Mind Dump Monday! :)

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Mind Dump Monday! :)

It has been forever since I have blogged…this seems to be a pattern with me. Once every couple of months is the best I can do. I would like to change that, but I’m learning not to force anything.

So this blog is honestly probably going to be a bit all over the place since the Lord has really been showing me, teaching me and helping me work through many different things. It’s pretty much going to be a “mind dump.”  Bare with me and I pray you get something out of it. 🙂

The Lord has been showing me the depravity of mankind and how “lost” so many people really are; sadly, even those that think they are “saved.” We shouldn’t be surprised by this though because the Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents,ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—  having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

The verse that says, “having a form of godliness but denying its power,” really speaks to me. There are so many people that profess (with their WORDS) to be lovers of the Lord, but yet their actions are so very far from what Gods Word teaches. It’s like they pick and choose what “works for them” in the Bible – they abide by those things, but then deny the rest. They take the verses that say things like “judge not” out of context and make it out to mean that they can live however they want, even if it’s completely contrary to the Word of God, and no one should say anything to them about their actions. I was confused about this very topic for many years because I didn’t want to be someone that “judges” others, like the Pharisees, but then I’m reminded in Scripture that those that profess to be believers in our Lord Jesus Christ are held to a different standard. Like Galatians 6:1 reminds us: “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”

This verse right here shows us that we are to TRY to lead our brothers and sisters back to Christ if they have strayed away. Not in judgment, but in love. But we need to be very careful when doing this because our enemy is very crafty and he will try to trick us into falling into the same temptations. That’s why in Ephesians 6:10-20 we are taught to put on the full armor of God…daily!!

Now some of you may say that the Bible is confusing and isn’t “clear” on what we should and shouldn’t do. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Check out Galatians 5:19-21 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

So you see right there it lists out EXACTLY what we are to avoid. It even says it is OBVIOUS what the acts of the flesh (aka sin) are. And not only does it tell us what we shouldn’t do, it goes on to say that if we CONTINUE to live like that, to not repent (turn COMPLETELY away from it), that we will NOT inherit the kingdom of God. That is very humbling and eye opening to me. Now I don’t believe that if you “mess up” in one of these areas that you are doomed to spend eternity in hell. What I take that to mean is that if that is your lifestyle, that you have justified in your heart and mind that it is “ok” to live like that, then you have been deceived by the enemy and if you don’t repent…if your eyes and ears are not opened to the truth of Gods Word, then you will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Is that harsh? Sure. But that is why it is so important that we follow after the Lord and diligently try to live a life that is worthy of the calling we have received. We do not want to get to the end of our life and be like the people that Matthew 7:21-23 talks about, “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. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Not only is it “scary” to be deceived and “living a lie”, but it’s also scary what those “believers” are making unbelievers think about God. They are professing with their mouths that they love the Lord, but then in their lives they are living in such a way that it pushes people AWAY from Christ. And I realize that is just what the enemy wants. He wants people to have a “false” belief in God – so that not only does that person not get to spend eternity with Christ, they are going to live in such a way, that others are pushed away from the faith as well. Now I know God is big and can do ALL things and that He already knows EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. that will come to know Him, but He also calls us to live in such a way that others are drawn TO Him. Our Father’s heart is that NONE should perish. (2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.)

There is one last thing that the Lord just revealed to me yesterday in our ladies fellowship class. We were discussing how much the Lord loves everyone and were looking at certain Scripture verses and seeing how “No one is…” Based on the Scripture verses we were reading this is the list our class came up with: “No one is…

– Off Limits

– Too Inconvenient

– Insignificant

– Too Messed Up

– Undeserving

We went on to talk about what we struggle with – who is brought into our lives that we just don’t want to “deal with”. I was reminded that I don’t like to “deal with” unbelievers because I can get so frustrated. I want to be able to share Truth with them and for them to just “get it.” I don’t understand how someone doesn’t want to accept Christ as their Savior after all He did for them. I think once they hear the Gospel, that they should just accept it. I don’t want to hear all the reasons they think I’m crazy for believing, I just want to tell them all the reasons I think they are crazy for NOT believing. But the Lord has really been working with me on this because He has brought one friend in particular into my life that is totally against God. This friend has multiple reasons for feeling the way they do and I am constantly reminded that it isn’t my “job” to make them believe. All I can do is share truth, IN LOVE, and pray that the Lord will open their hearts and minds to His Truth. He is the ONLY One that can draw others to Him…we are simply called to share the truth and plant the seeds.

