New Creation

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he (or she) is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

Are you in a dark place? Feeling overwhelmed? Are you trying to change? Are you trying to do things the way God has called you to do them…and yet no results? You see no difference?

Hold on. Just as the Monarch caterpillar waits patiently within its’ chrysalis to be transformed…so are you being transformed. Being a child of God makes you a new creation. The old ways of the flesh have passed and the ways of the Spirit are emerging.

Don’t get me wrong, it takes time to change. God has a much different time table than we do. Be patient.

The Monarch butterfly cannot see the beautiful changes taking place within the darkness…but we can!

Just like in the picture. The beautiful Monarch butterfly seemingly hidden, cannot see the beauty of it’s wings. It is dark in there. She has to be still & wait. No wriggling & fussing like I sometimes do.

We too, must wait and TRUST our CREATOR & FATHER GOD. We must have FAITH that He knows what He is doing.

Take a closer look, the black outline of the wings are showing! Just a few more days. Breaking forth from the darkness is so close! If the Monarch would quit now, it would miss the new creation it will become. You can be so close to emerging from your dark place too!

As you are transformed by CHRIST, your new creation emerges!

You & I are beautiful, new creations in CHRIST. Maybe in your darkness, you cannot see your changes. I can see the beauty of your wings. Just wait. God has so much more for you!

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No Condemnation

20190211_103448“There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but walk according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1(NKJV)

It is damaging when others condemn us. I think even more harmful is when we condemn ourselves. We are our harshest critics and we need to know that our heavenly Father does not condemn us.

It is okay to be genuinely sorry or upset with ourselves about something we have done wrong. We need to ask for forgiveness from the person and from God. Genuine sorrow for sin is always given forgiveness from our gracious Heavenly Father. You are set free. Let it go.

“So if the Son sets free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36

There is no condemnation for you. Jesus paid our debt when He shed His blood on the cross. The cross took care of ALL our wrong doings once and for all.

Jesus did not come to condemn us, but to save us, to bring us back to a right relationship with God. (John 3:17)

This broken, sinful world may condemn us if we stand up for Jesus and what is right. Don’t allow criticism to sway you or take you off the “right” path. The path the LORD has laid out for you.

We may be condemned if we aren’t a certain weight, look or act a certain way or reach a certain status. That somehow, if we don’t measure up to the worlds measuring stick…we may be of less value. Not true. That is not how God, our Creator, sees us. God loves you. John 3:16

Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you have done wrong, confess and don’t do it again. Jesus clearly tells the woman caught in adultery…

“She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8:11

When Jesus set us free, He set us free from ALL the tentacles of sin that try to strangle us, to steal our joy, to get us to doubt our value. That freedom includes being free from self condemnation too. You and I are free my friend! We have a brand new chance. “Neither do I condemn you…” What a wonderful Savior!

I AM…Present Tense

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14

I AM with you.” We are not alone.

I AM your GOD.” You are our sovereign God.

“I AM the Alpha and the Omega” (Revelation 1:8) You are the beginning and the end.

“I AM the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:28) You are LORD of all.

“I AM your shield.” Genesis 15:1 You are our protection.

I AM. I AM. The list goes on. These are just a few examples.

GOD did NOT call Himself I “was.” He did NOT say I “was” with you.

He didn’t say I “might be or “used to be.” He said I AM!

GOD said, I AM.

I am—Present tense. (I am doing/I do) with a future meaning.

NOW. Today, right this minute and always. Always in the present time where we exist. That is so, so very important to understand and hold onto!

Do you see the significance? I know it hit me like a flood of healing water over my parched soul.

I AM means to me that He sees my tears. He hears my prayers. He is actively working on my behalf. He is my shield. He is my protector. He is guarding my heart.

I AM means to me that He understands my struggles, my trials, my doubt. I AM is concerned about everything that concerns me.

I AM is among us. I AM is the beginning and the end. He is at the beginning of all and He will be until the end. He is timeless. He is present now. He is everywhere and we are in His Presence right now. He is with each of His children. He is with me and He is with you.

I AM is ready for us to come to Him. I AM is available. We don’t have to wait to make an appointment to talk with Him. That is pretty cool considering He IS the Creator of all.

I AM is enough. God is whatever He wants to be and He is everything that we need Him to be.

