The Trouble with Trouble

by Terri Gillespie

When my troubling thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations comfort my soul. Psalm 94:19 TLV

Okay, I admit it. I’m a closet Trekkie. Now, I don’t have Vulcan ears or anything. Yet. Growing up with the original Star Trek was delicious, it fed my vivid imagination.

One of my favorite episodes of the original Star Trek show was, The Trouble with Tribbles. If you’re one of a handful of souls in this world who have not watched the 1960s’ series, here’s a brief recap.

To protect a space station with a vital grain shipment, Capt. Kirk must deal with Federation bureaucrats, Klingons [they’re bad guys], and a peddler who sells furry, purring, hungry little creatures as pets.

The fuzzy pets are called Tribbles and seem to have a calming effect on the crew—but the creatures hate the Klingons. Tribbles physiology is such that once they eat, they reproduce. It doesn’t take long before the ship is overrun with these furballs.

Just in case you haven’t watched the show and might want to—it’s free on YouTube—I won’t spoil the end. Most likely, the writer of this fun episode and I live in our heads. It’s helpful as an author but can be detrimental to my emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Do you know what I mean?

Today’s verse defines me a little too accurately. If left unchecked, my troubling thoughts will multiply like the Tribbles. Sometimes, I will talk out a concern and discover it isn’t as bad as I first thought. Other times, I’ll try to ignore it only to have it resurface unexpectedly and cause me to stumble.

The most effective way to keep my troubling thoughts from growing and mutating inside my mind and imagination is to simply seek His counsel. His comfort.

I say it’s simple, but it’s anything but easy. Why? Probably because we think we can or should be able to figure out everything. Our trouble may seem small and manageable. We might even think, this isn’t our problem, someone else should deal with it.

The more we “feed” the problem with our own solutions, or pass the blame to others, the more problems we will create, until one day, what could have been resolved simply has now overrun our thoughts and emotions. The more emotions, the more offense builds.

A few weeks ago, troubles had multiplied in my mind. My peace was gone, thereby shortening the fuse to my anger, which caused blowups nearly every day. Finally, I came across Psalm 94:19 and realized, “I’m feeding these troubles and they’re reproducing like Tribbles.” Which made me laugh. The first time in days. I was overdue to seek my Heavenly Father.

Did that resolve everything? Nah. But it did trim back the excess troubles that weren’t real. Without all my emotions, I could hear the LORD better and work through the problem.

So, should we go to our Heavenly Father for every little thing? Maybe. Little troubles can multiply quickly without His wisdom and discernment.

Besides, with our Father, coming to Him is no Tribble at all.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA)..

About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus.

Terri’s newly released book, Sweet Rivalry, is the story of twins separated by a troubled mother. One twin is lovingly raised by her grandmother who owns a small-town bakery. The other sister is raised by an addict mother. They discover one another through a televised baking competition. But will rivalry break them apart? The third and final book in the Hair Mavens series, Really Bad Hair Day, is a whirlwind of changes for the mavens—marriage, love, danger, loss, and redemption. The Hair Mavens series is a modern-day Ruth and Naomi story set in a hair salon.

Join the conversation: With what little things are you struggling today?

The Moment of Revelation

by Terri Gillespie

“Yet even now”—it is a declaration of Adonai—”turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping and lamenting.” Joel 2:12 TLV

Have you ever dressed or put on your makeup in the dark or without a mirror? We think because we know ourselves so well, we might need a bit of adjusting in the light of day, but all in all we’ll be fine. But take it from me, after over sixty years of knowing my body, without that magnifying mirror and bright lights, I would be a mess.

That’s a lot like sin.

In today’s verse, God tells us to turn to Him with all our heart.

The term “Day of the LORD” is sprinkled freely throughout Joel. This phrase can mean two things. One is the day of judgment.

Blow the shofar in Zion! Sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all living in the land tremble—for the day of Adonai is coming—surely it is near! Joel 2:1 TLV (emphasis mine)

The other type of “Day of the LORD” is the day of repentance and redemption and GOD’s restoration.

I shall restore to you the years that the locust, the swarming locust, the canker-worm and the caterpillar have eaten— My great army that I sent among you. You will surely eat and be satisfied and praise the Name of Adonai your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you. Joel 2:25-2 TLV

Judgment, repentance, redemption, and restoration.

