Blog Posts 1-30

The Blessing of the Bible Amidst Modern Day Persecution

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 7.53.59 PM.png

I have a confession. My name is Heather and I'm addicted to the Word. 

Sometimes I just relish in the fascination of the privilege we have as free people to get to have and hold onto the Holy written Word of God! Why is this such a big deal? Well beyond the fact that the Bible is the most purchased and most controversial book ever to be recorded, modern-day persecution is still very real. It may not be as prevalent in American territory, but after doing some investigation...it's still a very real and astonishing epidemic: 

According to an article by Fox News World, a study was conducted by the Center for Studies on New Religion in 2016 found:

  • Christians continued to be the most persecuted group across the globe in 2016

  • 600 million Christians were prevented from practicing their faith in 2016

According to Open Doors USA:

Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 8.06.05 PM.png
  • According to The Pew Research Center, over 75% of the world’s population lives in areas with severe religious restrictions (and many of these people are Christians).

  • According to the United States Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Jesus Christ.

 

Let's let that sink in. We are among the minority 25% of the planet that is not considered severely religiously restrictive as America is still considered to be a Christian majority nation. Yet, in another article by Fox News U.S titled, "Discrimination of Christians in America"

"Some 63 percent of Americans agree that Christians are increasingly confronted with intolerance in America, according to a LifeWay Research study conducted via phone surveys in 2015."

 


My goal here is not to light a political debate or strike a match on feelings and opinions. I was just personally curious to find some cold, hard facts. Persecution is real. Oppression and discrimination among many races, religions, regions and personal value systems are real. 

I'm simply suggesting to you that we not take for granted the freedom we've been given in our country and to encourage (put courage into) you to stay the course and stand strong and united as One Church under God because if we allow ourselves to become lukewarm, we run the risk of slow but steady violation of rights. It's been happening and will continue to happen as prophesied in the Bible. THAT is why, Dearest Friend, I want to charge you to get to know this ancient compilation of writings and letters and understand it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 

Get in the Word so the Word will get in YOU! 

But MORE than knowing the Word, get into a deep, intimate relationship with the Author and Creator of the universe! Because the truth is, "all of the Bible is in God, but not all of God is in the Bible." In other words, read beyond the words, go on a journey to understand the context and the history and the HEART of our Father. As you know, there are false prophets and deceivers and they don't always roam around looking like big scary demons in the movies...The enemy is only able to successfully deceive when He uses tactics like he did on Eve in the Garen (Genesis) or like the crap he tried to pull on Jesus Himself. We can't run the risk of allowing the Deceiver, the Accuser of the Brethren, the Father of Lies to know the Word better than we do, right?

Don't just hold it in your hands, hold it in your heart! It's your sword, your weapon...not to be misused by slicing off the ears of our oppressors or to bash other Christians because they may differ in the gray areas of theology (because that would make us like Pharisaical hypocrites)...but rather, knowing how and when to wield our sword realizing that:

For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. -Ephesians 6:12

But I get it. I get MANY messages from readers that Bible reading is a challenge. Some say it's hard to understand. Others say they don't get how it relates to modern life...I totally get it. You're not alone. It's not like I flew out of the womb with an addiction to the Word, it's become an insatiable thirst the more I get in, the deeper I want to go. I believe the same will be true for you. 

If you're having a hard time understanding the value of the Bible or would like some tips, suggestions, assistance, etc. PLEASE reach out. It would be my HONOR to connect you with things that have REALLY helped me in my study and understanding. 

  1. Find me on the YouVersion Bible App. (I talk more about this in Is it a PRAYER Problem or a PRAISE Problem &

  2. Send me a message. I'd love to connect!

Let's Connect! 

Tell me how about your Bible reading journey? What tools, tips and resources have been helpful to you?

Encouragement in Chapter 4 of "Stay the Path"

"The world is in need of many things- peace, hope, discernment, answers- but what this complex and wonderful world needs most is a global church full of genuine Christ followers who have an ear to His Spirit...an ear that can bring the goodness and kindness of God into the backyard of every neighborhood, village, city and nation, ears that can hear the "prophetic heart of God" for people- again, not in a weird and strange way, but in a gracious way that arrests the human soul, enabling people to discover that there truly is a God in Heaven who believes in them." -Bobbie Houston, Stay the Path

 

 

 

Such a timely reminder for us all, isn't it?

