Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Living for Christ, Not People: Breaking Free

"Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety." [Proverbs 29:25]

Breaking Free...

I feel so motivated to write on this topic mainly because this has been something the Lord has been working on me with.  For the majority of my life, I've always cared about what people thought of me, their opinions, their approval, was I good enough in there eyes, etc., etc., etc.  I guess you can say I had a case of approval addiction.  I believe this began when I was younger when I dealt with low self esteem and insecurity, so naturally I was always seeking approval...always seeking for someone to tell me and think I was "okay", I wasn't living for God, I was living for people...people were my God and what they thought determined how my day would go and how I would feel about myself.  This was bondage, there is never any freedom when you live for people.  Only God liberates and God had to bring this issue to my attention, and He always does it followed by a test.

For example, God had to bring me to different situations where I had a choice to make, to choose people or choose Him.  When God presented this weakness to me, he spoke to my heart, I begin to realize that I could not become the woman God wanted me to be while serving both Him and people, it's absolutely impossible...I can not serve two masters.  Matthew 6:24 tells us "No one can serve two masters.  For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money.". [I encourage you to replace money with anything or anyone you have been idolizing or know you have put before God.]

In this particular situation, I wanted to please this person, but something was done that made me feel very uncomfortable.  I had a choice to stay in this situation to please this person and their feelings, despite feeling uncomfortable or step out of the situation into a place where I knew God wanted me to be.  Well, I chose option B, and it was hard, but it was worth it because the peace that came was simply beautiful and it taught me how to break free from people and their opinions.  Don't get me wrong, I love people, but people are not my God and I refuse to live for opinions that can't save, redeem, or protect me.

The Truth about Idols...

When we have idols and live for people, we make emotional and irrational decisions based on their opinions, we do things we normally would not, our joy and circumstances depend on this specific person, and that is no way to live.  This is not God's will.  People will change, people are only humans, imperfect individuals like you and me, it is absolutely never a good thing to place all your hope, faith, decisions, etc. on a human being, place, addiction, or thing.  It is however, absolutely wise to place your hope, faith, decisions, life into God because He never changes...He is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore.  You don't have to worry about God changing His mind or His word because He doesn't make mistakes, His love never changes and He is forever constant.  It is risky living for people, but an absolute sure win and victory when you live for God.

Your Deliverance...

 You may be struggling to be free from people, but just don't know how to break free, there's only one person who has the keys to unlock those chains and His name is Jesus.  Ask God to show you who and what has taken priority or god in your life, He will reveal those things/people to you, and when He does ask Him to deliver you and help you be free from those idols.  When the tests come (and they will), they may be challenging, but through the One who is able so will you be able to overcome and be delivered from people.

Do You Know Who You Are?

In the area of confidence and knowing who you are, I dare you to find out who you are in Christ.  That's what I had to do, I had to learn that we are a delight in God's eyes, our worth exceeds any fancy jewels or gems, He sings songs over us, and He loves us with an unfailing love so great the grains of sands on all the beaches in the world can not equate to.  We must be some very special valuable people in His eyes, I pray you live your life through the eyes and mind of Christ knowing who you are in Christ.

Living for Christ, Not People...

Overall, what people think of you, it is none of your business.  Whether they love you or hate you, it does not matter, they can't stop the love that God has for you, and they can't stop the great plans God has in store for you!  Be you...it's time to live for Christ...LIVE FOR CHRIST.  His approval is all you need, and beloved He already approves of you and thinks you're to die for...literally.  Love Him, love on yourself, be the virtuous woman and strong man of God the Lord has called you to be, and BE FREE.

I encourage you to find out more about who you are in Christ because that is where our confidence should come from, not this world, but from the source our Creator.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Conquering Fear: The Robber of Your Purpose

Fear: To be afraid of something or someone; to expect or worry about something bad or unpleasant.

 Let me say this now, fear hinders you from becoming all that God has called you to be.  God has great things in store for you and with seeking Christ we already know that we will have to endure some things, go through challenges and test, but praise God everything works together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28), and you're going to have to have courage, strength, and faith....beloved there is no room for fear.  

