Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Important Question

Recently I have heard much about the movie, "Heaven is for Real" - some people are excited and think it's wonderful while others are pessimistic and think it sends a mixed message. I have not seen it and really don't want to debate the quality and/or goodness of the movie, but instead I want to address a question that comes to mind when I think about the realness of heaven.

In the past 3 days I have learned of a neighbor's friend being killed in a semi accident, a neighbor's relative being killed in a house fire and a friend's dad being given days to live after a recent cancer diagnosis. Friend, these people are not just thinking about the realness of heaven, they are dealing with it!

Personally, I don't need a movie to tell me heaven is for real...God's Word does that! Here's just a glimpse... 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. Revelation 21:1

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. Revelation 21:21-25

But simply knowing there is a heaven and reading what the Bible says about it is not enough! Think about this: if I know my friend lives in Texas I may think I can go visit her. I may start out on my trip, but if I don't know how to get there I'll never arrive. Friend, hear me on this - the same is true when we talk about heaven...simply knowing and believing it's a real place that is wonderful will not get us there.

We need directions, we need a guide and I don't know if a movie will tell us this, but God's Word does!! Listen to Jesus' words from John 14:6, "Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." Interstate 35 might get me to my friend's house, but Jesus is the ONLY One who will get you and me to heaven.

Our knowledge of the place or good works here won't do it, we must accept Him as Lord and Savior, put our trust in Him and commit our lives to Him. He is the only means of salvation!! 

Listen to Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus - "Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." John 3:1-8

Friend going to church doesn't make you a Christian and knowing heaven is for real doesn't guarauntee you'll be going there. Understanding you are a sinner saved by grace will help you make peace with God and build a relationship with Christ so that you can live eternally with them in heaven! 

If these words and ideas are new or leave you with questions, please seek out a pastor, Christian friend or send me a message. (jillberan@yahoo.com) Friend the 3 people I mentioned in the opening of this post had no idea death was right around the corner and if we're honest we have no idea when our time will be up either, so I pray we will all be ready and will have answered the important question!

Heaven is for real...are you really going there? Friend, I don't want you to be left behind!! Here's a song for you....listen to DC Talk sing "I Wish We'd All Been  Ready".

Friday, April 25, 2014

Hiding His Word

"I can't read! I don't like this! I HATE school!!" These are words my little Jaylyn shared today as we started school. As a homeschool mom I've heard similar statements and today they frustrated me. I worked with my little miss for awhile trying to encourage her, but it seemed we were getting no where. She didn't want to do her school work and she was in no state to be productive. So I told her I was going to help her older bro and sis and be back.

Our time apart was good...my attitude was better when I returned to our table. I asked her if she was ready to try again, my lil sweetie shrugged her shoulders and hopped on my lap. Instantly Hebrews 4:16 came to mind...the verse we'd memorized earlier this week and even made a video of us reciting it.

So I simply asked, "Do you remember the verse we memorized?" She had a sheepish grin and said, "Yeah" then proceeded to recite, "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16."

I simply responded, "Jaylyn, we didn't memorize those words just to make a video or learn another Bible verse, but we wanted to be able to remember them so we could live them out." She shook her head and kept on listening as I asked, "What does that verse mean?" With tears still in her eyes she whispered, "We can pray and ask God for what we need."

The conversation continued as I said, "Is there anything you need?" Her shoulders shrugged again as she said, "I don't know." Then I questioned, "Do you need help with reading? Would you like a good school day? Do you want your teacher to be patient?" She grinned and we bowed together in prayer.

After our amen, the tears were gone and our attitudes were good. The lessons continued and the little girl who said, "I hate school" was smiling and laughing while she worked hard with confidence. The Mom/teacher who wanted to scream and had been full of frustration was enjoying the moment and grateful for what God had done.

School time came to an end and we took a minute to reflect; together we decided to approach the throne again - this time to thank God for the help He gave during our time of need!!

Friends, memorizing Bible verses has never been my strong point...I have a lot of "sorta Scriptures" and could tell you what book many verses come from, but this year God is leading me to memorize His Word and I've already seen Him use and bless this work. I trust He'll do the same for you!!

And so you know there are lots of ways to make it easier and enjoyable!! Here's one suggestion - involve your kids and make a video - they'll love it and you'll get some laughs, but you'll all hide His Word in your heart!! (My little Jaylyn is the curly hair girl!!)

"So is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Isaiah 55:11

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Changed and Transformed

"I am the girl Jesus loves!" These are words I've never put on paper, but they are ones God is etching on my heart. Growing up I sang the song all church kids know and as a Mom I even agreed with the line my son changed - "Jesus loves me, YES I know!!"

