Bearing Lasting Fruit
December 14, 2017
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you” (John 15:16).
In the Spring through the Fall seasons, my husband and I enjoy spending our Saturday mornings taking our son to the local farmer’s market. The whole family truly does try our best to incorporate fruit and veggies in our diet, and this farmer’s market gives us ample options to pack our fridge with fresh produce. During the winter months, the market is closed, so thankfully, we can still purchase our produce at the local grocery store, but the taste of the fruit and veggies at this farmer’s market is just a little fresher in my opinion. Needless to say, I eagerly await the Springtime to get back to our beloved farmer’s market trips.
In John 15, Jesus tells us how he longs for us to bear spiritual fruit. But what happens to our fruit production when we reach a seemingly spiritually barren place, a “winter” season? We will all face “winter” seasons in our lives, but we should never want to stay there or make it a continuous cycle. Difficult seasons in life can actually be a time of growth and maturity in the Lord. In the natural, trees’ roots actually grow down deeper into the earth in the winter time.
If we don’t stay rooted and grounded in God (who is love), we lose our sustaining life and are prone to depression. Instead of yielded to depression, we need to allow our roots in Jesus grow deeper and deeper. We use those times of trial to draw closer to the Lord and drink deep of His goodness and faithfulness. During these dark times, the enemy wants you to dry up and rot- physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We must remain connected to our life-source, Jesus, the Vine.
Over the course of my life, I have experienced some pretty harsh winter seasons.
Thankfully, I had established a solid “root-system” in the Lord and also surrounded myself with some mighty “oaks” of righteous people. If we are isolated during these times, and are not taking in the proper nutrients from God’s Word, we are in trouble. Being around other trees or fruit bearers is crucial to sustain spiritual health. Their root systems can get “nutrients” to us and their fruit can “feed” us when we are struggling to hang onto the Vine.
No matter our circumstances, we must allow our fruit to ripen or mature, and even when it may seem hopeless, if you are abiding in Jesus, the Vine, you will see abundance once again. Be grateful for the little fruit you do have, but don’t stay there, let the Vine-dresser care for you. He chose you and longs for you to bear fruit, just continue to abide in Him!
Thank You, Lord, for remaining with me through all seasons of my life, even the difficult ones. Help me to continue to abide in the Vine, Christ Jesus, so that I can bear lasting fruit all for Your glory!
Deeper Walk: Galatians 5:22-23
FREE Printable Christmas Planner
December 11, 2017
Last month, Sherry at Personal Creations reached out to me and asked if I would share some of their free printable Thanksgiving Psalms in preparation of the holiday on emilyrosemassey.com, and last week Emma from Gifts.com asked if I would like to pass along to my readers some links to their FREE printable Christmas planner. Being a planner and list-maker myself, I was happy to oblige!
And with Christmas just around the corner, it’s never too late to start planning for the festivities. Whether it’s putting up your Christmas decor or preparing for guests to arrive, the holiday season can be fun, but sometimes a little stressful. Using this Christmas planner from Gifts.com, you can avoid overwhelm and enjoy time with your loved ones by keep tracking of everything!
With over 15 different pages in your Christmas planner, you can prepare for things like Christmas dinner menu, check items off your gift list, and even keep tabs on any memorable moments throughout the holiday season. After all, its important to be mentally present for your loved ones so you can savor your time with them, and you can do just that by staying organized and avoiding stress.
And I am all for avoiding stress, especially during this season where we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace! Take a look at some of the sample pages below and click the DOWNLOAD ALL button below for the link to print out the pages!
I pray that you enjoy every single moment of this beautiful Christmas season, and don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed or anxious within your busy schedules and to-do lists. Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season and that He came to bring us peace that surpasses all understanding! Rest in Him, all while giving His all the glory He deserves!
“Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on Earth!”
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid (John 14:27, ESV).
#GivingTuesday: Get a FREE eBook copy of YIELDED IN HIS HANDS!
November 28, 2017
In honor of #GivingTuesday, I am giving away FREE copies of the eBook version of my book, Yielded in His Hands: Becoming a Vessel for God’s Glory until 11:59pm (CT) tonight!
Just comment below with your email, and I will get it off to you today!
I pray that you find an opportunity to give generously today and every day! We are extremely blessed here in the United States, and that means, God has blessed us to be a blessing to someone else!
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work (2 Corinthians 9:7-8, ESV).
MORE INFO ON YIELDED IN HIS HANDS:
Using the Bible story found in Jeremiah 18 as inspiration, where we discover God as the great Potter of our lives, as well as the first three verses of Psalm 40, Emily shares her testimony of how the Lord delivered her out of the mire and filthy pit and bondage of sexual sin, set her feet upon the firm foundation of Jesus, chiseled away and softened hardened parts of her marred heart with His Spirit and the water of His Word, and molded her into a beautiful vessel of honor fit for His use. The process on God’s Potter’s wheel could not take place until her entire life was completely surrendered over to Jesus Christ, declaring Him not only as her Savior, but Lord of her life.
