Tuesday, February 2, 2016

When God Tells You to Let It Go

by Alycia W. Morales

I love reading God's Word. Last year, I finally finished reading all the way through the Bible. It's the first time in my life I've read every word God wrote. And it took me three years to complete a one-year reading plan. {No judgement here...}I loved seeing how the Old Testament verses would line straight up with the New Testament verses. I loved getting new glimpses into my Creator and who He is and how He loves.

And I had a renewed desire to get to know Him on an even more intimate level than I already do.

So I thought I'd spend this year focusing in on the Gospels that I've read so many, many times over. I'd look for how Jesus lived His life. What He taught us to do through His example and His stories. And I'd focus on the Psalms, which I've been told are full of examples of God's love for us. They're good for the soul. So I would seek out God's goodness for His people. Because I've read the Psalms over and over and over again, as well. But sometimes we need to read things in a new light. One of fresh revelation.

And then, just the other day, I realized that people were doing these things called Yearly Scripture Journaling Plans. And I thought, Hmm. Focusing in on one small portion of Scripture each day. One small portion of God in all His greatness. One key element of His love. One step in His journey of life.

And it hit me. How often do I blow through my daily chapter of Psalms, Proverbs, and a Gospel? How often do I miss the revelation because I'm already on to the next verse? What if I were to slow it down and set aside the expectation to read it all and focus on the small? The intimate? The detail?

And so today, I started. And today, God revealed.

"Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back." Luke 6:30 woke me up this morning.

2016 has been said to be a year of restoration. A year of getting back what the enemy has stolen from us. Multiplied as only God can multiply. Blessings.

As I read Luke 6:30, the still-small-voice asked, How often have you asked to have these stolen things returned? If not verbally, how often have you asked for them in your heart?

See, several years ago, my husband and I attempted to rent our home. We were on the road with his career and needed some extra income to help us pay the mortgage on that house while we rented in the city we were in at the time. So we let a friend of mine rent from us. With promises to pay us half of what we would normally charge for rent in exchange for some cosmetic work, such as putting up new sheet rock, taping, spackling, and painting.

Instead, we were taken advantage of. No work was done. No rent was paid. And when they moved out, they left a pile of furniture and trash in back of our barn where no one would see. Two dumpsters' worth.

And then the house went into foreclosure. And we spent some of our retirement plan to get it out.

And then we tried to sell it. And then we tried to go to a short sale. And when neither of those worked, we ended up giving the house back to the bank without foreclosing.

Something we had invested tens of thousands of dollars in. Something we had invested our sweat, blood, and tears in. And I still feel taken advantage of. I still feel stolen from. I still feel angry over.

And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back.

In other words, let it go.

Because when you sit under that spirit of injustice or entitlement or self-righteousness, you hinder God from restoring. Restoring peace. Restoring hope. Restoring what was lost. Restoring what was stolen. Healing. And you hold onto unforgiveness. And that hinders all.

So if there's anything you're holding onto that you need to let go of, please do it today. Learn to live as Jesus did. LOVE your enemies. DO GOOD to those who hate you. BLESS those who curse you. PRAY for those who spitefully use you. OFFER the other cheek. DON'T WITHHOLD what's been asked of you. GIVE to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods, DO NOT ASK THEM BACK.

And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. Follow the Golden Rule.

And watch what God restores. Watch how He multiplies. Watch how His blessings flow. How His favor pours out...

Click to Tweet:
What are you holding onto that God wants you to let go of? via @AlyciaMorales

When God asks you to let go so He can do... via @AlyciaMorales

A Lesson from Luke 6 about Letting Go via @AlyciaMorales

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Five Times I Met Myself ~ A Book Review

by Alycia W. Morales

5 Reasons You Should Read The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart:

http://www.amazon.com/Five-Times-Met-Myself/dp/1401686117/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1451935457&sr=1-11. The cover resembles a Christmas gift or Valentine's chocolates. Maybe it's the red. But by the end of the book, you'll know you've found a sweet gift in the pages of this book.

2. It's all about relationship. Our relationship with God the Father. Our relationships within our families. And our friendships.

3. It's about how our personal decisions don't only affect our lives. They affect others just as much. Because there are many people we touch with our words and our actions (or lack thereof). And unlike Brock Matthews, we can't go back in time and talk to our younger selves to try to fix our past mistakes to make our present better. All we can do is live in the moment and hope to make amends.

4. It's about forgiveness. We all make mistakes. We're sinful by nature. But GOD. But JESUS. But LOVE. When we can look at others the way God sees them, it's far easier to love them and to free ourselves from the deadly root of bitterness unforgiveness will harbor.

5. The story is pure genius. Of course, I would expect no less from my friend Jim. His stories always are. It will leave you thinking for a good long while...

And if you're a fan of his novel, Rooms, you'll love this just as much! (Or, if you love this, check out Rooms.) For more on Jim, visit James L. Rubart.com.

Monday, January 4, 2016

My One Word for 2016 ~ Relationship

by Alycia W. Morales

2015 has come and gone. Last year, my One Word was "Fullness." And 2015 was definitely a year of that. We experienced a lot in our household: my father-in-law's death, three different kids breaking bones, another move (local, this time), and several unexpected bills (financial crunch). Yet we also experienced a shift in life. God revealed that we are to begin fostering children with the intent to one day adopt. God provided a solid ministry plan for my husband and I to pursue (Together Ministries International). I was given the opportunity to submit a novel to Love Inspired (which I'm working on writing). And we had one of the best Christmases ever. We actually got to relax!

