Christine

Being Weak for the Power of God’s Glory

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Christine's Corner
Study His Word

It was late; well past bedtime, I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of BJ’s. I was alone, frozen in shock, and my world was crashing down around me.

Learning of lies and betrayal had tears falling as the shock slowly thawed. My marriage was over. I remember the despair and fear I felt as I thought of the future. What was I going to do? I will admit that I cried long and hard but eventually found myself leaning on the only thing I knew would keep me strong.

My relationship with Jesus.

His love held me tight as my marriage died. His presence filled me as I looked to Him for how to walk through this new normal I found myself in. His grace enabled me to walk the path He wanted me to walk.

When I think of the grace Jesus showed the world before his death, I am simply in awe. To think of how he was beaten and mocked but still prayed God would forgive them is an example of the grace I wanted to share. I see God’s Grace as His Spirit working in me and guiding me to act and treat others in a manner pleasing to Him.

There was no way I could do this alone; I needed his divine influence to guide me.

We can choose how we move forward.

Everyone goes through hardships that mock our past, stills our present, and taints our future….if we let it.

As I look at verse 9 of 2 Corinthians 12, my eyes zero in on the words grace, sufficient, and weakness. I desperately wanted to have God’s grace, to react as He would have reacted to wrongs done to him. This verse gave me hope and courage to be obedient, knowing that He would show me the way when I was at my weakest. The Lord would use it to show His glory.

 It’s a beautiful thing to know that while we may feel broken inside, we can trust the Lord to give us His strength. When we open our heart and soul to him, the majesty of who he is will reveal the miracle that He is.

Even more, as I healed, people saw a transformation, a strength I didn’t have before. That strength was God’s grace and his grace alone. It’s a gift He extends to us all; we need to open our hearts to Him and accept it.

Trusting God in your faith

You may be in the middle of a situation that has you wondering how to move forward. You may feel scared and alone but know you are not. Our Savior is big enough to handle any hurt or injustice done. Not only does God say he will never leave us nor forsake us, but his grace will set you free. Free in the sense that you can lean on him in your most dire times, knowing his grace will sustain and strengthen you.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for the grace you so willingly give to me. I ask that you pour out your grace and fill me with your strength in my moments of weakness; I pray your glory and grace shine through me for the world to see the power of your grace. Amen.

Our Bodies are like Clay jars, being molded by God.

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
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Jars of Clay

Have you ever read God’s Word to find it didn’t speak to you in any way in particular? I have often read the bible as if it was a calming story that gave me comfort. However, when I read these specific verses, it was like sitting in a math class ( I am not a math person), and the equation on the board finally made perfect sense.

I have to say 2 Corinthians 4: 7-10 speaks to my heart in a way not many other verses do. I am not saying it is more significant than others, for every verse is incredibly valuable. However, when I read these verses the first time, it was like my heart started to thump in my chest.

How quickly things can change

I was at a dinner with friends when they teased me for believing in Jesus and the bible. It was all in fun and not meant to hurt. Unfortunately, something in the air changed, and the attack began. No longer were we enjoying a great meal, the onslaught of how “my God” was vicious and mean. Their comments were if any God would turn someone into a pillar of salt (the story of Sodom and Gomorrah) for not “obeying,” he was not a God he wanted to know.

No one likes the idea of being mocked for what you believe. Being laughed at can be one of the most humiliating experiences. As a new believer, I could not defend or explain my belief in Jesus and the Bible. It wasn’t the lack of desire to do so; it was where I was at in my walk.

Well, to say I was stunned into silence is an understatement. I was heartbroken these people I called friends would rage at me over something they clearly did not understand. The thing that made me want to sob was knowing their hearts were so hard toward God, and their ears would not hear anything I were to say.

Drawing closer to Jesus

I found myself thinking and rethinking that conversation for a very long time. It made me think of how Jesus must have felt as he traveled, sharing his amazing truths. How many people did he share the Good News to have it fall on deaf ears? How that must of devastated him.

At first, when I think of the brutality he endured on the cross for us, to cover our sins with his blood, I want to cry. But then, by chance, I read 2 Corinthians 4: 7-10, and the light bulb went off. It says we will be afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down, but it also says we would not be crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, or destroyed.

It also says this treasure in jars of clay shows that the power belongs to God. It helps us relate more to our God and brings us closer together. Friends, the jars of clay are our bodies, and the treasure it holds is the Holy Spirit, Jesus in us. Nothing can crush, drive us to despair, forsake or destroy us because we have that treasure in us to guide us.

