Count The Cost

The man at the pool of Bethesda was paralyzed for 38 years. That means he probably had never been trained in a trade or had proper schooling. So when Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed, it was almost like He was asking him to “count the cost.”

In Jewish culture at that time, begging was a profession for people who could not work. They had to have a legitimate reason such as paralysis, blindness, or lameness to actually be a beggar, but the Jewish people would gladly be gracious with what they had to help provide for these men and women.

So if Jesus healed this man, he would no longer be allowed to beg. He would have to find a way to provide for himself. He would ultimately have to figure out a new way of life. Some people do not want to be healed. They are content with how their life is. They have gotten comfortable and know how to use whatever ails them to their advantage.

This is what Jesus asks us at salvation. Do we want to be healed? Do we want to be saved? Have we counted the cost? Its a free gift He wants to give us. But when we walk in relationship with Jesus, we will have a completely new life. The world will not understand. Our friends and family will not understand. We will lose alot, HOWEVER, we will gain everything. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord.

Do you want to be healed?

Fighting For Your Family: week 2

First, I want to apologize for not remaining consistent with the Fighting For Your Family posts. I’ll be vulnerable here and admit that an attack happened that immediately intimidated me. Which in turn stopped me from posting about prayer. But God stepped in and reaffirmed my faith. So here we go for week 2!

This week I want to tell you what the most important part of prayer is. It’s……Listening. Soaking in the presence of God and waiting for Him to speak into us. Without God speaking into our life, we run the risk of feeling unworthy, unloved, unheard, unseen, and unwanted. Which creates in us this need to either perform to get the Father’s attention, or shut down because we dont believe we have His attention. When He never called for us to do any of that.

In light of this, let us approach the Throne Room with open hands and listening ears.

Praying For Yourself

Dear Heavenly Father.

Thank you for your Holy Word and the Holy Spirit. Thank you for giving me ears to hear, for speaking to me and for never leaving or forsaking me. You are so good to me!

Abba, I ask today that you would give me ears to hear your voice. Remove the things inside of me that keep me from recognizing your voice. Create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10). I open myself up to you Lord. Search me and know me, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way inside of me (Psalm 139:23-24).

I surrender myself to your will. I surrender the plans I have for my life and accept your holy plan instead. I surrender my attitude, my judgements, my emotions, my thoughts, and my actions to you. All that I am is yours.

Lord, I ask for you to increase my faith and discernment. Help me to be patient with my children, loving towards my spouse, and a good steward of the gifts you’ve given me. I love you Abba and I ask all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Fighting For Your Family: Week 1

Hey everyone! Starting today, I am going to be starting a series on praying for your families! I’ll be posting one prayer a week that covers anything from marriage to your children’s future spouses to praying over your house. Prayer is such a vital part of your relationship with God. Without prayer we are just studying scripture and gaining knowledge, whereas prayer invites us into the Throne Room to speak face to face with Adonai. Without this intimacy, there is no relationship. It would be like being married, but never actually speaking with your spouse. Just learning about them from relatives or friends while living inside the home with a stranger.

So without further ado, lets kick off this series with a prayer to cover our family!

Family

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the family you have blessed us with. Thank you for being a constant source of peace and identity in our homes. I pray that you would give my family a heart that constantly clings to you. I ask that you teach us how to train up our children in the way they should go, so when they are older, they will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) Produce within us an attitude of integrity and a heart that seeks to give glory to only you. Protect each family member as they go about their busy schedules today. Bless them in everything they do. Clothes us in your love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:14) Help us to walk in grace, mercy, and Your Will all the days of our lives.

Bring unity into our households and restore any broken relationships inside these four walls. I pray that your hand of grace would never leave us and that you would strengthen us to stand strong against the worldly influences that surround us. Restore the hearts of parents to the children and the hearts of children to the parents. If there is any contention between them, I pray that your healing oil would be poured out over them. Make our homes a refuge of peace with the presence of your spirit always around. Thank you for being faithful to answer our prayers.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Blessed

“Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord”

Blessed – made holy, consecrated, those who live with God.

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked.”

Wicked – evil or morally wrong.

“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither-whatever they do prospers.”

Are you in a difficult season? Or are you in a season of blessing? No matter what season you are in, this says that whatever you do (that the Lord has called you to do), you’ll prosper at it! No matter what kind of season you are in, God promises to work it out for your good. Take heart, God is working everything out to the good of His children. Grow deep in His word so you can stand firm in whatever season you are in.

