Water… I Need Water

The other day, I must have been dehydrated. Knowing me, I probably drank way too much coffee, and ignored my water intake. Can you relate? By the end of the day, after working all day, chugging as much coffee as I could into my body, and then working out at the gym after work. I. was. Parched.

As I left the gym, I stood at the drinking fountain slurping as much water as I could, and when I got home, I guzzled more.

I was thirsty.

When you get to a point of being dehydrated, the urge to quench that thirst is overwhelming isn’t it? When we get dehydrated our thoughts gets fuzzy, our organs don’t work properly, our skin and hair get dry, our joints get achy because they need lubrication to move properly, and the list goes on.

We. Need. Water!

God created us to be thirsty – for Him. Have you ever experienced “spiritual dehydration?” I sure have. It’s not pretty. So, what are the signs of spiritual dehydration?

  • A short temper.
  • Worry and fear.
  • Guilt and shame.
  • Hopelessness.
  • Resentment and anger.
  • Insecurity.

Anyone? Anyone? My hand is up high! And I have to ask myself: why do I let myself become so spiritually dehydrated? It happens far too often I’m afraid.

John 7:37-38 says: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to ME and drink. He who believes in ME, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

Are you thirsty for Jesus? Are you looking to Him to quench that thirst for your souls first? OR, are you looking to other people and things in this world to quench that thirst?

I think it can be so easy to look to our spouse, a friend, or a material possession to fill the empty spaces in our lives. Yes, God has placed special people in our lives who encourage, and build us up. But, the issue with seeking out our earthly support system before God, is that we are human. We are not perfect. We will fail each other, and disappoint each other. We may even give poor advice or direction out of our own humanness.

When my husband and I were in Canada a couple weeks ago, we got to see some beautiful, amazing waterfalls. The water and energy flowing down the mountains was truly awesome. When thousands of gallons of water are rushing down from the top of a mountain – nothing and no one is going to stop it going to where it wants to go! Yes?!

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Just like that rushing water, the Spirit of God within us is unstoppable.

But there is something that must be in place for that to happen.

To allow His Spirit to move in and through us, we must give it permission to move. We must give His Spirit access to our hearts, souls and minds. One word that comes to mind when I think of that is: SURRENDER. We need to be willing to surrender our will to Him with both hands up in the air saying, “I can’t do this in my own strength. I need you, Jesus.”

Being willing to surrender our own will, to the will of the Father means setting aside our wants and desires.

Easier said than done, right? I’m selfish! I want to hang on to my ‘stuff’ (my material possessions, my people, my money, my time). It’s hard to completely surrender to God every part of me. It can make us feel vulnerable, or exposed. Yet; we also believe that our security is found only in Him. But as human beings, that is such a hard concept to LIVE day to day!

Picture the ‘flow of living water’ in the verses above. When we are filled with the living water of Christ, it spreads out. Water goes where it wants to go. It seeps into the crevices, and if there’s no space, it’ll find a new route and space to fill.

So it is with Christ in us – through His spirit He has no boundaries.

The question is: will we let Him?

If you feel spiritually dehydrated, if your soul is crying out and parched. Only Jesus can fill that void, and quench your thirst. His living water will satisfy in a way our world and the people in our lives cannot.

Seek living water today, friends! We CAN do it!!! God bless you!

~Allison 

Shhh!!!

