A Life Worth Living

What makes a life worth living?

sometimes-life-is-worth-living-for

 

I can give you a little glimpse of what or should I say, who, made mine worth living.

Check this out… Colossians 1:21-23 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. You don’t walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message. I, Paul, am a messenger of this Message.

So, when the LORD placed this title on my heart, I didn’t originally think of these verses. I actually forget the verses HE put on my heart. I took so long to get to writing. I just have to be real. I kept getting writers block and nothing at all was coming. It’s been so frustrating. I always have so many things floating around in my head that I want to get out on paper but it doesn’t always come out in an orderly fashion.

I would like to break these verses down. Why does the apostle Paul say, we are case studies of what HE does? In short, a case study is a process or record in developing someone or something. My walk with the LORD Jesus has been a process over the last 13+ years and will continue to be a process. I am always growing if I am intentional in feeding my spirit. Which brings me to the time in my life when my back was turned away from HIM and being rebellious in all my ways. I didn’t realize I was giving HIM trouble every chance that I got. In essence, I was. I did not give HIM the time of day until I got my behind back in church. My life was a trainwreck…to say the least. Until that eye-opening day when HE body slammed me and my husband, Stephen, and said, deep in my spirit,”hey my daughter, remember ME?!” I accepted the LORD in my heart as young child and went to church on and off throughtout my life, but never got anything out of it. The LORD continued…  “Do you realize the greater plans I have in store for your life? I need you both to wake up! But you have a choice to go down My road or your own.” HE said it would not be easy, but would be so worth it!!

life worth living ocean image

So, we took HIM at HIS Word. We learned over the years through buckets of blood, sweat and tears that Christ did not die in vain! HE set us free, delivered us and made us healed and whole. We have a choice to accept that or not, every single moment that passes by. Why don’t we walk away from a gift like that? Because Heaven is a free gift. We don’t earn or deserve it. HE freely gave eternal life to those who will accept it.

balloons in air image

Can we get distracted or diverted along the way? Oh, absolutely! There have been countless times that both my husband and I have been derailed in various ways. Thank GOD that HE set us straight to stay on the right side of the tracks. The key has been, is and always will be…to stay fixed and focused on Jesus. I learned to PLOT = PRAY LISTEN OBEY TRUST.  This means if the enemy of our souls is constantly going to scheme and plot in an evil way, I can PLOT in a powerful and very effective way!  Here’s the deal… we must be intentional! I can’t say I wake up every day and instantly spend time with GOD, but I do start to talking to HIM right away, and thank HIM for another day of life…a life worth living!

thank-god-morning-evening

 

 

 

 

 

Colossians 3:12-14 So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

15-17 Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

I love how this version of GOD’s Word says, “sing, sing your hearts out to GOD!” If you know me…my passion is singing! Singing my heart out…at that! I will sing like a birdie to any genre of music at the top of my lungs La la la la la… I especially love to worship the LORD in song! I truly believe the LORD purposely did not let me “make it” in the secular world of music because I was created to worship HIM, and every single one of us was, for that matter! And it took me a long time to figure that out. I must write about this whole thing another time.

 

So LORD, help me. Whatever I do, may it honor You and bless You. You, Jesus, have given me a life worth living and that cannot be denied! Otherwise, I sudder to think how life would have turned out without You, my GOD! I absolutely shudder!

broken into beautiful image

 

 

 

 

 

To Curse or Not to Curse

Have you ever thought about the 10 commandments and which one would be the toughest to follow?

When I think of a tough commandment to follow…I would have to say “Thou shall not use the LORD’S name in vain.”

I see us as a society constantly using GOD’S name in vain. We say “OMG” and “Oh my GOD” like it’s just every day talk. I’m talking about born again believers, not just non believers. Especially little kids when they are playing sports, on the playground or a video game or something like that. I often hear them just blurt it out.

Why?

