Just Do It!

Just Do It

Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Yesterday was the first broadcast of my online radio show "The Butterfly Garden," which you can listen to here. I was so hesitant about doing it, because for one, it's really not my thing. I'm an introvert by nature, and I'd much rather just tend to a small group of people, in a small little space, and call it a day. Two, I'm never really 100% sure if I've heard from God or not. I mean, sometimes I have a pretty good idea if I've heard from Him, but others, it could really go either way. So Wednesday through Friday morning I was actually excited. I was looking forward to sharing the lesson, and I just really wanted to see how God would move. But then, once Friday night came, I started questioning everything! "Did I really hear from God?" "Would anybody tune in to listen?" "Was the lesson that I had planned relevant?" A million and one thoughts were running through my mind, and I really wanted to pull the plug on the entire thing.

After I got myself together, I realized that it was just fear taking over, and that I needed to calm down and regroup. Over the last couple of years, I've learned to feed my fears with God's Word in order to strengthen my faith, and that's exactly what I did. I started listening to sermons, reciting Scriptures, praying, you name it. In the midst of all of that, I received a notification that the owner of a store that I frequent had committed suicide earlier that day. And aside from the initial shock of the news, I felt convicted and wondered, "What if the thing that God has called me to do could save someone's life?" I'm not saying that the radio show would have saved his life in particular, but the fact that it could save a life was enough to make me go forward with the broadcast. Was I 100% comfortable with it? No. But I felt 100% commissioned to do it.

Even today, I still don't know who all God is going to send to listen to the show, and I don't know how many lives will be changed, if any. But I do know that God would not have placed that task on my heart if at some point it's not going to impact someone. Whether it's one month from now, or one year from now, I don't know. I'm just willing to make myself available to Him, if and when that time comes.

So I don't know what God has laid on your heart to do that you're maybe fearful of pursuing because of your own perceived inadequacies, but if God has commanded you, then He will be with you just like Joshua 1:9 says. If God has commanded you, then you're in the perfect condition for Him to use you. If something has been on your heart to do for years, and you still haven't done it, make this year your year. Make this the year that you trust God like never before. Be strong, be courageous, and just do it. You never know whose life may be depending on the gift that you hold...

God Loves You!

Live Free!

Arianne

www.ariannemockabee.com

New Year, New You

mind

Romans 8:5 "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires."

As we go into the new year, the Lord has laid it on my heart to focus on maturing in our faith and spiritual transformation. This goes far beyond just going to church and merely participating in religious activities. I'm talking about actually allowing God's Word to transform us and to be reflected in our every day lives. So while you're making your personal goals, resolutions, etc. for 2014, make sure that spiritual growth is a part of your plans. Whatever bad habits, insecurities, negative attitudes, resistance to change, etc. that you had this year, leave them here, and start the new year off fresh.

We see in Romans 8:5 that your mind has to be set on the things of the Spirit in order for your life to reflect the things the Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control Galatians 5:22-23). So you can hope and pray that your behavior will change, but unless you are intentional about it, your success rate will probably be very low. If your goal is to minimize gossip for 2014, then you should already have a response set in your mind for when someone brings gossip to you. If your goal is to stop living in sexual sin, then you need to set up guardrails for yourself. Whether it's cutting off a relationship, setting new rules in your relationship, or banning certain shows from your TV lineup, do whatever it will take to help you succeed. You will also need to continue to support your desire to change with God's Word. It will be a struggle in the beginning, and maybe ongoing, but if you set your mind on things above, the changes your desire will be made manifest in your life.

Matthew 9:17 says, "Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” It is not enough to simply desire change without changing our minds. If you take your old mindset into the new year, you can pretty much expect a similar outcome at the end of next year. Some people may not be able to be as big of a factor in your life next year as they were this year, especially if they support where you've been instead of where you're going.  Don't take the same debt mentality into next year if you desire to be more profitable. You have to make up in your mind to let go of whatever it is that's holding you back, and then act accordingly.

So let's aim our hearts and minds a little higher in this new year. Let's truly make Jesus the center of all that we do, and allow our lives to be transformed. Let's make a better effort at making our thoughts mirror the mind of Christ. If we do that, our actions will soon follow, and we'll have the fruit to show for it. Greater is available, if you make up in your mind to achieve it. Where will your mind take you in this new year? Out with the old, in with the new!

God loves you!

Live free!

Arianne

www.ariannemockabee.com

Am I Good Enough?!

am-i-good-enough

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Am I good enough?! A question that I so often ask myself when it comes to fulfilling anything that I believe God has placed on my heart. It is also a question that opens the door to fear and insecurity, which either paralyzes me or chases me away from the task at hand. At times I'll start to second-guess if I really heard from God. I mean it all sounds good in the beginning, but once the time comes to put the vision into action...well that's a different story! At some point I'll start comparing myself to others, or magnifying my weaknesses, which again, creates a welcome mat for fear and insecurity. It is a constant battle that I fight with every step of faith that I take...

But then, I'm reminded of 2 Timothy 1:7, which says that God hasn't given us a spirit of fear. So if it's not of God, then it must be the enemy. And of course he doesn't want you to think that you're good enough, because then you'll follow through with the plans that God laid on your heart. Plans that were designed to defeat the enemy, and bring God glory. You didn't really think it was going to be that easy did you?! The devil isn't just going to lie down and let you walk off into the sunset of your destiny. He's going to make you fight for it! And two of the weapons that he uses are fear and insecurity.

Now, let me say this...if you have not planned or sought wise counsel in regards to stepping out on faith, that too can cause fear and insecurity, and rightfully so! It may also cause more burdens in your life than blessings, if you're not careful. Being faithful, and being foolish are not the same thing. Jesus, a perfect man, had a calling, but even he had to prepare and be prepared by God. So trust me, you must also go through the process of planning, seeking, and testing, if you're going to complete God's will for your life. It's not that you're not good enough, but God is a God of order, and you must complete His process.

