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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons

It’s Tuesday

Happy Tuesday! I am writing the last paper for my Apologetics class today so this will be a short post, aren’t you glad 🙂 The assigned topic for the paper is to create a case for a friend who does not faith in Jesus and does not believe in miracles or the resurrection. The prompt includes some tips such as not using Bible quotes (because my intended audience does not believe in the Bible) so only use quotes from it when it helps with the argument for the historicity off the resurrection. I am going to put a plug in for prayer for me on this one. I have to cite at least five scholarly sources other than our class text. I am glad to do it but the research always takes the most time.

How are you doing this Tuesday, dear reader friend? I am struggling a bit mentally as I get through the first part of the day, some of it hormones – some of it the effects of a recent bout with insomnia – all of it, just being stuck in my own head (bordering on “obsessive introspection” as I recently learned about in Priscilla Shirer’s Elijah Bible Study called “Faith and Fire”). I hope you’re leaning into the truth about you and your purpose because that’s what I need to do right now so I will share these truths:

  1. You and I are created in the image of God. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yV0pu60Uqs
  2. He is faithful to complete the work He has started in us. It’s not dependent on us. He is faithful even when we are faithless. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nb9FMg8GFoc
  3. Look up, Child. We can focus on Jesus. He is our Friend. We are His. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N90b4O3B-kY
  4. No matter what, He is good and His mercy endures forever. Praise Him! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KiQDoWo5t

I hope you listen to these songs and praise the God who is in control of everything. I hope we can be vessels for His goodness today no matter what is thrown at us. We have an assignment today and that is to know God’s love and to make His love known. Don’t believe the hype. Believe God.

Believing with you,

Sonia

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Becoming More Acquainted

Each day I get more acquainted with my God and, unfortunately & fortunately, more acquainted with myself and my shortcomings which is why this Monday October 11 blog post is about GRACE.

I am intrigued with famous last words. Winston Churchill stated, “I’m bored with it all.” Humphrey Bogart said, “I should have never switched from Scotch to martinis.”

In looking at the Bible and the last written words from Paul in 2 Timothy he states, “The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:22

The last verse of the Bible: Revelation 22:21, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

So, this theme of grace has been floating around me, filling my mind, convicting me, encouraging me, bringing to my mind answers and questions. So how do we do this, the grace filled life? In the middle of a flipped upside down and inside out world, estranged relationships, political chaos, frightening world events…how do we do this?

I heard this in church a few years back, “The amount of grace you give is in direct proportion to the amount of grace you allow yourself to receive from God.” There’s a clue to the equation! We have to recognize our need – our desperate, constant need for grace. If we don’t see that part, the part where we need His grace all the time, then we won’t give it. We can’t give out what we don’t possess. We end up in a graceless existence, harsh and cold, unforgiving and unloving.

As I am typing I am reminded of this verse: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Heavy, heavy, heavy truth. That verse is eye-opening! We need grace! I wish I could have a megaphone in my car and ride around shouting that we need the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ every minute, every day! I get it wrong so many times. I need His grace! But I don’t need a megaphone. You don’t need a megaphone. We just need to live it out, humbly recognizing our need for grace and then taking those opportunities to give grace.

Maybe sometimes grace looks like letting go of the shame and allowing God’s forgiveness to set you right. Maybe it looks like letting someone off the hook and softening towards them. Maybe it looks like letting go of the unrealistic expectations and loosening your control. Maybe it looks like forgiving someone else’s wrongdoing against you and letting God sort out the rest. Maybe it looks like saying sorry first. Maybe it looks like letting them say sorry to you.

Maybe it looks like an honest inventory of your life to see where you’ve been living in light of His grace. That’s how it looks for me right now. Honest inventory. And if God has me looking at what the last verse of the Bible says, then I’d better take note, sit up, listen and get to stepping in that direction.

So each day I get more acquainted with my God and thankfully more acquainted with my flesh and in turn, more acquainted with HIS GRACE. Humbling equation but life-saving, life-giving equation.

