INTRODUCTION to a Series: A Friend Loves at All Times

In this photo, you see two friends that have loved each other since we were 8 years old.

We’ve been silly little girls on the school yard playground, gossipy critical preteens, and high school hangouts. We went to different colleges, and still our bond remained strong.
She was there for the birth of my first born, and I drove 4 hours on icy roads, to be there at her college graduation. 

BFFSLove

We are polar opposites,
She’s quiet, and I’m loud.
She’s reserve, and I’m outgoing.
She loves to laugh, and I love to make the jokes.

She’s been hurtful, I’ve been judgemental, She’s been selfish, I’ve been unforgiving. Together we’ve been patient, kind and lovingly truthful.

When we were in high school, the Lord put it on my heart, and stated that He put this friendship together, and that He will see it through. I remember sitting down in her bedroom, telling her what the Lord told me. We had no clue how many times, we would have to rely on His promise. His word can’t be broken, He is faithful to what He says, and after 23 years of friendship, I am willing to be used by the Lord, to share my experiences.

I want to share with other women about the good things that can nurture and flourish a friendship, the bad things that can destroy and ruin a friendship and how to grow in depth with a friend.

God cares about friendships, and community is important to Him. All throughout the Bible, we see loyalty, trust, betrayals, and love in a friendships and I want to share my stories.

Proverbs 17:17 states, “A friend loves at ALL times..” but what is love according to God?
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 tells us what love is and what love isn’t.

Come join me next week, on the blog at sowingseedsinthem.wordpress.com, in a 3 part series about loving a friend according to the Corinthians love, titled, “How to Be A Loving Friend, at All Times”

PART 1: Love is Patient and Kind: “Dealing with Unmet Expectations, and Overcoming each other’s faults with Kindness.”

PART 2: Love is not Envy, Prideful, Rude, Angry, Selfish, or thinks of Evil: “5 things that can kill a friendship, Gossip, Critical spirit, Jealousy, Selfishness, and Anger”

PART 3: Love Shows Sympathy, Love Forgives, Rejoices in Truth, and Bears all Things: Being a Friend, Even if You aren’t Speaking to Each Other”

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

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Music Mondays, Chains are Meant to be Broken, and Darkness is Made for Light


 Music Monday

“He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,  And broke their chains in pieces. Oh that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!”  Psalm 107:14-15 NKJV

Before writing this post,  I searched the definitions for the words chain and sin in the online Webster’s dictionary. This is what it stated.

Chain-( when used as a verb) something that confines, restrains, or secures.  In addition, this word is often associated with a use for prisoners and slaves.

Sin– an often serious shortcoming; transgression of the law of God.

With those two definitions in mind, imagine yourself in a dark murky dungeon, of solitude for years. A prisoner, awaiting death. The shadows of darkness are so deep, that you might as well have on blindfolds. You long  to see just a sliver of light.

You have been standing, and chain to a steel pole. Your hands, feet and body are completely confine. You strain your ears, to hear for any sign of life, within your space, and there is always nothing.

The air is thick, making it hard to breathe, and when you scream out into the shadows, you are met with a return of echoes.

You desperately want to be free, so you begin to struggle against metal links that are holding you back. You fight and fight, but the chains seem to become tighter and tighter.

The darkness becomes too overwhelming and your breathing is hard.

You give up and after trying with all your fleshly might,  you can’t break free.

You are quickly accepting the facts….

You are a lone prisoner. You are bond in chains. You can barely breathe.  You are in darkness and there is no escape. 

You feel defeated and have surrendered to your conditions. There is no hope. You have become a prisoner to your sins.

Let’s pause for a moment here, as I bring a moment of  understanding to this story.

Sin is real, and the affects of it are very much like this story. It separates us from His light. It causes a shortness of spiritual breathe, killing the soul. Sin, keeps us in chains, bond, confine and slaves to our wrongdoings.

sinchain

Now, let’s go back to that imaginary dungeon. You’ve been hanging your head in self pity and sorrow.

