Times of Testing

Spiritual Truth for Living:
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
~Job 23:10

As a mother, I have always had a strong desire to provide my children with the best education available. I want my kids to be curious about the world God created and to have every opportunity to learn new things.

Why do I want the Best Education for my Children?

I believe if my children grow up in the right learning environment, they will have a better chance at navigating various situations later on. With the right skill set, it will be eaisier to make wise choices even when I am not around to guide them. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

How do I know if my children are actually learning and retaining knowledge? How do I know that when faced with difficult and complex problems they will have the proper reasoning skills? I will know through times of testing.

Testing begins at a very young age, and becomes an integral part of continuing education throughout life. Even as adults, we still have to take tests to prove our skills and expertise in different areas.

The Bible tells us that God also tests us. Jeremiah 17:10 says, “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind.”

Over the past several months, my daughter has been diligently studying and preparing to take a tedious test called the SSAT.

The test is a requirement for independent private schools not just across the country, but across the World. Students are tested in the subjects of Reading, Math, and Vocabulary.

The reward for months of studying will hopefully be a great test score! A test score that will be crucial when choosing between students competing for a limited number of spots, in some of the most prestigious schools around the world.

In the same way there are rewards for academic tests, God also has rewards for times of testing. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the LORD has promised to those who love Him.”

God is not only testing those who choose to serve and love Him. Psalm 11:5 tells us, “The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked…” He is watching from Heaven. He knows the true motivation of the heart.

We Don’t Want To Be Stagnant In Our Faith, Seek Growth!

If we are growing in our knowledge and understanding of Christ, there is no doubt we will be tested on this earth. Our goal, as Christians is to be prepared for those tests, and to say with confidence, “Prove me, Oh LORD, and try me; test my heart and my mind” (Psalm 26:2).

Testing is For Our Good!!

Know that times of testing from our heavenly Father are for our good. He wants the very best for us. Job 23:10 says, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

God wants us to be refined and perfected in our faith, and our walk with Him. He gives us tools, in His Word, so we can prepare for the tests and trials we face in this life, and come out as Victors. So study hard, sharpen your pencils, and be ready to pass whatever tests may come.

A Generous God

Spiritual Truth for Living:

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. ~2 Corinthians 9:8

As the holiday season comes to a close, I cannot help but think how blessed I am. There has been an abundance of sweet treats, toys, clothing, and other fun gifts that have been exchanged over the season.

It’s very easy at this time of year to become satisfied and content with all God has given. You may be thinking, “Well, I’m very blessed. I have a warm house, and good food to eat. I have money to pay my bills, my family is well clothed and happy.” All those thoughts are good, but it is still not God’s best.

What is God’s Absolute Best?

God is a God of abundance! John 10:10 says, “… I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” God doesn’t just want us to have enough for our own needs, or the needs of our immediate family members. He wants us to have so much that we can be a blessing to others as well.

That is the God we serve. A God of abundance, who gives freely that we might also be givers of the good things He brings into our lives.

If you are not sure how to be a blessing or what you have to give, ask God to show you.

Ask God to show you other people in your life that you can be a blessing to. Reach out and help those around you and watch the ways in which God will continue to increase and bless you.

Drawing Closer To God in 2020

Spiritual Truth For Living:
Come close to God, and God will come close to you…
~James 4:8

We are one week in to a brand new year and everyone has new resolutions. Maybe you want to start a new business, loose weight, take a dream vacation, or run a marathon? Typically, our goals and resolutions are a reflection of what is most important to us.

What is Your Most Important Resolution in 2020?

Achieving our goals can bring a great sense of accomplishment and motivate us to create new goals, and reach even higher heights.

But at the end of the day, we will never find true contentment in our achievements if we are living apart from God. We we never be satisfied with our lives if we are not in a close relationship with our Creator.

And that is why there is, Nothing More Important
in this life, than drawing close to God the Father. God promises in James 4:8 that He will draw close to us, when we take the first step and choose to draw close to Him.

But how do we draw close to our heavenly Father when we can’t see Him, or touch Him? Is He even real?

The first step in forming a close relationship with the LORD, is to talk to Him. In the same way you might talk to your earthly father.

If you have a good relationship with your earthly father, it might be easy to approach God in much the same way. You can come into His presence with confidence that He will receive you with open arms! He will make time to listen to your hopes and dreams, and offer a dose of fatherly wisdom, affection, and encouragement.

However, if your relationship with your father was strained, it may be difficult to understand the type of love our heavenly Father has to offer.

What Is Your View Of God?

Maybe you see God as cold, distant, harsh, and dismissive. You have learned how to take care of yourself without a father who is present and engaged, willing to listen, and offer support and therefore, can not understand how to even relate to a God who promises to draw close to us.

What does that even mean? GOD WILL DRAW CLOSE TO ME???

When I wanted to get close to my heavenly Father, and I wanted to learn more about His character, when I wanted to know if I could trust Him, I went to the Psalms for guidance.

Psalm 103:3-5 says:
    •He forgives your sins—every one.
    •He heals your diseases—every one.
    •He redeems you from hell—saves your life!
    •He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.
    •He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal.
    •He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.

Can you identify a time in your life when God’s presence was overwhelming? Everytime I am in nature, I can’t escape God’s beauty. A walk on the beach is an experience of His presence challenging me to come closer.

If that isn’t enough to give you confidence to be vulnerable with God, keep reading…

Psalm 103:6-18 goes into even more depth about God’s character towards his children!

