Divinely Different, Uniquely You

(My Beautiful Sisters from Fitness with Faith)

It’s officially that time of the year again. In case you didn’t know… it’s SWIMSUIT SEASON! Now, my family and I absolutely love the water! I grew up near a lake and I practically lived on a boat or jet ski all summer. My boys, ages twelve and six, are no different. There’s just something so relaxing and joyful about being near water!

This Memorial Day weekend kickstarted our summer and we spent a couple days poolside. Yes, I’m in heaven! Yes, I go out to the pool wearing the most modest swimsuit possible and a pair of shorts! Yes, I’m also the one toting my Bible as my reading material along with my journal for note taking! I’m sure some may think I’m crazy, but that’s ok.

However, there is something not ok. As I was watching my boys toss ball with their friends in the pool, I noticed all these other women prancing around with beautiful bodies in bikinis and I’m like, ‘How do they do it? I work out and eat healthy, but I surely don’t look like that!

I know… I really should have kept my nose in my Bible!

Instead I’m comparing myself to everyone else and I start body shaming myself.

I’m being transparent here. I have struggled with freedom over body image in the past (as I’m sure many women have) and I felt that vice trying to pull me back to that old nature. Let me tell you – body shaming ourselves is not healthy! Comparing ourselves to others is not healthy!

This navel-gazing, as a friend of mine calls it, robs us of the freedom to be who God created us to be! It conforms us to the the identity of the world, stealing us from the identity God established within us in our mother’s wombs! Navel-gazing keeps our eyes pointed downward and inward when our eyes should be upward and outward.

Magazines and media impose images on us of what we should look like – even convincing us what happiness looks like. We play these images over and over in our minds like a stuck record player and the groove they etch in our brains keeps getting deeper and deeper.

But God tells us that He created our bodies perfectly! After all, we are made in His image! So, I let the Word of God tell me who I am. My identity comes from Jesus Christ and this is what He tells me…

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? [1 Corinthians 3:16] For the temple of God is holy and that is what you are. The very hairs of your head are all numbered. [Matthew 10:30] Your head crowns you like Carmel, and the flowing locks of your head are like purple threads. The King is captivated by your tresses. [Song of Solomon 7:5]

I have created you in Our image, according to Our likeness. [Genesis 1:26] But the enemy has come to steal, kill, and destroy – all as a result of sin. Whereas, I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full. [John 10:10]

And because of your confession brought to Me with a repentant heart, I – Your Creator and He who formed you – say, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are Mine. [Isaiah 43:1]

Jesus Christ, My Son, has redeemed you from the curse. [Galations 3:13] The curse of sin from generations ago. You were born under that curse.

But I am a curse breaker, a covenant redeemer, and a life giver to the desolate places!

I have created and all the elements for your restoration back to the image of Eve in the Garden of innocence are available for your beckoning. So beckon them, “Come!” Beckon them, “Create!” Beckon them, “Form!”

I see the future and I see a crown of glory upon your head! Your body emits the glory of the Son, the radiance of the King! All who see will be amazed. The power of God will not be denied, but it will be proclaimed to all who look upon you. For they will see my glory and my honor upon your head. [1 Corinthians 11:15] My covering.

You will stand as a picture of my Bride. Pure. Spotless. Redeemed. Restored. Radiant. Without blemish. Exuberant. Beautiful in the original intent of the word!”

Wow! I can’t even imagine the beauty of Eve, but I bet she was captivating! You know, I’ve never seen an ugly baby or a child that wasn’t absolutely adorable. It’s the beauty of innocence.

Sin is ugly. When God’s children come under the blood of Jesus, He restores us to innocence. Purity. He bestows His radiant glory on us.

Our goals should not be to look like the woman on the cover of a magazine, but rather to look like Jesus. 

They say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. God says to you,

“Behold! Child of God, you are beautiful!”

First, God wants us to walk in freedom with a positive body image and confidence of our identity in Jesus Christ. Then God wants us to be healthy. Stay tuned for another post written for those of you who would like to take authority over your body and improve your health the biblical way.

If you want to be sure not to miss the next post, please click the link in the sidebar to follow by email.

If this message was for nobody else, I receive it for myself. But I hope you’ve been blessed too and are one step closer to walking in His identity. He loves you and I do too! God bless!

There is a Ripple in the Clouds! Come Catch the Vision of Heaven!

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I had the most glorious dream last night! It was so sacred, it took me a while to even share with my husband. But from it, I believe God has given me a message to share with you today. So, here goes! I pray it ministers to you!