They’re just kids, right? Yes. But they are like parrots and they repeat what they hear from their parents, other adults or teens. I remember when I wasn’t walking with the LORD over 13 years ago, I would say JC and GD like it was nothing. I didn’t say it as much as the “f” word, let’s be real, but i said it. So, believe me, I am no one to judge. Now, when I hear people use HIS name in vain, it just makes me cringe. It takes me back to a time where I would speak like that. I don’t even like to hear “Oh my GOD!” or even just flippantly, saying GOD. Or saying, Jesus before we make a statement.  It really bothers me because I know how much it bothers HIM!!!

They are just text initials… so what?!


Recently, my husband starting messing around with our crazy alpha driven dog to the point of really agitating him so he would start to go crazy around the house. And no sooner did we get done praying together, I said, “God, you really agitate him!” And I thought to myself, you got to be kidding me… can’t I ever stop dishonoring GOD?!   Immediately, i asked the LORD for forgiveness because i know it’s wrong and it made me feel horrible to use HIS name in that manner. So, as much as I love the LORD, I still to this day have a difficult time not using HIS name so casually. The only time I want to say HIS name is when i am speaking to HIM in prayer or talking to HIM, as i do all day long. I am so grateful HE opened my eyes and ears to realizing it’s wrong to casually use GOD’S name just like it’s any other name.

This is the manner I choose to use the name of the LORD…

Hallelujah! Thank God ! Pray to Him by name! Tell everyone you meet what He has done! Sing Him songs, belt out hymns, translate His wonders into music! Honor His holy name with Hallelujahs, you who seek God . Live a happy life! Keep your eyes open for God watch for His works; be alert for signs of His presence. Remember the world of wonders He has made, His miracles, and the verdicts He’s rendered— O seed of Abraham, His servant, O child of Jacob, His chosen.

Psalm 105:1‭-‬6 MSG


Father, I thank You for the conviction You bring to me as Your daughter and to all your sons and daughters who truly want to please You in all we say and do. Thank You how You came to testify to the Truth in Your Word. You are so loving and forgiving towards us. You don’t shame us or condemn us in any way. Teach us, LORD, Your Way and help us all to walk in it. Forgive me for the idle way I can just let Your name come out of my mouth like it’s nothing. Thank You for Your love and faithfulness in our lives. You know You didn’t create us to be perfect, yet You are perfecting us every day into the image of Your precious Son, Jesus. LORD, I don’t intend to let You down ever. Please help me to honor and glorify You in every way. I love and adore You with every thing You gave me.  Help me show that in my character, conduct and conversationThat’s my heart for You, LORD.  In Jesus’ precious and powerful name. Amen.

So, if you or I feel bad about saying GOD’S name in vain, then as I have learned, only spending time in the Word of GOD and praying will allow HIM to change us.Because, no matter how hard we try, we cannot change ourselves and no one else can change us either. 

I praise Your name, Jesus, and not curse it. LORD, help me. 


I’m Not Your Enemy, ya Know?!…

According to the title here…

Did you ever say that to someone?

Maybe your spouse, your son or your daughter, your friend or your co-worker. And why would you say it to begin with?

Well, because you’re in the middle of heated argument.

Are they really your enemy like it seems in that moment?

See what the WORD of GOD says…

Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12 ERV

What does that mean? Well, I have learned and I am still learning that Satan hates us with a passion! And he and his evil entourage are doing everything they can possibly do to make our lives completely miserable and like a living hell. So when fights erupt, we need to remember that the person we are arguing with, isn’t our enemy.

Even though, you certainly feel like you don’t like the person in that heated moment. If you’re like me, you want to walk away so that the argument doesn’t elevate to something worse. Maybe you’re somebody, like a special person in my life, who wants to keep antagonizing the person you’re in an emotional battle with. We are either known as “flight or fight” in terms of how we respond.  When you want to fight, you then know the person well enough to push certain buttons on them so they get super annoyed. When you’d rather flight, you just walk away and let that person cool down a bit and talk about it later when things aren’t so argumentative.

Just look at this diagram and see just a small glimpse of what happens to our bodily system when stress and upsetment comes upon us. 

Why is it we can be so mean to the ones we love? Do we realize we are hurting them so deeply?

