Upside Down

Jenny Smith, GFC Lutz

The other day my kids were laying on my bed with their heads hanging over the side. They were looking out the door at their playroom and calling out how things were upside down. They examined everything and giggled as they said things like, “Mommy why is the table on the ceiling? Why is the dollhouse upside down?” I replied, “Oh silly, nothing is upside down, it’s all where it’s supposed to be, you’re just looking at it differently because YOU’RE upside down”. They got off the bed and ran into another room to play, not thinking any deeper into what had just happened. But I was left with a smile on my face that morning.

Things may look upside down, but when we start to look through God’s eyes we realize everything is where it’s supposed to be. I think often we are the ones upside down and we just need to ask Him to change the way we see. He will allow us to see things His way, the right way, we just have to ask.
Maybe you are going through a tough season, or maybe its something as simple as traffic on your way to an appointment. I encourage you to ask the Lord to give you His eyes to see things the way He wants you to see them. I know when I do this it changes ME. Everything is still there, everything is the same, but my view of it just changes… and that allows me to go about things in a whole new way. How cool that our circumstances don’t have to actually change (though it would be nice sometimes) but that how and what we see can suddenly flip things so that it doesn’t all seem upside down.

“But the moment one turns to the Lord with an open heart, the veil is lifted and they see.”
2 Corinthians 3:16 TPT

“For we live by faith, not by what we see with our eyes.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 TPT

Keep Going!

Alexis Patterson, GFC Lutz

It’s that time of the year where we’ve gotten more settled in after the new year and those resolutions we declared seem to be harder and harder to keep. And, if some of us are being honest, they’re not just hard to keep, it’s been hard to start. Well if that is you, you’re in good company with me. However, there’s been this push, this purpose and a fire that has set my heart ablaze. It’s the calling that God has put on my life. Please don’t think I’m special here, we all have a calling. Though it manifests itself very differently for each of us, the purpose is the same…to spread the love of Jesus Christ to the world! Hold on, stay with me here because you don’t have to have a ministry title to be a part of that calling. In fact, most of us don’t have the title. Most of us go to work everyday in secular marketplace settings or stay at home with our beautiful children and maybe even take care of elderly parents. Most of us are in educational institutions or work in the medical field. My point is, most of us aren’t missionaries traveling the world or preaching the gospel from a pulpit or stage. Our platforms are more intimate and our exchanges go unseen by the world at large. Our works don’t get published and to many our  labor goes practically unknown. Well, I can stand on this promise that God sees it all and not only does He see it, He is pleased.


So keep going! I know it can be hard but, my goal is to motivate you, to inspire you, to encourage you to speak into your own soul and thrust yourself forward to keep going! Now, can I simplify some things for you? I believe there are three practical ways you can reset your focus to keep going.

1. Keep pursuing righteousness (Jesus). We seek to know His ways, His truth, and His commands. In all things, seek to know the heart of our Lord and Savior. Pursuing Jesus simply means we are engaging in an intimate relationship with Him so that we can know His heart and standards for our lives. The way that we get to know those standards is through our habits of studying the love story so beautifully placed in our Bible. Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity, and honor. Proverbs 21:21

2. Keep going after the dreams God has placed in your heart. Those dreams can be in the form of goals and even your purpose.”I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:14. Earlier I shared how God has placed such a passion in my heart, you know that calling on my life. Well He’s asked me to share the truth of His love through my writing/teaching and building relationships with people so that they can be encouraged to get to know Him in their own special way. He’s got a special way to bring out His purpose through you too. It’s going to glorify Him if you keep going and trust Him to take you to levels and places that only He has for you. Keep going! As you go beware it may get hard and the vision may begin to fade but “don’t let weariness destroy your vision”- Sheila Walsh

3. Keep spending time in prayer. This is the last point but I promise it is not any less important than the previous two. Prayer is the most powerful tool to keep pursuing Jesus and going after your dreams. Prayer is the medium in which we invite God into our lives and allow Him to be our Lord and guide us through life. Prayer is not a mysterious thing. It is our weapon against the enemy’s distractions and our love language to our Father’s ears. While in prayer, seek first the Kingdom of heaven, stay close to the throne, and pray the prayers that are life changing while getting all of heaven’s attention. I love how Jesus reminds us in Matthew how to pray. Jesus says “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then the Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” Matthew 6:6. Don’t stop going to the Father in fact, keep going! Go to Him with joy, thanksgiving, questions, petitions, and repentance. He’s so eager to hear from you. He’s ready to share His heart with you.

Friends, I hope you’re encouraged to keep going. I prayed before the submission of this blog for the sweet friend that needs this encouragement would find it here. God has so much in store for you and the much more He has is on the other side of your perseverance. Galatians 6:9 says it best “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Let’s keep going! Let’s push through even when it’s hard.  Now, it’s all up to you. Your choice from this point forward matters. Your choice has the ability to push you forwards or send you backwards. You can even get an accountability partner to help encourage you along the way but, whatever you do, don’t stop, keep going!

Good Ingredients

Pam Otto, GFC Lutz

My Mom was known as a great baker and reputable cook who often fiddled around in her cozy kitchen, otherwise known as her “Happy Place”. I have fond memories of her standing by the kitchen counter, flipping through her favorite recipes or stirring a variety of ingredients together to make a tasty meal or sweet treat. When asked about her well-known cooking skills, she’d often say that “Good ingredients matter!” She made it clear that you need to use real butter, or sifted flour, or good chocolate, or the best cut of meat for certain recipes. Her attention to the details and good ingredients in the kitchen paid off for those of us that got to taste her food.

As I’ve thought about all the details my Mom paid attention to when baking, I began to consider the ‘good ingredients’ that I was focusing on in my own life. What am I adding in order to produce good and favorable results in my heart, mind, and soul? Am I living on leftovers from a few days ago, or am I filling up on good, new, and fresh inspiration from God?

What are some of the non-negotiable ingredients that are needed to produce the best results in our spiritual lives? What will make a difference not only for each of us, but for those around us? Is the fruit in our lives noticeable or could it possibly be a bit moldy?

Here are a few ingredients that, once applied and stirred around, will likely produce good and beneficial results:

1. A Teachable Heart
When we have an open and soft heart, we are in a position to receive wisdom from God and others. Ask yourself… Am I ready and willing to grow and change? Am I teachable?

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. Prov. 1:5

2. A Focused Mind
When we are hungry for God, we aim to fix our mind on Him. Hebrews 12:2 says that when we keep our thoughts fixed on Jesus, He promises to guard our heart and mind and bring our faith to maturity.

Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the author of our faith and the one who brings it to its goal. Hebrews 12:2

3. Listening Ears
The Listening habit is one that requires time to quiet our hearts and linger in the stillness in order to hear and embrace all that God may have for us. Whose voice am I listening to? Am I truly spending time to hear from God rather than telling God what I’d like Him to do?

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3

So, next time you’re in your kitchen cooking or mixing things together baking a tasty dessert, think about these ingredients of being teachable, having a mind fixed on Jesus, and having listening ears as some items that, when added together, can grow your faith.

What is your appetite for spiritual growth? Are you hungry to grow?

What ingredients have you found to be key for your growth and faith journey?