“God makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet. He showed Moses how he went about his work, opened up his plans to all Israel.

  •God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he’s rich in love.

  •He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever.

  •He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.

As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins.

As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear him. He knows us inside and out, keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.

Men and women don’t live very long; like wildflowers they spring up and blossom,
But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly, leaving nothing to show they were here.

God’s love, though, is ever and always, eternally present to all who fear him, Making everything right for them and their children as they follow his Covenant ways and remember to do whatever he said.”

The Bible gives us a crystal clear picture and description of our heavenly Father. He is a Father we can trust with our hopes and dreams. We can be vulnerable in His presence and tell Him our concerns.

Talk to God. Be completely open and honest with Him. It is the first step in relationship. The first step in making your relationship with God your most important goal of 2020.

2020 Goals : You Are A New Creation

Spiritual Truth for Living:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. ~Proverbs 3:5

Cheers my friends! Happy New Year! 2020 is more then just a New Year, it’s the start of a new decade! Another year to sparkle!

Time to Shine!

Ringing in a new year is sure to conjure up deep desires to change old habits, set goals, achieve them, and create a New You!

I have some good news for you! As followers of Christ, we’re already considered to be a whole new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.” God has placed a new spirit within us.

We are All New in Christ!

God gives us the chance to put aside our old behaviors that keep us trapped and step into a new life through our relationship with Him. A life filled with promises of spiritual blessings and hope for our future. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “I know the plans I have for you…” God has wonderful things coming your way in 2020. “…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Have you ever set goals for the new year and slowly watched the weeks and months tick by on the calendar, and realize nothing has changed?

Maybe then you abandon those goals and make rationalizations as to why you weren’t able to achieve them, “I just didn’t have time” or “it was more difficult than I had initially thought.” Before you know it another year comes to a close and you are making the same resolutions as the year before.

I cannot tell you how many times in the past I made beautiful spreadsheets detailing my goals for losing weight, starting a new class, or creating my “perfect day.” Only to fail in less then a week.

Often times, the reason we don’t hit our goals has more to do with our own beliefs and attitudes about ourselves than our capabilities to achieve them.

And this is the part where our relationship with God our Creator comes in!

God tells us we are a whole New Creation, the old self has passed away. The first step in taking hold of this promise that we are NEW is to Trust in Him. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).

Whatever your goals are for 2020, whatever old habits and mindsets you want to change, you have the Power through the Holy Spirit to be new in two simple steps:

1) Trust In The LORD completely!

2) Do not continue to doubt or live in fear based on your limited understanding of what you see in the here and now.

God sees our future and it is full of hope and promise! When we put our full trust in Him, we can achieve our wildest dreams in 2020 and shine in new ways. I’m so EXCITED to continue in the journey of faith with you this year (big things are coming).

Have a beautiful and blessed New Year in Christ!

Having A Heart For God

Spiritual Truth for Living:
…I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. ~Psalm 101:2

It’s New Years Eve and I’m ready for a coffee break and some year end reflection in Psalms 101.

This Psalm is only eight verses long, but packed with incredible truth and wisdom for living in a way that is pleasing to God. The psalm is a promise of complete allegiance and faithfulness to the LORD.

Psalm 101:1 says, “I will sing of mercy and justice; To You, O LORD, I will sing praises.” As you look back at the past 12 months in preparation for a New Year to begin, are you singing praise to God for the wonderful things He has done in your life this past year?

I know I have many things to be thankful for and I want to give God all the praise for the great things He has done. When I give God praise, I am showing my allegiance and perfecting my heart towards Him. He showed up for me over and over during the last year, covered me with His love, and kept my feet on the path He laid out for me.

Psalm 101:2 goes on to say, “I will behave wisely in a perfect way. Oh, when will you come to me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.” One of my primary goals in 2020 is to focus on being the heartbeat of my home. I want to create a home environment that is welcoming, peaceful, nurturing, and restful.

I love going to coffee shops, not just for the coffee, but for the atmosphere and environment as well. There are simple things in the design, and decor, the smells and sounds that create a homely feeling that puts me at ease.

As a mother, I know God has given me the incredible opportunity to mold two young hearts and minds. What better way to start then to make sure my home is a place of rest, and nurturing. In order to set that tone, my goal is to enter my home with a perfect heart each day.

Psalm 101:3-4 says, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness.”

What do you set your sights on each day? Inside your home, or outside on the street, we have to choose each day if we will look upon wickedness or set our sights on things which are pleasing to God. When I turn on the radio, or the tv, when I reach for a book, or look at a sign, do I gravitate towards righteous things? Is my home a safe haven of righteousness or do I allow evil to creep in?

Learning to walk in righteousness, and turning away from evil is another way we show our faithfulness and allegiance to God and His laws.  

As 2019 comes to a close, my prayer is that God will search my heart and teach me how to place Him as my top priority. Having a “perfect” heart does not mean my performance must be perfect. No human could ever accomplish true perfection. God only wants to know that I have a heart that is perfect towards Him. Meaning He is #1 in my life.

If God isn’t holding the #1 spot in your heart today, and you want to walk within your home with a perfect heart towards Him, you can pray with me today.

Praying the Word:
Dear LORD God, please help me to set my life in perfect order. I want to make you #1 in my life so that my heart will be perfect towards You. Teach me how to give you all of my heart, mind, and soul. Teach me to turn my eyes from wicked things and set my sights on things above. In Jesus name I pray.