Tag Archive | women of Christ

John 15:5

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John 15 ““I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.” ‭John‬ ‭15:1-8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Father, we praise You for Your holiness and goodness. You are so invested in our lives, desiring that we are holy, producing the good fruit of righteousness. This fruit comes from you. It’s the godly character produced as a result of remaining connected to You. Our lives are so cluttered with sin, so we thank You for pruning us to remove anything that does not resemble Christ’s character. Pruning may not be pleasant, but we know it is necessary. Help us to remain connected to You daily through reading Your word. Remind us throughout our days what we have learned. Bring back to our minds the verses we have committed to memory. Use Your words to change our speech, thoughts, and attitudes. Burn up all ungodliness. Help us to let go of anything that is useless. May we desire to remain under Your protection and not wander off on our own. May the world see You living through us.

How to Pray, Part 1

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Praying is a gift from our Heavenly Father to His children.  It is a way of communication with the Almighty God.  We learn who He is and what He desires for our lives by talking with Him.  As you grow and mature in your walk with God, I hope you will seek to develop a consistent prayer life.  What does prayer look like and how do we even start?  I have several ways that I like to pray, depending on what is going on in my life and the lives of my family and friends.  But one thing that remains consistent is praying according to a format I learned in Moms in Prayer.  There are four parts that are all designed to bring us into God’s presence with holy hands and a right attitude.  I will list each and explain how each one works, giving scripture for you to use in your prayer time.

The first part is PRAISE.  When we begin our time with God, we should come to Him with a humble attitude, acknowledging who He is through His attributes, character, and names.  I will use God is Omniscient as an example.  Omniscient means to have infinite knowledge, knowing all things.  God is the author of all knowledge and wisdom.  He created everything and holds the universe together.  Take a moment to read the following scriptures:  Psalm 139:1-6, Daniel 2:20-23, and Romans 11:33-34.  Reading these and spending a few moments thinking over them will set your mind to worship God.  Take some time to praise Him for His wisdom, for knowing the end from the beginning, for creating everything we see and beyond, and holding us all securely in the world He has created.

The second part is CONFESSION.  Use this time to search your hearts and confess any sin that He brings to mind.  Ask Him to reveal to you all hidden sin, and ask for His forgiveness.  How wonderful it is that we can come boldly to the throne of grace, confessing our sins before a Holy and just God, who readily and freely forgives us when we come with a repentant heart.  1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.  This step is vitally important for our relationship with God.  Did you know that as believers, our prayers are hindered by our sin?  God won’t listen to us when we have unconfessed sin.    Psalm 66:18 says “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened”.  When we cherish our sin more than a right relationship with Him, we are walking in disobedience.  Sin blocks not only our communication with God, but it blocks our blessings.  So take some time here to confess any and all sin that you can think of.  

The third part is THANKSGIVING.  The bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus”.  Being thankful acknowledges all that God has done for you.  We have so much to be thankful for, so many blessings that we do not deserve.  We acknowledge God working in our lives.

The last part is INTERCESSION.  This is where we bring our requests to God, knowing that He alone is in charge and can bring about change.  Of course, not all requests will be answered according to how we desire.  He is sovereign and knows what is best.  His best may not look right or feel good to us, but ultimately we need to trust Him to work on our behalf. Our prayers should not be a laundry list of wants or resemble a child’s Christmas list that they give to Santa.  Instead we should be asking God to work in our lives to make us more like Christ.  As Christians, holiness is our number one priority.  We should be asking the Holy Spirit to conform us to the image of Christ in every way.  We can and should petition God to move in our lives to bring about healing, financial assistance, safety and security.  These things are wonderful to pray for.  And most definitely we should be praying for the salvation of those we know.  This is the most important prayer we can pray, for everything in this world is temporary, but what is on the other side is eternal.

I will be going into more aspects on prayer in upcoming posts, such as praying through God’s Word.  When we pray His Word back to Him, we are praying His will for our lives.  I will also be giving sample prayers for you to add to your quiet time.  I will teach you how to develop your own list of prayers and go over what a prayer journal is and how it will benefit you.

For now, I challenge you to develop a consistent time with God every day.  It can be in the morning, evening, or whenever your schedule allows. We are all in different seasons of life and are juggling many things.  But having this time set aside to spend with God will really set the tone for your day and will change your life.  I promise.

Here is the link for Moms in Prayer that will give you what you need for step one.  Choose one aspect of God to pray over each day.

https://momsinprayer.org/resources/prayer-tools/prayer-sheets/

 

Critical Spirit

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Last night was a real eye-opener for me.   I realized that I have a critical spirit.  And the more that I thought about this, the more burdened I became.  As I have gone over my conversations, thoughts and attitudes I have come to see clearly so many sins that have piled up and taken root in my heart.  I want to examine what it means to have a critical spirit, then dive into how we remove and replace those sinful characteristics.