The dream began with me gazing into the clouds. It was a beautiful evening. My husband and children were there along with a few other people whom I didn’t recognize, but somehow I knew them in the dream.

Something in the clouds had caught our attention. The clouds had taken on the formation of ripples. There were several of them, and just like a ripple from a drop of water in a pool, each one began with a central focal point surrounded by a ripple effect. It was so captivating and intriguing.

We all desired to go the place directly underneath this portrait of beauty in the sky. It was getting dark by this time and the journey to our destination was going to be a long one. I looked down at my two boys and realized we couldn’t make the venture that night. I told the others to go on ahead and we would catch up with them in the morning. And so they began the great expedition that we would start the next day.

And boy, were we anxious to get started! At the first gleam of dawn, we were up and loaded in our car. Just like the night before, the ripples were still high in the sky. Our time had come and our journey began.

My husband drove the car through what appeared to be a metro-like area. We were heading toward a huge building that may have been a courthouse. Regardless, I knew we were on a main street with a lot of traffic.

Then suddenly, like a flash of lightning, my whole family was transported directly to the place of our destination beneath the ripples in the sky. The scenery before us was spectacular! A transparent curtain that rippled like the clouds above us was unveiling another world in front of us. It looked like a place fairy tales are made.

It was breathtaking. Astonishing. Majestic. Glorious.

At the splendor of it all, I placed my hand over my mouth in amazement. God’s presence fell over me like a heavy blanket. I dropped to my knees and began crying. A heavenly language came out of my mouth and at the same time I felt like I was communicating the magnificent array with my husband in my native tongue.

The colors were absolutely brilliant. It was a field of green with a gently rolling landscape. Remarkable trees, flowers that would blow your imagination, and a sparkling crystal clear stream.

I was immediately drawn to the water. Not able to muster the strength to stand, I crawled on my hands and knees to the water’s edge. All the while, crying and speaking in my heavenly language.

Floating on the water was a luscious fruit and I desperately desired it. It grew on a leafy vine. Bright red and tender. Bigger than a cherry. Smaller than an apple. It was the best tasting, juiciest fruit I’ve ever eaten!

And as quickly as we were transported there, I was transported back home. Back to my daily routine; still holding the fruit I retrieved from the water.

At that point, I came across a lady I see almost everyday and I shared my fruit with her. She devoured it hungrily and her eyes grew large with delight. Then a great rejoicing broke out. The place filled with singing and dancing. Such joy invaded the atmosphere!

A beautiful young maiden dancing merrily with her fiancé caught my attention. I say ‘maiden’ because the setting appeared to be in the 1800’s. Kind of ‘Gone with the Wind’ -ish. As I watched intently, I discovered this dark-haired beauty was mute. She had never been able to speak her love to her betrothed. While she was dancing, I saw her gaze turned toward another woman dancing in the room.

The mute girl had a vision, and I saw it clearly. In the vision, the other woman laid her hands over the young girl’s throat and prayed a simple prayer to Jesus for her healing. The vision ended and, without hesitation, the mute maiden rushed to the woman, motioning her to pray.

Proceeding precisely how the vision played out, the woman prayed for the mute girl and she was healed. She had received her voice.

Laughter erupted from vocal cords that had never uttered a sound! She ran to her fiancé’s side and began exclaiming words of adoration, love, and devotion to him. I witnessed such intense emotion in her face. Such tenderness in her words. Such love in her voice. It was a sweet, sweet sound.

And then I woke up…

I firmly believe God gave me a vision of heaven last night in my dream. Just a glimpse of His glory. A taste of His splendor. A touch of His majesty. The water represented the living water that never runs dry. The fruit was the fruit of the Spirit. The mute maiden signified the Church, the Bride of Christ, and the other woman, the Holy Spirit who is healing the voice of the Church. And of course, the fiancé is the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, who is soon and very soon returning for His Church.

I pray that we would all catch the vision of heaven. All it takes is a glimpse, a taste, a touch… and we are transformed forever. When we catch the vision of heaven, we are drawn into the secret place of the Most High. What God gives us freely in this place, He wants us to give freely to the people He places in our lives – He gives us all a sphere of influence.

The fruit of the Spirit that He cultivates within us in the Holy of Holies is meant to be shared so others can taste and see the goodness of the Lord. Then they will be drawn to their own secret place of the Most High, desiring to eat from the hand of Jesus themselves!

The Holy Spirit is awakening His church from its slumber. He’s turning lullabies into battle cries! The voice that has been muted by the enemy is beginning to proclaim her love for the Bridegroom! The voice of the Bride will resound in the heavens and all who hear it will feel the vibration of its power!

