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

Your personal mentors …

“But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid.
Am I in the place of God?
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good
to accomplish what is now being done,
the saving of many lives.”
Genesis 50:19-20

Today, I want to encourage you to remember the goodness and dominion of God to fulfill HIS plans for us ~ and HIS plans are for good (Jeremiah 29:11)!

Bad things happen to all of us in some form or another as we live in a sin sick world.  And in our moments of weakness, we may run with our feelings (like life is over, God forgot about us, our dreams/visions won’t ever come to pass, etc.) ~ right?  In those moments, how quickly we can lose sight of God’s power, love, promises and plans for our lives.

I know I get pretty frustrated with myself when that happens.  But, we have personal mentors in the Bible to show us another way of handing such ‘evil.’  Most recently I was reminded of Joseph as a mentor.  He had visions from God in his youth, visions that he would actually reign over his family.  But, after he shared these visions, ‘bad’ things began happening … His dad was a little miffed when he heard he and his family would be bowing down to Joseph; and his brothers ~ well they mocked him, envied him, and actually planned to kill him.  Ultimately, they left him in a pit and sold him as a slave.  Oh, and then they lied to their dad that Joseph was killed by a wild animal.

While Joseph was in slavery, and later wrongly accused/imprisoned, Joseph kept finding favor from God in the middle of his circumstances, and ultimately he was appointed second in command of Egypt, under Pharaoh – after 13 years of trials, sorrow, and pain!  The key throughout that time, was that Joseph kept his thoughts focused on God, His truths, His hope and His promises. (Philippians 4:8)

No matter what came against Joseph, he never lost sight of God’s sovereignty ~ God’s ability to move mountains and make a way.  And in the end, he was exactly where God wanted him to be ~ overseeing Egypt, preparing for a famine (which he knew about after interpreting Pharaoh’s dream while in prison), and saving his family, as well as many others.  As the story goes on in Genesis, Joseph’s brothers ended up bowing down to him, and being provided for, just as God’s visions foretold.  Yes, God sees the beginning and the end ~ we don’t.

I encourage you (and myself) ~ to never lose sight or be deceived by the attacks of the enemy.  No matter how much ‘evil’ comes against us, God IS with us, lovingly wanting to guide us back on His intended path to good.

It’s a choice, no matter the circumstances!  Seek God first, take encouragement from His personal mentors in the Word, and recall all that is true through Christ Jesus.  Hang on to His promises and to Him every single moment of every day!  

I encourage you to build relationship with God’s mentors in the Bible ~ learn from them. And, I also encourage you to develop relationships with others who will help remind you of what is true.   

God’s Love and Blessings to each one of you!

Michelle
coachmichelle@charter.net

Resources:
The Divine Mentor, by Wayne Cordeiro “discover how to enjoy a dynamic, vital, and intimate relationship with God as you learn to hear Him speak daily through the Bible .. His handpicked mentors.”  www.divinementor.com

Action Required …

From The Heart_4C

We had a great conversation with dear friends this weekend about being ‘doers of the Word.’  In reality, whenever we hear or read the Word of God, we have choices to make.  Of course, one choice is to actually read the Word, getting to know God (His character and personality) throughout the Bible ~ not just a random verse here and there.  Then there are many other choices, but two important ones are to 1) believe the Word in our heart; and 2) to decide ‘to do’ what God instructs us through His Word.

“… humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts,
for it has the power to save your souls.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”
James 1:21-22

Scripture has been so powerful to my husband and I as we both walk through either health and/or work challenges. This particular scripture causes us to take inventory! It says when we: humbly accept (receive, take, believe) … the WORD (God’s promises, life, wisdom, freedom, etc.) that God has planted in our heart, it has the power to save our soulsHIS Word has power!

But, it further says we can’t just listen (or read about it), we must actually DO what it says!

The Message version says:  “Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!”

As we encourage ourselves in God’s Word, or quote scripture to someone else ~ it’s important for us to take a personal inventory.  Are we actually doing what it says in the midst of our own circumstances, or are we deceiving ourselves?  For example as the Word says, Are we being anxious for nothing; casting our cares to the Lord; trusting Him, and leaning on Him, or are we carrying the burdens on our own?  Doing what we know from the Word is not always easy!  But, the benefits are eternal and are powerful to help us! 

The benefits follow as you continue reading the scripture:

“… IF you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free,
and IF you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard,
then God will bless you for doing it.”
James 1:23-25

Action Required:  Did you notice the word “IF” … there is an action to be taken on our part (because we have free will, the choice is ours)!  IF we read/listen and absorb the Word into our hearts … doing what it says, God will bless us!!  God blesses us with salvation and freedom from all that holds us down!  Please note, He’s not saying “IF so He can condemn us, for He loves us too much.  He’s saying IF to help us understand the benefits of His guidance and what is required of us.

As we believe God’s Word, by faith, hear what He says and take action:

“… be strong and courageous! … Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you.  He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6, 8 NLT

As we read/listen and act on God’s Word, may you always know it’s power and truth to set you free and guide you.

God’s Love and Blessings to all!!!
Michelle
coachmichelle@charter.net

Chosen, adopted … unconditionally loved!

Have there been times or circumstances in your life when you felt abandoned, or that no one was standing up for you?  As a believer in Christ, truth is, we’re never alone or abandoned.  Instead, we are chosen, adopted and embraced by a loving God ~ as we receive HIS love and precious gift!!

Throughout scripture, it tells us how much God loves us, chose us, adopted us, cares for us … but today, I share this powerful scripture.  I pray you are encouraged to know deep within you how precious you are in the eyes of God ~ how much HE loves and cares for YOU!

“So, what do you think?  With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture …  I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”  Romans 8:31-39 The Message version

As a believer in Jesus Christ, you have received God’s Spirit of adoption; the Spirit of power and love; a calm, well-balanced mind; discipline and self-control.  You are God’s child, and also heir, with complete access to the inheritance; chosen by God, chosen for a high calling!  Romans 8:15; 2 Timothy 1:7; Galatians 4:4-7

You ARE God’s Masterpiece!

If you need encouragement through God’s Word and Love, feel free to contact me at coachmichelle@charter.netFrom the Heart