I AM| By Tori Savoy

“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Exodus 3:14 (KJV)

There are multiple passages in the Bible that God is referred to as “I AM”. An english teacher may look at that sentence and say it is incomplete. But God finishes it. He is God, the Almighty, the omnipotent, the omnipresent, Jehovah, Immanuel, and so forth. God embodies all that is good. He is truly all in all. 

In order to fully understand who God is, we must understand who we are. We are the opposite of good, overwhelmed by our sins and incomplete without the great “I AM.” 

We live in a society that encourages us to self-promote whether for job interviews, when trying to make friends or impress family.

 “I am a good person.”

“I am a successful entrepreneur.”

Yet, we are still incomplete. Until we can humble ourselves and see ourselves for what we truly are, God cannot reign in our lives.

The Psalmists realize their inabilities and worthlessness without the grace of a Savior. 

“I am a worm, and no man” (Psalm 22:6).

“I am poor and needy” (Psalm 40:17).

“I am . . . a stranger unto my brethren” (Psalm 69:8).

“I am full of heaviness” (Psalm 69:20).

“I am poor and sorrowful” (Psalm 69:29).

“I . . . am as a sparrow alone upon the house top” (Psalm 102:7).

“I am withered like grass” (Psalm 102:11).

Fortunately, the Lord is the answer to any problem we have. He fills every emptiness and longing our hearts desire. Whatever we need in our life, HE IS.  When we need financial provisions, God says I AM. When we are searching deep for love and happiness, God says I AM. When we need courage in the face of fear, God says I AM. When we are searching for hope and comfort in the midst of tragedy, God says I AM.  He is EVERYTHING.  

“After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” Gen. 15:1 (KJV)

Like a shield, He protects us from harm that may face us. When we have faced our giants and have gone through tribulations for his name, He is our great reward.  What greater reward is their in life than the one who created us and knows exactly what we need?

“…I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed..” Gen 26:24 (KJV)

We have no need to fear because HE IS. He will be the courage that are feeble hearts lack. When we let God be everything in our lives, He is able to bless us in mighty ways.  

“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am Almighty God; walk before me and be thou perfect.” Gen 17:1 (KJV)

If God is everything, we should be spending every moment serving Him.  Walk every step in obedience to Him, seeking to be like Him. His ways are perfect and our only chance of being such is walking in His guidance. 

No matter how our circumstances change, the Lord never changes. We can always count on Him to be everything we need.

“I am the Lord, I change not..” Malachi 3:6 (KJV)

“The Lord is my strength and my shield: my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore, my heart greatly rejoiceth, and with my song will I praise Him.” Psalm 28:7 (KJV)

God Keeps His Promises| By Tori Savoy

Promises sometimes can feel like empty words. When you are going through the valley, it can be hard to see the promise of the mountain top. So many times we wait so long we begin to think that the promise just does not exist.

I have been here several times in my life. Have you ever prayed for something for so long that you finally give up praying for it? You begin to accept the situation you are in instead of believing God will turn it around.

God has given me several promises in my life, some of which I am still waiting to see come to pass. However, no matter how many times He has come through, I still doubt those unfulfilled promises.

If you have been following my story, you know the last several years have been a battle with my health. I have gone from doctor to doctor trying to get answers. It has been the hardest road, but God promised He would be glorified through it.

Many have been touched by my health story, but I kept asking God, “When will I be touched? When will my healing come?”.

One thing He has taught me through this process is that He did not bring me this far to leave me here.

“‘Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?’ says the Lord. ‘Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?’ says your God.” Isaiah 66:9

Just because your hard season is lasting a long time, does not mean that God has abandoned you or forgotten His promise.

He recently told me my season of struggles was coming to an end. With the progress I had been making in my health, I truly felt this was going to be the end of my health struggles.

A few days later, I saw my doctor who informed me that my thyroid levels were doing much better, and it was time to lower my medicine dosage. Everything else came back doing much better, and she said I was headed in the right direction to recovery. My healing had finally come after years of prayer.

I know when you are in the middle of waiting for your promise it seems like the sun will never come up. Sometimes it feels like you will be waiting the rest of your life.

Do not give up hope. Sarah waited years for her promise of her child, but it came. The Israelites waited in captivity for the promise of a deliverer.

