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Week #10 Wisdom Builder Romans 5:8

This weeks treasure verse is Romans 5:8Romans 5:8
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8 But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

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.  Here we are reminded of God’s demonstration of his love for us.  He chose the proof of his extravagant, never ending love to be one matchless in cost,  immeasurable in accomplishment, and pure perfection all in one.  The one true God displayed his enduring love for sinful humanity when he provided the only acceptable sacrifice— his very own sinless Son, Jesus Christ– required for the canceling out of all the sins of humanity.  God did not wait for us to recognize our sin and then demonstrate his love for us.  No, he showed “his love while we were still sinners”.   This kindness extended by the Lord was done with the purpose of leading humanity to repentance(Romans 2:4Romans 2:4
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4 Or do you despise the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and patience, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

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) and reconciliation with himself to experience intimate relationship with him once again. A relationship like he shared with Adam and Eve before sin entered our world(Genesis 3:1-24Genesis 3:1-24
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3 1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, “Yes, has God said, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You won’t surely die, 5 for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit of it, and ate; and she gave some to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Both of their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8 They heard the voice of Yahweh God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Yahweh God among the trees of the garden. 9 Yahweh God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 The man said, “I heard your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” 13 Yahweh God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 Yahweh God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above every animal of the field. On your belly shall you go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.” 16 To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth. In pain you will bring forth children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17 To Adam he said, “Because you have listened to your wife’s voice, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 Thorns also and thistles will it bring forth to you; and you will eat the herb of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face will you eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” 20 The man called his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 Yahweh God made coats of skins for Adam and for his wife, and clothed them. 22 Yahweh God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, lest he put forth his hand, and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever...” 23 Therefore Yahweh God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed Cherubs at the east of the garden of Eden, and the flame of a sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

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).  I encourage us each to take a moment to reflect on the extravagance of the Lord’s sacrifice to reestablish a direct

personal relationship with us.  How does his sacrifice speak to your heart?

Lent season, a time to reflect on our lives in light of the meaning and results of Jesus sacrifice, started last Wednesday.  Some choose to set aside this 40 days before resurrection Sunday(Easter April 16th,2017) to reflect and even to partake in honoring the sacrifice of Christ with a personally fasting or giving up something to demonstrate their love and appreciation for Christ’s love for them.  (If the concept of lent is new to you find out more at this link http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/lent-101-honoring-the-sacrafice-of-jesus-1382259.html )  

As you have been reading this  reflection, you may be feeling the Lord nudge your heart or even have feelings that you need to do something as your personal demonstration of your love for your Savior.   That is lovely and beautiful.   A good scripture to keep in mind as you reflect on how you will express your love is Psalm 51: 16 -17Psalm 51: 16 -17
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16 For you don’t delight in sacrifice, or else I would give it. You have no pleasure in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

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“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring you it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  My scarf, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

 

Lord I pray that we will present to  you the delight of your heart with a personal sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart before you.  A heart that responds to your kindness that leads to repentance and a desire to live in an intimate love relationship with you through the indwelling of your spirit in our hearts.  Thank you Lord for your matchless expression of love toward us while we were still sinners.  In Jesus’ Holy name,  Amen.

Is there a word in the dictionary that describes how you feel about God?  I’d love for you to share it with me.  He is my Rock!

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring“. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
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23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Pursuit!

Days run by like water flowing to the ocean- sometimes just a trickle and other times swiftly. Either way, they have an

creek-21749__480effect on the lives and landscape they run by and through. God’s natural design for the waters is to pursue the vast oceans as their ultimate destination. Likewise, His natural design for mankind is to pursue Him as our eternal destination. (Ecclesiastes 3:11Ecclesiastes 3:11
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11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in their hearts, yet so that man can’t find out the work that God has done from the beginning even to the end.

