Viewing God like we view a sunset. 

The other night I was sitting downtown Annapolis journaling and writing a new chapter in my upcoming book.

The water has always been a place of calm for me, something about sitting on the docks staring off into that blue water always bring me such peace.

I was fortunate enough to catch the sunset, and boy these photos don’t do it justice. Our God makes magnificent sunsets.

Staring at the sunset, it made me think, “What if we looked at God the way we do when we see a sunset?”

You know how captivating those sunsets can be, all those beautiful pink and orange colors in the sky, it leaves you in wonder. Just think of how many times you’ve just had to stop and Snapchat or Instagram a sunset because “it’s the most magnificent thing you’ve ever seen”. Almost as great as chocolate chip cookies and puppies. Am I right?

We look at sunsets with stillness and adoration the way we should look at God. What if we began to look at God the way we stop to look at sunsets? How would this look? 

Being still with God is something we all struggle with. Just being in the moment with God without texting, being side tracked by our hobbies or even our family and friends. Yes, finding complete stillness in God is often hard. Because sometimes even when we aren’t on our phones or with friends, our minds are racing with errands we still need to finish, whether or not we got that job we wanted. If we were to be completely still with God we would be like a young toddler soaking up the magnificence and wonder of God. We would be like still water in a river, calm and at peace. We would be so in wonder of WHO God is that we would silence ourselves just to be in the very presence of God. 

This ties in with adoration. Adoration is a type of affection, a type of love you have for someone. “I adore you so much!” you may say to a significant other or a friend. Adoration leaves you looking at a person in wonder and lovingly. If we were to look at God with adoration we would be so captivated by the very character of God. We would be so breathtakingly in love with the mere though of just sitting in the presence of God!

Guys.

I don’t know about you but I want to daily see God in stillness and adoration. I know sometimes it’s a struggle for me. Sometimes I’m not still in the Lord. Sometimes I don’t even look at God with adoration. Sometimes I rush through my devotional because I have such a big list of “To do’s” for that day. I know I’m a terrible person…..

My prayer for us is this:

Lord,

Sometimes I may rush or I may forget to go spend quality time with you. You still pursue me and love me. You hold nothing against me and I am constantly amazed by your love and grace. Lord, I pray that I will be so in love with you that I will look at you so adoringly that my heart will be calm and still. I pray that I never stop looking at you with adoration. That just by being in your presence I will be completely still. 

Amen 


Ease and grace,
Elizabeth Louise 

Prayer in midst of disagreement

Recently the news was headlined with “Kathy Griffin beheading Donald Trump in a shocking photo shoot” in which she appeared holding a bloody head of Donald Trump…..

Before a start this. Man, that was disgusting and disturbing.

We all have our differences. We may be Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian. And it’s okay to belong to a different political party than your next door neighbor or cousin does.

You can still follow Jesus and be a Democrat just as much as you can follow Jesus and be a Republican.

Two things I want to touch on today:

  1. God has created each and every one of us: Psalm 139: 13-14 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. If we are to read this verse one can safely understand that God knew us in the womb and even formed us while we were in there. So God knew us before we even exited the womb. 
  2. We are all sinners and struggle with sinful nature: Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Did you catch that? Some? Nope. All. We all fall short of the glory of God. We all have sinned. 

Donald Trump is far from perfect. But which one of you can say that you are perfect? Yes, he may act like a child tweeting and complaining at 2 am. And yes, he’s said questionable statements regarding women. But we fall short and mess up just as much as he does.

Whether you are gay, straight, Muslim or follow Jesus. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Libertarian. Whether you are white or black. Whatever differences you have with him, whatever you disagree with him on. 

Lift him up in prayer

He is leading a nation full of people who are sinners-whether they know Jesus, or don’t. He leads a country where some people agree with him, some people don’t. He is leading a country while he himself is a sinner. 

Guys….we should be praying and lifting him up. Praying that he seeks guidance and insight from God. Not wishing death on someone whom God has created and formed so uniquely. 