You cry out, but this time, it’s from the depths of your heart, seeking for something, someone beyond this world.

To your amazement,  you hear a still small voice calling in the darkness, saying “Here I am, I have come to redeem you”, and all the shadows of the darkness are shattered with His glorious light.

Your chains are being broken, and the sound of metal falling to the floor, are pleasant to your ears. The air is clear, and your lungs are grateful.

YOU. ARE. FREE.

You stand in awe of the One that made your hopeless situation, hopeful. You bow and weep in joy of your new found freedom. Who is this Man of light that came to your rescue, breaking you free?

His name is Jesus.

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2

 REFLECTIONS and UNDERSTANDING: I wanted to give you a visual of what sin does, but better yet, a visual of what our salvation in Jesus does. Sin causes us to stumble in darkness, all while cutting off our life supply to God. When Jesus died on that cross, and poured out His precious blood,  He made a way for us to walk in light, truth, and freedom. He destroyed the sting of death. Sin is very real, and very wrong. In this day, things that God calls evil are good, and good is being called evil. Don’t be deceive, hell is a real eternity, yet God made a way when there was no way for us to be with Him in heaven. That truth, that way and that life is Jesus. “He is the way, the truth and the life.” John 14:6

INVITATION: If you want to be set free, if you are tired of fighting against the chains, I pray that you invite Jesus Christ into your heart this very moment. Turn from sin, and begin the transformation in His love. I am standing in prayer with you. He loves you, He gave it all, to give it all.

Featured song is by Tenth Avenue North, titled “The Stuggle”

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That Unforgivable Sin, Finding Purpose in My Story

Purpose

Some of us carry that ugly, dark “unforgivable sin”. You know the “one”, that if your Christian friends knew, they would turn there backs in rejection. That sin, that you are afraid to reveal to your enemies, because they will mock you, and laugh at your hypocrisy. Yes, that sin that causes you anxiety at night, because only if you can keep it hidden, you can pretend that it never happened.

I lived like that for years, until one day, while pregnant with my son, the Lord woke me up in the late night hours and gave me clear instructions on how to handle “my secret”.

His guiding light, and loving still voice spoke to the depths of my heart, and He said, “Tell them”. “Tell them, what you did, my beloved, and be set free from the lies of satan.” “I will give you peace, I have restored you for a purpose.”

A couple of days later, I wobbled my pregnant self right into the doors of a friend’s home, for a women’s bible study that I had been attending.

Before we started, I stood in her open kitchen, before 10-12  women and poured out my heart.

I told them of what I had done in the past, and how God told me to tell them, so that I could be set free from the whispers of satan over this area in my life.

Something happened, after I looked those women in the eyes with my truth. I saw forgiveness, compassion, understanding and most importantly, I was being set free from bondage.

I drove home that night, with the chains of shame left at the feet of Jesus. I felt an overwhelming gratefulness, and I cried in gratitude for the forgiveness of God, for Him providing a loving outlet in a community of once broken women, and for giving me an avenue to shut out the voices of the enemy.

I felt ALIVE again, like the first time I accepted the salvation of Christ in my younger years. Before the “backsliding”, before the path of destruction and before that “sin”.

Because of my broken past, and my freedom in the mystery of His grace and relentless love, I am set free to walk in the purpose of my Creator. I am able to reach out to other women, and show them the depths of compassion, and truth found in a heavenly Father that will pursue and heal the broke insides of our fractured hearts.

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

My purpose is to imperfectly display the love and glory of a perfect God, through reaching out to people that I cross paths with in my journey on this earth.

To the stranger I smiled to, at the grocery store, that needed a compassionate listener, so that he could tell about his anxiety over a job loss and the burdens of providing for his family.