However, in either case, neither person will ever be "good enough" to do what God called them to do. And that's OK, because God designed it that way. He loves us, wants us to be dependent on Him, and wants to create a lasting relationship with us. He doesn't need us to be perfect, or the most qualified, He just wants us to be obedient and to trust Him.

When we look at 2 Timothy 1:9 it says, "For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus." Right there you see that God called us according to His plan, and not because of anything that we ever could or could not do. This walk is about grace and faith. Through Christ, we are able to say, "God, I know I'm not good enough, but I trust that You can use me anyway." So the next time you are faced with fear and insecurity, stare them right in the eyes, and say "I've got grace and faith, and that's good enough for me!"

God loves you!

Live free!

Arianne

Don't forget to stop by my website www.ariannemockabee.com and check out my first book Destined to Fly: The Pursuit of Purpose, and let's get connected!

When God Closes Doors...

Access-Denied

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

Have you ever worked up the nerve to step out on faith, only to find yourself feeling and looking foolish when whatever it was that you were pursuing did not come to pass? You know, that time you finally started that business, stepped out into the dating scene, applied for that scholarship or graduate program, believed God for your healing, applied for that new job or promotion, or saved up for that new car or home, only to be faced with a big "Access Denied" sign, so it would seem. After all, Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart," and in John 14:14 Jesus tells us, "You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it." So why didn't God do what He said He would do?

The thing is, God isn't a genie, and faith isn't magic. God is not required to give us any and everything that we ask for just because we ask for it. Especially those things that He knows will only end up causing us pain in the long run. God is more concerned about our hearts and our characters, than anything else. A good parent is not going to give a 16 year old kid with no license or previous driving experience keys to a Lamborghini and send them out on the nearest highway just because they asked. Likewise, God may not satisfy all of our desires and needs the very first time we ask for them. However, delays don't always mean denial, and we have to trust that God knows what's best for us. I believe that God does give us the desires of our hearts, but He's going to make sure that we're prepared to manage whatever it is that we're asking Him for.

Also, sometimes what we think we want, is not the same as what God knows we need (which is always better!). So don't miss the element of protection that oftentimes comes in the form of rejection. You may not understand why you didn't get that job, why the loan fell through, or why that person walked out of your life, but remember that God has already gone before you. He knows where that path will lead you before you take the first step, and will do anything to protect you. So thank God for the closed doors, the "no's," the delays, etc. He has your best interest at heart, ALWAYS. Our thoughts and motives are not like His, and we have to fully trust Him. Remember, we have limited vision, God does not.

My challenge to you, is that even in the face of rejection, that you would continue to seek God, praise Him, ask Him, and trust Him. He will make sure that you are in the perfect condition to receive all of the great things that He has in store for you. You may encounter a few road blocks, you may have to jump a few hurdles, or dodge a couple of potholes along the way, but know that God is with you. As long as you keep moving in the same direction that He's leading you, everything will work out just fine. Meditate on Proverbs 3:5-6, and rest in Him!

God loves you!

Live free!

Arianne

Don't forget to stop by my website www.ariannemockabee.com and check out my first book Destined to Fly: The Pursuit of Purpose, and let's get connected!

The Waiting Room

Waiting

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/dra_schwartz

James 1:2-8 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do."

Have you ever "felt" abandoned by God? I put the word "felt" in quotation marks because we know that according to Deuteronomy 31:8 that God never leaves nor forsakes us. But somehow, no matter how many times we've heard it, read it, or spoken it, our feelings have a way of taking over when we're in a state of waiting. We begin to question God's presence, our decisions, our abilities, God's timing, etc. We've been faithful, so why isn't God moving? We've been praying with the right motives, so why haven't our prayers been answered? It simply doesn't make sense...

I've been feeling like I'm in somewhat of a dry season at the moment in so many areas. Nothing seems to be coming together, and I too have asked many of the questions that I presented above. But God reminded me that in order to get stronger, at some point you have to increase your resistance. Your faith is like a muscle that constantly needs to be worked out and strengthened in order to prepare you for higher level battles. So it may not be that you're doing anything wrong, but rather that you're doing everything right! The Lord led me to James 1:2-8 as I sought Him regarding this topic, and He gave me 4 things that will help us endure our waiting season in peace:

1. Turn up your Worship - verse 2 tells us to consider it pure joy that God is strengthening us through the testing of our faith. Instead of questioning God's presence, we need to focus, and celebrate the fact that He is preparing us for something greater. So if you find yourself worrying, release your inner joy through worship!

2. Let God do the Work - verse 4 tells us to let perseverance finish its work so that we lack nothing. We simply cannot rush God no matter how hard we try. Impatience may cause delays, undesirable damage, or unnecessary stress.We have to trust His timing and know that once our waiting period is over that we will be complete, refined, and better than we were before. Patience is key!

3. Seek Wisdom - verse 5 tells us to seek God for wisdom and He'll give it to us freely. If we are unsure about why we're going through what we're going through, how long we'll have to go through it, etc. then we must seek God. He holds the blueprint to your life, and you'll have to go to Him for answers, period.

4. Resist the Wind - verse 6, when we seek God for wisdom, we must believe it as truth. Otherwise we may find ourselves wavering in our faith, growing weary, thinking we can accelerate the process ourselves, and so on and so forth. We cannot let our fleeting emotional winds uproot our faith and trust in God. Let the emotions pass, and commit to standing firm!

