Speak Life

I have a love-hate relationship with social media, in particularly Facebook. The only reason I still have an account is because of ministry; it’s a great tool to get encouraging content in front of lots of people. Don’t get me wrong, since moving from my hometown, I DO enjoying seeing what my friends and family are up to. But if I’m being completely honest, I rarely scroll through the feed because of all the garbage, gossip, unfiltered opinions, and discouragement I have to sort through to find my loved ones posts. I believe social media is an incredible tool we as Christians can use to bring life and hope to others, but are we really using it in this way?

This past week I was on one of my rare scrolls and came across a post that seemed pretty innocent until I noticed the dozens of comments. I was intrigued as to what people had to say about this seemingly common post. I was so heart broken to read one comment after another as people talked down on others, gave their opinions about situations they knew little about, made someone else’s business the highlight of their night, and typed words that will hurt another one of God’s children.

As my hubs and I climbed into bed that night, I was frustrated about what I had read. Agitated that people, even Christians would act like this, hurting others with their words because they are so convinced they are right and the others are wrong. It would’ve been super easy for this SUPER sassy girl to also give my two cents about the situation. I could’ve joined right in and told them how wrong they were and I was tempted for sure. My mouth is certainly one of my biggest struggles. But the more angry and disappointed I grew about the post, the more God whispered, speak LIFE!

“Not many should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we will receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is mature, able also to control the whole body. Now if we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we direct their whole bodies. And consider ships: Though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how a small fire sets ablaze a large forest. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among our members. It stains the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. Every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and fish is tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in God’s likeness. Blessing and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way. Does a spring pour out sweet and bitter water from the same opening? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water.”
‭‭James‬ ‭3:1-12‬ CSB

“From the fruit of a person’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is filled with the product of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:20-21‬ ‭CSB‬‬

“Either make the tree good and its fruit will be good, or make the tree bad and its fruit will be bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. A good person produces good things from his storeroom of good, and an evil person produces evil things from his storeroom of evil. I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭12:33-37‬ ‭CSB‬‬

It’s easy to speak life when everything is good, when everyone is treating you right, and when the world agrees with us. But when things get difficult, when others words are hurtful, or when someone is against you – it’s absolutely natural to want to speak anything but life into a situation or into the person who’s against you. But can I remind you that we cannot speak both blessings and curses; we will be accountable for everything we say, and what we speak we will also be filled with.

If you want an abundant life – speak life! If you want to live a life full of dread and gloom, speak death! And don’t expect God to bless when you speak life into yourself and death into your neighbor. It’s time for us, yes, me too, to rise above a Facebook post, a nasty email, a hurtful text, and the need to tear others down and speak life, EVEN IF they don’t deserve it. They too are God’s children and He cares about His kids, even the ones who make mistakes! SPEAK LIFE!

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No Plan B

I love it when this happens. You know, that moment your reading something and it just jumps off the pages and right into your heart. Like the time I was reading a book, and the words dream center leaped off the pages and right at me. Or how sometimes it’s a scripture that seems to appear out of nowhere, like what happened to me a few days ago.

I LOVE the story of David and have read 1 and 2 Samuel so many times, especially 1 Samuel 17. I could get pretty close to reading it word for word, but page jumpers still happened. Just like the words in 1 Samuel 17:54 jumped out at me like I had never read them before.

“David took Goliath’s head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put Goliath’s weapons in his own tent.” ‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭17:54‬ ‭CSB‬‬

David had defeated the giant Goliath with a sling and a stone and decided he’d better go ahead and chop his head off for good measure. When he finished taking care of Goliath, He brought his head to Jerusalem, but it says in verse fifty-four that he put Goliath’s weapons in his OWN tent.

This caught my attention. And I wonder, Why, Lord? Why did he need Goliath’s weapons? He had fought a giant and won with nothing more than a sling and a stone, why keep his weaponry? And I believe it was provision for what would lay ahead of him. God knew that David would need those weapons not necessarily to fight physically with but to fight mentally,  to remind him of what God had done before. When he looked at those weapons, he could be reminded that God was bigger than any giant and their weapons. He could defeat the greatest defenses with greater faith. Those weapons would give him the courage to fight more giants in his life. The biggest one of all being King Saul. God needed him to never forget, to never doubt what he could do when he fought by faith.

I don’t know at what point it happened, but the weapon ended up in the town of Nob where David visits with a priest named Ahimelech. David told him that he was on an urgent mission from the king and needed bread and a weapon. The priest told him, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the valley of Elah, is here, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want to take it for yourself, then take it” (1 Samuel 21:9).

I wonder when David heard what weapon was available if it caused him to remember that God was able to beat this giant just the same as the giant Goliath. God had always been with David and wouldn’t abandon him now. I also find it interesting the sword was wrapped and placed behind the ephod ( a sleeveless garment worn by Jewish priests.). While David may have felt the need to find protection from Saul, the ephod may have reminded him of his faith in God, our high priest was going before him and would fight this battle too.  No sword needed, only faith in God to fight for him!