I know the life of Jesus is seen through my responses to the affliction and persecution Christians often face. It allows us to feel a fraction of what Jesus must have felt when he shared the good news, only to be mocked or turned away. For me, it is a way for others to see Jesus through my actions. I feel a closeness to Jesus because I know he dealt with the same injustices that I do.

Turning hurts into joy

As I have grown in my walk with Jesus, my deepest desire is to be obedient to God’s calling for me. I have learned over the years not to focus on the hurts that are waiting around every corner. But to expect Jesus to be there with me and show me how I can use this body, he gave me to express care and love to those who use words and actions to hurt others. My friends, not everyone will be open to what I, or maybe you, will share, but that is ok. We need to share, plant the seed and let God do the rest. With great joy, I can say I focus more on using the Spirit in me to share love and happiness. I know Jesus will do the rest.

Heavenly Father, I pray people to see you acting through me to show and share your love, peace, and strength.

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Being Weak for the Power of God’s Glory.

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God’s Glorious Word

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

It was late, and well past bedtime, I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of BJ’s. I was alone, frozen in shock as my world was crashing down around me.

Learning of lies and betrayal had tears falling as the shock slowly began to thaw. My marriage was over. I remember the despair and fear I felt as I thought of the future. What was I going to do? I will admit that I cried long and hard but eventually found myself leaning on the only thing I knew would keep me strong.

My relationship with Jesus.

His love held me tight as my marriage died. His presence filled me as I looked to Him for how to walk through this new normal I found myself in; his grace enabled me to walk the path He wanted me to walk.

When I think of the grace Jesus showed the world before his death, I am simply in awe. To think of how he was beaten and mocked but still prayed God would forgive them is an example of the grace I wanted to share. I see God’s Grace as His Spirit working in me and guiding me to act and treat others in a manner pleasing to Him.

There was no way I could do this alone; I needed his divine influence to guide me.

Everyone goes through hardships that mock our past, stills our present, and taints our future….if we let it.

As I look at verse 9 of 2 Corinthians 12, my eyes zero in on the words grace, sufficient, and weakness. I desperately wanted to have God’s grace, to react as He would have reacted to wrongs done to him. This verse gave me hope and courage to be obedient, knowing that He would show me the way when I was at my weakest. The Lord would use it to show His glory.

 It’s a beautiful thing to know that while we may feel broken inside, we can trust the Lord to give us His strength. When we open our heart and soul to him, the majesty of who he is will reveal the miracle that He is.

Even more, as I healed, people saw a transformation, a strength I didn’t have before. That strength was God’s grace and his grace alone. It’s a gift He extends to us all. We just need to open our hearts to Him and accept it.

You may be in the middle of a situation that has you wondering how to move forward. You may feel scared and alone but know you are not. Our Savior is big enough to handle any hurt or injustice done. Not only does God say he will never leave us nor forsake us, but his grace will set you free. Free in the sense that you can lean on him in your most dire times, knowing his grace will sustain and strengthen you.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for the grace you so willingly give to me. I ask that you pour out your grace and fill me with your strength in my moments of weakness. I pray your glory and grace shine through me for the world to see the power of your grace. Amen.

Remember the True Meaning of CHRISTmas.

12 Bible Verses to Immerse Yourself In.

Finding the Joy of CHRIST in Remembering His Words.

When you think of Christmas, what do you think of? Is it the tree and the dreaded lights that need to be untangled and wrapped around it? Is it the list of wants that has you running around from store to store trying to find the perfect ‘gift’? What is the ‘perfect’ gift? Ask a 5-year-old and it may be a Barbi doll, and that’s fair. Hopefully, you will also get some deeper thoughts on gifts. Let’s go to the Word to find verses that will help us remember.

The Peace of Remembering.

If you are anything like me, this is a crazy busy time of year. It’s easy to rush around trying to get things that we think are so important done, it can be easy to lose focus on the true meaning of CHRISTmas. I need time in my bible to settle my soul and pray you find that peace as well.

I want to share some of my favorite verses that help me not focus just on gifts bought and received. I pray this gives you peace and comfort as they do me.

Acts 20:35
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " 
Matthews 2:11 
On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

I invite you to read Matthew more on the birth of Jesus in Matthews 2:1-24

Luke 1: 46-48
And Mary said: "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,
Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Luke 2:8-9
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my personal favorite verses. Anytime I wonder about the course I am on it brings me back to WHO made that path and the importance of staying the course.

Galatians 4:4-5
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
Isaiah 7:14
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Luke 6:38
 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
Isaiah 9:6
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Father, I pray for the person reading these verses. I pray your Holy Spirit resides in them and guides them to walk the path you made just for them (read Path made for one). I ask you to quiet the noise that can so easily eclipse the most important time of year. I pray they find peace in your word and peace in you. Amen

Christine's Corner

The Beautiful Blessings of Prayer.

