The Freedom that Comes from being Yoked with Jesus

The Freedom that Comes from being Yoked with Jesus

Isn’t it reassuring to know that no matter what we face the Lord’s yoke is easy and his burden light?! Beloved, those who are in Christ Jesus are no longer under the yoke of this world!!! 
Last summer I had the opportunity to stretch my faith and spiritual muscles while going through an extremely challenging few days. The more I praised and kept my mind on Papa God the more the heaviness in my heart lifted.
By definition, a yoke is a cross piece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and is attached to a plow or a cart that they are to pull. Simply put, a yoke signifies that the animals have a very hard and long day of work ahead of them.
Let’s take a look at a verse the Lord had me chew on during the struggle I faced just a few short months ago. Matthew 11:28-30? “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I can literally visualize Jesus gently putting the crosspiece around my neck connecting himself to me. It’s so peaceful and comforting! Can you picture it too? When we try to go our own way we’re heavy laden with things like terror, guilt and the shame of our sin, but the good news of the gospel is that because of Jesus we can freely come to the Lord to be free from worries that weigh us down; he carries our load.
Some of the things I’ve come to understand about the “yoke” Jesus talks about here is the burden of sin, the burden of the law (excessive demands and laws of religious leaders like the Scribes and Pharisees placed on the shoulders of the people forcing them to follow them), oppression, and weariness while in the search of God! When we are yoked with Jesus, in submission to his authority, learn his ways and grow in obedience, we in turn receive peace and comfort in our hearts because of the good nature of God. In Jesus is where we find rest for our soul!!! The Lord never says we won’t be exposed to difficulty but when we are he gives us rest.
What a blessed assurance to know that we submit ourselves to the Lord and turn from living our own way, we don’t plow through life by our own strength but with assistance from the Lord. This is great news for us! Jesus FREES us from all of these burdens that we pull around with us.
What weight are you carrying around with you today friend? Are you tripped up by “the law” thinking that you’ll never measure up to a spiritual checklist? Do you feel your home is too broken, your marriage too far gone or your heart too numb to even be yoked with Jesus? If so, perhaps the Lord is calling you directly to the altar right here and right now to lay it all down; to surrender the deep burdens of your heart to the one who saves. Not to another brother or sister, but to the King of glory himself! Jesus is calling and he knows you by name.
Much love,
Carrie

Sharing Our Faith Even When It’s Awkward

Sharing Our Faith Even When It’s Awkward

This week I want to have a conversation about our faith. As you know, one of my biggest passions is being out on the streets, door to door, in airplanes, grocery stores, etc sharing the gospel and praying for people.

I’ve been asked by a ready, “How do I share the gospel?” I assume that sometimes what the person really intend to ask is, “How do I put the gospel into words and in a way that I can have a conversation with someone so it’s not weird?!” 

First of all, the gospel message itself is simple. The moment you repented and believed, the gospel came alive in your life. As we know, it’s also a process of continuously building relationship with the Father and repenting and choosing to turn away from the snare of sin. Therefore, one way to share the gospel is to simply share it through your personal testimony. Things like how you came to faith, seasons you’ve gone through as a person of faith and how the Lord’s been working in your life. Second, sharing the gospel is sometimes awkward or uncomfortable but that doesn’t mean we get a “get out sharing the gospel card” where we pass Go, and collect $200!!! 😊 The Bible says that the gospel will seem as folly to those who are perishing but to those of us who are being saved it is the power of God! Some will even find it offensive. BUT, by the power of Holy Spirit, God commands and commissions us to share it! The gospel is alive through Holy Spirit so I almost hesitate in sharing this in writing, but below is one way to share the simple gospel message in 30 seconds ’cause sometimes that’s all we’ve got.