The only way to live this equation out is to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you have never put your faith in the Lord, let today be the day: click here to pray

I have to wrap this up now and log in for school. Please forgive me for my long winded blog post today. I haven’t written anything other than school papers for a while and obviously I am rusty and wordy. Thank you for your grace. May we live and move and breathe in His grace. May we be ambassadors of His grace today.

With all my heart,

Sonia

P.S. This song is for you, Mario. Thank you for sharing it with me. I love you!

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Encouragement for Women Run Your Race Uncategorized

Dream Horse Movie

Ok Wednesday, we see you! Good morning! Here is a short post to encourage you to watch the movie, “Dream Horse.” It is rich with beautiful truths and the best part is – it’s a true story.

I haven’t checked Rotten Tomatoes or any other reviews of this movie, but I don’t care. Okay, I admit I just did and look! Yay, they got it right!!

89% TOMATOMETER and 97% AUDIENCE SCORE

I love all the character stories in this movie, but the main character, Jan Vokes, truly inspires me – especially at this point in my life. I will turn 47 in less than a month and have had some big changes this year and have even more big decisions ahead of me so this movie gave me a glimpse at what living out your dream looks like. I needed to see this now.

It is easy to choose the comfortable, familiar and predictable. People would probably look on and say that is reasonable and understandable, but when I started my walk as a Christian I didn’t sign up for safe or predictable. I said yes to life, the life that He created me to live so I have to be brave and wise in my choices, uncomfortable in the unknown and patient in the process. I don’t want this year to just pass me by. I want to live it to the fullest letting God take my hand – pointing to sunrises, broken paths, sunsets, rainbows, valleys, scary roads, and butterflies all along the way. My life is supposed to wave His banner of miracles and so is yours. Our stories are to point to Him, to impossible possibles, so my prayer today is to live that dream because it is a reality. He made it so.

Please listen to this song called Jireh that says we are already loved, we are already chosen. Like the movie says, “Be brave. Be brilliant. You were born for this.”

With all my heart,

Sonia

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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons Uncategorized

Oh, But the Joy!

How are you doing right now? I ask because it is 6:42am, and I woke up with a barrage of junk (when I say junk, I mean JUNK) rolling around in my mind. The theme in my brain this morning, failure. My failures. It was like a video montage of past mistakes, failed relationships, heartbreaks and unfulfilled dreams. Nice, right!? I cried as I journaled my thoughts and prayers. By God’s grace, I had two verses right in front of my face as I was writing that cast light on those thoughts to overshadow them with truth. These are the verses:

With God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I don’t ever want to write all my victories or all my struggles. I want to write the real life ebb and flow, ups and downs that happen so that anyone reading this knows that it is normal to have all kinds of internal and external battles and you win some and you lose some, but in it all God is faithful.

So this morning I don’t need to reminded of who I am in my worst state or how scary or how messed up a certain situation is, I need to be reminded of who God is and how much He loves me because at the end of the day, that is the only truth that matters. This, this here is what I need to be reminded of:

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever! Psalm 30:11-12 NLT

This morning, as I type, I know I have a choice to either be buried by thoughts of my limitations or I can apprehend the power of God in my weaknesses. I can push aside the thoughts that nothing will ever change and lean into the change by way of what He has spoken over me in all these verses and in my heart and mind these last eleven years of my life as a Christian. He specifically gave me the following words in my heart the first year I started living my life for Him: “I have anointed you for service and you will suffer, Oh! But The Joy!” Now I understand, if you don’t have a relationship with the Lord, this is all going to seem weird and strange, but if you do, you know what I am talking about.

Speak this out loud this morning, look in the mirror or go outside and look up at the sky and say these words right to Him:

“You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.” Psalm 18:35 NKJV

His gentleness has made us great so let’s be gentle with ourselves today! Have a beautiful rest of the day not believing the hype and walking only in His truth.

With all my heart,

Sonia

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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons

The Honey Badger and The Bear

Happy Monday morning! I hope you all had a great, full weekend. I’m coming off of a busy one, but it was chock-full of all the good things. Mario worked the majority of the weekend so I was holding down the fort and attending Saturday celebrations all by myself. Thankfully we had a window to attend church yesterday morning and guess what the teaching was on?! The Blessing of Marriage 🙂

At the beginning of the service they did a little game with a few couples they brought on stage called the, Not So Newlywed Game. One of the questions they had to answer was what animal would your spouse say they are most like. Mario and I played along and got it right. He would pick the bear, and I would pick the honey badger.