In Yielded in His Hands: Becoming a Vessel for God’s Glory, you will discover a life miraculously transformed for God’s glory, as only God the Potter can. Emily’s transparency throughout this book not only aids in sharing traumatic, tragic, and triumphant stories in her life, but also points the readers straight to Jesus, proclaiming, “If He did it for me, He can and will do it for you! You just need to yield your life over to His hands!”
FREE Printable Thanksgiving Psalms
November 21, 2017
When it comes to Thanksgiving, family and friends gather around the table to enjoy a delicious feast and to celebrate one another’s company. Before carving the turkey and filling plates with food, it’s important to take the time to say a special thanks to the Lord.
While prayers of gratitude have been around far before Thanksgiving in 1620, all early celebrations of thanks began with God as the centerfold.
Across many unique celebrations, people praise God before a meal as a way to say thanks to the all the good that He has given.
With many acts of thanks and praise to God in the Bible, Personal Creations wanted to create Thanksgiving Psalms to use at your Thanksgiving feast and for many celebrations to come.
Here are just some samples that Sherry at Personal Creations sent me that you are more than welcome to share on social media or print them out yourself! Follow this link for more beautiful printables that help remind us to remain thankful all year round and give God the glory He deserves!
I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving this year, celebrating with those whom you love! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!
10 Lessons the Parable of the Prodigal Son Has for Us- iBelieve.com Post
November 20, 2017
I hadn’t stepped foot in a church in well over three years, no thanks to the distractions, temptations, and stresses of college life that seemed to capture my heart and attention. But I had just graduated a couple months prior, and I could not take the guilt and shame looming over me one more day. I was tired of running from God, and I was tired of trying to control everything in my life.
I didn’t fully understand it yet, but I was ready to wave my white flag and surrender to God what I had been trying to hold onto for so many years.
During praise and worship, I felt the walls that I had built up around my heart start to crumble and by the third song, this secretly shy and insecure girl found herself slowly lifting her hands to heaven and for the first time in a long time, didn’t care what anyone thought. Suddenly, I heard the voice of the Father (through what I now know was the Holy Spirit) whisper to my heart, “Welcome home.”
Tears rolled down my cheeks and all of a sudden, my arms were stretched straight up as high as they could go as I sang along with the congregation about the greatness of our God. This “God-moment” changed the course of the rest of my life as I ran straight into the arms of the Father, and I never looked back.
I think every believer has experienced a sort of prodigal journey too, of choosing our own way over God’s way, looking to the world for fulfillment and perhaps turning our backs from God, even if it was only for a short time. That being said, I think we can all glean from the wisdom found in the story of what some Bible translations call “The Parable of the Lost Son” found in Luke 15: 11-32.
Excerpt taken from 10 Lessons the Parable of the Prodigal Son Has for Us on iBelieve.com. Read more via ibelieve.com!
From Suffering to Glory
November 13, 2017
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18, HCSB).
Even though I have so many wonderful memories during the holiday season, this time of year also holds some painful memories of experiencing the bitterness of death and loss. Sadly, I know this is the case for so many people. For me, November is the month that my dad was murdered (actually it will be nine years on the 17th) and the month my husband and I lost our first baby early on in my pregnancy. Those were times where I had to endure some pretty heavy emotional suffering. Even though I was a Christian during those times, the pain was still very real and I struggled in my faith. I had to constantly press into God’s truth and surround myself with other believers who loved me and encouraged me during those dark times.
Pain and suffering not something any of us look forward to, but while we live here in this fallen and broken world, it is inevitable. It is so easy to get caught up in the storms of our life and lose sight of the hope that is available to us through Jesus Christ. He is the anchor in that storm and promises to never abandon us. The suffering may not disappear, but the good news is that Jesus is right there with us to walk through it together. In the midst of the pain, the temptation is to give all of our focus on the battle we may be facing. I believe it is so important for us to keep a heavenly and eternal perspective when we are in the midst of a painful situation or even a painful season. We have to remember that our life here on earth is not all that there is to our existence.
There is a life to come where we are promised no more pain or suffering when we see Jesus face to face and when He returns in all of His glory. This is the glory that Paul tells us about in Romans 8:12. We will experience God’s glory in all of its fullness one day and what a glorious day that will be! Let us hold fast to that hope of eternal life that awaits us, free of all pain and suffering!
Whatever you are facing has an expiration date.
You won’t have to live with that pain forever; it cannot overtake you, unless you let it. So take heart!
The suffering you are experiencing cannot stand against God’s glory. Let us keep our minds fixed on heaven and fixed on Jesus Christ our Savior, in the midst of our storm. Sadness and grief will come, sometimes like a tidal wave, but you have an anchor of glorious hope and His name is Jesus!
Father, help us to see this life with eternal lenses and embrace the promises of everlasting life with Christ. Help us through our times of pain and suffering as we hold onto the hope we find in Jesus. We will continue to hide ourselves in Christ until we take our last breath here on this earth or until Jesus returns in His glory.
Deeper Walk: 2 Corinthians 4:17
The Man Who Invented Christmas- New Film Releasing soon!