To the little girl I met in my daughter’s past kindergarten class, that needed life spoken to her, for someone to tell her, she is important, and that her “bad’ actions that she uses as a cry for attention, can be met by Jesus even when she’s alone at home

Or to the lonely sweet old lady that needed someone to be interested in her day, so she can later go and thank God for sending someone in the form of a stranger, that cared about the little parts of her day in the garden.

Or the bitter complainer on Facebook that needs to know she is worthy of grace, and needed to see a message of encouragement in her inbox.

These people needed love, compassion, and understanding. They needed Jesus, and the Lord used me, a person once a slave to her sins, to teach them the truth, in His unending grace so that they may be converted to Him.

Psalm 51:12-17 tells my story

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.

Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. 

O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offerings. 

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and contrite heart- These, O God, You will not despise.

 

REFLECTIONS: Looking back, God had already forgiven me, when I had asked for it years before, but similar to most people, after the act of sin, we have a hard time forgiving ourselves. We sometimes walk in a false shame and carry the weight of our transgressions, when we don’t have to. Victory is ours and the sting of death was taken from us on that cross, and oh the precious blood of our Jesus poured out for us and made a way.

He has restored me for a purpose, to be used to help others know Him.

See satan likes to take our dirty little secrets, the ones that we’re afraid for people to know, and uses those to hold us in darkness. To stop us from the purpose God created us for. Don’t give the enemy a voice, bring your sin into the light of a radiant Jesus.

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed.”

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Music Mondays, Wake Up and Dance!


It’s Music Monday and I know I usually write a devotional or a reflection piece, but today God has my heart in a different direction.

The featured song is Wake by Hillsong Young and Free

Written by Alexander Pappas, Hannah Hobbs, Joel Davies

I chose this song, because it’s upbeat. It’s a celebration of life in Him.

Let’s dance, for He was raised to life.

Let’s dance because He has given us a new song.

Let’s dance like David, because we are free, and sin no longer enslaves us.

Let’s dance and make praises to our Father who looks down from heaven and delights in His people.

Let’s dance because, he has turn mourning into joy.

Let’s dance because, and worship the King of Kings.

Let’s dance in His presence, because He has made all things beautiful in its time.

LET’S CELEBRATE THIS NEW DAY IN HIM!

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My Maple Tree is like a Marriage

I have a maple tree in the front of my yard, and for 7 years, I’ve witnessed its growth from infancy. I’ve watched it endure the different seasons, and this is what I’ve noticed.

The cold of winter, brings death to the leaves, displaying its bare branches. There was a bit of white beauty on the branches, when we had snow this year. However, the snow melts, and temperatures rise because, the early parts of spring are arriving.

wintermaple

In the beginning of spring, I am able to capture the “new life” of the flowering maple leaves.  Early signs of spring signals a nearing end to a dead winter, that lasted a little too long this year. The time changes, and our sunlights are longer, nights shorter. Now, it’s currently late spring.

beginning maple

During the late part of  spring,  the  tiny red flowers, on my maple tree,  has now bloomed into full green leaves with reddish colored tips. The maple tree is now a nice place for the birds to build a home in the hidden parts of the branches that were once bare. Summer is fast approaching, and warmly greeted.

mapletree

In the summer, the leaves are in full bloom and display a strength in its beauty. The leaves serve a purpose, in providing shade from the scorching summer sun. As the sun rays begin to lose its sting, and the days become shorter, we know fall is next.

fallleaves

In the time of fall, my maple tree leaves change color to an array of oranges, reds, brown and yellows. I can enjoy the rustling sound of leaves caught on a breezy day. The leaves fall, the branches become bare, the birds seek shelter in warmer climates and I, like the rest of my neighbors,  prepare for the cold, the shorter days, and longer nights of winter.

As I’ve watched the different season come and go, and the effects that it’s had on the maple tree, I think about my marriage. I’ve watched it too, from its infancy, enduring the seasons of life.

