Finding Hope Through Daffodils

 

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The other day while driving along in my car, I noticed beautiful yellow daffodils sticking up out of the ground on the side of the road. There were only about four of them and they were surrounded by bare trees, rocks and dirt. The area around them looked drab and lifeless; yet right in the middle were these brightly colored flowers blooming.

I live on the East Coast and we’ve recently experienced (what seems like) one of the longest, coldest and snowiest winters that I can remember. It’s been rough, and at times I’ve wondered if spring would ever arrive. The constant gray skies and temperatures below 20 degrees for days, can definitely take its toll on some of us. I for one am affected by different weather patterns and this winter has definitely affected my mood. When I saw these daffodils however, I got excited. These little yellow flowers filled me with hope – knowing that winter will end soon and spring is right around the corner. It may not have come as fast as I would’ve liked it to, but spring is coming!

God will use the world around us to explain His principles, and He showed me something very simple through these little flowers. He reminded that the seasons WILL come and the seasons WILL go. Each year we can expect four seasons (winter, spring, summer, and fall). I’m sure each of us would probably admit to having a favorite season, yet all of us go through them all. Although I am not a fan of winter, I do understand that God does something amazing to the ground during the colder months. I know that there would be no spring without a winter. I understand that He has a purpose for each season, so I trust Him. I may not always like the season I am in, but I trust God!

In the same way, we ALL go through different seasons in our lives. We have periods of time when everything is going well for us, we have little to complain about and feel like we are on top of the world. We have seasons of relaxation, and seasons of business and preparation. We go through seasons of change and seasons of stability. We also have difficult seasons in life; times of mourning, loss, sadness, trials and tribulations. We all have experienced each of these at some point in our lives. Did you know that these life seasons are ordered by God? Yes, that’s right. Our (Sovereign) Heavenly Father uses the seasons of our lives to teach us, discipline us, strengthen us, shape us and help us – ultimately for His perfect plan (and for our good). It is no accident that we experience four seasons of weather, and it’s no accident that we experience the different life seasons. God is in control and always doing something wonderful during each season, but specifically during the difficult seasons.  I’ve been going through a bit of a challenging season lately, and while it’s not easy, I see God doing something miraculous in it.  I was reminded of that truth when I saw those beautiful daffodils blooming in the midst of the rocky ground, on that dreary winter day.

Although the seasons of life will change, God remains the same – always good and always faithful! This truth is what helps me through the difficult times of life.

I don‘t know what season of life you are in right now, but just remember that it won’t last forever. I’d like to encourage you today to have hope in God, and what’s to come!  Rejoice in the Lord always!  Winter won’t last forever – there are daffodils in your future!

 

Genesis 8:22 ~ “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night shall not cease.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1 ~ There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven

Psalm 30:5 ~ … may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning

Hebrews 13:8 ~ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever

 

~ Melissa

Encouragement for Day 5

In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. ~ Psalm 5:3

There is nothing better than spending time with the Lord in the morning! This morning while reading God’s word and praying, I noticed the verse above. I love the fact that God says, “He hears my voice.”  That’s always reassuring to know, wouldn’t you agree?  The part of this verse that really caught my attention however, are the last three words – and eagerly watch.  Are you eagerly watching? 

Many of us pray. Some of us pray more than others.  Some of us have designated times to pray, and some of us pray continually every day. I believe God is less concerned with when we pray, and how much we pray and more concerned with our attitude towards prayer.  I think He is looking at how much faith we have in Him when we pray. 

Do you pray, believing that God is going to answer? Or do you pray, because you feel it’s your duty or for some other reason? 

I love this verse, because not only is it a reminder to us that God hears our prayer(s), but that He honors the one who prays with the expectation of seeing a result. 

The word eagerly means to show keen interest, and intense desire or an impatient expectancy.  Are you praying with this sort of attitude? 

I also love how David says that “he orders his prayer.”  He put his prayer to work for him.  He instructed his prayer, and expected a return.

