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Christian, Faith, Uncategorized

Taking a SHORT Break.

Today is Monday, June 10th. I am writing a quick post before I hurry off to class at Laramie County Community College. Class, you may be asking? What class? I am excited to say that I have been given the opportunity to take a nursing course at LCCC this summer which will allow me to become certified as a nursing assistant. I start week three of class today, and then I get to do clinicals next week. I have really enjoyed learning medical techniques and getting the chance to be a student again. Nursing is a career I have been interested in for a long time. I love the idea that my job will allow me to care for people and let them know they are valued and loved on a daily basis.

With all that being said, I have decided to take a short break from writing new posts while I concentrate on studying for my certification exam. I had a few sweet readers message me last week to let me know they didn’t see a post on Monday. Last Monday was the first Monday I have missed in 28 weeks. I am so thankful for my friends and family who check in each week to read my words. I know God has used my blog to help others, and I believe he has plans to continue to use it. I will be back on in August to continue my weekly posts. I hope you all have a wonderful summer.

God bless you friends,

Tatum

Christian, dating, Faith, relationships, Uncategorized

Jesus then Jeff

This story begins during my college days. College was an interesting season in my life. I had great friends, lived in one of the most beautiful parts of Texas, spent most weekends floating the river, and I did well in school. On the other end of the spectrum, I had a constant feeling of emptiness that I tried to fill up with partying, attention from guys and an eating disorder. I was desperate to find the guy I would marry and be able to start creating a life with. This desperate search for love and acceptance didn’t go over well. I was looking for love in all the wrong places and didn’t hold very high standards for myself. Because of my past, I felt like I was damaged goods and believed I didn’t deserve the best in a relationship. This quest for love turned into a cycle of rejection and heartache that made me feel less and less worthy.

One day I had an emotional breakdown in my car. I felt so alone, hopeless and empty. I knew I was done living the way I had the past 3 years. I cried out to God for the first time and asked him to take away my pain. He was there immediately. I didn’t hear an audible voice or see an angel, but I felt the presence of God so strongly in my little car. I felt surrounded by His love, and a sudden peace came over me. I promised God in that moment that I would stop trying to pursue relationships with guys and I would start getting to know Him. That very weekend I found a church to go to all by myself. Seeking a relationship with God turned out to be exactly what I needed. My emptiness was filled up by the love of my Savior. God built me up and showed me that I was worthy, I was loved, and to Him I was precious. 

A few months later my mom was going on and on about this guy my parents had met at our family Thanksgiving.  She kept saying that there was something different about this guy and I just had to meet him. At this point I was still swearing off men and really didn’t think letting my mother set me up was the key to happiness. Turns out, my Mom is always right…. We were traveling up to Cheyenne, Wyoming to watch my dad rope at Frontier Days. My mom kept on me that I should meet up with Jeff while we were there. I finally gave in and messaged Jeff (who had been sending me messages since Thanksgiving) to let him know we would be in town. He quickly replied with a rendezvous spot for that very night.  

My sister and I drove over to the Albertson’s parking lot Jeff had requested we meet him at. I was very skeptical as we pulled in. Jeff was already there and stepped out of his truck with a big grin as we parked. I know it sounds weird, but I could tell from the moment we made eye contact that this was the man I was going to marry. It was like God was telling me Jeff was the reason all those other relationships didn’t work. It wasn’t because there was something wrong with me; it was because God had someone so much better in mind. God knew I needed to find Him before I would be ready to find the man he had planned for me. God waited on me through all of my mess. He never gave up on me and He was there with open arms when I came running back to him.

God’s plan is always better than our own. Your story may look very different then mine in the end, but one thing will always be true. God will never give up on me or you.

Spoiler Alert: Jeff and I didn’t ride off into a beautiful sunset of a courtship. We had heck working out our differences and making it through a long distance relationship. The story just begins here, come back next week to see how it all went down. 

Have a blessed week friends,

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Before I Knew Jesus

Summer 08, 3 years before I gave my life to Christ.

I still have a long way to go, but man, my God has built me up and brought me so far from the person I was before I knew him. While I know it is important not to dwell on our past or get bogged down from the guilt of mistakes we made, I think its good to reflect on the journey. God has done works in me that are truly amazing. I will share a couple of the transformations below.

1. I was conformed to the world: I blended in perfectly with the world around me. I floated along on its corrupt current without a concern for where I was headed. My identity and self worth came from how I stacked up to the images I saw in magazines and on MTV. I listened to music that was hyper-sexual and obscene, but I was so numb to the messaging that it didn’t faze me. I tried to fit into a place God created me to stand out from.

