What God is Teaching Us

Isn’t it amazing how learning never stops? As long as we are receptive to growth, we can learn. And when the teacher is The Great I Am… woah. My mind is constantly blown by the levels of depth found in elementary principles.

Lately, themes have been reoccurring in life and scripture, and as any good student will tell you, repetition means a point is trying to be made: God is teaching me something.

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So of the 100s of things we need to learn and are still learning, we narrowed it down. Here is the short list; some of it is so simple it doesn’t seem worth sharing, but like I said.. there is so much depth to elementary principles. Especially when we are challenged to not only know them, but to apply them.

1) Cleaning up is hard. One room is most likely going to lead to another. We are in spring cleaning/rearranging mode in our house right now, but in order to really change the one room that is the primary goal, we’ve had to shift focus to others in order to make it all the way we want it. Now to the spiritual application…In our compartmentalized worlds we create for ourselves, we often try to “clean up” the one little room we think is cluttered, but then realize that, in order for this “room” to function as it should (as God desires), we must tidy up all the others as well because they all affect one another. Sometimes it’s a little picking up here and there, and often times it’s more of an overhaul. While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and demolish those walls we’ve built, too. God demands ALL of me, not just the rooms I want Him to see.

2) Sing while you can. A few months ago, Faith, a young college student we have watched grow up the last 7-8 years experienced a terrible car wreck resulting in severe brain damage, and is facing a long, arduous recovery. At the time, she can not verbalize at all. Up until her accident, singing praises to God and our Savior was pretty much her very favorite thing to do. We would spend extra time singing in between scheduled devotionals and song services because she enjoyed it so much. It has been a pleasure for me to lead many of those songs she loves to sing. Now, sadly, she can’t sing at all. She will attend our devotionals and still listen to her Church family lifting our voices, but as it stands, she can not add to the ensemble. I pray she will once again have the ability to sing to Him. God is telling me to sing praises to Him while I still can, with all my heart, mind, and soul. No physical gift or ability is guaranteed, so I must take absolute full advantage of of my abilities each day. Support Faith

3) I don’t HAVE to be right. Or more accurately, I don’t have to TELL everyone I’m right. I don’t know about you, but “setting people straight” is something I wrestle with.  I’ve given myself the job of making sure people in my presence know their information is inaccurate and I have what they need to be “right”. Woah. Writing that down makes my skin crawl and heart ache. Because I don’t have what anyone needs outside of Jesus, and advice given that wasn’t asked for is often not taken, am I right? Being the “actually” girl who is there to set the record straight often ends in strife, disunity, and walls built (instead of bridges). So God is teaching me to slow down, learn to be silent, and pray for wisdom, words that build, and a heart that seeks unity over being “right”. The only way I can do that effectively is by seeking my Savior and pointing others to Him, not me, every chance I get. 

3) Great communication is the only way a relationship will thrive. Teacher/student. Husband/wife. Parent/child. Boss/employee. Friend/friend. Communicate people! Until recently, I had never considered myself a poor communicator. But there’s a reason I tend to work better alone, not relying on groups or others (who may be also relying on me!)… I prefer to not plan ahead. I prefer to keep my feelings inside to stew instead of Matthew 5ing them. I prefer to keep whatever plans I’ve made to myself. I prefer to say things when I feel like it or think about it, instead of intentionally answering questions before they arise and making sure information is easily accessible to the ones seeking it. You can see where my preferences get me in a lot of communication troubles, right? Without a clear declaration of intention, how will my children know what I mean? How will my friends understand their value to me? How will my spouse be able to fulfill the desperate needs I have? They can’t. I have to communicate. Otherwise I’m left with the enemy of my soul who seeks to burn those bridges and isolate me in my stewing thoughts. And that option only leads to destruction.  

So there you have our short list, and we would love to hear yours! What is God teaching you? Have you paid attention to the repetition around you? Is God perhaps trying to get your attention so you’ll sit down and be taught?

9FABC216-9D2E-4D71-A293-F009AF7F1820We encourage you to prayerfully go to the Source, the perfect Word of God, and learn from Him. ~JMW & rmw

Am I a Coward?

I want to be bold.

I want to be strong.

I want to be faithful.

