The river…

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Psalm 46:4-5

A powerful force. Something to be reckoned with. Thoughts sit high directing steps and delineating actions. Throned far above reality, thoughts take us places we never thought we could go. Thoughts. The king of our actions…until we choose to dethrone them for a more sufficient ruler. One who flows down on us like a river.

A river that moves. A stream that bubbles with joy and makes glad our hearts and minds. Could such a river exist on a deeper level than hopes and dreams? Could the river’s joy be a trusted reality? Is it okay to bask in the river’s waters, even when life is not okay? Even when thoughts and intellectually based assumptions remind us life could be better if this or that. Could His word be a vision of truth reigning higher than what our limited eyes can see?

As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?” Ezekiel 47:3-6

Son of man, daughter of the King…do you see this???

First it came to his ankles…then his knees…his waist…and then so deep one must swim.

The river. Deeper and deeper. Flowing from the Holy Temple. The river of God and His sovereignty making even the saltiest dead sea waters thrive with life. Could this water be the same river God offers you?

Could the king of rational thoughts be dethroned by unfathomable Truth…

that we are truly and wholly loved…

no matter what…

no matter where.

That we can stand and meet this love on plains of grace, bathing in love filled waters and leaving the thoughts that once ruled our minds behind.

We are unlovable washed away by unending grace. The gap between us and Holy bridged by the love of a Father. He invites us into joy. Could we step in?

First to our ankles.

Then to our knees.

Finally to our waist…and that the Lord would teach us how to swim.

To bask in His loving glory and grace. That it would flow down and transform our thoughts. That our minds would be made new. That we would not fall, but be held up by the flooding, transforming, life-giving waters. That we might dwell where He dwells. Oh Lord, let it be.

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Ephesians 4:29 fast…

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“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

“That’s an Ephesians 4:29-er” my pastor shared on Sunday. This is the phrase His niece uses when someone speaks in a manner that’s unkind or discouraging. It made me laugh and got me thinking. All week long I have caught myself mid 4:29-er – then silenced that naughty comment!

Honestly, this lesson is perfect timing. (And I’m gonna say it, the truth that no one wants to here!) As I travel to the Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference, I know there will be ample opportunity to sin. 4:29-ers could abound. At a Christian conference you say? Yes, at a Christian conference.

We women can be feisty and hurtful. Maybe we don’t speak our thoughts, or maybe we do, or does it even matter? Internal dialogue is just as damaging to our heart integrity as is verbal spilage. But where people gather – judgements happen, comparison throttles, and expectations face reality. Will we mind our words and thoughts, or will we give in to temptation?

Here’s a challenge for wherever you are this week. If its not Ephesians 4:29 acceptable, don’t say it. And don’t stop there. Those things you want to say – examine them. What’s behind them? Is there a heart issue going on? Jealousy, envy, anger, the desire to fit in with the rest of the gossip gals?

Put a 4:29 blockade over your heart and tongue. Put it over your texts, your Twitter feed, your Facebook posts, and your emails. Take a 4:29 fast: for the week, the month, forever! Lets see just how uplifting and encouraging we women can truly be.

Prize winners

Hey y’all! It’s time to announce the winners of the three prize packages!

Winner of prize package number one is Rene James who commented on July 13, 2013 at 12:52 pm.

Winner of prize package number two is Julie Scott who commented on July 12, 2013 at 9:37 pm.

Winner of prize package number three is Mindy Corradi who commented on July 12, 2013 at 7:53 am.

Congratulations! Email me at stephkevinryan@hotmail.com with you mailing address and we will get your prizes sent out!!!!

And a big ‘ole THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to all who commented and signed up for Online Bible Study! The biggest prize of all is going to be getting to study with you girls as we get to know The Lord even better! Love y’all!!!!!

Your lions are hungry…

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Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Psalm 34:9-10

Depression is my lion. But now she sits hungry. Eager to devour all that I have come to know and love about Jesus. But He won’t let her. There’s a guard over my heart and she is not able to enter in.

Psalm 34:10 speaks of these hungry lions. We all have them. Our own lions that lie around waiting to devour what’s ours. Eating up joy with stressful circumstances. Eating up pain and turning it into sorrow. Lions that wait around looking for us to sustain an injury, primed to attack and devour truth as if it never existed. And will we let them? How do we stop them?

Those who seek The Lord lack no good thing. They lack nothing. Life crumbles to shambles around them and in their pile if ruble and ashes they have all they need – Jesus.

Nothing to devour except those things which will pass. The joy of The Lord is sustained. Untouchable by destruction.

And so we do good amidst our trials. We fear The Lord and choose obedience because in doing so we lack no good thing. Nothing can be taken. Devoured or hashed away.

My depression lion is hungry. She may as well leave because my trust in The Lord is sustained.

