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Be Strong and Courageous

God did not design us with a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and a sound mind. Fear is a liar, and from the enemy himself. The truth about fear is that everyone experiences it throughout their life. It is how we handle the fear when it creeps in that determines its effect on our lives.

Wikipedia describes fear and its cause like this…

Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat that occurs in certain types of organisms, which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events. (Fear – Wikipedia)

Fear can stop us in our tracks, it can prevent us from ever starting something, it can keeps us stuck where we are, and can destroy our lives if we do not overcome it. Just as you read Wikipedia state fear is a feeling that is induced by perceived danger or threat.

Notice that the definition says perceived danger.. perceived means to interpret or look on in a particular way. So fear comes as a feeling that each person gets from how they interpret a situation as a danger or threat, this does not mean it is actually dangerous or an immediate threat.

This means that more likely than not, whatever it is that you are fearing, is not worth fearing at all. Change your perception and thoughts about the situation and see if you still find the circumstances as a danger or threat.

If you find that you are still feeling fearful, but do not see an immediate danger or threat, then I encourage you to do it afraid, as Joyce Meyer would say.

If you struggle with feelings of fear over any area in your life, it is important to remember that God tells us to ‘fear not’. The Bible also tells us that God is with us wherever we go. Fear is a liar and wants to hold us back from our God given purpose and destiny. We cannot let fear control our actions and ultimately our life.

One of the struggles I face today is to ‘go’ when God calls me to go. I have a fear of not being good enough, not being able to effectively share His Word, a fear of rejection and failure, and in the past I feared God was mad at me.

I realize that these fearful feelings are NOT from God. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel them, but it does mean I must put my fearful feelings in check with God’s Word and not allow them to stop me from following His lead.

Reflection

What is God saying to you today about fear?
Do you feel God is calling you to take a stand against your fearful feelings?
What is the definition of fear? Perceived?

Call to Action

Determine the reason you are fearful in a situation… is the fear from a perceived danger or an actual danger or threat.

Pray and ask God to help you ‘do it afraid’.

Don’t let fear stop you from fulfilling your purpose and chasing your dreams.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for your unfailing love, patience, and understanding. Thank you Lord for another wonderful day to rejoice and praise Your Holy name! Lord, I confess that I have allowed fear to stop me in the past from doing something I felt called to do. Lord the fear can be so paralyzing at times and the perceived danger seems so real. God help me to discern when circumstances are truly dangerous and when it is a ploy from satan to try to stop my growth in You. Lord I pray that You alone would be our strength and courage. Help us Father to be bold and courageous in Your name, pushing forward, putting every lie from satan under our feet and glorifying Your kingdom! Lord, help us to choose faith and courage over fear and disobedience it is in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Spreading Love

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is spread-love.png

In my post Love Defined I explained how the word love is perceived one way in society– an emotion or attachment and another in God’s eyes–an attitude or behavior. Further I explained that God is the creator of the concept of love and without God love simply doesn’t exist.

We love because God first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

Society has become extremely hateful and negative as a whole. God created us and instructed us to love our enemies. (Matthew 5:44) The intolerance, discrimination, and anger/bitterness that people hold against one another is out of control. It has got to the point for some, that those who are different or think differently than oneself is immediate grounds for hatefulness, slander, and down right bigotry.

God never intended for our world to be full of so much hatred– however by choices made by each person in society– here we are in 2021– God is not allowed to be talked about in school, prayer is frowned upon– yet sex, violence, and other sinful nature runs ramped and no one blinks an eye. I think this year needs to be the year we choose change–choose to spread love–healthy, Godly, unconditional love. The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 4:8 that love covers a multitude of sin.

Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.

We are called to walk in love, to share the love of Christ with others, and to be the example of Christ’s love to the world. You have everything you need to walk in love. You already have compassion, empathy, patience to love– you only have to accept Jesus and access it through the Holy Spirit. Love is believing the best in people and not the worst.

Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

I want to be clear that when I refer to society being hateful and negative as a whole–this INCLUDES many self proclaimed Christians. In fact if I am being honest–I have had some experiences where the Christian folk was far more rude, hateful, and unpleasant than the unsaved folk who had never heard about the love of Jesus.

This is disheartening and exactly why Christians get a bad stigma. When people see someone whom is claiming to be a Christian and love God acting in such a way– it detours the lost– why would they want to live for Jesus and act like that? We have to be very careful and be sure that if we are talking the talk– we need to be walking the walk. This doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t mess up because you will– we aren’t perfect. Being aware of your talk and actions during your day to day interactions will help you recognize when your fleshly emotions are starting to take over.

In the Bible God gives us instruction on how to behave like a Christian.

Romans 12:9-21

Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor (Hate) what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 11 not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. 16 Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

God wants us to love like He loves– not like the world loves. God designed the concept of love and wants us to understand how perfect His love is. When we spread love in the way God tells us too– It pleases Him. God even went as far to say in Matthew 25:33-40 that when you help others you are helping Him. I have often heard people say why doesn’t God stop all the terrible things in the world or why does He allow people to go hungry and without a home. I usually respond with something along the lines of “God created us and called us to do His work– often times we see these things because God is calling one of His children to help those in the world around them and unfortunately we don’t always make the move when we are called into action.” One person alone can’t fix all the “problems” in the world today BUT if we all did our part and acted when called upon to help and show love like Jesus–society as a whole would be much, much better.

Matthew 25:33-40

33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

5 ways to spread love everywhere you go

Smile at people
Hold the door open for someone
Compliment a stranger
Pay it forward (buy someone a meal, coffee, etc.)
Leave positive post-it notes in public places

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for another day to serve and spread Your love! Thank you for the direction and instruction on what love is and how we are called to spread Your love everywhere we go. Father, I confess at times I get wrapped up in the stress and things happening in the world and quickly forget to spread Your love instead of joining the world in spreading division and hate. I pray that You would remind us of Your love and the examples You have given us through the Bible. Lord, help us to be great and loving servants, help us to spread Your love to all those we come in contact with. Touch our hearts and lead us each day to those You have sent for us to share Your love and truth with. It is in Jesus name I pray.

Amen


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From Trials to Triumph, From Bound by Sin to Set Free!

Bam! Bam! Bam! My head bounced off the wall behind me. Anger and rage, as if something dark had completely consumed his body. Blank, black, nothingness in the eyes of my father, as I looked back in anger and disbelief.

How could he?

Why would he?

I did everything he wanted me to—where did I go wrong?

Thoughts racing one hundred miles per hour through my head—as I experienced demons face to face.

The demons of my earthly father—stared deep into my soul—as I prayed- “Lord, help me! Forgive him for he knows not what he is doing.”

In the split seconds of this all unfolding—I remember thinking I hope the picture on the wall above me does not fall and hit us— how far is he going to go—When I get my feet back on the ground—I am out of here!

He finally let go, as my feet hit the ground, the words spewed out of my mouth—like word vomit “YOU ARE FLIPPING (only I said the real one—the big one—the “F” bomb”) OUT OF CONTROL—I AM OUT OF HERE!”

I quickly walked towards the door—grabbed my purse—in attempt to exit without any further exchanges.

I knew better than that.

As more words of hate, anger, and bitterness spewed from his mouth towards me—I stood in shock, anger, and disbelief—after everything I have done and been through—this is what I get?

And there it was again—the word vomit—It was like I had zero control over my words—and out it came— “IT WAS MY SON—MY SON—THAT THEY TOOK AWAY! HOW DO YOU THINK I FEEL?” I screamed, before I quickly left—giving him a dose of his favorite angry gesture—I slammed the door behind me and b-lined home.

I lived next door at the time, so I did not have far to go and there was not much distance between us—we literally shared a yard. This was the beginning of the end, the boiling point that would bring me to where I am today. After about thirty-one years of struggling, fighting, and going through some of the darkest days of my life—It was time to Rise!

Rise Up! Be the woman I am called to be—take my life back—find my freedom and joy once again.

