A Thief

Nathalie Corniel, GFC Waters

What happens when we compare ourselves to each other? We lose sight of the gifts we, as individuals, were given. We focus on our weaknesses instead of our strengths – what we DON’T have instead of what we DO HAVE.

God’s desire is for us to add value to others and this world with the gifts we were given. When we compare ourselves we lose confidence in who we are and were made to be. One of the most important reasons why we shouldn’t compare ourselves is because we lose our personality and our ability to be who God created us to be. Comparison breeds disillusionment and disappointment. But, when we focus on God and how He uniquely crafted and creates us we find: security, grace, acceptance, belonging and peace.

Comparison keeps us wanting and exhausted. It is always trying to meet other people’s expectations. We can become unpleasant and bitter about our lives which perpetuates a cycle of all that we lack.  There will always be someone who is faster, taller, stronger, prettier, smarter. etc. It is a never ending. We will never be content or fulfilled in who we are when our eyes are transfixed on others. We lose so much time, energy, and purpose and, in turn, we allow the enemy to rob us of our peace and our joy. The Word of God is filled with verses that speak about comparison. Here are a few to encourage us today.

Galatians 6:4-5 (NIV) Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.

2 Cor. 10:12 (NIV) We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

Prov. 14:30 (NIV) A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.

Comparison is a tactic of the enemy to distract us from God’s purpose for our lives and it leaves us feeling unworthy. The world needs the person God made! You are a gift to this world and others will be encouraged by your boldness. Ask God to show you where you may have been discontent about your life and ask Him to give you a new perspective on the life he wants you to live. God wants to use every part of our story for a greater purpose! Don’t waste it on comparing yourself to others. You are the best “YOU”! Lastly, When we believe who God says we are, we are boldly declaring that we believe Him and His Word. We are declaring that we trust Him and will embrace all He made us to be for his glory!

 

God is Within Her!

Nathalie Corniel, GFC Waters

Psalm 46:5
“God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.”

Recently, I was thinking about why my relationship with God is so good for me and important to me. With that, I came up with a few reasons why I need to nurture it daily. These declarations remind me that with Him I will not fall! He sustains me and gives me strength through the most difficult situations. He is a faithful God and can be trusted!

Seeking God convicts me of my sin! It also keeps me reliant on Christ and not on myself. Seeking Him keeps me humble and reinforces that He is my loving Father who sees my sin, yet loves me the same. And, it lets me know who’s in charge! (That takes the pressure off me too because I Am NOT in control.) The Word of God reminds me that God can handle glory! But, giving it to me makes me prideful, arrogant, and self-centered! He is really the One who deserves ALL the glory.

I didn’t create a universe, so I should be in relationship with the One who did and find my purpose through him. He gives me ALL access to His PEACE, JOY, LOVE, unconditional GRACE, and FAVOR and those commodities from Him never run out! HE is the only GOOD in this world. He sits on His throne yet bends down to listen to little itty-bitty ME. HE NEVER CHANGES. He’s always available. He’s never annoyed or bothered by me and WANTS me to communicate with Him and to invite Him into every aspect of  my life. He wants a relationship with me and uses me for His Glory! This all blows me away every time I think about it. His Son, Jesus, died for me. Because he died for me and I accepted him as my Savior, I will live in eternity with him. Because he has sacrificed so much for undeserving me, I will and get to serve Him all the days of my life. Because God is within me, He will not let me fall!

Prayer:
Lord, Thank you for reminding me that without you I can
become overwhelmed with life’s circumstances. However,
keeping my eyes transfixed on who You are, reminds me
that you are holding me and will not let me fall. Help me to
live out my faith by trusting and acknowledging you in my life daily.                                                                In Jesus’ name, Amen.

ENOUGH.

Guest Blogger – Roslyn Rice, Devotional Author of “The Power of One” (She’s also our friend Renee Scott’s twin sister)

You Are Enough! Those are not words we normally hear as women. You Are Enough.

