Categories, Heart of Thanks, Walking in Faith

Heart of Thanks: Being Thankful During Hardship

This weeks guest post is from my dear sister, Mae Blooms!
Heart of Thanks Mae

The rain falls on the just as well as the unjust and many times as God’s children we find ourselves struggling to be thankful because of the hardship we experience.

If we are honest with each other it’s easier to be thankful and joyful when things are going well. But it is a totally different story when you are struggling to keep food on the table and all hell is breaking loose in your life. It’s in the hardship seasons that I believe our faith is deeply tested. Faith that hasn’t been tested – can’t be trusted to last. These seasons can bring even the strongest of us to our knees with questions we would’ve never thought could enter our hearts. So how can we cultivate a heart of thanksgiving in hardship?

  1. Don’t Take It Personal

The majority of humanity has or will experience seasons of hardship. The scripture tells us that even the earth has been groaning (Romans 8:22-23). So, it’s only natural that when we go through rough seasons it feels like a personal attack, but that is just not true. No matter what we may experience, we’ve got to know that even in a sin-sick world God’s grace is sufficient for us and every situation we may experience.

Facing foreclosure His grace is sufficient

Struggling to keep food on the table- His grace is sufficient

Doctors aren’t sure why your health is failing God’s grace is sufficient

Grieving over the loss of loved ones– God’s grace if sufficient

Whatever it is – God’s grace is sufficient! it may not feel like it or look like it, but you must receive it and rest in it by faith – if you are going to be victorious and thankfully each day.

  1. Guard Your Gates

Hardship can feel like a dark veil is over your eyes making it hard to see the truth of God’s promises. So, it is vital to spiritual growth that we be very selective about what we’re listening to and what we allow to go before our eyes. Poking around on social media wishing life was different and complaining about what you don’t have will only keep you stagnant and rob you of a grateful heart. Instead get up, go for a walk and thank God for legs to enjoy the scenery. Worship and praise music are always a great idea. Letting encouraging messages and podcasts enter your ear gate will feed your spirit and hopelessness will fall off you like a heavyweight. The benefits are increased joy, spiritual growth, purified praise, and true worship!

  1. Let Her Have Her Way

Who I’m I referring too? Patience – let her have her way in every situation. James 1: 2-5 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces patience. Let patience have her way, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.” Lacking nothing – I really like that! You see there is a purpose in the trials and hardships of life. It may be annoying and inconveniencing, but hardship should almost be welcomed because it gives us the opportunity to suffer like Christ. The truth is God never promised us a trouble-free life, as a matter of fact, Jesus said, that in this world we would have troubles, but take heart because He has already overcome them all. Now that is good news.

  1. Eternity Mindset

I know, we are aware that we should keep our eyes focused on things above, but truthfully when we’re experiencing pain, grieving and going through our flesh tends to forget that. 1 Peter 5:10 says, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” Suffering is not an option it is just a matter of time before it happens to us all, but I am so glad to know that God is not an inactive bystander in our circumstances. We have a good Father who is working all things together for our good and for His glory. Feel free to pout and pour out the fleshly feelings before Him, then arise and know that God is working in you a greater purpose.

When you are going through hardships, seasons of lack or grief be intentional about staying in the word of God and allowing the Father to encourage you. You don’t want to waste the experience becoming bitter or being offended.  Cultivating a thankful heart in the midst of hardship is a pleasing offering to our Father.

So be encouraged and press in because hardship is not where your story ends!

Mae

 

Mae Blooms is an author and CEO she resides in sunny South Florida with her husband and 3 daughters. She is a writer at heart, who enjoys reading, abstract art, and vanilla frappes in her downtime.  She is a prayer warrior that loves helping others and encouraging woman to be their best in each season of life – all for God’s glory! To learn more about Mae, check her out on the following social media outlets!

Categories, Heart of Thanks, Walking in Faith

Heart of Thanks: Grateful for What is Not

This weeks guest post is from my dear sister, Melissa WalthourCopy of Heart of Melissa W

A friend and I recently went on a cabin trip for a weekend getaway to spend time with God. We were intentional about setting aside that weekend for Him, so we put our phones on airplane mode. The only time we interacted with our devices was to pull up sermons or google scriptures. With no distractions, it made it easy to be immersed in God’s presence the entire time. It was amazing!

