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A Story I Once Heard in My Heart

I know the truth about who you are and who you’re meant to be. You’ve been sitting in a jail cell in this alien world your whole life. But the door is open. You could walk out at any time if only you could see. Others have told you but you laughed at them. And the jailer has convinced you the jail is really a paradise. It is the great lie. The Father of Lies has tainted your heart to where you believe you love your cell. He feeds you with delicacies and controls your mind with pleasures and you frolic about in your cell laughing & dancing all the while never realizing you are a slave and your life is wasting away.
In the next cell is another creature. You, sir, toil away digging and digging while scowling at the merriment going on around you. Don’t they see there’s work to be done. You aren’t happy here in the cell and you aren’t distracted by momentary fun. You are working for that something more you believe is outside. Others have told you the door is open but you laughed at them…

Exhortation

I notice everything. Things others don’t see stick out to me like a sore thumb. Sometimes I wish I didn’t because most of the time there’s nothing I can do. Most of the time the person who I’ve noticed things about doesn’t even notice it themselves. They can be in denial or are justifying it somehow. I’ve become aware this may be a gift, actually, and that maybe I just haven’t figured out how to properly use It yet. 
I’ve done some reading on spiritual gifts lately and it appears to be the gift of exhortation. I’m good with the lifting up and encouraging of friends because who doesn’t love to do that? But challenging or rebuking?

I’ve often had friends tell me before that I “just know” things. There’s times when a person is laid on my heart and praying for them isn’t enough for me to feel at peace over it. I seek them out and just tell them I love them but inevitably I end up giving advice. God has used me in people’s lives, sometimes even people I don't know very well. My pitfall …

How to really, really, really love Jesus..and not drive people absolutely crazy.. (I’m still learning)

When I was in sixth grade I had bossed my way into being the leader of a particular group of kids that I had established as my “club.” I was very active in my church and Teens-4-Christ organization that met in the mornings and was proudly leading (okay, pushing) all my friends to do the same. I had a small navy Bible I was carrying around in my backpack and a silver cross around my neck. I do not believe this is what caused the drama that ensued however it is what my friend accused me with. 
It came out of nowhere to me at the time but looking back in my wisdom of today (eyes rolling here folks) I can imagine that it had been building while I was oblivious to this fact. The moment I realized there was a problem was when my ‘very bestest friend in the whole wide world’ informed me that I was being too damned God-y and everybody was sick of it. My 12-year-old self was shocked by this. She proceeded to tell me to knock it off and I believe I argued (of course I did) and then we had our fa…

Doubt

I find myself battling doubts more than I ever have now. It feels strange to be questioning things in my mind that I've known my whole life as truth while my heart is more overtaken than ever before. I guess it is easier to claim belief while running about living your own life than it is to rest in that belief when you've actually handed your life over and given up the reins. Just like you can say you trust the rope but you can't really prove it until you've bailed off the cliff.
Now I have a rushing feeling that bounces between exhilaration & fear and I am clinging to my driver, holding onto that rope with all my might. I remind myself this too is by His design. Now I see verses such as 2 Timothy 1:7 differently.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."  I no longer think of my social anxiety when I read this. Fear isn't defined in terms of "will people like me" anymore. I now think of the d…

No Surprise

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” 1 Peter 4:12
Definitely a go-to verse for me. I have to remind myself over and over that struggles are the norm not a strange thing here on earth. I think it’s because when there is an absence of strife or conflict it feels so free and easy to live out a good life full of love. And then gazing on the glory of Christ can make you feel invincible, like you’d gladly go to death for Him! And you so mean it when you say it too. The hard thing is death isn’t the hard part. Not really. Think about how many people you know who would likely say they’d die for you. Do they live for you? Of course not. Nor should they.
Not only are we supposed to give up our life for Christ, we are to give up our lives. There’s such a difference there. Giving up our lives means turning our will over to His. It means denying the flesh, dying to self everyday, refusing sin when it …

The Problem is..

Every problem is rooted in sin.The problem actually IS sin. Whether it’s their sin, your sin, it’s all sin and it’s at the foundation of every conflict, hurt feeling, misunderstanding, and unloving act. Sin is our problem. It’s your problem.
Do you feel something in you that wants to flee right now? What if I said this to your face? Would you receive it?
It is in our nature to fight against it. We seem to want to point fingers, blame circumstances..it’s not us, it’s them. We have no sin, right? Of course not. Most people will admit that they are a sinner, but they will not own up to their actual sins. Instead we justify it, make light of it, try to explain it away. We call it a short-coming or maybe just a mistake. And everyone makes mistakes.
Why are we so adamant to deny our sin? Satan is the Father of lies
I just listened to a John Bevere video clip explaining that Hell was created for Satan not for man. It was a place for him & his angels. So he is out to deceive and mislead as…

The Heart

With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! Psalms 119:10

I used to read verses like this and deep down question myself. Not knowing how exactly to "seek with my whole heart" I would think it must mean I should pray more and read my Bible more. I would look for what I could DO to make this be true of me. My intentions were good, I just didn't understand. 
My problem wasn't for lack of effort really, besides the fact that I only gave God maybe 2% of my time in the grand scheme of things. But I was earnest in my efforts. What was missing was my heart. I knew in my mind the truth and I knew I wanted to follow God's Word. I knew right from wrong and good from evil. So I thought. 
When God took ahold of my heart and called it I found out how little I KNEW anything at all. My heart bent to His Will and I surrendered. This is when I began to seek Him with all my heart. Now I find my efforts simply following my desires. Same as before, I do …

And everything has changed

I find it so hard to put this into words because it's so big, but I can try to sum it up by saying The Unedited Retreat pricked my heart & put me in a posture to truly hear from the Lord. And I am so grateful. My testimony begins last year at Pine Cove Family Camp when a verse struck me, hard. - Gal 2:20. Not that I hadn't heard it before but that maybe I felt it deeper. 
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬ http://bible.com/59/gal.2.20.esv
No life of my own? Had I really been living that way? Complete surrender? I started "trying harder" after that.

I attended another Unedited Movement event in the fall with my eternity-friends. šŸ˜Š I came home & begged Mike to go with me to visit our Pastor. By God's grace my heart was dug up from where it had been buried under a moun…
Speak up. Say it. Just be honest. It's not as hard as it seems. And it gets a little easier the more you practice it. Be straightforward and people will come to respect you for it. Avoiding conflict is only helpful if you can let it go. Harboring hate or hurt leads to conflict eventually anyway and by then it's all built up! šŸ’£šŸ˜±
Conflict is inevitable because everyone has their own truth & perception & outside influences that WILL clash with someone else's at some point. But getting everything out on the table at least opens you up to forgiveness, grace, peace and the possibility of reconciliation which are a necessity in any real relationship. šŸ’ÆšŸ’™
It's easy to be blinded by your pain but since everyone will hurt you, let you down, disappoint you, get mad at you, be irritated with you, do things you wish they wouldn't, mistreat you, not meet your expectations in some way, exclude you, or take you for granted at some point you might as well learn to resolv…