The Lord also reminded me of where I was about 14 years ago. I was a young, know-it-all 21 year old. I thought I was invincible and that to “believe in Christ” was such a silly thing. After all, most of my friends were unbelievers and if they were going to hell, why would I want to go someplace else. Who was this “Christ” that was wanting me to believe in Him and change my ways and “worship” Him and not have “fun” anymore. How dare He ask that of me? The Lord placed many people into my life that shared Truth with me and I laughed and mocked most of them. I didn’t understand why they didn’t want to just live for themselves and have fun. But God finally got my attention. My testimony is for another day, I suppose, since this has already gotten very long. But I say all of that to say…don’t ever give up on ANYONE. If there are people in your lives that don’t know the Lord, share truth with them in LOVE, pray for them and never stop believing that God can draw ANYONE to Himself – even those that mock Him and seem like a “lost cause”, even those that are so deceived and are caught up in “sin”, even those you have been praying for for YEARS, even those that you don’t think are “worth it.” Never forget how big our God is & never forget that He can do ALL things.

Until I write again, I pray the Lord blesses each of you and continues to reveal new things about Himself to you daily and that you are growing closer and closer to Him.

On My Own I Would NEVER Make it…BUT GOD

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On My Own I Would NEVER Make it…BUT GOD

It has been so long, once again, since I have blogged. Honestly, I’ve been a little afraid to. Since the last blog I wrote on marriage, my marriage in particular, I have been GREATLY tested. Initially, I was so encouraged by the response I received from that blog – it seems a lot of you really needed to hear that and were encouraged by the words the Lord gave me to share with each of you. That blessed me more than you can know, but then the test came…

I wrote that blog on February 3, 2014 – with a new desire in my heart to be the best wife and mother that I could be with the Lord’s help. I had a new mission…one I had started years previous (as stated in the blog), but with a new excitement and determination & to honestly show the devil that I wasn’t backing down one inch…I was gonna fight for my marriage and do whatever it takes to make it work.

At the time I wrote the blog, we were living in Iowa. About a week later, my husband informed me that he was ready to make the move back down South…to New Orleans to be exact. He has a daughter from a previous relationship that lives there and he was wanting us to all be closer to her. This was test #1, because if you know me, you know how I feel about New Orleans. There is NOTHING, and I repeat NOTHING that I like about that city. I had NO desire to live there and absolutely NO desire to raise my children there. BUT GOD allowed me to be open to the idea and to just follow my husband no matter what I felt or thought. I didn’t put up a fight at all…I completely and totally (despite ALL the well intended opposition I faced from family and friends) surrendered to my husbands desire and packed up our things and prepared to move the following week. (Yes I said ONE week!)

Saturday, February 15th we packed up our van with our few belongings and our 2 children and set out on our 20+ hour road trip to New Orleans. We had some money in the bank account & our faith in Christ, but other than that it was truly a leap of faith…stepping out into the great unknown. Talk about scary! We had NO idea where we were even going to live once we got there…and for you mommas out there, can you imagine?! BUT GOD gave me complete peace and even excitement in this new adventure.

Our initial plan was to stay in New Orleans for 1 week and then my husband had to go out of town for 2 weeks for business. While he was away on business, my children and I were going to Alabama to stay with my mom and visit friends. While he was out of town I was to be in search of our new home via the internet. So I diligently searched every day for places to live (we had very specific things we were looking for – this was going to be just a short term move). I prayed continually asking God to find us a home and to show me where we were supposed to live…but every day I seemed to hit a brick wall. I didn’t understand because I KNEW I was doing what I was supposed to be doing and I knew I had heard the Lord when He said, “Go!” So with a smile on my face and a pep in my step, I just kept praying and believing that God was going to work this all out…and He has…just not in the way I anticipated.

What many of you don’t know is all the many battles and trials that we have experienced in our 5 years of marriage. In my previous blog, I fessed up to mistakes I had made, that I regretted making, but I didn’t go into details of what my husband has done or was continuing to do to make me trusting him and following him incredibly difficult. I’m still not going to go into the details of everything I have personally been through – the Lord knows and when the time is right – if He wants me to, I will share more details…but that time is not now. I’m thinking of Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything,and a season for every activity under the heavens.

