Fuel Your Walk Friday

Fuel your walk with some Jesus and Joe.

I love Jesus and I love me an iced cuppa fresh cold brew halved with vanilla almond milk. What better way to combine the two and perk up the beginning of your weekend, than to “Fuel Your Walk” with some Jesus and Joe. Once a week, I will be posting a little snippet, thought, or question to ponder in relation to your walk with Christ. So grab your favorite mug, pour yourself a delicious cuppa Joe and get comfy as you let this question percolate in your mind:

Wilferd A. Peterson said “The art of love is God at work through you.”

What are some visible ways God is working through you?

ABC’s of Growing in Your Walk with Christ

Acknowledge and thank Him for His blessings daily

Be of service to others

Confess your sins and make changes with His help, where needed

Disciple others

Each morning, dive into His Word and bask in His presence

Forgive others, and you too, will be forgiven

Give more than you take

Hide in Him, instead of indulging in distractions

Invest in loving others

Joyfully work as though working for the Lord

Keep seeking Him-even when life doesn’t make sense

Love Him, first and foremost

Meditate on His Word day and night

Never go to bed angry and give the enemy a foothold

Obey His commands

Pray about everything

Quietly sit and be still before Him, listening to what He has to say

Remain in Him throughout each day

Store your treasure in heaven, not on earth

Tell others about Jesus every chance you get

Understand that you will not always comprehend His ways

Value Jesus above all else and strive first for the Kingdom of God

Wait upon Him when unsure what to do

eXercise your faith muscles by choosing trust over fear-then trust Him with your all your heart

Yearn for Jesus and make Him your best friend

Zip it when anger strikes and take it to Him first, in order to keep the peace

Love Written In the Trees

I know it’s not Majestic Marvel Monday, but this is one of my favorite pictures I’ve captured this year and it seems fitting. Perhaps, it’s the simplicity of the photo. Perhaps, it’s the shear reminder of His love. His beauty and love are everywhere. It’s even written in the trees. Don’t forget to open your eyes today and everyday, for that matter. What gifts of beauty has He blessed you with? Take a peek around. And remember, His love never changes. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Clothe Yourselves in Patience

Being a type A person, patience is definitely not my strong suit. I’m a pretty impatient person (my husband would laugh, saying that ‘pretty impatient’ is an understatement). I truly don’t understand how those B types work. My younger brother, however, is a type B personality to a T-one of the most laid-back people I know. Here’s how we differ. When I was on the phone with him one night, he was sitting in the Walmart parking lot and he told me that my fifteen-year-old niece just came back to the car from shopping and had lost his debit card. In the most peaceful, nonchalant way, he tells her “well, Jordan, that’s why I didn’t want you to take my card” and then remaining completely calm and unhurried, tells me he’s going to have to go inside and look for it. There was not an ounce of anger or frustration in his bones. I laughed when I got off the phone with him, thinking wow, I so would not do that. I’d be kinda freaking out. My impatient self would have been in the store already frantically running all over the place looking for it. We are total opposites, as you can see. I am not patient like that, but I’m really trying.

It’s a weakness God has been working with me on for quite awhile now and I’m definitely seeing the fruit of it, just not as quickly as I’d like (haha). I really don’t like waiting, but it seems that the more I hate it, the longer I have to wait, because God is going to teach me this lesson. And it’s not so much about the actual wait, as it is my attitude in the waiting. That’s even more difficult. And as for learning this lesson, it’s just a matter of how long it will actually take due to my willingness. So, I try to roll with it and accept it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard. Since I’m more aware of my impatient nature than ever, I thought I’d dive into the Bible and see what He has to say about it. He tells us how to be patient. Here are 10 things we can learn about patience from His Word:

*Be patient in affliction

We will have trouble in this world, but He says to be patient in affliction, so when we are experiencing distress, we endure it and we accept it for the time being. It doesn’t mean it will be easy, or that it will last forever, but patiently accepting our suffering, will help us grow to be more like Him.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. -Romans 12:12

*Be patient, bearing with one another in love

Be patient with family members, friends, the grocery store worker scanning groceries at a sloth’s pace, the guy flying past you on the road flipping the bird, the neighbor that drives you absolutely bonkers, your worst enemy. Let’s look at each person who crosses our paths, as there to teach and grow us. Be patient with everyone you come into contact with, so you can show the love of Christ. This will glorify Him and it will help us to live more peaceable lives.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. -Ephesians 4:2

*Love endures with patience

Love is an action and one way we can love on people, is to show patience. Patience isn’t needed when life is easy, it’s the stressful times and under some of the toughest circumstances, where we are given chances to show love by being tolerant. Let’s look at our stressful moments as opportunities to live more like Christ, rather than just struggles to wade through while getting to the other side.

