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Marriage to the Lamb  

On Nov. 8th 2016, I was reading the Bible and journeling when God gave me this image (pic above). I used to write this on my notes and books at school as a teenager and if I liked someone I would put  “Me + (guys name) = love. God said insert my name because you + me = one. In Eph. 5:25 it talks about a husband and wife becoming one flesh but when God gave me the image of him and I becoming one, it amazed me and here is why.

In the same journal I had wrote about writing  a thank you note to my husband for keeping his vows to me because we were only married 6 months at the time  and I was extremely sick with Hashimoto disease. He stood by me the entire time and he held to his promise of in sickness and health. Never would I have imagined that vow would need to be kept so early on in our marriage but he kept his vow and that meant so much to me. As I was reading my thank you letter to him I heard God say “You know the feeling of gratitude you have towards your earthly husband for keeping his vows?” “How much more will I keep my vows to you my beautiful bride?” 

Rev. 19:7-8 says “Let us rejoice and be glad and give glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothes herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteousness acts of the saints. 

We are the bride of Christ! We are His beloved bride and every promise and vow He has made with us through His Word is not only true but we can trust that He will fulfill every word, all the way up to his promise of coming for us one sweet day. When you received the Bridegroom and His salvation you also received; healing, deliverance, peace, security, joy, confidence, freedom, provision  and the list goes on and on. 

Isaiah 61:10 ESV 

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 

What a beautiful picture! Now go cash in on all that comes with being married to the Lamb, Jesus Christ. How do you do that? By reading His Word  and activating all His promises through faith. Believe it and receive it today my friend. He doesn’t lie, cheat or chuck his responsibilities like some husbands we may know. He is faithful!

Weekend Vibes  

Ready to be inside of my head as I’m riding out of town on this beautiful Saturday? We don’t have to feel loved to actually be loved, we don’t have to feel blessed in order to be blessed, we don’t have to feel beautiful to be beautiful. I am finding that I don’t often feel those things when I’m looking for them in earth and vessels but when I look for them in heavenly places and through my Creator it’s more than an earthly feeling but a spiritual awakening and that my friend is much better than a silly, fleeting and fickle feeling! #youareloved #youareblessed #youarebeautiful  
John 3:16 
Psalm 134:14 
James 1:17

Response - Ability  

Response Ability  

If your anything like me the word responsibility doesn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling. In fact it may make you feel a bit dreadful but let me tell you why my view of that word has changed recently.  

Responsibility is defined as the state or fact of having a duty to deal with something or of having control over someone. I believe one of the many reasons we chuck our responsibilities is because we don’t want the blame to fall on us when the decision we made goes wrong. The truth is that the root of it is fear. John 8:32 says, “ Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” You ready to be set free today? I know I am!  

What if I told you that you never have to make another decision on your own again, would you believe me? God never intended for us to make any decision on our own and without consulting Him first.  

Let me break it down like this. God has given us the ABILITY to RESPOND to every situation that may come our way when He gave us the Holy Spirit.  

John 16:7 Jesus said...”But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate (Helper) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” He also gave us a huge manual called the Bible that has promises and answers for every situation you wiIl ever come across, I mean every single one; your spouse, children, finances, health, job and any other responsibilities you may have.  

Let’s be innovative and redefine the word responsibility. Response - Ability defined as the ability to respond to all life situations with the help of the Holy Spirit and His word. Whewee! Doesn’t that feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. Guess what that does? it removes fear because even when we make a mistake or don’t respond correctly God is faithful to forgive, restore and reroute and He goes as far as working all things for the good according to Romans 8:28. Why? Because He loves us and John 4:18 says perfect love drives out fear.  

 In closing, remember Gods yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt.11:30). That does not mean we do not have anything to carry. It simply means it will be a lot lighter bc it’s God’s ability not ours.  

You have a Response - Ability...you are WELL able! Now go face your responsibilities head on with gladness in your heart knowing you have a Helper in the Holy Spirit and His word to respond well.

“I Trust You” 

I Trust You 

“I trust you God!” Was the response I said in the shower after I woke up and heard the news that the offer my husband and I made on a house we fell in love with was rejected. There wasn’t even a counter offer, just a simple no. Leading up to this my husband and I truly told God if it isn’t supposed to happen and if we are not to move or if He foresees something we don’t, then close the door but deep down I had high hopes that the door would swing wide open and we could walk right into what I thought would be such a blessing and a new start for our new little family. It even had his and her sinks! Can you get anymore unity than that?! LOL! But those high hopes quickly turned to disappointment.  