So what is fear?  Fear is a spirit, imagine a little demon running around your mind, your home, and your life telling you what you can and can not do, basically running your life, and living your life based off fear.  Fear of failure, fear of stepping out in faith, fear of rejection, and the list goes on and on.  Let me bring you to John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; but I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full".  It is Satan's mission to steal your destiny, your promotion, to hinder you, he longs to kill your dreams, he desires to destroy your future, and one of his tactics are to induce fear into our lives to accomplish his goals.  Oh yes he has his plans, but our God has plans as well...He wants us to have life and to have it to the full in abundance. God has so much in store for us, yes it won't always be easy, but we can not allow that to stop us from living the life that God has called us to.

Understand this beloved, fear is like glue or some type of adhesive that prevents you from moving, it's like you're frozen unable to more forward into where God wants to use you, promote you, and grow you.  Know this, God already has your life worked out...did you catch that? If not, here it goes again, GOD ALREADY HAS YOUR LIFE WORKED OUT!  Meaning He already has each day of your life already written in His book, He is sovereign (in control) and has a beautiful story for your life.  I say all this to say, you have NOTHING to fear...why? because God is in control, He is an awesome God, and whatever you may come up against in life know that He is already there and has already provided a way, His way which is the BEST way. 

Understand that fear is a distraction from what God wants you to do, do not give fear a say in your life anymore!  Fear has no authority and no place in your life.  When fear tries to come, and you'll know because a specific thought will come and you will begin to "feel" fear and worry, there will be no peace. This is NOT of God, so cast it down in Jesus name and say aloud and declare "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".  That is written in the Bible, Philippians 4:13...talk back to fear and realign yourself with TRUTH, which is God's word and He says YOU CAN do ALL THINGS through CHRIST who STRENGTHENS YOU.  Beloveds, that is a promise and God always keeps His promises. 

If you do not remember anything else from this post, please remember this FEAR IS A CHOICE.  You can choose to stand on those little negative thoughts of "what if this or what if that" or you can choose to stand on God's word, and His word NEVER fails!  He will see you through wherever you are in your life journey, regardless of how low the valley is or how high that mountain seems, HE WILL SEE YOU THROUGH!

Remember you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, not some things, or most things, but ALL THINGS!  Stand firm in your faith and in His word, we are more than conquerors.

I pray this has encouraged you.


Tonya S.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Peace on the Battlefield

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." [Romans 15:13]

One of the many blessing that God freely gives us is peace.  Have you ever experienced peace, not just any peace but the peace that Jesus left with us.  The peace that surpasses all understanding.  First let us attempt to define what peace is according to several sources.

Peace (n): A state of tranquility, calm, and stillness.  Freedom from quarrels, disturbances, and disagreement.

So now that we have an idea of what peace looks like, let us take a deeper look at the peace that God offers.

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." [Philippians 4:7]

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." [John 14:27]

According to these verses, there are a few things that stand out that the cookie cutter definition of peace does not include.  Number one the peace that the bible talks about is "of God", it "transcends (surpasses) all understanding", it "will guard your hearts and your minds", and it's not like the peace of this world.  So in so many words the peace that is of God is a peace that is beyond ourselves and our circumstances.  The cookie cutter definition of peace mentions that peace is the freedom or absence of disturbances or problems, THAT is the peace of the world, but our loving gracious God has given us His peace, peace that is so great and out of this world that regardless of what we're going through or what we're up against we can still rest and have peace.

So if you're wondering what does peace that surpasses all understanding feel like?  Well normally I'm not big on feelings when it comes to God's word because even our feelings can have a mind of their own, but I will say this...real peace feels like cotton candy, joy, and still waters.  See...I'm not so great at explaining peace lol, but that's the point!  God's peace isn't something you can describe, it "surpasses all understanding".  It's just this state of "everything is going to be okay" accompanied with no fear or worry...it's just beautiful like our Savior!

Moving on from describing peace and unto the battlefield.  What I've observed is that our God is not phased by issues, situations, problems, or whatever you want to call them, it just doesn't phase Him.  Why?  Well for one thing He's always in control, nothing surprises Him, and He's all knowing.  God knows what will happen before a situation even gets to you, while you were still playing in the sandbox at 5 years old and playing tag with your friends, God knew all the trials and situations you would ever encounter and He already had the solution way before you ever became aware of problem. I say all of this because regardless of what you're going through or what you will go through, you can be full of peace because our God is fully aware and allows everything to work out for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).