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. -1 Corinthians 13:4 (AMP)

*Wait patiently for Him

We quiet ourselves before the Lord, and in the waiting, we put every piece of ourselves and others into His care. Then without worry, we trust Him to move in His time.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways,when they carry out their wicked schemes. -Psalm 37:7

*Patience brings peace

Will you be a peace-maker or will you stir up strife? Will you put the fire out or will you fuel it? A calm attitude with self-restraint will help bring about peace, rather than stoke the flames.

Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace. -Proverbs 15:18

*We wait patiently in hope

I love how the amplified Bible translates Romans 8:25-we wait eagerly with composure-eagerly meaning we wait expectantly. And when we can’t see what’s ahead, we still hope with anticipation, while using self-control and not allowing our worry or emotions to run amuck.

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait eagerly for it with patience and composure. -Romans 8:25 (AMP)

*Whoever is patient has great understanding

The wise are slow to anger and keep their emotions in check, showing self-control. Don’t be a fool and fly off the handle. Before I homeschooled, my daughter’s fourth grade teacher taught her something invaluable that I, in turn, learned as well. She taught her class a saying that she lives by and I just cherish this teaching! Whenever frustration, anger or impatience arises, let’s remind ourselves to: PAUSE*BREATH*LOVE.

Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. -Proverbs 14:29

*Better a patient person than a warrior

Again, this is about having self-control. And for some of us that grew up fighting our way through life, this may be harder to do than others, especially if we’ve endured trauma. Letting anger take over though, will defeat us in the end. It is better to step back and show self-restraint, than soldier on.

Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. -Proverbs 16:32

*As God’s Chosen people, clothe yourselves in patience

As believers in Jesus, we were chosen to glorify Him and so we need to suit up, wearing the traits he instructs us to put on-compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And if we struggle with some of these? He tells us in His Word that when we remain in the Vine, we will bear much fruit-these traits He calls us to clothe ourselves with. And all of these traits really work together. Being patient can be a humble act and a form of kindness. And in showing patience, a gentle answer or attitude can go a long way in keeping the peace. So, let’s become more like Him, by remaining in Him, and in doing so, we can fulfill the duty we’ve been given.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. -Colossians 3:12

*Patience is better than pride

Pride causes more damage than good. Let’s therefore set aside our pride, ending matters before they start by patiently humbling ourselves.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. -Ecclesiastes 7:8

30 Ways to Embrace 2021 and Remain Hopeful

A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, -Ecclesiastes 2:24

This year, more than ever, we need hope. Of course, Jesus, is the one we really need to hang onto and put our hope in. We can do other activities we enjoy to help brighten our days too. Here are some ways to help us embrace 2021 and remain hopeful:

1. Drink from the well that is Jesus

2. Pray fervently

3. Count your blessings

4. Take each day as it comes

5. Try something you’ve never done before

6. Remember God’s promises (here are a few to hold onto: Isaiah 49:13, Hebrews 13:5, Nahum 1:7, Deuteronomy 7:9, Isaiah 40:31)

