My Mind’s on Jesus and Jesus’ on My Mind
July 27, 2015
What I mean by that is…
…when Jesus was going about His day in public, did He ever miss an opportunity to minister?
Was He so caught up in the cares of His day that He passed people by who were hopeless?
Did He keep quiet of the life that He could bring to them because He had errands to run?
Did He ever think to Himself on His way to teach- “I just need to grab a bite to eat. I don’t have time for chit-chat” ?
Was He ever so focused on a task or mission that He walked passed people who were in need of a touch from Him?
According to John:
Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25 NLT)
Since that is the case, I am certain Jesus’ main goal, every single moment of every single day, was to reach as many people as He possibly could for the Kingdom of God.
Before I became a stay-at-home momma, I worked for a world-wide ministry.
Before I worked for a world-wide ministry, I worked in a small medical office for four and a half years.
That job was difficult for me because I came into contact with a lot of hurting people.
And as we all know, “hurt people hurt people.”
There were many days that I would drive home crying and collapse on my bed because of the exhausting day of being a human punching bag.
I constantly asked the Lord to get me out of there, but He had other plans for me. I longed for the day when I would be used in ministry, but what God was trying to get me to understand was that my ministry was right in front of me!
Every single patient who walked into our office was an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with. Once my eyes were opened to that truth, my experience in that office changed. I would pray every single morning that God would bring someone across my path who I could pray for or share hope with.
And guess what?
God ALWAYS provided! I was given countless opportunities to pray for people over the phone, lay hands on the sick, and even pray for a blind woman’s eyes to be strengthened. I received such a boldness to step out in faith and truly walk out my life like Jesus commanded us all to do.
And then my season there ended, and the Lord fulfilled a dream of mine to work for Joyce Meyer Ministries. I no longer was surrounded by lost people, in regards to those who don’t profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior. All of my coworkers were professing Christians because that was a requirement to work there.
I struggled with how God wanted to use me there, but realized that all people are important to God, not just lost people.
I would pray with coworkers when the Lord lead me to to, and as I went through a very traumatic time there, my coworkers saw how I did not allow my circumstances to shake my faith. I learned that everyone needs the hope Jesus brings.
I have been gone from JMM for almost a year since having Isaiah and have been struggling to find the boldness to pray for people who I meet on a daily basis- which doesn’t happen too often nowadays as stay-at-home mom who babysits 3-4 days a week.
There was just something so powerful that I would experience when I prayed for someone I did not know. And I know that Jesus is calling me to step out and believe Him to use me in that way again.
I know that the enemy doesn’t want us to share the hope of Jesus with the world and will try all that he can to get us distracted, in a hurry, or timid. We must push past all of that, get over ourselves and our troubles and insecurities, and trust that God wants to use our mouths to share His love and truth with all that we come in contact with.
I want to always have Jesus on my mind so that wherever I go, all I want to do is tell others about Him.
Not just when I feel like it, but every time I step foot outside of my door!
I want to be “on,” and red hot for God, just like Jesus was when He walked the streets. He has commissioned us to go, so we need to step out in faith and believe He will help us through the power of the Holy Spirit to be His hands and feet wherever He sends us!
Lord, give me the boldness to step out and tell others about you. Help me to have a listening ear to hear Your voice when You need me to pray for someone at any moment. I know that the light of the world lives on the inside of me and I don’t want to hide that light any longer! Let me shine bright for you, Jesus! Amen.
Podcast Interview- Undone Redone (7.20.15)
July 21, 2015
Last week, I had the privilege of chatting with Tray and Melody Lovvorn of Undone Redone. Similar to me, they have an amazing testimony of forgiveness, healing, and redemption!
Together, they host a podcast in their “Messy Boots” studio where they interview guests with like-hearted messages of divine transformation and deliverance from the entanglements of sin. I definitely felt at “home” while talking with this precious couple.
I also happen to be a huge fan of their Alabaman accent…totally makes me want to sit on the front porch swing and drink a big ol’ glass of Southern sweet tea!
But seriously, I pray that this interview touches hearts and changes lives for the glory of God! Each word that was spoken was guided by the Holy Spirit who I know has hand-picked each individual who will hear its message. Despite everything that I went through and all the mess that I found myself in, the pit wasn’t too deep for God!