I AM loves you & me so much He gave His Son JESUS to die in our place. I encourage you to open your Bible and find out just how amazing our Father, the Great I AM is! Share your favorite verse with me!

Monarch Caterpillar 1 Day Old

Monarch caterpillar hatched yesterdayGod and His stunning creation always amazes and inspires me. I am especially fond of the Monarch butterfly and their life cycle! This Monarch recently hatched and we can already see the signature black, white & yellow strips. It is the size of a fat grain of rice today at one day old.

Check out milkweed plants on your property…hopefully you don’t mow them down! It is the ONLY source of food for the Monarch caterpillars.

Look for little circle nibble marks and it is usually a Monarch caterpillar happily munching!

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You are Mine

“But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)

Many people suffer from insecurities. We struggle with who we are and where we belong. Perhaps you had an earthly father who was not there, who let you down or even hurt you. I am sorry. Our Heavenly Father is not like that.

God makes it clear in this verse. He cares deeply for His children. He has redeemed us through the death & resurrection of His only Son, Jesus. If you believe that as I do…you are redeemed. You are His.

Do not fear, our Daddy who formed us in our mother’s womb…who knew us before we were born—He holds us. (Psalm 139:13-16)

God has called you by name. There is something so comforting thinking about God calling my name. I hope you are comforted knowing God claims you as His own. He is calling your name in love, calling you and I back to a safe place with Him.

He is possessive of us. Make no mistake on what he is telling you. As a proud Father, He is claiming His child. Claiming you. You matter. You are redeemed.

When the world says you are not good enough or not something it thinks you should be…Don’t let those words define you. Don’t listen to the lies of our enemy who lives in the world. Who seeks to destroy us. (1 Peter 5:8) Give it all to your Father.

“Cast all your cares upon Him, for he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Review often what your Father is telling you in Isaiah 43:1 “I have redeemed you. Do not fear. You are Mine.”

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Gentle as a Butterfly

Be gentle as a butterfly

We are all fighting some type of battle. Relationship issues, job issues, too many bills and not enough money, sadness, brokenness, hopelessness, and on & on it goes…

You & I have the opportunity every day to make a positive difference in those around us.

Look at our butterfly friends. Butterflies gently land on a flower, take a drink and in doing so, they help to pollinate the flower. Then they leave without causing any harm. Wouldn’t it be a better world if we could gently come along side of someone, give them a kind, encouraging word and do no harm?

God’s Word encourages us to do the same thing:

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Peaceful Confidence

Aruba sunrise at ChapelWe are faced with things in our lives that challenge our faith, that bring us to our knees. I have been facing a particularly difficult storm in my life. A valley of the lowest kind. Have you ever been there? When it feels like this is a storm you may not make it through? Perhaps you are there now.

Everything around you giving way. My world twisted & shook. Rocked to my very core, like nothing I had ever encountered. Does it seem like the mountain top just seemed too high to even try to get to, the valley too great a distance to travel? I’m so weary. Are you weary? What could we do? Do we give up?

No. It took some time to figure things out but as God walked with me…I began to have a peaceful confidence.

I have peace, peace given to me by Jesus. Peace given to you. His very words are:

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 (NKJV)

Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. (Reference Galatians 5:22) Instead of fear or anger, I choose to have peace reside within me.

I have confidence. Confidence that I will get through this. That you will get through this. Hold on. He will be our confidence.

“For the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.” Proverbs 3:26 (NKJV)

“Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

I believe that GOD is well aware of all things and that includes my situation (yours too) and He will protect us.

“But the LORD is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NIV)

He will give you and I strength to stand up under the pressure of our trials and He will not give us more than we can bear.

“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful; who will not allow you be tempted beyond what you are able. But with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)

He will give us His peace as we wait for His timing to restore all things that were taken by the enemy, satan.

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten….” Joel 2:25 (NKJV)

He will equip us to work with Him at what He wants to accomplish through each of us according to His will & purpose.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

I will keep reading His Word. I will keep pursuing my relationship with Him. I will keep praying and asking for strength & wisdom. AND I know this sounds so weird…I will thank Him for this trial, this storm, this thorn in my flesh right now. (Reference 2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

This storm had brought me to my lowest place however, it has raised me up into a relationship with my Lord that I would never had found! The closeness I share I am most grateful for. I am not liking this storm but I can bear it. I am not strong, but He is! I will boast of His strength!

