Losing to Gain

“22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed

Because His compassions fail not,

23 They are new every morning;

Great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)

 

I’ve heard it said that, “There are a thousand things that God is doing  every time something painful happens to you. Most of these you do not know or understand, just as Job, Joseph, and Esther did not know what God was doing in their losses.”

What would have happened if they didn’t recognize the brand new mercies of God in the midst of their pain and in the things that they didn’t understand as to why they were happening in their lives. What if Job in losing everything didn’t trust in the mercies of God? Would he have been blessed? What if Joseph, in the hurt of being sold by his brothers into slavery, falsely accused by his master’s wife, and thrown into prison, held onto the pain of his circumstances and the uncertainty it produced, instead of believing in the faithfulness of God? What if Esther in the pain of being raised an orphan, and later being taken away from the life that she knew into one that was all too uncertain, didn’t trust in God’s faithfulness? What would have happened to the Jews?

Don’t be limited by carrying yesterday’s load. What God has for you today you can only take up in its fullness when you recognize each day as a brand new mercy. His faithfulness will see you through. God is greater than our circumstances.

“God’s promise to Joseph purged his character until it was time for his dreams to come true.” Psalm 105:19

Joseph had a promise from God. For years it may have seemed to Joseph that God had forgotten him, or had forgotten what was promised, but Joseph remained faithful. Even after being sold into slavery by his own brothers, being falsely accused and thrown into prison, Joseph remained faithful to God, and he was blessed in what he did. Even while a prisoner, Joseph was put in charge of the prison. In what could have seemed like the most bleak of circumstances, God was with Joseph, and he prospered. I believe this time in the prison was a preparation time for Joseph to prepare him for and position him to receive the promise that God had spoken. Joseph had to lose in order to gain something greater.

Having nothing left to lose invokes a radical response.

What do you have left to lose? Is it worth it for you to trade your purpose/dreams for momentary pleasure? The things of this world are fleeting compared to the surpassing greatness of our God. He is more than enough to satisfy all you have ever needed.

What situation do you find yourself in right now in which you feel like you are losing something? How can you recognize God’s faithfulness today in this situation?

Lord, help us in the times we are losing, to see with heavenly vision what we can gain in You. Thank you that you are faithful in every circumstance, every pain, every loss, every aspect of our lives. May you be glorified in us today.

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Invoke 2016

Invoke 2016 came so quickly. I can’t believe that 2015 has come and gone. Last year my word was “intention”, and I do believe that I learned to live intentionally and that God grew me so much this past year.
This year my word is INVOKE.
Invoke  comes from a call to prayer. God is calling me deeper than ever this year.
Invoke comes from a call to intercede for others and to stand in the gap.
Invoke comes from a call ‘to give rise to’ and ‘evoke’ a response from those who come into contact with me to become who God has created them to be.
My theme scripture is: “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3
I trust that no matter what ups and downs present themselves; no matter the losses or gains that come with this time, He reins. He was faithful before and He will continue to be faithful again and again.
I am looking forward to all that God is going to do in 2016.
Do you have a word for 2016? Please share in the comments below.
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The Schizophrenic Bride

Schizophrenia – a condition defined as, “fragmented mind or ‘split mind’ referring to disruptions or ‘fractures’ in how a person thinks, feels, or perceives reality when symptoms are present.

This condition affects less than 1% of the general population world-wide. It lowers life expectancy by fifteen years. 5% commit suicide. 40% attempt suicide.

There are five types of schizophrenia that share a number of symptoms including:

  • Trouble with telling the difference between what is real/unreal.
  • Trouble thinking clearly (focus).
  • Having a hard time managing emotions.
  • Delusions/Hallucinations (paranoia/visual and/or auditory hallucinations).

I believe that the church today, the Bride of Christ is schizophrenic.

The church today does not have an accurate picture of who she is. Almost any church will agree that unity is a must, but they do not all seem to realize that unity in the body of Christ is not about unity within a single congregation, but rather, unity expands beyond their four walls.

I have been places where even talking about the Bride of Christ, it ended on the note of, “our church” and “this ministry” and “we” [this congregation]. This so grieved my spirit. The Bride is meant to be more than that.

Ephesians 5:25-27 says:

That He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish…

Jesus is coming back for a pure Bride. A whole bride.

He is not coming back to be playing the Bachelor, each congregation competing against another for the title of the Bride of Christ. He is coming back for a whole and pure bride. But the bride as she stands has a “fractured” mind divided by opinions and denominations creating within the body an “us” and “them” mentality. We [the Bride] need the mind of Christ, and be unified in mind.

