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My First Blog Post

A little about me

This is new for me, but I’m excited to begin this new chapter of my life.

I turned 50 this year and boy it was something. I’m a small town girl living in a lonely world who took a midnight train going….wait that’s Journey not me. 🙂 I am a small town Illinois girl, born and raised. I would take a midnight train though and I would go back to Colorado. I love it there. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it as a new high school graduate (thank you big sister, Lisa for the gift). I looked out the plane window during the evening light and the Colorado Springs back drop took my breath away.

So much has happened in just the past 5 years that has led me to start writing, sharing and figuring out the calling God has on my life. I by no means have it all figured out, but I think my path is becoming more clear. I’m going to share a lot of Jesus and Bible with you. If you are offended or don’t agree, that’s your choice, as it is mine to express my beliefs and opinions. My faith is the largest part of my life and has shaped me into the person I am today.

I hope you enjoy this little piece of me. It’s gonna get real…fast.

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

The crown

I posted a picture of me this morning with makeup and 1 without. You will find me without makeup more often than not. I get alot of oh you look so beautiful today when I wear my makeup. Guess what? I’m beautiful without! It really bothers me that I have to dress a certain way, do my hair & wear makeup for people to “notice” me.

I don’t have to prove my value to anyone for my looks are not what I value. My heart is. My faith is. My love is. My daughter is. Those who know me know that I love hard & I’ll love you forever. My friends are my friends. I may not see you, talk to you all the time, maybe for some time, but if you need me I’ll be there.

I love Jesus. I will talk to you about Jesus and your faith. It may be uncomfortable and we may not agree on things. I talk to you about Him because I care about you and I want you to have what I have. Faith. Eternal Security. True Love. A Firm Foundation. Hope.

I say all of this so that we women can say and see ourselves as we are. Tall, short, thin, thick (as I was told I was), short hair, long hair, no hair….be happy with who you are; not who people tell you how you should look. We have let society dictate for too long women have to be all dolled up to be beautiful. I’m a mom, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, worker, boss lady, lover, care giver and so much more. Appreciate me and others who have struggled with just this issue, as we are. I have struggled with self image problems my entire life and it has greatly affected me. I’m learning and loving being in my own skin and living in the love of Christ.

There’s alot of fix your crowns going around for us ladies. I’m going to be sarcastic for a second….my crown is waiting in heaven for I am no princess in waiting here in Fillmore. lol So, no crown fixing for me. I’m a daughter of the True King…Jesus Christ. He finds my beauty in my ashes and fashions me from that. So take me or not….this is who Linda Williams is.

Glory

John 17 NKJV
Jesus prays for himself
17 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He [a]should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together [b]with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples
6 “I have [c]manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.

9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep[d] through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them [e]in the world, I kept them in [f]Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is [g]lost except the son of [h]perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify[i] them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

Jesus Prays for All Believers
20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who [j]will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

When reading this passage ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What is being given?
  2. Who is receiving it?
  3. What is being given back?

The hour (the time for the cross) has come. Glorify Your Son. The Son will glorify You.

Jesus was given authority by God to give eternal life to those God has given to him. This is eternal life… that we would know God. This is what Jesus glorifying God and God glorifying Jesus on earth looks like: Jesus gives life to us which is the glory of God; knowledge of himself of God and the Holy Spirit; then we accept that gift and live it out. God’s glory is to be shared.

God gave Jesus all things. Jesus gives that to us so that we may know that he is from God. He glorified God’s name to us. He asks that God keep us in that name. Jesus said, and things I speak in the world, so that they may have my joy, so that it will be fulfilled in ourselves. What is his joy? It is his comfort, the Holy Spirit.

He says sanctify me, you have set me apart to do your will. I now ask the same for them; to send them out and be set apart in the world. Jesus prays for us specifically in these verses. For all of us in present time, the future and those in the past who believed in him after his death, resurrection and ascension. He is one with God and God with him, so that we will be one with Them.

Why does Jesus want this? Because he wants the world to continue to know God sent Christ and that he loves us as he loves Christ. This is God’s purpose for the world. Missions and evangelism.

