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There is a quote by Mark Twain that says, "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." Discovering and walking in your God-ordained purpose is so powerful.

Because once you begin to walk in your God-ordained purpose, you tap into a level of power and strength that you didn't even know you possessed. Gifts, talents and creativity are all stirred up and activated, because purpose places a demand on everything that God has placed on the inside of you. It places a demand on the things He has given you, so that His purposes through your life can be fulfilled. You will begin to see yourself doing things that you never would have thought you were capable of. Walking in purpose empowers you by igniting a passion on the inside of you.

Now, more than ever before, I find myself at a place in which I have been really praying to God regarding my purpose. And, I can pretty much guarantee that many of you, reading this article are at a place right now, in which you too, are seeking clarity of purpose like never before. Crying out to God and asking Him, "Why am I here?" "Why am I in the Earth?"

And, as I have been praying this way, The Lord, reminded me of some individuals that He called and chose and used mightily throughout the bible, (Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Paul, John the Baptist, and so on). He reminded me of what they were called to do. All of them were chosen by God to be a vessel, through which He Himself responded to something in the Earth realm. God wanted to send an answer, so He sent someone.

You have been chosen for the same reason. You have been chosen to be God's answer to a need or problem in the Earth. That is your purpose. When God chose Moses, it was in response to the cries of the children of Israel.

(Exodus 3:7-10 NKJV)
(7)And the Lord said: I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows.(8) So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.(9) Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.(10) Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.

God said, "I've seen the oppression of my people. I've heard the cries of my people. And I have come down to deliver them." So He said to Moses, "I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."

God said, I've seen, I've heard and I've come down. But, He needed someone that could go and be the answer of deliverance and freedom for His people. To be His response to their cries. God needed Moses, in that moment, to be His voice. To be, His hands and His feet as He responded to His children.

God called Moses to serve. That was his purpose. Your purpose will require that you understand servanthood. When God called Moses to serve, He simply let Him know, that my people are in bondage and oppressed. He let Moses know that He wanted to respond to the cries of his children and that He needed him to go for Him.

God needs you to be His response in the Earth. The reason why you're so desperate to know your purpose right now, is because God wants to respond to the ills of our society. There is something He wants to address in the Earth. So, He's causing your heart to desire walking in your purpose because He wants to fulfill His purposes through you. He needs you to be His response in the Earth.

Have peace where you are in this season and know that the Father will fulfill His purposes through your life. You are hand picked and chosen to be His response, His answer in the Earth. Know that you are qualified because of His grace and love.

Prayer: Father, give me your heart so that I may serve your people and fulfill your purposes. Help me to remember that it is not about me, but you want to respond to the cries of your people in the Earth through a yielded vessel.

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Author: Pamela Bell

Pastor Pamela Bell is a passionate, lover of God, who desires to see God's people walk in the knowledge of who they are in Christ. She resides in Mobile, AL and serves as an Elder at her church, Gulf Coast Christian Center. Pastor Pamela enjoys reading, spending time with friends and all things chocolate.
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Do You Know Who You Are

Insecurity. Jealousy. Thinking that you don’t measure up and aren’t good enough. We’ve all felt these things at one time or another, haven’t we? In a world where we’re constantly surrounded by beauty “ideals,” playing dirty to get ahead is encouraged and rewarded, and whoever has the most money wins, it’s really hard not to feel them! We see someone we think is beautiful and think, “Why can’t I look like her? I’m so fat/ugly/whatever else.” We get passed over for a promotion and harbor bitterness toward the person who got the position we wanted. Everything shouts at us to feel bad about ourselves and be discontent. From a worldly perspective, feeling these things is totally normal and should be a motivator for making yourself “better.” But the truth about that is… Well, you’re never going to feel “better.” You might for a while, but eventually, something else will come along and make you feel bad about yourself all over again, and the cycle keeps going. That’s why it’s important to stop it before it starts. Falling into the trap of jealousy, low self-worth, and bitterness is all too easy unless you start seeing yourself as already good enough. And in Christ, you are! Isn’t that amazing? I mean, do you really even know who you are in Christ? 

