Safety In The Storm by Trish

Our state and surrounding states are currently facing another Hurricane and most people are running to and fro to make last minute preparations. Such details include having the essentials such as food and water, securing your home and staying closely connected to the latest new and updates. 

As people are making sure their homes are secured there’s a hint of uncertainty for many as they wait for the storm to pass. 

Hurricanes, much like life’s storms come at unexpected times and the outcome is left to the unknown. Yet in the midst of storms both naturally and figuratively, we can place our trust in the One who calms the wind and rain. 

We know that hard times will come, the Bible tells us this but we can place our confidence in Jesus, our strong tower and see victory in every situation we face!

When storms come, the enemy wants us to react in fear. But God wants us to respond in FAITH.  Faith does not deny the storm but speaks to it and commands “peace be still”. 

Whatever storm you’re facing, let your faith be bigger than your fear. You may not be able to track the direct path of the storm but you can rest knowing you are safe in the Father’s care. 

As you navigate the storm, learn from Jesus’s example and speak to it! If your storm is sickness, speak healing. If your storm is broken relationships, speak restoration. If your storm is confusion, speak wisdom and clarity. If your storm is financial lack, speak blessing and provision! We’ve been given authority to speak to the storm! 

Be encouraged! The sun shines brightest after the darkest storm!

The Power of Prayer by Trish

Just recently I was watching the news and heard the tragic story of a little boy who went missing while playing with his cousins outdoors. The family lived near a wooded area but it was unknown if he had wandered off, or if he was kidnapped. It was a tragedy and I cannot imagine the horror this family went through. Instantly I said a prayer for his safe return. As of a couple of days ago the news broke that the little boy was found, unharmed, with only scratches from his two days in the woods where he had wandered into. 

I know there were countless prayers across the country for his safe return and it was nothing short of a miracle that this young boy survived the weather conditions, and was safely returned to his family. What if there was no one praying? God longs to hear and answer the cries of His children. He delights in the faith we place in Him. In fact, without it, it’s impossible to please Him. (Hebrews 11:6) 

I was speaking to my best friend the other day who happens to be “Supermom,” she’s amazing! She was sharing how one night she encouraged her two young children to pray with her. As they sat down, she said, “Let’s just pray in the Spirit and if God reveals something to your heart, pray it out.” Her young son tapped her leg and said he felt like God was showing him a little boy in Africa and called him by name, saying he no longer wanted to go to church. My friend said, “Well, keep praying to see if God shows you anything else and we will believe that God will turn this young boy’s heart back to church.” We will never know the outcome of this story on this side of heaven, but I believe in my heart that a little boy in Africa is turning his affections back to God and to church and the prayer of little boy here in the U.S. was used by God for this to happen! 

Now, I know many of you reading this would say, “That is too far-fetched.” But as you nurture your relationship with God and spend time in prayer, the Holy Spirit will reveal things to you and teach you how to pray specific prayers in faith.  

I remember when I moved to Phoenix years ago. I was 18 years old and I move there with nothing but $500 in the bank, and a whole lot of faith. I was trusting God for a car, and I knew what I had to work with wasn’t much, but I trusted the Lord. Each morning my precious mentor would require me to meet at 5:00 am for prayer. I hated it at first because I wanted to sleep, but it instilled a lifestyle of prayer in me.  One morning, I felt God lay on my heart to spend 3 days praying in the Holy Spirit during my lunch break about a car. This was on a Monday and for 3 days I obeyed and prayed. In my mind I thought I was praying about a car I was going to get. 

The final day of my 3-day assignment was on a Wednesday and that night, coming home from church, I was in horrible car accident at one of the busiest intersections in downtown Phoenix. Someone running a red light struck us on my side of the vehicle.  That pushed our car over to the curb, beyond the lanes of where oncoming traffic would be. Thankfully, there wasn’t any oncoming traffic at that specific time. My side of the car was so damaged I couldn’t open my door.  I remember searching my body to see if anything was broken or cut and nothing.  I climbed out of the driver’s side and was completely fine.  My mentor was also coming home from church and saw the scene of a bad accident. I saw her car pass by and screamed her name. She turned around and drove me home that night. I walked away with only a bruise on my chest from the seatbelt, and a back that just needed a good adjustment. All parties involved were fine! As we drove home I was quiet and just thanking God for His protection when I heard God speak to my heart, “This is the car you’ve been praying over for 3 days.” I still get emotional when I think of this story.  

Sometimes we think of prayer as a checklist or something we do to “clock in” our time with God when actually prayer is for our benefit.  The Holy Spirit guides us and teaches us things to come. The Bible says that even now Jesus is at the right hand of the Father praying for us. If Jesus Himself has a prayer life, how much more do we need one? 

