Even Now

The locusts were sent by God as a judgment on an unfaithful people. They had turned their backs on Him. They had forsaken the One who had brought them so far. Then, there are two of the sweetest words in Scripture…

“Even now…”

After all that you’ve done – even now you can return to me.

After all the places you have been – even now there is a place for you here with me.

No matter how far we have fallen. No matter how many times it has happened. No matter what lies the enemy whispers. God says to us, “Even now, come back to me.”

And He calls us back, not to a place of shame, but of restoration. (Joel 2:25)

He promised to restore what the locusts had eaten. The locusts that were sent by Him in response to their sin. Think about that! He offers to restore to them the very things that their own unfaithfulness had cost them.

That’s grace.

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Let’s Catch Up!

It’s been way too long, friends, since I have visited this space. Let’s just say that there’s a whole lot of life being lived on this side of the screen.

However, for those who don’t follow my Bible journaling on my Insta page, I wanted to post some highlights from recent weeks.

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(I read this book every year during the week of Easter. I highly recommend it!)

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(As I sit here this morning, do I feel peace or panic? Do my efforts seem fruitful or in vain? Is the Lord’s presence evident in my life?

Often, I want to blame (or give credit for) the answers on my current circumstances, other people or my own effort.

What if it were all dependent upon my obedience to the Lord?)

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(God starts out by saying, “I have a command for you.” And, before anyone can even respond, He says, “it’s not too hard for you.”

{I would like to point out that He didn’t say that it wouldn’t be hard – but it wouldn’t be TOO hard.}

The command is to choose life.
To choose good.
To choose Him every time.

Also, how cute is this phone case from Prone to Wander LA?!)

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(It’s been said that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

God’s “past behavior” has always been faithfulness. He has kept every promise He ever made. Anyone can be a promise maker but our God is a promise keeper.

One really fun way to study scripture is to begin at the beginning and highlight every promise made by God. Then, as you make your way through, highlight or somehow mark the fulfillment of those promises. )

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(Our hope comes from what we KNOW and not what we feel.

Also, another super cute phone cover from Prone to Wander LA. I have signed my blogs and books with “You are loved” for years so I am in love with this one!)

He is risen, friends.

He is risen, indeed.

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead… 2 Timothy 2:8

You are loved. ❤

Two Bible Study Tips for the New Year

Here are a few excerpts from our first two weeks with the F260 Bible reading plan. As I read each day, I am looking for two things:

An Inhale – a meditation

An Exhale – an application

Here are a few examples.

*****

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Inhale: Grief changes people.

Exhale: Do I allow people who have suffered a great loss to find their new normal?

26220011_1573868926038645_7647826988527679204_nInhale: We must know Scripture well so that we do not speak things of God that are not true.

Exhale: Do I use God’s Word to shame or condemn someone instead of to bring light and freedom?

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Inhale: The GOspel is about going.

Exhale: Where (or to whom) is God calling me to go?

*****

I would love to hear from y’all and know what God is revealing to you!

Also, follow me on Instagram for my daily Bible journal posts!

You are loved. ❤

4 Ways to Respond When You S.P.O.T. a Battle on the Horizon

There have been many times when I’ve struggled with knowing how to respond in a situation. I am, by nature, a peacemaking, people-pleasing, don’t-rock-the-boat kind of girl.

It’s not always easy to know. Do I let this offense slide (turn the other cheek?) Do I confront and make my feelings known? What should I do when I feel I’m being wronged, taken advantage of, or downright attacked?

As I read through the book of Esther recently, I developed a battle plan to help me deal with these situations. So, the next time you spot a battle brewing here is the battle plan (based on Esther 4) which you can have in place.

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S – Seek the Lord. 

Esther 4:15 says, “Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai, ‘Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do.”

The first step of her battle plan was to pray. Do you want to know why it’s important to pray before going into battle? Because not every battle is ours to fight. You may pray and the Lord may tell you to engage the enemy. The prophet Nehemiah told the people to “fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, and your homes.” In Psalm 144, David said, “Blessed be the Lord, my Rock, who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.” There are certainly times when we are called to battle.

