See That I’m a Follower of Christ by my Actions

This was written in 2016 but I just found it today.

I heard it said something like this. Don’t know I’m a Christian just because I post Bible verses that aren’t just John 3:16. See that I’m a follower of Christ by my actions.

Hopefully by my actions others can see that I’m following Christ. I get lost and take a longer way sometimes but when I catch up my Jesus is still there on the road of life. The worlds view of Christianity is that we are all striving for this euphoric place in the sky. No, the kingdom of God is within each of us. Once we accept our inheritance we then realized that kingdom living looks nothing like world living. Sure there is a Heavenly home that does await us but there is also a kingdom right here and right now! The peace that comes from knowing Jesus is right here within me. Having contentment because I am in constant communication with my God. Oh and don’t get me started on the love! Now I don’t want to paint a false picture here because I’m not perfect. The love you can have for others is overpowering! It’s true that I get so mad at people I want to punch them ( I know not a kingdom living thought) but Gods grace has countless times said to me ” Nicci you stop right now and step into their shoes.” Then you begin to love.

So friends don’t think I’m a “Christian” because I say so. Observe me ( or others claiming Christ) and see if it holds true.

Do you pray? I mean really pray? Are you constantly communicating with God? Not just at meal time or in a preset devotion. It should be as easy as if He as sitting right in front of you.

What is your language like? Do you cuss, scream, or have filthy thoughts come out of your mouth regularly?

Where do you put you glory? Do you give glory to God or do you try to bring glory to yourself? What value do you put on Money, beauty, status ?

How do you treat others? Are you willing to help someone even if it comprises yourself? Do you talk behind people’s backs? Do you even secretly hate them?

Are you submitting to your local church body or even to the laws of this country? Do you put your trust in the leadership at your church? Do you truly believe that God has placed them there?

Where does your money go? Do you think the beggar on the street is just out to get free booze? That single mom down the road from you, do you offer to bring her dinner? Or are you judging her and don’t want to condone “her sinful actions “? Do you spend your money on entertainment or fancy new gadgets but never on another?

Do you have a song in you heart?

Is the Risk Still Worth it?

Was it still worth the risk?

Rip open my chest Lord and just take the broken heart, you’ve already taken everything else that I had. Those are my current real thoughts. I’m done. I’m sick of the pain,the heartache,and the burden of the reality of my situation. I’m angry,I’m torn,I have nothing left in me to fight with. Somewhere along the way I became someone that loved too deeply and her heart got broken. I’m the girl that had contentment but took the risk to seek God’s will. Green light says go. It’s easy when the light is green and things are exciting but no one prepared me for the yellow light or the red light.

This was written and posted on my social media the other day.

Sometimes God speaks very clearly. He says “Nicci have you anything you have not surrendered to me?” I knew instantly what it was. For so long I’ve been trying to figure out how I could leave my fellowship to be in his. Somehow God surly would give me the green light. Today as I listened to a sermon God spoke in a way I could no longer argue with. Not because my fellowship is better or his is less..both are the bride of Christ but hold different functions. God said “Nicci you pitched your tent 7 years ago with my people in this part of the body. This is where I have placed you. If you make this choice it WILL have lasting effects. The most loving thing you could do is let Mark do as I’ve called him to do and you must rise up to what I’ve called you to do.” With tears in my eyes I said “Lord I give Mark to you! You are my king.” He said “Now you are in the center of my will. I will do the work in both of your lives. I’m the one in control not you! I will provide and you WILL BE OK.”

So although it stings and I am standing at the door crying out to my Lord “Why Lord why? I was content single and you brought me a friend. One who is a solid believer and yet over a denomination you are asking me to walk away?” Then I remember the blog post I wrote not long ago…who created me and Mark? It was my Father and He get to call the shots not I. So although the tears may come from time to time, I lift my head and I straighten my crown and I go forward knowing to whom I belong to,king Jesus. I value every opportunity that was given to Mark and I. He’s a lovely man of God. He’s no longer mine but I rest in the fact that he belongs to king Jesus as well!

