To SHINE or Not to SHINE

 

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Ever had one of those moments that make you realize the real deep stuff down in your heart?

The “man, I sure do need Jesus. Because I still have dark in my heart” kind of moment.

The moments when you slip and flesh comes out in your attitude?

NO? Really?

Well, I do.

I think I am walking in the light and shining and something rubs me wrong (maybe my husband or my children or even a complete stranger) and self wants to be a sarcastic smart mouth or even (shhhh) snaps.  Maybe they were really wrong. Maybe they weren’t. Either way, it is always a choice to SHINE or to not shine.

Ever happen to you? Just me? Really?

It is in those moments that the Holy Spirit convicts me, and thank goodness for that gift. It is a gift. Even though we sometimes feel like giving The Holy Spirit an eye roll. (that is self again)

We battle self every single day. I battle self every single day.

 

Self has to die y’all. (Yes, I said y’all. I am a southern girl.)

 

It is in these moments that I am reminded again that nothing I can do will make me deserving of Heaven, and that my salvation has nothing to do with me. It is in these moments, these “self” moments that I am all the more grateful for GRACE and MERCY.

Jesus loves me. I don’t deserve it. But HE does.

 

I want to SHINE Jesus even when “self” is tempted to be dark with an ugly attitude. Light and Dark are total opposites. May we always remember that truth. May we always listen to HIS voice, HIS nudge, and the conviction of The Holy Spirit.

 

Matthew 5:16 ~In the same way let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Striving to Shine,

 

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Knock Knock

Heather Dawkins Photography

Heather Dawkins Photography

During my morning Bible study/quiet time, I read and soaked on Revelation 3:20.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. ~ Revelation 3:20 

Let me give you a little background on this verse. Jesus was speaking to the church of Laodicea. It was a rich and complacent church. One that seemed to have no worries or troubles.

They had trouble though. BIG trouble. Their lack of noticing their NEED for Jesus. They were happy just as they were.  Plenty of material possessions, food, and whatever else.

What they DID NOT HAVE was Jesus Christ’s PRESENCE among them.

Yet, HE clearly stated in REVELATION 3:20 that he was KNOCKING on the door.

Why couldn’t they hear HIM?

Was the music up too loud? Were there too many distractions? Did they not realize that the pleasures of the moment were not going to last? Were they too obsessed with SELF?

If God, His Word (the BIBLE), and church are of no interest to you, that means that you are shutting HIM out.

He is knocking.

Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock.

Patiently waiting to spend time with you.

Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock.

He won’t force HIS way in. You HAVE to open the door.

The only way to have lasting joy and peace is to open the door and let HIM in.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

He is NOT ONE who forces us to love and accept HIM. He gives us the choice to open the door.

Until Next Time,

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by: Heather Dawkins
Mt. CrossPointe (future home of CrossPointe Church)

For the Whole World To See

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One dog is sitting practically on my head. One is on my legs. The computer in my lap…Chili in the crock pot. The sound of the water running into the aquarium beside me.

There are to-do lists. Places to be. Schedules to keep.

But first, a message to share.

The messages that I share with y’all come to me at the strangest times and places. I’m sure that my other “writer” friends can relate. Especially when it comes to sharing the message that God lays on my heart to share. Sometimes I put it off due to the fact that it seems strange to me. That’s just how it is. I don’t even know why I am writing on a certain topic sometimes…other than the fact that I JUST HAVE TO.

You may not like what I’m sharing today. That’s okay. I don’t write for the approval of man..I only write for God. So, I offer no apologies today. I do love you all though and that’s another reason that I choose to share the hard truths.

I was getting dressed yesterday and this title pops in my head: “FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TO SEE” , Then little details and thoughts start emerging.

Like…..

~ Does your (my) appearance on Social Media match your  (my) appearance in person ?

(and I’m not talking about our profile pictures)

~ Do you (I) talk BIG on FB or Twitter or wherever else, and sit in a corner talking to nobody in public ?

~ Do you (I)  profess Jesus all over the Social Networks and project another image in other settings ?

~ Does your (my) walk match your (my) talk or text or tweet or post ?

~ Do you (I)  wear your (my)  “Christian” t-shirt in public and act like the devil at home ?

~ Do you (I) wear your (my) “Christian” t-shirt in public and put the word “Christian” to shame ?

