Dashing Devotional- What Does The Mirror Say About You?

January 16th, 2014 - Dashing Devotionals

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“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” - 1 Peter 3:4

We are so used to seeing ourselves in a mirror.  By looking in a mirror we can see if our hair looks messy or if our make up looks just right.  We have learned to trust what the mirror tells us.  We are so used to trusting it that often we find ourselves giving it the right to tell us if we are beautiful. However, when it comes to true beauty, the mirror (or a picture or the scale for that matter), is not a reliable source.

So, if we can’t use a mirror to see our true beauty, how can we?!?

The bible says in James 1:23 that the Word of God is like a mirror. When we look into the Word of God and see what God has to say, and how beautifully unique He created each one of us, it is then that we can begin to see our true identity.  The Word of God has so many awesome things to say about who we are as children of God! When we receive them by faith and act on them, they truly will begin to renew the image we have of ourselves on the inside, and begin to shine on the outside as well!

Yes, we certainly should take care of our bodies through balanced healthy eating and exercise! These things were given to us by God for our good, and to help our bodies function properly! And yes, we can often feel better about ourselves by getting dressed and fixing our hair, ect., but that is not what defines our worth and beauty.

When we look in the mirror and find flaws, God reminds us in the ‘true mirror’ that “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” (Songs of Solomon 4:7).

His Word also says that He “formed my inward parts; He covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:12-14)

When we look to the mirror to define our beauty, there will always be a chance to find a flaw or short coming. Instead, let’s make the choice to go to God’s Word to find our value and worth. After all, this is the mirror that is true, because it was written by God, and He calls us beautiful.

Prayer: “Lord, help me to remember that what the mirror shows is not what you find beautiful.  You look at my inward parts and find true beauty.  You formed me before I was even born, and you find no spot, flaw, or blemish in me.  Help me to see myself the way you see me. Help me not to judge myself according to the standards of this world, but show me in my identity and worth in you. In Jesus name, Amen.”

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Dashing Devotional ~ Living A Life of Love!

January 14th, 2014 - Dashing Devotionals

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Scripture: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” -1 Peter 4:8

Reflection: When Jesus gave His life for us, He demonstrated the greatest act of love this world has ever known. If we are truly going to be followers of Him, He only asks one thing of us…And that is to love. Why would love be so important that it is the greatest and one new commandment that He gave us to live by? Because our love for each other is a testimony of Him, for God is love.

When we walk in love towards one another, it is then that our lives demonstrate that His life changing power is real. This is easy to do when we are walking in love towards those that are lovely, but how do we love the unlovable? It starts with the understanding that love is a verb. It is not a feeling or emotion, but rather, it is an action. We can begin to walk in love today by asking God to help us see others through His eyes.

When we are having a hard time loving someone, we can ask God to work in our mind and heart and cause His love to flow through us towards the other person. When we are truly loving others, it is then that we are called a disciple, or follower of Christ (John 13:35). If you know Christ as your personal Savior today, and He the Lord of your life, the greatest way you can demonstrate that to the world is by loving people around you with the Love of God.

Prayer: “Lord, I thank You that you demonstrated your great love for me by sending your only Son so that I could have relationship with you. Thank you for pouring out your love in my heart towards others. Help me love every person with your kind of love, and to see them through your eyes. Help my sincere love for others permeate my life so greatly that others might recognize and see you in me! In Jesus Name, Amen!”

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Dashing Devotional ~ Do You Have Peace?

December 20th, 2013 - Dashing Devotionals

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“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” ~Isaiah 9:6

It’s almost Christmas time, which can be a time of great joy for many, but also a time of stress, sadness, and loneliness for others. There are so many things that can steal our peace and joy this time of year, or any time of year if we let it. But this season can be particularly challenging for some.

Despite all circumstances however…Yes, ALL circumstances, do you know that you can have true peace and joy?

No, I’m not talking about a temporary happy feeling that comes and goes as circumstances change. In fact, I am not even talking about an emotional state of being. I am talking about a deep rooted, stable, never changing peace. A peace that causes you to sing with joy from the very core of your being, even when the world looks like it is crashing down all around you.

