“Let Brotherly Love Continue…”


I have never been less aware of my single status or more aware of how loved I am.

First thing this morning I had such a blessed time with Jesus and in the presence of God. I never thought it would go this way, but lately I have been studying love – perfect time of year isn’t it? But today I was studying on what it means to truly love God. What does that look like? What does it mean?

John 14:21 say this: “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 

That is what it looks like to love God. Throwing off the religious mind-set that makes the Word of God a book of rules and thus a duty to abide by, we then can see that when we abide in love, we then have a desire to obey the commands of God.

And just what are His commands? Matthew 22:36-40:

“36 ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ 37 Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” 

Summed up: Love God and love people.

No sooner had I finished my Bible study this morning to get ready for school than I find this gift on my doorstep!

Valentines2013-2

 

A rose and chocolate. I was pleasantly surprised. Attached to the rose was a sweet note and this is what it said:

“Brittany, We are giving you these gifts on this special Valentine’s Day to honor you. You are such an amazing, beautiful, and loved woman of God and it’s a privilege to be considered your family. Love, Your VSOM Brothers   Hebrews 13:1 – “Let brotherly love continue.”

Being single on valentines day does not exclude you from being loved or being special. God touched my heart this morning, and then my amazing and thoughtful classmates, my VSOM brothers gave an expression of their love with this sweet surprise. (I call bragging rights, we have the best guys!) This day has been most incredible. Our corporate prayer time at school this morning carried a sweet atmosphere of God’s love and I finished the day off after school with a dear friend at the Prayer Center. It has been a beautiful day filled with love. It’s not about the gifts, but about living out the love of Jesus – which is truly living out the Jesus that is in us. How can you express that love to someone this week?

To My VSOM Brothers: Thank you for your thoughts, your gifts, your prayers, and all the ways that you express your love each day. Thank you for living out the love of Jesus, by which your loving us shows a great deal of how much you love Him. You are amazing and anointed leaders that exhibit godly character and I am so blessed to have you in my life. I am proud to call you family. I love you all and you are dear to my heart! Bless!

Unsurpassable Worth: Radical Love in Action


When I asked God to give me His heart today, I didn’t realize just how much it would break.

I don’t believe I fully comprehended the weight of my request, but He granted it. As I went around town and went through my day, I realized that it was anything but normal. I began to see people like I have never seen people before. My heart ached for them to have the hope that I do.

Today I saw the beauty in the nameless face like never before. Where I used to see faces, I saw a story and how each has a chance of a redemptive end. That starts with love. And in feeling the weight of God’s heart today, I found a love for people deeper than I ever had before. The things that God allowed me to see and feel – I know that He truly gave me His heart – I went home and I wept.

In view of the state of this lost world, my heart broke. With a renewed sense of love burning in me, I was burdened for these people. I saw their hurt and felt their pain – and realize love is the only thing that can heal those wounds. Love unconditional. Love that can only come from God. Love that transcends all. The love that sees their unsurpassable worth and that died for them as He did for me.

O that Christians would truly love with the heart of God. But too often we take the place of judgment instead of love. The lost world, to a great degree forms their view of God based on the character of those who profess to know Him. This world knows God as a God of judgment because we judge, and does not see the God of grace, mercy and unconditional love because we don’t carry it ourselves.

Judgment separates. Love unites. 

A few weeks ago, one of my teachers/pastors at school told our class this: “We are not God-like in the way we want to love. You want to be God-like in the way you judge. This should not be.” (Pastor Marcia)

The essence of sin is we attempt to play God. Every judgement we think, suppose or act upon supposes that we are in a position of superiority.

As Christians we are seldom known for our radical love. We fail to abide in love. I believe that part of this is we have lost sight of the unsurpassable worth that people have. We have become promoters of good over evil instead of lovers of people.

How can you love deeper today?

How can you show the radical love of God today?

The Heart of the Psalms


The book of Psalms exhibits this beautiful form of writing and expresses the deepest feelings and thoughts of its authors. The Psalms are a unique collection of prayers or hymns to or about God written mainly by King David, however there are also some written by the Sons of Korah, Asaph, and some anonymous writers. There is not any one theme to Psalms, but the majority can fall into the categories of prayers and praises. There are 7 different types of psalms, they are: Laments, thanksgiving, hymns of praise, salvation-history, celebration and affirmation, wisdom and songs of trust.