I was texting a friend earlier today and she was saying her menstrual cycle is late and wondering if she might be pregnant but not sure if they are prepared for another baby at this point in their life. Her and her husband have tried many times before for their third baby with no success but she came to conclusion that it’s all in God’s timing. I’m sure there has been many times of disappointment when she read “not pregnant” on the strip, even while having conflicting feelings of wanting a baby but contemplating if they even have room for another baby but yet she continually says, “I trust you God.” 

I felt guilty for feeling disappointed that we weren’t moving into a brand new beautiful home because after all I prayed and told God to close the door if it wasn’t His will or timing so did I really mean it? You know what I’ve learned? You can’t hide your heart from God. You can’t hide your true feelings from God nor does He want you to.  

In Matthew 11:28 it says, Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” 

I have found time and time again that true rest only comes from trusting God and allowing Him to guide every step and path in my life. We don’t have to pretend we aren’t disappointed when things don’t happen the way they thought they would or in the timing we thought. We can be real with God and with our feeling but I found out that when my response is, “I trust you God” and I relinquish my will for His, peace comes and begins to take residence in my heart because I know God has nothing but good thoughts towards me and for me. When we know and meditate on who God is, His character and His promises in the word, we can relax and know he is trustworthy.  He will never steer us wrong and then the disappointments begin to fade. Sometimes you have to say it a few times before your feelings follow but believe me they will.  

That doesn’t mean that the answer will always and forever be no. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have certain things we desire. It simple means I trust that God has the best for me and as I lay down my will daily for His, I will be able to look back and see how His goodness and mercy followed me. How His ways are better than my ways. That some of things I thought I wanted or needed I didn’t. He is a good Shepherd. He knows how to lead His flock. Being grateful and content with what you have is a beautiful place to be in and if that was the simple lesson In all of this then Praise God.  

That don’t mean we should be afraid to step out and try because God is a great navigator. He will open and close doors in our lives but will we trust Him when He does?  

Whatever you are going through today I want to encourage you to say these four words, “I trust you God!”

Know Your Rights!  

It’s silly to me how much time and energy we put into fighting for rights we already have. Truth and facts are two different things. Truth supersedes facts. The fact is that you may have experienced injustice in your workplace because of the color of your skin or your gender but the truth is you have the right to handle it in whatever way you feel necessary. Whether confronting it or walking away from it. So that brings me to this subject. Women, YOU ALREADY ARE a mans equal. You were taken from his rib to walk beside him hand and hand. (Gen.2:22) You already are valuable, loved and desired by your Creator. If you don’t want to be a homemaker.... you have that right not to be, if you want to be entrepreneur...you have that right, you want to be single or married... you have that right. Is there injustice, racism and sexism in this world? Unfortunately yes and it will exist until Jesus comes back so why waste time trying to fight for something you already have. Anyone who loves sports says defense is the key to winning games. Because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross by giving us the right (righteousness) to stand, that’s simply all we have to do is STAND and defend our rights. We must defend our rights at all cost and guess what? We have the right to salvation, healing, prosperity, peace, love, joy and yes the pursuit of happiness. I could go on and on and we don’t have to ask for permission from our government, our employer, friends or family because Gods Kingdom and Word trumps all that and that is the TRUTH! You may have to fight harder for a position or a place in this fallen world but your not fighting for a right, your simply defending your positional authority in Christ Jesus. Your a human BEing (defense) not a human DOing (offense) so my encouragement to you today, on this fine Thursday is, know your rights and just BE. Stop offensively going after things you already have, it’s a waste of time!

Who Compares to you? 

I found myself time and time again comparing myself to others and found that I really do it quite often. I will look at people and think how I wish I was that pretty or talented and the list goes on. I have even went as far as wishing I was them! Isn't that crazy?  I am not talking about fatal attraction but that subtle self talk we have with ourselves in our heads. Come on, I'm not the only one right? 

I have been thinking about the subject of comparing myself with others for about a week now and I have realized that I've put it in the category of normal in my mind. Doesn't everyone compare themselves to others? How harmful can it be? I mean isn't a "normal" thing to do? The answer is no, it's not normal and most of all, its not healthy for our spirit, soul or body. It's actually a trap and it stops all the creativity and the individuality of person. It's also one of the the Ten Commandments that was given to us....."Thou shall not covet." 

 He even went further and told us what not to covet.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17).

