Stop Resisting Blessing

Consider this: how are you resisting God today?

You balk, thinking you are not.
I know, because I do it too.

But the revelation hit me tonight that we are.

Because God is trying to pour blessings out on us.
And we are saying no.

We are closing our hands from receiving.
We are closing our hearts from accepting.

And we are denying ourselves the blessing He has for us – to reward us in our present season for our past season and to prepare us for the future season coming.

Accept a gift given.
Accept a kind word spoken.
Accept any act of kindness or generosity.

Because it is coming directly from God to you.
Just when you need it.

So please do not be too stubborn or independent to receive.
Choose to lean into Him and accept it with gladness.

 

Marie Fremin.  2/23/19

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Still Small Whisper

We tend to think if it is not loud or flashy or colorful that it is not God.

 

We want God to give us neon signs and big directional arrows.  And usually that is not how He words.

 

Because He will not push or coerce or force us to follow Him.  He will not yell commands like a drill sergeant.

 

Read 1 Kings 19:11-12.  We are just like Elijah – we expect a grand display.  We think God has to bring noise (wind), motion/emotion (earthquake), and drama (fire).

 

But notice in these verses that “God was not in” any of these displays.  He was not speaking or comforting or guiding out of the dramatic, noisy, disturbing, chaotic, emotional things.

 

God spoke and comforted Elijah in a STILL, SMALL WHISPER.  Something so soft and tender Elijah had to LEAN IN CLOSE to hear God.  Something Elijah had to STOP SPEAKING (aka complaining) to hear.  Something Elijah had to STOP STRIVING to focus on and change directions.

 

God purposely whispers in our chaos and plans so we have to CHOOSE TO STOP and seek Him.  Sometimes He is outright silent – because we are too stubborn to obey (aka we think we are smarter than He is and can figure it out on our own).  He needs us to work through our flesh until we are willing to let Him transform us.

 

We cannot be transformed (into the person He created us to be, full of Christ) until we stop conforming (doing things the world’s way and thinking we know what is best).

 

So how hard are you working?

What big sign are you looking for?

 

You won’t hear His loving whisper if you continue this way.

Today is a great day to choose to stop … and listen.

 

Marie Fremin.  2/27/19 and 3/16/19

Habakkuk 3 Prayer

Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18 NKJV

Loving Father,
Thank You for showering us with grace, even when we could not – and would not – see it or feel it. Thank You for loving us through all of our mistakes, our bad choices, our hard times, our pain, and our fears. Thank You for never giving up on us and for continuing to pursue us, no matter where we were and what we did. Thank You for helping us by opening our eyes to Your truth, our minds to Your grace, and our hearts to Your forgiveness.

I know, gracious Father, that several of us are going through a hard season. The provision is lean, the opportunities are limited, and the outlook looks less than great. Just as in Habakkuk 3, where everything was against God’s people and it seemed hopelessness was the only option.

I pray as we walk through this season that You continue to uplift us, continue to encourage us, and continue to strengthen us. Thank You for giving us the courage to lean into You fully and to trust You with extreme faith. Thank You for giving us the courage to be radical in our choices, our thinking, and our words.

Help us to see the opportunity in our pain, in our struggle, in our confusion, and in our waiting. Help us to remember that You had a great plan for Joseph that started with his pit. He could not see the purpose of that pit, just as we cannot see the purpose of our current season. But You took the time needed to work the tattletale out of Joseph and the wise leader into him. You also used the pit to remind him that he needed You to be his source, his security, and his surety. Because he had nothing else.

Thank You for loving us as much as Joseph by helping us work our way out of the pit and into Your purpose. Thank You for giving us a heart that is sure about Your love and secure about Your purpose. Thank You for giving us the ability and determination to keep moving forward, even if it is one inch at a time, no matter what our circumstances and feelings are trying to tell us.

Thank You, loving Father, for meeting each woman reading this at the point of her greatest need. Thank You for opening a door that leads to an answer she is praying for. Thank You for bringing us each one step closer to Your best for our lives.