A critical spirit shows up in many ways, all of which act out of our sinful nature.  To be critical is to think of ourselves as better than others.  We have a sense of self-righteousness.  We are never wrong, and no one will ever measure up to our standards.  We always know the right way to do something, and are quick to offer our opinion.  We develop a “holier-than-thou” attitude.  All of this comes from a spirit of pride that can not see any wrong in ourselves.  Remember the verse in Matthew 7:3 says “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?”  This means we need to examine our own hearts, motives, words, and attitudes instead of being critical and judgmental of others.  Matthew 7:1-2Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”  There is only one judge and His name is Jesus Christ.  Only Christ can see into the heart and motives of another person.  We have no idea where they are coming from or what their motives are in doing something.  

A critical spirit is one that is never satisfied.  This manifests itself in the form of complaining.  The Bible has much to say about complaining, like in the story of the Israelites for example.  The trip from Egypt to the Promised Land was supposed to only take a short amount of time.  I have heard many different accounts, but the general time-frame should have been around 11 days.  The main reason they wandered aimlessly in the desert was because of their disobedience. And one of the main ways they disobeyed was through complaining.  They were never satisfied.  They wanted to go back to Egypt where there was good food to eat, plenty of water to drink, they didn’t have to walk miles and miles, and they had their homes to rest in at night.  Their distrust in God came out in their words.  Their distrust in Moses to lead them resulted in a golden calf that they worshiped.  Their complaints kept them in the same place much longer than necessary.  Have you heard the phrase “to complain is to remain, but to praise is to raise”?  This is so true.  God wants us to be continually looking for ways to give thanks and to praise Him.  We may not always like our circumstances, but we can always find at least one thing to be grateful for.  Let’s focus on that and stop belly-aching.

Have you ever felt jealous and entitled to something?  That’s a form of a critical spirit.  What about bitterness?  Oh, that’s a big one!  Bitterness is nasty.  Its roots go way down deep.  What comes out of our hearts when we are bitter is not pretty.  And a lot of the time we are not even aware of how much bitterness we have until we explode all over someone.  Other forms of a critical spirit are pride, hypocrisy, gossip, and slander.  Our words tell us a lot about what is going on in our hearts.  The Bible tells us that “for whatever is in your heart determines what you say”, Matthew 12:34.  What is planted in your heart is sure to come out of your mouth.  Trust me.  This happened to me and it was not pretty.  I was so shocked that I have spent the day diving deep into what causes a critical spirit and am determined to eradicate this once and for all!

So what are we to do to replace these sinful habits?  For starters we must get into God’s word.  Searching the scriptures for what He has to say about a critical spirit is a good place to start.  Read Matthew 7:1-5 and carefully consider where you may be acting out of judgment.  Examine your own heart for sin instead of focusing on the sins of others.  We must come to a place where we are hating the sin in our own lives so much that we can no longer allow it to remain.  Then we will be able to effectively pray for others to have open eyes to their sin and to restore themselves to a right relationship with God.  Our focus should always be here instead of negatively thinking about what someone said or did.  Turn it over to God and let Him handle it.  Our desire should be for peaceful relationships and unity among each other.  We are to approach others with a sincere love for them that Christ has.  But we can only do this once our own hearts are clean and we are living with a whole-hearted devotion to God.

After we have dealt with the bitterness, we must learn to forgive.  This is not always easy, but absolutely necessary.  It is vitally important for our relationship with God.  The Bible clearly says that God will not hear our prayers when we are harboring sin in our hearts.  Psalm 66:18 says “If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.”  To remain in a right relationship with God we must come to Him with clean hands and a clean heart.  Confession is a must.  Thankfully He always welcomes us back into His presence.  

Contentment is something that we develop against a critical spirit.  Instead of striving for a situation to change, we can consider that there may be a blessing of growing closer to God in the midst of the trial.  Or instead of disagreeing immediately with someone, pray for God to show you how to be supportive.

Other ways that are the opposite of a critical spirit are showing appreciation, kindness, calmness, being gentle and sweet, or just being silent.  Not gossiping and slandering is huge is eradicating an oppositional spirit.

I hope this helps you to get a handle on overcoming a critical, negative spirit.  For more information, I suggest watching April Cassidy.  She is the Peaceful Wife and has great insight on this topic.

