Thank You For Mondays

Imagine it’s 6:00 am Monday morning and your alarm just went off. What is the first thing you do? The standard grunting and groaning, covering your head with the comforter – trying to come up with an elaborate excuse to get out of work. You eventually come to your senses, both feet aggressively hit the ground and the cloud of grumpiness you created follows you until the last drip of coffee enters your system.

This Monday morning scenario is just a small example of how we allow negativity to set the tone of our days, weeks and even years. When we start there, we miss out on what God truly has in store for us.

What would happen if we approached Monday in whole new way? What if when the alarm went off, the first thing we did was praise Jesus for the sunshine coming through the blinds? Instead of contemplating ways to get out of work, we look forward to the day the Lord has planned for us. Instead of being grumpy because we don’t have our coffee yet, we are joyful because we have the luxury of even having coffee.

Hebrews 12:2 (MSG) “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.”

Keep. Your. Eyes. On. Jesus.

This is something most of us have heard before, one of those verses we skim over because we think “Yeah, of course!” But it is those verses we need to dive into even deeper. We pass by these verses because we are familiar with them…but are we really practicing them? If we are living in a place of discontentment, frustration, and lacking peace, it’s safe to say we aren’t.

Keep. Your. Eyes. On. Jesus.

The trials of life can easily consume us. It’s the human condition to allow one negative thing to blind us from everything great in the moment. We hold onto negative memories like they are the only ones we have. Why do we let them define us? Why do we idolize our pain? An idol is
something you worship, and worshipping something is holding it in the highest regard, keeping all your focus on it and allowing it to rule over you.

When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we can’t help but to be in a position of thanksgiving and praise. We see a shift in our mindset, and the trials turn into lessons. When we know God, and genuinely trust Him, the growing pains become a blessing. Life’s most painful moments transform us into stronger versions of ourselves, with newfound knowledge, experience, and empathy for others.

Gratitude can become as second nature as taking a breath, but it does take time. We have to train our minds to choose it, and many times this requires a major shift in our perspective. When you drink a glass of water, are you praising Jesus that it is clean? Are you grateful that you didn’t have to walk miles and miles to a river, only to carry enough back to wash the four items of clothing you have? When you lay your head down to sleep at night, are you praising Jesus for a pillow and a mattress, knowing there are little ones all over the world who have never felt the comfort of being wrapped up in a blanket? When you turn on the AC in your house or car, are you praising Jesus for the escape from the heat, recognizing that there are millions of people who do not have that luxury? These are just a few of the things that we take for granted daily, but when we keep our eyes on Jesus, our perspective shifts. Everything around us becomes a blessing, and we can properly praise our heavenly Father for his continued love, grace, and provision!

Thank you, Lord, for the abundance of blessings you pour out on us every single day, especially the ones we turn a blind eye to. I pray for a change in our hearts, that every moment will become an opportunity to praise You. I pray that our thanksgiving will become contagious, showing the world who You are, Lord! Thank you for Monday mornings

 

Brittany Mullins

Simple Sisterhood

I can still remember being seven years old, walking into our little apartment with my dad and five year old brother, and realizing that the lights wouldn’t turn on. Our microwave was off, and the hall to the bedroom that my brother and I shared was very dark. I didn’t understand what was going on. But when I looked over at my dad, he was sitting on the couch with his head in his hands, looking a way I had never seen him before. Defeated. I learned years later, that during that month, my dad had to choose whether to pay the electricity bill or buy groceries.

My whole childhood, I grew up having to carry burdens that were never mine to carry. Having to fight battles that were never mine to fight. Having to be tough skinned and strong, when in all reality, I was just a kid. I was raised by a single father, with my one younger brother. My mother left when I was five, but that’s a story for another day. I was not raised in church, but I had a strong father that even though at the time he did not know the Lord, raised us to be kind, thoughtful, hard working and generous.

I lived a good part of my childhood in the “bible belt”. I saw churches on every street. Knowing my friends during the summers would go off to church camp, but I was never a part of any of this. And to be completely honest, I didn’t care much because I just simply didn’t know what I didn’t have. It wasn’t until I was seventeen years old, I was invited to come to church on a Wednesday night to a youth group. I was living in Destin, Florida, no family, rebellious, difficult and living on a friends couch in their flea-infested basement. No one cared where I went, when I got in, who I was with, or what I was doing. So, to say the least, I walked into that youth group desperate and not knowing what for. It was the first time I had ever heard the message of Jesus. It still brings me to tears thinking about that moment, because I was so alone and lost. He filled me with a love that I didn’t know existed. He rescued me from the literal pit I was living in and turned my whole life upside down. Which in all actuality was now right side up.

