Climbing Out of the “Ivory Tower”

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Do you ever feel that you that you have become calloused to the pain of others? I certainly have. Sometimes when life is going great I like to pretend that I’m in a bubble and don’t want to hear about the rest of the problems of the world. During these happy moments I don’t want to watch the news to see the children suffering and the police wars. Notice I said happiness instead of joy. I think the joy of Christ is steady and contagious. Joy is not based on circumstances but on the steadiness and unchanging nature of Christ. When I’m in a state of ice-cream euphoria I’m also less likely to truly listen to another friend’s struggle. I might be present in body but not truly empathizing and sympathizing with their pain.
“A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn , and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones ,and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” Ecclesiastes 3:3-5.

When I’m walking through a trying moment, ( trivial or something more heartbreaking and life altering) I avoid World News and any hint of sadness in anyone else’s life. It makes me feel helpless to see starving children or families shattered because of bombs. I feel like I am drowning in a state of helplessness because I know I can’t cure the world of its sorrow. Instead of looking to Jesus and bringing the politicians, hurting children, or the stressed friend to Him in prayer I put up walls of stone, blocking out any feelings of love or empathy. I remember one time in my life when I was crawling through a heartbreak. The family was watching the news during dinner. Usually I love watching David Muir reporting on the news of the world and making cities on the map real and personable. But that night, I had to choke just to get my hot soup down. It was the day of the shooting in Nevada. As I watched the terror play out on the television my own heartbreak seemed magnified. I watched in horror as people ducked for cover trying to avoid the bullets that flew from the hotel window. In a strange way, I felt like I was ducking for cover too, trying to avoid bullets of rejection.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. “James 1:2-4.

For a few years I only watched comedy, steering away from tear jerkers and chick flicks. But you know watching comedy and ignoring the pain of the world does not make it go away.

“We can try to persuade ourselves that evil doesn’t exist; live for ourselves and wink at evil. We can say that it isn’t so bad after all, maybe even try to call it fun by clothing it in silks and velvets. We can compromise with it, keep quiet about it and say it’s none of our business. Or we can work on God’s side, listen for His orders on the strategy against evil, no matter how horrible it is, and know that He can transform it.”
Ms. Alice from Christy by Catherine Marshall pg. 103.

I can also shut my ears and eyes spiritually. I can pretend that Hell is not real and refuse to speak about Jesus and the Gospel. Ouch. I can shut my ears, eyes, and heart and pretend not to see the suffering in the eyes of the girl next to me. I can shut my ears and eyes and pretend that my sin doesn’t affect or hurt anyone including God.
But living with my eyes shut and my ears closed doesn’t produce the fruit that is necessary for one of God’s children. I cannot grow and be a godly example if I refuse to see and hear the pain of those around me. My apathy proves to those that don’t know Christ that Christianity is all about me. I must ask God to take my hands off my eyes and that He would guide my feet, so I can act to do His will. Am I willing for God to break my heart at the pain of others? Am I willing to feel helpless at the sorrow of others? While it’s frustrating feeling helplessly heartbroken it is a way of giving control to Him. I must give God the heartache of all my friends and the pain of the world.

“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

Jesus Himself refused to stop His ears and close His eyes. Rather Jesus opened His heart and allowed it to bleed for you and me. When Jesus died on the cross, paying our sin debt He had to leave the comforts and security of Heaven. Jesus could have stayed in Heaven and ignored the sinfulness of people, but instead He chose to pay the price He knew we couldn’t pay. In Mark 6 when Jesus saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion and did something about it. Jesus fed the multiples and began to teach them about Himself.

“And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like a sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.” Mark 6:34.

He didn’t simply feed them food for their physical body but also food for the soul. (Lysa Terkeurst/Uninvited) This was right after John the Baptist was beheaded. Jesus must have been grieving. He was going to go to a quiet place to rest and maybe mourn. Mark 6:30. But instead He had compassion on the multitudes and made a difference. Wow. Jesus chose to heal others in the midst of His own sorrow. Yes, Jesus is completely God, but while He was on earth He was human too. Jesus understands what it is like to grieve. Yet, Jesus still chose to step outside of His grief and feed a multitude. I cannot ease the aches of those around me on my own, but Jesus can. First I must ask God to take my eyes off myself and see the suffering of others. I cannot make a godly impact unless I am willing to see pain and am willing to trust Jesus, the only healer of our souls.

