Looking to Him

Looking to Him

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

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Looking to Him in Our Shame

David is known as a man after God’s own heart, but if you study his life, it won’t take you long to realize that he wasn’t without blemish. While known for his courage, he also faced moments of fear. One of these times is recorded in 1 Samuel chapter 21.

“That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish, king of Gath. But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: ” ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?”

David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.”

1 Samuel 21:10-13, emphasis mine

Afraid…David?

I’m a little taken when I read that David was afraid. Is this the same man who so confidently defeated Goliath? I can only imagine the embarrassment our strong and confident David felt after giving such a display. The Bible doesn’t really tell us that David felt shame over his actions. I have to wonder though, how would he have handled the situation if instead of fear, he’d felt as confident in the Lord as he did when the giant came down?

When the king saw his unsound state, he insisted that David leave. David fled to a cave. It is believed by scholars that at this time David wrote Psalm 34.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”
Psalm 34:4-5

Their faces are never covered in shame. 

Shame

I wonder if David felt shame while drooling and scratching at the door. I wonder if he was looking back at his past actions and wishing he’d looked to the Lord in his fear. Be my thoughts inline with David’s thought process or not, I find comfort and direction in his psalm.

I so often feel ashamed with myself.

Ashamed for opportunities missed.

Ashamed for comments said or judgements made.

Ashamed for my idleness.

Ashamed for my shortcomings.

The shame is heavy and holds me down. In this pit, I’m only looking inward at what I can do. In this pit, I feel inadequate for kingdom work. In this pit, I’ve forget who I am in God.

Never Covered in Shame

I believe that David forgot who he was when he was faced with this fear. He forgot that God had chosen him to be king, that the battle was the Lord’s. But as he later says, those who look to him are radiant and their faces aren’t covered in shame!

Oh how, I love David’s declaration!

In Romans 8:1-2 Paul tells us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

When I look inwardly it’s no wonder that I feel insecure. When I focus on God, and what He’s done for me I don’t have to feel ashamed. I can move on and be empowered to take advantage of the opportunities He gives.

We must remember to look to Him and see that we’ve been forgiven, and that our flesh might be weak, but the spirit is powerful!

David was able to move on from his lowly encounter. He gave praise to God for delivering him and continued to seek God’s will. Yes, he would stumble, but David was a man of worship. He continued to look to God and seek His will. Oh, that we might do the same!

A Prayer Over Our Hearts

Father God,

We praise you for the mighty God that you are, and for delivering us from sin! In all circumstances, may we look to you. Draw us to your presence and help us to remember who we are in you. May our lives not be liven selfishly, but instead for your glory. Use us to advance your kingdom! 

In the Name of Jesus, 

Amen 

 

 

 

 

 

Fear Is a Liar

Fear Is a Liar

April E

April E

I grew up in Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma Christian University. Right after earning my degree in Music Education I moved to Germany to do mission work for 5 years. During those 5 years, I married my husband and we eventually became parents to our spunky daughter! We settled back in Oklahoma and added an energetic son to our family! I am now a stay-at-home mom who is still very passionate about mission work, Germany, singing, family, and most of all, my relationship with God.
April E

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As a mother, wife and human being living in this world, there are not many days that pass by that I don’t constantly over-analyze what I said, what I did, my parenting choices or any aspect of my life. Many times my thoughts go negative and I believe that I’m doing it all wrong. It’s so easy to feel that way.

There are a plethora of books, blogs and opinions being shared about how to do everything under the sun. Social media sets us up for failure while comparing our life and decisions to all the “social media perfect” lives out there.

Why do we allow ourselves to feel like failures, even when we know in our hearts we are doing the best we can and we really care for our families? Well, the easiest explanation for that is that fear is a liar.

Fear Is a Liar

Fear creeps into our hearts and minds and tries to tell us that we aren’t living up to the standards the world thinks we should. Fear tells us we are failing in every way and in every aspect of our lives. Fear takes over our thoughts and feeds us lie after lie and makes us believe we will never be successful, we will mess up our children and our own lives.

The song, Fear Is a Liar, by Zach Williams talks about this topic and reminds us that fear only lies to us and takes away peace from us. I hope this is a good reminder for you, as it is to me, that God is the one who speaks truth and gives us grace to overcome our failures. Praise the Lord!