On the second day there, I got up, dressed myself in like seven layers and went outside on the deck, which had a front row seat to the newly risen sun, gorgeous mountains, and morning fog. I brought with me my Bible, a blanket, wireless speaker, and my phone (to play some music). Once I got settled and bundled up in my blanket, I turned on the “Thank You” playlist I created before getting out of bed that morning. As the sounds of worship and thanksgiving filled my ears, I found myself in Psalm 100:

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

After reading Psalms, I got up and began to pace the length of the porch, while boldly singing the lyrics to each song with both hands raised. The more I sang, the more my heart engaged, but it was when I heard these words that tears overwhelmed my eyes: “Tragedies are commonplace. All types of diseases, people are slipping away. The economy’s down. People can’t get enough pay. But, as for me, all I can say is thank You, Lord, for all you’ve done for me.”

The melodic words were lyrics from an old song I grew up on. Although I’ve heard the song countless times, the words were so fresh that I felt like it was my first time hearing it. The message finally hit me! Yes, this girl, who has the tendency to complain when things don’t go her way, or when she gets hurt, or when she gets disappointed, realized that there are so many unseen things that God has protected her from.

I’ll admit it wasn’t a mind-blowing epiphany and I’ve heard expressions like “It could’ve been me” all my life, but my heart was receptive and it sunk in this time. Maybe as a child, as a teenager, and as a twenty-something, I didn’t understand. Maybe now, as a woman in my thirties, it’s real because I have more experience of witnessing tragedies up close and mourning with others during their devastating hardships. Maybe it’s because I have more experience of hurt in my own life. And, I realize, although painful, those hurts didn’t end in ways they could have. I could have still been stuck. I could’ve still been broken. I could’ve still been hopeless. But, instead I grew, I healed, and I became stronger all by God’s grace.

Honestly, I’m not sure what caused that song to come alive to me that cold October morning, but I’m just glad it did. Now, I’m more grateful for what is not (i.e. what didn’t happen and what God protected me from) than what is.

Be blessed & encouraged,

Melissa Walthour

Melissa Walthour is a fun-loving soul who’s addicted to laughter. She’s an encourager who finds joy in lifting up those around her. She has an undying passion to pursue and get to know God more, and loves sharing her experiences with God to help others grow. She’s a thought-provoking writer, recreational photographer, and self-proclaimed music connoisseur.  Click here to learn more about her ministry, Fruit of My Branches, check her out on Facebook , Instagram & YouTube

Categories, Heart of Thanks, Walking in Faith

Heart of Thanks: Taking Time To Give Thanks

This weeks guest post is from my dear sister, Doris M. Cush

Heart of Thanks Doris

The large clock on the wall ticks a certain way. I love how it enhances the décor of my sunroom and blends in with the occasional sounds of the early morning commuters puttering down the street. I glance over at the cluster of household foliage gracing the window sill. Creating more of a jungle than a few, simple accents, they outnumber the furniture in the room 2-to-1. And yet, that ticking clock and jungle of plants keep me humble, mindful, thankful.

Okay, seriously? I kid you not. If you live anywhere within these coastal shores, ‘Tis the Season commenced sometime in mid-October, right? Almost like two old souls playing checkers in the park, advertisers jumped on the idea to skip November and get to the crowning glory of Christmas – the decorations, the shopping, the movies, the hustle, the bustle, the stress! That means no time for November. No time to give thanks with a grateful heart. Thankfulness now comes wrapped in a Pinterest-perfect box and gets sprinkled in between the holiday baking and family visits.

Tick-tick.

In the quiet of the morning, I hear the tick of that clock. Yes, it can annoy me, but also amaze. It speaks the same language everyone understands, but all of us choose to interpret differently. The Psalmist said, “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life” (Psalm 39:4). Time doesn’t tick away to offend us of its end but to offer us the best of its moments. It’s not meant to rush through, but to rest in and enjoy. Let’s not rush through them, but be thankful for each and every moment time gives us on the clock.

Taking time to settle into the ticktock makes us thankful for the intertwine. Again, you’re thinking, “What?” Well, my 2-to-1 jungle of a sunroom didn’t start off that way. A variety of foliage graced that window sill. An evergreen here. A peace plant there. A few plants I don’t know all living and thriving because someone took the time to care. We may not always pick who impacts our lives, but I for one, am thankful for the lessons I learn from their nurturing. Much like the water poured into the soil of those plants, I drink in sweet themes like – Enjoy the day. Smile at the annoyances. Laugh at the impositions. Kiss your loved ones. Offer a hand to the unlovable. The good thing is the God thing. Fill your heart with forgiveness.