7. Find something to laugh at each day

8. Seek out things that put a smile on your face

9. Help a friend in need

10. Look for ways to serve others

11. Love on people even when you don’t feel like it

12. Try a new recipe or create one

13. Memorize new verses

14. Rely on God for help

15. Make new memories

16. Create something every day (creativity can take many forms!)

17. Use your talents to bless someone

18. Gather songs that bring a sense of joy and hope, then create a 2021 playlist

19. Surrender every part of your life to God

20. Focus on the present

21. Snuggle an animal for comfort

22. Shift your perspective and focus on what you can do, as opposed to what you can’t

23. Come up with a bucket list for this year

24. Utilize technology to remain close to loved ones

25. Print out some of your favorite Bible verses and quotes, then post them throughout your house

26. Learn a new craft

27. Try Bible journaling

28. Ask God to help you choose one or two words to focus on this year that will help you become more like Him

29. Do everything as though you are doing it for the Lord

30. Make a list of books you would like to read this year, then cuddle up and choose one to read

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -Colossians 3:17

Who He Is and Why We Can Trust

Being abandoned by my father in my early teen years, shattered my heart into a million pieces. This trauma taught me that it wasn’t safe to trust and I’ve grappled with it ever since. I want to trust my Heavenly Father with childlike faith, but there’s this part of me that won’t let go completely. Day by day, He’s showing me I can trust Him more, and He’s slowly healing pieces of my broken heart through my writing. He gave me the idea to dive into His word and see what it says about who He is and why we can trust Him. Here’s what His Word says about who He is-

Our Heavenly Father is:

*Love

The one who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.] -1 John 4:8 (AMP)

*The God of all comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God. -2 Corinthians 1:3-4

* Never Changing

I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. -Malachi 3:6

*The Prince of Peace

Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] -John 14:27 (AMP)

*Good

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! -Psalm 34:8

*Our Healer

He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds [healing their pain and comforting their sorrow]. -Psalm 147:3 (AMP)

*Trustworthy

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? -Numbers 23:19

*The Truth

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. -John 14:6

*Our Forgiver

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. -Ephesians 4:32

*Slow to anger and rich in love

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. -Psalm 145:8

*Accepting

Therefore, [continue to] accept and welcome one another, just as Christ has accepted and welcomed us to the glory of [our great] God. -Romans 15:7 (AMP) ?

*A God of justice

And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice. -Psalm 50:6

*Gracious and righteous

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. -Psalm 116:5

*Always with us

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. -Joshua 1:5

*Our Helper

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. -Isaiah 41:10

*A merciful and compassionate God

For the Lord your God is a merciful and compassionate God; He will not fail you, nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.- Deuteronomy 4:31

*Wise

To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. -Jude 1:25

*Gentle

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. -Matthew 11:29

*Faithful

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you [setting you on a firm foundation] and will protect and guard you from the evil one. -2 Thessalonians 3:3 (AMP)

*Our Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. -Psalm 23:1

*Giving

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not 8perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16

*Kind

in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— -Ephesians 2:7-8

*Our Protector

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. -Psalm 32:7

After seeing this list, are you asking yourself the same question I am? How can we not trust Him fully? He is an amazing God!

15 Ways to Surrender to God

1. Humble yourselves before the Lord

How do we humble ourselves before the Lord? The word humble has to do with our attitude. We adjust our attitude, making ourselves less proud. We lower ourselves and admit to Him, our human flaws, our weaknesses, our sins, our mistakes, while asking for forgiveness and help to be more like Christ. I love how the amplified Bible breaks down James 4:10

Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose].

2. Give Him your heart and delight in His ways

Give him your whole heart-all of it-the broken pieces too-every single shard. He wants it all. Jesus wants all of you and He wants you to revel in His ways.

My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways, -Proverbs 23:26

3. Love the Lord your God with all your heart

We don’t just love Him when we feel like it, or when our lives are looking up. This is isn’t a part-time, conditional love. No. We pour our heart, mind and soul into loving Him, all the time, with every ounce of our being.

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being]. -Deuteronomy 6:5 (AMP)

4. Live by faith

No longer living for ourselves, we have been crucified, so dying to ourselves, we give Him every part of our life. And if we’re struggling with turning some of it over, we ask for the willingness to surrender each area to Him, until we can fully surrender our life and our desires, then we let Him fill us with His desires. And we live by faith, believing without seeing, and trusting in Jesus-always trusting in Him.

I have been crucified with Christ [that is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith [by adhering to, relying on, and completely trusting] in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. -Galations 2:20 (AMP)

5. Be doers of the Word

Yes, reading the Word is important, but are we doing what the Word is telling us? We must be doers of the Word, not just readers of the Word. To “do”, is to act. It involves truly listening and then taking the obedient steps to follow what it says.

But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. -James 1:22 (AMP)

6. Keep His commandments

Keeping His commandments is love in action. By following His law, we are submitting to His ways.