After many years of praying, seeking, and crying out—God answered me. His answer was NOT one I expected nor one I liked.

He said to me, clear as day—”Stephanie, are you going to listen to Me, God the Father, or your earthly father? You cannot live to please us both. Seek first my kingdom and all things will be added to you.”

“Ok, God—I am all in—I don’t know what this means or where you are going to lead me next—but I am all Yours.” I said, “You lead the way.”

Take a journey with me through a season of devastation, loss, abuse, and heartache. From victim to victor—from trials to triumph—from loneliness to surrounded by God’s love and presence.

Read through my time of struggle and see the relations to your life trials. Learn that no matter what, God is on your side.

When the pressure is on—it is not a time to quit—it is the time to rise up!


To read the rest of my testimony get your e-book or paperback copy on Amazon!

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Devotional-Be Alert!

1 Peter 5:8-9

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

There are many voices in the world screaming their agendas and beliefs, all trying to get us to ‘jump on their bandwagon’ and stand with them in their ‘truth’. This is a very dangerous game that people all over the world are playing. Right now it is beginning to get very difficult to speak of real truth– the absolute truth— the truth in God’s word.

In the current time we are in when you stand on the truths in the Bible, people in the world begin to persecute you and begin to exercise the newest trend of ‘cancel culture’. Basically this is a ‘if you do not believe the way I do and do not stand up for what I believe to be truth’ you are labeled a fascist, intolerant, hateful, racist, and a whole slew more of not so pleasant labels.

The Bible warns us of such behavior that in the end days the world will not know the truth and they will except lies for truth and begin to worship the antichrist.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
2 Timothy 4:3-4

With all the fairly recent laws that have been passed we can see 2 Timothy 4 playing out in front of our eyes. For instance, marriage is a covenant that God created for a man and woman to become one. The Bible has a lot to say about marriage and its divine purpose for being created. However, the world is morphing the true purpose of marriage, eliminating the divine purpose of God and the facts on what marriage TRULY is.

Another example would be our leaders trying to remove God out of everything– the pledge of allegiance, prayer isn’t allowed in schools, the talk of removing God off of our currency, and the list could go on. The Bible warns us about turning from the ways of the Lord for our own selfish desires and that is exactly what our nation is doing.

28 “So you shall say to them, ‘This is a nation that does not obey the voice of the Lord their God nor receive correction. Truth has perished and has been cut off from their mouth.
Jeremiah 7:28

The light and truth in God’s word is being snuffed out by the evil, prideful, and selfish ways of the current generations in the world. It has morphed from being about what is good and right to what makes one ‘feel good and feel accepted’.

The problem with this is that the world is teaching us all the wrong ways to achieve self happiness and self worth when in fact neither have to do with us. Our actions or feelings are not what leaves us feeling fulfilled. God created us and the ONLY way to feel complete, worthy, and accepted is to understand who we are in Him and NOT what the world says.

19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:19

The darkness in the world is attempting to fully overtake the light, but we do not have to fear or worry God is in control and knows exactly what is happening. Remain steadfast in the faith and stand upon the rock of Jesus in truth and God will ALWAYS protect and lead the way.

Be alert when reading ‘news’ stories on social media or listening to them via a news station, ask God for discernment to know what is truth and what is a lie, and be on guard to not quickly fall into the ways of the world.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for being the voice of truth and the light in a world full of deceit and darkness. I confess that there are times I do not use discernment and quickly fall into the trap of lies the world has to offer; Lord forgive me. I pray that each person that reads this will have an open heart and mind to receive Your message. God it is You who gives me these words and I pray each person would hear what You want them to and receive the message they need to hear through this article. I pray we would all be alert and on guard so that when the enemy attempts to deceive us we are ready to put him in his place. I pray you give us all the courage, strength, and wisdom to follow Your Truth above all else. In Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Devotional- Comfort & Counsel

As I have been reading and studying the book of Job, I noticed that the friends Job had were not encouraging to him during his season of suffering. His friends instead tried to figure out what Job had done wrong that caused God to seemingly be ‘punishing’ him.

