I don’t know about you, but I am so glad that I am no longer who I once was.  I was recently reminded of this as I waited to board my flight at the airport.  I walked away from my husband in search of a piping hot cup of coffee and returned to find him chatting with a man at our gate. The man was an old high school acquaintance of ours.  I recognized him immediately even though it has been more years than I care to admit since we all went to high school together.  He looked exactly the same. It took him a little longer to recognize me.  The years have definitely changed me.  I don’t look much like I did in high school.  I’ve lost the pony tail, bangs, and cheerleading uniform that were so familiar back then.  My hair is cut short now and, thankfully, I don’t have to wear that cheerleading skirt anymore. After a brief time to catch up, we parted ways to catch our flight.  As the plane took off, so did my thoughts.  I began to think about just how different I am from that girl that I was in high school. The difference is actually pretty shocking.  The biggest changes, though, are probably not ones that my old high school acquaintance could even see during that short encounter.  Sure, my appearance has changed, but greater still is the change that has happened in my heart.  It is unrecognizably different. I’m reminded of Colossians 3:9-10 ESV that says …”seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” The next verses in Colossians say that after we’ve put off the old self, there are some things that we need to put on.  Colossians 3:12-17 ESV tells us that our new self wears the knowledge that he/she is holy and beloved.  The new self that we put on when Christ moves into our hearts changes us.  We become compassionate, kind, humble, meek, patient, forgiving, loving, peace filled, and thankful.  Verse 17 says that whatever we do in word or in deed we do in the name of the Lord Jesus. I’m glad that my old self has been put off.  She wasn’t always kind, humble, meek, patient, or forgiving.  She definitely didn’t have the love and peace of Christ in her heart because she didn’t even understand who He was.   That is the way we are before Christ intervenes. That moment we accepted Christ the old self died and the new self, with a new heart, was born.  Everything about us is changed in that instant that we believe in Jesus as our Savior. That doesn’t mean that our new self is perfect.  I’m going to be honest.  I don’t look like that high school cheerleader anymore, but I don’t look exactly like that person described in those verses from Colossians either.  Like most of us, I am learning to intentionally put on the new self each and every day that bears the image of my Savior.  Every day I look more and more like Him as I learn to love, follow, and obey Him.  He is constantly at work in me and He is constantly at work in you. This side of Heaven, none of us will be perfect.  But, we do have the promise of Philippians 1:6ESV that says that he who began a good work in us will bring it to completion.  As we continue to grow in Him, we will continue to look less and less like the old selves that we used to be. Honestly, I hardly recognize the girl that I use to be.  That is because I have been changed from the inside out.  I am a new person with a new heart.  I may not look like a cheerleader anymore, but I look a whole lot more like my Savior and I think that’s definitely progress in the right direction. *This article is featured in the June issue of Faith Filled Family Magazine as Out With The Old Man In With The New Creation You can read the article or see the whole magazine here: https://indd.adobe.com/view/befd5796-7daf-48ba-9a0e-2acdb904229e
"Reaching my hand into the dark soil, I could feel that the roots had gotten deep. I had to put my weight into the pull to unearth something I had spent weeks tending. I felt a little discouraged; I’d invested my time and attention into something that had proved to be working against the growth I was seeking the whole time. I also felt a little frustrated that I’d been so easily deceived." God is constantly teaching me valuable lessons through everyday life experiences.  I had the opportunity to share a particularly powerful lesson that I learned recently at iBelieve.com about recognizing spiritual weeds in my life. Pulling out that weed and the others like it that day in my garden caused a slew of thoughts to start circulating around my mind. As Christians, how many weeds have taken root in our lives? How many things have we poured our time and attention into that are choking out the Spiritual fruit we are trying to grow? How can we tell the difference between a weed and fruit when it is so easy to mistake one for the other? Am I watering weeds? Do you want to know how to recognize spiritual weeds in your life? Join me over at iBelieve.com by clicking the link below to read the full article! http://www.ibelieve.com/faith/how-to-recognize-spiritual-weeds-in-your-life.html Love and blessings, Bobbie