Anyway, on March 6th, my husband decided he no longer wants to “try” to make our marriage work. He is ready for a divorce…his heart is hardened towards me and he no longer feels there is anything worth “fighting” for.  At first I was devastated, but then I remembered a verse the Lord laid on my heart about 2.5 years ago (at a point in our marriage where I was ready to give up, I didn’t think I would make it one more day). BUT GOD gave me the verse 1 Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

I knew from that point forward that I was never going to be “allowed” to leave my husband, but if he ever left me…I was free to go. If I am honest, I struggled with this verse though, because my husband professes to be a believer in Christ and it is NOT my place to decide if he is or isn’t…all I do know is that that is the verse the Lord gave me for “such a time as this.” And the most amazing thing about that verse is the end… “God has called us to live in peace.” And since the day we have decided to separate, I have been at COMPLETE peace…the peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7)…and I thank God for this peace EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

Not only have I been at complete peace, the Lord took it even a step further. All the anger, fear, bitterness, jealousy, & unforgiveness that I have been feeling for YEARS (and wanting desperately to NOT “feel” anymore) is gone as well. I am now FREE and reminded of John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

I have been able to totally forgive my husband for EVERYTHING and I’m no longer angry or anything…it really is quite amazing. I have to be honest that sometimes I think it would be easier to go through this divorce process if I was angry, but the Lord is allowing me to go through it and no matter what my husband says or does, I have been able to respond in love, not anger.

So even though I am extremely sad that I feel like the enemy “won” another marriage, I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned in the last 5 years and the fact that I’m a better woman and mother because of it. The Word teaches that our tests become our testimony and I am now I firm believer in that. The Lord took me through the “fire” and I am coming out through the other side and I continue to pray that I will be just like Shadrach, Mesach, and Abendago that as they went through the fire God walked with them and when they came out on the other side… “the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.”Daniel 3:27

Now as I bring this blog to a close, I ask for your prayers. I realize that my trial isn’t over and that I have a long road ahead of me, BUT GOD will continue to be with me and carry me through and He will do the same for you no matter what trial you may be going through.

May God bless each of you on your own journey!

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The Battle of the Flesh and the Spirit

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The Battle of the Flesh and the Spirit

So I’m about to be very transparent in this blog…about my life, in particular my marriage. The reason I’m sharing this is because I pray it will speak to many women, even men out there that are at the point in their marriage that they just want to give up…throw in the towel…not do this “marriage thing” for one more day.

How can I speak about this so blatantly & with such understanding? Because the Lord in His wisdom & for His glory has been taking my husband & I on a “walk” since we began our marriage journey almost 5 years ago.

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Let me take you back…

My husband, Joshua, and I meet on January 15, 2009. At a point in our lives when he was on fire for the Lord & was finally looking for someone to share his life with & love unconditionally. I was working at a church as the pastors’ secretary & was also at the point in my life where I was ready for the next chapter in my life…you know, love,marriage, children & the “happily ever after.”

We got engaged on Valentine’s Day (yes, just 1 month after we met!) and were married on April 19, 2009 (just 2 days after my 30th birthday). So a VERY quick courtship, but hey, when you know you know, right? Or so we thought…

I don’t say that because I regret marrying my husband… I DON’T! I love him and we have 2 beautiful children together that I would be totally lost without. I say that because I was so naive going into my marriage…about what to expect, what it means to share your life with another, how very fragile marriage is, how you can have so much joy one day & be completely devastated the next, how you will go through so many roller coasters, be in so many deserts, climb so many mountains, be on top of the world, and on, and on, and on…

What I’ve learned and continue to learn is that marriage is not a fairy tale. The Disney cartoons we grew up on & the reality t.v. shows we watch today, such as The Bachelor, distort what marriage REALLY is & gives a false expectation on what to expect & just how difficult it really is.

Sure I knew deep down it must be difficult because if it wasn’t there wouldn’t be so many divorces. But I thought my marriage would be different…even easier because we both love the Lord, had waited to have sex with each other till we got married, & we both had the philosophy that divorce isn’t an option.