Jesus wants us to be with him so that we may see his glory that God gave him from the foundation of the world. Jesus will continue to make it known because the love which God loves him will be in us. Therefore we have the same love God has for the Son and that the Son has for the Father. He came to give us this glory so that we would give it in return.

Can you now see how deep that love flows? How can we not pass that on? How can we not completely love and adore the Son, our Savior and God, the Father?

Living Sacrifice

Disclaimer: This is a very sensitive topic on suicide and mental illness. I do not mean to offend, hurt, accuse or trigger anything with anyone.


This past year, my surrounding communities has suffered an alarming rise in suicides. We have been hit hard with unexpected death through car accidents…young people, families, individuals taken. There’s so much suffering, pain, holes ripped open that hope seems lost.
I’ve said many times this past year that to feel that NO ONE, absolutely no one, and your life is worth nothing, means nothing is such a lie from the devil.


The pain is so enormous that they are the only things they see & feel. They can’t see those around them who will suffer in their absence. We, Christians, have failed when we don’t live for and reflect Christ in such a way that His love and hope are on display for all to see and want to know what the difference is.
I have had many sufferings in my life but the pull of life and Jesus were strong for me to go through it. I know it’s hard. I do not know the pain, terror, hurt and misunderstanding of mental illness and that struggle. I know many that do suffer with it though.


I do not say that He will remove this from you, but He can if it is in His will to do so. There is hope. There is a place for you.


You are not alone.


Below is one of my devotions today that made me feel the need to write about this. Being a Living Sacrifice Not a Cutting Sacrifice By Savannah Parvu
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2 NIV For many years I found myself knee deep in an addiction. The addiction I had wasn’t the normal kind because it involved pain and self-mutilation. I began a journey of cutting myself. Have you ever found yourself so overwhelmed with life that you were willing to sacrifice everything? In Romans 12:1-2 we read that we are to offer our body as a living sacrifice.


What is a living sacrifice… and not just a cutting sacrifice?


In the Old Testament, when sacrifices were made, something had to die. There had to be shedding of blood. Being a cutter, I tried to make it okay because rather than killing an animal I could just cut myself and have the shedding of blood. I would lie to myself and say “I’m not harming others.”


What I did not understand though, was… that when Jesus died on the cross His blood was shed for ME. The fact that we are to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice means that God is enough.


He is enough when I’m not.


How do I begin to be a living sacrifice?
Galatians 2:20 shows us the way. It says, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
I always thought it must be so complicated to be a living sacrifice, but it’s not. He wants us to give our lives to Him and follow His ways. Romans 12:2 goes on to say that we are not to conform to the patterns of this world, BUT be transformed by the renewing of our minds.


To be a living sacrifice, we must transform our thinking and begin to walk and talk a whole new way. When those thoughts begin to invade our minds and lie to us saying,
Nobody loves me! That’s not true the Lord loves you.


I am worthless! No! Christ died for you.


Are you living your life in sacrifice to God or to yourself? What are some of the things that you tell yourself? Are you telling yourself things that are true?
When those thoughts take over I encourage you to set your eyes on God. Will you begin to look at the way God sees you? Will you begin to realize that HE has already made the sacrifice and by simply giving your heart to Him and daily walking in His truth you become a living sacrifice?


Today ask yourself this question, just like I had to ask myself… Was Christ’s sacrifice enough or do I think I need to fill in the hole with my own sacrifice?
Father, I am thankful that You have created us to be a living sacrifice for You. Help us to put to death our earthly desires and set our eyes on You. Remind us daily that You ARE enough, and we do not need the things of the world. Let us keep our eyes fixed on You. Amen
Encouragement Cafe