“The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

Father God

There are so many moments in the day where we feel alone, insecure, hurt, and afraid. For many of us, we walk in circles trying to take care of problems that only You can resolve. Lord, I humbly ask that you rain your mercy down on the person reading this. I pray you lay your mighty hand on them, bestowing your peace.

Heartbreak

Father, I ask that you heal the heartbreak that holds someone’s heart for ransom. Regardless of how the heartbreak happened, Father, I know you can rebuild this heart that has been broken, you are the only one that knows what this person needs. My words are not needed as you see into every heart, you alone know what this heart craves. I pray you deliver this person from their pain and make them whole in Your name, showing the world Your glory.

Broken Trust

Lord, I pray for the person who has had the trust they gave to another broken. There are so many aftershocks when trust is broken, I pray you give guidance to the person that needs it. People say, time heals all wounds but I know You heal wounds with your constant love and support. I pray, Father God, you will show this person how to rebuild trust through you and your magistery.

Grief

Lord, one thing I know for certain, is that grief comes in many forms. From the loss of a loved one to the loss of something you held dear, such as a friendship you valued, a marriage, the loss of innocence. There are many things that cause the heart to grieve, I ask you, Father, hold this person in your grasp as they mourn what they lost. Infuse them with your presence, letting them feel you as you hold them up. I ask they turn to you in their grief, seeking your wonderful counsel and allowing you to bless them through your healing.

Insecurities

Almighty Father, we live in a world where insecurities abound. It plagues everyone, sparing no one. From feelings of worthlessness, not being accepted for who you are, to not feeling like you are good enough. Father, I pray for all the people that walk through their day hiding the fears that live in their minds. I pray you reach out to them and take those fears and turn them into blessings, all in your name, to show your glory. I pray you give confidence, happiness, and the peace of knowing you will fill the holes where insecurities lie.

Blessings from Prayer

Heavenly Father, I thank you that you are the one True God, the God we can come to, talk to, pray to. I thank you for your sacrifice on the cross, I can not imagine my life or this world without you. You have blessed me with confidence, peace, and joy because of our relationship. I pray others will turn to you, seek you and accept the relationship you offer.

I am blessed to call you Father and blessed to be called daughter.

Amen

3 Reasons on How Forgiveness Leads to Spiritual Freedom

Forgiveness is a huge part of being an obediant servant to our Lord.

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Galatians 5:1

I had known for some time that things were not right in my marriage. I was, from what other people said, the perfect wife. I stayed home and took care of our kids. I did everything I could do around the house so that when my husband came home from work he didn’t have to do a thing but spend time with me and our kids. That is what I wanted to accomplish, unfortunately, I did not get the results I wanted.

As I said, friends looking from the outside in thought our marriage was perfect. Remembering that time I recall how much of a failure I felt I was. I knew things were far from perfect. I felt like a fraud living in a marriage that was little more than a casual relationship.

Obeying God-Forgiving Others

When a marriage ends it’s not just the union between two people that ends. It’s the end of an era. The end of an idea. The end of a dream. It’s the end of ever being able to trust with your whole heart.

We know Jesus tells us to forgive, just as He forgave our sins by taking them to the cross. Forgiving gives us the freedom to move forward in His love. You know biblically God wants you to forgive that person so you can move forward, turn the other cheek, as scripture says. But when your heart is bleeding, when it’s shattered by pain caused by a loved one, you find yourself wondering how to do that.

How do you forgive betrayal? The type of forgiveness that is God-given when you feel so broken inside? The only forgiveness that will truly set you free.

Praying to Forgive

Today I want to talk about a time in my life when the one person I trusted destroyed that gift of trust I gave with a willing heart. When you are in a relationship and an event unfolds and shatters a belief you have had in place all your life. Feeling broken and betrayed, you wonder how you will recover.

I am not talking about saying the words and hoping they stick. I am talking about the kind of forgiveness that you give even when you don’t want to. Even when you don’t think you have it in you. You want freedom from that pain the betrayal caused but truthfully, sometimes it feels easier to hold onto the anger and hurt than to let go of it and forgive.

You have to look at your heart, put it into prayer to help align your thoughts with Jesus’s. I had such anger and hurt, I was so disillusioned by the one man I thought I could trust. How do you bundle that up and throw it away and just say I forgive you, AND mean it? How do you put the action behind the words? I so wanted to do as Jesus said, “forgive others as I have forgiven you” but struggled for years with how to do that.

Praying to Obey

I was the one that was determined to forgive because I knew it was a command I needed to follow. One day I would pray and give all my anger and hurt to Jesus and ask that He take it from me. Deliver me from the feelings that kept me locked in a box that had no key.

