What’s Wrong With Living Right by Trish

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Each one of us has our own personal experience that has led us
to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. For some it was a Christian home where
Biblical principles were the foundation, for others it includes a
testimony of riotous living that one day ended and a new life in Christ
began.
My personal story includes living in a Christian home where I was
taught from a young age to know and love Jesus.  I often tell people
that I invited Jesus into my heart when I was a little girl but I gave Him
my heart fully surrendered at the age of 15. For me, I knew what was
right and wrong in the sight of God and I did what was right just for
obedience sake…because it was what was expected. After an
encounter with Jesus as a teenager I no longer “followed the rules”
because it was the expected, but my heart truly desired to please the
lover of my soul, the One who gave me His life, so I could live mine.
I began to live out of relationship with Christ and no longer rules in hopes
that He would be pleased. I now had a revelation that He loved me, period.
Because of that love, living right was the least that I could do but not a way
of winning His approval or affection.
While there was no dramatic outward change in my behavior there was
a radical transformation in my heart. I longed to serve the King and my
heart was to please His. The basis of my Christian walk was now a
result of my love for Him not because it was what I was taught.
In living out the Christian walk, it has not always been easy. There
have many times where desire for the flesh outweighed my desire to
do the right thing and in that I thank God for His grace. However, I can
say with sincere gratitude “God has kept me”.
In making a daily decision to follow the Lord I find it interesting and
disheartening that the majority of backlash has come from those who
should be closest to me. Some of the most painful and critical
statements of “living a perfect life” and being “judgmental” of those
who do not live like me have been sent like daggers to my heart, at
times causing me to question my walk.
So then, what is wrong with choosing to live right?
The answer is nothing. However in seeking to live a life pleasing to the
Lord, check your heart often. What are the motives in doing what’s
right? Is your lifestyle bringing encouragement to those around you or
do people feel judged/condemned when you walk into the room? Our
lives should be like a fountain of refreshing water to those who are not
living for Christ causing them to thirst after Him.
So many times we start off with the right motives but self-righteousness
can creep in like a silent, invisible gas that takes life out of people.
In living a life that honors the Lord, I encourage you in the following
steps that I often use to examine my own heart:
1) Stay humble
Understand that there is NO good thing you can do on your own.
Anything that is deemed as good in your life is only by the grace of
God!
2) Understand that you are never so safe in your faith that you cannot
fall. I believe that you can walk the straight and narrow path but it requires
a heart that is daily surrendered to the Lord. The moment we take our
eyes off of Jesus, we’ve just provided a moment of opportunity for the
enemy to come in and bombard us. Make no mistake about it, we will
be tempted but God has provided a way of escape.
We have to realize that not one person is exempt from temptation and
there is none among us who has “arrived”.
This is why accountability is so important. Those closest to you should
have shared values so that when you are off course, you have
someone to remind you what you believe and who you live for.
When you are mindful of your own vulnerabilities, you are less likely to
pick up stones to throw at others.
3) Understand that each of us have different convictions
While I believe there are some foundational principles in living the
Christian life that are not up for negotiation, I do realize that there are
other topics that are not agreed upon by all who are in my life. This is
where maturity must be in operation. Just because someone does not
share your point of view on a matter or a conviction you have in your
life does not make him or her less Christ-like. Work out your own
salvation. Perhaps you have a stronger conviction in a specific area of
your life because that is an area of potential struggle for you
personally. In all things, ask yourself, does this bring honor to the
Father? Am I hurting His heart by this behavior? Would the action I’m
participating in cause someone else to stumble? If each of us assumed
responsibility for taking inventory of our own walk we would find less
time to point out the flaws in others.
4)  Pray for those who persecute you
Many times people criticize what they do not understand OR are not
willing to do themselves. Love truly does conquer all. Continue to love
and be a grace giver. Not everyone is going to agree with you and
there will be some who are vocal about how you live your life. The best
thing to do is let your light shine and your love speak.
5)  Stay focused on the big picture
When you stay focused on what you’re truly living for, it keeps you on
track. For me it is to hear those words “Well done, my good and faithful
servant”. Oh how my heart beats faster with love and excitement as I
think of that day I will stand before the Hero of my Heart, the One who
loved me like no other and He tells me that I served Him well! Just the
thought of hearing His words of approval and seeing the look of love in
His eyes for me causes me to let everything else dissipate and centers
me back to my purpose.
There are great blessings for those who walk uprightly before the Lord.
Do not be discouraged if you feel you have not seen those rewards
come to pass. The Lord has not forgotten about you and He sees every
sacrifice, every “no” you give to stay on course. He is faithful to those
who call Him Lord and serve Him.
Let the following verse serve as your reminder today:
Galatians 6:9 New International Version (NIV)
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we
will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

