Becoming more in Christ in our every day circumstances…more of Jesus, less of me

John 3:30: “He must become greater; I must become less.”

Since March 2, churches around the world have been celebrating the lenten season–a time to remember events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion and the resurrection of our Lord and Savior. This is also a time of reflection, prayer, and reading of God’s Word to help us be a mirror to reflect God’s love in our lives.

I was gently reminded of the Lord’s presence in my life this week when I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night and heard these words: become more. My immediate reaction was to be reminded of hurtful words that I heard several years ago that “you could have become so much more.” These were not comforting words to me at that time, and they were said by someone who didn’t really know me that well. But these words haunted me at that time because it made me feel inadequate, and I questioned everything that I did and had become up to that point in my life. I wondered why the Lord was reminding me of this encounter.

So the next morning I looked up scriptures pertaining to “becoming more in Christ” and to my surprise, I was led to a book by Lysa Terkeurst entitled “Becoming More Than A Good Bible Study Girl” written in 2009. I knew then that the Lord was directing me to read her book and immediately ordered a copy. She is such an accomplished author/writer, is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, and has a number of best selling books.

While reading this book, I was reminded that Jesus is the only measure of my worth. I am not defined by what other people think of me. Proving myself worthy to others should not be the measure of my faith. When I need Christ to be my guide–He is there. When I need Christ to help me forgive–He teaches me how. When I need Christ to help me love–He shows me how He lived and loved everyone around Him. When I need a friend in times of doubt, worry, or fear–He guides me to the scriptures to calm my heart and soul. Oftentimes, He leads another person (via phone call or in person) to just listen and also share their own experiences to help me at the very moment I need them.

During the Easter season, I am reminded of a love far beyond our comprehension–a love so unconditional–that I want this kind of love for my husband, daughter and grand children, friends and other family members to be just that way. Unconditional love that reaches beyond how we are feeling at the moment so that we can look past our circumstances.

Psalm 103:5 tells us that “He fills my life with good things!” God wants the very best for us. He is not looking at all the things we could have or should have done in our lives. He has a purpose for each one of us and sometimes that means that the path He asks us to choose is not going to be the path that others (family or friends) have or want for us.

They say “experience is the best teacher.” What better teacher could we have other than Jesus Christ our Lord. The scripture tells us that “greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” As we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord, let us be reminded of the love, joy, compassion, and hope that he has given to us all and “become more like Christ” in our every day circumstances.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Aging More Gracefully God’s Way

Aging, Maturity
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity”–Proverbs 3:1-2

We’ve all been there–standing in front of the mirror and “what to our wandering eyes should appear” is another wrinkle. You tell yourself that it wasn’t there two months ago but then reality sets in and you realize you are “getting older.” Struggling with aging is not what God intends for His children. In our society we have a tendency to look on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart.

Living in a world where social media ads and other forms of advertisements are readily available, we notice “how to become” younger by using certain products to reduce those fine lines and wrinkles, remove all of those dark spots, and color our hair to get rid of all the gray. There are ads for exercise equipment, diet programs, liposuction, and ageless creams to help us achieve that younger looking body and to get smoother, younger-looking skin.

But what is the secret to longevity? According to healthyline.com, you can obtain a healthy lifestyle and live longer if you follow certain criteria to get there. The list consists of: avoid overeating; eat more fruits/vegetables; be more physically active; don’t smoke; prioritize your happiness; avoid chronic stress and anxiety; nurture your social circle; drink coffee or tea in moderation; and develop a good sleeping pattern.

All of the above-mentioned guidelines are helpful in avoiding strokes, heart attacks, and getting a healthier immune and digestive system. However, on January 1st each year people all around the world make New Year’s resolutions to begin another year with new vigor by following a certain diet, getting more exercise, and breaking an unhealthy habit. Unfortunately, statistics have proven that most people fail in their pursuit of “healthiness” by February or March because they tried to focus on too many changes at one time and did not begin at a slower pace.

We are also told by naturallivingfamily.com that “life killers” threaten our health in a bigger way: toxic living; lack of movement; no community; and broken relationships. All of these killers attack our emotional and mental health in one way or another. Living a life worth living, no retirement in an abundant life–being more productive in our latter years–and staying active should help us reach our healthy goal.

In Genesis 5 there is an account of Noah’s line indicating that he, along with his children, lived well beyond in years. Noah built the ark when he was 500 years old and died when he was 950 years old. Adam lived to be 930 years and the oldest man in the Bible, Methuselah, lived to be 969. But then in Genesis 6:3, God decided that man should not live as long by saying, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.” (NIV) Currently, our median age is 90 years.

So how do we live a long, healthy life God’s way?

Proverbs 3:1-2: “My son, do not forget the teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.” (NIV) God’s Word is filled with promises for living a fulfilling life in Him. Reading His Word and applying those principles in our lives every day will help us live a healthy lifestyle and prolong our lives.

Proverbs 4:10-11: “Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I will guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.” (NIV) We are to hold on to God’s instruction and not let it go because He promises to be with us and uphold us in our life’s journey.

Proverbs 9:10-11: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.” (NIV) Wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are the key to a longer life.

Proverbs 10:27: “The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but years of the wicked are cut short.” (NIV) Reverence and respect for the Lord’s provision and to all that He is gives us renews vitality in our mind, heart, and soul.

Proverbs 17:6 reminds us that “our children’s children are a crown of the aged, and parents are the pride of their children”; and Proverbs 16:31 tells us that “gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” (NIV) Allowing the Holy Spirit to live within you (by loving the Lord God with all your heart, mind, and soul and loving your neighbor as yourself) and allowing God to renew you from within on a daily basis will help us age and mature in Godly wisdom and attain a righteous life.

