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Why Your Story of Refuge is Powerful to Me

you matter

You Matter

 

Your story matters. It matters more than you think. It matters because without your story, I wouldn’t know that I’m not alone.

 

We conquer because of the blood of Jesus working in our lives and because of the God-stories we tell. Each time you experience refuge living, forgiveness and pardon, and blessedness, you have an opportunity to share your victory with others.

 

Silence before God grows our faith, but silence before each other stifles our growth.

 

Your Words Matter

 

We are to remember and tell of God’s faithfulness in our lives. It’s because of God’s refuge that we can sing and it’s for the benefit of other believers that we do sing.

 

I need to hear your song of God’s faithfulness. You need to hear mine. We need each other. God knows this, which is why he created community. The devil knows this too, which is why he plays with our pride.

 

Our pride keeps us from making God our refuge. And when we refuse God’s refuge, we struggle on our own, risking our deaths, and stealing victory from each other. Our pride keeps us from declaring God’s love and faithfulness in our life.

 

We are not meant to struggle on our own. We are meant to run straight to God, stand firm with our eyes fixed on him, and let him fight for us. When we refuse his help, we rob ourselves of his life-giving and life-sustaining presence.

 

Where You Hide Matters

 

It’s in his refuge that we find peace and comfort and once we know them, we are able to share that peace and comfort with with others. I need your story. I need to hear of your harrowing experiences and how God miraculously showed you grace and mercy.

 

There’s something powerful when our ears hear words declaring God’s love and faithfulness. Did you know that I’ve been told I’m just not popular enough for a literary agent? Did you know that rejection is always hard for me and that every word I speak or write becomes fuel for the devil to take cheap shots at me? I have to live in refuge with God or else I would never live at all.

 

It’s because of hiding in him, that I have the courage to keep writing words. It’s because of his refuge that I find forgiveness for my selfish ambition. I find refuge, strength and my song because He is my refuge.

 

Draw Near to God

 

He wants to be yours as well. He sees you. The Lord knows your ache, but wants you more than anything else. He cares about a relationship with you and your circumstances can drive you deeper into that relationship. Or they can draw you away from Him.

 

If we draw near to God, he draws near to us. And sometimes in this world where we’re surrounded by people, we are incredibly alone. Achingly alone. That’s why I need your story. I need to know how God ministers to your heart. The church needs you.

 

Today, will you tell someone about the benefit of making God your refuge? Would you tell someone about your struggle in making him your refuge and the peace you felt once you did? And then tell me, too? I would love to hear your refuge story.

 

Application

  • Tell someone how God provided for you in the refuge either face to face, email, or postal mail.
  • Ask to hear someone else’s story of God’s faithfulness in their lives.
  • Here’s a song for your heart: Overcome by Jeremy Camp

 

With grace,

Jessica

 

Ps. I write to encourage ordinary people to experience God’s transforming power. God’s grace isn’t bound by our past, our despair, or our shame. Broken, messed up people are welcome. If you enjoyed this article, would you consider subscribing to receive these weekly encouraging notes in your inbox? Your email is safe and your time is sacred. I count both as a gift. Thank-you!

 

 

 

 

Three Ways to Achieve Victory

victory

 

We all want to be winners. We’re hard wired to survive and scramble for top position. For some, winning comes easy and for others it never comes. Victory. I told myself it wasn’t that important. If there’s a drawing to win, I won’t. If teams are chosen, I’m last. It’s just the way it is.

 

But it is important.

 

Christ set us free for freedoms’ sake. For his sake. He didn’t set us free so we would struggle and believe the lies of defeat. Victory is important. Winning is important because God wins in the end. At the end of it all when the dust settles and the fight is over, God is triumphant.  You and I need to have winning attitudes.

 

In Christ, I am victorious. I don’t have to live defeated and it’s something I have to remind myself of everyday. You are victorious. But maybe you doubt it? Maybe you think winning is bad. We live in a world where children receive trophies for participation rather than for winning. But participation in the kingdom of God isn’t our end goal. Victory is.

 

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your mind; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV

 

Step One to Victory

The first step to victory is to put off our old selves. We’ve been given a new identity in Christ. We’ve been covered with robes of righteousness. The problem is that sometimes we still wear our ratty, smelly clothes underneath. So that stinky sock? Throw it away. That shirt that’s seen better days? Burn it. Colossians 3:8-9 has a lovely little list of stinky clothes we need to throw away: anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language, and lying. Throw them all off if you can, and if you can’t, then tackle them one by one.

