Ask Jesus

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Driving home one morning after church a handmade sign in red lettering on the roadside caught my attention as a red bird swooped down in front of my car. The sign read: ASK JESUS HE CAN HELP YOU.

In a word/ sign so simple yet so profound it keeps resounding over and over on the inside. Ask Jesus. Ask Me.

So many times in seeking Jesus for an answer; however it may arise. In times of need, unknowns, uncertainties, questions, or just to feel Him near. Ask Jesus. He can and will help you!

In those moments when seeking healing, answers, wisdom, guidance, peace, protection, provision, His Presence, parenting advice, dating advice, revelation, the list is endless. In all of these and so much more. Jesus will answer you if you just ask!

One of our blooms was rushed to the hospital when her water broke and she was concerned and scared since she was going into labor really early. Her due date is July 22nd. The Dr.’s were able to stop the leaking and fluids and in the middle of all of it, the only thing she could do was say Jesus, Jesus! Her Mom recalled the same events and said she just kept saying Jesus, Jesus, Jesus over and over again.

I love the song by 7eventh Time Down- Just say Jesus- When you don’t know what to say…Just say Jesus; there is power in His name! Whisper it now, or shout it out! He hears your cries. Out of nowhere He will come. If the words won’t come cause your too afraid to pray. There is just one name Jesus.

I went to visit this beautiful bloom and her sweet Mom in the hospital. They began to give the full story of what had happened in those moments leading up to her early labor. Also sharing praise reports of how Jesus had heard their prayers and her baby was safe and sound in his mommies womb. They are hoping and praying this little one can stay warm and cozy inside the womb until the right moment of delivery.

His gender reveal party was so special as the pictures showed mommy and daddy opening the oven and a little bun inside. Their hopes are that this little bun in the oven will stay inside as long as he can. Jesus knows the exact moment of his delivery time. Not a moment sooner we pray.

I began to say a little prayer over her and sweet baby. She said he was moving around so much inside during the prayer. His little ears are developing and he can hear the words beings spoken over him. Baby whispers. One moment in the middle of the prayer as I said Jesus can hear you and the moment you need him just ask Him.. the beeping of the monitor began to sound and the nurse rang in the room Can I help you? At that moment I began to laugh during the prayer and said see, just like that…its that easy. So simple. As you speak out and ask Jesus to help you… or the nurse in this instance… He will listen and help you. He will assure you. She began to smile and could sense sweet peace settle in her hospital room. She trusted that everything would be ok.

Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer;
answer me, for I need your help.
Protect me, for I am devoted to you.
Save me, for I serve you and trust you.
You are my God. Be merciful to me, O Lord,
for I am calling on you constantly.
Give me happiness, O Lord, for I give myself to you.
O Lord, you are so good…
so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.
Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry.
I will call to you whenever I’m in trouble,
and you will answer me. {Psalm 86:1-7}

Whatever you have need of today and always. Remember. Just ask Jesus- He can help you!

No question or concern is too big for Him. In the little details and big. Big decisions and small. Trust Him. He will answer you. He will bring answers and deliverance in His own special way. He is listening. He will hear you. He will always come through. It may look a little different than you expected. He is creative in His ways. Trust Him. He loves you and says JUST ASK ME!

Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come {Jeremiah 33:3}

Written by Salina Duffy

You lead, I’ll follow

shutterstock_24759604It never ceases to amaze me at how the disciples dropped everything and followed Jesus. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and follow him.” (Mark 1: 17-20 NIV) A chance encounter with a man they had never met and they were ready to drop everything they knew in an instant and follow after him.

This inspires me so much because how many times in our daily lives do we barter, kick-back, argue or try to persuade God differently when he tells us to “follow Him.” When we come to Him to believe in Him, when we receive salvation, it seems like we will always have this zeal to follow wherever He leads. And then as time goes on and the honeymoon phase is over and now you are getting down to the nitty-gritty of the relationship with Jesus and He sees your messiness, your selfishness, your insecurities and then you feel He has His standards set really high and you don’t feel like reaching them all of the time. You don’t want to follow all of the time. This is where I am in awe of the disciples and their obedience to Jesus call on their lives.

