Such a powerful song that you may’ve already heard but if not…enjoy!
Recently, under the weight of insecurities, fears and the inevitable self-evaluation we all perform in the process of transition I came to the place where I was considering to quit writing. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy writing but I honestly felt I have had nothing to say of value. If I were honest, I’d say in many ways I still feel that way. Good thing I refuse to let my emotions keep me down.
I finally got around to listening to an audiobook named “Quitter” a New York Times Best Seller from Jon Acuff. In chapter three, Jon got me good by talking about his two sides “today Jon” and “later Jon.” Today Jon says, “today is a good day to write…I’m gonna hammer out a few ideas.” Then Later Jon interjects, “ya…you could…or you could just do it later…you will have more energy and feeling much more creative…later.” This analogy hit home pretty hard for me. It describes me where I have been.
I can’t, we can’t, allow this mindset to settle in because it is a cancerous thought that will root its way to the place where we want to give in and give up. Regardless of whatever level of success or accomplishment we achieve, we are not immune to its effects. Allowing that conversation in my head almost stopped me from writing…it may be stopping you from your “more” whatever that may be. Whatever it is you feel you should just give up because of this or that I encourage you to join me in taking the risk and invest wholeheartedly into the dream of our hearts. I refuse to be a quitter. What about you?
I do not claim to be an expert on this subject, or any subject really. This is simply what has been burning in my heart on this topic concerning America. Terrorism is a subject that will never leave us in our lifetime. In fact, as much as we hope for things to get better, they will only increase in getting worse. We are living in the last days before the Lord’s Return as as such the enemy is running rampant.
The Boston Marathon bombing marked the beginning of a new wave of terrorism in America. There will be more similar bombings to come; the smaller yet deadly bombings is the new style that terrorists will carry out. Malls, airports, festivals, state fairs and even in churches, wherever large groups of people are we will see attacks carried out. They will be in smaller communities and not just isolated to larger cities. We will see attacks in Arkansas, Ohio, the very heartland of America will be rocked.
The enemy has been given access like never before into our country…we as a nation, have given permission to satan to operate however he pleases. We have set God aside in the majority of public avenues and as such we leave ourselves open to the schemes of the enemy. All this is not said for us to shrivel in fear. We have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind! God will protect His people but that doesn’t mean that we will not face persecution. In fact the Church will be the largest target for terrorists and some attacks will succeed in this new era.
Persecution is inevitable and the battle will not stay in the courtrooms for much longer. Through it all, God will use the persecution to draw His Body closer to Himself and just as in the Book of Acts we will rally in unity and revival will break forth as only dreamt about. This will be a difficult yet rewarding season we are entering into as a nation. Multitudes will get saved and come to know the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church, in the face of terror, will be that shining city on a hill that will lead America in the roughest of days.
Through much prayer we can slow down and hinder the speed at which these events will take place. Prayer releases back to the Lord the authority needed to make this so. By our silence we empower the enemy; by our authority we can slow him down. This truth makes it all that more important that we pray and do everything we can to ensure that those around us are in relationship with Jesus. Dark days may be ahead but it is in the dark that the light shines the brightest!
Home, sometimes the most inviting place is the place you are most familiar with and that is where I find myself now. With Spring Break behind me I look back and I see it was a week set aside for me to encounter God and refocus my priorities. Each day was an adventure, a refreshing break from routine, in which God met me right where I was. I was empowered to be who I was made to be like never before and I bring that home with me. That made all the difference to me; because of that I was able to boldly be me and it led to a week of watching God move.
Now, the adventures don’t have to end. In fact new ones have started and I am determined to look for those opportunities to recognize and enjoy them like never before! If I have learned anything is that everyday can be an adventure with God if we are open to it! I believe this a part of that abundant life that Jesus came to bring us (see John 10:10). Let’s greet this day as a day that is full of God-appointed adventures, intentionally, letting Him have His way and watch the difference it makes.
I don’t know about you but I am a creature of habit and change it not an easy thing. Yet, it seems life is constantly changing around me, good, bad and indifferent change is afoot and at work. In most of the times that I have been confronted with change its always been terrifying. It was scary when I realized my inadequacies to save myself and so I gave my life to Christ; it was scary when I had to get my first job and pay bills; it was scary when I quit one job for another and even worse when I was fired from a job. Fear tags alongside change but what most people miss in times of change is faith because fear chokes out faith.
Thankfully, God is constant (Hebrews 13:8), unchanging and undaunted by the circumstances we face in life. Nothing takes Him off guard. When change comes in fear will try to creep in but when we allow God to invade the spaces of our life…faith will always arise. Faith that our God has a great plan, faith that He is ever faithful, faith that He will finish the work He has started in us! Change is not always bad but the enemy will do everything he can to get your perspective of change off of God and onto the mess. Too easily we forget that God is the expert on taking our mess and turning it into a message. God makes all things new…but only if we can give it to Him. Today I challenge you to do that: embrace the change and the newness that God has and as Jon Acuff says, “PUNCH FEAR IN THE FACE!”
Today it is my pleasure to bring to you a guest post from an amazing woman of God, Mrs. Jen Self. She is the wife of Pastor Quinton Self and mother to three amazingly awesome kids! She is a creative and wise woman who loves Jesus more than anything. She works actively with MOPS and student ministries at her church and I am honored to share this guest post with you!