 

Step Two to Victory

The second step is to be made new in the attitude of our minds. It doesn’t work to merely change our outsides. That is temporary change that burns up like dried kindling when under pressure. Lasting change happens when our minds are changed: specifically the attitude of our minds. An attitude is a tendency or orientation of the mind. So if you’re trying to put off swearing, but you’re still thinking it, eventually it will slip to the surface. If you’re acting cordial to someone, but in your mind you’re thinking the worst of the person, it will be made known. Our attitudes must be renewed and the power of Christ does that for us.

 

Step Three to Victory

The third step is to put on the new self. The gift of righteousness is given to us through Jesus Christ and God sees us as righteous, but in order to love people as he commanded, we must put on righteousness so others can see God in us. Colossians 3:12-14 gives us a list of our new clothes: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and love. Once we’ve exchanged unkindness for kindness, throwing kindness around like confetti becomes easier. Loving others becomes a reflection of selflessness.

 

We achieve victory in this life when we put off our old selves, have our attitudes in our minds renewed, and when we put on the new self. It won’t matter if you’re chosen for the team or you win a contest or if you’re the slowest runner in the race. It won’t matter because you know that in God’s eyes your life victory is assured and everything else is merely a training ground for you to learn to walk in that victory.

The Secret to Rest and Hiding in Him

hiding place

“You are my hiding place, you will protect me from trouble, you surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7

 

My everyday life is not calm, quiet, or still. It’s messy and noisy and involves many people. In my everyday life I’m a tired worn out mess. In my everyday life I end up on auto pilot and struggle to remember what I did the day before yesterday and even sometimes two hours ago.

 

I love the picture this verse paints—a hiding place, hidden from my troubles and surrounded by songs. Maybe it looks something like a water front cabin tucked into the woods of the northwest. Or maybe it’s a private island with white sand as far as the eye can see. Or maybe it’s a hidden nook in a secret garden with the scent of flowers wafting around.

 

How in the world do I tuck myself into Jesus while at the same time reaching out and ministering to my family, my church, and my community? Practically speaking, literally hiding is out of the question as is a weekend of solitude in my fantasy cabin. There are too many things that require my attention and time. So how does this verse apply to our lives?

 

He is my hiding place.

 

We live on two planes: spirit and physical. The soul—our mind, will, and emotions— is the tie between our spirit and our physical selves. What are my thoughts? What choices am I making? How am I feeling? These components need to be brought into obedience to Christ. We must live aware of our thoughts and how our thoughts lead to actions.

 

He protects me from trouble.

 

The fight between lies and truth take place in the battlefield of my mind and the renegade thoughts disrupt the peace of God in my heart. I bring trouble on myself through my choices and thoughts. So I tell myself: Think about Christ. Think about his love and promises. Practice living peace, joy, love, patience, goodness, self-control, kindness. Live aware.

 

He surrounds me with songs of deliverance.

 

Ah such hope! He is my hiding place, my protector and songs of deliverance soothe my anxious heart. Do you need deliverance from anxiety? Does fear overtake you? Do you question the sovereignty of God? God—our great creator who holds everything—including you and me in his hands, sings songs over us.

 

Hiding places make me think of quiet, dark, isolated places, but this verse reveals something different. I’m not alone in this hiding place. And it’s not dark. God is light and in him there is no darkness. Imagine his hiding place filled with the most wonderful and warm light and songs fill the air around you.

 

When you enter into his hiding place you leave the dark world that threatens your peace and experience the light of his presence. And His hiding place is spacious, light-filled rest. You might be facing a challenging job or boss. Maybe your children are driving you to distraction. You might be staring down a health crisis.

 

The hiding place is not there so you can hide from life—but so that you can find a way through life. Click To Tweet

 

The hiding place is not there so you can hide from life—but so that you can find a way through life. It’s when we hide ourselves in Christ that we are strengthened because he takes our weakness and turns it into strength. Troubles threaten our comfort level, but when we find ourselves tucked into the light of God then our heart is kept safe. And it’s in the hiding place that God reveals his deliverance. He will reveal a way through.

 

God loves you. He cares for you. He provides safety and peace while you live the journey he’s set before you.

 

Will you step into the spacious, light-filled rest of Jesus? Will you quiet your soul so you can hear the songs of deliverance?

 

Here are a few quick ideas to help you hide in the Light:
  1. Spend time in Psalms: some of my favorites are Psalm 84, 103, or 144
  2. Play your favorite worship song and sit quietly before the Lord.
  3. Linger over a sunrise or sunset.
  4. Take a walk and marvel at God’s creation.

 

Let me know how it goes?

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