In Jesus’ almighty name. AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin.  2/15/19

Psalm 23:2

Psalm 23:2 – You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from (MSG)

 

We think the grass is greener

In someone else’s space

Their life looks appealing

It stirs up jealous feelings

And we wonder where is our grace.

 

Why isn’t God blessing me?

Why doesn’t God care?

Doesn’t God see?

Doesn’t God love me?

Why isn’t God being fair?

 

I am a good person

I do good when I can

There is no reason

To have this hard season

And feel like I am under a ban.

 

I deserve for God to bless me

I deserve for God to give

So I tell myself

To sell myself

On what I think I need to live.

 

But soon I stop talking

Allowing space for quiet

And as I open my ears

God begins to settle my fears

By speaking peace into my riot.

 

And I listen as He speaks

Love and grace with every word

Reminding me He cares

Reminding me He shares

Reminding me I am heard

 

And goodness pours from His lips

Mercy pours from his hands

As His love shines bright

And He hugs me tight

Bringing me as close as He can

 

And He tells me I am loved

He tells me I am seen

He tells me I am known

He tells me I am grown

By the things through which I’ve been

 

And the grass where He has planted me

Is the grass made special for me

He grew it with love

As He guided me from above

To this pasture where I am supposed to be

 

Because this is His best

No ifs, ands, or buts

It is a reward for my experiences

With no limits or fences

Or brown patches or ruts

 

It is only good grass, the best He can give

No artificial turf for His beloved

No poisonous weeds

No dangerous seeds

Only good grass will we be fed

 

When we choose to stop and look

At the One who cares the most

And when we stop trying

And when we stop lying

And just release everything to the Utmost

 

He beckons us to stop

He beckons us to rest

He beckons us to let it go

He beckons us to say no

And to relax into His best

 

So today let us let go

Of our problems, our pressures, our pain

Let’s grab hold of God’s hand

And refresh in His green land

So peace and joy we will gain

 

Stop looking at what you think everyone else has

And choose to know His love is real

Be glad in your blessings

Instead of always stressing

And contentment is what you will feel

 

Because your green grass will be more than enough

To make you smile and enjoy your day

Knowing God has provided

And God has guided

You into His perfect plan and way

 

So stop and enjoy your pasture

Hear the healing brook run next to you

Take a deep breath

Lay yourself back and rest

And just enjoy this special place He created for you.

 

Marie Fremin.  3/11/19

I Shall Not Lack

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want [lack]” (Psalm 23:1).

I am more than enough!

 

I Shall Not Lack

 

Just as I am.
Flaws and failures and all.

Because He created me.
And I am created with great purpose by great love.
No matter what choices I make, I am surrounded by grace.

So I will NOT let the world tell me who I am … and who I am not!

I will not allow the world to define my outer beauty … or inner spirit.
I will not allow the world to define the depth (quality) of my character.
I will not allow the world to define how smart and capable I am.

I will not accept the world’s labels.
I will not wear the world’s labels.
I will not be changed by the world’s labels.

Because I belong to God!
And I will only allow God to define who I am, inside and out.

So when I am confronted by something that contradicts what His Word says, I will choose to believe Him. I will choose to lean into who He says I am.

And I will remember that I am a product of grace. The progress I have made is because He has been gracious to forgive my failures and encourage me to keep moving forward. The future waiting for me is because He believes I can keep going, step by step and victory by victory, through grace to find His purposes.

So I will not lack the confidence to continue – to keep changing, to keep growing, to keep believing, to keep going.

And I will refuse anything from anyone that is less than God’s best.
I will refuse shame.
I will refuse unlovable.
I will refuse hopeless.
I will refuse broken beyond repair.
I will refuse stupid.

Because my worth is not decreased by the world’s opinions.
Because my worth is not determined by the world’s estimation.
Because my worth is not destined by the world’s assessment.

So I will choose to be confident that by grace I have been saved and by grace I will grow.