Darkness and light

Do you find it hard to pray for or even speak to those who misunderstand you and/or offend you? Jesus gives us a clear example of how we should respond to those who accuse and hurt us. He speaks in truth and love.
John 8 English Standard Version (ESV)1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]
I Am the Light of the World12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 21 So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.”
The Truth Will Set You Free31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
If we do not have a relationship with Christ, how can we expect to know His peace. We must continually draw close to our Savior to know His heart so that we can minister to ALL around us.
The darkness of sin is covering t;his world. When we turn our view heavenward and most importantly accept Christ as our Savior, we have the light to shine most brightly to push back against the darkness.
Jesus didn’t promise us a life full of rainbows, unicorns and sunshine.
John 16:33 English Standard Version (ESV)33 I have said these things to you, that in me you have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart: I have overcome the world.
The darkness of sin is covering t;his world. When we turn our view heavenward and most importantly accept Christ as our Savior, we have the light to shine most brightly to push back against the darkness.
Jesus didn’t promise us a life full of rainbows, unicorns and sunshine.
John 16:33 English Standard Version (ESV)I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
Did you read that? He said TAKE HEART! He didn’t say give up; but to take heart. When we the world around us seems heavy with darkness and storms, take heart. Look up child and see the glory of the heavens. Christ Jesus!
He is returning as the True King! He is coming back to take me and you with Him in the clouds to your eternal home. Accept Him today. Receive Him today. Surrender your life to Him today!
Isaiah 9:6-7 English Standard Version (ESV)6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given;and the government shall be upon[a] his shoulder, and his name shall be called[b]Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end,on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold itwith justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Peace

The angels proclaimed peace on earth the night Jesus was born. I wonder as we hear the news every evening, morning, twenty-four hours a day is peace possible? In reality of the world we live in and the times, no is the true answer.

I ask, is anxiety spilling over in your life? Is fear reaching the inner parts of your soul where it should not be? Where are you drawing your patience and wisdom from? Who do you rely upon for your plans and the completion of those plans?

If you answered yes to the first questions and Jesus was not the answer for the last two, you need to reevaluate. He is the only answer for true inner peace here on earth and for eternity. The One who speaks and the winds and waves obey…through it all are your eyes on Him?

Trust-firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Why is trust so naturally hard for us? I guess it goes back to the garden. There just wasn’t enough trust in the words that were spoken to Adam and received by Eve.

Inner peace begins with a relationship with God and continues as we focus on His strength and allow Him to fill us. Peace hinges on our trust in God. It always comes back to trust and in that trust, our faith. Our faith, and the strength of it, then defines our peace.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

Because the Prince of Peace has come today We can live with peace in this broken world and it is because of this peace that we can focus on the truth instead of the trial. We give thanks instead of giving into fear. We trust in the power of His plan and elevate His name above all other names.

Jesus Christ. Prince of Peace. King of Kings.

Advent

This week is the start of advent season. You may wonder what advent is and why we celebrate it. It begins the 1st Sunday of 4, leading up to Christmas. Advent symbolizes the present church as God’s people wait for the return of Christ in glory to consummate his eternal kingdom. We are waiting and hoping in prayerful expectation for the coming of Christ’s kingdom; when he returns for his people.

In this light, the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” perfectly represents the church’s cry during the Advent season:
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

As this was sung in anticipation of the coming Messiah, may we sing it with remembrance and confident expectation of Christ’s 2nd coming.

With all of that being said, I want to ask you is your heart filled with hope? Do you have a confident expectation of tomorrow? What happens when the road ahead is filled with loss and stress weighs you down? When our hope dwindles what can you do? How can you walk in hope when you feel hopeless inside?

Hope in Jesus comes from more than just a belief that he was once a baby in a manger. He is our anchor for our soul. It is something deep within that secures you through the storms of life.

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf. 6:19-20a

Giving all

We are called to love and live as Christ did. He says for us to be humble and to serve. Jesus was the ultimate reflection of those humility and service. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for a friend”. This really made me pause.

Am I willing to give all, at the highest cost, for Jesus? Is there any God fearing, bible believing Christian who would say no? When the time comes, and that day is coming, will I be strong enough to say yes?

I believe my faith is secure and that I stand on a firm foundation. I believe in Jesus Christ with all of my heart. But I have a privileged life. I live in a privileged country. I have a home, a car, a job, a wonderful family, friends, church, the freedom to worship and read my bible wherever I am. If all of that was taken from me and I had nothing, absolutely nothing, would I still stand and proclaim Christ as Lord? I think that is a question we surrendered Christians need to ask ourselves.

In the above verse, Jesus was saying to the disciples the day was coming that He would be giving His all. Would they be ready? Would they do the same for Him? If you know your Bible, you know how that went. John was the only one to stay. He was at the foot of the cross. Peter denied him. Everyone else ran away.