Your child is coming. Your deliverer is coming. He hears your prayers and knows your heart. He did not bring you through the valley to not take you up the mountain.

“Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭38:15‬

Warfare Advantage| By Chelsea Verdin

“Swiper no swiping!”

I can hear the voice of Dora yelling as she catches a sneaky fox trying to hinder her mission. And in the midst of my chaotic, busy life, I can hear myself yelling it to my very own enemy.

In John 10:10, it says that the enemy’s main objective is to steal, kill and destroy.

Like Swiper, our own enemy runs rampant throughout our journey trying to hinder the mission that has been set before us by Christ. Using specific tactics, he slides through our lives stealing our peace, killing our joy and destroying our hope. Not only does Christ fully know us, but the enemy has studied every aspect of our lives in order to initiate a successful attack on us.

In the Bible, David knows too well about attacks from the enemy. Anointed to be King as a child, he went his whole life attacked by people, situations, and his own consequences. In 1 Samuel 30, we find David and his men returning home to Ziklag after being kicked out of Aphek. They enter their city to find it desolate and destroyed. The Amalekites who had been on a raiding spree, stole everything from their camp and kidnapped all of the women and children. Nothing was left to be salvaged. Out of anger, David’s men sought to kill him, but David sought the Lord. Instead of staying bitter and depressed, David went straight to the altar and got into the presence of God. With God’s favor and permission, he and his men went after the Amalekites and fought for everything that was taken from them. They redeemed what had been stolen and gained the rations that were raided from other camps. Not only did God grant them favor to redeem their own lost good, but He blessed them with the bounty from other camps.

Several years before, David had spent his time alone in a pasture with sheep before actually stepping into his calling. This, I believe, is where his foundation and heart after God was developed. And when he was beside Saul fighting, calming him, and running for his life at times, I believe he never forgot what was promised him. His focus was sometimes misplaced as we learn about his mistakes, but he always went before God with a vulnerable heart and repentance. He had a warfare advantage over his enemies because He knew the Victor. This is how we fight our battles. This is how we redeem what the enemy tries to destroy. We stay focused on the Victor instead of becoming a victim.

So many times the enemy will use our anxiety, our fears, our failures, past, addictions, limitations and doubts to keep us from walking into what God has called us to. Each of us have a purpose, gifts,and inheritance that God has chosen for us. When we open doors to the enemy’s taunts, we are allowing him the opportunity to invade our camp.

He can’t steal our purpose, or gifts and definitely not our inheritance as children of God. He has no authority to take what has been granted ours by the King of Kings. We don’t have to ask him to kindly give us back our peace, our joy, or our hope. We have all authority and power to storm the enemy’s camp and demand back what he has taken from us. It takes knowing who you are, Whose you are and what has rightfully been promised to you. It takes courage and will to fight.

Friend, you may have had a rough year, month, week, day even and felt like nothing could be redeemed, but I’m here to tell you that you have all power and authority over the enemy and his schemes. Your fight isn’t over.

“I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

Reflecting for the New Year|By Heaven Harris

The Christmas season is the perfect time to reflect on the year as it comes to a close, and the perfect opportunity to dream for the year ahead. Every year, I pray that God blesses me with a word and/or scripture that will mark the year and season I am stepping into or still walking in. Every year, He is exceedingly faithful in my request. For 2018, my words were JOY and ROMANCE, and my scriptures encompassed those very words.

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” -Hosea 2:14

“He brought me to the banquet hall, and he looked on me with love.” -Song of Solomon 2:4

This year, my divorce was finalized. As that part of my life was coming to a permanent close, I struggled to understand how joy and romance could possibly be what God was trying to incorporate in my life.  I felt empty and void of either. However, God knew the place He wanted in my life. He wanted to be my husband and show me a different side of His perfect and true love.

For the entirety of this year, I let Him pursue me and allure me through every high and low. I let Him romance my heart straight into the healing I was longing for. As my heart healed, my joy was daily renewed in ways I never experienced. It has not been easy. It has taken intentionality.  It has also taken honesty. There have been days when I have thrown my hands in the air yelling, not wanting His love or presence.

