ray

To The Person Who Has Bigger Dreams Than The Typical Life

Six months ago I moved from Philadelphia to Dallas. Through this process, I have never needed more faith and I’ve never been happier. Needless to say, it has been crazy, exciting, and terrifying the past six months. Since moving, every hour is jam packed, every day is different, and every week brings a new adventure. I know that I am sitting in the Lord’s will and I feel that I am truly starting to tap into the purpose God has for me.

You see ever since I was a little girl I wanted to do something big with my life. I desired to be married and be a wife but I want something beyond that as well. I want to leave a legacy and want my life to count. I’m not satisfied with what is normal. I have huge dreams and am sold out to God’s calling on my life.

Can you relate? If so keep reading because I want to share a few pieces of advice.

  1. Find Then Follow Your Vision – You may be in a season right now where you are searching for your purpose. Don’t take this season for granted. God has not forgotten you, rather you have been set apart. For a few years, I waited as my dreams and passions developed because I also knew that I wasn’t ready to know how they were going to be mapped out. Everyone has a vision for their life. If you were born into this life, God has a vision for you. The key is you need to seek it. Be active in seeking it. Many ignore the vision or settle. We are called to greatness therefore we need to strive for it.

2 Chronicles 16:9a says, “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”

Devote yourself to seeking the Lords vision for your life. Once your call is revealed follow that dream no matter the circumstances

  1. Be Teachable – It’s almost laughable at how many mistakes I have made. When our team gets together we have conversations like, “Member the time when Katie…” then someone else will say, “Oh my goodness I remember when Katie did…” Even though I have been corrected, made mistakes, and have not always made the right call, I have made it a point to be teachable. We can look back and laugh about some of the crazy stories over the years because I have since learned from them.

REMEMBER: While it is awesome to have huge dreams and a major vision, please know, you do not                   know everything. Eat some humble pie, admit when you are wrong, and seek Godly counsel. I have been           blessed where I am constantly being poured into from people who will shoot straight with me. Because of           that I am able to mentor and pour into others. Unfortunately, you can end up being the biggest drawback           to your dreams. If you make a mistake, don’t let insecurity keep you from pressing on. It’s okay!! In fact,           correction is a GOOD THING because it is through that we learn.

Proverbs 12:1 tells us straight up, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”

  1. Be Expectant –Faith is seriously one of my FAVORITE things to talk about!! It’s a major game changer. It will happen in the Lord’s timing so until then stand bold, stand firm, and do not waver. I have a list of things I am praying for and am expectant about. Think of an expectant mother. She is expectant because she can feel the baby and knows that the baby will eventually be born. Today, be expectant that God will give birth to your prayers!

Mark 11:24 says, “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” You need to be expectant by having faith in your prayers! If you aren’t going to expect what you pray about, why pray at all?

My challenge for you today is be hard core about all the desires, passions, and dreams for your life. Seek what the Lord wants, be teachable, and be expectant. Never settle, but rather, be buck wild about it. Doing this will be the best decision you make. I am living proof of it.

-Katie Dewan

hiking22

Each Punch, Each Stride, Each Step

So, I’ve been solidly single for ten years.

Oh, sure, I’ve dated a few guys and been on a few dates here and there, but I am still solidly single. Such a prolonged single season has really rocked my faith in God and my sense of worth so that I’ve had to practice self-control.

Self-control is one of those concepts that I know is a fruit of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, etc., etc. and SELF-CONTROL.  But, I always thought of self-control as being more of a theory than a practical virtue to be practiced and maintained until I needed self-control in my singleness desperately.  At some point in my late 20s, I realized my thoughts were being controlled by fear and disbelief instead of faith.  My sense of worth was crippled because I thought I was less than because I wasn’t married, so that negative thought pattern determined my belief about myself.  Here’s the thing:  God doesn’t say that everyone is going to be married at 21, so it takes self-control to not surrender to disbelief, doubting that God has a plan during the period of waiting.  And He does have a plan.

Self-control is mandatory if we are going to live lives that are pleasing to our God.  Paul said in I Corinthians 9:24-27 that everyone who competes in athletic and spiritual competitions exercises SELF-CONTROL in ALL THINGS.  The athletes he referenced were Greeks who trained their mind and bodyfor ten months to concentrate on winning their unique competition.  He compares our individual, God-given destiny to running a race or boxing with aim, so that each punch, each stride, each step of your life is focused at a the target of God’s purpose.  Paul disciplined his body so that he would not be disqualified because he relented to immorality, sensuality, anger, jealousy, strife, etc.   I’ve almost been prey to letting the same “deeds of the flesh” disqualify ME from my God-ordained destiny, until I realized that “it was for freedom that Christ set us free” so I didn’t have to clothe myself daily in my old sins, habits, and thought patterns – I was and am free because of Jesus.