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Would you describe your pursuit as a trickle or a swiftly running stream? The easy answer is “not quite swiftly but much more than a trickle.” But what does that look like? As I consider the question.  My mind floods with even more questions— Am I pursuing Him at the rate He has designed for my life? Am I taking the path He has set out before me? Am I allowing His design to have the effect on me He intends? Am I allowing His design to have the effect on those He places in my life? Is it better to

water-1658021_1280landscape-1843128__480move at a swift pace or trickle? My heart struggled to discover a truthful response- one absent of rationalization. I desired a cloudless view of any part of my pursuit that wasn’t authentically centered on Christ. Not excusing areas of my life that I refuse to sacrifice in my pursuit of God’s call to “be Holy as He is Holy.”(1Peter 1:14 – 16)

Our pursuit of God is not measured by pace but rather our heart as we pursue a life that “finds out what pleases the Lord!” (Ephesians 5:10Ephesians 5:10
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10 proving what is well-pleasing to the Lord.

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) When we study the paths of water to the ocean, we discover it travels at many different speeds

heart-996157__480and has subtle and drastic effects based on the path on which it has been set.   Each journey looks different. Consider the contrast of a flowing mountain stream, a river valley, and a mighty river. In each season they have their purpose and shape the landscape as designed by the Creator.

Living our life in pursuit will look different for each of us. The key is to keep moving with God whether it is at a painfully slow or exhilaratingly fast pace. Continue the journey with an open heart to what pleases the Lord and be prepared for the effects.

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As our lives are lived according to His eternal design it leaves us changed for His glory and those in our life’s path effected too. Take time to read the rest of Ephesians 5. Paul gives a few examples of “what pleases the Lord”. (Ephesians 5:10Ephesians 5:10
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10 proving what is well-pleasing to the Lord.

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)   I will leave you with this challenge.

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Ephesians 5: 19Ephesians 5: 19
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19 speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; singing, and singing praises in your heart to the Lord;

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b- 20 “Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

I’d love to hear what song the Lord puts in your heart!

Please leave me a comment here or on Facebook.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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What will they think?

 

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My sweet Sol and Kate.

Can you relate to my “Sol experience”? It’s all about the art of dog walking. My preference is with my sweet Border Collie Kate. It is a tranquil time of reflecting through the wooded trail behind our home. Now it has become a “Sol experience”. What is a Sol experience you ask? Well it’s walking the family rescue dog ,Sol–a “Jack-a-be”, or Jack-Russell and Beagle combo. The first time my husband and I walked her we were mortified. We had just become “those dog owners”.

You know them. You’ve seen them, and when you see them, you wonder, “Who is walking whom?” “Those dog owners” have no control over their dog. You consider turning around to avoid them altogether. It’s comical and scary at the same to time as they approach. Their dog is lunging forward with every step at the end of the leash no matter how long or short it is, huffing and puffing, straining to get to the next thing, zigzagging across the path, whimpering excessively, and barking. If you have experienced it then you can relate to my “Sol experience”.

Sol does it all, but everything becomes excessively exaggerated when we walk near another dog, she spots a squirrel, or notices a bird. The looks I get– and oh, the advice I get– when I’m trying to train her. All the time, Sol is barking and usually getting more aggressive looking by the moment. It is comical at times, because the advice is so important to girl-1245678_1280share they willing my agony of this incessant dog barking performance for what feels like an eternity. I nod my head and repeat, “She is a rescue in training.” I smile as much as I can through my complete embarrassment, all the time wondering to myself, “What does this person think of me?”

Growing up the same question seemed to always be on the grown-ups minds too. I would get questioned all the time. Should you being doing that? Should you say that? Why didn’t you________? With the follow on question/statement “because what do you think they think about you after_________?” I know the questions all came with the best intentions but they developed a habit I’m still struggling to break.
I wonder if you can relate? I became hyper sensitive to what I think people might think about my choices and behavior walking-349991__340big and small. It led to constantly evaluating and wondering if I was good enough in other people’s eyes. I became entangled in the web of real and perceived expectations in my mind. In our Christian walk it is important what others think of us to an extent. But I can get wrapped up in seeking to please others rather than the Lord. Especially when I worry about what they “might” think.