I realized the ticktock of a clock and a hodge-podge of houseplants could spur my thankful heart. This holiday season, I hope you find your amazingly odd combinations and I pray they speak volumes to a heart filled with gratitude. Blessings!

 

Doris M Cush

Doris M. Cush, Writer – Speaker – Encourager
Blog/Web: www.doriscush.com
“Honest Survivors Embracing A SAVIOR Honestly!”
Categories, Heart of Thanks, Walking in Faith

Heart of Thanks: No Longer Thankful In Spite Of!

This weeks guest post is from my dear sister, Raquel R. James

Heart of Thanks Raquel post pic

Thinking of thanking, and actually thanking, two totally different things. There were times this year where I had to remind myself to do less thinking about it and more doing. 2018 has been a very interesting year, filled with challenges that certainly tested my ability to be thankful in the midst of the storm. You would think that when God calls you to do something once you’re engaged in the process of accomplishing the task at hand it would be a breeze. Right? Wrong. You see as you embark upon the journey of purpose you learn that indeed the weapons form. Thank God they never prosper.

The year started with the Holy Spirit leading me, strongly leading me, to finish writing a book that He had long ago told me to complete. With a hard deadline quickly approaching, a new work from home job with ten hour work days and way too little pay, being surrounded by my super loving, but very busy, and seldom quiet family did not make writing a book the easiest thing to do. That didn’t matter. It still had to be done. Can we say all nighters? And no I don’t mean the fun girl talk and decadent dessert all nighters. I mean prayer, and Spirit led writing and research type of nights, vanilla chai tea and sugary almond milk creamer type of nights, Lord I’m tired, but I’m gonna get this done type of nights.

During this season I often had to remind myself that it was just a season. I also had to stop and take a moment to be grateful for the many things that seemed like obstacles, but were truthfully blessings. The Holy Spirit told me 30 years ago that I would be an author, a New York Times best selling author to be exact. The only problem was I hadn’t yet written a book. So, the first thing I had to be grateful for was the mere fact that the first part of that had come to pass. I am now an author, and truly believe that the New York Times best seller component will soon be manifested. That low paying work from home job served its purpose for the time that I had it. It was my only source of income as I struggled to grow my business and be intentional about God’s calling on my life. My super loving, very busy, seldom quiet family makes me strive to be better daily. They love me without pretense or conditions and they support my vision so much that they serve as my team when it’s time to get things done. Not only do they give of their time, they also give their money and their skills; no strings attached. Those all nighters, they served as quiet time for me to hear from God, uninterrupted, and complete that task I was given. My first book, BETTER, Not Bitter Baby, Becoming The Woman You’re Called To Be… 22 Days of Affirming Truth, was published in April of this year.

Now if I’m completely honest, I was not walking around screaming, “Oh Lord I’m so grateful!” each day as this was all going on. Some days I was whining and complaining. Well, it wasn’t whole days, it was more like moments throughout a day. Then I’d have to give myself the proverbial, figurative, slap in the face as a reminder of the many blessings I had to be grateful for. If that slap in the face didn’t work I’d text or call my sissy, Shannon, to whine for a moment. She’d give me some encouragement and I’d move on with my life.

I’d like to tell you that writing the book was enough of a reminder to simply be thankful at all times, but sometimes you need additional reminders. Oftentimes, those reminders come with, or in the form of challenges. Writing the book and those obstacles that were really blessings, hmph, the smallest of my obstacles for this year.

Did I forget to mention that one daughter was in the process of finishing college and the other (and my son-love-and-law) were expecting my third grandchild. Yeah, there was a lot going on. So, my third grandchild, my first granddaughter, was born in June. Soon after her mother, my oldest daughter, began to battle postpartum depression (PPD) that manifested as panic attacks, sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression, and OCD.  Yep, all of that falls under the PPD umbrella. All of the previously mentioned challenges/blessings were simply preparation for this huge obstacle in our lives. Yes, I said our because although this was certainly my daughter’s challenge, it was a family battle. We went to war against the enemy with, and for, her.