The truth is, we don't have to search for troubling information. It's introduced to us by clicking on the news, opening up our social media and in our own personal lives. There are global tragedies, national disasters, controversy, and personal battles we all face. But what this book passage petitions us all is to readjust our focus. Are WE as the Church keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and attuning our ears to His Spirit? Sure we have to engage and (sometimes) respond to the afflictions of this world...but for me, I choose to use my voice to not spew my opinions more than I attempt to be a voice of love and truth to help point people back to The Way. And yes, it's hard. Really hard. 

Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. - Colossians 3:2

But may I just suggest to those of you who know Jesus and journey through His Word...we're in a battle; this is war. Sinners sin. And we know the end...there is victory found in Jesus. Let's engage above all else with the Great Commission

The Good News is we have the answer to death, destruction, depression, and decay...JESUS! He is the Way, The Truth, and The Life (John 14:6). We have the Holy Spirit, our Guide, Comforter, and Advocate. We have the Holy Word of God. And we have each other, the Church, the community of believers. 

Let's not be wavering in faith, flailing around like a fart in the wind, tossed like waves in a raging sea....we can stand and #LIVEUNSHAKEABLE! 

How to ensure we're keeping our focus:

  1. Stay in community (Church)

  2. Invest in intentional time in the study of God's word

  3. Prayer is POWERFUL!

Preorder Christine Caine's new 365-day devotional, Unshakable releasing October 24, 2017! 

 

 

 

Redirection

train.jpg

 

Isn't it crazy how life is? We sometimes cruise down a path at remarkable speeds toward a life we think we desire but it's ultimately taking us farther away from our true Divine purpose.

Destruction often starts off subtle ya know, just a slight switch off at first can result in a completely crazy journey that leads you farther away the further you go.....#BUTGOD He's always there; faithfully.

It's up to us to make the decision to stop the chaos and switch direction (repent) and He promises to clearly illuminate the path of His perfect will with peace and clarity, unmistakable.

I'm so thankful I was brave enough to switch my path. Alcohol, sex...none of it satisfied. It actually robbed me of joy, peace and true security.. It's true, ya know, He does bless obedience. I'm living proof. #PreachinIt #TellTheWorld #GodIsGood#JesusJesusJesus #Delivered #SetFeee#SetApart

Let's Connect! 

The Messy Middle

I was so challenged recently after sitting under the incredible teaching of Paul Scanlon in "Growing Big People" seminar and his stretching sermon at Hillsong Phoenix on Sunday September 10, 2017 entitled, "The Agony of Divine Delay"

Recently I came to realize the style of my writing has changed drastically from writing from personal experience to more of an informative, article-type writing. Although I do pray that all I publish is God-glorifying and helpful to all readers, I fear that I am missing the opportunity to share my heart with by allowing you, Dear Reader to see into the full reality of my life experience. 

 

The truth is, I don't "have it all together" and I would never want to portray that I'm some bulletproof, fearless and fail-proof expert at life. Ha! Far from it! 

 

I wrote in HeatherFerroni.com...REALLY?! that I desire more to be known well rather than be well known. So, forgive me if I've painted an inaccurate representation and created a valley rather than building a bridge between us. 

I recently took a HUGE leap of faith and resigned from my job to embark on a new chapter of my career path. I willingly left the security of a salary to work independently and start my own company (Elite TC Solutions). Although I am confident it was the right decision to make at the right time, it's no less frightening. 

 

Well-meaning Christians sometimes inadvertently propose that faith and fear cannot exist together. Well, I'm here to confirm, that is simply just not true!

 

In the waiting period of moving out of my job and into my new assignment, I spent a lot of time in prayer and reflection. The Lord brought me back to the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews 11:

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see -Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

I'd be lying if I said the voice of the Accuser didn't offer me negative thoughts and that the spirit of fear didn't try to consume me with thoughts like "What are you thinking?! What if this plan doesn't work? You might fail and end up broke and destitute." ...But I had to (and have to continually) choose to be anchored in the truth and promises of God's word. 