God is releasing drops of His glory among people who are seeking His face. One drop ripples. Then another drop ripples. Followed by two or three more ripples. There is coming a reverberating ripple of God’s glory throughout the entire earth!

Oh, what revival would break out if each one of us would take our eyes off ourselves and seek the face of Jesus. Oh, that we would all catch the vision of heaven. Partaking the fruit of Jesus and sharing it with others. All while edifying the name of Jesus with our unified voice. When He is lifted up, He will draw all men.

This ripple of revival will pulsate throughout the whole earth!!! Behold, the Bridegroom is coming! People get ready!

(We each have a sphere of influence. If you have been encouraged by this post, please consider sharing with yours! May the ripple of revival begin in each one of us! Thank you and God Bless!!!)

Close Enough Only Counts in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

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Anyone who has ever worked retail knows that, periodically, inventory must be taken. What seems like ages ago, I worked at a retail pharmacy and there were certain medications of high commodity (if you know what I mean) for which we maintained a constant inventory.

Not only did we lock these drugs up in a safe, but we also knew exactly how many pills we had on hand at all times. Every time we dispensed a drug in this category, we logged the quantity dispensed in a book and placed our initials by the on-hand quantity remaining. If something came up missing, we were responsible and had to answer for the discrepancy.

Spiritual Inventory

A similar concept should be applied to our spiritual lives. Our relationship with God should be of very high commodity to us. We should treasure it and keep it safe. There is coming a day in which we will all stand before God and give an account of the lives we’ve lived out on this earth. [Matthew 12:36] Every one of us will be judged according to our deeds. [Revelation 20:13]

Everything will be brought into the light. Nothing will be hidden. [Luke 8:17]

We shouldn’t be surprised by the verdict. We should know exactly what will be said on that fateful day. Either “Well done, my good and faithful servant” or “I do not know you.” [Matthew 25:21; Matthew 25:12]

The truth is, I believe many will be surprised at what they will hear. Broad is the way that “leads to destruction and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” [Matthew 7:13-14] We can fool many people here on earth, but there’s no fooling God. He sees straight to the heart.

Over and over the word of God emphasizes a daily walk with Jesus. Once a week just isn’t going to cut it for us.

  • “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” –Luke 9:23
  • “Give us this day our daily bread.” –Matthew 6:11
  • “They seek Me day by day, and delight to know My ways, as a nation that has done righteousness… They delight in the nearness of God.” –Isaiah 58:2

The Holy Spirit is our Security System

Do you know the enemy comes like a thief seeking to steal, kill, and destroy? [John 10:10] 2 Timothy 1:14 tells us to “guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.” If we could guard our soul so closely that we would catch Satan red-handed every time he comes sneaking at our door to steal from us, he would never get a foothold in our lives! If we would repent every time sin starts to creep in, we would bear much more fruit! Resist the devil and he will flee! [James 4:7]

And then, when God finds us faithful in these things, He will bless us with more. We will begin seeing our spiritual inventory – our giftings, the fruit of the Spirit, and the anointing of God – grow exponentially. [Matthew 25:29]

Sadly, I realize there are many who have not assessed their spiritual inventory in a while. Satan has been robbing you blind leaving you spiritually drained.

Comfortable at Lukewarm?

Close enough only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. We cannot go through life thinking, “Ah, I’m good enough to get to heaven,” or “I’ve lived close enough to the Lord.”

To that, God says, “Enough! Enough of your lukewarm living!” He says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me.” [Revelation 3:20]

Blessed Assurance, Salvation is Mine

God gives us assurance of our salvation. When all our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus, we can know we are saved!

“By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.” –1 John 4:13-17

Let us now take an intricate look at ourselves…

  • How is our relationship with God?
  • Are we abiding in Him and He in us?
  • Are we taking up our cross and dying to our sins daily?
  • Are we partaking of the bread, the Holy Word of God, daily?
  • Are we asking God daily to show us His ways so we can know Him more?

Inventory Ransomed, Redeemed, and Restored!

These answers can be very revealing, but should never be discouraging. We ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God. We ALL are in need of a Savior. The good news is Jesus Christ came and paid the ransom for ALL our stolen inventory and He will redeem that which was lost! The God of our salvation will restore us again! [Jeremiah 15:19] Today is the day of salvation! Let us return to Him today with ALL our heart!