So let’s take a moment to be honest with our selves. How often do your thoughts wander to “What do they think, or will they think about me?” When you are deciding what to wear, what to post on social media, where to go, what to buy, etc., how often has that determined what you would do or not do? If you are like me your answer is images-25much more than I would like to admit. It is amazing the power other peoples’ opinions, perceived or true, that I will give others over my life–even a stranger’s opinion. At times I may even find my self fearfully making choices in hopes to not offend and disappoint people. This fear robs me of full enjoyment to experience life in freedom. Proverbs 29:25Proverbs 29:25
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25 The fear of man proves to be a snare, But whoever puts his trust in Yahweh is kept safe.

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“ Fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.” Since I discovered this truth images-27I have been growing in my ability to recognize my fearful thought patterns. It’s a work in progress but day-by-day I am getting more skilled at “taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ”(2 Corinthians 10: 52 Corinthians 10: 5
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5 throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ;

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It is a transforming process. I’m thankful I don’t have to do in my own strength and knowledge. It is the Holy Spirits job to transform me from the inside out making me desire to be obedient to this foreign way of living (2 Thessalonians 2:132 Thessalonians 2:13
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13 But we are bound to always give thanks to God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth;

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). And just as I think I’m taking ground on this “fear of human opinion” disability I realize I have a long way to go. I need of a make over of my self-centered thoughts. The Lord wants to tree-84573__340completely remove this fear from my wardrobe. He wants to refit me with a style that is more flattering for His warrior-princess.

What woman would ever say “no” to a wardrobe makeover? Not me! The new designer label is “Fear of the Lord”! Just the name sounds fit for a warrior-princess. My first peak at the collection left me breathless. I would be stepping into a whole new way of thinking. He no longer wanted me to measure my choices and behavior by what others would think of me. He is asking me to be more concerned for what my choices would make others think of Him. Making this change would reflect righteousness from the hummel-1437243__340inside out. I would be putting on my spiritual garments of praise, robe of righteousness, and crown of salvation to send the message of love and hope found in Christ. My Christ- focused choices will spread His fragrance, thereby providing the opportunity to lead others in the direction to hope in my King. The new decision questions I will be asking myself are: What message am I about to send? Does it give others a glimpse of God’s love? Will it point others to Him? Can it send the fragrance of life in Jesus? How will it speak to those who need a loving God?

The way I live every part of my life sends a message. Will I live each part out in such a way that I send a message, giving off a fragrance that points others in the direction of their Creator to discover His love for them? Even in my “Sol experience” I need to turn my thoughts to the Lord. In what area of your life is he offering you a wardrobe makeover? Will you accept the invitation and receive the gift?images-2

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Together!

I’d love to hear about your “Sol experience”. Please pray for Sol and I in our obedience school!

Here are some other scriptures the Lord is using in my make-over process:

Philippians 4:8Philippians 4:8
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8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.

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- “….think on such things…”
Romans 13:14Romans 13:14
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14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, for its lusts.

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- “…clothe self with the Lord Jesus Christ..”
Colossians 3:12-14Colossians 3:12-14
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12 Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do. 14 Above all these things, walk in love, which is the bond of perfection.

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- “…clothe self with compassion…over all of these virtues put on love…”

 

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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Cooking on the Wrong Burner

Have you ever started preparing a meal and discover you have had your pan on the wrong burner? Once again I found myself wondering how in the world I didn’t notice sooner that nothing was happening in my pot that should be boiling any moment. As I reached for the handle it was very hot to the touch but the rest was not. That’s when I realized I had turned on the wrong burner and proceeded to increase the temperature as required only to succeed in heating the handle not the contents. After rectifying the problem I moved on the next item of importance. But as I looked back at the stove with my hand still stinging from grabbing the piping hot handle, I thought “ispot-820012__340n’t that just like life.” I wake up each morning with a basic plan and focus to spend my time and energy according to what I think is most important. Then I’m off and running.  The next thing I know I’ve turned on the wrong burner!   My energy is not directed where it is required to accomplish the necessary tasks for the day. Can you relate? I also thought of how quickly these “wrong burner days” can easily become weeks, months and sometimes years if I don’t seek daily guidance from the Lord on how to spend my time and energy He has given to me. His word tells me that he has “created me for good works” that He has prepared for me (Ephesians 2:10Ephesians 2:10
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10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.