Here are some characteristics of the bear from https://onekindplanet.org/animal/bear/

Amazing Facts About the Bear

  • Bears are extraordinarily intelligent animals. They have far superior navigation skills to humans; excellent memories; large brain to body ratio; and use tools in various contexts from play to hunting.
  • Bears grieve deeply for others. Cubs are known to moan and cry when separated from their mothers.  This can go on for weeks if their mothers are killed by hunters.
  • Bears have excellent senses of smell, sight and hearing. They can smell food, cubs, a mate or predators from miles away. Their great eyesight allows them to detect when fruits are ripe.
  • Some species of Asiatic bear build nests in the trees. They can use these for hiding, eating and even sleeping.
  • Bears care deeply about family members. They will risk their lives and even fight to the death in order to save a cub or sibling from danger.

I have always called Mario “My Bear” because he gives such good hugs and the facts about bears above do describe his personality especially how he cares deeply about his family and his protective nature. I love him for this and so much more.

Here’s a little fun fact about honey badgers from https://facts.net/nature/animals/honey-badger-facts/

Honey badgers do not back down.

One of the most interesting honey badger facts is that the Guinness Book of World Records listed honey badgers as the “most fearless animal in the world”. This claim is backed up by actual honey badger behavior. Honey badgers aren’t afraid of facing animals much larger than them, and will fiercely fight to the death if not left alone. 

They will also fiercely attack any intruders that come across their dens. Honey badgers have been observed to challenge large mammals into fights, such as Cape buffalos and rhinoceroses.

When Mario first saw a YouTube video about honey badgers he looked at me and said, “That’s you! You don’t turn from a fight and you don’t give up.”

These animals both have one thing in common, they are protective and will fight to protect. I guess that was my take away yesterday among other encouraging marriage reminders, it was the fact that Mario and I are different in many ways, but God reminded us that these characteristics are designed by Him to bring about good in our lives and the lives of those around us.

At the beginning of this year we made a huge decision to push aside all the other competing priorities in our lives and put our marriage first. We pulled back from so many things because God was pointing us in the direction of getting our lives back in the order He created: God first, our spouse and then everyone/everything else. It was SO hard. It still is sometimes. The decision came about by way of heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, agonizing circumstances that made it clear we could not go on like that. It was pain and hurt that pushed us in the direction we needed to go. Believe me when I say this decision didn’t come without judgement from onlookers, and it cost us tremendously. I have to say this though, we are now four months into our decision and have never been more fulfilled, balanced and blessed in our marriage. God is teaching us to cherish each other like never before so we are able to apprehend the blessing that is our marriage. It is hard, but we chose to obey God, and He is honoring that obedience.

That’s my encouragement for all of us today. If God is calling you to great change in your life…pray, pray and pray some more and then OBEY. He will multiply that obedience. It may not make sense to anyone and may not even make sense to you but it means peace – a peace that surpasses all understanding, and I don’t know about you but this Monday morning, this girl right here, she wants peace, the peace that only the Lord can give as we trust and follow Him.

Have a great week! Know that I am trusting and obeying right alongside you all!

With all my heart,

Sonia

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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race Seasons

The Struggle

Yesterday Mario texted this to me, “That’s a sign of life. If you’re struggling it means you’re fighting for a reason. Dead fish float down stream.” I had texted him that I was struggling so much in my walk and where to go to church, struggling with enrolling in my final year of school (starting back up on June 28 – prayers appreciated), struggling with my hormones, struggling in friendships, struggling in my mental health. Struggling! So that reminder from my husband was perfect and timely.

Struggling is a sign of life. I am struggling against my old pattern of throwing in the towel and giving up when it gets too hard. Maybe you’ve got struggles too to which I say to you what Mario said to me, “That’s a sign of life!” Hang in there! Thankfully we can look to God’s Word for the fact that struggling is not unique to us!

