KNOW IT

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Fears creep in and the devil tries to place strongholds in our minds; it is a common mistake made when we don’t allow the truths of God to actually become just that: truths. There is an extreme difference between thinking “yes I am loved by God, yes I have been hand-created by Him” and knowing the veracity of these things. These deficits form when we become caught up with thoughts of inadequacy and allow the untruths of the devil to become our own sort of truth. We have to take an active step in the spiritual battle that we are engaged in with the enemy. The Lord gives us the ability to defend ourselves against these strongholds, but weapons and armor are useless when laying unused on the battlefield. Take an active role and make the choice to use the armor that we are lovingly given (Ephesians 6:10-18). God doesn’t want to see us fail, He wants to see us thrive and wage war against the evils that try their best to take control of our thoughts. When we recognize that what the Lord tells us through scripture and prayer and encouragement is the full truth, then we begin to acknowledge the power they have in accordance to our lives. There are no amount of lies that can try to choke out our truth in God if we are properly fighting the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). So instead of allowing lies to enter your mind, take up the full armor of God and know that you are secure in the actualities presented to us by our glorious God.

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COLOSSIANS 3

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Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.

-Colossians 3:1-2 // NIV Translation

There is a lot of talk about keeping your thoughts set on godly things, rather than those that are of this earth, but sometimes we are oft to forget the importance of keeping our heart set on those things too. It is one thing to think on the truth that comes from Heaven but quite another to actually believe them. While it is crucial to take our thoughts and transform them to the will of the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:5), we must also be able to then enact what we have learned. There is power in knowing the scripture of God and knowing the truths that He lays for us, but there is even greater power in then putting your faith into action. James 2:14-17 tells us that it is good to have faith but if we cannot take that faith and transform it into good works—whether that is by spreading the good news or serving others—then our faith is hollow. There is no real backbone to a faith that is simply talk without any type of action put behind it to back it up. Our faith is strong enough to move mountains so why would we not seek to do everything in our power to show others how good Jesus is? We should scream from the mountaintops the power and wonders of our faith and crave to be a representative of who Jesus was on this earth. So not only should we take our thoughts and turn them heavenward, but we should also set our hearts to the purity of Christ.

WORRY NOT

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As we enter into the new year and take on a whole new twelve months filled with obstacles and hangups and troubles, we can remember our position in the love of the Lord. A place where we are drowned in grace and love that isn’t conditional and doesn’t rely upon unpredictable feelings. We are secure in the Lord, a truth that sometimes becomes clouded because the circumstances we are currently experiencing seem too overwhelming in the moment. But these are truths that we need to remember: the Lord is good, His timing is good, and He is always with us. He wants us to come and cast our anxieties on Him because He craves a relationship with us (1 Peter 5:7) . In the simplest terms there is nothing that worry does to enrich our lives. In fact, worry is useless and uninspiring. In it’s strongest form it is a lie that cripples us from being able to live life with full intention because we are too afraid. Matthew 6:25-34 is a great example of the truth of God rather than the lies of the devil. It rejoices in the beauty of trusting the Lord and knowing that if God provides for every other creature and life on this earth, He too will provide for you. Our God is big enough to handle anything that we could ever experience, so when worries feel like they are taking over, throw your stresses onto the one who will pull you up from the waves and into His secure caress (Psalm 18:16).

PLANT, PLANT, PLANT

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Though we have no power to convict or to change hearts, we too have a very active role in the saving of God’s lost people. We are called to show others His love and His heart with our actions and words here on earth. However much we may feel small and unimportant, there is always someone that is watching. All it takes it one act of God’s will made by you to change that person’s mind. Planting seeds is hard work; it can seem frivolous and embarrassing. What might seem like embarrassment to you for five minutes could change someone’s entire life, even if not in that very moment. Growing seeds of life takes time, and though we are an impatient people by nature, we can learn to see the beauty in the time that it takes for those seeds to prosper AKA seeing the beauty in God’s good timing. Galatians 6:9 tells us not to grow weary of doing the good that God has called us to do because in time there will be a season of reaping the harvest that you may have planted or watered or fostered within another person. Let us be the people that are not fearful of spreading the good news of God, let us have full confidence in Him and see His blessings rain down not only on us but those that we come across (Jeremiah 17:7). We are called by name by our Lord and sent to spread the news of His glory; we have the power to change people’s lives so why not utilize this gift. Make planting seeds your goal in this new year!

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REJOICE!

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Psalm 118:24 says that we should rejoice and be glad in all that the Lord has done today. On a day like Christmas I think this becomes especially apparent as we are drawn towards the miracle of the birth of Jesus. In the manner of Psalm 118, may we rejoice in the glorious birth of our savior. There is wonder in this day, knowing that we are important enough to our Father in Heaven that He sent His only son to earth to live among us and eventually become a martyr for our sins (1 John 4:9). What is there not to rejoice about in a situation as imperative as this? We are so very loved—a love that we cannot even begin to fathom because of how expansive and all-consuming it is. Even the most intentional and greatest love here on earth is but a fraction of what the Lord has to offer us. It is said that joy is an everlasting gift from above, produced when we place trust in God and know that in any circumstance He is still good (note that happiness may be worldly and temporary, but joy is forever and unshakeable; they are two different emotions however similar they may appear). Amongst the tribulations of life may we remember that we are securely grounded in the love of God, a love that cannot be taken from us no matter how many mistakes we may make or what the circumstances of our life may lead to be (1 Corinthians 13). Rest firmly in this truth friends, that on this day we were given Jesus, the greatest gift we could ever receive, and an example of the love cast over us from above.