In the Old Testament days it was believed that if you were ‘upright and righteous’ you would find favor with God and He would be sure you ‘prospered’.

However, the scripture is very clear that Job was righteous and blameless; which is why Job was so distraught when he began losing all of his wealth, quickly followed by his family and his own health.

Job cried out to God asking ‘Why’; he was not trying to argue with God he truly wanted to know if he had done something that caused him to lose favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Job’s friends remained strong in their belief that Job could not possibly be righteous if God took away his prosperity. His friends ridiculed him and tried to convince him that he was not in good standing with God.

This upset Job and he made it clear that their words were foolish and that the Lord gives and takes away, but God is still good regardless.

Zophar tried to convince Job to repent for proclaiming his innocence and righteousness; scolding him that he does not have the knowledge or power to know God’s immeasurable or limitless being and wisdom.

This only confirmed Job’s complaint– God was not acting predictable according to their understanding of Him. Job rejected the faulty ‘wisdom’ of his friend, because He knew that God was ultimately in control regardless of what the circumstances may look like.

Job accused his friends of misjudging him and then stood up to them by making it clear that he is not inferior to them. Job dismissed their criticism and said that they were ‘forgers of lies’ and worthless physicians. (Job 13:4)

According to Job, his friends were speaking out of vain; they intended to offer him comfort in his spiritual distress but instead was passing judgement and giving faulty advise.

Job tells them a better expression of wisdom from them would be to ‘be quiet’. Their counsel was not helpful nor comforting to Job; it only further complicated his circumstances.

Job finally told his friends to basically stay out of it while he pleads with God.

See Job didn’t blame God or accuse him of wrongdoing; Job wanted to sincerely know and understand why God seemed to be giving so much attention to his being. He truly wanted to know why he needed to suffer so much when his faith was unwavering.

Despite all the questions Job cried out to God he remained firm in his belief that one day God would vindicate him; which is exactly what would happen. Job knew that no matter what life looks like his hope could only be in God.

If Job would have listened to his friends counsel and assumed God was punishing him and that he was in fact not righteous this could have led Job down a dark and depressing path, walking away from God instead of running into His arms for grace, protection, love, and justification.

When seeking comfort and/or counsel from someone we need to be mindful on who we are trusting. Although some may have good intentions they cannot give good sound advice regarding your circumstances if they have no understanding or lack Godly wisdom.

Our best bet is to take our questions and concerns to God and not allow those around us to influence our choices, actions, reactions, and especially not our faith.

Reflect

Have you ever felt like God was punishing you for something and that is why you are suffering? Did you seek comfort and/or advice from a friend? Was it helpful?

How does this example from the book of Job change the way you view suffering and who we choose to seek comfort in during it?

Is God telling you anything specific about your circumstances, suffering in general, or seeking comfort and counsel while reading this article?

Call to Action

Declare over your life that God is NOT punishing you and He is NOT mad at you.

Pray and Journal what God is speaking to you about current or past seasons of suffering.

Make a goal to be mindful on who you share your suffering with and be sure you always take it to God first.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

I thank you today for this message on suffering and choosing who we seek comfort and counsel from wisely. Lord sometimes we get so caught up in the hurt, suffering, and grief that we lose control of our words and tend to share to much with the wrong people. Lord I confess I am guilty of not seeking Your comfort and counsel first and allowing those around me to affect my actions, thoughts, and faith in You.

I pray that each person that reads this article will be moved by Your Words and have discernment when seeking comfort in others. Lord I pray that You would ignite a fire in each of us that would encourage us to seek You first above all else. Help us to remember that Your love, mercy, forgiveness, and justification does not come from our actions but from You and You alone. I pray that each would feel Your presence surrounding them in their seasons of struggling and know that You are with them.

I pray for protection over our minds and spirit from the words of those who are faithlessly giving us faulty advice. I pray that our hearts be protected by Your hand and that we remember You are the ultimate comforter and counselor. In Jesus mighty name I pray

Amen