I want to be a warrior.

Fighting for the weak, standing firm in Truth, linking arms with other believers with the same mission, marching onward and upward, and teaching my children along the way.

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Lately, though, the word “coward” has been circling in my mind. I’ve been thinking about what it really means to be a coward. I used to think it was only denouncing my faith in the face of death, but I think it’s much more prevalent than that.

Google and Miriam-Webster define coward as: “a person who lacks the courage to do or endure dangerous or unpleasant things” and “one who shows disgraceful fear or timidity.”

But how often does the desire for people’s approval and applause cloud the mission I mentioned earlier? Cowardice.

How often do I sit back and judge the actions of others without taking action myself? Cowardice.

How often do I allow myself to feel slighted and inferior because I’m not wrapped up in my own purpose for Him? Cowardice.

How often do I shut down the idea that God is moving BIG in someone’s life because I’m shutting the door in His face out of fear for what would be required of me if He were to be that present in my own life? Cowardice.

How often do I pray “easy” prayers that require little change of me, but hard/miraculous/intensely vulnerable change of others? Cowardice.

Disgraceful. Fearful. Timid. Lacking courage.

And in Revelation 21:8, God lumps the cowardly with the faithless and murderers (among other things).

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Faithful obedience should fill my heart and leave no room for the coward in me. It should push it out 100%. But only when I intentionally let God take the reins of my life and live in total surrender to His will. His desire for my holiness is everything. Everything. He died to give it to me. It’s everything to Him. (And therefore should be everything to me.)

I can’t be a holy coward.

I can’t be a faithful coward.

I can’t be a strong coward.

I can’t be a bold coward.

I’m writing my prayer below. I’m writing and posting it so I can look back on it a year (or 5) from now and praise God for how He answered; how He did exactly what I begged Him to. I’m writing and posting this prayer so that if you feel the same way I do, then sister, we can pray it together.

Lord, change me. Mold me. Work in me.

Give me wisdom and discernment as I kneel before Your Holy Word, so that my life bears the fruit of your Spirit and leads others to do the same.

And those other things I’m praying for? The accolades, the money, the “stability & freedom”, the opportunities… strip me of them ALL if they make me more reliant upon myself than YOU.

I am nothing without You. I am nothing without Your love, grace, mercy, and the salvation You provide that I could never earn or deserve.

Take away all the fear & excuses, and replace them with boldness, action, and LOVE.

Do what only You can do, so that the ONLY answer is You.”

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Communion thoughts

Justin Williams led us in a beautiful thought this morning before the Lord’s Supper. I wanted to share it with you here because I think it’s a thought we should always hold close to our hearts. I hope it helps you center your mind around our Savior not only on the first day of the week, but every day after.

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“This is a matter of life and death.

So it is vital that you focus for the next few minutes.

We come together each week to share this moment together, as do other believers all throughout the world. We come to memorialize the death, burial, and resurrection of our only hope to be with our God in Heaven some day: Jesus, the Christ.

The song says “Why did my Savior come to earth and to the humble go?”

God does not need me or you to keep His power and glory, yet Jesus left His place there to come here and suffered so that you and I could have the opportunity to enter His kingdom.

The song says “He could have called 10,000 angels.”

Jesus could have called legions of angels to exact vengeance for His treatment, yet He endured hours of torture because it was the only way a perfectly just God could look upon us and accept us.

He could have come and exerted His power by overthrowing governments and making allies with Kings and rulers, yet He sat and spoke words or love and truth to those who were considered outcast and hopeless.

He could have reserved the finest tables for the world’s elite, yet He invited his lowly apostles, and you and me, to dine at His table.

His life was spent in sacrifice, and his death was, too.

He took a memorial meal that had been alive since the Passover, put that focus to rest, and brought to life a new memorial – His supper, His communion.

So what do YOU bring to the table? We know what He brings, and He is the host. He died for us, and now He reserves this table for those who die for Him.

Galatians 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

The only way we can share in the fellowship of our Lord at this table is to not be alive anymore, in the sense that we put to death our old person – the person we were before we took on Christ. We fight daily to LIVE more in Him by DYING more to that person we used to be. So Jesus may not need me to maintain His power, but He demands that I crucify my selfish life before taking my seat at this table.