Now, let me stop there and share that I, just like everyone else have been through some really tough times in my life. Things that could and should of crushed me…and If you are living on this earth, I can guarantee you have (or will) go through some hard times as well. But, let me tell you something. I can honestly say that through it all, I have found a peace that has carried me through each and every storm.

Sure, I have shed many tears along the way, and had any ‘normal’ emotion that anyone would feel, but  through it all, I have found the one thing that is deeper than any emotion or circumstance. His name is Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

I will never forget the night that I discovered this peace for myself. I had been saved for many years, but still found myself going through emotional highs and lows, especially during the hard times. Until one night- I had a revelation that impacted my life in a deep way.

I remember it like it was yesterday- I was going through a particularly hard season in my life. I was laying in bed with tears streaming down my face. As I wept, I leaned over to reach for my bible, seeking out a comforting word from the Lord.  I will never forget the words that I read that night, and how it changed my life from that moment on. My eyes landed on Isaiah 9:6, which says, For unto us a Child is born,unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

I am sure that I had read that passage of scripture hundreds of times before, but that particular night, the Lord spoke that verse to my heart in a very real way. I wiped the tears from my eyes, and found myself with an overwhelming sense of peace and joy in my heart. I found myself singing praises throughout the day for weeks to come. (Now, it’s important to add that my circumstances did not yet change during this time, although they eventually did thanks to God’s Faithfulness.) But, even in the midst of this storm, I had found a deep peace that carried me through.

I love this verse in Isaiah, because it foretells the Savior of the world, Jesus, coming to earth, and what He would come to bring to the world. It describes the meaning of His name in detail, from Wonderful Counselor, meaning we can go to Him with any problem we face, any time…and He cares! Not only does He care, but He wants to counsel us and gently guiding us through each situation as we turn to Him. To Mighty God and Everlasting Father, which says to me that He is both strong and mighty to deliver and save, but also a provider, protector, and deeply in love with each one of us- His children. And last but not least, one of the greatest names of all- Prince of Peace.

That was one of the most powerful lessons the Lord has taught me so far in my walk with Him.  I truly can say now that I understand what it means when the bible says that He can give us a “Peace that Passes ALL Understanding” (Philippians 4:7). This verse basically means that no matter what we are going through we can have peace, even when it doesn’t make sense.

Now, the reason I share all of this, is I have great news, this same peace is available to YOU! In fact, the Lord wants to give you His peace! Despite all circumstances, emotions, and even storms of life you may be facing, there is a peace that can carry you through. A peace so deep that it puts a song in your heart.

So, how do you get this peace you may ask? It’s simple! This deep sense of peace and joy comes as you draw near to the Prince of Peace Himself, Jesus.

If you are lacking peace, TRUE peace today, I challenge you to come to Jesus, the prince of peace. He is always there, waiting with open arms to comfort you, counsel you, and give you a deep and fulfilling peace that stays constant through all of life’s ups and downs. All you have to do is spend time with Him, (this can be done by reading the bible, praying, or worshipping), and as you do, everything that He is begins to rub off on you! It is kind of like spending time with a friend, whom you begin to become like over time… Everything He is and has He wants to pour into you!

This Christmas season, it is my greatest hearts desire and prayer that you come to know this peace that can only be found in the Prince of Peace Himself, Jesus!

Merry Christmas Friends! xo Katie

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Dashing Devotional ~ You are Wonderfully Made!

November 28th, 2013 - Dashing Devotionals

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Psalm 139: 13-18

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

 

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Dashing Devotional~ Don’t Get Weighed Down by Weight!

October 10th, 2013 - Dashing Devotionals, True Beauty

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Don’t Get Weighed Down by Weight!

By Sarah Shaffer

For me, the ritual was always the same. I’d tap the scale and carefully climb on. With bated breath – I would wait. Then, I would repeat the process a second time to make sure everything was “accurate”.

The dictionary defines an idol as anything in the natural world that is given sacred value and power. My weight, that elusive number staring back at me on the scale would determine my mood, my joy or lack of joy, my worth – what it said about me held sacred value and power in my life. What is said about me would affect how I dressed, how I interacted with my family, what I ate, how I felt about myself, about God, about my life.

