Graceful Perseverance: The Power of Christian Love

Welcome to this week’s blog. What legacy do you want to be remembered for? What do you want to pass down to your sons and daughters and their offspring long after you have returned home, your eternal resting place?

I want to leave Christian Love behind for those who knew me and remember me by the love I demonstrated throughout my life. They will know me and remember me by the way I loved my fellow man. Some days this idea feels like a tall order to fill, and can often feel overwhelming, but surely, I know I am not alone in this endeavor, for the Lord is with me. Nothing in this world gives me greater joy than to become more and more like Jesus every day and to be remembered by my acts of Christian love.

First John tells us that if we are truly Christians who have accepted Christ, and genuinely trust Christ as our Savior, this evidence  will be manifested through our love for others. First John 3:14 tells us “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.” And in 1 John 3:18 it tells us, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

How clearly do our actions say we really love others? The greatest act of love is giving oneself for others. How do we show Christian love to others? How do we lay down our lives for others? How do we serve others without expecting something in return? The old cliché is “I would lay down and die for you!” But in truth, it would be harder to live for them than to die for them.

Real love is not a feeling, it’s an action. It produces a selfless act of kindness towards another fellow man. This type of love, a biblical love, motivates us to put others’ desires before our own. This is a principle Jesus not only taught to his disciples, but also throughout scripture, and continues to demand from each of us today, even 2,000 years later.

With hometown conversations in the coffee shop, passers-by on the street corner, within my church fellowship family and within my family and friend circles, they will all know and remember me by my Christian love.

When I pray for and love others unconditionally, I display a steadfast faith in Christ that is noticeable by all. I can call myself a child of God when I extend myself to others in love. Ephesians 4:2With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.

There are three essential commands from Jesus:

  1. Believe in Christ
  2. Love thy brothers and sisters
  3. Live moral and upright lives

There are also four other moral principles I choose to live by: prayer, acquiring the understanding of biblical reasons for hope, becoming the salt and the light for Jesus and sharing the gospel with others.

What does Jesus say in scripture about Christian love?

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another. – John 15:9-17.

Blessings until next week,

Debra Pauli
Unstoppable Believer

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Graceful Perseverance: A Cross at the Side of the Road

Welcome back everyone to this week’s blog. Yesterday, 4/21, was my 3rd son’s birthday. He would have been 34 this year, but has been celebrating his birthday in Heaven since 2005. Happy Birthday Bryce Lee. Mamma loves you son!

This week seemed appropriate to write about the cross at the side of the road, where a mother loses her son long before his time. Yes, for those of you who know me on an personal level, July 21, 2015 will be the 13th anniversary of Bryce Lee return to home.

Thirteen years have passed since I had written my third book in the memory of Bryce to help grieving parents and families cope with the many levels of pain that death’s suffering leaves behind.

Why we Cry for a Soul set Free” is the story of how I dealt with the death of my third child, one of the most traumatic experiences a parent can go through. Bryce Lee Haugen was the third of my four sons and the bravest human being I’ve ever known. Bryce was my special child; he had been diagnosed with epilepsy and mild mental retardation at a very young age. With his limitations, his life was a challenging one, but despite the treatment he sometimes received from those who couldn’t accept or understand him, he always looked at life in a positive way and loved people unconditionally.

Aside from the book I wrote in 2005, there has been tremendous healing and transformation that has taken place in our family since that day. In this blog I am not going to write about the powerful message you get from my book because each of you can read the book and gain your own perspective. But what I did want to emphasize in this week’s blog is the common practice of “no helmet” while riding four wheelers, motorcycles, dirt bikes, scooters, mopeds, any motorized vehicle and the important message I have for all of you, whether you are the driver or the passenger in any of these situations. Truthfully, Bryce was not wearing a helmet when riding his four wheeler, but if he had, I know without a doubt that he would still be with us today.

In this world there is such a heavy emphasis on “status symbols”. What I mean by this is just this, we as humans consciously believe that the home we live in, what we drive, our job title, not the richness of our soul, but the richness of our bank account, the clothes we wear and who are social circle happens to be are all “status symbols” that we use to compare ourselves to others, to judge each other, and what we see as “important stuff” rather than “unimportant stuff”. Actually because we get so fixated on the status symbols of this world our souls shrink and life becomes this big masquerade, and all of us us are simply “actors on stage” worrying about what our outside looks like, without concentrating on fixing the inside.