The Song

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

Chorus

Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar

When he told you were troubled
You’ll forever be alone
When he told you you should run away
You’ll never find a home
When he told you you were dirty
And you should be ashamed
When he told you you could be the one
That grace could never change

Chorus

Fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar

Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel

Oh, fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire

‘Cause fear he is a liar

A Prayer Over Our Hearts

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you so much for your grace and your love that gives us peace and tells us the truth, that in You we can be saved and all our failures are wiped away. Thank you for helping us to fight against fear and Satan, who puts that fear in our minds. We ask that you continue to protect us against the evil one who tries to rob us of the peace you freely give us. May we always lean on you and accept your peace and strength to get us through all of life’s difficult decisions. We love you and we are so thankful for you. Without you, we would be nothing. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

 

Do Not Let Fear Overcome Love

Do Not Let Fear Overcome Love

April E

April E

I grew up in Oklahoma and attended Oklahoma Christian University. Right after earning my degree in Music Education I moved to Germany to do mission work for 5 years. During those 5 years, I married my husband and we eventually became parents to our spunky daughter! We settled back in Oklahoma and added an energetic son to our family! I am now a stay-at-home mom who is still very passionate about mission work, Germany, singing, family, and most of all, my relationship with God.
April E

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.Recently I read that the Bible uses the phrase “Do not fear” 365 times, once for every day of the year. I have been curious if that is true. It sounds great, right? While I didn’t do an incredibly deep study, I did check some Bible resources to see what came up when I searched this phrase. I didn’t look up all variations of the phrase, but I discovered that it would be difficult to come up with exactly 365 instances. This reminded me to always check the facts before believing something I read. However, I still find it interesting that the Bible uses this phrase so many times.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
‭‭Joshua ‭1:9

Right now it seems like there is so much fear in the world and in this country. Perhaps it has always been this way, but I feel that we are letting fear take over our hearts. We allow fear to conquer love by living in a way that is safer rather than more loving. This issue has been on my heart for so long. I feel it’s important to talk about these issues with love and consideration.

we-allow-fear-to-conquer-love

The refugee situation has been on my heart a lot. I understand people’s fear and why they don’t want refugees to come into the country. However, when are we going to listen to God’s words? If there ever was a time we should not fear, that we should reach out and serve others who are desperate, is that not now? I know many fear the threat of allowing terrorists into our country, and understandably so. But what about the many innocent lives turned upside down by the violence in their home country? Will we ignore God’s command to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and help those who have nothing? What about the innocent children who don’t even understand what is going on in their world or have lost loved ones?

Sometimes serving others means we have to risk something. Maybe it is comfort, our safety, or even our lives. Isn’t that what Jesus would do? Look at the Apostles’ lives. They truly dedicated their lives to serving and following Jesus, even to the point of death. When we get to heaven, will God turn us away, saying He doesn’t know us because we didn’t welcome strangers and didn’t feed and clothe those in need?

Matthew 25:34-46

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

design

Overcoming fear is difficult. I struggle with it just as much as others. If I were in a desperate situation like these refugees, I would be thankful for any act of love shown to me by strangers. What better way to show God’s love and potentially bring someone to Christ than to serve in such a situation?

When we refuse to accept fear over love, we fight against the evil one. Evil men and Satan himself can try to fill us with fear, but no one can take away our faith and salvation.

“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
‭‭Psalm ‭118:6

Let us pray to God for strength to get through difficult and fearful situations. When fear no longer rules our hearts, we can share God’s love with others who need it so desperately.

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for always being with us, especially when we feel fear. We ask that you give us the strength to serve others even if it means sacrifice. Help us to be loving and compassionate followers of you and to think of others over ourselves. We long to be like you and to serve others like your son Jesus served on earth. Help us every day to overcome the evil one and to choose love over fear. It’s in Jesus’ name that I pray, Amen.


Be encouraged by these posts as well!

Unconditional LoveRemembering Refugees   We are all treasured    Persecution Voice of the Martyrs

 

do-not-let-fear-overcome-love-pinterest-2

Trusting God: Wanting Him More Than Anything

Trusting God: Wanting Him More Than Anything

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

With my little baby bundled up in the back seat, we started the drive to the allergy clinic downtown. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Our little one hadn’t been doing so well, and we’d been working with a GI doctor and her pediatrician to figure out what it was her body didn’t like. I was scared and uncomfortable with the process. Uncomfortable with what we might find out. Uncomfortable with what we wouldn’t find out. And frustrated. So, so frustrated that my baby girl was having to go through this.