Love is something I have struggled with...in my head I knew John 3:16, but at times my heart has wondered what that means? Insecurity has kept me from embracing love and expressing it, but through the years God keeps pealing off layers of my heart and helps me understand more and experience His love better.

Today I'm taking part in the Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study Blog Hop...our job was to share a bit how God is transforming us through Wendy Blight's study, Living So That. So last night I reviewed my notes, flipped through my book and came up with many ideas, but finally asked God to show me if there was something He wanted me to share.

Time passed and my thoughts shifted to bedtime routines and then these lines came to mind, "We will spend some time with John, also known as 'the disciple Jesus loved'. What is so intriguing about this statement is that John alone called himself by this name." In the margins I wrote - "I've never done that!"

I read on and then through Wendy's words God showed me why..."he (John) knew without a doubt Jesus chose him, called him and deeply loved him. He knew his identity was in Christ, and, because of that, he knew he was the Lord's beloved." Friend, for years I've wrestled with doubt and struggled finding my identity in various places and this has led me to view love as something I don't deserve and thus have to earn.

The next lines from Wendy are ones I saw all over social media, but I didn't even underline. Now nearly a week later and because of the work God is doing I'll put them in BOLD for you (and me) here - "Oh that we would have that confidence to unabashedly speak those same words: "I am the girl Jesus loves!!" It is true, I know I can still grasp this more, but I understand it better and I am thankful! I encourage you to soak in this today!!

These thoughts about love led me to thinking about obedience because through this study God is showing me that there is something I'm not doing. (OK there is more than one, but a big one has jumped out!!) I've been wrestling with this and I know fear, especially of failure, plays a part as does insecure thinking...you know, the I'm not good enough thoughts.

As all this took over my mind the Holy Spirit whispered a question, "Jill, why do you obey?" I didn't have a quick answer, but immediately I thought about being the obedient child and "good" girl growing up. Why did I do that? because I wanted to please my parents, teachers, coaches...and thought I could earn their love. I don't think I've intentionally approached things with God this way, but my eyes were opened that sometimes I have a works mentality.

The thoughts continued and memories came to mind as the Holy Spirit again whispered to my heart, "Jill obedience does not result in love, it is a response to it." Did you get that? "Obedience does not result in love, it is a response to it."

God is love (1 John 4:16) and He loved you and me while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). His love is there whether we feel it or not. Our job, our choice is to embrace it. He's given us His Word so that we can see it, know it and experience it.

And He's showing me that I don't have to earn it, better yet I can't, but I can share it. That is what obedience is all about...responding to His love and sharing it with others. In John 14:23 Jesus says, "All who love me will do what I say" and in John 21 three times Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him and then instructs him to feed His sheep. It's love then obedience!

To wrap this up, I want to bring in the three chapters we've worked through - Jesus came so that, God spoke so that and we pray so that... In Titus 2:11-14 we are told Jesus would purify for Himself people eager to do what is good. I believe obedience is a part of that doing good, but being eager isn't enough. We also need to be equpped and 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us God spoke so that we would be! Finally as we strive to respond to God's love and walk in obedience we will have times of need and I'm grateful for the truth of Hebrews 4:16...we can pray and God will provide!

Friend, I pray you will dive deeper into God's Word and spend time with Him...no matter where you are on your walk of faith He wants to speak to your heart so that He can change it and transform you!

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, 
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. 
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is
his good, pleasing and perfect will. 
Romans 12:2

Saturday, April 19, 2014

What do we remember?

I'm often told, "You remember everything!" I'll admit I do have the ability to remember dates...I have close to 30 nieces and nephews and have most of their birthdays etched in my mind, I never forget the day I played my first varsity game or lost my last, and I often recall random things which many admit to forgetting. This gift was absent back in history class and sometimes my marriage would be better if I was quicker to forget, but last night I found myself remembering. In that time I was challenged to remember something new.

I found myself thinking about today - April 19th, a date that's been etched in my mind for 19 years. Back in 1995 I had reconstructive knee surgery and basketball was never the same...it became a date I didn't appreciate. On top of that, it was also the day of the Oklahoma City bombing...a day many didn't appreciate. This day became even harder in 2009...it was our expected due date, but a miscarriage turned a day of anticipation into a day of dread.

A year ago, I finally found myself at a place where I didn't just survive the day and get consumed with grief...I even shared about it HERE. I expected this year to be the same, but last night my mind took over and I got to thinking that our little Jenae Hope would be turning 5. Questions entered my mind, tears filled my eyes and pain filled my heart. Thoughts went back to when the miscarriage took place and I remembered the hurt, the grief and the questions. I wondered why I had to be the one who remembered everything!