There was a time in my life when I was so negative and riddled with so much low to no self esteem. When I think about all those years that I didn’t even realize anything was wrong with me, it just makes me cringe. I felt like everybody was my enemy when things would get heated with just about anyone in my path. I was actually really my own worst enemy.

Can you relate at all?

I have learned that it’s so not worth it to start or continue arguments.

Catch what the Bible says in these verses…

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody. Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
Romans 12:14‭-‬21 MSG

So when it comes down to it… we really should not have any enemies.

GOD will take care of any and every situation. What is it about being right or having the last word, anyway?!! It is so overrated yet we all do it or we would not even have arguments or even little spats with each other. I know I am still going to have disagreements at times, but I will be darned if they will have me!

I hate to fight with my husband or my children or anyone for that matter. To coin a phrase, “why can’t we all just get along?”

So what is it that we can’t let something go in a split second? That we have to stew in it for awhile til our blood boils?!

Who is it hurting the most? It hurts whoever cannot just let it go.

Be encouraged and let that sink in a minute.

Please Don’t Be Offended

Have you ever heard someone say, please don’t be offended or they say, no offense?

Let’s be honest. Of course, you have. We all have, and if we are completely honest, we have made a statement and realized after it rolled off our tongues and came out of our mouth, the words, “no offense.” And sometimes we hear silence, or a biting rebuttal or just… “none taken”.

But yet it takes every thing that we have in us to just shuck it off or say, none taken.

I know there are times in heated disagreements with my hubby that he offends me or I certainly offend him. We really don’t mean it at the time. But it definitely occurs. 

Let’s face it. The two of us are very opposite each other. I used to think GOD was playing a joke on us. Now, what I have learned to see it is that we are being constantly changed and transformed into the image of our LORD Jesus Christ.  In that process, we are going to be annoyed or irritated which brings us more and more into the image of Jesus. How does that make sense? It really depends how you look at it. We could quickly forgive which displays love and harmony or allow it to bring about an offense which displays discord and division.  Little did I know, this is a slick trick and trap of Satan. Which would you rather have?

From Bible Study Tools, I found this peice of information very interesting.  

Two Greek words are translated “offense”: scandalon [skavndalon] and proskomma [provskomma]. Both carry the connotation of “sinfulness” or “stumbling block.”

Many people are offended by the message of the Cross of Christ. 

Take these verses for instance…

In the Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade. Through us, he brings knowledge of Christ. Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life. But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse. This is a terrific responsibility. Is anyone competent to take it on? No—but at least we don’t take God’s Word, water it down, and then take it to the streets to sell it cheap. We stand in Christ’s presence when we speak; God looks us in the face. We get what we say straight from God and say it as honestly as we can.

2 Corinthians 2:14‭-‬16 MSG

I’d say, those on the way to destruction are pretty offended by what is being said here, and we won’t hear, Please don’t be offended from them.

Here’s an instance where a main character in the book of Ruth is so offended by GOD.

But she said, “Don’t call me Naomi; call me Bitter. The Strong One has dealt me a bitter blow. I left here full of life, and God has brought me back with nothing but the clothes on my back. Why would you call me Naomi? God certainly doesn’t. The Strong One ruined me.”

Ruth 1:20‭-‬21 MSG

Have you ever been offended by GOD?

Maybe HE is making you wait for something you thought would happen a long time ago?

Maybe you are asking for healing for yourself or a loved one and sickness still abounds?

Maybe you are begging and pleading for HIM to save your spouse or your children? 

You get the picture. We can live day after day really offended by GOD and HIS plan.

Ultimately, I can imagine GOD, saying… “Please don’t be offended. But I have to do what I have to do and when and how I have to do it. Just trust ME, my beautiful child! Spend time with ME and you will learn of MY Ways. Let ME talk to you through MY Word and please listen. I need you to talk to ME. I want to hear from you all day long. And love everyone you come in contact with because I AM Love!”

So, please don’t be offended by what GOD put on my heart to share. I only mean to please HIM. 

Why Can’t We Say HIS Name?!

Well, why can’t we?? Have you ever wondered about that? Or maybe you never even gave it a second thought…

Who’s name am I talking about? You ask?