So how do we tap into this marvelous peace that God gives regardless of up or down days? Trust.  We trust God with all our hearts, we trust that even when we can't see a way out or don't even understand what in the world is going on...we trust that God knows what He is doing and my friend when we trust God, I mean really trust Him then the peace that surpasses all understanding begins to fill our hearts and minds.  Now, depending on where you are spiritually you may be asking, "Well how do you trust God"?  There is no step by step instruction manual on how to trust God, but it all begins with your faith in God, faith in His word, and faith in who He is.  Depending on how much God has brought you through you can remember on past trials and seasons and how faithful God was during that time.  (I recommend learning more about trusting God and His character if you're struggling in this area). God can be trusted because He is good, His nature is good, and He wants to do good in our lives!   We must remember that God is for us, and not against us...so as you place your trust in Him, you will experience His peace.

That situation that use to make you stressed out and angry, now becomes a mole hill because you know that nothing is too hard for God, so you enter into God's rest...God's peace. The peace that God gives is such a gift, we don't have to just tap into it when things are going great, we can live peace daily, despite the battle.  We are called to live a life of peace, it's one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  We can go about our days with a mind blowing peace that only God can give because we know that He loves us and He covers us!  

My prayer today is that you live a life of peace...always.  Let us remember that trouble don't last always, but we don't have to wait until the trouble is over for us to be at peace, instead we can be at peace in the midst of the battle.  Regardless of what you're up against, you can have peace in the middle of the battlefield by trusting God to work it out, and He will...He always does.  Let me also remind you, that the battle is not yours, it never was yours to begin with, it's God's battle and He's always victorious   My friend, with God we are on the winning side...all the time! Praise and glory to God!  I want to end this blog entry with the beginning verse found in Romans 15:13.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." 

Accept God's gift of peace and live it out everyday, regardless of your circumstances...let us remember that Christ came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10) so let us live this life trusting God and living a life of PEACE!  

P.S: If you're having a hard time believing or standing on God's word, ask God to help you stand firm regardless of what your circumstances look like.  I also recommend reading God's word daily and meditating on verses on peace, trust, & God's love (like the ones mentioned in this entry) so that it can saturate your heart and mind.  God's word is the living word, it breathes life into our lives, our hearts, and situations.  It's powerful, tap into that power...it'll change your life. :)


Tonya S.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Season of Sowing...

 "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing." [James 1:2-4]

Often times I would come across this verse and think what an awesome verse this is, but it didn't have much meaning to me at that time because well I had no troubles or trials.  I didn't need to consider it great joy because my faith was pretty solid (so I thought) and what was there to endure when everything was going how I thought it should.  Sure I had a few dull moments here and there, but for the most part life was great!

Then February 2013 came and life went from great to :O (for the lack of a better expression). In the beginning of the season it was tough and just when I thought I was getting to a place of "Oh yeah I got this!", down came that tower and I was back to playing in the rubble.  Little did I know God was up to something greater than myself.  Almost 6 months later, here I am today still in the season of sowing, but changed.  I no longer wish this season was over and I'm no longer begging God to make it end, now I'm content in this season, me and my Jesus. My circumstances have not changed, but my heart has.  I am not the same woman I was back in February...God has been working on my heart, forming me, building my trust & faith in Him, and so much more than I can even begin to describe in this entry.  

I am amazed at how much God has taught me in this season alone, and I am so excited to share those lessons from God to you!  I'm so humbled, that God is using me as a vessel to encourage you as we walk through the narrow gate to eternity, and He gets the glory!  As topics are laid on my heart will I post.  I hope you get a chance to follow my blog or if you're just stopping by to see what this is all about thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, God bless you! :)

-Tonya S.

P.S: This song describes my journey, its called "If you want me to" by Ginny Owens.  This song comforts and encourages me to continue to walk this path God has prepared for me. If you are currently in a season of sowing, growing, or trial, I pray this song encourages you and reminds you that you are not alone wherever you are in this season of your life.  Remember...trouble don't last always, be encouraged today!  Close your eyes, listen to the song, and let God speak to your heart.