Loving the unlovable (Being a stepmother)

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“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

( 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, NKJV)

Whew! That passage of scriptures right there will end your life if you think that you are some great or mature woman in the Lord but hate your step children. You guys, I have been holding off on this post for SO long now because I know all about this struggle. I have a step daughter who lives with us and who honestly, gets on my ever lasting nerves. I have wished her away plenty of times. I have even tried to divorce my husband behind her. So trust me, the things that I am going to share are real, and a little hard to hear but necessary. And I can’t promise that by the end of this post that you’ll adore your stepchildren (because I’m still working on it!). But you will know how to endure your suffering and what is unacceptable on your part as a woman professing godliness.

So first things first, a quick “disclaimer”. I understand that not everyone is struggling as a step parent. This post is for those of us who are. Also, it takes a certain level of discernment and maturity to acknowledge that even children can be used by the devil. People typically think that the children are always innocent but we ALL were born into sin and shapen in iniquity.  HOWEVER, we can not try to blame others for our sin like Adam did. So in this post, we are going to just focus on ourselves and take accountability for our own thoughts and actions (or reactions!).

So anyway,  let’s begin with the marriage. If you believe that your marriage was a match made in heaven, then you definitely need to honor (and enjoy!) it and let NO ONE (not even yourself) destroy it. Like I said, I tried to leave in the beginning. Thank God my husband loves me like Christ loves church and understood that no one, not even our children should come before our spouses. Now just for the record, even if you know that God DIDN’T join you two together, you still have to honor that covenant. Concerning stepchildren in general, divorce is not an option.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about love. Love is a term that has been really abused and misused. We live in a deceived world where we have been taught (ultimately by satan) that love is a feeling. Love is not a feeling or a “liking”, it is an attribute of God. It is an action or a deed, meaning a process of something selfless being done. Not knowing this can really hinder you in growing to love your step children. I remember being really discouraged because I thought that I would never love my stepdaughter because I didn’t like her or FEEL like I loved her. If you’re sitting around waiting on your feelings to line up with the commands of God, then you will be waiting forever or even worst, double minded. There will be times when we have to go directly against our feelings. And God will change our feelings when we learn to THINK and act differently. This is how we become sanctified. Our flesh will NEVER be willing to submit to the laws of God.

 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.  And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:5-11, NKJV)

This is another lie I believed. I believed that I was being fake when I would force myself to act in loving ways. Hear me, we are never being fake (or even hypocrites) when we are trying to obey God in spite of our feelings. That is the whole point of crucifying our flesh and dying to self. We can love people whether we FEEL like it or not because true love is not a feeling it is the power of God. And if we claim to have His spirit then we can (and will!) love. Otherwise we are liars.

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.  All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.” ( 1 John 4:7-21, NLT)

And I think its worth mentioning that we need to accept the scriptures as they are. We begin to deceive ourselves when we try to ignore what they say or try to justify ourselves. I remember being so wicked while reading this thinking that I was only commanded to love by brothers and sisters in Christ not bad kids or unbelievers. But guess what? That’s how people deceive themselves. By picking and choosing what they want instead of taking in the full counsel of the Word. Jesus told us to pray for those who persecute us and to bless our enemies. So when it comes to hating ANYBODY including our stepchildren there are NO excuses. Hatred is a murderous spirit. and we know that no murderer has eternal life within them.

• “You are of your father the devil, and it is your will to practice the desires [which are characteristic] of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar and the father of lies and half-truths.” (John 8:44, AMP)

• “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” ( 1 John 3:14-16)

You see, we love by laying down our will (and satan’s will!) for the benefit of someone else. And as wives, it is our duty (which is a moral and legal obligation) to wholeheartedly assist our husbands in raising OUR (which includes theirs!) children up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And speaking of passing from death to life, that is the resurrection! THAT IS THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL. We were dead in our sin but now we have been raised to life in the spirit. Now, in Christ, we have the power to overcome ALL spiritual wickedness. And how to we do this? We DO this by DOING what is good and right. Especially when doing what’s good and right is the hardest!