So I laid everything out there. Surly the man I loved and I could figure SOMETHING out? What do you do when two people are perfectly suited for each other but what each of us are hearing is God saying “Stay in your church fellowship. This is my place for you”? Do you ignore God and follow love’s path or do you honor God? Always always honor God! Though my opening words are my honest and raw feelings in this present moment, I realize that earlier today I wrote:

There’s a distinct point in the suffering and pain that you say “Yes, I feel like my whole life is falling apart but I think instead of letting the remnant pieces of my life rot away I’m going to scoop up what’s left and see what I can build.” So maybe I’m in too much pain to get dressed in my normal clothes but I can pick my very best pajamas. I can’t really leave the house but I can wash and brush my hair. I’m sitting anyway so instead of crying and trying to dissect every sermon to see if God can give me a sign, I’m going to put on music and write letters to brighten other people’s day. I may not be in a relationship anymore but I had a life of contentment before and I can continue to have a life of contentment now. I get to choose and the choices I make shape my tomorrow! Do I run from my giants or do I face them head on? I want to be the kind of woman that faces them head on..even if the pain hasn’t gone away. Having faith means going into battle knowing who you’re fighting for. As for me, I fight for the kingdom of God. I can do do kingdom work single or dating,home bound or in town,but not self centered and and looking to something other than my God. Victory is ours!

So in this season I cry out GOD I CANNOT STAND ON MY OWN I know the victory is ours. The question gets asked again then. Was it still worth the risk now that I know the outcome? In my fleshy moments of deepest sorrow I say absolutely not. Love straight up sucks! However in my heart of hearts I know that is a lie. Yes, I is worth the risk. Yes, the pain(I hope) will be worth it and God WILL provide…but this season of life is not easy.

If you think to take a moment to pause and pray for Mark and I, I would appreciate it.

Much love, Pilgrim Nicci

Questioning Questions

When someone we or someone in the Bible asks a question of God, He often asks a question in return. When a child with attachment issues asks a question we are trained to ask one in return. This establishes power and who is in control of the conversation.

When we ask questions of God like “Why are you doing this to me?” “Are you serious haven’t I done enough for you?” “When are you going to provide for my need?” “Do you even hear me oh Lord?” We are faced with a loss of Attachment at our own doing. We lose the focus on His holiness,love,and power over the spiritual and natural things of life. Instead we shift that focus off of God and on to our own self. We put our needs and wants above the desire and will of the one who created us in that never ending love.

Not willing to lose us yet,in His greatness ,must come first He begins asking us questions in return. He gently asks “Who am I?” “What does my Word say?” “Will I ever truly leave you?” “Who created you?” This points us away from our self focused tendencies and back to His truth. Then our “attachment” /being close to Him and Him to us can be re-established with His heart and ours connected as the Holy Spirit encircles and dwells in our oneness.

Our rebellion ceases to exist when we realize we are not in control so we with a spirit of submission loosen our clutch on the control we thought we had but never truly did. A closer walk with the Lord is our desire and all unrest becomes a peaceful rest.

Here are just a few examples of this shown in scripture. This is just a small scratch of what could be dug up on the subject of our Lord asking questions when faced with a control taking question. Let us all be mindful of how we approach our sovereign Lord and king!

Mark 4:38,40

Luke 2:48-49

Matthew 9:14-15

Matthew 15:1-3

Matthew 26:6-10

John 13:37-38

Genesis 3:8-12

Job 38:1-4

Jonah 4:1-4

Bread and Wine

Recently I met my boyfriend for the first time. Say what? Yes you heard me right. I met my boyfriend for the first time when he stepped off of the airplane and into the Ohio humidity. Nervous jittery feelings were deeply imbedded into my person as the moment I had be waiting for and almost believing was not reality became reality.