God, give me the strength to walk in your ways and make a difference. Give me eyes to see the pain around me. I cannot help those around me. Only You can Lord. But I am willing to be used by You.

“It was God who was prying the little girl’s hands off her eyes. As if He was saying, ‘I can’t use ivory tower followers. They’re plaster of paris, they crumble and fall apart in life’s press. So, you’ve got to see life the way it really is before you can do anything about evil. You cannot vanquish it. I can. But in My world the battle against evil has to be joint endeavor. You and Me. I, God in you, can have the victory every time. ‘After that He was always right there beside me, looking at the dreadful sights with compassion and love and heartbreak. His caring and His love were to real for bitterness to grow in me.”

Ms. Alice from Christy. pg 101-102.

If you are hurting tonight, run to Jesus. Cry out to Him. Give Him your grief, your pain, your joys, and your beautiful memories. Allow Him to cradle your heart in His. ❤ ❤

 

When He Calls Your Soul upon the Sand

 

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The sea is full this afternoon. It never runs dry no matter how many times it crashes upon the shore giving, giving of its self once more. The shore never runs dry no matter how many times the waves reach forward to grab it. The sandy shore stands firm, guarding the land.
I love going to the ocean as I am sure you do too. People of all backgrounds flock here every year. Many of them are different colors, speak different languages, and come from many far away places. Yet each year the ocean calls them. People may not know it, but I think God calls them to the ocean. You cannot gaze at the ocean and not know that God is just as real and influential in our lives. Many people will say they come to the ocean to relax, think, flirt, have fun, to have a pizza picnic, go shopping, build a sandcastle, make memories with their family, or race up and down the seashore. But I think the real reason people come to the beach is to know God in a deeper more intimate way. If you are still you can know that He is God. I think that many times people of this day and age are afraid to be still. They are afraid to face reality. “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” Ps. 46:1-2.
The ocean is God’s way of calling all of us closer to His heart. For those of us who have been in fellowship with Him for a while the ocean draws us to drop worldly distractions and simply sit at His feet and listen to His heartbeat. God uses the storm, the sweet evening breeze, the morning sun, and the constant waves to teach me who He is. For those who don’t know Christ, the ocean is a way of speaking the name of Jesus over and over again. We keep turning away from Christ. But He continually washes His love upon us asking us to go deeper with Him. JESUS died on the cross and rose again. He comes for us asking us to lose ourselves completely in Him and to go deeper in Him. Nature never grows weary of praising the name of Jesus. Never. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by that things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20.

 

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Last night I stood on the balcony transfixed on the movement of the waves. God has blessed me beyond measure and I am grateful. But sometimes I think the holes in my life seem bigger than other times. I am thankful that there are spots in my life that feel incomplete or empty. Because than I am ready to be filled by God. When a child digs a hole in the sand, the water soon comes and fills it. The sandy hole is moist but not full of water after a minute because the water drains out. That is like me. Once I am saved I am forever saved. But being filled with the presence of Jesus is a daily choice. I can choose to be filled with me and what I want when I want it, or I can choose to be filled with Him. Choosing Jesus is a constant battle. Sometimes I do what’s right and sometimes I do not. As I stood on the balcony last night I felt God calling me closer. I confessed some of my longings to God and my fears for the future. I could hear the lapping of the waves upon the darkened shore and knew that the same God the made the sea would guide my heart closer to Him and closer to His ways.
“Delight yourself also in the Lord and will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4.
I am learning to delight, and Jesus is giving me more of Himself. Thank you Jesus!

❤ ❤

Love,

Sarah ❤

Fear Not, For I am with You.