I’ve seen this too many times…if not most of the time. Bikers on Harly’s who are pimped out in leather chaps, biker’s gear that makes them look “cool” on their bikes – and every time it’s without a helmet. Helmets don’t fit into the dress code when riding a motorcycle because helmets don’t make us look cool on our bike…am I wrong? This is a prime example of “status symbols” where we worry more about what we look like on the outside, rather than what we look like on the inside. And as a result of concentrating only on our outward appearance, we jeopardize our physical safety so we look good and impress others. And then when a tragic accidents occur such as Bryce’s or on a motorcycle due to the fact that they weren’t wearing helmets, everybody scratches their heads in awe and wonders how in the world something like this could happen.

Yes, my son was in a tragic four wheeler accident, along with two other vehicles on a major highway without a wearing a helmet. And the crazy part of that is everyone walked away without a scratch except for Bryce. Did he own a helmet? Yes, years prior to his accident I bought him one and insisted that he wear it. Did he wear it consistently when he rode his four wheeler? No. And the reason was because he was teased and made fun of by others when he did put it on. So again, my son was vulnerable to what society considers important – status symbols and not looking like a dork.

As a result of falling victim to the weight of the world, my son’s life ended before his time. He died twelve hours later at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota from a very horrific highway accident due to the simple fact that he was not wearing his helmet.

When the phone rang that July evening to tell me my twenty-one year old son was fighting for his life, my heart was shattered into a million pieces within seconds. While the rest of the world was sleeping peacefully, Bryce was fighting for his life. Despite twelve hours of intense medical attention by a staff at the Mayo Clinic and St. Mary’s Hospital professionals, Bryce died from “cerebral edema with herniation” on July 21, 2005 at 6:30 p.m., a time that will be forever instilled in the memories of my family. We had lost a son, a brother, a loved one.

If you get nothing else out of my blog this week…please, I pray that all of you will take the initiative and enforce a helmet anytime you have the influence or authority with family and friends and even strangers…Trust me, you do not want to visit a cross on the side of a road or a cemetery in order to express your love to someone who has lost their life before their time. After the tragic that my family had endured, would you please listen to my words and the pain of my heart to please put on the helmets before riding…it’s a choice that each of us has, and it will not only preserve lives, but will allow loved ones to remain here on earth without being forced to leave before their time.

Blessings until next week,

Debra M. Pauli
Unstoppable Believer

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Graceful Perseverance: Where is God?

Welcome back to my Sunday blogs everyone! Cup of coffeeTo date, there are 289,311 followers of my faith based blogs. How exciting leading into the second quarter of 2018 and inspiring this many people around the world.

It is my hope that everyone had a very blessed Easter season! It’s mid-April, a new season the Lord has blessed upon each of us. How awesome that He has given us another year to do His work. What is it that the Lord has put upon your heart to do for His glory this year? How has your relationship grown with the Lord, our Savior, so far this year? How will you praise Him? Will you let Him into your life for the first time or continue to grow your relationship with Him? Will you become a light in this jaded world? These are my words of encouragement for you today.

Here’s how the Lord wrapped up in the past year of my life. As a self-publishing author and speaker since 2003, I have published my 6th book, a faith based book you can curl up with in your favorite chair in front of the fireplace, with lit candles all around you to add to the ambiance to set the mood to read a powerful testimony of conviction of Where is God? a faith and hope based book of encouragement.January blog 2016

In this book I have expressed my innermost feelings about various personal issues that have permeated my life. I have experienced many traumas that most people have never experienced and perhaps, may never in their lifetime.  Yet, with my tragedies behind me, I have come to be a blessed child in Christ Jesus.  I confess to you today, I stand at the foot of the cross because He is my light, my strength, my spirit and where hope is found even in the darkest and stormiest corners of my life. I turn to the cross to calm my fears and my contention. The power of the cross fills the depths of me with peace and brings me comfort because it is when I stand at the foot of the cross I find myself enriched by the love of Christ. The power of the cross is His gift of love and righteousness.IMG_20150822_192923804

There are six parts to this book, each filled with a power message. Each page is filled with inspiration for all of us, followed by chapter scripture relative to each section of the book. In each chapter, I reveal a message from my soul all of us need to embrace. I chose not to walk the path of destruction. I love Christ very deeply and as a result wish to share my deep-rooted relationship with all of you. I know all too well that God is alive, and I am inspiring each of us to turn to Him, to trust Him, and to follow His plan for our lives. I inspire you to vehemently turn away from your own understanding and probably false perceptions and your worldly biased opinions of our secular society and turn to the Lord today.

Until next week’s blog, go to www.debrapauli.com to see my other faith based books or email me at debra@debrapauli.com as we are all in this thing called life together. Each week and with each book, it is my intent to encourage each of you, pray for all and continue to change lives one book at a time.