Case in point. One week I was pumping gas and a young man approached me asking if I had a few dollars so he could put gas in his car. I didn’t have cash but I told him I’d come to his pump and use my debit card to put some in. When I got there he had a friend in the car and both seemed to be under the influence of something. One of the car windows was missing and they had made a makeshift window with packing tape and it nearly broke my heart into pieces. I felt a nudge from the Spirit to share the gospel so I sort of poked my head through another window that was rolled down and got the attention of the young man inside, I looked at them and asked if I could tell them why I was putting gas in their car. They said yes. I gently pointed at each one of them and told them there is a God in heaven who loves them and sees them and then I shared the gospel in about 30 seconds. I told them I had been praying as I drove into the neighborhood for a meeting and that it’s no accident I met them. I told them the gas wasn’t a gift from me, but from God. I grabbed a gospel tract from my love crate in the trunk, handed it to them, told them not to take my word for but if what I said resonated to earnestly ask God to make himself known to them.

You see, it’s only by His grace and power that we even share the gospel. We’re not responsible for the soil it’s planted in nor the harvest. That’s the Lord’s work.

If you’d like a starting point for sharing the gospel in a short window of opportunity, here’s one (of many ways) I’ve shared it. Sister, the gospel is a simple message. We can sometimes overcomplicate it.

“God loves us. He chose us and sent his son to die for us. We can have eternal life through faith in him because he broke the power of death by his resurrection. We don’t deserve to live but God offers us salvation anyway. Accepting this gift of eternal life requires a response of turning away from our rebellion against God and turning to God in faith. It’s knowing that we’ll never again live at peace with our sins and trusting in the risen Jesus to save us from our sins.”He’s saved you and equipped you to do his work! YOU are a living testimony of the gospel message. It’s who you are!!!! Now, partner with God daily and ask him who he wants you to share it with and I have faith he will put people in your path and give you a hear for the lost.

  Much love,
Growing Deep Roots

Growing Deep Roots

Hey friend! Can I ask you a quick question? How deep do your roots go? And no, I’m not talking about hair color…ha! ha! You go girl with however you wear your hair:) What I am talking about is growing deep roots into God which is where we receive the nutrients we need for each day from him. This helps us become strong and vigorous in truth. If we grow roots into things that are not God it causes us to become weak and walk outside of truth. This is a dangerous and vulnerable place to be.

You see, the Bible tells us that the beginning of life with Christ is when we accept him as LORD of our lives. Colossians 2:6-7 says, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Coming to faith is not just a one time choice or decision. It’s trading a life for a life (your life for the Lordship of Christ over your life). This passage of Scripture says we must “walk” in him, rooted and built up in him and strengthened in faith, abounding in thanksgiving. To walk implies to move, so then to walk in him means to (step-by-step) press on in him for all that he’s done for us.

How do we do this? By faith! God roots himself in us and at the same time we must also sink our roots deeper into him. The roots are not anything that can be seen by other people, but are our unseen “heart walk” with Christ. This includes our time in the secret place, spending time in the word, worship, prayer life, our thought life by trusting him for our day to day matters. From this place of intimacy with the Lord is where some of the seen fruit in our lives is birthed. By continually digger deeper with God and becoming dependent on him and he enables us to put our flesh to death (lusts, complaints, bitterness, judgements, jealousy, etc.).
Sister, growing in knowledge of Christ through Holy Spirit and the Word of God is our safeguard against false teachers and the spirit of the age that aim to blow us off course. Therefore, as we walk out this life, let us grow deep roots in him let our hearts abound in thanksgiving for his saving gift of salvation so that we may endure until the very end.