The word of God says: “Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Gods will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

2. I felt empty: There was always an emptiness that I tried to fill up with things that never worked. Attention from guys, accomplishments, compliments, popularity, excessive drinking: none of these things could touch the Jesus sized whole in my heart.

The word of God says: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

3. I was lost in the dark: I had no direction, no hope, and no help. My loved ones worried, as I seemed to be on a downward spiral I couldn’t escape.  I was running after things I thought would help me, when in reality I was only digging a deeper hole for myself. I tried to win a beauty pageant so I would feel more worth and value. I thought if I became famous I would be happy and content. I looked for acceptance and love in relationships with guys that were so lost themselves they only pulled me further off track.

The word of God says: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105 and “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts in on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ Luke 15:4

I was the one lost sheep out of 99 that Jesus went searching for. He found me and with great joy he brought me back home. Reflecting on my journey as a daughter of Christ working to find her place in His kingdom reminds me of everything God has done for me. Even when I was living a life of selfishness and sin, he was fighting for me so he could bring me back home where I belong. I now can say I have peace, joy and contentment, even in hard seasons of life, because I know whose I am, and that my God is working everything out for my good.

My prayer is that my story may be a testament to others. That they may be able to find peace and joy through the only true source, their savior, Jesus Christ.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers 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.” Philippians 3:12-14

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Faith Like Mary

In honor of mother’s day, our Pastor Jeff Maness gave a sermon about the mom who brought our savior into world. Mary, the young woman who was chosen to bring Jesus into the world, was just a little more than a child herself. She was at the age where you start making plans for yourself and start sorting out how to follow the dreams you have in your heart. I’m sure Mary had a vision of what she wanted her life to look like. Were there places Mary wanted to see and things she wanted to do? Were there talents and passions she wanted to put to use? I am sure there were.

“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendent of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:26-28

Mary was a young woman who had done everything right, who had protected her reputation, who had followed all the laws and most importantly who had loved her God with all her heart. The angel refers to her as “highly favored” by God. That tells me Mary was exceptional in the way she lived. She was excellent not only by human standard but by God’s as well. Even so, when she understood what was being asked of her, she didn’t hesitate to lay all her hard work, her dreams, her reputation, and her future down to obey her God.

“I am the Lord’s servant, ” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38

What a sacrifice sweet Mary made. Mary didn’t have the New Testament. She didn’t know how it would all unfold. She had no clue she would be forever known as the mother of the Savior of the World. All young Mary knew was God was asking her to trust in him and to have faith. She new conceiving a child out of wedlock would result in public scrutiny, the possibility of a broken engagement, and at worse death by stoning. Her obedience to God would throw her life out of the perfect order she had worked for an into a chaotic cycle of events. Never the less, she said yes to God.

Pastor Jeff made a couple points in his sermon that I want to share:

  1. When we are faced with uncertainty in this life, the key to being confident is to surrender control to God. Mary surrendered her future to God. She surrendered her desires, her dreams and her decisions to the one who created the world. She was confident that His plans were better than her own and she had faith He would work everything out for her good.
  2. God is more concerned with the decisions and actions we make today then what our life all adds up to in 20 years. This really spoke to me. I get so caught up in my purpose and what I will make of my life, when all God is asking me to do is surrender daily to his will. The choices I make today are all that matter. I can have a long term vision I am working for, but I can’t be so focused on it that I fail to notice what God is calling me to do right now. I must be so in touch with God that I can ensure I am letting him lead me in my daily decisions. I must say yes to the things He asks of me today even if it seems like it will wreck my long term goals. Let God be in control.

“Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart — they do no wrong but follow his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! That I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.” (do not give up on me) Psalm 119:1-8 emphasis added.

Yesterday’s sermon has inspired me to focus on surrendering daily to God. I know the Lord has given me big future plans that I will hold onto with open hands, but I will make sure I am not so focused on my future plans that I am not opening myself up to what He wants me to do now. I pray to be more like Mary. I pray to have her faith and her trust so that I can lay my own ways down and follow God no matter what. I commit myself to following God each day and in each decision I make. Lord I am a work in progress, please don’t give up on me.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

Have a blessed week friends,

Tatum

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The Idol of Control

Hello friends. I think it’s finally safe for me to say happy spring. We have snow on the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, but I’ve come to realize that snow is normal for Spring in Wyoming. We are right in the heat

of branding season, the most wonderful time of the year, in the ranching community.

