Do Not Be Afraid, The Lord Is With You

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Happy February, Beloved! I hope you are having a blessed week. I was going to write something to go along with Valentine’s Day, but have been compelled to write about this topic instead. Lately, I’ve been hearing so many reports about freak accidents, natural disasters, and new diseases. We all know there are many dangers lurking in this fallen world, but it seems like we are more aware now than ever. Constantly, we are reminded how fragile life is and that there is no shortage of things to worry about – our loved ones, our jobs, our possessions – and it’s easy to get caught up in the hysteria of the world. Satan is working overtime to fill us with anxiety and fear.

This is a dangerous world, but the Lord says, Do not be afraid! In fact, “Fear not,” is the most repeated command in the bible. Over and over again, the Lord reminds us not to fear. Why is that? It’s because fear is the enemy of faith. In Hebrews 11:1, it says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” The dictionary defines it as, “complete trust and confidence in someone or something”. If we have the assurance, trust, and confidence that God will be true to his word and follow through on his promises, how can we be afraid? And if we are afraid, how can we have faith? The bible says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

So, what does God promise us about protection in this world? Isaiah 43:1 says, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

“No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me.” (Isaiah 54:17)

“The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7)

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

“A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” (Psalm 91:7)

Before Jesus ascended to Heaven, the last thing He said to his disciples was, “I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20) This verse has always brought me great comfort. If He will be with us until the world is literally over, He will certainly be with us if our child falls ill, if we lose our job, if we go through divorce, or if we experience the hardship of a natural disaster. And if He holds us with His victorious right hand, we will come out on top. He will work all things for our good.

Yes, this world has many things to fear and Jesus said there would be tribulation. But, we can rest assured that we are divinely protected, no matter what evils are lurking around the corner. If we have to walk through flames, we will not be burned, and if we have to cross a river, it will not overtake us! So, Beloved, DO NOT BE AFRAID! The Lord is with you (and your loved ones) wherever you go! Amen.

Jesus Loves You,

Alexis

Embrace the New Year With Peace and Gratitude!

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)

Happy New Year, Beloved! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas holiday! I can’t believe we are in the new year. The year 2020, what a blessing! Every new year we tend to have a new vision. We analyze which areas of life we’ll focus on improving and we write down a list of personal goals we want to accomplish. Whether it’s improving fitness, getting a promotion, or spending more time with family, we all love to start the year motivated and with a new plan. This year, I plan to spend more time on writing, helping my husband grow his business, continuing to focus on fitness and spending more quality time with my kids.

With the excitement and busyness of it all, I want to remind everyone to be at peace this year! “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11) While it’s great to have a new vision for a new year, it can cause us to become restless. It’s easy to get laser-focused on obtaining our new goals and sometimes we forget to focus on being happy with where we are at this moment. We make life all about what is ahead and that has the ability to affect our peace. We are encouraged and motivated in the beginning and then if results don’t happen quickly, we start to lose the joy of it all.

We feel like we “have” to reach these milestones we’ve set for ourselves and if we don’t, we’ve failed and feel a sense of despair. What’s worse is that we tend to compare our “personal goals” to the goals and accomplishments of others. Sometimes we look at what our family and friends are accomplishing and feel discouraged. It seems like those around us are checking items off their lists – being promoted, getting engaged or married, having a baby, or buying their dream home. If those are things we wanted for this year, we can feel envious and start to lose hope.

We can’t even truly be happy for our loved ones because instead of focusing on their blessing, we are focusing on our lack. We aren’t happy with our lives because we are too focused on what is ahead, what others have and where we “should be” in life. But the bible tells us to be at peace. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Beloved, please know that you are not defined by your accomplishments and achievements. Having dreams and goals is great! But reaching them or not reaching them is not the measure of who you are. You are royalty, a child of the Most-High God and even if you don’t get to the gym everyday, double your revenue, or get completely out of debt this year, you are still worthy, loved, and blessed. And if you’ve been waiting on God for a particular blessing, keep praying and believing! Be at peace and know that your blessing is on its way!