I’ll share the details in posts to come, of how He restored and healed me. How He saved and restored my family. How He broke generational curses, and delivered me from bondage I was so accustomed to living in. How He showed me the power of His love and of His Holy Spirit. I simply cannot live without Him, because I still so vividly remember my life without Him. I am PASSIONATE about sisterhood. Doing life together, and loving each other through our highs and lows. Leaving the fear of the ninety-nine and reaching out for the one. Walking in the supernatural power of His Holy Spirit, so that others can see that He is real and alive. I don’t have it all together, but He does. And I trust Him. I want to encourage you today, dear sister. Who is the rebellious, difficult, lonely and hurting one around you? No one would have ever guessed that I was walking into that youth group with the background that I had, but I am forever grateful that someone reached out anyways and simply just, INVITED ME IN. All it takes is you opening up your life, laying yourself aside and being Jesus to the ones He has placed around you.

We have a MISSION to tear down the boundaries, the facade of perfection, the fear of man, and walk in the power of His love for a dying and lost world. Ask Him, I dare you, to break your heart for what breaks His heart, and it will cause you to stop thinking about you, and to see through HIS eyes. To take the focus off of yourself and see that there is a mission He has for you today. I’m glad a sister said yes to the mission of me on that summer day of 2005. Who would have guessed that little ole me, would one day be writing and ministering to some many others, telling them about what Jesus did that day in a little youth service. For the past year, the Lord began to birth in my heart, Simple Sisterhood. It is not just to share my story, but the stories and tools of the sisters around me. The Titus women who have recipes and testimonies that we need not only for ourselves, but for our children. The single mom who has the strength of ten, and words of wisdom that came with a price we all need to glean from. Or the teenager, who if just given a bit of time and patience, can fill us with words of passion that encourages us to keep praying for a young generation. Sister, we need each other. It’s not nearly as complicated as we make it. So let’s shake off yesterday, take a deep breath, and link up arms. Welcome to sisterhood.

 

Lindsey Nelson

Creating Margin

If we are going to run our race and finish our course, we must approach life more like a marathon than a sprint. Most of us fall into bed at night utterly exhausted, because we spend all day frantically running around trying to survive.

A few years ago, I literally hit a wall and realized that if I was going to make it to the end, I would have to change the way I did things. I could not thrive in life if I had no margin or reserves.

To flourish in life and reach the end of your race full of joy, you have to create margin. Here are some ways to start creating margin in your life –

  • Eliminate all unnecessary distractions. These only drain your energy and resources!
  • Learn the power of saying no. You can say no with kindness and respect, while still staying firm.
  • Remember that some things are seasonal. You aren’t meant to do everything, forever. Seasons change, and that’s a good thing!
  • Learn to delegate, not abdicate. Delegating what you can is healthy, abdicating responsibility is dangerous.
  • Focus on the big things. Choose to invest most into the things that yield the most fruit. This will conserve your energy and keep you going towards the goal.
  • Schedule some fun! Being sure to work some fun into your day will help keep you full of joy.
  • Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your destiny isn’t meant to be built in a day, either!

As we approach the end of 2018, I want to encourage you to make a decision that you are not going to become overwhelmed by all of the things that you have to get done, and instead do something counterintuitive. Change your pace, breathe, smile, do your best, and trust God with the rest.

 

Propel Women Magazine

Surviving the Ups and Downs of FRIENDS

Here’s a question for you that could literally change your life….

W H A T S   Y O U R   C E N T R E ?

Hobbies

 

The key to surviving friendships, is not making friends your centre.

Why? Because friends are imperfect, unstable, and human. They will disappoint you. Some will turn on you. Some will stab you in the back. Some will move away.

And if you’ve made them your centre, your entire world will feel as if it’s falling apart. Your centre is what’s most important to you, and what’s most important to you becomes the pair of glasses through which you view the world. If friends are your centre, your emotional life will hinge on how many friends you have and how they’ve treated you lately and the things they say to you. You’ll surrender to whatever they want…

That is why Jesus HAS to be your centre. His Word has to be the lens in how you view life. Because then when a friend does stab you in the back or moves away…your entire world won’t fall apart because it was never built on that person, it’s built on Christ…whose never going anywhere.