I don’t know about you, but this encouraged me to not only lift my voice before the Lord every day, but to then to wait anxiously for the restult. It reminded me to not pray in vain, but to keep my eyes wide open each day, looking for the answer that God will provide! 

I hope this verse will encourage you to eagerly watch as well!

Love,

Melissa

Storm Driven Salvation

The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep. So the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.” Jonah 1:4-6

Are you familiar with Jonah’s story?  A story about a prophet of God who was disobedient?  Who went through some turbulent times (to say the least), then found himself right where God predestined him to be?  I found myself reading this story again recently, only this time my focus wasn’t on Jonah so much as it was on the people around him. I’ve never really paid attention to the men on the ship before, but for some reason these men caught my attention this time.

The verses above take place after Jonah’s decision to disregard God’s instruction. Instead of obeying God, Jonah got on a ship that was going in the complete opposite direction of where God told him to go.  After that we learn that God created a storm in the sea which greatly affected the ship and “the ship was about to break up.”  This storm was so bad that the men on the ship thought they were going to die.

Have you ever gone through something so horrible in life that it felt as if you were going to die?

These men were afraid for their lives. They were panicked and doing everything in their power to save themselves, yet nothing worked.  The next thing we learn is that each man began calling on his “god.”

Apparently, these were men of different faiths.  They all worshiped different gods, but none of them knew or worshiped THE GOD.

Next, the captain of the ship approaches Jonah, who is sleeping (soundly) and instructs him to call on “his God.”  I guess the captain figured if everyone called on their own ‘god’ it would increase their chances of survival.

When people are in desperate situations, they are (usually) open to whatever will help them. They just want an immediate answer to their need or prayer. 

*Side Note: I find it interesting (and almost humorous) that Jonah was able to sleep (and soundly at that) during this horrific storm.  I can’t help, but wonder why.  Do you think it’s because he trusted God so much that he wasn’t the least bit worried about the outcome?  God does promise to give us peace during the storms of life.

Jumping ahead…

Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him (Jonah), “How could you do this?” The men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. So they said to him, “What should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?”—for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy. He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.” However, the men rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them. THEN they called on the Lord and said, “We earnestly pray, O Lord, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, O Lord, have done as You have pleased.” Jonah 1:10-14

So here we have the other men on the ship seeking Jonah’s advice; asking him what they can do to stop the storm (to be saved). At this point it seems they realized that Jonah’s God was THE GOD and understood His power. They remembered the words of Jonah, and while they may not have called out to God right away, when they found themselves in hopeless situation, they did. The Bible doesn’t suggest that Jonah was running around the ship evangelizing to everyone.  He was simply present.  He was actually sleeping, remember?

The men on the ship, who each worshiped their own god at one point, now decided to call on The One True God!  I don’t know about you, but I was so encouraged when I read these few verses.  It reminded me of several things, but most importantly – that God is sovereign!

Jonah fleeing from God and this deadly storm was not an accident or a coincidence.  It was actually a part of God’s master plan all along. God wasn’t surprised by Jonah’s choice to disobey. He didn’t have to pull a last-minute trick out of His hat in order to prevent Jonah from fleeing.  He knew Jonah and He knew exactly what Jonah was going to do. He also knew these other men, and He knew what it would take to draw these men to Himself.  If God was only concerned with Jonah, He would have calmed the storm once the men threw him overboard, but that’s not what happened.  The storm continued to rage. I believe more than getting Jonah’s attention, God was looking to get the attention of these other men.

It was God’s sovereign plan to redeem the people around Jonah!

This blew my mind when I read it. Through this storm, Jonah’s God became their God!

There were two types of people on this ship: saved and unsaved. Jonah represents those of us who are saved, and the other men represent those who are not saved.  Even though Jonah was being a bit of a pickle, God was still able to use him in a mighty way. Whether through his actions or his words, Jonah was able to convey that his God was real, and the men on the ship believed it before it was too late.  They were saved!