That meant many more all nighters. Initially the all nighters looked like praying over my daughter throughout the night, sleeping next to her, watching over her to know when to start praying when she awoke. Then it became a combination of rotating baby shifts with my son-in-love-and-law so that my daughter could sleep. As I write this I’m reminded that I hadn’t pulled an all nighter in years prior to writing my book; didn’t think I still had it in me. God needed me to know that I could. He prepared my mind and my body before my granddaughter came. How good is God?! Yet another reason to be thankful in spite of. Not only had He prepared me physically and mentally, He kept me where I was needed during a season when I thought I needed to move. In fact it was a season where I wanted to move. Heck, my entire family wanted movement prior to PPD showing up. However, we quickly realized that God had us in position for what was to come. So, as we battled this beast, and make no mistake about it PPD is a beast, we were actually able to stop and thank God for His sovereignty and for covering my family when we had no idea what He was doing or why He had done it, until that very moment.

You see, had I moved when I wanted to I would not have been in position to support my family in the way that I needed to. Had I gotten the high paying job I wanted, in a nice office, I wouldn’t have been able to accommodate the swift life change that allowed me to be by my daughter’s side 24 hours a day. Lastly, I look at the struggles our family endured during this season and can clearly see God’s hand and His plan. My God. My God. When I tell you, He brought us through to get us to… whew! PPD was simply a necessary tool to bring our family closer together and  bring about changes in my daughter, in ways nothing else could. This experience also assured that my daughter truly knew God’s heart for her and His purpose for her life.

He is mighty to be praised! Do you hear me?! He taught us all how to be grateful in the midst of any and every storm for a number of reasons:

  1. No matter what is going on He is ALWAYS present.
  2. No matter what, there is ALWAYS purpose in the storm.
  3. No matter what, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.
  4. No matter what, God is ALWAYS worthy to be praised.
  5. No matter what, God will ALWAYS get the glory.

So, today, no matter what you’re going through be thankful for the lessons and blessings that are sure to come as a result of whatever you’re facing. Most importantly, be thankful that even in your struggles God is still God, Jesus still sits on the throne, and He is going to bring you through this test with a mighty testimony of His love, His grace, and His mercy. As you go through this month of thankfulness, don’t just be thankful in spite of, be thankful because of.  

Be blessed & encouraged,

RJ_Kims work16Raquel R. James is committed to serving as a catalyst to transformation in the lives of ladies dedicated to changing the trajectory of their lives as they define what next, what now. She is an LMSW, a Master Lifestyle Strategist, Transformational Speaker, Author of BETTER, Not Bitter Baby…, Creator of Jammies and Jewels, and the Owner and CEO of Raquel R. James Unlimited, LLC. In addition, Raquel is an Authorized Relationship Program Leader and Certified P.I.C.K. a Partner and Marriage L.I.N.K.S. Instructor. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University in New York.

You can purchase her latest book, BETTER, Not Bitter Baby… as well as BETTER, Not Bitter t-shirts here. Single ladies be sure to join Raquel at her 2nd Annual Jammies & Jewels, New Year’s Eve Edition; click here for more info. You can always connect with Raquel via Facebook and Instagram. Be sure to drop by her website as well.

Categories, Heart of Thanks, Walking in Faith

Heart of Thanks: Gratitude in Spite of…

Heart of Thanks Blog

I can’t believe it’s November! This year has flown by! It’s been filled with many highs and a few lows for me. I’ve seen God move so much more this year thus far and I already know the rest of this year and next year God is going to blow my mind! I know this because the events and tasks that I’m embarking on are stretching me and pressing me to trust Him like never before!

Nevertheless, I’m excited that we’re entering a season where things slow down a bit. I also know that we’re entering a season where things can be a little sad for some of us who’ve lost loved ones or may not be in a great place in some familial relationships. Of all the things, people & activities that will vie for our attention, let us not forget to have a thankful & grateful heart for what & Who we do have, our relationship with Jesus Christ! Our relationship with Christ helps us to have a thankful heart in spite of adversity, less than favorable circumstances, heart ache and heart break. This month on the blog, I have coined it Heart of Thanks In Spite Of…. I have a few of my good sister friends guest posting this month on how they’ve been able to have a thankful heart in spite of the challenges they’ve faced this year. I hope their heart of faith shines through their writing as you get to know them.

I pray that the posts this month blesses and encourages you greatly! There will be a new post each Monday so make sure to sign up so that you don’t miss a post! Plus, my sister friends will include links to their blogs/ministries/books as well. I have some very gifted sisters!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

P.S. We just launched Purely Loved Butters & Scrubs!! I’m so excited about this as I love whipped body butters and scrubs and I enjoy making them so make sure to check them out here!

