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Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Journey of Proverbs: Chapter Three



The Purpose of Proverbs

Proverbs chapter 3 begins by reiterating the purpose of Proverbs. These commands in this chapter will help you live a long time-- a full and happy life.

These Proverbs should help us shine kindness and mercy. The world should not be able to take these away. They should be written on our hearts and we should be emitting these qualities every single day. 

Trust in the Lord

Proverbs 3:5 is one of my favorite verses: Trust in the Lord with all your heart. This should be our number one goal. Not relying on ourselves or own knowledge, but truly trusting in Him. I love how the Message describes this passage of scriptures by stating: "Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go." We should be in constant communication with Him- constantly seeking His Word. 'Don't assume you know it all!' Ask Him for help. Ask Him for assistance. Ask Him for advice.

Health

Proverbs 3:7-8, we read to fear the Lord (be in awe of Him- run to Him) and turn from evil.... and in doing these two things we will have health in our body [your marrow, your nerves, your sinews, your muscles—all your inner parts] and refreshment (physical well-being) to your bones.]

Turning from evil- turning from a life of sin will heal our bodies, our souls-- we will feel it in our bones. I know personally, since trying to make a lifestyle change and using God as my source of coping with anxiety as opposed to worldly ventures, my body and spirit have changed. As I feel anxiety and hypochondria creeping up, I find myself praying 'Jesus, You're all I have to fix this.... give me Your spirit and heal what is broken within me.' That's all I have been doing to combat the battlefield of my mind-- and it has truly been working! I feel like my anxiety was worse when I knew there was a bottle of wine sitting there waiting to 'rescue' me from my thoughts. Figuring out that there's inner strength with Jesus Christ has been empowering to my bones, my body, and my spirit.

Give Him the First

I LOVED reading the next set of scriptures because it is a constant reminder to give God what is FIRST. The FIRST part of our mornings. The FIRST part of our income. The FIRST part of US every day. He deserves the GOOD of us-- not the leftovers. Proverbs 3:9 says to honor God with everything we own- give Him the first and the best.

Such a constant reminder to get up in the morning and seek His face first thing. He promises that when we do this, our barns will burst (blessings will flow) and wine vats will flow over the brim (goodness will rain down.) BUT we should desire to give Him the best of us because He deserves it. Not for any other reason than this.

Discipline

I think the AMP version describes the next set of verses the best: learn from your mistakes and the testing that comes from His correction through discipline. 

Learn from our mistakes--

that's all God asks for us at times. 

To learn.

He doesn't require perfection, just a malleable spirit. 

"It's the child He loves that God corrects."

If He wasn't convicting us- if He wasn't allowing us to see the error in our ways, He wouldn't love us like He does. We need to take it- learn from it- and grow from it. 

Continuation of Wisdom..

Much of Proverbs describes wisdom. It is God's hope through this book that we will obtain as much wisdom as possible. One of my favorite words used to describe 'wisdom' is 'discernment.' Discernment means: to distinguish what is true and right. God LONGS to give this to us- if we would just be accepting of it.

Wisdom is worth more than money, more than a large salary. Wisdom exceeds wealth- nothing can hold a candle to her.

We should desire and seek after wisdom as much as possible-- as diligently as possible.

Proverbs says- one one hand wisdom will give you a long life. 
On the other hand- wisdom will give recognition. 

I want the long life part.

She's a tree of life to those who embrace her.
Hold wisdom tight- you'll be blessed.

Guard

One of my favorite parts of Proverbs is the discussion of GUARDING things.

According to the dictionary, 'guard' is described as, "to keep safe from harm or danger. Protect."

Proverbs reminds us to PROTECT wisdom, PROTECT freedom of choice (discretion/common sense.) Protect it with your life. It is SO valuable. Don't lose sight of them. Don't let the world cloud your vision. 

Wisdom. Discretion. They'll keep your soul alive.

Wisdom is the power of deciding what WILL affect you and WON'T affect you. And by having that power-- you WILL keep your soul alive. You WILL decide what is going to affect your emotions. You WILL decide what will impact your day. 

One of my FAVORITE verses in Proverbs goes back to guarding wisdom and rooting our minds in it. Proverbs 3:24-25 says, "Then you will walk on your way [of life] securely
And your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid. When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." 
24 
As someone that struggles with anxiety- and struggles with falling asleep at night, this verse is something that I need to consistently remember. Actually, as I write this, I'm writing these verses down on a piece of paper and laying it on my end table.  (Another great one is Psalms 4:8- At day's end I am ready for sound sleep for You God have put my life back together.)