Hey Pearl of Great Worth!
Have you thought today about how very special you are!!
Matthew 13:45-46, “Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding ONE PEARL OF GREAT VALUE, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.“
You are a costly and fine pearl, a pearl of GREAT VALUE and WORTH! Worthy to be sought out and searched for. A true genuine pearl is forged/developed in wet slimy darkness…which started out as a grain of sand. The oyster takes that grain of sand (which other wise is ordinary, small, an unwelcomed irritant) and forms it into something beautiful and of great value!!
I don’t know about you, but many times I’ve felt like that grain of sand…lost, in the dark, just in the way, small, insignificant, dull, plain, ordinary, unwelcomed, unnoticed and of no value. But then God comes in and reminds me of who I really am, a beautiful pearl of great value, no longer ordinary but forged out of hardship into beauty that is of such value that He, God Himself, sought me out, sold and gave up all that He had to pull and purchase me from the dark place where I was unseen and useless into the light where I could shine forth and bring beauty!
I look back at hard times and know that I wouldn’t trade them for anything because that’s where my true beauty was being formed, fashioned and developed…true genuine beauty of great value!! True beauty that now knows how to recognize true genuine beauty in others You being one of them!
The longer the grain of sand is in the oyster under constant pressure and process the bigger and more beautiful it becomes!! I honestly still feel I’m still in the refining process, but I know that God is building, designing, even forging me more and more into the image of beauty that I am in Him!
So no matter where you feel you are today, whether you feel at the top of the world shining forth your beauty, a pearl in process or even just the grain of sand still laying on the shore or at the bottom of the ocean, know that you are not forgotten. God has sought you out, He knows right where you are, He sees and knows your true beauty and value. He loves and cherishes you, He is working on your behalf and looks forward to an adventurous journey side by side, hand in hand with you for your lifetime on into eternity! The greatest love story/journey ever!
Terrorists aim to strike fear and cause chaos in those that they attack but the truth is whoever may be responsible for the terror attacks at the Boston Marathon today has only done the opposite. Tonight we are one with Boston. You are in our prayers and we pray for justice to be done swiftly! #prayforBoston
Things have been ramping up lately here my way in such a fast pace it’s exciting to see what God has been unfolding. There is nothing like the feeling of success in what you do. As things begin to fall in place all I can do is see God’s hand all over things. It proves that God meant what He said concerning us in Jeremiah 29:11-12, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.“
If the fact that the God who created the universe not only hears your prayers but begins to answer them with the details that you’ve been praying for…that’s motivation! The Cross & Resurrection is motivation enough because he demonstrated His great love for me while I was still His enemy, trapped in my sin, He died for me, to give me life! That provides more fuel to the fire…it’s motivation to go deeper in the heart of God, motivation to build His Kingdom, motivation to do whatever He sets before me to do! It begs me to ask the other question: “what motivates you in your relationship with God?” Share you thoughts on Twitter or Facebook!
Sometimes in life as you are pursuing God the road you take might suddenly turn in an unexpected way. These “suddenlys” if taken in the right heart will lead to some divine set ups for encounters with God. It’s God’s way of blessing us in many ways, whether it be in our finances, friendships or even opportunities to do what you dream of doing. You really can’t plan these and you can not sit back until they happen either.
This week has been a week of “suddenlys” so far and its only half way done. I came down to Alabama see this amazing family of God and to learn what I can. The transpired events have been confirming so much of what has been on my heart but unsure of. It’s challenging, provoking me deeper into the heart of God and realizing God’s plan for my life is nowhere as narrow as I thought it would be (that is for another day). It has been and still is an unexpected adventure. We’ve seen God move in awesome ways in the past few days and He is setting something much larger in place as well.
I really want to encourage all of you who read this not to give up on the dreams in your heart. Trust God to see you through the storm that you may find yourself in. Often that is part of the incredible journey that God will use (not that He authors anything that steals kills or destroys) but what the enemy meant for evil God will use for good as it is this day to save many people through your life and testimony (see John 10:10, Genesis 50:20, Revelation 12:11). These unexpected adventures become benchmarks in our relationship with God!
As you are reading this it is Easter Sunday in the US and I am loving it. I feel like a kid at Christmas who is so wired that he can’t sleep. I can’t imagine the sheer joy in the atmosphere as those closet to the Lord realized that He rose from the grave. For me, the empty tomb is the very reason that the enemy has lost all authority in my life. John Mark McMillian said it best in his hit song, “Death In His Grave” (see below).
We are free to know God, to live richly, to love loud, to dream and to see it come to pass. All because of the Cross the debt of our sins was paid by Perfection and because of the empty tomb it has been sealed for eternity. Jesus is ALIVE! He is alive and at work in the earth. He cares for you and He cares for the things that you are facing. No matter how you got where you are He will see you through every storm that you face. You have no need to fear and no need to fret about tomorrow. Because death has been defeated and the One that is Life reigns forevermore! I don’t know who that is for but that is what is on my heart!
I pray everyone has a phenomenal Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday (however you call it) and remember that the chains that seem to have you bound have been broken in Jesus’ Name for no other reason than the fact that He lives! Walk into the freedom He has for you and do not look back!