This made me think about people who I know aren’t walking with the Lord, nor do they have any interest in knowing Him. Can you think of anyone like this in your life?

God’s love for us is so strong that He will use all types of circumstances to cause us to cry out to Him. Only God knows what it will take for each of us to come to Him, and sometimes that means a near-death experience, just like the men on the ship.

Are you a Jonah or are you like the other men on the ship?

If you are a Jonah, I’d like to remind you that there are people around you who need to know The Lord.  There are people around you who are watching you and listening to you .  God may cause a storm to arise in your life in order to get the attention of the people around you. Don’t be discouraged. He may use you in a mighty, unexpected, and sometimes scary way to fulfill His purpose for not only you, but others as well. I’d like to encourage you to look at the storms of life differently.  Know that God is doing the miraculous and has a plan bigger than we could ever imagine. Trust God in the midst of storms. And like Jonah, REST, knowing that the Lord will take care of you!

If you are like the other men on the ship, I’d like to urge you to cry out to God!  The only reason God spared the lives of these men is because they repented before it was too late.  You may be striving to save yourself just like the men on the ship.  You may have created a ‘god’ of your own or come up with your own plan of salvation, but those things will never work.  The wonderful and mysterious thing about God is He doesn’t require you to save yourself, and no matter how hard you try – you can’t do it! God just wants you to trust Him. He wants you to believe in His Son, Jesus who died to take away your sin, and give you life! You never know when you will take your last breath. All you have is this moment. Don’t waste it and call on the name of The Lord!

My inspiration for writing this post is my cousin and her recent brush with death.  Last week, she survived several heart attacks and I thank God for sparing her life!  It was nothing less than a miracle! She is a Jonah, because she knows the Lord.  I believe this experience has caused her to love the Lord even more, and have a new appreciation for the life that God has given her. Just like Jonah, I trust that God is working in the lives of those around her as well. I believe that many will be drawn to God through her life and her testimony!

Love,

Melissa

The Great Coach

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So, I’m not the biggest sports fan.  Although I can appreciate a good football or basketball game here and there, I tend to focus on many non-sports-related things while watching a game (which drives my husband crazy). I look at things such as an athlete’s hair style, tattoos or their outfit, uuummm….I mean uniform. I also look at a crowd’s reaction to the game, a player’s attitude or the many looks on a coach’s face. Because I enjoy watching people and their behavior(s), I like observing the way a coach speaks to his players either before, during or after a game. I actually really enjoy watching pre-game and post-game team discussions. 

Typically before a game, a coach tends to be very motivating; giving tips on how to win the game and reminding the players of past victories.  Many times a coach will stand right in the middle of the players, symbolizing that he is a part of them; reminding the team that he is on their side, and believes in them. I also notice how hyped up a team gets before the game. Usually a team leader will recite certain prayers or chants loudly, getting the rest of the team to join in.  Their adrenalin is pumping, everyone seems very hopeful, their confidence is up and they are ready for the game!

A post-game talk is a little different however; a coach will usually do one of the following: If the team won the game, he usually congratulates the team.  The coach, as well as the players, are in a very celebratory mood.  A lot of good and positive words are being shared, but at the same time, the coach may express the fact that the team shouldn’t get too comfortable, because they need to be prepared for the next game.  He may share tips about what small things can be improved upon so they can be even better. Everything tends to be very upbeat.

On the other hand, if the team loses a game.  There is usually a sense of somberness in the room.  No one, except for the coach says much of anything.  In this instance, the coach typically shares advice on how the team can improve.  Many times, the coach will get specific about what plays and tactics to change in preparation for next game.  There are also encouraging words shared, things like “don’t feel defeated” and “we will do better next time”, etc.

I was thinking about this recently while leaving church.  I thought to myself, God is such a picture of a good coach.  When I attend a worship service, I receive one of the following things from God: either a pre-game talk, preparing me for what is going to take place ahead (much of the time during that same week) OR a post-game talk, reminding me of a time where I messed up in the past; instructing me on how to do better for the next ‘game.’