Do not look around and be discouraged when others are blessed with something you are longing for. You don’t have to compare yourself to others. You can rest assured that our Lord has more than enough blessings for everyone! He can bless your neighbor with a promotion and still bless your business to reach its highest earning potential. He can bless your co-worker with a healthy baby and still bless you with healthy twins! There is no limit to what God can do and through him all things are possible. Don’t be discouraged if some goals you set for this year, don’t become an immediate reality. Have peace in knowing that God has an amazing plan for you and that he wants you to have the desires of your heart. We have to trust his timing above our own and results will happen! Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Be filled with hope. God will deliver!

In addition to the goals I listed above, I am also going to focus on gratitude. Everyday, I want to thank God for all the blessings in my life. Even in the midst of struggle or sorrow, it’s amazing what being thankful can do. When you really stop and think about all your blessings from God, it has the ability to change your attitude from one of sadness, envy, and lack to one of joy, thankfulness, and peace.

Beloved, in addition to focusing on your personal goals this year, I encourage you to focus on peace and thankfulness for all your blessings (past, current, and those to come). Remember that the Lord will be with you through all the highs and lows of this year and that you are deeply loved, richly blessed, and highly favored. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

If you have a prayer request, please reach out! I would be happy to pray with you or for you. Also, send this link to any friends or family members that might need a word from the Lord today. Be blessed!

Jesus Loves You,

Alexis

The Word of The Lord is Life!

Bible

 “My child, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.” (Proverbs 4:20-22)

Hi Beloved! I hope that you are having a blessed week! Things are getting a bit cooler in my neck of the woods, so it’s time to swap out the A/C for the heater and bring out the sweaters and boots! The crisp air also drives folks to the fireplace with a cup of coffee (or tea) and a good book. So, I thought I would write about the importance of reading “The Good Book”, as the bible is called. 🙂

Beloved, how much of the bible would you say you’ve read? It can definitely take time to read. It has 1,189 chapters and it is an amazing story! I think this is an area where most Christians greatly differ. Some have read the bible cover to cover (perhaps even twice, I know people who have done it!). Others have read only the New Testament or only the Old Testament. Others have followed along with their church study group, read a random chapter here and there, or gave up after selecting the King James version and getting a headache after reading a verse like, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Pardon? Can you please repeat that one?

I fall somewhere in the middle. I haven’t read the entire bible. I have read the entire New Testament and am working on the Old Testament. Currently, I am reading 1 Samuel. Years ago, when I first started reading the bible, I started with Genesis 1:1. That works for some, but it didn’t work for me. I started to lose steam after a few chapters and stopped reading for a while. When I decided to get back to reading, I prayed about it first. I said, “Lord, I desperately want to read your word, but it can be so overwhelming! I don’t know where to start and sometimes it is hard for me to understand. Please give me wisdom and an open, hearing heart.”

When I prayed this prayer, I got the message to “see Jesus”. So, that is what I did. I went to the New Testament and I started reading all the chapters that had text in red. In most versions, the words of Jesus are in red. Reading about His grace and His miracles really motivated me. I started reading more and more and then I read the whole New Testament. I even started to truly understand and this kept me going!

Why is reading the bible so important? What are the benefits? Reading the word of God gives us hope, wisdom, strengthens our faith, improves our physical health and can be used as a weapon against the enemy.

Gives us hope: Romans 15:4 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” The word has many beautiful promises from God for both this life and after. When we read the word, our hope is renewed as we remember how much he loves us, that he will never leave us or forsake us, and that he is always on our side.

Gives us wisdom: 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” The word of God teaches us and trains us in the way we should go. It gives us knowledge and wisdom to see and understand things differently than the world.

Strengthens our faith: Romans 10:17 says, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” When we keep hearing the word of the Lord, we are encouraged by stories of David, Elijah, Elisha, and the Apostles. We remember that we can accomplish all things through Christ who strengthens us!

For our physical health: Matthew 4:3 says, “The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Food alone cannot sustain us. The word of God is nourishment to our bodies. It’s life and health to our spirits and our flesh.