P.S.S. There’s still space for the Purely Loved Retreat and there’s still time to take advantage of our payment plan! Click here to register!

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Registration Open! Purely Loved 2019

Retreat FB Banner (1)

Finally! Registration is open for Purely Loved Retreat 2019! The dates are March 22-24, 2019 in Mineral Bluff, GA. It’s going to be bigger: bigger cabin and a few more people than the last 2 years 😉. I’m so super excited to see what God has in store! 2019 will be 2 full days of awesomeness! There are only 25 spots left so I suggest you not take too long to decide to if you want to come! All the information you need is on the site, but if you have questions you can email me at purelylovedretreat@gmail.com. We’re also launching a sponsorship program and are accepting items for the swag bags. So if you’re a business owner and are interested email me about that as well! I hope to see you there!!!

***This beautiful site was created by my sister Mae Blooms who owns design.whynotbloom.com. So if you need a site, definitely contact her!!!***

 

Register at: https://purelylovedretreat.wixsite.com/purely-loved

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

 

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Save the Date!

Purely Loved Retreat Logo

 

Introducing Purely Loved- You Are Royalty Purity Retreat! A weekend retreat in the north Georgia mountains where we leave all the busyness & craziness behind & focus on just being with God! This purity retreat focuses on our identity in Christ, the differences between abstinence, celibacy & purity, what sex is and isn’t, breaking soul ties, setting healthy boundaries & whatever else Holy Spirit wants to do! Not to mention fun activities and lots of food and snacks mixed in! This year’s retreat (coming up in August) was fully booked via word of mouth from 2017’s retreat so we didn’t have to promote it! Stay tuned for the launch of registration for Purely Loved 2019! Space is very limited to keep the experience intimate! Ages 20 & up, married, single, divorced. For more information or to join our mailing list, email us at purelylovedretreat@gmail.com.

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

 

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Surviving Transition

Surviving Transition

Transition:

The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

So many of us are in a season of transition. Some of us have been in a season of transition for a very long time. Like, how long does it take to transition to a new phase, a new season? Some days feel as if you’re stuck in this sickening place of ick! Nothing feels familiar, nothing’s comfortable anymore. You find yourself in a place where no matter how hard you try, you can’t get your footing. The people around you that you’ve grown comfortable with are moving out of your circle and there are new people coming in their place. Nothing feels stable! It’s the feeling that if something doesn’t change soon, you’re going to lose it! Can something please change? There are times when I find myself begging God to please let something change! But, when we’re fully surrendered to God, disciples of Jesus Christ, we have given over our will for God’s. With this comes living life on His terms. Which isn’t a bad thing! His terms are terms of love and protection. The issue is that living life on God’s terms, in His will, means living life in the Spirit, which means a constant battle of flesh and spirit, God’s kingdom and the world’s way of doing things. This leaves us in the middle battling our flesh to choose the ways of the Spirit! Of course we have Holy Spirit but if He’s telling us something we don’t want to hear or to do something we don’t want to, there’s another battle lol!

How do you survive seasons of transition? How do you keep going when you want to jump back in the boat, when you’re tired of walking on water? Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  1. You must understand that this season of transition is a necessary process to get to your next. There’s no going around it. If you truly want to be successful and impactful in your next season, you must trust and embrace the process. (James 1:2-8)
  2. Transition molds you into the person you need to be for the next. Allow God to complete the work He’s doing on you, in you and for you! Your character is much more important to God than your comfort. To Him, the messenger is more important than the message. You’re being refined, molded, shaped and even squeezed. ( Jeremiah 18:1-6)
  3. No one will really understand what you’re going through! God will have you do things, make choices that don’t make sense to anyone else. Do it anyway!
  4. Please remember that this won’t last forever! I know, trust me, I know it feels as if you’ve been circling this mountain for 40 years like the Israelites but you will get to the promised land!
  5. Most importantly, you must keep your eyes on Jesus! If you start to look at and focus on your circumstances you will sink just like Peter did! (Matthew 14:22-33)
  6. When you feel like giving up, remember God’s promises! All of God’s promises are yes and Amen! (2 Corinthians 1:20) Remember that He has plans for you, to prosper you and give you hope and a future! (Jeremiah 29:11)

