Staying Connected To The Source

Imagine a world without cell phones, iPads, or the internet.  Scary thought isn’t it? A few centuries ago, before the invention of mobile devices and Google, we were a society that somehow found a way to stay connected.  I remember a time when we put a pen to paper and perhaps wrote the best love letters that would even rival the works of Shakespeare.  We know how to stay connected to our gadgets, but are we taking the time to recharge our spiritual livelihood? As people of faith, if we don’t plug in to our greatest source – God, eventually our batteries will die out.

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Here are a few things you can do to recharge your spiritual livelihood.

SHUT IT DOWN.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. – Luke 5:16 (NIV)

As a society, we have grown accustomed to being glued to our devices.  So much so, that we find it nearly impossible to unplug ourselves every now and then.  Jesus knew the importance of staying connected to the Father.  He would leave the crowds and find a quiet place to commune with God.  Take some time out today to spend with your creator.  In His presence, we are rejuvenated, refreshed and strengthened.

SING YOUR HEART OUT!

Sing to the Lord; praise his name. Each day proclaim the good news that he saves. – Psalm 96:2

I love to sing my heart out to God.  Anyone close to me knows that I will belt out in a song any chance I get.  When you begin to worship, a sound is released that is unique and unlike no other.  Remember the story of Mary and her alabaster box? The costly oil was her most treasured possession, it was all she had.  Without hesitation, Mary realized that her worship to Jesus was far more valuable than the small jar she owned.  In turn, Jesus was pleased and blessed her obedience.  Beloved, if you find yourself with nothing left to give, rest assured that there is a melody in your heart waiting to be sung.  The word says that He will inhabit your praise (Psalm 22:3).  It is the heartfelt cry of our spirit man that captures the heart of God.

See related article: Worship: The Cry of the Spirit Man 

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DO LIFE TOGETHER.

There is something to be said when people come together in fellowship.  In the book of Acts chapter 2, we read how they all assembled in one place and experienced a super natural encounter that changed their lives forevermore. As we continue to read on, verse 44 states:

All the believers were together and had everything in common. ~ Acts 2:44

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There is power when two or more people are present (Matthew 18:20). Like a well-oiled machine, we need each other.  The bible teaches us to encourage, pray and lift each other up continuously.  Just the other night, I had my very first life group with a few sisters from my local church.  My spirit leaped inside as we broke bread, studied the word, and shared about what God is doing in our lives.  Human connection does good to the soul because we serve a relational Father.

I pray that these little golden nuggets will help you navigate through the waters of life as you find unique and different ways to recharge your spiritual battery.

 

Blessings!

 

Change. Period.

” I want nothing to change, nothing!”

Those were the words uttered from my 8 year-old daughter when the word change slipped into our conversation.  I chuckled.  I paused to let the word marinate my soul.  Change. Let’s be honest, we pray for it, but are we really open to change? As of late, every sermon, teaching, or book has been echoing the same charge.  Do you sense the Lord speaking to you about change? I believe that He is challenging us for 2017.  A call to action.  The time has come for us to follow through on the changes that we have cried out to the Father.

“Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.” ~ Proverbs 37:5

Change asks you to commit!

One of the areas of my life that I wanted to commit to changing was the fact that I was a serial runner.  When the going got tough, I would run.  At the first sign of any impending doom, I was already secretly plotting a way out.  I lacked the courage to face any person I had conflict with.  I thought everybody was out to get me. It was easier for me to put on my Nike’s and head for the hills.  But, you get to a point in your life, when you have to stop running.  I did it for the last 12 years.  In the words of Forest Gump when he was asked why he stopped running, he responded, “I’m pretty tired… I think I’ll go home now.”  I was tired too.  The moment I asked the Lord to help me, I have sensed peace unlike never before. I can now face and stand against any giant that comes my way because God’s hand is with me.

How do we stay determined and focus to keep the change? 

The word of God teaches us…

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As you say “Yes Lord,” pray and asked that He strengthen you as you embark on the road to change.  Believe me, He will lovingly guide you every step of the way!

Change calls for us to examine the areas of our lives that need tending to.  You are inviting God into your heart to do deep excavating.

Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my heart and my mind. ~ Psalm 26:2

We all have areas in our hearts that need some TLC.  It is tainted with old wounds, broken promises, toxic relationships, etc.  Allow yourself to tear off the bandages and expose your wounds to healing.  The enemy will use your afflictions to torment your soul.  He knows your weaknesses and he will come to bring doubt and fear.  He will whisper lies that you will never find complete restoration in Christ.  But, remember what the word of God says,

“Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your healing (restoration, new life) will quickly spring forth; Your righteousness will go before you [leading you to peace and prosperity], The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” ~ Isaiah 58:8 (Amp)

Change challenges us to break old habits and create new ones.  It teaches self-discipline.    

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Holding on to old habits never allows for change to occur.  Another word is STUCK.  Sounds familiar? Here’s a thought, bad habits stagnate your growth.  There is no progression.  It’s another strategy that the advesary uses against us.  The moment you accepted Jesus into your life, you closed the door on your past.  You welcomed change into your life.  You said yes to Jesus and yes to a fresh start.  It’s a clean slate which allows us to live a purpose filled life.

It’s never too late for CHANGE!

Friends, as we move forward into the new year, don’t let anything discourage you from the  personal commitments you have declared to God for 2017.  Levi Lusko recently commented, “Be the change that you want to see in the world” (#KeepTheChangeSeries, http://www.freshlife.church).  I believe this statement to be true.  We will have our good days and bad days and our faith will even be tested.  But rest assured, the moment we said yes to the change, is the moment we no longer live but Christ in us which is the hope of glory.

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Just Be Still

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Hello All,

While I should be basking in the beauty of the Amish country with my little family in the quiet town of Lancaster, PA, I felt compelled to share a few words with anyone who would lend an ear to listen.

We live such busy lives, and we are always on the GO, GO, GO! My life is full of projects to complete, academia, family time, etc., etc.  As I’m driving through the countryside, I lean back in the driver’s seat just a little and take in a long deep breath.  To the right of me, my son is looking outside, trying to capture pictures of the cows and horses that seem to zip right by us.  Behind me, my daughter sits in her car seat fidgeting around as she squeals with delight saying, “Momma look at the cows!”

Suddenly, it hits me.  My soul becomes overwhelmed with peace, joy and gratitude.  These are the moments that I want to treasure.  These are the moments that I don’t want to let go.  I feel myself getting emotional as my eyes become wet as the tears start to form.  I think to myself, “Melissa, just be still.”  Life is too short, and I want to hold my children in my small arms as I bestow upon them millions of kisses.  I want to hug them until they turn purple in the face.  I’m in a state of euphoria, and it’s a high that I don’t want to come down from!

So, I will get back to what is really important right now because the writing can wait.  So, excuse me as I jump on our plush, cozy bed and watch endless episodes of Spongebob Squarepants!

On Being Thankful…

Thanksgiving.  In the Merriam Webster dictionary the definition is, “a public acknowledgement or celebration of divine goodness.”   It contains three syllables and two words, THANKS-GIVING.  The word thanks is an expression of gratitude, and the word giving means to carry out an act.  When we usually hear or read of the word Thanksgiving, it’s usually synonymous with the annual holiday in which we stuff our faces (especially me!) with roasted turkey and all the rest of the delicious trimmings.

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But, have we really given thought to the meaning of the word? What perspective do you have about the significance of Thanksgiving? I have much to be grateful for as I reflect over the past year.  I can’t help but to feel overwhelmed with gratitude towards my Creator for all things, the good and the bad.  On days when I feel as though the whole world is against me, I “selah” (the Hebrew word that means to pause, think about it) and meditate on all the positive things in my life.  Life is not easy, but then again, who said it would be? Jesus once said:

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  (Matt. 11:28)

What is life without experiencing some kind of pain or lost.  It helps us to become stronger, and in time we become better equipped to handle the next challenge.  It’s comforting to know that we are not alone and with time, things will eventually get better. There are many people who are going through rough times.  We can become so consumed with ourselves that our vision is clouded to see the need of another soul.

Here are few facts to think about….

783 million people don’t have access to clean water,

610, 042 people who are homeless and have nowhere to sleep tonight,

1 in 9 people in the world will not have a meal tonight,

Instead of focusing on what we do or do not have, let us gather around the table and give thanks for our health, our families, the clothes on our backs and food to nourish our bodies.  I also challenge you to reach out to someone in need, whether it’s a friend or neighbor and step outside of your own comfort zones and make a difference in someone’s life this Thanksgiving.

You may be surprised in finding that taking the time to lend a hand is the greatest gift to be thankful for.