This is a fellowship meal of the most divine nature. A feast of the highest order, fitting for kings and queens, yet reserved for meek and lowly. For you and me.  Yet it is not the food we savor, but the presence of our loving Savior. Take this moment seriously, for it is truly a matter of life and death. Or should I say, death and LIFE.” ~JMW

You are Loved

“God loves broken people, and He can put your pieces back together again.” ~Tim Lewis

God’s love doesn’t run from your sin. 

You’re not too far gone. 

You’re not beyond forgiveness. 

Your heart is not one that can’t change. 

All it takes to get on the track of redemption is a step of humility and faith in the right direction. 

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When I was resisting obedience to God, obedience to His Gospel & plan of salvation, do you know what thoughts kept circling me? 

“What if people see me differently?”

 “I should’ve done this a long time ago!”

 “I’m fine. I already took these steps when I was a kid..”

Yes. I had gone through the motions my whole life. I had played the part of a Christian all through my adolescence. And although I believed the Bible, I didn’t take the time to SEEK God.

I didn’t humble myself before Him.

Honestly, I didn’t know what it meant to turn my “own way” (Isaiah 53:6) until I was an adult. Then I was actually able to make my own choices, and be responsible for them. It was then that I realized what sin was, how it separated me from God’s holiness, and my incredible need for a Savior. 

I say all of this for 1 purpose: you are LOVED. The Creator of the universe saw fit to come down to earth and teach you how to live.

Though He was completely innocent He suffered an incredibly cruel execution, taking on the sins of the world, requiring God to turn His back on the One who had been with Him since the very beginning…. so that you could be seen BLAMELESS and PERFECT before the holiness of God the Father.

You. Are. Loved. 

Salvation is a gift, but each of us must decide to receive it. We must decide that living our own way (even if we say it’s for His sake!) isn’t God’s best for us. We have to turn from that and choose a humble surrender to our Creator and act in faithful obedience. (Read Acts 8,9,&22:3-16 to read the beautiful transformation of Saul➡️Paul!) 

There’s no reason to live broken in guilt and shame for what you’ve done. Christ covered it! Turn to Him, give Him your broken pieces and let Him make you a new creation more beautiful than before! Because you are loved!! 💖

Process of Perfection

I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “perfect” lately. It’s a word I tend to run from, or exhaust myself trying to achieve (and ultimately, failing every time).
I, Rachel Williams, am so ridiculously imperfect. So much so, that when I TRY to be perfect, I feel like such a hypocrite and my mind freaks out knowing that I’ll eventually fail and have to admit my imperfect nature yet again.

“Perseverance over perfection.” “Perfect is an illusion.” “Perfection is the enemy of progress.” And on on and we go. Circling social media we find tons of motivational quotes reminding us to give up the idea of perfection because it doesn’t exist. Comforting thoughts to someone like me who tends to live in the vicious cycle of strive–fail–stop.  So if we are looking at “perfection” through the lens of the world, I agree! It is an unattainable illusion we must be careful not to portray…we will FOREVER be imperfect without the hand of our Perfector.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is my life’s goal to learn from Him, surrender to Him, and glorify Him in every situation I find myself.  You know what He tells me? “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Why would He command something that’s so unattainable? Unless, of course, God’s definition of perfection is completely different than anything the world puts out there. (Much like His definitions of Love, Grace, and Peace…)

Keep in mind, this is the last verse in Matthew 5–the chapter of the Bible that holds Christ’s first sermon that turned the religious world on its head. This monumental sermon continues on after this verse, but He set the stage for His expectation of His followers.

Am I to use “that’s not my personality” as an excuse for disobedience?
Am I to shrug off His commands because it takes more effort than I’m willing to put in?
Am I to respond to others and behave in a way that puts myself first?
Is that attitude one of perfection and holiness?

Hang with me! I know I may be making your blood pressure rise and anxiety creep in. (You may be thinking… “HOW is this possible!? I do everything I can for everyone else and my life is still a mess! I can’t be perfect! I mess up every single day!”) Friend, let’s change our definition of perfect.