I was trying to pray, but I wasn’t sure what to pray for. I’d been praying so much for our sweet girl and her troubles. What could I possibly say right now, as we were nearing this critical appointment? About as soon as I had these thoughts I heard this song playing on the radio:

“And I know any second You could take my pain away, but even if you don’t, I pray

Help me want the healer more than the healing.

Help me want the Savior more than the saving.

Help me want the giver more than the giving.

Oh, help me want you Jesus more than anything.”

I burst into tears as I felt God’s arms around me in that moment.

The song went on to talk about the weakness we face on our own and the feeling of overwhelm we can feel from our burdens. It helped me realize that God has already done everything that we need, no matter the circumstance we face.

He sent Jesus. 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16 

Isn’t that all that really matters? Of course, in our humanness we forget. We become consumed by our circumstances and it’s not enough. This is nothing new for our generation.

God’s Presence is Enough

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the first few books of the Bible lately. Oh, the Israelites–how easy it is for us to judge them! This group of Hebrew slaves has been known through the ages for their complaints. God delivered them, but again and again their struggles consumed them and they started to question God. Their struggles were very real, by the way. Can you even imagine being in their place? Wandering about for years, facing the harsh realities of the desert, and going through foreign lands? Their complaints and questioning frustrated God. God wanted them to understand that his presence with them was enough. He would sustain their needs. He wanted them to trust him.

Why is this so hard? Why do we act like God is never enough? 

Trusting God is Enough

Thankfully, our God is a God of grace and mercy. He knows our weakness. In our faith, we can cast our burden on him (Psalm 55). He hears us and cares for us. We must remember, though, that our true battle is already won. Our hope is not in answered prayers, but in God. So through our struggles, may we want to be drawn closer and closer to the Lord. May we remember the love he has bestowed on us and find peace.

That day, I met my fears head on as I faced the situation I’d been dreading: peanut allergy, among other things. Our family entered a new reality that day, one I still don’t like. I pray boldly, asking God to take this burden away from us, to protect and heal our daughter. While I pray, though, I understand that even more than this, I want God to stay close with us. I want to remember what He’s already done for me. I want to praise Him still, knowing that come what may, He is God, the blood of Christ saved me, and victory is mine. 

Remember God is With You

Whatever struggles you are facing, I encourage you to take hold of the big picture. Draw near to him and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8) I will end this post with Natalie Grant’s song “More Than Anything.” I hope this beautiful song comforts you and reminds you of God’s presence and redeeming love.

 

 

When Loneliness Creeps In

When Loneliness Creeps In

Kristi F

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.

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When Loneliness Creeps In…

When loneliness creeps in, a sort of darkness seems to come along with it. There is such a difference between being alone and being lonely.

Loneliness can overcome us in the midst of a crowd. It invades like an evil army and marches straight to our hearts and minds, clouding the reality of things around us. Loneliness attacks viciously and veils us with a sense of melancholy. Then, it strikes at us in a way that leaves us paralyzed and bewildered.

Loneliness whispers in our ear that no one else understands and no one cares. Loneliness will try and choke out our hope and light if we let it.

As an only child, I am no stranger to being alone. I actually quite enjoy being alone at times just as much as I enjoy being in big groups. In the past I’ve enjoyed going to the movies, eating at a restaurant, and even traveling by myself. I love the time of reflection and introspection, but there have been times when loneliness has crept in and tried to steal those joyful moments.

Recognizing the Root Cause

Recently, the evil mist of loneliness invaded my space, for no other reason than I believe Satan is trying to keep me from moving forward in what I’ve been called to do. It was suffocating. It was physically oppressive, truly making it difficult to breathe. I know better now that it’s an attack but sometimes I don’t recognize it at first. Do you know what I mean? It’s like I’m blind or unable to identify the root cause as it’s attacking. It was overwhelming.

And then, in prayer there it was–the root cause. A combination of fear and loneliness. I was attacking the fear but didn’t realize loneliness was surrounding it.