I can remember one particular instance not very long ago where I was sitting in a church service asking myself, “why does the pastor keep on talking about this same issue?”  I’ve heard it all before.  I get it. Well, not very long after that, I realized that apparently I didn’t get it. I found out later that week that what was being discussed was something that I needed to be reminded of, because I had not begun to put it into practice.  Although I heard these instructions from God over and over, when the opportunity to apply these things to my life arose, I failed to do so. 

Like a caring coach who is concerned about his team’s success, God cares whether or not we succeed.  God isn’t some mean old man (as He is portrayed many times) who is just waiting for us to fail, so he can beat us and throw us away. Instead, He is an abundantly loving God who is full of patience, forgiving and is there for us when we fall.  He is there to pick us up, wipe the dirt off of our knees, to give us a word of encouragement and tell us to “get back in the game.”

Do you notice how a  football coach speaks in a microphone to his players (specifically the quarterback)?  Or what about the amount of timeouts taken during a basketball game, so the players can speak to the coach, regain their focus and be reminded of what it takes to win?  The players must always been connected to their leader; their source of wisdom and instruction – the coach.  We need to be the same way with God.  Checking in with Him when we are unsure.  Keeping the line of communication open at all times!

Ever arrive to church feeling a little defeated and unmotivated?  Then by the time you leave, you feel like you can conquer the world?  Just like players of a game, when God, Our Coach, provides us with a pre-game talk, we become filled with hope, and confidence.  I also think that spending time with other believers (teammates) worshiping and celebrating is extremely encouraging. It lets us know that we are not in this ‘game’ alone, but we have teammates to support and help us as well.

Our life is one big season of games. God is our coach and He is there to instruct and prepare us for what is coming up next.  Many times we hear a good sermon and think, ‘that was nice’ and leave feeling all warm and fuzzy inside and think that’s it.  I think we forget however, that what we just heard is either pre-game preparation or a post-game review.  When we hear from God we should trust that the words He gives us are CUSTOM DESIGNED JUST FOR US.  His words are there to teach us how to be better and improve as believers.  His words are there to encourage, inspire and strengthen us.  His words are there to show us how to WIN! Just like a sports player, if we’ve messed up, the answer isn’t to sit out of the next game, but to allow God’s Spirit to show us where we went wrong, and change our actions for the next game.

I’d like to encourage you today to pay attention to what the Lord is saying to you. Is He giving you a post-game talk, lovingly reminding you of mistakes you’ve made, and showing you how to improve next time?  Or is He giving you something new, something to be applied in the future?  Whatever it is, let’s make sure that we hold on to it, allow it to sink deep into our spirits, and become a part of who we are, and the way that we play the game!  Keep your eyes THE GREAT COACH!

Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

Psalm 48:14

For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death.

 Psalm 103:8

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.

Proverbs 4:2

For I give you sound teaching; Do not abandon my instruction.

Proverbs 7:2

Keep my commandments and live, And my teaching as the apple of your eye.

Isaiah 30:21

Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left

John 16:13

But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

Romans 15:4

For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Ephesians 6:10-11

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.

Love,

Melissa

The Diet

So recently I started a new diet.  Actually, it’s more of a permanent change in my eating habits…otherwise known as a “lifestyle change”.   For years I have had symptoms and reactions when I ate certain types of food.  I never wanted to address this issue, because I knew that it meant giving up foods that I LOVED.  My body has never reacted well to things like dairy products, fried foods, breads and sugary foods.  All the good stuff – I know!  While I love food (all types) I was tired of being tired (literally).

