Jesus Wants Your Heart

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Ephesians 2:8-9: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.”

God did not create us to be His worker bees. We were created to love Him, who loved us first.

Now do not misinterpret what I am saying. Yes, Jesus wants us to do good works. He even calls us to do so.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” (John 14:12-13)

So, yes, He is pleased when we do good works, but He does not require us to.

He just wants us to put the relationship with Him first. In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us not to worry about food, clothes, etc. He says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

He wants our hearts more than He wants our works. That’s why He made salvation a gift. He did not want us to work for it. He wanted it to be freely given because He loves us. He would like us to love Him in return.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (John 4:8)

Praise the Lord! Isn’t that good news? We never have to work for His affection or His love. Go and tell everyone! He loves everyone-even His children who do not know Him or speak against Him.

I pray that every day, you grow closer to Jesus and learn to love Him even more. I also pray that everyone around you would be able to see the love and want to learn more about Jesus. 🙂 I also pray that you do not grow weary. Ever. I pray that you never let anything steal your joy!

Have a wonderful day!

Love, Kathleen 🙂

One Key to Happiness: Family

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Everyone’s searching to belong. We search to belong to a family, a friend circle, or some other sort of group.

When people become Christians, they start searching for where they fit within the community of believers. They wonder, “Where do I fit in? Where is the place of community for me? Where am I going to be encouraged and loved? Who will hold up my arms when I’m about to fall into temptation?” 

May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers
until you become a community of peoples.
Genesis 28:3 NIV

We can find what we’re searching for within our own families. The problem today is that families are dysfunctional. Parents don’t stick together. They get a divorce. Strife steps in and tears down the bonds in marriage and families. It tears mother from daughter, father from son, sibling from a sibling, and families splinter.

Even in school, what do we do? We promote segregation within the family. You go into your grade, and your siblings go into their grades. You don’t see each other every day. When you do, the older one probably looks down on the younger ones because they are not the same age. The school categorizes everyone by age.

The ultimate community we are all searching for is provided through the family. A family doesn’t need to be perfect; it just needs to be united. I think God set it right there in front of us: “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples” (Genesis 28:3 NIV). Ask people from big families. They have built-in friendships and bonds that small families may not experience.

Pray with me:
I pray today, Father, that the walls we have built up in our families and close friendships would be torn down and we would choose unity over having our own way. I pray that we will be like-minded and one, as Christ is one with God. I pray that we would choose to lay down our lives over taking up our platform or grievances against each other. I pray that we will no longer be easily offended by one another and that we will encourage each other every single day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

A Fresh Start

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“This new year had better be better than last year!” “Maybe this is the year the molestation will stop.” “Maybe this year I will have true friends.” “Maybe this year I won’t screw up my life AGAIN.” “Maybe this year I won’t be such a failure.” “Maybe this year no one I love will die.” “Maybe… just maybe this will be my year…”

These were just some of my new year’s thoughts as a young child and a young adult.

The new year was a FRESH start, a new hope—a new beginning to this life that I so frequently messed up or regretted.

I anxiously anticipated “ringing in” the new year! I celebrated at midnight with great relief that the past year was FINALLY OVER.

Today… I read on Facebook about all the great plans people have and their anticipation for the new year, but I don’t seem to care. I don’t care that it’s New Year’s Eve. I don’t care that it’s a new year.

I am asking: Why?

Since I truly fell in love with Jesus Christ, every day… every minute… every breathe is a new day, a new year, a new start, a new beginning in Him!

I don’t need a new calendar year to begin again. I’m not in bondage to man’s timing. I don’t need a party to start over.

ALL I need is the Truth that sets me free! Jesus!

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!  John 8:32

So… when you feel crushed, when someone you love dies, when you fail, when you hurt someone, you can CHOOSE life. Embrace a new beginning every day! Choose a new start in the love of Jesus!

Sing Your Way into Truth

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Some people think that because you, as a Christ follower, refuse to live out of your trials or base your identity on your trials, you may not believe you will face trials and suffering—but this is just not true.

It’s simply a different view that, while in the middle of trials and suffering, your mind and heart continue to focus on God. You don’t surrender to the desire to drop your head and pity yourself. Sure, sometimes you feel like it, but you choose to rise above your feelings because you know your God is so worthy of you. You choose to believe His truth more than you believe what your heart feels.

God is unmoved by our circumstances. They are merely shifting winds to Him. He is steady and able in all things, not just some things. He is our Rock, our Provider, our All in all. There is nothing we lack in Him, even when we feel lacking. We lack no good thing in Jesus!

The reason I love “You Satisfy My Soul” by Laura Hackett so much is because of this line:

“Sometimes, you gotta sing your way into the truth!”

Powerful words!

It’s easy to receive and embrace your trials and suffering, but when you really think about it, you are making it about you—you are still glorifying yourself. But when you glorify God, He gets it all. He is magnified. He is the One who is worthy of everything—our attention, our songs, our joy, our everything.