November 10, 2017
With the cooler temps breezing into the Midwest, I am getting extremely excited for the season ahead, enjoying parties, Thanksgiving, and….
Of course, Christmas is one of my favorite holidays because it is when us Christians get to joyfully celebrate and remember when our Savior King left His throne, came down to earth, and became Emmanuel, God with us!
My family and I also enjoy all the rest of the typical Christmas traditions such as decorating a tree, gift giving, and tons of yummy food with family.
Another favorite thing we always do is pull out all of the wonderful Christmas movies and reminisce over all the past holiday seasons throughout the years.
Elf, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, A Charlie Brown Christmas…the classics!
And I am thrilled to hear that another Christmas classic is hitting the Big Screen this November…A Christmas Carol!
Well, maybe not exactly another film adaptation of A Christmas Carol, but the story behind the creation of A Christmas Carol and it’s author, Charles Dickens’!
THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS is a delightful family film that will hit theaters on Friday, November 22 – just in time for this holiday season! Actor Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey, Beauty and the Beast) brings beloved author Charles Dickens to life as we follow the inspiration that helped him craft one of the most cherished novels of all time. Some of the others cast in the film include, Jonathan Pryce (Pirates of the Carribean, Miss Saigon) and screen legend Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music, A Beautiful Mind).
Watch the trailer below and mark your calendars for Friday, November 22nd! Another fun Christmas activity for the whole family to enjoy!
Also, here is a fun behind the scenes featurette for you to enjoy!
Forever My Girl-New Film Releasing in January 2018!
November 8, 2017
I don’t know about you, but I am a total sucker for romantic movies, and when they have music interwoven in them, they are even better! And maybe it’s just my small town, southern Illinois roots, but I have a sweet spot for country music love songs. That’s why I am extremely excited about an upcoming film called FOREVER MY GIRL that is coming to theaters about a month before Valentine’s Day 2018!
Not only does the story line draw me in, but the music soundtrack includes some of country music’s favorites such as CMA New Artist of the Year nominee Lauren Alaina, Travis Tritt, and Alex Roe who stars in the film as country star “Liam Page.”
FOREVER MY GIRL tells the story of country music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind. -From Roadside Attractions
FOREVER MY GIRL releases in theaters on January 19, 2018, so be sure to mark your calendars and make it a girls’ night out or a date night!
Watch the trailer below!
I Was That Girl- Authentik Magazine Post
November 7, 2017
I was only 12 years old when I began giving myself away, piece by piece. First it was pornography and cybersex; then it slowly moved toward physical sexual encounters. I continued this behavior for a whole decade of my life, until I was about 22.
For most of my youth, I never felt my dad loved me. He was an on-again-off-again alcoholic, and I know it was that missing piece in my life that made me long for genuine worth and acceptance. And as I grew up, I constantly pursued approval and attention from boys.
I dealt with rejection, depression, anxiety and a giant void in my heart I didn’t know how to fill. I quickly became ensnared by alcohol abuse and did many dangerous things that only served to create glue-strong attachments to other people — things like an adulterous relationship with a married man and countless one-night stands with random men I followed home from the bar.
Filling the Void
In college, my love for theater and acting became my means of escaping my desire to be truly accepted. I tried to find fulfillment in the fantasy relationships I had with others on stage and attempted to make real off stage. But my pride caused me to fall in love with myself, trying to satisfy the emptiness that refused to be filled.
I knew John 3:16 by heart — “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish but have everlasting life” — but it was really just head knowledge. I didn’t fully understand it. I couldn’t shake the religious upbringing that taught me only about a vengeful, angry God who would smite me down if I were not perfect.
I still felt like I had to work for forgiveness and acceptance. And love. That performance-driven mentality affected all areas of my life. No matter how hard I tried to be perfect, I never felt good enough.
Excerpt taken from Authentik Magazine. Read more via authentikmag.com!
A Prayer for Stress- iBelieve.com Post
November 1, 2017
I struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for many years in high school and college, even as a believer. Stress and worry were just a part of my life, and I allowed them to move into my mind and become my permanent mental roommates. From money problems to relationship issues, if it became too much, you would find me curled up in a ball in the fetal position on the floor, hyperventilating until parts of my body went numb and crying until there were no more tears left.
After I graduated college, I began to walk closer with the Lord and study His Word like I never had before in my life. My mind was being renewed and over time, I began to trust the Lord with every care and worry and cast them upon Him like 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to do.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7 NIV)
The other night when I experienced the panic attack, there was a brief moment where I was given the opportunity to resist the negative thoughts and take them captive and begin to talk to God like I had learned to do so many times before, but this time, I chose to let my mind run in circles. I was so familiar with the experience of a panic attack that I could literally feel it try to overtake me right before it happened. The dark cloud of what I believe was demonic oppression then blanketed my mind and then my whole body. If I would have remembered Philippians 4:6-7 or even 1 Peter 5:7, I would have realized that God offered me a solution to my anxious thoughts. A simple conversation with the Lord would have helped me centered my thoughts and would have brought immediate peace to the whirlwind in my mind.
Excerpt taken from iBelieve.com- read more at ibelieve.com!