You may not be coveting your neighbors donkey but put it in todays light. What about cars, houses, clothes, body shapes, talents, celebrities and some have gone as far as wishing they had someones spouse. Some things we desire aren't bad things and God want's us to have them but when it becomes an idol is when it becomes coveting. I personally had to get honest with myself on this subject and I made a list of as many things/people I could think of that I covet or compare myself to. I encourage you to do the same. It was quite eye opening. I was going through life consciously/subconsciously comparing myself to others and it has been producing bad results in my life and I didn't even realize it until God brought it to my attention.

Some of you like me struggle with low self esteem so you are constantly living in a state of fear to step out and do things that you have on your heart to do because your self talk is this, "I could never do it like this person, I'm a failure at everything I do." "He/She has it so good, I wish I could be as bold or talented as they are." "Good things never happen to me, only to people like them." Come on..... please don't leave me hanging, like I'm the only one with that kind of self talk at times. Guess what? That is the trap of comparison. It paralyzes you into thinking you aren't good enough and what someone else has is better. It's a lie, even if someone does has something similar to what you desire, it does not mean it's over for you. There is something for you Dorthy but it's not in that black bag. It's right on your feet, with your cute ruby red shoes. In fact only YOU can do what YOU do and the quirky way YOU do it. It may be similar but it won't be the same exact because you're unique and God made you that way for a specific purpose on this earth.

Not everyone will like the way you do things but we must not let that be our problem. We must be God conscious and not people conscious.. His thoughts for you are the only thoughts that matter. You won't stand before people when it's all said and done anyways. You will stand before God! We are the body of Christ and there are many parts to the body. The head can't do what the hand can do and the foot can't do what the knee cap can do but the beautiful thing is, when you put it all together it works so beautifully. 

Now that we have identified what comparing yourself to others looks like, lets take a look at what it does in our lives.  

Coveting is a sin and the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23) Death in your finances, marriage, health, relationships and much more. Heck, in extreme cases some have even killed over envy. We see it in the bible and on the news all the time. It's what I believe to be plaguing our country today, wanting what others have so bad that it leads to jealously and rage. We don't call sin what it is anymore for fear of backlash and offense but unless we get honest with ourselves and others it will keep producing death in our lives. I don't know about you but I want my life to flourish in every area. The wonderful thing is Jesus took care of it at the cross, we just have to believe it and allow the Holy Spirit to help us to overcome the sins that so easily trip us up. Believe me, I have many but its alright because this is what love looks like! When you love your kids you want them to stop doing things that bring harm and hurt to themselves and that's why He is dealing with me on comparing myself to others. He doesn't want me to live in this trap any longer. 

You may say, "I would never murder someone over wanting what they have."True, you may not physically murder them but what are your thoughts towards them? If you dig deep down would you say that you would be upset if they failed in that business venture or laugh when their faults get put on display? Let's get real. Sometimes we deceive ourselves into thinking our hearts are pure as gold but we have all felt jealousy and anger at times. We ALL are a work in progress. 

Hebrews 12:1 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith let's strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us."

Comparing yourself to others is a weight and it's time to lay down that weight so we can run our race in life. 

We can't run our race well when we are comparing ourselves. God has taken care of sin when He sent Jesus to die for our sins and we are saved by the grace of God not by our works but we still must work out our salvation daily and allow God to strip away our old nature. It doesn't happen overnight and He does not want us to live in condemnation over it or do it in our own strength. He wants us to come to Him and ask Him for His help. Ask Him to help you see yourself as He sees you. To paint a beautiful self image on the inside you. We were made in His image and we will be perfecting that image until the day He comes back but let's not be lazy. Lets get the image of Christ deep down on the inside of us so the world can see the real us. The creative and beautiful us and not someone trying to keep up with the Jones' or trying to keep up with the image someone else thinks we should be but the image God gave you and I specifically. You have a special fingerprint all of your own and so does your destiny. It's yours and not one person can take that away from you. Focus on what you do have and thank God daily for what he has given you. Even if it doesn't seem like a lot,  thank Him for it, give it to Him as an offering and He will bless it and multiply it. Just ask the little boy in Matthew 14:13-21 what happens when you give the very little you do have to Jesus. His small lunch fed 5,000 people. The awesomeness of God is that He doesn't just add to what you give Him, He multiplies it. 

