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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You are Never Alone or Without Help!

May 16th, 2013 - Dashing Devotionals, Inspiration

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Did you know that if you have given your life to Jesus, you are never alone? 

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” This is one of many promises that the Lord gave us that when we invite Him into our lives, that He will never leave us.

This is such an awesome truth for SO many reasons. I sure do find this truth comforting, especially in this ever-changing world!

But the most amazing part is…It doesn’t stop there!

When Jesus went to be with the Father after dying on the cross, He also promised to leave us a comforter, counselor, and teacher who would be with us to guide is through this life. That helper is called the Holy Spirt. (John 14:15) We can see in the Bible that the Holy Spirit was given to us to help us in all things. This means that in every life situation that we can go to the Lord and ask for direction, guidance, and help in any situation.

We can also be sure that if we need to be comforted, encouraged, or reminded of the truth of God’s Word, He will be there to remind us of the promises that we have stored in our hearts! (John 14:26)

God has great things in store for each one of us (Jeremiah 29:11), and we can receive all that He has for us in every area of our lives if we follow His leading and depend upon His strength. A vital part of following His leading is listening to His voice on a daily basis, and the Holy Spirit is a vital part of that communication.

Communication from the Holy Spirit can be achieved by simply going to the Lord every day and asking Him to lead us. From there, we must do our parts by quieting our hearts enough to listen to His leading, (which is often a still small voice in our hearts).

If you are feeling worn out, burdened, or are in need of any kind of help today, the Holy Spirit is waiting to help you, and all you have to do is ask! (Luke 11:13) We can be confident that it is His will to help us, and teach us the right way to go and provide help in whatever we are facing. (John 16:13) There is nothing too big and nothing too small. You can go to the Lord about anything, He cares for you and knows just what you need, because He created you! (Psalm 139:13) Be encouraged today~ for you are never alone or without help!

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Dashing Devotional~ How Can I Stay Motivated!?!

April 25th, 2013 - Dashing Devotionals, Inspiration

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“So let us not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” ~ Galatians 6:9

 

We ALL have days where we trip and fall, making us feel discouraged. In fact, I can guarantee that every person has days where they simply lack the motivation to keep pushing forward towards their goals.

I, too, have plenty of days where I am discouraged, overwhelmed, or unmotivated to press on towards my goals with stamina and vigor!

So, the question is… on days like these, how do we stay motivated?!?

Well, to put it simply, we can’t… (Don’t worry, I’m going somewhere positive with this!)

The reason being is that motivation is an emotion, and like all emotions, they are fickle. They are up one day and down the next.

Let me give you a real life example of this (and I know that almost every woman can agree with me on this one).  One day I can wake up and feel like I’m on top of the world and the very next day I may wake up and feel terrible! This one example alone goes to show that emotions can not be trusted and they are certainly not stable.

It is for that very reason that we can’t base our decisions off of emotions. This includes the emotion of ‘motivation’.  If we relied on motivation to finish everything, we wouldn’t end up finishing most things we started…and even if we did, things would turn out very different than how we imagined.

You see… when we begin something, we often have a great sense of determination and motivation. We have a goal set in our mind and we pump ourselves up so much that we can almost taste the victory! Fast forward a couple of weeks and here comes that all too familiar lack of drive, (aka lack of motivation). This change in emotions can be attributed to many different reasons; a lack of results, increased stress, or a realization that the process is harder than we originally expected.

Which leads me to my main point… Instead of staying motivated, we must simply make a COMMITMENT to do something and align our actions with that decision regardless of how we feel.

I do this all the time in my own life in so many different areas. Once I make a decision to do something, I make a commitment. I bring it to the Lord and I surrender that area of my life to Him and ask Him to give me the strength to do whatever it is that I am setting out to do. From there, I make goals and often times I write them down.

When the ‘going’ gets tough, which often times it does…I run to the Lord and pick up the Word of God for encouragement! I encourage myself with the promises that He has given me of success and remind myself that He has promised me an awesome future (Jeremiah 29:11).

I also re-read the goals that I wrote down and reflect on the commitments I made and why I made them in the first place. I make the choice to reign in my emotions and get back up, encouraging myself that “tomorrow is a new day!” (Sometimes I have to do this many times… but the point is, I don’t let myself stay in an attitude of defeat!) I remind myself that I can truly do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength, and that means ALL!

We must recognize that one of Satan’s greatest tactics is to get us feeling discouraged and like a failure, because it is then that we will lack the determination to keep running the race and pressing on towards the goal. We must not fall into that trap! The most important thing that we could ever do is make the decision that no matter how many times we fall, that we will always get back up. We must make the decision to keep doing what we know to do and the results will come if we make the decision to not give up!