You are greatly loved. John 3:16 tells us that God loves the world, which is why Jesus died. That’s comforting, but it’s tempting to exclude yourself from general statements sometimes. I have a tendency to think, “That applies to everyone except me,” sometimes when I hear things like that. So I’d like you to check out John 16:27: “the Father himself loves you” (ESV). There’s no way around that one! No exceptions, no exclusions. God specifically loves YOU!
You are delighted in. Especially with family members, it’s definitely possible to love someone but not always like them, isn’t it? I don’t always get along with everyone my family, but I always love them. You know what’s awesome, though? God doesn’t feel that way about you. Not only does he love you, he likes you. He loves spending time with you. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love, he will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing” (NIV). He can’t contain his joy when he sees you… In fact, he bursts out in song about how much he loves you because he’s so excited. Doesn’t that blow your mind? It does mine!
You are important. We’ve all had moments where we felt unimportant and uncared for. But in God’s eyes, each and every one of us – including you – is important. In Luke 12, Jesus tells us not to worry because God will take care of us. He mentions that everything from flowers to birds are taken care of and provided for by God. He says one sentence that I absolutely love: “You are far more valuable to him than any birds” (NLT)! I’m absolutely sure that God loves birds. He designs each and every one down to each feather it has… And think about how many birds are in the world! Now realize this: God also designed you right down to how many hairs you have on your head (Luke 12:7). As much time as he spent on designing birds and as much as he loves them, he spends all the more time on you and loves you all the more. 

The list could go on forever. I would highly encourage you to look up passages that tell you who you are in Christ. A really great place to start is Psalm 139. Whenever I’m feeling down or alone, that’s the first chapter I turn to. In fact, reading that chapter is your homework assignment for this week! Read it and think about what it really means. Allow yourself to believe that you are desired and valued by the Creator. When you realize how much you are loved and how important you are in God’s plans, who needs to be jealous of anyone else? You are the apple of God’s eye. He is proud of you. He delights in you. You are not a letdown. You are not a disappointment. You are not a mistake. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Walk in that truth this week.

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Author: Hannah Bryant

Hannah Bryant is a worship-leading, cat-loving, pizza-eating redhead who doesn't take much seriously apart from her relationship with Jesus. She is currently finishing up her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Education at Southern Oregon University. You can finder her blogging at Redwood Seed, her personal blog. redwoodseed.com.

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The Last Push

When I was giving birth to my daughter she got stuck behind my pubic bone.  No matter how hard I kept pushing she couldn't get past it.  The doctor started talking about other methods of getting her out.  I was so tired from pushing for hours, no sleep and I was ready to give up. With tears streaming down my face, the doctor and nurse said “c'mon one big push.”  I took the deepest breath I could in between my sobs and gave one last agonizing push.  The next thing I heard was the doctor saying, “she’s out!”  At that moment nothing in the world, in my life or all the pain I had endured mattered.  My baby girl was here in the world and she was the most beautiful and tiniest thing I had ever seen.  I was in awe of what God had created and though I was still in pain it seemed all of it was numbed after her entrance into the world.  The Moral of the story is it was that last big push that birthed something incredibly beautiful.  All that pain I had endured and the nine months of pregnancy prepared me to give birth.  When you feel you have absolutely nothing left that is when God says "push!"  

“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”-John 16:21 NIV

Severe pain symbolizes you are trying to birth something new.  Your pain is a sign of something bigger and if you switch your focus to what will or could be birthed instead of how bad the pain is, you will be able to endure.  We think the pain will kill us.  We think the pain will never pass.  That is a lie from the enemy.  The pain is an inevitable part of life and cannot be avoided, but how we handle it can change everything.  We have all heard the old quote, "If you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on."  Hang on and endure because you may only need one big last push to birth what God has for you.  

T.D. Jakes writes, “When you see sorrow multiply, it is a sign that God is getting ready to send something to you.  Don’t settle for the pain and not get the benefit.  Hold out.  Disregard the pain and get the promise.  What is the pain compared with the baby?  That happens when you become so engrossed with the pain that you leave the reward behind you.” 

It is through the act of pushing (emotionally and physically) that brings forth birth.  A woman has to physically push to get a baby thru the birth canal.  It is the same emotionally.  You must choose to push through the emotional pain.  

So what are you in the midst of birthing in your life right now?  Allow God to give you new energy to keep pushing.  You may only need to give one last big push to birth what God has promised.

As always, every one of you is important to the kingdom, so put your crowns back on, throw your shoulders back and act accordingly to what God says about you!

