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Good News

I am so happy to announce that my new book, The Battle is God’s, is officially available for purchase on Amazon! Dreams do come true! ❤

I know I have been MIA for the past few months. This book is only one of the reasons. I am also in school full-time for my MSW. And I am 5 months pregnant. Needless to say, I have been pretty busy.

I am hoping to start blogging again soon. In the meantime, please keep me in prayer!

God bless,

Damaris

We no Longer Have to Hide

“‘Since they have led my people astray by saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and since when a flimsy wall is being built, they plaster it with whitewash,11 therefore, tell those plastering it with whitewash that it will fall. Torrential rain will come, and I will send hailstones plunging down, and a whirlwind will be released. 12 When the wall has fallen, will you not be asked, “Where’s the whitewash you plastered on it?” -Ezekiel 13:10-12

I knew immediately I had sinned. My heart literally ached. I couldn’t pray. I couldn’t read the Bible. How could I approach God’s throne of grace in my current state?

The Israelites had also sinned against the Lord and their false prophets only led them further away from God instead of to repentance, which is the only appropriate response to sin. Consequently, the whole nation was under God’s judgment.

Their wall was in ruins; its foundation destroyed leaving them vulnerable to an attack from their enemies. However, instead of rebuilding it, they plastered it with whitewash, so that it appeared like new when in reality it was still broken.

Sound familiar?

How many times have done the same? How many times have sinned against God and instead of repentance we have tried to cover up our brokenness? Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden we try to hide our nakedness and shame from God. Unknowingly leaving ourselves vulnerable to the enemy’s attack.

However, there is good news! We no longer have to hide. Hebrews 4:15-16 says:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.

What I love about the book of Ezekiel is that we see God’s mercy and grace even then. Although Ezekiel’s message starts with judgment, it ends with a promise of restoration.

God wants to rebuild the ruins in your life. Do not allow Satan’s false whispers of peace to lure you away from obedience.

  1. Confess your sins.

    If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. -1 John 1:19

  2. Turn away or “lay them aside”.

    Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. -Hebrews 12:1

  3. Produce fruit.

    Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. -Matthew 3:8

Only then will you know peace and be able to withstand the rain.


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Worship in the Wilderness

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, for forty years. Therefore I was provoked to anger with that generation and said, “They always go astray in their hearts, and they have not known my ways.” Where your fathers tested me, tried me, and saw my works, so I swore in my anger, “They will not enter my rest.” Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. For we have become participants in Christ if we hold firmly until the end the reality that we had at the start. But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception. -Hebrews 3:7-14

Today was the day. I was going to march into my supervisor’s office and hand in my letter of resignation. To preface, I do not want to quit. I love my job, but I am exhausted. Exhausted of trying to balance my career with marriage and motherhood. Exhausted of feeling like I have been here for three years, but am getting nowhere. Exhausted of pretending that I am okay… when in reality I am not okay.

In these verses, the author calls us to encourage each other daily. This is not easy, especially on those days when we feel like throwing in the towel. I did not quit my job, but I did complain. I complained knowing that there were others there who felt the same way I do. I chose to make them feel worse. That is what complaining does.

Complaining is a symptom of an unbelieving heart. The Israelites would complain that God, who delivered them from their slavery in Egypt, had set them free only to let them die in the wilderness. They continuously doubted his presence, provision, & protection. Their unbelief hardened their hearts against God. Consequently, they did not enter the promised land.

We all have moments when we feel exhausted & tempted to doubt the goodness of God’s plans for us.

“My eyes grow weary looking for what You have promised…” -Psalm 119:82

But what if, instead of complaining, we worshipped in our wilderness? Worship transcends our emotions. “Only in the act of praise & worship can a person learn to believe in the goodness and greatness of God.”

There is a popular quote that you have probably heard at some point in your life: “It’s not about the destination. It’s about the journey.” I disagree. It is about the destination. Do not lose sight of where you are going because of where you are now. Worship while you wander & you will get there! Complain and you will die in the wilderness.

The choice is yours.

Burning Hearts

Many years ago, my uncle asked me: “How do you know when God is calling you?” At that time, I wasn’t quite sure how to respond, so I paused a moment before I answered: “You hear him”. My uncle was not a believer, but I found out afterwards that he was literally hearing a voice calling his name. Somehow, he knew deep down that it was Jesus.

In Luke 24, we see two disciples on the road to Emmaus. These men had hoped that Jesus would be the one to redeem Israel… and then he was crucified. The resurrected Jesus joined them, although they didn’t realize it was him. It wasn’t until later that day as he reclined at the table with them that their eyes were opened. Then they said to each other:

Weren’t our hearts burning within us while he was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us? Luke 24:32

Even though they didn’t know that it was Christ walking with them and talking with them; their hearts were burning just hearing him speak! Jesus was only waiting for the right moment to reveal himself to them.

It was as he reclined at the table with them that he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. Luke 24:30-31

I imagine that it was like that with my uncle… and with me before I made the decision to accept Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I was just walking along, discouraged, not realizing that Jesus was walking with me- waiting for the perfect moment to reveal himself. The moment when the symbolic “breaking of the bread” would open my eyes to his sacrifice on the cross for my sins. Before that moment, the truth of the Gospel was hidden from me, no matter how many times I may have heard it (& I am a PK, so I’ve heard it plenty) or how my heart burned. It was only when I believed in his sacrifice, that the veil over my heart was lifted, and I could finally see the resurrected Christ.

If my uncle were to ask me again: How do you know when God is calling you? I don’t think my answer would differ by much. I might add, “you hear him & your heart burns within you”. Yup, that’s Jesus.

 

 

We Do Not Set Aside The Grace of God

I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. -Galatians 2:20

When we have faith in Jesus- God’s GRACE (his free and unmerited favor) gives us the ability… the strength to live righteously. Paul describes our bodies in his letter to the Roman church as “bodies of death” completely incapable of walking by the Spirit on its own. Our very flesh betrays us leading us time and again to “kick against the goads”. However, when we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus- we are crucified with him and no longer live according to the desires of our flesh, but by grace through faith in Christ. I know this, yet more often than not, I feel like Paul:

I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. -Romans 7:15

How many times have I asked myself: “why did I do that?” Followed by a resolute, “Never again!” Yet, if I am not careful, it will happen again. Jesus warned his disciples to “watch and pray”, so that they do not fall into temptation. We must pray, because although our spirit is willing- our flesh is weak.  Thankfully, GOD’S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT! We are undeserving, yet he continually bestows his favor (act of kindness beyond what is due or usual) on us, when we pray, and his strength is perfected in our weakness.

Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time. -Hebrews 4:16

We obtain this grace to help us be more like Christ, even whilst we are still in these dying bodies waiting to be transformed. Because of his sacrifice and our faith therein- we are able to practice what we want to do (righteousness) and not what we hate (sin). We do not set aside the grace of God, but we cling to it for dear life knowing that his grace=our righteousness.