When God is Your Husband

Can I get personal with you? Like, really vulnerable?….My marriage almost ended a couple years ago. It was so close to ending, I’m sure satan was dancing with glee at the thought of his plan working.

Between life, sin, infertility, child loss, T1D, and a little bit of faith there was a family barely holding on. A threshold for sin to saturate. A wife letting her emotions rule her household. Children stuck in a game of war that they never asked to be in. And God, trying to help us see Him.

Life began to spiral out of control a few years ago, but I held on to my vision of being OK for as long as I could. But then the bubble burst, and I was left sitting there in a pile of clothes and sheetrock, crying out for help from a God I didn’t think knew I existed.

With my heart in pieces and my marriage in shambles, I laid on my bed empty searching my Bible for anything to make me feel whole again. And there it was, in the book of Hosea. I had never felt so connected to a book of the Bible before. He understood my pain. He had stood in the ruins of a marriage too. And God had responded to Hosea just as He had responded to me. “Go, show love to your wife again,….Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods…” Hosea 3:1

It was in this book that God put my heart back together and taught me the truth of marriage. Hosea 2:16 was the key verse that taught me.

This verse gave me so much hope! I learned how to accept the love of God in the place of the love of a husband. I allowed God to work on me and re-define marriage for me using His definition, instead of the world’s. He completely flipped my views upside down! I learned that my husband isn’t supposed to fulfill me or complete me. God is!

Thats why so many marriages fail! We go into marriage placing our spouse on the pedestal that God is supposed to be on. No wonder there is strife and bitterness! Only God can fill the emptiness in our heart. No other human alive can carry that weight for to long.

Through that season of sacrifice and pruning, God restored my marriage and I learned what true love really is. This eventually led to my husband accepting the free gift of salvation!  It was a wonderful ending to a very stormy season.

If you are in a stormy season in your marriage, let my testimony give you a hope for the future! God is the restorer of marriages. He heals the broken hearted. He is the miracle worker. He can and will restore what the locusts has eaten, if you are willing to let Him.

Please reach out for prayer or encouragement if you are struggling now. I’d love to pray for you!

EOW 5/24/2020

Most people in my area know who I am. But for those of you not from around here, my name is Stephanie Smith. I started this blog about 3 years ago and was beginning to get pretty consistent with my posting, until that fateful day. I’ll explain that a little further down, but I’ve been off of here for over a year now. God spoke into my heart to begin writing again just recently. I love to write! Writing comes easier to me than even speaking. So, here is the story of the most terrible week of my life, to catch you up to speed.

My brother was a state trooper who died from injuries sustained while on duty, and its been a heavy heart ache since then…

George was a stubborn, goal oriented man. Every goal he set, he conquered. He planned out his path and then worked with everything in him to achieve it. From joining the Marines at the age of eightteen, to becoming a cop in a small town, all the way to becoming a state trooper! He was my hero.

From the moment we heard of George’s accident, we prayed hard for a miraculous healing. I gathered my trusted prayer warriors and we stormed the gates of Heaven all day, every day. I laid hands and prayed over him, I laid hands on his wife and prayed strength and comfort over her, then I would go to my spiritual leaders and let them lay hands on me. There was such a huge move of God during that time!

I had such a huge hope and expectation that George would get out of that bed, that I would almost laugh at the doctors telling us that there was no hope. I was so expectant, that I sat by his bedside an entire day, waiting for him to wake up and look at me. I knew he would not only wake up, he would walk out of the hospital, broken bones restored! It was deeply embedded in me. My faith soared!

Everyday, the news grew worse and worse. From there is no hope, to second and third doctors telling us the same thing. Before my brother had even passed, I got on social media to be bombarded with ‘RIP” posts made about him. This is how dire the situation had become. But God is always up to something good. Even when our circumstances are bad.

You see, my brothers injuries were only in his brain, brain stem and ankle. He had led an outstanding life and remained healthy. He was a prime organ donor. Even able to donate two perfect lungs! (which doesn’t happen often) so we made the hard decision to set him up for organ donation. He had donated his life already to keeping people safe, might as well keep that going even in death.

