be hard to show love to. I have learned just how powerful prayer can be and the worth in praying for those that are not your friends. Christ’s compassion does not end with those that we consider friends or loved ones, instead His loved is endless. As followers of Christ, we are called upon to show that same love to all that we encounter. Yes, He calls us to love our neighbor (Mark 12:31) but there is an underlying notion to that commandment. We are meant to not only love our neighbor when they are at their best and brightest, but when they are broken, hurting, mean, and at their most unloveable. Prayer is beyond powerful and praying for those that we dislike or those who have hurt us is the greatest thing that we could possibly do (Matthew 5:44). We must be willing to check our pride and submit ourselves before the Lord in prayer. We are not perfect people and we are sinners just as much as the person we dislike. Take some solace in that knowing we are all the same distance from grace and that the same love that covers us as believers, covers all those around us as well. Pray for your enemies and sow love generously.

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NOTHING TO BRING

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The ultimate beauty in our relationship with the Lord is that despite all our mistakes and hangups, the Lord loves us. He calls us unto Him even though we have nothing to bring to the relationship. The best that we can do is offer ourselves in surrender to Him and love Him with everything that is within our soul. This world is so rampant with a million things telling us that we aren’t good enough, but I have a secret to share: we are not worthy of the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for us (Romans 5:8). We didn’t—and still don’t—deserve all that He gave up in order for us to live in freedom, but the best aspect of all of this is that He loves us still. The Lord wants to be in community with us and wants to have us near to Him. I have nothing to bring or to offer to the Lord, but still He seeks me, still He chases my heart (Psalm 139). Even though we aren’t deserving of what we have been given, He deems us special enough to offer us His greatest gift. What a beautiful truth that is to dwell in and what a gift we have been given that demonstrates the powerful love that surrounds us.

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MEANT TO BE

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Hi friends and welcome to Shebrews Good!

You are loved. That is an ultimate truth and there is nothing in this world that can overturn that. The Lord that loves you calls you His beloved and draws you closer and closer. We were made to be in community with Him. The experiences of the world and all that it offers does nothing to fill us up or make us whole, but the Lord of all overwhelms us with a perfect love that has no conditions. A love so powerful that one dose and we are filled to the brim so that we may pour out His love to others (Psalm 36:5-6). Our hearts find a peaceful rest when they are settled in the Lord. We cannot find this type of joy or peace or freedom amid other things—only God can provide that for us. We are called so strongly to community and He wants our hearts so badly, badly enough that He was willing to sacrifice His son on the cross so that we may find freedom in Him (John 3:16). That is a strong and grounded fact: we are meant to be with Him, we are made to be with Him, and we are called to be with Him.

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PRAISE FILLED

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There is so much to praise our Lord for, whether it be beautiful weather or loving friends or relaxing afternoons. A joyful heart is a heart that is settled so deeply in peace and belonging because there is a greater hope for the plans of our life. When we settle into a praise mindset, we are able to grasp the truths that come from God (1 Chronicles 16:25). The devil tries so hard to steal your joy, to turn you into someone who doesn’t see the good that the Lord works in your life, and to keep you from praising God for His wondrous acts (John 10:10). Our mouths should be a weapon of praise, shouting His glory for all around us to see and hear. Even amidst the trials we are called to have a greater joy and recognition for the blessings that we have already experienced or are sure to experience in the future (James 1:2-3). It can become so easy to sit idly by and allow the little pleasures of our lives to dissipate into our unconscious memory, but we must take an active step to be cognizant of how the Lord is working in our lives. Let our hearts be joyous and our minds tuned to recognize what He is stirring within us.

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ABOVE ALL

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I have come to learn through many situations of experience just how easy it is to allow ourselves to value other things above God. When we aren’t taking steps to actively put Him before all else, we fall trap to the distractions around us that try and steal our attention (1 Peter 4:12). These idols can come in the form of friendships, school, or extracurriculars—things that are ultimately good but that are of no comparison to the greatness of the Lord. Putting God first doesn’t mean that you aren’t able to participate in all the fun things that life has to offer, but it means surrendering to Him and knowing that He is worthy of being placed above everything else (Leviticus 26:1). When we actually take the time and effort to put the Lord first in everything that we do, not only are we glorifying Him and showing others His greatness, but we are letting Him lead our lives. With God in control there is nothing that we cannot face or cannot make it through for He is the ultimate power and control and decider of this earth!