Much love,

Carrie

Seeking Community

Seeking Community

Over the past few weeks it seems that I’ve become more aware of women who’ve reached out and feel alone, isolated and who desire relationship with other believers. If I’m honest, I completely understand. There have been many seasons in my own life where I’ve been in those shoes. There was a time in Ricardo’s and my marriage when we moved seven times in about 11 years. Our quickest turn around was 1 year. I was about 36 weeks pregnant with our third child when we moved from South Texas to Oklahoma City and then moved to Minneapolis before that child’s first birthday! Phew!
The Lord in all his kindness is so gracious in the way he equips us. Before the crazy season of moving around so often he allowed us to be to see and experience a loving community of believers which trained us to know that whenever we moved the first and most important thing to do when we moved was to seek Godly, life-giving community. There has also been seasons when we’ve been in community but life circumstances change and the fellowship isn’t so deep anymore and slowly fades away. Let me tell you this. It’s okay. You see,our seasons are always changing and this process of seeking never ends.
As believers in Jesus Christ we know that the most important person to seek relationship with is Jesus. He is truly our all in all (1 Corinthians 15:28). For right now, in this moment, I’m assuming you’re already there in your faith journey, seeking him. If you’re not, I urge you before you seek community of any sort that you press into God and seek fellowship with the Godhead. But for now, I’m going into another layer of seeking Godly fellowship and community with the bride of Christ.
You see sister, I don’t know where you are in your life. Perhaps you’re in a season similar to mine in the past where you’re the new girl in town, at work, in the neighborhood, in the family, in a circle of friends or at church. Or, maybe you’re someone whose been planted where you are for awhile but you still feel lonely. You see circles of friends flourishing, hanging out together and who are tightly knit. You desire to break in and have even tried and nothing’s happening and it makes you sad. Because of that it could be you’ve found yourself pulling back, building walls, becoming critical and even jealous.
Can I just be real with you? As a daughter of the King you were made for more than any of the sulking, jealousy, self-pity and comparing (#preachingtomyself). It may be that for awhile you’ll be the one inviting others in to your home or get this, you may be the one who has to break out of your shell and invite yourself into circles. Scary, I know! But sometimes God calls us to do scary things so that we rely on his strength rather than our own.
So, if you feel alone and are craving Godly fellowship you can do several things. Talk to your pastor and find out if he/she knows of any groups you might get plugged into, pick up the phone (or FB Messenger) and reach out to someone you’d like to get to know and invite them out for a coffee or invite a family into your home. You can do it, girl! Although it feels nice to be invited in or to even be on the receiving end rather than on the giving end, remember that Jesus himself came to serve, not be served.
Before I let you go I’d also like to address us as sisters during those seasons when we are in community and have the fellowship we desire. Oh how I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. Could we take our eyes off our own circle at times and take a look around to those who may not have a circle? Can we invite someone we don’t know well out for coffee, into our home or even just strike up a conversation with them? Obviously we can’t expect to be in deep fellowship with every person we meet but maybe, just maybe by reaching out you may just be the encouragement someone needed that day.
We are blessed and therefore, let’s be a blessing to others.
Walking this out with you,
Carrie
A Day at the Christmas Tree Farm

A Day at the Christmas Tree Farm

Growing up we always had a real tree. My mom always dressed it in white lights and a mixture of kid-made ornaments, ornaments she made, santas and classic pieces. In the the 17+ years Ricardo and I’ve been married we’ve never had a real tree until today. I still ❤️ our 17 year old artificial Charlie Brown tree and will put it up this year too.

We weren’t sure what to expect when we went to pick and cut down our own tree this morning; some of us (🙋🏼 hello frozen toes) didn’t plan ahead for the cold but we survived. First, we loaded up in a trailer with a bunch of strangers while a tractor pulled us out into a big honkin’ field with several groves of trees.

christmas-tree-ethan-and-rico

christmas-tree-mae-and-mateo

 

Ricardo cut that tree like a boss and he and Ethan blessed our socks off by hauling it across the field, to the tractor, to the checkout area and inside our home. I would, however, like to mention that at this point I was convinced my toes were nearly frozen and about to fall off so I placed my wool gloves on my feet and stuffed them back in my boots while we waited for the tractor to pick us up. You see, friends, I wore my favorite rubber boots without the wool inserts; not the way to wear those boots trapsing in below freezing weather. Have I mentioned I love my men?

christmas-tree-carrying-it

To me, it’s not about the tree but about the experience of getting the tree and spending time as a family. Who knows what kind of tree we’ll go with next year, but for now, I’m thankful for this moment and gift of today with these crazies.

christmas-tree-walking-through-field