Not more than 24 hours after we met in person for the first time we were thrown into a five day church conference complete with 2,000 people (exact number unknown). To say the pressure was on and the nerves were at an all time high is a vast understatement. I’ll pause here to say I wouldn’t have changed a single moment but it was far more overwhelming than I could have wrapped my head around.

This blog post isn’t about my Mark and I. Sorry to disappoint you but I sure do hope you’ll continue to read along as I share something very special to me.

Monday night at my churches conference we all go up on stage to sing. The singing comes after a special sermon directed at our young folks. Mark and I walked in to the song Would You be Poured Out Like Wine. The words gripped my heart as I heard it through his heart. For me it’s a fairly common song and I hear it a lot. For him it was the first time and I’m glad he had the thought to record it. As I reflected over our week together being surrounded by my fellowship I couldn’t help but have the light bulb moment of understanding that this fellowship had truly been poured out like wine and broken not only for each other but for Mark and I personally.

The week leading up to this unprecedented meeting I started getting texts of prayers and support. The day before a dear sister stopped by and as the Holy Spirit prompted took my hands and prayed for mark and I. All throughout the conference and even still phone calls,texts,and so very many prayers are being poured out like wine on our behalf. It’s not uncommon for me to value and be filled up with love by “my people”. In fact in every season I have had brothers and sisters walk along side me as consistent cheerleaders ready to support me however God leads. Poured..so much poured on my behalf.

Then there were the sermons prepared by God using willing men as humble vessels for His glory. Oh so incredibly rich were the moments sitting in fellowship ears attentive and hearts connecting. After each preaching service I was so in awe of all the people who came up and talked to Mark and I. They treated us like fellow citizens of the kingdom and not simply the next article of gossip in the newspaper. Ministers,friends,strangers,everywhere everyone was available to talk about the Lord. My friends from all spots in life shared meals with us. These selfless acts of making the person I care about feel welcome was not overlooked but in fact was noticed and brought tears to my eyes! My fellowship was broken like bread to feed the hungry! Oh we are hungry for your continued prayers over this relationship.

Next up was Tuesday council meeting which I honestly didn’t really know what to think about as we walked in. Soon I knew without a doubt that these men laboring for this little part of the body of Christ were communicating in love and I was glad Mark got to experience that. Before Tuesday’s council there was Sunday’s communion. It’s nothing for communion to be a moving time of pure worship. I personally felt overwhelmed by that point. Overwhelmed in a good way but there was a lot of pressure on us having just met and now everyone being so excited and ready for us to tie the knot in their minds. I sat at the table just sobbing realizing that there was no way that I could do this relationship on my own but rather I needed Jesus take the complete lead as we have desired from the beginning. No amount of well wishes or personal hopes could carry us, only the Holy Spirit has that capability. So after taking the wine and the bread I felt peace so much peace knowing no matter my tomorrows He has already paved the way. He has provided me with a loving fellowship that is the embodiment of the song we sang and the Jesus we serve.

I don’t know where you find yourself on this pilgrim journey. Maybe you’re not yet a pilgrim and find yourself just plum lost. That’s not how this life is supposed to be. The kingdom of God is a community made up of living people living in abundant joy serving their king Jesus. That manifests itself in many ways such as laying down your life for a brother or sister as my fellowship has done for me. If you haven’t yet started your pilgrimage I ask “why not”? Why haven’t you surrendered your will to the Lord? Are you going through life looking the part but living in the depths of depression or lukewarm living..or maybe you’re just spiritually dead? Know this one thing. We have all come short of the glory of God. We are rotten with sin and deserve to die. God doesn’t accept dead people into His spotless kingdom. You must take hold of what the Word says in John 3:16. For God so loved the world (you&me) that He gave His only begotten son so that whosoever shall parish will have everlasting life! He wants to take you from death into life,darkness into light! Then only then you can follow the Words of Jesus in taking your cross (His cause) and follow after Him as pilgrims and strangers in this foreign land.