I love everything about branding days; putting on my cowgirl clothes, gathering cows out of green pastures, riding nice horses, roping calves, teamwork when wrestling, and the smell of a fresh brand. Don’t even get me started on the cooking. Ranch wives, myself excluded, are the best cooks. There isn’t anything I enjoy much more than spending all morning working hard as a group and then sitting down to a nice lunch with great friends and conversation. The pictures featured in today’s post are from my bother and sister-in-law’s branding last Friday.

Now for the serious part, putting all the branding talk aside, I have a word the Lord keeps giving me that I want to share.

CONTROL.

I struggle with the illusion of being in control every single day. I think if I work hard enough to prepare, that things will go smooth. I rationalize that If I think things through and plan them out to the smallest detail, everything will go my way. I stew, I worry, and I stress over things until I suck the life right out of my day. I try to control things that I have no power over. Examples: the actions of others, the opinions of others, the cars that shouldn’t be in the fast lane, the vibe of a social situation, the drama I’m not even involved in, the things that only God can do.

I try to control it all.

God has been working on me. Hard. It seems like every sermon I listen to, every inspirational quote I see, and every bible verse I flip open to lately are all related to a common theme.

I AM NOT IN CONTROL. The weight of the world is not really on my shoulders. The goodness of humanity prevailing over evil doesn’t rest at my fingertips. I don’t hold the keys to the future. I need to let it all go. I need to let God be my God. I must stop worshipping the idol of control and repent of my foolishness. There is only one thing I can control and that is how tightly I cling to the presence of my God. I can force myself into his presence on the days it’s not easy. I can enjoy his spirit when all is well. I can plead for his comfort when I feel hopeless and abandoned. I can meet him every morning when his promises are fresh and new. I am in control of the fact that if I am willing to be with God, I am guaranteed that He is willing to be with me. That is it. That is all I need. God will sort the rest of it out. He will give me peace to let go of things that he says I don’t need, and to hold on tight to the things that are important. He will lead me daily to the places I need to be, like a shepherd leads his sheep. I can rest in Him. He will not let me wander as long as I choose to be in His herd. Here are a few verses to support my thoughts above. My prayer is that by reading this post, others will be able to let go of the illusion of control and feel the peace and freedom that comes from giving it all to God.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; thy do not sow or reap or put away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:25-27

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Amen.

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Tatum’s Translation

Who else loves the footnotes in your bible?  Anytime I stumble over a line that doesn’t make sense or a term I don’t know the definition of, the footnotes are there to give me an explanation of what I just read. I thought it would be a fun idea for me to create my own version of footnotes for the last section of Romans 12. I have notes from different sections of the bible that I have studied in the last five or so years. It is so interesting to go back and look at my summaries and compare the differences in my thoughts from then to now. I thinks it awesome how God grows and matures us as Christians. My discernment of God’s word has grown so much from the baby like understanding I had in the beginning. I think it will be interesting to go back in a few years and read these blogs to see how I’ve grown in wisdom and understanding, and what things still ring true. So here it goes, my first attempt at a “Tatum’s Translation” Bible commentary. (I’ll type my words in blue) . I hope you enjoy.

Romans 12:9-21 NIV

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

You can’t fake it, love for real.  Pray to be more like Jesus- the one who loved perfectly. Hate the Devil and all of his dirty schemes. Cling to good. Cling to God. Hold on for dear life to His promises and to His goodness. Look for His light everywhere and when you find it soak it all in. Devote yourself to loving others. Focus more on the needs of those around you than your own. Be humble and praise others freely.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Don’t half-(you know what) your way through life, be tenacious in your quest to serve the Lord. Hustle! Let the hope of the Lord’s promises be your joy. When times are hard be patient and keep your eyes on the Lord. Draw near to God by staying in constant prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. That means give them your time, your prayers, and your money— don’t just talk about it. Care for others, invite them over, feed them, learn more about them, find out if they know Jesus. If they don’t know God it’s your job to teach them through your words and actions.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.

Be kind to everyone, even the people who aren’t nice to you. Bless the bully’s. This is easier said than done, but be loving even when it’s hard. Your light shines bright for Jesus when you are able to bless and love people in difficult situations. Celebrate with the happy; cry with the brokenhearted. Do everything in your power to get along with everyone around you. Don’t be a problem starter; be a peacekeeper. 

Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Don’t be “too good” for anyone. Be friends with everyone around you. Jesus was friends with the outcasts; you should be too. Two wrongs don’t make a right. If someone hurts you do not try to hurt them back. Always find a way to do the right things because you never know who is watching and learning from you. You are a reflection of the God you serve. Go to Him for strength to rise above conflict. Do whatever you can to live at peace with everyone. 

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Revenge is not your job. Leave that part up to God. Love your enemy and care for them. Think of how much it confuses the Devil when you trade love for hate. That is a victory in itself. God will take care of the rest. Fight evil with good. 