We can spend countless hours wondering if we are enough. Are we equipped as educators to teach our students? Are we enough to handle motherhood? Are we doing enough to be promoted at work? Will our parents see that we are enough? Are we saving enough? Are our kids involved in enough activities? Am I smart enough? Will I survive financially after retirement? Will I be captivating enough for him to stay? Am I spiritual enough? Am I doing enough to bake this casserole correctly…ugh!

You Are Enough.

The messages we tell ourselves often go in the opposite direction of being enough. We coddle self defeating thoughts in our mind. We nurture negative thoughts from childhood. Those thoughts form our identity as we become adults. We sometimes struggle to see the full value we provide in our world (our sphere of influence). We are instantly distracted by a negative news story or even the last text from a friend. We don’t always have people around us telling us that we are enough. Whatever you are facing today I want to provide this gentle reminder.

You Are Enough.

David was a young king. People judged him based on his appearance (has that ever happened to you?). They judged his capabilities and capacity based on how he looked. Did the scrawny yet handsome shepherd boy have enough to defeat Goliath?

Do you realize that within 7 seconds of meeting someone they make 11 judgements about you? Judgments possibly about if you are enough. I again repeat.

You Are Enough.

David had a spirit of confidence and boldness. He knew that he was enough. Not because of what he did but because of who he served. God almighty had confirmed within him that he was enough. David knew he was equipped to battle. He knew he was equipped to fight giants in his life. He possessed a Godly wisdom that was incredibly precious & effective.

You Are Enough.

Today you are equipped for whatever fight you face. The fight, trial, obstacle, annoyances wouldn’t be there if you weren’t equipped. Be fearless sister. Walk with boldness. God is with you. Every obstacle faced in this life is finished and was nailed on the cross. God is for you. Jesus took care of it. Because of this you fight NOT to receive victory. You are fighting from a place OF victory. Sister you are victorious (Romans 8:37). Today I send you a squishy hug and the declaration that:

You Are Enough.

Hebrews 13:21 NLT

May He equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to Him. All glory to Him forever and ever! Amen.”

*Excerpt from Power Of One, chapter entitled “EQUIPPED”.

BIO – Roslyn has a global mission to inspire the world. She has provided inspiration with decades of blogging, mentoring and public speaking. Roslyn is best selling author of, Power Of One: Finding Hope In The Midst Of Struggle. It’s a 40 day devotional that focuses on one word. At the end of every chapter, Roslyn shares a passage of scripture, question, and prayer to jumpstart application of the word in your daily life. She is Co-Founder DPI, LLC a business management firm focusing on small business consulting and inclusion solutions for organizations. She coauthors the blog, Double Portion Inspiration, with her identical twin sister (Renee Scott).

There Is Freedom.

Alexis Patterson, GFC Van Dyke

Independent of the world but fully dependent on God = FREEDOM

Happy 4th of July!

In Christ we have freedom! 2 Corinthians 3:17 reads “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”

We have the freedom to choose to follow God and lead in love. We’re free from sin, condemnation, shame and any strongholds the enemy places on our lives.

Think about a time or maybe even in this present moment where you need(ed) freedom from something or someone. I remember mine vividly. About four years ago, I found myself feeling so frustrated at the complacency in my life. I was working in a career where I didn’t see any growth, my relationship with my husband seemed mediocre, and my way of living was to let life happen to me. There was no real direction or guidance in my path but I knew I needed to be free from my current life’s circumstances. I wanted to be independent of a job I wasn’t passionate about and I wanted so much more for my marriage and life overall. I turned to God and asked Him to take the lead in my life. I hadn’t ever done that before. I knew Him, I loved Him, but I was out of true relationship with Him.

This led me to go deeper, seeking God for answers and purpose. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was seeking God for freedom. Freedom to live for Him, to align with Him, and to allow Him to lead my life. I was searching for purpose and meaning to all aspects of my current existence. The very moment I asked Him, He began to work. It was this metaphoric picture of a child raising her hands up to her father to be lifted up into his arms and the father reaching down to pick her up. He literally lifted me. Once He got me into His arms, He never let me go and that’s when real life began for me.