The following verses continue to remind us of what God's wisdom can do for us.

You won't need to panic. You won't need to worry.

God will be right there with you... He'll keep you safe and sound.

Helping Others

Proverbs 3:27 starts off with telling us to never walk away from someone who deserves help. Your hand IS God's hand for that person. If you have the money or resources to help others, please help them. God asks us to not take advantage of others-- just to love them and help them. Casting Crowns sings a great song called "If We Are the Body" that reminds me of these verses. "But if we are His body, why aren't His arms reaching? Why aren't His hands healing? Why aren't His words teaching? And if we are His body, why aren't His feet going?" 

God says "Do not walk around with a chip on your shoulder always looking for a fight." He doesn't want us to be a bully. He doesn't appreciate twisted souls.

He wants us to be so full of love that nothing else matters.

He BLESSES the home of the righteous and just-- what does our homes look like?????

He gives grace to the humble.





Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Journey of Proverbs: Chapter 2


Guard Them

The first few verses of Proverbs chapter 2 begin by telling us to collect the counsels written here and guard them with your life. Counsel, according to the dictionary, is described as, "advice; opinion or instruction given in directing the conduct of another."  God encourages us to tune our ears to wisdom. And then guard that wisdom. We should not let it be tarnished or damaged by this world. Cling to what we know-- and learn from our mistakes when we didn't know better.

Search for It 

If we believe that we lack wisdom or understanding, Proverbs chapter 2 encourages us to search for it- go after it. To know better, is to do better. If you are wanting to excel in your personal life, in your walk with God, in your relationships.. seek the counsel and wisdom of God. It won't just come to you automatically. You have to actively seek it.

Wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, and Common Sense

Wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and common sense can be our best friends if we desire it. Seeking all of these out, searching for them, obtaining them, and utilizing them-- they'll scout ahead for danger, they'll keep an eye out for you. Proverbs chapter 2 says, "They'll keep you from making wrong turns or following bad directions."

The key is SEARCHING for them and GUARDING them.

If we hold on to wisdom, understanding, common sense, and knowledge-- we will not find a dead end. We will follow a path leading to possibilities.

Wisdom Saves You

Wisdom saves you from forgetting your covenant with God. It saves you from the world seducing you and pulling you away from your purpose. Forgetting the covenant with God leads you down a dangerous road.

Positive Company

Proverbs chapter 2 ends with the verses "So join the company of good men and women and keep your feet on the tried and true path." We must be sure that the company we are keeping is blessing our lives, giving us purpose and helping us fulfill our destinies. The company we keep should not make us less of a person. 

It Only Took One Verse..






I feel like I'm constantly drawn back to the story of Saul's conversion.

A story of redemption, mercy, grace, and true repentance.

Acts 9:1-8

In Acts chapter 9 verses 1-8,  we read about how Saul threatened and slaughtered those bearing the name of  Jesus. On  his way to Damascus, a light came from heaven, and a voice asked Saul why he persecuted against Him (Jesus.) This frightened Saul and he asked what he needed to do. Jesus told him to go to Damascus and he would understand there, then he was blinded and had to be led in to the city by his companions.

Acts 9:9

Verse 9 says he dwelt  in Damascus for 3 days without sight,  food, or drink. He was left in darkness, filled with confusion and desire to be healed. 

Lord, I feel like I am there. Blinded by mistakes. Stuck in darkness. No sign of light... or healing. Loneliness. Desperation. Desire.

Acts 9:10-16

In verses 10-16, we read about where Jesus called Ananias to go minister to Saul. Ananias knew of the evil that Saul had done to saints. In one of the verses Ananias even says, "Master! You can't be serious! Everybody's talking about this man and the terrible things he has been doing.."

How many of us feel like we have been there? Everyone speaks of the negative you have done. They remind you of your mistakes and your failures and your lack of perfection... Refusal to let you move on from who have been to who God wants you to be. Ananias couldn't believe that God would call someone so full of hatred and evil.. but God saw POTENTIAL.. NOT PAST. 

but Jesus told Ananias that Saul was a chosen vessel and that he needed to go to him. God even told Ananias "Don't argue." He was serious about this mission. 

Acts 9:17-19

In verses 17-19, Saul is filled with the Holy Spirit, his eyes  are opened, and he was baptized. Ananias told Saul that God had sent him and as soon as he spoke those words, Saul could see, he was baptized, and filled with God's spirit.