 

 

To Call Home Your Safe Haven and Solid Rock by Sonya

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Picture your church being that sacred place you love to go to and just let your guard down. The place where you find healing, rest and love. Now imagine your home being that place and safe haven for you and your family. Would that change the look of our families if each home was filled with love and peace and a place of rest that you can call your “Safe Haven?” I don’t think we have to look real hard to find that the home we want is right in front of us. We can have a home that is safe to let our guard down and feel God’s presence in. Our homes can be built on God’s word and foundation.

God’s desire is to have a solid foundation and not have a home on unstable ground like most of the world has. Our homes should be our ministry to others and our family and that is why building our home on the solid rock is vitally important. Mathew 7:24-27 talks about building on a solid foundation, 24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” This is a powerful verse that holds us accountable by God’s standards. Do we want to follow the world and build our house on sand that will break, or a home that is unbreakable because it is solid rock and firm?

My prayer is that we desire to have the safe haven and solid rock home that can’t be broken and shaken. I have felt the urgency in my life to build my home on God’s word surrounded by prayer and love for all those who come and go from it. This home I pray can withstand anything and will protect itself from whatever the enemy throws at it. That is the kind of home I want to live in and be a part of.  “It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built” Luke 6:48. Do you have a well built home? All it takes is making it a priority and I have realized not letting the busyness of this world take over your home life. Don’t waste time and start now to guard and protect your home to be that Safe Haven and Solid Rock for you and your family.