My brother’s story doesn’t end in death though, it ends in life. He was able to directly save lives! On the day of our deep mourning and grief, others were celebrating answered prayers. We may have not received our miracle, but God revealed to me that many others had. And if this sacrifice brings even one life to Christ, it is all worth it.

We praised God for those saved lives at George’s funeral. We prayed, praised, and gave God all the glory. We cried, laughed, and buried a piece of each of us that day. George left behind a wife, a daughter, a mother, a father, two sisters, and many friends and family. The community drew closer together as they lined the streets for the funeral procession. Waving flags and signs with his name and call number on it. His military family drove from all over the country to pay their respects as well. It was such a beautiful and humbling experience.

I was ok for a while after the accident. It wasn’t until everything calmed down that I began to feel the intense hurt. Then I shut it down with anything I could. Distractions and busyness. Until God called me to attention. I spent an entire year working on my relationship with Him. And now He has encouraged me to begin writing again. I’m so excited to see where He leads me!

New Beginnings

Hello 2022! Come in, sit down, and no funny business! Just kidding!…….maybe.

Today is day number two of this year and we’ve already had a few crazy things happen. However, as I sit here watching my husband build lincoln log cabins with my two boys while my daughter finishes cleaning the kitchen, I can’t help but to be excited about this new season. I love new beginnings!

It’s a new opportunity to try again! This year is a far cry from where I was two years ago……

God had moved so much in my life. He was so faithful and merciful. He had all reason to drop me like a sack of potatoes. BUT He didn’t and I’m so thankful that He is love. After my brother passed away, I was not a faithful servant to Him. On the outside, I had the act almost completely down. But on the inside, I was withering away in bitterness, unforgiveness, and wrecklessness.

God allowed me to wallow in my sin and selfishness for a while. Then He brought me back to reality. It was like He removed a blindfold from my eyes. All of a sudden I could see again! It was terrible and wonderful at the same time. I saw the reality of my heart and the seriousness of my decisions. I also saw His grace and love overflow from His throne. It was humbling.

So in this New Beginning, I’m so excited to see where He takes me. The verse He spoke over my marriage and family is: I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6 CSB

How beautiful of a reminder is that?! So with that on my heart, I wrote down my goals for this year.

  • Take better care of my skin and hair
  • Be intentional in my home
  • Cook low carb meals and snacks
  • Read the Bible in a year
  • Have my bills paid up 3 months in advance
  • Remain consistent on here
  • Finish my theology classes
  • Keep my mouth shut (more on this later)

Here’s to creating a beautiful new future! Share some of your goals for 2022 with me! I’d love to hear them and encourage you on your journey too.

Tuesday Homestead Update

A week from today, exactly 10 minutes after I posted last weeks update, I fractured my ankle. It was not a fun way to end that really peaceful morning. But it happened, and now we are just working around it. And by “we” I really mean my poor husband. He is picking up the slack like a champion all while tending to me. He is pretty incredible. But on to the important stuff, our homestead.

This week things have gotten exciting. We got to harvest some of our black cherry tomatoes. One of our green bean plants is about ready to be harvested as well! Its so exciting to see some of our hard work paying off already.

I took a class and did some research to learned how to use my essential oils in the garden for pest control, companion planting, and weed control. Its pretty interesting what these tiny vials of concentrated oils can do for us!

So we sprayed lavender oil at the roots of our other green bean sprouts to help them produce more beans. We sprayed rosemary oil around the perimeter of the gardens to keep the cats from using the soil as a litter box. We also mixed up a bug control recipe that won’t poison us when we eat our veggies! Pretty amazing huh?

In regards to our vegetables with vines, we skillfully planted them at the edges of our garden, so we just continue to encourage them to grow out of the garden. Instead of growing all over our other plants. Its so funny because when the spaghetti squash tried to fall over to vine out, I thought it was trying to die, so I kept picking it back up and adding more dirt to make it stand. My husband had to stop me! I was determined to not let my favorite plant die. But, come to find out, it was just doing what it is supposed to be doing.

As for our animals, they are all doing wonderfully! I mixed up a bug spray for our horse from my essential oils and she is very appreciative. We have oregano vitality on hand for any chicken illnesses in the future. Better to be safe than sorry! The meat chickens have grown so well that I would love to get more, however that will have to wait until I heal. And our little turkey babies are adorable and strong! They are so different from our chickens, its funny to watch.