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).  I don’t want to focus my time and energy into a burner that isn’t warming His prepared task for me. In order to put the right amount of energy and focus into each burner I have to seek Him first.

Proverbs 16:3Proverbs 16:3
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3 Commit your deeds to Yahweh, And your plans shall succeed.

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“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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Shared previously with Planting Roots

Can I get an amen if you can relate???

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Courage to Reflect

 

I remember that Sunday morning well. The summer sun peaked through the bedroom blinds before my eyes were ready to greet the day. Sounds of a squirmy infant and toddler encouraged one more attempt at squeeze just 5 more minutes of sleep before I faced the activities of the day. Then it happened– the whimpers of a hungry little guy. Before I knew I was awake I found myself settled in the rocker with a nursing bundle in my arm and my snuggly brown eyed girl in my lap. After the morning snuggle we were off to the races to get everyone, Dad, Mom, and three kiddos under 4, ready and in the van for church.

At some point, I called out “Where is Erika?” Our brown eyed, 19month old was not under foot and too quiet for my comfort. After an unsuccessful, thorough search of the three story home, panic set in Brian’s and I’s heart. Then came the knock at the door. Brian opened the door to find little Erika standing there, hand in hand, with a wombonding-1407833_1280an he did not recognize. She proceeded to ask in a sweet voice “Is this your little girl? I found her wandering along the road.” He immediately lifted Erika into his arms and held her tightly while answering “Yes, thank you so much!” When he turned to follow-up with the kind woman, she was nowhere to be found. It was like she had vanished. He and Erika looked down the street and around the corner, but it was like she was gone without a trace. Brian was puzzled and smiled as Erika announced, “Bye-bye, all gone, bye-bye” in her sweet little voice.

He rounded the corner of the stairs to share the mystery of Erika’s morning adventure outside. After hearing the story of the disappearing lady, Sara, our 4 year old, declared, “She’s an angel! She brought her back!” Brian responded “Your right Sara. She must be an angel, because I’ve never seen her before and she disappeared so quickly.” We took a moment to say a prayer, thanking the Lord for protecting Erika and a blessing be given to the angel that returned Erika safely. Then off to church we went with full hearts.

Has your desire ever taken you on a dangerous adventure like Erika that summer morning? She had a strong desire to go outside that morning, and she was inspired by the sunshine to go explore. All she needed for her adventure to begin was the courage to open the door and take that step out. In my previous post, The Journey, I talked about having the “courage to take the first step”, following through on the desires and inspirations the Lord places in your heart. Today I want to follow up with having the courage to challenge your hearts desire. Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
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23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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instructs: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Have you ever let your guard down? Have you ever regretted doing or saying something? My answer is a resounding “Yes!” I have reduced the regularity of such regrets and moments of a lax guard over my heart and mind with the Slide4practice of self-reflection and others to help keep me accountable in my walk with Christ. It takes courage to be honest with yourself and listen with an open heart when you ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal any wickedness or pride that lingers. It takes courage to align your thought life to Philippians 4:8Philippians 4:8
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8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.

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. Are my thoughts focused on whatever is true, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy? When I’m on a short time line and my family is on their own time line, my thoughts are not very lovely. Or when I’m driving and the drivers around me seem to have forgotten what it means to merge, yield, or go at a green light; I struggle to turn my thoughts to admirable truth. The natural human tendency is to pridefully elevate my needs above the needs of others. It takes courage to be selfless and keep my selfish desires in check.

I struggled with my desire to elevate myself above my husband in the situation of Eriblue-925209__340ka escaping on her adventure that summer morning. After all “He was responsible for her…she never would have got out if it was my responsiblity.” I’m thankful I had the courage to catch myself in the unloving thought pattern and to change it to one of praiseworthy thoughts before my thoughts became my words.

Luke 6:42Luke 6:42
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42 Or how can you tell your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck of chaff that is in your eye,’ when you yourself don’t see the beam that is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck of chaff that is in your brother’s eye.

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“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

 

Have the courage to guard your heart and reflect on the purity of your desire.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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Can we be REAL?

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What is your wall?