The battle of the will. Will over emotions. The Word of God over the will. Free will to choose God’s will. The Holy Spirit empowering us to obey. Obeying leading to seeing God. Really seeing God meaning you get to really know God. Had the disciples not stepped out and followed Jesus when they did, they would have missed so many unbelievable miracles. They would have missed out on the opportunity to walk with God in the flesh!!! Oh, to be obedient and follow Jesus, no questions asked like the disciples. To be like Peter when Jesus told him to walk on water! To listen with ears not bent toward a worldly view, but that are set to pick up only the tune of the voice of God.

Today, as you set out to accomplish the things on your to do list, where might the Lord be asking you to follow Him?  What might you need to set down in order that you may go?

Written by Jamie Stapleton

 

Dancing in Fields of Gold

shutterstock_106996061In my youth, as the hardships of my life piled on top of each other I lost my faith in God and relied on myself to prevent the pain and rejection I had come to know so well. I just couldn’t understand how God could help me. I thought it was solely up to me to keep my heart safe and control what happened in my life. So to prevent myself from getting hurt, I decided that I needed to be accepted by my friends, by boys, and the “cool crowd”. I told myself if I wasn’t accepted, I was worthless. As the days went on and my focus remained on my peers opinions, I lost connection with my family which added more deeply to my lost connection with God. With time, I increased the weight of my chains with every action I made to be accepted by men in particular, adding guilt and deepening my self-criticism. I felt as if I couldn’t get out of the pit I dug for myself.  I didn’t realize how completely weighed down I was by the chains I had created for myself. I felt I was stuck – with no way out. No family to help me, only people around me who didn’t know who I truly was and didn’t care if I failed. The people I strived for acceptance from didn’t care about me. All they wanted was their selfish needs to be met, they wanted to suffer with someone.. And they had no problem using me for that. In a moment of complete despair, I talked to God for the first time since my childhood. I begged him to help me get out of my abusive relationship. I begged him to put someone in my life to help me. I begged him to remember me. The next day I left the guy who was drowning me with him. I felt I had the strength to get away from the lifestyle I had been living. I contacted my family, and apologized for my actions, and began to make amends with them. My friend Nick, who had stuck by my side even through the time that I couldn’t communicate with him, asked me to be his. And life seemed like it was falling back into place. God remembered me. A few weeks passed by and I started having some pains in my stomach. I went to the hospital to get a doctor’s note for work. Nick came with me and in mid conversation, four nurses walked in and they all put a hand on me.  One nurse looked me in the eyes and told me I was pregnant. I immediately broke down in tears. Nick grabbed my hand and told me we could do this together. That he wanted a family with me, no matter who the biological father was. No matter how much he tried to comfort me, I was devastated. Who would accept me now? My parents surely wouldn’t, all of my “friends” would abandon me. So I prayed. And the one thing I realized was that my life would completely change. My life would completely change…. I liked the sound of that. And through that little voice.. telling me things will get better. I grew the strength to move forward. Despite my sister’s attempts to convince me abortion was the right choice for me, and my father’s attempts to convince me I should choose adoption. I decided I could do this. I prayed that God would put someone in my life to help me, to save me. And He did. God gave me my son. I started praying every day. Reading my bible. Building relationships with my family, and building a relationship with God. Before, I never understood why Jesus died on the cross. I thought of it as morbid.  I never understood the true meaning behind his sacrifice. One day in the shower I was thinking about God and Jesus, and the reason people wore crosses. In that moment I realized; Jesus sacrificed his life.. being taken by the very people he loves.. to show us what his love truly is.. to show us what he can do for us.. to remind us what it means to be God’s children. And we wear crosses to remind ourselves of this every day. I had an epiphany. As soon as I could, I grabbed my bible and prayed the salvation prayer. I understood now. And I could completely accept Jesus Christ into my heart. It wasn’t until Embrace Grace that I realized those chains I had felt so heavily before were still lingering. We were told to write down our chains on a piece of paper, and wait to go into another room. When my turn came, I was filled with an excitement stemming from somewhere unknown. I had no clue what was in store for me. We talked about my chains and came to the conclusion that every one of them stemmed from my need for acceptance. In that very second, it all made sense. So we prayed. Prayed God would lift the chains from my shoulders, and show me that his acceptance is all I need. God showed me that I am a girl in a white dress, dancing with Him in a field of sunflowers, soaking up the sunlight of his love. Knowing I have always been accepted by God for who I am. God has never taken His gaze off of me. I am his daughter! I AM FREE!

