Take a Peek!

This morning, as I was having my quiet time, I came across some verses on prayer.

I Thessalonians 5:17 – Pray without ceasing.
Romans 12:12 – Always be prayerful…
Ephians 6:18 – Pray at all times and on every occasion.

As Christians, we hear a lot about prayer. Many of us were taught to pray as young children. And some are probably pretty new to prayer.

Prayer is a really broad topic in Christian circles. There is just SO much to discuss, and learn. Right?

For me, this morning, as I tried to apply them to myself, right then and there – my focus was directed toward my every day, every moment CONVERSATIONS with God.

Living in a constant attitude of prayer.

after_the_rain

I read a wonderful quote by one of my favorite authors, Max Lucado –

“Think of prayer less as an activity FOR God,

and more as an awareness OF God.”

I love that! Sometimes, I admit, prayer can become one of those “to do’s” and something to check off my list for the day. Which, now when I t hink of it in light of that quote – is more FOR God. I love thinking of being more AWARE OF God.

How does that play out for us as we go about our day? Well, it’s acknowledging His presence in and around you, at all times. It’s praising and worshipping Him as you stand in line at the grocery store – thanking Him for His presence with you at that moment. It’s lifting up the co-worker who’s in the next office or cubicle in prayer. It’s blessing the gal who waits on you at the coffee shop. It’s asking God for His protection of our kids throughout the day. It’s thanking Him for the blessing of the car you’re driving to work. Catch my drift?

It’s DWELLING with Him, and allowing Him to transform even the every day – mundane aspects of our lives.

When we do that – every day, and every opportunity and activity we have throughout our day is an adventure, don’t you think? It sure makes things more exciting when we live in the expectancy that God can and will show up in every small and big way throughout our days on this earth. I want to live in that type of expectancy! It’s refreshing, and exciting! Living in a way where we are anticipating a God moment right around the corner is a pretty cool way to live. Yes?

“The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer,

and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen while several persons

are at the same time calling for different things,

I possess God in as great a tranquility as if I were upon

my knees at the blessed sacrament.”

– Brother Lawrence, “The Practice of the Presence of God”.

God BLESS your day!

Take a peek around the corner… what’s there?  Have fun!

~Allison 

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?!

20374552_10159398237870508_2703821287110447257_n

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 😊

His Covenant of Peace

I’ve quit watching the news. I don’t miss it, frankly. My husband and I used to watch the 6am news together in the morning’s while drinking our coffee and waking up to the day. But, it’s been several months now that we decided to just shut it off. It probably coincides with election season. Enough said.
 
Although it’s important to be informed, and aware of what’s going on around us, I found that being filled with the news first thing in the morningt robbed me of peace. The news is so often unsettling, negative, and disturbing. I do believe it is vitally important to be aware of what’s going on in the world, and to use that knowledge to PRAY.
So I do get my news, I just don’t start my day with it.
 
But, having said that, we have made the choice to start our day more peacefully. Have you noticed it doesn’t take much to drain our souls of peace? Some of us start our day off running the moment our feet hit the floor. And some, like me prefer to start out slowly with a half pot of coffee, and quiet music.
 
Once we move on with our day and go about our work at home, or away from home – little by little we deplete ourselves. We give to our kids and spouses, we give to our jobs, we give to our co-workers and friends.
 
Giving is all good. But if we give without taking the time to receive – we will find ourselves depleted and empty. Running on ‘fumes.’
 
I don’t know about you, but I don’t function well (at all) feeling depleted. When my reserves run low, everything, and everyone suffers for it.
 
But here’s a beautiful promise from the book of 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.
20294526_10159393211920508_2869368746900254157_n
Ahhh… take a moment… breathe in the promises of that verse. Let it soak in. Memorize it. Write it down on a sticky note. Highlight it. Circle the words that stand out to you. ❤
 
Though our lives or our world around us be shaken, His unfailing love CANNOT be. His promise of peace CANNOT be removed from us. When we put our full faith and trust -confidence and hope in the person of Jesus, we are unable to be robbed of the peace that only comes from Him. The world around us may offer a temporary peace or sense of well being – but it is so often fleeting and completely dependent on circumstances. But the peace of God that transcends all human understanding is eternal. It lasts and cannot be removed.
 
Claim it today. Own it. Trust in it. CLING to it. I know I have had to tighten my grip on MANY occasions in my life and struggles. But even in the darkest of days, I never doubted His love. I may have held Him at arms length at times, but I always knew to the deepest of my core that He loved me.
 
Do you ever feel robbed or depleted of peace? By looking honestly at where or from whom we seek peace, we may find that we are seeking in the wrong places. It’s ok – we can change course so easily. I have had to switch course many times… Our God is so very patient with us, isn’t He?
 
Today, I am wishing each one of us peace and the assurance that He loves us with an everlasting, unfailing love that will not, and cannot be shaken.
 
Blessing’s on your day, friends!
 
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

 

His patience is PERFECT

I Corinthians 13:4 – Love is: Patient.
I don’t know about you, but when I see this verse I cringe just a little bit. What is love? It is: patient.

When I think about my patience level I will say I’ve come a long way, outwardly. On the exterior, one might think that I’m a fairly patient person. Not all the time, but most of the time.

But what goes on within can sometimes be such a different story. I’ve joked when I’ve said, “I want what I want, when I want it!” NOT flattering at all. Sometimes, my inner struggle with patience is very ugly. My impatient irritations are pretty self-centered sometimes. When I’m feeling impatient and frustrated about something, I’m only thinking about – ME.

Patience is very unselfish. Whereas impatience is very selfish.

I bet we can all think of someone in our lives who we would say is PATIENT. When I think of a person who is patient, I imagine someone who is calm. Peaceful.

Here are some good verses about patience:

~Romans 2:4 – God’s… patience and willingness to put up with you…

~2 Peter 3:9 – God is being patient with you.

~Galatians 5:22 – Patience is a fruit of His Spirit.

~Proverbs 14:9 – Patient people have great understanding.

~Psalm 103:8 – The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

~Proverbs 11:12 – A man of understanding holds his tongue.

“Patience is the red carpet upon which God’s grace approaches us.” {Max Lucado}.

Want to walk the red carpet of grace? God’s patience leads us there. Without God’s patience, there is no mercy. And we all know that God is merciful!

God’s example shows us how we should imitate His patience to our world. Just as my post from yesterday spoke of receiving God’s love in order to give it. If we are do not receive His patience, then we are unable to properly GIVE it.

If we find it hard to be patient with our spouse, our kids, our co-workers etc, then we probably need to take a time out, and be reminded of how patient God has been, and continues to be with us. Right? 

When I think of all the patience God has had to have with me I am humbled, and amazed at what an awesome God we have. No other ‘god’ in this universe would offer the same patience, and no other god ever will.

Our God is PERFECT at patience.

We need to be mindful of what we receive into our hearts and minds every day. Because what goes in, ultimately comes out of us.

Junk in, junk out.

Jesus in, Jesus out.

Grace in, grace out.

God’s patience in, God’s patience out.

Receive God’s patience into your life today! I guarantee you, you will be filled with so much more patience for others. Think of how our relationships, friendships, marriages, families, work places, communities, our country and the world might be different if we offered the patience of God?

Before anything else – love, is patient. If He can continually show us patience, why not pass that along to others?

Be blessed today! Praying for God’s patience for us all today!

Daily His,

Ally