To the Unqualified:

Yeah, me too.

Sometimes the battle is just so big in front of you, and you just feel so small.  So under-prepared.  So unqualified.  How do you know if you have everything you need to fight the battle? How can you know if all you do is enough? If you are enough?

I was encouraged recently when reading the story of Gideon.  God had called him to fight a battle and 30,000 people came to help Gideon.  Long story short, God whittled down Gideon’s army to about 300 people, against a massive enemy.  God’s plan didn’t make sense.  In fact, it looked as if Gideon and his army had been qualified at the start, and God un-qualified them.  They had started with a hundred times the amount of people that they had by the time it was time to fight!

Have you ever felt God calling you to something, but the closer it gets, the less prepared you feel? You thought you could handle it, but then the people you were counting on left you.  The enemy grew but those on your side disappeared.

Now you’re right here at the enemy’s camp and you don’t know how you’re going to get through this victorious.  You don’t have friends surrounding you.  You don’t even have weapons.

Well, let me remind you, dear friend, you have God.  And that’s enough.

Those soldiers that night only have three things: a torch, a trumpet, and a pitcher.

Maybe what you have to fight with seems simple and ineffective too.  Thankfully, I’ve got a God who can use the little bit I have, and make it work.

That night, Gideon and his measly little army surrounded the enemy’s camp.  All they had were their pitchers over their torches and their trumpets.  At the signal, they broke their pitchers, revealing the fire inside, and blew their trumpets.

The enemy camp went into a frenzy and became so confused and chaotic that they killed each other.

Sometimes you approach battle with very little with which to fight.  Sometimes you may just have a pitcher, torch, and trumpet, and your pitcher gets smashed too.  But you know what? At the end of the day, you are left standing victorious on the battlefield, with nothing but fire in one hand and an instrument of praise in the other.

You don’t have to be qualified.  Sometimes being qualified doesn’t mean having everything together, or even having everything.  Sometimes qualified means letting God get rid of everything you thought you needed in your life to win: both people and things.  Sometimes qualified even means the shattering of what’s left, until all that remains is fire and praise.

And your enemy is left in utter chaos and confusion, for your God has won the victory for you.

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Window-Shopping Faith

Over the holidays, I was struck by the parallels of window-shopping to our spiritual lives.  Window-shopping is when we walk through all that’s available for purchase, but don’t pay the price to get it.  How often do we wish we had greater faith, saw miracles more often, or had a stronger prayer life, but don’t want to put in the work to get it? How many times do we worry about something and hope it gets better but never put in the work to get down on our knees and petition the gates of Heaven for a miracle?

I think, in my own life especially, we fear and avoid the process of growth because we fear the pain that comes with it.  We want what we see displayed in the window but don’t want to sacrifice anything to get it.  We become content to listen to praise music but don’t sing the words from our own hearts.  We don’t mind praying over a meal but aren’t praying about what keeps us up at night.  We want a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, etc, but don’t want to improve who we are.  We feel good enough about ourselves because we see what we want all around us and think it’ll still be there whenever we decide to sacrifice what we have to get it.

But what if our time is now? What if God is calling you to trade in everything of value to you in order to receive everything He has in store for you? What are we waiting for? Isn’t what God has for us much more precious than what we have stored up for ourselves?

May we boldly approach the throne of God with faith enough to believe that what God started in us, He will carry on until the day of completion, and may we give up anything that would hold us back.

Lie and Truth Match-ups

Hey y’all! Below is a short list of lies that I’ve believed at one point or another and verses that help dispute them.  I know these are fairly common so I wanted to help others not believe the lies and have a truth to replace it with.

 

I can’t do anything right. 

“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight—”–Colossians 1:21-22

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”

Ephesians 1:3-8, 11-12

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

Romans 8:1-2 NKJV

I’m not important.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”

I Peter 2:9

“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

I Timothy 4:12

I’m not worth anything.

“The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”–Jeremiah 31:3

“For thus says the LORD of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye. For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me. “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the LORD. “Many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and they shall become My people. And I will dwell in your midst. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you.”