“And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.” –1 John 2:28

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In Hope Against Hope

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In hope against hope he believed…” Romans 4:18

This verse is talking about Abraham, who despite being about a hundred years old and the barrenness of Sarah’s womb, did not waver in unbelief with respect to the promise of God that he would be a father of many nations. Romans 4:21 further states he was “fully assured that what He [God] had promised, He was able also to perform.” Undoubtly, Abraham was a man of incredible faith.

While we marvel at the faith of Abraham, we must recognize that God has planted within us all a measure of faith. [Romans 12:3] It’s up to us to cultivate our faith in order for it to grow and produce great fruit. Abraham’s faith produced a great nation and it all started with a word from God. A promise. Abraham probably rehearsed this promise over and over and over in his head countless times. All he had to stand on was this word, but there he stood, firmly, without wavering. The word took root and, by faith, came into fruition. In hope against hope.

Faith and Hope

What is faith? Hebrews 11:1 from the NASB translation tells us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I grew up memorizing this verse from the KJV which says it a little differently: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Either way we look at it, we can see that before we have faith, we must have hope. Faith is rooted in hope!

What does it mean to ‘hope for’ something? This phrase actually comes from the Greek word, elpizo, and means ‘to expect‘ or ‘confide, trust.’

  • We can hope for something. Expecting with desire to receive that which we hope for.
  • We can also place our hope in someone. Trusting them to be faithful.

Holding on to Hope

Hebrews 6:18-20 tells us to “Lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner.”

There is so much to be said in this one verse.

  1. We aren’t hoping for something unknown. God Himself sets our hope before us. It is tangible. A promise we can hold on to.
  2. Our hope anchors us so we can find peace and rest in the midst of turmoil.
  3. We are sure of our hope because this hope has entered within the veil, into the Holy of Holies. We lay hold of this hope within the veil, when we are in the presence of God.

Obtaining this hope requires intimacy with God. Only those with clean hands and a pure heart can enter into the Holy of Holies. It’s in this place, in His presence, that God actually gives us our hope. He sets it before us. He tells us in what and in whom to place our hope and then, just like Abraham, we can be fully assured that what God has promised, He will be faithful to perform.

So, what if we haven’t had an encounter with God like Abraham did where God audibly spoke a promise over him? It’s okay. The Bible is full of promises from God that speak life into us. In times like these, we need to really study His word. We need to ask God to give us a scripture for us to lay hold of and, when we get it, we need to stand on it. We need to declare it just like Abraham did. Let us not waver in unbelief, but wait diligently for God to fulfill the promise. “I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope.” [Psalm 130:5]

Misplaced Hope

Sadly, one of the biggest hinderances of faith is misplaced hope. When we hope for something that is contrary to God’s heart. Proverbs 13:12 sums it up perfectly. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” The word ‘deferred’ in this scripture can mean either ‘to postpone’ or to ‘yield to another judgement or opinion.’ When we have delayed our hope or when we hope for something other than what God sets our hope upon, our faith is ineffective. We are out of sync with God’s heart.

For example, we may have faith to move mountains, but what if God doesn’t want that particular mountain moved? Maybe, God wants us to climb that mountain in order to meet Him face to face just like Moses did. Maybe, just like Moses, we will find God’s glory on that mountain. God doesn’t ask us to understand Him, but to trust Him.

Again, it’s so important to know God’s heart. Only then with assured hope, we can know God’s plan and purpose for our lives.

When All Hope is Lost

When we feel like we are in a hopeless situation and we don’t have a word to stand on, let us remember GOD IS HOPE!

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” –Romans 15:13

God will never leave us or forsake us and Jesus Christ is our advocate, fighting for us from the right hand of the Father! When we need something to hold on to, let’s stop looking everywhere else and simply hold on to Him! God is for us, so who can be against us!

And remember, when all else fails, these three will still remain: Faith, Hope, and Love. [1 Corinthians 13:13]

So, let us fix our eyes on Jesus and know with hope against hope that our God is faithful and just. God is our hope. His love never fails and He will accomplish exactly what He promises when our hope is in Him.

In Him… Oneness with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… Hearts beating as one… All in one accord…

There we have assurance, hope, faith, trust, rest, peace, and expectancy!

Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” –Hebrews 10:23

(If you have been encouraged by this post, please share!)

Defining Moments

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We all have defining moments.
Don’t let your past define you.
Don’t let the world define you.
Let God define you.

Covered by the blood of Jesus,
You are a new creature.

Old things have passed.
Leave them in the past.

Know who you are in Christ Jesus
He will call you by name.

He will call you daughter… son…
Faithful Servant.