As I read on Hebrews 11 and reflected on others in the Bible, I recounted the stories of: 

Moses, Abel, Enoch, NoahAbraham, Sarah, Joseph, David, Joshua, Obediah, Elijah, Jonah, the people of Israel, Rahab, Mary Magdalene, the 12 disciples, Paul, Timothy, and JESUS! 

  • How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. (Hebrews 11:32)

We'd be foolish to assume none of these historical power-player people of God weren't afraid. They endured battles, fears, opposition, war, threats, persecution and eventually death yet persisted despite their fear without having a clue what the next chapter contained. In fact, we learn that many of these people actually didn't receive the promises of God this side of Heaven. They persisted anyway. And I believe that we can borrow strength and courage from their stories to encourage us on our path when we face terrifying trials.

"We need champions from this zone. We need heroes in the middle to stand up and say 'I don't know what the outcome is'" -Paul Scanlon

 

So here I confess...I don't know what is contained within the pages of this next chapter of my life. 

 

I just know I am choosing to persist in faith, with confidence that God is in complete control. He hasn't failed me yet and He wouldn't give me clearance to leave this last job without already being in my future, already at work orchestrating new connections, supplying me with supernatural strength, courage and wisdom with my next steps. So, instead of anxiety, I'm choosing excitement to embark on this new adventure. I may not see the entire staircase, but He's illuminated my next step. With the Word of God in my heart, I know:

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. -Psalm 119:105


I write this as a prophetic declaration of faith for myself to reflect back on AND to let you know that if you're in the messy middle...your message is in the making! I write this to encourage (to put courage into) you that there is The God of Heaven who loves you and desperately desires to meet you right where you are and walk with you. The way to Him is choosing to surrender your life to Jesus, the Prince of Peace as your Lord and Savior and when you do, you will gain immediate and irrevocable access to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, your Guide, Counselor, Advocate, and Intercessor. 

If you'd like to surrender your life to Christ, click on the button above. And please, reach out to me. Know that I am available to walk with you through this decision and it would be my honor to stand with you in prayer in whatever you are going through. I won't try to "fix" you. I won't pretend to have all the answers to your problems. But I will be your judgment-free friend to show you the grace and mercy of Jesus. 

Let's Connect! 

BIG Kingdom Projects

I am so very honored to get to participate in some BIG Kingdom projects in the Phoenix area and beyond! I want to include YOU, Dearest Beloved to join me on these exciting endeavors! 

Stay the Path

My local church is participating together as a #Sisterhood as we journey together through Pastor Bobbie Houston's newest book, Stay the Path: Navigating the Challenges and Wonders of Life, Love and Leadership. If you're in the Phoenix area, I encourage you to join us on Thursday mornings at each campus. (More information can be found here). If you're not able to join us live, each campus will be hosting an online study via our Facebook Group page. 

 

 

Unshakeable  

Christine Caine is releasing her new book, a 365 day Devotional, Unshakable 365 Devotions for Finding Unwavering Strength in God’s Word on October 24, 2017! Praying this is a spirit-strengthening resource that will bless the masses and circulate the earth for decades to come! 

First 1,000 people to pre-order are eligible to receive a beautiful hand-lettered print of Hebrews 12:27, (2) exclusive cell phone wallpapers, & a bonus gift for additional resources.

 

 

A21 Walk for Freedom

On October 14th, 2017 A21 will be facilitating the 4th annual Walk for Freedom in 600 cities, in 50 countries and in all 50 states in the US. This silent, single-file 3 mile walk doesn't just create awareness...it creates real, lasting CHANGE! This will be my 3rd year participating and I'd like to personally invite YOU now to join in 3 powerful ways:

1. Join Us

If you're in AZ, please register and walk with us: Team "Unstoppable AZ". If you're outside PHX, please register for the walk nearest you!