That is the end of the breakdown of Romans 12. Did you enjoy my favorite chapter? If I had only one chapter of the bible to use as a manual for how to live my life, Romans 12  is what I would chose. I may not have a future in bible commentary, but I sure enjoyed pretending. I hope you all have a wonderful first week of May. We are buckling down for what I hope is the last snow storm of the season. Check out the adorable picture below of my girls and their cousins Vivian and Max that was taken at the Berry Branding this past weekend.

God Bless you all,

Tatum

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We lost a Good One.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalms 34:18.

Uncle Darin with daughter Laramie and son Walker.

Last week my family lost a great man. My mom called me Monday night with the heartbreaking news that my uncle Darin had passed away. Darin was my dad’s little brother, the second born son of my gram and gramps, and big brother to my aunts. He was a light in our family. He always made me giggle with his jokes and a laugh that made me laugh. Uncle Darin went out of his way quite a few times to come see Jeff and I when he was working on fencing jobs near Cheyenne. He brought us Wishbone fencing hoodies and made special trips to come meet Grace and Ella when they were born. Uncle Darin was such a kind soul and had a way of making me feel like I was special when he talked to me. He was a great dad and loved talking about his kids, Laramie and Walker.

Uncle Darin with Ella left and Grace right

We had a beautiful service for Uncle Darin at my grandparents ranch in Aladdin on Saturday. It was a hard thing to get through, but it felt like God gave us an extra beautiful day and a crowd of loving friends and family to pay tribute to the life of an incredible man. A dear friend of our family, Jeff Stone did an awesome job leading the memorial service. Jeff had rodeoed with my uncle Darin in college and he shared about leading uncle Darin to the Lord and praying with him for salvation at his kitchen table a few years back. I hate the pain my cousins, my aunt Berta and the rest of my family is feeling. I hate the fact that my uncle had to leave this earth too early, but I am so thankful for the peace of knowing he was saved.

Easter this year, did not go the way any of our family would hope for. Instead of spending the weekend celebrating and hunting eggs after church, we spent the weekend mourning a terrible loss. Although it wasn’t a fun or joyous Easter, I have never felt the significance of or gratitude for the sacrifice Christ made for us more. Because Jesus has won the battle over sin and death by giving his life for us, nailed to a cross, my uncle Darin is in heaven and the rest of my family will one day get to be there with him as well. Thank you Lord that death isn’t the end, thank you for eternal life through Jesus Christ.

Rest in peace Uncle Darin you will be greatly missed down here.

Until we meet again,

Tatum

Christian, Faith, Uncategorized

I am a Body Part.

Breakdown of Romans 12 Part 2:

Photo Credit: Hadley Nave- Ragged Top Photography

Happy Easter week my friends. I am feeling especially excited this year because my oldest daughter, Gracie Jo, is really starting to understand the Easter story. We made resurrection eggs, in my MOPS group, that each hold an item that represents a different part of the story. JoJo loves taking them out one-by-one and explaining their meanings. I can’t describe the joy that comes from seeing your child begin forming a love for her savior. It is amazing to watch. Ella ate the crackers that were in the Egg that represented “the body of Christ”. So there is that too… Love her just as much!!

Let’s begin our breakdown by reading the second section of Romans 12.

For by the grace given me I say to everyone of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve;  if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously, if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.  Romans 12: 3-8

I enjoy this section of Romans 12 because I think it is fun get introspective every once and a while. Coming to the realization that I am a unique individual with a “one of a kind” set of gifts given to me by the creator of the universe is a pretty big deal. Don’t worry I didn’t skip that first line that instructs me not to not “think more highly of myself than I ought.” I will make sure it is with sober judgement that I consider the things God has and has not created within me. Just for a second though, I will celebrate the fact that He took the time to make me an individual “part” who fits perfectly into the intricate “body” of believers. He thought me through. I FIT. We all FIT. We belong to each other and with each other we are complete and fully equipped. There is no problem or circumstance we as believers can not come together to solve. GLORY TO GOD.

God has given each one of us a measure of faith to fulfill the plans he has prepared for each of us to do. Since this faith is given to us by God, and is not something we have built up on our own we have no room to boast or become self righteous. Generally, my problem is not having a self righteous or boastful attitude, but I am more worried that I don’t have what it takes to fulfill my purpose. This verse can easily be flipped to show that  we can depend on God to give us exactly what we need to complete the tasks he has prepared for us. Just as we are not to think too highly of ourselves, we should not think to low of ourselves because God is our foundation and our strength and he is in control. He will doll out the exact measurement of faith we need, therefore we will never come out short if we put our trust in him.