He will call out the gifts he placed
Within you in your mother’s womb.

He will call you blessed and highly favored…
More than a conqueror.

He will call you “Mine”
And write His name upon your heart.
The name above all names.

He is the potter.
You are the clay.

Let His hands form you and make you
Molding you into His perfect creation.

Let Him speak to you which path to take
Guiding you into His perfect plan.

Let Him touch the coal to your lips
Burning away the chaff of your heart.

Let Him purify you like gold
Through the refiner’s fire.

Let the God of heaven and earth lead you into your
Defining moments.

After You

After You I was created
In Your very own image.

After You I seek
And find treasures unimaginable.

After You I thirst
And You give me a well of living water.

I yearn after You.
I long after You.
I take after You.

And in Your goodness, You open the door for me,
Saying this is the way. Walk in it.

But before I enter I will say,
“After You.”

I will always follow…

…After You.

Lessons Learned on Clean House Day

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TGIF! Yes, today is Friday and, in the Halloran household, Friday’s are clean house day. While most people start shifting into a lower gear heading into the weekend, I rev mine up a bit. I get caught up on any neglected laundry, dust all the furniture, clean the bathrooms, and vacuum and mop the floors. Having a clean house for the weekend helps me to rest and really enjoy quality time with my family, especially when we’ve had a busy week.

But cleaning house is such a chore, right!?! I don’t know too many people who really love cleaning; I ponder this while sipping my coffee trying to motivate myself to get started. 

And then came the inspiration!

I shifted my thoughts from the work and began thinking about the opportunity I would have to spend time with God. “How does this make sense?” you ask. After all, the task at hand is cleaning house.

That may be the case, but even while doing physical labor, I can fix my thoughts on Him. [Hebrews 3:1] I seriously can’t tell you how many times God has spoken to me while I’ve been busy cooking, cleaning, or (my favorite) running. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are times when we need to ‘Be still and know He is God.’ [Psalm 46:10] But 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.” That doesn’t mean you have to spend 24/7 on your knees. Sometimes God will speak through the stillness and sometimes He will speak through the hustle and bustle.

We should never think we are too busy to spend time with God or to hear from God. That’s really not the case. The reality is, we are too DISTRACTED to spend time with God and to hear from God. 

Now, I don’t know about you, but my mind is not something I can turn off. I’m constantly thinking about something. My husband and I can be talking about what we want to eat for dinner and my mind goes from Red Lobster to that great little seafood place we ate at in Hilton Head to where we are going on vacation next summer. One thought leads to the next to the next.

How many times have you replayed movies over and over in our mind? For example, you had a conversation with a friend that didn’t go well. You think of what you said and how she reacted and then you come up with what you should have said instead and the imaginary ‘Take Two’ goes much better in your head. Or, you meet an attractive person and you think about what it would be like to hold their hand, kiss them, and then wherever else your mind may take you.

This is dangerous territory, my friend!

These are imaginations. Not reality. Only fantasies that will lead you to worry, anxiety, lustful desires, covetousness, anger, resentment, pride, and – ultimately – to your downfall.

The Word of God tells us to ‘cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ [2 Corinthians 10:5] And ‘whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.’ [Philippians 4:8]

Resist the devil and he will flee from you!“[James 4:7] If you can bring your thoughts into alignment with the things of God, your actions will naturally follow.For as a man thinks within himself, so is he.” [Proverbs 23:7] Do you know why David was called a man after God’s own heart? It’s because He meditated on the Lord constantly. David wrote over and over throughout the entire book of Psalm about turning his thoughts to God.

When we fix our thoughts on Him, He will give us clarity and direction. [Psalm 119:27] The wisdom of God is a hidden wisdom revealed to us by the Holy Spirit which resides in us.

Read 1 Corinthians 2:10-16 and study this out with me…

The Word says only the Spirit of God knows the thoughts of God. So,

When our thoughts are turned toward Him searching out the things of God, the Holy Spirit in us – knowing the thoughts of God – will bring our thoughts into alignment with God’s thoughts so we may know God’s heart.

The Spirit of God then transforms these spiritual thoughts into spiritual words and we begin speaking the wisdom of God.

This is how we have the mind of Christ!!!

Even during the busyness of today and the weekend (and always for that matter), I encourage you to turn your thoughts to Him. He will teach you great and mighty things! He will reveal His heart to you when His thoughts become your thoughts and His ways become your ways. When you begin walking in oneness with Him, you can’t help but have the mind of Christ.

Wow! Amazing! That is so cool! Oh, the things God will teach you on Clean House Day…!!!