2. Invite Others

Team "Unstoppable AZ" has a goal to have 100 people join our team. Although that may seem like an audacious goal, it's simple. If 20 people commit to inviting 5 others to join, we'll meet or exceed our goal! Who will you extend an invite to participate in a life-changing experience?

3. Fundraise

Unstoppable AZ is committed to raising funds to fuel the effort to save more people from human slavery AND bring justice to the enslavers. We are believing for $2,000 raised among our team! That's a small amount if you think about it! Here's a breakdown of some very do-able solutions:

  • 20 people raise $100 each

  • 100 people raise $20 each

  • 50 people raise $40 each

How can this be done? Simple: Ask. 

And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong--you want only what will give you pleasure. - James 4:3

I believe deep in the spirit of every human, there is a desire to play a part in a cause greater than ourselves. Raising funds for this cause is A cure to a very real human crisis and we must respond to the solution.  I encourage you to carve out some time to browse A21.org to see for yourself the cause and the effect this crisis has AND (more importantly) what is ACTUALLY being done about it. Read the stories of freedom, track the numbers of success. 

 

Hillsong Phoenix |  Glendale Campus  

I have been serving in my local church for over 2 years now and it's been the greatest blessing in my life! I've had the honor of serving in multiple capacities from day-to-day ministry, serving at big events, leading Connect Groups, etc. I wrote quite a bit about my experience in Welcome HOME! The friendships I've made, the personal growth I've experienced, the leadership I serve under and the servant leaders I get to do life with are truly remarkable! I'm thrilled that we are "One House with Many Rooms" and our home is expanding to the NW Valley/Glendale area! 


As I write this, I am reflecting on the blessings and redirections in my life within the past couple years. So much has happened, SO many stories I could share. But here's one many do not know. In December 2016, after much prayer and fasting I took a HUGE leap of faith and went through a very long and detailed application process to enroll for a 3-year program in a well-known ministry school in northern California. I was rejected. Yes, REJECTED! As soon as I read that rejection email I just KNEW it was God. I heard Him speak to my spirit: "Heather, it was an excercise of faith. I pulled on you to apply, you did. But I need you to trust me with your path. I have other plans for you. Stay put and work joyfully where I've placed you."  It's hard to imagine being anywhere else, doing anything else with anyone else. I'm joyfully working with what I've been given and am praying with eager anticipation for what my eyes will witness as we open more doors to welcome people HOME! 

If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities. -Luke 16:10 NLT

Let's Connect! 

Won't you join us: Stay the Path study, Unshakeable Pre-Order, A21 Walk for Freedom and visit us at Hillsong Phoenix! 

The Gift of Rest

I actually felt "bad" for sleeping in.
Ever feel that way? 
It's silly, really.

he is good.jpg


We are commanded to rest, yet we too often buy into the pressures of the world to always be "busy". We neglect the limited opportunities to relish the moment of having no demands. We adopt the lie that to be STILL is to be LAZY. It's the "American Way." We're behind the curve, just barely starting to discover how to work SMARTER not harder. After much deterioration caused by the addiction to work- a broken society raising our kids, families being split, always focused on getting to the next level, achievement over relationship, striving for MORE.

We need a revival of rest, don't we?! Gonna get back to learning what scripture has to say about it in Hebrews 4

"So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into Gods rest have rested from their labor, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest." (Heb 4:9-11)

So here it is, Sis...me echoing God's command to REST! Prioritize it. Put it in your time block. (More on the topic of time blocking in "Morning Motivation Routine") Intentionally schedule and adhere to a sabbath day (or night). Allow nothing but a severe emergency infringe on that time.

Let's Connect! 

How do you prioritize and safeguard your rest?

Morning Motivation Routine

Do you ever find it challenging to get up and going for the day? You're not alone. Me too! I am definitely NOT a morning person. I find myself most creative and alive at night...and maybe that's because I am a caffeine addict with an overly analytical and creative mind and I'm just jacked by the end of the day. #ExcitmentInsomnia is also a very real struggle! 