Maybe you're like me and things just don't seem to be gaining any traction in your life at the moment. You've worked hard, you've been faithful, you've prayed, but things have not paid off quite like you had hoped or in the amount of time that you had hoped. You thought things would get better, but instead, it appears as if they have gotten worse. Know that God is with you, He hasn't left your side, nor has He forsaken you. In fact, He's doing a work in you that is intended to make you better, no matter how frustrating or painful it may seem right now. Remember that God loves you and is not out to harm you. Whatever you're going through is only for your good, and that's worth celebrating! So be patient and rejoice, greater is coming!

God loves you!

Live free!

Arianne

Don't forget to stop by my website www.ariannemockabee.com and check out my first book Destined to Fly: The Pursuit of Purpose, and let's get connected!

Destined to Fly

book cover

Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Around this time last year, I was at a point in my life where I felt like I had come to a plateau in just about every area of my life. My finances, my spirit, my career, and my motivation all seemed to be coasting in neutral. Life was OK, but I just felt like something major was missing. I simply asked God, "Is this it? Is this life really only about going to work, paying bills, and going to church? Was my past so bad that I missed out on the plans and purposes that He had for my life?" The Lord told me no, and began to speak to me in a vision like He typically does. He spoke to me through the image of the butterfly life cycle, and it all started to come together.

He reassured me that my past had been forgiven, and revealed to me that I was merely co-existing with His Spirit, but I had not yet allowed Him to transform me. I was still a caterpillar, and He intended for me to become a butterfly. Wow! I had never thought about spiritual growth in that way before. Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, and then we can test and approve God's will. So I needed to get in His Word, get rid of the clutter, renew my mind, allow Him to transform me, and then I would be able to move beyond the plateau in my life. I needed more of Him, period. And I still do!

All too often, it's so easy for us to get saved and then fall into practicing a religion, instead of developing a relationship with Christ. We get saved, continue doing what we were doing, and simply co-exist with God. But God designed a relationship that will grow us, strengthen us, and transform us to be more like Him. A relationship that creates this comforting dependency, sense of belonging, and access to a bottomless love. A relationship that reveals our purpose beyond the mundane tasks of this world. A relationship that was designed just for us.

After I wrapped my head around the revelation that I received, the unthinkable happened...God instructed me to write a book about it. "Are you talking to me?" I first asked, and then the excuses started to flow..."I'm not qualified to speak on this subject, I'm not an author, I don't know anything about writing a book or getting it published, What if nobody reads it, I don't want to put my business out in the street..." and on it went. Finally, after all of my whining, I just surrendered to God and told Him that I would do it as long as He told me what to write. Two and a half months later, the book was finished, and I couldn't have done it without Him.

I don't know what you're going through right now, but if you desire to live beyond the ordinary, to live beyond your past, to grow a deeper relationship with God, to discover your purpose, to be challenged to live at a higher level, then I encourage you to purchase the first book that God has written through me, titled "Destined to Fly: The Pursuit of Purpose." The book is broken down into four stages: The Egg, The Caterpillar, The Pupa, and The Adult. Each stage will help you identify where you are in your walk with Christ, and challenge you to seek God like never before. You too, will find that there is more to life than just going to work, paying bills, and practicing religion. You will discover that you too, are destined to fly!

God loves you!

Live free!

Arianne

Don't forget to stop by my website www.ariannemockabee.com and check out my first book Destined to Fly: The Pursuit of Purpose, and let's get connected!

Decisions, Decisions...

decision-making

Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

I have a habit of over-analyzing things. If I'm not careful, I can sometimes slip into a "paralysis by analysis" state, where I just do nothing because I've stressed so much about the details. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and I hate to fail, so it is very easy for me to become obsessed with any and everything. Naturally, I find myself over-thinking about what it is that God really wants me to do. Am I in the right job? Am I attending the right church? Am I serving in the right ministry? Am I writing the right blog topic? Is this the right business idea? Is this the right guy? And on and on it goes...I want to know who, what, where, when, why, and how before I do it. I would love if everything was black and white, crystal clear, just give it to me straight. As you can see, I am totally obsessed with details! Unfortunately, as I have come to learn, God doesn't do details. He's more of a big picture, I'll drop one bread crumb at a time (after you take a step of faith) to lead you to your destiny kind of Guy, and it drives me absolutely nuts!

So how do we really know if we're in God's will? How do we know if the last decision that we made was the "right" one? How will we know if the next decision that we make will be the right one?

Decision doors

When we look at Colossians 3:17 it says that WHATEVER you do, do it ALL in the name of the Lord. So does it really matter what you do, as opposed to why you're doing it, or who you're representing while you're doing it? I could have chosen a different college, major, profession, city to live in, etc., but I didn't, and God was and is still with me. I believe that God is ready and willing to meet us wherever we are, no matter what path we choose, even if we make a few wrong turns, or go through a few wrong doors along the way. He is the master director, orchestrator, etc., and always has a way of rerouting us if need be.

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

If you are like me, and have a tendency of obsessing over the details, seek God, and take a step of faith. We wouldn't need God if we had all of the answers before we pursued anything in this life. But God longs to keep us close to and dependent on Him. Interestingly enough, He is able to create this intimacy through ambiguity. Even when we aren't sure what to do, we must remember that God will light the way. When your path seems dark, foggy, and unclear, turn on God's light by seeking Him, His Word, His will, and His ways. Turn your focus on the Who and the why, and you'll always end up at the what, exactly when and where you're supposed to be.

God loves you!

Live free!

Arianne

Don't forget to stop by my website www.ariannemockabee.com and check out my first book Destined to Fly: The Pursuit of Purpose, and let's get connected!