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Author: Leilani Glassmyer

Leilani is a single mom to a beautiful 4 year old little girl. She is in love with the Creator of the stars. Her mission is simple yet so big, to encourage and bring Jesus to all in need. To bring hope by loving people, writing, photography, music, poetry/spoken word and meeting people right where they are. Gods Grace is her air.
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Raging Seas, Relentless Savior

Just a few days ago, one of the largest waves that I have ever personally encountered hit me.

I had seen the waters getting rough, and no matter how hard I prayed for God to calm the storm I saw headed my way, it was still coming. My eyes were glued to the radar and my heart raced as it continued making its way in. I was its destination, and it surely arrived.

I wanted to be ready for the wave, but I wasn't. I wanted to keep my feet planted in the sand, but I didn't. I couldn't. The wave was too heavy.

The second this wave hit me, I lost every ounce of physical, mental, and emotional strength that I had. It took me off my feet immediately and I went down under. I let it carry me because I wanted it to. I wanted to drown because the pain this wave caused was so unreal, like nothing I have ever experienced before. I was immediately broken in places within that I did not even know existed. I felt so weak, and I refused to even try to find the strength to swim back to dry land because I refused to accept that I had the strength.

And as this wave washed over me, I realized that the water wasn't filling my lungs. I wasn't drowning like I so desperately wanted to because God wouldn't let me.

"Swim, Emily Lauren. Rise above. Come to the surface and swim, My daughter."

I heard the voice of God, but I did not listen. My response sounded a little like, "Are you serious, God? I'm drowning in pain, I'm so incredibly weak, and You want me to swim?? NO!" I honestly didn't want to hear anything at all- from anyone. Swimming out of this wave was the last thing on my mind. I wanted to sink in it just as far down as my heart had.

Fortunately, though, God wouldn't let me.

"I refuse to let you drown, darling Emily. If you're not willing to find the strength to swim, then I'll send lifeguards your way to pull you to the surface. I'll save you, you'll see. I'm coming."

And guess what? He did just that. I was His destination, and He surely arrived.

Usually it only takes a lifeguard or two to pull someone out of the water. For me, though, it took much more than that. God knew this. He also knew that it would take time, and lots of it. Thank goodness He's patient.

I'm not drowning anymore, but I still haven't reached dry land yet. I don't expect to reach dry land any time soon. But I'm okay with that because I've realized a handful of Truths within the past few days.

1) No matter how broken my heart may be, each of its pieces are rooted in Truth. And it will be this Truth that pulls those pieces back together and weaves it back into something new, whole, and beautiful again.

2) I'm swimming in waters of faith, hope, and healing. God is most certainly my Lifeguard. And you know what? He's swimming with me.

3) Healing is in His hands. The cycle of healing takes time. There is no "suggested time" for how long it takes in order to fully heal. There are different types of pain, brokenness, and suffering in the world. Pain truly has no epitome. But healing has an absolute perfect Epitome, and it is the Healer himself who is just that and more.

4) We have two choices to make when pain washes over us. We can wallow in it and make ourselves miserable by asking questions that we'll probably never have the answers to, OR we can hold onto our faith a little tighter, accept that what we know is enough, and realize that our faith is truly the only thing that can remain strong enough within us to pull ourselves out of any size wave of pain that may wash over us. I have chosen the latter, and I hope you will also.

5) The last thing God wants you to do is wear a mask. I'm tired of telling people I'm "Great!" when I'm completely shattered on the inside. Be open, be honest, be real. Just like you would want your friends to tell you when they're hurting so you can help them, they want the same from you. Wearing the mask will make you miserable, and it's exactly what Satan wants you to do. Take off the mask and embrace community like you've never embraced it before. The people in my community are the lifeguards that God sent to pull me back to the surface. And let me tell you, I have experienced the true meaning of this wonderful gift in full.

Accept your faith ladies, and swim in it. Swim in the sea of His love. Let your faith be your guide and your God be your anchor. And whatever you do, don't let go.

We were never promised that our lives would be easy, so don't expect it.

True discipleship comes with a cost, and you must be willing to pay whatever cost comes your way. Your faith is priceless, please don't let go of it.

Fight through this and know that God is fighting with you. God is fighting for you, and He wants nothing but the best for you- whether it seems like it or not.