Here I give you 5 main practices that help me "Arise and Shine" ready to conquer a new day:

 

1. Reverse Engineer the day

IMG_1068.JPG

I have become a master at time blocking. It's a method I've learned while working with Keller Williams and while reading "The One Thing" by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. (Highly recommend). The idea is to insert all important dates and tasks in your calendar like appointments, birthdays, meetings, vacations, and events as well as your "big rocks" which are your MUST DO's for the day or week. These are often recurring and strategically scheduled tasks that you absolutely MUST get done without distraction. Maybe it's scheduling one hour to respond to all unanswered texts, Facebook messages, and emails. Maybe it's scheduling your exercise time. To date, I currently manage 8 separate color coded calendars with alerts (sometimes 2) that sync with my phone. Although I'm not 100% flawless and sometimes deviate from my tasks, I find that I run a pretty highly efficient life and before deciding to take on new tasks and projects, instead of saying "No way, I'm too busy" I have adopted a "Let me consult with God and my calendar and get back with you" response. Christine Caine and friends taught me in the Propel Women teaching series that "Saying 'yes' to some things will mean having to say 'no' to other things." And that it's best to ensure I'm staying in sync with God's will first then my calendar of tasks second. 

Before starting a new day, I prep the night before by checking my calendar and work backward from when I need to turn the lights out and then I set alarms for the next day.

 

2. Set Alarms

alarms.jpg

I set multiple alarms in the morning and throughout the day. I find it helps keep me on pace for success. Here's an example of alarms I set for an ideal day: 

  1. It's a Beautiful Day.........5:50am

  2. Jesus & Bible Time........6:15am

  3. Get Ready........................7:00am

  4. Leave.................................7:40am

  5. Work...................................8:00am

  6. 7 Minute Workout..........10:30am...... Read more about one of my fave fitness apps!

  7. #MiddayBabyMidday.....12:00pm......As part of the global #SisterHoodFightClub

  8. Fruit Check.......................3:30pm........SEE BELOW!

  9. Wrap the Day & Pray......8:45pm

  10. Read....................................9:00pm

  11. Lights Out.........................10:15pm

 

 

*What is "Fruit Check" you ask? Well, it's my daily reminder to do some internal prayer investigation of the fruit of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23. It's just my way of checking in with myself before God and having a midday alignment meeting with my Father. What needs tweeking and adjusting? 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;

 

3. Bedside Light

When my first alarm goes off, I reach over to flick on the bedside lamp. And then, I will more than likely roll back over to catch a few more minutes of rest before my snooze alerts me again. I don't like an abrupt beginning to my day. I intentionally craft my morning to allow me to awaken and arise gradually. (I know what my mom friends are thinking..."Enjoy it while you can!". Oh, I am. I am. I can't wait for the day I get to be a mom and have human alarms and intend to enjoy every moment of autonomy until that blessed day comes!) I find that the light is another sensory way to allow my body to transition from night to day.

 

4. Light a Candle or Oil Diffuser

I love smell goods anyway but lighting a candle first thing in the morning also stimulates my senses and helps me awaken nicely. I've also started using an essential oil diffuser (pretty much all day, at night and in the morning!) 

Sometimes when I find myself in a particularly hard season...you know those times where you are incessantly praying and approaching God with bold, audacious prayers...sometimes I use a prayer candle. Now before you go on assuming I'm some religious wack job, please know I've been rescued from that nonsense...it's just that sometimes I've found it helpful to implement different systems and tools to assist in keeping my head and heaven and my feet on the ground. I'll go buy a white sanctuary candle from the dollar store and light it in the morning. I'll light it and spend some dedicated time in prayer and reflection. In my Catholic upbringing, we learned the symbolism of white candles: White = purity. Flame = Holy Spirit. Smoke symbolizes intercession. For me it's not about religious ritual as it is a help to keep me focused on the Majesty of God. 

 

5. Motivation

Once prayer and devotional time are done, I often need a jolt to my day. I brew a Nespresso (also on my bedside table!) and put on some motivational tracks. A few years ago I came upon Steven Furtick's motivational piece, "I Will Fight" and committed it to memory. I have saved it on my YouTube Favorites as well as in my "Motivation" playlist in Apple Music so that it's easily accessible. I sometimes start my day with this scripture saturated mantra and even midday if I need an extra shot of strength and courage. I hope it blesses you! 