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Fear Not, For I am With You.
Dear Jesus, please get me to my exit.
Jesus, help me!
Jesus, I need you.
Jesus!
My prayers Friday night were far from poetic, they sounded more like the moaning of a sick child. I was driving a long distance that turned into a nightmarish longer distance. The rain pounded from the sky and flooded the road. I drove for an hour with my hazards on because I could only see a foot or two before me. I was so stressed. My stomach was in a knot and my head was pounding. I hadn’t been able to eat much because of the stress and my energy levels were low if any. After teaching for the past two weeks, I was emotionally and mentally spent, but I could not stop fighting now. Satan still was fighting to keep me from fulfilling the calling Jesus had placed on me. Though I had been doing ministry the battle was not over. Fighting to be close to Jesus is a constant battle. I must have the same intensity in my daily prayer time as I did when I was fighting for my life. The same God who was with me in the thunderstorm is with me when I am struggling to deal with a stubborn student, or when I am frustrated with what God is doing. He is with me. God Almighty is the only one who satisfies. Lean into Him. The only thing I could do to keep from becoming a slobbering, tearful mess was to say the name of Jesus over and over again. I knew that having a wet face wouldn’t help me see the road in front of me. At one point the road was so flooded, the defrost on my car wasn’t working that I wondered if this was the time that God had written for me to go. Would I die tonight? I sang every praise and worship song could remember and Bible verse after Bible verse for the eight and half hour drive that was supposed to be six…. My GPS went out. But thankfully it didn’t go out till I reached and interstate and knew how to get home. My palms were sweaty, and I drove with my body hunched close to the steering wheel. There was no place on the side of the road to cry and wait for the storm to pass. I could only go forward. When I could I would glance at the sky hoping against hope to see a sliver of sun or a peek of open sky. But there was none. My phone was almost dead and so I couldn’t listen to music. My soul simply begged God for His presence. He didn’t make the rain stop, but He kept me alive and His presence surrounded my tiny car. God sent a fleet of angels around my car protecting me. I am so grateful. For while Satan is at work God is so much stronger. The invisible realms are always working. Will you trust that God is at work in the midst of your thunderstorm? Will you trust that God will deliver you? As I was driving I had to put everything I learned about God into practice in my mind. I had to believe that the God that calmed the sea with the touch of His voice and that walked on water, was with me. I spoke the presence of Jesus over and over my car till I was saturated with His presence. I couldn’t see Him, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was near and that He was with me.
“I am with you.”
“I am with you.”
Wow. He was with me.
I would never want to repeat that experience, nor would I wish it on anyone. But I think God wanted to see if I would trust Him. I couldn’t trust the automated voice of my GPS to guide me, and I couldn’t ask anyone else to drive. I could only trust Jesus and Jesus alone. I prayed for every person God brought to my mind. He allowed my soul to live. At one point in my journey I stopped at a Sheetz gas station. The sky was turning to twilight and the rain still tumbled over the world washing out the sin and impurity of the whole world and my own heart. I was still dressed in my professional teaching wear which was not practical for the drenched weather. My flip flops squished like a duck on the clear floor in the gas station. My hair was well…. I will let you imagine what the hair of a harried driver who hadn’t seen a decent mirror or hairbrush in a while looked like…ha ha. I was more thankful to be alive. I walked up to the register clinging to my small cup of coffee. Christy, the sweet cashier looked at me. I’m sure the Lord prompted her heart. “Is that all you want?” I nodded simply. “You can have it.” I smiled and thanked her and ran out to my car before having a breakdown in the crowed, cold, gas station. I quickly pumped my gas and drove back onto the interstate. The hot coffee was such a comfort to me. It was like a hug from the Lord Jesus, ensuring me that He was with me. I contained to pray and sing as I drove down the road so that I wouldn’t start blubbering at the gift of grace. As the rain washed over me, I was challenged to pray with a stronger intensity for those I love. God brought people to my mind and I began to pray for them with a stronger focus than before. I couldn’t see the road; my windows began to fog up. I would frantically wipe the window with my sweaty palm. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus. When I was too stressed to pray properly or coherently, I simply said His name over and over again. His presence was with me. His presence was with me. He parted the Red Sea. Jesus came from Heaven and died on the cross and rose again. He was the one with me in the car. Parting the sea of the water in front of me.