Now- here is the part that changed my life this morning.

I battle with an immense amount of guilt. Of course, I rest in the promise that when I asked for forgiveness and made a life style change, that He accepted that sincerity and granted me repentance for my sins; however, every day I battle with this voice that says,  'Congrats! You made a lifestyle change for a short period of time. Doesn't  mean you  are good with God still. Change isn't a few weeks or months,.... it requires more time than that. You want God's favor?   Keep this change up for a few years,' Now, I'm not saying God is telling me this. I'm saying a negative voice is speaking this to me and then guilt overwhelms me and I think, 'Okay, maybe that's  right. Maybe I need to do something more for repentance to be active in my life.  Maybe grace hasn't kicked in yet...'

So,  yesterday, I spent time weeping before God, asking for a Word from Him concerning grace. I was desperate for it. My aching heart needed it.  I begged for Him to send it... for Him to have someone else send me a Word, but it never came. I  felt like that negative voice was right. Maybe he couldn't even really speak to me any more. Maybe I was so far past that , it  was going to take months or years to get back to that place. 

Then this morning, 'In Christ Alone' came on and I was privileged enough to just sit here in His presence. And He hit me like a ton of bricks  with this chapter.

As I previously said, verses 17-19, Saul is converted. He is baptized with the Holy Ghost and with water. He is changed. 

And guess what he does between verses 19 to 20??

HE PREACHES THE GOSPEL.

Acts 9:19 tells us that Saul was baptized and healed.
Acts 9:20 tells us that Saul went right to work, wasting no time, preaching in the meeting places that Jesus was the Son of God.

BAM, Let that sink in.

He doesn't spend 4 chapters of the Bible wallowing in self pity. He doesn't let guilt and shame eat him alive. He doesn't spend countless hours trying to earn the grace, mercy, and repentance of God.  From the moment of conversion to the next verse, he starts preaching the Word of God. 

Sure, in verse 21, he had the people that were throwing his past in his face. They said things like "Isn't this the same man who wreaked havoc in Jerusalem among the believers? And didn't he come here to do the same thing- arrest us and drag us off to jail in Jerusalem for sentencing by the high priest?"

There will be individuals who do not forget your mistakes. They will hold them against you. They will be in disbelief that you can change... but be like Saul... 

In verse 22 it says their suspicions didn't slow Saul down for even a minute! His momentum only increased and he plowed straight into the opposition.

Use that disbelief as fuel.

He didn't let his past stop him from his future. He didn't spend time wondering if his repentance really worked. He didn't toil  over what he had done.. he simply moved forward.. immediately. He accepted God's forgiveness, grace, and mercy... and that's all he needed .

God, please help me to stop wondering if repentance really worked because it has been a short time.. not years. Please stop letting me feel anguish over the past.. please help me to realize that even if I don't feel deserving of Your grace and mercy, that You still pour it out on us, Please help me  to understand that true forgiveness is turning your back on sin.. and if I have done that with a genuine heart, then You truly forgive me. I love you and I want to be a vessel for you. Thank You for Your word today concerning Saul/.Paul. My soul desperately needed it.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Journey of Proverbs: Proverbs 1



Proverbs is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I love reading it because you always get a new little nugget of truth from it. Something that allows you to see life differently. Something that convicts you. Something that encourages you. Something that helps you grow into the person you were created to be. 

I thought we could journey through Proverbs together over the next 31 days- one day for each chapter. We will discuss the little truths hidden throughout each verse-- and hopefully grow as individuals through the process. What a better way to start the new year than by studying the book of Proverbs. 

The Purpose of Proverbs

The first thing we learn from Proverbs chapter 1 is this:

God gave these words to Solomon "so we will know how to live well and right.. to understand what life means and where it's going. A manual for living, for learning what's right and just and fair."  (Proverbs 1:1-2)

God gave us Proverbs to earn from. Everyone of us has room to grow-- room to learn-- room to be a better individual than we were yesterday. 

Bowing Down to God

Proverbs chapter 1 continues stating that the first step is: bowing down to God. Worshiping Him. Worship is the gateway to understanding. It is the secret to a malleable heart. Without worship, without prayer, without truly knowing God-- we won't be as accepting to the truths God wants us to understand and retrieve.

Our Choice of Company

The next nugget we can take from this chapter is: "If bad companions tempt you, don't go along with them." So many times we are tempted to follow the crowd, but this can be extremely damaging to our souls if we aren't careful. You all know I love me some Pinterest time and they have some incredible quotes on there about the company we keep.