I understand too well the need to grab my weapons and head out ready to fight my battles, and I believe there is a time for us to act. But more often than not, we try and go ahead of God, to fight battles that He intends to fight for us. Our faith in Jesus should always be our plan A, not our plan B. So today I challenge you to think back for a moment, remind yourself of what God has done for you. The battles he’s won for you, the giants in your life that lay lifeless and headless. Remember what He’s done and that if he did it then, HE will do it again.

Eyes Wide Shut

A couple two or three years ago my pastor taught a message called I see what I see, but it’s not what I hear. This sermon was one of those messages that I have clung to throughout my faith journey since then. I can’t remember specifics about the sermon, or even what scripture he used that day. All I can remember is the meaning of the message.

Often it’s so easy to look around and see what going on and lack the faith to believe for what God has spoken to us.  Maybe God has whispered promotion to you, but all you see is set back. Perhaps He’s said healing, and you see weakness. Maybe it’s a big dream He’s been whispering, and all you see are one giant after another standing in your way. Been there, still there, so if you get nothing else out of this devotion, get this; you are not alone.

One of my favorite scriptures that I continuously use to remind myself of this thought is found in Habakkuk 2:3, For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.

Whatever God has spoken to you and over your life WILL come to pass. It may not look like it, feel like it, and it may not happen when we believe it should, but it will happen. Look at some of our heroes in the faith. Moses heard promise land but saw the Red Sea, David heard Kingship but saw a field full of sheep, and Joshua heard victory but saw the walls of Jericho.

I may never understand all of God’s ways, but I choose to TRUST His voice. I may not like what I see, but I will decide to believe what He said.  Whatever you may be seeing today, the good, the bad, or the ugly; my prayer for you is this, that you not set your heart on the sight but rather on the sound. May we look ahead with eyes wide shut.

I see what I see, but it’s not what I hear-Pastor Beau Norman

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Have you ever had the joy of attending a gender reveal party? Or maybe just a we’re having a baby party? Either way, it’s one of the most beautiful and exciting things to hear a loved one reveal they have a life growing inside of them.  It’s something most parents can’t hide for long due to the overwhelming love and excitement they hold for the child they carry.

As I read John 1:18 this week, I kept thinking about this thought of revealed and how we as parents can’t help but reveal our unborn children and even go to great lengths to throw parties and surprises, and how we should with the same love and excitement reveal Christ in us to the world.  John 1:18 says this, No one has ever seen God. The one and only Son, who is himself God and is at the Father’s side–he has revealed him.  So as Christ revealed God the father, who was unseen to the world, we hold the responsibility to reveal Christ who is invisible to our world.

You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a basket, but rather on a lampstand, and it gives light for all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine  before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

You, my friend, are a light because you have the light, the Son of God, living inside of you and He needs to be revealed to the world. Now I am not asking you to head out on a mission trip or set out across the country proclaiming God to the world, although if that’s what God wants for you then, by all means, get after it. What I am challenging you to do, however, is go out into your world: your job, your family, your friends, your town, your school. Your world. Go and reveal Christ in you to a lost, hurting, and spiritually dying world. Show love to the unlovable, care for the hurting and weak, encourage the discouraged, stand in the gap for those who no one is praying for. Do good works and let Christ be revealed through you. And if I may, the thought I’m about to share may offend some, some may completely disagree, and that’s ok. I’m gonna be me and listen to what God reveals to me. And this is the thought, the best way to show Christ to others isn’t by what we say, rather, it’s how we live for him and love others. And here is my proof of that.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:35

I’m not saying to never give God credit, that’s ludicrous, it’s not about us, it’s about Him. But hounding people with scripture and threats of eternity isn’t going to win most people over, but love will. And when they see the crazy love you have for them and for others, they will want to know why. And then you can tell them why’s name. Jesus.  

So let’s get excited, maybe even throw a party and start revealing Christ in us.

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More than a conqueror

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Roman 8:35-39

You are strong, you are brave, you are fierce, you are capable, you are enough, you are loved, and you are more than a conqueror!

Too often we allow ourselves to get so bogged down by the weight of life that we start believing what the enemy continually whispers to us. We get overwhelmed and worn out and begin to buy the lies that we aren’t enough to get it all done and get it done decently. Any mommas feel me on that one? For me, it’s the constant and overwhelming struggle of juggling being a wife, mothering three kids, schooling them, ministry, non-profit work, and being a good friend and sister to others. There are days I do it well, and there are days I begin to believe the lie, the lie that says I’m not enough, or I’ll never be able to do it. Perhaps for you, you are a college student who faces school each day and real life each night. Struggling to study and spend time with the ones you love most. Maybe your a momma to toddlers who feels like you’ll never be able to accomplish anything again because you’re trapped between dirty diapers and sippy cups, been there too, friend. Single, married, young, or old; whatever your season looks like, I want to remind you of this truth, YOU are more than a conqueror.