My prayer for you – May God bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and give you grace. May you go about your day and everything you do, you do in the name of our Lord and Savior, Amen.

Other books published by Debra Pauli: www.debrapauli.com

  1. Where is God?, a testimony of conviction (2015)
  2. Once Upon a Man, frog or prince (2013)
  3. Saving 3 Leaves on a Tree, me, myself and I (published TBD) (2006)
  4. Why We Cry for a Soul Set Free, in loving memory of Bryce Lee (2005)
  5. “…and then there was LIGHT”, my spiritual cleansing (2nd Edition) (2004)
  6. A Survivor’s Closet, how my memories as a little girl became the diary of one of the most horrific, severe child abuse stories in Missouri history (2003)

Debra’s self-publishing timeline: 2015, 2013, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003

5books 2016

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Graceful Perseverance: Protecting Your Craft

Welcome back, everyone! This week let’s chat about our unique craft and how we protect these crafts or gifts once recognized.Cup of coffee

What one craft or gift can you list that you feel you are good at doing? If you struggle answering this question, it would help for you to start a list of those gifts you thoroughly enjoy. If given the choice, would you walk away from your day job to pursue this craft at full speed? What crafts or “God-given gifts,” do you perform with little or no effort because it feels so natural and easy for you.  Again, start your list now because you will need to refer back to this list when we have completed this exercise.

progettoLet’s dive deeper into the true definition of what it means to protect our craft. I believe each and every one of us is the recipient of God-given gifts that were intentionally and deliberately designed and planted in our DNA makeup long before we were born.

O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. – Psalm 139:1-4.

Today we may recognize these gifts as a bigger part of our lives because they were always a part of the bigger plan for our lives. Do you realize our creator knows the count of every hair on our head? He knows what will fall from our lips before we speak. He knows our every thought.Little girl with red guitar, sitting He knows the desires of our hearts. All pain and suffering goes through His hands before He allows us to feel pain and suffering. He understands better than we do why we struggle and trip on hindrances every day. He understands our earthly struggles to survive in this broken world. He knows our deepest recesses. He understands the complexity of each of us because He uniquely designed each of us for His purpose, for a bigger plan. But the wonderful thing about His knowing is there are no details of our lives that are hidden from Him. He truly sees us through the eyes of grace.

Painters brushesHe designed us to be far better than we believe we could ever be. Because He’s the one who created each of us, He knows better than we do what our full capabilities entail. We are the ones with blinders on. We are the ones who lack trust in His design. We are the ones who lack trust in our ultimate purpose while we are here. But it is He who truly knows our craft, because He’s the one that planted these seeds deep into our being with the intent that we would water and care for these seeds, and watch them grow into something beautiful that brings Him glory. We are the ones who fail to follow Him and look to His guidance in fulfilling His ultimate plan for our lives.

Fashion designer studioI truly know without any doubt why He created me. He created me for a very specific purpose that no other soul walking this earth can fulfill but me. The same applies to you, your family, friends, peers, constituents, leaders, etc. He’s blown His breath of wind, fire and light into every living creature for us to pursue His plan for each of us. So how do we recognize the gifts or crafts He’s individually assigned to each of us? And how do we master these crafts?Fashion design

Trust Him daily, even hourly. Learn to converse with Him. He’s your Heavenly Father who is already standing by your side.

O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you. – Psalm 84:12

He will speak to you from the depths of your being. Be still and quiet and remove the external noise. Shut down the chatter in your head. Block out the worldly distractions. Allow the stillness of silence to grab you so tightly that all you can hear is the soft whisper of His voice. It is in this moment when He will reveal your crafts to you. These are the gifts you need to protect above anything else you do in your life. Remember, your God-given gifts are intended for you to pursue, master and protect for His righteousness. Your gifts will help others.Making bracelet of colorful beads Your gifts will reach out to others and give them something they need at the perfect moment in their lives, just when they needed it most. You will inspire, motivate, enlighten and change the lives of millions when you focus on your gift. You protect your gifts by keeping your eyes looking upward and trusting your council knows what He’s doing above all else.

How’s your list of gifts shaping up? Pin it up on your vision board. Allow quiet time in your life so your Father can council you and steer you toward pursuing your crafts.

Book shaped word cloud

Here’s my list of “God-given gifts”: daughter, mother, wife, grandmother, lover, friend, peer, constituent, leader, inspirational woman, mentor, life coach, author/writer, motivational speaker, spiritual teacher, martyr, disciple, inspired God girl every day and all for His glory.

God Bless,
Debra Pauli
Unstoppable Believer

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Graceful Perseverance: The Power of the Cross!