~ Do you (I) post Bible verses online but never really open your Bible to study it and read it and learn?

Just some thoughts. For all of us to soak on…marinate in. Just being real. Because it MATTERS.

We are the only BIBLES that some people ever read. (Yes, that is someone else’s quote)

It matters how we represent our Jesus.

My pastor said something that really struck me last week during the message. He said that we have really messed up the word: CHRISTIAN. It basically means nothing anymore.

See there are people that say “I’m a CHRISTIAN” and yet they really aren’t. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. The fact that your parents made you go your whole life doesn’t  make you a Christian. Doing good things doesn’t make you a Christian. Knowing about Jesus doesn’t make you a Christian. Wearing a Christian t-shirt doesn’t make you a Christian. Posting bible verses doesn’t make you a Christian.

So, what makes you a Christian? I mean a REAL AUTHENTIC TRUE FOLLOWER OF CHRIST?

JESUS.

Jesus is what makes you a CHRISTIAN. Knowing HIM and HIM knowing you. It takes FAITH. It takes surrender. It takes admitting that you are a sinner and that you NEED HIM. It takes faith and believing that Jesus is the Son of God. It takes confessing Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

John 3:16,17 (NIV) ~ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

It’s simple. Yet we make it hard.

Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean you are all done. It is a daily surrender and choice to FOLLOW God. To learn and study and read The Word. It’s vital that those of us who ARE Christians disciple new Christians or Christians that are not as mature in their walk as they could be. It’s vital that we serve like Jesus.

It takes water for a seed to grow.

Hebrews 5:13,14 (NIV) ~ Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But the solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

CONSTANT USE.

Let’s get to watering! Let’s be real and be willing to make sure that our walk is matching our “talk”. It matters. People are watching. Big people and Little people. 

Now, I did not say that we have to be “PERFECT”…I just mean that we have to stop pretending that we are. ( I’ll be the first person to tell you that “I AM NOT PERFECT” and “I FAIL DAILY”… I mean…even writing this post is hard for me..because I know that I am not perfect.)

Leaving you with these two verses…

James 2:17 (NIV) ~ In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

1 John 3:18 (NIV) ~ Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Until Next Time…Seeking to Shine,

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Don’t Be A Blessing Robber

 

Photo: HDawkins
Copyright 2013

 

There are times when we least expect it that GOD reaches out and loves on us. We don’t deserve it, none of us do, but HE freely gives us HIS LOVE. I don’t know why it still shocks me sometimes…

My FATHER GOD, HE loves me! So much that HE speaks to me in a language that touches my soul. Through the obedience of a friend that HE gave me..even though we have never met in person. As she said, ” Jesus is KOOL like that.”

Right at the moment when I needed it most, my friend sent me this poem that she wrote…right then… For ME. She said that the words kept coming and she stopped what she was doing and had to type them out. She said that she knew that I had to see it right then. That’s obedience friends! That’s using her gift to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Here is her original work.. She’s a published author.. A talented poet:

To see the truth!!

Oh how some see it!
That look in your eyes!
That feeling of hurt!
That you try to disguise!

The smile you send!
To hide those tears!
The laughter you give!
To fight your fears!

Just be yourself!
For you are loved!
Your healing will come!
From Jesus above!

Despite feeling weak!
You are very strong!
Jesus will help you!
Find where you belong!

Your heart was broken!
Your life has been a mess!
Jesus is healing!
You are beautifully blessed!

Copyright 2013
Jeanie Burkett

Still completely blown away by how my Jesus cares. Time AND Time again. HE is SO GOOD!

My life is blessed. Even in the messy times. Even when times are tough. Aren’t we all a mess sometimes? My life IS blessed. Even on days that I feel weak, HIS SPIRIT IS STRONG IN ME. All of us have fears and All of us hurt at times.

 

Maybe this poem is for you, too. I have a feeling I’m not the only one that ever feels weak or smiles through the struggles, or has yuck days.

 

There IS HEALING in JESUS!

James 5:16 (NLT) ~ Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Amen!

 

God uses us… HIS children, to speak to others and to serve others with whatever spiritual gifts HE has gifted us with. It’s the Holy Spirit using our bodies and the talents that HE enables us with, to BLESS others and to in turn BRING HIM GLORY.

