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How to Respond to What’s Happening in Our Nation
June 6, 2020
Julie Shematz no comments
#riots2020, ©Julie Shematz 2020, 10x7", Mixed media & collage with handmade paper on paper

How to Respond to What's Happening in Our Nation

In the wake of events that are shaking, dividing, and in danger of destroying our country, all in an effort for justice and peace, it is easy to despair. Protests, while motivated by real grievances, have too often descended into riots, looting and even terrorism. It’s not uncommon to be deeply affected by grief, fear, anger, anxiety, sadness and depression. As I’ve tried to process it, like I’m fairly certain we all are, it’s been a battle with my emotions. The Lord disciplined me this week and I’m so grateful that He did.
He reminded me that the night He would begin the final stretch of enduring slander, false accusations, being unfairly judged, beaten, whipped, and it appeared that satan had won when He surrendered His last breath. Knowing that He would feel the weight of not only mine and your sin, but the sin of billions and billions of people in the world, Jesus experienced deep grief and was overwhelmed with the emotions of anxiety, depression, and deep pain when He was in the garden of Gethsemane (aka Oil Press). Experiencing such an incredible amount of stress that He sweat blood, He showed us the key to overcoming such anguish is to get into the presence of God where there is peace, freedom, even joy. He used the scriptures to remind me that one of the most powerful things we can do as believers is to pray.

In order for change, reconciliation, and revival to happen, it has to start with us humbling ourselves before our All Powerful Abba Father, who is sovereign, merciful, loving, and grace filled. It is as we humble ourselves, repenting for our sin and others, that He will heal our country. That’s a promise and God keeps His promises when we do our part. So even though things look dark and as if evil is prevailing, we need to keep our focus on God & His Word, who He is and who we are in Christ, and be in prayer like never before in order to keep our hearts soft, that we be protected from temptation, and that we not get distracted by the worries of the world right now.

Matter of fact, none of what’s happening is taking Him by surprise and it’s a part of His perfect plan to bring people to Him, to open their eyes and ears, and soften hearts to receive what He has to say, who He is and who we are in Christ. We are His children, spiritual descendants of Abraham, Jacob, and Moses, and all the promises to them are ours when we choose to trust and obey Him. He’s calling us to go deeper with Him so that He can equip and prepare us to be His ambassadors and representatives in a country that appears to be taken over by darkness. He’s reminding us that we are the light of the world and that the world is watching us and how we respond and behave towards those who hate us, our enemies, our neighbors, to see if we are really loving them or whether the pressure is causing dross to come to the surface of our lives in the form of behavior and reactions that aren’t biblical.

He’s wanting us to love unconditionally, to extend grace to those who don’t agree with us, even to those who offend us and are being used by demonic forces to distract, divide, abuse, and steal from us our peace, joy, unity, harmony, being of one accord IN CHRIST, and to ultimately kill us emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically.
It’s time we wake up, not lose sight of the truth that sets us free and recognize that we are not battling with flesh or blood, but with spirits and principalities that hate us, want to divide us, shame us, get us to fighting amongst ourselves to discredit our testimonies. If we are not carefully listening for His voice, it is far too easy to be misled by other voices that are speaking the world’s views, beliefs and desires that only lead to confusion and division. It’s time to spend more time in prayer, meditation, and studying the Word in order to strengthen our spirit man and to weaken our flesh. It’s time to spend more time pursuing God, being still and resting in His presence, listening more than talking, and surrender everything to Him.
It’s time to forgive those who unintentionally or intentionally harmed, hurt, or offended us. It’s time that we come together as the body of Christ and declare and decree that no weapon formed against us will prosper and praise God that the battle is His and it’s a fixed fight; we win in Christ.
It’s time that we see ourselves as God sees us through Christ. That we are spotless, sinless, righteous, perfect and lacking nothing. It’s time we focus who God says we are and to be and stop focusing on our skin color and differences. It’s time we focus on what we have in common. We all bleed red and were created by God to be His children. It’s time we …
Be cheerful with joyous celebration in every season of life. Let joy overflow, for you are united with the Anointed One! Let gentleness be seen in every relationship, for our Lord is ever near.
Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.
So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. Follow the example of all that we have imparted to you and the God of peace will be with you in all things. (Phillippians 4:4-9 TPT, emphasis added)
It’s time to recognize that we’ve entered into a season when, in order for us to have peace and to be joyful, we need God more than ever, that we are desperate for Him and need to spend more time than ever in His presence. We thank Him that we have more time than ever to pursue Him and to be still and rest in His presence like never before in our lifetime.
Anyone who has read and studied the Bible can affirm that with all the events happening around the world, that we are in the last days before Christ returns. With all the prophecies also having come to pass, we are surely in the last days before our Savior comes to take us to spend eternity with Him forever more. However before that happens, the Bible talks about a great falling away of believers before it happens and I think that what’s happening is setting people up to fall away, evidenced by the fruit of our behavior, words, actions, reactions, and responses.