May the Lord bless you and keep you and may He make His face to shine upon you and give you peace as you follow His guidelines for a long and healthy prosperous life.

Blessings,

Yvonne

WE HAVE THIS MOMENT IN TIME

Live in the moment
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it”–Psalm 118:24

In 2021 I excitedly attended a Bill Gaither concert in Tulsa, OK with my sister and niece. One of the songs that the group sang was titled, “We Have This Moment Today.” It was one of my favorite songs. The chorus says, “yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come, but we have this moment today.” This suggests that we are not to worry about yesterday because we can’t get it back, and the sun may never rise on tomorrow so we shouldn’t fret about what we will do the next day or the next. We are to live for today–in the moment.

Today can be considered the “first day of the rest of your life” because yesterday is gone and today is a new, fresh day. The choices and decisions that you make today will affect and impact your life going forward. Will you choose to accept or reject someone in your life today; love or hate your friend or yourself; and forgive or not forgive yourself or others? Life is full of choices and these choices could definitely have a profound affect on yourself and others.

So how do we choose wisely?

  • With wisdom: Proverbs 4:6-7 says: “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.” It is only through the guidance of wisdom and understanding that we can make those choices that God wants us to make every day.
  • With certainty: Luke 1:4 says: “…so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.” We can make right choices by reading God’s Word, through prayer, and living every day in His promises for our lives.
  • With passion: Matthew 6:21 says: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” What we are passionate about is what we think about. Are we passionate about living for the Lord and leading others to Him? Or are we caught up with the things that surround us which can also burden and weigh us down?

Ephesians 2:8-9 says: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We are to believe in God’s grace for the moment of today.

Isaiah 58:11 says: “The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”

God’s love will guide you with: His Hands, His Word, and His Grace. How will you allow Him to guide and walk with you on your journey today?

Blessings,

Yvonne

The Full Armor of God

Armor of God
Ready for Battle

Your life is good. Everything seems to be going your way. God is answering all your prayers: a good job, healthy family, lots of friends. Until….now you want to question everyone and everything including God for what’s happening in your life. After all, God promised to take care of all your needs (Philippians 4:19) and answer all your prayers (Matthew 7:7). Now all you can think of is “where is God” during your hour of need?

In times such as these, we need to continue to focus on I Timothy 1:7: “God has not given us the power of fear but of a sound mind…” Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (NIV) It is at this time that we need to “ready ourselves for battle” against fear and self-doubt.

Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us to put on the full armor of God:

  • Belt of truth–buckled around your waist;
  • Breastplate of righteousness in place (protect the heart);
  • Sandals of peace–feet fitted with readiness;
  • Shield of Faith–extinguishes arrows of the evil one;
  • Helmet of Salvation–trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection; and
  • The Word of the Spirit–Word of God

THEN we must secure all of these with the Power of Prayer.

The enemy will use fear and self-doubt in trusting God’s Word when we are faced with unforeseen circumstances. We must BE ALERT and continue to trust in the Word of Truth and the leading of the Holy Spirit by putting on the full armor of God when we go into battle against the “powers of this dark world and spiritual forces of evil” which try to turn our eyes off Jesus and His love.

Trust your heart. Believe in the One who can comfort you, strengthen you, and guide you into all truth. Don’t believe in the lies and whispers. Put on the full armor of God and He will protect you from the enemy. God is the power we need to trust in and continue to believe in for everything that happens in our lives–both good and bad.

If you believe that Jesus died and rose again and that He is the source for you to rely on, then go to Him now and lay all your burdens at His feet. He will carry you just like the poem says in “Footprints in the Sand”.

May the Lord continue to help us as we ready ourselves for battle against the enemy today.

Blessings,

Yvonne

God’s Promises

God's promises
…every perfect gift is from above.

When I visit with my grandchildren throughout the week, invariably I hear the middle grandson saying “Nana, I pinky swear” after he asks for me to give him his last piggy back ride. We intertwine our small fingers and say “pinky swear” that this is the last piggy ride. Does this always work? Absolutely not–but it brings on the giggles–and then we talk about this gesture as a promise and what it means to promise another person something. Lesson learned perhaps for a brief moment but hopefully he will remember this as he gets older.

What is a promise? According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a promise is:

  • A statement telling someone that you will definitely do something or that something will definitely happen in the future;
  • An indication of future success or improvement (someone who shows promise);
  • Something will happen in the future.

We make promises to others throughout our lives whether it is to our children, spouses, teachers, bosses, and even to God. We agree to do “something for someone or that something will happen in the future” and give our word. When we make a promise, we need to also follow through on what we have promised. That, I believe, is the hardest part. Many of us have broken our promises to someone and in the end the broken promise has caused hurt feelings.

So what does God’s Word have to say about promises, and what does God’s promises mean for us?

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.” (NIV) God promises to be with us now and in the future as we walk with Him.

Ephesians 3:14-16: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,,,,: *(NIV) God promises to strengthen us through the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Matthew 7:7: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (NIV) God promises to answer our prayers if we ask, seek, and knock.

Psalm 91:2: “I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (NIV) God promises to protect us–He is our shield and our fortress.

Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (NIV) God promises to give us rest from our weariness and our burdens.

Philippians 4:19: “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (NIV) God promises to take care of all our needs.

The Word of God is filled with many promises which declare God’s love for us. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (NIV) He promises to never change and to never withhold “that good and perfect gift from above.”

May the Lord help each of us to call upon and rely upon God’s promises as we continue to walk on our journey with Him.

Blessings,

Yvonne