Imperfect but Beloved

Hi, readers! I completely forgot that I had to post today. Ah. Letting myself stress too much or something. I’ve been making soap, cleaning houses, and doing other work-related stuff, so I suppose it just slipped from my mind.

What are you all up to?

I’m currently reading Breaking the Fear Cycle: How to Find Peace for Your Anxious Heart by Maria Furlough. And I’m doing two devotionals on YouVersion about letting go of the past and beginning again. They’re truly messages I need to hear.

84663f5462110259fe6e89dde4112d60

Let go of the past. Mistakes, regrets, hurt, fear.

Begin again. Start fresh! Rejoice in this new day that God can do wonders in.

Break the fear cycle. Constantly give over your anxieties to God. Pour out your anxious heart before Him – again, and again, and again.

And lean on Him. Rest. Completely secure. Forever loved.

It dawned on me that oftentimes we think that we need to be strong, and perfect, and have it all-together. We don’t give ourselves grace for past mistakes and stumbles. We try to tough it out, keep ourselves in order, and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. We put so much pressure on ourselves, and then wonder why we crumble at the slightest provocation.

What if it’s not about us being strong, but about His strength shining through our weakness?

What if it’s not about us being perfect, but about His perfection working in our inadequacies?

What if it’s not about having it all-together, but about complete surrender to Him?

What if it’s not about us being something, but about Him loving us despite our sin, brokenness, and failure?

Instead of hiding, covering up, holding yourself together, and desperately trying to find a way to redeem yourself, your past, your sin, your errors … If I just do this, this, and this, maybe I’ll be good enough. Maybe I’ll be worthy of respect and love. Maybe I’ll be liked and cherished and wanted …

Maybe you can just open up your hands and surrender.

I found that when I just took hold of the truth – allowed myself to be weak and helpless and unsure what to do – it was okay. Because I realized that along with these things I was loved and cared for by a compassionate and powerful Father. I gained hope and security, joy and confidence.

I am weak, but He is strong.

This is how it is to be, and I believe I see His role as my Warrior when I surrender.

I am helpless, but He is my Helper.

He is my Provider, and I trust that He will sustain me and I have faith that He will provide all that in need in His timing. All I do is pray and step forward in obedience – trusting Him with results.

I am unsure, but He is all-knowing!

I can open up my arms wide and say, “God, do with me what you will!” He sees all, He holds me in His hand, and He has a future for me.

So I let myself be weak. Surrendered and obedient.

I am only human, but my God is the Alpha and Omega. In Him, I have all I need.

I listened to this Youtube video from Joseph Solomon this morning that was talking about being secure in God’s love for us. I found it interesting. I hope you listen to it and comment with your thoughts below!

God’s peace, friends.

❤ Lady Grace

Accepted in Christ, the Beloved // Joseph Solomon

Advertisements

Fight for the Faith

In a world where right is wrong and wrong is right (or, there are no absolutes at all), it is time for Christ-followers to step up and fight for the faith. For your own sake, you need to fight for what you claim as your beliefs.

fight for the faith

Do you know that when we stop fighting for things, they gradually – moment by moment, year by year, generation to generation – slip out of our grasp? Freedom needs to be fought for. Marriages need to be fought for. Dreams need to be fought for.

Faith needs to be fought for.

Do you know that the Bible instructs us to fight for our faith?

Jude 1:3-4

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

This doesn’t mean arguing all the time, writing scathing comments online, or hating on people or groups we don’t agree with.

It does mean immersing yourself in the Word, leaning on God, and standing firm on the Truth.

Do not waver. Do not listen to every new idea that comes your way. Don’t let the winds of doctrine toss you around until your head is spinning, your knees buckling, and your heart afraid. We, as Christians, do have a firm foundation to root ourselves in.

God’s Word.

I know that sometimes the Bible is hard to understand. But you’re not going to figure out more about God’s truth by listening to the culture, the media, or secular speakers and movie stars. Friends, as confused as you may be, you need to delve deeper into the Holy Bible, not go chasing after other voices that supposedly have spiritual revelations of what truth really is.

Fellow Christians may be able to help you understand, but make sure you are lining up what they say against the Word of God. Study your Bible and grow in knowledge of God and His nature.

And don’t just read. Pray. Pray that God will teach you. Seek Him. Ask for a desire to know Him intimately. Do you know that the Bible says that if you seek God will all your heart, He will be found by you? Do you know it says those who seek wisdom will find it? Are you claiming these truths? God’s Word is living and active and sharper than any sword.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity;

Proverbs 1:20-23

20 Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.
21 She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words:
22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.
23 Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.

Hebrews 4:12-13

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

So stop letting the world push you around.

Dust off your Bible – pick up your sword.

This is your weapon with which to fight. Your Bible is a crucial part of your walk with God. It has the power to change you. To change your life. To grow you in wisdom. To pull you into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. -Filled with the fullness of love, unbreakable hope, deep joy, immense power, and peace that passes understanding.

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I challenge you to read your Bible daily. You need it in order to stay rooted in God as you face conflicting opinions and differing worldviews and Satan’s fiery darts each day.

Ephesians 6:11-13

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

What warrior goes into battle without his sword?

Why would you go out into the world without God’s Word in your heart? Fresh on your mind? Ready on your lips?

Ephesians 6:16-18

16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit

We need to stop living so passively. This world is our battlefield. We do have a very real Enemy prowling around. And without our sword, he will began to succeed in stealing our abundant life.

John 10:10

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

So grab your Bible, join your fellow soldiers (aka: a community of believers!), and live courageously and to the fullest under the shadow of the Most High!

Psalm 91:1-2

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

SOLDIER by Unspoken

Who Does God Say I Am?