Sometimes—though it’s so, so difficult—we have to choose to sing our way into the truth!

Reach for truth. Make it your mantle. Make your afflictions last on your list of concerns compared to the awesomeness and glory of our God. “Let God be true but every man a liar”—including yourself (Romans 3:4 NKJV).

So sing your way into the truth. Sing it!

Do We Really Have Free Will?

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Jesus also said, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. … By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me” (John 5:19–20, 30 NIV). He said, “I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it” (John 12:49 NIV).

Jesus said that He is just like the Father. He didn’t do or say whatever He wanted but only what the Father willed Him to do and say.

Jesus never made one person sick. He never refused to heal one single person.

If all this is true—which it is—then Jesus would have misrepresented God if God is the One who gives sickness, disease, and problems. If God just allowed it, well then, Jesus misrepresented God because He never refused to heal a single person.

I can, however, show you a couple of instances where people refused to accept healing from Him. 

Look at Mark 6:1–6. When Jesus visited His hometown, “He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief” (Mark 6:5–6 NKJV). Notice that it’s “could,” not “would.” It’s that He couldn’t do it, not that He didn’t want to do it. He couldn’t do miracles there because of their unbelief.

Not His unbelief. 
Their unbelief.  

You see, there are a couple of instances where Jesus could not heal people—not because of His lack of power but because of their lack of faith. It says the same thing in the book of Acts and other places. But you cannot find a single person on whom Jesus ever put sickness. He never said, “No, you didn’t learn your lesson, so suffer a bit longer with this disease.” He even healed unbelievers. Check out the story of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11–19). That is how loving our God is!

If you really believe that Jesus is a perfect representation, the exact image, of the Father (Hebrews 1:3), then you have to take Jesus as the example and say, “It’s not God’s will for sickness to remain in our bodies.”

The only time God ever struck people with sickness was in punishment and judgment, and ALL of our judgment has been fully placed upon Jesus in the new covenant. It is no longer our portion! 

Proclaim Truth

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The people do not say, “I am sick.” Stop proclaiming you are sick or you do not feel well. Start saying, “I am fighting” or “I am resisting something right now because I am an overcomer. By His stripes, I have been healed. I have the victory. I am more than a conqueror. I can do all things through Christ. I can walk in health and healing. I am healed with the Lord.”

When I proclaim the truth rather than proclaiming the facts, I am forcing what is visible to submit to the invisible. Everything must submit to the Word of God. It’s forcing the temporal to submit to the eternal in Jesus’ name. So let us stop proclaiming what is wrong and start proclaiming the truth.

Out of the Pit: What to Do When You Are Discouraged

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When I am super discouraged or my hope is deferred, I am very careful of whom I talk to. I don’t want anyone speaking death over me or agreeing with what is going on or giving me advice that is in contradiction to the truth of the Word of God. Every time, I am very careful of whom I speak to and whom I lock arms with.

Everyone’s steadfastness in the Lord can have highs and lows—with moments of really strong commitment and, other times, feelings of weakness. If I focus on my circumstances, I can easily become discouraged. When I focus on the face of Jesus, everything He paid for on the cross, and the truth of God’s Word, my hope can be revived. He has been faithful in the past, and He will be faithful today. He is faithful today, and He will be faithful tomorrow. My God is good, but sometimes I have to ask myself, “Do I really believe who God says He is? Do I believe it?”

What I do to get myself out of a pit—because I seem to be in one this morning—is start praying. I tell God how I really feel. I don’t hold back. I give Him all my ugly thoughts and all my ugly words. I give Him all my doubt and disappointment. I confess it all.

The next thing I do is start asking Him whom I could talk to, who could encourage me. I don’t need anybody to crawl into a pit with me because then we would both be stuck down low. I need someone who is up high and will encourage me with mercy, love, and truth. I need someone who will say, “That sucks, but God is really the only person or thing we can put our hope in.” I ask the Lord to bring someone to mind, or I simply listen and wait for peace. He will direct my steps if I ask Him. “You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2 NIV). But if you seek Him, you will find Him.

Sometimes I don’t talk to anyone else. I let the Holy Spirit be my comforter. Today what came to mind was that I needed to call into a prayer line with beliefs similar to mine. I know without a doubt, 100% of the time, they will strongly encourage me. They will agree with me in the truth and renew my hope. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and it is certain. It is absolutely resolved. It is believing for things that aren’t seen; it’s not visible. It’s impossible for man’s eye to see, but I am sure it is there.

I am reminded of the testimony of a man named Allen Moore. He had a stroke. He is not supposed to be able to walk or talk. His MRI to this date reveals that the part of his brain related to these abilities does not work. With man’s eye, it appears he should not be talking or walking, yet he does. I have met him personally, and he is walking and talking—living the unseen.