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SURRENDER

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Surrender: what the entirety of our faith is built on. Once we choose salvation and give our lives to Christ, we are simply asked to lay before Him all the hurts, habits, hangups, and weight of sin that overwhelms our souls. Our journey is not meant to be walked alone, instead we are called to be in community with Christ. He is right there walking alongside us, but only when we turn to face Him and lay down our lives for Him, will we experience the freedom that comes from trusting in Him (James 4:7). When we hide our deepest thoughts and worries inside the darkest and insecure parts of our hearts, we leave ourselves vulnerable to further hurt. There is nothing sweeter than the taste of freedom and peace when we are securely anchored in the Lord. Allow yourself to fall back into Jesus rather than to fall into your doubts (Proverbs 23:26). Surrender is difficult and it requires letting go of control—something that we as humans have a hard time doing due to our constant need to be present and active in our own lives. The greatest thing about Jesus is that He died for us to be able to surrender; He died to that we don’t have to be the only active thing in our own lives, but so that the Lord can work and breathe life into us in retaliation to the shame and guilt caused by sin. Be active in prayer and seek to be someone who surrenders it all in favor of walking in obedience with God.

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BREAK DOWN

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“I will break down your stubborn pride…”

-Leviticus 26:19 // NIV Translation

You’re in the middle of an argument when all of a sudden you realize the point you originally made is completely and totally wrong. A moment of regret hits you straight in the chest but instead of admitting your mistake, you continue to push forward on your quest to be right. Our pride is stubborn, it is a wall of force that takes a lot of patience and wherewithal to break down, but we can’t do it alone. When we surrender and accept grace into our heart we are filled with the notion of peace. There is no need to argue and fight and claw our way to the top of our pride-built mountain. Instead, we are washed in the calming presence of the Lord who says He will shape our hearts and mold them to His will when we lay them before His feet (Ezekiel 36:26). The pride that fills us up will not longer control how we choose to act and humbleness will flush in, leading us in a direction that is less like our sin nature and a lot more like Jesus. So allow the love and grace and good of Jesus to fill our hearts and soften them to look more like His because He can and will break down our stubborn pride, we only have to let Him in to do so (Leviticus 26:19).

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MORE THAN

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Faith is more than what is tangible. It is far more than the cross necklace I wear around my neck or religiously going to church or the label of being a Christian. Anyone can do these things but not all can choose to actively live out a life that glorifies God. Our faith is not just a pretty package or a compartmentalized part of our lives, it bleeds into every aspect of our lives. We are called to live out faith, for it to be active and thriving, a direct representation of how the Lord works. If we live an idle faith then we aren’t displaying the joy that God has placed within our hearts to those around us. The Lord has called us to a greater purpose through the sacrifice of Jesus, and because of that higher purpose we are told that we are more than what this world tells us we are. We are children of God who carry a faith greater than anything that ever crosses this earth’s ground. Even with faith as small as a mustard seed we will be able to conquer all the tribulations that try to distract us from how very good our God is (Matthew 17:20). So when your heart grows heavy and the weight of trouble lays heavy on your shoulders, remember to step out into faith and declare His name from the top of the mountains for He has filled our heart with greater joy (Psalm 4:7).

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NO MISTAKES

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Insecurities flood in. Anxiety levels peak. Doubts cloud our mind and fill us with the leaded weight of shame and rejection. The feeling of not being good enough is common and too prevalent for the amazing truth that the Lord reveals to us through prayer and the glory of His word. We are so very loved—loved so much that we were given the greatest gift of a life sacrificed. If we are loved by God then we must know our worth. We must know how beautiful we are and that tearing ourselves down is lessening a creation of a God who never messes up or makes mistakes. The Lord is a lord of perfection, a loving god who creates in His own image and could never breathe something into life that was not exactly what He had envisioned. The instant the lies from the enemy drive forward to make us feel inadequate and unloved, we must take an active stance in fighting them off. Take up a prayer and tell God all that you are saddled with. Read the word that He provided us to show us what the absolute truth is. The greatest thing about God is His absolute truth is filled with nothing but encouragement. He tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that He knitted you together while you were still forming and created you in the most intimate way possible (Psalm 119:13-14). Rejoice in this truth, lay it on your heart, and believe it; take the active steps needed to fight off the most ultimate lies we are told.

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