My intention is never to hurt Him, but in the humanity of it all, sometimes I feel I have nothing to give or even the energy to receive. Can we just take a moment to be thankful that even in those vulnerable moments, He never leaves or forsakes?

Actually, it has been the most vulnerable moments that He shows Himself a strong tower, and I can be nothing but thankful.

As the scripture goes, His grace is sufficient, and His strength and power are made perfect through our weaknesses. My heart simply desires that He shines bright through my pain and weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9 paraphrased)

That wilderness spoken of in Hosea 2 was lonely at times, yet I never felt more surrounded. As I reflect on 2018, there were so many opportunities for me to let God in and romance me more.  Yet, I sit with contentment that He has my heart in a way that He never has. I sit knowing that there are worldly desires I never thought would be quenched that He miraculously replaced with an urgency for Him and His touch. I find myself hungry more for a touch of Heaven and less for pleasing people. I want eternity to be my mark.  

My prayer for you in this season of reflection is that you can see His hand in everything you have encountered this year, even those hard parts.  Even more, I pray that 2019 has your heart fluttering with hope for what He will continue to do for and in you.

My word for 2019 is MARVEL. My scripture is Isaiah 54 (NLT).

In this chapter, it speaks about a barren and desolate land. One that has been riddled with storms. I too have battled many storms in my life. But, God has a promise for this city as He has a promise for you and me.

11  “O storm-battered city, troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you with precious jewels
   and make your foundations from lapis lazuli.


12  I will make your towers of sparkling rubies, your gates of shining gems,
and your walls of precious stones.


13  I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace.


14  You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies will stay far away. You will live in peace, and terror will not come near.


15  If any nation comes to fight you, it is not because I sent them. Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat.

16  “I have created the blacksmith who fans the coals beneath the forge
and makes the weapons of destruction. And I have created the armies that destroy.


17  But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!

Read the rest of Isaiah 54 here.

I will walk into 2019 clinging to such a love letter, and I choose to begin this year with pouring out into your cup the overflow of mine. I believe these scriptures are for some of you, and the shaky ground you stand on. Embrace His heart for you in this upcoming year. He is ready to give you every desire of that precious heart of yours.

All Who are Thirsty| By Jasmine Beard

IMG_6919This is a picture I took a couple months ago of the Great Smoky Mountains. Breathtaking, I know. As I opened the cabin doors and walked onto the balcony, I was awestruck at the majesty of God and His splendor.

As I gazed into the skies and saw the glorious mountains and trees, I envisioned God crouching down from the Heavens whispering into my ear sweet whispers from Heaven.

His words are like honey to my soul. The very sweetness of Him quenches the longings of my soul and every inkling of my Spirit.

How I long to be in awe of Him all the days of my life into eternity forever and ever. I dream that He picks me up in the palm of His hands sweeping me away into the clouds of His majestic being. I am dancing in the glory of His beauty and drinking from the palm of His hands for the rest of my days.

This picture reminds me of the Samaritan woman at the well.

She came to the well for a drink of water for she longed to quench the thirst of her body. Unaware, she met Jesus who did not want to only quench the thirst of her body, but of her soul as well.

“…But if anyone drinks the living water I give them, they will never thirst again and will be forever satisfied! For when you drink the water I give you it becomes a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, springing up and flooding you with endless life.” John 4:14 (TPT)

In that same way, Jesus met me, and it is because of this that I am able to see His majesty, to see His glory, and to drink from His cup.

After I dance with Abba in the clouds, He gracefully places me back down to earth. I look around, and I no longer see the beauty and splendor that I saw before. I see brokenness, dirtiness, and darkness all around me. Nothing in me wants to stay and be back on Earth, but God tells me,“go forth and love my people and tell them of this majesty you have found and this water that never runs dry.”

I once saw a picture of myself at a well. The depth of this well was deeper than I could ever hope to see. Then I saw a picture of a wide well, and God instructed me to never be a fat well.

This picture may seem funny to you, and it is a bit funny to me as well. However, that picture is packed with so much meaning..

If we are fat wells, it means that we have no depth to our reach. We just take up excess space. However, if our well has depth, we can bring nourishment to barren land.