When the rain finally stopped, and I saw a star in the sky I was filled with joy. Hope. Hope. I was going to make it. Finally, I reached my destination at midnight. I fell out of my car. My knees landed on the wet grass that stained my teacher pants. All I could do was raise my hands to the heavens and cry “Thank you Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.” I was more aware of the presence of God Almighty than I had been at any other time. He was with me. He still is. And I am grateful. I want to live my life with my knees planted on the ground and my hands constantly lifted in surrender. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.

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

When All You See is What’s Before You. Remember Who Fights For You.

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Lately I’ve been walking through a season of loneliness and hurt. Feelings of being inadequate wash over me making me feel inferior. Many great lessons in life are learned by painful suffering. Is it possible that God could shine His glory through my brokenness? Sometimes God allows us to be hurt and put in situations where we are unsure of ourselves, so we can better trust Him. When I am obeying and serving God it can be difficult and trying. But God sees the bigger picture. I must trust His eyes, not my own. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6.

Quite frequently God puts roadblocks in our lives. Sometimes I think God uses roadblocks to test us and see if we are really committed to Him. The Pilgrims went through hardship after hardship just to reach America. People must’ve told them over and over again that they were crazy to bring their children across a cold ocean to a land they’d never seen just so they could worship God freely. But the words of others and the lonely, desolate feelings of being separated from the familiar could not stop them from living out a God given calling that was greater.
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. “2 Tim. 3:12. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that following Christ is easy. In fact, I should not be surprised when my life is difficult and trying. But it can be hard when people you trust, and love disappoint you.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18.

As a woman of Christ I am to have an attitude of graceful humility. My life and my words are to reflect the love of Christ.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philp. 2:5.

Of all people Jesus is the one that can most understand suffering.

“He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.” Isaiah 53:5 Jesus was hurt and punished for sins that He never committed. You the know the feeling you have in the pit of your stomach when you’ve done something wrong. You squirm and feel disgusting inside. Magnify that by a million. That is a slight picture of what Jesus must have felt but for our sins. Jesus was hurt by people that should’ve welcomed Him. Yet He  bore the emotional and physical pain because  He wanted to personally know you! Hebrews 12:2

Jesus was ridiculed and mocked for healing on the Sabbath. Jesus came to bring people to Himself. Through His healing, people came to know Christ. But the Pharisees and religious rulers couldn’t see the heart of Jesus. The person Jesus was healing was more important in God’s eyes than a rule that stated no one should be healed on Sunday. I do not want to be a rule breaker but neither do I want to live a life that only pleases people. Someday there may come a point where we must choose to obey societal rules or follow Christ. Already you cannot do both. My intent is to glorify Christ, follow Him, and use my gifts for His glory.
Dear friend, sometimes when you’re following Christ others will make fun of you and try to deter you from the calling God has stamped on your heart. Sometimes God calls us to tasks that we cannot handle. Let me say that again. Sometimes God calls us to tasks we cannot handle. Noah could not handle the ridicule and persecution that came from building an ark, David could not handle Goliath. Gideon who was the youngest and who felt inferior, could not handle a whole army by himself and become victorious. Joshua couldn’t defeat Jericho on his own. The enemy was too much. Mary could not handle the shame associated with being pregnant out of wedlock, Every single person that has ever done anything for God was asked to do a task that was too much, that didn’t make sense and that they couldn’t explain to those around them. They were laughed at and thought crazy for believing God to that extreme. Faith was all well and good until it was put to that strong of a test. I’m sure even well intended people that followed God told Corrie Ten Boom not to hide Jews, or Gladys Aylward not to go to China. Well-meaning people will tell you that you are terribly inadequate for the job that the Lord Jesus has called you to. And Satan will want you to believe every word. He is the father of lies and wants you to believe every word. John 8:44. He is the master of taking God’s words and twisting it. But even partial truth is the same as a lie. We are always inadequate for the tasks that God entrusts us too. The point is not to become cocky with our calling but to humbly depend entirely on HIM. Do not allow someone’s opinion of you stop you from doing what God has called you too. It is most hurtful when God’s people are the ones that minimize and reject what God is doing in your life. But in the middle of the raging sea, in the middle of the mess I must surrender to the Father’s will. I cannot change or dictate what others do. But I can, by God’s grace, change how I react.
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, and offering and sweet-smelling aroma.” Eph. 4:29-5:2.

