He contends for His

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What does it mean to “contend”? According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of ‘contend’ states: to maintain, assert, and strive. Synonyms for contend; to battle, to face off. What a thought our God contends, faces off, battles for His children! We do not fight our battles alone (unless we choose not to accept Jesus). In our action step, we must call out to God, believe He is able, and go to Him as the Commander in Chief who directs His Army for His children. Let me say that again, first, we choose Him, we communicate to Him in prayer, then we align with His promises for our lives and our children.

We must put on the Armor of God ( Ephesians 6; 10 -18), and we read about the importance of each piece of the battle armor. Covering our mind is the helmet, covering our chest ( heart) is the breastplate, God’s truth is represented in the belt, walking in the shoes of peace that have spikes on their bottom to secure the soldier on the battlefield. A fellow Sister in Christ shared this truth regarding spikes on the top and bottom of a soldier’s feet in ancient times. Powerful visual that our foundation must be grounded in our God and faith in Him. The shield of faith is our belief that the power of the unseen God covers us with His protection, the Sword of the Spirit is the Bible, and His Word is alive. Prayer is a mighty weapon, when done unceasingly it is solid gold power. We must share this with our family, friends, and whoever God brings to our minds.

Isaiah 49:22-26 NIV
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I will beckon to the nations, I will lift up my banner to the peoples; they will bring your sons in their arms and carry your daughters on their hips. [23] Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed." [24] Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives be rescued from the fierce? [25] But this is what the LORD says: "Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save. [26] I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh; they will be drunk on their own blood, as with wine. Then all mankind will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob."

Declare: Father God, we are in awe of you, we are not worthy of Your love, yet you give it freely, You see potential in your children, You are a patient Father God. You provide all we need, we minimize your gifts and promises. Forgive our unbelief, our own self-focus takes us from the Illuminated Beauty of being in Your Presence. You are Elohim, the Almighty One, You are Jehovah Sabaoth, You are Jehovah Shalom, You are El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One, the God of the Mountains! You are Adonai, My Great God!

John 1:1-5 NLT
In the beginning, the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He existed in the beginning with God. [3] God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. [4] The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. [5] The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

YHWH is the symbol for the Hebrew name of God, God you are “I AM”, The Self-Existent One! You never change, save us all! In awe and reverence, the Jewish people whisper His Name.

Father, the nations need Your hand, we wait on Your action, and we hope in You alone, Lord of heaven’s armies ready for battle, Your Word is truth as Isaiah 49 shares, You are our protector, contend for our children and us!

You are amazing God, bring Your Light to this darkness attempting to cover our world. Lord, your children need You, alone!


Cascade mountains breathtaking Photo by Mary Mesikapp

Prepare your minds for action! Exercise self-control!

1 Peter 1:13-25 NLT So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.

Hiking in the Cascade mountains fills my mind, body, and soul. Exercise for the body brings a healthy physical state, and emotional stability and burns stress. The importance of preparing our minds for action is spiritual health and learning to exercise self-control with a fixed mind in Our Creator is a necessity. Our exercise plan must include seeking Jesus, and gaining spiritual muscle through His Word.

14] So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old living ways to satisfy your desires. You didn’t know any better then. [15] But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. [16] For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

Our whole body and mind will be more content, and able to endure all life’s detours when we care for all parts of our body. Obedience to God and His direction is not punishment, it is a loving direction and at times discipline to be holy as He is holy. For life endurance, we must exercise this priority.

17] And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.”

Reverent fear and awe of Our God will bring rewards. He is a just God and faithful to be trusted with your life. Our pride in following our own trail even when we see obstacles takes us from a peaceful hike. We miss the beauty when we trudge on with impulsive steps. Whether you are single or married, with children or not, it is the same message, preparation is crucial.

18] For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. [19] It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. [20] God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake. [21] Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. [22] You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. [23] For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.

In the description above, in 1 Peter, God paid a ransom for you, by sending Jesus to the earth as a bridge for our benefit. This bridge of Jesus’ death on the cross as He accepted all our sins is a fantastic love. Our relationship with Jesus is secure when we take this precious gift and treasure its purpose, we can live in love for each other. You can be born again, meaning, death to your sin and a new life in Christ.

24] As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades. [25] But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.

The Word of God is provided in the Bible as a passport if you will on the journey to your eternal destination, heaven. His Word is beautiful and remains forever. Your reward awaits!