Because of His love, our Heavenly Father longed for our redemption before He spoke the world into existence. He gave His only Son up as a sacrifice, not so we could do what we wanted as His redeemed children, but so that we would heed the declaration of Adonai and turn to Him. It’s a clarion to His people.

So, what in the world does getting dressed and putting on makeup in the dark or without a mirror have to do with the Day of the LORD? It’s this: when we turn away from the LORD, even for a second, we’re in the dark trying to live a life while veiled. Everything we think we’re doing accurately is, in reality, a mess.

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the LORD is the Spirit and where the Ruach Adonai [Spirit of the LORD] is, there is freedom. But we all, with unveiled faces beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory—just as from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 TLV

Once we looked in the mirror in the light, we realize just how off we are. Even when we think we’re unredeemable, especially at that moment of revelation, we can turn to Him in repentance and have the veil lifted. With His forgiveness, we can stand before Him blameless.

“ … so that in the Day of Messiah you may be sincere and blameless, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Yeshua the Messiah, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:10b-11 TLV

If you’ve stepped away from the LORD, simply turn back. Our Father is right there like the father of the prodigal son (Luke 15). Our Father will run to us. He will run to us with joy.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year. http://www.authorterrigillespie.com

The third and final book in the Hair Mavens series, Really Bad Hair Day, is a whirlwind of changes for the mavens—marriage, love, danger, loss, and redemption. The Hair Mavens: modern-day Ruth and Naomi stories set in a hair salon.

Join the conversation: Have you ever been surprised by walking into the light?

The Master Builder

by Terri Gillespie

A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.
Unless Adonai builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless Adonai watches over the city, the watchman stands guard in vain. Psalm 127:1 TLV

A Song of Ascents (vs. 1). There are fifteen psalms written as Songs of Ascent. Many scholars believe these were psalms sung by Jewish pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem or possibly while ascending Mount Zion or the steps of the Temple. It was a way to both worship and ponder different themes as they approached the Most High God.

Psalm 127 was about family. Children. Building a home. King Solomon writes that unless GOD builds the house—our “house of God”, our families—we labor in vain.

As the daughter of a contractor, I grew up loving the aroma of freshly sawed wood. Four of our homes were built from the ground up. One we finished ourselves, including standing on the joists of a two-story deck as hubby nailed in the 2x4s. I understand the importance of integrity, good materials, and patience.

Once my husband and I began building homes, my father cautioned us to visit the construction site every day, because no matter how good a contractor’s reputation was, his laborers weren’t always as honorable.

When I pulled up to the job site, depending upon who was present, I could practically feel the grumbles and curses before I exited the vehicle. Once inside, thanks to my father, I knew where to look for problems and the questions to ask. I was able to catch those problems, but the ones that happened when I wasn’t there, well …

Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the [Holy Spirit] who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 TLV

Yes, each of us is a “temple of the Holy Spirit”. That means our “building” has an on-site “contractor” living inside us, 24/7.

As we labor within this temple, we will make hundreds of choices each day. Will we use inferior materials, or the best GOD has made available to us? Will we cut corners and try to take shortcuts, or will we follow the blueprints GOD has made for us? Just know, the Holy Spirit sees all.

The primary choice we have is to build our temple on a solid foundation with Yeshua as the cornerstone (Acts 4:11). Otherwise, we labor in vain.

Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear. For the Day will show it, because it is to be revealed by fire; and the fire itself will test each one’s work—what sort it is. 1 Corinthians 3:12-13, TLV

Let’s follow our Contractor and build the best temple we can, for there resides all we do in His Name.

Father, I want to follow Your blueprint and build upon Your Foundation with what will withstand the test of fire. Gold, silver, and precious stones—not wood, hay, and straw. Thank You for our “Contractor” who oversees our behavior and guides us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA)..

About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year. http://www.authorterrigillespie.com.

The third and final book in the Hair Mavens series, Really Bad Hair Day, is a whirlwind of changes for the mavens—marriage, love, danger, loss, and redemption. The Hair Mavens: modern-day Ruth and Naomi stories set in a hair salon.

Join the conversation: have you ever tried to “cut corners” around God’s plan?

Mann Tracht, und Gott Lacht

by Terri Gillespie

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1 TLV

“What a difference a day makes.” So the saying goes. Our future may appear one way as we lay down to sleep and completely change when we open our eyes.