I reflect on the “winters”. The snowball fight of words, the anger as hot as the fireplace, and cold times of affection.  The times of freezing temperatures, that caused laughter to be dormant and tears were constant,  frozen to the cheeks of my face.

Yes the winters were hard, but spring did come, bringing in a slow warmth, to dry the tears.

Ecclesiastes 3, is a great reminder, that everything, even our marriages have a season, and time for every purpose, under heaven.

Ecclesiastes

Summer will come. Fall will come. Winter will come. Spring will come.

Yes the seasons change, and as I look out my window at that maple tree in the front yard, I want to share an unseen secret about that tree. The roots, the unseen strength of the tree,  is a reflection of its perseverance. Much like a marriage planted, rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ.

He is the unseen strength, that allows the marriage to still stand, and endure as a maple tree. Strong roots in Christ,  no matter the season, will stand.

Like my tree, marriage endures the winter seasons, returning every summer bigger, stronger and more beautiful.

A firm, resilient,  large, charming “maple tree” should be a reflection of God’s design for marriage, growing in strength, stretching branches of grace, with large green leaves of love, gracefully providing shade to those that lay under it and gaze at its beauty.

 Standing, enduring and lasting.

Mapletreemature

Maybe you are facing a winter and going through many trials in your marriage. Be encouraged by Romans 5:3-5,

  “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,  and endurance produces character, and to us character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

I am learning to rejoice in times of “sufferings” in our marriage, because I know it will produce endurance, like the maple tree in all four seasons. And from that endurance, God wants to shape the character of our marriage, which produces hope, not shame because of His love pouring into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.

We can rest in His promise, that “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and rejoice  in the “sufferings” that produces endurance in our marriages.

As Always..

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Music Mondays and Deep Waters of Faith


 

walkonwater

In this story of the Bible we read about Peter calling out to God in the midst of a storm, while traveling by boat. Have you ever found yourself, calling out to Jesus in the midst of a “storm”, like Peter did?  I have, because the tough seasons in life are hard to face alone.

Many times, in those difficult situations, Jesus still has the same response, which is simply “Come.” Come join Him, and see past the “storm”. Come, walk to Him by faith. Come, and trust Him to make the impossible, possible.

Yet, the situation gets worse, the unpreditable parts of life become as the boisterous wind in this story, and we stand afraid. We start to walk by site, and not by faith as we are commanded in 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Your “storm” could be an illness, a death, a prodigal child, a broken marriage, or financial provisions. Maybe you’re going through all 5 at one time.

But notice how, when Peter begin to sink, he cried out for help, and the Bible states,  Jesus immediately stretched out His hand and caught him.

Yes, how many times do we start to falter in our trust of God, because we redirected our focus on the issue, instead of Him. How powerful it is to know that even when we stumble, we can still shout out to our Father in heaven and He will rescue us.

But have we ever stopped to think, that the Lord allows these trials to grow us in faith, as He allowed that windstorm in this story. Jesus could have stopped the winds, before Peter even stepped out. Yet, He didn’t.  It’s easy to trust God, when we are “smooth” sailing. I am convinced that He wants a depth to our faith, that we sometimes only receive after facing turmoil in life.

We will all have trials, and test. Yours may come in the form of a broken relationship, or an untimely death. I’ve personally had many upsets, but when  I face them with my eyes on Jesus, He strengthens my faith.

He wants to do the same in each of us. To rest in Him, while the storm rages against our “boat”. We are to trust Him.

So when the clouds begin to form, and the enemy starts to attack from all sides, imagine Jesus calling out for you to “Come”. To walk on water, to go deeper into the depths of faith, and experience His peace that surpasses all understand to the human mind.