Written by Madeline Fairley

Babysavers

shutterstock_126094013The sweet voice on the other end of the phone seemed so fragile, like a tiny teacup. I had been expecting her phone call. A couple of hours earlier a lady had called and shared a little bit of this girl’s story. She said she had an abortion scheduled on Saturday (just 2 days away). She asked if I would be willing to meet with her? Oh please, have her call me and we can connect. I will meet her anytime, anywhere. I waited expectantly for her to call.

Resembling a Dr. as they are on call for a delivery, my heart felt that I was on call. This precious life was waiting. My phone was just a tiny grasp away. The call came. I was so sensitive to her heart and the place she was in. She was so scared to tell her mom. She said she was afraid of the rejection she would feel. I began to speak life giving words to her. Precious tears began to fall and she sniffled a little. I asked if I could pray with her and she agreed she would really like that.

Life and love words began to flow and touch her heart. That tiny teacup began to fill up with peace and love as it poured out from my mouth. I asked if we could meet for lunch tomorrow? She said yes please. The next morning I woke up expectant and empowered knowing that God had an appointed time for this precious girl. At 11:11 am on April 11th I began the journey to meet her. A truck ahead of me had a yellow caution triangle road sign that read PREPARE TO SAVE. At that very moment my heart said prepare to save this baby. Pray. Pray and pray some more. I had sent messages to other leaders in Embrace Grace to also be praying and believing for this baby.

We met at Wendy’s for lunch on a very windy day. Trees and leaves were blowing mightily outside. She walked in and we shared a sweet embrace. She sat down and said she had gathered the courage to call her mom after we had talked and prayed last night. The reaction her Mom gave was totally opposite from what she had expected to receive. Her Mom said looks like we have some planning to do! She offered for her to move back home so that she could offer help and support. At that moment she called and rescheduled her appointment for the abortion. She needed more time to process and think.

She began to express her heartfelt desires and how she had imagined this to be in different circumstances. She had not planned for this to happen. She was not ready to be a single mom. She had so many questions. She felt unsure of her decision. I was there to listen. To encourage. To inspire hope and speak life into her situation. Each minute that passed she seemed more expectant and hopeful. She said she knew it wouldn’t be easy. That there was so much to consider in each decision that she made.

Again, I prayed hope and spoke Jeremiah 29:11 over her and her baby.

Ill show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out- plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. {Jeremiah 29:11-12}

She told me that she had a dream before she ever found out she was pregnant. Her eyes began to brighten and a glimmer of hope began to sparkle as she said in her dream she held a baby boy. She felt in her heart that she was carrying a baby boy. That gave her hope. Something special to cling to. She did not know how everything was going to work out, but she was encouraged to trust God to work out the plans and details of this life for her.

That morning before I woke up to meet with her, I kept hearing the word babysaver and lifesaver over and over again in my heart. Babysaver, babysaver. You are a babysaver.

You are a babysaver too. All of YOU! As you reach out to those that are placed in your path. As you listen to their heart and have compassion upon them and share the truth that God will be there for them. To guide and help them through each step. He promises to be there. He will pour out His love upon them. You are saving babies lives. Speaking life and love over them.

Pro-life & Pro-love in action!

We are 4 UNBORN!

Many times we have heard this from our blooms:

My baby saved my life!!

Each and every bloom and alumni that has been to Embrace Grace and those that are to come- you are a BABYSAVER! You chose life and love for your baby.

You may have made the biggest and bravest decision and chose adoption and blessed another family with your baby! That is a priceless gift and you are a babysaver!

You may have a tug in your heart as you may have had an abortion in the past, come very close to having one or know someone that has. Even if the thought has ever crossed your mind. Please know that you are not alone. Healing and wholeness is yours for the taking. This post is not in any way to make you feel ashamed or condemned. It is the total opposite. This is a life giving message. Grace filled! You are a babysaver too!

A song just came on as I am typing this post and I feel it is for you precious one. May the words speak tenderly to your heart. May you feel the whispering grace it brings.