The reason Whole Magazine exists is to lead broken women to wholeness through Jesus Christ. And guess what? I am a broken woman with a broken heart, and I am seeking wholeness through Jesus Christ. This is raw because this is me at my most vulnerable, and I am on the same exact journey that you are.

"Here I am, God. Take ME. Send ME!"

I've made one promise to myself that I'll never break, and it is this:

Wherever the Spirit of God leads me is wherever I'll go- always.

Desire the things that God desires for you.

Walk with Him.
Swim with Him.
Do life with Him.

You ARE strong, and you WILL get through this.

We are daughters of the King. Fight for the One who makes your heart sing.

Hold on tight.
And let your faith shine bright.

Walk in His Grace no matter what you may face- today, tomorrow, and always.

"I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid." -John 14:27, NLT

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Author: Emily Townsend

Emily Townsend is a 20 year old southern girl who has a heart for loving Jesus, loving others, and serving the world. She is currently pursuing a career in ministry as she continues to fall madly in love with Jesus by the day. Emily is also obsessed with books, coffee, koalas, Pinterest, Pilates, and weddings. Her daily dose of life consists of a little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus. You can also find her blogging on her personal blog The Joy of My Joy.
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Knowing the Truth

It's hard to witness people you don't know in an abusive situation, so can you imagine when it's someone you love.

Today while on the train I listened to a couple verbally abuse each other continuously through their conversation. Listening to it was just as painful as witnessing a physical fight. It was as though they wanted to tear one another apart in such an intimate and in depth way; to rip out the core and fiber of that person's being, all through their words. It was really sad to see. They were literally saying everything possible to hurt one another; everyone could not help but stare because they were shouting, cussing, and fussing loud enough for all to hear. There was no conflict with a resolution at the heart of their disagreement. The will to communicate and hear one another was nonexistent, and there was only the intention to carve out what has been ingrained into the seeds of their design.

It is truly difficult for a relationship to recover from such a barren place. When listening to an argument such as this one, all you hear is two damaged individuals harming one another. I have witnessed arguments before but these folks were really going for the kill. They were sharing detailed information about each other's sexuality and more. In that moment, the saying that I have heard so many times came to mind, "Hurt people hurt people."

Watching them go back and forth over and over again, made me think to myself, "Is anyone going to come out of this alive?" People, would look upon that situation and think, who would stick around in that mess? We say to ourselves, I don't understand why they keep going back to that foolishness. What we don't realize is that sometimes we need to look at ourselves and ask that same questions.

Why does it always have to get the point where we are sick, bruised and beat up to release the things, or situations in our lives that are tearing us up from the inside out?

Abuse is real, and there are so many mental, emotional, and spiritual ties that keep a person connected to that type of relationship. It is bondage; and we all know what that feels like.

We may have been held hostage to our own thoughts and behaviors at times; and just because abuse is often seen by many as something that is a physical or verbal experience, this does not mean it does not involve mental injury as well.

There has to be some mending or insightfulness in the mind and heart, that allows a person to take the necessary steps to walk away from an abusive situation. When a person does not feel that they have a voice or the ability and capacity to speak up for themselves it is enslavement. It is like you are trapped within your own mind and body; and sometimes people or we for that matter, do not even know that we are imprisoned.

There is also another factor that is at the core of abuse or being controlled, and that is fear. We do not want to get or ask for help because we are afraid of what or who we will lose; and that is understandable. I guess the question you have to ask yourself is, "Am I willing to lose me?" "Am I willing to sacrifice who God has called and created me to be?"

It is so crazy how many times Christianity is looked at as a being something negative especially when it comes to the scriptures and the understanding of what it means to submit to God. People say, "I am mine own person and I don't have to answer to anyone or anything," but yet they are in a situation, lifestyle, or relationship where they are not operating freely; and they do not even know they are not free.

There is a freedom that comes with knowing the truth and I have definitely found that in Christ.

So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. (John 8:31, 32 AMP)

They answered Him, We are Abraham's offspring (descendants) and have never been in bondage to anybody. What do You mean by saying, You will be set free? (John 8:33 AMP)

Part of the healing process for a person that is coming out of an abusive situation or lifestyle is for them to understand the truth of what is really taking place. When we are aware, connected, and present in the reality of our own lives, it is then that we are able to be taught.

Jesus answered them, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Whoever commits and practices sin is the slave of sin. (John 8:34 AMP)

Sometimes we do not know we are or have been a slave or in bondage until we are taught what is real and true.