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A couple of weeks ago, I decided to just do it.  To just stop consuming the things that were hurting me and preventing me from living AT MY BEST.  So after much research, I began a strict NO sugar, NO gluten, NO yeast and NO dairy diet.  Many of you are probably thinking that’s NO FUN.  Well, I thought so too for the first two days.  However I quickly began to enjoy my new eating habits.  I find myself looking forward to getting creative with the foods that I am able to eat now.  I took a trip to the local health food store and found an abundance of options.  Not only are these options healthier for me, but they actually taste good too.  I will admit some of the foods take a little getting used to.  After all, I was eating things that were processed and full of sugar for so long, and my taste buds had to adjust.  Now I am truly enjoying the taste and benefits of eating healthier.  I feel a lot better.  I sleep better.  I’ve even been told that I look better.  Most importantly I have peace of mind in knowing that I am filling my body (which houses God’s Spirit) with wonderful things instead of junk.

Not long after I began this new way of eating, I read an article about “the die off effect.”  It basically talked about the parasites and unhealthy bacteria that live in our bodies.  Over time, as we continually ingest unhealthy foods, these bacteria begin to take over and attack our organs, which can eventually lead to many diseases.  The diet that I started actually causes these bacteria to die off; because they are no longer being fed the things that make them grow.  You see, they can only feed on the unhealthy items.  So, if they don’t receive them, they eventually die.  Over time the body can be free of these bacteria and restored to a much healthier state.

This article as well as my dieting experience over the past couple of weeks reminded of so many spiritual principles.  Today, I’d like to share some of those with you.

1.       What you feed on determines your level of health. 

 Just like our physical bodies, our spiritual bodies need good food.  Our success as Christians is determined by what we take in (eyes, ears, etc).  Are we filling our spirit man junk or are we meditating on God’s word?  Are we spending time with ‘toxic’ people or with spiritually healthy people?  We can’t feed on the same stuff that the world does and expect to be spiritually healthy.  God tells us how to have an abundant life and what we should be feeding on.

Matthew 4:4

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’

Joshua 1:8

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

Psalm 34:8

O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

 

2.       It won’t grow if you don’t feed it.

The bacteria in my body can’t survive if I don’t eat the things that cause it to grow.  I do have cravings and am tempted at times to eat the things that I shouldn’t.  I must however, resist those temptations in order to be healthy and successful.  In the same way, we have to resist the temptation(s) to sin.  The Bible says that if we resist Satan – HE WILL FLEE.  Sin grows in our lives as we give in to it (or feed on it).  We can defeat our enemy and the desire to sin by just saying NO.  Eventually the urges to sin will be less and less, until one day the things that once tempted us are no longer an issue.  Just like the die off effect I described earlier.

James 4:7

Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

3.       Think on good things.

 Instead of dwelling on the things that I was unable to eat, I decided to get excited about what I could eat.  I soon learned that there were SO many healthy (and delicious) options out there for me.  In the same way, we should focus on the wonderful blessings of God and not on the things we can’t have.

God gave Adam and Eve the entire Earth and everything in it.  They lacked NOTHING, yet one small creature planted a seed of doubt in the mind of Eve, causing her to look at a tiny little tree that she couldn’t eat from.  Her focus was wrong.  She should have been looking at the abundance around her instead of the one little thing that was unhealthy for her to partake of.

Many times when we are newly saved (and sometimes after we’ve been saved for years), we tend to focus on ALL of the things we can’t do anymore instead of what we can do.  We think of what we don’t have instead of what we do have.  There is actually more freedom to live in Christ then there ever was when we were slaves to sin (unsaved).  God’s supply of good things is unlimited!  Focus on those things!

Romans 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

4.       God gives us SELF CONTROL.

When I first started my diet, I was a little doubtful.  Not about the diet itself, but about my lack of control when it comes to food.  I’ve always just ate what I wanted when I wanted.   This experience has truly exercised this gift that God has placed inside of me.  As believers, God has given us His Spirit.  He indwells us.  One of the benefits of this is the ability to control what we do. We don’t have to be led by our senses and feelings. I don’t think some of us realize just what this means.  It means that All Powerful God lives on the inside of you!  You can do ALL things!  We have access to the Creator of the world and don’t have to operate in our own strength.  We don’t have to give in (in any area of life). God gives us the power to say NO to sin and temptations, as well as the power to do the things that we couldn’t do otherwise on our own.