What I learned, and very quickly I might add, is that we are incredibly selfish people, set in our ways, and sometimes loving & forgiving is terribly difficult…painful even. I thought because we loved each other & we both had the mindset that divorce isn’t an option that that gave me free reign to speak whatever was on my mind, whenever it was on my mind…giving NO second thought to the power of my words & actions & the destruction that they can bring.

I gave no second thought to sharing our problems with whoever, whenever they would listen…because I was “right” & I needed others to see how “right” I was & how much better I deserved. But sadly by doing this only 1 side of the story is shared & it’s a lot harder for others that love you to forgive & love your spouse again once you’ve spoken ill of them. Even once you’ve forgiven & moved on…the damage is already done & is sometimes irreparable.

I also learned this process can destroy your marriage or damage it severely…don’t fool yourself and think that just because he made a vow, means he has to stay or that he won’t stray. I read the book “Created to be His Help Meet” by Debi Pearl early in our marriage. VERY powerful book that teaches us wives how to treat our men – what they need & what we are called to do by God once He blesses us with our husband.

I wish I could say that I took the advice & ran with it, but I didn’t. I was still too prideful to truly submit to God…let alone my husband. This reminds me of  James 1:22-25  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

I was the one who HEARD the truth, knew the path to walk on, & chose the opposite.

To make a long story shorter, my husband & I have been through SO much in the last 4.5 years…the details are truly unimportant. Some good, sadly a lot of bad, but fortunately A LOT of growth has taken place, A LOT of love has been shown, A LOT of forgiveness has been given, A LOT of grace & mercy has been dealt.

I wish I could say that as I write this that we are on a mountain top and everything looks like roses, but that would be a lie. We are actually in the desert & honestly don’t know the next step to take.

In our flesh we both want to throw in the towel, cut our losses & go our separate ways. But then I’m encouraged by a friend (who only counsels with the Word) that I need to remember and continue to walk out Galatians 6:9  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Even though we are surrounded by family & friends (whom I know mean well), that say since we aren’t “happy” we need to just give up and do what’s “best” for ourselves & our children and go our separate ways. And that sounds like good advice in my flesh & in this world, but then I get in the Word and the Spirit speaks to me & reminds me that God HATES divorce & that Matthew 19:6 says, So they are no longer two, but one flesh.Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Then I’m also reminded of the vows my husband and I made…”In sickness & in health…for richer for poorer…in good times & bad times…”

And I’m encouraged because God KNOWS how difficult it will be & those words spoken on my wedding day & your wedding day mean something…if you’re willing to fight the flesh & walk in the Spirit.

So that’s what I will continue to do…stick to my vows – to the commitment I made to my husband before my God & let God work out all the details of the story. Though the struggles can be hard, I believe the victories & the growth that takes place through the “fire” is all worth it in the end. Ultimately He will be honored & He will be glorified…no matter how messy it gets or how beautiful it becomes.

One last thing…this is an amazing video that I encourage EVERY married couple to watch…even if you are in a season of mountain tops, still watch it. It will bless you greatly & prepare you for the deserts.

It’s All About…

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Wow! I can’t believe how long it has been since I have blogged! I was blogging all the time for a while there and when I went back and re-read some of my blogs it was really cool to see how the Lord was speaking through me. How do I know this? Because I would never come up with half that stuff on my own…I’m not that smart. (That’s something my husband often tells me – that he’s not that smart to come up with things he teaches me on his own.) 🙂

So here we go again…I don’t know how often I will write or what I will even write about. I just know that I find enjoyment in it and I pray the Lord will use me to speak to you in ways that will make a difference.

There have been SO many changes in my life in the last 6 months. My husband and I decided to move from Alabama to Iowa (where I am from) at the end of August. Shortly after our move, on October 7th at 12:02am to be exact, our little boy Caleb was born. What a blessing and joy he has been to our lives. It amazes me just how much you can love another human being. And how hard it can be at times to have hearts running around outside your body. For all you mommies out there…I’m sure you can relate!

Anyway…what the Lord has been doing in my life is taking me on a TRUST journey. To truly let go and trust Him. To realize that I am not in control…no matter how much I think I am or even want to be, the reality is…I’m not. He is! He has our entire life stories written from beginning to end…why we think we have ANY control is beyond me. Why we don’t just let go and submit to His leading is beyond me…why we don’t just trust His Word and walk in His ways every minute of every day is beyond me. Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we just trusted??