Love God: He is for Every Nation

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Can you imagine what it will be like when every tribe, tongue, and nation will bend its knee? Every Soul connected to the Holy Spirit seems a mystery and not possible. I love the letters of Paul and Timothy who wrote to the church at Philippi, great words of wisdom for an attitude like Jesus.

Philippians 2: 1- 11     Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort 
from his love?  Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 
2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, 
and working together with one mind and purpose.

3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than 
yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

6 Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
8     he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
    and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

God loves His children! He loves all of His Children. He extends His hand, and He seeks the child ( sheep) who hides past mistakes or is lost too. We are the sheep of His pasture ( Psalm 100:3).

Psalm 100:3      Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
 He made us, and we are his.
 We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.  

He really calls His sheep to abundant life with Him. He died the sinner’s death on the cross for our sins. What love He has for us!!

Declare: I am a child of God, I may never feel worthy of Jesus’ love yet You extend it anyway. Help me Jesus to open my heart, mind, and soul to Your amazing Love. I want to experience all of You. Amen.

This song by Lindy Conant is so precious, I feel the amazing grace and mercy of God. He calls His children, including all of us, as His adopted Children into His family! We are His!!

Deuteronomy 6: 4-9   “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.   

We must Love God with all our Heart, Soul, and Strength. We must share God’s wisdom with our children. It can break generational curses and bring generational life-changing futures.

Don’t be troubled

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C. S. Lewis in his book ” The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, shares an interaction between Mr. Beaver and Susan, a young woman. It is a wonderful example of trusting without knowing the future. Aslan, the Lion, is the character that saves the kids and animals in this mysterious world. He speaks and acts for truth and against evil. He is powerful and gentle just like Jesus. I love the powerful message found in this conversation between Mr. Beaver and Susan, Mr. Beaver shared, “Aslan is a lion, -the lion, the great lion”. “Ooh”, said Susan, “I thought he was a man, Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”… “Safe,” said Mr. Beaver, “… who said anything about safe? ‘Course, He isn’t safe, but he is good. He is the King.”

We must trust our King Jesus. We must discover who He is, He is the Lion of Judah! He is for us not against us. He is safe and good. Jesus is the Lion and the Lamb.

John 14:1-4,6-7,10-11,30-31 NLT
[1] “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. [2] There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? [3] When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. [4] And you know the way to where I am going.” [6] Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. [7] If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” [10] Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. [11] Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. [30] “I don’t have much more time to talk to you, because the ruler of this world approaches. He has no power over me, [31] but I will do what the Father requires of me so that the world will know that I love the Father. Come, let’s be going.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is preparing a place for you with our Father God. No matter what your eyes see, no matter what the world tells you, no matter how you feel about the future.

Our mind can not conceive what the future holds, however, we can trust the One who holds the future in His hands.

Even when Jesus walked the earth, there was unbelief. His disciples struggled to understand the wisdom Jesus shared in parables and sermons.

In the midst of trials, it can be hard to trust in something unseen. I have been there, however, I am amazed that I witnessed Jesus move in my detours and He kept me safe even in conflict, or at peace when I felt alone.

Jesus was in the midst of my life. I had to reach for the Lion. I am baffled yet intrigued by awe at the power of my Savior Jesus.

Lion is a powerful battle cry worship song by Chris Brown and Brandon Lake. This live version of “Lion”, is so Holy Spirit driven. I would be surprised if you don’t feel awe as you listen, then a prompting to sing as you join the chorus, Our God is amazing, He is the Lion of Judah. He can break through and save you from unbelief, fear, and your past. Let the Lion Roar and gain a beautiful perspective of hope, breakthrough, and acceptance as a child of God.

Revelation 5    5 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits[a] of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased for God
    persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
    and they will reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and praise!”

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:

“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”

14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped. 

Sometimes we have to gain faith in the unseen things, repeat our belief in the Power of God loudly, and hold onto Jesus! I don’t know the future but I know who does, He can be trusted with your life. All Hail the Lion of Judah! He is worthy of all praise, honor, glory, and power, forever!!

Stepping up into your calling

Step into your calling photo by Mary Mesikapp

Do you know God commissions His people to a specific calling? It may take years or a lifetime to discover our purpose. But the same God who set the stars in place, can be trusted to set your life in place.