Is anyone else tired of the walls and distance between who a person is and who others believe they are? Can we please just be REAL?  Life is tough no matter at what stage you find yourself. When we chose to build walls and keep others at a distance it hinders the growth of authentic relationships.  The extent to which barriers are built can even lead to losing the ability to know how to be “you”.  Leaving the builder, you, with the question to answer: “Who am I?”  Have you ever experienced a struggle within to identify and express your personal opinions and beliefs?  You strain to acknowledge them.  But they are blurred by the mask you’ve worn for the world.  Emotions try to emerge but they are blocked.  All you can feel is fear, numbness and confusion.    curtain-203714__340Reinforcements come to the rescue.  “What will they think of me if I’m really me?”…  “No one will like me anymore.”… “No one has to know I’m struggling…I can just keep hiding.”  The questions and rationalizations are indicators that your chameleon walls are thick and the reinforcements are strong.

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“Chameleon”

How do I know?  I was a chameleon for most of my life.  Growing up I struggled with who I was, so I lived in safety of my camouflage skills, like a chameleon.  My natural instinct was to keep harmony, make others happy, and stay out of trouble.  The expectations of others ruled my world.  I adapted and changed based on who I was with and what their expectations were so I would be accepted and keep the peace.  I thought I was in control.

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“It might not be easy at first glance to recognize it in yourself. “

Do I have any chameleon friends out there? It might not be easy at first glance to recognize it in yourself. Why? Because to an extent that is just part of surviving in our world of ever changing norms and expectations.   I realize it is safer to live with walls.  I’m an expert builder myself. But I have been challenged to tear my walls down and build REAL relationships: Relational through Encouragement, Authenticity, and Love! That means sharing the struggles of life and letting the light of Jesus shine through my weaknesses as my source of strength.

 

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“Can you trust God?”

I  was most challenged with tearing down my walls while living in Germany. Our family was preparing for Daddy to deploy for 15 months and suddenly I found myself facing a medical diagnosis that required emergency surgery with an extended recovery time. Many decisions needed to be made. One decision was “will this be a private walk or a public walk?”

Public was what the Lord required. In 2 Corinthians 1: 4-52 Corinthians 1: 4-5
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4 who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound to us, even so our comfort also abounds through Christ.

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the Apostle Paul encourages us that we go through challenges to prepare us and give us opportunity to edify and relate to others through our experience. So there I was on the receiving end of much encouragement and support from newly made friends and strangers. I was learning to live out Proverbs 27:10Proverbs 27:10
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10 Don’t forsake your friend and your father’s friend. Don’t go to your brother’s house in the day of your disaster: Better is a neighbor who is near than a distant brother.

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where it tells us that when we are in need of assistance we should get our help from those nearby rather than distant family. Living in Germany didn’t leave much choice.  It was out of my control

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2 Corinthians 1:3-52 Corinthians 1:3-5
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3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound to us, even so our comfort also abounds through Christ.

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Through that experience I gained friendships I never would have had the opportunity for and my witness for Christ grew. At that time I was also a leader in the community so for those who were watching my family and I handle this challenge it strengthened the message that we need each other in the good times and the challenging ones too.   As I let the Lord tear down some of my walls and trust him to be in control I grew in amazing ways.   It  became clear that I was telling women through my actions that a “strong woman is one who knows when she needs help and seeks it out”.   I have witnessed so many women, especially military wives, struggle in their own strength.  They chose to stay behind their walls and fake that they were in control and just fine. slide1 In reality, inside their walls at home, they were falling apart. I had a front row seat to my own struggle. When I let go of my control to the Lord. He broke me free!  I chose to be REAL first with Jesus and began doing life in his strength.  Then I found the freedom to be REAL with the people he placed in my life.

Can you relate to being a wall builder? Do you struggle to appear to have it “all together” when the world looks at you? Are you ready to live in REAL community?    Where do you want do go in your freedom of being REAL?

 

I hope to hear about your REAL Journey!