Sexual sin, lust, and negativity may be what our culture permits and even encourages in singleness, but we cannot live effective lives for the glory of God if we let our bodily passions and minds run the show.

Keep your mind strong in the power of GodPractice self-control. He has set a race before you that only you, in whatever relational season of life, can run with boldness and courage.

 

QUITE YOUR SOUL — Worship Song:  “No Longer Slaves” by Jonathan and Melissa Helser.

“I’m no longer a slave to fear – I am a child of God.”

BE ENCOURAGED — Read these Scriptures:

I Corinthians 9:24-27–“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win.  Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.  They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

Galtians 5:1It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

DIG DEEPER — Life Evaluating Questions: 

  1. Evaluate your mind. Do you control your thoughts or do they control you?  What thought patterns have you allowed to dictate your worth?
  2. Identify areas in your life over which you need to control yourself. Pray over these weaknesses, allowing God to strengthen you in His power and truth
  3. Pray over yourself and for your God-given, unique purpose. What does God want YOU to accomplish with your talents and gifts for the kingdom of God, regardless of your relationship season?

 

-Heather Carey

SURRENDERING

There’s beauty in the SURRENDER…

There is beauty in the surrender; becoming a whole new person in Christ is an experience you will never forget. You sense it from your initial conversion and sometimes you have the privilege of witnessing it in your everyday life, via the always-occurring sanctification process. When Holy Spirit takes over every area of your life and changes you – something beautiful and mesmerizing takes place. You can’t take your eyes off what’s happening, nor turn your gaze away from the One who is changing you. This gaze and transformation process isn’t something someone can witness from the outside, it’s only felt in the quiet recesses of your heart and soul; and unless someone has spiritual eyes, they wouldn’t know what was happening.

There is something enchanting about this Christian faith because we see the impossible happen time and time again. But the mystery and the mesmerizing fashion in which the impossible takes place can seem to be marked by a road of pain, hard spots, and suffering. How do I know?! I’m walking that road every single day. Most days I can find joy in it, but other times, I’m just shy of a cheerful spirit and I sit in silence, counting the hours to my new morning, so I can hit that infamous and invisible “DO OVER” button.

Matthew 16:24-25 (HCSB) says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will find it.”

I don’t think I have lived a hard life but I have experienced a certain level of heartache, disappointment, and I have committed some sins but because of His resurrection, I can enjoy this life He has given me. But if I want to walk in the life He has chosen for me with Him, I HAVE TO deny myself – my comfort, my plans, my desires – and pick up my cross to follow Him; no turning back, no retreat.

He promises when we walk with Him, we would have a life – a life in abundance.[1] Yet He never promised that the abundant life to gain, would be trouble free. In fact, He says, “…you will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world!”[2] Well, that’s a little more comforting to know right? I might be struggling but He’s already given me victory, I just have to get there. In obedience to Him and His Word, I have thrown those things that “easily entangle me”[3] to the wayside by His strength, I have dodged a temptation or two thanks to Holy Spirit prompting me to flee, and I have experienced the joy of forgiveness in Him healing me from my past mistakes. How?

I surrendered everything to Him.

I ceased my striving to be “perfect” to “save myself” and rested in the simple fact:

 Jesus was the perfect spotless Lamb.

He was beaten, ridiculed, and tormented to the point of death, but when His blood was shed on the Cross on Golgatha’s Hill, He was the sacrifice that I – that you – needed to be restored in a right relationship with my – your – Creator God. So when I confessed with my mouth that Jesus was Lord believing He was raised from the dead[4], that I was a sinner in need of a Savior, and asked for forgiveness of my sins: He washed me brand new, sealed me with Holy Spirit, and nos identifies me as His child[5]. So as He died, my sins died, but as He was raised to life, so I was raised to walk in the newness of life[6] given to me by the Son of God – the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

“…and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:9b-11, ESV)

So I surrendered my life initially and received salvation and now, He continues to renew and transform me to look more like Him, but this process – the sanctification process, is only known and experienced as I surrender. As I yield to Him being Lord of my life, I give Him the access He deserves and needs to keep removing my heart of stone, replacing it with one of flesh,and continue to give me His Spirit to follow His will, His way.[7] As I continue to walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit with whom I’m sealed, I can fully proclaim, “my goal is to know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings”[8] because in that, I have the privilege to see and experience Him “revealing the path of life to me”[9] and know “in His presence is abundant joy and in His right hand the eternal pleasures.”[10] I will walk in the life He had for me all along, and when I pick up my Cross, in full surrender, I will find joy in this life; and all it took was SURRENDER!