I must constantly act with an attitude of kindness and forgiveness especially to those who wrong me. Many times, people are not aware of how they have hurt me. But it is even worse when the hurt is intentional and deliberate. Love them. Love them in the name of Jesus. Sometimes it is necessary to spend less time with this person. I do not think it is wise to trust this person with your heart. But you must forgive and love them in the name of Jesus. Jesus paid it all so all to Him I owe. He can expect no less. I am not saying that forgiveness is easy. Words hurt. They sting, and it is very difficult to forgive. But if we are to move forward in the calling God has for us we must forgive those who doubted what God was doing through us. Otherwise it is like giving into defeat. If we allow the words of our critics to shape us then it is like we are telling God that we give up. I cannot do anything of value apart from Him.

“For without Me you can do nothing!” John 15:5.

And girl you better fight like a warrior in the name of Jesus.

“Thus says the LORD to you: Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chron. 20:15.

When you entrust God with our hearts He is the one who does the fighting. I must rest in Him and allow Him to take care of those that come up against me.

 

Much Love.

Sarah ❤ ❤

While I Wait

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Silently

Hopefully

Trusting.

I am like a child anticipating Christmas. I am hopeful that God will grant me what I truly desire. But I cannot be sure. God may give me something totally different. He is a loving Father. I used to want to manipulate God’s will to fit what I wanted. But I desire God’s best even if it isn’t what I desperately yearn for. Anyways, He sees life from all sides and knows what I cannot. I will not lie and say that this time of uncertainty is easy but it allows me to draw closer to Him if let it.

“Wait on the LORD;

Be of good courage,

And He shall strengthen your heart;

Wait, I say on the LORD!” Psalm 27:14

“Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart…Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of Him who prospers in the way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.” Psalm 37:3-4,7.

While I wait, I will pray. I will continue to pray with earnest until God closes the door. Then I will pray that God gives me the courage to accept His no. But for now I will wait on the Lord and hope for a yes.  ❤

 

 

 

 

Leading with Victorious Humility

 

 

0525181155It can be difficult juggling the gift of leadership. For me I like to think that I could run anything on my own. One of my greatest strengths and weakness is independence. It is difficult for me to work on as a team. I’m a take it over kind of woman. As a leader it’s difficult for me to bring a halt to my creativity and unending vision and ideas so that I can collaborate with others and gain their wisdom and insight.  To be a good leader, one must find the right balance between doing what God has called you to do and respecting those who have pioneered before you.  Sometimes, as a leader I get tired of answering questions or pouring into other people. This is terribly selfish since God has put so many godly women into my life that are willing to sacrifice their time and their heart to influence me. If you are a leader and need encouragement, this is for you. If you want to be a leader, this is for you. This blog will walk you through the 23rd Psalm with leadership insights.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Before you can be a strong, godly, leader, you must first have God has your foundation. Notice it says my shepherd. Before you can influence others in Christ or to pursue their calling, He must first be your Shepherd.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater that all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” John 10:27-30. You must first belong to Him. Romans 10:9,13.
I shall not want.
A true leader is not leading a person for their own gain. Their contentment is found in Christ alone. People will come and go. People that you pour your heart and soul into may walk away from the Lord or turn away from wisdom. Your success as a leader is not based on the turnout of those you mentor. It is founded on your contentment and firm foundation in your Shepherd. Regardless of circumstances, He does not change.

He leads me beside the still waters.

As a leader it is easy to become overwhelmed or feel like the weight of the world lies solely on your shoulders. A good shepherd would ensure that the sheep could have water to drink near still, calm, waters. In order for this to happen the shepherd would have to protect the sheep. Allow your Savior to lead you beside the still waters and allow Him to protect your heart. Still waters speak of physical need. Sometimes I cannot adequately serve the Lord because I have not taken care of my body. If I haven’t eaten in hours, then I will become angry more easily. If I’ve only had three hours of sleep I may lash out more or be lazy in my duties. The spiritual and physical are connected. Though the things of God are obviously of greater concern, it is important that you take care of your physical needs, so you can be charged spiritually. The devil knows our weakness and will prey on them. 1 Peter 5:8-9. Sin is still sin even if it is done when you are tired or hungry.