The same is true for you- you are never too far gone for God’s mighty, redeeming hand to rescue you and use you for His glory!
Thanks for listening!
Time of Testing
July 16, 2015
Last week, the Lord gave me a dream in which the number 40 was highlighted. In the dream, I was speaking with someone from my past and he said that my soul would not find rest and I would not be released emotionally from my situation until 40 days had passed.
Typically, the number 40, in the Bible, represented a time of trial, testing, or proving.
When Noah and his family were in the ark, it rained 40 days and 40 nights.
The children of Israel were in the wilderness for 40 years.
Jesus was lead into the wilderness and tempted by Satan for 40 days.
I felt the Lord was telling me that I would be experiencing a time of testing that would last 40 days.
I received confirmation of that the other night at church when my pastor was speaking of Jesus’ proving time in the wilderness. Through the re-telling of the story, I was reminded that before Jesus experienced the time of testing for 40 days, He was first baptized and the Father spoke from on-high saying:
“This is my beloved Son,[c] with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17 ESV)
At the end of May, I was also baptized. I felt like after I came up from the water, I would be entering a new season ahead of me. Perhaps, a new season of ministry. But first, God needed to make sure I was prepared for it.
I am definitely feeling the time of testing, especially after I made the decision to fast social media for one year.
Because social media was a means of distracting me and keeping my mind full of other things, I am given more time to reflect.
This is good and bad, of course.
I’m finding myself having to rebuke more negative, worrisome, and anxious thoughts than I normally do. I am being given opportunities to lose my peace and my joy constantly. I’m even having to battle a little physical pain- I have a cluster of canker sores on the inside of my mouth that developed within the last few days that make eating, talking, and even sleeping very unbearable.
And while I’m on the topic of sleep…
…I’m not getting much of it these days as I endure my son’s nine-month sleep regression.
He’s growing and developing new language and motor skills, which is awesome- but I am one tired momma always in need of coffee, coffee, coffee!
Last night was difficult for me because my little man didn’t want to sleep longer than an hour and I was up every hour from 10 PM-5 AM. When he finally passed out around 7 AM, he let me sleep until 10:30 AM (thank you, Jesus!) but I had to rush to run some errands before the kids I babysat made their way over around noon. I had to get little man out of the scorching heat, carry the bags (and Venti iced white mocha with an extra shot of espresso), let the dog out to do his business, and put everything away before the boys got here.
The moment I could catch my breath and take a quick sip of my ice-cold coffee goodness that was keeping me conscious, my phone notified me that I had an email.
The subject line was the title of an article I wrote for ibelieve.com that was also featured on its sister-site, crosswalk.com.
My heart sank.
Lord, let this be uplifting. Please.
But, of course, it was a hateful, condescending rant from a perturbed reader of my article from A MONTH AGO about my experience with the dangers of divorce.
I made sure to take a breath and remain graceful as I wrote my response. I use every email, comment, or conversation as a means for ministry and not to argue.
The heart behind all of my writing is to encourage and point other’s to God’s truth, even if the topics are challenging and go against Church culture.
I seasoned my email with salt and illuminated it with the light of God’s Word, as I always do. This woman had obviously been hurt. I could sense that in her statements.
But man, does the enemy know how to kick ya when you’re down!
After all was settled, I just had to chuckle because later today I am being interviewed for a podcast to discuss my book and share my testimony.
The ministry I am speaking with is called UNDONE/REDONE. They are a precious couple whose marriage was restored after infidelity and divorce…
…the very topic this angry (and wounded from her past) reader was shaking her electronic finger at me for.
I think not.
So what do I do?
I stand firm on the promises of God. I hold up my shield of faith to deflect the fiery darts the enemy fires at me. I make sure I have my pants tight with the belt of truth and that my breastplate of righteousness is secured. I keep salvation on my mind and walk in peace at all times. And most importantly, I wield of the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s mighty Word, that I uses to chop down all of the enemies lies he utters in his native tongue. And I pray.
Not just in my time of testing.
But every. single. day. at. all. times.