Toss To The Curb

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One of my favorite things is to purge my house of any unnecessary things. Clutter really does take over if we let it. We have all heard that the more we have, the more we must maintain. I do not want to be tied down to my possessions. I love a clean house, but I do not like being a slave to my things. It is much easier to clean when there is less to keep up with. I have a friend who has made a business of helping others purge and organize their homes. God does this in our lives. He helps us to identify and remove each sin that has taken up residency in our lives. I am on a mission to permanently remove everything that does not promote holiness. Anything that does not look like Jesus must go. Let’s envision the neighborhood bulky item pick up and toss to the curb anger, bitterness, jealousy, worry, fear, complaining. We have no use for them anymore. If it keeps others from seeing Jesus in you, get rid of it. Ephesians 4:22 “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception “. Verse 24 tells us to replace those sins with His new nature which looks like Christ. Colossians 3:5 says to “put to death all sins”. Not pack them away for later, just in case you might need them again someday. No! Those old jeans do not fit you anymore. Why are you hanging onto them? Toss them to the curb. 1 Peter 1:14-16 shows us the new way we are to live. Go read this! Be holy because He is holy. Really, is there any other way for us to live our lives in ways that are pleasing to Him? Join me in pursuing holiness 💕

Filtering Our Words

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I have seen multiple messages on social media this week where I believe God is speaking to us about our conversations. Let’s remember to filter everything through prayer. It’s so easy to gather supporters to our side when we feel hurt by someone’s words. But this really does more harm than good. Our relationship with God is compromised because we are really slandering others by speaking bad about them. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit who speaks to our hearts, gently reminding us to control our words.

Psalms 34:4-8

IMG_4487My heart is breaking this morning from my husband sharing the news of yet another broken marriage. I have received so many reports of how the enemy is destroying families. This saddens me so much. It also stirs within me a strong desire to bring before The Lord our friends and families to plead for a hedge of protection over them. I specifically pray Colossians 1:9 often. Praying the Word of God is to pray His will over our lives. We stand in agreement with Him. We are assured that He hears us. We bring ourselves into alignment with Him. What a powerful place to be. Join me in praying this today, and everyday. We are in a battle. But we do not stand from a place of defeat. We are victorious in Him.

1 Peter 1:2

IMG_4486I Peter is one of my favorites. Holy living does not come naturally to us, but thankfully God knew this. The Bible says we have been “made holy”. When God sees us, He looks past our sinful nature and sees the holy nature of Christ. If you belong to Him, you are already clothed with His righteousness. This does not mean we will not sin anymore. Nor does it mean we are allowed to let our sinful nature go unchecked. It means we are on a path that looks different from the way we used to live. The Greek definition of holy says it is different from the world and resembles the nature of God. I love this. The Bible says we will be thought strange for not following the ways of the world. It also says we are in this world, but not of it. This is not our permanent home. As Christians we are ambassadors of Christ living in a foreign land. Remember this as you mature in your walk with Him.

Fix Your Thoughts On Him

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This verse has come alive to me tonight. I have been wrestling with several things lately, all combined have stirred up inner conflict that is beginning to spill over. It is evident in my thoughts toward my friends, it is coming out in negative words of complaint to my husband, and it is causing me to want to run from several relationships that I have no idea what to do with. I do not like conflict. But tonight these words came gently to me in a way that gave me a new perspective. Instead of continuing to think over all of these things, trying to come up with solutions, or just running around with every possible scenario that could ever happen, I must turn my attention to God. Period. Fixing our thoughts on Him means not allowing our minds to be in charge. We must actively choose to think differently about those situations that are upsetting to us. Did she say something that you took to be rude? Was he not listening to you and assumed you were talking about one thing when you meant something entirely different? What about that slow driver in front of you? Maybe they are distracted by thinking about a serious medical issue in their family. Oh the list goes on and on. For me it has been several different issues with multiple people. By changing my thought pattern I can see things in a new light. I am able to give grace and offer forgiveness. I am more understanding and patient. I can think things through more clearly instead of being driven by fearful thoughts. Tonight pray for God to change your perspective to think on things the way He wants you to.

Eradicate

IMG_4460.PNGI don’t often receive a word from God, so when I do I pay careful attention.

ERADICATE means:
Pull up by the roots
Completely remove
Eliminate or destroy completely
We had a large amount of poison ivy pulled up from our yard and a few months ago and we pulled up an area of grass to create a garden. But it is hard to pull up, or eradicate every plant. Sprouts keep coming up. The soil must be thoroughly tilled. Every root must be removed. Every time a new sprout pops up it must be plucked out immediately. This is how we are to tend to the garden of our lives. Daily we need to be bringing our sins before the Lord to eradicate. Only He can remove them completely. It is up to us however to desire for this to be done. If we are still exposing ourselves to the same situations where we are most likely to sin, then we are not fully working with Him to cleanse our lives.
Think of how much time a gardener spends in his garden. He daily waters, prunes his plants, and pulls weeds. Much care is taken to ensure His plants are thriving the best way they can. In much the same way we are to tend to our hearts. Daily we must water our spirits with the Word of God. Soak in His truths. Bathe in His words. Let them go down deep to the roots of our heart. This is where real growth happens. We do not want shallow plants that will wither when hard times come. We want strong lives that can withstand the storms of life. We need to be continuously fed the Word of God like a tree that is growing next to a river. The Bible speaks of this in Jeremiah 17:8 ‭‭“They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”

Job 11:14 “Get rid of your sins, and leave all iniquity behind you.”

Colossians 3:8 “But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language.”
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James 1:21 “So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.”