In a world of confusion, comparison, insecurity, identity crisis, and anxiety, it is easy to fall prey to the lie that we are not enough. Not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not smart enough. Not talented enough. Not independent enough. Not aggressive enough. Not busy enough. Not enough.

It is easy to become down on oneself and feel the strain of desperately trying to please everyone and earn their love and respect.

It can be easy to feel unwanted and unqualified, hopeless and alone.

This burden is extremely heavy to bear. It’s stifling and suffocating and wounding.

But the truth is, we were never meant to look to the world and ask: “Who am I?” We were always meant to look to our immortal and all-wise Creator and ask humbly and trustfully: “Who am I?”

If we look to His precious Word, this is what we find:

***

He (Jesus) says that He loves me as His Father loves Him. I am fully and deeply loved.

John 15:9

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

Zephaniah 3:17

17 The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Romans 5:5

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

lady grace 1

***

He says I am “fearfully and wonderfully made” – that His work in making me is “marvelous”. I am beautiful.

Psalm 139:14

14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

Song of Solomon 4:7

You are all fair, my love,
And there is no spot in you.

Psalm 144:12

12 That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth;
That our daughters may be as pillars,
Sculptured in palace style;

Isaiah 44:24

24 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
And He who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who makes all things,
Who stretches out the heavens all alone,
Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;

lady grace 2

***

He says that there is “now no condemnation for me” and I will not be put to shame. I can walk in confidence.

Romans 8:1-4

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the SpiritFor the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Psalm 34:5-7

They looked to Him and were radiant,
And their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
And saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.

lady grace 3

***

He says I am set high above the Enemy’s schemes and lies, and have His Holy Spirit within me. I have power.

Ephesians 1:19-21

19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,

1 John 2:20

20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.

Philippians 4:11-13

11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

lady grace 4

*** 

He says that He calls me His child and He is my everlasting Father. I am His cherished daughter.

1 John 3:1

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!

Isaiah 9:6

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Deuteronomy 33:27

27 The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;

2 Corinthians 6:18

18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”

Romans 8:15-17

15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

lady grace 5

***

He says not to fear – that I can be fully confident in my trust of Him because He has overcome the world, and I belong to Him. I can be fearless.

Psalm 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

John 14:27

27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Isaiah 43:1

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

John 16:33

33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

lady grace 6

***

He says I am forgiven and made clean through faith in Christ Jesus. I am pure.

Psalm 51:7

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Ephesians 1:4

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

Colossians 1:22

yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— 

lady grace 7

***

He says I am a temple of God – chosen and special – and and I am His workmanship. I’m secure and can walk with my head held high. I am valuable and worthy of respect.

1 Corinthians 3:16

16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people,

Matthew 10:29-31

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Ephesians 2:10

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

lady grace 8

***

He says that nothing can snatch me from His hand, and that He will present me blameless on Judgement Day. I am saved.

John 10:27-30

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

Jude 1:24

24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

Romans 10:8-13

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

lady grace 9

***

He says He knows my days, sees when I sit and when I rise up, and delights in guiding all my steps! I am seen and cared for.

Luke 12:22-32

22 Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. 23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? 25 And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 26 If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Psalm 103:13-14

13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

Psalm 37:23-24

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.

lady grace 10

***

He says that my design as a female is good. My femininity is beautiful and filled with purpose.

Genesis 1:26-28

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 2:18 & 21-24

18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

23 And Adam said:

This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.”

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Proverbs 31:25 & 29-31

25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,

29 “Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

lady grace 11

 ***

He says I am an important part of the Body. My personality, gifts, and passions are unique and needed.

1 Corinthians 12:15-26

15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?

20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

Romans 12:4-8

For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

lady grace 12

 

***

He says He knew me before I was born and that I am fully known. He understands me better than I understand myself.

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;

1 Corinthians 13:12

Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

Isaiah 49:15-16

15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
Yet I will not forget you.
16 See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.

Psalm 71:6

By You I have been upheld from birth;
You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb.
My praise shall be continually of You.

lady grace 13

Christian Living Titles I Want to Read

Happy Saturday, readers! I’ve been so busy novel-writing that I forgot about posting today, so I’m just going to give you a list of Christian Living books that are on my To-Read list. I’m really excited to read them all.

How about you? Any of these on your TBR? Or do you have some other Christian Living titles you could add to the list? 🙂

dbb009a2ad0b7fd3f56ec737923e1d97

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis

Published: 1952

25c45aafa784f1c0d53d8a226d580493

Let Me be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot

Published: 1966 (Tyndale Momentum)

153f7717fac72e596b958d5bb5d60c3f

True Woman 101: Divine Design by Mary A. Kassian & Nancy Leigh Demoss

Published: February 1st, 2012 (Moody Publishers)

0ff99a05f5f7feeedeb0c320ffb4650d

Redeemed by Angela Thomas-Pharr

Published: August 1st, 2016 (Lifeway Church Resources)

1ea9c06632ecc3e588b63e8bade10dcb

Without Rival: Embrace Your Identity and Purpose in an Age of Confusion and Comparison by Lisa Bevere

Published: August 16th, 2016 (Revell Publishing)

3e0df887fa630aa64280af334f48ef13

When God Says “Wait”: Navigating Life’s Detours and Delays Without Losing Your Faith, Your Friends, or Your Mind by Elizabeth Laing Thompson

Published: March 1st, 2017 (Shiloh Run Press)

aca834961c031a606e5e8221a3aeb190

Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood by Julie Roys

Published: September 12th, 2017 (Thomas Nelson Publishing)

80f42961f986ccfa2429cb2bf484d9e7

Reading People: How Seeing the World Through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel

Published: September 19th, 2017 (Baker Books)

884c9a99d9242c9fff81b3b30aa26071

Lord, Prepare Me to be a Godly Wife by Tiffany Langford

Published: November 13th, 2017

4ce0a22901d6741581a6ed7e5690b967

Live Fearless: A Call to Power, Passion, and Purpose by Sadie Robertson

Published: February 6th, 2018 (Thomas Nelson Publishing)

Love Defined

Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationships by Kristin Clark & Bethany Baird

Expected Publication: May 1st, 2018 (Baker Books)

 

Stress and Rest + a New Devotional

Hello, lovely readers!