Zechariah 2:8-11

I’m stupid and dumb. 

“Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.”

Jeremiah 29:12-14

I feel like I can never heal because the wounds are so many and so deep and don’t ever get time to heal. 

“Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, And shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice.”–Jeremiah 31:4

“Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” “I will gather those who sorrow over the appointed assembly, Who are among you, To whom its reproach is a burden. Behold, at that time I will deal with all who afflict you; I will save the lame, And gather those who were driven out; I will appoint them for praise and fame In every land where they were put to shame. At that time I will bring you back, Even at the time I gather you; For I will give you fame and praise Among all the peoples of the earth, When I return your captives before your eyes,” Says the LORD.”

Zephaniah 3:14-20

““Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.

For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the LORD, who has mercy on you. “O you afflicted one, Tossed with tempest, and not comforted, Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, And lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, Your gates of crystal, And all your walls of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you. Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the LORD.”

Isaiah 54:4-5, 10-15, 17

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6:26, 30, 33-34

“Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.”

Jeremiah 29:12-14

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

II Corinthians 5:17

“But the Lord stands beside me like a great warrior. Before him my persecutors will stumble. They cannot defeat me. They will fail and be throughly humiliated. Their dishonor will never be forgotten.” Jeremiah 20:11

I’m not appreciated. 

“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

I Timothy 4:12

Called By Name Pt. 3

Okay, so if you’ve been following my blog for the past couple of months you may notice a theme keep popping up: being called by name.  In part 1 of this mini-series, I talked about being called, and in part 2, about names.  Well, here we are in part 3 and I’m still caught up on this idea that names are really important.

I went to Passion Conference for the first three days of this new year and one of the things that really struck me was how many people attended.  We filled three huge arenas across the Southeast with students, and had more people streaming the conference online.  The magnitude of people coming together in agreement to worship with one heart and one mind was staggering.  I went with my best friend and her church, which meant I only knew two people out of all those thousands of students.  Getting lost would have been so easy! The crowds could get chaotic what with all the going through security, finding seats for everyone, and just trying to stick together.  The amount of groups trying to stay together naturally created hustle and bustle that comes along with crowds of that size.

Our group would always plan to stick together through the lines of people, but getting separated from the group would happen naturally if you didn’t purpose to keep an eye on the group leader.  Even if you got lost, there was still hope.  We always sat in the same area together, so if you lost sight of the leader along the way, you knew to go to the place where you were sure to meet with him again.  You could listen for the people in your group to call your name as they searched for you.  Whether you intentionally got separated from the group to go off and look at what people were selling at the conference, or unintentionally lost sight of the leader, there was hope that you would be found again.

But with the hope came responsibility.  If you became lost, it now depended on you to listen for the voice of your leader calling your name, or to go to the place where you would sit and wait for him to join you.

And right there, in the middle of the chaos and joy of the Passion Conference, it struck me how that parallels to our spiritual life.  We are going through life following God, hopefully with other people alongside us, in the confidence that soon we will reach Heaven, a place filled with countless people who are all worshipping God.  Sometimes along the way, we get our eyes off of our leader; sometimes we get distracted by what the world is selling us and walk away, but sometimes somebody just bumps into us and we lose sight of Him.  Getting our eyes back on God isn’t a hopeless endeavor.  We just have to listen for Him calling our name, and sometimes that means going and sitting in the place where He has promised to meet us.

But how often do we get distracted by the things of the world and then think there is no hope for us? How often do we get our eyes off our Father when someone else bumps into us and our focus shifts to them? We blame and fight with others and let our focus go to those who have “bumped into our happy”, as Lysa TerKerust puts it, and then we are so focused on their offense we lose sight of where God was leading us.  We may even follow after voices calling names at us, thinking that responding to whatever names we hear will lead us back to the One Who Named Us.