And then God whispered to my heart, "Jill, remember Me." Those were just the words I needed and that's exactly what I did. Immediately the Bible's shortest verse came to mind, "Jesus wept." What a comforting thought...sometimes I struggle grieving our little girl because I know if she were here Jed would not be, so I know God brought good and worked through this. But as I thought about this verse I realized Jesus knew what would happen with Lazarus but He cried anyway. Tears are not a bad thing, so I shed a few more and listened to the next verse that came to mind.

"Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him." (Psalms 127:3) There is such truth in that statement and I understood that so much more after we lost one He had given to us. Prior to this I had taken pregnancy and the whole process for granted. And following it I was reminded to enjoy the moments because we don't number our days, or our children's. They are a gift from Him and they belong to Him...may we appreciate, train and love them while they are with us!

Finally the third verse that came to mind was one I'd read an hour earlier as I completed Bible study homework - "All this I have told you so that you will not go astray." (John 16:1) In response to this I jotted down, "God gave us His Word for a purpose - so when I'm tempted to drift or doubt, I must go to it!" I was amazed at how He did just that...it would have been easy to let my mind go down that road of doubt and grief and focus on all that was lost. I could have been consumed with pain, but instead through His Word God led me to cry while I remembered.

I remembered my little Jenae Hope (read the story of her name HERE), but I also remembered His presence and power that I experienced in a whole new way when I walked through that trial. I also made a new memory and will now remember His faithfulness, goodness and power of His Word when I think back on April 18th, 2014.

Friend, today I encourage you to remember...remember the ones you love, remember the road you've walked...the good stops and the deep valleys and while you take the trip down memory lane, please remember God. He was there through it all and He is with you now! If these things you can't forget cause pain and bring you down, please go to His Word...He wrote it so we wouldn't go astray!!

If you feel like sharing, I'd love to hear what you are remembering today and how God is in the midst of those memories! In the meantime here's a song for you -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Easter Changes Everything

As Easter draws near I find myself thinking about many things...what God did for me, the level of Jesus' obedience and the power of the resurrection. I'm thinking about what I should do next as we prep to host 30+ family members on Sunday. I also find myself praying and asking God to help my children understand the real meaning of the holiday. And it may sound crazy but this year I've also thought about hollow chocolate Easter bunnies.

Of all the Easter treats available this is not the one I'd choose, but the other day I started thinking about them. You see every year for as long as I can remember I, or my children, have received these from my grandma B and this is our first Easter without her. Ten months have gone by and I think about her often and this year those thoughts have me thinking about Easter more.

Easter 2013 - Grandma B giving Jesse his bunny!
The other day I read a simple but profound statement - "Easter changes everything!" A year ago I would have agreed with that statement, but now I know it and believe it. So take a minute with me and let's look at what Easter is all about...the best thing I can encourage you to do is read Luke 22-24 or John 12-20. Friend, God's Word is living and active and I know He will speak to you if you sit with Him.

I'm not sure it's possible for me to summarize the events of what we now call Holy Week, but let me share a few highlights - the Last Supper where Jesus modeled humility; Judas, one of Jesus' disciples, betrayed Him; Jesus prayed (even for you and me...see John 17:20-26); He was arrested; Peter, another one of His disciples denied Him; He was tried and crucified; He was buried and three days later rose again. 

That is quite a list of events, but can I share with you that it's more than a slice of history? Friend, I viewed it that way for years, but it's different now...I believe Easter, and the Jesus we celebrate, change everything! This holiday is about so much, but I want to focus on the resurrecting power of the God I serve. Jesus, the Son of God, died. He was buried and many grieved the loss of the One they followed and loved, but God. God intervened and fulfilled the plan He sent Jesus to live out. He resurrected Him from the dead and He lived again.

That alone is an amazing story, but it does NOT end there! Friend, God still has that resurrecting power. Romans 10:9 tells us, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." God didn't just save Jesus, if we believe He will save us too.

Believing in Him and seeking a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior will save us for eternity, but again there is more. This power that God possess doesn't just make a way to heaven possible, it makes it possible for us to walk through life. A life that is hard, full of pain and can be depressing. A life that's kind of like that hollow chocolate bunny - empty and without much purpose. 

Friend, I've been thinking about Easters past and I hate to admit there was a time when it was just another commercial holiday, a vacation from school and a family get together. I'd serve at the sunrise breakfast and sing for Sunday School, but I didn't really focus on what it was all about. I knew in my head that Jesus died and rose again, but in my heart I really didn't understand.