Today I’m going to talk a little bit about stress and rest + devotionals. 😉 Life can get stressful, right? And overwhelming. And wearying.  And sometimes it just threatens to squeeze the breath from our lungs.

I had a little bit of a rough week. First I was dealing with a flare up of some health issues, then I came down with a cold/flu. I had to cancel my young adult Bible study and also wasn’t able to film my Monday Booktube video. 😦 I wasn’t writing as much as I’d hoped to. Missed church. And didn’t want to bring in a job application as I’d planned because I felt yucky and sounded quite hoarse. Ha.

So I was just feeling down emotionally too. And then, this morning, my laptop decided to go crazy and I was terrified it had a virus or was going to crash on me. After working on it all morning and afternoon – reinstalling my antivirus protection, restarting it a *hundred* times, etc. – it is faring much better. Thankfully! I hope it will continue working fine.

Anyway, I was feeling stressed and run down. And very discouraged about life in general.

Sometimes we have those days, you know?

So I want to talk about some ways we can fight that stress. By resting. Resting physically, or resting emotionally. Or something in between.

Philippians 4:6-7

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Today, what helped me to calm down and ease my anxiety was listening to kid’s praise music with my little brother. 🙂 Something about the peppy music and worshipful words reminded me that God is on the throne and He sees my life, and I really don’t have to panic about my laptop potentially crashing (and everything else in my life).

It reminded me that I have so much to be thankful for.

It reminded me to just be.

Sometimes I think people want to make life too busy. And, in my case, my mind wants to grab onto every little thing possible that it can stress about and just pull me down into despair.

Psalm 55:6-8

So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
Indeed, I would wander far off,
And remain in the wilderness. Selah
I would hasten my escape
From the windy storm and tempest.”

That’s not good. I don’t think that that’s what God wants for us. I don’t think that’s the kind of life He meant when He said life more abundantly.

Psalm 23:1-3

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;

What are some things we can incorporate into our days to promote restfulness in your heart and soul?

  • Listen to invigorating praise music
  • Listen to heartfelt worship songs
  • Play a lighthearted game with family or friends
  • Take a nap (sometimes you just really need to catch up on sleep!)
  • Go a long, quiet walk (and pray aloud! 🙂 )
  • Bake your favorite recipe
  • Read for awhile (even just reading for like six minutes is supposed to reduce stress)
  • Go out to coffee with a good friend, just the two of you
  • Snuggle with someone for awhile 😉 I always find it calming to hold tiny babies or get on the floor & play with my three-year-old brother
  • Sit down with some tea and your Bible
  • Call a good friend who you know will speak truth and encouragement to you
  • Go to bed early
  • Read your Bible and pray + read a little bit from a fun, lighthearted novel before sleep
  • Do a devotional

Have any ideas to add?

Speaking of devotionals, I want to let you all know about a new devotional on YouVersion, the Bible app. It’s a 7-day devotional called Love Defined, and is a part of Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird’s coming book release. They’re talking about God’s design for love and romance. I just started this devotional today! There’s Scripture and a devotional (an excerpt from the book, Love Defined, I’m guessing?) to read. I hope you’ll join me in this! ❤

30530766_1646945238687882_4596388818092818432_n

Be sure to check out Kristen and Bethany’s first book, Girl Defined, as well as their Youtube channel and website!

I’m part of the launch team for Love Defined, so look for more news on that from me in the coming days. I’m so excited to read this book!

That’s all I have for now. Rest in the Lord, dear friends!

Matthew 11:28-30

28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

My Testimony

Those who read my blogs know that I am a Christian. I don’t attend churches only of a certain denomination, so therefore I do not associate myself with a certain denomination.

My parents grew up going to Apostolic Lutheran churches. I was moved around a lot during my childhood, and my family attended a lot of different churches. I went to Apostolic Lutheran churches for some periods of my life. I went to Baptist churches. Evangelical Free churches. And churches that described themselves as non-denominational, Bible-believing churches. Today I attend a non-denominational-church, but I believe it has Baptist roots.

Regardless of what church I go to, I prefer to call myself simply a Christ-follower. 🙂 Jesus Christ is my Savior, I am free in Him, and I’m on a journey each day of understanding more what it means to love and serve Him and others. My life is a love story with Him. I am certainly not perfect, and people may not always see my efforts and the heart behind them. But I feel it in my soul, the way He gently woos me and teaches me.

So I’ve told you all that I am a Christian. Now I want to share a little of my testimony.

my testimony

I grew up in a Christian home, attending church every Sunday. I had a good childhood, and remember my mom telling me often that Jesus loved me, and that she would love me always, no matter what.

Just as I trusted that she would always love me no matter what … even if I did something bad … I believed that God was, indeed, God and He loved me. I trusted that Jesus had died on a cross which took away my sins and because of that, I would live in heaven one day with Him.

I had a simple childlike belief. And no, I don’t remember a day when I prayed a prayer to become saved. But I do know that even back then as a little girl I was a saved child of God, because I believed.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Romans 10:11-13

11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

(Fun fact: I started reading through the Bible, from Genesis, when I was eight or nine-years-old. I finally finished it at fifteen!)