Have you lost sight of God and been responding to the first names you hear? Worthless, unqualified, unloved, rejected, lost, hopeless? That’s not your name! If you respond to and follow the wrong names you’ll go to the wrong place.  God is calling you to Himself and He’s calling out to you by name (Is. 43:1)

If you’ve lost sight of God and can’t hear Him calling your name, you can still go to the place where He’s promised to meet you.  Get away from the crowds and go to your secret place (Ps. 91:1; 81:7).  Make a point to get away from the crowd and chaos and go to meet with God.

He hasn’t left you.  If circumstances, people, or things have gotten in the way and you can’t hear God calling your name anymore, there is still hope.  Like I said earlier though, that hope comes with responsibility.  You’ve got to seek God out, but rest assured, God promises that when you seek Him, you will find Him, when you seek Him with all your heart (Jer. 29:13).  He’s not hiding from you!

Isaiah 45:3, “I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hidden riches of the secret place, that you may know that I, the Lord, who calls you by your name, am the God of Israel.”

What God Spoke to Me One Silent Night

*This is something God spoke to me late one night when I couldn’t sleep that I’ve shared with several people and wanted to share with you.  Because He spoke it to me, there are adjectives/pet names that are feminine, but I have put a unisex counterpart in parenthesis next to most of them because I want males to be able to relate also.  So if something is specifically a female name, adjust it to your gender. 🙂 Enjoy.*

 

I wandered alone

Clinging to things not my own

Placing my worth in them

Painting my future with brushes of past

Thinking that love would never last

Jumping from sin to sin

Thinking this was the end

But You

You think different thoughts toward me

Thoughts of peace and mercy

Thoughts to calm my soul

With plans to make me whole

Yes, You

You and Your thoughts towards me

Are good and slo-o-owly,

I will see

What You truly think of me

I turned Your temple

Into a place for me

But now I see

What You’re making me

A voice

Calling out into the void

Come, all who are weak

Come, rest before Me

Come, see what I do

Come, for I make all things new

And I am re-shaping you

Before you were hard clay

Until you gave everything that day

Now I will make you new

Because that is what I do

I siphon out the fear

I draw you near

I tell you I am enough

Even when your edges are rough

Sometimes I have to break you

To uniquely make you

Into what only I can see

But {BELOVED} baby girl, you’ve got to trust Me

I hold you tenderly

I hold you tenderly

I hold you tenderly

I hold you tenderly

You may not believe Me

But wait and see

I know what I’m doing

I’m shaping you like Me

Your design will be rare

People will turn and stare,

Asking how you become so strong

When it’s because you clung to Me all along

For that is the only way

You must learn to pray

Not my will, but Yours

Let go of all the impurities

You will not need them where I AM taking you

For I AM drawing you out

To a new place

A deep place

A place where My grace becomes all you see

Yes, then you will know you are in Me

For the plans I have for you are good

You will prosper

I am drawing you out,

Drawing you away,

From all the things telling you to stay

Oh lovely {CHILD} daughter and Bride

It is for You I died

You may have to go through the fire

But I will be with you

You may have to walk on deep waters

But I will be with you

You may be led to green pastures

But I will be with you

For I AM. And always will be. Surrender to Me;

It will open your destiny.

You cannot yet see the blessings that I have in store

Yet I will heap more and more.

For I AM with you

I will guide you

I have always led you

I will never leave you

Make Me your first choice

Listen above the noise

You will find that I speak

Have you been listening?

I know your flesh is weak

That’s okay

Surrender it to Me

I can handle it

I can hold it

I can take it

I have it

But I left it at the cross

Why have you picked it up again?

I love you

I will never leave you

I will hold you

I have you

I went to the cross for you

The stars praise My Name

I hold you in My hand

I’ve got you

You can stop holding on now

I’m not letting go

This is My job

I can do it

I’ve been in the restoration business since the beginning of time.

I’ve been building things in your life that you have yet to see, just as you cannot tell how a builder is going to fill in the empty spaces in the structure of a house.

I have plans to fill you.

I have not forgotten you.

I know you by name.

I love you. I am waiting for you. I have waited since the beginning of time–before that–to have a relationship with you. But there is not much time to wait now. You must decide. Who will you serve?

I have laid down everything for you. What will you do for Me? Will you turn your face back to Me, Beloved? I still care about you.

