Developing a Heart of Strength

Over the past week God has been impressing on my heart the importance of developing a heart of strength. As I read Psalms 27:14~”Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart, Wait, I say, on the Lord” it dawned on me in a way that I never thought about before- our heart is a muscle…and in order to grow a muscle we must train it, stretch it, and even put it through pain. I think most people would agree that learning patience is right up there with pain sometimes…I still remember the first time I heard this verse. I was riding in the car with my mom and my grandma and the car in front of us had this verse on their license plate frame. In fact, I think it was just the reference and my grandma quoted it upon seeing it which my 5ish year old self thought was so cool! . I have never forgotten that verse. Her remembrance of that verse impressed it upon my heart and mind, and long after she has been gone it is still one of my favorite verses- even if I didn’t fully break it down until this week.

In order to develop strength we must wait on the Lord. Waiting on the Lord is hard sometimes. Sometimes I get perfectly good ideas in my head that I want to run with instead of waiting for confirmation from God on- this is where wisdom and discernment is crucial and I need guidance and wise counsel.

Next we must be of good courage. In the midst of our waiting sometimes God does call us to action in other situations and we must be ready to stand up. We must be ready to stand up in boldness, integrity, and honor. Sometimes it is hard to stand up, sometimes those closest to us will tell us to just keep quiet because no one wants to hear what we have to say… but these are the times (and those are the words) that we especially need to think about because if God wants us to speak out then the evil one will send countless naysayers to remind us of our fear in hopes that we will stay silent. Don’t stay silent. Be courageous.

As we do these things slowly and repeatedly we begin to develop a heart of strength. A heart that no longer caves to the negative thoughts that the enemy throws our way but instantly replaces them with thoughts of hope and truth. Just as Paul talks about taking our thoughts captive in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians, we are able to strengthen our hearts by doing the same thing. My prayer is that I would seek to develop a heart of strength the right way- that I wouldn’t look for shortcuts, that I wouldn’t run ahead when I think I know what God has planned but that I would wait on the Lord and be of good courage and watch Him strengthen my heart day by day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving in to those God sized dreams…

I don’t know about you but I tend to get excited when I get a glimpse (or think I’m getting a glimpse) of the plans God has for me. I start running ahead, giving directions, convinced that He will give me the desires of my heart simply because “I deserve it” or because “I’ve been waiting”…

In reality I am learning that most of the time the dream I’m dreaming is tiny in comparison to the plans God has for those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)

Sometimes God calls us to let go of our dream, its not because He doesn’t care, its because His plan to fulfill that dream is far beyond our wildest imagination. When I think back over the last 10 years of my life- every single time I thought God was closing a door because He “didn’t care about my dreams” it was actually because He was getting ready to surpass them instead.

Letting go of a dream is hard, I’ll admit, in my pride I have literally told God how good my dreams are and why He should acquiesce to my request simply because they are such “good dreams”… and while there is nothing wrong with good dreams, what if His dreams for me are better? This picture is a reminder of what God does with our lives… we can’t see it until we let go of our pride, our hopes, our fears…but when we do He is waiting to take those dreams to new heights. To pour into us so that we can pour out into others the love of Christ.SmartSelectImage_2016-04-19-07-34-55

I’m not there yet, I’m still learning to stay in step with my Savior and not “run ahead” with every new dream. It is difficult sometimes but I want to be so in tune with the Holy Spirit that when it is time for His dreams to unfold in my life I will be ready to receive it with joy and gladness; confident that He is preparing me even now for the dreams He has in store…

Looking towards the Lighthouse…

I have always loved lighthouses and what they represent. They are the light to guide the sailors home. In the midst of the storm, when their ships are being tossed and turned every which direction, the lighthouse stands firm on the shore guiding us home. God is our Lighthouse to guide us home and He calls us to be a lighthouse to others to draw them to Him.