What are YOUR morning motivational tips and tricks?

 

 

#FunFactFriday : How I Became A Writer

I realized recently my style of writing has progressed from journaling about my personal experiences to more informational, "article" type writing. Although I do make an effort to tie in my personal life experiences as I strive to share encouraging, uplifting, and practically helpful content so you, my Dearest Reader, can walk away with something of value. I pray I deliver on that desire! And I hope it blesses your life! 

I attribute my love for writing mostly to my Dad. Even when I was just an infant, my teenage father showed a deep desire for me to be well educated. So much so, he purchased an expensive set of encyclopedias that are still adorned on the entertainment center in my grandparent's living room.

Who remembers the time encyclopedia salesmen would come to your home to sell you on an overpriced set of books...wait...maybe a better question is: WHO KNOWS WHAT AN ENCYCLOPEDIA IS?! Thank you for the invention of the internet and Wikipedia! haha. 

 

When I was in 6th grade my dad moved from Arizona to Wyoming. He got the brilliant idea of starting a creative co-writing story.  I began writing a story and left it hanging and mailed (yes, SNAIL mailed) it to my dad for him to pick up where I left off and continue the story however he wanted. He'd then send it back to me to continue and we would just write and send back and forth. Lord only knows where that silly story is these days but it was SO exciting to get that letter in the mail and have that creative, long-distance bonding moment with my dad. 

Back in those days, it was before touch screen smart phones, before the easy access to high speed internet, even before I had dial-up access to good 'ole yellow running man of AOL. We would speak infrequently using 1-800-COLLECT  -OR- using calling cards.....and man, did that get expensive! Ha ha. I giggle as I know many of you have NO idea about these things or how easy we have it these days. Yes, it's a little glory moment of aging myself. Betcha didn't know I have gray hair too, did ya?! 

Okay, I digress....back to my early days of writing...

My parents were so young when I was born. Mom was almost 20 and dad had just turned 18!  I was also the first born in both families, so I grew up with lots of love and influence from my surrounding family. I'd frequently spend the weekends with my grandparents or aunts and uncles. I distinctly remember my Aunt Kerry teaching me how to say "Hair Accessory" around the ripe 'ol age of maybe 3?! I've always liked words. I like learning new words. I like looking words up in the dictionary and thesaurus.  I like studying synonyms, antonyms, and even ancient Hebrew, Greek, and Latin roots and meanings of words. 

In elementary school, English was my favorite subject. All the way through middle school and college, I could easily crank out a paper or report with ease. I admit I would frequently procrastinate and then just knock it out within a couple hours and get fantastic grades without even really trying. 

Many don't know this, but I've been blogging for nearly 15 years now. Mostly just as a form of creative expression (aka therapy). I've never really been a big self-promotion person but over the years I've been blessed with some really incredible feedback from readers. People I know personally and those from the other side of the world have sent me messages and comments sharing their own personal experiences and how my writing has helped them, encouraged them and felt like I was having a conversation directly with them, reading the lyrics to their heart song they couldn't even express themselves. 

So there ya have it, the beginnings of my passion for writing! 

#NerdofTheWord #WordGirl #WordUp #WordsAreMyLoveLanguage 


Do you have a passion for writing or blogging? If so, drop your blogspace in the comments! I'd love to connect with you! 

What to Do When People Do You Dirty

Ever found yourself utterly dumbfounded when someone straight up does you dirty? Gosh, I've been there...so many stories I could tell. It's hard to keep your cool and your soul clean when you've straight up been violated. Maybe someone stole from you, told lies about you, blamed you for something you didn't do, assaulted your character, or someone you trusted cheated you. 

I come before you today with some challenging #SoulChecks to help you overcome a hurtful situation to help you become MORE than a conqueror and a VICTOR rather than a victim. I write from the space of having overcome some tough stuff and having to shift my internal feelings to eternal truths. And I write as a record to reflect back on when facing difficult trials.