Prayer:  “Dear Lord, I thank you that with you I can do ALL things! Help me to be determined to keep running the race and pressing on towards the goals to which you have called me to. Help me not to fall into the trap of discouragement and a defeated mindset. I thank you that no matter how many times I fall, that you will always help me get back up. I am making the decision today to keep doing what I know to do and I know the results will come as I make this decision not to give up! In Jesus Name Amen”

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You Make ALL Things New!

March 29th, 2013 - Dashing Devotionals, True Beauty

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When I was going through one of the hardest times in the recovery process of my eating disorder I remember taking walks and listening to this song by Nicole Nordeman called “Every Season” on repeat. It still brings tears to my eyes today as I listen to it…Especially around this time of year. As the winter turns to spring around us, I am reminded in such a powerful way of how the Lord takes what was once dead and breaths His life into it, making it new.

Easter is special reminder of God’s amazing ability to take what was once dead and bring it back to life. As we reflect on the true meaning of  Easter, we remember how He took Jesus, who was dead for three days, and brought Him back to life, so that we could have abundant life and eternal salvation! What a beautiful picture of how He truly does renew and restore! It doesn’t matter how hopeless your situation may look, or how dead something might seem. If you bring it to the God who brings life to the dead, you can surely rest in the fact that He will bring hope, restoration, and renewal to ever area of your life as well!

I pray that you have a revelation of God’s great love for you this Easter and spring season. xo Katie

 

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Dashing Devotional ~ The Desires of Your Heart

February 14th, 2013 - Dashing Devotionals

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“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” ~Psalm 37:4

Guest Post Written by Emily Fairless

Valentine’s Day.  You love it when you have someone to love, and you hate it when you don’t.  Valentine’s day means something different to everyone.  To some it is just a lame Hallmark holiday, to another it a great opportunity to shower the one you love with admiration. To many, Valentine’s Day is another reminder that you’re alone.

For this Valentines, I am blessed to spend it with my fiancé, but it wasn’t long ago that I remember wishing, hoping, and praying that the Lord would send me the one HE created for me.  There were many days I was tired of waiting, sick of crying, and wishing I didn’t feel so lonely.  I’m sure there are many that are alone and can’t relate, but others that may be saying, “YES! I know the feeling!” So to those people, this is for you.  This is my story.

Learning the definition of love

All through high school and part of college, I always in a relationship. Looking back, there was something missing in all of them. I was so tired of the rollercoaster of emotions that one day I made up my mind that I wouldn’t date anyone else and that I was going to wait for my future husband. I began seeking the Lord about my future husband and who HE had for me. I didn’t want to date just to date, so I told myself the next person I was going to be with was my future husband.

My perspective changed the day that I read the scripture found in Isaiah 54:5, “For your Maker is your husband; the Lord Almighty is His name.”  I realized that no one could EVER love me the way the Lord does.  He would NEVER leave me, nor forsake me.  I had a deep revelation in my heart that day that I needed to learn of the Lord’s perfect love for me first and foremost.  A love that is so unconditional; not based on my performance, a never ending, and a never changing love.  I wanted to know my maker as my husband so that when I did get married, that man would never be the ultimate source of my fulfillment, worth, or identity.  That began a three-year journey.  Those three years were the best years of my life, but also some of the most trying.

Ask Specifically

I began writing down very specifically what I desired in my future husband. The Lord showed me in his word that I have not because I ask not and how he delights in giving me the desires of my heart. I focused on the character traits that I desired for my mate: generous, patient, sensitive, funny, caring, etc.  I began thanking God daily for this man.  The more that I fell in love with the Lord, the greater my expectations grew.  When I learned of His character, I knew of what I desired in my future husband.

Renewing My Mind

Some days were amazing as I learned God’s fulfilling love, but there were many days that the enemy would lie to me that I would never find someone to love me, my standards were too high, etc etc.  Almost daily I had to renew my mind to the truth of God’s word and cast down lies that I would never get married, no one would love me, and so on.  When fear would take over, I had to imagine myself walking down the aisle.  (Your imagination is POWERFUL and can truly set the course of your life!)  I would renew my mind to God’s word and speak these scriptures out daily:

“Lord, I thank you that your word says in Psalm 37:4 that, “You delight in giving us the desires of our hearts.” Your word promises us that, “You withhold no good thing to those that love you.” –Psalm 84:11. I thank you that marriage is a good thing and you will bless me with this gift of marriage. Psalm 18:22 says that, “A man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”

Being Steadfast

During this time there were guys that would approach me and I would wonder if he was the one.  After all, they were Christian men who loved the Lord.  But sure enough, there was a lack of peace I felt in my heart.  I decided once again to say “no” and continue on my path to who the Lord had for me.  After all, I knew the Lord would bless me for my patience and diligence in seeking him.  I knew this singleness could be one of the best times of my life, if that’s what I believed. The Word says, “I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord.” -1 Corinthians 7:32. I began changing my perspective and seeing this singleness as a blessing.