If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.  Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:18-21, NKJV)

Now it all seems simple but if you’re anything like me, you’ve let the situation (or in my case, circumstance) plague you with resentment and bitterness. This is a very dangerous place to be in. And I’m going to be honest, if you (or I!) die in this place we’re going straight to hell. So we have to climb out of this grave. And not just for ourselves, but for our husbands or for any other children in the situation because bitterness is contagious.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:  looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;” (Hebrews 12:14-15, NKJV)

So, if you have bitterness in your heart don’t throw in the towel. There is hope. Confess your sins to the Lord (acknowledge them as wrong and hate them) and consider these four tips that have TREMENDOUSLY helped me out.

1. Pray

Prayer is tried in true. And that’s all I have to say about that.

2. Remember the golden rule

One of the greatest commandments is loving others as yourself. If we do not care for our stepchildren as we would (or do) our own then we will be in BIG trouble. Another thing I do is imagine a step parent hating and even possibly mistreating my children. Now if you love your kids like I love mine, then trust me, those thought’ll get you right.

3. Cast down vain imaginations

Stepchildren (and babymamas and sometimes even grandmothers!) can make your life seem UNBEARABLE. But that is a lie. Not only are there other people in the same situation but some of them have overcome it! Besides, God will not suffer us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. Sinful thoughts are what make painful emotions (and annoyances) unbearable.

No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.” ( 1 Corinthians 10:13, NET)

So, we have to take every thought captive. We have to stop replaying events and conversations in our heads over and over again. We have to stop imagining things that haven’t even happened yet! THERE IS NO FAITH IN THAT.  So let’s allow God to transform us and eventually our situations by the renewing of our minds.

• “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,” ( 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NKJV)

• “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” ( Philippians 4:8) 

4. Fear God (And of course, this is last but not least.)

Ultimately, we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We must believe that all of those scriptures concerning love and treating others right also applies to us. God is no respecter of persons. We will be judged righteously. It’s no surprise to God that your spouse had a child (or children). So, welcome this kind of circumstance if not as anything else, as discipline. It is better to suffer in doing what is right than to be punished by God for doing what is wrong ( 1 Peter 3:17). When we obey God instead of contending for what we want (or think we deserve), we become those living sacrifices that are pleasing and acceptable to Him. So, let us worship our God and be good stewards of everything (including EVERYONE) He has entrusted to us♥

I hope this post has encouraged you in your situation, and if you know a step mother who is struggling PLEASE share this post with her. The struggle is REAL. And more importantly this could be a matter of spiritual life and death. God bless you all. Please email me if you are compelled to and also keep me in your prayers as well.

Much love, Brandi Collins

Knowing God is knowing His ways

“With all my heart I have sought You, [inquiring of You and longing for You];
Do not let me wander from Your commandments [neither through ignorance nor by willful disobedience].” (Psalm 119:10, AMP)

If you’re anything like me, you have this desperate desire to know God  more intimately. And if He’s drawing you to Himself then you MOST DEFINITELY have this same longing for Jesus too.

A few months ago, I decided to get serious about seeking the Lord.  So I  google every scripture I could find on seeking God and printed them out. As I began to read through the packets I created, I began to realize (or rather it was revealed to me ) that seeking God meant learning and walking in His ways.

When we learn right from wrong (in His eyes) and what is true and what is not, we are walking with Him if we allow those laws and truth to govern our lives. But if we believe that we know God and are still walking in darkness, then we have deceived ourselves. We aren’t in fellowship with Him or His Son. We don’t even know them!

Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” ( 1 John 3:6)

Or “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” ( 1 John 1:5-7)

So, if you are seriously seeking the Lord, I encourage you to read all of Psalm 119 because here we find David (a man after God’s own heart) loving God through learning and obeying His law.

With love, Brandi

♥♥Side note: I created an additional page to the blog where I will be simply reading through the New Testament. If you’re interested, be sure to check that out. I would LOVE for you to join me!

Are you ready for the return of the Lord?

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrew 3:12-13, ESV)

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Have you ever been doing something (whether it was good or bad) and you were just so focused that you hadn’t even realized that someone was standing right there? Well there’s this misconception that that’s how it’ll be when the Lord returns but that’s not what the scriptures teach concerning the elect.