And what about you? Are your lions hungry? Will you allow them to feast? Or will you protect yourself inside the truth of The Lord?

Those who fear Him, lack nothing.

She said yes…

Have you ever watched a public marriage proposal? They make me so nervous! I wonder how he will react if she says no. And not only that, will she say yes because she wants to, or because she wants to spare him embarrassment. I’m so relieved when I see her throw her arms around him with an emphatic emotion filled YES!!!!!

Today I shared on Proverbs 31 Ministries Devotions about some of the issues my husband and I faced early in our marriage. Because I entered the marriage relationship with unrealistic expectations, I ended up feeling disappointed and unsatisfied. I wonder if you have ever felt that way? If you have looked to relationship after relationship trying to get your deepest needs met. Or maybe you have looked to shopping, drugs, alcohol, success, or status to fulfill the deepest crevices of your heart – only to come up empty and alone.

I have discovered over time that Jesus is the only cure for our hurting, longing, lonely hearts. He is the only one who can satisfy our thirst so we will never be thirsty again. 

Today, He offers you a proposal. He stands with arms wide open inviting you to accept His unending – unconditional love and mercy. And I’m on the edge of my seat.

Will you say yes…

You may be afraid. Can you trust Him? Is the Bible true? Is God just a bigger version of every person that has failed you? Will He fail you too?

You may have questions, and that’s okay. Every time we enter a relationship we take a risk. But a relationship with Jesus Christ is one relationship you will always treasure and never regret. Give Him the chance to come into your life and transform your heart and mind.

 If you would like to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, click here for information on how to do so!!!! Also, email me at stephkevinryan@hotmail.com. I want to make sure I connect with you after making such an important life changing decision.

Maybe you have already accepted Jesus as your Savior, but it seems you have drifted. Jesus is standing with arms wide open, ready for you to come back home. I invite you to take a journey with me by participating in Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies. We will be studying “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa Terkeurst. It’s the perfect opportunity to rekindle your relationship with the Lord and get excited about His Word and the plans He has for your life. The study starts July 28th. You can sign up and find out more information by clicking here. I hope you will join me!!!!

And before you leave, It’s time for a giveaway!!!!  

To enter to win, sign up for Online Bible Study and let me know that you did in the comment section! Also share if you have ever done an Online Bible Study before and what you liked best about it! If you haven’t ever done an Online Study, just share what you like about Bible Study in general!  I will announce the winner on my blog on Monday July 15th!

Here are the prize packages!!!!

Package 1: A copy of “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa Terkeurst, a Real Life Heart to Heart Call Series (these are an optional portion of the Online Bible Study, guests including Samantha Evilsizer, Lysa Terkeurst, and Mandisa), and a beautiful 8×10 painting similar to the one in the picture below hand painted by Morgan Gaynor (please visit her FB page at https://www.facebook.com/newHuepaintings and check out her awesome custom work)!!!!

painting

Package 2: A copy of “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa Terkeurst and a Real Life Heart to Heart Call Series.

Package 3: A copy of “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa Terkeurst and a signed copy of “Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner” by Wendy Blight.

I’m so glad and blessed that you stopped by my blog today! Praying that you found encouragement and that the Lord is speaking to your heart in new, fresh, and exciting ways!!!! Blessings, Stephanie

Say yes and do good…

“Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.” Psalm 37:3

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She lives alone. I could help her, but I don’t. There’s always awkward silence and our personalities clash. I have too much to do and I want to spend my summer at the pool with my kids. That justifies it, right?

We all have that friend or relative we know needs help, but we choose to ignore them. To pretend we don’t notice. Maybe if we live in supposed ignorance long enough, God will call someone else to meet their needs.

Psalm 37:3 tells us to trust in The Lord and do good, but I prefer to be selective about my good-doing. I like to do good when it’s convenient for me. Sometimes doing good is even fun. But what about when the good-doing is difficult? When He calls us to do things we don’t enjoy, things that interrupt our regularly scheduled activities, and maybe even make us afraid? Will we do good even then? I must admit the answer for me is usually no.

I suppose that’s why God’s Word prefaced “do good” with “trust in The Lord”. To do the hard kind of good, we must trust The Lord and His promptings. We must choose to believe that if it wasn’t meant for us to do, He wouldn’t be bugging us about it.

His Word assures us that if we trust Him and do good we will have everything we need! He doesn’t send us to complete a task naked and barren of His power and strength. He goes with us! He makes our path of service safe and filled with plenty.

When you do what He asks of you, you can rest assured you will not be left in want. So get to it girl! What has He called you to do? Stop sitting on your hands and start walking in Him!

Ready to take action? I encourage you to join me in the Proverbs 31 Ministries study of “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa Terkeurst! We are going to have a great time studying and growing in His Word, and saying YES! Visit www.melissataylor.org to sign up in the box on the right hand side of the page!