Romans 11:36 (NLT) ~ For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

 

I pray that you don’t refuse the gifts that HE has given you. That’s saying NO to God. That’s refusing to let God love others through you. That’s robbing others of a blessing. I’ve been guilty of that as well. I’d bet that most of us have.

1 Peter 4:10 (NLT) ~ God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

 

My hope in sharing this with you is for you to reflect on times when God blessed you through the obedience of someone. Then, I hope you will remember how you felt and use your ears to listen for when God wants you to obediently serve someone else with your gift.

Blessings to YOU!

 

Humbly HIS,

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When You Are Hurting

by: Heather Dawkins Mt. CrossPointe (future home of CrossPointe Church)

by: Heather Dawkins

I wish I could give a simple answer. An AHA!! type of  answer..that could make things make sense to people who are hurting.

 

I can’t.

 

I can only point the hurting to the ONE who heals all hurt. In HIS time..in HIS way. The ONE who promises to never leave us. The ONE who gives wisdom and knowledge to all who ask.

 

I can tell them that I don’t understand. I can be real and honest. I can give all that I can..but nothing more. God is the only ONE who can heal our hurts. Dry our tears. Bring us REAL joy. God is the only ONE who is not capable of letting us down.

 

I can share how I have found comfort during times of struggle.

 

Prayer. Studying..reading..digging deep into God’s Word. Asking for fellow sisters and brothers in Christ to pray. 

 

Romans 15:4 (ESV) ~ For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 

 

When health is bad. When times are tough financially. When precious children leave this earth too soon. When tragedy strikes all around. When our hearts are breaking because of hatred, murder, death, and our own selves that we battle. GOD is the answer. Not people.

 

The ONE who also wept. HE cares.

The ONE who suffered loss. HE cares.

The one who was spat upon and beaten. HE cares.

He suffered willingly. THAT IS HOW MUCH HE CARES.

 

Even though this world brings heartbreak sometimes… We can cling to the promise that THIS WORLD is NOT our home. We are strangers…just passing through. Heaven bound. If Jesus knows you. AND that’s a promise. A SIMPLE TRUTH…. That the troubles in this world are momentary..

 

Isaiah 43:2 (NLT) ~ When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

 

Until Next Time,

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Psssssstttt: In case you didn’t know.. I have written several other posts about struggles, etc..

Click here for another.

REMEMBER

 

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You never know where you may find a heart….

 

 

Well, tomorrow is Vday. AKA Valentines.. Sweethearts…day of expressing love and feelings.. Could be to a special someone or it could be to your family.. friends…etc..

Some people dread the day. Some love it! Some have no expectations and some have too high expectations.

What is Vday to you? Do you dread it or love it? Why?

I sometimes have really high expectations. Truth. I think it’s because such a big deal is made about a day that should be celebrated ALL YEAR LONG. Not just ONE day a year.

Love. It’s sweet. It’s even painful at times. It’s an action word. Not just a feeling.

Oh how we sometimes forget ( those of us who have been Valentines a long time)… that it’s an ACTION word. Ladies…we can’t blame our men completely for this. Men, you can’t blame us ladies completely either.

See, a couple.. Is 2. Two people. Two who have to do their part.

Ouch.

That feeling you had when you first met.. Remember it?

That excitement you felt when you saw your sweetheart… Remember that?

Remember how you felt when you didn’t get to see the one you loved?

What are you doing different now?

Think about it.

We get in a rut. We let “life” steal and “still” the romance. We let “life” take priority. That’s the problem. We choose to put that “sweetheart” on the back burner.

When we do that..the pot cools off.. The fire starts to slowly die.

Won’t work. It takes work. Intentionality.

It’s time to stop complaining… Stop whining..and do our own part.

So tomorrow.. On this day that’s been commercialized… Remember the days of old. And… Do your part.

Love is so sweet. New love appears to be even sweeter. BUT…Isn’t “old” love even sweeter?

Nothing sweeter than seeing a couple…with wrinkled faces and graying hair…holding hands and smiling. Because… They worked at this thing called LOVE. They stuck it out. They lived and learned and loved.

So.. I’m challenging us all.. To remember and to do our part…

 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ~ Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

 

Now..read that passage again and again and again. There’s a bit of work involved… BUT, it’s so worth it. Anything worth having is worth working for..and fighting for.