Now a slave does not remain in a household permanently (forever); the son [of the house] does remain forever. So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free. (John 8:35, 36 AMP)

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Author: Francine Ott

Francine is truly thankful to have a relationship with God and is seeking Him daily for guidance and any opportunities to walk closer with Him in truth and love. Francine is a choreographer/dancer, teacher, and soon to be counselor who has a heart to see God's transforming power, renew, restore, and heal the minds, souls, and bodies of people's lives.
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The Constant Gardener

"Your deepest, most constant need is for My Peace. I have planted Peace in the garden of your heart, where I live; but there are weeds growing there too: pride, worry, selfishness, unbelief. I am the Gardener, and I am working to rid your heart of those weeds."

I read these words in my morning devotional today, and it really made me think. It sparked some questions immediately; have I been harvesting my garden? If God has planted Peace, have I been feeding the soil for it to grow and be routed or am I allowing the weeds and bugs and vermin to have their way?

I had a garden one summer. I planted it in this first of the spring, and in the midst of my life with all of the other things that were deemed more important, the garden just kind of got overgrown. It was so hot out in the garden, and I had gone completely overboard with all of the plants that I bought to put in the ground, so when I looked in the yard at the work ahead of me, it just seemed so overwhelmingly time consuming.

That's the thing about gardens, they require effort in order to reap the harvest.

I'm so thankful that our God is not a lazy gardener. He could take one look at me and see all of the deep rooted sin and think that there was just too much trouble involved to forge ahead. He could see that I keep struggling with the same prideful ways over and over again and say there's just no hope for that girl. He could look at the depths of my heart and see that the cracks and tears are so deep that no amount of surgery could heal them.

That's what a lazy gardener would do.

But our God is as far from lazy as the depth of the Universe.
He looks at us and He sees the mess. He sees the lust, unforgiveness, jealousy, greed, anger, bitterness and pride. And He knows exactly how long it will take for us to hand it all over to Him and say we can't carry it anymore.

No matter the length and duration of that pursuit, He still tills the soil. He still plants the seed. He still waters the plants, just enough to make them grow. And when they are ripe, He comes to pick them.

Isaiah 58:11 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

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Author: Emilee Lowe

Emilee is a Christ following wife and mother who lives in Wilmington, North Carolina. She is a former hair stylist who is committed to being used by God in whatever way He sees fit.
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Blessed and Highly Favored One

Many of you know the story of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.

During a very happy and good time in her life, she had an experience that would change her plans and very life as she knew it.

God sent His messenger, Gabriel, to tell her that she was chosen, favored and that she was going to conceive in her womb and bring forth a son called Jesus.

Now, Mary did what so many of us would do. She tried to 'figure out' how in the world was this going to happen? I can imagine the conversation in her head sounding like this, "I'm a virgin. I haven't been intimate with a man! There's a missing piece here God!"

Mary was chosen of God for something life changing. Not only would her life change in that moment as she knew it. But, that which she was chosen to 'birth' and bring forth would also change the lives of countless people forever.

And many of you women, are just like this young Mary. You are blessed and highly favored of God. And you have been chosen to bring forth, birth or produce something that's life changing. Something that will not only change your life, but change the lives of so many others.

You have been chosen to produce something that's so much bigger than yourself.

God needs a vessel that's willing to birth something that will bless millions upon millions.

What has God told you that you will conceive and bring forth?

A witty idea that will generate millions of dollars so that you can give to the kingdom? That's life changing. Or maybe a song that will usher listeners into the. Presence of God? That's life changing.

Businesses? Ministries? Books?

There is something that you, highly favored one, have been chosen to conceive and bring forth. Something that will cause others to encounter and experience Christ. But, in order to conceive it and see it birthed, you must move from the place of "How can this be?" Which is the place of human reasoning.

You know what it sounds like--
"I didn't go to school for that Lord." "I don't have the money to start that business Lord." "I don't even like public speaking and you want me to stand and preach what?"

That my friends, is the place of figuring and human reasoning.

And, if we are not careful, we stay right there. Stuck. Leaning to our own understanding. Not going forth in the things of God. Because He directs our paths when we trust in Him and lean not to our own understanding. Reasoning and figuring and fleshly strategizing have no place in the lives of those called to walk by faith.

