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I love spring! I love that all the barrenness of winter is leaving, and new life is waking up. I am not a big fan of winter, but without winter we would not appreciate spring, would we? Most of all I love seeing the growth and the newness of what spring brings!
Sometimes it takes a season of winter or two ( lol ) to see a ” new thing ” come forth. A new way that God wants to do something in and through us. The only way that we will ever perceive a new way is to do a ” new thing”! Even though I perceive it to be mundane, it could be exactly what Isaiah 43:19 says, a stream in the desert to my soul.
Behold, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
God is moving; He was moving when Isaiah wrote this verse; God was moving towards the cross. God has finished the final work through Jesus, but He is still doing new things. Still actively moving in us and on behalf of us. I love how this verse says DO YOU NOT SEE IT? Oh! That question hits me, just like the Jews missed Yeshua (Jesus) our Savior! We can be so caught up in our daily lives, daily rituals, the busyness of life, and miss what God wants for our lives. We can be so caught up in religious activities and good works and miss God if we are not actively reading and dialoguing with Him in the scriptures, we can miss Him and miss the small blessings He brings to us daily.
I think more than ever we are losing something spectacular in our relationships with God. It is dialogue, the word of God is going to deal directly with your heart. It is going to speak to places you thought were dead and barren. God’s word was meant to be opened and we are supposed to ask questions and allow Him to answer us with His word. Ask, and you will receive. Seek Him and you will find Him. Knock and He will answer you! ( Matthew 7:7)
This past weekend I went to a leadership conference. I love how God uses these conferences to fill us up and to speak to us clearly through our leaders inside the church. Plus, let’s be honest just getting away and in a new atmosphere can bring clarity in itself. I suppose that is why I love going so very much. It is about God doing a ” new thing” in me and for me.
He used leaders to directly speak to places of uncertainty with the word of God. Directly into my circumstances! That prompted me to ask God more in-depth questions and to confirm His will through His word to me personally. Guess, what He did!
If I had chose to just shrug off what I heard God speaking and go on my way, I will have missed something God has in store for me. I haven’t always been walking with Christ. I would say seven years total that I have had a real relationship with Jesus. For years I believed, and I accepted Christ, but I never accessed our relationship. I simply didn’t think I had too! I missed those years, but I know now I never have to miss Him again! I have heard the loud critics voice in my ear, saying: ” You are taking that out of context!” “God is not saying that or why would He say that to you.” I don’t have the most exquisite way of saying it, but here is what I have experienced with the word of God and the Holy Spirit. The word of God is God’s very breath, all 66 books, from Genesis to Revelation. I believe and want God’s very breath to breathe in my life every day. The Holy Spirit is the power, wisdom, knowledge and understanding that I must have in order to take God’s breath in. I wish that for everyone, but as a person who lives in reality, I know that some won’t. That does not stop me though!!! I love God’s word, for goodness sake, anyone who knows me has seen my library of commentaries and my resource ” stuff ” I am not writing this to defend myself; I am merely writing this to express what God has shared with me and has helped me so much along the way. So here it goes:
English Standard Version
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 ESV
If we are going to perceive a new thing that God wants to do in us or through us we have to be actively dialoguing with Jesus in and through the scriptures. That means you ask a question and He answers back through the word of God. In the verse above this paragraph, I want you to read that out loud. The word of God is alive, full of God’s spirit, and the word of God divides the lies that life throws us daily. The word of God redirects our motives and our thoughts.
English Standard Version
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 ESV
The only way that God can transform us is by the renewing of our minds. Sound’s like God is directly saying to us that if we want a new mind He will give it through the scriptures. God radically wants to transform us, but we have to be willing to find it in the word of God.
Do you sense God is wanting to do a ” new thing” in your life?
Are you confused or unsure about it?
What is leading your walk with God?
All three of these questions are easily solved. The answer is to be found in the word of God.
I challenge you this week, ask God a question in your life. A problem that is throwing you for a loop? See, if He will not lead you to the answer! He is faithful! There are amazing conversations to be had with The Lord of the U
We must be broken in order to be made whole.