I am enjoying this peaceful confidence I have in knowing GOD is STRONG & TRUSTWORTHY. You can have the same peaceful confidence. Just ask Him. He is a good Dad!

Wonderfully Made

iguana-e1559870761392One afternoon when I was in Aruba, I met this girl (I think she’s a girl). She was hanging out at the pizza place and when I walked by, she came over to the edge of the deck and watched me closely. I took a couple of pictures and this one makes me think she is saying, “Hey, this is my good side!”

It makes me think of how wonderful God made all things. The creativity in this iguana, all the iridescent colors, the spikes, and the scales. As I was looking at the scales, I noticed several different types on the same iguana!

Doing research I learned that Iguanas have varying types of scales covering different areas of their body, for example, there are some large round scales scattered around the neck area and they overlap.  The scales on the top trunk of their body are thicker and more tightly packed than on the belly. The scales have a variety of colors that seem to glow in the sunlight. I noticed a white button sized bump under her neck area. What is that? It is a round scale known as a sub-tympanic shield or helmet scale. Some biologists speculate that it is used as a ‘bluff’ eye to ward off predators. Neat!

God created this iguana with such beauty but also equipped her to survive the Aruba heat. She finds shade under bushes or uses her razor sharp claws to quickly climb in the trees. She is far from defenseless. Part of her defense is her tail. On average over half her length is her tail. She uses it for balancing when climbing, as a wavelike propellant while swimming, and as a formidable whip-like weapon. She is also a master of disguise, using camouflage to hide from predators. So cool!

Wonderfully made and equipped to thrive in her environment. So are you and I.

We are wonderfully made. Our Father God says so.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.”
Psalm 139:14 (ESV)

Created in His Image. God’s Image.

“So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”
Genesis 1:27 (NIV)

I will praise God for all the beauty as I look around this earth He created for us! I am thankful I got to spend some time really looking at the beauty in this girl and she was happy to show me her best side!

 

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Wonderfully Made

via Wonderfully Made

Fear is a Liar

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

I love the song by Zack Williams called, “Fear is a Liar.” It is about all the lies that the enemy tells us to try and break our spirit, to make us get off track in our walk with the LORD and to eventually cause us to give up. If Fear is talking louder than the TRUTH, read on and … look it up this song on YouTube. It is a really good song. Some of the lyrics are as follows in quotes Lyrics from Fear Is a Liar by Zack Williams

“When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough”

Fear tells us we can’t do it. It stops us in out steps. Fear tells us we have messed up too many times. LIES! LIAR! LIES! Fear is a liar!

God says He did not give us a spirit of fear. Fear is the absence of peace. Fear wears us down. Fear makes us believe things that are not true about ourselves. Fear tries to belittle & hide the TRUTH of GOD. Where does fear & doubt come from? It comes from the enemy of God’s children, from the evil one, the devil, Satan.

In John 8:44, Jesus said this about Satan, “…He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in truth, because there is no truth in him. When he (Satan) speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Why do we so easily fall for the same old tricks, the same old lies? The lies the powers of darkness puts in our minds discourages us, and if we continue to listen, it can ruin our soul. How can we stop the voices that tell us awful things?

As a child of GOD, you can choose to listen to your Heavenly Father. Listen to GOD. Look into the love letter He gave us..His Word, the Bible.

How about if we answer each line with what GOD says!

“When he told you you’re not good enough” What a LIE! We are created in GOD’S Image. (Genesis 1:21 & 1:31)
“When he told you you’re not right” 
Don’t you believe it! Our wrongs are forgiven! We are made righteous in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21)
“When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight” 
It is a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12) Our strength comes from the LORD (Psalm 46:1, Psalm 22:19, Psalm 28:7-8, Isaiah 12:2 & many more!) and the battle is His (1 Samuel 14:47)
“When he told you you’re not worthy” 
Jesus died for you & me while we were against GOD (Romans 5:8)
When he told you you’re not loved 
GOD loves us so much He sent Jesus to die in our place (John 3:16)
“When he told you you’re not beautiful” 
GOD says we are beautiful (Song of Solomon 4:7)
“That you’ll never be enough” 
We are GOD’S Masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)

Call fear what it is…A LIAR.