You are Not Alone … 

Kari Jobe sings a song titled:   You Are Not Alone – Kari Jobe

And, as I traveled to Belgium this past week … alone … I kept remembering I wasn’t alone, even when I felt like I was!  I believed God was with me every step of the way.  But, because I felt a bit more vulnerable given world events, and as a flight was cancelled, another delayed, and yet another missed … I kept saying to my Lord and Savior … I need you, I lean on you, I trust you … for I know I am not alone – You are always with me, making a way when there seems to be none!  I had to consciously allow what I knew to get down into my heart, reassuring myself of truth, and in that I found peace and favor.

This trip reminded me how easily it can be to forget to invite God throughout our routine … cause, well … we got this one covered, we’ve done this before.  As I felt desperate, I noticed how consciously and quickly I ran to God!

Whether you are in your routine day or facing a great adventure or challenge of life, I encourage you to know and believe that if you believe in God, though Jesus Christ … He is with you, always!  He loves YOU!  As you open your heart to Him … developing the personal relationship with Him that He so desires, ask Him to guide your steps, to show you the way, for His ways are truly better than ours, as He knows our beginning from the end.

This little trip reminded me that challenges are not bad … they can be redirecting us into something better; they can help us grow stronger in our trust In Christ; they can open our eyes to things the Lord wants to show us … and on and on.  Truth is that God knows our needs and as we seek Him … He guides us down the path He has planned for us.  Jeremiah 29:11

Be encouraged, you are not alone.  No matter how dark it may seem, you are loved – He gave His life for you.  Ask and receive that love and guidance today!

God’s Love and Blessings, Michelle

Jeremiah 29:11-12 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear your voice and I will listen to you.

 

You Win!

Time for a ‘good news’ story … something personal.  I was really struggling the last few months, walking through some painful stuff.  And, as a result, I was withdrawing and even losing hope … you ever been there?

Well, when things were looking pretty dark for me one day a few weeks back, I cried out to God like David in the Psalms; and I also reached out to a strong Godly woman I met at church.  I shared some portion of my story and asked her to stand with me in prayer (Matthew 18:20).  See the problem is I allowed myself to get to a point I forgot who I was … who I am because of Jesus and what HE did on the cross for me.  So, I was cowering a bit, losing confidence, mostly focused on the problems and not the solutions.

But she reminded me what I knew to be true ~ that I (and you) are victorious because Jesus already won the battles for us ~ no matter what IT is we’re going through.

Scripture says we’re not fighting flesh and blood, but principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:12).  And because of Jesus, those destructive things are under our feet and have NO power over us.  (James 4:7; Hebrews 2:7-9; Luke 10:19; …)  She reminded me that I am empowered through Christ.  And, I am to stand, not whimper.  And, so I did.

The next morning, I re-read what God says about me ~ and any circumstance any one of us is walking through ~ and I stood up again to fight using God’s Words … my sword, my shield of faith and the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) … and I told the principalities and powers they had no power over my circumstances; I told them with conviction who reigned in my life and that nothing could come against me and my household that God has not already overcome.

See the problem is no matter how strong our faith, when the proverbial ‘stuff’ hits the fan, we have a choice.  We either believe God’s Word or we don’t at that moment, in that particular circumstance!  Depending on where you’re at, you may say you know of or even believe in a God out there somewhere.  Or you may be able to quote scripture.  BUT, if God isn’t real in your heart; and if God’s Word (scripture) is not real to you and me on a daily basis, then it has no value/power.

God loves you and me so much, that He sent us a solution to every problem; the ability to walk through no matter what comes against us.  He sent Jesus and HIS Holy Spirit to dwell in us, to fill us with wisdom, strength, power and love.  But, the rest is up to us each and every time we face a challenge.

So, in the last three weeks, I have seen a complete turn-around!!  I am so grateful to God …. daily!  But, we must remember, we have to stand, and we must believe each and every day, through each and every challenge (since we know satan’s job description is to steal, kill and destroy us).

I hope you are encouraged to do the same no matter what you face.  BTW, a great resource is a book called ‘The Believer’s Authority’ by Kenneth E. Hagin.  The best resource, of course, is the Bible … get to know your loving Father God, what HE promised you and then stand and fight equipped, knowing you are victorious!  What ever you are facing is no surprise to God.  He is just waiting for you to seek Him and grab hold of everything HE has ever done for you, and you WIN!

God’s Love and Blessings,
Michelle

 

Oh, To Be Set Free ..

Have you ever hungered to be set free … tired of carrying such deep wounds, anger, bitterness?  How often we feel a weight and don’t even know what to call it!  Is it a never-ending sadness, cynicism, bitterness, …  what is it in your life?