 If there are things you desire then just ask Him for it. Go to Him for it! Matthew 7:7 - "Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."  Ask Him and then have patience in the waiting. His timing is always perfect. He isn't like others, He only sees good. Isn't that so amazing and that's the image He wants you to see in yourself as well. You are more than enough. 

So here is a little Q and A......

Q:Who compares to you?

A: No one!

 

-Dale Ann Ross

"Changing our world, one blog at a time"

The Model Prayer 

If you have ever attended any kind of religious event, you mostly likely have heard the Lords Prayer and even recited along with everyone. Have you ever heard a song on the radio that you absolutely loved but then it was overplayed and now when the song comes on you cringe and switch the station as quickly as possible? Does it make it a bad song? No! Its just overplayed and you don't find the value in it like you used to. That is how I feel about the Lord's Prayer. Yea I said it! Jesus knows my heart..... don't get your religious panties in a bunch. Just keep reading......

 

Come on, lets take a look at it for a moment in

Matthew 6:9-13 -

"Pray, therefore, like this: Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed  be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."

This is just a side note but if you read the scripture a little bit before this prayer Jesus says in verse 7(NKJV) - "But when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words."

What is the irony in that? The Lords Prayer is probably one of the most repeated prayers ever prayed. Please, please, please don't take this the wrong way. If you pray this prayer daily and it ministers to you, then keep doing it but I really do believe Jesus wanted us to use it as a model and not a religious act because it sounds good. 

I can personally say this and can't say it for anyone else but growing up in a Christian home I found that when you become familiar with certain scriptures, they can lose their power. The word of God hasn't lost its power in and of itself but I have found that i have heard the Lord's Prayer so much that it's like a nagging parent who you tune out. I wasn't hearing it the way I should have, because if I did, I would have realized the example Jesus was really trying to show when He gave us this prayer.

Its like when Paul said in Hebrews 5:11(AMP) - "Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your (spiritual) hearing and sluggish (even slothful in achieving spiritual insight)."

We need our spiritual senses to be awakened in order to receive anything by faith and we need our spiritual ears to be open in order to receive anything from the Lord. 

Romans 10:17 says, "So Faith comes by hearing and hearing the word of Christ." When we hear the good news of what Jesus did for us, faith rises in our hearts. 

I think some of us could say that we have become numb or never even known in the first place what the Lord's Prayer is and why we need to know it. 

 

Lets break down this model prayer Jesus gave us. 

 

"Pray, therefore, like this: (REMEMBER THE WORD "LIKE". ILL EXPLAIN AT THE VERY END)

"Our Father Who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name"

In short it means God is holy and so is His name. Personally I see it as coming before Him humbly saying, "You are God, I am not." At least I hope you know that you aren't God. There have been some wackos out there that thought they were. YIKES!

What a great starting point and posture to begin prayer!

 

"Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven"

Did you know God's Kingdom is full of good news? Right now we are surrounded with a ton of bad news, natural disasters, racial divide and so on and it's because we unfortunately live in a fallen world but the  Kingdom of God is perfect. One day His Kingdom will come and His ultimate will is going to be done when He returns for His bride (If you know Christ, that is you!) It will be a brand new earth. Literally heaven on earth! How exciting!

  But what if you need heaven on earth right now in your situation? You can pull from His Kingdom in your life right now in whatever situation you may find yourself in. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. You can experience this right now if you ask Him. How? Through Jesus Christ, our Savior, Redeemer, Healer, Deliverer, Prince of Peace and much much more. This part of prayer is where an exchange happens from the spiritual world into the physical. You may not always see it right away but just keep believing. Remember also that your prayer may not be answered in the way you thought but that's where the part of "your will be done" fits perfectly. 

Gods will for us isn't always what we think it should be but He really knows best because He is a good Father. A good father sees danger ahead and if we listen to the warnings we will be saved but if we run over His voice and keep doing our own thing (our own will) we will run into a lot of unnecessary trouble that could be avoided.

I personally have a super strong will and this part has always been a challenge for me but I promise if you exchange your will for God's, it will always benefit you. It doesn't always feel good at first but it definitely yields the best outcomes. Take it from this stubborn lady! 

 

"Give us this day our daily bread"

Bread?! Did someone say bread?! I love bread. Sorry got sidetracked and hungry. 

Bread represents the provision of God. God is a provider and he wants us to come to him daily. You don't have to hoard what He gives you because He is our daily bread, our daily provision. This isn't just pertaining to finances, which it very well can be, but it's many things; peace of mind, joy, comfort, love, hope, mercy, grace, rest and much more. You fill in the blank. I like that God is our daily bread, you know why? Because it keeps us coming back to Him everyday. He loves to be wanted and needed because He wants our fellowship. He wants a relationship with you and me daily. 