Where do I see schizophrenia in the church?

In the symptoms:

Physical: Trouble with telling the difference between what is real/unreal

Spiritual: Trouble with telling the difference between what is moral/good/God & deceived/false prophets

Scripture: Colossians 2:8; 2 Corinthians 11:4

~~~

Physical: Trouble thinking clearly (focus)

Spiritual: Double-minded man; Mind of the Spirit is life and peace.

Scripture: James 1:7-8; Romans 8:6

~~~

Physical: Hard time managing emotions

Spiritual: Harboring unforgiveness/hatred/bitterness

Scripture: Galatians 5:22-26

~~~

Physical: Delusions/Hallucinations

Spiritual: False beliefs/perceptions

Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:3-4

~~~

The 5 types of schizophrenia are paranoid (hallucinations/always in a panicked state of mind), Catatonic (stupor and physical immobility), Disorganized (disorganized thinking and speech, loses touch with reality), Undifferentiated (not in the other categories), and Residual (once the symptoms start to disappear).

It is time to wake up church! Recognize that the body expands beyond your four walls. How many different ways have we divided ourselves?

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8 it was granted to her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. Revelation 19:7-8

Come together, church! Let us be of one mind.

“Come, Lord Jesus, Come!”

 

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The War Room: This Means War! The Battle Plan for Prayer – Fervent Prayer Works!

The War Room movie closed #1 this weekend in theaters earning an est. $9.4 million to add to last weekend’s debut of $11.4 million. Having seen the trailer numerous times, I was excited for the movie release and went opening weekend. It far exceeded expectations in many aspects. It was phenomenal! A common trend I have been hearing about this movie is “I went to the movies, and church broke out!” 

In my personal experience, I loved the sense of community that came in that theater. People were clapping and laughing and when the movie ended, cheering.

I heard stories about a group going to see the movie and being so inspired to pray that many of the people walking out of the theater, gathered in the hallway outside and prayed for the United States. This movie is stirring up the hearts of the people a passion for prayer, and I am a firm believer that prayer moves the hand of God.

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT)

I do encourage you to grab your family, some friends, a church group, a neighbor – go see this movie!

Watch the movie trailer here

BUT WAIT…

It does not stop there. The books are incredible too!

If I were to ask you what your prayer life was like, what would you say? Is it hot or cold? Check out this clip from the movie if you have a minute. You’ll see where I’m headed.

Petersperfectprayerplace

 

For ages 4-8, there is Peter’s Perfect Prayer Place by Stephen & Alex Kendrick. This picture book has a way of making prayer personal to kids. In the story, Peter wants to find a perfect prayer place, just like when he sees his mom pray in her special prayer room. He tries many different places in search of the perfect one to be alone with God to pray. Also included with this book is a prayer chart and stickers that say “I prayed”. I had my 6-year-old sister read the book as well and she told me that, “The story is great!” and “See, it even has stickers and a poster. That is amazing!”

 

Prayerworks

 

Prayer Works: Prayer Training and Strategy for Kids by Stephen & Alex Kendrick with Amy Parker is great for kids ages 8-12. It has colorful illustrations and includes a prayer journal in the back to “put your prayers to work”. The prayer journal has scriptures and written prayers, and a space to write out your own prayers as well. There are 10 chapters that are arranged in a devotional format for easy-reading.

 

ThisMeansWar

 

For middle school or 13+ there is a strategic prayer journal, This Means War written by Stephen & Alex Kendrick with Troy Schmidt. This journal is instructive and interactive and teaches prayer strategy using the scriptures and by asking questions. The format is perfect for young teens and keeps their interest while teaching strategic prayer.

 

 

 

Finally, there are 2 books that rocked my prayer life. They are The Battle Plan for Prayer: From Basic Training to Targeted Strategies by Stephen & Alex Kendrick, and Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer by Priscilla Shirer.

BattleplanThe Battle Plan for Prayer is broken up into 7 parts:

  1. Enlistment
  2. Basic Training
  3. Conditioning
  4. Strategies
  5. Targets
  6. Ammunition
  7. Reinforcements

This book is teaches you to pray like no other book I’ve read. Praying specifically, declaring the scriptures – prayers for all areas of your life. I highly recommend this book, whether your prayer life thriving, or you are finding it dry. This book will challenge you and rejuvenate your prayer life.