Now, Mary knew that in the natural, in order for conception to take place, she needed to know a man in an intimate way. However, Gabriel let Mary know that what she was she was about to conceive and birth, man would have absolutely nothing to do with it.

(35)And the angel answered and said to her, “ The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35 NKJV)

He told her that the Holy Spirit was going to come upon her and that the power of the Most High was going to overshadow her.

Let me tell you, what God wants to bring forth through your life, flesh will get no glory for it. No man will get the glory for it.

It won't be done by power or by might. But the life changing thing which will be conceived and birthed forth through you can only be produced by the Spirit of the living God as He comes upon you and overshadows you so that God's purposes can be fulfilled.

Mary was just a vessel. A channel through which God sent His son into the Earth.

She had the unique privilege of yielding her body so that Jesus could be born in the Earth and declare the name of the Father. (Revealing and showing the world who God is. )That which will be born of you in this hour will be birthed through you so that the true and living God can be revealed.

Let Him overshadow you. And believe that God said it would be born and get in agreement with Him. You, just as Mary did, MUST BELIEVE GOD.

Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45 NKJV)

God is going to get all of the glory.

Prayer: Father, thank you for choosing me to birth and produce something life changing. I ask you to give me grace to trust you and your word and not what I see. May you get all of the glory through my life.

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Author: Pamela Bell

Pastor Pamela Bell is a passionate, lover of God, who desires to see God's people walk in the knowledge of who they are in Christ. She resides in Mobile, AL and serves as an Elder at her church, Gulf Coast Christian Center. Pastor Pamela enjoys reading, spending time with friends and all things chocolate.
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Do Not Fret

I dislike anything that has to do with dealing with car issues, financially and/or mechanically. These problems always seem to have a way of sneaking up and becoming bigger than originally expected. So I was pretty proud of myself that I thought I was slightly ahead of things when renewing my car tabs. Renewing my tabs means that every other year I must go and get an emissions test which I always seem to fail. So it wasn’t a surprise that yet again my car failed and I would need to find a trustworthy emissions certified mechanic to pay $150 to get a waiver to get my tabs. I would need to take part of a day off from work to drive to the mechanic and wait. My brakes needed new pads as well, but one thing at a time I kept telling myself.

After getting my car looked at and having them tell me all the things I needed fixed (upwards of $3000) I got my waiver and went on my way. Next stop emissions again and it’s only 2:30 so I will have enough time to get my tabs after that. Then all of a sudden I hear a sound & my brakes fail!! I press my brakes down as far as possible and veer off into a parking lot. Thank God I didn’t hit someone! I stop and catch my breath. I begin to pray and calm down repeating to myself not to panic, breathe. Next I hear loud as day, “Do not fret,” ok God I hear you. Over and over again, “Do not fret.” So now what do I do? Can I drive? Do I call someone? Who do I call? Again I hear, “Do not fret.”

Fret: To be constantly or visibly worried or anxious. Gradually wear away (something) by rubbing or gnawing. A state of anxiety or worry.

Some of you may be reading this thinking, “Everyone has issues and you’re complaining about a car?” Let me explain a bit further about why this hit me like it did. As a single mom I'm the only one. I don’t have a husband and I don’t have a boyfriend. The father of my child lives in another state and is rarely apart of our lives. My father lives somewhere else and there are many issues between us from my childhood. Most of my family is back home in Hawaii. I get in a panic, in self-reliance mode because I've been doing it by myself for so long (most of my life in fact) that scouring for every solution is second nature because if I don't do it who will? And no one likes a single mom who needs something; I mean they put themselves in that situation right? This is not to gain sympathy it is just simply facts about my life. It is a situation that many may not understand as they do not live it and others in similar situations will get. I am certainly not discounting the hardships in others’ lives or saying that being married is easier, because I don’t know that. What I have known all my life is it is up to me and I have no help. God has been teaching and molding me in the last couple years that HE is my rock, my fortress, my helper, my provider, my anchor, my husband, my heavenly father as well as my daughters. I do not have to fret if I trust him that he will provide at all times.