My weight was controlling me; I was not in control of my weight. Ironically, that number was often the heaviest, weightiest part of my whole day. Through time in prayer and by His abundant grace, God revealed to me that my weight had become a seductive and very powerful idol in my life. It had stolen my joy, or affirmed my worth. It had not just been an addiction, it had become a matter of sin – idolatry in my life in a very real, and very damaging way. The number on the scale held so much value that it really had complete power over me. The Lord revealed this to me because He wanted me free.

If this scenario sounds familiar to you, be encouraged! He wants you free too! He desires a radical return to Him. It is impossible to serve two gods and, for me, my weight had become a god in my life (“This is what the Lord Almighty says; I am the First and the Last; there is no other God.” Isaiah 44:6). To free me from the bondage of this sin, God asked me to totally abandon weighing myself – totally! He impressed upon me the need to throw the scale away and be done with it. What freedom (It is for freedom that Christ set us free!)!

Instantly, I could feel the heavy yoke lifting and I was freer to focus on Him than I’d ever been. That act of obedience allowed me to have correct motives for healthy eating and exercise. The Lord confirmed to me that the number on the scale is nothing more than that – a number, a piece of information. It is not a measure of my worth. It is not a sign of success or failure. It does nothing to add to, confirm, or deny my holiness. It does not represent my beauty nor does it increase my goodness.

If the scale holds sacred value in your life or is a source of addiction for you, I want to encourage you today that the Lord has more truthful measures for you. There is no fault in desiring or working toward a healthy body, but friends, remember, the beauty in you is not measured by pounds, it’s measured by the glory of the One who shines through you!

Prayer for Today: “Lord, thank you that you love us enough to keep us from trying to serve two Gods. Thank you for rescuing us from a heart divided. Thank you for beginning the process of tearing down idols – lies – that we’ve clung to as truth. Lord, we release the idol of weight to you and humbly ask that you would put weight in its proper place in our lives. We ask that weight become nothing more in our lives than what it truly is, a number, and a piece of information – nothing more. In Jesus name we pray that it no longer hold scared value and power in our lives. Holy Spirit we ask you to help us keep sacred that which is sacred and to run from lies. Lord, no longer will we give the number on the scale sacred value and we release its power over our lives. In Jesus name, Amen!”

 

{I am SO blessed to share this guest Dashing Devotional written by an amazing woman named Sarah. I met Sarah through my Health Coaching program! She went through and completed 8 weeks of health coaching, and she truly grabbed a hold of her freedom in the area of her health, weight, and finding her identity in Christ! She now leads women’s groups related to these issues, and is being used mightily by the Lord to help others find freedom just as she has! Praise God! That’s what it’s all about~Sharing the Freedom that can only be Found in Him!}

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Dashing Devotional~ Getting to Know the Heart of God.

September 19th, 2013 - Dashing Devotionals

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Have you ever read a scripture or heard a message by a pastor and thought, “Wow! Great word!”  It may even left you feeling really good inside and created a sense of hope.  But before long, you began to think to yourself, ‘that sounds great, but it isn’t going to work for me’.

Or maybe you have found yourself in awe of what God has done for someone else, but you simply are having a hard time believing that it could happen to you.

If any of these scenario’s sound familiar, you are not alone! Many people, (including myself) have had thoughts like these come to us, but I have good news! There is hope to overcome these feelings of doubt that God has an amazing plan just for you!

I have had times in my life where I would try to ‘muster up’ faith to believe a scripture that I was standing on, and no matter how much I hoped that I could believe what the Word says…. I  wasn’t able to until one thing was in place.  This was the time in my life when the Lord showed me that I had to develop my faith in the Lord, and get to know Him & His character personally before I could have faith in His Word.

Now, when I say I  had to get to “know Him”, I mean really KNOW him. You see, I had been raised in a Christian home, and grew up going to church.  I knew all of the bible stories, and I gave my life to the Lord at a young age…However, it wasn’t until I had developed a personal walk with Him before I could have confidence that He had good plans for me personally, and I could trust Him to bring them to pass in my life.

I like to explain this ‘relationship’ in terms of my relationships with my family or friends.  We all know that in order to develop trust in someone, that it takes time to get to know their character or what I like to call ‘their heart’.  The only way you can get do that on a deep and intimate level is by spending time with them.