Do we even have to ask?

As the course of things that are happening in this world are resulting in our own self destruction and everything is falling apart right in front of us, how could that be?

HE has been taken out of our public schools, court rooms, and countless other places.

Need I say more??

So many people still can’t believe in what they just cannot see.

Seeing is believing…you say?

I say believing is seeing with the eyes of my heart all the evidence around us of all HIS miracles.

So if you are a “believer” and I don’t mean having head knowledge; then you can truly relate to these select verses in Acts 4 & 5.

And if you are an “unbeliever”…then you just think it’s all hogwash!

You may be using HIS name in vain, right now. I used to do that, and I thought that I believed.

We have a choice in the matter. Here’s something to reflect on…

I love the lyrics to Nichole Nordeman’s song: What If? (Here’s just a few verses to get a visual)

Here’s the unbelievers view:

What if you’re right?

And he was just another nice guy

What if you’re right?

What if it’s true?

They say the cross will only make a fool of you

And what if it’s true?

What if he takes his place in history?

With all the prophets and the kings?

Who taught us love and came in peace

But then the story ends.

What then?

Here’s the believers view:

But what if you’re wrong?

What if there’s more?

What if there’s hope you never dreamed of hoping for?

What if you jump?

And just close your eyes?

What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise?

What if He’s more than enough?

What if it’s love?

Who is Love and so much more?

HE is Indescribable!!!

HE is JESUS!!! 

They sent them out of the room so they could work out a plan. They talked it over: “What can we do with these men? By now it’s known all over town that a miracle has occurred, and that they are behind it. There is no way we can refute that. But so that it doesn’t go any further, let’s silence them with threats so they won’t dare to use Jesus’ name ever again with anyone.” They called them back and warned them that they were on no account ever again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John spoke right back, “Whether it’s right in God’s eyes to listen to you rather than to God, you decide. As for us, there’s no question—we can’t keep quiet about what we’ve seen and heard.” While they were praying, the place where they were meeting trembled and shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God’s Word with fearless confidence. (Acts 4:15-20, 31 MSG)

I can so relate to this because I know how my life was BC -before CHRIST!!!

What a despicable me I used to be!! Now, I am called HIS daughter!!

And I can’t keep my mouth shut about all HE has done!!

If you can relate…can you, keep your mouth shut, that is?!

The Bible continues….

Just then someone showed up and said, “Did you know that the men you put in jail are back in the Temple teaching the people?” The chief and his police went and got them, but they handled them gently, fearful that the people would riot and turn on them. Bringing them back, they stood them before the High Council. The Chief Priest said, “Didn’t we give you strict orders not to teach in Jesus’ name? And here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are trying your best to blame us for the death of this man.” Peter and the apostles answered, “It’s necessary to obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, the One you killed by hanging him on a cross. God set him on high at his side, Prince and Savior, to give Israel the gift of a changed life and sins forgiven. And we are witnesses to these things. The Holy Spirit, whom God gives to those who obey him, corroborates every detail.” (Acts 5:25-32 MSG)

I can attest to this now.

For years, I enjoyed church enough, but never came away with any thing that would change me.

Until 13 years ago….

You did it: You changed wild lament into whirling dance; You ripped off my black mourning band and decked me with wildflowers. I’m about to burst with song; I can’t keep quiet about You. GOD, my GOD, I can’t thank You enough. (Psalm 30:11,12 MSG)

So, is this all folklore? Or, is this all the TRUTH?? You decide and choose.

By faith, I have chosen and I believe!! Thank You, Jesus, for You are the Name above all names!!

69-6991-E5FW100Z.jpg

And…all these names are who JESUS is!!!

Have you ever asked yourself…who am I anyway? Why am I here?

In this stage of your life, you may or may not even know.

Now, I know who I am. I am the daughter of the GOD who created me. And I know why I’m here. I exist to love Jesus, to love others, to serve HIM, to tell others about HIM, and count HIM as my EVERYTHING!!

You may be thinking why should I believe this?…

Because HE died for you and me.

Believe it or not!!

Thanks so much for your time.

In HIS love,

Annamarie