 

Next line. 

 

"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."

Did you know that in order for God to forgive us, we must forgive others first? In fact if you read down further in Matthew 6:14 Jesus says, For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 

Thats a biggie! Forgiveness has been one area that God has had to help me in tremendously. Oddly enough I didn't think I needed help in this area at all because I am the type of person that most would consider to be a walking door mat and a turn the other cheek kind of gal. I came to find out the hard way that forgiveness starts with a decision but it doesn't end there. If you don't let it sink into your heart where your mind, will and emotions all line up, it's not true forgiveness. Ouch that stings a little! 

I have known people who wear their unforgiveness on their sleeve. The ones who say outright, " I will never forgive them!" or "I will never let them live this down."The ones that hold major grudges for years and won't even look or speak to that person that offended them. I always thought, "Man they need Jesus!" all the while I had unforgiveness deep deep down in my heart and I didn't even know it until God revealed it to me in prayer. Wow! What a pride crusher that was. 

I believe if you have the personality type that doesn't like conflict or confrontation it may be harder to know if you are dealing with unforgiveness or not. Sometimes you just want the situation to go away, so you take the blame because you don't want that person to reject you. All the while, deep down, you still have ought in your heart for them. I believe the Holy Spirit is a great revealer.  Just ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any unforgiveness in your heart and to help you to let it go.

 

Here is what I DON"T believe about forgiveness...

You have to trust that person who hurt you again in order to forgive.

The party/parties involved have to always be present in order for forgiveness to take place. (Even though that may happen)

It happens overnight.

That you have to try and forget what they did. (I would advise not to rehearse it in your head because it will stir those emotions up)

It excuses wrong doings.

 

Here is what I DO believe about forgiveness......

It's a very personal thing between you and God.

It unlocks bitterness in your heart and frees you from negative emotions.

It opens the door for your prayers to be heard and answered.  

It opens the door for joy to come into your life.

And much more....

I even feel that some of you need to forgive yourself. You have not given yourself grace to make mistakes and God doesn't hold you in contempt, why should you? If you feel you have done something wrong tell God your sorry and know that as soon as you made the mistake He was right behind you with a redemptive plan. You may even think you've committed the unpardonable sin but there is nothing you can do that can separate you from the love of God. His love is tracking you down whether you feel or not. He is a Sovereign God and knew it was going to happen before it happened and He still sent His Son to die for your sins and all of your wrong decisions. That's how good He is. Now go on, forgive yourself and let God love on you and wipe away those tears. 

Ok lets move on.....

"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one"

Think of taking your child to the grocery. Some of you just got super anxious at the thought of it. When you go, Im sure most of you will do everything you can to avoid the candy aisle because children are easily tempted by those sugary devilish sweets. You lead that child away from temptation because you know that your child is not strong enough to resist the temptation. Some of you parents may not be able to resist those sugary sweets either. Maybe you need to pray this line before you even walk into the grocery. 

Thats what God does for us. He is not the temptor,  the evil one is. God knows how to lead us away from temptation and deliver us from the hand of the enemy. Prevention is always better when dealing with temptation. God makes a way for escape when we are tempted in whatever area of our life but I believe we should always avoid it as much as possible until we have conquered those areas that so easily catch us up. Gods a great leader. Try following His way first and fight those temptations because they always lead us to destruction. 

 

"For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever."

We end where we started, recognizing He is God and we are not. We can leave all we have prayed for with Him and He will take care of it. Everything we have is His and it all belongs to Him. God is good at taking care of His belongings. Isn't that so reassuring? 

 

"Amen" 

DONE! Amen says that we are in agreement with God. Signed, sealed, delivered.... IM YOURS GOD!

To close this blog I'm going to start back at the beginning.

Jesus said, "Pray, therefore, LIKE this." He was modeling an outline for us. He didn't say pray this over and over again. It was an example to be followed. He wants us to pray from our hearts and not just recite it because that's what religious people have done for centuries. God is about relationship and prayer is simply communication with Him. He wants you to talk to Him just like you would your parents, best friend or spouse. He doesn't want you to pray out of obligation or ritual. Just start somewhere and I guarantee once you begin to talk with Him daily your dialogue will increase. Just like any relationship, the more you invest, the more you get out of it. That's even more true with our loving God. 