He restores my soul. 

This one is like the last one, but its chords run deeper and closer to the heart.
Who speaks into your life? Who shapes what you think about yourself and others? Personally, I have a hard time speaking my heart to other people. It is difficult for me to be raw and vulnerable. But we must remember that we are sheep. Sheep are not known for their wisdom. Leaders, your wisdom comes from The Great Shepherd. Our wisdom comes from Him. When we lead on our own cuddly, sheepish wisdom, we lead people astray. We must daily allow God to restore our soul, shape our emotions, and guide our thoughts. It is foolish to think that we only need God when life is difficult. Trust is something that is developed over time. Just as we need sleep every night to restore our physical bodies, so we need time with God to restore our spiritual body. For this restoration comes godly wisdom that will point others closer to Christ.

He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name sake.

To lead you must first be able to follow. A leader must walk daily in paths of righteousness. Different decisions will lead different directions. As a leader, people will follow you sometimes whether you want them to or not. Lead a life that is worth following. 1 Cor. 11:1. Paths of righteousness means making wise choices daily. Wisdom doesn’t magically appear when you hit a certain age. There are people in their old age who have been through difficult times and have become bitter rather than learning through the struggles and becoming wise. There are young who have chosen to see the wisdom through the trials God has given them. Wisdom comes at any age, but it is a gift from God and a choice to seek Him in every circumstance. Allow The Great Shepherd to guide you along paths of righteousness. You must submit to His ways. God leads me down His paths of righteousness for His glory. Sometimes paths of holiness are difficult, the rocks under your feet have slipped into your broken shoes. The path of following Christ with all your heart is full of opposition. But it is for His name sake. Ps. 31:3, Ps. 5;8. Prov. 8:20 Living a life of denial of self is so that His glory can be displayed in You.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me;

You will walk through the valley…. many valleys.
2. Tim. 3:12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
I think as a Christian there are certain trials that will only come because you follow Christ. John 15:18-20. Maybe you poured Jesus into your child as he or she grew up and they chose to turn away from Him. Maybe you are watching a family member suffer, or watched a godly person die. You wonder why. Maybe your marriage is dying, or your dreams are being crushed, or maybe God is closing a door you had longed prayed that He would open. If you are God’s sheep, His child, then Satan cannot steal your soul. But Satan will try to steal your testimony, steal your joy and passionate love for Christ. If you are walking through the valley, you don’t need to fear. He is with you.
I will fear no evil; For You are with me;

Do you know who is with you? Do you know? Remember when Moses was afraid when God called him to speak to Pharaoh? Moses was scared. He was probably mighty happy feeding sheep and caring for his family. But God reminded Moses who was with him.
“And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”
And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.” Ex. 3:14.
Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” (Jer. 1:6)
So, the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” Ex. 4:10-11.
The same God who parted the red sea is with you.
The same God who saved the adulterous woman is with you.
The same God who hung His son on the cross and proclaimed, “IT IS FINISHED!” is with you.
The same God who raised Jesus from the dead is with you.
The same God who was with the martyrs is with you.
The same God who guided Corrie Ten Boom through the concentration camps is with you.
The God who spoke the world into being is with you.
Dwell in His confidence today.