When I was still pretty young, my mom did a Bible study on the book of Proverbs and wisdom with us kids. During that study, I prayed that God would give me wisdom. I wasn’t exactly sure what that would mean – or even the big deal about wisdom – but I prayed for it because the Bible said to get wisdom, to seek knowledge! And King Solomon, as a young person, had prayed for wisdom.

Proverbs 4:5-9

Get wisdom! Get understanding!
Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;
Love her, and she will keep you.
Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
Exalt her, and she will promote you;
She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
She will place on your head an ornament of grace;
A crown of glory she will deliver to you.”

1 Kings 3:9

Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil.

As I grew older, that simple message of Jesus’ love for me got twisted into something like: God is displeased with you and you need to earn Jesus’ love.

Around twelve-years-old, I remember having some questions about the Christian faith and such. Because of this doubt, I became very afraid and cried myself to sleep many nights because I was afraid that the world would end before I worked through my doubts and I wouldn’t go to heaven.

I guess I had somewhere along the line lost hold of that truth of Jesus Christ’s love for me that I had simply believed as a child.

Romans 8:34

34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

I struggled for a few years. One day I confessed these doubts and fears to my mom, and she grabbed my hand and held it tightly while speaking truth to me.

I think a few different thing made this struggle so hard for me. I was homeschooled all my life and sheltered from a lot, but I still heard other worldviews. And I think because I’ve always been such a deep thinker and feeler, I went through that sort of journey of figuring out what you believe for yourself a lot younger than some people.

I was just entering my teenage years, and becoming very insecure at that point. I didn’t share a lot with other people, which kept me isolated inside my own little world of overwhelming fears and doubts. (When you don’t share some things with others, they can become magnified and instead of fighting and finding help, you retreat further into yourself and only deepen the struggle.) And I was a people-pleaser and it wounded me a lot when people got upset with me. I questioned if my presence was wanted in many places. I questioned if I was loved.

Now, I still knew my mom loved me. But we have different personalities and we kind of clashed during some of my teenage years. I wondered sometimes if she cared about things I was going through – though she did! I just didn’t know very well how to communicate with her (or probably anyone else, for that matter.)

So if I was questioning if I was loved and wanted by the people around me and closest to me, it’s not a huge wonder that I was questioning things about my faith. I think at the root of it all was a question: Am I lovable to God?

people-3112339_1920

Can I trust Him with my heart and my soul and my life and my everything … or am I going to have to figure something else out?

And what was that “something else” that I was going to have to figure out??

It was a process. Sometimes during church, I would feel like the preacher (once it was my uncle 🙂 ) was speaking directly to me. But I was too scared to hope that it was God pursuing me.

But He did pursue me.

One night, when I was fourteen or fifteen (probably), I was sitting on my bed reading my Bible. I don’t remember what I was reading, but I started to cry. I just knew in that moment that God was there and it was going to be okay.

holy-2598222_1920

I got baptized at fifteen-years-old. I was still struggling at that point, but I knew the Bible talked about getting baptized and I wanted to be obedient to the Lord in that. Even though I was struggling, I knew what course I was going to pursue. I was going to follow God.

Joshua 24:16-18

16 So the people answered and said: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17 for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed. 18 And the Lord drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God.”

I think it was around that time that I started developing friendships with some great Christian people and got more involved in youth group, was a co-counselor at a youth camp, went on an inner-city mission trip, and eventually joined the young adult/singles Bible study that really, really impacted me.

The people in this Bible study were some of the few people that made me feel absolutely welcome. Like I was wanted there. Like I was part of them. Like I was accepted and even liked and cherished. They are beautiful people and truly touched the lives of my older brother and I.

20151010_181045_HDR(2015)

1 John 4:15-16

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

I was growing and learning and enjoying time with my friends. I read some books by Eric & Leslie Ludy and the like that really touched me.

e0cfddae9441c7dbc5afb527a134260b

There were days I felt amazing passion, joy, and peace as I sought the Lord. I was serious about my walk with Him. I started a prayer journal and tried to read my Bible more often.

So even though there was still struggles, a deep desire had been born inside me. I want to know God more.

After graduating at seventeen and moving with my family to another state, my anxiety got pretty bad.

See, I had grown a lot in my faith, but I was still struggling with trusting God with absolutely everything. And I do believe, in my case, this is pretty deeply rooted in insecurity and not feeling wanted.

people-2597622_1920

So my life went. Faith blossomed, and faith waned. I struggled and I fought. I fretted and I feared.

But my deepest heart’s desire stayed the same through it all, I believe. I want Jesus.

And somewhere deep down I was started to truly believe. He wasn’t going to give up on me. He wasn’t going to let me wallow in this fear and anxiety and lack of trust for the rest of my days. He had begun a work in me and He is going to finish it. Because He cares.

Philippians 1:3-6

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

1 Peter 5:6-7

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

It was last year that I started praying out loud. Going on long prayer walks. Pouring out my heart to the Lord. Though sometimes I felt very aware of my small voice all alone in the big world, I also felt close to God during these prayer walks. I felt such peace. I felt fearlessness. I felt hope. I felt a true delight in Him awakening in me.

Psalm 63:3-4

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.

I started being more intentional about reading my Bible everyday. Starting my morning with a devotional and with my thoughts on the Lord.

The end of last year/beginning of this year I finally actually faced how truly insecure I was. I’ve mentioned this before in some posts. And I realized, I need to claim God’s love for me. I need to believe that I am His cherished daughter. I need to find my security in Him. I need to stop comparing my spiritual journey with other people’s. I need to fight dark lies with prayer, the Word, and Jesus Christ’s powerful name. I need to take hold of His promises and step into His love.