I remember waking up one morning to the call that my younger sister had suddenly died. The day before she had left a voice message for me. One I had yet to listen to. Four years later, I still listen to that message I saved.

Our eternity is guaranteed, but our expectations in this life … probably not. Being ten years older than my sister, I had expected to go on to eternity before her. That didn’t happen. As much as we try to control our lives, ultimately, we are not the lords of our season on this earth. We are the stewards of what is given to us.

Does that mean we shouldn’t make plans? Of course not. Most of us have a multitude of responsibilities. Plans help us with the dental appointments, deadlines, job interviews, kids’ clarinet lessons, grocery lists, and so forth.

What we need to remember is to hold those plans lightly. The dentist may call and reschedule. One of the kids get sick, so forget making it to that job interview. Well, you get the idea.

There’s an old Yiddish adage: “Mann tracht, und Gott lacht.” Which means: “Man Plans, and God Laughs.”

So, when our plans inevitably go awry, we need to set our heart and mind to trust that our Heavenly Father has the real plan. Our best plan is to pray and praise through our disappointments and fears as best we can (and I’m talking to ME, especially), then take the next step in front of us.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” James 4:13-15 TLV

Perhaps we should incorporate more “Lord willings” into how we plan and how we communicate with others. And remembering as well, that our Father holds our life and the number of the days until we’re with Him. As in He can’t wait until we’re home.

“So teach us to number our days, so that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 TLV). Indeed, ultimately, we all want His will in all we do.

And that’s the best plan of all. May we trust in GOD’s will and His plans for us, my friends.

About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year. http://www.authorterrigillespie.com.

The third and final book in the Hair Mavens series, Really Bad Hair Day, is a whirlwind of changes for the mavens—marriage, love, danger, loss, and redemption. The Hair Mavens: modern-day Ruth and Naomi stories set in a hair salon.

Join the conversation: When has God changed your plans?

Troubled Heart?

by Terri Gillespie

Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. John 14:1 TLV

Keep your heart from being troubled? No small task, is it? Because sometimes life smacks you in the face, and there it is, your reality, and the reality is heartbreaking.

My husband and I walked into our daughter’s room and found the note—and her Chihuahua, Paco. The note simply said: I can’t stay. No mention where she would be or how to contact her. Nothing about whether or not she would be back for little Paco, who was so devastated, he went on a hunger strike.

This was our only child. The daughter we had prayed for since before she was born. How could this be? Our expectations were not for her to disappear with no clue as to where she was. For months there was no word from her. Based on her dangerous lifestyle, we didn’t know if she was even alive.

In the verse above, Yeshua (Jesus) is preparing His followers for His death and eventual departure from this world. Based on the comments and questions from the disciples, they were troubled to hear those words.

It appears they had certain expectations of Yeshua, and leaving wasn’t part of those expectations. Their expectations of Jesus were more that He would conquer their oppressors! Or that He would give them favor by showing them His Dad. How did Jesus not pull out His hair in frustration?

One of my wise friends gave me the advice, “Hold things lightly.” Perhaps, I will add to that wise counsel: “Hold expectations lightly.”

We may confuse faith with expectations, thinking that if we have enough faith, God will come through and do what we expect. I am not seeing that notion proved in Scripture. While it is scriptural that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), faith is not about our expectations. It’s not about us at all. Our faith centers in God and His plans.

And He pulled back about a stone’s throw from them, got on His knees, and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:41-42 TLV, emphasis mine). Whatever we pray for, whatever we hope for, it should be with the understanding: in the end we ultimately want God’s will, not our will, to be done. Just like His Son prayed. Just like He taught us to pray (Matthew 6:10).

Eventually, our daughter telephoned us to let us know she was alive and well. Then, finally, she returned home.

Today, she has a son of her own. And from time to time, as she deals with her own teenager, she marvels at our love for her when she was in her most unlovable state. Hearing that from my daughter, well, that’s more than I ever expected.

Do we tend to pray with inflexible expectations? Try to tell God what to do? Always remember: God has a plan and His will, it will be done. And how could we ever be troubled when God’s will is done?

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year.

The third and final book in the Hair Mavens series, Really Bad Hair Day, is a whirlwind of changes for the mavens—including marriage, love, danger, loss, and redemption. The Hair Mavens is a modern-day Ruth and Naomi series set in a modern day hair salon.

