Satisfy Your Thirst| By Lindsey Douglas

What is the world searching for? 

As Christians, we believe Jesus is what every soul on this Earth is looking for, whether it be intentional or unintentional. 

For a moment, I would like us to pause and think about this next question. 

How many of us truly believe that we have found everything we are looking for in Jesus? 

When I first heard this question in my spirit, I was immediately ready to respond. However, I heard God tell me to STOP and take a moment before responding.

The truth is there was still a thirst inside of me despite all that Jesus gives me. 

Have you accepted and received the gift of salvation but for some reason are just not fully satisfied? That hole in your heart or a certain area of your life just does not seem to have been filled – not all the way at least. 

You may have said in your heart “Well, I do have a thirst, but at least I am not smoking, drinking or sexing it away.” 

Maybe you do not exactly do all of the following, but what about on a Friday night when depression and loneliness kicks in?

Could our means of satisfying our thirst be more private right now instead of visible to the world?  

Maybe masturbation, binge eating, isolation, oversleeping, or doing drugs is your means to quiet your thirst. Or maybe even the sense of company and doing things helps you to avoid the reality of your thirst. 

For years, I have struggled with a thirst called the validation of man. One minute I feel like I have been delivered, and the next, there I am again longing for man’s affirmation. Why do I allow it to control my emotions and leave me feeling defeated? Why do I exalt “IT” and give it so much authority over my life?

The reality of this thirst sickens me to my stomach. The further I go into my purpose there it goes reminding me that:

“You don’t know the big dogs, you’ll never make it.” 

You don’t have a big enough support system, so how are you going to change the world through this gospel message you are so passionate about?” 

“Look at the post you create, no one pays them any attention. Nobody is calling you and no one knows you. You’re nobody. You don’t even have that many friends. You don’t even have a platform. You don’t need God, You need MAN.”

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6 (ESV)

I do not doubt for a moment that our adversary has taken so many opportunities to take his shot. The biggest mistake of my life was allowing myself to consider a view that the enemy presented.  I somehow managed to move from a place of certainty in Christ to feeling that I just do not have enough. 

Before I knew it, there I was surrounded with blessings from God, but it just was not enough for me. Every time God would prompt me to do something my first response was “How? I do not have enough.”

Looking to those around me, I have noticed their amazing support systems. These people are writing books, leading worship, preaching to thousands, starting women’s groups, mentorship programs and more. People have even bought into their vision. They have resources everywhere you look. 

Here I am, a girl with a big dream, filled with passion and purpose to change the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, but I am left thirsty, feeling like I am missing something. I am a Christian who is supposed to be filled by God, but still I am thirsty

It was not until I developed a fight on the inside of me and made up my mind to intentionally allow Christ to satisfy every thirst within me that I began to move out of that place of darkness. Every day, I do my best to be intentional about choosing to allow Christ to satisfy every thirst within me. 

Some days when I am not doing so well I avoid compliments to the fullest. If someone attempts to compliment me, I quickly try and change the subject because I know a part of my flesh desires these things. The validation of man sometimes can feel like food to my flesh and the last thing I want to do is feed it. 

When people come up to me and say things like “Oh you are so anointed. God is going to do so many things in your life….,” immediately my head goes down. It is because I am trying to keep a monster tamed that is seeking to take my life little by little. I don not want to gratify the desires of my flesh not even for a second.

Honestly, some days I am deeply saddened when I feel this thirst inside of me that wants man to see me and notice me.  Some days, I am prostrate on my face asking God to completely take this desire away.  

When I hear the thoughts of comparison and thirst, I fall to my knees and in His presence I stay. Even if it is mere silence as I weep my eyes out, I do not move until He meets me. And there goes my Daddy, laying his hand on my head and comforting me. When He does this, I melt in His peace. He reminds me that I am not the thoughts that I wrestle with in my head and in my heart. He reminds me that though that temptation may come and go, if I daily come to Him for my portion He will always fill me. His sweet communion is what I long for daily. 