There were many times during my singleness that people, even those most close to me, would say to me, “How are you going to find someone if you never go out?  How will you find him if you don’t date?”  “Are you waiting for the mailman to show up and sweep you off your feet?”  I would simply respond, “If that’s how God will bring him, then sure!  I knew if God created me so intricately and detailed, he is creative enough to bring him in to my life. I didn’t have to worry about how it was going to happen… I knew that the Lord had that all planned out, every detail.

There were also people that would say, “Why don’t you just date so-and-so.  He loves the Lord and treats you wonderfully.”  That would sometimes cause me confusion and I would sometimes question the same thing.  However, I knew what I believed for and if he was anything less, it wasn’t the right one.  I believed for a man of God who knew his authority, who would pray for me, who would fight for me when the enemy was attacking, and one who was strong in the Lord.

I knew my story would be different than how this world does things.  “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” – Romans 12:1-2

Prepare Me Lord

As I prayed daily for the preparation of my future husband, one day the Lord spoke to me about preparing myself and that this was a time that I was to draw close to the Lord, learn of his Word, who I am in Christ, and what it meant to be a Godly wife.  He showed me he wanted to do a work in me, to strip me of hurts from my past.  The Lord brought me to this quote, “Young women who devote themselves to the Lord prepare themselves for the future by gaining wisdom first, then stepping carefully when the time is right.”

I knew that I would get to that point where I didn’t need anyone to fill me and that the Lord would be enough.  I knew once I got to that point, the Lord would bring him to me.  One of my favorite quotes through this time was, “ A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to see Him just to find her.” -Lucado

My Harvest

On March 17th I was apart of an event with a local evangelist, Chris Palmer. I was asked to be apart of the team and greet guests as they came into the event.  I knew no one, and only recently met Chris.  That morning my sister said, “Who knows… maybe Chris will have a friend you’ll meet.”  I just laughed her off.  I went with the simple intention of drawing closer to the Lord. The night of the event, I was introduced to everyone on the team, including Chris’s good friend, Brett.  Before the event started, I asked Brett if he wanted any coffee to kill time.  The first thing I remember about Brett is how generous he was as he bought coffee for just about everyone on the team.  He opened doors, paid for my coffee, and made me laugh the entire time.  When the service began, Brett was in charge of the set up and making sure everything ran smoothly inside the service.  However, Brett found his way to the front doors that night and was continuously checking to see if I “needed anything”.  He ended up neglecting his duties and just couldn’t help but to stick around the doors with me. The hour of greeting was filled with laughter and conversation.

That night my sister asked how the night went and I responded very shortly, “Good!  I met a lot of cool people.  One of Chris’s friends had me laughing so hard.  I felt like I had known him my entire life.”  I began walking away and she responded, “Uhhhh… Who is this guy!?” Once again, I just laughed her off.  I didn’t think much of it.

Brett got my number that night to see if we could all hang out as a team the following night.  Although I turned down the offer, Brett and I began texting very casually.  After a month or so of us casually talking, Brett invited me to a church service with him and Chris.  As I sat by him that night, the pastor had told us to lay our hand on the person next to us and start praying for each other.  Brett laid his hand on my shoulder and began praying for me. I couldn’t get a word to come out of my mouth.  I just cried.  I cried with an overwhelming sense of joy as I realized he could be the one.  There was just a deep knowing in my spirit.

Throughout the next couple of weeks as we grew closer, I prayed to the Lord and asked him to confirm that I was to continue talking to him.  I didn’t want to date anyone for even a day if I didn’t know 100%.  I opened my Bible to the scripture that said, “You will be governed by peace.”  That spoke volumes to me.  Although we often want God to speak to us in a loud booming voice from heaven, typically the Lord speaks to us by giving us peace or a lack thereof.  I knew what a lack of peace felt like, for I felt it in all my past relationships.  So, I approached every single day with Brett… “Do I have peace today?”

As I got to know Brett, I was amazed daily how he truly was everything and MORE that I had prayed for.  He is one of the most caring, selfless, sensitive, generous, loving, and handsome men I have ever met.  He puts the Lord first and truly pastors me and loves me as the Lord does.  He loves me so unconditionally.  He showers me with love and makes me feel like a queen.  Every door is opened before I can put my hand on it.  Not a day goes by without him speaking his love to me.  He prays for me with such power and authority and encourages me with the Word.  But you know what is cool?  God has fulfilled me in the past few years that I can honestly say that God is my source.  I don’t get my worth or fulfillment from Brett.  His love is just a representation of Jesus’ love for me.