And I will not allow my faith to decrease.
I will not allow my worth to be made lower.
I will not allow my joy to lessen.
I will not allow my heart to fail.

And I will choose to keep trusting God, one day at a time. Walking in confidence that I am more than enough through His grace.

 

Marie Fremin.  3/3/19

Beware the Armor

38 So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off” (1 Samuel 17:38-39).

 

David has shown up on the battlefield where his three oldest brothers are at war.  He has been sent by his father with supplies for them (17) and is hoping to bring back good news to his father (18).

 

He probably expects to see an intense battle taking place.  Maybe he will get to see something exciting.  But instead he finds an arrogant Philistine army on one side (8-10) and a hesitant Israelite army on the other (3, 11).  No fighting because Israel is terrified (16, 24).

 

Standing there in shock, he hears the taunts of the Philistine champion Goliath (23).  And David is outraged.  How dare anyone challenge God or His army (26)!  He is so upset that he declares that HE, a young shepherd, is ready to fight the taunting giant (32).  King Saul scoffs (33), but David knows he is more than able to defeat Goliath – God has kept him safe in the sheep fields (34-36), and God has not changed.  Therefore “The Lord … will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (37).

 

With no one else willing to fight, Saul has no choice but to send David in.  If the boy does not survive, he can say it was his foolish choice to go and he could not be stopped.  But he, as the leader, cannot send the boy in defenseless.

 

So how does one defeat a giant covered in armor (5-7)?  Obviously by dressing up like – and therefore being evenly matched with – the giant.  Right?

 

Beware the Armor

 

Wrong.

 

That is such a simple yet deadly lie we are led to believe.  We are divine warriors, not simpering similars.  Why would we want to look anything like our (spiritual) enemy?  He lost with the cross and is currently biding his time until Jesus returns.  He has no power, no authority, and no wisdom within him or available to him.  So don’t try to imitate him.

 

But Saul did.  Saul thought dressing David up in full armor would work.  “So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail.” (38).  But it did not.  The armor was so heavy, so awkward, and so unnatural to him that he was stuck.   “I can’t even move with all this stuff on me” (39, MSG).

 

And that is what the enemy wants to do with us.  He wants us to look like him, act like him, think like him, and look like him.  And he always wants us to believe that we are less than God’s best when we don’t.  He wants to overwhelm us with uncertainty and overtake us with indecision.  He wants us to take ownership of things God does not have purposed for us.  Things that are awkward, heavy, and unnatural.  So we become paralyzed and indecisive.

 

David knew he could not fight if he could not move.  So the shepherd boy goes back to what has worked in the past – a simple weapon (40) and an enormous faith (45).  And we are still talking about the power of being yourself all these years later.

 

Saul’s armor didn’t work for David.  So David went back to who God created him to be and what worked best for him.

 

Other people’s expectations and labels won’t work for you.

Don’t own them.  Don’t accept them.  Don’t wear them.

Don’t conform to that awkward character people want you to wear.

 

Be the poetry and the masterpiece God created you to be (Ephesians 2:10).

Walk in what you know to be true about yourself through God’s grace.

 

Claim the truth of who He is and how good He is.

Grab hold of the power He has waiting for you.

Run toward His purpose for you.

 

So I pray today that God has touched your heart – and you are willing to consider the armor in your life.  Let today be the day you take off anything that isn’t of God and is keeping you from moving toward His best.

 

Marie Fremin.  3/1/19, 3/2/19

 

Feed My Sheep

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want (Psalm 23:1, KJV)

Have you ever wondered why David chose to see God as his shepherd?  He could have chosen any word, any description.

 

But David chose to see God as his shepherd.

 

Why?  It was what David understood.  David was a shepherd.  As the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons, he was relegated with the awful task of watching his father’s sheep (1 Samuel 16:11).  No one wanted to do it – smelly sheep, isolation, long days and nights.  That is what David knew growing up.  That is where David spent his time growing up.  That is where David returned after being anointed the next king of Israel by Samuel until he was called to King Saul’s palace.