Isaiah 42:1a says, “This is my servant; I strengthen him, this is my chosen one; I delight in him”. In my bible I wrote “can God say that of me? Oh, that He will.” When the day comes and I stand before God, may those words be on His lips.

Lament

The holidays can be difficult, sorrowful, lonely. I hope this may help you understand that it is ok. God is there for you if only you turn to Him.

What is a lament?
It comes from the Latin word lamenta: weeping and wailing. It is a passionate expression of grief or sorrow. It is a means to express regret or disappointment over something considered unsatisfactory, unreasonable, or unfair.

The Bible is filled with laments from individuals to prophets to kings. Nehemiah 1:4 records his reaction to the devastating news that the city of Jerusalem lay in ruins. “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” He lamented for days.

Job 30:20, 26, speaks of how he has been afflicted with ever increasing suffering. “I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me..But when I hoped for good, evil came, and when I waited for light, darkness came”. Job looks at his situation and is honest about the pain he is suffering. He talks about his dashed hopes and how the only thing left to do is weep and mourn.

Psalm 88:3, 9, 14 echoes those sentiments. The psalmist writes, “For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol…Every day I call upon you, O LORD; I spread out my hands to you…O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me?”. The psalmist starts with honesty about his life. He is close to death and his soul is full of troubles. He remarks how he has reached out to God for deliverance and yet his suffering continues. He begins to question why God has allowed his suffering. Are we not the same?

Lamentations is the only book that consists solely of laments. Chapters 1 and 2 begin by expressing deep distress. Chapter 3 shifts focus. Verses 19–23: “Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” The author turns from the distress of his situation to the goodness of God. Chapter 4 contrasts the past and present while clinging to the promises of the future. Chapter 5 ends by asking for God’s intervention, “Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old” (verse 21).

God welcomes our honest emotions. He expects us to bring our anguish and distress to Him. There is no reason to hide our disappointment or sorrow from God and no reason to rush through these emotions reaching for joy too quickly. When we bring these laments before God, we align our hearts with His. God does not delight in the suffering of His people. God is not unacquainted with deep sorrow. When we lament, we join with Him in declaring these situations as not ideal. We serve a God who rejoices in doing good to His people, who grieves when suffering comes to them, and who welcomes our laments and times of healing.

Trust

Matthew 6:34 (ESV)34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. The latter part of this verse means enough of the day will have its trouble. So….

Why does he say this? Is it because He knows that regardless we will worry? He knows that our trust in Him is weak? Our desire for control over our lives is too strong? Maybe because we are designed to be with Him, in eternity instead of this world of chaos?
Are you willing to glorify God in the middle of your trial instead of finding a way out? Are you will to to love God and obey Him even if He doesn’t take it from you?

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (ESV)7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul understood what it meant to have trials and for God not to remove them from his life. He understood. He pleaded, pleaded, for God to remove it but God said, No. My grace is sufficient. See that word again, sufficient? It means enough. I AM enough for you. Trust in that. Hope.

Romans 5:2-5 (ESV)2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

1 Peter 5:10 (ESV)10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Hope. How can we get through life without hope? Do you see that above? He will HIMSELF restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. He is our hope in dark times; when darkness is surrounding you, swallowing you up, He is there. Be confident in that promise. Be confident in Christ Jesus!

Hold onto to that hope. Believe in the hope that Christ offers. Stand firm in His words that he will not forsake you. He is coming back for you. If you place your faith in Jesus, you will be with Him forever….where there are no tears, sorrow, pain, suffering…only hope.

thanks

Giving thanks in all circumstances is especially difficult when undergoing or enduring suffering. How can you be thankful when there’s something that hurts so much?
I know it is hard to see it this way, but suffering is meant to grow our faith not make it smaller.
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight in glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Focus on these word from 1 Thessalonians. Rejoice not sometimes or when you want, but always. Pray without ceasing. Never stop letting your prayers leave your lips. Give thanks in all circumstances. No matter what is going on in your life God will see you through. But you have to let Him. Give your self and give yourself to God. Stop letting the flesh keep you from living in Christ.
Rejoice, prayer and thanks exist for each other. Why? Because the source of from whom they come, Jesus.