That’s where He has me. Letting go…letting go…letting go. Believing Him…trusting His Word…having Faith that what He says is TRUE and most importantly…that it’s not just for others, but it’s for me too. Have you ever been there? Reading His Word and thinking it’s amazing and it’s life changing, BUT you think it’s only for others and not for you? That His promises are for that other mom, that other wife, that other daughter, that other sister, that other girl…but not for you? I have been there for SO. MANY. YEARS. Sure I talked a good talk. I would tell everyone how much I loved the Lord, trusted the Lord, believed in the Lord…but you know what? My actions weren’t lining up with my words. But thank the Lord – I’m coming out of that season and into the season of TRUTH.

So that’s what it’s all about…TRUST. Not just reading it, but believing it. Not just telling others about it and believing it for their lives…but believing it for mine as well.

When you sit down and have your quiet time with the Lord and you’re absorbing His truths into your spirit…BELIEVE what He says is for YOU. Every.Single.Word. They aren’t just some words written for some people way back when or for some other person across the street or across the world…they are for you. He loves YOU. Everything about you. There is nothing you can say or do that will ever change that. That’s what He has been showing me.

For too many years I was trying to “earn” His love. I didn’t think His promises were for me because I wasn’t “good enough.” I continually “messed up.” But what He is showing me is that He already knows every thought, word and action I will EVER have – and guess what? He still loves me. And He still loves you – no matter what. Once you put your trust in Him and give your life to Him – He will NEVER walk away. He will never leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 says: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

What a great promise? Doesn’t it bring you comfort? I have read that verse so many times and I liked it…loved what it said, but once you REALLY take a hold of it and BELIVE it…it will transform your life. Once you REALLY understand that the Creator of this world loves you and will do anything for you – it opens up all kinds of doors.

So there you have it…that’s where I’m at. Learning to trust the Lord COMPLETELY. Will you join me? If so, here are some great truths to put in your spirit and every time the enemy tries to tell you differently…start saying these things out loud and SHUT the liar up! Love you my sisters!

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14

“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.” – Psalm 73:23-24

“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of you heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this.” – Psalm 37:4-5

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” – Psalm 37:23-24

“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.” – Psalm 118:8

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:-6

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

“I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is there anything to hard for me?” – Jeremiah 32:27

“I can do ALL things through Him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13

“And my God will meed ALL your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

 

 

 

You are FREE Indeed!!

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Hebrews 9:1-10 talks all about the old covenant and what the high priest and the people had to do to have remission of sins. What they had to do over and over and over again because NOTHING could completely forgive them of their sins. Last night, Brother Andrew took us to the book of Leviticus 16 where the Lord gave all the instructions that the high priest had to complete every year on Yom Kippor (Day of Atonement) so the people could be forgiven of their sins for one more year. This chapter goes into great detail and it made complete sense the way he explained it and how Jesus is the perfect example of fulfilling all the steps that the high priest had to perform, but Jesus took it a step further – He made it complete FOREVER!!

I will break it down for you like Brother Andrew did for us last night:

Leviticus 16:3-9 “This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place: He must first bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.4 He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on. From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 6 “Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household.7 Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting.He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat. 9 Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord and sacrifice it for a sin offering.10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.

First, Aaron had to put on linen garments and he had to be completely physically clean before he could even put the garments on. Then he had to offer a bull for his OWN sin offering and that of his household before he could do anything for the peoples’ sins. Then he has to take 2 more goats and present them before the Lord – one for a sin offering for the people and one as a scapegoat.

Leviticus 16:11-14  “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering.12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain.13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die.14 He is to take some of the bull’s blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.

These verses go into detail on all the steps he was to follow to make atonement for himself and his household. It is very detailed and everything had to be followed precisely so he wouldn’t die.

Leviticus 16:15-17  “He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it.16 In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the tent of meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness.17 No one is to be in the tent of meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel.

Notice here that he has to repeat the process for the removal of sins from the people, but it is also for the cleansing of the Most Holy Place because it had been made unclean because of the rebellion of the Israelites.