Fervent

 

In FerventPriscilla Shirer instantly draws you in. Within the first sentences of reading this book, you are on the field! This is not a cutesy book about prayer. Prepare to be on your knees. The strategies laid out in this guide include:

  1. Your passion
  2. Your focus
  3. Your identity
  4. Your family
  5. Your past
  6. Your fears
  7. Your purity
  8. Your pressures
  9. Your hurts
  10. Your relationships

Complete with scriptures and prayer strategy pages, this book will challenge you in your prayer life and open your eyes to the battlefield that you’ve been sleeping on. Prayer changes everything!

 

*I was graciously provided with these books by B&H Publishing in exchange for an honest review.*

 

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The Wonder of Jesus

Not too long ago I read a book called “The Day I Met Jesus: The Revealing Diaries of Five Women from the Gospels.”  by Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth. I was captivated from the start by the masterfully written narratives (penned by DeMuth) and by the teaching that offered context and keys (by Viola). When I finished reading it, I had so many thoughts, but there is one line I read that still hasn’t gotten away from me. It was in the chapter “Diary of a Prostitute Who Loved Much” based on Luke 7:36-50. That line simply read:

Was no one else moved by the wonder of Jesus?

Luke 7:36-50 details the story of the woman with the alabaster jar. The scene could not have been set more beautifully.

This woman did a most humble and beautiful thing and was ridiculed for it. She poured out her livelihood on the feet of Jesus, washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair.

This sinful woman gave it all. I can almost smell the fragrance that must have swept the room when she performed this most scandalous act of anointing Jesus’s feet. She was judged and ridiculed by the audience about her, but she didn’t care. She was moved by the wonder of Jesus.

As I sit here, I wonder how different the church would be if we were more like this woman and less like the on-looking Pharisees and religious people. What if we were moved by the wonder of Jesus?

And as I consider that question, I think about all He has done, all He is, and all He will do. When I consider these things, how can I not be moved?

Lord, let me forever live in the wonder of You and never let me cease to be moved by the beauty of your holiness. 

 

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Pressing On…

Hey everyone!

I am excited and blessed to be back after a 6 month writing hiatus. It was so hard to put it aside for this time, but I know I needed to do that. It is hard to believe that we are half way through 2015 already. This is a really great time to sit down and re-evaluate the goals for the year. Mine came down to being intentional in all aspects of my life. I can’t say that I have reached this place quite yet, but I am working towards it.

Next week I will be starting a new series.

I believe that it is so important to remember the things that the Lord has done. It strengthens our faith. I’d like to invite you to join me this next series coming up!

Blessings,

 

Brittany

 

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#Intention2015

Intention2015I absolutely cannot believe that a year has come and gone already. I feel like I just blogged about my word for 2014 and here I am to start a new one.

2014 my word was “thrive”, and looking back on the last 12 months, I see just how perfectly that fit. God took me to some amazing places through the year, and I’m looking forward to what He has in store for 2015.

I have been struggling to find that one word focus for this year. This is why it took me a week to get this post up here. My word for 2015 is:

*Drumroll*

Intention 

This can be defined as, “an aim or plan; purpose”

Intention comes from the Latin word, intentio, meaning “stretching”, and “purpose”.

It makes me think of dance.

I am a dancer; I believe that there is a rhythm to all things. It is the combination of strength, grace, and intentionality that create the beauty of the dance, drawing people into the experience.

I believe that a life lived with this strength, grace and intentionality, give others a glimpse of the beauty of our creator, drawing them to experience who He is, and allowing them to step into the rhythm that He set into motion when He first spoke creation into existence.

Just as stretching and conditioning tone the muscles and improve the dance, I want to stretch myself in all areas of my life this year – an intentional growth that is displayed by walking gracefully in every situation and circumstance.

In dance, every movement, every placement of the hands, arms, legs, and feet is intentional – it has a purpose in the greater picture.

This year, I’m living the dance – everything done in strength, grace and intention.

#Intention2015

 

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Colliding With Destiny: Finding Hope in the Legacy of Ruth by Sarah Jakes

CwDbookcover
 
 
Title: Colliding with Destiny: Finding Hope in the Legacy of Ruth
Author: Sarah Jakes
Publisher: Bethany House
Genre: Christian Living/Women’s Interest/Inspirational 
Rating: 5/5 Stars
 
Click here for an excerpt.
 
Buy it here on Amazon
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(This book was received free by Bethany House in exchange for a fair review.) 
 