Under the Influence

OUT OF CONTROL

1 Peter 5:8 "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term, "under the influence?" For me, I usually think of someone being intoxicated with alcohol or drugs. I imagine a person that has lost control, and is unable to make sound judgments and decisions. But when I read 1 Peter 5:8 the other day, God opened my eyes to something so much more profound. He started speaking to me about how we can be under the influence of so much more than just alcohol or drugs. He showed me that we can be under the influence of other things such as the media, our feelings, our flesh, stress, fear, peers, our attitudes...you name it. Anything that we allow to affect our thoughts and decisions can be said to have influence over us. They can all cause us to do things that we may end up regretting later. So it turns out that having a "sober" mind is much more complex than I originally thought.

Now, I am not suggesting that all influence is bad or negative. I am however, suggesting the need for us to be more aware of the type of influence that people, things, and feelings have on our lives. When you hang around a certain group of people, watch certain shows, listen to certain songs, give way to certain feelings and desires, etc., do you they push you away from Christ and the person God's called you to be, or do they push you towards Christ and reinforce the new life that you've chosen?

In my experience, the things that I considered non-negotiable have been the easiest ones to keep in check. Flat out, there are some things that I just will not do regardless. But it's the things that I've allowed to settle into the gray matter that have caused me the biggest trouble. The things that were loosely guarded, were often the things that fell prey to negative influences. Did the Holy Spirit try to warn me before hand? Yep, every time. The alarm went off, but depending on my state of mind, I was either devoured by darkness or reigned victorious. In either case, it was completely up to me. I had to choose whether I was going to be influenced by the Holy Spirit or allow something else to pull me way. And trust me, it's a battle that I still fight daily! We all do!

So what things or people are you allowing to pull on your heart today? Is it fear? Is it a bad friendship or relationship that you know you shouldn't be in? Is it unforgiveness or insecurity? Is it a temporary feeling like impatience, anger, or disappointment? Or maybe a need of acceptance or sense of accomplishment? Whatever it is, is it in alignment with God's Word? If not, cut the string, get back into the spirit, and sober up! The enemy already has you on his hit list, and there's no need in making it easy for him to take you out. The next time that alarm goes off inside of you, stop, listen, and identify the influence before you act. You'll be glad that you did!

God loves you!

Live free!

Arianne

Don't forget to check out my website www.ariannemockabee.com to check out my book Destined to Fly: The Pursuit of Purpose!

Masquerade

mask3

Psalm 12:2 "Everyone lies to their neighbor; they flatter with their lips but harbor deception in their hearts."

Growing up, I couldn't stand any type of characters or people that I couldn't see their actual faces. Whether it was a clown, Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, characters at theme parks, you name it, I didn't like it. There was just something that really bothered me about not being able to see who the person was underneath the mask that they were wearing. I can't say that I'm very fond of them even now, but I have gotten a lot better. I won't share any embarrassing stories, but just know that running, crying, and a what seemed like near-death experiences have occurred, LOL! So trust me when I say, I have gotten A LOT better!

Looking back, what's funny about that is, even though I didn't like not being able to see other people's faces, there are times when I would, and still do, wear a mask myself. I'd rather just pretend like everything is going OK, than to admit to someone that they really weren't. I actually had that opportunity the other day. I wasn't having a great day, and what seemed like an out-of-the-blue e-mail, was actually perfect timing. The person asked how I was doing, and instead of putting on my mask, and just laid it out there and was like, you know, I'm not ok. I could have said everything was fine, but it wasn't. And I'm glad that I shared how I was feeling, because by the end of our conversation, I felt 10 times better! But it took me being honest about the situation before I could confront it, and then conquer it...

I think that if there was one lie that we've all told, it would be the response, "I'm fine." And we walk around with the "I'm fine" mask on, put a smile on our face, fight through the tears, pain, etc., deceiving nobody but ourselves. But why? Isn't it natural for people to get down sometimes? Isn't it natural for people to experience pain, failure, and disappointments? Isn't it natural for us to go through trials and tribulations? In fact, the Bible pretty much guarantees that we will experience bad times in John 16:33. So what's the issue?

Sometimes we say, "I'm fine" just to dismiss the person that asked the question. That is totally understandable, especially if you know the person is not really interested in how you're doing, you can't trust them, etc. I get that. On the other hand, we put on the mask because we do not want to be vulnerable, risk being judged, appear weak, or whatever else. But do you know that makes it harder for God to take the burdens that you aren't willing to release?

In Matthew 11:28, Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." This is an open invitation for all of us, no RSVP required. It is up to us to have the courage to go to God with whatever it is that we're dealing with. Then we have to be willing to trade in our masks for the freedom and rest that He desires to give to us.

So don't be afraid to let God or someone close to you know if things aren't going well, if you just want them to pray for or with you, need some time away, etc. The sooner you confront whatever you're going through, the sooner you will conquer it. My challenge to you today is to take off the mask, and allow God to set you free. You'll be glad that you did.

God loves you!

Live free!

Arianne

Don't forget to visit my website www.ariannemockabee.com to stay connected with me and to purchase a copy of my book Destined to Fly: The Pursuit of Purpose.

The Breakfast of Champions: Gratitude

gratitude

1 Thessalonians 5:18 "give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

Some people say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Based on research, they say that those who skip breakfast tend to eat more throughout the day than those who do eat breakfast, which can eventually lead to health problems (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/most-important-meal). Well, I believe that if we skip our spiritual breakfast, we also tend encounter additional spiritual challenges throughout the day.

Have you ever had a day where you woke up complaining? And you might not have said what you thinking/feeling out loud, but the thoughts were definitely running through your mind. Whether you were too tired, it was gloomy/rainy outside, you didn't feel like going to work, you weren't looking forward to encountering certain people, etc., or perhaps your day just didn't kick off on a high note...