There’s beauty in surrender because it is there you find unexplainable joy… in Christ!

-Vickee

[1] John 10:10b, HCSB [2] John 16:33, HCSB

[3] Hebrews 12:1, HCSB[4] Romans 10:9, HCSB

[5] Ephesians 1:13, Amplified [6] Romans 6:4, HCSB

[7] Ezekiel 36:26-27, HCSB [8] Philippians 3:10, HCSB

[9] Psalm 16:11, HCSB [10] Psalm 16:11, HCSB

pictureforblog3

God’s Design for Marriage

I rose early this morning, grabbed a cup of coffee, and walked into our in-home office. My mind was too busy to focus, so I picked up my husband’s Bible that has served him well for many years. When I opened it, there was a small piece of paper folded neatly inside. Intrigued, I opened it and read it. I was almost brought to tears when I read the words that were written so long ago. It was a list of qualities he was praying for in his wife. I read quickly wondering what his mind was thinking more than 11 years ago before we were married.

The list written is as follows:

  1. Good family, especially relationship with father – (check)
  2. Tall – (I’m 5’6not necessarily tall)
  3. Pretty – (I know he thinks I am pretty, he tells me 100 times a day)
  4. Loves God – (check, without a doubt)
  5. People person – (I smiled when I read this one as I have never met a stranger)
  6. Humble – (when I met Jesus I was so messed up! My life back then really helped this one.)
  7. Able to pray, prays for me – (double check)
  8. Close relationship with God – (yesssss)
  9. Can complement my gifts and ministry – (why I was attracted to him in the first place)
  10. Loves kids (I loved this one to as we have 4 kids, 2 biological and 2 adopted)

I paused and continued to read, but as I read the last desire, I stopped. 11: Can live without me, totally in love with God. Loves God more than me and has a servant’s heart…With that, the list ended. I sat for a moment and absorbed the sweet, thoughtful list Eddie had been praying more than 11 years ago. The “can live without me”desire really caught me off guard. Now, everyone who knows me knows that I was born a leader. I have a strong personality, and after I realized who I was in the Lord, I have been driven to do anything I can for His name.

While being a strong man himself, Eddie has fanned the flame of my dreams since day one of our relationship. I always looked at him in awe as I would drop another dream bomb on him and his response was, “You can do it. I support you.” It hit me this morning that exactly who I am is exactly who he was hoping for. He isn’t intimidated by my strength. He wanted it. He isn’t challenged by it. He encourages it. My husband and I are one unit (Gen. 2:24); operating as one unit drawing from our strengths and helping each other in our weaknesses.

We are a team; we always have been.

I was married to an abusive man before I married Eddie. My previous, first husband would recite the verse, “husbands submit to your wives” and then abuse me. I was completely turned off by the word submit, because of the abusive way it had been used against me. However, in that first marriage, I found the Lord. I began a true relationship with Him. God ransomed me from myself—literally, as I was suicidal—and through His word, began to heal me. He eventually released me from that first marriage, and because of His faithfulness, I knew I wanted to follow His design for marriage.

Autumn Miles

 

Forblushblog5

A Husband’s View of Biblical Submission

Husbands, are you loving your wives and never treating them harshly (Colossians 3:19 NLT)?

God has called us as men to love and serve our wives.

 

Are you truly serving your wife and sacrificially giving up your life and needs for her?

Not just loving her for what she can do for you but “loving your wife like Christ loved the church and gave up his life for Her(Ephesians 5:25).”

 

Are you taking her on dates, and making her feel special and loved? Are you stepping in and giving her breaks from all she does? These are some of the real responsibilities of being the husband in a biblical marriage.

 

Are you, as the man, following and submitting to Christ? Are you seeking God for the decisions you make for yourself and your family? Are you praying for your wife and your marriage? Are you praying for God to give you direction for your family?

 

When it comes to decisions in our house, we are a team because we seek God individually and together for the plans and direction he has for our family. I have never expected Autumn to cater to my every whim because that is not what true Biblical submission is. Autumn and I are a team in everything we do.

 

There is so much accountability for a man leading a home and you answer directly to Christ because “the head of every man is Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3 NLT).” There is nothing in Scripture that gives the husband the freedom to do and say and demand anything he wants of his wife. The husband has no right to force his wife to do something that would not be honoring to God or against the teachings of Scripture! He cannot wield these Scriptures to make his wife meet his every whim or do something she is uncomfortable with. That is sinful and can be abusive. God never condones the man to abuse his wife- EVER!

 

If I am following God and loving my wife, our family is never out of balance the way God designed it.

 

“…So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33 NLT)

 

We are thankful for the platform to discuss Biblical marriage further.