Fear Not by Kenika

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There is always a reason why we refuse to step out, do something
great, or even believe that something great can happen for us.  The
easiest and most obvious answer is fear.  In the Bible, “Fear not”, or
“Do not be afraid” is mentioned 365 times.  There are 365 days in our
calendar year so many have said God was purposeful in doing that.
That means there is a verse of Scripture for every day of our year,
commanding us to have courage and to remain unafraid. God showed
me three different types of fear, although it undoubtedly can take on
many forms, I found three that may be relatable to just about anyone.
Clown Car Fear
My cousin is an adult, a mother, and a believer in Jesus Christ from her
youth.  She has salvation and victory through His sacrifice, she
believes in Him to take care of her and to order her steps.  However,
she is deathly afraid of clowns.  I might be giggling as I write this, but
this is a very real thing to her.  I recall a story years ago of her driving
down the street minding her business when a car with a clown driving
pulled up next to her.  She absolutely lost it!  Screaming, crying and
virtually paralyzed and unable to drive forward until the car with the
clown driving was completely out of sight.  Poor guy was probably on
his way to work or to a birthday gig, but for her it was a traumatizing
experience.  Another kind of fear in this category could be snakes,
spiders, or heights, but it’s the kind of fear that is very visible and very
obvious both to the person struggling with it, and anyone around them
when the agent presents itself.
Hospital Fear
I don’t tend to be admittedly afraid of very many things, but as I’ve
gotten older I find myself not liking hospitals or needles.  As a matter
of fact, I remember as a little girl it was time for me to get shots for
school and the conversation with the doctor went a little like this:
Doctor: “Do you want it in this arm?”
Me: “No”
Doctor: “This arm?”
Me: (Shaking head as to say no)
Doctor: “Okay…do you want it in this leg?”
Me: “NO”
Doctor: “What about this leg?”
Me: “NO”
Doctor: “Well then… where do you want it?”
Me: (Hysterical at this point) “I don’t want it at all!”
I do get a little crazy with the phlebotomists and have to be coaxed
into putting my arm down for blood to be drawn, but as an adult I can
typically hide this fear.  I am a frequent visitor to the hospital for births
and even sometimes deaths, but the queasy feeling I get in my
stomach walking in, no one would ever be able to detect.
Elusive Fear
I know people whose parents have said things to them as a child that
have stuck with them into adulthood. Or perhaps an incident of abuse
took place at a young age and the manifestations are present today,
although at times they go undetected.  Maybe your mother or father
used to punish you by saying, “I’m leaving you and not coming back”,
or something to that extent.  As an adult you have now discovered
that you have abandonment or attachment issues because of it. This is
elusive fear.  It is a fear that reveals itself much later in life and
perhaps was not as easy for you to detect or trace.
You may be judging my cousin with the clown fear and think that
it is ridiculous, or perhaps you’re judging my slight fear of needles and
hospitals because it seems childish, but I know that no one can escape
elusive fear.  It’s the fear that you can’t make it because your parents
didn’t make it, it’s the fear you have of pursuing your dreams, the fear
of failure, the fear of success, or perhaps you worry about your
relationship with your kids since you don’t have a good relationship
with your parents.  It can be anything. Taking it a step further maybe
you relate to the Clown Car Fear, Hospital Fear, and/or Elusive Fear.
No matter where we find ourselves, God commands us to “Fear Not.”
Since it is present 365 times in Scripture, I imagine He was trying to
drive a point home. Although we may wrestle with fears, we do not
have to be conquered by our fears. Through Him we have the victory
over fears. We can surrender whatever we are afraid of to Him and He
will heal the areas that need to be healed and give us a chance at a
better future free from the torture of fear.

He Fulfills by Bombi

 

 

dreamstime_xs_32161366If you’ve followed the ministry of Ladies on Life and have read any of my posts on our website, then maybe you learned about my journey as a single mom. Being a mother has been one of my most favorite blessings to live out each day. Being a single mom has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever experienced. Praise be to God, I have never been alone or forsaken. I have had a community of people that have poured into my daughter’s life and have helped to do some “heavy lifting” with me on this journey.

However, along the way I wondered if I would simply stay a single mom. I prayed and sought God about it. Having experienced divorce and the pain that comes with it, I was so very afraid to get hurt. I wondered if I would ever find someone who truly loved the Lord more than anything, and would be able walk out that love for the Lord and for my daughter and me. I would see others around me blessed with wonderful husbands and marriages. I wondered if I would forever be a spectator. I even came to the place that I surrendered my hopes and longings. I just wanted to do whatever God wanted me to do.

Then, from what seemed to come out of nowhere, from thousands of miles away, God sent a man in my life that accepted the challenge to love God and win my heart and my daughter’s heart. He sought the Lord, and took the careful steps to become our champion. What at one point seemed unthinkable became more and more a reality. What seemed like a dead dream buried deep in the recesses of my heart, turned into a miraculous resurrection. With time I found myself opening back up and knowing that this time I did not choose, but God did the choosing and I could trust God’s choice. The best choice.

So here I am, 3100 miles later (WA to FL), a thirty-something newlywed. I’m alive, I’m loving, and I’m being loved. I’m feeling so overwhelmed by God’s love, grace, and plan. If you’re reading this, and you’ve experienced the longing for a lifetime partner, I’m a living testimony that true love is real. I testify that God hears the cries of your heart. He knows the partner that is perfect for you. If He needs to bring him from the other side of the country or world, He’ll do it. I testify that God longs to fulfill the longings of your heart. I know it. He did it for me. He’ll do it for you. Thank you Jesus for giving me your very best! Thank you to all those who have journeyed and journey with me in some way shape or form. You all know who you are. I love you, and I thank you.

Proverbs 13:12 (NIV)

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.