"Be picky about who you keep around you. Personalities, words, and traits do rub off naturally."

"As much as people refuse to believe it, the company you keep does have an impact and influence on your choices."

"Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than to be in bad company."

It is so important who we choose to be around. We are creatures of habit-- and what we see, we may begin to change into.

The Importance of Wisdom and Knowledge

God warns us of the dangers of not adhering to knowledge and wisdom in Proverbs chapter 1. He writes, "Because you hated knowledge and had nothing to do with the fear of God, because you wouldn't take my advice, and brushed aside all of my offers to train you..... carelessness kills, complacency is murder." (Proverbs 1:31-32)

God says in Proverbs 1:22-24 "How long will you refuse to learn?.... I can revise your life. Look, I'm ready to pour out my spirit on you. I'm ready to tell you all I know. As it is, I've called, but you've turned a deaf ear. I've reached out to you, but you've ignored me."

God wants to give all of us the wisdom and knowledge we need to do good in this life. We cannot be the people we were called to be without wisdom. Without understanding. Without the fear of God. Pride often interferes with this- thinking we 'know it all' or we have nothing to gain from the Word of God. It is a dangerous area to live. 

Peace

Proverbs chapter 1 ends with the verse, "Now you can take it easy- you're in good hands." And there is a wave of peace that rolls over you when you read that.  You're in good hands. You can relax. You are alright. 


I am so excited to continue this journey with you tomorrow. I hope we can all grow and learn from this book-- together. 


Sunday, December 31, 2017

1 Corinthians 13: Love Does Not Give Up on People





1 Corinthians 13:7 states, "Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits." (ERV)

According to Psychology Today, "In 2010, Paul Amato published a review of research on divorce in the prestigious Journal of Marriage and Family. Here is the key take-away: 'At the end of the 20th century, 43% to 46% of marriages were predicted to end in dissolution. Because a small percentage of marriages end in permanent separation rather than divorce, the common belief that about half of all marriages are voluntarily disrupted is a reasonable approximation.'" (LINK)

Now, I first want to start off by saying that if you've been through a divorce, I am in no way judging you for this decision. I know there are circumstances where a marriage is no longer capable of working due to various reasons. You had to make the decision you made for you and your children-- and only you and God know how important this decision was.

Today, I do want to focus on marriages and the importance in not giving up on them.

I read a quote once that stated, "More marriages might survive if couples realized that sometimes the 'better' comes after the 'worse.'" And how true is this? Marriage is full of ups and downs. Our spouses may go through difficult times-- they may change- they may face terrible circumstances-- life may beat them down--

but love doesn't give up on people.
Love doesn't stop trusting.
Love never loses hope.
Love never quits.

It is so easy to have a happy marriage when things are going great in life. When all of your bills are paid, when everyone is healthy, when peace is flowing through your home...


but when the going gets tough- when there isn't enough money in the bank account to pay your electric bill.... when someone is sick... when fear is overwhelming your home.. this is when we have to WORK at our marriages to make sure our vows still hold true.

The traditional wedding vows state:

"I, ___, take you, ___, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part." "I, ___, take you, ___, to be my husband/wife"

But so many times we get focused on the better, richer, and healthy parts that we forget that sometimes our marriages are going to face the worse, poorer, and sickness parts as well-- and our marriages need us to hold on for the ride. Our spouses need us to hold on for the ride.

My husband and I have been married for 7 years this year- and I'll be honest, some days it feels like we have seen more of the worse part of marriage than the better. We have been through a lot in those 7 years and we often find ourselves saying 'if we didn't have bad luck, we wouldn't have any luck at all.' There have been times I would say we both have considered tossing in the towel... waving the white flag and surrendering to life. It wasn't because we didn't love each other-- it was because life was so overwhelming that we were losing sight of the love we have for each other. We would have to step back and fight for our marriage-- fight to overcome to the difficult circumstances-- fight to not blame each other for difficult times-- fight to hold our relationship together and face the situation head on.

I read a blog while studying these verses entitled, "5 Essentials for a Thriving Marriage During Difficulties" by Marquis. (LINK

First was PRAYER.

This is the main thing that should continually be involved in our marriages. Prayer with each other. Pray about the circumstances. Prayer over our attitudes. Prayer of protection of our relationship. Prayer over our spouses. Prayer that we would remember our love for each other-- even when it seems easy to attack one another. Often times, we can't take our anger out on bills unpaid. We can't take our anger out on a sickness attacking us or a relative-- so we find it easier to attack the one person closest to us. This can only damage our relationship. Prayer can heal it.