For years I would think I had forgiven the act and moved forward, to only have an interaction that would dredge up all the old feelings from the past. Once again I would be swamped with anger that wanted to choke me. I would walk in the darkness of depression as I wondered what was so wrong with me. What did I do to cause this?

I would agonize all over again on how to truly forgive and be able to move forward. Many times I found myself praying to God for the discipline to obey a command I desperately wanted to follow. As I studied and prayed over time, I realized for me, there are 3 reasons I must forgive.

It is a Command
For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. Matthew 6:14-15

I am also a firm believer that forgiving shows how we are being obedient to our Lord. We know being obedient will bring us a fulfillment in Jesus that will ease our soul.

Jesus Forgave Us

How many times have you asked Jesus to forgive a sin you have committed? For myself, I can’t fathom how high that number would be. How can we expect our perfect God to forgive us if we can not do what he asks of us? Forgive others as we have been forgiven.

And forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12
Unforgiveness Keeps Us locked in the Prison of our Past

If we hold onto the anger and hurt others have caused, we will be stuck in a prison, unable to move into the role God has set aside just for us. Holding onto the ugliness of sin holds us back from receiving the blessings that the Lord wants to give us.

My pastor once said if our hands are holding onto the pain of sin, refusing to let it go, our hands will not be open to receive the blessings he wants to shower down on us. I also think that if we hold on to the anger and pain, we will forever be looking at the past. My friends, I pray now that your eyes have turned from the past, that you are now seeking out the future you are meant to have in Jesus’s company.

It took me years before I realized I could let go of what had been done. Years of praying, years of running the same cycle in my head. Let it go, pull it back, ask God to help me forgive, forgive, pull it back and start all over again. Yes, that was me, for so long, I am kinda embarrassed about it.

My Road to Freedom

That being said, I know you are wondering what I did do to break the chains of holding onto something God had already forgiven. There is no mystery around it, all I did was grab on to Jesus and didn’t let go. There were times I felt I was on my way, that I had put that sin in my past. There were days I pulled it right out again and relived all the pain and hurt as if it were new.

The one thing that was constant for me was my desire to let it go. I honestly did not want to hang on to the feelings that I had failed, that I had been let down and hurt. Any time the feelings of grief overwhelmed me I would ask Jesus to take them from me. To show me how to blindly forgive. Forgive, so that I would never take it back again. It’s not something I could do on my own.

I stayed in bible studies, (Jesus would always bring someone in my life to guide me on the next step of my journey), learning to live in the promise that He was faithful and would never leave me. I relied on that knowledge for as long as it took me to not just believe it but to live it.

Freedom in Forgiveness

My friends, to forgive is never easy as it means we have been hurt, most likely by someone we care about. I can not speak for everyone but I know more than anything I want to live in accord with Jesus. Anything that may keep me separated from him is something I do not want in my life. That being said, my guide to forgiving went right back to scripture, breathing it in, living it every day.

One thing I know for certain, if you seek out Jesus, He will reveal himself to you. He will guide you out of your darkness, sometimes holding your hand, other times carrying you through the pain. Trust in Him, when He died on that cross, our sin died with Him. It is no more! That is the Spiritual Freedom he has given us.

Heavenly Father, I pray for who is reading this. If they are struggling to let go of pain caused by sin, I ask you to guide them through the maze of pain, shattered trust and show them your path for them. I pray they feel your divine presence in their life as they seek you out, show them how to forgive, is to live in YOUR freedom. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen

Discover The Path God Created Just For One.

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He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

Psalm 62:2
Do you feel me?

The last few weeks have been a tad crazy. We have been preparing to get our house on the market. Everything except this stopped. I was unable to write or blog. I didn’t go to the gym. My most productive prayer time was when I was painting my bathroom. Seriously, do you feel me? LIve can get crazy busy.

Well, thankfully, we survived and the house is officially on the market, and under contract. Now it’s time to get back to all things neglected. The gym, (check), bible study/prayer time, (check), writing, Ummm, ok, truthfully, I’m struggling a little. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, oh, I have tons, my friends! I think I have too much! Is that even possible? Now that I am not consumed with prepping the house I think back over the last month.

I sat and pondered what to write and found myself sitting at my desk going through old and new photos. Have you seen the picture I have used above? I first saw it on social media for National Daughters Day last year and I loved it. I saved it and look at it often. When I see it I smile as it describes my feelings perfectly about my daughter.

And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. Nehemiah 4:14
You can’t make time stand still

This year was a big one for me personally as it is the year my daughter went to college. I wondered over and over who would be there to protect her. I agonized over knowing if she was ready. I agonized over knowing if I was ready!