I have always thought of myself as a lighthouse too, striving to guide others to Jesus… but sometimes, in my pride and stubbornness, I wonder if I’m really succeeding in that or if my lighthouse has grown dim and I need to change the light bulb (or whatever fancy light they use that shines so far and so bright). This year I have been stretched, prideful, humbled, stubborn, and to be perfectly honest I have felt more like the ship in the ocean than the lighthouse at times. But God is showing me that maybe its time to simply change the light bulb, increase the shine. It’s time to stop tossing and turning with the waves, everything happens for a reason.

I am so thankful for the lessons I have learned this year, some of them were hard to learn, most of them I am still in the process of learning and my pride is still being tested at this very moment. I have been so blessed and I am ready to let the light shine through again. Just like a lighthouse with a brand new light bulb.

Lighthouse

Let the 2016 adventure begin!

~ChelseaBelle

Happy Mother’s Day!

I got the opportunity to teach the Sunday School Lesson for Mother’s Day and I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the moms of the Bible and what they have taught us ( and what I’ve learned from my mom too).

Mothers

Eve taught us to stop doubting what God said

because satan swooped in and she lost her head

she was deceived by the serpent that day

but in spite of her sin God still made a way

Hannah longed for a child for years

she cried out to God with hopeful tears

she promised her child to the work of the Lord

and though it took patience her faithfulness can’t be ignored

Mary bore Jesus, the Messiah we know

she had no idea where His life would go

she watched her Son die for every last man

And when He rose again she finally saw God’s plan

My grandma taught me to have a generous heart

to always give and do my part

she was full of wisdom that she always shared

I loved talking to her because I always knew she cared

My mom taught me how to pray

to take everything to God and He would guide the way

she strives to give to those in need

always ready and watching for God to lead

So thank your mothers for all they do

for what they stand for and have taught you

I’m so thankful for each mom in my life

They strive to overcome each trial with Christ!

I love you Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!

~ChelseaBelle

What’s Up Doc?

This weekend I have been challenged…yesterday we attended the SCYF beach trip and the message was all about finding God’s purpose for our lives, and while I am 27 years old and would like to think I know all about God’s plans for me…sometimes I am greatly humbled by all that I don’t know and all that I have yet to learn.

Then today, at church, Brian Rainey spoke about the Pharisees and how they mocked Jesus in their hearts, they never spoke a word aloud but He knew what they were thinking. They may have “looked” perfect on the outside but their hearts were conspiring evil against Christ. It made me think, no matter how great we look on the outside, no matter how many right answers we give, or lies we tell…at the end of the day God knows our hearts and we can’t fool Him. He knows the intentions of our hearts, He sees right through the lies we tell to get what we want and He still wants the best for us.

I don’t want to think for a second that I can fool God, I don’t want to become prideful and think that I am better than the tax collectors or the sinners that Jesus spent time with. We are called to be a light in this world. We are called to stand out… I sometimes feel like a broken record saying that because I say it all the time. People will mock us for following Jesus, people will even take advantage of our generosity in the Name of Christ. We must be seeking wisdom and discernment from God’s Word and the accountability partners that God has placed in our lives. We must encourage and challenge each other to grow in Christ and share the Gospel. Christ did not call us to stay in our own little Christian bubbles, He has called us to go out into the world and preach the Gospel, whether it be at the gym, at work, at school, in the Grocery store, with our friends, everywhere.

I’m preaching to the choir here because these messages that I have heard this weekend, and the wisdom and discernment of those near and dear to my heart have challenged me to stand up for the truth, to stand up for what honors God and to be the disciples we have been called to be. We can’t make people follow Jesus, we can love them, we can pray, and we can place the outcome in God’s hands. Becoming prideful is not “becoming” on anyone… I don’t want to be a Pharisee, I want to be a follower of Jesus who seeks to grow closer to Him every day.

In Mark 2:17 Jesus said, “Those who are well do not need a doctor”. The prayer of my heart is that I may never take my need for a Savior for granted… I want to wake up every morning with a thankful heart and a willingness to share this hope I have with anyone and everyone who asks a reason for the hope that is in me.

I don’t want a heart full of pride and judgment, I want to wake up in the morning and say, “What’s up Doc?” and be ready and willing to serve my Savior, defend my Savior, learn from my Savior, and build a relationship with my Savior that grows with each passing day and enhances my relationships with friends, family, and, loved ones.