 

You get to choose: Bitter or Better

The hard truth is, you can't change what happened to you...but you CAN decide what happens within you. Are you going to be a victim of your circumstance or choose to be victorious by being brave courageous and going through the process of your own heartwork to ensure you are living in accordance with our Father's will? 

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. -Ephesians 4:31 ESV


In my early 20's I had two roommate situations that ended very badly. When I was 22 I decided to leave everything I had ever known and move from AZ to Colorado. I bravely and foolishly found a man with basement for rent on Craigslist and moved in. {CRAZY, I know!} For my first few months I slept in this stranger's basement on an air mattress. {Thank you, Shawn for not being a serial killer.} Ha. Then I met Bailey. She was a younger girl that was a friend of a friend and she was looking for a new living situation. Although I didn't know her very well,  we found a beautiful, newly renovated apartment and agreed to sign a 6 month lease together. Well, 4 months in I came home one day to a disaster. She had moved out  and left a horrific mess. Oh, and on top of it, she went through my belongings and stole some important items. Like the Coach purse my mom bought me for high school graduation, the diamond ring my stepdad gave me one Valentine's Day, and the Tiffany Ring I bought myself at 18 when I got my first check with a comma in it. (Among many other items). I was furious. There was trash strewn everywhere and I discovered her dog had used her bedroom as a giant potty pad and literally had to cut dog poop out of the carpet. Gross. 

This caused me such financial distress. I had to make payment arrangements with the apartment manager to cover the full $1,000 rent on my own and beg them to change the locks even though she was still on the lease. One day I came home to find the electricity had been turned off. Bailey had put the account in her name and I would pay her my portion. Evidently she never paid the electric company. Another time I heard a knock at my door to find the Rent-A-Center representative there looking to confiscate the couch she had failed to make payments on. And yet another time I came home to a court notice that Bailey failed to pay back a payday loan and was facing a lawsuit. It was a disaster. She never answered the phone or returned my calls. But, clearly there was a pattern of irresponsibility. 

At the end of the lease, I moved into a one bedroom apartment I could afford. But I still ended up in collections for a couple thousand dollars for the damages of that apartment and had to struggle to pay every cent to clear it off my credit. Even though it wasn't my fault. 

 

You can't play victim to your own decisions

Sometimes, even with the best intentions, things go sour and sideways. There will be times others will abuse your good will and slap you with the same hand you tried to help them up with. Sometimes we suffer due to the consequences of our own disobedience and not using the gift of discernment we are equipped with as a Holy Spirit filled believer. But, through these unfortunate situations, we get to ask God to reveal the greater lessons He wants us to learn. It doesn't mean we become bitter or hard-hearted and choose to be unloving and guarded, but rather lean into the Lord and get clearance from Him what missions to subscribe to and which partnerships are healthy and God-glorifying and which situations to give into His hands. 


Learn to be a fruit inspector

Part of growing in wisdom is learning how to become a good fruit inspector. There are 9 attributes of Godly character and a Holy Spirit driven life as written in Galatians:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; -Galatians 5:22,23

On the contrary, we are also given some qualities of the flesh that are opposed to the Spirit. When these desires are present, they are obvious:

  • Sexual immorality

  • Impurity

  • Sensuality

  • Idolatry

  • Sorcery

  • Enmity

  • Strife

  • Jealousy

  • Fits of anger

  • Rivalries

  • Dissensions

  • Divisions

  • Envy

  • Drunkenness

  • Orgies

  • ...And things like these.

We have to be willing to allow others to exercise their own free will. Even those we love. We may want more for them, we may want to help them as much as we can...but remember...we're called to be LIKE Jesus, not BE Jesus. Take caution not to develop a "savior complex" and put yourself in a position to actually block the work of the Lord for TRUE and LASTING transformation because we're enabling and coloring it as being loving. Prayer is powerful. Ask the Lord to lead you, strengthen you and give you supernatural wisdom for engaging in tough situations and relationships with people living with rampant, unrepented sin. 