Galatians 5:16-17

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

 

I hope these principles were a good reminder to you, as I know they were for me.  God’s word is so full of help for us in life.  Not only did He save us, but He continually guides us and gives us the answers we need in order to be successful.  Whether you are starting a new diet or just want to be better at this thing called life, I believe these principles, when applied, are beneficial for us all!  Be encouraged.

Love,

Melissa

Happy Birthday!

Today is my birthday!  Whoot!  Whoot!

I just love celebrating my birthday! It’s the one day of the year when it seems acceptable for people to make a huge fuss over me…to spoil me and treat me like a princess {or Queen for that matter}. I appreciate every minute of it!

What about you?  Do you love celebrating your birthday?  I’m always surprised that some people don’t get very excited when their birthday comes around each year.  I’m the type that begins the ‘countdown to my birthday’ about 30 days prior.  Some laugh because of my excitement over my birthday.  I personally believe that it is something that all of us should celebrate in a special way.  I believe that birthdays are God’s way of saying, “I still have a purpose for you on Earth.”  And doesn’t God say that long life is a blessing from Him? (Psalm 91:16, Proverbs 3:2)

I don’t know about you, but I am thankful for my blessing!

This morning as I was sitting quietly with the Lord, I began to ponder my life (my 30-something years here on Earth).  All of a sudden I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude towards God.  Why me O Lord?  Why am I deserving of this?  I thought about the years that I spent searching for satisfaction and meaning through people and empty things in this world.  I thought about all of years that I ignored God.  I thought about the time that I wasted on being selfish and seeking temporal things.  I thought about the times that I made really poor choices that could have ended my life. I considered what I deserve vs. what I have been given…and thought…I shouldn’t be here.  BUT GOD!!!  But God had another plan.  But God in His love and mercy chose to spare my life. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).  But God saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.  But God had a purpose for my life – a plan to use me for His glory!  Why me O Lord?

Then the Lord whispered, “It has nothing to do with you, but everything to do with Me.”  God doesn’t deal with us according to what we deserve, but according to His loving-kindness; His goodness.  His word says that He does these things for “His Name’s Sake.”

God also reminded me of how He loves to use the weak things of this world to shame the wise; the useless things to reveal His power.  It’s all about Him!  I am so amazed at the way He takes the despised things of this world and makes them into something great.

1 Corinthians 1:28 ~ the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are…

This is my story!  God took me with all of my flaws, failures and shortcomings and called me HIS.  Most importantly, He gave me a new heart and a new life.

It all began with one simple decision to invite God to live on the inside of me, through accepting His Son Jesus.  It all started with me coming to my whit’s end and realizing that there is no way that I could ever truly be fulfilled {alive} apart from Jesus Christ.

Today, more than celebrating my physical birth, I celebrate my spiritual birth.  I celebrate the new life that I have been given through Jesus Christ.  God chose to redeem me; to save me.  He chose to place His Spirit inside of me, clean out all of the junk (an ongoing process) and fill me with His goodness.  I celebrate these things!  I celebrate my new life!

While our physical birthdays are fun, the most important birthday is the one where WE BECOME BORN AGAIN SPIRITUALLY!  In John 3:3, Jesus says to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  THIS IS A REAL BIRTH DAY!

The Bible also tells us that the angels actually celebrate with us when we have a spiritual birthday.  Luke 15:10 ~ “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

If you have NOT had a spiritual birthday, you are {like a} zombie, aimlessly walking around Earth; dead.

Ephesians 2:4-5 ~ But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ.  We ALL need to be born again!

Would you like to join me in celebrating your birthday today?  If you have not already made Jesus LORD of your life and accepted Him as your personal SAVIOR, I’d like to invite you to do so today.  It’s quite simple.  God requires only two things (Romans 10:9-10):

1) That you {honestly and genuinely} believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, whose holy blood was shed for the sins of humanity (for YOUR sins), and that He raised from the dead.