Well I have. In fact I caught myself doing it the other day. I hadn't slept well the night before, it was a chilly morning, and I was dreading getting up and beginning my daily routine. As I laid in the bed trying to gather my thoughts, the Lord just spoke to me and said, "give thanks." I was like wow Lord, you are so right. Instead of continuing to complain about my circumstances, I started rattling off all of the things that I was thankful for instead. I thanked God that I had a job to go to, that I had warm clothes to put on, that I actually woke up to experience the day ahead. Would you know that I felt 10 times better?! The weight of negativity melted away, and my mood changed just like that.

So from now on, the next time I catch myself complaining, I'm going to remember what God spoke to me that day, "give thanks." I challenge you to do the same. Set the tone for each day by finding something to be grateful for. And then, as you go about your day, keep that same spirit of gratitude alive. If you find yourself complaining or getting ready to complain, pause and give thanks. You would be surprised at how much a little gratitude can completely change your attitude!

God loves you!

Live free!

Arianne

Don't forget to visit my website, www.ariannemockabee.com to connect with me and to check out my first book "Destined to Fly: The Pursuit of Purpose"

Fast Forward...

Fasting

Matthew 17:21 (NKJV) "However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

The other week, I found myself in somewhat of  a spiritual rut. I had recently started a prayer box that I pray over almost daily, and the things that I had been praying for just didn't seem to be coming together.  Some of the prayers even pertained to other people, but I wasn't seeing any movement, my mind was cluttered with doubt and confusion, I was frustrated and just at a loss. So I went to God in prayer, and asked Him was I was doing wrong. I felt the Holy Spirit say to me, "How bad do you want it?" Now, I'm going to be honest...my first reaction was, "Excuse me? Have you not seen me consistently praying over this stuff?" The Holy Spirit didn't even entertain my question, but instead, again, I heard the same thing, "How bad do you want it?"

Then God reminded me of the story about the woman with the issue of blood found in Mark 5:24-34, and how desperate she was to have her issue resolved. She was willing to put her life in jeopardy in order to get to Jesus. Now, don't go thinking that God told me to go play in traffic or something, because He didn't. But, what He did do, was lead me to Matthew 17:21, which says, "However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” God wanted to test and strengthen my faith, so He led me into a week long fast.

I felt led to eat nothing but fruits and vegetables, drink only water, and turn off the TV from 6:00am Sunday to 6:00am Saturday, ending the fast at a 6:00am prayer service that was scheduled as part of a conference. So the week leading up to it, I scheduled my meals and my prayer topics for each day, and just prayed for strength to get through it. Was it hard? Yes. Did I feel foolish at times? Yes. Did I question whether or not I had actually heard from God? Yes. Did I question whether or not it was even going to be worth it? Yes. Even right up until the last day. I had made it through the week, but still wasn't sure if getting up for 6:00am prayer was even worth it.

When my alarm went off, I contemplated staying in bed, but I heard the Holy Spirit say to me, "You didn't come this far to give up now." And that was all I needed to hear. So I got up, got dressed, grabbed my prayer box, and went and laid everything that I had left on the altar. I was hungry, tired, and had nothing else to lose. But, deep down, I also knew that I had everything to gain if God is as faithful as I believe He is.

Now, almost a week later, I still honestly don't know how all of this is going to play out. I wish I had some miraculous story to tell you, but I don't at the moment. I didn't want to write this until I had some really great news to share, but God told me to write it anyway (and trust me, I've learned that I'm better off just doing what He says, rather than trying to argue). Even though I don't know exactly how all of this is going to play out, I do know that there was a shift and a breaking in the spiritual realm. I could just sense chains breaking and breakthrough coming forth, and in due time I will have a testimony to share.

So I say all of that to say, sometimes when you hit a spiritual plateau, you will be required to dig deeper and go further than you've ever gone before in order to get to the next level. It's not that you're doing anything wrong, but God needs to push you beyond your limits in order to strengthen and stretch your faith. Sometimes prayer may not be enough. Sometimes, next level breakthroughs require next level strength that can only be obtained through prayer AND fasting. It's almost like throwing a 1-2 punch in the spiritual realm. So if you feel like you've hit a wall in your prayer life, seek God, and ask Him if He desires to deepen His relationship with you through fasting. It just might be the final gateway to the answers that you seek.

God loves you!

Live free!

Arianne

Don't forget to visit my website www.ariannemockabee.com and check out my first book, "Destined to fly: The Pursuit of Purpose"

It's a New Season!

seasons change

Leaves are changing, temperatures are dropping, wardrobes are being rotated, and the smell of pumpkin spice lattes are filling the air...Whether you like it or not, fall is officially here (at least it is here in Virginia), and a new season has begun! What will this new season signify for you?

For me, every season marks the start of a new beginning, and an opportunity for change. I always take the time to reflect on the goals that I set for the previous season, what I completed, what I did not, and what I would like to do differently this time around. One of the things that I typically struggle with is letting go of offenses and hurt feelings. God has really just been dealing with me on that issue, and it didn't really hit home until He gave me another visual last week. I could see myself trying to move forward, but I couldn't because there was this weed wrapped around my ankle holding me back. God was showing me that the bitterness and negativity in my heart was keeping me from moving forward. In addition, He also told me that I needed to extend the same grace to others that He extends to me on a daily basis. Again, I was just like "wow God, OK, I hear you."

So I decided to deal with it right then and there. I prayed for forgiveness and asked that God would uproot any bitterness that I had towards anyone for whatever reason, so that I could move forward with the plans that He had for my life. It was hard, but it just felt so freeing to finally let go. It is also something that I will have to keep in mind on a regular basis, and that's OK. What is most exciting for me, is that I get to go into this new season with a new perspective, a renewed mind, and a clean heart. Now, I just have to do what I need to do in order to keep it that way!