Matt Redman’s UNBROKEN PRAISE- A Review
July 14, 2015
Matt Redman is one of my favorite Christian songwriters and his new album, Unbroken Praise*, does not disappoint! He has such a way of taking the truth of God’s Word and putting it to music.
Redman states “”Unbroken Praise reveals a heart not wanting to be beaten down by the things of life, but to actually increase worship in those moments.”
From the moment the album begins, you are ready to be ushered into an atmosphere of praise with the song “Louder,” which shouts to God that we will lift up our voices boldly to praise Him!
This live recording allows you to be a part of an awesome time of worship as the songs continue to ebb and flow between praising and worshiping our great God. There is even a new rendition of “It is Well With My Soul” that uses the hymn’s familiar chorus and adds a modern sound to the well-known hymn.
Just like Redman’s famous “10,000 Reasons,” “Heart of Worship,” and “Our God,” I believe the songs on this album will be become future anthems in churches across the globe!
Grab your copy of Unbroken Praise today at Family Christian!
*I received this CD free as a member of the Family Christian Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Max Lucado’s YOU’LL GET THROUGH THIS- A Review
July 5, 2015
“You’ll get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good. In the meantime don’t be foolish or naïve. But don’t despair either. With God’s help you will get through this.” –Max Lucado
These words echo throughout the entire text of You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help For Your Turbulent Times* from Max Lucado. Mr. Lucado uses the great story of Joseph from the Bible to support the truth that no matter what we face in this life, whatever evil comes our way, God uses it all and turns it around for our good.
Although while reading this book, I am not currently experiencing “turbulent times,” just like everyone who is born on this earth, I have experienced trouble and pain in my life…
…once or twice…
…or more than I can count, truthfully.
I was so thankful that Max used Joseph’s story to tell of the journey from trial to triumph because I have always connected with his life. At one time in my life, I found myself in a deep, dark pit. Sexual abuse and a spirit of lust were heavy chains that wrapped themselves around me as I was seduced into a life of sexual bondage and brokenness. Thankfully, like Joseph, God didn’t leave me and I didn’t give up on God. He delivered me from that pit and turned my mess into a message for His glory!
Max easily connects Joseph’s chaotic life to both personal stories and other Biblical characters’ life-stories who also experienced tragedy, trial, and temptation. The reader encounters one simple truth- they are not alone in their pain.
As Joseph’s story progresses throughout the book, we see how God is always in control of everything that happens and in the end, as the Creator, creates something beautiful from the ashes in His time. His process may take time, but as each day passes, He is molding us into a wonderful masterpiece, looking more and more like Jesus!
I believe this book is a cheerleader for the downtrodden, shouting “Don’t give up! Hang on! God’s got this!” The ultimate reason is because Jesus has already won the victory. When we embrace the work of the Cross and live for Christ, death has no sting. Pain has an expiration date. And eternity is our reward!
I pray that the reader finds understanding that God is good no matter what, even if they don’t fully comprehend His perfect plan. When He is in control of our situations and lives, He will have the last say and will fight on our behalf. Even in the midst of struggle, we must stand firm on the promises of God, keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, stay thankful, and trust that God’s ways are higher than our own!
The process that God is taking us through has a purpose, even if it painful. We may not see the purpose on this side of eternity, but one day, it will all be clear to us. We will look back and know that God was there the whole time, working in and through us.
Purchase this best-seller today at Family Christian!
Available in both hard-cover and soft-cover!
*I received this book free as a member of the Family Christian Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Reflections from my TV Interview
June 26, 2015
I traveled to Nashville, TN Tuesday for my first TV interview sharing a little of my testimony and information about my book. I sat down with Monica Schmelter on the show ‘Bridges’ on Christian Television Network | WHTN to speak on the topic of sexual brokenness and how I found healing in Jesus.
In the interview, I shared about a time in my life after I prayed the sinner’s prayer, but failed to completely surrender my entire life to Jesus- living as if He was my Savior, but not my Lord.
I used a phrase that is found in my book to describe a season of six years of a tug-of-war with God for my heart. I said, “I lived with one foot in and one foot out of my old life and new life.”