Armor Up, pride down, Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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The Power of Self

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“Time to reflect”

Can you walk in a straight line? How about with your eyes closed? With our eyes open and something to focus on, yes, most of us are able to walk in a straight line. But when the ability to see and focus on our destination is removed or interrupted we will end up off course.  Is your life still on course? Has your focus been interrupted?  When is the last time you purposefully carved out time to quietly self-reflect with the Lord? The most common time for us to pause to contemplate where our life is going and consider changing direction is when the year draws to a close. I am learning the value of taking this time more often than once a year.  For me, self-reflection is an effective tool the Lord uses to help keep my life on track and arrive at my destination without too many detours.

Recently, in an almost forced pause for reflection, I was faced with a question: Does the way I live reveal that my identity and self worth are established in Christ? The honest answer was that I’m not sure it is as recognizable as I would

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Psalm 39:23-24Psalm 39:23-24
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like it to be-which meant it was time to get to work. In my heart I knew that my identity and value are in Christ. However, when I was honest with myself my outward behavior showed that I believe differently.  I was seeking acceptance from this world. In some areas of my life I had put greater value on other’s opinions of success (as measured by this world) than over my unmatchable worth in Christ. The source of my true identity and self-worth were in conflict. My heart was reminding me that I am secure in who God says I am; his child, enough for him, loved, and the list goes on. My mind was measuring differently and offering its own list “You are lacking compared to….”; “You are out of style compared to…”, “You don’t have enough  education to…”, People don’t really like you.”, and that list went as well. Do you ever experience this conflict?

What does the world require of you to achieve its standard of worthiness? By what standard   do you measure and align your identity and your worth?   The world’s or Christ’s?

Here are some verses to remind you of your identity in Christ:

Colossians 2:10Colossians 2:10
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10 and in him you are made full, who is the head of all principality and power;

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“ In Him (Christ) you have been made complete and He is the head over all rule and authority”

1 Corinthians 6:111 Corinthians 6:11
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11 Such were some of you, but you were washed. But you were sanctified. But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.

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“And that is what some of you were.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Christ and by the Spirit of God.”

 Also-  1 John 4:41 John 4:4
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4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.

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;   Ephesians 1:3-13Ephesians 1:3-13
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3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ; 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love; 5 having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire, 6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely bestowed favor on us in the Beloved, 7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him 10 to an administration of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, in him; 11 in whom also we were assigned an inheritance, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his will; 12 to the end that we should be to the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ: 13 in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the Gospel of your salvation,—in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,

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;  Ephesians 2:2-13Ephesians 2:2-13
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2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience; 3 among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ , 6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus; 8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, that no one would boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them. 11 Therefore remember that once you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “uncircumcision” by that which is called “circumcision,” ; 12 that you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off are made near in the blood of Christ.

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Do you ever struggle to be truly honest with yourself and minimize your choices?  During my forced reflection time I wrestled with being honest with myself. I had to admit that trying harder was not the answer.  I had to finally surrender to the Holy images-22Spirit’s transforming power and fight the urge to rationalize my thoughts and behavior. Opening my hands and releasing control,  I chose to trust that he would gently show me the source of my weakening witness for Christ.  And he did. The honest truth was I had experienced a pretty painful rejection. Until that time of stillness, I had never named it, but that is what it was. Rejection.

Did you know that the fear of rejection is one of the greatest human fears?? Once I openly assessed my behavior and thought process it became clear, to me I had been rejected. Naming it allowed me to recognize how my thought life shifted from focusing on Christ’s best to my “best” according to the world. The transition blurred my unquestioned security in Christ. This lead to a search for cropped-IMG_2063.jpgreassurance of my value in this world. When the fog of selfish thinking was removed from my eyes, I could see clearly how pride had crept into a corner of my heart. Living in the haze of pride it gave me permission to behave and make choices that I never thought I would. Thank God nothing earth shattering occurred, but enough happened to leave me embarrassed and regretful as I look back. I find assurance and comfort in 2 Corinthians 7:102 Corinthians 7:10
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10 For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world works death.

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“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

I sought after and put more value on the acceptance and approval of people around me that at the end of the day, wouldn’t even remember we had crossed paths. (John12: 43 “for they loved human praise more than praise from God.”; Proverbs 29:25Proverbs 29:25
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25 The fear of man proves to be a snare, But whoever puts his trust in Yahweh is kept safe.