Majesty enthroned in beauty
All my life, Your love pursues me
and I’m found in You
Oh Holy One, the King of glory
You’re the Author of my story
and I’m found in You

‘Cause You give me life
And lead me to find Your grace and Your mercy
Given so freely
Your word is my light
It leads me to find Your comfort and healing
The hope that I’m needing

Your love is all around, Oh

And I hear Your voice
I hear the words You’ve spoken
This love is Yours
This love restores the broken

And this is all my hope and peace
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
And this is all my righteousness
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

And oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
Oh, Your love is all around

- by All Sons and Daughters- Your Love is all around

I pray the words to this song bring you comfort and healing! A bonus song for you to listen to that is playing in my heart right now… Scandal of grace by Hillsong United… check it out!

Oh to be like you, give all I have just to know you… your all the hope in my heart…It’s all because of you JESUS!

I love you precious BABYSAVERS!!

Written by Salina Duffy

 

Resurrection Reflection

shutterstock_149576093The resurrection of Jesus has always been very hard for to me to watch in movies or read about. When the movie “The Passion of the Christ” was released it made me physically ill. I never watched the movie again. I could not understand why that was the only way that God could have made salvation available to us, and why did it have to be so gruesome? Not only did Jesus have to be crucified, but tortured and beaten as well? I still to this day have a hard time with this. I do understand that there is a blood requirement to cleanse sins, but even the animals were not tortured and beaten before they were sacrificed.

And then I move over to the heartbreaking portion of scripture when Jesus shouts “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) And I am reminded of the sinful and fallen world we live in. I wonder if maybe God did not orchestrate this death, but the depravity and perversion of man. It took pure evil to maim and torture someone that way, and God could really not come in and save His Son, could He? Because then it would have all been for nothing. So I ponder the thought of a heartbroken Father in heaven watching His Son endure such abuse and not being able to do anything to stop it for His love of many. How I never, ever desire to be in Father’s shoes.

And even in the midst of extreme, agonizing pain and loss of breath, Jesus finds it in His heart to forgive. “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) I don’t know, but I am usually only thinking about the pain I am in when I am in pain. I could care less about anything or anyone else in that time frame. Especially for the one who caused me the pain. This shows exactly why Jesus was on the cross and not anyone else. He chose to come down from His throne in Heaven. I wonder if He knew that He would be the only one capable of not only enduring the pain, but of forgiving those who caused it. That takes an out-of-this-world-kind of love. God sent His Son in love, so that in love His Son could die for a sinful people so that the sinful people could come back to life and, in turn, love God.   That something so gruesome could turn into something so beautiful seems like something that only movies are made of. Only this is not fiction or fairytale but real, tangible, accessible. And in the end you really do live happily ever after.

Written by Jamie Stapleton

You Are Loved

shutterstock_68979244I had the honor of speaking to the Embrace Grace young women of Cleburne, Texas. I loved getting to visit with them and talk about what I love to talk about the most, how much God loves them. There are not many words that can even begin to express how deep, how wide, and how high His love is for us. It’s SO BIG!

I came across this Max Lucado writing a few years ago and it’s always been one of my favorites. If someone was ever going to try to put it into words, he did an amazing job at trying. It’s SO sweet. I wanted to share it with you today in case you forgot how much you’re loved.