A Sociologist named Brene Brown said, “We are ‘those people.’” The truth is… most people in our world are one paycheck, one divorce, one addiction, one mental health diagnosis, one serious illness, one hurt, or one bad choice from becoming “those people”— the ones we don’t trust, the ones we pity, the ones we don’t let our children play with, the ones we don’t want living next door, the ones we know deep down need our love and God’s love more than anyone, but we can’t approach “those people.”
Our minds are so sensitive to the quiet voices telling us to keep up appearances, keep ourselves busy if we don’t think about it; it’s not really there, it will eventually get better.
Our generation has become artists of illusion, masters at covering pain, self-medicators, slaves to their finances, and lost in loneliness even when we are surrounded by those we love. All because we can’t seem to realize that the only solution for being broken is… brokenness.
We can never truly be whole until we’ve been broken. Those in this world that can make the most significant difference have not only risen to the top but have also fallen to the bottom.
Jesus makes the broken whole again. He takes the overlooked, the undervalued, the left out, the written off, the damaged and devastated, and then He does what only He can do.
I know this may not sound like it makes much sense, but brokenness is the first ingredient in a miraculous transformation. I am living breathing proof of that. The fact that I am alive, sober, full of peace and joy, and madly in love with Jesus Christ is all the proof I need. But in order for God to build me up and bring me this far, I first had to be broken down. Through loss, pain, anger, doubt, and tears I was not only broken…I was shattered, fractured and in pieces.
It was in that darkness that Christ’s light shone the brightest — illuminating each piece, gracefully fitting them together to form a new creation. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Not only that but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.
You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence.” Colossians 1:20-23 (The Message)
The best part of all, the part I still can’t believe most days, is that time after time God chooses to use the broken things. The ones that when asked how they have made such a miraculous transformation, they can only point to Him. That is why I am thankful for every tear, every heartache, every circumstance that broke me.
“If grace was a kingdom
I stopped at the gate
Thinking I don’t deserve to pass through after all the mistakes that I’ve made
Oh but I heard a whisper
As Heaven bent down
Said, “Child, don’t you know that the first will be last and the last get a crown”
Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours
The pages of history they tell me it’s true
That it’s never the perfect; it’s always the ones with the scars that You use
It’s the rebels and the prodigals; it’s the humble and the weak
All the misfit heroes You chose
Tell me there’s hope for sinners like me
Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours
Grace is a kingdom
With gates open wide
There’s a seat at the table just waiting for you
So, come on inside”
Broken Things – Matthew West
My pastor recently gave a message describing how Jesus is our Good Shepherd. Being different than a hired keeper who might run away in the face of danger, the flock belonged to the shepherd who would stay and defend them. He had a genuine loving concern for what belonged to him. Jesus is that loving protector and caretaker for His flock. Jesus, the good shepherd’s purpose, is to give life and protect from destruction. And although this next imagery may make those of us animal lovers shudder, it helps to confirm that sometimes love is shown in ways we don’t always like. A shepherd would often break the leg(s) of his sheep to prevent them from running off into danger. He would then carry that sheep over his shoulders down the path each day until its injuries healed. While being held, the sheep grew to love and rely on the shepherd like never before.
Oddly enough, I believe Jesus did this very thing to me.
Five years. I had been living in this small town in Western Kentucky for five years and had yet to make any meaningful relationships. I not only avoided bonding with the people; I also lacked a REAL one on one relationship with God. I was, what I like to call, a “baby Christian” who had a history of anger and atheism, with little to no guidance and the life choices to prove it. I had always been very independent and didn’t really care about having friends because I didn’t trust people.
Feeling convicted about not being a part of a church family, my husband and I began visiting some in the area and knew we had been led to the one we now call home. After just a few weeks of attending, the Lord brought several women into my life that completely changed my heart. My relationship with them grew stronger and stronger as I began to experience what can come from real love and encouragement.
One Sunday morning, one of those women invited me to a Run for God class. I wish I could illustrate the facial expression I made. You see, my words say one thing, but my face speaks from the heart. I laughed and said, “The only time I run is if something is chasing me.” With persistence from my friend and growing pant size, I conceded. The way I understood it was that it was basically a couch to 5K training program with a devotional. Little did I know that God was putting something into motion that would altogether transform my life.