Daily, I bring a gift to the altar of the Lord. My gift is me, and on the altar I lay, where God consumes me so that I may forever burn for Him. 

Where there is no communion with God, it is impossible to be sustained by Him. Allow Christ to satisfy every thirst within you. Doing so means we have to come face to face with the ugly reality of our thirst. The enemy comes to sow seeds in us by planting a kind of thirst in our hearts and feeding off of that. However, he needs permission to do so

The only way to fully guard you heart is to consistently and continually lay it upon the altar, where it is always fully open to God and the sanctifying work of His precious Holy Spirit.

Kind Words are Like Honey| By Jasmine Beard

“You are such an accepting person. I know and feel like I can tell you anything,” my friend said.

I smiled and thought to myself, “If only she knew all the thoughts and judgements I thought of throughout the day. My heart is not pure. I wish I wasn’t judgemental. I’m so far from where I should be in my walk with God.”

You read that correctly. Someone gave me a compliment, and instead of receiving it, I rejected their words and reversed what they spoke over me. Instead of allowing the words of affirmation and blessing to sink into my mind, heart, and spirit, I let who I believed I was to sink into my mind, heart, spirit, and eventually into my identity.

I wish I could say this type of dialogue was a rare happening in my life, but truthfully it is far more common than I would like to admit. And what is even more hard to admit is that I am only now just realizing it.

“I’m so mean to myself and because of the way I view myself, I tend to judge others through that same lens,” I listened on the other end of the phone as another friend shared those words with me. Her words did not resonate with me immediately, but overtime I understood more and more what she meant.

Behaviors, circumstances, and interactions can become familiar to us. And when something becomes familiar, it does not appear abnormal. Take for instance, a woman’s husband has been wearing the same cologne for the last six years. After six years, she may not even smell the fragrance, but simply identify the smell with her husband. However, let’s say that same woman’s husband walked in their home wearing a different cologne than the one he had wore for the past six years, and she’d probably notice instantly.

This same familiarity can be true in our dialogues with ourselves. We can get so use to speaking harsh words to ourselves that we no longer see them as harsh, but as normal. The reality is that the words we speak to ourselves can be anything but normal and are actually cruel and self-loathing behavior.

It was not until my friend mentioned to me how mean she was to herself that I began to notice my very own self-loathing behavior. I have always chalked my inner dialogue with myself to have something to do with my perfectionist mindset and less to do with my self-esteem and value of myself.

The Bible tells us that, “kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)

Are your words like honey?

Are they sweet to your soul and bringing nourishment to your body?

Are you the person who can shower others with compliments, but can’t receive one?

Do you smile and immediately disregard the kind comment someone has relayed to you?

This was me, and it may be you today. But friend, I want to encourage you to fall in love with you, the person you are today, not the woman you aspire to become. Fall in love with the journey. And most importantly, fall in love with the King, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

His word tells us that we are made in His image. We are a reflection of His splendor and beauty, and as we fall more in love and awe with the King, the more we reflect His marvelous light.

So when you find that you have nothing kind to say to yourself or about yourself pray what the Psalmist wrote in Psalms 139:14 (TPT)

“I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!”

The Power of Encouragement| By Rachel Lukinovich

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Have you ever gone through something and felt like no one could possibly understand?

And if you were to tell anyone, they would judge you and think less of you?

Well, that makes you human.

Right after my second child was born, the first few months seemed pretty relaxing and easy. Several people warned me about how hard the transition from one to two children would be, but it honestly didn’t seem that hard to me. It wasn’t until my sweet Emmy turned 4 months that things became a little more challenging. Until then, all she did was eat, sleep, and poop, just like the perfect baby you hear about it.

Naturally, she became more awake and alert, making it hard to even go to Walmart without it ending with a poo or throw up explosion, or loud crying. I did not want to even leave home, which was hard for me, so very hard. I am not a home body, and even though God was doing a work in my heart, as He always is, I didn’t really feel so great about it. It was in this moment that I truly needed someone to understand me and encourage me through it. I needed someone to recognize that this truly was hard for me, and not just put a blanket over it with a statement like “trust Jesus and it will get better.”