So here’s some survival tips on the ups and downs in friendships:

lifesaver1.  Everybody’s trying to figure themselves out. Just like you, your friends are searching for their purpose and who they are. This means “trying on” new personalities, clothing styles, attitudes and maybe even changing friend groups. It also means making a lot of mistakes in the process. Unfortunately, you and others can get hurt in the journey. So be quick to forgive, and see their heart behind their confusing sometimes hurtful actions. Most of the time, they probably don’t mean to hurt you, it was a bi-product of them going through something. Try to see where they’re at and understand their story, it helps to forgive and even brings on some compassion.

lifesaver2. Alpha, Beta and Gamma. There was an article written in the newspaper in the US about a new kind of group of people in high school. There are the classics still; the Alphas and the Beta’s. The Alpha’s are the Queen Bees who “run the world,” commonly known as the popular girls. The Beta’s are the “Wannabees” who basically suck up to the Alpha to have an “in” on the little clique. But then there are the Gamma’s. They’re the girls most comfortable in their skin, not mean, very smart, and who think popularity is overrated. They don’t long to be invited to parties because they’re too busy writing articles in their school newspaper, or surfing or super active in church. They think having to wear certain clothes for people to like them or acting a certain way to fit in is degrading. Gamma’s are often made fun of, but they have independence and self-confidence so they don’t care. They have strong values and stick to them. Be a Gamma in the crowd. Be a Gamma in your friend group. Because a Gamma is who the world is going to look up too. 

lifesaver3. Squash Gossip. Gossip betrays friends, in fact not just betrays but destroys. You could have spent 3 years of high school building up your reputation as a good and honest person, but the second you gossip all that trust you built over 3 years is gone within 3 seconds. And it will probably take another 3 years to get that trust back. How do you squash gossip? If you hear something about yourself, go to that person directly and talk with them. If you have an issue with someone, go to that person directly. That’s what the Bible says. Posting things about someone on social media is not Biblical. That’s not how Jesus tells us to deal with conflict. If that person will not speak with you one on one, bring along a trusted friend. If they still won’t speak with you, bring it to the teachers or principles. We need to be God honouring in dealing with conflict. And remember, character will always shine through. If someone is posting things about you on social media, people will stop and think “that doesn’t sound like her.”

lifesaver4. You can have tons of friends, but be careful who pours into you. In high school I had a big group of friends. I got along with many different friend groups. BUT, I had a small circle of people who I allowed to pour into me, and those were my Christian friends. We all need to be friends with non-Christians, if we’re not…how are we supposed to tell them about Jesus? People won’t listen to strangers! But while we’re building relationships with non-Christians, we have to be careful that their lack of values and worldview doesn’t spill into us. That’s why we need a core. That’s why we NEED Christian friends. The kind of people who hold you accountable when you’re doing dumb things. People who encourage you and build you up. People to speak truth over your life and remind you who you are in Christ. It’s not a bad thing to have a lot of friends. It only becomes a problem if you’re allowing all those friends to speak into you and give advice that goes against what Jesus says.

 

This article is from “The Top 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make”

 

 

 

You Can Fly

“Mama, I just want to fly. I am GOING TO fly!”

These are the words of my three-year-old, as he jumped off of our ottoman towards me, where I was sitting on the couch about 4 feet away. He jumped without hesitation, without fear. He just knew his mama would catch him. He didn’t have a care in the world, he just knew he wanted to fly. So, he did. He flew.

So many times throughout my life, I have wanted to fly—to boldly chase after the dreams God placed in my heart, without restraints. As I’d start take off, I’d come to a sudden holt. A quick stop right before pursing my calling. “What if I fall?” I often wondered. “What if I’m not fast enough, good enough, talented enough, equipped enough? What if I say the wrong thing? What if other people make fun of me, what if they don’t understand?” As these words fogged my mind, I began to feel my feet slide through the dirt beneath me, almost swallowing them up like quick sand.

And isn’t that exactly where the enemy wants us? Stuck in the same place—defeated, scared, lonely, and ultimately, questioning whether or not God will carry us through. So, there I stood—with the glimmer of glory ahead of me, while my feet were stuck in the miry clay. How do we get to the other side of fear? How do we slip out of the quick sand, how do we learn to fly?

My friend, I am so glad you asked! There is only one way to fight against fear, and that is with faith. My son, Finch, didn’t think once about what would happen if I didn’t catch him. That wasn’t even a thought in his mind. Of course I would catch him, I always have. He has faith in his mama, because he knows I have always been there for him, he never wonders if I always will be.

And how much more can we trust our heavenly father! Has he ever failed you? I can answer that for you—no, he hasn’t, and no, he never will. It’s not in his nature, it’s not who he is. He will always come through to do what is best for us. He will always catch you. You just have to jump.