So I started my car up and tested the brakes to see if I could make it to pick up my daughter and make it home safely. I was able to make it home. I got out my Bible and continued to pray, “God, I don’t want to fret or panic please help me and give me peace.” I opened my Bible. I have been reading the Psalms recently and the night before I was reading Psalm 33-34 so I starting reading after that. First thing I saw was where I had written a couple years ago above Psalm 37, “Do not fret x3.” I laughed and began reading all the underlined verses regarding “do not fret.” You know those moments when you look up and think God you really hear me and you really where speaking to me?! Those moments thrill me beyond measure. Those moments are so intimate. I laid down for a few minutes in complete peace thanking and praising Him. I turned my fret into thankfulness (“a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”- Isaiah 61:3). God, thank you for blessing me with a car in the first place because many do not even have one. Thank you for providing me a little bit of money from my tax return to be able to use towards what needs to be fixed. Thank you for keeping us from harm so that we could make it home safely.

Many times when we fret and panic we make quick and usually unwise decisions. Instead, we need to pray and think things out prudently. We need to examine all the options and solutions. We need to allow God to lead us even if it is uncomfortable to wait on the best answer. We determine how we wait and how we react to situations. We must remember that God has a solution for EVERY problem and often times it is not something we expected, God is not usually conventional.

Do not fret means:

Do not lose sleep over it.

Do not allow it to control you, your emotions or your thoughts.

Do not allow it to create panic leading to an unwise decision or quick fix.

Do not allow it to steal your peace.

My prayer for you this week is that no matter what situations may arise that you do not fret, but allow God to meet you where you are. Allow God to be your provider and protector, you couldn’t be in better hands. As always, every one of you is important to the kingdom, so put your crowns back on, throw your shoulders back and act accordingly to what God says about you!

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Author: Leilani Glassmyer

Leilani is a single mom to a beautiful 4 year old little girl. She is in love with the Creator of the stars. Her mission is simple yet so big, to encourage and bring Jesus to all in need. To bring hope by loving people, writing, photography, music, poetry/spoken word and meeting people right where they are. Gods Grace is her air.
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Wise Counsel

I am in a masters program for Mental Health Counseling, and a teacher of mine shared some scriptures with the class to help us understand the importance of being a counselor. She wanted us to know that is not only essential to have knowledge but to be spiritually sound as well. Christians often are in the position to counsel or give others advice without understanding the level of significance and weight that it bears. Sometimes people are seriously ill or hurting internally and need help and giving them a scripture, telling them to pray and sending them on their way is not the answer. I just want to share some pertinent and spiritual information as it relates to the role of a counselor [advisor]. This is only a small morsel of the vast world of counseling and definitely not me telling you to follow what I say. I am simply sharing what I have learned from my own perspective. These are not the views or beliefs of all counselors or professionals in the field; this is my subjective opinion.

Isaiah 61:1-4 (New Living Transalation) Says: The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released, and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory. They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations.

This scripture has several guidelines or principles from a Christian perspective that a counselor can use to understand one’s role when being called upon to help others.

One can relate these scriptural guidelines to the general ethical principles found in Clara E. Hill’s third edition of her book entitled Helping Skills.

Verse one of the bible says “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released, and prisoners will be freed” (Isaiah 61:1 New Living Translation). This scripture can be in connection with the principles of beneficence, and nonmaleficence. Beneficence refers to counselors being committed to help others grow and develop. Nonmaleficence speaks of not harming or neglecting one’s clients. God has called counselors to help by empowering others, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to use the God-given tools within to shed light on dark areas that need to be healed and strengthened. This would also allow one to see oneself as Christ does.

​Verse two states, “He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies” (Isaiah 61:2 New Living Translation). This verse can relate to the ethical principle of justice. Justice is a person having a fair opportunity to be heard and get the proper help that one would need to not just survive but live. Counselors have the responsibility to provide service to those in need who may not be able to pay or lack in some way. God has called his people to serve the poor and the hungry, and this may not always be of financial benefit, but it could be in the spirit of one’s mental and emotional needs. People are starving for more than just food.

​Verse three, “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory” (Isaiah 61:3 New Living Translation). One could think of the principle of veracity in relationship to this scripture. Veracity is the counselor providing the client with the truth. Being genuine and honest is important, so that the client has something solid to lean on. The counselor can help give one the strength to stand firm in the power of the truth. A counselor can guide the client in seeing the truth of the matter instead of the deception or lies others, particular experiences, situations, or oneself may have been fed.