Join the conversation: How hard do you hold on to expectations?

Embarrassed Emissaries?

by Terri Gillespie

Peter, an emissary of Messiah Yeshua: To the sojourners of the Diaspora in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia—chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, set apart by the Ruach [Spirit] for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Yeshua the Messiah: May grace and shalom be multiplied to you. 1 Peter 1:1-2 TLV

Who was Peter writing to in his first epistle? Eusebius, a historian from the fourth century, believed that the letter was addressed to the Jewish people living in exile in the region of Turkey, as well as the non-Jewish believers.

It was diplomatic of the apostle to call his readers, “sojourners.” Identifying them as temporary dwellers in these pagan countries when most of these families had lived among pagans for generations, was kind.

Initially, Jewish families were most likely forced into exile, but over time—for whatever reason—they chose to remain outside the Land of Promise, Israel. Were these “sojourners of the Diaspora,” those who had heard Peter’s powerful message that momentous Shavuot (Pentecost) after Jesus’s ascension (Acts 2)? Indeed, Peter’s recipients may have been those who experienced the spiritual birth while in Jerusalem celebrating Pentecost. They then traveled back home to the diaspora—back to the countries of their exile.

Did these new believers begin sharing the Good News to their Gentile neighbors? Sharing that their long-awaited Jewish Messiah was their Savior, too? Imagine!

Luke does write that the apostles and disciples were teaching emissaries (Acts 2:42). Perhaps a few of the “sojourners” stayed behind to be taught. Whether they arrived home as trained or just enthusiastic emissaries, I am thinking that those new believers, were the first to go out to the nations. The first to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20).

Those living among the heathen, the Gentiles had for centuries been frowned upon by their Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel. Do you think these faithful followers of Torah might have felt a certain amount of embarrassment to not be living in the Land of Promise? To be living among the “pagans?” Honestly, I probably would have.

Yet, they still made the journey up to Jerusalem for the designated pilgrim festivals (Passover, Shavuot (Pentecost), and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) Deuteronomy 16:16) as required by the Law. Then, made the long journey back to a pagan country.

But now, living among the Gentiles of the nations had purpose. They could share the Good News that Messiah had come. First to their Jewish brothers and sisters (Romans 1:16), then to their Gentile neighbors. People they had known for years. For such a time as this.

These neighbors would see the change in their Jewish friends and colleagues.

These new believers would know how to talk to their neighbors about this new revelation that the Jewish Messiah wasn’t just the Jewish Savior but for the world, too. They would be effective light and salt.

What is our takeaway from their story?

Are we embarrassed by our circumstances? So embarrassed we don’t believe we can be an effective emissary for God? We’ve been faithful to the Lord, but people may look down on us because of our situation.

Are we in a place we wish we weren’t? A city we don’t like? A neighborhood? A school? A family? No family? Are we in a job we don’t love? In prison? Divorced?

Any place we wish we weren’t?

Maybe, just maybe, we are here for a purpose. An important purpose. And perhaps the set time has come for that purpose.

Are you ready to be a bold emissary—chosen and filled with God’s Spirit? Then, let’s do it!

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and beloved speaker Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year. 

Really Bad Hair Day (The Hair Mavens Book 3) by [Terri Gillespie, Sandra Barron]

Terri’s third and final book in the Hair Mavens series, Really Bad Hair Day, is a whirlwind of changes for the mavens—marriage, love, danger, loss, and redemption. The Hair Mavens series are modern-day Ruth and Naomi stories set in a hair salon.

Join the conversation: Is your situation an embarrassment to you?

Wholly Forgiven

by Terri Gillespie

But Yeshua was saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Then they cast lots, dividing up His clothing. Luke 23:34 TLV

I waited patiently as the van backed out from the parking space. Since it was a large vehicle, I gave them plenty of room. My blinker on, I chuckled as they struggled to finally vacate the spot—I totally identified with the battle.

Just as I put my car in drive, another car appeared from nowhere and zipped into the space. They had exited their vehicle before I even thought to honk my displeasure.

Anyone remember the scene from Fried Green Tomatoes? Well, it sure flashed in my mind. Don’t think I didn’t entertain the idea of ramming my SUV into their car’s cute little behind—multiple times.

Sigh. Fortunately, I didn’t.