It seems that somewhere in their senior year our kids believe they are ready to be on their own. Parents get frustrated/downright scared because they want their kids to make choices that will protect them from the pain of failure. Teenagers are eager to fly the nest, where at the same time, parents are desperate to hold them back.

Unfortunately, there is no stopping the ticking of the clock. For better or for worse, children are meant to fly the coop. Because of that, as responsible parents, it is our job to let them go. We have to rely on all that we have taught them as they were under our tutelage.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 

Building relationships that matter

Relationships are like any other living thing, if you feed them, they will grow. I realize as I look back over the last year I could see the woman my daughter was growing into. She is sweet to the core, funny as all get out, and passionately loyal to those she loves. She thinks she is awkward, that she is shy but there is a light in her that shines and attracts all that cross her path. I am so proud to call her daughter. I love calling her friend.

As I said, this year was monumental in more than one way. There are days I still wonder why she had to grow up, (any mom out there know what I mean?), days I wish I still had her depending on me for whatever she needs. I know that is not fair to her, her wings have spread, she is so ready to fly. Tears burn my eyes as I write. Not out of sadness, though there is a little, I will not lie. Tears burn with the amount of joy, love, and friendship I feel rising in my heart, it is almost overwhelming.

As much as I know I will always have my daughters back, (and honestly, I feel the same for my boys, but today is all about us girls) I KNOW God has a path that he created solely for her. It is now her time to grow and discover all she is meant to be in this world. I will NEVER forget the day, she turned to me sweetly and said, “Mom, I’ve got this”. Because of that and the relationship that has been growing between us, I will let her go, I will not hold her back, I will cheer her on as she soars.

Soar High Sweet Girl

There comes a time where you have to trust what you lean on. For me, that is my faith in Jesus and how he is there to lead, guide, and protect. I know he will guide my daughter in making her own choices. He will certainly protect and shield her when mistakes are made. He will soothe and heal through hurts and disappointments. That is the blessing of having a relationship with our Lord. He knows us, He protects us and He will ALWAYS be there for us.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. 
Psalm 32:8
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalms 147:3

So, I’ll wipe the tears away, tell her “baby, you got this, but mama will always have your back.” I will fall back on my relationship with Jesus, knowing I raised her as I was led to through him. Knowing that if there is anyone that loves her more than I, It is Him, and there is no one better to have at your back.

Heavenly Father, I ask for divine protection on my daughter as you shelter her from anything that would hurt her. I ask you to watch over her, steer her down the road you plowed solely for her to walk. Talk to her when she feels down, celebrate with her as she grows. Keep her tight in your arms as the world embraces her. I know she is in your hands and I believe, in Your name, she is cherished, she is protected, and she is YOURS. In Jesus’s name. -Mom

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Believing Life is Better Lived with the Holy Spirit!

Don’t Miss Out By Jeannie Cunnion-Daring to Believe Life is Better with the Holy Spirit!

Week Five-Chapters 21-25

For a recap of week four

Benefits of the Holy Spirit

Read John 15

I can’t believe I am almost done with this study. Usually by the time I get to the end of a study I am excited for my next one. Not so with Don’t Miss Out by Jeannie Cunnion. I find myself not wanting to be done with the Holy Spirit. He is not done with me, this I am sure of. As I put this book away and turn to my next study, I will keep it close. I have a feeling I will be opening this book constantly to gain more of the Holy Spirit.

This week we covered five topics.

  • The Holy Spirit Empowers Us to Obey
  • He Makes Us More Like Jesus
  • He Produces Fruit in Our Lives
  • The Holy Spirit Fills Us
  • He Keeps Filling Us
He Empowers Us to Obey

Usually, there are rules to follow with consequences if they are not. For example, to motivated kids to follow the rules of our homes, we often entice them? A system of rewards for good behavior is what I see many parents do. Of course, that does not always work. Kids will be kids, right?

A major role of the Holy Spirit is to motivate us by making Jesus beautiful to us. He does this by awakening our hearts to all that Jesus has done for us. He also provides the power we need to fight our weaknesses. The only way to obey is to let the Spirit guide us and grant us power.

"Let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. The Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions."
Galatians 5:16-17

To be obedient we must work with the Holy Spirit, yielding and submitting to His leading in our life. It means knowing Him, knowing His voice so we can choose His guidance when our weak nature wants to take control.

He Makes Us More Like Jesus

I love this the most, most importantly, there is nothing I want more than being like Jesus. I am positive that the more I get to know and love the Holy Spirit the closer Christ will be.