FAITH

The encouraging lyrics to Oceans (My Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United, speaks the powerful truth.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

Written by: Matt Crocker, Joel Houston and Salomon Ligthelm

Performed by: Hillsong United

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Music Monday and the Power of His Glory

First, I want to say a HUGE welcome to our very first Music Monday!! The purpose of Music Monday on Sowing Seeds, is to start our week with singing praises to our Lord, together. Not many people look forward to Mondays, and this is the place to come, to be encouraged as you begin the day, fully worshiping, and honoring Him.

You can interact more, by posting some of your favorite worship songs on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SowingSeedsinThem  or Twitter https://twitter.com/SowSeedinThem.

Music Mondays will be dedicated to encouraging women, sending prayers and posting songs for each other. I personally will only review one song on Monday, and will be writing a devotional based on the inspiration of the beautiful lyrics. My post will appear in the early mornings according to Eastern standard time. (That may change in the future, in an attempt to engage other sisters in Christ from around the world).

Again, WELCOME to MUSIC MONDAY!! LET’S GET STARTED!!


 

gloryThe above scriptures was a part of a conversation Moses was having with God. Moses craved more of God’s presence. He requested to see His face (Him in full glory). Part of the LORD’s response, was that He could not show Moses His full glory. “you cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” (Exodus 33:20).

Generations later, we read the story of Elijah, a prophet that is hiding in a cave  from persecution. The LORD comes to Elijah and asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9). He [LORD] said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” (1 Kings 19:11)

in wind

After the “face” of God passes by, then Elijah hears His still small voice and comes out to the entrance of the cave. The Spirit (glory) of the LORD is so powerful that It’s very presence can break the mountains and cause the earth to shake.

Our Father in heaven granted the request of Moses’ heart and allowed him to see part of His glory. Elijah, needed the Lord, to breakdown the walls of fear.

These two stories of the Bible, came to mind when listening to “Spirit Break Out”.  One man, craved the presences of God, and asked to see His glory in its fullness. The other man needed, the presence of God, to breakdown the walls of fear. Both times, God showed the power of His presence (glory).

That’s part of why the lyrics of the song “Spirit Break Out” are so powerful.

It begins with addressing our Father in heaven, and acknowledging His presence there, while also stating how all of heaven roars with knowing He reigns.  In addition, the song request that we all join in that praise to Him that sits on heaven’s mercy-seat.

Next, the song inserts with the main chorus. The message at the core of what we need, which is to have His Spirit breaking out, and breaking our walls down. Yes, that’s what experiencing the glory of God is all about. Breaking down the walls of our hearts, breaking the daily “mountains” we face in life’s hardships and grievances.

Finally, and one of my favorite parts, is when addressing Jesus as King Jesus, and stating His glory, is so powerful it shakes the earth and skies (heavens). We want that same glory that displays in the kingdom of heaven to be here, in the revival of the people.

“King Jesus, You’re the name we’re lifting high. Your glory, shaking up the earth and skies. Revival, we want to see Your Kingdom here.”

This is powerful. The glory of God is powerful. We have the Holy Spirit in us, we should be going forth and proclaiming Jesus, “shaking” up the earth, and sharing with others. We can proclaim to the world, that only Jesus can, and will, breakdown every crevice of the walls we have blocking us from experiencing true joy, peace and wholeness.

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MONDAY PRAYERS

Lord, let everyone who may be reading this, know that as You displayed Your glory, which is ALL of You, to Moses, that you long to do that in the hearts of each one of us. Father, there are a lot of broken marriages, homes, hearts, and lives. I know you have the power to break through all those areas. I know you long to have fellowship with your children. I pray you receive all the glory and praise today, from the hearts of those longing to experience your goodness. We love you. We need you. We ask that you equip and restore us, so that we can testify to others of your tender love that you have, and the power you carry in restoring ALL THINGS.

IN JESUS NAME,

AMEN

spiritbreakSong Information from today’s post, are as follows:

Written by: Luke Hellenbronth, Tim Hughes, Myles Dhillon and Ben Bryant

Performed by: Kim Walker-Smith of Jesus Culture