You, by nature, were a branch cut from a wild olive tree. So if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into his cultivated tree, he will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong. Romans 11:24
This is an important reminder on a number of levels. We seem to want to endlessly divide over all kinds of things; political, social, economic, religious views, etc. There seem to be as many ways of dividing the body as there are people. Paul reminds us that though there may be many different branches, there is only one root!
We share a common heritage with every person who puts his or her trust in Jesus Christ. These people are our brothers and sisters whether they are Gentile or Jew, Catholic or Protestant, Black or White, American or Russian, Chinese, Indian, or anything else. We have a common heritage that runs through Christ and goes all the way back to Abraham.
There is only one people of God. When we come to Christ our nationalities are no longer significant. The only thing that matters is that we belong to Jesus!
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. Romans 12:4-5
The sun is shining, the skies are blue & the blossoms are in full bloom. With my cup of freshly brewed coffee in hand I step out into the dewy grass where my feet sink deep into the ground. With wet feet and bright sun shining in my eyes, I am reminded that behind every storm there is hope for a new day. I notice the flowers around me that weathered the heavy rains of last night’s storm and see how vibrant and radiant their colors shine in the light of the day.
“The rains will clear, the sun will shine again and through the midst of the weather the flower flourishes.”
Maybe you are living through a storm today where the rains haven’t let up in your life for longer than you care to remember. Maybe you have been caught by a sudden, raging storm that’s showing no signs of letting up.
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Hebrews 10:23
Watch for the sun to shine again, even if only for a fleeting moment. Pause and bask in its warmth. Enjoy the brightness of it’s light. Hold onto hope and remember God is there with you in the storm, even when the skies seem dark.
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
And just as the flower adapts to the sun and rain that you too will flourish through each season of life!
We are to have lion-like characteristics; boldness, strength, diligence, leadership, and determination. Breathe in courage and exhale fear like a lion! It’s only when we stop fearing failure that we can fully seize opportunity by the mane.
“A truly strong person does not need the approval of others any more than a lion needs the approval of sheep.” Vernon Howard
Be Bold, Strong and Courageous
Proverbs 30:29-30 There are three things that walk with stately stride—no, four that strut about: the lion, king of animals, who won’t turn aside for anything.
2 Samuel 1:22-23 The bow of Jonathan was powerful, and the sword of Saul did its mighty work. They shed the blood of their enemies and pierced the bodies of mighty heroes. How beloved and gracious were Saul and Jonathan! They were together in life and in death. They were swifter than eagles, stronger than lions.
Isaiah 31:4 But this is what the Lord has told me: “When a strong young lion stands growling over a sheep it has killed, it is not frightened by the shouts and noise of a whole crowd of shepherds. In the same way, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will come down and fight on Mount Zion.
Proverbs 28:1 The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.
Does something in your life seem out of control? If so, it is time to let God handle it. Whether it is an emotional upset, a mental block, a physical challenge, or a relationship problem, the solution for each is the same:
Let Go! Let God handle it all!
Begin the process of healing now by taking this idea deep into your heart: I know that by myself I can do nothing, but with God all things are possible. I am willing to let go and let God handle it all.
Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26
God’s infinite wisdom is available to you right now. God’s guidance and direction are at hand this very moment to lift you out right wherever you are. There is no old habit of anxiety, no old bondage to feelings of loss or doubt that can stand against God’s love for you.
As you begin to let go of trying to control challenges and force things to happen, remember that this does not mean that you are a failure or taking the back seat. Rather, it means that you are courageously facing challenges with a new awareness of God’s presence and power that is within you. It means that you are beginning to accept that you can handle whatever confronts you because of the solid foundation of God’s spirit within you.
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Begin now to let go and let God handle it all. In doing so, you are making room within your heart for the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to come into in your life to renew your mind, body and spirit. God knows your past, knows your future and he knows all you have experienced and he longs to help you receive the very best for your life by giving you the peace that comes with relinquishing control to the one who has full control!
Life always has its twists and turns and ups and downs but one thing that is always consistent and never failing is God’s endless grace for us! He loves us when we turn our backs and run the other way, hide in a closet, think hateful and destructive thoughts, and when we feel like the world is against us. It is so easy to think that you are the victim, that you are not good enough, that you are unworthy of forgiveness, and that your sins could never be forgiven. But let me tell you this, you can’t keep “doing you” and expect for life to treat you right. God designed us to NEED Him and to DEPEND on Him!
