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Celebrate Your Freedom

Independence Day!
July 4, 1776, the day our independence from an oppressive ruling country was declared. The people of the newly founded country were free to make their own rules, laws and decisions. What a time to celebrate!
Do you celebrate the day you declared yourself free from the oppressive nature of your worldly desires? When you ask Jesus to forgive you and strive to follow Him, you are free from things that society says are important. Things like looks, wealth, job status, etc.
In Jesus you are free from the bondage of:
Self-condemnation – you can stop telling yourself you are not good enough.
Self-judgement – you don’t have to be perfect to be okay.
Self-ridicule – you can make mistakes without beating yourself up.
Instead of living by these deceptive thoughts you are free to:
Find who you were truly meant to be.
Like yourself, even with your quirky habits.
Love others because you accept yourself.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
As a new creation in Christ, you no longer have to live up to:
Family expectations.
Society’s standards.
Peer pressure.
As a new creation, the Holy Spirit is with you to help you live according to God’s will. In that freedom, we find peace.
Do you show your gratitude for the freedom Christ has given you to live in abundant peace? Today, think of all the soldiers who have died for your freedom on earth, but don’t forget to light a sparkler for Jesus who truly set you free.

Welcome!

Welcome back to my blog! In today’s world we need encouraging thoughts and that is what I hope to provide. The best encouragement comes from our Creator and His word.

During my break I’ve grown spiritually. I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life. And I’m no spring chicken. Lifelong anxiety issues; gone. I have analyzed every possible solution for why healing has taken place now? My answer: a lot of little changes came together at one time. God’s time. I thank Him for the healing and give Him the credit.

I am looking forward to sharing little glimpses of God’s work in my life and in others’ lives. If you have a story to tell, share it. We are God’s witnesses and we shine our light by sharing what He has done for us. It is exciting and encouraging to know that He is with us in our lives, every day. If we have our eyes open, we can see and feel His presence.

God has given us so much to enjoy in nature, family, friends, and more. Let’s plant our thoughts on those things. We will face hard times, challenges or heartaches, but our joy can grow when we care and nurture our minds.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8, this is one of my favorite scriptures.

If you are concerned about how other people see you, then put down the mirror (you are looking to confirm their descriptions) and discover who you really are. Each one of us is precious to our Creator. Pick up the Bible and see who it says you are. That is the premise of my devotional and memoir, both of which I am working to get published.

Join me as I share ideas from my books to encourage others who may have struggled with finding value in themselves. If you know someone who could benefit, pass it on to them. Or they can sign up to receive each one at: www.nanceywest.com. Go to the blog page and click the button to sign up. Don’t forget the ‘e’ in Nancey.

God bless you all this week.

Reflection God’s Creation

My fear of heights was the last thing on my mind as I stepped from the car and hurried down the path toward Two Medicine Lake. My husband and I got up early to catch the morning light on the least visited area of Glacier National Park. I had enjoyed every day of our vacation with the splendor of the fall colors beneath snow-capped mountains. I was not disappointed in the lack of fellow visitors or the unusual warm weather this late in the season.

The morning was cool but clear as I made my way from the dirt path onto the rocky beach. Suddenly, my heart skipped a beat. I was starring down into a deep canyon with yellow-laden trees and green bushes. I jumped back in alarm. Where is the lake? I wondered as I gazed over the scenery for signs of water.

The fear of falling pulled my eyes and feet away from the view before me. As I looked down, I noticed rocks beneath a glassy sheet of water. The lake began only a few feet away. Looking again into the cavern below, I realized I was looking at the reflection of the mountain on the other side of the lake.

The view changed before my eyes like those trick pictures of two faces hidden in one. I saw the reflection, then turning my head there was the canyon. The reflection was so perfect the water vanished and the scene became one continual image. I sat on a nearby boulder to calm my flip-flopping stomach and thought of how we are to be a reflection of our Creator. Does His will for my life appear so clear that mine is one with it?

Later, the Park Ranger told us that this was an extremely rare day. The air must be very still for such a clean reflection and the breeze from the mountains usually ruffles the water. Like the calm waters, The Lord says we must be “still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10 NIV) Oh, how the chaos in our lives interrupts that stillness so that God is only roughly seen. We are created in His image. When we find time away from the winds of busyness to allow that reflection cover us, we have no reason to fear heights or anything else.

What ruffles your calm waters and blurs God reflection in your life?

He is Risen!

He is Risen indeed!
Last week, we celebrated Christ’s resurrection with traditional feasts, gatherings and worship. Easter is a time when we are reminded of the abuse, cruelty and pain that Jesus suffered so we may have eternal life. “He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:9 NIV)

Our faith not only gives us the reward of eternity with Him, it can give us a richer, fuller life while we live on this earth. Jesus said when He left that another would come so we were not alone. Accepting Jesus into your heart and the Holy Spirit into your life gives you the keys to a peace and joy unknown to this world.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV) He didn’t die for you so that you could mope about what you don’t have. Neither did He come for you to bask in luxury and comfort. His gift is life filled to the brim with faith, hope and love. (I Corinthians 13:4-7, 13 NIV) Easter is a time to reflect on what that gift cost. Not only did Jesus arise, He provided you a way to rise above the darkness in this world. Fall at His feet that He may lift you up to an abundant life.

What have you done this Easter and lent season to truly thank God for a gift you didn’t deserve?

Lent

This is the season of Lent, a time of preparation leading up to Easter. We know that Easter is a celebration of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. He knew He would die and He prepared for it by spending time in prayer with His Father.

How do we prepare for Easter? Traditionally, one would give up something for Lent. I always thought it was like making a New Year’s resolution. No one really did it, or stuck to it. Abstinence for Lent is so much more. The purpose is to replace something in your life with Jesus. This spiritual discipline of giving up something for 40-days will strengthen your relationship with Him.

Think carefully about what is in your life that may have come between you and serving Christ with your whole heart? Gambling? Drinking? Cigarettes? Many things could be on the list. Not all are as obvious. What about gossiping? Lying? Or one of my favorites: negative talk. My problem isn’t so much saying bad things about others as saying them about myself.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29 NIV) The “others” include the person in the mirror.

In preparing for Easter this year, give up any negative talk and remember Jesus died for you because you are that important to Him.

How will you prepare for Easter? What is holding you back from serving Christ with your whole heart?