Just as each part of the body has a different role to keep the body working properly, we each have a different and equally important role in the body of Christ. I am going to list a few examples of what my gifts in case you need a little help in discovering what yours are. I’ll also throw in a few things I have learned through experience are not my gifts, maybe they fit you better than me?

  • Forgiving quickly: ever since I was a little girl I have never been able to “hold a mad” as my mom would say. I can’t stand being angry with someone. I am usually the one who says sorry first. This used to drive me crazy, but now I have come to appreciate this gift.
  • Compassion- feeling the emotions and needs of others has always come easy for me.
  • Connecting: I describe myself as an outgoing introvert. One thing that I love to do is make connections with strangers. I love being a greeter at church. It is so fun to find ways to compliment people as they walk in and see a smile light up their face.
  • Serving: I am a helper and a caregiver. If there is something I can do to pitch in I am on it. God has given me a strong desire to help children in need and young mothers.

Here are a few things that I have found out are not my gifts:

  • speaking in tongues- there was a time I was led to believe that if you do not receive the gift of tongues you were not fully saved. I prayed and prayed that Holy Spirit would manifest in me through speaking in tongues so I would know I had the spirit. It never happened. I now know the important truth that the Spirit of God is present in me even if it doesn’t materialize in an outward form.
  • public speaking- not my strong suit. sweaty palms, cracky voice, no memorization skills, black hole….just not my thing.
  • hospitality- I know some women who really shine at this. I am more of a “let’s meet at Texas Roadhouse so we don’t have to do dishes”, or a “I’ll grab a fruit tray from the store instead of making a quiche, kind of girl.”

I think it is also important to realize that God will mature us as we grow in Him and what may not be a gift when we are baby Christians can become a gift later on. I love the saying, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” God has given us all different gifts and the different measures of faith to be able to use each gift in unique ways. I would love if my readers would message me with what gifts they have been given and the ways they are using them.

I hope you have a blessed Easter as you celebrate the sacrifice Christ made for you and for me. He is risen, the war has been won!

With love,

Tatum

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Romans 12 Breakdown Part 1

Happy Monday friends. I spent the weekend in Dallas helping my sister on the quest to find the perfect wedding dress. I had a fabulous time filled with lots of shopping, amazing restaurants and good conversation. I have to say I was missing my little family pretty bad by the time I got back yesterday afternoon.

I was able to spend my time on my flight working on the breakdown of the beginning of Romans 12. The Lord revealed some pretty cool things with me that I am excited to share with you. Let’s get to it.

Therefore, I urge you brothers in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God– this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer 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.

Paul begins by instructing us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. Let’s focus on the word sacrifice. To sacrifice is an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. We are being asked to give up the thing we naturally value most—our body –which encompasses our life, our worldly identity, our personal desires and ambitions. We are called to lay all of that down and give ourselves completely to God as a “spiritual act of worship.”  In order to be “holy and pleasing” in God’s sight we must let him be Lord over every area of our life. We can’t hold anything back. We can’t try to keep control over our finances, or our marriage, or our plans for the future. We must have the faith to lay everything down at the feet of Jesus knowing that we can trust Him with everything that we are.

The next verse is one that I meditate on often as I can easily get caught up in worldly patterns. The current of the world is strong and if you aren’t paying attention it is so easy to stop fighting it and just float along. You must transform your mind from worldly thinking to Christ-like thinking to keep yourself in alignment with Him. A mind transformation is not something that happens overnight. We must train our minds because they are the first place the enemy attacks. Each thought must be taken captive and considered to make sure our minds are allowing us to be in God’s will.

When we have fully offered our lives as living sacrifices to God and when we have transformed our minds to be fixed on heavenly not earthly realities, we will be able to see the areas God has opened our eyes to. This is when His will for us will be revealed. Disclaimer: He will not give us His will for our entire lives all in one easy to read guide. That is not how God works. If we knew the whole big picture plan we would be so overwhelmed by the magnitude and magnificence of it that we would lost in how to even begin. God knows better, He will give it to us bit-by-bit and day-by-day. We will be able to follow His will if we remember to abide in His strength and not our own. I just love the description of His will; good, pleasing and perfect. Nothing in this world can be described like that.

I am far from a being the perfect example of a living sacrifice and transformed mind, but I press on in my efforts to become holy and pleasing in God’s sight. I pray to fully know his good, pleasing and perfect will. He is so good and so loving. He cares so deeply for you and for me. I hope you are as encouraged as I am by these instructions and the promise of a will God has perfectly planned for you.

Be Blessed – Tatum