Welcome back everyone! This was Holy Week, when all things are made new and He has risen. three crosses at sunsetWe’ve grown to know and love this seasonal Friday as “Good Friday” or as originally called “God’s Friday” by many Christians. Good Friday is also known as the dawn of the darkest day on earth, a dark and excruciating day on Mount Calvary.

The power of the cross represents Christ absorbing the wrath of our sin. With a crown of thorns piercing His head and blood stained brows, Drops of BloodHe was tried, falsely convicted as a criminal, dressed in rags, beaten and then nailed to a wooden cross because of our sins, bitter contemplation and actions.

Pontius Pilate said to Jesus, “Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”

Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”

Jesus was slain by the ones He came to save. For that reason we must stand at the foot of the cross knowing we stand in forgiveness. Many of us see and feel the depths of His pain painted across Jesus’ face, bearing the weight of our sinful nature. He cried out “Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit,” and then He died on a wooden cross. The dead are raised to life, therefore Jesus spoke into the wind: “It is Finished.” All the earth would hear the cry of this victory through a massive earthquake and an empty tomb three days later.genesis cross

As daylight vanished, the religious leaders falsely accused Jesus and demanded He be put to death by sundown. The ground beneath them quaked as Jesus spoke I am, and you will see me, the Son of Man, sitting at God’s right hand and coming back on the clouds of Heaven.” When asked if He was the King of the Jews, Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my followers would have fought to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But my kingdom is from another place.” It is written in His wounds and suffering that we have been made free. The Son of God sacrificed His life so that our lives would be ours to live and conquered through His self-sacrificing love.

ilustracion con cruz y fieles. Iglesia Cristiana.The power of the cross is the cornerstone of solid ground because the Son of God, who took on flesh for us, died so that we would have an everlasting life with our Heavenly Father.

I stand at the foot of the cross because He is my light, my strength, my spirit and where hope is found even in the darkest and stormiest corners of my life. I turn to the cross to calm my fears and my contention. The power of the cross fills the depths of me with peace and brings me comfort because it is when I stand at the foot of the cross I find myself enriched by the love of Christ.

The power of the cross is His gift of love and righteousness. The body of Jesus laid in the ground but on the third day the tomb was found empty.Prayer. On that glorioius day, He had risen and returned to the clouds of Heaven to be with His Father.

God’s wrath against sinners was subsequently satisfied for every sin of man was forgiven. Sin would no longer have a grip on God’s children. No power in Hell, no guilt or shame, no scheme of man would have a grip on God’s children. Nothing can pluck God’s children from His hand. We are Christ, heaven and hellHis and He is ours until He calls us home. It is through the precious blood of Jesus that we stand in the power of Christ in victory.

God Bless all in this joyous season,

 

Debra M. Pauli
Unstoppable Believer

NIV – Matthew 26:53-54, Mark 10:33-34, John 12:24-28, 18:11, 19:10-11

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Graceful Perseverance: The Three Seasons of Life (Part 3 of 3)

This week’s blog is part three of a series called The Three Seasons of Life. Today I will discuss the third season, Promoting. How does God promote His children? What do we need to do, what life accomplishments or good deeds do we need to perform to make the list of the anointed ones? How does He equip us to carryout His purpose for our life? How do we know what our purpose is and how should we act on it? And when we are anointed by the Holy Spirit, what are God’s expectations of us while we are here on this earth?

In the third season, which is promoting, He will anoint the chosen ones. He will anoint us with oil in the presence of our enemies. Thou anoints my head with oil, my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall fallow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. – Psalm 23. He will equip us with the wisdom, knowledge and courage to fulfill His assignment for our life. He will equip us to be a servant of the living God for His glory. In our new life of freedom, He leads us beside still waters. He teaches us to lie down in green pastures.

What exactly does this Psalm mean? This means that we have with all of our heart and mind surrendered our old life and laid it at His feet. We have chosen to take the path less chosen. His word tells us to rest, be still and trust that He is Lord, creator of all things. He has said lie down in green pastures and rest: it is where we will find His peace. He will guide us beside still waters, again resting in His peace from the troubles of this world. He’s handling our challenges, and He wants more than anything to remove our doubts, fears and struggles of our lives. He promises to fight our battles for us.

This new life of freedom and anointing doesn’t mean that we are more righteous than any other person. But now our eyes are set on a life of eternity with our Heavenly Father as we are in this world, but no longer of this world.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeliness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:17-18. 

Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean that we are free from sin or immune from sin or troubles of this life. But we are free from our own weaknesses, from our own minute understanding of good and evil in this life.  It means that even though we continue to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will no longer fear evil for we know He is with us. It is at this point in our life that we trust His rod and His staff for they comfort us. We have gained wisdom trusting in His word and His promise. We know deep within our soul that He has prepared a place for us at the table in the presence of our enemies. He has a shield of protection around us keeping us safe from our enemies. The wise will inherit honor, But fools display dishonor. – Proverbs 3:35.

In the promoting season, He restores our soul and sustains our life. He guides us, leading us to the next step in our assignment for His glory. In this season there are no uninformed decisions in our life’s journey because we have been rerouted. His word, the Holy Bible, is the roadmap for our lives. He gave this instruction to us so that we would follow Him. So that we would  surrender our old life and follow our father in Heaven. It is then that we have chosen to become more like Jesus. We have laid down our own understanding of what He has planned for our lives while we are here.

He has taught us through parables, psalms and proverbs that this earthly life isn’t where life ends. This life isn’t death, but it’s the beginning of our eternity in Heaven with our Heavenly Father forever. Jesus Himself took His stand among them and said to them, Peace (freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin) be to you! – Luke 24:36.

Why do I feel so strongly about His promise for a better life for me? The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace – Romans 8:6. At 56 years old, today I am more convinced than ever before that He has provided me with the only life tool I need while I am here, His word. I know because His promise lies within the pages of the Holy Bible and when I pick it up time and time again and open it to a random chapter and start to read the beautiful tissue like pages, I gain a new understanding and knowledge of who I am, who He intended me to be in this earthly life and what I can look forward to when I return home.

A sense of peace comes over me when I stay in His word. I may not understand every parable, psalm or proverb, but that’s okay because I am absorbing His message to me. I know I will someday reside in the house of the Lord as He has prepared a place for me. As I continue to read His word, I am led to another level of wisdom, which for me is worth more than gold. His word teaches me not to rely on my own steps and to see the world from His perspective and not by my own understanding. I know more than ever I am a child of mercy and grace which is provided to me every hour of every day. Even though my steps have changed, troubles are still with me. But I trust His word that these struggles are a momentary perspective because the eternal life with Him according to His promise, far out weighs my troubles here.

A man’s step are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way? – Proverbs 20:24.

Blessings until next week,

Debra Pauli
Unstoppable Believer

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Graceful Perseverance: The Three Seasons of Life (Part 2 of 3)

This week’s blog is part two of a three-part series called The Three Seasons of Life. Today, I’m discussing the second season, the testing season. How and why God tests his children is a mystery. What do we need to do and what do we need to watch for? What life tests do we need to pass, if any, in order to make it in The Lambs Book of Life?

i.e. The Lambs Book of Life – Not everyone has his or her name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life! One’s name is not written in at birth, nor does he or she have it written in by the sovereign choice of God. A person’s name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life only because he or she chooses to ask God to place it there. – The Lamb’s Book of Life: www.discoverrevelation.com.

Once we have passed all tests specifically designed for us, what are God’s next assignments for us while we are here on this earth? We think there are so many unanswered questions, but the answers are in His word, the roadmap of our lives.

The second season is the testing season. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. – Job 23:10.

The season of testing is very similar to the season of teaching, except the season of testing requires we realize that the world we live in is full of temptations. The media overwhelms us with greed, lust and cynicism which then becomes a vicious and ugly trap. Even though none of us are immune to this exposure, we do have free choice in the matter. The Internet, commercials and social media are forever tempting us to buy, spend, and invest in things of this world.

Social media is forever luring us into sinful acts, whether personal or in a social setting. The buying temptations lure us to the belief that we never can have enough. We are convinced “retail therapy” works in our lives, but only ends up becoming a financial hardship because we fall victims to the temptations all around us. We all have favorite stores, shops and restaurants and when we visit them, we can get swallowed up by the potential harm we may be causing ourselves financially.

The credit card frenzy tempts all of us to buy, buy and buy with more and more plastic. The credit card industry has made it too easy to first get a credit card and then the second temptation is increasing the credit limit so we can purchase even more. As we accumulate more and more stuff, we discover we are headed for financial disaster.

Do not love the world or anything in the world…The world and it’s desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. – 1 John 2:15, 17.

The pressure to own more and better stuff than our neighbors is nothing but a evil trap and does nothing but weigh us down. To combat these temptations, we must stay in daily communication with the Lord, praying for protection and discernment.

Second, we must stay alert in order to recognize the battle of temptation that is being waged against all of us.

Believers must live with the tension of being in the world, but not belonging to it. ~ Hezekiah.