Jesus does not show us His splendor or allow us to drink from His cup just for our nourishment. If we just continuously receive from God but never pour out, we become essentially a “fat well.” However, if we instead allow God to fill us deep into our soul and allow others to drink from the well inside of us, we become a deep well.

‘“All at once, the woman dropped her water jar and ran off to her village and told everyone, ‘Come and meet a man at the well who told me everything I’ve ever done! He could be be the Anointed One we’ve been waiting for.’ Hearing this, the people came streaming out of the village to go see Jesus.”’ John 4:28-30 (TPT)

The Samaritan woman dropped the very water that would quench the thirst of her body because she had found drink for her soul. Today, be a deep well bringing the same gushing fountain that has quenched your soul to God’s people.
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God is Speaking; Are You Listening?| Jasmine Beard

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As we go through the hustle and bustle of everyday life, God is watching us. He longs for us to gaze upon His face in the midst of our busy, and at times, hectic schedules.

We have all been taught that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Those are really big words that mean God is all powerful, all knowing, and that He is ever present.

These are great facts, but if we are not careful, we will fail to let the very truth of those words sink into our heart. We can instead put lids on God, doubt His power, His wisdom, and that He is with us always.

Most of the time, we associate God with what we are doing instead of who He actually is. We notice God’s presence in our devotion time, when we read His word, or when we sing Him songs of praise. However, if we are not doing something that feels spiritual, we think God’s gaze upon us has left. That is simply not true!

God is very much in the moments when we feel spiritually high, but He also in the mundane tasks we do at work, while we are changing our baby’s diaper, and while we are watching movies.

“Where could I go from your Spirit?
Where could I run and hide from your face?

If I go up to heaven, you’re there!
If I go down to the realm of the dead, you’re there too!

If I fly with wings into the shining dawn, you’re there!
If I fly into the radiant sunset, you’re there waiting!

Wherever I go, your hand will guide me;
your strength will empower me.” – Psalms 139:7-10 (TPT)

One person I can relate to in the midst of my crazy schedule is Martha in the Bible. She loved Jesus, and just like me and you, she had a full plate of tasks to get done.

Luke 10:38-40 (TPT) says this:

“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared.

But Martha became exasperated by finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, “Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.”

What Martha failed to realize is that the Creator of the Universe was speaking, the one who could tell her all about who she was, was in her midst.

We often read this passage of scripture, and we think Martha should have reacted and done the exact thing as Mary and sat at Jesus’ feet. I’m not sure if that is the case, simply because these two sisters are different, and their relationship with God was different.

Maybe Jesus would have been pleased at Martha’s devotion if she had simply listened, heard, and hung on every word Jesus said while she was working and doing mundane tasks.

Devotion, prayer time, worship nights, and Bible reading are fantastic things to do and things we should be doing. But, outside of those moments, we must recognize that the Creator of the Universe longs to also speak to us during mundane tasks and the hustle and bustle of this crazy life.

Come Alive|By Heaven Harris

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I have always considered myself a dreamer – a visionary. Dreaming came easy for me and those very words have often been used to describe me over the years. I had a big imagination, and I was not afraid to use it.  

Over the years though, often without realizing, I found my dreams becoming smaller and smaller, and my heart to dream dying. Sure, there were certain things I would find myself believing for and visions I would catch a glimpse of sometimes in the secret place of prayer, but my BIG dreams…what happened to those? The ones that made my bones rattle and my heart quiver because they required the work of my BIG God.

I think I even created the excuse that it just happens that way sometimes. We grow up; we become adults. The yearning to dream is drowned out by the weight of responsibilities and failures we have experienced. It is subtle, of course. We do not even realize it sometimes. We trudge through life, and many of our dreams deteriorate from life-like and life-size to mere bones laid bare and dry.

Ezekiel 37:3: “He asked me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’”

This scripture was laid on my heart about a month ago. Most of us know this story or have heard a sermon on it in some form or fashion. I would venture to say that most the times we take in this story is in reference to praying for those hearts that we long to see come alive to the love and purpose of God. We pray that He breathes His holy breath on our family, our schools, our church and brings forth the army referred to in the scriptures.

The rest of the story in Ezekiel goes like this…

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!