I start reminding myself of all the things God has done for me in my life and my family. I start reminding myself of the miracles and the power of God that have been on display in my life for years. As I do that, it encourages me. I am encouraging and sharpening myself in the Lord and in the truth. It awakens me and gives me hope. It gets rid of doubt. It doesn’t increase my faith, but it begins to smash out any doubt so my hope can be renewed. When my hope is renewed, faith is restored. Faith is present.

I can use my imagination in faith to see a part of my body completely healed and whole again. I imagine what it would look like the next time I am able to see it. I’m not going to look at it again until I have done this for a while and I feel it is time.

When I fall into a pit, this is what I do to get out of it. How about you? 

Top 3 Beauty Tips

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Are any of you addicted to reading about beauty tips and secrets? Do you regularly scan through websites and blog posts, looking for ways to become skinnier and more beautiful?

If you do, don’t worry; I used to be just like you. I have always wanted to be skinnier. Every time I saw an article about weight loss or dieting, I pored through it, trying to figure out the new tips and suggestions. I tried most of the workout routines I found. It was a terrible feeling to discover that the newest fad, tip, or secret wasn’t working.

After doing this for years, I realized that most programs were more about making money than actually helping people meet their goals.

The rest of what I discovered I made into my top 3 beauty tips.

3. Our bodies are the temple of Christ.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV)

Our bodies are temples of Christ. We need to respect this by respecting ourselves and our bodies. This means we need to take care of our bodies. We need to learn self-control so we can regulate our eating and exercise habits. We also need to respect ourselves so we don’t abuse our bodies in any way. Take care of the body God knit together for you. 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13 NIV)


2. Inner beauty vs. outward beauty

Your inner beauty has more importance than you may realize. Scripture has this to say about inner beauty:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. (1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV)

I suggest that you live each day trying to make the inner you more beautiful! Start by making sure you show the fruits of the Spirit in all you do.

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

Use these to guide your ways, and your inner beauty will shine the light of Jesus in the darkest of places!

 
This leads me to the most important beauty tip:

1. God looks at the heart.

“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)

When God is looking down on us, He does not see us the way the people of the world see each other. He sees each one of His creations as beautiful!

 

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14 NIV)


I pray that each of you realizes how special and beautiful you are. I pray that you discover and live the way God views you. I pray that you share your joy with others as you discover all the wonderful works of Jesus!

Thank you so much to all of you who have been reading my blogs!


Cell Phone—The Urgent Distraction

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Lately, I have felt so much pressure from many people trying to reach me, but I just can’t get back at the moment. I am doing a good work, and I cannot come down. I stopped and asked God to help me with this pressure. His words encouraged me, and I hope they help you, too.

Just because it rings doesn’t mean it’s urgent. The phone and texts can momentarily distract you from the calling on your life often enough that you never get it done.

Don’t come down from what God has asked you to do for the sake of other people’s urgent need for your attention.

Just because people don’t understand what you do with your time doesn’t mean you owe them any explanation. Don’t take the time to convince others that you are busy doing God’s work. Just do it! Keep doing it! Don’t be distracted by the little daily interruptions.

Add up the time you have lost with me in the trenches due to these distractions because you allowed yourself to be diverted to other people’s agendas when you had not even completed the last thing God told you to do.

God is saying to all of us, “Who is your God? Am I or are people? You are only accountable to Me. Do you not see how you are people-pleasing in this on-demand society? See it for what it is and let it steal from Me no more! I am the living God. I am worthy of your full attention.”

Whew. I had to share this. It overwhelmed me. What’s distracting you?

Go back and do the last thing God told you to do.

Mediate on His Word to Grow

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My daughter, even from when she was 11 year old, is always processing. She asked, “How is the truth suppressed mom?” Now we are all chewing on her questions! 🙂 We invite you to chew on this too!

We pulled out the Bible to read Romans 1:18. Go ahead, pull it out and go ahead-read it now. You’re going to remember it more if you just click the link and dig into it yourself. 🙂

We talked about how a little tiny bit of sin can begin to suppress the truth, but it can quickly overtake the truth in us. A little bit of unrighteous choices can quickly blur the lines of what’s okay and what’s not. What we don’t realize is just a tiny bit of filth can actually drown out the Truth that has been planted in our hearts. If you read on in Romans, you will see that what started out as tiny landed these people in really awful situations.

Have you allowed a little bit of poison into your life? It’s like yeast… a little bit can take over the entire body.

Here’s what is amazing though, when you allow sin or wickedness in your life, it only suppress the truth in your life – the truth that you know. God’s overall GIANT, big picture Truth can never be suppressed! We only limiting ourselves when we submit to anyone or anything other than God.

We grow when we spend much time meditating on the Word of God. How much you are meditating will determine whether you reap 30, 60, or 100 fold.

What have you allowed a little bit of in your life that you are ready to KICK out today?