So as I look back on 2015, I can definitely see God's abundant life infused throughout it. His "Fullness" is definitely evident.

This year, God has blessed me with the word "Relationship."

It is going to be a year of getting to know Jesus on an even more intimate level. A year of experiencing the Holy Spirit in power. A year of strengthening the bonds of my marriage and with my children. A year of bringing new children into our home. A year of deepening friendships. A year of networking with other ministries and ministers and writers and readers.


I am looking forward to what 2016 holds in store. The prophetic word is that 2016 will be the best year yet. It's supposed to be a year of restoration. Of blessing. Of miracles and breakthrough. These are the words being spoken by various ministries and ministers across the world. The hope and expectation that's rising in me looks forward to the testimonies 2016 holds.

What about you? Has God given you a word or verse to stand on in 2016? Have you heard the same prophetic words in the Spirit? Feel free to share in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My Identity Isn't Found In What Others Say About Me

by Alycia W Morales

Life Lesson #10

Where do you get your identity from?

Is it the things others say about you? Your career? Your relationships?

I am many things: Wife, Mother, Step-mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Writer, Editor, Reader,  Crafter, Perfectionist, Multi-tasker, and so much more.

If I found my identity in what others said of me when I was young, I would be a loser, ugly, an outcast, unworthy of love or affection or attention. (Peers)

Or, I would be the teacher's pet, a great student, going places, smart, intelligent. (Teachers)

Honestly, I can't remember what my parents said about me at that time of life. But I can remember that they were hard-working, poured themselves into their careers. They loved me, for sure. But I was rebellious at that age, so I wasn't focused on them so much as I was focused on myself.

Which didn't get me very far.

The voices that followed me to college said I was depressed, lonely, striving, a seeker of affection/attention, a chameleon who could fit in anywhere out of desperation to fit in anywhere, yet still a good friend and student.

As long as I kept seeking to find my identity in relationships and what I did, I didn't succeed at any of it. I continued in unhealthy relationships with college-aged men and was depressed and alone for two years.

It wasn't until I met Jesus for the first time in forever that I was able to truly find myself. It wasn't until I gave my heart to Him that I truly knew who I was created to be.

It wasn't until I read my Bible and prayed and sought out God's heart that I discovered just how much I am loved. How to have a healthy relationship with anyone else - my parents, my mentors, my husband, my children, my friends. It wasn't until I met God that I discovered what I was created to do with my life on earth. Which, surprisingly, is what I wanted to do all along - write. That and other things.

And it wasn't until I got to know Jesus that I realized that my identity comes from God, not what others say of me. Sure, some do really know me and know what lives within me - and what they say still matters to me. But the enemy, unfortunately, will also try to use those same people to pull me down and rip my heart apart. Thankfully, I know who I am in Christ and can discern that it's not my husband or my child who is coming against me in that moment. So I can let those fiery darts bounce right off the helmet of my salvation, keeping my thoughts focused on who God says I am. And I can let those fiery darts bounce right off my breastplate of righteousness, because I am covered in the blood of Jesus, who holds my heart strong. And in those moments I can bring a word from the Gospel of Peace, which is sharper than any two-edged sword and can cut straight down into the matter and right the heart of the person the enemy has chosen to use to attempt to bring me harm.

So where do you choose to get your identity from? Is it time to find a new you?

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness ... So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." 
Genesis 1:26-27


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

True Love Isn't Afraid to Speak the Truth

 by Alycia W. Morales

Life Lesson #9

The women's leadership team sat in our pastor's living room, and his wife asked us to go around the room and let each other know what we loved about one another.

When she got to me, she said, "You know what I love about you? I love that I can take a baseball bat to you and you keep coming back for more."

In other words, I'm teachable. I have a desire to learn. I'm correctable, even if I make the same mistake 50 times before I get it right.

See, I know that I don't know it all. I know that my knowledge is limited. I know that I am not always right. But I refuse to remain stuck in my lack of knowledge.

I refuse to deny that I need to be corrected when someone else sees me erring.

Because I recognize that I can always learn something new. I can always change my way of thinking, so long as it lines up with the word of God. Learning is a lifetime adventure.

And I'm not afraid of the truth. I desire it. Long for it. Seek it out.

I also recognize that LOVE corrects wrong. God's Holy Spirit brings conviction, alerting us to our sinful ways. Revealing our wrong thinking.

Friends sharpen me when they come against my fault. Iron sharpens iron. And for that I am thankful - not angry.

So the next time someone takes the time to point out in love (I'm not talking jealous condemnation here...) that you are in error, rather than lashing out at them in defense, consider what they are saying and take it to the One who desires to change you into His image and likeness.

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor detest His correction;
For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
Proverbs 3:10-12


True Love Isn't Afraid to Speak the Truth (and why you shouldn't ignore it) {Click to Tweet}

Only fools despise correction. #LifeLessons via @AlyciaMorales {Click to Tweet}