Likewise, when it comes to developing a personal relationship with the Lord, your trust in Him will grow deeper as you get to know His characteristics. If you are just starting this walk with Him, (or looking to go deeper in your relationship), it is important to start from a place of knowing His heart! So let’s talk about a few of His characteristics to start!

Here are some characteristics of the Lord:

He is no respecter of persons. –Acts 10:34 

What He has done for one person, He will do for another.  

He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. –Hebrews 13:8

The same Jesus you read about in the New Testament is the same healing, delivering, miracle-working God that He is today.

He is full of mercy!  The LORD is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. –Psalm 145:8

“Mercy” means to withhold the judgment of what we deserve.  

The Lord is abounding in grace.  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” –Ephesians 2:8 (“Grace” means bestowing favors one does not deserve.)

He delights in giving us good things.  “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” –Matthew 7:11

He is faithful.  “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” –Hebrews 10:23

He is willing.  His promises are “Yes” and “Amen”.  -2 Corinthians 1:20.  His Word holds no “maybes” or “hmm… that’s a new problem! Not sure what to do about your situation.” He has an answer for you and his will for you is good!

He will never leave you. He is with you ALL the time! -Deuteronomy 31:6

He has sent you a helper and a comforter- The Holy Spirit.  “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” –John 16:7.  He will never expect you to go through life’s journeys on your own.  You have your very own helper and comforter to help guide you. 

He is forgiving. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” -For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” –Hebrews 8:12

 He IS love. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” -1 John 3:16

He is inviting and approachable.Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” –Hebrews 4:16

He is able. “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” –Jeremiah 32:27

…I could keep going on and on… The list is ENDLESS! The great thing is, the Word of God teaches us all of these things & more… But what is truly awesome is when you learning these things on a heart level by watching Him show Himself faithful, loving, forgiving, etc. in your own life!

If you are desiring a deeper walk with the Lord that will produce a trust & faith in His Word, the best way to start is to get to really know Him for yourself. It is truly that simple~ the more we get to know His heart, the more we will learn to trust Him!

These are some of the truths I have found for myself over time and continue to learn more about every day!  If you are looking to develop your faith in God’s Word, or are simply seeking a closer walk with Him then I challenge you to start today! It all began in my own life when I simply started seeking a close relationship with Him by spending time talking to Him (through prayer), and reading the Word (which will reveal His heart towards you)!!!

God is so good, and has awesome plans for you! The best part is, He promises that if you seek Him…You will find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13)… So why not start today!?!

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Dashing Devotional~ Dealing with Discouragement!

September 6th, 2013 - Dashing Devotionals

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If you feel discouraged today…You are not alone! I have days when I feel discouraged, even when everything around me seems to be going good. We all have days when we feel ‘down’ for one reason or another. The good news is, we don’t have to stay there!

When discouragement tries to come against you, the first thing you can do is examine your thoughts. When your emotions are taking a downward spiral, you can most likely trace back those feelings to thoughts of hopelessness!

The bible says in Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” This scripture demonstrates the direct correlation between your thoughts and the direction that your life will take. Therefore, the first thing we can do when our emotions are taking a turn for the worse is change our thought pattern.

Now, you might be wondering, how can changing my thoughts change how I feel? I am going through some really bad circumstances. I can’t just ‘ignore’ them and think everything is ok. 

If that sounds familiar, I’ve got more good news! Changing your thoughts doesn’t mean you ignore something negative that is going on around you, it simply means you choose to focus your thoughts on something greater than your circumstances…The Word of God!

I can speak from personal experience that no matter how bad the circumstances are, God has an answer in His Word to help and lift you up out of it! It doesn’t matter what I have gone through in my life, I have always found hope & help in the Lord.

My favorite place to start when I need to change my though pattern is to realize that I am never alone. God has given each one of us a promise that when we ask Him into our lives that He is always with us (Deuteronomy 31:8). Knowing that He is with me and that He cares about everything I am going through instantly brings me so much comfort.

Sometimes that is the best thing to focus on when you feel like you just need a big loving hug from a close friend, and guess what…that is exactly what Jesus wants to for us when we turn to him for support!