We are told time and time again to be watchful and ready so that day doesn’t catch us off guard like that. And even though we don’t know (and we won’t know!) the day or the hour, we have been informed of all the things that will precede his arrival.

Now I don’t know if you’ve noticed but prophecy is rapidly being fulfilled. It is more than likely that we are that last generation that will experience the Lord’s second coming. And I’m not here to draw you into any end times rabbit holes.  I’m just here to remind you that we need to get ourselves together.

Many are caught up in the affairs of this world (trying to live their best lives now). While others have turned away from sound doctrine unto fables and just straight up LIES (doctrines of devils). But to those of you who still have an ear to hear, it’s the same ol’ message it’s always been—Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.

We have been fooled by wolves (and by Hollywood!) into thinking that Jesus is passive. We’ve forgotten about the lion because we’re so busy exploiting the lamb. But make no mistake about it, sin and worldliness are NOT, have never been and will never be acceptable to God the Father or His son, Jesus Christ. WE HAVE TO TURN FROM OUR WAYS, and we have to abandon this world’s satanic systems and customs. As well as any idols which can be anything that we love, trust and/or esteem more than God.

The bible is clear. So beware of all these unbelieving Christians scoffing at holiness as if righteousness (living right, according to God’s standards) is impossible or better yet, optional. DON’T FALL AWAY.  Be watchful AND PRAY as you fix your minds, hearts and lives on the Lord. He’s coming back, REAL SOON.

I love you guys,
Brandi Collins

Do this, knowing that this is a critical time. It is already the hour for you to awaken from your sleep [of spiritual complacency]; for our salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed [in Christ]. (Romans 13:11, AMP)

30 things I’ve learned before turning 30

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So I had a birthday earlier this month and I wanted to share 30 things that I have learned by the age of  30. Now of course I’ve learned a lot more but here are the things I’ve chosen to share (they’re in no particular order).

1. Beware of self love/self care

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves (2 Timothy 3:1)

This world is influencing us to be selfish and self centered, when following Jesus requires us to deny ourselves and to love others. Even though taking care of ourselves is necessary, making that our number 1 priority or obsession isn’t.

2. You can overcome evil by doing good. The fight is and has always been spiritual. We aren’t truly having issues with other people.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:11-12)

3. Ultimately, ALL sin is committed against God. So be mindful of how you act AND REACT towards others.

4.Cast down vain imaginations, immediately.

5. Popularity is not an indication of quality.

6. The wisdom of this world is foolishness.

7. Less is more.

8. Knowledge is not understanding.

9. Don’t live above your means.

10. I do not have to sin (or be a sinner). Jesus died so that I can live and be free to do and think the right things. See Roman’s chapter 6

11. Grace does not excuse sin. It assists in sanctification. Don’t let anyone deceive you. If you (or I!) die in willful sin, we will NOT inherit the kingdom of God.

12.Take it one day at a time. Say it with me, “Daily bread”.

13. Do not fear man.

14. I have issues.

15. A spouse (or a child) can’t fix internal issues.

When I was single I had an idolatrous desire to be married. I though that that would make me whole and happy.  That didn’t happen. I learned very quickly that only Jesus can satisfy me .

16. Traditional holidays do not truly commemorate God. Research the origins.

17. Do not follow trends. Many are on the broad path that leads to destruction.  Plus, emulations is a work of the flesh.

18. Be quiet. Fools vent too much

19. PUT SOME CLOTHES ON!

Wearing revealing clothing not only shows that I don’t respect myself, it also shows my lack of respect for others. Especially for families (marriages and children).

20. Don’t let your feelings govern you. I can do what is right whether I feel like it or not.

21. Men need respect. Quite frankly, they’re entitled to it.

and while we’re at it..

22. Feminism is ungodly. It’s perversion at it’s finest.

23. Sometimes you just have to cut people off— Starting with your own family members!

24. Read ingredient labels

25. Keep cursed objects out of your home.

26. Love the truth.

27. Jesus is the promised Messiah AND the Son of God. He is not The Most High God. Not according to him, the bible or to God Himself.