Psalm 47:1-9 MSG Applause, everyone. Bravo, bravissimo! Shout God-songs at the top of your lungs! GOD Most High is stunning, astride land and ocean. He crushes hostile people, puts nations at our feet. He set us at the head of the line, prize-winning Jacob, his favorite. Loud cheers as God climbs the mountain, a ram’s horn blast at the summit. Sing songs to God, sing out! Sing to our King, sing praise! He’s Lord over earth, so sing your best songs to God. God is Lord of godless nations- sovereign, he’s King of the mountain. Princes from all over are gathered, people of Abraham’s God. The powers of earth are God’s- he soars over all.

He set us at the head of the line, sing songs to Him! Seek His plan for your sphere of influence. You may not feel prepared but He will prepare the way if it is His plan.

Comfort zones are okay when you are feeling weary at times, however God wants to give you an opportunity to step up and into your calling. It’s scary to move beyond your safe place. But God is a sanctuary of safety. Praying for revival can be stepping into our calling. Sometimes we called not to wait but to take steps forward in faith. Seeking His direction not knowing the future. It does not mean titles for positions inside a building. It means a supernatural in filling by the Holy Spirit and trusting God to bring awareness, and direction. If He is over all the earth and in authority of all things He will complete the work He starts.

Kim Walker Smith sang Fresh Outpouring years ago, it is a powerful song that reminds followers of Jesus to ask for a fresh outpouring of His Holy Spirit! We can’t do this life alone. He prepares those who humble themselves before Him.

Jesus prepared His disciples, they were a group of men from multiple spheres of impact; fishermen, tax collectors, soldiers, prostitutes, sinners like us who were molded into who Jesus knew they could be. There impact spans for thousands of years and we can make an impact for His Kingdom too.

Fresh outpouring Jesus Culture

Let Jesus pour into your life, His wisdom, His power, His authority by His blood. Receiving life purpose through the Holy Spirit will transform not only you but those whose lives you intersect. Glory to God!

You are known

Reach for the Son — Photo by Andre Furtado (Pexel.com)

Guys and gals, some days you can feel invisible, stepped on, and lonely, I studied specific scriptures that expressed being Known by our Father. I want to encourage you as you put one foot in front of the other. You are known by God and He wants you to know Him more!

God knows you, He created you! Psalm 139 is filled with His thoughts on you before you were born and as you walk this earth.

Psalm 139:1-6 AMP
O LORD, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me. [2] You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do]; You understand my thought from afar. [3] You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways. [4] Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken], Behold, O LORD, You know it all. [5] You have enclosed me behind and before, And [You have] placed Your hand upon me. [6] Such [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high [above me], I cannot reach it.

Declare this, O Lord, You know it all, Your hand is upon me! Help me in my unbelief, when I feel alone, remind me, You are with me! Help me to find security in you alone!

Psalm 16:5-10 NIV
LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. [6] The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. [7] I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. [8] I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. [9] Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, [10] because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

Declare, At night when I sleep, fill my heart with your instruction. I want to rest in You! I want to learn to praise you more and fret less.

Psalm 16:11 NIV
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Lord, guide me to the path of life! Fill me with joy over fear, I want to have Your Presence above all things. Materials, money, and the enticements of the world can’t hold a candle to you. They leave me empty, I want my life to be filled with being known by You.

Psalm 86:1-7 MSG
Bend an ear, GOD; answer me. I’m one miserable wretch! Keep me safe-haven’t I lived a good life? Help your servant-I’m depending on you! You’re my God; have mercy on me. I count on you from morning to night. Give your servant a happy life; I put myself in your hands! You’re well-known as good and forgiving, bighearted to all who ask for help. Pay attention, GOD, to my prayer; bend down and listen to my cry for help. Every time I’m in trouble I call on you, confident that you’ll answer.

Psalm 86 is even more personal, a one on one conversation with our Father, Savior Jesus and the Holy Spirit! He bends to hear our prayers. We may not believe we are worthy of His attention. Reach out to Him again and again, repent for sins that may be an obstacle in hearing His voice.

Psalm 91:14 ASV
Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

His love is upon His children! He wants the best life for you. It begins with believing Jesus is your Savior, saying aloud, I want you Jesus to guide my life, forgive me of my sins, I repent turn away from the things I have done against you, I want you to rule my life, You are my God and guide me to a more abundant life. amen!

Roots go down

What is that old idiom, “Can you- not see the forest through the trees?”

What does this mean? Merriam-Webster describes: not understanding or appreciate a larger situation, problem, etc. because one is considering only a few parts of it.