If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandments. -John 14:15 (AMP)

7. Take his yoke upon you, and learn from Him

Come to Him, letting Him teach and refine you, because Jesus is a gentle teacher. Come to Him, for His way is lighter and less cumbersome than our ways.

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. -Matthew 11:29 (AMP)

8. Seek first the Kingdom of God

When we seek Him and His kingdom first, all else falls into place. So, we seek and put Jesus above all else, and we become. Then, we watch it all happen just as it’s supposed to. And we watch ourselves become who we were meant to be all along.

But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also. -Matthew 6:33 (AMP)

9. Trust in the Lord with all your heart

We don’t just trust Him a little, we trust Him with our WHOLE hearts. We trust Him with every piece of our lives. Everything we hold near and dear to us, we hand over to His care. Everything that is important to us, we put in His hands. Every decision we must make, we take to Him first. When we can’t see, we trust that He does and that He has our best interests at heart. And when we don’t understand His ways, we still trust and rely on Him.

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, and He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]. -Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP)

10. Crucify the flesh

When we put to death our fleshly desires and temptations, we begin to live in the Spirit. This is when the fruits of the Spirit are given room to grow and blossom.

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites. -Galations 5:24

11. Walk by the Spirit

By letting the Spirit direct our thoughts, our words, our attitudes, and our actions, we are surrendering our ways, while letting Him lead us and empower us to walk in righteousness.

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]. -Galations 5:25 (AMP)

12. Repent and produce fruit

We repent. Making a concerted effort to not sin by practicing new ways of living, we work with Jesus, while allowing Him to change our hearts so we can produce fruit.

So produce fruit that is consistent with repentance [demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart, and a conscious decision to turn away from sin]; -Matthew 3:8 (AMP)

13. Let not your hearts be troubled

Be brave in Him, and not afraid. Have courage and know that He is God- the God Almighty, who overcame the world. He is a BIG, BIG God, who is in the business of helping His believers. So, be fearless, be bold-and take heart in Him, my friends.

“Do not let your heart be troubled (afraid, cowardly). Believe [confidently] in God and trust in Him, [have faith, hold on to it, rely on it, keep going and] believe also in Me. -John 14:1 (AMP)

14. Do not fear

We remember that we are not to be afraid of anything because there is nothing we should fear, and He is our God-our Defender and Protector. This is a tough one for those of us who struggle with fear due to anxiety. I once heard though, that we can either have faith or live in fear, but we can’t do both at the same time. It is one or the other. Will we walk towards faith or in fear today?

Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’ -Isaiah 41:10 (AMP)

15. Submit to God and draw near to Him, resisting the devil

To submit, means to yield. So, we yield to Him and draw close, burying ourselves in His Word and taking it to heart by walking in His ways. We stand firmly before Jesus, not letting satan get his hold on us.

So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. Come close to God [with a contrite heart] and He will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; and purify your [unfaithful] hearts, you double-minded [people]. -James 4:7-8 9 (AMP)

That Pesky Thorn

What is that thorn in your side? One of mine is perfectionism. I’ve wrestled with this since I was a teenager. It used to be so much worse, but God has been working on me with this one for a long time. It’s gotten a lot better, but still rears its ugly head during times of stress or uncertainty. The other day, I made a lot of mistakes and felt like a failure. I’ll admit. I didn’t want to write. I felt unqualified, but my husband suggested I make a list of all the ways I’m not perfect and all the ways God is. So here I am.

Here are 6 ways I’m far from perfect:

I’m impatient

I can be negative

I get easily frustrated

I like things done a certain way

I raise my voice

I struggle with letting go

Here are 6 ways that God is perfect:

1. He is the God of all grace and His grace is sufficient. His power is made perfect in weakness.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. -2 Corinthians 12:9

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. -1 Peter 5:10

Grace upon grace upon grace. See the common theme? His grace more than makes up for our weaknesses. In fact, His power is made perfect in our weakness. His power shines through our weaknesses. It is through our flaws and brokenness that He can best work and be glorified.

2. His way is perfect and His Word is flawless.

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. -Psalm 18:30

Our way is not even close to perfect, but His is. When we try to do things in our own strength and our own way, we falter. Earlier this week, I tried to be and do in my own strength and I failed. He is our refuge though, and we can take shelter in Him when we make mistakes. And His Word is flawless, so we can rely on that Truth to help correct and instruct us to live a more righteous life. When we are struggling with guilt and perfectionism, meditating on His Word, which is alive and powerful, can also restore us.