5 This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.

6  I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.

8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’”

10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

I was waiting for Him to tell me who I needed to pray for and instead He said, “See those dry bones?  These bones represent those dreams  I have laid on your heart and given you vision for but that lay dead in the valley. Can these bones live? Can these dreams and the words I have spoken over you live again?”

I was honestly at a loss for words. As I sat in the presence of my sweet but direct Savior, I began recalling those dreams and words spoken over me throughout my life, and my reality check was that most of them I had allowed to dry up and become barely a whisper in my heart.

So, let me ask you…

Are your dreams thriving and breathing before a Holy God or are they laid bare in the valley somewhere? If you are looking back and realizing that you have dreams that have no life to them, let me encourage you with this scripture:

“The earth and sky will wear out and fade away before one word I speak loses its power or fails to accomplish its purpose.” Matthew 24:35 (TPT)

When reading this. I hope that you see the pattern. That every word and dream God spoke WILL come to pass without FAIL. Let your heart rest in knowing that those beloved words, passionate dreams and those vivid visions He has whispered to you in the quiet places are alive and well and will find their way to fruition. You need only to speak.

The word prophesy simply means to say that a specified thing will happen in the future; to speak as if divinely inspired. I urge you to prophesy to your soul! Prophesy to those dreams!  Prophesy to your heart!

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

Fast forward to the here and now, as I chose to take God at His word and began speaking those dreams out loud, I have now applied and been accepted into college. I am moving out of state due to an amazing opportunity that opened up for me to stay home with my daughter and go to school. I know this is just the beginning of an amazing new season.  

I urge you to take God at His word and let the presence of God soften your heart and remind you today of the dreams He has given you.  Then speak them aloud and ask God to breathe His Holy breath on them and watch, in His timing, everything He has promised you will come to life!

 

Let Us Return to the Lord| By Tori Savoy

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“Just give up on me. I am not worth it any longer,” I told, or basically yelled, toward God.

My guilt had overwhelmed me, and I felt as if I would never be good enough to be loved by a perfect Savior. Even though I knew God gives us forgiveness, I could not quite forgive myself enough to accept God’s love again. I kept failing Him time and time again. I did not feel deserving of His love. All I felt was shame.

But Romans 8:35-39 (NLT) tells us differently.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?

36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)

37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The love of God is something we could never earn, and if we cannot earn it, how could we lose access to it?

One of the most impactful books of the Bible for me is the book of Hosea. A prophet of God, Hosea was given instructions to take Gomer, a prostitute, as his wife. Yet, over the course of their marriage, she remained unfaithful and went chasing after her lovers.

Eventually, she became used up and worthless to the point no man wanted her. However, Hosea bought her back for a costly price.

“She will chase after her lovers but not catch them; she will look for them but not find them. Then she will say, “I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.'” Hosea 2:7 (NIV)

“When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, ‘Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the LORD.’” Hosea 1:2 (NIV)

This story is a representation of God’s love for us. We have chased after our lovers whether that be a person, money, or success to fulfill us. God knew before we were even born that we would rebel and be unfaithful to him. Yet, He willingly chose to go to the cross and pay the highest price for our souls.

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Yes, there will be consequences to our decisions, but God is always waiting with open arms to forgive and shower us in love.

“Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.” Hosea 6:1 (NIV)

The Devil will fill your heart with shame. But God will shower it in forgiveness. The Enemy will make you feel hatred for yourself. But God will reign down His love upon you. No matter how broken you return, God just wants you back in His arms so He can mend you.

If you are dealing with guilt over mistakes you have made, God is calling you to return to him. He is waiting with open arms and unending love for you. Nothing can separate you from that love, and no love of this world can compare to the love of a Savior.

An Open Invitation|By Heaven Harris

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Have you ever tasted something for the first time and instantly thought, “How in the world have I went this long without this in my life?”  

It opened not just your pallet, but your life to something new and different. Something refreshing!

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Psalms 34:8

This has always been one of my favorite scriptures. Reading it always reminds me of the passionate pursuit of God for us as His children, and it honestly brings me back to the day I gave my life to Christ.  I remember it vividly. I was 15 years old and sitting on the edge of my seat while the pastor preached the love of God.