We may not have a full picture of any situation, but many times we have to make our best guess. Scary proposition!!

Where are you looking for guidance? Is it built on taking steps through the forest without direction? We have to consider where we place our trust. Are our roots of wisdom found in seeking the Living water that provides nourishment to our soul and sustenance to grow our faith?

Photo by Mary Mesikapp

Just as a tree needs a good soil environment, we as humans, and as parents, need solid Godly teaching and love. If you have not had a compassionate, loving Christlike personal experience, I am so sorry. In this day and age, you can access church messages online to consider whether their instruction aligns with the Bible. It can feel like a risk to take a step into a church, I remember the fear after relocating to a different state and feeling uncertain. I asked the Lord to give me peace or show me the next option. He did, and after a few visits to different churches, I was able to choose and was blessed with sisters who were like-minded in Christ. Even though we may feel ill-prepared to parent, if we seek God to give us wisdom, He will share it.

So where do we need to place our minds, and trust to grow into the best wisdom? There is no better place than the Creator of the universe. This is a powerful scripture, Colossians 2, it has been helpful to me as a sister, mom, wife, and friend. Paul was talking to the Laodicean church, he was encouraging them to be strong in love. There are steps to grow roots of wisdom and understand God’s mysterious plan. It is not a quick process but a slow meaningful time well spent.

Colossians 2:1 - 10       I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. 2 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. 3 In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.4 I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. 5 For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. 9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

Just as nature is built by Him, our lives can be molded by Him. Don’t let empty philosophies and loud voices distract you from the still small voice of God. Christ is the head ruler and authority over all things. In the end, what we put into our time with Jesus will be a great reward to our lives and for generations. We can break the generational habits that bind us to unhealthy responses and actions, with God all things are possible. I am more grateful with each passing year, God is good and His treasures are priceless.

Football Play by Play #55

Logan Wilson #55

Football is a visual of offense and defensive strategy. It can easily be a metaphor for life. Quick responses to offensive and defensive actions can impact the game and our lives. Who is our coach?

During the playoff games, Logan Wilson, number 55, is the Cincinnati Bengals player who knocked down the ball at a crucial time. Wilson loves Jesus (A personal friend shared this truth, she is a relative of Wilson). The final minutes of the game can be exciting and life-changing. This weekend, Wilson’s defensive play caused the opponent to lose the game. One team won and the other team lost.

Our decisions in life can be played in a similar way. Are we receiving the pass of temptation with open hands or deflecting the pass for better things? Are we being led into impulsive sin by pride, anger, or bitterness or are we deflecting those prompts for a better response? Do we allow the audible of the still small voice of God to penetrate the roar of the crowd? It really is a matter of seeking wisdom to direct our steps for a long journey, not just one game.

The future is not in our hands at the end of the game. But where we put our trust matters. Seeking Jesus first, not being afraid to share His love with others matters, and being willing to listen to His instruction takes effort and we can be amazed at the results.

In the strength of God, we can knock down the enemy’s attempts to bring loss and an uncertain future. We get the choice of victory in life. This victory isn’t only physical like success on a sports field, it’s emotional in providing a sound mind, peace, and clear direction. It is in a spiritual connection to the Master Quarterback on the field, Jesus! He really has the best insight. It can guide us into eternal peace and relationship.

The Lord has plans, however, we must be discerning in the game of life, to be patient with the plays called. We must be on the offense and the defense with the Word of God as our playbook. We must seek like-minded teammates that hold us accountable to the Word. We want to get to the endzone and celebrate a heavenly touchdown. Think of the family of God all together whooping it up. Think of the roar of the crowd in the heavens, with angels and saints making a joyful sound, it will probably blow our minds.

Just as Logan Wilson had to fix his eyes on the prize at the time, the football, we must fix our eyes on Jesus! No longer do we have to be spectators in life. See an opportunity to receive the pass of salvation. Get real with Jesus!

Colossians 3:1-4 MSG
So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ-that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. [3-4] Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life-even though invisible to spectators-is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too-the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

Step into a New Life

Photo by Aaron Burden on Pexels.com

Every day is an opportunity to toss off old habits and begin a new path for a better life.

I used to think our God as a judging punishing unforgiving God. However, my time digging deep into His Word has opened my eyes, heart and soul for amazing wisdom.

We may have had a religious experience from a parent or person in authority that was not following Christ. We must seek God on a one on one personal relationship. He wants to reveal the hidden wisdom.