Genesis 32: 24-30 24-25 But Jacob stayed behind by himself, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When the man saw that he couldn’t get the best of Jacob as they wrestled, he deliberately threw Jacob’s hip out of joint.

26 The man said, “Let me go; it’s daybreak.”

Jacob said, “I’m not letting you go ’til you bless me.”

27 The man said, “What’s your name?”

He answered, “Jacob.”

28 The man said, “But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it’s Israel (God-Wrestler); you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through.”

29 Jacob asked, “And what’s your name?”

The man said, “Why do you want to know my name?” And then, right then and there, he blessed him.

30 Jacob named the place Peniel (God’s Face) because, he said, “I saw God face-to-face and lived to tell the story!”

Struggling, wrestling, reasoning….all part of the process. Don’t let the struggle scare you, let it encourage you (I am preaching to myself here too!). No pain, no gain! No sacrifice, no winning! No perseverance, no finish line! But think about the other side of these truths: Yes, pain – but all gain! Yes, sacrifice, then the win! Yes, perseverance..then the glorious finish line! Thankfully we get the choice and thankfully we have a faithful God who knows our struggles and gives strength where we are weak!

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 NASB And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast [a]about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I delight in weaknesses, in [b]insults, in distresses, in persecutions, in difficulties, in behalf of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

With all my heart, Sonia

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Encouragement for Women Fight the Good Fight Run Your Race

I Got Final Jeopardy Right Last Night!

This is going to be a short post because I have two blog posts I have already written that say pretty exactly what’s on my heart this morning so I will put those links in this post. Last night I was on the elliptical machine while watching Jeopardy. Mario and I like to make it a game between each other and keep score over how many we each get right (no, we are not competitive LOL!). I was doing well because there were some categories with words, and I love language and words. So final jeopardy last night was, “German settlers in Texas called this animal “panzerschwein.” To which I yelled out. “ARMADILLO!” (For all you Jeopardy connoisseurs, I know I should have said, “What is armadillo!) Well, I was right. I knew something about armadillos since I had written a blog post in 2016 referencing the panzerschwein: https://john4four.com/2016/08/22/yes-this-post-is-about-armadillos/

After my triumphant Jeopardy win (wink wink), Mario and I took our dog, Fiona, for a night stroll. During that walk Mario was being funny about the word, “panzerschwein” using it in all sorts of ways. He had me cracking up, but this word got me thinking. Anytime God has brought to mind the armadillo it means something in my life. You can read about it in the post above. I told Mario, “God is prepping me not to self-protect. He is giving me a heads up to be brave about something.” So I told him that the panzerschwein/armadillo was going to be the title of my post today. I had it all mapped out in my mind, what I would write about, but it took a different direction this morning.

I opened up my phone and read more about the Palestinian/Isreali conflict and basically how Israel is being painted as the bad guy here and, listen, I have been to Israel and felt the tension in the air on the Temple Mount. I know that deep rooted bitterness and conflict exists not just on one side, but as I read more this morning it became apparent that the media is trying to paint one side as the villain and the other as victim. Seriously!? The one thing I don’t want to get caught up in though is the intense emotional reactions that the media are counting on. It just divides us further! So it got me thinking about another post I wrote about being misunderstood/misrepresented: https://john4four.com/2018/07/31/do-you-need-a-lawyer/

My prayer for those being misrepresented in the media, in that relationship, in your workplace, in the financial situation, in your marriage, in your church, in the most difficult places in your life is that you focus on the fight, not on the rhetoric. Ask God, “How do I fight this?” and “How do I respond?” The One with the answer is THE ANSWER. Jesus is the only one in the history of the world who endured all the misrepresentation that humanity could throw at Him, and He still got it right. He was fighting the good fight. Let’s not lose sight of Him in our fight! I am praying for Israel, those affected on both sides and for all of us fighting our own hidden battles.

No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 2 Timothy 2:4

Thank you for reading today! I know you have lots of screen time these days so it is a blessing when I read comments and get feedback. You bless me! With all my heart, Sonia