If you find yourself in that place today, I want you to know this is so much more than another holiday! Jesus' life, death and resurrection have the power to transform you. If you find yourself empty, stressed or depressed, He can fill you, give you peace and purpose. He will dry your tears, purify your heart and change your life. He died so that we could live...forever in heaven and abundantly here on Earth!!

I want you to know trusting Jesus won't take the pain away and magically make your life perfect. My life still includes pain - I've even shed tears as I type...my first Easter without Grandma B will be different and Saturday the 19th, the day before Easter would have been our little ones birthday, but 5+ years ago we had a miscarriage. The truth is sometimes God doesn't use His power in the way we'd like, but I've come to believe He uses it in the way He knows is best!! 

So today, though my heart is heavy and my plate is full, I am grateful. I'm thankful I know Easter changes everything and friend my prayer is you can say the same!!

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. 
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; 
death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; 
but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, 
count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 
(Romans 6:8-11 NIV)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

What do you do in the wait?

Waiting isn't easy...it is hard and never something we willing choose! We are busy people who often want things now, but still waiting is a part of life. Titus 2:11-14 says, "For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good."

Friend, as Christians we are waiting for Christ to return and during that time we will also find ourselves waiting for answers, direction, wisdom, provision and on and on. An important thing to remember is while we wait for Jesus to return His grace is already and always available!! This grace will teach, instruct and sustain!

As I've been thinking about waiting and studying what the Scriptures say, I've come to the conclusion that there's basically two ways to wait. I can worry and be anxious or be intentional and trust God. I hate to admit that all too often my go to response is the first one, but I know the grace of God can and does help me say no to that type of reaction. God doesn't want me, or you, to worry or be anxious - sometimes He has us wait to remind us He is in control!! When it comes to waiting He doesn't want us to waste that time, but instead He often uses it to prepare us, teach us and mold us. The more we trust Him, the quicker we'll be to depend on Him and the easier it becomes to wait on Him!

These thoughts led to more as I read Galatians 6:9, "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." These words brought farming to mind and I naturally thought of my husband. He plants the seed, knowing and trusting God will do the growing. He plants in May and harvests in October, but in between while he is waiting for the crop to grow, he has work to do. 

And friend, the same is true for us as we wait for God. We may have to let God cultivate the soil of our heart and remove weeds so that our faith can grow. We may have to spend more time seeking God. (Lamentations 3:25) And as we wait there is always time to pray. The time we have is valuable and we must use it wisely...that won't happen if we're anxious, but it will if we're intentional and choose to trust God. We must not give up while we wait, but instead allow God's grace to fill us, strengthen us and help us persevere!

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. 
See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, 
patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 
You too, be patient and stand firm, 
because the Lord’s coming is near. 
James 5:7-8

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Opinion That Matters

Worrying what others think has always been a struggle for me and for years I could have been considered an approval addict. Thankfully God, through His Word, has opened my eyes to this and helped me focus on the only opinion that matters! Today at the Encouragement Cafe, I'm sharing a devotion titled, "Who's Your Judge?" (Read it HERE.) Friend, He - our Heavenly Father, the God who sees all, is our judge and His opinion is the ONLY one that matters.

I could share story after story of my struggle with this and offer accounts of God blessing me when I focused on pleasing Him, but today I simply want to share Scriptures that I pray will encourage and instruct you as well. May God's Word speak to and transform your heart!

"Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10

"Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free." Ephesians 6:6-8

"For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." Romans 14:7-8

 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:19-20

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24

Friend, today may you and I be encouraged to live for Christ as we remember He is our judge and His opinion truly is the ONLY one that matters! Thank you for stopping by and please know I'm praying for you as you live to please and glorify our Heavenly Father!

Finally, if you need a song to encourage you with this as well, here's a powerful classic to start your day!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Thinking about heroes...

Growing up basketball was my life! I loved the game, worshiped it really. Thankfully God opened my eyes to the idol I'd created and now has me worshiping Him!

As I look at my kids and watch them grow up before my very eyes I at times reflect back to when I was their age. Lately I've found myself doing this with my daughter Joy. She is 9 and is beginning to enjoy basketball herself, but she's far from obsessed - awhile back she actually asked me, "Mom, who's Michael Jordan?" (Obviously I'm no longer obsessed either...my 20 year old self would have considered that complete failure!!)

He was one of my heroes, along with Cynthia Cooper, BJ Armstrong and Teresa Edwards - I could only dream of playing basketball like they did. As a kid I had other heroes too...the basketball players on our school's varsity team - these were people I looked up to and wanted to be. The other day I came across one of the first poems I ever remember writing; it was simply titled "Hero".