So, let’s do it. Let’s fly together. Let’s do what the world says is impossible—because with God, there’s no such thing. When the enemy says you’ll never move forward in life, remind him of who is carrying you. You’re no longer stuck in that slimy pit. You have been raised up, seated next to the father. He’s the one guiding your steps, don’t let the enemy keep you from walking in the way God has called you. You weren’t created for quick sand, to stay in one place forever.

 

You, my sweet brothers and sisters, you were created to fly. Take the leap. God’s got your back.

 

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2

Juli Wilson

Does God Want You To Be Successful?

Does God want you to be successful?

The short answer is: YES!

But in a culture where success is relative and often tied to fleeting accomplishments, defining what success looks like in the Kingdom can sometimes be difficult.

God absolutely wants you to have an abundant, passionate, flourishing, and successful life. But He’s not measuring your success by whether or not you get that big promotion, if your children graduate college with honours, how many followers you have on Instagram, or by the size of your bank account.

God defines success by the fruit that we bear and by our obedience to His purpose for our lives. Joshua 1:8 tells us, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

Finding success God’s way is a journey we will be on our whole lives, not a destination we will someday reach. But how can we know that we’re on the right path?

  • Assess Your Time. If we want to be successful, we have to make the most of our time by being intentional about how we spend it. Spend your time on things that will honor God, further the Gospel, and benefit others.
  • Evaluate Your Perspective. While we’re being obedient in the day-to-day of our lives, we must also stay focused on God’s larger purposes for our lives and for His Kingdom. A long-term, eternal perspective will help us stay on the right track of Godly success.
  • Check Your Commitment Level. We won’t ever experience the full success God has for us if our commitment to His purpose wavers. He has never promised that this life will be easy, only that He will be faithful. Lean on His promises to help you stay committed through even the most difficult seasons.

I’m cheering you on this week as you pursue Godly success in your life!

Love you

Never A Miss

Sometimes God calls us to places and people and circumstances that make us feel like we’re missing out. Missing out on friends, adventures, relationships, dreams….

 

But when God calls you to it…. it’s never a miss. 

 

Maybe you’ve moved away to do schooling having to leave everything and everyone you love behind. As you scroll through Instagram (the worst!) you see pictures from back home that make you feel left out and forgotten. 

Maybe you’re spending the night at home working on getting your grades up to get into college instead of out with friends. 

Maybe everyone around you is in solid careers and you’re working a less than ideal job.

Maybe you’re a Mom and right now while service is going on you’re feeding you’re precious babe out in the lobby.

I see you all. And I totally feel ya! Pretty sure all of us have felt FOMO before (fear of missing out). And to be honest… it stinks! It’s a mix of anxiousness, frustration, sadness …  and you begin to build up a story in your head that something SO awesome is going on without you and it will be talked about for ages and ages making it totally legendary and you missed it. 

But know that God has called you to the place you’re in that may be a million miles away. He’s called you to your position at work. He’s called you to be a Mom.

And when we’re working in our calling, it’s never a miss! You’re EXACTLY where He wants you. And God is going to pour His blessings and favour over your life as you obey.

The only way it will be a miss is if you spend all your time upset about missing out, that you miss out on the moments right in front of you. So soak it in! You’re not missing a thing when you’re in God’s plans for you.

And within every situation, God has MULTIPLE purposes He’s working out! So don’t miss out!

Be encouraged my dear friend,

Pastor Natasha

How To Be Positive Even When You DONT WANT TOO!

If there’s one thing that I am a stickler about in our office, it’s positivity. I want a team who looks at the glass as half full.

Choosing a positive outlook is vital to fulfilling your destiny. Just look at the twelve spies who went to explore the Promised Land. Twelve men were sent on a mission to take hold of what God had already promised to give them. All twelve of the men saw the same thing, but chose to take very different outlooks on what they saw.

Ten returned to their leader, Moses, with a negative report. They saw the challenges they would need to overcome to possess the Promised Land and were defeated by them. The two remaining men saw the very same challenges and chose to declare that their God was bigger. They chose to take a positive outlook.

Even still, the people listened to the overwhelming negative report, decided it was not safe to enter the Promised Land, and as a result, an entire generation was kept from their destiny.

An entire generation. Can you imagine that? Choosing to maintain a positive perspective impacts more than just you – it impacts those who come after you. So how can you choose a positive outlook in your life, even when things may be challenging?

  • Focus on the Long Game. The road to your destiny will have challenging days, even challenging seasons. Reminding yourself every day of the bigger purpose God has called you to will keep you from getting stuck in those challenging moments.
  • Keep Your Heart in Check. Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Choosing a positive outlook starts in your heart.
  • Remember God Is Faithful. When we take our eyes off of His promises, we can easily get off track and be overwhelmed by the challenges around us. Fill your heart and mind with His faithfulness to fuel a positive outlook.