If you don't already know her, I am so excited to have the opportunity to introduce you to my sweet friend, Katie M. Reid.  She is someone you will want to get familiar with.  Her encouraging words and practical teachings have quickly become a favorite of mine! She has become a very dear friend and someone that I just love talking to because her heart for God and for people is just impossible to overlook! Today, in her guest post, she is sharing how we, as Christians, can have hope even in the hard days.  I know that you are going to love her and her words as much as I do! Hope for the Hard Days By: Katie M. Reid   Where do you turn in times of trouble? How do you excavate hope in the midst of sinking sand? When the earth seems to give way to fear, how do you find the strength to stand?   Besides eating copious amounts of ice cream, hiding under layers of covers, or putting our heads in the sand—how do we uncover light to pierce the darkness?   How do we adopt hope in uncertain times, when the world seems to be spinning out of control?   Through Jesus, by faith, we hope.   My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.*    Jesus.   The Son of God—fully man, fully God—came to bring hope to the hopeless, rest for the restless, and peace to the chaos by bringing salvation to the sinner.   Faith.   Faith is not a weakness, band-aid, or fluffy ideology. It’s hope with skin on—skin and bones that came to walk the planet** so that we wouldn’t be suffocated by dread or buried in darkness.   When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.*   Hope.   Hope is the assurance that comes from knowing that even if it gets darker, Jesus has already overcome that which threatens to take us under. We rise. We stand. We follow the lead of the One who sits on the throne.   Our faith isn’t flawed, fake, or fandangled.   It is the lifeline that is thrown when we are in quicksand. It is the anchor that holds us steady in the midst of wind and waves. It is the breath in our lungs, the song on our hearts, the comfort that upholds us.   His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.*   Where do we find hope? Upon the Rock.   Isaiah 44:6-8 The Voice (VOICE)   6 The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, King of Israel, who paid their ransom, has this to say:   Eternal One: I am at the beginning and will be at the end. There is no God except for Me. 7     If you know any God like Me, tell it now. Declare and demonstrate any who can compare to Me. Or if you know and have announced events before their time, told what is to come, then speak so now. 8     Don’t be afraid. Let your minds be clear of fear. Haven’t I announced events and revealed what is to come? From the earliest days, I have done so. You know it—you have seen and know. So, go ahead, My witnesses: is there a god out there other than Me? Witnesses: There is no other rock like God. I don’t know a single one.   These are not fighting words, these are cool cup of water words. These are not burning coal sentiments, they are a roaring blaze for those groping in darkness. These are not weak words, these are words to bolster and provide balm for the hurting. These are not words of judgment, they are words of life, of grace, of freedom.   The world cries out. The people mourn.   O God, may You excavate hope in the midst of sinking sand. Like you called Lazarus from the grave, may You call forth Your church to rise from the ashes and come forth, as gold. Like You were raised from the dead, may we witness the resurrection of Hope.   You don’t change. You don’t leave. You don’t abandon us. You don’t lack. You Are. You remain. You dwell within. You are enough.   Jesus, we desperately need You, every moment—good and bad. Forgive us for turning against one another. Forgive us for misplacing our hope. Forgive us for throwing stones and bypassing grace. Forgive us for being wise in our own eyes and misrepresenting you to a hurting world.   God, we need You. Set us straight with Your Word. Purify our lips with Your Truth. Deliver us from apathy, prejudice, and complacency. Return our hearts to Yours.   Restore our unity with You and one another. Heal our land. We have dirtied ourselves with blood, pride, and idol worship.   Lord, help us! We have turned our back and we feel the harsh reality that comes from distancing ourselves from You. Help us remember Who You are. You are Love. You are Peace. You are Holy. You are Just. You are Perfect. You are able to do anything!   We take a moment and bow before You Jesus.   We stop.   We turn back to You and we find hope.   It might just be a glimmer at first, but as we return, like the Prodigal, the light of Home becomes brighter as the Father’s arms open wider and we find Grace in the eyes of the One who calls us His own.   When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in Him be found. Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.*   Now, let’s go forward…through Jesus, by faith, with hope!   *”On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand” hymn by Edward Mote.   **I heard this phrase “Jesus put skin and bones on and came to the planet” on an album of Judah Smith’s messages.  