Enough trying so hard to serve Him while still wondering if I’m truly wanted and delighted in, and therefore withholding some of my trust.

Enough hiding from my fears – stuffing them deep inside and not addressing them.

Time to get honest.

Lord, I’m afraid. I don’t understand. Please help my unbelief.

Time to speak truth over myself.

You, Shantelle, are a beloved daughter of God. And nothing can snatch you from His hand. Don’t you see? You never earned His favor, He just wanted you and chose you and now you belong to Him forever because of Jesus’ blood.

He sees me. He won’t give up on me. He won’t let anything take me from His loving grip. And I will fight all the darkness and strive to keep my eyes on Him.

John 10:27-30

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

I’ve watched my faith grow amazingly. I’ve felt myself hunger for God’s Word. My passion for prayer and belief of its power has deepened. I feel the assurance of His love fill my lonely heart. I’ve watched myself change by His work in me – little by little. My desire to live my life for His glory and honor has only grown through the years!

And my eyes have been opened to the reality that I am not alone and my life can be a love story with Him. In a world that can be so uncertain and unstable and harsh, He is constant and no one can take Him from me.

Dear reader, I am not perfect, but my God is.

And if you are struggling, I want you to know that your life can be a love story with Him too! He has more than enough room for you to be His cherished daughter (or son) too! You can have a personal relationship with God and truly experience His genuine, forgiving, redeeming, beautiful, all-encompassing love.

Seek Him with all that you are!

Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

God is faithful and holy and pure and love.

May He bless you and wrap you in His love.

❤ Lady Grace

Social Media – Good or Bad?

Hi, readers! You may have noticed that I’ve been a day late with my schedule these past couple posts. That’s just because I was part of a blog tour, and my set date was Sunday … so I decided to push my Tuesday post to Wednesday. But after this, things shall get back on the schedule. 😉

Today I’m going to talk a little bit about social media. Is it good? Is it bad?

sdfsdf

There are so many social media sites out there these days. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Pinterest, Goodreads, and whatever else. It seems like as soon as you make an account on one, another one gets popular and everyone moves over there. So you go make an account on that site then …

And soon you have a whole list of accounts and profiles and usernames and friends and notifications you have to keep track of.

So is this a problem?

Let’s cut to the chase. Yes. It very well can be a problem.

It can be overwhelming. Stressful. Time-consuming. It can cause discontentment, jealousy, insecurity, and even more loneliness than you had in the first place. It can open up doors for unhealthy friendships or sexual temptations.

On the other hand, social media can be used in a very good way. It can provide platforms that you would have never had. It can get you connected with like-minded people who share your interests and passions that you wouldn’t have met otherwise. It can help you stay in touch with friends and family who move far away. It can help spread the word about your work, passion, and pursuits.

If not for social media and blogs, my sales for my fairy tale novella would have been cut down dramatically. Because of my presence on Goodreads and my steady blogging, I was able to connect with readers and writers who were interested in me and my work before I ever published my first book!

Through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and blogging, I was able to spread the word once my book was published and got a lot more response than I expected. Even most of my relatives, family, and friends who bought my book heard about it through Facebook and ordered it directly from me – giving me more of the profit and them a cheaper price.

So without social media, internet, blogs and the like, the things I’m passionate about – writing, blogging, reading, bookish stuff – wouldn’t be even half of what they are today.

Today I run two blogs. I have a Youtube channel. I’m a published author of a novella. I’ve connected with some of my favorite authors. I receive free books to read and review from publishers and authors. I’ve “met” many an introverted, bookish writer who I can relate to so much, and I’ve received such encouragement and blessings from these lovely “online friends”!

I’ve gotten emails and messages and comments from people telling me how my blog post or book has encouraged and spoken hope to them.

I’ve been able to connect with distant cousins and this opened the door to actually getting to know them in real life! *happiness*

I’ve been asked about my writing and when I’m going to publish my next book. 🙂

I have a PURPOSE in this. There is meaningful work in it. I’m able to use my passions and gifts and get them out to the world somewhat, and then see God work and use my efforts in other people’s lives! Stranger’s lives, sometimes! This is truly beautiful.

Also, I have read lots of blog article that have strengthened me in my walk with Christ. And ones that have encouraged me mightily as a writer. I have learned, and discovered, been encouraged & challenged, and listened to many a great and passionate speaker.

I can scarcely begin to list all the incredible ways I believe God has used blogs, Youtube, social media, internet and the like to impact my life.

On the flip side, I’ve struggled with wasting time on social media or checking it too much in a day because I’m looking for some fulfillment or companionship.

Scrolling through Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram because I’m bored, lonely, or anxious is not profitable or using my time wisely.

I realized this some time ago and decided I needed to get a life. 😉 So now days I’m only occasionally on Pinterest or Instagram (I don’t post on Instagram, I just follow some people), and I am purposeful about limiting my Facebook time. Some days I don’t check it at all because every time I go to check it, I realize I’m just bored or lonely and I know there’s something else more meaningful that I can be doing.

Psalm 107:9

For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness.

Mainly, Twitter is used for sharing my blog post or Youtube video links. No more mindless scrolling on there either.

Some time ago I was getting anxious and feeling down because of all the bad news and arguments on Facebook, so I went on a Facebook break. I think I was off for a month. Friends, social media breaks are a great thing to do every once in awhile. Let yourself breathe, and give yourself a check up: Is this break so hard that I might actually be addicted to my social media?

human-3175027_1920

Youtube is one that I still struggle with every now and then. Once I start watching videos, it can be hard to stop. Like when I find a really well-spoken young conservative talking about all the hot topics of the day, I can find myself staying up way too late, just clicking on the next video … and the next video … (Liz Wheeler is one such conservative I’ve admired!)