I found another space a few spots away, but that wasn’t the point. They were rude and inconsiderate. How could they do that to me?

Did I forgive them? Honestly, I didn’t think about it. I was too occupied with being indignant.

So, when I read today’s verse, I thought of all those occasions where I was offended or wronged or unjustly accused. How long did it take me to realize I needed to forgive those folks? Then, I thought about the weight and responsibility of forgiveness.

Can we fully comprehend the cost of forgiveness? We struggle with forgiving because we want to judge and punish or wait until the other person knows how wrong they were or apologized to us first.

Think about the cost of forgiveness for Jesus. He could have supernaturally stopped the torture. He could have rained down fire and brimstone on those meting out the wrongful judgment.

He could have risen off the cross and said, “Do you know Who I am?” –and I mean physically lift off the cross—exploding each nail.

Only by remembering these things can we understand the strength and love that it took for our Messiah to forgive at that moment. “No one has greater love than this: that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 TLV

We may not be able to understand the depth of our Messiah’s love and sacrifice and forgiveness, but we can learn from it.

The practical applications of forgiveness begin at home with our family, at work with those we work for and with. It begins in the parking lot when someone “steals” our parking spot or cuts us off. Or when someone brings 19 items into the 10-item checkout line.

Every day we have a choice to forgive those who have no idea what they have done—or don’t care—and who we are. Every. Single. Day.

Remember what Yeshua did for us and do likewise in awe and gratitude. Even if someone steals that prime parking space.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and beloved speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year. http://www.authorterrigillespie.com

The third and final book in the Hair Mavens series, Really Bad Hair Day, is a whirlwind of changes for the mavens—marriage, love, danger, loss, and redemption. The Hair Mavens: modern-day Ruth and Naomi stories set in a hair salon.

Join the conversation: What do you find hard to forgive?

A Taste of Eternal

by Terri Gillespie

Fight the good fight of faith! Take hold of the eternal life—you were called to it, and you made the good confession for it in the presence of many witnesses.  1 Timothy 6:12 TLV

Wow. I love that. Take hold of the eternal life.

There is something profound in Paul’s instructions to his spiritual son. Is that even possible—to take hold of the eternal?

When I was in third grade, I sassed my teacher and was spanked with the paddle. I was convinced my life was ruined. That it was the end of the world. I had no idea years later that this very teacher and I would laugh about it.

When I was in high school, the most important thing was to have a date for the prom. Any date. Well, I secured a date for the prom, but I also had a date the day before the prom with another guy who would one day become my husband.

If we think about what concerned us when we were younger, as opposed to today, we understand just a tiny bit of the eternal perspective. What controls our thoughts and emotions today may have no relevance tomorrow. What keeps us fearful today, we may laugh about in the future.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Ruach [Spirit] set their minds on the things of the Ruach. For the mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the Ruach is life and shalom [peace]. Romans 8:5-6, TLV

Perhaps taking hold of the eternal life is to keep a holy perspective: the things that are of God—of the Spirit.

So, when concerns control our thoughts and feelings, go back to the eternal. To what that we made good confession. That God loved us so much, He sent His Son to die for us.

That’s a good place to begin, don’t you think? Knowing we have His love makes fighting the good fight easier. Yes?

Father, sometimes we think that today is the eternal, when it is simply today. The eternal lies with You. Keeping our mind on the eternal—our mind on You—is where we want to be. Help us to make good confession of that when we become tangled in the temporal. Thanks for Your patience and love, in Jesus Name. Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and beloved speaker Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year. 

The third and final book in the Hair Mavens series, Really Bad Hair Day, is a whirlwind of changes for the mavens—marriage, love, danger, loss, and redemption. The Hair Mavens is a modern-day Ruth and Naomi story set in a hair salon.

Join the conversation: How do you keep an eternal perspective?

Not My Nature

by Terri Gillespie

Blessed is the one who trusts in Adonai [the LORD], whose confidence is in Adonai. Jeremiah 17:7 TLV

There are those folks who are so confident in the LORD that no matter what happens, they know they will be alright. I have met a few of these souls and I’m both awed and convicted by their testimonies.

Why? Because I am not one of those blessed souls. At least, not by nature. When I’m caught off-guard by a trial or tribulation or testing, my nature is to fear. That default reaction of fear is caused from experiences in my past—scary things that happened to me and others.

