28 March 2017

Refined In Fire


God is at work in me constantly. I am feeling that truth right now more than ever before. He continues to baffle me with his love and mysterious ways. He continues to speak to me things I feel unworthy to know, teach me things I am most grateful to learn. Today I wanted to take some time and share with you what is happening in my heart right now. The past few weeks or maybe even before that, I have been dealing with a big bear called anxiety. Anxiety started to grasp me so much that it was difficult for me to get through the work day. At one point I even debated cutting my day short a few times. I never did leave the office but the consideration of it because of anxiety was definitely a red flag. You could say that this anxiety was brought on by a plethora of things but generally speaking it seems that my current life challenges were overwhelming me. Even though walking through this challenge of anxiety has been completely not fun and at times extremely hard; I am grateful for what the Lord is bringing out of it. (Romans 8:28) This past Wednesday night sitting in church the Lord told me he was going to show me how to walk through anxiety. I was very encouraged by this but at the same time disappointed that I was going to have to get through it, and not get instantly delivered from it. Now, a mere 6 days later I understand why the Lord wanted me to walk through this. 

1. It is reminding me and teaching me even more to be dependent on God. Not that I didn't know that I am dependent on him but learning to actually follow through with being dependent on him (ie spending time in prayer, waiting on Him to speak, and reading the word [the word is your sward, use it! it works! I should know!!! ;) ]). Submitting everything I am and have and care for to him. 

2. He is humbling me (again). Reminding me that no matter what, I can do nothing without him. Nothing depends on my strength, EVERYTHING depends on God. This lesson has been such a blessing to me. Especially today. The past two days I have been using this to train my mind that God's got it, and cast out anxious thoughts. You see sisters, we are not powerless when it comes to destructive thinking. While we cannot control what thoughts cross our minds, we can control what thoughts we decide to entertain. Reminding myself that everything depends on Christ is a relief to me. It means that no matter how big of a list of "To Do's" that pile on at work or at home, it's going to be okay because God's purpose will prevail. It doesn't depend on me getting all of these tasks completed right away. I can't do it anyways, I am only human. 

3. Reminding me that I am in God's Grasp. Not for a moment has he let go. I am protected by his mighty hand and he loves me. He will not let anything crush me. (When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.) Nothing will happen to me that is out of his control. All things are within his hands. Even Satan has to ask permission. (Read Job) 

4. Refining my heart. God wanted me to walk through this so he could refine my heart. He wants to make me stronger to fulfill his plans and purposes for my life. He wants to increase my faith, renew my mind, learn to pray, and just be present with me because of his love. He wants me to receive his love because he gives it and he wants to be my peace. God is a jealous God and he wants all of our hearts. 

5. To display his Glory: This is always my answer when I don't understand or have another answer. This happened to display God's glory, power, might, and goodness. For this I think of Moses. When Moses went to Pharaoh to ask him to let his people go, before it got better, it got worse. Moses went to Pharaoh and instead of releasing the people he made it even more difficult for them as slaves. He took away their supply of brick material and still required them to make the same quota of bricks by finding their own materials. On top of that they were beaten more. This is when Moses appeals to God and says (paraphrasing here) "Lord! why did you ask me to go to Pharaoh if he was just going to make things worse for the people? Didn't you say you came to help them because you have compassion on them?" Then the Lord answered Moses and told him that this happened so that God's glory might be revealed and so that Pharaoh and the Egyptians would know that he is God alone. This happened so that my trust in God might increase. It's an opportunity for him to display his faithfulness to me no matter what the storm looks like, so that I can learn to trust him. 

Be encouraged sisters, we have a good father, he is faithful, he is with us (He hasn't left my side for a moment), we are in his grasp always, and he loves us so much!!! 

Isaiah 48:9-11 
For my own name’s sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to destroy you completely. See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.


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25 January 2017

Teachable Moments: Pride & Forgiveness

God has been really working on my heart lately. Recently he is teaching me more about his deep love and true forgiveness. Showing me that the depths of his mercy are certainly far greater than the depths of mine and indeed greater than I could ever imagine. 

God showed me that in my process of attempting to forgive, pride was my barrier. (You'd think it would be obvious right?) Well it wasn't obvious to me right away. But in his gentle and pure grace filled way, God showed me that his forgiveness, and my forgiving someone, has no "buts" about it. God is calling me to love like he loves. And that means I can't hold on to any "buts". I can't say "Okay God, I'll love them since you asked so nicely, but... I'm going to make sure they know what I think." Nope. That's not how it works. God is showing me that I have to give up any and all rights I have in the situation (aka pride). There is no entitlement in forgiveness. Forgiveness requires total self-sacrifice, its self-less love. 

I am still learning forgiveness in this situation, I have definitely not arrived. But God's grace is sufficient for me. If any new lessons come up I'll be sure to update you here. 


Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.


Be Blessed Dear Friend,
Hillary
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24 January 2017

Teach Us To Pray

God has blessed me so much lately. I have an amazing church family and an awesome church who is able to provide us with great learning opportunities. The past three weeks I have been attending School of Prayer at my church. It has been such a blessing to sit with my brothers and sisters and learn how to pray. Last night to finish the end of the three weeks of School of Prayer our Pastor shared with us what he knows about prayer and how he prays. It was so VERY valuable to me that I want to share that information here with you. 
This is the Pattern of Prayer my pastor shared with us... 
  1. Start with Thankfulness: First list reasons you are thankful for the Father, then the Son, then the Holy Spirit, then Angels then your church, then your pastor, then the local churches, then the Word of God, then your family.
  2. Next is a prayer of submission (Think Living Sacrifice)
  3. After that pray over your mind and thoughts, for protection, removal of distractions, that our minds would be filled with Heavenly Things and set upon Christ. 
  4. Next Pray over your ears. That they would be in tune with the spirit, that what enters them would be good and Holy. 
  5. Then your Eyes. That they would resist evil and temptation, that when you read scripture passages would jump out at you. 
  6. Then you Lips: that they would speak blessing and not curses. That they would be full of grace seasoned with salt, that they would speak the truth in love. 
  7. Then pray over yourself the Armor of God (Read Ephesians 6)
  8. Next is the prayer of self-examination. Ask God to examine your heart and show you anything you need to confess, change, or forgive. ***Note: be willing to forgive before you ask God for forgiveness.
  9. Pray that any accusations the enemy makes would not stick to you. 
  10. Then express love to God in prayer. 
  11. Then pray for your family, Ask God to show you what is going on in your family, Declare the truths of Scripture over them. ***Note: Google scripture of protection & Blessing. 
  12. Pray for your spouse or future spouse.
  13. After you pray you can take a moment to digest what God has spoken to you today. Sometimes he is quiet but know that even when he is quiet he is with you and loves you. 
  • Don't just chase feelings when you pray
  • Be Present: Praying out loud helps you to stay focused.
  • Doubt: puts bugspray on everything you just prepared, it steals your effectiveness. (Think The Office episode were Dwight Bug-sprayed all the food.)
  • How can I help not to doubt?
  • Doubt is a product of your heart.
  • Faith Comes by Hearing the Word
  • You Don't have to understand the seed in order for the seed to grow.
  • Read & MEMORIZE the word.
  • Note: Identify your biggest doubt and google scriptures that silence it. Post them up memorize them. Stay with it for at least a week. 
  • Note: God will never speak to you in a way that doesn't require Faith. 
  • Pray for Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, and Discernment. 

I hope this information is as helpful to you as it is to me!

Blessings,
Hillary

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