Give Up

Give Up

Why giving up chocolate isn’t enough.

Ok, so maybe in my carb craving mind it is indeed a huge choice to give up….as I am quite literally sitting here snacking on a chocolate covered macaroon.  Two days before Lent and my mind immediately goes to the need to give this habit up. This year, I want us to consider this season and what it means to us and what it may mean to God.

The season begins with Ash Wednesday, a day many “give up” something for Lent, but what is another word for “give up”? Sacrifice. What did Jesus do? He sacrificed himself for mankind.

Have you considered giving up or sacrificing something?

I remember the days when I would give up chocolate…and thought that was indeed a sacrifice and I miserably failed at it! 

Thinking back on those “sacrifices” I made (and many never completed), I realized they were done not for Him but for me. I gave up things because they were bad for me or I wanted something in return – like to get healthy. With that also came this realization  –  God has never made a promise and not kept it.  Ugh! How guilty can I be of unkept promises each Lent!

Be encouraged to spend time and think on what your gift of sacrifice can be for Him; yes, give up something of yourself, just as Jesus gave up of himself.

You might be asking what part of myself can I give up? What about some of your Time, Talent and Treasure?  Things like: committing to start each day with prayer, or Bible reading, commit a random act of kindness each day, or serve a local charity, even increase your giving to the local church is an option of how you can sacrifice for Christ.  Just using our time, talents and treasures for His glory and not our own is a step in His direction. God wants a relationship with us and what better gift can we give than ourselves.

Give up
Give up to the One who gave it all

Be compelled to commit to the One who made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf; for we would never be able to sacrifice enough, nor humble ourselves enough, to ever earn our way into His presence. Whatever it is, be sure your reason for your sacrifice is not for you but for the sake of Him who called us to be His own by His shed blood.

I would love the opportunity to see how you plan to sacrifice this Lenten season.   When you share your commitment in the comments,  I will commit to praying over you this Lent.

With the Love of Christ, 

JoAnn

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Finding Hope in a Season of Change

Finding Hope in a Season of Change

Just write they say.  But what do you write about when your life is in a bit of a tumultuous season?  That season of course. 😊

I am in a season of change, much like the Fall we are just entering into here in New England. Some people have very strong feelings about entering into Fall…they see the trees loosing their leaves and the world around them turning brown, dark and cold. They fail to see the crimsons, and deep oranges that light up the trees or the refreshing breeze wafting through those leaves. The season of change is upon my husband and I… and I am choosing to look for the life giving joy this season will bring.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Our Fall is the process of prepping our house of 20 years for sale. Who knew so much needed to be done to a home we were comfortable in? Painting to flooring, landscaping to decluttering. It’s exhausting!  But this season is one I am excited about even if we are not sure where our next home will be or even what it will look like.  Wherever we may go to, I have one expectation and that is – I will be trusting in God to provide for our needs, prosper us and not harm us. I can focus on the emotional “loss” of our home through this sale, or I can focus on the blessings I experience every day and those I’m sure are yet to come in our next season.

This season is a beautiful season of change.  I choose to see the vibrant colors waving in the crisp Autumn breeze, I hope you do as well. If you liked this article, please feel free to share it on your social media accounts and I look forward to hearing about the season of life you are in.

How To Live Life Changed

How To Live Life Changed

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Romans 12:2 NKJV

What a great reminder to read…maybe everyday ..since I often need to be reminded if I fail at something.

It’s sometimes hard to grasp the concept that we are given a new life even though we are never perfect, since we are always sinning in one way or another. But the study I’m doing called You Are Forgiven is really opening my eyes to the fact that once a sin is confessed and we repent, it is gone – gone for good! Knowing this deep in your heart and mind makes you want to be different, you want to be who you were created to be. We were all created different, so you don’t have to try to be someone else, or do more to receive love and forgiveness. We only need to be the child  of God, the child he made us to be. Our loyalties now belong with a new Master, a new hope, and a new future. Our thoughts, our words, and our actions should reflect this.

“This ought to be the care of all who profess the Christian faith, that they be new creatures; not only that they have a new name, and wear a new livery, but that they have a new heart and new nature. And so great is the change the grace of God makes in the soul, that, as it follows, old things are passed away—old thoughts, old principles, and old practices, are passed away; and all these things must become new.” (Matthew Henry)

This brings me to another point that makes me think.
Are the results of God’s forgiveness evident in our lives? Do we look, and act, and talk like we are part of this world and comfortable here? I hope not! Because this world is not our true home and only God’s supernatural act of grace has the power to change the human condition. By being changed we now have been given the ability to know what is within the pleasing and acceptable will of God. Our job since being transformed and having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is to be obedient to the will of God. Easier said than done since I know that my base nature is corrupted by this world. Yet, I feel a deep compulsion to strive to improve my thoughts, words, and deeds; making them be acts of love for Christ.

Do you struggle with accepting forgiveness? Are your thoughts, words and deeds reflecting the world or God’s principles and practices? Please share with us in the comments, I would love to read your thoughts on it.

Praise be to God. The old has gone, the new is here!

Running Like Jonah

Running Like Jonah

Oh Lord Have Mercy On Me! That’s what I was crying out to God when He started leading me towards writing. I’m a Registered Nurse by trade and so writing was not something I was fond of…in fact I like computer documentation where you check off the box and write a sentence or two. That is my style, easy and simple.

So,  like a good Christian soldier I ran like Jonah. But just like Jonah, I heard God calling to me again and again, so this time I set up a Facebook page that I would occasionally post some cute sayings and verses with equally cute pictures. Not quite what God was calling on me to do. For a time this was good and comfortable for me. So I let it ride like that for several years. Until now, this past month when I heard and felt a strong push to write. God never promised me it would be easy, but He promises to be with me through it all.

Now that I am done with my running I can listen to God closely. Do you have ears to hear Him? Do you hear him calling to you, pushing you forward?  I can honestly say discerning God’s voice is difficult to do when your eyes are off the Holy One. I learned that from many difficult times I had while running from God’s calling on my life. The lesson I learned from my running is this: that if you humbly present yourself before God, you will be changed into the person He wants you to be. Just call upon the Lord.

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