Free

There were years when I carried this huge weight of anger and unforgiveness. But, most of those years I was in denial ~ and though my actions may have showed rage ~ I was convinced I had life, and myself, well under control.  Nothing could have been farther from the truth.

 for I see that your bitterness has poisoned you and
evil has you in chains”  Acts 8:23 (CEB)

Others may well have understood I was poisoned by bitterness and bound, but not I ~ until events/circumstances brought me to my knees, and I made a choice to hand it all over to God ~ and with that, I received His unconditional love and freedom!  Oh, by God’s grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ, I am free!

You can be too!!

When I see that deep hurt in others, I so desperately want to share how they can be free as well.  But often times … like I was back then … eyes are blinded, hearts hardened and not open to this gift!  (“…among them the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving to prevent them from seeing the illuminating light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God…” 2 Corinthians 4:4 (AMP)

To all th0se hurting, whether by people, events or even church … please know there is help.  Know this to be true:

God loves you so very much, just where you’re at ~ no matter what is going on.  He is not angry, His arms are reaching out to you!  He simply wants your willingness to reach out to Him and ask for help!

God makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet … God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he’s rich in love. He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear (in awe of) him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins. Psalm 103:6-18 MSG

I distinctly remember the day I began the journey of healing … oh, that you may allow His Love in, beginning today!  I encourage you to pray this prayer, and receive His pure love and freedom:

Dear God, I know that I’m a sinner and that my sin separates me from You.  I realize that I can’t do anything to earn my way into heaven.  I believe that Jesus took the punishment for my sins by dying on the cross and coming back to life. Today I accept Him as my Savior and Lord.  Thank You for forgiving me and saving me now. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen

God’s Love and Blessings to you,
Michelle
coachfromtheheart@gmail.com

Child-like expectation …

Have you ever watched a child, excitedly sharing their stories with someone they love and trust?  They are filled with so much passion, expression and joy!  And, as we listen and respond, they hang onto every word we say!  Oh, that look in their eyes … that innocence … and that expectation!  Think about it for a moment …

That, my friend, is what God is seeking from us … that relationship ~ sharing our heart with Him, no matter what we are thinking/feeling; and then that childlike faith [trusting, humble, and forgiving] ~ hanging on to His every Word.  He longs for that openness and expectancy on our part ~ to seek Him and believe ~ to receive His perfect love, His perfect healing, His perfect wisdom, everything we need!

“unless you repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives], and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving] … ” Matthew 18:3 Amplified

I have a friend who is inspiring me and why I am blogging today.  This young lady, a new believer, recently received a diagnosis of cancer.  To watch her faith grow exponentially, to see her ability to find joy In Christ, in the midst of reports of chemo and radiation; to hear her talk of the blessings, in the midst of this whirlwind … increases my faith, as I share God’s Word with her!!!

“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses].”
Hebrews 11:1

What are we hoping for in that scripture?  As we read throughout the Bible, we find God’s promises for us, through Jesus Christ.  And, as we excitedly find out what He says …. we can stand in faith … the assurance of things hoped for … but not yet seen.

Take courage, whatever you face, God says HE is with you, HE will never leave you, HE is your refuge …. what are you hoping for that aligns with HIS Word/promises?

“… and the prayer of faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”  James 5:15 Amplified

“But without faith, it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists, and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6

Seek HIM with that child-like faith ~ expectation, anticipation … for HE loves you and will walk with you no matter how difficult the journey!

God’s Love and Blessings,
Michelle

A reality check … Raw and real …

My dear friend, Pastor Terry Hoggard and his wife frequently make a ministry video blog which they call – Raw and Unedited.  I feel like my blog today is just that … raw … and real.

You may recall last month I referenced Psalm 91 … resting ‘in the shadow of the Almighty.’   Shortly after writing, I re-read the entire chapter … about how God will protect us as we stand in His shadow ~ His refuge, … but … to my stunned amazement, I heard deep inside of me ‘right, like that’s going to happen.’  WHAT WAS THAT … here I am, a believing woman who encourages others In Christ … where did that thought come from … what did that say about my faith?  WOW, I was blown away!

And, since hypocrisy is a hot button for me, I couldn’t encourage anyone else until I figured this out.  The root question became … did I really believe what the Word of God says?  I thought of that scripture in Mark where the …

 “father of the boy cried out [with a desperate, piercing cry], saying, “I do believe; help [me overcome] my unbelief.”