 

I love you all and thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it blesses you and if you feel led to do so, share it with a friend. 

 

-Dale Ann Ross

"Changing our world, one blog at a time"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seasonal Change 

I hope this blog finds you not wearing white pants... Its after Labor Day people! Totally kidding but seriously.......Can anyone feel fall in the air? Can you smell the pumpkin spice and feel the brisk breeze of the seasonal change? 

Being from Ohio you get the opportunity to experience every season. From the winter ice melting off of the bare trees to the green buds beginning to bloom for spring. From the green leaves from the summer turning into beautiful shades of orange, yellow and red for fall and then falling off ever so quickly to prepare for the fluffy white snow to build up on its limbs once again.

I actually enjoy the changing of the seasons but can I say that about the seasons of life?

Lets look at what the bible says about seasons.

Ecclesiastes 3 says, "To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance........." This passage goes on and on. I encourage you to read the whole chapter for yourself.

You see, as humans we find ourselves gravitating to the times and seasons that feel good to us. We like the time to laugh and dance but we don't like to embrace the time to mourn or weep. We like the time to pluck up what is planted during harvest season but we aren't very fond of the time to plant and sow. We love the time to be born but we don't like the time to die. Who would? 

I will tell you who..... People who trust God. People who know a God who makes everything beautiful in its time. People who know where they will spend eternity and have an eternal mindset. How did these "people" get to be this way. By embracing their season and renewing their minds to the reality of a big, loving and trustworthy God daily. In order to have the seasons we enjoy, we must embrace the seasons that we don't. 

When I was going through a season of loss back to back, I found that I had forgotten Gods purpose for me and even though I don't believe God causes bad things to happen, He definitely uses it to take us from one level of faith to the next. Going through seasons of loss and tragedy is never fun but I truly believe if we embrace that season and walk through it hand and hand with our Maker, we will come out of that time better and have a greater compassion for our neighbors/friends. I don't believe that I would have known the capacity of God's love, peace and restoration power had I not went through that season of loss. Could God have shown that side of Himself to me without loss? I don't know I'm sure He could have, He is God but instead of focusing on that thought, I choose to focus on the fact He turned it around for my good just like He promised. 

God never promised us a life with no trouble. John 16:33 says, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." We need to renew our mind to this.....being a follower of Christ does not excuse us from trouble. It gives us the assurance that trouble only lasts for a season and in the midst of it all we can have peace. What else do we need? Jesus is empathetic to our pain. He knows how you feel and empathizes with you. He knows what it feels like to be persecuted, despised, used, tempted, beat, abused, laughed at, misunderstood, betrayed and the list goes on and on. There is nothing that you feel that Jesus didn't. If you feel any of those things, I want you to close your eyes right now and see Jesus embracing you and saying, "My child, I know how you feel and I will not let you go. Its only a season, let me be your peace, let me be your joy, let me be your hope, let me be the healer of your heart." Just receive it right now!

  Some of you may be in that season and your having a hard time seeing how good will come out of it but lets look at the trees for a moment. They understand that their leaves must turn colors and  fall off in preparation for the winter but the trees don't worry about their leaves coming back. They trust their Creator with every season. I know, I know... trees don't have feelings but we can learn a lot from them. Trees simply do what they were created to do and they embrace every season they are in. They trust the process and don't worry about the future or when the next season is coming. They embrace the transitions between seasons as well and its pretty miraculous and beautiful if you ask me.  

He says in Matthew 6:25 - "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" 

My friend, I encourage you today not to worry about the season that you are in. Maybe your in a sowing season financially but you want to be in the reaping season so bad. Maybe you are in a season of being single and want to be married; a season of mourning and want to be in a season of laughter, maybe things are going well for you  but you live in fear that it won't last  and you can't get the "worst case scenario" out of your mind. Do as Paul the apostle said and count it all JOY! Live in the NOW! Embrace your season! Trust God and let God do the work that needs to be done in you so that when your season does change, you are ready. 

2 Timothy 4:2 says, " Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season.

The green leaves on the trees always return after winter. Let that be a sign to you that this season that you are in is not forever. You can have hope, joy and peace in the midst and transition of every season. Let patience have its perfect work in you and lack nothing because you are trusting God with the seasonal changes of your life. 

Now go get a pumpkin spice latte and enjoy this fall weather that is approaching quickly.  

- Dale Ann Ross

"Changing our world, one blog at a time"