Beware of Satan’s Tricks

Satan is so good at what he does, guys!  He’s been at this for a long time. He was over there allowing me to see how he was working fear in my life. He dangled it at me like a little kid saying “Nanny, Nanny, Boo Boo!” While keeping my attention on that, at the SAME TIME he was letting loneliness works its way quietly in. He had me focus on what I thought was the big thing, the main cause, but diverted my attention away from the other things he was doing.

Around the time of my realization, a friend asked how she could pray for me. So honestly I told her, “I’m feeling lonely.” I hadn’t expressed it out loud up to that point because it made me feel weak to admit it. Oh, pride, step out of the way!

God works through our weaknesses. He gives us strength when we are willing to be honest with ourselves and Him about what we are going through. And when we admit it to others we trust, we realize we aren’t the only ones who have dealt with it. We help others release any guilt they might have for letting those feelings overtake them.

Loving My Alone Time While Kicking Out Loneliness

Give whatever you’re struggling with to God openly and honestly and He will give you hope back. A few days later, while memorizing John 1 with my kids, we wrote the next verse on the board:

John 1:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Jesus’ bright light of hope shattered the dark mist that had been covering me! Light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it! It can’t overcome it!  Praise the Lord for what He has done for us! We do not have to allow the darkness to invade us…it has no power over us. We will not be overcome by it, if we hold on to Jesus and let Him shine His light in our souls. Boldly rebuking Satan in Jesus’ name, let’s allow light and hope back into our hearts and minds.

Jesus would often go off alone to pray. May we too take time to be alone in prayer to our amazing God who can overcome our struggles with loneliness.

When we are alone with God, we are never really “alone.” God is ALWAYS with us.

Prayer Over our Hearts

Lord, we praise you! We are in awe of how you work in our lives. How you, as the Word, bring hope in our lives. How you are constantly reminding us that our souls will not be overcome by Satan’s ways. He has no spiritual hold over us. Praise you, Lord! Praise you for loving us through our weakness and shining brightly through them. In the One who is the light that cannot be overcome – Amen!

 

When You’re in the Trenches

When You’re in the Trenches

Tracy Watts

Tracy Watts

Wife, mom, daughter, teacher, blogger, crafter, organizer - but most and best of all, I am a Christian. I am passionate about my family and my God. I am married to my best friend and am blessed with a one year old son who keeps me busy all the time staying at home with him. And I am glad to be in the service of our incredible and awesome God.
Tracy Watts

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When you’re in the trenches, it’s hard to see your way out. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel, because you’re not even sure there is a tunnel. It’s hard to keep slogging through and exhausting to keep your chin up. You feel as if you are covered in slime, in mud, in disappointment and despair.

Perhaps you might have lost hope or energy. You might understand in your mind that this is “worth” it, but your heart is weary and burdened.

When you’re in the trenches, you can’t see your progress or the character built. You can’t see the shape of your heart or the influence of your efforts.

What if:

  • Your heart turns out to be right?
  • You are in it alone?
  • After all this work, you don’t reach your goal?
  • Despite the prayers and the tears, you come out empty-hearted and empty-handed?

Reach out your hand, and grasp onto the Father’s hand. Grip it with determination and desperation. Cling to it with the last strength you have.

Realize that, despite what you see, what you feel, what you are suffering, you are only seeing a tiny part. Yours is a small corner and one that you see with a skewed view. Just because YOU cannot see, does not mean that there is nothing to be seen.

Sometimes–no, many times–trust must come before character is strengthened. Faith must come before reason and experience can explain “why.”

Take heart. Take courage. Take perspective.

Think of Elijah. After drought and hunger, persecution and hatred, he comes before God’s presence. In 1 Kings 19, Elijah cries out to God: “And I, even I only, am left and they seek my life to take it away.”

Then God reveals the bigger picture:

He would anoint a new king and put to death those who deserved it and the last words are the ones that must have stunned him.

“Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

You see, from Elijah’s perspective, in the trenches, he thought he was alone. And yet, there were 7,000 others standing with him.

I pray that God helps you to see over those trenches, to see over the horizon, to see that even if you feel you, like Elijah, are left alone–that you can see a bigger part of God’s plan. That just as God helped Elijah, He can help you too. You are not alone.

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