God is Fond of you. If he had a wallet, your photo would be in it. If he had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it. He sends you flowers every spring and a sunrise every morning. Whenever you want to talk, he’ll listen. He can live anywhere in the universe, and he chose your heart. Face it, friend. He is crazy about you. By the way, it may be difficult for you to believe that God knows your name…but he does. Written on his hand, spoken by his mouth, whispered by his lips. Your name. “I have written your name on my hand.” Isaiah 49:16. Our hearts are not large enough to contain the blessings that God wants to give. So try this. The next time a sunrise steals your breath or a meadow of flowers leaves you speechless, remain that way. Say nothing and listen as heaven whispers, “Do you like it? I did it just for you.” If we give gifts to show our love, how much more would he? He could have left the world flat and gray…but he didn’t. He splashed orange in the sunrise and cast the sky in blue. And if you love to see geese as they gather, chances are you’ll see that too. Did he have to make the squirrel’s tail furry? Was he obliged to make the birds sing? And the funny way that chickens scurry or the majesty of thunder when it rings? Why give a flower fragrance? Why give food its taste? Could it be he loves to see that look upon your face? So promise me you’ll never forget that you aren’t an accident or an incident…you are a gift to the world, a divine work of art, signed by God. You were knit together – Psalm 139:13. You weren’t mass-produced. You aren’t an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on this earth by the Master Crafts-man. He thinks you are the best thing to come down the pike in quite a while. Turn to the sidelines; that’s God cheering your run. Look past the finish line; that’s God applauding your steps. God is for you. Had he a calendar, your birthday would be circled. If he drove a car your name would be on his bumper. If there’s a tree in heaven, he’s carved your name in the bark. Maybe you don’t want to trouble God with your hurts. But “he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7). He is waiting for you, to embrace you whether you succeed or fail. Your heavenly Father is very fond of you and only wants to share his love with you. Untethered by time, God sees us all. Vagabonds and ragamuffins all, he saw us before we were born and he loves what he sees. Flooded by emotion, overcome by pride, the starmaker turns to us, one by one, and says, “You are my child. I love you dearly. I’m aware that someday you’ll turn from me and walk away. But I want you to know, I’ve already provided a way back.” You have captured the heart of God. He cannot bear to live without you. God’s dream is to make you right with him. And the path to the cross tells us exactly how far God will go to call us back (1 John 4:10). “Can anything make me stop loving you,” God asks. “You wonder how long my love will last? Watch me speak your language, sleep on your earth, and feel your hurts. Find your answer on a splintered cross, on a craggy hill. That’s how much I love you.” God does more than forgive our mistakes; he removes them! We simply have to take them to him. You can talk to God because God listens. Let a tear appear on your cheek, and he is there to wipe it. He has sent his angels to care for you, his Holy spirit to dwell in you, his church to encourage you, and his word to guide you. As much as you want to see him, he wants to see you more. If you want to touch God’s heart, use the name he loves to hear. Call him “Father.” He thinks you’re wonderful! –  written by Max Lucado

Post by Amy Ford

Girl Power

shutterstock_16227564855,000,000 abortions have occurred in America since 1973…. 55,000,000 women whose lives have been affected. Where was the help they needed when they were faced with this impossible decision? Is it possible that it was hidden in the hearts of other women? Is it possible that if women loved and supported one another in a unity that was unbreakable regardless of the situation or circumstance her sister, friend, neighbor, enemy or stranger found herself in, that she might have found help? Is it possible that if we laid down our competitiveness and judgments and instead loved each other unconditionally and taught our daughters to do the same, we would have a society that was healthy and redeemed? Call me a dreamer but I would like to see this in my lifetime… I want to see women rise up and take their place… not against something but for love.

We are called to be unified as women who relentlessly love one another regardless of the situation or circumstance. It is time now, to band together. A new sisterhood- all over the world…. Racial and economic division- no more, competition- no more, comparison- no more, jealousy- no more, fighting for the attention of men- no more, tearing each other down- no more. We will be women who rise up, take our places, love our God, respect and honor our men while cherishing and depositing life into our children. We will be women who do not demand respect but give honor. We will be women who love with arms wide open, especially when it hurts because we are confident in the One who has done the same for us. We will give love because it’s been given to us and we give it to those who do not have it to give, without expectation of repayment. We will wear our crowns of royalty with an understanding of the price that has been paid for them. We look on others with kindness. We will be a band of sisters who say no to division, strife and poverty of spirit. We will raise our daughters up to love one another and our sons to cherish our daughters. We will stand guard at the entry of our homes and we will say NO to the influences that contradict what we stand for. We will refuse to be fed the lie that we have to “sell” the image of our bodies to be considered beautiful for beauty radiates from within us. The bride of Christ is awakening and the women of the bride are getting up from their slumber. The sleep is being washed from our eyes and we are seeing clearly- who we are and whose we are.  Women are being redeemed from all that has been stolen from us and we will NEVER be the same again! It is time for us to shed the lie that our enemy is each other and pick up the truth that our purpose is to band together as a strong, beautiful example of what love really looks like. I am believing for a generation of women to rise up and take their place in their realm of influence… we all have one, those within our reach… our circle. We will choose to start the fire of love within those around us and we will fan the flame by not giving up when it gets hard. When we truly love one another, we will cultivate and shape our current generation and generations to come for an influence of love that will be unstoppable. This is girl power.

Written by Kylee Washington