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 6:13-17)

28. My identity is hidden in Christ

I used to wonder who I was (or “Who Am I?”)  because I didn’t know.  But I knew that I wasn’t just comprised of a list of roles. Then I had a revelation.. I AM NOBODY because I have died to myself. My true identity will be found in Christ as I conform to him.

 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. (Galatians 6:14, NLT)

29. Dysfunctional relationships are not true love. They are ungodly soul ties. Sever them!

30. It’s the simple things in life— like wild flowers, rain and children playing♥

So, what are some things you’ve learned this year or wish you would’ve known earlier?

-Brandi

Being at peace with all men: A few things I’ve learned about Forgiveness

Jesus made it very clear that God expects us to forgive quickly and freely ..

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15)

But let’s be real, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier. So I thought I would share a few things I’ve learned over the years that have made forgiving others easier.

So the first thing I’ve learned is not to take offenses personal.

See, when we realize that ultimately ALL sin is committed against God, we will begin to change the way we act, or in this case REACT towards others.

Do not avenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mineI will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

When people sin, they can either repent and receive the same forgiveness of their sins as we did. Or they can (and will!) suffer the eternal consequences. Either way, we have to be at peace with all men. And that doesn’t mean that we have to trust or tolerate unrepentant sin. That just means that we can’t withhold love or forgiveness.

Another thing I’ve learned is that we really have to start trusting God. A lot of us think that we do but we DO NOT, AT ALL!

It can be hard to see the good in difficult situations but we should find comfort in the fact that GOD IS GOOD. And not in a cliche way, but in a way of if He allowed it,  somehow it’s going to work out for my benefit in order to bring HIM glory.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

We have to trust that. And speaking of giving God glory, God does not get the glory out of us being victims, or gossips and slanderers! Instead, we should learn to pray.

I’m learning that praying enables us to see beyond what was done to possibly why it was done. And trust me, I know the last thing we want to do is pray for those who hurt us or our loved ones but the truth is is that’s only because we aren’t abiding in the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:22-23)

God is rich in mercy. So how can we say that we have his HOLY spirit when we aren’t producing any fruits of it? It’s because we either DON’T have His spirit or we need to humble ourselves. Which is another thing that I’ve learned—to humble myself!

Seriously, It’s easier to forgive as you consider your own debts! Do you guys remember the parable of the unmerciful servant?

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18:21-35)

It’s like, NO MATTER WHAT,  I too was (and am!) NOT worthy of God’s grace and forgiveness.  I offend God and have hurt other people. Hey, I need Jesus! And maybe you already know all of this and just want closure. Well I’ll tell you this, closure does not depend on the other person. Lastly, I’ve learned that we can’t always physically forgive because of physical or “mental” distance. Sometimes we just have to forgive by faith. And that’s okay because it’s all about releasing people in our hearts anyway.

So, I hope that this post has encouraged you to forgive. Let us remember above all else that unforgiveness is sin.

With love,
Brandi

5 things to remember when you’re growing weary

We’ve all been there. In that tormenting place of despair. And to be honest with y’all, I have been a frequent visitor. So I may not know your personal situation or circumstances but I do know what it’s like to be losing (or trying to find!) yourself.

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26)

And that’s the thing, because this whole life process is basically  about dying to ourselves in order to be found in Christ. So as you’re trying to fight the good fight,  I just want to encourage you (and myself!) not to give up.

We WILL have tribulations! Nobody teaches those kinds of promises but the first thing I want us to remember is that as “Christians” we are supposed to be following the examples of Jesus Christ. And that means that as children of God we will have to endure some suffering.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin. And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons? “My son, do not scorn the Lord’s discipline or give up when he corrects you. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.” Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you do not experience discipline, something all sons have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. Besides, we have experienced discipline from our earthly fathers and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness for those trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your listless hands and your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed. (Hebrews 12:1-13, NET)

And remember, you are not the only one suffering!

Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering.  And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:8-10, NET)

There is a WHOLE BODY of believers who are ultimately fighting toward that same heart, mind and agenda. And no it is not easy when our souls cling to the dust but the scriptures are TRUE . Remember, we are more than CONQUERORS through Jesus!