I showed up for class each Saturday morning, bright and early (also outside of my character). With each devotional and time spent running with God, it finally clicked. I can run because I am doing it for God. I can make real friends because I am doing it for God. What would happen if I did everything in life, FOR GOD?
Ten weeks into the class, we all registered for a 5K in our town that promoted to suicide awareness. As my first race ever, I had zero expectations for my outcome. I just wanted to finish. As they were calling out awards for age groups, they called my name as the third place winner. It took me by surprise, but it didn’t take long for my pride and competitiveness to kick into overdrive. I was already plotting the demise of the two women who beat me for first and second place. Just as the Lord revealed what life could be like when you do it all for Him, He let me know very quickly what can happen when you begin to do it for yourself.
The very next day, I fell down a flight of stairs and broke my foot. I would not be able to complete the 5K for our Run for God group. Even though I was discouraged, I continued to go to class. While others ran, I sat. I sat and encouraged them as they struggled through the long runs. I SAT and read the Word. I SAT and prayed. I SAT, growing closer to God every day.
While still in what I called “the dreaded boot,” I sat and cheered as all of my new friends ran past me to complete their race. My heart was full. God had set me on a different track. A race towards Him and onto the path He had planned for me.
We quickly started a second class, and I was asked to help instruct. Still unable to run, I knew God meant for me to focus on the “God” portion of Run for God. To show others that training to run successfully mirrors training ourselves to walk successfully with Christ. It takes work, commitment, sacrifice, discipline, and occasionally a boot.
Learning to put God first and dedicate all I do to Him, the ability to stand before a group and teach due to the confidence I gained through the Spirit, the forever friendships that I have made, are just a glimpse into how God transformed me…. all through a broken foot.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. 17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
I think the worst downfall for me is a transition. I mean really how much of us like drastic changes? I know for me I fight with all that I have and the funny thing is I always end up loving the difference. That is where I am currently, right smack dab in the middle of hard change. ( I am sighing at this moment whispering. It is, what it is.) One of my commentaries said: ” Sighing is just groan for home, a cry for redemption.”
Psalm 38:9 ESV
O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.
Even my subtle sigh is heard, nothing missed by the sovereign ears of God. There is great comfort in that for us today. That we would be understood by the creator of life, acknowledged by the lifter of our head’s. It seems when I am tossed around in the waves my heart goes directly to the Psalms, such practical and heartfelt cries to the Lord. That He not only hears my physical cries, but even more, He actually listens and knows the ache of the heart like a melody.
Psalm 139:3-4 TPT ( Passion Translation)
You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
I am reminded to give Him the invitation to search my heart throughout my life. Not just while the ache is the loudest, but when the ache is dull. Continually search and know my heart, Lord.
Psalm 139:23 TPT (Passion Translation)
God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart. Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.
I invite you today, maybe if you are in the middle of rough transition and your heart is just aching. I merely want to remind you we are all on a journey. A journey with God through this life into the next. A mission is often long and challenging, but it is worth every step. Don’t give up now! Just because you are on the beginning of a new path doesn’t mean that He is not with you. The route could be dark with a blanket of dense fog appearing, but what gives illumination is the beautiful unfolding of His word. It will cast light on the next step. Hang in there, keep praying, keeping reading your Bible, most of all keep worshiping through the transition there is power in His presence.
Psalm 119:130 ESV
The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
This simple truth sets an aching heart upright and redirects us right back into the loving gaze of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Psalm 46:10 ESV
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
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Last Saturday while moving a section of fence on our property I noticed that there was this wild rose bush. We have tried to kill the thing numerous amount of times. Just because it was growing in an inconvenient spot, the spot is right at the corner post of our fencing. What kind of fencing you ask well it is electric fencing for horses. You see the issue? It would eventually grow so big that it would ground out the current and render the fence useless.
So, as we removed the corner post and I saw this one small thorny green branch and thought, How in the world could you take all that uprooting and hacking and not die? Figuring that I would come out the next day and find it dead as a doornail. That is not what I found to my surprise I found the wild rose bush doing just fine. As I looked at it again, I said: “Well, if you made it through THAT! Then grow little rose bush! In my books that one little stem deserved to grow!