“The tongue is but a small, soft flesh. Yet it is capable of breaking the strongest bonds and destroying the most powerful of relationships.”
“The tongue has no bones but it is strong enough to break a heart.”
The tongue. Small, but powerful. The power to build up, and tear down. Words are on the ‘tip of our tongue’, or words ‘roll off our tongue,’
This morning I read James chapter 3 which talks about taming the tongue!
James 3:9-10 – With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers (sisters) these things ought not to be so.
God’s timing is always so perfect isn’t it? I’ve been struggling with a situation and relationship in my life over the past few days. I’ve thought, and even said some unkind things in my hurt, and bitterness. Proud of it? Nope. Not at all. The last few days I’ve been actually quite bummede about the situation.
So this morning, when I read those verses, they just hit me like a ton of bricks. All people are made in God’s likeness. That puts us all on the same playing field, right? There are mean people, there are kind people, there are selfish people, there are sweet people. We were all made in God’s image. We are no different. That fact is sobering to me and it changed my perspective on that current relationship I’m struggling with, as well as all of my relationships with people.
Being people who love God, and called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), we are called to a higher standard. A Godly standard. We are called to consistency. Being contradictory in what we profess to believe, and how we behave is not living a Godly life. I truly believe that out of the depths of our hearts our tongues speak. So, what we harbor deep within us, is eventually what comes out. Whoa.
If you want to understand “who” someone is, listen to how they talk. It’s quite telling. And I confess, over the past few days some of the words I’ve spoken have been ugly. I was hurt, frustrated and confused – and… in a place of weakness, I allowed those feelings to be more powerful over me, than my love and devotion to Christ. Yuck! Double yuck.
Through my time in His Word this morning, God softened my heart toward this person, and showed me where I needed to change. It was made very clear to me, that perhaps the situation won’t change, but my attitude about the situation has the option to change. That’s HUGE. BIG stuff. Life altering, really.
I realized in that moment that my bitterness had absolutely zero impact on that person – but 100% impact on ME.
I was the one struggling and feeling bad about the situation, not the person I was upset with. My attitude affected me, and only me. {Well, and maybe my husband who had to listen to me vent.}
Once I realized that it was indeed ME who needed to change, a flood of peace fell over me. The other day, I wrote about God’s covenant of peace with us. His unshakeable promise of unfailing love and peace freely given.
Isaiah 54:10 – Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of PEACE be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Isn’t it beautiful how God weaves His Word together with the circumstances of our lives? How he shapes and molds us? Oh how I needed to be redirected this morning. God gently reminded me that I can always switch my sail, turn my rudder, or change the address on my GPS when I’m going in the wrong direction.
Thank God He speaks so clearly and boldly through His Word and His Holy Spirit! He knew this morning, that I needed some major tweaking in my attitude, and my heart. When I hear people say the Bible is not relevant to today I know those people have not read it lately. It is powerful, it’s alive, and unchanging. The Word of God is like no other. Cling to it. Make time for it. Be open and willing to listen, and act upon it. It’s truly life changing!
We often overlook the power of the tongue. So, if your tongue occasionally gets you into trouble, like it does to me… Pray for control over it – God hears our prayers, and will answer it.
God bless us all in the journey… He is with us every step of the way, guiding, helping to change our course, and encouraging along the way. If we listen, and obey – we live lives of peace, joy and freedom from the sins that so entangle us.
Live free today friends!
Allison 😊

Roots

Good morning!

True confession time folks: I indulged in something last night. I watched not only 1 but 2 episodes of a reality show on TLC. Have you ever heard of “My 600 lb. Life”? You guys. I got sucked in. Like big time sucked in. Even with my husband’s eye rolls, and side comments, I couldn’t stop watching it.

I can’t tell you how sad that show made me. Every person on the 2 episodes I watched was in pain, had horrible trauma as a child, and was so very, deeply unhappy.

As I went to bed pretty heart broken for these people, yet; embarassed that I watched the show… A few thoughts kept whirling around in my head.

Every person on the show had deep roots of pain in their lives which, probably combined with some genetics, led to their massive weight gain.

Roots. I have watched my husband cut down countless trees at our cabin, and our home. Chain saw in hand, buzzing down those big trees. But when that part is done – the roots remain. And those of you who have cut down trees will attest to the fact that the trunk and roots are a HUGE pain to get rid of. There’s no easy way…

As I thought about the roots of pain in my life, and how those roots manifested themselves in disappointments and choices. God just flooded my thoughts with words of hope and encouragement.

The hope we have in Christ creates new roots in our lives. Roots that grow deep and spread wide. They are firm, and hold strong. Through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus, we have spiritual roots. Roots that will withstand even the strongest storms.

Think of Jesus as that strong ax or chain saw cutting through the painful roots to give space for new roots in Him, When we cut away the roots of our past pain we create a big hole that can be filled with new, healthy roots of faith. The Holy Spirit of God fertilizes and enriches the soil around those roots, and the growth is beautiful and unlimited. We are ALIVE.

Colossians 2:6-10 – Alive in Christ
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

May we allow Him to cut through those rotted and pained roots in our lives. May we be mindful of new growth enriched by the Spirit of our Living God. May we dig deeper, and grow wider in our knowledge and faith in He who brings life abundantly. May we be kind and non-judgemental. May we see through Spiritual eyes and not worldly ones. May we lend encouragement and hope to those we meet. May we be bold in sharing the life changing faith we have in Jesus. May we pray for those who are hurting. May we find the peace that surpasses all human understanding through Christ alone.

Be so very blessed today. 