I don't know what this new season will bring for you, but whatever it is, don' t miss out on what God has for you by allowing your past to hold you back. Whether it's negative feelings towards a co-worker, family member, or friend, bitterness towards an "Ex", uncompleted goals, failures, etc. let it go. Be like Paul, put those things behind you and leave them there so that you can press on toward the prize that God has waiting for you. I believe you'll be able to move a lot farther, a lot faster, with every weight that you release. So uproot the weeds, plant new seeds, make new plans, and renew your mind as you move through this season. You'll be glad that you did!

Philippians 3:13-14 "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.."

God loves you!

Live free!

Arianne

Don't forget that you can still purchase my book "Destined to Fly: The Pursuit of Purpose" via my website www.ariannemockabee.com!

Play your Position!

FootballPlay

Ephesians 1:11 "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,"

Ahhh, football season is underway...rosters have been completed, starters have been picked, and fans are ready to cheer on their favorite teams. Unfortunately, not everyone made the cut. There are players whose hopes and dreams ended before the season began. Instead of playing on the field, they will be sitting at home with the rest of us, watching.

But did you know that you are always on God's team? The moment you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you entered into a lifetime contract with God. You don't have to worry about getting cut or someone else taking your spot, you just need to play your position. God created a starting position for you before you even stepped foot on the field. You didn't need to try out, pass any tests, compete for your spot, etc. He was just waiting on you to accept the offer. Now, the question is, are you just going to be another name on the roster or are you going to get in the game?

For some of you, you were once in the game, but your mistakes have landed you on the bench. Know that God wants to give you another shot; but you've got to get back in the game. Sure, you may drop a few passes, or fumble the ball a time or two, but remember that the game has already been won. So get back in there, and give it all that you've got.The game may be won, but you still have to do the scoring.

Just like Ephesians 1:11 says, you were chosen for certain plays according to God's game plan. You don't have to compete for an MVP award, you already are God's MVP. So stop competing for a spot that's already yours, and just play your position! If you've taken yourself out of the game, it's time to get back in. Suit up, show up for practice, study your Word, pray, get stronger, get better, and start making some plays!

God loves you!

Live free!

Arianne

Don't forget to visit my website, www.ariannemockabee.com, and check out my book "Destined to Fly: The Pursuit of Purpose"

Where's My Harvest?!

seed_growing

Have you ever felt like your labor was in vain? You're doing all of the right things, saying all of the right things, toiling day in and day out, and still nothing...

Well that's exactly how I've been feeling lately. The vision that I thought I had isn't coming to fruition nearly as quickly as I had hoped. I was patient for a while, but then frustration began to creep in. I just flat out asked God, "Why am I doing all of this? I believe You gave me a vision, I thought I was taking the necessary steps to make it come to pass, but the results say otherwise. So what's up?" And He answered me with an illustration of the germination process.

He showed me that seeds grow downward before they sprout upward. All of a sudden a light went off in my head. I was like wow, OK, I get it. I don't necessarily like it, but I get it. It's not that I'm doing anything wrong, but the seeds that I have been sowing are taking root. If they don't, then at any given moment of adversity, my harvest could be in jeopardy. I may not be able to see the growth that's taking place right now, but it doesn't mean that growth isn't happening. This is the time to grind, to keep watering the vision God gave me with His Word, and to keep walking by faith. Things that happen overnight, usually don't last for very long. But the things that take root have a better chance of survival.

So if you are like me, and you're wondering when your harvest is going to come, hang in there! Stay the course and draw close to God as He takes you through this process. The vision that you've been given may not happen overnight, but it will happen as long as you hold on to your faith. Keep walking in His will and His ways, and in due season you will reap if you faint not! Keep speaking life into and over your vision. Ask God to give you patience and strength, knowing that your labor is not in vain. Remember that God is with you, so keep pressing!

Live Free!

Arianne

Batteries Not Included: Why You Need the Holy Spirit

no batteries But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

Did you know that whatever it is that God has called you to do, it's impossible for you to it alone? That business that you want to start, the promotion you've been praying for, the community that you want to change, the industry standard you've been trying to improve, etc., if it's going to bring God glory, you're going to need God's power.

Honestly, we can actually go a little deeper with this. I have found that God's power is not only essential for the big things, but also for managing day-to-day details. I'm talking about keeping calm at the office, managing stress and disappointments, maintaining a sense of peace and balance, managing emotions...the list goes on and on. You need God's power in order to be bold in your faith and to stand up and out for the gospel that you say you believe in. So in order to be an example of Christ and witness to the world each day, we need to be praying for God's Spirit to come upon us. That is the power source that we need to make it through each day. The Holy Spirit is our spiritual battery pack. Without it, we can find ourselves frustrated, burdened, weak, negative, defeated, vulnerable, and simply operating by our flesh.

My challenge to you is to begin each day acknowledging that you need God and His power. As you begin your day with prayer, ask God to fill you with his Holy Spirit. That way, by the time you hit the door, you're already operating at a higher level. If you feel the charge dwindling throughout the day, get a boost by reading scripture, singing a worship song, etc. And then, at the end of your day, close it out by thanking God for being with you and empowering you. Begin to rely on God all day every day even in the little things, and your outlook will start to change. You will also notice that God works in not only the majors, but also in the minors. Know that you don't have to go through your days alone, nor does God want you to.

As you about your week, make sure you include your power source! Recharge your spiritual batteries when necessary, and continue to face this world head-on with the boldness and confidence that you need. Be intentional about being a witness!

Live Free!

