Romans 8:13: “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
“One day, she came to a crossroads. It only felt natural to keep going, but she just didn’t want to. She wanted peace in her heart, she just wanted to fill that void in her life. Finally realizing that she just didn’t want to die.“
I’m going to tell you a story about a woman today; one with which you might be able to relate. She came to a crossroads and had to decide. So, pay attention to the details, because at the end I will ask you a question. You must know all the facts before you can answer. Are you ready? I once knew this lady; she struggled so much. She was born to two drug addicts, and they didn’t teach her much. All through life she tried, and she tried to fill that hole that she felt inside. As she grew older things would change, but only if she didn’t want them to remain the same.
God created everything.
The book of Genesis tells us the work of God’s creation. He was in love with his creation, but he didn’t have anyone to look after his work. Repeatedly in Genesis we read, “God saw that it was good.”, when speaking of his creation. When God made Adam, he created him in the likeness of himself. This is a special trait because it means God thought of mankind as very special. He wanted to have someone to care for his creation and to have fellowship with him. You might be asking, well what does that have to do with our lady in the story? You see she always believed God created everything, but she never knew just how special she was to God. She never could understand how great his love for mankind was.
Deception caused sin.
When God created mankind, he only had one rule. Genesis 2:16-17 tells us God instructed Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil or he would surely die. God clearly laid out this first law for Adam and Eve, but unfortunately it wasn’t hard for them to fall for the deception of Satan. In Genesis 3 a conversation takes place between Eve and the serpent known as Satan. He asks her “did God really say you couldn’t eat from this tree? He doesn’t want you to be like him.” Eve gave in to this temptation and sin entered the world with this one lie causing the sting of death to fall in mankind. But this didn’t just cause death, it caused three kinds of death: we are born dead, we will die a physical death and we are subject to eternal death. See the woman in our story, she was mad because of death. She had lost someone she loved so very much, but without this understanding of death, she sank deeper into depression causing even more separation from God.
Deception makes you a slave.
The goal of the enemy is to keep us enslaved to sin which keeps us even further from God. If we are riddled with guilt, shame, and sin- it will cause our hearts to become hardened, and we will remain spiritually dead. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 28:14 “Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.” This is how the enemy keeps us in bondage to sin. He keeps us enslaved to his lies so our hearts will become hardened to God’s promises. I was telling you the woman of our story sank into depression because she was hurt by the death of someone special in her life. It was the compounding of many years of lies that made her more susceptible to this attack from the enemy. Throughout her life she was hurt by so many people who were supposed to love her, and she had lost the only person she perceived to truly care for and love her. Her heart was so hard, she had lost all hope- enslavement to the enemy was all that remained. She woke up crying day after day for about 5 months straight. She had no energy to do the things she needed to do in life. Completely broken, she was spiritually dead and yearning for physical death as a way out.
God provides a way out.
You see, God is a patient and loving God- but he is also Holy and just. Because God cannot allow sin in his presence, and we have no way of correcting the sin nature that entered the world with Adam and Eve. In 2021 the CDC reported 12.3 million adults in the USA seriously thought about suicide. Of those 12.3 million, 48,000 took their own life. These people were so deceived by the enemy they saw no other way out than to take their own lives. But I am here to tell you, God does provide a way out. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us God does allow us to be tempted, but he will also provide a way out so we can endure the temptation. The woman of our story, she was constantly tempted by things of the world- but she never could stand firm. She hated herself and everything about her. She was like a feather blowing around in the wind. One day, she came to a crossroads. It only felt natural to keep going, but she just didn’t want to. She wanted peace in her heart, she just wanted to fill that void in her life. Finally realizing that she just didn’t want to die.
Something had to change.
For many years, the Israelites followed the Levitical Law– but this still wasn’t enough to atone for their sins. Since this wasn’t enough, God had bigger plans. Afterall, he is a patient God and desires a relationship with his creation. The Bible tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 “the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise…Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” So, he sent his son Jesus to atone for the sins of all mankind. The Bible tells us in John chapter 3 verse 16, “For God so loved the world he sent his only begotten son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Jesus died a horrific death on the cross to pay for all the sins of the world. But see, Jesus didn’t just die. He was crucified and three days later he rose up from the grave, alive. See, the woman in our story had come to know this fact when she was very young- but her heart was so hard, she was so tainted with the enemy’s lies that she couldn’t see the truth. She couldn’t see that she had worth and value in Jesus. She was spiritually dead.
Redemption in Jesus.
While Jesus did come to die to set us free, he doesn’t impose this upon anyone who is unwilling to accept him. God gave us the free will to make choices, but if we don’t choose Jesus, we will face an eternal separation from God. The Bible tells us in James chapter 1 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the Heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Eternal separation from God means eternal separation from everything good that comes from God. But we don’t have to live that way. We can live in peace with God while we are here on Earth too by realizing we are sinful, and we need Jesus. This is where it gets good with the woman of our story. After she started to wake up crying for days on end, she began to fall to her face in the dark of her bedroom, in the wee hours of the morning crying out to God. Although it took some time and suffering, God answered those prayers. She slowly started to smile more with less tears appearing on her face than before, until one day they stopped. She started learning of God’s promises as they untangled all the lies she had believed for so long. Her faith became stronger because she rested on the promises of her Heavenly Father. She made a choice to follow Jesus and she didn’t look back. The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
At the beginning of this message, I told you there would be a decision at the end. You have heard the story of a hurt and broken woman who found Jesus in the midst of her suffering and pain. Maybe you are here and hurting just like she was and maybe you are hurting worse. Today, you have heard how you can get rid of that pain and suffering. Jesus wants you to lay it all at his feet and experience the freedom only he can give, just like the woman in our story. You see, she found her way to Jesus, and she has experienced complete freedom. The Christian life isn’t easy by any means, but it sure is a lot better than the old way. You see, the woman in the story- she is special to me, because she is me and I am she. Will you shake off the deceptions of the enemy, laying your pain and hurt at Jesus feet- allowing him to heal you today? I encourage you to run to Jesus today!
“I never was comfortable with my body. I often would restrict eating because I didn’t want to gain weight, my body image was so distorted! The enemy had me completely blinded.”
Loving Jesus always came easy…
Life just never felt complete, it always felt as if something was missing.
When I was 9 years old, I felt the calling of the Holy Spirit for the first time. At that time though, honestly it could have been fear that drove me to the alter. That seemed to be the way to go back then. That was the mid 90s, so I would say it was more fear driven- but nevertheless I heard what Jesus did for me and I responded. I never stopped loving Jesus.
As time went on- I believed in God, but I never fully understood because I was still blinded. Looking back now I know God put me on the path he did for a reason. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I reckon if God revealed the whole picture at the time, we wouldn’t learn what is needed to bring glory and honor to him.
Following him was a different story
When the rubber met the road, I was never fully ready to commit wholeheartedly to Jesus. I would pray when times got tough, but never just to have communion with my Creator. When Covid came about, our lives drastically changed. My Pappy went to Heaven, and I got mad at God. Over time I really turned my back on God, but shockingly enough he never forgot about me.
ME, ME, ME
As I turned my back on God- I began to make other things my idol. But the further away I got from God- the lonelier I felt. Eventually I started buying crystals and I was so eager to learn! I bought a book; I was jumping in headfirst. I just didn’t realize at that time what kind of door I was opening. The ironic thing was, I would Google “it is ok for Christians to use crystals?” and I would vow I wasn’t going to mess with anything dark. I was trusting crystals for “protection”, “healing” and so many other things- when I should have been trusting God.
I ran a pretty successful, for a short time, nail dip company and I made that my god. I poured my everything into this company for right at a year. It really took its toll on me mentally, physically and spiritually. The market began to become even more saturated with new companies and sales declined rapidly. Being that I had made this my God, when it stopped- I was even more lost. Life was really chaotic and crazy.
One day I woke up crying and I didn’t stop for almost 5 months. I didn’t feel like doing anything. I was so very sad. I did my thing I would always do when life got hard, I began to cry out to God. I would go into that dark bedroom of the mornings and fall flat on my face. I was MISERABLE- beyond miserable. I really just didn’t want to go on, I had no clue how I was going to keep going.
Something Had to Change
I was having a full-on nervous breakdown and there was nothing I could do to stop. I saw doctors, they ran tests, I started taking antidepressants one right after the other. They couldn’t find one thing wrong with me. NOTHING helped. I mean NOTHING. It seemed as though I was only getting worse.
One thing stayed the same- I kept crying out to God, day in and day out. ALL day, every day. I taped this verse on my mirror: “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26) My heart was so hard from many different things, and I was able to see that so clearly, but I couldn’t make it soften that easy.
BABY STEPS…BABY STEPS…
See- when I was growing up and all through life- I expected that when you asked Jesus into your heart you immediately changed! WOW! That was a harsh lie that I had accepted as truth. Yes- there are immediate changes that come about, but once salvation is secured sanctification must begin. Sanctification simply means: “the action of making or declaring something holy”. In order for this to happen, you have to turn from blatant sin.
I had always thought I had to clean up to be a “good Christian”, but all along God was just desiring for me to come to him with all of my baggage and lay it at the feet of Jesus. I had been so focused on “me”, I missed the whole point. It was never about me…
It was all about Jesus
We started watching our church online for about 6 weeks, then we went to church after the livestream had failed the week before. We didn’t know what to expect, but we were ready to be there. Shockingly enough we weren’t scared, we just knew we needed God. When we arrived, Jesus was already there. Everyone was so kind and welcoming. How we chose that church will be a different story for a different day!
I was still pretty sad, but God slowly revealed unforgiveness I was holding onto. This was all part of him softening my heart. Once I released that- God really began to work. I found Liberty University Online in May of 2022 only desiring to major in Social Media Management. While taking required Bible classes, I began to realize the “truths” I had learned as a child were the furthest thing from the truth. As those things started to unravel, I realized just what had been missing all along- a genuine relationship with the Lord.
As I have went on this journey at Liberty University, I have grown so much closer to the Lord. I genuinely understand what it means to “pick up your cross” and follow Jesus every single day. My desire is to share with others so they may be delivered as well. There is more to life than living as a slave to sin of the world. Life living for Jesus is far from restrictive, I have more fun now than I ever did living for the world.
My Whole Outlook Changed
I never was comfortable with my body. I often would restrict eating because I didn’t want to gain weight, my body image was so distorted! The enemy had me completely blinded. I love my body now, I eat and I don’t feel bad about it. I feel more FREE than I ever have in my life. When I look in the mirror I no longer cringe, I am thankful that God made me just the way I am.
I read my Bible every single day and pray like my life depends on it, because it does!
My life isn’t restrictive, I am just being sanctified.
Travel trends are usually ever changing. We know that traveling as a single is much different than traveling as newlyweds, a family with small children or empty nesters. What usually doesn’t change is our desire to see new places and make memories with people we love.
Although our life circumstances may change, what doesn’t change is our need to get out an explore. Southern Living says these are the upcoming travel trends for 2023:
In a local Facebook poll, 70 percent of those polled said gas prices weren’t stopping them from changing their plans. 30 percent said they had changed their plans for other reasons. Travel and Leisure reports an uptick in millennials taking up camping. Camping is not only more cost effective, but it provides a different type of experience.
With gas prices on the rise, it is no wonder travelers are opting for vacations that do not require as much gas. USA Today stated gas prices would continue to rise throughout the summer.
Although our style of adventuring may look different at each stage of life, it’s important to appreciate seeing new places and making memories to last a lifetime.
No matter how you decide to have fun this summer, the most important thing is to stay safe and take care of each other.
Have you ever felt like you just don’t have enough energy to move? Many Americans feel this way. In an article by the New York Post in 2020, it was reported 65% of Americans reported feeling tired all the time. This can pose a problem when trying to complete everyday tasks. According to Runner’s World, activity levels still haven’t recovered from pre-pandemic levels.
During Covid-19 people were restricted to staying home in order to mitigate the spread of the virus. This led to many people living a sedentary lifestyle. While it was good for the environment, it was not necessarily good for the health of humanity. The Mayo Clinic links a sedentary lifestyle to the following risks:
High blood pressure
High levels of body fat around the waist
Risk of death and other diseases
While these are visible risks, the invisible risks often get overlooked. Not getting enough exercise can lead to depression and other mental health related difficulties. These mental health problems can arise from sitting too much:
When these issues arise, they can lead to declining overall health. These issues, however, are usually invisible until they become a major problem because they are generally easy to hide. It is, however, easy to combat these situations before they become problematic.
You might be thinking, “that sounds like me!” There are ways to make changes to combat this “sitting syndrome”. Regular exercise and physical activity can greatly improve your quality of life.
Actions You Can Take to Get Started
Maybe you have been inactive for a while, and you are unsure of how to get started. The CDC recommends getting 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week. Broken down, this is only 30 minutes, 5 times a week. It may take some time to build up to this activity level, but your body will thank you for it and you will have more energy. The CDC also offers this awesome log to keep track of your weekly exercise.
Discuss recommendations with your doctor or healthcare professional
Don’t set unrealistic expectations
Set a positive mindset; treat exercise as a priority
Be aware of roadblocks
Be PREPARED for set backs
Not only does regular exercise keep your body functioning properly, but it helps your brain feel good as well. Even if you have been sitting around for a while, it is never too late to get up and start moving. Find a friend and get moving with them!
Over the last 3 years, shopping trends have drastically changed. When visiting stores prior, shelves would be packed, prices were reasonable, and shopping was kind of fun. While some stores were already transitioning to online order pick up in the stores, Food Lion in Mountain City, Tn did not have that option. In the past, shoppers only had the option to shop in the store.
In 2020 when Covid-19 developed, many stores began taking measures to keep customers and workers safe. Many people were scared to leave their homes, which made obtaining everyday goods next to impossible. As this situation began to linger, measures were taken to ensure people’s needs were met.
The measures taken were plexiglass windows to separate the customers from the workers, masking, hand sanitizer stations and grocery to-go orders. These measures were mostly effective in mitigating the spread of Covid-19 and keeping everyone safe. Although most of those precautions have been removed, to-go orders are still being utilized as a way of convenience. Forbes reports 81% of adults use a smartphone. Grocery orders can be placed on a computer or on a smartphone.
When shopping online with Food Lion, the process is relatively simple. The customer selects groceries, chooses a pick-up time and pays. When the order is received by Food Lion, the associate will communicate with the customer while shopping. When the order is ready, the customer will pull into one of the spots designated and notify the associate inside. The associate will then deliver the orders to the customers vehicle waiting outside.
With Food Lion only offering grocery to-go orders in light of the Pandemic, it has brought other needed services to Mountain City as well. Consumers can now utilize services such as Door Dash to have goods delivered from most stores in the community. This allows for customers who are not as mobile, or maybe sick to receive goods they might otherwise have trouble in obtaining.
Although Covid-19 brought about so much sadness and destruction, we now see conveniences that would otherwise have been overlooked. According to Digital 360, online shopping is on the rise as a result of the Pandemic. With online shopping on the rise, it leaves one to wonder how shopping will continue to change in the future as technology advances.
Whether you like online shopping or not, it looks like it is here to stay for the time being. But will this be the end of brick-and-mortar stores, or does it open the way for even more unseen advances?
Welcome to my BRAND NEW site, I am so very excited to share this journey with you! I am an artist in all form, so I love creating art in various forms. I am currently attending school at Liberty University Online where I have learned so much, not just academically but spiritually as well. I am so thankful the Lord is leading me on this journey as I would not be able to do any of it without his guidance and direction. I will continue working on my site and I hope you find encouragement and inspiration in the things I share. May God bless you and if you have any questions or need advice, please feel free to contact me!