The second thing I do when I realize I need to do a ‘thought’ shift is get away from whatever I’m doing and call on Jesus through prayer! Sometimes even after making the ‘choice’ to think on the truth, I still feel like I have a heavy heart. The reason being is that we all have emotions, and there are times when our feelings can seem pretty powerful!

Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t wait for times like these to pray… I can’t imagine not spending time each simply talking with the Lord through prayer. However, when I am going through tough times or I am being bombarded with emotions I take time out to specifically talk to the Lord about what I am going through.

Another reason for prayer is that there is power in the Name of Jesus. Sometimes what we are facing is a direct attack from the enemy.  We do not have to stay under that attack however, because the Bible tells us that we have power over the enemy (Luke 10:19), but we must use that power like a sword given to a solider. We can fight against the enemy (and win every time) using our spiritual weapons, (one of which is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, Ephesians 6: 10-18) and the Name of Jesus (that is above every name). We see Jesus himself fighting the enemy this way in Matthew 4: 1-11 when he was fighting temptation in the wilderness. If this is how Jesus fought off the devil, so should we!

God knows that we can’t handle what we are facing alone, and He never wanted us to carry the burdens of this life. That is why He tells us to come to Him (through prayer) and tell Him what we are going through, and what we need. (Philippians 4:6) The next verse goes on to say that when we do this, that He will give us His peace as we trust in Him to take care of things for us.

Last but certainly not least, I have found that I simply can not stay discouraged when I praise God and focus on the awesome things He has done for me. We can see an example of this in Psalm 42:5 when the psalmist describes that his soul is downcast. He goes on to say that despite how he feels, that he decides to wait expectantly for the Lord to turn his circumstances around and praise His way to victory!

Praise is so powerful in bringing our emotions up! Not only does it bring your attention off of your circumstances, but it shifts your thoughts towards the strength, power, and help we can receive from the Lord when we trust in Him to act in our lives. Some simple and practical ways to enter into praise is by putting on worship music and singing along! Praise can also be done without music by simply thanking God for His goodness, and reflecting on the good things He has done for us. Even if it doesn’t seem like we have anything to praise about we always have one thing for sure to thank Him for… He gave His only son so we could be called His sons & daughters and spend eternity with Him!

If you are facing a tough situation today, or you find yourself losing hope, or you even find your emotions sinking for no specific reason…Take Heart! God has provided us with all we need to overcome our circumstances and be joyful and have peace no matter what we are facing! It all begins with turning your thoughts around by focusing your attention on His promises for you, and realizing that He is with you. The next steps are praying that He will show you the way out, and praising Him until you experience the victory!

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God is Not Mad at You!

August 22nd, 2013 - Dashing Devotionals

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Guilt.  Condemnation.  Shame.  Fear.  Distance.  Perfectionism.  If you have ever felt one or more of these things when it comes to the Lord, chances are you may be experiencing a performance-based relationship with the Lord.  The Lord never intended for us to live this way, but I have found that so many people have to fight off these feelings when they come to God.

I remember my mom telling me that when she grew up, she thought that when she did something she knew she shouldn’t, she would make God mad. She was always scared that if God was mad at her, that he would be very disappointed with her.  She lived in constant fear of messing up, because she viewed God as a strict harsh father.  Unfortunately, many of us see God that way.

One of the greatest things that I personally have learned in my walk with Christ, is that ‘strict and harsh’ is the furthest from who God is.  God is love. I am going to say that again… GOD IS LOVE! He is literally the definition of what love is. Not love by the standards of this world, but unconditional, never-ending, agape love.  “He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” –Hebrews 13:8.  He can’t change. He won’t change. Nothing we can do can make God love us more or less.

That is hard for many to comprehend because we as humans often love one another based on performance and conditions.  You can say you love someone and then they hurt you, that can often alter the way you feel towards them.  Or you may get in an argument with someone and not think the same loving thoughts towards them.  God isn’t like that.  He looks at our heart, not our actions. “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7.

We are not meant to have a performance-based relationship with the Lord. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” –Ephesians 2:8-9.  This scripture shows us that our salvation is not based on us, but simply God’s grace.