What some of us do not realize is God is the God of ownership of all things. God owns everything in and of this world. He is the creator of all things. We own nothing. In faith, God owns everything; we know God owns everything; by earthly measures we know man only owns some things. But know that God is a free and generous God, and He blesses us with things to tend to, and matters for us to manage while we are here (our families, children, jobs, homes).

He knows the desires of our heart. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. – Psalm 37:4. We should also learn that what He blesses us with can also be taken away. We need to realize we are not owned by stuff, we are owned by Christ. Test me, Lord and try me, examine my heart and my mind. – Psalm 26:2. Passing this test of temptation in this world means we are living in freedom, a Christ freedom, a Christ freedom life from earthly bondage. Believers must live with the tension of being in the world, but not belonging to it. ~ Hezekiah.

Christ is the only open hand in this life, not things or stuff in this world. His expectation is also a test of the temptations. An obvious test would be that of a millionaire’s life. With all his riches, does he live in a mansion and horde his money for his own or does he help by giving to others like the less fortunate, the homeless or the weak who surround him everyday? Does he live in a mansion and doesn’t give to others? Or does he take the financial blessings that come from God in the first place and share his blessings with others? This situation is a true test. How many of us realize that we are influenced daily with worldly stuff that is intended to suck us in and consume us?

The most important test is whether we focus on our relationship with God. Imagine how this situation looks in the eyes of Christ. That’s why we’ve been blessed with His word, the roadmap for our life. God gave us the Ten Commandments to live by, a new life of freedom. A life free of sin. The Ten Commandments are the bookends of our life. The Ten Commandments represent the freedom to a better life so we do not fall into bondage with things of this world.

As a Christian, we learn how to be content with what we have; that contentment sets us free. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.  – Philippians 4:12-13. 

As Christians, we must learn what it  means to be full or empty, to have plenty or to have little. The Lord desires us to pass many tests in this life so that we may learn how to become living examples, more like Jesus. We need to learn to live a life of open hands, not of closed hands. God bestows blessings upon each of us in our lives. Living a life of open hands is when we graciously learn to give to others, and in return God will continue to bless us as His reward. The Lord does not favor those who hoard things for their own pleasures. But He does favor those who He has blessed with plenty and continues to share with those in need.

Blessings until next week,

Debra Pauli,
Unstoppable Believer

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Graceful Perseverance: The Three Seasons of Life (Part 1 of 3)

Have you ever given much thought to the idea that life unfolds through a series of seasons? Does it sometimes feel like a particular season of your life is going wonderfully? You feel like you are on top of the world and you are bursting with emotions that feel like life doesn’t get any better?

And yet in other seasons of your life, you feel that you’ve hit rock bottom, and you have no clue or direction on how to climb out. It is within these troubled times you feel you have no clue or direction on how to climb out. It is within these troubled times you feel you have nowhere to turn. In this time of despair, you feel that your situation couldn’t get any worse, and you find yourself overwhelmed by depression, anger, and hostility, all pointed directly at God. I’ve heard many people, while in troubled times say. “If there was a God, He wouldn’t put me through this pain and suffering. Why would He allow this to happen to me if He really loves me?”

But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposed and some for common use? – Romans 9:20-21.

I see these three seasons applicable for all of us, we who are really the same lump of clay for the master potter to do with according to His will for our lives. I believe there are three distinct seasons – the teaching season, the testing season and the promoting season. In the next three weeks, I will share my own insights, beliefs and convictions supported by biblical scripture: Jesus’ word that without the Lord first in our lives, we have nothing. But with Him we have everything.

In the teaching season of our lives our experiences are unfolding according to the Lord’s plan so that He may teach us a life lesson or even show us something new about our true selves that we didn’t know before. “The difference between school and life is we are taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, we are given a test that teaches us a lesson.” – Tom Bodett. For He is the teacher and we are the students. And teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age. – Matthew 28:20.

Some examples of life lessons may be job loss, drug addictions, obesity, the death of a friend or family member, adultery, broken marriages, abusive spouses, suicide attempts, chronic depression, and other addictions. How do we react to these hardships when we find ourselves in the middle of darkness? Anger is typically the first emotion, followed closely by fear. Fear quickly spirals into negative thoughts and worries, causing us to be angry at the world, God, and those closest to us.

We are quick to anger and slow to peace. All because we’ve fallen into hardship. Sound familiar? Do you “react” this way? What if we remove the emotions from the equation (the onset of anger, fear and worry)? What if instead we turn our eyes to our Heavenly Father and ask Him for help in the middle of darkness? Or better yet, learn to trust Him in all of our circumstances. “When God pushes us to the edge, trust Him fully, because only two things can happen. Either He will catch us or He will teach us how to fly.” – FB Quotes Gate.