If any one is interested in getting some essential oils to help with their garden,or tips and tricks, let me know! These are amazing to have on hand. Its so nice to know we are serving happy healthy vegetables to our family. No pesticides or chemicals in our house or outside of our house. Its a nice feeling.

God Bless

Grace Revival Homestead

The Battle of Loneliness

Lately I’ve been strugglng with loneliness. Not actually being alone, just feeling alone. I have people that would come sit with me and bring us dinners to help out. I have friends that would drop everything and come see me if I asked. I have a mother that would literally move in with me to help out. And yet, I still feel alone.

I’m surrounded by children and animals and my husband. I actually get touched out by bedtime still. And yet, I still feel alone.

I have a true church family that is willing to get in the muck and dirt of my life with me. Who have survived all of our battles with us. Who will fall on their knees with just a look of sadness from me. That has proven their loyalty and love to me. They surround us and fight with us. And yet, I still feel alone.

Spiritual warfare isn’t a fair fight. It spikes its ugly head at the worst possible moments. It speaks lies into your mind and anxiety into your heart. It puts you in a dark place where you find it hard to breathe or find peace. It surrounds you and tries to drown you.

But God. He stands in the precipice of darkness and victory. He holds His hand out, beckoning for you to grab hold of Him. To let Him be your knight in shining armor. To allow Him the chance to swoop in and save the day. All you have to do is cling to his shoulders while He fights off the demons and lies. Just hold on to Him while He speaks His truths into our ears to drown out the cries of the enemy.

Loneliness is an attempt of the enemy to get you weak so he can torment you. My loneliness allowed that for a bit. But over the loudness of the enemy, I could still hear the whisper of my God. He would tell me what to do to fight back. My flesh cried for me to go back to old habits and ways. To remember the days in Egypt when things were “normal and comfortable”. When I lived in the lie of the world. It wasn’t even for me to go back to doing bad things. Just to familiarize myself to people from my past, which I know leads to old ways.

But God’s whisper is easier to want than the screams of the enemy and my flesh. I’ve been down the wrong road enough to know that while I may crave it, it leads to death. But God leads to peace and fullness and love.

The whispers of God led me to His Throne Room. To prayer. To meditation on His word. To Him. To a place where I could crawl up in my Father’s lap and find comfort there. My faith doesn’t rest on my feelings of loneliness. And while this feeling may continue, I know the truth. I am never alone. I have scripture to back this truth up. I may wake up tomorrow still free falling in this feeling of loneliness, but I know my God is right here with me. Even when I don’t feel it, I know it. Even when I can’t see it, I know it. His love endures forever.

My feelings do not control my faith. So I will wake up and face the day with God’s truth. I will take on the day with God as my shield. I will conquer the day no matter how I am feeling because I know who holds my hand.

God Bless

Grace Revival Homestead

Good or God

I’ve been in Exodus for a few weeks now, commemorating my own exodus from the world and this one verse spoke millions to my heart. “Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.”

Aaron was following the directions of God, performing mighty acts to show God’s judgement on Egypt and His glory to them.

The Egyptian magicians and sorcerers duplicated some of the acts that Aaron had performed. BUT nothing of this world is as powerful as God! Aaron’s staff swallowed theirs! God deflated their magic trick and humiliated them in the process.

You see, the world tries to act like God. Some things that are shown to us look good, but they really aren’t godly. And its just that, an ACT! It can never work. Not without God being in it. All that is out there in the world is hardness and failure.

God is so much more! God loves us. He desires us. He has some amazing things in store for us! We are not meant to stay here.

Our exodus from the world looks alot like the book of Exodus in the bible. There was intense spiritual warfare, wilderness walks, camp outs with God, and God showing us His glory daily. We yearned for our daily manna from Him. We spent so much time with Him. There was a Honeymoon phase where all we wanted and sought after was Him.

But just like the Israelites, we tend to wander back into the lusts of the world. Our hearts are deceitful and cannot be trusted. But God always pulls us back to Him. He woos us softly and tenderly. He chastises us like a loving father. He defends us as a protector should.

How was your exodus from the world? Are you currently going through it? Is your battle intense, or on the ending side? I’d love to pray for you or with you. Comment or send me an email with any and all prayer requests! I’m all about my Father’s business.

God Bless

Grace Revival Homestead