Last night, while I was praying for an old friend of mine who has become entangled in the dangerous lifestyle of alcohol and promiscuity that I found myself in for many years, I realized that it is impossible to walk one foot in your old life and the other foot in your new life in Christ.
No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other… (Luke 16:13a)
Even though in the context of Luke 16:13, Jesus is talking about wealth, the principle is the same-
you can’t live for two different things.
You can’t walk two different paths.
You either choose the narrow road or you choose the broad path.
There are so many people professing Jesus as their God, but they serve someone or something else by ignoring the Lord’s commands and seeking after whatever they want.
They are deceived believers. I pray they wake up!
I was one of those people who said they were a born-again believer, but I lived as if God didn’t exist and followed my fleshly desires, the pride of life, and worldly activities.
The more I share my testimony, the more I realize that I am called to wake up the Body of Christ from their double living. I pray for more opportunities to share my story.
The episode of Bridges will air in the coming months, and I will let you guys know the details as soon as I do.
There Is More
June 17, 2015
Can’t seem to sleep.
There’s a stirring in my soul longing for more.
There has to be more.
More than just the week days.
More than the weekends.
More than going to church on Sunday.
More than the “American Dream.”
More than the “Almighty Dollar.”
More than blogging, Facebook ‘likes’, ‘Retweets,’ and Instagram posts.
More than just spending time with friends and family.
There just has to be more, ya know?
For the past few weeks, I have not been able to stop focusing on these words from Jesus:
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? (Luke 9:23-25 ESV)
So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. (Luke 14:33 NASB)
I used to think that Jesus would only ask certain believers to sell everything they owned and follow Him.
I thought that was a radical call for only those He would ask to do such a thing.
But then what I read in the gospels became true revelation.
This command goes against everything our American culture believes- including the majority of the American Church culture’s version of the prosperity message of happiness, health, and wealth.
And I’m tired of it.
I’m tired of striving for it, searching for it, and existing for it.
For this very reason, my husband and I are selling our house and will work and give our tails off to get out from under the weight of financial debt. We have been giving away furniture, clothes, and appliances for the last few weeks and it has been exhilarating! We have been truly blessed in all areas of our lives, including material possessions, but God’s blessings reach far beyond material possessions.
Jesus’ idea of blessed would leave most American Christians confused if they really read their Bibles:
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12 NKJV)
Wait, Jesus, I thought I am supposed to have an abundant life here on earth? People are going to hate me? That sounds awful. Don’t you want me to be happy?
Jesus needs happy Christians, but I’m sure it comes by ways different than what we might think.
Yielded unto the Lord for His purposes, including your belongings.
How can we read the book of Acts (the beginnings of the Christian Church) and not follow their lifestyle as the modern Church?
And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had ALL THINGS COMMON. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. NEITHER WAS THERE ANY among them THAT LACKED: for as many as were POSSESSORS OF LANDS OR HOUSES SOLD THEM, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, Having land, SOLD IT, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. (Act 4:32-37 KJV)
Do we think we are special? Do we think we are exempt from following the words of Christ? The early Church was able to do great Kingdom exploits because they were free of the things of this world. They had no financial debt to hold them back from anything the Lord asked them to do. As believers in America, we must live the same if we expect to see genuine repentance and revival in our nation!
There may come a day when you hear the Lord tell you to give it all up, and I pray you are obedient. The reward will be so much greater than any treasure here on earth where moth and rust eat at it.
I know this new season Paul and I are about to embark on is going to be one of the best adventures of our lives, mainly because it involves laying our’s down to follow the One who laid down His for us.
There is more, and it is only found in denying yourself, taking up your cross, and forsaking all to follow Jesus.
We aren’t special. We are just choosing to be obedient to the Lord’s direction and take Him at His word.
I used to lead this song years ago, but the lyrics didn’t become real to me until recently.
Take it all,
Take it all,
Just give me Jesus,
Just give me Jesus.
I don’t want any other lovers,
I don’t want any other lovers,
I don’t want any other lovers,
I don’t want any other lovers,
For all my devotion belongs to this Man,
All my devotion belongs to this Man,
All my devotion belongs to this Man,
All my devotion belongs to this Man.
Original Song: by Kristene (Mueller) DiMarco, All My Devotion