To the pilgrim that’s just journeying on. Don’t be disheartened in well doing. Your labor is not in vain. Like the fellowship that I’ve been placed in, be an blessing and an encouragement to those that you meet. I once was lost sinking in sin but if it weren’t for pilgrims willing to step out in faith along the way to walk along side me at a slower pace, I may never have found real healing and surrender! Chin up dear ones! You’re doing a good work! Continue to be Poured out like wine and broken like bread in the name of of sweet Jesus Christ!

Much love, Pilgrim Nicci

At Odds:The Victory is Yours

Folks let’s talk about Spiritual battle real quick. It is something raging all of the time. The Spirits are at war EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s not that all of a sudden they switch their attention to the unsuspecting Christian. There is sin,temptation , doubt, and fear around EVERY CORNER! Jesus didn’t say “Let’s go on a jolly good walk in the park to find the gold at end of the rainbow.” He said take up your cross(cause/mission) and follow me”. He says follow and we follow. That can be follow me into a sweet time of fellowship with likeminded believer or it could also mean follow me into battle against the false teachers disguised as brothers and sisters in Christ. Then He can lead us into obvious blessings that overflow and then right into blessings that don’t always immediately feel like blessings. He’s GOD and has the right to lead us,call us,and command us into whatever season He needs us in to put us in the best position for battle against the adversary! He allows the shots of fiery lies to be shot our way by Satan to strengthen us and to prove His strength. It hurts! Ouch oh it hurts! It hurts so bad that it is downright tempting to walk off the battlefield hands thrown up in surrender to the wrong king. I think there is the misguided assumption that when you become a Christian that it means a warm fuzzy life carefree from pain and suffering. Like some how Jesus acts like a bandaid from all our sorrows. WRONG! He IS our healer but healing spiritually isn’t really anything like being healed naturally. It’s far grater but so are the wounds that the healing must be delt with.

As this spiritual battle continues on and the lies of Satan are being shot with cannons at lightning speed there are some things that you can do to to bring victory in the name of Jesus Christ.

1)Make sure that you’re in the Word. Cliche as this sounds it’s really your only basis to go into battle. Without it you’re useless and might as well give up the fight. You’ll be a sitting duck and very little help to the kingdom. In fact you can bring great damage to the fight at hand.

2)Let others know that you’re facing this war. Partner in prayer with as many as you can. A war is never won alone. It takes a mighty army of people all laboring together with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

3)Confront every single lie head on. Is Satan telling you something about a thought someone has about you? Go ask them directly if what he is telling you is true. They’ll appreciate you coming to them. Is Satan discrediting your value? Read the Word and see what the Lord has to say about you. Are the attacks coming in the form of past sins being brought up? Recall the moment you laid them at the foot of the cross. Read what Jesus has done for you and when the Holy Spirit entered you!

4)Get sleep. This one really isn’t spiritual at all but Satan does attack when we are weak. If you’re weary and worn out physically it can be prime time for lies,nightmares,and imaginations to swell up.

Be of good cheer dear ones as we as brothers and sisters unite against the one who fell! If a Christian family member comes to you battle weary, walk along side them to lift them up to continue the good fight. Soon they will be the one to lift you when you have been wounded and the positions of battle have been changed. Go forward with the mighty armor of God knowing what Ephesians 6:12 says “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” You have the power of Jesus Christ walk in all confidence as given the example in 2 Timothy 2:3-4 “thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” We can be pleasing to the Lord by our faithful battle not with others but with Satan alone. He WILL GO DOWN!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=nlpSl3yadO4

Diary post: Pep talk to the stressed mess

We get this moment only once here on earth. So often we let it go unnoticed. Maybe it’s the flowers that bloom and quickly fade away or it’s the passion of a new believer that on fire for Christ do we fully embrace the magnitude of our God in both of those moments in time or do we long for the next moment while this one phases away? Let’s stop and truly smell the flowers in an act of praise! Let’s embrace the new saint and bless them on their journey. Let’s fully live alive in the new life we have been given! We have a purpose let’s not waste it!