Arianne

Feel free to visit my website: www.ariannemockabee.com and check out my first book Destined to Fly: The Pursuit of Purpose

The Train That Never Came...

waiting_for_train Imagine yourself standing at a train station waiting on a train. The tracks are all there, the lights are on, the schedule has been posted, but the train has yet to come. Getting anxious, you look at your watch, look down the tunnel, and still nothing. You were depending on that train to take you to your next destination, but it didn't come. Now what?

Unfortunately this happens amongst the body of Christ on a daily basis. There is somebody, possibly a group of people, waiting on you to pursue the calling that is on your life. Your purpose was designed to be a gateway for someone else. You are the train that someone is depending on. The tracks have been laid, the destination has been set, the only thing missing is you...

One of the Bible stories that really resonates with me the most at this particular time in my life is the story of Jonah. God places a calling on his life, and instead of obeying the call, he runs in the other direction instead. His one act of disobedience caused so much chaos in not only his life, but in the life of the others around him. God went through great measures to get Jonah's attention (He sent a huge fish to swallow him), until he finally surrendered and completed the task assigned to him.

What is God going to have to do in your life in order to get your attention? He may not send a fish to swallow you, but perhaps your job will continue to bring your misery. Perhaps the business you're trying to start in spite of God's instructions will have trouble getting off the ground. I don't know what could happen, and you don't have to find out. You could make the choice to surrender before it gets to that point. Think about all of the people that have touched your life, be it through the CEO of your company, the pastor of your church, your parents, historic legends, etc. What if none of those people had completed the task at hand? How different would your life be?

You are the answer to somebody's prayer. You are the door to somebody's freedom. They are anxiously awaiting your arrival. Don't be the trained that never arrived. Even if you have to arrive late, it's better than not arriving at all. I pray that you would have the courage to set someone else free, and return the favor to those that have gone before you. Get moving, your passengers are waiting!

God loves you, and He is with you always,

Live Free!

Arianne

Don't forget to visit my website www.ariannemockabee.com and check out my first book Destined to Fly: The Pursuit of Purpose!

Why Me, Lord?

Why-is-god-doing-this-to-me Why do bad things happen to good people?

While I understand why people, especially Christians, ask this question, I've discovered that the question is actually rooted in arrogance. Now, before you get mad, offended, or whatever else, hear me out...

Do you ever wonder why it's so easy to question God when things go wrong, but rarely do we question God when things go well? Why is that? Some of us act as if salvation made us immune to negative life experiences. Others think that if they make perfect attendance at church, pray regularly, read their Bible six times a day, etc., that their works entitle them to a pain free life. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but who told you that lie?

Matthew 5:45 says that God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and unrighteous. Don't believe it? The next time it rains, check to see if it's only raining where there are unsaved people. They experience loss, heartache, and disappointments just like Christians do. However, the difference is that God has given his children a way out! God uses negative circumstances to strengthen and refine his children. He uses them to show the world that there is a benefit to being connected to Him.

Let's look at John 9:1-3..."As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him."

Understand that when you signed up to be used by God (that was written in the fine print when you got saved), you committed to endure both the good and the bad. It's easy to celebrate God, and boast in the Lord when things are going well. But what about when things don't go like you had hoped and planned. Is God not still God? Does He not still have your best interest at heart? Will He not make all things work together for your good?

My challenge to you is this, the next time something goes well, I dare that you would humble yourself and ask "Why me, Lord?" Not only will it open the door for gratitude to enter into your heart, but it will also give you a sense of peace and humility during the tough times. The next time something goes wrong, instead of asking why, worship. God loves you and isn't out to hurt you. He sent His son to die for you so that you could have a relationship with Him and endure all situations. So in light of everything that we will face in this world, that is one instance where we should always find a place in our heart to ask "Why me, Lord?"

God Loves You!

Arianne

Don't forget to visit my website www.ariannemockabee.com and check out my first book, Destined to Fly:The Pursuit of Purpose!

What's Your Motive?

Caution

Why do you do what you do? The cars, the jobs, the degrees, the clothes, the money (or appearance thereof), the relationships, the houses...why are you pursuing certain things and people? Do you think these things will fill a void in your heart? Will they make you feel more important? Will they give you the appearance of being blessed? Will they make you popular?

In America today, both inside and outside of church, there is so much focus on status and things. The one with the biggest house, the most cars, the biggest fan base, etc. are considered as having "made it" or being richly blessed. At the end of the day, it's mostly about the appearance to others and sometimes even just to ourselves. Let me just tell you, it is impossible to fill spiritual voids with earthly things. Until you understand and acknowledge that you are already full in Christ, and that everything else is merely a bonus, no matter how big or small, you will lose yourself in this world.

A lot of people want to be well-known, but they don't want to do the work that goes along with it. People want to be rich, but don't want to learn how to manage money. Anything worth having takes work and sacrifice, period. And understand that whatever you did to attract that person or thing from the beginning, will be the same thing that you'll have to do in order to keep them. So if the person you met was attracted to your money, don't ever go broke. If they were attracted to your size, clothes, etc., the moment you change any of those things, the likelihood of you losing that person's attention becomes greater. If you deceived your way into a job or business deal, you will have to maintain that deception for as long as you can. If you sacrifice your beliefs and standards in the beginning, you will inevitably be held to those subpar standards going forward. Is it really worth spending your life in your own prison while someone else is holding the keys?

I'm not saying that having things is bad; however, I am saying that you will lose yourself in the pursuit of things and the attention of others. The more you attempt to use those things and people to fill the voids in your life, the greater the dependency you will develop on them. And then, you will no longer be in control because your moves and decisions will be based upon how you think others will react. As well, you cannot submit to both God and the world simultaneously. So not only do you lose yourself, you also miss out on what God has for you. In the end, you actually end up losing more than you intended to gain.