Christ doesn’t want you to look perfect, He commands us to be perfect. That isn’t going to happen by anything we strive for out of our own strength! It’s not our perfection He needs; it’s our surrender to HIS perfection, it’s taking His Holiness as our own, it’s being made NEW in Christ. It’s GROWING in faith, handling EVERY SINGLE MOMENT after that personal crucifixion in His strength, with His grace, for His glory.
(Romans 6Colossians 2Galatians 2)

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” 

1 Thessalonians 3:11 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, 12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, 13 so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

“Rejoice and be glad” Jesus tells us. (Matthew 5:10-12) Paul reminds us to rejoice in our suffering (Col. 1:24) and to “rejoice always” (1 Thess. 5:16)! Endurance my friends. Endurance through trials will bring us to perfection in Christ. Lacking in NOTHING.

You guys, why wouldn’t we count it all joy when we face trials? Every single trial we face in faith, brings us closer to the image of our Savior. It brings us closer to perfection with Him! Isn’t that WONDERFUL? Isn’t that the GOAL of a Christian?

Perfection ISN’T a life without mistakes.
Perfection ISN’T a rockin’ hard body or beautiful features.
Perfection ISN’T a mom who nails her Pinterest projects and pictures on Instagram.
Perfection ISN’T a life without physical, financial, or relational struggle.

From what I read, perfection is a life clothed in the image of Christ.
Perfection is being seen blameless before the Father.
Perfection is a soul choosing daily surrender to its Creator.
Perfection IS continual struggle, fighting the flesh and walking by the Spirit.
Perfection isn’t something we attain, but something we receive when we are obedient to Him.

If we define perfection the way God does in scripture, we WILL rejoice–no matter the circumstance! Because we know that with every trial we face, through our faithful endurance, we are being made perfect.

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PS– I would love to study the scriptures with you personally–online or face to face. If you have any questions about what you read here at Radiant Mission, please reach out. Let’s go to God’s Word together. (My opinion doesn’t ever matter, His always does!)

Inspired>Intimidated

Do you know a woman who is intimidating to you?

You know… the women who seem to have it all together. Well groomed, well educated, solid income, confidence from head to toe (or so it seems), independent, etc.

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I look at those women and think, “What can I possibly add to her life? What value would my friendship provide? She doesn’t need me or anything I have to offer.”

Friends. Hear me now. That thought process is NOT Godly! That is me ALLOWING Satan to thwart my thinking, and squash powerful relationships that could make the Kingdom of God expand exponentially!!

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt 

Can I confess something to you? I often feel inferior. I look at women I respect and the word I use to describe them in my own mind is “intimidating.” That is, until I read Phylicia Masonheimer ‘s thoughts on the word via her Instagram post (go give her a follow if you haven’t already).

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Now, every time my heart wants to be intimidated by a worthy woman I’m going to be INSPIRED. 

Because the beautiful reality is that in Christ Jesus, washed in His blood and full of God’s Spirit, we are all on level ground with each other. We are EQUALS. 

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Let’s walk as Princess Warriors worthy of His calling as we go into the new week (and every day we wake up)! 

Let’s change our vocabulary from intimidating ➡️ inspiring! 

Let’s pursue those relationships with inspiring women and dig into the Word of God WITH them.

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Let’s learn from each other as we are motivated and united in LOVE. Love for our Father through His Son, and love for each other!

Let’s link arms with our sisters in Christ, and run this race together—no one inferior or superior, but as equals. 

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Procrastinate much?

Buckle up y’all… let’s go somewhere together. 

I recently heard someone say something they’re working on (and hoping to conquer) in 2019 is procrastinating what needs to be done. 

His words have been circling through my head along with this section of Scripture mentioned briefly on Sunday morning. 

James 4:13-17

James 4:13-17

Before we go any further, let me tell you this: I am a procrastinator. I’ve ALWAYS put things off to the last minute. 

That college paper? Wrote it the night before (or morning of) the due date. 

The lines to memorize? I tend to keep my scripts backstage so I can sneak a glance before I hit the spotlight. 

That kind message I keep meaning to send? Often gets forgotten. 

Taking a look at our budget to see how we can give more? Haven’t done it yet. 

That Bible Study I’ve been meaning to ask about having? Haven’t asked. 