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

A rod guides. If you are hiking a mountain you need a guide. Even as a leader, I must constantly be reminded that God is the one I follow and ultimately lead others too. I would feel much more comfortable with a guide who has been down the path before and knows where he is going. The Lord has gone before us. He walked centuries before you and was around before time. You can trust that The Lord will guide you. His rod can comfort you because you know that Christ knows exactly what He is doing.
A staff has a hook. When the sheep stray from the path, the shepherd can steer the sheep back on track. A blessing of being God’s child is that He guides us when we stray. Heb. 12:5-6. It is a wonderful thing when God eliminates distractions or reminds us of our sins so that we can better follow Him.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;

I love this one. Why would the Lord allow communication in the presence of enemies? I think that is a privilege (a difficult one) when God places you in the presence of your enemies. God wants you to be a light. Prov. 25:21-22. Matt. 5: 43-48. One time, God gave me an opportunity to speak into the life of someone I had struggled to love. I was afraid. I wanted to hang onto my resentment and hurt. It was easier to play the victim rather than the victor. I was scared, shaking, trembling, but the power of the Lord Jesus was with me. And, so I obeyed. I prayed with this person and loved them like Jesus. I haven’t spoken to this person much since. I think they might still resent me. But I was faithful. God gave me the golden, opportunity to shine for Him. Had I cowered down, the moment might have been lost forever.
Be obedient right when God calls you. It takes a leader to forgive. It takes a leader to step out by faith. Forgiveness requires a level of maturity that is difficult. But Jesus forgave all of us on the cross what else can we do but do likewise?

You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.

Anoint is not a word used much today. But in Bible times an anointing was a sign of kingship, a sign of being special by God. 1 Sam. 16:13. God wants us to be royal priests and kings. We are to represent Christ. We are to be a leader that acts, smells, and carries the aroma of Christ. Ps. 92:10. You should be so filled with the Holy Spirit that He’s presence is all over you. When you speak, people are guided closer to Christ. When you pray people are drawn into the presence of Christ. Your attitude for Christ should spill over into every area of your life. So much so that you are pouring what you have learned into others who are younger in their walk.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

When you are following Christ, your life will not be perfect. I’m sure you have already figured that out for yourself by now. But you can trust that He will guide you and that His goodness and mercy will follow You.
When Christ is Your rock, Your Shepherd, and Your comforter then you already are dwelling with Him. Francis Chan put it well when He said that when we get to Heaven we will be spending eternity dwelling with Him. Once you are saved, then you begin dwelling with Him. 1 Cor. 6:19-20. As a leader, it is easy to become overly busy. But before you can do anything for God you must dwell with Him. You must abide with Him. John 15:4. As a leader, you are always leading. You are leading when you are in front of a group speaking. You are leading when you chose to go to church or chose to spend an hour alone with Him. You are leading when you chose to spend hours watching junk television or impulsive buy something you don’t need. How you spend your time, and your money is a way of telling those around you, who you worship. Simplify your ministry to this, The Lord is my shepherd, He guides me, restores me physical and spiritually and directs my thoughts and actions. I must walk in Him for His glory.

 

He Restores My Soul

 

0506181918aDear Blog Readers,

You all have been so wonderful and supportive. Thank you for faithfully reading my blogs, sharing them, and commenting and liking my posts. In these ways you have inspired me and encouraged me. 🙂

Many of you know what it is like to be broken. I certainly do. But I also know what it is like to be healed by the blood and power of JESUS. He heals the broken hearted and sets the captives free! And so by His grace I published my first book entitled, He Restores My Soul.  I still in awe over what God has done. I look at this book and I think about a me. I think about  crying with my head on the cold steering wheel. I think about the utter feeling of helplessness and failure. Those that love with their whole hearts will hurt with their whole hearts. Jesus loved you and me enough to die and rise  again. He loved with His whole being and with every inch of His soul, but His body pained for every human past, present and future. He felt the sting of all our sins. But He chose to love us anyway. His arms are open ready for you to come to Him with absolute adoration and surrender.  Jesus loved me enough to rescue me from feelings of rejection and ugliness. He lifted me out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock.

So, I want to close by saying two things. First of all please buy my book.  The book is eight dollars before shipping.  Simply go to Amazon and type in Sarah Anna McConnelee or He Restores My Soul. It is a small book that hopefully will encourage your heart. ❤

The second thing I want to say is don’t run from God, run to Him. Don’t say that you are to far gone for God to use you. You are not!! He is the great Redeemer. Give Him your heart and your hurts and allow His saving grace to work through you.

 

Thank you again!

 

Love,

Sarah ❤