 

In Colliding with Destiny, Sarah Jakes takes you on a journey that has the potential to inspire you to see what it looks like when God’s hand is in the collisions that are in your life. We are familiar with the story of Ruth in the Bible. We more times than not hear about the ending of the story, the happy parts where she marries Boaz and later from her line comes King David, and eventually Jesus. But how often do we take the time to understand all the opposition that this incredible woman had to go through before she reached that place?

Sarah jumps right to the point in her first chapter: life does not always go as planned. 

Can I get an “Amen”?

Bad things can happen. We can find ourselves in places and in situations that we never dreamed we would end up.

This, is where Sarah shows us the hope that is found in the legacy of Ruth. When your circumstances collide with God’s grace, the reaction can act as a catalyst, launching you into your divine destiny. 

Sarah states: “… grace survives our most broken moments.” 

Colliding with Destiny is beautifully written in a 30 day devotional format with questions at the end of each chapter for you to contemplate and journal through. Also, each chapter starts with a short passage from the book of Ruth that Sarah uses as she shares parts of her own story and how she walked through the collisions in her life, by God’s grace, and by the example of a woman who went ahead of us all proving the beauty God can make with our brokenness.

Whether you lived a hard and broken past, or you are struggling with the present, you will find yourself encouraged and uplifted by Sarah’s words, and inspired by Ruth’s story. 

Destiny awaits!

SarahJakes

 

 

*SARAH JAKES oversees the women’s ministry at the Potter’s House of Dallas, the church led by her parents, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Mrs. Serita Jakes. Sarah regularly blogs at sarahjakes.com and occasionally serves as a TV host on The Potter’s Touch. Sarah is a mom of two and lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.*

*Taken from the Author Bio in Colliding with Destiny

 

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Fighting For Your Marriage Before It Starts

Fighting For Your MarriageAs a little girl I dreamed of many things. I thought about growing up to be a jockey or a doctor. But more than that, I dreamed of a white dress, flowers, a ring, and a man that would one day come.

By the time I hit middle school I had colors and themes in mind, and started drawing what my wedding dress would look like. High school I had my bridesmaids in mind, but started to become less focused on a wedding. I was all about becoming a godly “lady-in-waiting” – pursuing God with everything I had and developing the character that a godly wife is meant to have.

Looking back, those aren’t bad things. But I think that even though I had the best of intentions, I got lost in the frills and thrills that marriage appeared to be about. There is nothing wrong with dreaming of a wedding. And there is certainly nothing wrong with seeking God to become the woman that He made me to be.

What I did have wrong was my focus. Because the thing is, character isn’t about catching a guy, the wedding isn’t a destination, and marriage isn’t about me, and I believe that is the common trap we fall into today.

What then is the purpose of marriage? 

I believe that marriage is to be a reflection of God’s image.

That being said, I also believe that is why there is such an attack on the sanctity of marriage.

So, when am I getting to “fighting for your marriage before it starts”?

We need to stand up for the sanctity of marriage. The institution of marriage is God-ordained – one man and one woman.

28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church—30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:28-33 (NIV)

We need to recognize that marriage is not all about the wedding, it is not about what makes us happy, and really, it is not all about us at all.

I believe that when you truly come to this understanding and stand on it, that is when you really begin fighting for your marriage – even before it starts. 

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What I Hope They Remember: Loved Before Living

jumpingonbed1

Today is a link-up with Suzie Eller Click the image to jump to the next post.

22 years old. Not married. Living life one day at a time.

This is probably not the description that comes to mind when you think about someone leaving a legacy. But each day, I know that I am building one. Each day that comes I make countless choices – many of them seemingly minor, some made without much of a thought. All the same, many of those choices will carry on into tomorrow, and for years to come.

One of those choices is a prayer that I pray very often:

  • I pray for my future husband
    • Proverbs 31:12 says: “She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” (ESV) God knows who he is and what he is going through, even if I don’t. The one thing I know that I can do for him in this season is to pray. I pray that he walks with God, and in favor and blessing. I pray that He walk in love and abide in the Spirit. I pray that he knows he is loved and that there are prayers being prayed on his behalf – and through that knowledge be strengthened and encouraged in spirit.
  • I pray for my future children
    • I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:27 (NIV) I have always wanted to be a wife and mother. Whenever God brings them, I want them to know that they were loved before they were living. They were thought of, hoped for, planned for, and prayed for.

When my children look back one day, I want them to remember that they were loved even before they drew their first breath. I want to show them what it is to be loved. I won’t be the perfect mother. They aren’t going to be perfect kids. We are all going to make mistakes, but what I hope they remember is that no matter what, they were loved – even before they lived.

lovedb4living

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