Sanctification. This is a word that confused and scared me for a long time, therefore, let’s talk about it. Sanctification means to be ‘set apart, for a purpose. I’ve got goosebumps on my arms. Being set aside, for a purpose that God made strictly for me, makes me a little light-headed with excitement.

The more we are led by the Holy Spirit the more we want to be more like Jesus. We can not accomplish this in our power, we must rely on the Spirit. The Spirit helps us become more of who God says we ALREADY ARE in Christ. Let that sink in! Our pursuit of Christ is the proof that the Spirit is at work in our life, purifying our desires and producing holiness in our lives.

He Produces Fruit in Our Live

The closer we grow in a relationship with the Holy Spirit, His attributes will show up more in our lives.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,self-control. Against such things there are no laws." 
 Galatians 5:22-23

Growing a deeper relationship with the Spirit means we are living IN Christ. Without the power of Christ working in us and through us, we are incapable of producing the fruit that is God-glorifying. Jesus said:

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
John 15:4-5
He Fills Us

Jeannie writes on four things about being filled by the Spirit. To be filled with the Spirit is:

  • to be under the influence of the Spirits presense and power
  • a command, not a suggestins
  • essential to living the full and abundant life promised to us in Christ
  • continual

People who love and are filled with the Spirit are living under its influence. They choose to live with the guidance of the Spirit in their lives, following His lead.

Be filled with the Spirit is a command for every Christian. We can not be like Christ if we do not have the Spirit living in us, therefore it is essential to be filled with Him.

Our lives will not live up to their full potential if we are not Spirit-filled. The Spirit guides us to be more like Christ. If He is not pointing us back to Jesus, we can’t possibly bear His fruit. To bear fruit for Jesus you have to be abiding IN Him.

It is a continual action to be close to the Spirit and Jesus. It is not a one-and-done type thing, for that reason, we have to continually pursue Him.

He Keeps Filling Us

Just like anything we love and want to keep, we need to spend time with it. Getting to know it more, cultivate it, making it the center of our lives. Our God is so loving to us, when we spend time with Him, He will continue to pour Himself into us. It’s all about what we choose to do. Jeannie writes it best with this step-by-step guide.

  • Confess
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
John 1:9
  • Repent
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord 
Acts 3:9
  • Yeild

Jeannie helps by putting this one to prayer, she said:

Everything I am and everything I have is yours. I want you at the center of my life so that everything I desire and do will emanate from you. Help me submit my will to yours.
  • Abide
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
Colossians 3:16
  • Ask
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Luke 11:13
  • REPEAT

Friends, our spiritual journey is a journey of a lifetime. Ever growing and changing. It is a lifelong story that will continue to be told as. you grow in the Spirit.

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Believing Life is Better Lived with the Holy Spirit!

Don’t Miss Out By Jeannie Cunnion-Daring to Believe Life is Better with the Holy Spirit!

Week Four-Chapters 16-20

For a recap of Week Three.

Once again Jeannie Cunnion simply outdoes herself. If I could shake all the words of her book into a tub I would lay back and soak myself in them. I use the words bath and soak for two reasons. The word bathe, as we all know, implies something is clean. To soak means to immerse and absorb. This study has washed away many preconceived notions I had of the Holy Spirit and all I want to do is absorb all these words into my soul.

He Communicates with Us!

One thing we learned and discussed in depth was that the Holy Spirit communicates to us and speaks through us what He receives from God! To imagine that we have a direct line to God through the Holy Spirit was new and thrilling to me. It took me reading and rereading to absorb what that means. Whatever God wants us to hear is conveyed through His Spirit.

Have you ever been in a situation where you feel you have to say something? Maybe something you have been thinking about, something you feel you need to do? That, my friend, is what Jeannie calls the Nudge. The Holy Spirit is gently nudging you to do or say what God is leading you to. Sometimes it is all about being still, to hear him, to answer him.

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
John 10:27

The Spirit speaks to us on Jesus’s behalf, it’s an amazing gift. He knows us intimately, therefore He speaks to us however we hear him best. Possibly through worship songs, maybe through a verse that just by chance comes to your attention. Maybe you have a friend that always seems to say what you need to hear. I hear him best when I am in His word and doing my studies with my study group. Things just seem to come alive and make sense. If you are not sure how you hear the Spirit, ask Him, He will let speak to you.

He Communicates Through Us

I know it is easy to try and take care of the world (wink wink) but if we just let the Spirit in He can speak through us. There will be times when we won’t know the right thing say. Someone will need to hear words that ease their hurts or sweeps away their anger, words that need to touch their souls. These will be the times that we need to step back and let the Spirit speak through us. He will heal wounds and make anger fade if we allow him to just speak.