In those moments, even though I may not have known this scripture in its entirety, these are the very words Jesus was speaking to me, “Taste, see that I am good for you.  Let me open your eyes to my goodness!”

My favorite thing about God is this very aspect., He is always in pursuit, and He is ALWAYS a gentleman. Our God is no harlot, and the God that is love is the very one that knows exactly how to pursue.  He invented the very concept. His strategy is an open invitation.

“Come and taste… let me show you who I am and what I have for you.”  

“Taste and See!”

Sound familiar?

Same words, different context, different motive.

Let’s take a journey back to Genesis 4 in The Garden of Eden, the oasis of perfection God created for us.  There was a sly enemy, whispering to Eve those same words… “Taste and see! See that the Lord has been withholding from you.  Taste and see that He is not really for you the way that He claims He is. Taste and your eyes will be opened.”

It was a trick, a curse. Eve tasted, as did Adam, and yes, their eyes were open to the world and shame in a way God never intended for them, and the enemy was sure he had won. He thought this was the ending to the story, but he was wrong then, and he is wrong now.

God, knowing end from the beginning, knew what He would have to do, and He did it with our names written on His heart. He sent His son, His one and only, to reverse those words that were used to trick all those years ago.

”His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!” Hebrews 12:2 (TPT)

To imagine enduring the cross with joy is a pure display of the true love that Jesus has for us.  

I am now 31 and if I am being honest, I have not always stuck by the God who is love. I have been the prodigal daughter more times than I care to admit.  Almost two years ago I found myself in a marriage that was falling apart after only seven months and like Eve, I thought maybe God was holding out on me. In my pride, I tried to take control of my own life which led to divorce and a child out of wedlock.  

The day I found out I was pregnant was one of the hardest days of my life, but it was also one of the most redeeming. I sat in my car crying and crying out to God asking why now? Why this way?  

Feeling defeated and angry with myself, God sweetly whispered, “I will show you my love in a whole new way with this child.”

In what felt like a whirlwind of failure that I would never recover from, God opened His arms wide and beckoned me to taste and see what He had for my future.  In that moment, I chose Him. It’s all He has ever wanted anyway, in our freedom, to choose Him daily. In that moment, and the days that followed even into the here and now, He redeemed this heart of mine and is daily showing me how amazing He is.  What seemed like my curse, God turned it around as my most precious blessing.

Genesis 50:20 says that what the enemy meant for evil, God meant for good. (paraphrased).

His invitation has no bias or conditions.  His goodness, His fullness, His promises are for us all.  No matter where you are, I encourage you today, God is near to you and extending His invitation to you.  He is standing at the door knocking, like a gentleman, waiting for you to open the door to your heart. He is waiting for you to taste who He is. Only then, can your eyes be opened to beauty that encompasses His very nature.

 

 

 

Contaminated| By Jasmine Beard

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“Empty me of me, oh Lord.” This is a prayer I pray very often.

Have you ever been confronted with yourself and did not like what you saw? Like you didn’t even recognize yourself in your reflection?

So many times, our hearts and actions can detour from the character of Christ. It is not natural for us to have the same heart and character of God, but as believers, we count our natural character dead and our new character alive in Christ.

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 (NIV)

Picture yourself as a piping system with water, pure water flowing in and out of you. This is a picture of what God desires to do in us and pour out of us in this world. The water is His love.

The Bible tells us that God is LOVE.

You see, our culture likes to paint a very different picture of what love is. Culture tells us love is self-acceptance, self-seeking, and lives true to every fleshly desire our heart leads. In Jeremiah 17:9, the Bible tells us that the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked without God.

Paul gives us a great description of what true love is in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (TPT):

4 “Love is large and incredibly patient.Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance.

5 Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense.

6 Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong.

7 Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others.Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.”

The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy the love that God desires to flow through His people. He wants to contaminate the water that flows through us.

To contaminate means to make impure or unsuitable by contact or mixture with something unclean, bad, etc.

If you drop one grain of sand in pure water, the water becomes dirty. Something that was once drinkable and ready for consumption becomes tainted and undrinkable.

Today examine your heart and ask the Lord if you are contaminated, tainted, or even have a grain of sand inside your heart. He is faithful to purify us time and time again, all we have to do is ask.

“Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.” John 7:38 (NLT)