So that’s something I have to be careful about. I need to set a timer or something. 😉

Besides being a waste of time, social media can cause anxiety (as I mentioned in the example above), discontentment, or jealousy.

Friends, if your social media is provoking you to these things, you need to make a change. It’s not worth it. Take a break. Or delete your account altogether.

Proverbs 4:5-6

Get wisdom! Get understanding!
Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;
Love her, and she will keep you.

Social media can expose you to sexual immorality and temptation. This is more of a danger/struggle for men, but it’s also something girls need to be aware of and careful about. There are some women who have been drawn into pornography and the like, so we should never pretend there’s not nastiness to be found on the internet or that we are immune to temptation.

If social media is causing you to stumble in this way, get out! Get rid of it! It is, in no way, worth your purity and peace of mind. There are blocking and accountability programs you can get if you (or your children, someone in your family, etc.) struggles.

Matthew 5:29

29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you;

Is it lowering the quality of your time spent with family and friends?

Is it taking away from your time alone with God? Is it messing with your relationship with Him in any way?

Colossians 2:6

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

There are a myriad of other negative things, as well. From the temptations to post slightly seductive photos in order to feel beautiful and good about yourself, to unhealthy online dating relationships, to feeling safe to say nasty things because you’re behind a computer screen.

So as amazing as social media and internet access can be, they also come with weighty responsibility. And if we want to use social media in a God-honoring way, we need to step up to that purposeful maturity and responsibility.

  1. Honestly evaluate your social media – how you use it, how much time you spend on it, how you affect other people with it, how it makes you feel, etc.
  2. Take action. Make boundaries. Be purposeful. Take the steps necessary to keep you responsible.

So whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory and honor! If social media is causing you to be tempted, lazy, become anxious, neglect important or meaningful things – if it is in any way pulling you away from God or His purposes for your life – then step back and make some changes.

1 Corinthians 10:31

31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Just because something can be great, doesn’t mean it can’t also be very negative.

And that’s what I have to say for now on this subject.

Use your blog, your social media, whatever else FOR GOOD. And don’t forget to get plenty of time with people face-to-face. Hang out. Encourage each other. Laugh. Have dinner together. Get down on the floor and play with your kids.  Talk to your loved ones without any distractions. Meet new people. Make friends. Connect often. Spread the good news. Make disciples!

In everything you do, both online and face-to-face, do it all with the desire to make much of His name.

Go forth in God’s peace!

❤ Lady Grace

Psalm 27:4-5

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.

For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

Blog Tour & Book Review: Servant Sons & Daughters

Good morning, sisters and brothers in Christ! Happy Easter! How glorious that we serve a risen Savior! ❤

Today I’m very excited to bring you my review of Servant Sons and Daughters: Serving Father God from a Place of Sonship by Anastasya Laverdiere as part of a book blog tour!

Read more about this book, and the author and her music, below! Also, enter the GIVEAWAY! 🙂 By the way, her song, Draw Me Away, is so beautiful! I’ve listened to it over and over again.

ServantSonsAndDaughtersBanner7

***

servant sons and daughters HR

About the Book

Are you experiencing the deep peace and joy that connection with God as your Father can bring? Are you confident in His presence? Do you feel your worth and value to God ebbs and flows according to how “good” or “bad” you are?

Working for God is hard. Trying to serve Him from a distance is even harder.

Speaking from personal experience, Anastasya Laverdiere conveys the message that the life of service and devotion to God must come from relationship with Him as His child to experience the fullness of what He offers. Servant Sons and Daughters builds a strong biblical basis to receive life-changing revelation of our true identity and inheritance as God’s children.

If you long for deeper intimacy with God, Servant Sons and Daughters is a journey into the heart He has towards you and an invitation to receive His best for you in every area of your life.

Buy on Amazon

Servants Sons and Daughters Book Trailer

About the Author

Anastasya Laverdiere is a Canadian worship leader, songwriter, Christian Recording Artist and writer whose desire is to know God more and make Him known. Anastasya enjoys encouraging others from her blog called “In the Garden” which focuses on identity and relationship with God the Father.

She hopes that every form of her writings will inspire others to draw closer to the Father to receive revelation of His open arms. She loves to release faith and see passionate and genuine worship ascend to the Lord from hearts en-kindled by His love. Aside from writing and leading worship, Anastasya enjoys sipping green tea, cooking and road trips!

Twitter: @AnastasyaLea

Instagram: @AnastasyaLea

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anastasyalaverdiere

Anastasya Laverdiere – Draw Me Away (Lyric Video)

My Personal Review ~ 4.5 stars

What a simply wonderful book! I feel like Servant Sons and Daughters: Serving Father God from a Place of Sonship by Anastasya Laverdiere is a book that the Christian community can truly benefit from. It speaks some essential truths about our identity as Christians and taking hold of all that God offers us when we become part of His family by Jesus’ blood – abundant life!

Without security in our position with God, we cannot fully live out our callings to their potential. It is a debilitating thing to try living without an inner sense of being loved and accepted, and no less debilitating to try to serve a Holy God from a distance. (Servant Sons & Daughters by Anastasya Laverdiere)

This book drew me in right away, touching my heart deeply. I love how the author meshes the ideas of being God’s beloved child with serving Him & walking in righteousness. So beautiful. Servant Sons & Daughters was a comfort and inspiration, and I kept thinking of people I wanted to buy it for! I also shared snippets of it with my young adult Bible study group, as we are talking about God’s love and our identity.