2) That you confess with your mouth (the things that you already believe in your heart) that Jesus is Lord!

If you have done this, then I’d like to be the first to say – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!  I celebrate with you, and pray that you have a wonderful day as this TRULY is the beginning of a whole new life!

Love,

Melissa

A Message From God

Exodus 3:16

Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt.”

Have you ever felt like God has forgotten about you?  Or felt that He wasn’t concerned about a certain situation in your life?  Have you ever cried out to God for help and felt ignored by Him?  Maybe you are facing something right now that is draining you mentally, spiritually and even physically and you wonder where God is.

Is this you?

If so, I’d like to let you know that GOD IS INDEED CONCERNED ABOUT YOU AND WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH!

I’ve read the story of God speaking to Moses many times before, but today as I was reading this story, the verse above stuck out to me.  I thought about what the children of Israel were going through when God gave this message to Moses.  At this point, they had been enslaved by the Egyptians for over 400 years.  They had been praying and praying for God to rescue them and yet nothing ever changed. I can’t imagine how hopeless it must have felt to be born into a life of slavery.  Not only that, but to be taught to trust in God even though many generations of people never saw the answer to prayer they were looking for – freedom from bondage.  I think the problems that we face in life are nothing in comparison to what the children of Israel dealt with.  However, many times our problems seem just as bad to us.  I believe God wants me to share the same message that He shared with Moses with you all today…that He is indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you!

I found this verse wonderful and interesting for a few reasons:

1)      God reminded me that He always cares about us and the things we are dealing with in life.  The world would have us think otherwise – that God is some far off being who is only concerned with huge issues – but that isn’t the case at all. It doesn’t matter if you are dealing with a huge issue like being enslaved in Egypt or wondering how you will pay your mortgage on time – God cares!  God concerns Himself with each one of us and the individual issues that we face in life.  He loves you and hears every single word that you utter to Him.  He even hears the unspoken prayers and concerns of our hearts.  Today, God says, “I love you and am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you.”

2)      God waited a long time before giving the children of Israel this message of hope and encouragement.  Can you imagine what it must have felt like to pray and pray to God and not hear from Him for so long?  As I stated previously, these people were in bondage for over 400 years. They prayed and prayed for relief and for a way out of their situation, yet nothing ever changed nor did they hear from God.  God chose to wait until right before the great Exodus (their answer to prayer) to tell them that He was concerned about them and their situation. Feel like you’ve been waiting a long time and haven’t heard from God?  Today, God says, “I love you and am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you.”  Hold on just a little while longer!

3)      Even though God gave this message to Moses for the children of Israel, they didn’t receive help right away. God had their answer, but it wasn’t revealed to them until just the right time (God’s time). In fact, things got worse before they got better as these people went through some serious persecution, because of Moses and witnessed the various plagues in Egypt. We too may face some hard times in life before we see answers to our prayers.  Just know that in the midst of life’s hardships that God loves you and is indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you!

There are all sorts of reasons why we face hard times in life and I don’t claim to know or understand them all. Sometimes things happen as a result of our disobedience to God or as a consequence of a choice that we’ve made.  Sometimes these situations are God’s way of refining us and making us better and stronger.  Other times our trials and tribulations are used to bring God glory and to draw people to Him.  Sometimes these things are just the result of living in a sinful world. The list goes on and on.  The one thing that I know for sure is that God loves each one of you so much, and cares about what you are facing today!

God has not forgot about you and THE ANSWER to any problem you have is found in Him!  Don’t be discouraged by the circumstances of life, but instead find comfort in knowing that God loves you, hears your prayers and is indeed concerned about what you are going through!

Psalm 40:17

Since I am afflicted and needy, Let the Lord be mindful of me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.

1 Peter 5:7

…casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Hebrews 4:16

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

James 5:16

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Love,

Melissa

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