Instablog 4.18.18

“People look at the external, but God looks at the heart,” (1 Samuel 1:7)
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I think I’ve always thought about this verse concerning judging other people, but rarely considered it when it came to loving myself. We tend to hyper-focus so much on the bad that we don’t ever consider the good in our own hearts and intentions. We buy into satan’s lies & define ourselves by a few bad moments, and forget the fruit we bear. .

While it’s true that we are all ever-growing, that none of us are perfect, and that the Holy Spirit will forever be doing a SERIOUS work within each of us, who we are is defined by God, and we are all loveable. .

If no one has told you today: Yeah, you had a bad moment (maybe a few), but you’re still a really good person with a really good heart. The entanglement of shame and guilt are destroyed off of your life, in Jesus’ name. I pray that your eyes are always opened to the fruit that you are bearing, and that you walk in freedom, in Jesus’ name. Amen. 
#FocusIn

Morning Devotion – 4/15/18

‘And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.”  – Luke 5:4-5

I read these verses this past weekend and initially, the Holy Spirit reminded me of a specific friend, but I believe that the Lord is doing something across the Church.  I believe the Holy Spirit has been nudging people to do specific things, to go deeper, and to take bigger leaps with Him, but because of disappointment and fear, you haven’t stepped out. In the past, you may have taken that step of faith, but it didn’t warrant the result you anticipated leading to the disappointment. But I believe the Lord is asking you to cast your nets again… in whatever capacity that looks like for you. 

I think of Peter. He was an expert at fishing, and he knew that it wasn’t the best time of day to cast nets for fish, but he did it anyway. Against what he KNEW to be true, he took a step and the Lord rewarded him with overflowing abundance. ‘And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.’– Luke 5:6-7

Emerald Eyes

So, yay for my first featured writer!! I love Jasmine! In the short time I’ve known her, she has been a GEM! She wrote this AMAZING blog post on something that we all deal with: jealousy & envy! I’ve read many things on this topic, but this one hit home!

Enjoy!

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I was jealous of my friend and it wasn’t until I admitted it, that I could fix it.  For a while, I did not know it was jealousy that fueled my attitude toward her. Initially, I was just upset about a relationship decision she made that I did not approve of and I judged her quite harshly. What added fuel to the fire was that I felt because she was wrong in my eyes, she should be wrong in God’s eyes too, yet I continued to witness Him redeem and bless her. It was not until one day during my prayer time that the Lord revealed to me that I was jealous of His love and grace in the life of my friend.

Now was it that I wanted what she had? No. I just didn’t believe she should have it. Most importantly, I was very selfish and immature regarding my relationship with God. I felt I was the only one He could shower with unfailing love, grace and mercy. I was constantly comparing my life and even worse my testimony to hers because let’s face it, what God was doing in my life was just not enough.

What I failed to realize was that God owed me nothing. My jealousy and envy were birthed out of pure ignorance. I couldn’t see the pure goodness of God because I was consumed with self. I was consumed by what God could give instead of being consumed by Him. I felt entitled, and believed that I was blessed because of my works which was a huge reason I felt that I could tell God how to bless others. The jealousy and envy in my heart towards my friend was not just an issue between me and my friend. It was primarily an issue between me and God. It was a vertical issue.

Jealousy is one of those traits that is easy to recognize in others and hard to recognize in ourselves. That’s because no one likes to admit that they are jealous of someone else and instead of admitting it, we allow it to eat away at us and our relationships like a cancer. Jealousy adds nothing to us. It leaves us naked and exposed, showing our insecurities and discontentment with how God made us….and it ALWAYS shows. Jealousy secretly hates. Jealousy gossips. Jealousy compares. Jealously selfishly competes. Jealousy lies. Jealousy holds grudges. Jealousy tries to provoke others. Jealousy refuses to see the best in others. Jealousy hates when other people see the best in others.

Jealousy picks people apart and shows no mercy. Jealously loves to see others down. Jealousy is vengeful and sneaky. Jealousy doesn’t support or celebrate others. Jealousy is selfish. The most dangerous aspect about jealousy is that it can be masked.

Nothing has changed about the spirit of jealousy since Satan became jealous of God… THE ONE WHO MADE HIM. Nothing has changed about jealousy since Cain killed Abel or since Saul sought to kill David. It’s still destroying families. It’s still destroying friendships. It’s still destroying relationships. It’s still destroying the work place. It’s still destroying the CHURCH. We must get offended by jealousy in ourselves as much as we get offended by it when we recognize it in others. This is not a person trait. It’s a spiritual trait and its root is SIN.

Jealousy caused me to overlook the fact that God had not just saved and redeemed my friend. He saved and redeemed me too! I’ve sinned countless times and the grace of God and work of Jesus on the cross  is why I am alive today. God has been so good to me that I could never tell the half of it. So why was I ever jealous of God being good to someone else? Because I was looking at me instead of God. Yes God has been good to me. He has been good to my family. God has been good to my friends. But with or without us, God is just GOOD, and that is where the shout truly is.

We fight jealousy by surrendering it to God and admitting it’s in our hearts because He knows anyway. We also must constantly remind ourselves of His goodness in our lives and in the lives of others. Then we must look for ways to love, encourage and celebrate others….ON PURPOSE. Today I celebrate my friend and am genuinely excited for the woman that God has created her to be. She is fearfully and wonderfully made with a beautiful story that I am sure will touch so many people and lead them to Christ. I no longer see my friend as a threat. She is my sister in Christ and when she wins, I win, we win. Most importantly, I celebrate her because I no longer just see the goodness of God in her life…I see the goodness of GOD!!