I saw everything you did. I watched as you were unfaithful to Me. Over and over one thousand times. But I have forgiven you. I have not forgotten you. I still have big plans for you. Come here so I can tell you about them.

I want you to know that I have not rejected you. And I have a plan to use every single crack in you to shine my glory through. If you keep trying to peer through those cracks and let that be all you ever see, you’ll never see the big picture. Come sit in My lap so I can show you how you look.

Do you see yourself in that mirror? In that red dress? That’s not how I see you. I see you in white. When My love comes in you, all of the red is drained–leeched–from you. And I clothe you in white. That’s redemption. I paid for you with My life. And I would do it again for you, but I don’t have to. No, I covered it all the first time. Don’t you believe Me?

Rest now, Beloved. I will not overwhelm you. I love you. I am singing over you as you sleep tonight. I’ve got you covered: with My feathers and My grace. Sleep well; I won’t let you go. I’m your anchor.

Encouragement for Those Struggling with Sin

Awhile back I put together this list of songs, verses, quotes, and sermons that helped (and still help) me when I’m trying to fix my focus on God and get out of a rut of sin or slackness in my relationship with God.  I’m sharing it here so it will all be in one place for you; I hope you find it helpful!

 

Songs:

“Forgive Me” Tenth Avenue North

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEeglv01BCA

“More Than Conquerers” Rend Collective

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2p8_4NbrcKA

“Move (Keep Walkin’)“ Toby Mac

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzYsrAcuS0s

“Lift Your Head Weary Sinner” David Crowder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hDZ3aNTAR4

“Strong Love” Jon Thurlow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh6MCaN71Dk

“Hello, My Name Is” Matthew West

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdVZ3JdthFM

“Come Thou Fount” Chris Rice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax_NMWLEb6U

“Need You Now (How Many Times)” Plumb

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ylnx0NA9X4

“How He Loves” David Crowder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FxaUYjRtkc

“You Are My Hiding Place” Selah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dR0H0tAYT8

“Shackles” MaryMary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PfuT-0YAf4

“No Longer Slaves to Fear” Bethel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8TkUMJtK5k

“Greater” MercyMe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXI0B4iMLuU

“I Am Not the Same” Unhindered

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JamKlq7QMw

“Eye of the storm” Ryan Stevenson

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cw3zIA1NJU0

“Desert Soul” Rend Collective

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD9xdDNX_hk

“Oh Fear (My God is Near)” Moriah Peters

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5SUYDX9HwU

“Grace Wins” Matthew West

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JXl1czvh7g

“Drops in the Ocean” Hawk Nelson

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZH13wFGffg

“Priceless” For King and Country

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPgSrMOTnqM

“Just Be Held” Casting Crowns

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIZitK6_IMQ

“Loyal” Lauren Daigle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXKG-ooExGs

“You Will Never Run” Rend Collective

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRBvxR3Rc30

“Beloved” Jordan Feliz

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgJFUW3VenY

“Day One” Matthew West

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq2Tp3asLU8

“Beloved” Tenth Avenue North

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-Nbt8lCJrk

“Fix My Eyes” For King and Country

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NM-Bf9gE0gw

“You Raise Me Up” Selah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DorNUsi5LE

“Alabaster Jar” Rend Collective

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvN79FGLhZ4

“How Can It Be” Lauren Daigle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt5X91ciE6Y

“Ever Be” Bethel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhasSpSBdEE

“Testify” NeedToBreathe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDcYsyx2mCg

“Second Chance” Rend Collective

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6RNJ6HDTpU

“Jesus, Friend of Sinners” Casting Crowns

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipwEtvWL_3c

“Same Power” Jeremy Camp

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InsifiZxVXU

“One Thing Remains” Jesus Culture

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_KXsMCJgBQ

“Mended” Matthew West

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Otg-5p7qug

“How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” Selah

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vmY2ztb5xc

“Trembling” About a Mile

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2oS-k2aH9M

“The Cost” Rend Collective

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEWymdRBHho

“Beautiful Things” Gungor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1spkhp41ig4