 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

I think a lot of us have a misconception about Tribulation. It’s like we only view it as great trouble or suffering caused by oppression or persecution. And that is true but when we start trying to crucify our flesh we don’t see that kind of agony as Tribulation. Which it is, these are the tests and trials the Bible speaks about.  (In your own time review 1 Peter chapter 4)

So then let those who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator as they do good. (1 Peter 4:19)

We have to remember that the battle is spiritual, and that we overcome evil by DOING GOOD (Romans 12:21). This is the whole point of being told not to get weary in well doing.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9)

It’s all about endurance, and about having that HOPE and faith in God to know that we aren’t obeying (which according to the Bible is loving and worshiping) Him in vain.

Oh how I love this scripture: Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12)

So lastly,  I just want to remind you to guard your hearts with the truth. Because if we accept lies (in any form) our hearts are in danger of being hardened toward the Lord. Jesus told us that we can not serve to masters. So you’re going to have to pledge your allegiance to one or the other. And we do this by the way that we live our lives. Don’t let anyone deceive you, and don’t deceive yourself. Jesus has no pleasure in us being lukewarm. It’s unacceptable. It’s like would you accept being served lukewarm tea or coffee? I mean, i’m just trying to imagine this.

 I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! (Revelation 3:15-16, NLT)

So I hope that this post really helps us to refocus on what is truly important. I’m praying for you and I hope that you all are praying for me too.

With love,
Brandi

How I strengthen my faith

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I do not have the greatest faith. This is something that I am working very hard to develop in. I’ve struggled A LOT with double mindedness, so I just want to share with those of you who can relate what I’ve been doing to make progress.

So number 1, (and these aren’t in any particular order. It really just depends on the season or situation that I’m in) I listen to the gospel.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)

To be honest, I don’t always feel like reading the bible. So I am BEYOND thankful for people who are SENT to preach the gospel. And I’m not talking about self proclaimed pastors and female preachers on instagram. I’m talking about true followers of Jesus Christ who be teaching THE TRUTH.  REPENT! And DENY YOURSELF the pleasures of this world!! Not only is their allegiance to God inspiring but the reproof immediately pulls me right back into the Spirit.

I read edifying books and blogs

I’m a big reader (and obviously a writer) so, it’s just right up my alley. I’ve learned (and have  grown) so much from reading other people’s testimonies.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)

I confess my sins to my husband

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)

There’s just something about admitting that you’ve messed up (or that you’re needing help!). And that is exactly how my husband has become my therapist😂 But seriously, he and my children know my intentions so they can just listen or respond with truth, prayer and love, instead of worldly wisdom (which by the way is just demonic and foolishness to God).

I pray in tongues

And speaking of prayer, one of the most effective ways to build OURSELVES up is to pray in tongues (if we have received them). Now I don’t do this as often as I should but when I do it’s like I’ve had an extreme makeover. I’m undeniably renewed.

But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 1:17-21)

I watch near death experiences

Another thing I like to do when I’m feeling weary is to watch personal testimonies and near death encounters. Of course there is a lot of unbiblical foolishness on the web but there is also a lot of truth and encouragement. Near death experiences always produce more fear of the Lord in me. Which is a VERY good and necessary thing.

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

I have meaningful conversations (usually with my husband) about God’s will and character

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.(Galatians 5:22-26)

Sitting around talking about God’s will (and wrath!) is a for sure way to get my affections off of this world (or off of myself!) and back on Him. His ways really are perfect. So if you are struggling with abiding in the Spirit, I encourage you to just read Psalm 119. It quickens me EVERY time!

I write letters to Jesus

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23)

This is something that I’ve just recently started doing and I am SO glad that I have . I really want to know Jesus personally/intimately. And I found out that he is so willing!  Jesus literally responded to one of my letters and it took my faith to a whole nother level. This is more than journaling. This is like texting someone you’ve just met. It’s communication and its definitely strengthening our relationship.

So, these are the things that I am currently doing to grow in faith. I hope that something on this list can also help you on your journey. I love you my sisters, let us not get weary in well doing.

Brandi