 


Choose Peace

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. -Romans 12:18 NIV

I know it's not easy to feel peace in the midst of a dirty situation. But we mustn't operate in feelings but by choice. We can't allow the actions of others to pull us out of Kingdom Character. Why? Because as a believer, we are held to a higher standard as a representative of Christ. And, may I remind you...Jesus modeled this for us. He was crucified for no just cause. He chose death WILLINGLY in order to pardon OUR sins and reconcile us back in unfiltered relationship with the Father. So, when you find yourself in the thick of emotions, consult with Jesus. Ask Holy Spirit (our counselor, guide and advocate) to comfort us so that we can respond appropriately and live free from a sickness of heart. Try to find an amicable solution...however know when you’re dealing with an unreasonable fool..check out the Proverbs about fools….


Hold your tongue

Nowhere in The Great Commission does it say “and set all the fools straight” ...choose your battles and protect your sanity. Sometimes the wisest thing we can do is say nothing at all. But when we decide to speak up, it's important to do so with wisdom and guidance from the Lord. We want to ensure our words are honest and life giving, drenched with grace and mercy. We cannot be responsible for the actions, reactions or responses from others but we can decide which arguments to engage with and which to leave to the Lord for vindication. Know that the Lord sees injustice and will deal with it accordingly. Pray for blessing and mercy over your wrongdoers knowing that most often hurting people hurt people, but YOU, my dear friend are healed; sanctified and set free. Live in that reality. 


Yep, I'll say it.... the "F word" 

Forgive.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. -Colossians 3:13 NIV

I'm not saying it's easy. It can be really, REALLY hard. And it will be an ongoing choice. Because you serve a just God, you have a heart of justice. Just be cautious so as not to allow the root of unforgiveness to contaminate your heart. Because, if we're being honest, we've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) 

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. -Romans 3:23, 24

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:32 NLT

Let's Connect! 

Was this helpful for you today? What lessons has God brought you through in difficult situations?

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Do you find yourself sometimes burdened and overwhelmed by the fears, worries, craziness, and chaos of life? Oh gosh, me too. I find that because I live such a full and rewarding life with ministry, business, blogging, planning and attending events, building relationships, frequent meetings and phone calls, and working on upcoming projects, if I'm not careful I can easily get spun out and overwhelmed. Sound like you? 

#FridayFaves | Old Testament Story

#FridayFaves | Old Testament Story

n today's edition of #FridayFaves, I share one of my favorite OT stories.

 

I can't tell you how many times people have been super honest with me about their challenges with consistent bible reading. Maybe you experience the same challenges: 

  1. It can be difficult to understand (lots of hard to pronounce words, lineage and history)

  2. It can be difficult to relate to our modern day lives.

Hey, I totally get it. Listen, I felt that way too. Don't feel discouraged if bible reading isn't fully your jam (yet). It's not like any of us popped out of the womb knowing how to thumb through the scriptures and with full understanding of it's contents. Even doctorate-level theologians had to start the same way we all do. And let me just say, if you struggle with getting excited about diving into the OT because you think it's boring...stick with me, I'll help break it open in a way that  you'll develop an insatiable hunger ignited by the Holy Spirit and you will likely become a #NerdoftheWord too! :) 

Are Dreams from God?

Are Dreams from God?

Have you ever wondered if your dreams are from God? 

As I draw in closer to God and study His Word and understand His majesty and sovereignty, I am a firm believer that dreams and visions are in fact a powerful communication method between God and us. Sometimes dreams are literal, sometimes they are symbolic and we know this when we study the scriptures.

Every time dreams are mentioned in scripture, they’re always a message from God. Not one time are we given an example of a dream that is NOT from God. So then, why do we question our dreams or feel like they’re completely unrelated to God communicating with us?

When You Don't "FEEL" Like Working

When You Don't "FEEL" Like Working

We've all been there...that moment when you just don't "FEEL" like working...especially on a Saturday...or a Monday...

Hey, look...I get it...some days it's hard to be excited about #adulting...but I want to challenge you with some thought-provoking, mindset-shifting things to consider about your job, your workplace and your assignment: 

Work is a form of worship

Honor your assignment