“Stronger” Mandisa

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrcIN54E7Kk

“I Choose Jesus” Moriah Peters

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rL2bZfHmsDs

“Call it Grace” Unspoken

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAMU68NTVQw

“The List” Matthew West

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1pQrsUDjDU

“God is on the Move” 7eventh Time Down

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPB9ENSd1Xc

“I Want It All Back” Tye Tribett

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWlMgquVvHg

“Alone” Hollyn ft. TRU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kpk9PfOVFQk

 

Sermons:

Don’t Stop on 6—Steven Furtick

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtHIS-frWos

I Am—Steven Furtick

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-MQRrnmET8

How to Love the Mud—Steven Furtick

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xymsHxaLAYE

Hold That Thought—Steven Furtick (Yeah, he’s my pastor 🙂 )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8lE79qWVTA

Fix Your Mind—John Allison

I can’t figure out how to link that specific sermon, but here’s a link to Redeemer sermons, and this one was on 08.16.2015

http://redeemerpc.com/media-sermons/

Hello from the Other Side—Steven Furtick

http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/hello-from-the-other-side/

Beating Burnout—Steven Furtick

http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/beating-burnout/

Find Your Flow—Steven Furtick

I actually don’t remember what this one was about, but I know I probably listened to it 5 times. http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/find-your-flow/

Be the Vessel—Jentezen Franklin

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Cjvdhv01hQ

Verses:

Jeremiah 31:3 NLT

“Long ago the Lord said to Israel: ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.  With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.”

Philippians 3:14 NLT

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

2 Timothy 2:13 NKJV

“If we are faithless, He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”

Psalm 27:13-14 NLT

“Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.  Wait patiently for the Lord.  Be brave and courageous.  Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”

Psalm 69:13-15 NLT

“But I keep praying to you, Lord, hoping this time you will show me favor.  In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation.  Rescue me from the mud; don’t let me sink any deeper! Save me from those who hate me, and pull me from these deep waters.  Don’t let the floods overwhelm me, or the deep waters swallow me, or the pit of death devour me.”

2 Samuel 22:17-20 MSG

“But me He caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out of that clean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning.  They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me.  He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!”

1 Corinthians 1:8 NLT

“He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns.”

Hosea 10:12 NKJV

“Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”

1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Psalm 18:19b NKJV

“He delivered me because He delighted in me.”

Joshua 23:10 NKJV

“One man of you shall chase a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, as He promised you.”

Zechariah 2:8 NKJV

“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.”

Micah 7:18-19 NKJV

“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.  He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities.  You will cast our sins into the depths of the sea.”

Isaiah 58:11 NKJV

“The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.”

Psalm 18:29 NLT

“In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall.”

Psalm 32:5 NKJV

“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden.  I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”

Psalm 51:10 NLT

“Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a loyal spirit within me.”

Psalm 55:16-18 NKJV

“As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me.  Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.  He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, for there were many against me.”

Psalm 119:11 NIV

“I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:40-41,58 NKJV

“Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord; let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven.  O Lord, You have pleaded the case for my soul; You have redeemed my life.”

Romans 12:2 NKJV

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Romans 13:14 NKJV

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NKJV

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV

“No temptation has overtaken except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Galatians 2:20 NKJV

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Galatians 5:16-17 NKJV

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.”

Philippians 2:13 NLT

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.”

Philippians 3:12-14 MSG

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made.  But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.  Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in any of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward-to Jesus.  I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”

Colossians 3:1-3 NKJV

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

2 Thessalonians 3:3 NKJV

“But God is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.”