Second was COMMUNICATION.

Keep an honest line of communication open, especially during difficult times. Your spouse was given to you as a helpmate-- and holding things in can only create an overwhelming amount of bitterness in your spouse and an overwhelming burden on your shoulders. Be honest about your fears-- your concerns--- the weight on your shoulders. Find a moment to talk without distractions or without having to rush. 

Third was SUPPORT.

Be each other's best friend-- ESPECIALLY during difficult times. Try to make them laugh. Bring home a small surprise, even if it's a $.97 card. Stay up late watching movies. Have a date night out. Pick up a hobby together. Spend time with each other. Be best friends. Love each other and be there for each other.

Fourth was REST.

Do things to relieve the stress of your current circumstances. Are you struggling in the financial department? That's alright! A walk through the woods holding hands doesn't cost any money. Are you struggling in the health department? Cuddles in bed with a great movie can still be a relaxing, peaceful moment. Do you want to spend a little money? Go find a suite with a hot tub and spend the evening together. Only have a couple hours without the children? Go check out a movie- sit down at a restaurant- walk around town. Whatever it takes to take time for yourselves. Your relationship deserves it and needs it.

Fifth was FAITH.

Have faith that God Almighty WILL provide what your relationship needs whether it is a financial blessing, a spiritual blessing, a physical blessing. Have faith in God that He has your relationship in His hands. Have faith that He is working everything out for your good. Trust Him with that faith.

All of these work together during difficult times to help us keep a positive attitude-- one that doesn't destroy what God has joined together.

The Bible continually reveals how to have a healthy relationship-- one that thrives and benefits our spirits.

Ephesians 5:25 says, "Husbands, love your wives the same as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it."

Husbands, love your wives. Please, love them. Even during the struggles of this life. I think one of the hardest times of our lives has been when we first started having children. I don't think we argued more than those first years- we were learning so much about each other, so much about being parents. It was overwhelming at times and we honestly could have lost sight of why we fell in love with each other in the first place....

But my goodness, my husband kept loving me. Loved me through my hormone changes during pregnancy. Loved me when I gained weight and had self confidence issues. Loved me when I was exhausted and tired. Loved me when I struggled with anxiety. He loved me. And I truly believe love is what got us through the hard times... and will continue to get us through hard times.

1 Corinthians 7:3 says, " The husband should give his wife what she deserves as his wife. And the wife should give her husband what he deserves as her husband."

Caring for our husbands and wives in every area is crucial to having a satisfying, long lasting marriage. This means caring for our spouse spiritually, emotionally, physically, sexually, financially. Taking care of every area of their life-- that is our mission in this life and something we cannot take lightly. Oftentimes marriages begin to crumble when spouse becomes too preoccupied with other matters-- they begin to neglect their spouse. Remember why you fell in love with him or her in the first place. What made your heart beat faster? What made you want to keep seeing them? Don't forget this- and don't forget to emit it every single day.

I'll be honest- I would say the most trying time in our marriage has been when our daughter was diagnosed with non-verbal Autism. According to an article in the Sage Journals, "Hartley and colleagues (2010) found, in a smaller convenience sample, that 23.5% of parents of children with autism divorced...." Of course, this might sound like a small number, but this means that 1 in 5 marriages where a child has an autism diagnosis typically ends in a divorce. The Sage Journals states, "This can be a product of changing expectations regarding the care and development of the child with autism, the child’s difficult-to-manage behavior, juggling often hectic therapy schedules, financial challenges, and battling with schools and insurance companies to obtain appropriate care....." 

We dealt with so many scary and frustrating situations- especially during the initial diagnosis. I battled with anger towards God. I was bitter and didn't understand why He would want to leave her in this situation. I was mad at myself-- fearful that I didn't do something right, didn't take her to the doctor earlier. We were stressed out because we had to switch insurance companies, take her to therapy appointment after therapy appointment, go to doctor's appointments, complete evaluations that sometimes took hours. Our daughter was diagnosed in January 2015, at 3 years old. And at that point- we also had an almost 2-year old and a 3-month old. It was overwhelming... exhausting... and it began to take a toll on our marriage.

But one night I remember laying in bed talking and my husband said, 'Our love is worth sticking together during this. Remember that. Even on the bad days when we are falling apart, our love is worth sticking together through this." And that's what we did. Of course, we had our arguments. Stress ate away at our souls for a period of time.. but here we are 2 years after the diagnosis... still loving, still pushing forward.