​The last part of the scripture says, “They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations” (Isaiah 61:4 New Living Translation). Autonomy and Fidelity connect with this final principle. A counselor’s therapeutic relationship with the client is important. Fidelity, meaning a counselor being able to keep commitments and confidential information private, so that one does not feel violated. Just these simple, yet complex things can help restore the idea of relationships in a client’s life. It can help restore one’s view of connecting and communicating with others in a relationship, and with God. When one feels as though a relationship is possible, one is able to understand one’s needs and boundaries in order to grow. This is where autonomy comes into play. Autonomy is a person’s right to make the choices that will empower one’s beliefs and values, as well as taking the necessary steps to put these things into action. A counselor has the ability to empower one to make decision that will ultimately benefit one’s life and the world around one.

​A counselor has a lot of power but even more guidance of Christ. Not only are the mental and emotional aspects being dealt with but the spiritual part of one’s self as well. A counselor can give a person an outline of what a healthy life and relationship looks like. God knows every part and intricate detail of one’s being and a counselor has the opportunity to walk along side him, through the intimate parts and places of one’s existence. This is only with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This role and level of access should always be taken seriously because the counselor has a hand in deepest areas of one’s life. This is why it is important for the counselor who is a believer to study academically but also biblically, so that when one does receive access within a person that leads to unknown realms, one will have the creator of it all throughout the process.

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Author: Francine Ott

Francine is truly thankful to have a relationship with God and is seeking Him daily for guidance and any opportunities to walk closer with Him in truth and love. Francine is a choreographer/dancer, teacher, and soon to be counselor who has a heart to see God's transforming power, renew, restore, and heal the minds, souls, and bodies of people's lives.
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Uniquely You

I love people. I am a talker, and I love nothing more than to sit down with someone and have a conversation. The intricacies of the different stories and lives we live fascinate me and it blows my mind to see how big our God is and all the ways that he works so precisely in our individual circumstances. The way that each person expresses and describes their story differently is so interesting and telling of their personality, and I could watch and listen all day long.

I would be lying if I said I never wondered what other people thought of me. I know as well as any other Truth-seeking Christian that the only opinion that matters is God's, however, this doesn't keep me from wondering how I come across to the world. We are human. We see each other and immediately our brains process some sort of information: She's cute. She's funny. She looks mad. What's up with her teeth? Her legs are really short. I like her hair. I think she has two different eyes. Her nostrils are big.

We can be brutal without intention. There have been a few times recently that I have felt uncomfortable while I was carrying on a conversation with someone whom I've recently met, and I noticed them looking at various things on my face while I talked instead of making eye contact with me. It made me extremely aware of every thing I did and I wondered what their thoughts were. Did they hear anything I said? Was my breath bad? Did I have broccoli in my teeth? My biggest concern is always if I seem genuine. Now, wait a second before you go thinking that I'm a phony. The reason I worry about my authenticity is because I don't talk as easily as I type. I stumble for the words I'm looking for, and in the silence of the search, my comfort level goes into the danger zone.

I am not so much a fan of being vulnerable.

But I realized today that as much as I look to others for their approval or acceptance or just to feel like I'm not alone in being a weirdo, it's not about them. And it's not about me. I can't keep living day in a day out wondering what that girl was looking at on my chin, or why someone stopped following me on twitter, or how come that friend of fifteen years stopped calling. These thoughts should be fleeting and my mind and heart need to stay focused on being who God is calling me to be...even if that means it's the girl who shares too much and cries too much and uses the word awesome too much. As long as it's pointing to Him, and my heart is soft and pliable for His hands to work with, I'll be ok.

And He won't let me down. He won't let you down either. Trust Him and be who you are; everyone else is already taken.

Truthfully, we are all so consumed in our own flaws and too busy worrying about them to notice anyone else's. Wouldn't it be so incredibly mundane and boring if we all looked, acted and thought the same? Jesus came so that we may have life and have it in the full! So I think it is far past time to stand boldly and firmly as the person He created us to be!

Lovely. Brave. Spirit-filled. Honest. Joyful. Faithful. Kind. Peaceful. Self-controlled.

You can't strike out when you are true to yourself.

John 10:10
The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

Galatians 5:22-25
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

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Author: Emilee Lowe

Emilee is a Christ following wife and mother who lives in Wilmington, North Carolina. She is a former hair stylist who is committed to being used by God in whatever way He sees fit.
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