God created you to kick butt and take names! Nothing and no one can stop what God started in you. Sure this may be a difficult season to flourish in one area or another, but it’s coming. In the meantime keep moving forward.  Keep kicking Satan in the face, keep kicking down the roadblocks he throws your way; keep fighting. You are a fighter, friend and you will win this war that’s within. And when you get knocked down, and you begin to believe the lies, remember that God loves you, and He is proud to call you daughter. Nothing can separate you from His love.

So if that’s you, and you’re knocked down today, as God extends His mighty right hand to you, I also am extending my hand to you, let’s get you up, dust you off, and get back to winning this war! God has incredible things ahead for you, but it requires you, and me, to move forward!

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You’re the good.

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. “Come and see,” said Philip. John 1:46

To me, this is one of the most shocking scriptures in all the Bible. The ‘anything good’ that they spoke about was Jesus himself. I realize Nathanael had no clue who He was, but from my perspective, I’m all like – hello, Jesus is the Messiah, Savior of the world. It shocks me that even He suffered ridicule because of where He came from. Sound familiar? That’s the world we live in, where putting people’s worth on them based on where or who they came from is the reality. I’ve been there, people looking at me and saying to themselves, or worse, saying to others about me, can anything good from Ellsinore, or Debi or David (my parents)? And sadly, I too am guilty of having said similar words about others.

We have to get to the point that we don’t value one person any more than we do another. God looks at each of us with the same set of love. To Him it doesn’t matter where we came from, who our parents or grandparents are, what we’ve done or who we’ve been – our worth is the same. Our value is equal, and when God created us, He said we are good (Genesis 1:31). So who are we to determine someone’s worth?

How can we make the change? How can we start valuing every life equally? Let’s start with Phillip’s response to Nathanael, “Come and see.” Jesus had asked Phillip to follow Him, and Phillip extended that invite to Nathanael. Such a simple and profound thought is to get to know others and the God who made them. When we grow closer to Jesus, our love for others will also increase; we will begin to see the worth of others through the lens of Christ. No more placing limitations on others because in Christ there is no limit on their worth or the good they can accomplish through Jesus.

Now some of you may be thinking, I struggle more with believing I am the good. It’s easier to believe God can use our neighbor and that they have more value than we do because of where or who they’ve come from, or their nearly perfect lives. But let Ephesians 2:10 remind you of this truth,  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. You’ll notice it doesn’t say that we should walk in them IF we come from the right region, country, state, family, or if we’ve never made mistakes. Nope, you are His child, and you are good, and created for good works. Before you were born, He knew you and was already preparing your path. So stop believing the lies of the enemy or the lies that people are filling your mind full of that nothing good will ever come from you, your family, or your region. YOU are the good, embrace it, and all God has for you.


Dreamer or Downer?

No one gets to tell me how big my dreams can be. Recently while at an event I heard the author of, Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis, make that statement, and her words echoed inside of me. I am quite the dreamer, and I do mean in every area of life. I’m a dreamer in my marriage, parenting, vacations, finances, my future, and ministry; ev-er-y-thing. There isn’t one area of my life that I don’t dream big for.

Being a dreamer though often comes with the weight of many naysayers. I’m sure people hear me talk about my dreams and plans at times and think  ‘girl, you don’t have what it takes!’. And honestly, they may be right, maybe I don’t have what it takes, perhaps I’ve lost my mind, and I’ll never accomplish much. But this is what I know for sure if I allow all the negative voices that speak into my life to overrule God’s voice, and my voice, I WILL fail every time because I will never even TRY.

Other people do not get to tell me how big my dreams can be, and they do not get to discourage my vision or my plans.  So, I want to challenge you today. If you have a dream and it honors God, go for it and don’t give up. And if you are the naysayer I talked about, encourage someone and stop being afraid to dream yourself. Often when we discourage others on their journey, it’s because we are either scared of our own or jealous of theirs. Don’t be that voice, instead come alongside your brother or sister, encouraging them and rooting for them; and when you do, you’ll soon discover a dream of your own and they’ll be there to support you as well.

In Proverbs 29:18, the Bible tells us that where there is no vision, the people perish. I found this scripture to be intriguing. Why would the people perish without a vision? I think it’s because there is a lack of hope. Dreams and visions give us something to hope toward. Our hope in Christ is what saves us from drowning in a storm, or holds us together in a crisis. Our hope toward something greater. And our dreams are a hope toward something greater, so don’t let anyone steal that from you. I believe God purposefully created me to be a dreamer, not to replace my hope in Him, but to lean into Him while He dreams up BIG ways to impact His kingdom through me. And know this, if God puts a dream inside of us my friend, you better believe that nothing or no one can stop what He has started.  #daretodream