 

So David understood the daunting task of taking care of a herd.  He knew how difficult sheep could be.

  • Sheep are highly emotional animals, being quick to panic.
  • Sheep are unable to shed their thick fur.
  • Sheep need plenty of grass and water to sustain themselves.
  • Sheep are susceptible to illness from poisonous plants.
  • Sheep are an easy prey species.
  • Sheep have little to no sense of danger.

 

So they need a shepherd to care for their safety and welfare.

  • To lead them to good, fresh grass.
  • To lead them away from poisonous plants.
  • To protect them from predators, who will chase them to exhaustion.
  • To protect their health and provide medical treatment.
  • To shear their fur.
  • To keep them from straying away into danger.
  • To find and return the lost to the flock.
  • To guide them to water.

 

David knew God was so much more compassion and connected to him than his natural father.  God was fully invested in David’s present well-being and future destiny.  Just as David was invested in his father’s sheep.  David probably cared more for the sheep than he did for his own well-being.

 

So God was his Shepherd.  His provider.  His protector.  His leader.

 

Many years later, there was a man named Peter, a simple fisherman who was called away from his nets to walk with Jesus.  Three years later, Jesus gives Peter a charge.  Peter is still reeling from denying his best friend three times just before His crucifixion.  And now is his chance for redemption.  Jesus asks him to lay down his fishing nets … and pick up a shepherd’s staff.  Because Jesus needs a strong leader to fish for hearts and to help lead people to life change.

 

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, Feed my lambs.”  16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, Take care of my sheep.”  17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the   third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, Feed my sheep.”

 

Feed My Sheep

 

Peter, as an important leader in My new movement, I am giving you the charge to take care of everyone.

–          Feed my lambs.  Make sure to watch out for the new converts, those who have just put their faith in Me.  Those who are young in their faith, inexperienced in holding fast to their faith, and those who are unaware of the challenges they will face.  Teach them how to be bold in the face of adversity.  Pour the truth of who God is and how much God loves them into them.

–          Take care of my sheep.  Everyone following Me will need care – for their hearts, their emotions, and their thinking.  They will be tempted to turn away to a life of ease and convenience.  Help them to see that though My narrow way is hard, it is more than worth it for the eternal value.  Help them to focus on the goodness and grace I offer them for all situations, which will get them through any trial they will face.  Help them to remember that I am helping them shed their old ways and will provide them with a new, fresh, revitalizing way that will sustain them day after day.

–          Feed my sheep.  They are going to need the same care that sheep need.  They will need someone to comfort them in their doubts, assure them in their fears, and guide them in their confusion.  They will need someone to remind them of the empowering truth of My words and the sustaining power of My love – especially as they face the wrath of Rome and those outside of the faith.  They will be tempted to eat from the gods of the world and drink from the cups of self-empowerment – they will need someone to remind them that only I, the one true God, can provide them with the bread of life and living water.

 

Help them remember Peter that life is so much bigger than this day.

Help them remember Peter that I am always with them.

Help them remember Peter that only I can give things that last beyond the moment.

Help them remember Peter that I can heal all their broken and bruised places.

Help them remember Peter that I can heal and redeem their hurts.

Help them remember Peter that I am always with them.

Help them remember Peter that I feel every pain and see every tear.

Help them remember Peter that I have unconditional love for them.

Help them remember Peter that My Son died for them.

 

You are the right man for this job, Peter.  Because you, more than anyone, understand the power of My forgiveness and the extent of My grace.

 

Watch out for everyone who calls Me Father.

Make sure those who are new understand.

Make sure those who are not new remember why.

And keep an open hand and an open heart to anyone who is searching.

 

Be like My son David.

Be a shepherd.

Make sure My sheep are well cared for.

 

And I will be with you, just as I was with David.  And if you lean into Me as David did, there will be no limits on your love for those I send your way.

 

Today, you also have the opportunity to lean in to His grace and be a shepherd to those He brings into your life.  Will you choose to love greatly?

 

Marie Fremin.  2/17/19, 3/1/19, 3/2/19.