God is not mad at you for anything you’ve done.  In fact, He loves you more than you could EVER imagine.  Nothing we do or don’t do can separate us from His love.  The bible speaks clearly about this in Romans 8:38-39, where it says, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God is not surprised by anything you’ve done or going to do.  He has already died on the cross for your past, present, and future sins.  The Bible says that Christ “appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself” -Hebrews 9:26. Once you have received Him as savior, He sees you ‘white as snow’ because of what Jesus did for you! (Psalm 51:7)

Remember, your salvation and relationship with the Lord is NOT dependent on you or how good you are.  Not one of us will ever be “good” enough to receive what God has done for us.  He loves us, and nothing will ever change that.

If the description of how my mom viewed God when she was a child sounded familiar to you, then today is the day to ask God to show you how He really sees you! All it takes is one simple prayer asking the Lord to reveal His great love that He has for you, and start to learn about it in His Word! Galatians and Psalms are two of my personal favorite books when it comes to studying God’s love for me! There is also a great new book by Joyce Meyer titled God is Not Mad at You, which actually inspired me to write this post if you would like to study this subject further! I pray this blesses you today, and inspires you to pursue an even closer love walk with our Heavenly Father!

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Being Best Friends with Your Spouse!

August 8th, 2013 - Articles, Dashing Devotionals

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I am blessed and honored to say I married my best friend.

I met my husband when I was 16 years old. I moved from Wisconsin to Saline Michigan my sophomore year of high school, and I was petrified that I wouldn’t make any friends, considering that most people already have their established ‘cliques’ at this age. As I left behind everything that was ‘normal’ to me, I remember praying and asking the Lord to provide me with Godly friends in my new home town. As always, He was faithful!

I will never forget the first time I went to my first youth group service at Saline Assembly of God. It was there that I not only met my husband Sean, but it was also the night that He gave his life to the Lord! (God sure did have a plan!) We started hanging out in groups with other friends, getting to know each other, and we started to develop a closer relationship as we spent hours on the phone talking about everything under the sun! We made the decision to start to date a few months later, and over the course of the next few years we truly became best friends.

I now know that God brought Sean into my life at an early age for many reasons. For one, I was pretty shy in high school, and being new certainly didn’t help. God provided an amazing friend through Sean, who was always there for me when I needed a true friend, and someone to lift me up. Sean was also very firm in his faith, and refused to give into the pressures that so often surround kids in high school. When I was tempted to go down the wrong path, he reminded me of the truth, and that I was better than that. I lost almost all of my ‘so called friends’ as a result of refusing to give into what was popular, but Sean stood by my side, and always encouraged me that I had a bright future.

Ten years later, (and almost four years into marriage), I can honestly say that I love my husband more each day. He is truly my best friend, and just as he was in high school, he is one of my biggest cheerleaders and encouragers!

Now, from this wonderful story you may look at my husband and my relationship and think this must mean we have it ‘all together’, and that we never have any problems. This is of course far from the truth. Just as every couple does, we certainly have faced our fair share of challenges, and yes, the day-to-day business threatens to pull us apart at times, and I can honestly say that there have been times where we have even hurt each other deeply.

So…How does our relationship continue to grow and flourish in the midst of the hard times? We are best friends.

To us, one of the most important parts of being best friends means that we give each other grace when we hurt one another. No, this isn’t easy in our own strength, but when we go to the Lord and let Him fill us with His forgiveness, love, and grace, we are then able to pour it back out into each other’s lives. It also means maintaining a humble attitude at all times, and admitting when we are wrong. This is only possible because of the Holy Spirit, who so gently ‘nudges’ us when we are not loving or respecting one another as God has asked us to.

Being best friends also means that we take time for one another. We don’t do this perfectly, but in this fast-paced world we recognize the importance for taking time out of our week to talk, laugh, and just have fun! My husband and I have a particularly interesting situation as we both work from home. One might think this would allow for ample time to spend together, when in fact it can pose one of the greatest challenges to know when to ‘turn off’ our computers, and stop working for the day. Because of this we have set specific boundaries and guidelines to ensure that we make time for one another, and put our relationship at a higher priority than work.