He Makes God’s Love Real to Us

The Holy Spirit makes God’s love real for us. He makes our hearts tender toward Jesus by always pointing us back to Him. I love how the apostle Paul wrote.

"God's love has been poured into our heards through the Holy Spirit who He has given to us." Romans 5:5

Isn’t that beautiful? I envision a gorgeous crystal pitcher filled with the Spirit as a hand from above pours it out on us. All we need to do is lift our eyes to him, accept it and let it soak in. God wants us to accept it, to accept him. The more we accept, the more intimate our relationship with God is.

He Convicts Us

Many people seem to struggle with the concept of being convicted of our sin. The Holy Spirit convicts us of three things: sin, righteousness, and judgment. Jeannie did a great job explaining this, I am going to take the liberty of using the words she writes in her book.

First, the word convict can be likened to convince. The Spirit convinces us we need Jesus because of our sin. Without the Holy Spirit, we would stay spiritually dead and separated from God. The Holy Spirits’ job is to continually show us our sin and convince us to choose obedience.

Second, is concerning righteousness. The sense of peace we experience about our salvation with the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit shows us our security in our Savior.

Finally, the Spirit convicts us concerning judgment. The Holy Spirit convinces us that the enemy (Satan) no longer holds authority over us. He has been judged by Jesus and lost.

He Helps Us Live in Freedom

Paul writes in Romans 8

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

When Jesus took our sins to the cross, he took away the shame of our sin. We no longer have to live in fear of making a mistake and losing the love of Christ. Being filled with the Spirit shapes our life, but we live in a world that is filled with temptation to lead us away from God. The enemy would love for us to pick a sin-filled life, but we don’t have to. Jesus paid for our sins on the cross, setting us FREE. I pray you will let the Holy Spirit’s power help you LIVE FREE.

God’s Designed Path-Stepping into the Role of a Lifetime.

The way my Christian walk has gone over the years, I am blessed to look back and see growth! Real spiritual growth. I like to joke that my spiritual growth is like an onion……you know, layers! I grew up in a home where we went to church every week. We were baptized and completed our first communion and confirmation. I truly believed in God and that Jesus died on the cross. I didn’t think too much about God or how he played any role in my life.

I was around the tender age of 22 when God ( Oh yes, looking back, I can see God blatantly moving people in and out of my life) moved my supervisor into the role of evangelist. That’s right; she went from telling me what tables to clean to sharing Jesus. I can still see us sitting there talking and praying for my salvation in my mind’s eye.

Despite having Jesus in my heart, I didn’t really have him in my life. I didn’t know the bible, and I didn’t understand what a beautiful relationship was waiting for me to dive into. As a result, I basically went on living my life as nothing had changed.

I can’t help but look back at that time with sadness for time lost with Jesus. At the same time, I am extremely grateful for his persistent pursuit of me.

Jesus was just beginning with me.

Thankfully, Jesus had plans and never lost track of me. Life moved on; the next time I gave any thought, real, meaningful thought to Jesus, many things had changed. I had finished school, gotten married, and moved halfway across the country. My husband got a great job he was excited about, and we met new people that we quickly became best friends with. (Looking back, I can see this is the time that my life started to change.)

Remember, I had been saved years ago but had not spent any time developing my relationship with Jesus. I didn’t even know I was supposed to do that. As we got settled in our new home, I spent a lot of time (I’ll call them Doug and Susie) with Susie while the guys were at work. She was very eager to share with me her beliefs and asked me outright if I was saved? You don’t want to miss this part, the long-ago moment of me accepting Jesus as my savior came rushing to my memory. I looked at her and could say I was, and truthfully, I was saved, but I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus.

The decision to change.

As I watched Doug and Susie in their relationship with Jesus and each other, I knew that I wanted what they had. I am not saying their relationship was perfect, for we all know that does not exist. That being said, I was encouraged to seek more of a relationship with Jesus and wanted my husband to want the same. You must be wondering, where did my husband fall in with this change of heart of mine?

You see, I started to think differently. I started to care about things that never hit my radar before. For example, I wanted to start attending church, but not the church I (or my husband) grew up in. No, I wanted to change to a more Bible-based, Jesus teaching church. I can almost hear you thinking, how did that go over with the husband? Like a freight train hitting the town in the dead of night, not very welcome.

For the next few years, all I did was learn from my friends and attend their church, if I was able. Because I could not convince my husband to start going regularly, I would make excuses as often as possible to get us there. Sometimes it worked. Many times it did not. I still don’t know why I did not insist we go or go myself. I laugh now; I was an in-the-closet Christian. Unfortunately, it was not from the world but my husband. So, what’s a girl to do, you ask? I continued praying like never before. That was the first step I took in getting to know Jesus.

