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The Best is Yet to Come

In January, many people set their New Year’s resolutions, planning for a new year. Instead of just encouraging you to make resolutions, we want to encourage you to be resolute. In this sermon by Pastor Dexter Upshaw, he breaks down the origins of New Year’s resolutions and why they statistically don’t work (our sin nature being the main reason).

Sooo, you’re saying don’t make goals? Since I’ll probably fail, I should just give up now? I should not plan and just see what happens?

No! A thousand times no!

I AM saying make up your mind that last year was last year, and be diligently focused on the year to come in your heart and mind according to the leading of the Holy Spirit, who leads you to all truth (John 16:13) and understanding of which things REALLY need your focus.  Continue reading “The Best is Yet to Come”

Uncategorized

What are you waiting for?

I took a test called the Hartman Value Profile, and it reported that I was off the charts for optimism. This optimism often translates into an almost mania like state where I begin adding 100 new things to the list of things that I’m going to do to save the world.

Reality check: It’s not my job to save the world. There, I said it. In fact, it’s not anyone on earth’s job. Jesus did that, so what is my lane? It’s my job to do what He says do. Simple obedience, rather than scattered efforts at plotting and planning, that can give me a planner-2unhealthy schedule, unfocused brain, and may not actually help anyone.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to plan. We’re encouraged through God’s Word to plan (Proverbs 21:5) and Jesus speaks of counting the costs (Luke 14:28-32) of whatever you are going to do, including following Him, as common sense. 

HOWEVER, the leading of the Holy Spirit, that guides us to truth and understanding doesn’t always follow what we think is logical, or what we have planned for ourselves. In the same passage where Jesus talks about the common sense of planning to build a tower, or to go to war, Jesus is asking the disciples to forsake all they have. I don’t know about you, but giving up all I have, all I’ve worked for and has been given to me– that would not be my logical plan A. This is how most of us would probably look at Jesus if He asked you to literally give up everything to follow Him:

prince-shade

Still, He IS calling us to follow Him, to do what He asks, in simple obedience. We may not have to sell every material possession and completely abandon every relationship, but we do have to surrender each of those things that we thought were ours, to Him. That way, when we work, in all labor there truly is profit, because we work not for ourselves, but as unto the Lord.

Jesus paints a picture of this principle in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. A man entrusted his servants with a different number of talents, according to their ability. The measure of whether they met the approval of the master when he returned was whether or not they multiplied what they were given. The talents were not theirs, but the master’s. They were just stewards of them.

Often times we sit on our gifts from the Lord out of fear of what will happen to us or it if we take a risk. I imagine the one who hid his talent had a lot of time to talk about whmultiply-giftsat he could do with it, talk about the talents of others and what they were doing, but didn’t actually take the time to focus on what God had given her to multiply what was in her hands already.

Talking about how we will one day do this and that is idle chatter that won’t get us a paycheck or  earn us credit in God’s Kingdom. What are we waiting for?

Lord, help us to stop talking about it and be about it. Help us to do more doing than talking, so that we may profit, but most of all so that we may honor you with all we have. In Jesus’ name! Amen.

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Dianna Hobbs

We love to celebrate amazing women doing amazing things, and Dianna Hobbs is no exception! This blogger, author, psalmist, philanthropist, evangelist, speaker, trainer and mother of 4 home schooled children is truly walking in the good works God has prepared for her to do (Ephesians 2:10)!

A sexual assault survivor turned advocate, Dianna ministers to women who have lived through similar horrors. She is also an inspiration to those striving to honor God through abstinence because of her testimony of remaining a virgin until marriage.

We discovered her through her online magazine Empowering Everyday Women, a great resource encourages women by highlighting inspirational stories of  faith.

Go Dianna! We celebrate your work, your ministry and who God made you to be.

Devotional, Home, Seeking God

Thankfulness

This post is a re-post from 11.25.16

Happy Thanksgiving!

Some folks may not be feeling very thankful this Thanksgiving. Whether you’ve lost a loved one, feel like you aren’t where you’d like to be, or are discouraged by politics, it can be easy to focus on the things going wrong.

Consider this: the God of all wisdom, the Creator and Master of the universe, chose for you to  be alive, right now, with your unique circumstances, challenges and gifts. He has kept you alive for a reason, for a purpose. He can use even the hurtful things, the “this doesn’t make any sense” things and turn it for your good.

He wants to take your test, and make it a testimony! I dare you to take the things that you are not thankful for and use them to encourage someone else. I promise, they will be thankful.

Think about all the things you DO have to be thankful for! Need help?

  1. If you are reading this, you have eyes that can see, or a device that can help you read
  2. If you are reading this, you have the ability to read
  3. You are breathing
  4. God loves you
  5. God gave you a new day, with new mercies
  6. You have a new opportunity to do today, what you haven’t done beforethankful-2

No matter what mood you are in, take the time to count your blessings today. You won’t regret it!

 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 #Thankfulness

 

21 Day Concecration, Uncategorized

How we get refreshed

I’m drawn to these images of water hitting the surface of a calm pool. I think it’s because God is showing me that His restoration and refreshing isn’t always like a waterfall, instead the work that He is doing in and through us is a steady drip in a calm pool. When we look up, many drips later, there will be more filling and renewal than we imagined was taking placed or realized was happening.

Our microwave culture is obsessed with instant gratification and quick fixes. We celebrate the most shocking, the loudest and the craziest, but when we are distracted by calamity of the day, we can miss the voice of God in the still and the small.

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The Lord spoke to the prophet Elijah in a time when he was desperately seeking for answers  through such a whisper:

…And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;  and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:11-12 (KJV)

Now, Elijah was on a mountain that was broken in pieces. He probably lost his footing, and was tossed about by the wind. He may have been terrified by the earthquake, and no doubt his eyes were closely watching the fire. He would have been justified to be rattled and afraid. But if he continued to focus on the crazy stuff that just happened, rather than the gentle, unassuming, but powerful voice of God, he would have missed Him.

Lord, even when it seems that the world is literally falling apart around us, please help us to look for Your refreshing voice in the still and small, in the gentle drips that contain the life that is You. Amen.