For the month of May, I will be focusing on the promises of God. That’s the theme for the scripture writing plan this month. If you’d like to join me, feel free to download the free scripture writing plan located on our Downloadables page. Also, feel free to follow along on my social media outlets for prayers and encouragement. If you’d like to join our Facebook community, click here. I pray for great strength as you follow through the process of transition and I know that whatever God has next for all of us will be beyond anything we could ever ask, think or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20)

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

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You’re Only As Strong As Your Core

You're Only As Strong As Your Core

I’m following this plan on Bible.com to read the entire Bible in a year and I was reading in the Old Testament the book of Judges, Chapter 7. In this chapter, God is preparing Gideon to take down the Midianites and He’s about to choose the warriors to go with Gideon into this battle or to make this more relevant, to go with Gideon into this new season.  This chapter has always intrigued me, especially this particular passage:

Judges 7: 1-7

‘So Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon) and his army got up early and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight. But the Lord told Gideon, “There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.” When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, the Lord told him, “Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream.” Only 300 of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream. The Lord told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.” ‘ Judges 7:1-7 https://www.bible.com/bible/116/JDG.7.1-7

There are so many memes and quotes about ‘not everyone is supposed to go with you into your new season’ and immediately we all think of the negative! I believe this causes division in the body of Christ. Now, don’t get me wrong, God will tell us to separate from some people because they are not good for us but it’s not always bad when people are removed, separated or don’t go with you into a new season. Sometimes He separates us so that we can “divide and conquer” for the Kingdom. Or because you’ll need people with a stronger core, different gifts and abilities.

The new season that a lot of us are stepping into or the calling that we have on our lives will require a new or different core group of people or warriors. There’s a changing of the guards, transition happening within the body of Christ. Some people will be removed altogether, some moved down to rest, some promoted. With all of this, there will need to be a strong core because the enemy will try his best to disrupt what God is doing but we already know that he’s a defeated foe and the victory is already ours! Anyway, here are a few points to consider based on this passage, where moving into a new season and having a strong core is concerned:

  1. First thing God did was make sure that He alone got the glory for the victory over the Midianites. God will make sure that whatever season you’re moving into or whatever your calling is, He will get the glory from it, not you! He makes sure that you nor anyone else in your core can say that they did it. He can give you the victory without an entourage!
  2. Gideon started out with men who were well meaning, who wanted to go with Gideon to take on this battle, this new season. But God began to break down Gideon’s “circle” by sending the fearful and faithless home. Your core needs to be strong. You’re only as strong as your core! Your core people need to be faithful so that they can stand for and with you when you can’t stand for yourself! You will need your core to be people who are not afraid to march into the unknown. If God said it, they believe it and they don’t have to know how or why because they trust God!
  3. God will make sure that your core people will be people who have also been tried and tested and found still standing in spite of the fire!
  4. When God calls us to do something for Him, He hand picks our core people. In the passage, God kept the 300 who brought the water to their mouths not the ones who bowed down to drink the water. As I researched the commentaries for reasons why God tested them in this way, I found that during this time, the weather was very hot. The ones who bowed down to drink the water were thought to be more willing to bow to the enemy and would succumb to the elements and to the enemy just to satisfy or save themselves. But the 300 that He chose were the ones who were always alert even while filling themselves regardless of the conditions faced.
  5. You’ll notice too that in this new season there will be more focus on quality than quantity. Gideon started out with 22,000 and ended up with 300 moving into the new with him. The same may be for you. You might start out with 10 and end up with 3 strong, faithful, core warriors.

Notice that God didn’t say anything about there being evil within the warriors that were sent away, they just weren’t right for Gideon for this particular task, this particular season. So to bring this to modern day terms, just because “Julie” hasn’t called in a while or that you’re not as close to “Nicole” as you used to be, it’s not that anything is wrong, it could just be God moving the ones who aren’t supposed to go and replacing them with the ones you NEED for the next season or assignment in your life. Just trust the process and when He says to let go, be obedient and let go and be sure to praise God for the victory!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

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Author’s Corner- “Love, Jesus, Sex”

Hi!!!

Check out my interview I did with Jamise Wilson of Storm Talk Radio! This interview was too much fun! Listen in as we talk candidly about relationships, writing, talking to our children about sex and my book Love, Jesus, Sex: Experiences & Lessons Learned!

To listen, click on the picture below!!

authors corner

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon