The Affection of Attention

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The most stressful times for us women can be those small (or sometimes very big) pockets of time right before we go out. It might be for a date night with our husbands, or a fun time with our girls, but before we leave the house we’ve got to know what we’re wearing and how we look. A friend of mine told me that she once spent two hours trying to find out to wear! I’m thankful, that is not always the case with me. I know a lot of women who have different outfit options, but always have that one pair of jeans or shoes that they love. I think we all do! Usually we’ve spent so much time wearing them that we love the way they look and the way they feel. Like a lot of things in life, the more we’re around something good the more we enjoy it.

 

And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain. – Ezekiel 33:31 (ESV)

 

The attention of our heart usually determines the affection of our heart. In other words, what we set our hearts the most on is what we’ll start to value the most. For some women it’s their career, others it’s their image and appearance. What can happen if we’re not careful is we place so much of our life onto something temporary that we become insensitive to what’s eternal. We lose focus on the soft and tender voice of the Lord because we’re too attentive to the noise of the world. I believe when we get to a place like this, we’ve fallen victim to a hardened heart. In the book of Ezekiel, the prophet spoke as often as he could to the people’s hearts, for if you can’t identify the issue how will you be able to fix it?

 

Thankfully we have the guidance of God’s word today in our lives and we can identify the places that our hearts have been hardened. When you look at your life today, do you feel receptive to the things of God? Do you still see the importance of being in church or in your small group? It’s when we love people and stay involved with other women around us that we recognize our hearts are in the right place! The right heart will always lead to the right life. When our attention is on Jesus the affections of our hearts will stay fixed on Him! The Bible tells us that we should look to Jesus and consider Him and what He’s done for us (Hebrews 12:2-3). Something happens when we see Him for who He really is! Let’s make it our goal today and every day to keep our attention on Him so that our affection will be for His plan and purpose!

 

Father thank You for helping me set my attention and my affection on You today. I believe that when I see You for who You really are, I discover who I really am. Help me stay focused on Your will for my life, and teach me to stay sensitive to the voice of Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen!

The Comeback

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I can honestly say that the last three months of the year are my favorite. Some people might argue that the beginning of the year is better because it just started and is full of possibilities. I believe that how we end something is more important than how we start something. How many of us have started the year with “New Year’s Resolutions” that lasted maybe a week or two or maybe you were among the few that kept yours. I don’t do resolutions because I never keep them and because I have always believed the end is more crucial than the beginning. For me 2018 has been the most tumultuous year, full of the highest peaks and lowest valleys. Now that we’re at the end of this year I’m full of hope and expectation knowing that God is going to do amazing things.

I’m sure there’s at least a few NFL fans out there and there’s probably a few Patriots fans out there so this one is for you. I only watch the Super Bowl so for me the most memorable 4th quarter comeback would be 2017; the Patriots started it with a 19 point deficit, but guess what they won the game. As you can probably relate in your own life sometimes you start out one way and end up in a completely different place in the end. I can’t think of a better demonstration than Saul. We see Saul in Acts 9 on a mission ordained by the high priest to capture and arrest any followers of the Way. If we skip pass his encounter with Jesus to Acts 9:15-16 we come to Jesus speaking with Ananias about how Saul will be a messenger for the Lord. The Lord Yahweh answered him, “Arise and go! I have chosen this man to be my special messenger. He will be brought before kings, before many nations, and before the Jewish people to give them the revelation of who I am. And I will show him how much he is destined to suffer because of his passion for me.” TPT By verse 29 he’s openly debating with the Jews about the gospel, so in one chapter Saul had a major 4th quarter comeback.

What’s this all mean for us? It’s the end of the year and I believe that if we press in and give our best to God we too can experience a comeback. These last 3 months of the year can be filled with blessings, peace and hope for our lives and family. So besides the pumpkin spiced everything, the exciting holidays rapidly approaching us, let’s focus on God getting the glory for our 4th quarter victory dance. Here comes the comeback.

– Teaka

Finding Your Niche

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As I sit at soccer practice for one child; texting and planning my other sons Cub Scouts outing for this weekend, I’m reminded of how as parents we love to give ours kids different opportunities to experience new things. We hope that eventually they find their niche, their jam, something they can connect with, enjoy, pursue and what partially will define their path.  My boys are 7 and 8 and we’ve tried tons of things. Some they’ve liked, others were ok and some were a definite no!  But we’ve yet to find that “sweet spot”. So we just keep trying new things!

As I see the smile of this little 7 year old soccer player, ear to ear, goofy with excitement, I know he’s found his place on the soccer field. As I hear my 8 year old say with the utmost pride that he is a Cub Scout and he’s going to Adventure Weekend, my heart is filled with joy that they are finding their niche!

The same goes for us ladies. So many times I hear ladies say they don’t know where they fit in the church or where to serve or they don’t know what they’re good at. Maybe it’s just a matter of trying new things until you find the one that clicks for you. Don’t give up if something isn’t your jam, but try something else, keep trying until you have that smile, that sense of excitement and pride knowing you are right where you’re supposed to be! 

God wants you to try new things, He gives us this opportunity to gain knowledge, new experiences and moments with others. But he ultimately wants us to land where we sport that ear to ear smile, that goofy excitement to serve and that love to be there. Because when you and I find that place, we will soar and flourish into the purpose God has for us! Keeping going, you’ll find your niche!

– Jenn

My Declaration

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This past week at F12, we heard a phenomenal message from pastor Lissette. Not only was it insightful, but practical. At the end of the morning, we all had a chance to go through a declaration. As women, here’s what we’re declaring today and everyday!


I am walking by faith and not by sight

I am complete in Christ

I am healed by the stripes of Jesus

I am casting down every imagination and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God

I am bringing every thought into captivity to make it obedient to Christ

I am strong in the Lord and in the power of His might

I am liberated!

Whom the Son sets free is free indeed

I belong to the Lord, I have been bought with the blood of Jesus.

Therefore I am free from the curse of sin, sickness, poverty, fear, anxiety, depression, worry, confusion.

Sin has no dominion or power or authority over me.

I am led by the Spirit of God.

I have the presence by the Spirit of God.

I have the presence of God with me.

He will never leave me or forsake me.


Plot Twist

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I’ve experienced my fair share of unexpected change in my life; job loss, loss of a loved one, a demotion, or a new pastor at church. The weirdest thing to me is that for the most part I consider myself adaptable when change comes my way; however there’s something different about change I don’t want. I didn’t want to lose my job that allowed me to work from home making $26 per hour, I didn’t want one of my son’s friends to be hit by an oncoming car and die or his jiujitsu sensei to be shot outside of his house, I didn’t want to be demoted during an emotionally critical time and I didn’t want a new pastor when the one I had was already doing an amazing job.

What I forget when I experience unexpected change is that God already planned all of these things in advance. He’s the only one who knows what will be produced by all of these seemingly unfortunate events. It reminds me of Joseph I’m pretty sure he never imagined his own flesh and blood would throw him in a pit and sell him into slavery for about eight ounces of silver, his own biological brothers. Joseph is sold again to one of Pharaoh’s officials Potiphar and this is where we start to see how God is constantly one step ahead of us fulfilling the destiny He has planned for us. Joseph ends up going through a lot but my favorite part is going from the prison to the palace. If we skip to Genesis 45:4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! I love this mic drop moment, I can visually see the astonished faces on his brothers faces. This is a plot twist moment if I ever saw one.

When we find ourselves experiencing unexpected change we have to fight the urge to let it discourage us or stop our momentum. We have to trust and pray to God knowing He is setting up a plot twist in our lives that in the end will bless us. He is for us creating circumstances that will launch us into our amazing destiny He has for our lives. Now anytime you walk into unexpected change shout out “PLOT TWIST” and carry on knowing God is in control!

– Teaka