1 Timothy 6:11-12 NKJV

“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

2 Timothy 2:21 NASB

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”

1 Peter 1:13-16 NKJV

“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope full upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’”

1 Peter 2:9 NASB

“But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”

Quotes:

“Admit it.  Confess it.  Own it.  But don’t stay stuck in it.  It’s not who you are.”—Steven Furtick

“What they say doesn’t define who I am.  God loves me with the same love in the middle of my sin as when I’m close in fellowship with him.”—Don’t remember

“When we do meet difficulties and sorrows, they were not meant to stop us but to form the character required for our great harvest in the coming season.”—Beth Moore

“It is better to have the opportunity of victory than to be spared the struggle.” Amelia E. Barr

“I’m too bright to burn out.”—Steven Furtick

“It’s not about competing with others.  It’s about competing with myself.  If everyday I am a step ahead of my old self, I’m winning.”—Don’t remember

Born This Way

I was born backwards; I was breech.  I’ve often wondered at the significance of that.  I was breech, my mom was born breech.  Not only does it reach back up into previous generations, but also I had a dream last week that I was heavily pregnant, and that my baby was breech.  I felt God saying in that moment, “You have been set apart, a peculiar people, from the very beginning of your life.  Now I am birthing a new thing in you, and when it comes, people will say it’s all backwards and odd.  But what others call crazy, backwards, and scary, I call set apart and chosen.  Do not be afraid of appearing backwards to the world, as long as you have set your eyes forward on Me.”

“God’s ways are different from our ways.”  Have you ever heard that phrase? The more I pursue God’s ways, the more true I find it to be.  There are so many unusually bold moments I’ve had, where words pour out of my mouth and I know they came straight from the heart of God.  So many times I’ve “just got a feeling” that someone is struggling and when I ask them how they are, I can see in their eyes if they’re lying when they say they’re “fine”.

Have you had those moments of courage too? Does God ever tell you to go and pray for the broken-down car on the side of the road and offer them all the snacks and assistance you have to offer? Does He tell you to talk to the rough and tough guys coming from the streets and tell them how loved they are, how completely and utterly adored they are by their Father? Does He tell you to stand up and share your story to hundreds of people, or to just thirty kids who need to know it’s okay to struggle, that they’re not alone? Has He ever reminded you that He’s called you out of where you are and into the purposes and plans He has for you?

He’s been doing that to me lately.  And the longer I delay my obedience, the less courage I have.  I don’t want to mess up the rhythm of the movement of God by my hesitation to do what He says.  I want to go where He calls me, speak what He speaks to me, and love with the love He’s shown me.  It may seem backwards, crazy, or ridiculous, but I have full confidence that He who called me is faithful to bring His works through me to completion.  Even if it looks like it’s coming out backwards.

Called by Name Part 2

One thing I neglected to mention in the previous “Called by Name” post is the wordage at the end of Isaiah 43:1, where the Lord declares “I have called you by name; you are mine.”, is that the word used for “mine” is “Alpha”, the first letter of the Greek alphabet. The only other place this is used in the Bible is a couple of times in the book of Revelation, where God is referred to as the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.

So when God calls you by name, He is calling you by His name since you are His.  He’s not calling you by the name of “slave”, “failure”, “depressed”, “guilty”, “ashamed”, or any of those labels we ourselves claim.  No, when you put your trust and faith in Him, you become His child and the bride of Christ.  So when He calls you by name, it’s the very first name that existed in the universe.  It’s the name that’s been around before you were born, the eternal, saving, conquering name of Jesus.  Alpha and Omega.  First and the last.  Beginning and the end.  Enduring through all generations.  I AM in us.

Called By Name

Isaiah 43:1 “But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you.  O Israel, the one who formed you says, ‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine.'”

Have you ever felt like you and life just don’t get along? I had a day last week where every single thing I touched, I dropped.  All morning long.  A bowl of hair gel went flying across the floor and splatted everywhere, a towel slipped out of my hand as I was swinging my arms back and forth and flew all the way to the other side of the room, and more.  It seemed like everything I touched ended up on the floor.  It was comical, embarrassing, and frustrating.  I felt like I just couldn’t win.

Even on a less humorous side, last week I was weary.  I didn’t feel at peace with a lot of big things coming up in life; I’m a senior and as graduation approaches, I have a lot of well-meaning people ask me what I want to do with my life.  I had a plan, a job, an answer…but I all I felt was dread.  I felt like I was wrestling with an opponent that I couldn’t see, couldn’t name, couldn’t pin-point.  Something just felt “off”.