Yes, those are words of truthful, but I needed something deeper. I needed someone that acknowledged that this is real and hard and although it WILL get better because of Jesus’ faithful promises, the present circumstances still were worthy of how I felt. I needed someone to acknowledge that I was not alone and it was okay to have hard times, but also to speak truth into my heart and help me along the way.

Thankfully, I had those people in my life who were already there to encourage me. Before letting the lies of the enemy steal too much of my joy and time, I chose to reach out to people in my life, and I will never forget some of the moments or words that happened during that hard time.

You see, the devil wants us trapped in those moments of difficulty. He wants us to believe the lie that no one cares, understands, or may judge how you feel. He wants us to become isolated and alone, where he can continue to speak those lies into our ears.

Only we have control of how we handle our own lives and situations. Unfortunately, we can not make others reach out for help when they are hurting or feeling dry. Sometimes, it is truly hard for someone to do this.

However, we do have the power to reach out to them and always encourage them, regardless of feelings or situations. We are all doing life together, through the good, the bad, and ugly.

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11

The fact that my people acknowledged the difficulty of my situation, but yet encouraged me in the faith, greatly increased my perseverance and even helped me look at things a little differently.

This tells me that our encouraging words have the power to cancel a thousand lies constantly being spoken in our sister’s ear.

Life can be so busy, hard, lonely, you name it, but we have the power to encourage others through it!

Sometimes it is as simple as:

“You did a really great job!”

“Your hair looks great, did you get a cut?”

“you have such a wonderful personality”

…and genuinely meaning it.

There is always something we can find positive about a person, regardless of who they are.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Your friend, your mom, your sister, your pastor…they all could use a good word of encouragement. I challenge you to use every opportunity to not only address real life, but to love and encourage them through it. Because our words have more power than you think.

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Did He Really Just Say That?| By Rachel Lukinovich

 

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You know that saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”?

In my experience, thats a big fat lie! Words can build us up, and words can tear us down. Some words are meant to insult, while others are meant to just be funny and harmless.

There has been several times that people have made remarks, and my internal response was “Did they really just say that?”

Like two simple words, “chatty Cathy.” A distant family member of mine made that comment toward me when I just a small girl.  It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but that little 5-year-old girl took those words to heart, and I still remember them today.

Even at a young age, I knew this was truth about myself – a truth that I didn’t want to be true. What was likely meant as a funny friendly comment, I took as “you talk too much, and you need to change.”

So often, people’s words and comments hit places deeper in us than they were likely intended to. Did the person making the comment truly mean to offend us or affect us the way they did?

Maybe, but likely not. Regardless, their words should not be what defines us.

Just like we all know the power of words, the devil does too, and he’s constantly twisting people’s comments and replaying them to make us feel unwanted and less than.

Yet, what the enemy sneakily tries to use to ruin us, God intends to use for good and His glory.

Did I really need to change? Only the truth of God’s word could reveal that to me. Only He could expose the lies of the enemy, and help me believe, accept, and begin to love what is true.

The Lord declared over me~

“The enemy only comes to rob, steal, and destroy, but I come that you have life & life abundantly.” John 10:10

“You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way.” Song of Solomon 4:7

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Did He really just say that? Yes! And His words are truth, designed to fill every crevasse in our being with what it needs. When we choose His words, we choose power to walk in the grace He has called us to, just the way He so beautifully made us.

When I chose to let His words become what affects me most, the words people have said about me no longer affect me the same.

Being a “chatty Cathy,” isn’t all that bad when you’re able to talk to anyone and help people feel more comfortable. Thank you Jesus for that revelation!

What words are affecting you today? I encourage you to let Jesus’ words of truth be what resounds in your mind day and night because yes, He really did just say that.