I call on the Lord in my distress and He answers me. – Psalm 120:1. Have you ever thought that maybe the Lord is allowing us to go through hardships because He’s attempting to teach us something? He is also teaching us that nothing or no one in this fallen world can help us more than He can. He leaves us in this place of despair until we have exhausted our own fight so that we discover we can’t do it on our own, and it’s time to reach out to Him, for He’s the only one left who can help. His word promises to never leave our side. In 7,000 years, He has never abandoned His children. He’s not going to start now.

In this season of teaching, He wants more than ever for us to acquire the same wisdom and understanding in our situation, more like He did when He was here in the flesh. When God walked the earth (in the flesh), better known as Jesus of Nazareth, He, too, faced many hardships. Christ Jesus wants more than anything for His children, who He loves beyond our imagination, to turn to Him and cry out to Him for help in our times of need. Non-believers say, “He’s an unseen God, what can He do to get me out of my situation?”

He allowed you to experience the situation in the first place, because He knows where He’s attempting to lead you. He not only knows your destination, but He also knows every step it takes for you to get there. Of course, He knows the outcome of your situation, even long before you go through it. A common Christian belief is “If He brings you to it, He will bring you through it!”

He knows when things can’t get any worse for us, and there’s nowhere left to turn when we’ve hit rock bottom. Eventually we will cry out to Him. At the breaking point, we learn to surrender to Him and call upon His name. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your path straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6.

I think one of the best testimonies is for those who suffer from alcohol and drug addictions. When an addict hits rock bottom, he or she is sometimes led to the doorstep of Teen Challenge. They learn to cry out to Jesus to renew them and make them whole again. Their pain and suffering, however, can get much worse before they truly surrender to the Lord for help.

Some of us know that the only one who can save us from ourselves and our sinful ways is our Lord and Savior himself. We know we are weak and He is strong. The Lord knows each of us will eventually seek Him at some point in our lifetime. And at some point, in our seasons of desperation, our knees will bow and our tongues will confess. It is them that He will lead us and we will follow our new life of freedom with Christ Jesus as our Savior.

Blessings until next week,

Debra Pauli
Unstoppable Believer

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Graceful Perseverance: Walking in the Rays of a Beautiful Son!

Welcome back, everyone! This week I felt compelled to share with you something that has deep meaning and purpose in my life.sunset in heart hands

This past week I watched an American Family Insurance commercial. The background music lyrics went like this -“Walking in the rays of a beautiful Son!” I am sure AFI’s marketing intention was very different than the way it resonated with me. I saw the ad as a blessing in disguise. When we become more attentive to the little blessings, we become better at trusting Him and what He can do through His bigger blessings.

When I heard the lyrics, “Walking in the rays of a beautiful Son,” I immediately imagined what this idea would feel like. The Holy Spirit instantly became alive in me when I repeated the lyric. Why did I have this reaction? Фантазия. Акварель, монотипия.The Holy Spirit is always waiting on the sidelines of our hearts to enter, but first we must open the door and allow Him to enter into our hearts. He will never enter without our invitation, which is why some experience the Holy Spirit, but most don’t understand how this blessing works in their lives and then choose not to believe in such silliness and doubt it.

When I seek His face, when I have my eyes only set on Him and not the day-to-day stress, I know without a doubt His spirit announces His presence. As I deepen my relationship with Christ, and fall deeper in love with Him, He reveals himself through rich blessings not just once in a while, but every day. Nothing is too trivial for Him. Nothing is too overwhelming for Him. WomanWhen our minds are captivated by the wonders of His work, and we focus on Him more than our daily struggles, He will flood us with an overwhelming feeling of peace and serenity. He gives us reassurance that He’s taking care of our concerns: He’s got it. He would never allow us to go through any situation that hasn’t passed through His hands first. Yes, even in the middle of a storm we have the ability to find peace, but only if we call upon Him.

Many of you may be curious and asking how can this be? First, the beauty of this experience is a gift that occurs by staying in the present moment with Him. Second, each of us has the ability to surround ourselves with His peace even in the middle of chaos. I do a lot of “self-talk” — whispers in the middle of stress. The self-talk whispers are always focused on Christ Jesus only because I’ve learned that He is so much more powerful than I am. When we truly believe He’s got our back, it is only through His power that He can move mountains for us. We are weak and fragile without Him. He is something bigger than ourselves. The Sacred Heart illustrationWhen our hearts are truly in the middle of His presence, we will reach out to Him; we will call upon Him; we will cry out to Him because it is in that moment we realize we can’t do this alone.