3. He is Holy.

“There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.” 1 Samual 2:2

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Holy as “exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness.” It also says that holy means: divine. There is no one holy like Him. And therefore, only He can help us become more holy and righteous, because we were made in His image. We can’t do this on our own.

4. His works are perfect. He does no wrong.

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. -Deuteronomy 32:4

He is a perfect and just God on whom we can stand. When we stand firm on the Rock, we can withstand anything. If He is our foundation, we will not collapse under the weight of our failures.

5. The Law of the Lord is perfect.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; -Psalm 19:7

His law is meant to instruct us in the right way and when we obey His law, He will restore us and renew our spirits. With obedience, comes blessings. So when we are struggling with perfectionism and guilt, let’s ask ourselves if we are following His law.

6. He is the God of love and peace.

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. -2 Corinthians 13:11

He is love and He is peace. And His perfect love casts out fear. So when we are afraid that we aren’t enough-that we aren’t perfect enough, that we aren’t doing enough-that we aren’t (fill in the blank) enough, we can rest assured that His perfect love will cast out that fear if we let it.

Therefore, those times when we try to be perfect, and we can’t, we don’t have to fear, because we have a God who is. And He will fill in the gaps for us with His love, mercy and grace. For He is perfect in all of His ways. And He is a God who loves without limits.

In Christ, I am.

I caught myself striving the other day. It’s what I’ve always done and when life kicks up the dust, I’m right there taking it in the face and fighting back in a futile attempt to prove to myself that I’m enough. But this is a form of self-will and what I need to do instead, is remind myself of who I am in Christ and that His yoke is lighter. I mentioned in a previous post that for years, I found my worth in my accomplishments-until one day, my achievements failed me. I no longer had my health, so none of it mattered anymore. I’ve known that I need to find my identity in Christ, but knowing and actually believing who I am in Him are two totally different ball games, so I’m working on this and He is working on me. Well, who are we in Christ, anyway?

If you are a believer, you are CHOSEN. CHOSEN ya’ll! This means that we were hand picked by our Father to be His followers. In Jeremiah 1:5, He says “before you were born you were set apart”. Before we were born, we were His. And His Word tells us in Deuteronomy 14:2, “for you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be his treasured possession.” Treasured means highly valued and precious. That is who we are to our Father. We belong to Him and we were set apart for His purpose. He has a plan for us and it’s big. And this plan includes being the salt and light of the earth.

In Matthew 5:14, He says that we are “the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” We were meant to shine for Him-to bring light and hope to others in need and through us, He will be glorified. This is another massive undertaking that He granted us. We are a vessel that He fills and uses to bless others. What a magnificent responsibility He has endowed us with! We must remain connected to Him though, in order to fulfill His purpose for our lives.

Jesus says, in John 15:5, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches.” This means that we are an extension of Him, our God Almighty. We are a part of Him and we were made to bear fruit and serve Him with it. As we continue to seek Him, He will keep sprouting more fruit to do His will, which is good and perfect. Our Father made us in His image, His likeness. He is a creative God and we are a marvelous work.

Ephesians 2:10, says that He made us a masterpiece. A MASTERPIECE! The Oxford dictionary defines masterpiece as-a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship. We aren’t an amateur’s sculpted lump of clay that sits on a basement shelf. No. We were created by the God of the universe Himself, and we are His own master work to be used for good works that He entrusted us with, because we are that loved and important to Him.

We were worth dying for! How loved we are. Let that sink in. Let that really sink in. Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” He gave His own life because He loved us that much and wanted us to live. Nails were driven into His hands and feet. He died an agonizing death, for you and me-because He loves us beyond what we can fathom! This wasn’t a quick shot to the head and bam! It’s over. He suffered unimaginably during this prolonged death, and that’s not it. He was humiliated during the process. So when we struggle with our worth, let’s remind ourselves of all that He sacrificed for us.