As a weapon: Esphesians 6:17 says, “..and take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” When we know the promises of God, we can stand firm against the enemy’s attacks. He is the Father of Lies, but with the word of the Lord in our arsenal, we have the power to speak life and completely shut him down.

Beloved, I encourage you to increase your bible reading for the rest of this year. Make a commitment, through the end of 2019, to read more. If you aren’t reading it at all, start by reading ten minutes per day. If you are already reading 30 minutes, increase to 45. If you are reading an hour, increase by 15 minutes. If we focus on the word, I believe we will see miraculous things happen in our lives. Our long-awaited prayers will be answered, we will see healing, and any mountains in our lives, will become mole hills.

I’m going to challenge myself as well. I have been falling behind lately. I have a reminder on my phone that says, “Read Your Bible” everyday at 9:00 pm. Usually, I snooze it because I am “busy” and promise to get to it later. Sometimes, later never comes. Then the next morning, I think, “Well, I just didn’t have enough time yesterday”. But then I remember the 45 minutes I spent on YouTube…..oops. The truth is that there is always time! We can wake up a little earlier, spend a little less time on social media, or go to bed just a little bit later. Spending extra time with the Lord in prayer or in His word, is never time wasted and something you will never regret. If you don’t have a bible, download a free app. If you don’t know where to start, pray for wisdom. If you can’t quite understand the language, switch to a more modern version. So, are you with me!? Let’s do this!

Beloved, I am always here to pray with you, for you, or even just to chat! Please feel free to reach out at any time. Remember, you are deeply loved, richly blessed, and highly favored.

Jesus Loves You,

Alexis

Forgive Yourself As You Forgive Others

“Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others.”

(Matthew 6:12)

Jesus wants you to forgive others and forgive yourself.

Hi Beloved! I pray that you are having a blessed week! It’s October, yay! I really love the fall. The air is crisp, the leaves are so beautiful, and everything is pumpkin flavored (yum!). The fall season is also a time of reflection for me. For whatever reason, I start to reminisce about years past, initially with fondness, but somehow it always turned into regret. I got angry with myself for things I should have said, shouldn’t have said, should have done, shouldn’t have done.

Occasionally, it was regarding life choices, but mainly it was about relationships. Why was I so cold to this person? Why was I so self-absorbed that I didn’t see this person needed help? Why did I say such mean things to people? Why didn’t I care about others more?

Then the self-loathing would set in and I would start asking the questions, why am I such a loser? Why do I always say and do the wrong thing? Why can’t I be like (insert better person’s name here)? I would just wallow in regret.

Beloved, a lot of teachings focus on the forgiveness of others, but you need to focus on forgiving yourself just the same. Trust me, I know that it’s much easier said than done. When we make mistakes, we can be so hard on ourselves. We can let our guilt and regret consume us and take over. It can eventually have serious consequences. Self-loathing and self-hatred are behaviors that take years to develop and can take years to improve. They can lead to dangerous actions, such as cutting or self-mutilation and even suicide.

Beloved, I’m here to tell you that the Lord knows everything you have ever done in your life and He loves you! He even knows every bad thought that has entered your mind and He still loves you! He sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane and wore a crown of thorns, so that your mind can be free from anguish and pain.

We are all far from perfect. Thankfully, we don’t have to be, because Jesus is. He wants you to walk in divine forgiveness. The bible is full of stories of people making mistakes and wrong choices that hurt themselves or hurt others. Two of these stories include Jesus’ disciples. 

The first is Peter. In Matthew 26:34, Jesus spoke to Peter. “‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus declared, ‘this very night before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ Peter replied, ‘Even if I must die with You, I will never deny You.'” After Jesus’ arrest, Peter did a complete 180. “Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, ‘This man also was with him.’ But he denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know him.’ And a little later someone else saw him and said, ‘You also are one of them.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I am not.’  And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, ‘Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about.’ And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:54-62)

He was feeling guilty and angry with himself. He lied and betrayed someone he loved. What happens next, shows the love of Jesus. After Jesus rose from the grave, the angel said to the women, “‘Do not be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here! See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.'” (Mark: 16:7) The angel saying this is very significant, “go tell His disciples and Peter”. Jesus wanted him specifically to know that He wasn’t angry with him. He still loved him. In a later meeting, He even asked Peter to watch over his people, even though he denied Him, even though he wasn’t perfect and Peter went on to become a very important figure to the early church.