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GLORIOUS WONDERS

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Recently, I was able to experience a great creation of the Lord: snow. When we truly stop and look at how beautiful His creations are, we are rewarded with the feeling of awe at how good our God really is. Psalm 19:1 says that the heavens and the skies declare how good His work is. Every creation comes together to shout the glory of the Lord who has hand-crafted and intricately planned each and every wonder that will ever grace this earth. It’s hard to recognize wonder in the every day when we aren’t actively trying to find it. I have found that the best way to recognize God’s wonder is to pray for the eyes to see it in everything you experience. Once we accept this prayer and begin to approach the subject with willing hearts, our attitudes change. We see the majesty in the falling leaves and laughter of our friends. Think on this: we are children of a god who individually creates each and every piece of nature. Each unique snowflake that fell was pieced together and willed into creation by a single breath of the Lord, and no snowflake like it will ever fall again. How amazing is it that we are in community with the One who moves mountains and raises crashing waves? Open your hearts and He will open your eyes to His wonders.

If you ever need a reminder of the mighty power of the Lord, read Genesis 1 for a refresher on the creation of the world. He is good!

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REVELATION 10

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So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but ‘in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.” I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour.

-Revelation 10:9-10 // NIV Translation

Revelation 10 presents a great example of how seemingly sweet sin can turn into a dangerously sour package. Sin appears to in order to tempt us. Think of sin as a nicely wrapped Christmas present, sealed together and given to us in glittering wrapping paper with a bright red bow on top. It appears beautiful, worth it, and appealing; we are drawn to it because it pulls at our worldly desires and our need to receive a quick satisfaction. If sin was presented as evil and degrading, there would be no reason for us to be drawn to it as we are. That’s the double edged sword of sin: it looks good but rarely gives us the fulfillment that we are truly searching for. When we connect fully with Christ, we are given a nicely wrapped package that is as good as it seems. Why be a slave to sin and treachery when we could be in community with the Creator of everything that is good and joyful in this world? In order to be able to combat the battle of temptation we have to be alert (1 Peter 5:8) and willing to take our eyes off of what the world presents on a golden platter and look towards what gifts come from above (Colossians 3:2). We must be convicted to pick up the armor that we have been provided just by our salvation and be on the ready for a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6). In the case of sin, remember that not all that glitters is gold.

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TITUS 2:11-12

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For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age.

-Titus 2:11-12 // NIV Translation

There is nothing on this earth that tastes as sweet as the grace that we have received due to the sacrifice made for us on the cross. Very often do we take for granted the grace that we are given. It is as if we believe that forgiveness merits the continuation of the sins we commit. In Titus 2:12 we are told that the grace of God teaches us to deny ourselves of the temptations that the world offers us. This can be a hard concept to swallow because it seems as if we are drawn to sin or that our sins are hard to let go of. Hebrews 12:1 says that we must throw off all the baggage that entangles us so that we can run the race that is set out before us. When we trust in God, we are able to surrender all that may distract us from pursuing the Lord to our fullest extent. Place your trust in the Lord and you will reap infinite rewards and receive the ability to say no to all that pulls you down the opposite path from the plan that God has hand-crafted for you. Salvation has been offered to us through never-ending grace (Titus 2:11) and from that salvation we have freedom to say no to sin and instead say yes to a good God (Titus 2:12). design

UNSHAKEABLE

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I will put my trust in you alone and I will not be shaken.

Build My Life | Housefires

Sometimes it feels like there is a whole world of troubles toppled on you all at once. The beauty of having a strong faith is that there is simply nothing of this world that is able to keep you from discovering the wonders of the Lord. We serve a God who is more powerful, more loving, and just simply more than anything we will ever encounter here on this earth. Colossians 3:2 says that we are to set our minds on the things that come from above (aka God-filled thoughts) rather than gain anything from what the world considers to be “wisdom.” When we begin to seek the kingdom first, everything else falls into place around us because we have relinquished control to the One that casts away all anxiety and fear. Uniting with God means uniting with the creator of the whole universe, the one who knows every in and out of each dark corner and unknown space that was and is and ever will be. Rest easy in this, knowing that no force of this world or any sort of temptation can move you from the solid rock you stand on. If you believe in the truth that the Lord has for you and make the decision to rest firmly in that truth then you will not—and cannot—be shaken (Psalm 62:6).

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MEDIOCRITY

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Today I wanted to touch on the subject of mediocrity and faith. Not once in the Bible does it say that it is okay to be mediocre in the pursuit of your faith. There are calls to bold faith, rich faith, and everlasting faith (the list goes on), but never once does the Lord call us to a mediocre faith. Half-heartedness does not sit well in the eyes of the Lord; He wants all of you, not just the pieces of yourself that you deem “good enough” to hand over to Him. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was meant to cover all of your sins, and there is nothing that you can do that God is not willing to forgive you for or that His death cannot cover. 2 Corinthians 3:12 says that due to the hope we have in the Lord, we are to exhibit boldness in our faith. Our call is not to live a quiet faith or a faith that depends on our moods or the people that we choose to spend our time with—we have a call to be different than the rest. We are a chosen people who are meant to lead lives in order to be examples to those that do not yet know the Lord (1Peter 2:9). Mediocrity just doesn’t fit into the plan that God has for us to be leaders that pursue Him to their fullest ability. If Jesus gave it all up to pursue a holy life and surrendered His life for our benefit then should we not do the same in intentional pursuit for the Lord? We are totally secure in the goodness of the Lord which means that we can live a faith absent of mediocrity and instead approach our lives with willing hearts towards what God has set out for us to accomplish.