I’m still learning…

~Chelsea

“Sword of Light”

That is the name of the chapter in our study of the book called “Girls with Swords”… first of all, I am ever so grateful for the women in this group. It never ceases to amaze me how God orchestrates what He knows we will need and when we will need it! These last few weeks have been tough, I have learned the importance of discernment and wisdom on a whole new level, and not even my own, but being able to seek God’s wisdom and the wisdom and discernment of other followers of Christ.

A wise friend told me that the Holy Spirit never uses guilt to get us to do something. Its true that sometimes we will be convicted or something will be put on our hearts but guilt will never be the the avenue used by God to get us to do what He wants. At the end of the day whose voice are we listening to? Another wise friend read this tonight and it really hits home: gods-voice-satans-voice-2

Come Along Now Chelsea…

These are the words that my parents would say to me when I was a little girl and I would probably dawdle along- waiting until the absolute last second before I absolutely had to listen. Well, the title of this year’s Women’s retreat was “Come Along” and I was so incredibly blessed by it and it got me to thinking how often we wait to obey God’s call or wait to hear His voice- if we listened right away (unlike my childlike self who dawdled) how much greater could He use us for His glory?

Jane Rubietta was such a blessing to us this weekend, she shared with us how Jesus calls us to “Come Along” in many different ways… He calls us to

Come Along to the River- The Jordan River and all the significant things that happened there

Come Along to the Temple- How we can “Wear White” in God’s presence because Jesus paid the price for our sins

Come Along to the Meadow-How important it is to have growth in our lives

Come Along to the Garden-Becoming ourselves by not allowing our fears to control us but listening to God when He says “Do not be afraid”

This weekend was precious, I learned so much from the Gospels and how gracious our Savior is. He loves us with an everlasting and unconditional love and we don’t have to care what others think of us. It only matters what God thinks of us.  And He loves us more than we could ever imagine! My favorite session was on Growth because Jane challenged us to take a look at our lives and see if we have seen growth and what we can do now to prepare ourselves to grow more over the next 5 years.

We were broken up into response groups and it was wonderful- I was so blessed by the women in my group, they are all in different stages of life and it was so cool to hear their hearts this weekend. I am in a transitional phase of my life right now and it is exciting! I have had many wonderful opportunities to serve the Lord and I knew that as time changed so would my priorities and my ministries. I see the women in my group who are in different stages of life and what a blessing and encouragement they are to me to live a life that honors God and my prayer is that as I grow I can help those younger than me to grow and flourish for the Lord as well. I want to encourage my friends that waiting is worth it- God will honor you as you wait on His timing. Waiting is hard, no matter what season of life you are in there will probably be some type of waiting. But we can’t allow our waiting to stop us from serving or living for our Savior. What are we doing for the Kingdom of God? Are we discipling others ( our Kids? Neighbors? Coworkers? Friends?) or  are we stagnant? Are we seeking godly council in our lives? Memorizing Scripture? Studying Scripture? I need to work on all of these things. Sometimes we can only do one of these things at a time, sometimes we are drained physically, emotionally, or spiritually. But if we allow ourselves to Come to the River, we can experience new life in Christ. He will help us to see the opportunities around us for growth and if we take those chances we will be blessed.

We also talked about detours and change- how sometimes things happen that we do not expect and our responses can draw us to God or away from Him. Even in our conversations with other Christians- are we drawing them to Christ by speaking life or are we going to be a cause of their detour with our hurtful words? Speaking the truth in love is key- and I know I am guilty of not always succeeding in that but that is where prayer and wise council come in. We will not please everyone in this world and sometimes people won’t agree with us or understand our decisions but we have to rest assured that God loves us and His opinion is what matters. If we are seeking Him and doing His will then THAT is what matters!

I am glad I got to “Come Along” this weekend, my prayer is that we would all seek to follow Jesus and grow as we seek Him!

I just bought Jane’s book “Come Along” and I am so excited to get started! You can order her books here: http://www.janerubietta.com/books.html

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