The second is Judas. He betrayed Jesus for silver. “Then one of the Twelve, the one called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?’ And they set out for him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time on Judas looked for an opportunity to betray Jesus.” (Matthew 26:14)  After his betrayal, when he saw what happened, he was overcome with guilt. “Judas saw that they had decided to kill Jesus. He was the one who had handed him over. When he saw what happened, he was very sorry for what he had done. So he took the 30 silver coins back to the priests and the older leaders.  Judas said, ‘I sinned. I handed over to you an innocent man to be killed.’ The Jewish leaders answered, ‘We don’t care! That’s a problem for you, not us.’ So Judas threw the money into the Temple. Then he went out from there and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:3) If he would have waited a few more hours, there was another that would have hung for him. I believe that if Judas were still alive, Jesus would have gone to him first to tell him that He still loved him and that he was forgiven. Sadly, he was so overcome with guilt and self-hatred that he was not there to receive forgiveness. 

Beloved, if there is something you’ve been carrying that is causing you to be consumed with guilt or regret, let it go, in Jesus’ name! At the cross, Jesus not only carried our sickness and diseases, but he also bore our shame, guilt, and regret. If you’ve wronged a loved one and the relationship is broken, the Lord can completely restore! If you’ve hurt others in your past, know that you are loved and completely forgiven! I understand it’s not easy. It has taken time for me to get to this place, but by the Grace of God, I’ve come a long way! Even when you decide to forgive yourself, Satan will try to come to you with negative thoughts, but rebuke him and focus on Jesus’ finished work at the cross. Every time you feel guilty, just repeat, I AM FORGIVEN! Remember that you are the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus and that you are deeply loved, richly blessed, and highly favored. Amen!

Jesus loves you,

Alexis

You Are Worthy and Loved

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

Hi Beloved! I hope you are having a blessed week! I wasn’t actually planning to write today, but the Holy Spirit gave me a word that someone must need to read.

Beloved, if you are feeling depressed, feeling lonely, feeling rejected, feeling unlovable, or feeling worthless because of your past or recent failures, because of hurtful words someone said, because a relationship just ended, or because your life isn’t going as planned, let me tell you that YOU ARE VALUED! YOU ARE SPECIAL! YOU ARE LOVED!

YOU, reading this post right now, you mean everything to the Creator of the universe. He loves you so much that He sent His son to take your place and atone for your sins. In the Greek language, there are four major words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. They all have different meanings and are used in different situations. The bible says that the type of love the Lord has for us is agápe love. This is the deepest form of love, unconditional love, self-sacrificial love.

The bible also says that Satan is cunning. Sometimes he works from the outside to bring destruction to our lives, but one of his favorite tactics is to attack our minds. He knows this strategy is effective. If he can drop negative, self-sabotaging thoughts into our heads or bring people into our lives that treat us harshly, try to ruin our self-esteem, or make us feel worthless, we can feel so insignificant that we destroy ourselves. He’s always trying to separate us from our Father’s love. When we don’t believe we are loved, we more easily engage in destructive behavior and develop habits that are harmful to our mental, physical, and emotional health. But Beloved, don’t believe Satan’s lies. When bad thoughts creep in, you have the power to say, Satan, get behind me! Get away from me! I’m not going to believe your lies! The bible says that absolutely nothing can separate us from the Father’s love and He is always with us. Matthew 28:20 says, “I am with you always, even to the end of the world.”

When you are feeling low, isolated, unworthy, ashamed, or like a failure, remember that the truth is you are perfect, you are righteous, you are precious, you are worthy. You are a child of the most-high God. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, loves you so much that He sacrificed everything for you. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (1 John 3:1) Beloved, because the world does not know him, they do not know your true worth. But don’t listen to what the world says about you. Meditate on the truth, declare the truth out loud and always remember that you are deeply loved, richly blessed, and highly favored. Amen!

Jesus loves you,

Alexis