———/ This is totally a pep talk for myself as I’m coming out of a season of well..let’s just say it…juggling too much. It’s showing in my health big time as I realize I was just stretching myself too thin and the balls began to drop. Stress, it’s something I had heard about but didn’t really think affected me all that much. Peeps listen up, if your body,work,and whatever else is telling you to stop and live in the moment by all means DO IT! Don’t allow stress to make you something you don’t even recognize. Don’t go through the motions of life! LIVE…truly live! I knew something was off but it wasn’t until last week when essentially I was fired(contract not renewed after six years)from my long time job that I realized I didn’t even recognize myself. Honestly I was relieved,sad but relieved. Stress! I had everything to look forward to but moment by moment I wasn’t fully feeling every joy that surrounded me. In fact I was becoming numb to the things I was passionate about in life. Praise the Lord for the closed door,as sad as it is! I feel the door to life being reopened as I’m focused on one day at a time(in reality not just in the words I say). God is good and freedom to live is worth more than gold!

Diary post:A Day Worth Waiting For

This was originally written to share with some Christian singles but I think it’s better suited for here. It’s a bit of a diary post.

I’ve been thinking about the bride of Christ today. I want to share something with you, a thought I had oh probably three years ago or so. I was at our love feast and the minister was preaching as he was breaking bread or finishing up either with the bread or the wine. I can’t remember exactly but what I do remember is how I felt as he spoke about the bride of Christ. Right then and there I burst into tears of JOY. I thought “Oh Lord! I may never get to be loved here on earth and get to wear a white dress with my groom waiting in anticipation for me at the end of the aisle. Lord but you are waiting for me and you love me and as long as I live THAT will satisfy me. Your love is enough! Who am I to desire anything more than your affection for me! Lord let me be a pure bride as I wait our wedding day along with my brothers and sisters!” Right then and there I knew without a single doubt that I had value. So much value to my king Jesus. His wedding was the one I could fix my gaze on as a single. I could rejoice with those around me that had an earthly love without feeling jealous or less. It was no longer a Competition or a matter of me being damaged goods. I WAS wanted and desired.

Now after several years of laying down my strong desire to be loved here on earth I’m getting even a small taste of what it is to be loved by my Jesus but here on earth. No,I’m not deserving and I cannot figure out why I am the one who gets to feel a thousand happy butterflies in my stomach each morning or wonder if this pounding my chest will ever end. I have been given something so very special. But even in all of this joy in this adventure of sharing this love together it is incomparable to what it will be like when we are in the presence of king Jesus! How much more will my heart beat? Will it explode from my chest? Will the butterflies escape and encircle us as we are presented to our Father as blameless and perfect?

I admit that after several years of not allowing myself to even consider what an earthly wedding could be like I have allowed myself to slip into this fun dream world where I get to be the earthly bride and my earthly groom is there with love waiting for me. Yet today as I was day dreaming I burst into tears just as I did on that night so many years ago. How rich is it when we as Christ bride prepare for OUR day? Not only in our minds but in our hearts and in our actions? Oh I have a long way to go before I find myself worthy of getting my crown. Honestly I could never be good enough and neither could you! That’s where loving grace comes in. That doesn’t mean we should stop striving for a closer walk with our Lord. Just like my relationship with my Mark, I cannot fully experience it because the miles separate us but it doesn’t make it less real or our love less. How much more should we be in preparation for our king Jesus to become godly men and women as we wait that day of being united together?

Lord I cry out for each person that is waiting for that day! We long oh Lord to see your face. We turn our faces to the sky the only thing bright enough..vast enough to let our imaginations wander of how BIG and bright you are! Oh Lord help us to be prepared as ready. Let us be a pure bride without wrinkles or stains. Lord God guide us as your vessels of use to the lost and dying world. Call the lost and let us walk beside them as a constant support in this pilgrim journey. Loosen our grips from anything here on earth but let our love hold tightly in the name of Jesus Christ our life blood! We lock our eyes on you Lord and we occupy until you come.