How do we imitate God when we don’t know what He says? Just as a new sport or hobby requires instruction from someone who excels in its results. It is even more valuable to seek our Father God and His priceless, timeless instruction.

Ephesians 5 has many great nuggets of wisdom. I am breaking it down to show manageable steps. I found it helpful for today. I think you will too.

Ephesians 5:1-20 NLT
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. [2] Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Key warnings from scripture:

3] Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.
4] Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes-these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.

If you have past or present sin that feels like a conviction as you read verses 3-4, pause now and talk to Jesus, ask forgiveness, repent (He will help you turn from these habits if you let Him rule in your life). Speak gratitude to Him for this amazing gift and wisdom.

Why do we need conviction for our sins over condemnation? Conviction is a heart poke to insight a reflection of our choices with the purpose of drawing us back to our Savior Jesus and His plans. Condemnation or shame is a tool the enemy uses to keep us afraid to reach out and stuck from a loving God.

5] You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. [6] Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. [7] Don’t participate in the things these people do.

When we worship things or people in this world, it is sin. Our God is a jealous God for a reason. If other things are an idol, He is not first in our life. You may ask, how can I be a child of the Light of Christ? We make the step of faith to Him. Step into His Light of grace, mercy, and truth. We do not have to stay in the dark.

8] For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! [9] For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

Our commitment to walk with Jesus as Lord gives us the tools for a better future and a life walking in life over death (separation from God and limited life). If we are parents, we are called to direct our kids to Jesus. My walk with Him has deepened as I have led and made mistakes in the process but return to the only place for wisdom. Our kids can grow with us.

10] Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. [11] Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. [12] It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. [13] But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them,

Our time in His Word, the Bible and with His like minded people can change the trajectory of our life. Individually though, we can find His steps for a growing life with God, awake O sleeper:

14] for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

Alarm sounds! Wake up sleeper

This is a wake up call! Do you hear the alarm? It is for our benefit to heed the advice.

15] So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. [16] Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.

17] Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
18] Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,
19] singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. [20] And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Begin today, if for the first time, or return now to the Jesus of your youth, He is the best friend you will ever have. Jesus will not ghost you. He wants to share His best.

Gray hair and toddlers

Running free? photo by Caleb Oquendo

Proverbs 16:1-3
We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer.

Our way may not be the best way, however, being human means to learn the process of seeking wisdom. This is a life long process, to stop being a toddler stamping feet, screaming “No, I can do it myself!” Instead, we must stop and take deep breaths, count to ten as we tell our kids and pause. The Lord will give a better Word and the best directions.

The fruits of the Spirit( Christs’ character traits) are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self control. They are found in Galatians 5.

Galatians 5:22-26 AMP
But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. [24] And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites. [25] If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage-our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]. [26] We must not become conceited, challenging or provoking one another, envying one another.

Pride, challenging provocation to debate or even fight and jealousy are tools the devil uses to divide us. A Follower of Christ should be able to speak for injustice after they filter their response with Godly wisdom. We are all created in the Image of God. The devil hates us. He will insight us to hate each other. But God is love.

The Holy Spirit and our commitment to walk with Him are the keys to gaining impulse control and showing the character traits of Him to those lives we intersect. Personal integrity and moral courage do not come by our strength. Love isn’t always easy.

As a child of God I am able to see situations where I need extra help to respond as Jesus, He and His warring angels are my rear guard. I don’t have to be led as people pleaser but instead as a child covered by Jesus. New perspectives and responses can abound in better communication.

As we strive to make changes in our responses, words and actions, we can expect plenty of experiences that challenge our success to change and grow more like Jesus.

However, I remind my kids and myself, God is not finished with us yet. Everyday, we get a chance to reconnect to our Savior Jesus and recommit to letting His plan for our life to unfold. Seeking accountability from likeminded women and men can keep us growing in faith and character.

So take a deep breath, say “Jesus I need you, mold me and make me into who and what You know I can be. Thank you for loving me and dying for my sins, forgive me for my sins, and I want Your best for my life. Guide and teach me, in the precious Name above all Names, Jesus,”

Someone asked me once as they observed my increased gray hair, “will you color it or keep it real.” I replied,”Every gray hair is a reminder to me of a life lived and when I found this scripture it confirmed my emotion,” I hope it resonates with you. May we all reflect more Jesus and less of ourselves.

Proverbs 16: 31-33 31] Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life. [32] Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city. [33] We may throw the dice, but the LORD determines how they fall.