 

I am so thankful for each one of you.. Happy Valentines Day to you all!

 

             Until Next Time,

 

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That’s. Not. Healthy.

I’m good at stuffing. Stuffing drawers. Stuffing cabinets. Stuffing closets. AND, yes, stuffing my feelings. Throw it all in and hurry and slam it shut before it falls out or comes undone. Just, out of sight, out of mind.

That’s. Not. Healthy.

So, to be honest..it took me writing out my testimony to realize some of the reasons that I stuff. Some are just hereditary..and some are because of choices made.

So, after realizing some truths, I began to make some changes.

And..I began to change.

Now, I still fight the battle of stuffing. No, I’m not a hoarder by any means.I have no problem throwing away stuff.  I just tend to get overwhelmed and want to forget about it. That’s the case with organizing my home and my emotions.

You can’t break a lifelong habit overnight. It takes intentionality….To make healthy changes. It takes work.

When it comes to being unorganized…I found that admitting I can’t do it alone helped me a lot! I asked for help from someone near and dear to me..(she knows who she is). She’s a natural at this sort of thing. So, we organized and MAN, is life getting easier! I can focus better. It is awesome!

Now, as far as the emotional stuffing goes…That is a work in progress. There’s a thin line we have to be careful of. To still bridle the tongue and glorify God in everything.

To keep in mind that making a big deal about feelings…makes it ABOUT ME…not God.

To trust HIM in every situation and at the same time to deal with emotions, hurts, and feelings instead of stuffing them down. Pretending that they don’t exist. That’s. NOT. Healthy. But trusting HIM and giving it ALL to HIM to handle…That’s WAY BETTER than stuffing.

Psalm 28:7 ~ The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.

So…I’m still a work in progress. Learning what to stuff and what not to stuff. Learning that everything has a place and that includes emotions.

I challenge you to look at yourself…Are you a stuffer? Or are you an exploder? Lysa Terkeurst’s book, Unglued, is a fantastic book.. She talks about the four reaction types. Most of us are more than just one type of reactor. Here is her blog post where she discusses the four types.

I’m so glad to know that God is not finished with me yet.

Philippians 1:6 ~ being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Until Next Time,

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Reflections

 

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Like a lot of others, as this year comes to an end, I am reflecting.

Reflecting on the past year. The choices made. The changes that need to be made in the coming year.

There is always room to grow. Room for improvement. We have never “arrived”. We have to keep growing in our spiritual walk..and keep striving to be better than we were the day before. Not for ourselves, but so that our walk matches our talk.

I began making a list of “goals”. Not “New Year’s Resolutions”, but GOALS. Yes, I know that they are just about the same thing. But, not really. New Year’s resolutions are made and everybody has in the back of their head..“I’ll never fulfill this one.” Goals are more serious in my opinion. Goals are necessary.

My list looks something like this:

Budget/Household Goals:

~ Create a budget

~ Pray over the “budget”…for obedience and determination to stick to it.

~ Work towards buying mostly necessities. (truth is, a lot of money is wasted on “wants” )

~ Make a plan to take each room of our home, and eliminate clutter. 

 Physical Goals:

~ Eat healthier

~ Continue to work out 4-5 days a week

~ Try to cut down on sweets and breads, and eat cleaner.

 

Spiritual Goals:

~ Finish reading and studying the entire Bible..I am currently in Matthew 3. (Genesis to Revelations plan)

~ Begin to read the entire Bible again..using my new Chronological Bible.

~ Trust HIM more fully.

~ Be a better leader.

~ Establish a family devotional time and stick to it.

~ Be a better encourager to my husband.

 

These are just some of my “goals”. .

 

The most important goal is this:

John 3:30 (NLT) ~ He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

That is what it all boils down to. God HAS to be first. HE has to be the center of everything. HIS will HAS to be of most importance in my life. I HAVE to get in the passenger seat. I MUST let HIM drive. TRUSTING HIM FULLY. Even when life isn’t what I planned. Even when times seem tough. TRUST HIM.

 

Until Next YEAR :) ,

 

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Just Passing Through

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. (Psalms 34:18 NLT)

There are things in this world that happen, that I’ll never understand. I won’t claim to understand.