By calling upon Him, you will “Walk in the rays of a beautiful Son.” It is only then that you will truly experience Christ Jesus, the Son of God in your life. Start to practice changing your mindset. Henry Ford put it best, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!” This is a mindset change in the middle of daily stress. I like to practice this cry for help – “I trust Jesus, I trust Jesus, I trust Jesus!” In any situation, good or bad, I call upon Him for His hand in the matter.

I can give you hundreds of accounts when He’s heard my cry for help, and He’s immediately by my side, protecting me and bringing peace, so that He could do His work to resolve the situation for what was best for all involved. His blessings and miracles are fail-proof, but only if you trust Him, let go of your own understanding and let God.

God Bless,

Debra M. Pauli
Unstoppable Believer

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Graceful Perseverance: Studying the Word

Welcome back to this week’s blog. Today I seek to do more than share with you what I have learned regarding scripture. The Holy Bible reveals the truth of our beginning, our end, our existence, our purpose on this earth and God’s plan for each of our lives. I consider myself an infant in the learning stages of understanding scripture. I’ll never proclaim to know all there is to learn about the word of God. This takes nothing short of a lifetime and even at that point we will never fully understand everything there is to know. However, it does bring me great joy and excitement to fellowship with others about the parables, psalms, proverbs, the beginning (Genesis) and the end of times (Revelation). The more knowledge I gain, the more excited I am to share what I’ve learned.

There is so much to learn about the spiritual gifts we’ve all been given. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. . . If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:10-11. There are not enough quiet hours in my day where I can read and absorb scripture enough to satisfy my daily thirst for more.

I am far removed from considering myself a scholar. Nevertheless, the more I read, and the more I prioritize my study time in God’s word, the more I become absorbed with scripture’s fascinating stories of our ancestors. I enjoy studying the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the followers of Jesus. I absorb the powerful story of Martha and Mary and many other testimonials in scripture of faithful stewards, followers of Jesus (God as man) that wrote their accounts and testimonials on scrolls during Jesus’ time on earth. It’s truly a life transformation if we choose to pick up the bible and read, learn and practice and more importantly, follow Jesus as our ancestors did 2,000 years ago. Do no lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. – Colossians 3:9-10

According to the Gospel of Luke 10:38-42: At the home of Martha and Mary. As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to every word he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She went to the Lord and asked, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!

Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.

I’ve learned so much about myself through this biblical story. I am the 21st Century Martha, distressed and worried about all the work that needs to be done in the home and all the preparations I face daily. Like Martha, I am consumed by things of lessor importance in this world when I should be desiring the same as Mary; to sit quietly at the feet of Jesus, attentively listening to what He is saying to me. Of course Jesus is not with us in the flesh as He was 2,000 years ago with Martha and Mary.  Yet Jesus is very much alive today through the Holy Spirit which lives within us, through scripture, among other Christians, our shared fellowship and privately in our lives as much as we welcome Him in.

I faithfully believe each of us can be deeply rooted in the truth if we so choose. My quest in this week’s blog is to share how to walk a path that will undoubtedly grow your faith. If you are looking for a life transformation, if you are tired of your old self, simply start studying and educating yourself  using scripture. You will quickly learn why God created you. You will see the Lord’s ways, and He will show you how to share your heart and service with others, as Jesus has called each of us to do.

I know now more than ever if I set time aside in my day to read scripture, it transforms my life and it can transform yours as well. That said, studying scripture every day is not enough. We are called to do more than that. Fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:6-7. I am called to share the wisdom I’ve gained and be witness to how scripture has transformed my life so I can help lead others to the same promise; eternal life with our Heavenly Father. In this life’s endeavor, we’ve been gifted a helper and a mentor in the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who leads me, guides me and mentors me in every situation of my life.

We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. – Colossians 1:28.

The Holy Spirit works through us with the gift of prophesy. He’s the one who fills me with passion for God’s instruction. I am excited and eager to share this good news with friends, family and even strangers to help them see the truth. Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophesy. – 1 Corinthians 14:1.

The more I study and the more I become rooted in God’s Word, the more I acquire the gift of exhortation. I already want to share my spiritual growth with others. It is my desire to serve others, so they too will learn a strategy to discover God’s purpose for their lives. The Father can and does work in everyone’s life, but only if we are enlightened and encouraged to seek Him, to know Him and to learn the many reasons why God created each of us.

Brethen, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. – 1 Thessalonians 4:1.

Blessings until next week,

Debra Pauli
Unstoppable Believer

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