But there are other times when, after seeking the Lord’s will, we will find Him telling us to be still. In 2 Chronicles, the Lord told King Jehoshaphat, “The battle is not yours but God’s…You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.”

How are we going to know if we are called to battle or to be still unless our first step is to seek the Lord? Do note, however, that being still is not the same as backing down. God is clear that the people were to hold their position – they were just not to actively engage the enemy in that moment.

P – Patiently wait.

We saw back in verse 3 that there was mourning, weeping, and lamenting in every province. There were people lying around in sackcloth and ashes. And Esther waits a whole day, then a second day and then a third day. Don’t you know there were those who didn’t understand? There were certainly some who just wanted her to go to the king already. Yet, Esther patiently waited for the Lord to respond.

There will be times when you want to rush into battle. But Proverbs 19:11 says that a person with good sense is patient. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit.

O – Obey the Lord.

It wouldn’t do any good for Esther to seek the Lord and patiently wait for His response if she had no intention of obeying. At the end of the fast, we see that Esther says, “I will go to the king.”

We have to be willing to obey whether we are called to battle or to be still.

T – Trust the Lord with the outcome.

This is often the most difficult part. We see this in Esther’s final words in chapter 4. She says, “I will go to the king and, if I perish, I perish.” We see this same sentiment later with Paul when he says, “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” He trusted God to work it for good either way.

In 2011, my mother had stage 4 kidney cancer and stage 4 lymphoma at the same time. I sat with her every Friday that year while she took chemo and we laughed and told stories and made friends. People would ask her if she was afraid and she would always say, “It’s a win-win for me. If he heals me it will be great. If he calls me home it will be great.” She trusted Him with the outcome no matter what.

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The truth is that there is no shortage of battles constantly brewing around us. Whether we’re on Facebook or attending a family gathering, conflict is always just around the corner. Let’s be prepared ahead of time so that, when we S.P.O.T. it, we’ll know what to do.

You are loved. ❤

Stacy

That Time I Prayed to be Invisible

My mother and I were in Birmingham for an event. We arrived on a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon. I parked my car in the parking garage and we made our way to the venue two blocks away.

After enjoying the teaching and the music, ten thousand women exited the arena to make their ways to their vehicles. My mother and I turned to the right and began to walk and no one (not a single woman) followed us.

I don’t know how 9,998 other women all knew to park in the opposite direction. All I know is that my mother and I were left to walk alone, in the dark, to a parking garage two blocks away. Between us and the vehicle were abandoned buildings, empty parking lots and several men wandering the streets.

In that moment, all I could think to do was to pray that we were invisible. I asked the Lord that, if any of those men had any evil intentions, they simply would not see us. Now, I’m not saying that God made me invisible (although I’m not saying He didn’t either.) I do believe that God blinded the eyes of any potential enemy that night.

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I told that story at a recent women’s event to illustrate the power of prayer. I had forgotten about this incident and it came to me at the last minute. I couldn’t help but laugh as, as we walked those two blocks, I kept repeating, “It’s fine. They can’t see us. We’re invisible.”

Here’s the thing, though. I totally believed that God could do it. And, if I’m honest, it isn’t the first time I’ve prayed such a thing. Sometimes, at night, my spirit will feel unsettled and I’ll pray.

Lord, if there is anyone currently roaming the streets with ill intentions, let them not even take notice of our home.

God, if my children are out in public and the enemy is on the prowl, draw his attention away from my babies.

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It’s a prayer I’ve prayed often but never mentioned to anyone. It’s not exactly the parenting advice people expect.

What advice would you give for raising children in this broken world?

Oh, I just pray we’re all invisible.

Yeah. Hmm.

BUT – I found the coolest verse today.

Are you ready?

Wait for it…

Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked. – Psalm 64:2

I wanted to do the slow clap after reading it. Essentially, y’all, David just prayed to be invisible. Do with it what you will.

You are loved. ❤

Stacy