If a problem arises, my nature is to seek ways to solve it myself rather than go to the LORD first. That first inclination stems from being so long accustomed to fending for myself.

When God asks me to do something, my nature is to either say that I can’t, or sadly, that I won’t. Or I attempt the request on my own without His guidance. That is my nature.

But that is not the truth of who I am as a child of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And it is not where I am confined to remain.

“Now what do you think? “A man had two sons, and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go work in the vineyard today.’

The son answered, ‘I won’t,’ but afterward he had a change of heart and went.

The man went to the second son and said the same thing. But he answered, ‘I will, sir,’ And didn’t go.

Which of the two did the will of the father?”

“The first,” they [the ruling priests and elders] said.

Matthew 21:28-31 TLV

In this parable, Jesus recognizes our nature. Especially those of us with a past—sinful and broken. The first son’s response when asked to work in the vineyard, was, “No way.” But then later, he rethinks that default response and does what his father asks of him.

So, I have a choice. I can follow my nature, or I can stop, turn around and follow the truth. The truth that The Creator of the Universe, who went out of His way to make me His child by sacrificing His Son, loves me.

And when He asks me to trust Him that no matter what comes my way, I am still loved. That means, I must still act like His kid—not some wild person who follows their fears and emotions.

It’s a no brainer, right? Yet still I struggle.

That’s why I read and meditate and post passages of faith and truth that remind me each day, to be confident in this mighty, loving God who knows me. So that I can discern the difference between my nature’s lie and His truth. I know that even a mustard seed of faith and trust can move that mountain of fear or anger or anything that seeks to separate me from His love through Messiah Yeshua.

If my journey helps others, then I am doubly blessed.

Heavenly Father, May nature may say, “no,” but my nature lies. I chose to follow Your truth. Even if it takes me a while to get there. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and beloved speaker Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year. 

Join the conversation: What’s your nature?

Really? Boundaries?

by Terri Gillespie

Now this I pray, that your love might overflow still more and more in knowledge and depth of discernment, in order to approve what is excellent—so that in the Day of Messiah you may be sincere and blameless . . . Philippians 1:9-10, TLV

If you hear the sound of knocking and you can’t identify its source, then it’s probably me, banging my head against the wall. Because it happened again.

I meant well. She needed help and no one else seemed to want to help. Little did I know, there was a reason for that.

So, I jumped in and helped. Then I helped again. And again. And again. The more I helped, the more the need seemed to flourish. Was I actually feeding the need?

Wait. Was I being taken advantage of?

As I sat at my mentor’s kitchen table, head in my hands, that revelation was confirmed. Why hadn’t anyone warned me? Perhaps, she said, because I did not ask.

I write a lot of blogs on the importance of love. As children of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. I refer to this passage a lot. This is a balanced and wise approach to love.

For the past few months, I have focused on the importance of love. How we are to respond in love when others behave badly, especially these days where division and chaos have separated family and friends and communities—and well, let’s face it—our nation.

But I have also discussed boundaries. If the apostle Paul were here today, he might use the term boundary to the Philippians. Qualifying only the love that came with the understanding of thousands of years’ worth of understanding and living wisdom.

When we employ the tools of wisdom, which include discernment and knowledge to our expressions of love, we do not accept sin. We understand that we must forgive, as our Father forgives us.

Our pursuit of reconciliation may mean pulling away from someone because continued contact is harmful to us or our loved ones — maybe even to them.

“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has demanded to sift you all like wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22: 31-32 TLV

Sometimes God must sift a soul. As difficult as it is to watch, we must allow them to experience the full weight of their sinful heart for them to be set free. Interfering with God’s process with an uninformed expression of love, is not only detrimental to that person’s process, but also prideful. You know what it is like? It is like saying, “Okay God, I’ll take care of this situation now. Clearly You don’t know what You’re doing.”

Like Peter’s betrayal and Paul’s persecution of the believers, we may need to love from afar via forgiveness and prayer. Love with knowledge and discernment so that we aren’t guilty of interfering with God’s purpose for that soul. And should the day arrive that reconciliation is possible, we will be ready to offer the love that ministers healing.

If you find you have been knocking your head against a wall in frustration over helping others, seek the Lord. Perhaps a little wisdom needs to be applied with that love.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and beloved speaker Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year. 

Join the conversation: Do you struggle to set boundaries in relationships?