The first few lines read -
"I look at you, wish I could be what you are, who you are.
Whenever I see you performing your best, I think only if I could be. 
When you talk to me, I don't know what to say, 
I admire you, but yet I'm afraid, 
No, not of you, but what you might think of me."

Back in the day I wrote those words thinking they were about my heroes, but now I realize they really were about me. I was a kid who struggled with my identity...I didn't just want to do the things they did, I wanted to be them instead of me. I was a kid who worried about what others thought and honestly, now I'm an adult who sometimes still does the same.

So fast forward to today...my kids are not yet in junior high, but next year my oldest will hit middle school and I know they are already looking to role models beyone their dad and me. I'm praying they will follow the example of good, Godly ones. "Heroes" who will encourage them to worship the One who is a HERO! "Heroes" who point them to the One who created them to be who they are instead of leave them wishing they were someone else. "Heroes" they can talk to free of fear and worry of what they might think. "Heroes" who follow Christ so my kids can learn to do the same!!

Just yesterday I was reminded God is already answering my prayers for roles models in my children's lives. He is giving them "Heroes" to look up to and learn from...many friends and family close by and others from far away. As a Mom, I am very grateful, but I know it doesn't stop there. 

Friend, Deuteronomy 6:7-9 instructs us to "Impress them (the commands to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength) on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates." As parents it is our job to instruct our children in the faith and part of that process is praying for the ones who they look to as "Heroes" and pointing them to role models who follow the model, Jesus Christ. 

And the biggest part is setting an example ourselves...whether we like it or not our children see and mimic the things we do. This is obvious when they are toddlers, but also true as they continue to grow - I see myself in my daughter's actions more now than I did when she was three. I'm sorry to admit not all of the things I see are good things. 

I'm thankful God gives us grace, but also knows He expects us to keep growing as well!! May we remember this - as Mom's we can't save them, but we can serve them. Our words and tones can discourage them, so let's be intentional and encourage them! We can't do the impossible things super-heroes do, but we can point them to and teach them about the One who possess more power than Superman ever will! We can love them unconditionally just like Christ loves us!!

In closing, I'd love to share a song by Connersvine with you titled, you guessed it - "Hero"! I heard Hunter Smith share the story behind this song and I appreciated the words he shared about being a parent; I pray these lyrics will encourage you as well! Remember though our kids may never say we're their "hero" that doesn't mean we shouldn't try living like we are!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rejection = Opportunity

Today I am sharing a devotional at the Encouragement Cafe with the same title as this post. (Read it HERE.) Rejection equals opportunity, have you ever thought of that before? Honestly, prior to writing the devotional I hadn't thought about it too much, but since then thoughts have lingered from time to time.

In my devotional, I share about the opportunity rejection gives us to experience God's protection, provision and presence, which is all true, but I'm feeling the need to also address the other opportunity rejection brings. If you're like me this is what you tend to experience more...the opportunity for pain, hurt and tears.

As I've thought about rejection, my mind has drifted to basketball. On the court when there was a blocked shot, the defender may talk some trash and say, "Rejection!!" The rejection may cause the ball to go to an open offensive player and lead to an easy basket, but other times it leads to success for the opponent. And friend, if we're not careful that can happen spiritually with rejection as well.

For example, awhile back I found myself feeling rejected by a friend. Nothing major had happened, but we just weren't connecting and I started to take the pain personal. Now had I followed the advice I shared in my devotional this could have led to an opportunity for good, but I didn't. Instead I sat in the rejection and let one negative feeling lead to another and then another...

Our opponent, Satan, loves to use the opportunities you and I give him when we deal with rejection. Friend, God can and does work through rejection, but if we don't turn to Him in those times Satan will pounce at the chance. He will feed us one lie after another and if we're not aware he will use the rejection to do a lot of harm and create much pain.

For instance, the situation with my friend...she really hadn't rejected me, time and life had kept us from communicating, but the feeling of rejection led to thoughts that were lies. I let that false rejection create thoughts in my head that weren't true and one wrong thought snowballed into many. Friend, I hate to admit I didn't even realize this until I read a familiar verse in Isaiah.

I read, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before Me." (Isaiah 49:15-16) Friend, I had let the idea that my friend had forgotten me run wild in my mind which led to me forgetting my identity was in Christ and gave Satan the opportunity to feed me lies that caused me to forget Truth! (Side note - no matter who rejects you, God will NEVER forget you!!)

May we remember rejection equals opportunity and let us apply 2 Corinthians 10:5 by taking every thought captive!! As we do this we will give God the opportunity to use rejection for our good and His glory!!

I'd love to hear how rejection has led to opportunity in your life! Or if you need prayer as you walk through rejection, please share in the comments and I'd be honored to lift you up.