In order to experience the fruits of the spirit you must love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul and with all of your mind. Matthew 22:37
It is simple, just put God first and you will feel the Holy Spirit produce these kinds of fruit in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23
Isn’t this what life’s about: Finding love, experiencing peace, practicing patience, giving kindness, seeking goodness, rejoicing in faithfulness, exercising gentleness and pursuing self-control? I encourage you to take this journey with me. Search your soul, get rid of the junk, be in-tune with what God is doing in your life, and let the fruits of the spirit shine through you for all to see!
I celebrated my 25th birthday in this talented Southern city on Tennessee’s Cumberland River! This is a vacation spot that’s a beautiful hybrid of metropolis and American heartland. Even if you think you don’t like country music, this soulful city will sway you with its attractions, amazing food, and a nightlife scene filled with stellar live performances.
My top 10 spots & must do’s in Nashville:
1. Eat Bonuts & biscuits at Biscuit Love
2. Take the Backstage tour at Opryland
3. Shop at Two Old Hippies
4. Eat traditional Italian pizza at Joey’s House of Pizza
5. Walk the Pedestrian Bridge
6. Eat donuts at the original Five Daughters Bakery
7. Shop & sip on sweet tea at Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James
8. Experience Cashville culture by walking around downtown
9. Take a bite of Prince’s Hot Chicken because it is too hot to eat the whole piece LOL
10. Take a picture in front of the What Lifts You mural & remember that life is short so spread your wings & fly!
One of our greatest needs as human beings is to be loved. We all need love. We need to know that we are important to somebody, that somebody truly cares about us, wants us, and accepts us unconditionally. When we doubt that we are loved, we may develop unacceptable behavior patterns to compensate for it.
For example, we may act irresponsibly in a desperate attempt to get attention. Attention is a poor substitute for love but it seems better than nothing at all. We may develop physical symptoms that bring us sympathy and concern. The symptoms cause us genuine pain, but the pain of sickness is more bearable than the pain of admitting that nobody cares. We may angrily lash out at those whom we think should care or we may try to run away from them and hide, but in either case, we are trying to protect ourselves from the hurt they are causing us by their lack of concern. We all need to know that somebody loves us.
The good news from God’s Word is that somebody does. To know Him is to find release from the crippling effects of feeling unloved. Twice the Apostle John categorically stated that God is love (1 John 4:8,16). Love is one of the warmest words in the English language, and that God is love is one of the most sublime, uplifting, and reassuring truths known to mankind. Love is His nature. It is not merely a friendly attitude He projects. It is the essence of His being. He is always going to act toward us in love because He cannot do otherwise. Love is the way He is.
Look for evidences of God’s love for you all throughout the day, and remind yourself often that you are the object of His endless love.
Be intentional and tell others today that God loves them too!
An extensive survey conducted in the United States asked people of various ages and occupations, asking, “What are you looking for most in life?” When the results were compiled, the analysts were surprised. Most expected those who were polled to say they wanted to achieve certain materialistic goals. But the top three things that people wanted in life were love, joy, and peace—in that order.
Galatians 5:22 tells us the fruits of the Spirit include love, joy, and peace. The very things people are looking for today can be found in a relationship with God.
What mountains are you facing today? Where are you lacking in faith?
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” Hebrews 11:6
If we want God to move on our behalf then it is imperative that we choose to believe that He is stronger and bigger than whatever mountain is in our way! God is able and willing to deliver so we need to believe and have the faith necessary to move that mountain. We all know that a mustard seed is the tiniest seed so God is not asking for a mountain of faith to move a tiny seed He is asking for a tiny amount of faith to move that huge mountain in our lives.
Ask God today for the faith you need and the wisdom to know if there is anything else that you need to recognize that is holding you back from moving that mountain in your life. God’s desire is for you to have victory in your life on every level, He is ready and willing to help you overcome your mountains today!
Let’s all move forward into the New Year asking God to increase our faith in every area of our lives!
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34
Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.
Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good even in unpleasant situations. Today, start being grateful to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful.
“Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more.”