 

– Propel Women Magazine

 

Do You Know How to Bounce Back?

Giving up is the quickest way to guarantee you will stop short of your purpose.

And yet, so many of us are tempted to give up everyday. We’re faced with hard decisions, plans that don’t go our way, or pressure that just feels like too much, and we’re ready to tap out. We lack the resilience required to do the hard things.

Resilience is the ability to withstand, recover, adapt, and grow in the face of pressure. It’s developing a bounce-back spirit. And it’s vital on your journey to fulfilling your purpose.

So how can you develop a bounce-back spirit? It starts in your mind.

  • Embrace Change. If we’re really honest, even those of us who get bored easily don’t really love change – not in the big things, at least. But in order to develop resilience we need to begin seeing change as a catalyst for new opportunities and growth, rather than as a setback.
  • Remain Un-Offendable. Oftentimes the things that get us down have nothing to do with the circumstances in our lives, and have everything to do with the people we’re doing life with. Offense is one of your greatest enemies on the road to your destiny. Refusing to give offense a foothold in your life is a key step in developing resilience. 
  • Know What You Can Control. Usually, living in the center of God’s will is equally exhilarating and frightening all at the same time. Keep in mind Jesus’ encouragement to His disciples in Luke 21:14, when He was warning them about tough times ahead. He said, “But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.” Know what elements you can control and which you can’t, so that when your plans go awry and hard times come, you’re not thrown off course. Resilience requires trusting Him to handle the rest.

I’m cheering you on as you cultivate your bounce-back spirit this week.

Written by Christine Caine, Propel Women

What Are You Listening Too?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

“God, my hope and my strength. My ability to move and breathe. My peace. My way. My life. You are my wisdom and my direction. You are my joy and the source of all my strength. You satisfy my soul. I love you Jesus. Thank you for how you love me.”

I wrote these words in my journal, when I quite honestly didn’t feel any of these things.  I felt like I had lost hope and had no strength.  And from that place, I didn’t want to move and I even felt like I couldn’t breathe.  Peace felt a million miles away, and finding it felt impossible. My joy wasn’t there because I wasn’t setting my heart on WHO joy is, and therefore, my soul continued to be in want and unsatisfied.  I had forgotten that the whole reason I’m able to love HIM, is because He FIRST loved me.

But one day, instead of opening my journal and writing out all my feelings and emotions and blah, blah, blah… I decided I would change it up a bit, and began to write the opposite of what I was feeling.  I chose to believe that even though I didn’t see or feel it yet, HE was my hope and my strength. He is my ability to move and breathe. He is my peace, and he never leaves…so peace hadn’t left me. The joy of Him is my strength, so If I set my heart on who He was, I would be filled with the strength that I needed.  I reminded myself that more than anything, I’M LOVED BY HIM. Whenever I was believing lies or had a negative thought or emotion, I covered it with His truth and with His love.

THIS is TRUTH.

1 John 3:1 Says,

“Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God.”

I want you take note of the word “bestowed” here… Bestow means to present as a gift, to give, or to put on.  That means that whether I realize it or not, as a child of God my Father has given me His love as a gift. He has placed His love upon me.  I can never change this truth, it’s truth whether I believe and receive it for myself or not.

If you’re anything like me, you can have a tendency to overthink things, and replay situations in your head over and over again. This can be a very bad thing, or it can be a very good thing.  It all depends on what I’m focusing on, thinking about and replaying.  Are the thoughts in my head truth? Are they bringing me life and peace? Or, are they lies—bringing me discouragement and confusion?

TRUTH says, “Where the spirit of The Lord is, there is FREEDOM” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

If you’ve felt discouraged lately, or even have a sense of disappointment, I want to encourage you to take some time and ask yourself what it is lately that you’ve been focusing on and replaying in your head.  My mom always says, “What is it you’re listening to?”  Meaning, are you listening to His voice of truth, peace and life, or are you listening to thoughts of disappointment, fear, and ultimately, death. We live in a world where we’re CONSTANTLY being faced with things that could seem true, but are not true.  So, we have to CONSTANTLY cover ourselves with what we KNOW is true, and that is only found in His word.

I want to encourage you to make covering yourself with truth a part of your daily routine.  Sometimes, it’s something as simple as getting ready in the morning and as you’re getting dressed or putting on your makeup, just thanking him for how He loves you. When you set your mind on His truth, it will not only begin to change your feelings and emotions, but it will change your relationships and your whole perspective on life.  You will begin to see Him in everything and every moment.

Laney Redmon, Live Original