Leviticus 16:18-22   “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat.21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task.22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.

After he makes atonement for everyone and everything, he then brings forward the scapegoat. He puts his hands on the head of the goat and transfers all the sins, wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites onto the goat. An appointed person then takes the goat out into the wilderness to release him to run away with all of their sins – therefore, removing their sins from them for another year. They had to repeat this ritual year after year after year. Also, take note here that the people didn’t have to do anything – they simply had to rest in what the high priest was doing FOR them.

Hebrews 9:11-14  But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation.12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

We no longer have to go through the rituals every year to be cleansed from our sins. Jesus did it once for all – ALL of our sins are forgiven, past, present and future FOREVER. That means as a believer in Christ we no longer have to be sin-conscious, we are the righteousness of Christ. When God looks at us – all He sees is Christ blood, Christ righteousness. How awesome is that?! We no longer have to strive to keep the law, or feel guilty and condemned if we “mess up.” The accuser, Satan, is the one that tries to make us feel condemned, but Christ says in Romans 8:1-3 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.

I know many of you have already heard this before. I had heard this before, but this was the first time I really HEARD it! Do you get what I’m saying?  I don’t have to be “perfect”. I don’t have to be “good” all the time and do everything “right.” Jesus ALREADY paid the price for my sins (notice that is plural) once and for all. Just like it says in Hebrews 9:26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

He doesn’t have to repeatedly die on the cross over and over again for my sins…He already did it!! That means I am no longer a sinner, I am covered with His grace. That is freeing to me! I don’t have to keep all the laws and feel guilty if I mess up. Does that mean I can just sin and sin and there is no consequence. Absolutely not! But when you truly grab a hold of this you don’t want to sin all the time. In fact, when you truly grab a hold of it, you are no longer sin conscious. You are no longer focusing on keeping the law and a list of do’s and don’ts. You are just resting in the finished work of Christ and you stop striving and you FINALLY have peace! That is the gospel! That is what Paul preached! This is what NEEDS to be preached TODAY! People need THIS message – they don’t need all their sins and flaws pointed out to them. Just like the woman that was caught in adultery. Jesus said, “Those who are without sin, cast the first stone.” Everyone walked away. Jesus said to the woman, “Has no one condemned you?” She says, “No.” Then He says, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” (paraphrased) Notice He didn’t say clean up your act first, then you’re forgiven. He forgave her FIRST, then said, go and sin no more. People need to know that they don’t have to be perfect to be forgiven. They need to know that Jesus loves them and has already forgiven them, all they have to do is BELIEVE! Yes, it really is that simple!!

For too many years I went to churches that made me feel incomplete and like I still had to do something to “earn” my salvation, or to keep God “happy” with me. I was striving to be perfect and keep the law and I was NEVER free! I didn’t understand how when the Word said that those in Christ were free indeed, because I didn’t feel free. I felt trapped, and condemned, and l like I wasn’t good enough. How many of you feel like that? How many of you are still striving to be “good” and keep the law? You don’t have to do that anymore. That isn’t the life Christ has called me to live. That isn’t the life he wants you to live. That isn’t the life that He died for. He died so we could be FREE. He died so we don’t have to focus on our sins year after year after year. He has set us free – you are no longer under the law – you are under GRACE. Thank You Jesus! So to wrap this up, all I have to say is, “STOP striving, START believing and just rest in the finished work of Christ! That is why as He  hung on the cross His last words were, ‘It is FINISHED!’” AMEN!!!

Blazing Flames of Fire

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We have started a new study on the book of Hebrews, but we have decided to take this book A LOT more slowly. I think that is a good thing because we don’t want to rush through His Word and miss ANY truths that He is trying to teach us. When we take the time to dissect the Word bit by bit, there is SO much we can learn from it. I’ve read the book of Hebrews many time, but I can honestly say that I have never taken the time to REALLY read it…study it verse by verse. As I read through Hebrews 1 today I couldn’t even get past the 7th verse. The Lord just stopped me and told me to meditate on this verse and see what He wanted to teach me. And this is what I learned…

Hebrews 1:7  And of the angels He says:  “Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire.”