As I stared down at this little thorny stem, I heard Jesus say to my heart, ” Kinda like you!” I giggled back and said in my heart ” I guess so, Lord.” I looked back down and realized this little green, prickly, stem was a whole lot like me. Since Saturday I have been thinking about what Jesus said to me. I haven’t been able to get it off my mind. So I decided to look up all I could find about a wild rose bush. I mean who could blame me if Jesus is comparing me to it, I want to know the good, bad and the ugly!
I learned that a wild rose bush only blooms one time a year, those blooms typically only have five petals. The flowers are simple but stunning. Just like those rose bushes, we flourish in season. I love that these roses only have five petals, the number five represents grace in Hebrew. It is the grace of God we bloom at all.
I also learned that these rose bushes are where we get all roses from. They are a completely original, you and I are original; there will never be another human like us.
1 Corinthians 12:25-28 English Standard Version (ESV)
25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.
In Verse 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individual members, you are original. Even though wild rose bushes can vary from white to pink, there are a million different hues, and each one is unique. We are all different, we have had different situations to create pigment in us. Those situations and circumstance are used to develop our personalities, they are what gives us our shade of color.
A wild rose doesn’t control its color or where it is placed, all the rose does is grow and wait to bloom.
I found out through my research that wild roses thrive on neglect and are exceptionally hardy, they can grow in poor soil, wet soil, good soil. How many times do people, jobs, friends neglect us but we have come to the understanding that even in the worse case scenarios our God never forsakes us. This makes us emotionally hardy to handle relationships, circumstances, loss and gain, sickness and health. I look at this beginning of a wild rose bush and realize that it is in rocky soil has been cut and abused. It has taken all that, and the little stem keeps coming back waiting to bloom. It has a purpose, it has roots deep down in the rocky soil. Just like this wild shrub we are all planted in different lands, pastures, in dry places, in soaking wet areas, in urban and rural locations. We might not even like the places we are, but we are still there no matter how many times someone has taken a swipe and widdled us down to a nub. We always come back knowing that one day we will bloom and complete our purpose. In His timing and for His glory.
I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them,” says the LORD your God.
You and I are planted purposefully and will not be uprooted out of the land that God has set us in. We don’t have to understand everything to remain. Once a wild rose bush is allowed to reach it’s full potential and blooms it not only is uniquely beautiful, but it leaves something vital behind, rose hips. These rose hips carry over into the winter months providing food for the birds.
Matthew 6:26 ESV
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Psalm 50:11 ESV
I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.
Every single bird, hill, and field is His. He knows exactly the time to allow us to bloom so that we can feed those around us. That our lives in full bloom leave necessary provisions for others to come and feed off of while in a winter season. A beautiful picture painted by God himself, that while we are growing. While God is sending the rain, sun, the wind. Every single branch, stem, leaf, every bud we are strategically positioned to open and display His glorious grace. This grace was intended to give life to a searching heart, and a hungry soul that see’s the grace of God in the wild rose bush. In a God who purposed such a beautiful bloom to provide food for another soul.
Not for a second does the Father not see how many times we have been cut down, trampled, misused, abused, forgotten, weed-ridden, planted in poor soil, and neglected we have grown through it all, by the grace of God. We have grit and tenacity that only comes from the Holy Spirit. I see now why Jesus said we were like wild rose bushes, growing in a pasture in a fence row, in poor conditions, in poor soil. We are hardy and exceptionally resilient.
No matter what comes, I am determined to bloom where I am planted so that my blooms will one day feed a hungry little bird searching for food. I want to be the vessel that God uses for that task. I am reminded more than ever when I am weak, I am strong. My current sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory in Christ Jesus that one day my face will behold.
Romans 8:18 ESV
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
John 13:6-8Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet
John 15 Abide in me, and I in you.
Jesus is our source.Jesus is the Word of God.Jesus has made us clean.
Galatians 6:9Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in.
Today I wasn’t perfect, I might have even acted like an idiot trying to figure it all out! I am reminded of the Word. His thoughts and ways are higher and greater, My ideas and thoughts are a path to rebellion.