We have been through a lot in our 7 years of marriage, but I am so thankful that God Almighty continually reminds us about 1 Corinthians 13.

Love never gives up on people.
Love never stops trusting.
Love never loses hope.
Love never quits.


Even when it seems easier to give up.
Even when it seems easier to stop trusting God.
Even when it seems easier to lose hope and let go.
Even when it seems easier to quit.


Love holds on.

Today, think back to when you first met your spouse. Where did you meet? What initially attracted you to your spouse? What did you fall in love with about them? What made you want to continue dating them? What made you want to marry them? 

And then ask yourself- have you lost sight of that? Have you forgotten why they stole your heart in the first place?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments! I would love to hear your love story- where you met, who asked who out, why you initially liked your spouse, why you wanted to marry them.... I would love to hear it! 

Don't lose sight of your love for them today. I know life can be tough-- especially when you are going through changes. Especially when the bills aren't paid. Especially when you don't know how you're going to put food on the table. Especially when someone is sick. Especially when a life changing situation is occuring. I know. But remember that God gave you your spouse to help you through it... bless you through it.... He didn't give them to you as a metaphorical punching bag... someone to take your frustration and stress out on. He gave them to you to love.. and for them to love you back and help you through the hard times.

Love never gives up on people.
Love never stops trusting.
Love never loses hope.
Love never quits.

1 Corinthians 13: Love is Not Happy when Others Do Wrong




1 Corinthians 13:6 says, 'Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth." 

While reading this verse, one thing I felt God talking to me about was being an honest friend. 

So many times we encounter situations where honesty would create a God-filled atmosphere, but we often find it easier to be quiet than to disrupt a situation or friendship. 

Love is not happy when others do wrong.
Love is not being content when we see our friends making harmful decisions. 

The Word of God lists many verses about our job to protect one another in this life.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, "So encourage each other and help each other grow stronger in faith, just as you are already doing." (ERV)

We are called to encourage other to grow stronger in faith...
Not encourage other to fall into the pit of anger, idolatry, adultery, bitterness, envy, doing shameful things...


I went through a really difficult time in my life at the beginning of this year. I'm going to be as transparent as I can right now and tell you there were weeks I was going through 7-8 bottles of wine.. alone. I was combating anxiety and hypochondria by being drunk every single night. There was one night I remember being so drunk, I passed out in front of the master bedroom door. I woke up to my then 3-year old screaming for me to wake up and saying 'Mommy please don't die.' I was falling apart... and my husband and children were falling apart along with me. I had close friends that loved me through it, but also didn't sugar coat my situation. They didn't tell me 'Oh, it's okay-- keep doing what you're doing.' They sat me down and were honest- told me I needed to get help. 

They didn't watch me crumble and fall into a pit of sin... and leave me there. They didn't rejoice in the path I was walking down..

They told me the truth. They helped me see the way out.

They never left my side-
but they didn't accept the way I was handling my emotions and mental health.


Most of the times, when our friends are falling into the pit of sin-- it is because their spirits are crushed because of some situation or circumstance. Psalms 82:4 says, "Help those who are poor and helpless. Save them from those who are evil." (ERV) I felt helpless earlier this year-- and as I previously said, most of the time when our friends are filling their lives with harmful activities, it is because they are hurting. We are not called to escalate their harmful activities.. we ARE called to love them and save them from evil! We are called to chase after the needy-- those trying to fill these voids with ways that don't lift up the Lord-- and we are called to save them. To love them. To encourage them. To be there for them. To point them in a healthy direction.

We are called by God-- when He picked our friends-- when He put us in the circumstances to meet our friends-- He called us to protect them and love them and cherish them.

Luke 4:18-19 says, "“The Spirit of the Lord is on me. He has chosen me to tell good news to the poor. He sent me to tell prisoners that they are free and to tell the blind that they can see again.
He sent me to free those who have been treated badly and to announce that the time has come for the Lord to show His kindness." (ERV)

If the Spirit of the Lord is in you--- let it work through you. Help your friends to be free of the things that bind them. Help them to break loose from the chains of this life. Help them to see and feel the love of God.

Love does not rejoice when others do wrong.
Love is happy with the truth.

Love your friends enough to protect them today.
Love them enough to shield them from the pain of this world.
Love them enough to be honest with them.
Love them enough to fight hell for them.
Love them enough to encourage them in faith.
Love them enough to stand up for them.

Love them. Purely and wholly.