Now let’s talk about those times when we get still get down on ourselves and beat ourselves up because we don’t think we measure up. Who’s really doing the measuring here, Him or you? If we get out of the way and make it our goal to live and love for Him, He will fill us with what we need. And we will feel more positive about ourselves because we are doing what we were created to do and who we were meant to be in the first place. We can’t forget WHOSE we are and that we were made for a purpose-to further His Kingdom. This is huge! This isn’t just a side job, and this is far more important than any earthly career. This is a soul-saving, life-restoring duty. This is ginormous! And He CHOSE us to do it. If you are glorifying Him in everything you do, how can you not feel good about yourself?

So let us make it our mission to become more Christlike, serving Him in all ways, always. Let us remind ourselves that we are not our accomplishments because our accomplishments can’t even begin to compete with who He wants us to be. And let us not lose sight of the fact that we are not of this world, but instead, He created us to help change and light up the world. It’s easy to sometimes let the thought of-I’m not enough, slip in, but His Word tells us differently. The Truth is, my friend, you and I are more than enough in His eyes.

10 Ways to Stay Anchored to Him

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. -James 4:8

Anchored Action Plan

Anchoring yourself to Jesus is about maintaining a connection and trusting Him, even when you don’t understand His ways. And in order to maintain a connection with anyone important to you, you have to make time for that relationship to blossom. A relationship can’t be expected to flourish if you don’t put in the time. Here are 10 ways to anchor yourself to Jesus so when the storms of life hit, you will rise instead of sink:

  1. Spend time with Him first thing in the morning. I have set aside a time each morning when I first wake up to pray, read a daily devotional, and read a section from my Bible. This allows Him to get into my head before anything else does. It focuses my day and helps me keep my eyes on Jesus.
  2. Praise Him by worshiping Him through song or verbal admiration. I do both. During my quiet time in the mornings, I will verbally praise Him. Other times, I will turn on Christian music and worship him, raising my hands to feel closer to Him.
  3. Shoot prayers up to Him often. Whether it’s a simple “help me, Jesus” or a longer prayer, connect with Him throughout each day. I know I cannot truly live without His help, so I do this often. Sometimes, it’s a prayer to help me be more patient with our girls. Sometimes, it’s a prayer asking Him for help letting go of my anger.
  4. Practice gratitude as often as possible during the day by thanking Him for even the smallest of blessings. I’ve tried to make it a habit to thank Him several times each day for things that can easily be taken for granted-such as my family, running water and food in our cupboards.
  5. Take a break from social media. I’m currently “fasting” from Facebook. Facebook was a huge waste of precious time that could have been spent nurturing my relationship with Jesus and my family. Instead, I was showing a sliver of the reality of my life to many people that weren’t nearly as important to me as the relationships I should have been nurturing. It was a complete time suck and a distraction from my priorities. Becoming less distracted and more present in Him, is when I hear God most. It was actually during this “fast” that He put it on my heart to tell my story through this blog.
  6. Meditate on His Word. Choose a verse and meditate on it throughout the day or listen to a Christian meditation app at night before bed.
  7. Serve. Do something for Him. Use your gifts to give to others and do it joyfully. This can be as time consuming as you make it. Sending someone a card or text with an encouraging word and Bible verse can be done in just a few minutes. Serving is an area I am really working on incorporating more into my life. Not only am I doing something for God, but the rewards of peace and joy are a real blessing.
  8. Talk to Jesus about anything and everything, either silently or on paper. If writing is your thing, do it in the form of a letter or journaling. Have conversations like you are having with your best friend, at any time of the day. Tell Him your deepest thoughts, struggles, and feelings. He loves and cares about YOU! It was during my darkest moments lying in bed chronically ill, that I really learned to communicate with Him and came to know how much I need to keep that line of communication open.
  9. Listen. God speaks in many different ways. In order to hear Him though, distractions must be set aside. When I am distracted, checking out on social media or in a Netflix marathon, I’m not able to hear Him. My mind is not focused on Him and I miss the connection. It is in connecting with Him and maintaining that connection that I hear Him most.
  10. Obey. If He says “move,” move. When I hear Him and don’t listen, it never works to my benefit. Not only am I sinning, I miss the blessing He has for me and the consequences are not worth it. Being stubborn and strong-willed, this has been a hard lesson to learn. I am a work in progress. Picking up His cross and dying to myself daily is a constant challenge.

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. -Psalm 145:18