This I know, My Savior.. My Redeemer, is GOOD.

The truth is that this world that we live in is broken and sinful. So much so, that God sent His one and Only Son, JesusImmanuel.. To save us.

John 3:16,17 ~ “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

Jesus means, The Lord Saves.

Immanuel means, God With Us.

When trials come.. And they will…

When circumstances are sometimes awful.. And that’s a guarantee…

When bad things happen to good and innocent people and children, we can rest in the fact that this is NOT our home. If you know Jesus, and most importantly, if HE knows you… This broken and sin-filled world is only temporary. Our real home is HEAVEN.

John 16:33 ~ “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

While we are here though… Let’s live right. As my father in law shared at Granny Shiver’s funeral; When asked if she had any advice for us on living our lives.. She said : “Just Do Right..Do right.”

That’s pretty good advice if you ask me.

Just do right. Just forgive. Just live. Just let bygones be bygones. Hold the ones you love close. Tell them you love them.. Show them that you love them with actions. And.. JUST DO RIGHT.

Even when you don’t understand the why’s… Just Do Right.

And remember… We are just passing through. There’s two final destinations.. Heaven or Hell. Although those are great words of advice.. “Just Do Right” won’t get you to Heaven. Truly knowing and following HIM will. So, do you know HIM and as Granny witnessed.. Does HE know you?

See, when asked if she knew for sure about her place in eternity, she said “oh yeah, I know Jesus and HE knows me.

Trust HIS promises that are found in The Word. Rest in HIM. “The Lord Saves” AND “God With Us”

Hebrews 13:6 ~ So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

We don’t have to understand.. We just have to trust God.

Until Next Time,

Heather

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Thankful Thursdays ~ December 6th 2012

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV84)

Today… I am thankful for so many things and Granny Shiver tops the list.

Our Granny Shiver passed this earth and entered into HIS presence this morning. I guarantee you there’s a party going on!!

Granny.. Or Grandma.. Or Mama or Hilda.. However you may have known her.. I knew her as a strong and loving woman. A lady who accepted me as one of her own.. (Even though I wasn’t her grandchild by blood) She loved life and she loved the Giver of Life! It was evident. Her actions proved what her lips professed.

Granny possessed a strength that can only come from a real relationship with her Heavenly Father. That strength got her through many losses..many tough times in her life. That strength was Jesus in her.

But you know what? I’m gonna quote her: “I can let it make me bitter or better.” She chose better!

She knew how to live. She lived with no inhibitions. She loved with all she had & would even give you whatever she had. Granny was loved by many.

I’m better for having known her. She lives on through her children, grandchildren, and great grands… Her legacy will remain!

See.. God was first. She had her priorities straight. She missed her husband every single day since he left this earth and entered into the presence of Jesus. She took care of him while he was here. She raised her family.. And she did it well.

She could make the best homemade lemonade… Banana pudding.. Cobbler.. Mayhaw jelly. (Remember the room filled with jars) .. The list goes on.

Her thumb was green.. not brown like mine. She loved her flowers.

Oh and her grapevines! Man..

She loved her family! All of us.. Blood or not.. She loved!

I’m not even going to try to list everything.

Too many memories.

Too many things and funny stories to list.

I’m thankful to have married into this family.

Something tells me that she and Granddaddy danced a little jig and ran into each others arms when she took her last breath here. I bet it was beautiful!

The Bible says:

John 10:27-29~ My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.

Those verses bring comfort and assurance.

I’m thankful that God put my husband and I together. Through a friendship that I had with his cousin. I love our family. I’m blessed with my family and my family by marriage..

I’m so proud of our family. We may not get together as often as we used to, but when there’s a reason to celebrate or a tragedy strikes.. This family unites and stands behind one another. Unity.

I can’t close without saying that I’m so thankful that Granny was an authentic Follower of Jesus! What comfort to know where she is and that all who are also authentic followers, will see her and Granddaddy (or Pepa) again!

So.. I have to ask…Do you know my Jesus? Are you really following Him? Don’t waste another minute of uncertainty.. Don’t waste another minute living with doubt or living without the peace and assurance of truly Knowing HIM.

And one more thing: Do you really love?
Do your actions prove what your lips profess? It’s not too late.. To love.

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Thankful and Blessed..

Until Next Time,

Heather