The soul searching and quiet time with God to ask Him to point out my flaws, and cleanse my heart however He can so He can make me more like His Son? I can do that tomorrow, right? 

James 4: “13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”

I used to isolate verse 17. Take it out and, if I’m being honest, use it to judge others who weren’t doing what I thought they should be doing. 

Friends, it’s not a verse to be taken in isolation (is any of the Bible?? Context is so important!). 

Procrastinating what I KNOW needs to be done, is sin. 

Woah. 

I just opened up an entire area of sin in my life I had no clue about yesterday. 

So putting off that assignment, not cleaning my room, etc. are they sins in and of themselves? I don’t believe so, no. But they ARE a symptom of a sinful disease: boasting in the arrogance of tomorrow when tomorrow isn’t promised.

I am so grateful for the grace of God which, in and through Christ Jesus, cleanses me of my sins.

I’m also grateful that He gave me today, now, to right this wrong.  And I pray that IF He gives me tomorrow, I steward those 24 hrs WELL >> not putting off what needs to be done for another day, but doing what I can to use every hour I’m given the way He would have me use it. 

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So friends, let’s do what we can TODAY, if the Lord wills. 💗

When it’s over…

You know what I’ve been thinking a lot about lately? Stewardship.

Time. Money. Health. Relationships. Am I being a good steward?
God has gifted me with one life. One. I don’t know how many days I have left, but am I using the present day to its potential? Or am I letting it slip by “buried in the ground” by inactivity?

In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus talks about how we are to steward God’s blessings to us. We are to use them.

“My” time, money, health, etc… in Christ, those things aren’t mine, but His! I am merely taking care until He returns.

So what about my health? Regardless of its current state, what am I doing to improve it? At the end of my life (whenever that may be), will He look at me and say “well done good and faithful servant.” Or will He say “you wicked and slothful servant!”

Will He be pleased with the work done through this vessel, or will I bring to Him my “I’m too tired, too weak, too sick..” excuses?

One life. I pray I steward it wisely. 💗

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Shine, Jesus, shine!

Our words are important. They are valuable. With our words we praise our Father and confess Him before humanity. 

But my point is this: we are CREATED to be lights in this dark world. How? With GOOD WORKS. (Matthew 5:16, Eph. 2:10) 

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

Being a light has little to do with ME and everything to do with my Father. It’s HIS LIGHT. I am simply a willing vessel. 

Being a light has little to do with me, and everything to do with OTHERS. I am simply the hands and feet of Jesus. 

So “let your light so SHINE before men, THAT THEY MAY SEE your good works AND GLORIFY your Father in heaven.” 

“you are HIS WORKMANSHIP created FOR GOOD WORKS…”

How do I shine? By getting up and DOING GOOD for someone who can’t (or WON’T) do good back to me. 

That’s discipleship. That’s shining. And then when they ask why, I “give an answer for the hope that is within” me. (1 Peter 3:15) 

Jesus. 

Ask God to provide opportunities for you to do good.

Ask Him to open doors so that HE can be glorified and KNOWN by those still in darkness.

Ask for humility, bravery, and an abundance of love to pour out on those you encounter as a result of those prayers.

0A4DB2C9-74F5-4520-8EB9-98F946185221.pngHe will provide, and He will bless. #toGodbetheglory #greatthingsHehathdone 

when God smacks me

This year I’ve been reading through the Bible with the She Works His Way  plan, and today God smacked me right upside the head.

Often I get lost in Old Testament wording. I get lost in the rules and rituals. I wonder “whyyyy is this important?”

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Today, I asked God to show me what I need to know; show me why it’s important. (Because ALL scripture is important!)

“I am Holy, so you be holy.”

That’s the takeaway.

Do I believe that? “Do you not know, that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?”

The Old Testament teaches me what it means to BE His temple.
I don’t get to eat what I want, do what I want, worship how/when I want, surround myself with who I want, dress how I want, fill my mind with what I want….

No ma’am. I am not my own. I am bought and paid for. I am OWNED by my God. I am His.

Do I take that seriously? Thank God for grace when I don’t. Thank God for Jesus who makes this possible. But may I never forget the weight of His holiness within me.