Allison 🙂

Count to 10

1 Corinthians 13:5… love is not become easily angered

As a child I bet we all learned to “count to 10” before we respond to something or someone who wronged us. Back then, I probably rolled my eyes a few times when being reminded to count to 10. But oh how wise is the wisdom of that skill! It’s just enough time to catch your breath, think twice, and make a better choice… If only we always chose well!

In the last couple weeks, we’ve delved into the “Love Chapter” in 1 Corinthians. Breaking down these verses of scripture has opened my eyes to so many areas of my heart that I need to surrender to God.

Love isn’t easily angered. In other versions of this verse it says love is not: “touchy, irritable, quick-tempered, quick to take offence, doesn’t fly off the handle.”

In other words: Love counts to 10.

So much easier said than done, right?

Anger in and of itself isn’t sinful. The issue with anger is that it so often leads to sin. God allows us to feel and express emotions. The emotion of anger can lead us down the long, dark road of regret. Have you traveled that road? I know I have.

anger can lead us down the road of regret.Add heading

My husband is so very good at the skill of counting to 10. He’s cool, calm, and collected. I just love how God pairs us with our exact opposites! Where I am up and down, he is steady and focused. There have been times where he has literally taken my phone away so I don’t respond to someone in a moment of high emotion. He is self-controlled, and wise. I love that about him. ❤

As I reflect on moments of anger in my past, I see things that accompany almost every encounter with anger. For me, they are: hurt and rejection. Anger has been a defense mechanism that God has been steadily chipping away at my heart for some time. Our God is the Great Healer of all our hurts and whatever ills us –  He is able to soften us, and change us from the inside out!

Jehovah Rapha

I’ve learned that my feelings of rejection have probably come due to my being adopted. The pattern of hurt and anger in my life has been partially due to my fear of rejection from people in my life. Being ultra sensitive to rejection has led me to make some very poor choices that I’ve regretted greatly.

My “Fight or Flight” response is very sstrong. I’ve had times in my life when I have felt rejected, or feared that rejection was coming. I could feel it in the air. My reaction many times was to sabotage the relationship or friendship and  be the one to leave (flight response) first.

I used anger as a way to flee rejection in so many relationships.

Responding this way led to loneliness, despair, guilt, and so much more.

If you fear rejection,  instead of running away – run TO Him. He will never reject you!

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. ~Proverbs 18:10

Maybe you respond with anger for different reasons as me. But regardless of how we get to the point of anger, God does not want us to dwell there. When life doesn’t go our way, or we feel rejected or hurt, He begs us to respond in LOVE.  Anger divides, but love unites.

As much as I’d love to control what others do, and how they treat me, I can’t. None of us can. But, what we can control is how we respond. By allowing God to take control of our attitude, our emotions, and our reactions to whatever life throws at us.

Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. ~ Galations 5:25

We allow God to move in our lives by:

  • Grounding ourselves in His Word
  • Living a lifestyle of prayer
  • By surrounding ourselves with Godly people who will hold us accountable, and encouraging us to dwell with Him.

His Holy Spirit is ever present and powerful IF we allow it to be. When His Spirit moves within us, there’s no denying it. When His Spirit moves and stirs us to love – when we may not feel like it – we need to then take a big step of obedience, and act upon His leading.

With God’s help, we can overcome anger with love. Jesus calls us to bring our anger, our hurts, and our fears to the cross.

Climb that hill, kneel before the cross of Christ, and lay your burden down.

When you feel rejected, know that He accepts you. Just as you are. But, He doesn’t want you to stay that way! He longs to change each one of us from the inside out.

-To The Cross-Where can I goBut to the cross to the crossFor there my shameYou have washed awayWhere can I goBut to the cross to the crossFor there You gaveUp Your life for meYou gave Yo

In Him we have no fear of rejection.

Run, don’t walk to Him. His love is enough. Through Him we have the opportunity to live in freedom, and joy, wihtout regret.

He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17

God bless you!

Daily His,

Allison

Knock Before Entering

1 Corinthians 13:5 – Love is not rude.

In his book “A Love Worth Giving” Max Lucado writes,

“Jesus always knocks before entering. He doesn’t have to. He owns your heart. If anyone has the right to barge in, Christ does. But He doesn’t. That gentle tap you hear? It’s Christ. “Behold I stand at the door and knock.” {Revelations 3:20}. And when you answer, He awaits your invitation to cross the threshold.”

Behold I stand at the door and knock.

Let’s just sit on that for a bit… Our Savior Jesus, is no steam roller! He certainly could come rushing in, but he doesn’t. He quietly, gently knocks and awaits our answer. He knows that we are much more willing to answer the door when it’s a gentle tap, rather than a loud and forceful pound.