Stepping full stride into my faith

Fast forward with me a few years. Our friends, Doug and Susie, had taken a new job and moved to North Carolina. It was not too long after that Doug approached my husband regarding a similar opportunity. It did not take much for us to decide it would be a great career move, so he took it. With much excitement, we sold our house and moved to North Carolina as well.

Life was great. We built a beautiful new home and met our new neighbors. Now, this is important; meeting our new neighbors was 100% God moving in my life. I had continued praying and growing in Jesus as much as I could without having a home church. Our relationship with Doug and Susie started to drift, but not for any particular reason I could see. Now I do know why. God was preparing me for the next step in my journey.

Let me introduce to you two of the most influential people in my walk with Christ, Joe and Mary (at least, that’s what we will call them:)). They were our neighbors to our new home and we instantly connected with them. They also belonged to a church they were very involved with and invited us to attend. I absolutely fell in love with it. The atmosphere was exactly what I was looking for. We worshiped with amazing music and teachings that came right from the bible.

Changes that bring blessings

As things do, time brought about some changes, mostly pregnancy. When I became pregnant, I honestly thought I would return to work; as a matter of fact, we planned on it. Then our son was born. I think you will agree with me when I say everything changed when we held him. You guessed it, we changed our mind, and in the blink of an eye, I became a stay-at-home mom. Best life ever!

It was also when God ramped up His pursuit of me. I was able to attend bible studies during the day at Joe and Mary’s church. It was here that my desire to learn more blossomed. I went from one study to the next, not caring who or what it was on. I wanted to learn it all. Let’s say I was a little greedy with my time with Jesus.

As I grew in my relationship with Jesus, my transformation exploded. Don’t ever doubt as your love for Christ grows that you will stay the same. It is simply impossible. My entire world changed. I became diligent in teaching my son about God, determined he would have what I didn’t have growing up. My heart wanted a relationship with my husband I did not have, and I prayed for the Lord to ‘change’ him.

There was nothing I said or prayed that would soften his heart. There was no way he would humble himself to God, ask for the forgiveness of his sin, and put Jesus first. He was tight with control and needed to have it. I continued to pray earnestly as well as diving deeper into the Word.

When blessings are mixed with incredible loss

We were thrilled to find we were pregnant again. I was convinced I wanted all boys about God (totally knowing what was best for me) to bless us with our daughter. For me, life was at its fullest, unfortunately, not so much for my husband. I didn’t know what was wrong, but I certainly knew there was a problem. It was strictly by chance I discovered he was having an affair. Actually, let me be honest, I didn’t discover it; I was the last to know and had to be told by someone I barely knew, my own husband. That was truly the worst day of my life, but at the same time, it made such sense.

I felt so broken, empty, and at a loss of what to do. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone. I had Jesus. I know that may sound like a cliche, but it is as true as the sky is blue. I became laser-focused on putting the needs of my children first. They would never see an ugly argument, never hear us scream terrible things at each other. I was determined to spare them as much pain as possible and needed the love and guidance that only Jesus could give.

Over those years, it was Jesus who used the bible studies to surround me with some of the fiercest prayer warriors I know. I know my strength came from God and those amazing friends holding me up. Don’t get me wrong, I was lost for a time, but God never left my side.

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;he will never let the righteous be shaken.Psalm 55:22
Blessings ALWAYS multiply

Slowly as God put my ‘new normal’ back together, he continued to work in me and around me. Finally, I was able to come out of hiding, no more in the closet Christian. Can I hear an Amen?! I cleaved to him in some of the most painful moments of my life, trusting in all that I had learned of him. That I could depend on him, rely on his promises, and faithfully step into this new life.

"God is indeed my salvation; I will trust and won't be afraid." Isaiah 12:2

As time passed, I knew there were a few things I would never go back to. The most important was knowing the grace of God changed me, and I wanted the world to see it. I wanted a husband that showered me with love, but most of all, I wanted a husband that loved Jesus too! My faith was going to be what people saw in me as soon as we met. At least, that is my working goal. To always have a love of Jesus shine through me so others can see Him and all His glory.

I have continued to grow in my faith and am ecstatic to share my life is at its fullest. The Lord has blessed me in marriage with a wonderful man that, along with all our children (yes, he also has 2, ) were baptized at our church. The day is engrained in my head as another blessing passed on by our loving Father.

Follow the path

I am following a dream of writing for Jesus with my blog, trusting He will take it where He wants it. I don’t know his plan for it, or me, really. I do know; I plan on being obedient to his will for my life. Looking back over the years, I can see so many other instances where God was clearly stepping up on my behalf. It is my turn to step up and follow the path I know was created by God’s hand, strictly for me.