Prayer with the Father is so much more than making our requests known although that is part of it. It is communion and sweet fellowship with the Lover our souls. The One, who created us, knows us by name and even knows the number of hairs on our heads. He knows you, He loves you and He longs to hear your voice in prayer! 

By the way, the end of my story is sweeter still.  By Friday of that same week, God laid it on the hearts of a beautiful couple to give me my first car. God is good and His mercy endures forever!

Immeasurably More Love by Sonya

“Through Christ may you know the love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”Ephesians 3:19-21​

This Christmas season I want you to take these verses to heart and believe them. These verses really help to understand Christ’s love for us, and how deep God’s love is for us, to have His son born on Christmas to show us that. There is nothing we can do or say that will keep us from Christ’s love or make Him loves us more no matter what. Knowing Christ’s love for each of us will help you understand how Great God’s love is and it is so much greater than what we could ever imagine. This can be hard to comprehend, and I am in that season where it is difficult to think how God can love us so much just as we are. I mess up all the time and have a hard time loving myself and so my vision is blurred from how God sees me.  But when I look through God’s lens, and He tells me I am His daughter, His masterpiece, and His love is unconditional, I see that nothing I do or say will make Him view me any differently. Wow, that is mind blowing and as humans we have a hard time understanding that. Our flesh gets in the way of truly believing how much God loves us. ​

Understand God’s love through His Son this Christmas by realizing God loves us first and He loves you more than anyone else. Also God’s love is eternal and will last forever and His love is unconditional no matter what you do. Lastly His love is immeasurable.  We can’t ever put into words or describe the love He has for us because it is so remarkable. So remarkable in a way that God sent Christ to come to earth on Christmas, so He could die for us and that we could have everlasting life with Him. How amazing is this and I want to understand that kind of love this Christmas. Who is with me? Our identity needs to be rooted in Christ and fully understanding His love will set us free. Are we ready to receive the greatest Christmas gift? God’s love is immeasurably more than what we could ask for with no strings attached. ​

I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore continued my faithfulness to you.”Jeremiah 31:3​

Now that you receive the love, go out and spread His love to those around you and let the Christmas spirit spread everywhere you go! Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Photo Credit: Free Pik

Reckless Love by Kenika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you own a radio, television, computer or even just a phone, you have probably heard the 2018 GMA Dove Award winning “Song of the Year” “Reckless Love” by Cory Asbury.  It’s a Sunday morning staple all around the country and undeniably the world.  We belt out, at the top of our lungs, with no shame, the lyrics that speak to how God will stop at nothing to pursue us with His love.  It’s “overwhelming, never-ending, and reckless,” just to name a few words from the lyrics.  It breaks down every barrier and cuts through every obstacle just to pursue closeness with us.  We all get that tingly feeling in our hearts and spirits when we take a moment to let that sink in, and it touches a lot of us in our relationships with Jesus.  The thought that no matter what I do, or what attempts to be done to me, He’ll leave the “99” just to come after one, and that one is me.

The idea of the reckless love of God is very real to me, but through a conversation with a co-worker I came to understand it on an even deeper level.  She was telling me of her background and growing up in a different religion than Christianity. Throughout her lifetime she was very hurt by this organization and, as an adult, had sworn off all religion.  She was determined to never be involved with any god.  Then she met two friends.  One of them gently, and nicely invited her to church regularly during various activities they did together.  Then, another friend came in with a little stronger approach, letting her know that she needed to develop a relationship with God.  This went on for over a year when she finally gave in and visited a church service.  As the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was being preached, she couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed, to the point that tears were running down her face.  She realized Jesus had died for her sins, and contrary to what the other religion taught her, she could be close to and have a relationship with God as a result. Not through anything she had done or could do, but through what had already been done on the cross.  She made a decision to receive Christ as her Savior that same day and never looked back.

In the other religion she was a part of, everything was works based. God’s love and your connection to His people was predicated on what you do.  However the true Gospel turns all of that on its head in that, “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 CSB) Before we could do anything right or wrong, He died for our sins.  Which means there is no amount of work we can do to earn God’s love.  He gave us His Son, as the sacrificial Lamb, because of His love.  Her story encouraged me in that it demonstrates how patient and loving God is in His pursuit of us. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, He stops at nothing with His reckless love. As we approach Christmas, we are reminded of the birth of Jesus.  Take a moment to thank our Father for allowing Jesus to be born, that He might die, in order to demonstrate God’s overwhelming, never-ending love for me and you.

 

photocredit: dreamstime