The Greek word for rude means: shameful or disgraceful behavior. I don’t know about you, but those two words are not words I’d like to be referred to as. Shameful. Disgraceful. They are powerfully descriptive words aren’t they? Sometime throughout our lifetime, I bet we’ve all used either of those 2 words. What memories are conjured up when you read them? Probably not very pleasant ones.

Years ago, when I was preparing for an over-seas mission trip, part of my training involved cultural sensitivity training. As visitors to a foreign country, we were essentially going to be ambassadors for the United States, and as missionaries, we were also ambassadors and representatives of Jesus Christ. The lessons I learned in that training have stayed with me throughout my life, and have helped me in many ways. Having cultural sensitivity is an asset when traveling in a foreign country, but it also applies right here in my every day life.

Recently, I was having major technology and computer software issues at my business. I was beyond frustrated, and frazzled. I had spent hours and hours on the phone with tech support, on hold, and being transferred multiple times from tech to tech, and department to department. To say I was at my wits end was an understatement.

Only by the grace of God was I able to stay calm. But, let me tell you, when I made a conscious effort to be kind, patient, and friendly, the level of customer service went up, and up, and UP. Being kind is so worth it! I not only got help with my computer problems, but I was even able to share my faith with a tech support woman in the Philippines!

God opens doors when we are open and willing.  Because I was kind, and respectful, this gal who was patiently helping me was willing to listen to me share my faith in Jesus. It was brief, but she was open.

My kindness in that instance didn’t mean that I wasn’t frustrated with my situation. I was definitely frustrated. But by not allowing myself to take out that frustration on someone else, it provided me with an opportunity to allow the light of Jesus to shine, and encourage her that day. Only God will ever know how that brief conversation impacted her life. But I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity. It taught me a very important lesson on how to treat people. Even strangers I will never meet in person, or see.

Being kind is so much better than being rude. Rudeness is not how we should represent ourselves, or our faith in a loving God.

We are ambassadorsfor Christ!

As Christians, we have the added responsibility and privilege of representing Jesus to others, rudeness cuts off any form of witness we could possibly hope to have. If we treat someone rudely and then expect them to be open to what we have to share about Jesus with them, the only thing that person will absorb is the fact that we are a hypocrite. I don’t know about you – but that word is not something I want attached to my name.

God calls us to a much higher standard than that.

Colossians 4:5-6 says: Be wise in the way you act with people who are not believers, making the most of every opportunity. When you talk, you should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should.”

When we are kind, walls and barriers are torn down, and hearts are softened.  Kindness puts the other person as a priority over ourselves. Isn’t that just what God asks us to do? To humble ourselves before Him, and others, so that we can serve with pure motives and a joyful heart?

There aren’t many things in this life that we can control. But one thing we can is our attitude. Maybe we’re not perfect at it all of the time. But overall; we have control over how we treat others in our lives. Strangers or friends alike.

Romans 12:8 says: Do your best to live in peace with everyone.

Let’s just commit to doing our very best. Let’s be willing to allow God’s BEST to flow in and through our lives. He’s standing at the door of our hearts gently knocking.

What will your answer be?

Daily His,

Allison

 

 Tempted to Boast?

1 Corinthians 13:4 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not arrogant.

In my last post I wrote about envy and jealousy. Boasting and arrogance are the flip side of envy. 

Jealousy is all about wanting what the other person has. 

Whereas boasting and arrogance seeks to make the other person want what we have.

Neither have a place in the Christian’s heart. And neither are what love is.

When I read through the chapters preceding chapter 13 in Corinthians, I saw a church filled with behaviors which, shall we say – needed a bit of tweaking…

The Christians in Corinth were boasting about many things, and causing great division in the church. They were critical of Paul, they boasted of their tolerance for immorality witin the church, they were busy suing each other in court, and so on. Paul had to step in and write about what love IS. Something about all of these things sound vaguely familiar in modern day society and church as well… yah?

Arrogance does not show love. It shows just the opposite. 

Arrogance and boastfulness place the attention on ourselves. Whereas love places the focus on others

Another translation of this verse uses the phrase “puffed up spirit” when referring to arrogance or boastfulness. I think that’s a great visual of artificially inflating oneself. When we boast, we inflate our own egos, while ignoring those around us. 

Boasting  doesn’t have to be confined only to material things either. It can even dwell in the spiritual realm! 

There may be times where are tempted to tell others all of the wonderful things God is doing in our lives to place attention on how ‘spiritually in tune’ we are. 