Galatians 1:10 says, "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."

My challenge to you today is to really sit and meditate on why you want the things that you are pursuing. Are you simply trying to please people, including yourself, or are you living a life fully surrendered to Christ. And be honest with yourself if you really want to be set free. As you identify the roots of your desires, ask that God would reveal His fullness in your life. Ask Him to stir up a passion to do His will instead of just having a passion to pursue things. Surrender your life to Christ, and everything else will take care of itself. You don't need to pursue things or please a crowd. You have everything that you need in Christ. Meditate on Matthew 6:33, But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Seek to please God, the most loyal audience member you will ever have.

Live free!

Arianne

Don't forget to check out my website www.ariannemockabee.com and my first book: Destined to Fly: The Pursuit of Purpose

The Art of Temptation

Snake and Forbidden Fruit

Have you ever asked yourself, "How in the world did I end up here?" Whether it had to do with your finances, a relationship, your health, your job, your attitude, etc., think of a "simple" act of disobedience, manipulation, dishonesty, or negativity that seemed like it would cause little to no harm in the beginning, but at some point grew bigger or worsened over time.

The point of this isn't to dig up the past; but rather to prepare for the future. In order to learn from our past, we must at first acknowledge where things went wrong and then take steps to correct it going forward. Maybe that one little lie led to more little lies and then bigger lies. Maybe that one credit card charge eventually turned into a mountain of debt. Maybe that one returned call or text turned into many nights of fornication and heartbreak. Perhaps that one glass of wine turned into a nightly ritual of alcohol consumption. That one puff turned into a nicotine addiction that you just can't seem to shake....Whatever it is, we have all been there.

Now that you have that example in mind, let's uncover how one small snowflake of deception can quickly become a giant snowball of utter chaos and dysfunction.

The Devil's Antics:

1 Peter 5:8 says, "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

The devil is waiting for you to feel lonely, arrogant, reckless, disappointed, discouraged, depressed, worthless, fearful, insecure, etc. Hey preys on weakened spirits. I can guarantee that the first snowflake of whatever issue you faced started in your mind. You thought you could resist it. You thought it wouldn't be a big deal. You thought nobody would find out, and the corresponding actions followed shorty thereafter. Right? So when you are faced with temptation, recognize that it will first begin as a mind game.

1 John 2:16 says, "For everything in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-comes not from the Father but from the world.

Lust isn't just about sex. Lust can also mean having an overwhelming desire or craving for anything such as food, love, money, power, drama, etc. The pride of life is formed through arrogance/abuse of God's grace. So when we are led into temptation, the devil tries to stir up these feelings from within before we ever put them into action. Eve's biggest downfall was that she allowed Satan to mislead her thoughts, which caused her to lust after something with negative consequences attached (Genesis 3:1-6). We're still paying for that mistake thousands of years later!

So don't think that your actions just affect you. Although you may not be able to see the immediate effects, for every action there is a reaction. So it is important that you do your best to pass these tests. Deceptive seeds that take root in you heart can only get worse over time. The roots grow stronger, the weeds begin to multiply, and before you know it, the life is being sucked out of you in some form or another. Know that God never intended for it to be that way, and that there is hope!

With that being said, how do we combat temptation?

1 Corinthians 10:13 - "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."

1. Meditate on God's Word - Psalm 1:1-3 If you don't know what God's Word says, then how will you know if you are being deceived? Study your Bible, memorize Scripture, write Scriptures down on index cards and carry them with you, etc.

2. Speak the Word of God - Joshua 1:8 Always remember that God's Word is your weapon! When you are being tempted, speak your way out of it! Don't just think about it, but say it aloud.

3. Guard your heart - Proverbs 4:23 Remove yourself from potentially harmful people, situations, shows, music, and environments. Surround yourself with people and things that give you life, not things that lead you into the darkness.

4. Watch the company you keep - Galatians 6:1 If you've outgrown the company that you're keeping, cut the ties or else you will find yourself doing the exact same things from which you are trying to be set free.

5. Captivate ungodly/deceptive thoughts - 2 Corinthians 10:5  Your actions were constructed in your thoughts long before they became your reality. You must captivate those thoughts that lead to destruction. Either you have to control your mind or it will control you. That is a battle that you cannot afford to lose.

At the end of the day, we have all made mistakes, and temptation will continue to come no matter what. The question is, will you be ready to take a stand or simply repeat the fall? Take time to study the Scriptures listed above. Think about ways that you can better prepare for the tests and trials that will come your way. Pray that God would not only help you prepare, but also help you prosper during those times. Even if you have already lost a few battles, remember, God has already won the war. So get your arsenal ready, you're going to need it!

Be Free!

Arianne

Unplugged

I don't consider myself a poet; but God placed this on my heart, and I decided that I would share it with all of you...

Unplugged by Arianne M.

Unplugged
From the electronic frame, my lifeline and reference,
That draws me away from God's holy presence.
You sit there and watch intently,
Waiting on the world and Satan to tell you a vision
On your tele-vision,
And you wonder why your healing heart has gone into remission...
 
Unplugged
From the audio tunes that direct your moods
And move your hips with every single tick,
Tick, tick, tick, BOOM!
There it is, I caught the beat,
The beat that seemingly guides my feet,
This way, that way,
Wait, which way, are we going?
I'm no longer in control.
I've been spellbound by the beats, the beats that make me "whole..."
 
Unplugged
From family and friends that keep me the same,
I'm immune to the shame that once had me calling your name,
Jesus!
Oh, there's something about that name, Jesus!
He frees us from sin, and gives us new skin,
His spirit is the source of my power surge within,
Only this current has the power to mend...
 
I'm officially Unplugged.