Impressively, a majority of the psalms are laments. The author is so open and honest and true to the heart. The psalmist expressed completely everything they were feeling and it basically is a full vent to God without masking their personal feelings – yet they always come back to the truth of who God is and declare their trust in Him. That is something today’s church should come to recognize. It seems too often that believers hold back their deepest feelings when they cry out to God as if He doesn’t already see their heart and know the innermost parts of them. More-so, the heart-felt declaration of trust in God’s sovereignty over their current situation is amiss.  This was a personal challenge for me as to how much my trust is in God, and if there is a consistent knowing and realization of His hand in every area of my life.

As with the way that the Psalms are written, it is hard to choose just any one as a favorite, let alone a favorite verse. It is so easy to change your favorite psalm based on which you can currently relate your feelings and your heart’s cry to. Those are often the ones that stand out the most and what we gravitate toward. The Psalms can be a comfort and a reassurance as they generally fall back into a declaration of trust in God. Some of my personal favorites are Psalm 13:5-6: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation 6 I will sing to the Lord for He has been good to me.”(NIV) Seeing this line starts with a conjunction, it shows that up to this point, everything that said before that may be true, however what comes after – the declaration of trust and the acknowledgement of who God is takes the focus of the psalmist.

There is also Psalm 46:10 which says:

Be Still

This is a call to throw away the distractions and to know and be known at the deepest level by God. This psalm shows the intimacy available to us and His power and place, authority and worthiness. The greatest power in the psalms is the recognition of who God is.

Psalm 103 is a favorite of mine and holds a lot of significance for me. It is a Psalm of David written praising God for His mercies and blessing His name. It is praise to God who forgives and heals and redeems and who satisfies. This psalm proclaims not just his mercy, but his graciousness and his worthiness to be praised. The imagery it creates is so beautiful – especially in verses 11-12 where it says:

Forgiven

“As far as the east is from the west…” can raise the question as to just how far the east is from the west – eternally far! How beautiful the picture those verses create.

This psalm continues describing the fragility of man and ends with the establishment of the power of God and blessing Him for all He is, for all He has done and with everything that is in you. Bless the Lord, indeed!

Another favorite, also written by David is Psalm 139. This psalm describes so well God’s deep-knowing of you and how He is ever-present in your life – even before you were conceived. It contains an invitation for God to come and search the heart and asks for guidance. Verses 7-10 show so well just how present God is in our lives:

“7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8 if I ascend into the heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

9 If I take the wings of the morning,

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,

And Your right hand shall hold me.”

Those verses also show the value that God places on our lives. Continuing through the psalm we read how He formed us, and before we were born He had our days written – He had a purpose for us. It is awe-inspiring reading and really recognizing how precious we are to God. What a wonder to think about!

The heart of the psalmist is pure, honest, fragrant and poured out into these psalms. Especially those of David, who was called a man after God’s own heart, to read the words that He had written is to see a glimpse of His heart for God and even through that – to catch the slightest hint of the very heart of God. The psalms are very powerful and beautiful. They show a pattern that we should recognize and be in today – a place where we recognize our circumstances, but choose to dwell on who God is and his mercy, goodness, and loving-kindness. 

Where does your heart relate to the psalms today?

A Living Revelation


I can’t get away from the truth impressed on my heart that to NOT daily live out the revelation of who God is that He has gifted to us, is to deny Him and the work that He has done in our lives. 

We must deny ourselves to live Him out:

  • Deny ourselves of the fleshly desires
  • Deny ourselves a victim’s mentality
  • Deny ourselves “stability” and “Security” by the world’s standards
  • Deny ourselves pride
  • Deny ourselves the mentality that something is owed to us

bowl-of-fruit

 

To not do so is foolishness. It is like being served platters of fresh fruit and either ignoring it, or admiring from a distance the beauty of how they are arranged and what they look like – and then proceed to eat junk and trash like you always have. Sure, the fruit is nice to look at, but there is no benefit and no change if you don’t eat it but let it sit and rot. What use is it then?

What I’ve learned: You must partake of the revelation that God has given to you of Himself. It must become a part of you. But in order to do that, you have to make room for it first. You need to give up the junk to make room for the fruit. We have a responsibility to carry out what God has given to us of Himself. Too often we confess with our lips what God has done in our lives, but deny that very part of who He is in us by our deeds. 

 

– If He really redeemed you ~ live as the redeemed daughter that you are.

– If He really healed you ~ live in the health that He supplied.

– If He really restored you ~ live as whole.

– If He really revealed His faithfulness to you ~ live as faithful.

If you really believe in the revelation that God has given you, then live it. To not live it out each day, is to deny Him and the work that He has done and is doing in your life.