Grace and ease,
Elizabeth Louise 

Establishing that Giant-like Faith with God

We all experience fear.

We all experience doubt.

Maybe we doubt that we know all the answers to that final exam despite having crammed for it for a week. Maybe we fear and worry what our parents will say about our report card.

Or maybe we doubt God is truly there and listening and we begin to stress and worry about what will happen.

Recently I was reading the story of David and Goliath. In 1 Samuel 17: 38-40 Saul pits armor on David to go into battle but what happens next??

David takes off the armor because he hadn’t worn it before. He’s about to go into battle…….and he rids himself of the armor. WOW!

I don’t think I’d go into battle with no armor. Anyone else agree? 

David TRUSTED God completely. He trusted God enough to into battle with just a staff, stones and a sling. Meanwhile Goliath is decked out with a sword and a spear. 

But is David scared? No way! In fact he gets up to Goliath and starts BOASTING in the Lord. He trusts that God will be by his side, so David is just trash talking. He’s going, “Oh yeah? Well my God is on my side and He will strike you down”

Guys? What if we did this when we did to experience worry, fear and doubt?

What if we BOASTED in God. 

What exactly would this look like?

It would mean we have such enormous faith and trust in the character of God and who God is that we don’t worry as much.

It would mean our first response would be to remind ourselves how BIG God is instead of how big our small problems may seem.

It would mean going into prayer first, rather as a last resort. 

It would mean having giant-like faith in God just as David did.

Friends, I pray whatever you are dealing with today, that you begin to establish that giant-like faith with God. Know that God is who HE says He is. Know that God is faithful, everlasting and constant. I pray that you begin to seek God in moments of fear and doubt. I pray that you lean on God and establish giant-like faith with God.

Amen.


As always,

Grace and ease,
Elizabeth Louise 

Heart over words

We attend a Bible study or a gathering, and usually there is prayer involved at some point. Whether it’s one person, or going around the circle taking turns as you feel called to pray. Sometimes you hear words like, “Edification”, or “Infallible”, or “Discernment”.

You’ve heard these prayers and maybe you are a new Christian just thinking, I’m so nervous. I just want to say a simple prayer, what if I don’t want to use big words? Maybe you get nervous. Maybe you awkwardly sit there and don’t say anything because you’ve over thought it now.

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I know I did. I used to be petrified of praying in front of people, I didn’t have the right words to know what to say and I wasn’t as strong of a Christian as some of the others who had grown up in Christian homes.

Honestly though? God doesn’t care how BIG the prayer is or how impressive the words are. Prayer is simply communicating with God. Over the years of growing and walking with God He’s become my Creator, Judge, Counselor, Parent and Friend. He knows my strengths and weaknesses. He knows my thoughts. The Bible is filled with people communicating to God through prayer. Psalms, Job, etc.

These people they express their feelings, their hearts to God.

In 1 Samuel 1:10 Hannah prays to the Lord, And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.

Further down a few more verses in 13 Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk.

God wants your heart in prayer more than he wants to hear impressive words.

Sometimes we feel hurt, in pain, sad, rejected, etc and the only thing we know to do is cry to God in our tears. Sometimes the only thing we can say is “Thank you God”. Sometimes the Holy Spirit moves in us and gives us these “big, impressive words”. Other times we may not have the right words to say out loud, but God hears our thoughts even before we speak them. He sees the condition of our hearts before we even know if it’s condition. 

Don’t be afraid to communicate what’s on your mind and heart to the Lord. However big or small.



-Elizabeth Louise

The inclusive and expansive love of Jesus

I want to be found sitting around a campfire with barefooted refugees and so-called whores or prostitutes, the LGBTQ crowd. Maybe roasting a few s’mores, except in my case I like to put Reese’s on my s’mores(it’s delicious trust me). 

Anyway, I want to be sitting around a campfire with a whole variety of people deemed “un-worthy” or often looked down upon by the church but loved by Jesus.

I want my love to be so inclusive and expansive that it tells people about my God not the other way around. I don’t want it to exclude people so that it creates barriers or walls and doesn’t give opportunity to tell people about Jesus.