Please know that it’s absolutely great to share what God is doing in our lives! It is encouraging! The problem lies in the MOTIVATION behind the sharing. 

Is it to glorify Him, or ourselves?

Once again, Satan has a sneaky way of twisting even GOOD things around to his benefit. We must always be on guard and avoid the temptation.

When we love as God loves, we build each other UP. Look at how God builds us up throughout His Word! Every single page of the Bible reveals how God feels about us. His passion and love for us cannot be matched!

1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

When we turn our life perspective outward instead of inward, we are free to focus on others’ needs before our own, and offer help or encouragement without thought of repayment or recognition. 

THAT is the type of love we are called to.

The apostle Paul was such an example to us! He had reason to boast or be arrogant about his ministry, but he knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was NOT about him. It was all about Jesus. If attention ever turned toward him, he redirected the focus on Jesus! Our goal should be to do the same!

1 Corinthians 9:16 – For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

He knew his mission. He knew his place. He knew His calling. As should we.

He knew his mission. He knew his calling. As should we.

Paul’s ministry was all about the grace of Jesus, and our salvation through grace. Even in this, we are not to boast. Why? Because grace and faith are God’s gifts to us, we have done nothing to earn or deserve it

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

So what can we boast about? Guess what?! I found one thing we are allowed to boast about!

1 Corinthians 1:31 – Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Boasting in the Lord! What does that mean?

Jeremiah 9:23–24 – Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”

Boasting in the Lord and lifting Him HIGH is so much better than lifting ourselves up! When we lift Him up He is put in His rightful place. We honor Him by building up those around us. 

That – is loving well. 

So, before we speak, let us ask ourselves these 2 questions:

“Will what I am about to say draw people closer to Jesus, or further away? Am I glorifying Him, or am I glorifying myself?”

Jealousy is all about wanting what the other person has. Whereas boasting and arrogance seeks to make the other person want what WE have..png

Daily His,

Allison

 

No Envy Here… or Wait… is There?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 –  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy
Love Does Not Envy
1 Corinthians 13:4

Envy is “a feeling of discontent or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.”

God takes envy very seriously, and so should we. I have a pretty strong suspicion that I’m not the only one who has struggled with envy in their life. As we’ve been focusing in on these verses in 1 Corinthians about love, we are learning what Godly love looks like. Love is patient. It is kind. And today, we’re focusing in on what love is NOT.

Love is not ENVIOUS. Love does not envy. 

I’ve not been immune to envy, and frankly, I am not happy about that. Envy has crept into the crevices of my life and has sat there – unmoving – sometimes for years. I’ve been envious of other people’s lives, positions in society, jobs, homes, clothes, looks… you name it.

Envy is corrosive. It’s heavy. If it’s not dealt with honestly, and properly it spreads like a opportunistic weed. The rust and decay creep into other areas of your life that causes rifts in relationships, low self-esteem, feelings of disappoint and a longing for something ‘else.’

Envy is

Envy is a burden which may lead us to make poor decisions, robs us of authentic relationships and friendships, and destroys the life God has called us to live. A life of joy, peace, and love.

The harsh reality is that envy creates within us a dark and ugly sense of satisfaction when something not so good happens to someone. When their plans fall through, or they’re overlooked for the promotion they thought they would get, or when their “over-achieving kid” makes a mistake. {Ouch. OUCH!} That hurts! And guess what? IT SHOULD HURT. It’s ugly!

But, think about it for a moment. {Honestly} Breathe in. Breathe out.

Is there just a little bit of truth to that statement?

{Aww Man! I think there is.}

Romans 12:15 says – “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”

Oh how I desire to truly REJOICE with my loved ones when they are blessed!! I’ve come a long way… but still need to be reminded of this, and focus on God’s calling to rejoice WITH others! Rejoicing with our brothers and sisters in Christ brings true joy and satisfaction – the opposite of envy – to our lives!

THIS is what we should fervently pursue in our lives!

If we allow ourselves to be caught up in the cycle of self-seeking envy, we open our hearts and minds up to such brokenness and disappointment. Is it worth it? When we focus on what others have, we take our eyes off of Jesus. It’s never worth it. And the view is not beautiful. It is broken, and shattered.

“But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth… For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there” James 3:14-16

Instead, let us:

Philippians 2:4

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

So rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

Being content in our blessing’s says that HE IS ENOUGH for us.

Love does not envy. Love rejoices. Thank you, Jesus, for your Word that teaches and encourages us.

God bless you!

Daily His,

Allison