The Lord says that angels are spirits, and his ministers (you and me) are flames of fire! I asked the Lord what does it mean to be flames of fire? So I looked up the greek word for flames and it is “phlego” which means a blaze and the greek word for fire is “pur” which means lightening, fiery, fire. And the greek word for ministers is “leitourgos” which means a public servant functionary in the Temple or Gospel, a worshiper of God.

I’m still not sure what all of that means so I start to think of a blazing fire. What does it look like? What does it do? It is huge, it would be unstoppable if someone didn’t come to fight against it, it destroys everything that is burnable in it’s path.

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The Lord brings to remembrance 1 Corinthians 3:9-15  For we are God’s fellow workers (ministers) you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

As servants of the Gospel and worshipers of God we are supposed to share His truth, His word with others like a blazing fire. We are to be unstoppable. To me that means with much conviction and power. We must make sure that our foundation is Jesus Christ and nothing or NO ONE else. He is the ONLY solid foundation that can be built upon and withstand the fire. If we are working with impure motives, or just storing up treasures for ourselves on earth, they will be burned. As ministers of the gospel, as flames of fire, we need to constantly be in the Word to make sure that our hearts and motives are focused on the Lord and His workings in our lives, and those He brings in our paths, so that whatever we build on the foundation of Christ it will endure.

We are supposed to let the fire of the Holy Spirit be so alive and active in us that others are drawn to it. That they see something different – by the words we speak, but also the actions that follow. This reminds me of Matthew 8:14-16  When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.15 He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him. 16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.

Did you catch that? He TOUCHED (action) and she was healed. He spoke a WORD and the demons were driven out! And WE as Christ’s ministers have the SAME power that He did! And we are to use it. Don’t ever hesitate to share His truth with someone. We are God’s chosen vessels to be used to draw many to His kingdom. And don’t ever get discouraged when it seems like it is falling on deaf ears, His word never returns void, it always accomplishes what He wants it to. Just like we saw in 1 Corinthians 3, some of us plant the Word into others and some of us water it. It doesn’t matter what God uses you to do, just make sure that you are opening yourself up to be used by Him everyday, to be blazing flames of fire for His glory!

Learning to Live a Proverbs Life – Proverbs 3

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Proverbs 3:6-7 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.

*In everything we think, in everything we say, in everything we do we are to go to the Lord for wisdom, knowledge and direction so that He can lead us down the right path. If we don’t seek Him and His ways, we are very likely to go down the wrong path. Let’s face it ladies, most of the time if we choose our own way without the Lord’s guidance we will make the wrong choices. We tend to be led and controlled by our emotions and feelings, so it is VERY important for us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit within us and listen to Him so He can point us in the direction we are supposed to go.

I know for me personally that if I don’t take EVERY situation, no matter how big or small, to the Lord, 9/10 I make the wrong decision or I say the wrong thing. I get caught up in my own way of thinking. I get caught up in how I FEEL, instead of what truly makes the most sense. I am learning through many trials and errors, that His way is truly the best way. His leading protects us and those around us.

The verse goes on to say, do not be wise in your own eyes.  In other words, don’t think that you always know what is best. Only God truly knows what is best and that is why it is SO important to spend time with Him, know His ways, know His character, and know His direction for your life. We need to make sure that we are truly being led by His Spirit, not our own fleshly desires and wants. It is so easy to get off track if we aren’t connected to the vine.

We are to fear the LORD and turn away from evil; sinful thoughts, words and actions. I have learned the only way to truly turn away from evil and keep my thoughts, words and actions on the things above, is to DAILY spend time with the Lord and DAILY (sometimes second by second) die to myself. Am I always successful at this? NO! There are days that I can have the best quiet time, come out feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the world, and then “life happens” and I come out of the Spirit rather quickly, and think and respond in a way that doesn’t bring anyone honor or glory. On those days, I then have 1 of 2 choices to make. To continue on in my “evil” behavior, or to go to the Lord, fear Him, and follow His ways, instead of my own. When I choose to go to the Lord, the day isn’t ruined and a complete waste. When I choose to stay in my “evil” ways, my day is ruined and most the time so is the day of anyone around me.

We truly need to learn to seek the Lord in all things. To strive to be women that fear Him and shun evil. We need to be women that daily seek the Lord and His knowledge so that He can lead us and keep us on the right path.

Hope you all have a very blessed, safe and happy 4th of July!!