Unbelief … yikes, I’m so thankful God loves me all of the time, and, I thank Him for revealing this to me!  So I asked God for help to better understand … and my focus went to the beginning and end of Psalm 91.  It starts out saying:

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust [with great confidence, and on whom I rely]!”
Amplified

that means …

  • we need to dwell [like a permanent resident] …
  • we need to truly recognize Him as our refuge [condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble] … and 
  • we need to put our trust in Him [confidence, rely on] ~ that’s the relationship he wants with us!! 

Think of your shadow as you stand in the sun, it wouldn’t take much to be out of the shadow, right?  God says stay close to me … under my wings, in my shadow …  that is where we will find refuge; envision me holding you in the palm of my hands.

 But, if we choose to focus on the pain in/around us, we ‘move out’ of the dwelling place!  

So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  But when he saw [the effects of] the wind, he was frightened, and he began to sink, and he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus extended His hand and caught him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Believing and dwelling all ties together!  What are you believing God for?  While you wait, are you ‘dwelling’ in His presence, seeing him as your ‘refuge’ and ‘trusting’ Him.  Truly believing with every breath in you!!

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
    “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
    if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
    I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
    give you a long drink of salvation!”
Psalm 91 (the message version)

I encourage you, as God has encouraged me through His Word, hold on and hang out with God Almighty.  And, just like Abraham …

“he did not doubt or waver in unbelief concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and empowered by faith, giving glory to God,  being fully convinced that God had the power to do what He had promised.”  Romans 4:20  

God’s Love and Blessings,
Michelle
coachfromtheheart@gmail.com

photo credit:  chris roth

Does life feel like a blur …

Have you ever walked through a season where your life feels like a blur ~ like you have been running here and there, trying to keep up with the pace (whether real or perceived) ~ where you believe you can’t think anymore or handle one more issue of life? That series of days, weeks or months where the work schedules/demands, family commitments, church commitments, special holidays and milestone events of life feel as if they have drained you of everything?

When I get into that ‘blur’ ~ feeling like life is out-of-control and there’s nothing left within me, I inevitably realize that I have disconnected from my priority ~ God first!   Because I realize that in the craziness of life, I have left little room for quiet, refreshing time with my Father God. I may pray as I run, but I have forgotten to seek His guidance and wisdom. I am no longer in the shadow of His comfort, His peace, His love! And as things are falling apart around me, I realize how much I miss HIM!

That is when I STOP everything, and reset my priorities.

Praise God, HE loves us so much! When I stop, I can sit, breathe, share my heart and concerns with Him, for He listens and hears them all (1 John 5:14-15). And, when I take that time, I am refreshed, I find clarity and everything else in life falls into place.

Oh, I encourage you. The saying may have been ‘stop and smell the roses’ but I encourage you, stop, reset your priorities, and reclaim your peace, your clarity, and most importantly, your first love in God.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust [with great confidence, and on whom I rely]!” Psalm 91:1 Amplified

“Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.  And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” Philippians 4:6-7

Be blessed,

Michelle
coachfromtheheart@gmail.com

A fresh start ….

I love the new year, not that it is any different than any other day!  In truth, every day is a ‘fresh start’ ~ every breath, every moment ~ an opportunity to refocus and accomplish wondrous things.  For God created us with awesome plan and purpose!!!!

Oh, I clearly remember years of my life when I struggled with hopelessness, brokenness and despair deep within.  So, I begin by thanking God for Jesus, and a New Year filled with HIS hope, love, wisdom and strength!

“Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. .”  2 Corinthians 5:17-20 The Message

Let’s consider your ‘fresh start’ ~ what does it look like to you?

‘Fresh start’ may be a vague term, but consider your heart’s desires for change.  Define the areas in which you desire change for good ~ it could be huge, it could be small.  Write them down, so you can keep them in front of you at all times.

Write the vision and engrave it plainly …”  Habakkuk 2:2

A ‘fresh start’ could be humbly acknowledging an area of your life that needs help ~ an honest desire to change a destructive habit; it could be to develop a new attitude about something that discourages you; it could be forgiving someone … or … you name what it is!  I encourage you to identify one or two things that would represent a ‘fresh start’ for you ~ make it personal.  

Now that you’ve identified your ‘fresh start’, envision yourself filled with God’s love and courage to take that step forward toward change, goals, or your heart’s desires.  One step at a time.

I would also encourage you to find an accountability partner ~ someone you trust!  Someone with whom you can share your heart’s desire for change.  Someone who will encourage you when the challenge seems overwhelming.  Someone who will celebrate with you the accomplishments ~ step by step!

I encourage you In Christ … and now I too will begin with you ~ I’ll identify my ‘fresh start’ for this new year, write it down, take my first step and pick my accountability partner!

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

Have a very blessed New Year!
And, if I can encourage you, please contact me by email.

Michelle
coachfromtheheart@gmail.com