Freedom begins in knowing who our Heavenly Father is and who we are to Him. It’s knowing that He’s such a good Father and He withholds nothing good from His children. The experience of freedom comes in knowing that you are fully independent of the world, to be totally dependent on God. That is true freedom. As we go into America’s Independence Day we should absolutely reflect on what it means to be free in America. But let us not forget what it means to be free in the Spirit of the Lord. For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

Prayer:

Father, Thank You for choosing me. I am so grateful because I know that in Your pursuit of my heart, You have granted me freedom. I have freedom to accept the call You’ve placed on my life, freedom to know You intimately and freedom to live boldly for You. Today, I pray against any of the enemy’s strongholds that try to prevent me from truly living free. I acknowledge that the enemy exists but he has no authority over me because You have chosen me and set me free. I humbly submit my life to You for real uninhibited freedom. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

I Belong

Lisa Santelli, GFC Van Dyke

Psalm 100:3  “And realize what this really means – we have the privilege of worshiping the Lord our God. For he is our Creator and we belong to Him. We are the people of his pleasure.”

Do you have a sense of belonging?” That was the question my high school counselor asked one day when I was serving a semester as her teacher’s assistant. I thought she was referencing the fact that I am adopted, which I do feel was a huge part of the question. But, looking back, I think she was asking about so much more.

At the time, I was the new girl, and switching schools in 10th grade wasn’t easy. I lived almost 45 minutes away, commuting daily, which made it hard to spend time with friends after school. I still had a lot of friends in my hometown, but I never quite felt like I fit in with them either. I didn’t see them daily and missed out on a lot of their school activities. It was a tough season. So, when she asked that question, “do you have a sense of belonging”, I immediately thought of my family, their support, our bonds, and how they truly loved me. I quickly answered, “Of course, I feel like I belong”, and pretty much dismissed the matter. But, if I am completely honest, I have struggled with that sentiment for years, and it has been more recently that I’ve been able to unpack it.

A few years ago, I started to awaken to the fact that I needed something more in my life. I didn’t have many friends and the ones I did have, lived hours or states away.  I was questioning what I was doing with my life.  I was jaded and cynical.  This once soft heart had become hardened and judgmental, and I really didn’t like me.  At times, I questioned my worth and my purpose.  Why am I truly here? And, where do I actually belong?

I had been attending church, but not participating. But then, there was this mention of getting in a “Group”. Something inside was nudging me to go, but I was scared to take that first step. Even though I grew up in the church, I had strayed. What would these ladies think of me?  Would they see the black spots on my heart?  Would they even like me?  Or, would my high school insecurities surface and I feel the same rejections and thoughts that I didn’t quite fit in?

I remember showing up at that first small group and seeing pure joy on one of the ladies faces and it completely scared me.  I was so sure she could see right through to my dark, lonely heart and was ready to judge all my shortcomings. Instead, I was welcomed with open arms.

It was through these incredible women, that we began to share our struggles. And, it was through these women, that rather than telling me I was right or wrong about something they pointed to truth in the scripture. I started to feel that there really was a God who was for me, was always right beside me, and accepted me as I am…with all my messy layers. It was here the message of grace began to resonate so deeply that I sensed a real belonging. I felt a sisterhood forming, with the connecting layer Jesus. Even though our backgrounds and battles were different, our common ground in Jesus and the encouragement we gave each other has created relationships that run deep. We have laughed together, cried together, and prayed together.

Semester after semester, I stay plugged into groups. Not only does it create accountability and spiritual growth, but I have a true sense of belonging, both in my community of friends, and as a reminder of to who I really belong. When fears and lies creep in, my tribe reminds me that I am a child of the One True King and to straighten my crown. It is easy to get caught up in our insecurities and forget who our Abba Father is. We can forget that we are an essential part of His family. During those tough times, we need a community who will remind us, who won’t let us wallow or drift, but will help tie us to our one true Anchor, Jesus Christ.

If you’re struggling to feel like you belong, first be reminded who God says you are and that you belong to HIM. If you don’t have a community of support, or maybe you’ve struggled to find your tribe, join a group. It may take a couple table hops to find your people, but be encouraged…God’s family is big enough and wide enough to welcome you in.