<![CDATA[Refresh Redeem Remain - Home]]>Fri, 04 Mar 2016 08:11:50 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[A Not So Holly Jolly Christmas]]>Wed, 23 Dec 2015 17:41:30 GMThttp://devoutdevotional.weebly.com/home/a-not-so-holly-jolly-christmas

​1 day. 11 hours. 28 minutes.
But who's counting?

Christmas is here, people! How does that make you feel?

Well, for me, I feel anxious, uneasy, stressed, restless- did I mention anxious? 
Just like those Christmas lights you see above, I am tangled in my thoughts, emotions and expectations before 1 day, 11 hours, and 28 minutes knocks on my door.
Whirling and twirling around my Christmas tree seems like a distant memory to me. And I am no longer singing in beautiful harmony with 93.9FM Christmas carols. And why am I asking Santa for anti-wrinkle cream instead of a pinkilicious Barbie jeep? Convertible, might I add. 
It seems true that, as we get older, the hustle and bustle of the season overbears the true meaning behind Christmas and the birth of our Great King. There may be many reasons for this in your life, but today I will focus on the reality that strikes us all during the holiday season. 

Now, if you're anything like me and my Type A personality, I get wrapped up in the whole "what needs to be accomplished" state of mind, rather than the "let's all be joyous and spend quality time with each other, praise Jesus, my bills are paid, and to-do list in complete" state of mind. (Is that even a thing?) Although this holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year, it is definitely not my most stress-free times of the year. Shocking.

One of my favorite Christian authors, Lysa TerKeurst, wrote a book called The Best Yes. This seasons brings me back to her message and what God has taught me through her work.

Lysa's very first question to her readers: "Are you living with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule and aching with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul?" That statement alone made me believe I could have been the sole purpose behind her inspiration to write this book. You see, Lysa Terkeurst has taught me that there is a big difference between saying yes to everyone and saying yes to God. Take a look at an excerpt from Lysa's blog: 

{I wrote it [The Best Yes] because I’m tired of rushing and stressing and missing out on the sweet parts of life. I found myself saying, “I’ll do that thing that makes my soul come alive when I can find time.” But no one in the history of the world has ever found more time or made more time.

We all get 168 hours a week. No more. No less. And too many of us are missing out on too much.

We have to slow the rhythm of rush in our lives so the best of who we are can emerge. Rushing robs me of the sweetest parts of life- the parts of life that feed my soul. When a woman lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule, she’ll ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.}

Are you there, God? It's me, a rusher. Especially during the holiday season. There are times where I feel so rushed that I become a stranger to my own identity. I don't like who I am nor the way I am acting, and can somebody please lower the prices for these gifts?! My to-do list and tasks have overwhelmed me and my soul is underwhelmed.

I can honestly admit that in the season where we should focus more of our time on Jesus and our Heavenly Father's Word, I have not taken the proper time for myself and my God to realign my thoughts, actions, and feelings. And maybe this isn’t the case for you, but it’s especially troubling for me to focus so clearly on the reason for the season when this is shining so brightly with flashing lights in my brain. 

So, how can we conquer this battle that we face - and will continue to face - each holiday season? Let's take a step back, turn to His Word, and seek His grace and the time He has given to us. Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. -[Ephesians 5:15-17]

Alas, Christmastime may bring you a 'rush' and the anxiety of your unaccomplished tasks; but let us not forget the tug at your heart you may also experience as you set the dinner table with an vacant seat, or notice a feeling of emptiness as you realize your Christmas season is no longer the whirling and twirling around the Christmas tree.

It is inevitable that these feelings and emotions will be tugging at my heart, but - through the hustle and bustle - I need to choose to not let those evil tendencies sneak up on me. No, I am not giving you permission to through out that sacred to-do list of yours, but I am advising that you take out that sacred word that will lead you to a less anxious state of mind. 

It is essential for me to slow down and surrender to the fact that God called his only Son, Jesus, down to us on December 25. God sacrificed His Son for us and our eternal lives. THIS is the reason for the season. THIS is the true meaning of Christmas.

Merry Christmas, dear friends. May God bring you hope and faith through the New Year.
<![CDATA[Refresh, Redeem, Remain]]>Mon, 07 Dec 2015 03:19:08 GMThttp://devoutdevotional.weebly.com/home/refresh-redeem-remainPicture

I value you. And I thank you for going through my Christian journey with me, beside me. Just as I need Jesus, I also need you for fellowship in my walk. 

Do you have a testimony?
What's your story?

​Welcome to those who believe, and I also welcome those who may not believe, or may be questioning your faith. Whatever point you may be at in your walk with Christ, you are invited. And for those who do not believe, you are invited to share my story, too.   

Refresh, Redeem, Remain

In our spiritual journeys, our time is easily taken from us. Our patience is often tested far beyond our limits, and direction can often be misleading. It is then, that moment, where we take a step back from the world to look at it through a broader lens. We take a deep breath and let life spinning at 100mph, slow down before our eyes.

Have you ever stopped and said:

"Is this really what my life has come to?"
"I can't make time for things that matter - family, friends, hobbies."
"Do you remember when life was easy and I had few responsibilities?"

Those questions circle my brain more often than liked. Amen, friends. We are in this together. More often than not, life begins to spin faster than we can think, walk, act, and keep up with, and when this occurs, we forget about the truly momentous things that God has given to us. It is in this moment, where it is crucial to refresh ourselves, our minds, our souls, our hearts, our relationships, our perspective, and our faith. 

re·deem, verb: to gain or regain possession (of something).

Once we focus on refreshing ourselves and our souls, will good come from this if our refreshments cannot be redeemed?  Maybe, in your situation, you need to gain or regain possession of __(you fill in the blank here)__. For some, this could be a healthier lifestyle or another commitment. Aside from God, you alone truly know that gap in your life that needs to be refilled.

​With change and redemption comes the commitment to ensure that this will be permanent endeavor for you. A new career. Weight loss. Lifestyle changes. The  biggest challenge here is to remain.

Remain in love. Remain calm. Remain a follower of Christ.

This word 'remain' is more frequent to us than we would expect. I ponder the thought that I may take advantage, or think too little of what could remain in my life. And that's just it, there are some things in life that we do have control over.

Am I putting in all the effort I can to truly remain in all that is presented to me in life? Am I being too hard on myself or am I giving myself too little credit? These overwhelming questions continue to consume our thoughts. We're only human and it's natural for these thoughts and emotions to overtake us. 

Three simple words: refresh, redeem, remain. Three simple words I will commit to as I work to strengthen my journey with God and in life. This is only our beginning, friends. Together we will tackle so much of this thing called 'life' through fellowship together. Come join me. It will be a beautiful walk. A walk through Bible Studies, Book Clubs, Scripture, Sermons, and a magnitude of more thoughts, feelings and faith. 

Blessings to you,