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) I images-23pushed aside God’s unconditional love as my creator, the one who has great plans for my life (Jeremiah 29:11-12Jeremiah 29:11-12
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11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end. 12 You shall call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

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), and accepts me just as I am. I took my eyes off Jesus and put them on myself. Faced with this truth I was left  to stumble through the questions: How did I not see this happening? Why didn’t anyone say anything to me?

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“Love covers all.”

My answer:  I couldn’t see because I was living out of a place of hurt. It was easier to choose to justify myself and blame the people who were causing my pain for my poor choices.  This included making sure other people in my life knew I was being wrongly treated.  I responded pridefully, rather than trust God to heal my hurt heart and ego. I rationalized that my feelings were justified, and I ended up stuck in a cycle of rejection, hurt, looking for assurance.  Around and around it went. The situation didn’t change, but I became more effective in dealing with my response.  Many months later when I finally gave the situation fully to the Lord I had the strength to put  change in action. The most perplexing factor was that during this whole situation I had not drifted from my involvement with my daily devotions or Bible study. I was living in a false security and blindly choosing not to fully lay that corner of my hurt heart and wounded identity in His arms for restoration. I was going through the motions in that area of my heart.

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“Find your power in your armor!”

Have you ever caught yourself in a similar heart situation? If yes, then you can attest to the sense of peace that comes as you practice the process of surrender. I had to surrender my hurt and release my hesitation for future interactions. I had to forgive and release my need for restitution. I had to repent of pridefuly seeking approval of man and live for the approval of only my Savior.
The enemy is so subtle in his ways. This is just another reminder that we need to live our life as the Warrior-Princess we are and stand fully armed for battle everyday. “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against he powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12Ephesians 6:12
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12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

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Remember~ Armor up and lay my pride down!

Take time to reflect with the Lord by focusing on Psalm 139:23-24Psalm 139:23-24
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23 Search me, God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts. 24 See if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

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he will meet you in the stillness of your heart and lead you in ways everlasting.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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BREATHE!

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“Oxygen is essential to life”

How is your spiritual breathing? Have you been holding your breath too long? Take a deep breath. Hold it…..keep holding it….okay BREATHE. Did just the thought of holding your breath make you anxious? I don’t like the feeling I get after holding my breath for too long.  My heart starts to race and I begin to feel light headed. Why do you think that is? Because breathing oxygen is essential to life and our breath rate is usually in rhythm with our heart rate. They are dependent on each other to do their job- provide O2 to the body.

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“Maintains strength in our spiritual life”

Like physical breathing is essential to our physical life, taking time to spiritually BREATHE is essential to our spiritual life. Living out my identity in Christ should be as automatic as each breath I take, right? But why isn’t it? Oxygen taken in with each new breath is essential to maintain the strength of life in our body– from all the tiny cells to, each major organ.  Likewise, the way we live out our identity in Christ maintains the strength of our spiritual life. I am challenged by the harsh reality that I am not as immediatly aware or alarmed when my spiritual breathing has been interrupted as I am when I am forced to hold my breath for more than 30 seconds.  I can begin to feel the panic rise up inside, as I desire to release the old air and receive the new to avoid loss of consciousness or ultimately loss of life.

So what do I mean by spiritual breathing? Well recently I’ve been challenged with principles to help maintain spiritual balance in my life or taking time to BREATHE. I tend to put principles into acrostics making them easier to remember and put into practice. Here is my BREATHE acrostic:

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“BREATHE”

Believe God is able ~Remember you are redeemed and release ~Everyday eternally focused ~Available and aware ~Trust with thanksgiving ~Humbly resist ~Exhale ~

When I keep each of these “BREATHE” principles active in my life I am strengthening my spiritual life through responsible relationship with the Lord by living my identity in Him. I notice that I become spiritually oxygen deprived when any of the principles are out of balance or rhythm. Let’s take a brief look at these principles.

Believe God is able. This principle challenges us to keep who God is in alignment with who we believe He is. Sometimes this looks like remembering that He is the great I AM who holds all that is dear to me in his all-powerful, majestic hands. This principle asks us- “What do you really believe about God’s ability to provide and care for you and all that you hold close?” This of course cramps the style of any of us control freaks, right? ~Psalm 46:10Psalm 46:10
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10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.”