Psalm 95:7b-8a “…Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” One thing that I am constantly trying to do is to listen to that still small voice that stirs my Spirit.  I’m trying to be attentive to its’ whispering.  I’m trying to keep a tender heart that is willing to obey. Do you want to hear a “true confession”?  Before I became a Christian, when I heard someone say something about the Holy Spirit, I thought they might be just a tad on the crazy side.  It all sounded a little too far-fetched for me.  Even early in my Christian life, I never fully understood the Holy Spirit because I leaned too heavily into the rules and the law.  They were black and white.  I could understand them easily and they left little room for interpretation.  Honestly, I was a little uncomfortable with the freedom the Spirit gave me.  I didn’t trust myself enough to let go of all of the rules and rely on the Holy Spirit. The longer I’ve been a Christian, the more I’m learning to listen to, to appreciate, to trust, and to obey that still small voice that stirs my soul.  I’ve learned that it isn’t about trusting myself, but about trusting Him.  I’ve also learned that it is very easy to harden my heart because those little promptings of the Spirit nearly always push me outside of my comfort zone. My friend Jodi Snider at www.Overwhlemedwithgrace.com and I always tease that we are going to have t-shirts made that say: “Jesus always got me like 😳" I’m not sure I can even begin to count the number of times that I’ve felt the Holy Spirit asking me to do something that feels a little uncomfortable.  Writing is a good example.  It’s a little bit awkward to just type out your deepest thoughts about what Jesus is laying on your heart and throw it out into the world for anyone to see.  Leading groups, teaching breakout sessions, participating in ministry; they are all things that push me a bit outside of my comfort zone. I’ve learned something, though.  Every time I obey the Spirit’s prompting, I am blessed.  The blessing may not always look like I expect it to, but listening to that still small voice helps me to trust, to press in to Jesus, to rely on Him instead of on myself, and it usually blesses me in an unexpected way. One example of that was this weekend.  I was teaching a breakout session at a women’s conference.  After my second session, I stood in the room as the women filtered out.  I chatted with them as they headed into the last session of the conference.  When the last woman left, I pulled out my phone to quickly check in with my family. After the call, I didn’t put away my phone.  I checked Facebook for a minute or two and then was going to log into Instagram when I heard that still small voice.  “You aren’t here to be on your phone.  You are here to build relationships.  Go out and talk to people.” Honestly, I would have rather just stayed in the quiet room for a few minutes.  I knew very few people at the conference and was content to stay tucked away for a little longer.  That’s not what the Holy Spirit was prompting me to do, though. I put away my phone, grabbed by bag, took a deep breath, and headed out into the main area where everyone was browsing vendor tables, getting snacks, and socializing before the last session.  There were three ladies standing in a group talking and one stopped me to comment on my session.  That comment led into a discussion that lasted long enough that we missed nearly all of the closing session. We had a deep and much needed conversation for both of us.  We prayed together and had a time that really ministered to both of our hearts. I am a relationship person.  Quality time is a love language of mine and connecting with people in a meaningful way fills my heart. I would have missed that opportunity if I would have hardened my heart and been unwilling to get just a little uncomfortable.  I can tell you story after story like this one.  I could share how I met some of my dearest friends by obeying the Spirit’s prompting to reach out or be vulnerable.  I can tell you about time after time that He asked me to get a little uncomfortable and the result was a beautiful, unexpected blessing. Unfortunately, I can also tell you about time after time that I hardened my heart and was unwilling to step outside of my comfort zone.  I wonder how many opportunities have passed by or how many unexpected blessings I’ve missed because I didn’t listen to the Spirit’s prompting. Maybe you can relate?  Maybe you’ve felt your heart stirred or have heard that still small voice, but have been afraid to trust it and obey it?  Maybe getting a little uncomfortable isn’t always easy for you either? Will you join me today in praying for an attentive and tender heart that listens and responds when He speaks?  It’s worth it.  Obeying that still small voice is always so worth it.   Father God, Give me a heart that is attentive to your voice.  Keep my heart tender to the Holy Spirit’s stirrings. Help me to recognize your voice, to listen, and to obey. In Jesus’ name.  Amen   Love and blessings! Bobbie
I need to tell you about my sweet friend Katie Reid. I haven't actually met Katie in real life yet, but we are social media besties. She reached out to me a couple of months ago on voxer and we chat All The Time.  She truly is a gift and has been such an awesome encourager, a listening ear, and a sounding board for all of my dreams and plans. Not only is she an amazing friend, she's an inspiring writer, a talented worship leader, and singer, as well as a hard working mama! I had the privilege of guest posting on Katie's blog today.  I was able to share what grace looks like to me and how I'm learning to recognize and even seek out grace in the everyday. I'd love it if you would pop on over to her blog and see how you can see grace in the everyday moments of your life.  While you are there, say hello and browse her blog.  I know she will be an encouragement to you! http://www.katiemreid.com/2017/03/what-grace-bobbie/