Jesus’s love is inclusive and expansive. 

The woman at the well. The woman caught in adultery. The healing of a man on the sabbath. 

Jesus continued to break down barriers, guys. He continually reached out and included people, saying, “I know you’ve done x,y,z but follow and trust me” Jesus continued to dish out grace explaining that, we all mess up. We all need forgiveness and grace.

Lately….I’ve been thinking. What areas of my life am I putting up barriers and not being inclusive? We all have them. I have my areas and they may be different than yours. But let’s continue to be inclusive and expansive with our love and grace. Let’s let grace and love flow out like a giant kicking  down a door. 

How to forgive when a person has hurt you.

Forgiveness. Forgiven. Forgive.
These words, ideas, concepts are altogether mentioned in the Bible around 140 times.
the bible tells us that we should forgive people when they hurt us, sin against us. We should forgive them as God has forgiven us for our own sins.

 

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Sounds easy enough, right?

but what if that person has hurt us? what if that person has abused us? what if that person left us beaten and bruised physically and mentally?

How do we forgive people who have hurt us so badly? 

believe me. that’s something that i know i struggle with trying to do.
i struggle with forgiving ex-boyfriends who have abused me; physically, verbally, mentally, etc. i struggle with forgiving ex-boyfriends who have cheated and made me feel disposable. i struggle with forgiving friends who leave. i struggle with forgiving people who have hurt me and taken advantage of me over and over. i won’t sugar coat it. i struggle with this.

Recently though I’ve learned that in order to better learn how to forgive others we need to understand that we’ve all already been forgiven. We are all sinners. that sin separates us from God. whether its a sin of cheating, porn, lying, alcohol, drugs, etc.

In Matthew 18:21-22 Peter asks God how many times he should forgive someone. His answer? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”

You see. we sin daily. whether you realize it or not. getting drunk, sex outside of marriage, watching that porn, holding grudges, lying, gossiping. each day we sin against the God of the universe. each day we sin against the god who created each and every one of us. yet, god still loves us and desires a relationship with us. think about it this way: for as much hurt as we may feel from a person we are not able to forgive, when we deny god, when we sin against him we hurt him and we separate ourselves from him. yet, he holds nothing over us. he still longs for a relationship with all of us.

i’m not advocating for messaging that person who has hurt you unless the Lord calls you to. what i am saying is that to better understand how to forgive someone, we should start with a understanding of God’s love for us and how he forgives us. when we start with this understanding we can then approach forgiving someone with a understanding of, “Yes, this person hurt me. I don’t trust them. But, they are as forgiven as I am for my sins. Because of this I won’t speak bad of them to others”.

You see, when we start forgiving people we stop allowing those people to have control over us. we start to extend more grace and ease to people.

 

You are so much more than that “label”

Admit it.

We’ve all been labeled or labeled someone at some point…… Whether it’s by our physical appearance, or religious affiliation, or our skin color. Here are some examples of labels:

  1. too skinny, too fat,
  2. too emotional, depressed, talks too fast, quiet, shy
  3. geek, nerd, smart, stupid, idiot, retard, jock, hipster
  4. woman, man
  5. straight, gay,
  6. liberal, conservative, democrat, republican
  7. christian, muslim, catholic
  8. black, white, purple, green, etc

In some way or another society has given us labels. Friends, can we stop?

When we label others, we are giving them a title. we are isolating them and excluding them. when we label others, we are not seeing them as they were made in christ.

 

 

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Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

God has created each one of us. He has given us immense value in that we are created in HIS image. When we use those labels as insults, or in a way that prevents us from seeing other people as being created in the image of God it becomes a problem.

Instead of seeing each other through the lenses of labels given to us by society, how about we start appreciating and praising the wonder things about one another? Let us not allow the labels to prevent us from loving on others. Let us not be so blinded by these labels that we forget to view each other as being created by the same God we were.

Let’s all spread a little more joy, peace and love and stop with the labels.

 

K?

❤ Elizabeth Louise