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“Be still and know that I am God…” ~ Deuteronomy 7:9Deuteronomy 7:9
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9 Know therefore that Yahweh your God, he is God, the faithful God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with them who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations,

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“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God…”

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“He is faithful!”

Remember you are redeemed and release. Knowing who God is and remembering he has redeemed us as his daughters is the foundation of one’s identity in Christ. When I reflect on the power and sacrifice that were exercised for my redemption it calls me to a place of surrender and release. I surrender to his never-ending love where I am able to experience his gentle kindness. In this sweet relationship I release my hold on the shame of my sinfulness and allow him to wash me in his forgiveness. Remembering this also releases me from the snare and trap of the enemy leaving me free in Christ. ~1 Peter 1: 17-211 Peter 1: 17-21
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17 If you call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judges according to each man’s work, pass the time of your living as strangers here in reverent fear: 18 knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a faultless and pure lamb, the blood of Christ; 20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of times for your sake, 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God.

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“…live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear…. it was not with perishable things …you were redeemed from the empty way of life…but with the precious blood of Christ…He was chosen before the creation of the world… through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” ~ Ephesians 1:7-8Ephesians 1:7-8
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7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

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“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding.” ~ 1John1: 9-10 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us…”

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“A new day dawns with eternity at heart!”

Everyday is eternally focused. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”(Mathew 6:21) These words of Jesus ring true don’t they? Keeping our heart and head focused on where our real eternal treasure is difficult and takes determination. I struggle to fix my eyes on what is unseen because of the lure of the seen is so tangible and tempting even though it is temporary. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-182 Corinthians 4:16-18
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16 Therefore we don’t faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; 18 while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

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“ Therefore do not lose heart…outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day…our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen…what is unseen is eternal.”

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“Here I am Lord!”

Available and aware. This principle reminds us “it’s not all about me”. Though I will make plans for my days and weeks it is the desire of my heart that the Lord will direct my feet. Some days it is evident that the Lord has better plans for the day than I do. My response to his redirection reveals my heart attitude toward being available for the Lord’s purposes and determined to press on in difficult circumstances. It also is evidence of my sensitivity to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. I must remain available to do the good works the Lord has prepared for me in advance.  I also need to be aware of his leading and the needs of others in my life. ~Philippians 3: 13-14Philippians 3: 13-14
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13 Brothers, I don’t regard myself as yet having taken hold, but one thing I do. Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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“…Forgetting what is behind and straining…I press on toward the goal…for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” John 14:26John 14:26
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26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you.

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“…the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send… will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Trust with thanksgiving. Philippians 4:6-7Philippians 4:6-7
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6 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

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sums this up. We are not to be anxious or worry about anything. Rather we are to trust God wholeheartedly with everything. To not be anxious means trusting God through petitioning in prayer and believing he is able with a thankful attitude. This is not easy but I do breathe more easily when I practice this principle.

Humbly resist. Resist what? The temptation of pride to take control and live like I don’t believe God is able. Pride is the root of all sin and it is the hardest for us to detect in ourself. A heart of humility helps us live selflessly and resistslide1 the tendency to control and capitalize for personal benefit. Proverbs 16:18Proverbs 16:18
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18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.

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“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 3:7Proverbs 3:7
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7 Don’t be wise in your own eyes. Fear Yahweh, and depart from evil.

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“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” 1John 2: 16-17John 2: 16-17
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16 To those who sold the doves, he said, “Take these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will eat me up.”

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“For everything in the world- lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

Exhale. Exhale everything into His hands and exclaim His excellence. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6Proverbs 3:5-6
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5 Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, And don’t lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, And he will direct your paths.

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) When we take time to exhale, we are able to maintain an attitude of worship and experience the peace of the Lord in relationship with him. I am able to see him at work in the big and little things of life. Then I am moved to worship him with my life.

Take the time to review the principle verses that speak to where you are in your relationship with the Lord.

Armor Up, pride down, Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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