It’s been just 11 months since the day I met Brett and I now have a ring on my left hand to signify our soon-to-be life together.  I truly believe God created marriage as a good thing.  The Word says, “It is not good that Man should be alone; I will make him a helpmate.” –Genesis 2:18. “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.”-Ecclesiastes 4:9.

Trust Him

I pray that my story encouraged you today, wherever you are in your journey.  The Lord cares so much about every detail of your life.  He put the desires in your heart.  The more that you seek Him, the more your desires will become His.  Don’t try to get ahead of God by trying to figure out how it is going to happen.  Trust that if He created this earth and everything in it in such intricate detail, that he has your life planned and figured out.  It will be beyond anything you can ever dream, ask, or imagine.  Our God is so faithful.

 

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Dashing Devotional ~Change that Will Last

January 15th, 2013 - Dashing Devotionals, True Beauty

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You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.~John 15:16

Have you ever experienced a time where you decided to make a change in your life and you feel like you are doing great for a period of time, (hello New Year’s resolutions) only to find that you wake up one day feeling like you have been completely defeated?!? I’m sure we have all felt like that, whether it’s for a day, a week, or a season of our lives. This can leave you feeling discouraged and in some cases even like there is no point in even trying to make a ‘change’.  After all, you know in time that you will just fail again, so why bother?

Sound familiar!?!

If it does, you are not alone! Why is it that as humans we so often feel like we are bound to fall at some point after we decide to make a change? Well, I can speak from experience here, and say that whenever I try to accomplish anything without the Lord it always leads to failure.  I may make it  awhile on my own, (which certainly leads me to believe I have been successful for that period of time) but it is always inevitable….  When I try to make a lasting change without the Lord’s help, guidance, and strength the out come is always the same… I fall back to my ‘old’ ways.

This pattern went on for much of my life, as I tried to succeed in many things without the Lord, (or according to the worlds way’s of doing things), but it wasn’t until I woke up one day and realized that I wasn’t getting very far using my wisdom, or the wisdom of this world. I decided one day that instead of trying to ‘change’ things about myself, that I was going to follow the direction and guidance of Matthew 6:33, which states, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

It wasn’t until I fully made the decision to pursue the Lord’s ways for me and sought Him out in specific areas where I needed change, that I was finding lasting change was being produced in my life. This is what the bible talks about when it speaks of bearing fruit that will LAST in our lives! (John 15:16).

I now know that anytime I am seeking change in an area of my life that I can overcome anything and be successful in anything I set out to do, but it truly is only THROUGH Christ that I will get the strength that I need for lasting change! (Philippians 4:13)

Practically speaking, I have concluded that all lasting change begins with a simple cry out to the Lord for help. I know that in myself I am not strong enough. I begin by acknowledging that I NEED Him to guide, counsel and strengthen me in a specific area.

The next thing I do is go to the Word and ask the Lord to give me promises to stand on relating to whatever it is that I am dealing with. He is always SO faithful to point me to the truth that I need in each situation, (Matthew 7:7). I write these verses out on a piece of paper and keep them where I can see them to remind me daily of the truth. I also know that God’s word is life-giving and encouraging when I am tempted to feel discouraged or afraid (Proverbs 4:20-22).

Another thing that I have learned that is vital to walking out change is staying connected to the ‘vine’, which is Jesus! John 15:5  reveals this truth when Jesus tells us, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;apart from me you can do nothing.” There is no magic formula to this, but for me, I know it requires taking time out of each day to spend with Jesus. For example, if I find that I am getting overly busy that it isn’t long before I feel my eyes being pulled away from the Lord. I know that I absolutely NEED to spend time with Him to walk in freedom and walk by the Spirit daily! I think this can really be summed up by the scripture that says, “the cares of this world come and choke the Word”…(Mark 4:19). We don’t even need to be preoccupied by ‘bad’ things…just being overly busy with the cares of this world can really drown out the truth of God’s Word in our lives.

Now the good news…I can honestly say that every time I have ever brought something to the Lord that needs to be changed in me, I have been radically changed. Not changed for a while and then in a matter of time I fall….I can say by experience that when you get the Lord involved in any area of your life, you will always reach a place where you are so far removed from those things of your past that you will look back and not even be able to identify with that old habit anymore!

It’s so amazing how the Lord heals us from our past and truly wipes it clean! I think that’s why I can so freely talk about eating disorders without any shame or guilt… The Lord has truly made me new in this area!

Change can take time and there is often a healing process, which isn’t always easy, but the Lord is faithful when you trust Him and don’t give up! It is then that the miracle of healing and restoration takes place by the Lord in those places that used to be a struggle. And before you know it, they become a distant memory.  And what’s even better… a testimony that can help set others free!

 

 

 

 

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