Supernatural Seasons

Lisa Tobias, GFC South Tampa 

Recently I was flipping through the pages of some of my old journals from 2021 and 2022. I enjoy this habit of looking back and reflecting on different situations or seasons of life and being able to see God’s faithfulness in how He has carried me through.

During this analysis something stood out to me about my journal entries during the months of March, April, and May. There was a consistent underlying theme during these spring months, for both years. The theme was rebirth, renewal. One journal entry was about the rebirth of a business plan. Another about the awakening of a gift/talent that had been dormant for a long time. And, another about a new vision. A new purpose.

How appropriate that our great Creator who designed the beautiful spring season for our natural world would also providentially plan a very personal way for us to experience a rebirth/renewal season in our spiritual life! The same God who gives a season for dormant plants resembling just brittle sticks to suddenly peek through the cold barren ground in search of light and warmth, is the same God who provides a way for His own children to break free from spiritual darkness in pursuit of His light.
The same God who creates a way for those once brittle plants to now show buds and fresh growth is the same God who provides a way for His children to experience new life, new dreams, and continued spiritual growth. The same God who allows those trees to blossom again with beautiful bright colors and rich foliage is the same God who provides a way for His children to live in the fullness of joy, in light and freedom, with a new purpose, ALL for His name’s sake.

With every spring season we are reminded of His beautiful creation. With every Easter celebration we are reminded of His great love for us and the sacrifice he paid for us. So, my sisters in Christ, during this season we are given another chance to experience spiritual renewal. Be encouraged by His resurrection- maybe this is a season of rebirth or renewal for you? Be inspired to grow and blossom- YOU are His greatest creation and maybe you have a gift lying dormant that you can use to bless others.

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?

Hard to Love

Kesha Webb, GFC 

I’ve been so blessed to have the most precious people in my life.  Some of those people were instant connections, others … not so much. However, I believe God used the “not so much” connections to diversify my portfolio and teach me that there were treasures in my connections regardless of my personal experience. 

Then that one person walks into my life that tests the boundaries of my walk with Christ. The She-bully and the tormenter of any poor soul she smells that is weak. She criticizes everything, talks about everyone, debates all topics and actively looks for information on the internet to wrestle with her next victim. 

Surely God would want me to intervene, put her in her place, and save the world  from her evil and arrogance.  On the contrary, God put a mirror in front of my past and showed me that the reason why I wanted to put my She-bully in her place was because My She-bully was me! Yes, she was packaged differently and took evil to levels I could never think of but her behavior had once lived in my heart before Jesus saved me from myself. Instead of building up an arsenal of words to destroy her, God’s tender loving mercy and kindness wanted me to love her. He wanted me to pray for the hurt that hardened her heart and with compassion and patience, look for cracks in the wall she had built as a fortress.

Instead, my response to God’s request to love my enemy was tolerance. I tried to ignore the gossip and the mean-girl remarks she said to me. When she walked towards me at work, I would walk the other way. When others complained I would agree as they validated the frustration I had wrapped in silence.

Then something unexpected and profound happened. I was told that I would be indirectly reporting to my She-bully! All my current projects and employees would eventually roll-up to her. 

Now, God had my undivided attention and I had no other choice but to quit or turn to Him for my next steps. He led me to Luke 6:32-33 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.”

It was at that moment I knew that the Lord was using my humiliation to humble me. So, I began to ask Him for ways to pray for her and to serve her. I asked Him to remove the contamination and hurt I carried for her in my heart.  Since He is a merciful God He began to show me that my misery was my ministry. He showed me that “hurt people, hurt people” but “healed people heal people” so every time my She-bully was unstable God graced me to stabilize her. In turn, I was no longer triggered by her behaviors because God replaced my complaints with compassion. He gave me peace in patience and, most importantly, He gave me creative ways to solve critical issues on her behalf. I found treasures in her personality and highlighted those areas so she would see alternative ways to address her frustrations. In time, she began to trust me as I began to trust God each day for her. That’s when the sweetest miracle happened. She became my greatest advocate and today she is a good friend. God showed me that the most difficult people are the ones with the greatest wounds and although it’s not God’s Will for me to be mistreated, it was His Will for me to be used. Only a merciful God can turn a She-bully into a She-beautiful and I am grateful for the authenticity of our connection. My hope for all of us is that when it’s hard to love someone, we’ll choose to love harder.