For weeks, I have been feeling this and have really been trying to think through my plans and what I want to do, but it wasn’t until those uncertainties really pressed in on me last week that I started praying about it.  I wanted to know what plans God wanted me to follow, because I know He was sure about His plans for me (Jeremiah 29:11), even as I was unsure about my own plans.  I knew if I asked Him, He said He would answer me, and would tell me great and mighty things that I didn’t know (Jeremiah 33:3).  So I asked Him, and boy, did He give me an answer!

I went to a ladies’ retreat over the weekend, and really heard His voice there.  A lady that I didn’t even know prophesied over me, telling me that in this season I needed to walk in my shoes of peace, and that I would be a person who ran for the Kingdom of God, a person whose ministry would impact many.

Not even four months before that, I had visited Bethel Church’s location in Atlanta. The speaker there asked if anyone in the room had the name “Anna”.  No one responded, so she asked if anyone had “Anna” as part of their name.  It took a moment for me to remember that my middle name was Susanna, because I go by my first name Callie.  That night, the speaker spoke pretty much the exact same prophecy over me.  I must admit, as much as I was awed about what she’d spoken (it matched what other people that knew me had told me), I was a little offended that God didn’t use my first name.   He had told her that the prophecy was for someone who had Anna as a part of their name instead of that the prophecy was for someone named Callie.  Why didn’t God use my first name? I know He knows my name; He knows how many hairs are on my head (Matthew 10:30).

When I connected that the two ladies had spoken the same thing over me, I felt God saying “Baby girl, I KNOW YOUR NAME.  Don’t think for a moment that I have forgotten you.  That night at Bethel, it wasn’t that I didn’t know your name, it was that I have names for you that you have yet to walk in.  My son paid for a new identity for you, and just as there are songs I sing and dance over you (Zephaniah 3:17), there are names I speak over you that you don’t even know about yet.  You may be called Callie now, but there is more for you.  I have a new identity for you, and I can’t wait for you to discover and walk in it.”

Wow.  Talk about a perspective shift! I went from feeling forgotten to feeling cherished.  God had reminded me that the moment I had made a decision to give Him my life, my heart, and my everything, I had taken on His name.  I had become the Bride of Christ.  I had a new name, just like a girl takes on her husband’s name when they marry.  God had names for me that I didn’t even know yet.

Isaiah 43:1 wouldn’t get out of my head this past weekend.  God speaks to both Jacob’s former name, the one he had before he wrestled all night long, and to his new name Israel.  God reminds him that not only did he create him–his first name–but He also formed him into what He wanted him to be–his new identity.  Then God speaks these incredible words to him, “Do not be afraid,” which to me parallels to walking in shoes of peace, “for I have ransomed you.” To ransom means that someone pays a price to get another person out of where they are and into freedom.  That’s what God did for us: He paid a price–His own Son–to get us out of where we were–dead in our sins–and into where God wanted us to be–restored to righteousness beside Him.  The verse continues, “I have called you by name,” which jumped out at me after hearing God tell me that He has new names for me.  God is calling you.  God is calling you out of where you are and into His plans for you.  And God is calling you by a name that He has for you, not names like “broken”, “hurt”, “addict”, “suicidal”, “depressed”, “uncertain”, or “not enough”.  And what’s more, God continues, saying “You are mine”.

I love the thought of being God’s.  Of living from the names He has for me instead of the ones I call myself.  I love that first, He reminds us that He created us and He is forming us, and that He tells us to not be afraid because He has already paid the price to set us free.  He knows our name, and He calls us.  He wants us.  He wants you.

As for my uncertain plans? God reminded me of the passions He’d put into my heart from an early age, and I plan to pursue them: writing, speaking, ministering–even though it doesn’t make sense.  I have a job, I’m about to graduate college, and I want to only do what God wants me to do, nothing more, nothing less.  If He says “Come and talk with me”, I want my heart to respond “Lord, I am coming” (Psalm 27:8).  When He calls me by name, I want to respond, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:10).