To be the hands and feet of Jesus is to live out His character that He has revealed to you. It is so humbling just to think that He reveals himself to us, and yet He is the great creator of all things, He is the great I AM, and He wants to reveal Himself to you. This is so humbling.

Reflect: What has God done in your life? Are you living that out today? How can you live out the revelation of who He is that has been gifted to you?

 

10 Simple Ways to Change Your World


10 simple ways to change your world:

1. Love the one in front of you.

2. Write a note of encouragement to someone.

3. Be where you are – don’t get distracted by your past or your future. Live in the moment.

4. Overlook an offense.

5. Forgive.

6. Be gracious.

7. Smile.

8. Be real.

9. Listen more than you speak.

10. Look for opportunities to bless people and be Jesus to someone.

Purpose

21 Days of Never-the-Same – Day 19


What you are doing today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.

That alone put things in a real perspective and it really puts into black and white the value of time. We have but one life to live. What kind of legacy will we leave behind?

Most nights before I go to bed I evaluate my day. What did I do of value to the Kingdom today? What was my purpose today?

Did I love the ONE.

Did I live for the moments?

Life is too short to miss out each day’s purpose. Each day holds a divine purpose greater than ourselves and we must keep an ear open to Holy Spirit in order to know what that may be.

What are you exchanging this day for?

In this perspective, what things become insignificant?

21 Days of Never-the-Same – Day 16


Something really big for me is dreams. I am all about dreaming big and I love to be able to help and encourage others to reach their dreams. It is definitely a topic and message that God put in my heart is the art of dreaming well and what it means to dream.

In light of that, there is something new that I learned about dreams lately:

The provision is in the journey.

When God puts a dream in your heart, it is all about saying “yes” to Him and following Holy Spirit’s guidance in timing. Sometimes it will go against all logic. Sometimes the pieces will not all fit together. But dreaming is not all about practicalities. Dreaming is going beyond yourself. It might not seem like everything is coming together for your dream, but that is when you step out in faith.

Philippians 1:6 says:  “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

If God has put a dream in your heart – go for it! Don’t be afraid to believe for the impossible. The provision is in the journey.

I dream of spiritual revival in India.

I dream of being a women’s minister.

I dream of being an author and speaker.

I dream of bringing an end to human trafficking.

Are all of these things practical? No. But they are dreams that are in my heart, and I know that God desires these things for me as well. He will bring this work to completion, but I need to begin to walk it out. It starts with a choice to have faith and step out.

What are your dreams? Do you believe in God’s provision for the journey?

21 Days of Never-the-Same – Day 8


Of all the things I am constantly learning, one of them is that busyness does not always mean effectiveness. I can do a whole lot of things and all of them good, but does that mean that I am being who I am meant to be right here and now.

A wonderful missionary friend said this, “It is not the bad things in life that keep us from the best of God. It is the good things in life that keep us from God’s best.”

So while I may be keeping busy and doing great things “for God” and for the advancement of His kingdom, essentially I am ineffective because I’m not operating in the places that God has called me to. Or I can be doing so many things that leave me unable to focus and put the time and energy into where I a really meant to be. Something will suffer.

Dr. Juli Slattery, a speaker at True Woman 2012 said this:

“If Satan can’t have our souls, he is perfectly content at keeping us useless.”

Useless.

Without God, that is what our work is.

I’m ever learning to not get distracted by the little things, but keep focus on where God’s heart is at in the moment, at this very time, for here and for now. Distractions can come in “good” packages.

Don’t let the good things [that can at times be ploys of Satan to distract you from your true purpose] in life keep you from God’s best.

21 Days of Never-the-Same – Day 7


A few years ago my Aunt Mimi took me to Emerald Isle for my graduation. It was an incredible week, ocean-view, falling asleep and waking up to the sound of the waves crashing and the smell of the sweet, salt air. You might be wondering how this would be life-changing in any way…but for me it was.

Emerald Isle

This is what captured me.

Every day I woke up to this I was completely awestruck by the beauty of the place. The thoughts that ran through my mind were constantly, “Lord, I’m amazed by you…”

This trip restored to me the awe of the Lord and the beauty of His creation — a reflection of the master craftsman Himself. It allowed me to experience God in deeper way.

Thank you, Mimi for taking me! This was one of the best trips I’ve taken and my favorite destination! The time spent with you was blessed and beautiful! Love you! Blessings and favor! ❤

21 Days of Never-the-Same – Day 4


5 Books that Changed Me: 

(Obviously God’s word is one of them and one that changes me on a daily basis. But beyond the Word of God, these are other books that captured me and changed me.)

1. Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere 

In “Lioness Arising” Lisa Bevere urges her fellow women to Rise up and recognize their position as a Lioness. This book captivated me so much and I simply could not put it down! This powerful message came in a timely season of my life resulting with a stirring in my heart to awaken and respond.

This title is based on Numbers 23:24 – “These people rise up like a lioness; like a majestic lion they stand.”

Truly, this has been the most powerful book that I have read in a long while. This is the call to rise up like a lioness – combine ease with strength and rest with power and a fierceness combined with gentleness – this is a message like I have never heard before.

Lisa writes, “God did not save you to tame you!”

We are called for more than this! It is time for the women to awaken and to rise up!

This inspirational book is a call to awaken “to a life of fierce passion”, to “wake up and change your world!” I highly recommend that every woman read this! Old or young, there is no mistaking the need for today’s women to take a join voices for the Pride!

2. Love Story  by Nichole Nordeman

Never have I been so quickly captured and captivated by such a book as when I picked up  Love Story: The Hand the Holds Us from the Garden to the Gates. Nichole Nordeman writes with such a depth and rich language that I was stolen by this story. Above all the others, the way she captured the creation story took me the most:

IN THE BEGINNING, God created the heavens and the earth.

Somethingness from nothingness.

Fullness from emptiness.

Presence from vacancy.

The great week of wonder had begun.

If God is God and knows all things past, present, and future…if He already knew about the runaway train on the tracks ahead, why did he create at all? Why bother with every luminous shade of orange on the flimsy wing of a monarch if He knows how the story will end?

Wow! What a start! Like I said, captured!

I don’t think he began and then completed his whole work in a week and then, on rascally serpent and an apple later, had to come up with a redemptive ending on the fly. I don’t think he was standing there in from of trembling Adam and Eve with his hand on his hip thinking, well howdaya like that? Figures.

Of course he knew we would toss a grenade into all that beauty.

Nichole paints an amazing portrait of creation and our current state that one can’t help but be drawn to this book. Finally at the close of the chapter:

. And though it is our capacity for utter darkness and destruction that leaves me wondering why he bothered, it is our capacity to reflect the perfection of his light and love that reveal why he did. Of course he bothered.

It was good then because he was good.

And it will be good always because love knows no other way to be. 

3. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

This summer, along with the church book club I read a personal favorite of mine –Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.  Redeeming Love is such a powerful story based on the Old Testament book of Hosea told in a modernized format. I am amazed how beautifully Francine captured the emotion and truth throughout this book. One line from this book haunted me for weeks:

“Would you have her hang on her cross forever?”

For Angel, the main character, she was chained to her past – a life filled with unspeakable horrors. She was delivered, but the physical deliverance did not free her mind. She was so stuck in the shame of where she had been, she didn’t realize that she was free. Her husband Michael tells her this: “You’re free. You just don’t know it yet.”

As Angel returns to her past life, I realized the weight carried in the words: “Would you have her hang on her cross forever?” And that is even when healing comes to your heart, sometimes you have to go back still in order to move forward. Even after healing comes, sometimes the mindset still is where you have been, or who you were. It may be true that the pain is not as prevalent as it was, but you still don’t see how you “fit” in the place that you are now. You are tormented in paradise because you know that you do not deserve to be there.

Going back allows you to see that the you who has been transformed by love does not belong in the past either. It brings a shift in thinking and a recognition of redemption.

In choosing to risk and step out, your heart is transformed by the love of God.

4. Praying God’s Will for Your Life by Stormie O’Martian 

“Often the desires of your heart are the desires of His heart, but they still must be achieved His way, not yours, and you must know that it is He who is accomplishing them in yourself. God wants us to stop holding on to our dreams and start holding on to Him so that He can enable us to soar above ourselves and our own limitations. Whenever we let go of what we long for, God will bring it back to us in other dimension.”

5. A Woman’s High Calling by Elizabeth George

I read this several years ago…I don’t remember everything that I read in it. In fact, I probably remember very little. But one thing that I do remember about this book is one story I read in it about a woman who changed the author’s life. She was different than other people and always refreshing to talk to. What was the secret?

She always spoke of the Lord!

No, it wasn’t being super-spiritual, but the Lord was so much a part of her life and of who she was that is what spilled from her mouth.

This became my ambition. I wanted to be like that. God should be so much a part of me and a part of my life that His words flood out of my mouth.

 

 

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