Being best friends as a married couple means that we continue to ‘date’ one another. What I mean by this is that we make sure that we block off at least one night a week as a ‘date night’. This doesn’t have to be something that costs money, or something extravagant. In fact, many times some of our best ‘date nights’ are just hanging out in our pajama’s watching our favorite movie, but there are certainly dates where we dress up for each other as well!!! This helps keep that balance of romancing one another and trying to make one another feel special, as we did when we were dating. Although my husband and I don’t have kids yet, we talk about how important it will be to maintain this especially when we do have children. We firmly believe that children feel more secure in their home when their parents have a strong relationship with one another, so this is something that will continue to be important to us.

And last but not least, being best friends means praying together and reminding each other of who we are in the Lord. As I said earlier, our relationship has not always been perfect, and it never will be. We are both people that are running the race for the Lord, which means that we are growing daily in Him, but we still have faults and flaws. When we start each day off by coming together in prayer, it is then that we become a three stranded cord that is not easily broken! I truly believe that God uses married couples in such an amazing and powerful way to further His kingdom, and encourage one another to press on, and pray for one another and lift each other up when one falls down. My husband and I keep the true purpose of our marriage in the forefront of our minds, as we press on towards the goal to which He has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus!

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Dashing Devotional~ Leave the Past Behind!

July 25th, 2013 - Dashing Devotionals

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Last night when I was getting into bed, I opened the devotional app on my phone, and decided to read the daily devotional by Kenneth Copeland. The moment I read the first paragraph, I knew I had to share this powerful truth with all of you!

This devotional really hit home in my heart when it comes to living a healthy and balanced lifestyle, because let’s face it…We all have days where we ate way beyond the point of feeling satisfied, or we don’t make time to be active and get exercise, or we may even have seasons where we neglect our body and/or health all together out of sheer busyness!

It’s time like these in our journey of living a healthy lifestyle where we can often get down on ourselves, and maybe if it has happened often enough, it may make some feel like they should give up all together. In those moments, it is so important that we remind ourselves of the truth, and encourage ourselves that tomorrow is a new day! The past may hold disappointments and failures that we are not proud of, but we must fix our eyes on the hope and success of our future if we ever want to achieve and maintain our goals and reach the destiny that God has for each one of us!

This devotional spoke this very point so clearly that I had to share! I hope it brings as much encouragement to all of you as much as it did for me!

 

Leave Behind the Past

Kenneth Copeland

But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

– Philippians 3:13-14

 

Spiritual bumps and bruises. Inner aches and pains that just don’t seem to go away. Most all of us know what it’s like to suffer from them but too few of us know just what to do about them. 

We limp along, hoping somehow those hidden wounds will magically stop hurting, thinking that maybe (with a little extra sleep or an extra helping of dessert) that nagging sense of depression will finally disappear.

But does it ever happen that way? No!

I know. I’ve been there.

But thank God, I’m not there anymore. You see, over the past few years, I’ve faced some fierce spiritual battles. And I’ve found out those battles can leave you bruised and beat up on the inside just as surely as a fistfight can leave you bruised and beat up on the outside.

Before I was born again, I learned just how physically devastating a real slug-it-out kind of brawl could be. Yet as bad as I felt, a few days rest would take care of me.

The healing of a bruised and beaten spirit, however, doesn’t come that easily. In fact, the passing of time often worsens this condition.

The reason is this: Instead of putting painful failures behind us, we often dwell on them until those failures become more real to us than the promises of God. We focus on them until we become bogged down in depression, frozen in our tracks by the fear that if we go on, we’ll only fail again.

But there is a way out. If depression has put you into a spiritual nosedive, all you have to do to break out of it is to get your eyes off the past and onto your future–a future that’s been guaranteed by Christ Jesus through the exceedingly great and precious promises in His Word.

Chances are, that won’t come easily to you at first. Your mind has probably had years of practice in focusing on the past. Like an old horse that habitually heads for the barn, your thoughts will probably start galloping that direction every time you give them any slack.

So, don’t give them that slack. Keep the reins tight. Purposely meditate on the Word of God. Replace thoughts of the past with scriptural promises about your future and be diligent about it. Then, instead of being a wounded soldier, you’ll become the conquering warrior God made you to be.

Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:12-21

 

 

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