The past couple of weeks have been downright exhausting. My Mother had surgery on November 29th, a total knee replacement. It has been a challenge, and I will spare you the details. I kind of giggle to myself as I write this because I’m right in the middle of the details, there are wildly hilarious moments and my sides hurt from laughing so hard and some when I have wanted to scream, cry, and shout. Some moments simply overwhelm us, but they are just moments, and they soon enough will pass.
I’ve learned something this week…
I’ve learned that usually during the most insane moments of our lives, ya know the kind – when everything is on pause for a family member to heal. When you lose your job of eighteen years. When you get the phone call that your loved one has passed on, we know these moments. Where life suddenly changes direction in a split second. It’s these moments that are small in time, but the crescendo in a symphony. They are fast and intense and full of drama and downright exhausting.
These mini moments don’t define us, these moments refine us.
They come out of nowhere like a hundred mile an hour curveball. We think we can just swing at it and hope like heck we nail it, but more often than not we swing and frustratingly, and miserably strikeout.
That has been me for the last two weeks. If you can imagine me ever trying to hit a baseball (insert hysterical laughter here). I thought about that for a second. I thought about myself watching my children play sports and, wanting them to knock that ball silly and hit a home run. Not necessarily to make me proud, but to show them that they are fantastic!
Then I realized…
The fact that they are standing on home plate, ready and willing to hit that ball, no matter what came from the pitcher, the other team! That was what mattered that they showed up not just for themselves, but for their team.
Some times we need to know that even if we strike out due to frustration, anxiety, grief, and failure. We have a Father in Heaven that is wild about us! Sitting in the heavenly bleachers, cheering furiously, for us to hit that ball out of the park, and if we don’t, He still will be cheering just as loud. Proud as a peacock! That’s what we call it around here! When is the last time you even thought that God, himself is proud of you??? He’s not just cheering you on; He adores every breath you take. There is nothing, that could ever stop that love, that grace.
I’m learning He doesn’t care about how far it goes or how awesome the crowd cheers. He only cares that I show up, that I am present in the moments, and most of all NO MATTER WHAT I DON’T QUIT!
I’m learning when I do strike out, and I don’t have what it takes to hit it out of the park. He is still cheering but, as any parent does He puts together the perfect game plan for PRACTICE.
What I’m learning is He is putting me in incredibly challenging and chaotic situations and impossible odds to challenge, to strengthen me, to mold me.
I am learning that to do what He wants I need to learn how to play in the batter’s box and as the outfielder. I need to learn how to slide, to run like a deer, to stay on base, to be aware of the game but, keep my focus on the goal.
I need to learn how to throw the Word of God, and I need to find out how to catch it by listening and spending time with Him. I have to know the object of the game is endurance; that is making it to home plate.
I need my forehead to be as strong as flint so, I can run with champions. I need to learn teamwork and wait for the teammates and team He drafts me to. I need to learn how to be ready and, how to catch(listen) and how to throw a ball (learn) so, I can get the other team out and us in! So we can win souls for the kingdom of God. I need to learn how to lean into the pressure instead of resisting pressure and allowing the weight to slow me down and allowing it to take me out of the game.
I am learning how to lean; when I lift my eyes and I’m coming off of third base leaning into a steep curve and, then running with all I have. I will see and hear the loudest voice saying “Run! Kim, Run!” “Run! Home!”
No matter what game we are facing, we can find strength in the leaning and not the ability
We are never without leadership even when our team has given up or, the other side has a six-point lead, and we are in the bottom of the ninth; exhausted and beaten up with no hope in sight.
We always have our Father in the stands seeing, knowing, and understanding the odds but whispering ” Just lean in, then mount up with wings like eagles and soar!” with the biggest, widest, smile on His glorious face.
So, when you feel like there is no hope, no team, no coach, don’t worry your Father is in the stands giving you a look to just lean. Trust that! That my friends is the perfect and safest place to be in the whole game.
Don’t be afraid just keep running!
#Lean #Learn #Trust #Practice #RunningTheRace #faith #Jesus #endurance #strength #defining #moments #not #the #end #hope #unfailing # love