Anastasya Laverdiere has a lovely voice in writing. And depth and wisdom to share! I found lots of beautiful and meaningful content and did lots of highlighting!

But we must receive it because of the love and graciousness of the Father. We must take Him at His word and arm ourselves against the lies of the enemy and even our own flesh that would seek to enslave us to shame and guilt. (Servant Sons & Daughters by Anastasya Laverdiere)

Servant Sons & Daughters talks about embracing our identity as children of God. Understanding what that means for us (example: we have the power of the Holy Spirit living in us). And yes … serving Him with joy from a secure position of cherished daughter. We journey through stories about Joshua from the Old Testament, and the prodigal son from one of Jesus’ parables. It was really neat how Anastasya dissected the story of the prodigal son and used it to bring this book and its points to light.

I also appreciated the knowledge and research put into this. Definitions of words are expounded upon, stories unpacked, Greek words in Bible passages talked about, etc. I really like that.

This word “Abba” carries the instruction to seek out an “affectionate, dependent relationship” with our Father in which we recognize His power and majesty but also His desire to come close. (Servant Sons & Daughters by Anastasya Laverdiere)

If we do not recognize what Christ has won for us, we will stay beneath the stuff we are actually “seated above”. (Servant Sons & Daughters by Anastasya Laverdiere)

I very much enjoyed this Christian Living book. It was spectacular. I was blessed. It had me searching the Scripture and understanding anew His Truth. It had me increasingly joyful and thankful, thinking about the glorious fact that He wants me. I’m His daughter. I think Anastasya Laverdiere did a wonderful job and I believe God can use it in powerful ways! Such a needed message!

This was always His plan, to be your Father and to have you as His child. His church is a family in which you belong! Let your heart exclaim truly, “I was always wanted. Now I am His and He is mine … forever! (Servant Sons & Daughters by Anastasya Laverdiere)

Wear His love with confidence. (Servant Sons & Daughters by Anastasya Laverdiere)

I will definitely read more by this author if she comes out with other books!

I received a copy of Servants Sons & Daughters from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Giveaway

Enter the giveaway for a paperback copy of Servant Sons and Daughters, as well as a bookmark! Follow this link to fill out the rafflecopter form.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 26th

Book Review by Heidi at www.thecaffeinatedbibliophile.com

Tuesday, March 27th

Guest Post at Savoring Single https://savoringsingleblog.wordpress.com/

+ Giveaway at http://imgoingonanadventure15.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 28th

Book Review, Guest Post and Giveaway at http://amongthereads.net/

Thursday, March 29th

Author Interview and Giveaway at www.purelyunorthodox.com

Friday, March 30th

Author Interview at https://jesusisworthitall.weebly.com/for-writers

Saturday, March 31st

Author Interview at www.rileyaline.com

Sunday, April 1st

Book Review and Giveaway at https://ladygracesite.wordpress.com/

Spiritual Warfare

Hi, readers! How is your Tuesday going? How has your week been? It’s been going well for me. Yesterday I posted a video on my Youtube channel, a post on my other blog, cleaned, went shopping, bought some ingredients so that perhaps I can start making soap soon … And best of all (*winks*), I finished reading Cloak of the Light and started on the sequel!

That’s what I want to talk to you about today. -The main theme of these books.

clouds-3189310_1920

Cloak of the Light is book one in a spectacular series called WARS OF THE REALM by Chuck Black. The second book is called Rise of the Fallen. And the third, Light of the Last. The first book was a riveting, powerful adventure that not only kept me turning pages, but gave me some serious food for thought about the spiritual realm. After reading this book, I’ve gained a great respect and admiration for Chuck Black. He seems like a solid guy – his writing amazing and his faith sincere.

 

So yes, I really recommend these books! Check them out, and also Chuck Black’s two other series: THE KINGDOM series and THE KNIGHTS OF ARRETHTRAE (both non-magical fantasy).

 

 

That all being said, let’s talk about spiritual warfare. It’s perhaps something that isn’t discussed enough within the Church. Which is why I so admire Chuck Black for incorporating this topic into his novels!

Are you aware of the spiritual realm around you? Do you know you have a part in it? What are some important things to know when it comes to spiritual warfare?

1) Know Your Enemy

I once read a survey that said something like half of “Christians” do not believe Satan is a real being. They believe he is figurative or symbolic, but not real and not important.

This is crazy, and seriously detrimental to said Christians when it comes to the reality of spiritual warfare.

The Bible validates the reality of an Enemy – Satan. And not only that, but states that he is like a roaring lion, prowling about and seeking who he might devour.

John 10:10

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.

This is serious.

If we don’t believe we have an enemy, how can we fight back? We can’t. We will sit there in oblivion while he wages attack after attack.

If you don’t believe in the devil, then I believe you’re opening up doors for him to whisper lies in your ears, twist your identity, kill your joy, and steal your abundant life. All while you stand defenseless – not knowing how to stand up for yourself. Not even knowing you’re being attacked.

So know your enemy.

1 Peter 5:8-11

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devourResist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10 But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Get knowledge. Gain wisdom. Be aware. Be vigilant. Satan hates God and all of His people. He is against all that you stand for as a Christ-follower, and there’s no reason he won’t try to thwart what God’s doing in and through your life.

2) Ready Your Weapons

If there’s a war going on, we need weapons. Even if we can’t see the spiritual realm – demons and angels – we definitely have a part in the war. It’s a battle for lost souls, for God’s purposes, for your joy and fearlessness and abundant life.

Ephesians 6:10-20

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

So ready your weapons, sisters and brothers in Christ. Our weapons against Satan and his demons are:

Prayer.

God’s Word.

The name of Jesus.

Be in prayer, friends! May your each day be a prayer! Draw near to the Lord through prayer. Resist the devil through prayer. Stay in God’s Word. Read your Bible often. It is our source of truth, hope, knowledge, and courage!

James 4:7-8

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

If you don’t know your weapons, you’re not going to be able to fight very effectively. When the Enemy comes at you (in various different ways, shapes, and forms), you’re liable to cower in weakness … or even start to believe the lies he’s throwing at you. Because you don’t immerse yourself in Truth enough.

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11

10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

So grow in the Lord and know your Bible. And remember that there is vast power in the name of Jesus! A legion of demons cowered before Him! You can call out darkness in His holy and all-powerful name.

Luke 8:28-31

28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!” 29 For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness.

30 Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?”

And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.

3) Fight Back

We are not helpless in the tumultuous life. Even when the darkness creeps in – thick and stifling – we are called and able to be lights of the world.

Matthew 5:14 & 16

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

So fight back. Be a warrior. Specifically, a prayer warrior. The Bible tells us that there is power in prayer.

Acts 9:40

40 But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.

James 5:13-18

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

Mark 11:24

24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

How do you pray in a way that makes a difference in the spiritual realm? Well, I don’t really understand a whole lot about spiritual warfare and how prayer works. But I know it works. So pray.

One day I was feeling tired and a little anxious. By afternoon, I was starting to become fearful. All these crazy, horrible thoughts were spinning through my mind, making me doubt my security and just feel really, really alone and drowning in dread.

But I’d been keeping my weapons at ready, so my spirit told me that this wasn’t truth or what God wanted me to feel, even though these feelings of dread and terror were very real and almost overpowering.

Feeling very weak, I began to pray: “Satan, get behind me. The Lord rebuke you, Satan. You have no power over me, because I belong to Jesus Christ. The victory is His, and therefore mine, because I am in Him. You cannot steal my hope or my joy. Darkness, leave, I pray in Jesus’ name.”

I can’t remember exactly all that I prayed, but it was something like that. I believe it was within moments that the dread left and I began to feel normal again. A few hours later the incident was so far removed from me that I had forgotten it even happened! Instead of darkness, there was light and peace all around me. 🙂

I hope that encourages you, dear readers. As children of God, we have power through Him to fight back. And we can fight on behalf of others by praying for them. Pray God’s truth over them. Pray for God’s will in their lives. Pray for victory over sin. Pray for them to be equipped with everything they need to walk the path God’s calling them to.

Stay strong in Christ, fellow warriors!

❤ Lady Grace

Romans 16:19-20

Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.

Encouragement from Bible Study

Hello, friends! So I’m a little late posting today. I didn’t schedule a post like I was supposed to yesterday. It was Bible study evening and yes … I just didn’t get to it. So I’ll just do a quick overview of how my young adult Bible study is going for my Saturday post! 🙂

encouragement

I think this is our fourth or fifth week. It’s been good! I love getting a group of young people together reading God’s Word and having quality fellowship. Truly, I’ve been immensely enjoying myself, even though I really have to lean on God some days for confidence and strength … because I am an introvert, after all! 😉 Being the one to start this Bible study and having it at my house and all that – it can be a little nerve-wracking.

But yes. It’s a great group and we’re having fun.

Last week we started a devotional from YouVersion called Love God Greatly – Made For Community.

This week we read John 14:15-23 and did the second devotional from Made For Community. Though the devotionals are short, I’ve found the profound, challenging, and uplifting thus far.

John 14:15-23

15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 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.”

22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”

23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

Snippets from the devotional: 

“From the very beginning God created us for community. Sin shattered the relationship … but God in His mercy is making all things new including His relationship with His people.”

“…He also gives us the indwelling of the Holy Spirit so that we are no longer alone. We have a helper, a comforter, a teacher and a guide living within us.”

Notes:

So, do you feel the Holy Spirit is your helper, comforter, teacher and guide? Do you acknowledge His Presence and believe you’re never alone?

This is sometimes hard to grasp, but God can reveal it more to us as we seek Him in prayer and reading His Word.

It’s a beautiful truth to me, especially in fearful situations, or as an introvert when I feel really different or alone in a crowd. Knowing God is always with me bring courage where there is fear and confidence where there is insecurity. And peace – it brings peace that passes understanding in all situations.

***

We also read three chapters from Psalm, and made note of any promises or truths in the passages that are ours to claim in Christ – we can apply to our lives.

Psalm 3

Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
Many are they who say of me,
“There is no help for him in God.” Selah

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah

I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.

Arise, O Lord;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;
You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
Salvation belongs to the Lord.
Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah

God is my shield.

God is my glory.

God lifts up my head.

God hears me.

God sustains me.

God’s blessing is upon me.

Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.

God establishes my steps.

God puts a song in my mouth.

His thoughts toward me can’t be recounted.

God thinks upon me.

God is my help and my deliverer.

Psalm 63:1-4 & 7-8

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.

Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.

God’s lovingkindness is better than life.

In Him, my soul will be satisfied.

God is my help.

God’s right hand upholds me.

***

After discussing and talking some more (kind of about random things, haha), we put out some snacks and had a good time of fellowship. It’s a blessing to hang out with fellow believers. I’d been struggling a bit and really praying about this Bible study, and I remember that at least once I asked God that I could encourage and uplift these young people, and they could do the same for me. I really feel God answered and honored that prayer. At least on my part. It was encouraging to my soul. 🙂

So what about you? Do you not just read  your Bible, but apply what it says to your life? Try reading passages and asking questions like, “How can I take hold of this truth? What does this mean for me? How does this affect my life? What does this tell me about God?”

Hope you have a blessed weekend, dear readers!

❤ Lady Grace