Now, more than ever we need to be spending more time in the presence of God, putting down and silencing our phones, turning off our televisions, putting up boundaries to protect our hearts and peace, and increased discernment to the spirits behind what we are allowing to enter our hearts through our ears and eyes. We need a heightened awareness of the conviction of the Holy Spirit and softened hearts versus pride rooted in not trusting God evidenced by hate, unkindness, rudeness, division, arguing, slandering, breaking of laws and guidelines, violence, blame shifting, victim mentality, and taking matters into our hands, sinning against God.

Father, help us to use our time wisely and to stay focused on You, to be thankful for Your blessings, protection, provision, healing, being a shield and refuge, unconditional love, mercy and grace. We acknowledge that we can’t do this on our own and that we are desperate for You in every area of our lives.

We lift up our brothers and sisters and thank You that the Word of God implanted in their hearts will not return void and that it will do what You purposed it to do before returning to heaven. We pray for humbleness and that our motivation would be love and the world would see that we are different, that we love like You do.
If I were to speak with eloquence in earth’s many languages, and in the heavenly tongues of angels, yet I didn’t express myself with love, my words would be reduced to the hollow sound of nothing more than a clanging cymbal.
And if I were to have the gift of prophecy with a profound understanding of God’s hidden secrets, and if I possessed unending supernatural knowledge, and if I had the greatest gift of faith that could move mountains, but have never learned to love, then I am nothing.
And if I were to be so generous as to give away everything I owned to feed the poor, and to offer my body to be burned as a martyr, without the pure motive of love, I would gain nothing of value.
Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance.
Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honor. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offense. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.
Perfect Love
Love never stops loving. It extends beyond the gift of prophecy, which eventually fades away. It is more enduring than tongues, which will one day fall silent. Love remains long after words of knowledge are forgotten. 9Our present knowledge and our prophecies are but partial, but when love’s perfection arrives, the partial will fade away. When I was a child, I spoke about childish matters, for I saw things like a child and reasoned like a child. But the day came when I matured, and I set aside my childish ways.
For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood. Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run. (1 Corinthians 13, AMPC, emphasis added)

I love You, Lord, and I love and appreciate you, who is reading this. I am praying for you and are thankful that you’ve taken the time to read this, agree with these prayers as they align with the Word of God, and declare and decree the Word. Know that you matter, are loved, valued, cherished and are a very important part of God’s plan to be a light in the darkness. I pray that you receive logos and rhema revelation of Who He is and who you are in Him and thank Him for setting us free spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. I thank Him that He’s using everything meant for evil for our good and His glory. I thank Him that He’s removing dross, refining us, crushing and pressing us making new wine, new power and new freedom, for such a time as this. In the name above all names, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Under His Wing and grateful for His presence and Word.

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Please note that I’m intentionally not spending much time online, for my mental health. I only check my emails maybe once a week and my blog. Remember I’m a recovering perfectionist who is embracing a faith-REST lifestyle, finally. I’m most often on Instagram, so messaging me there is the quickest line of direct communication. Please no hate or negativity. We need to respect, love and honor one another and if necessary, simply agree to disagree. If you want to be part of the solution to racism, it has to start with US and how we look at, see, perceive and treat one another, especially when we don’t agree with one another. God bless you all and hope you have faith strengthening weekend.

Love you,

~ Julie ~

If interested in artwork, definitely contact me via Instagram or JulietheArtist Facebook Fanpage. All proceeds go to fight modern day slavery by supporting organizations that are preventing, reaching and restoring victims of sexual abuse, exploitation, and trafficking.

Latest Post on Anti-Trafficking
Hurt and Healing
11 Mar 2019
Julie Shematz one comments

“Don’t let the person who hurt your heart mess up the One sent to heal it! #letitgo”, Paula White. 

2019, Paula White facebook fan page.

Matthew 5:22 says that in God’s eyes being angry with someone in our hearts is the same as murdering them. 

We all know that do not murder is in the big Ten Commandments.

By remaining angry towards someone, we give satan a way (aka: open door) to creep into our lives. It’s only by the grace of God that he doesn’t take us out. Don’t ever forget that that is his ultimate goal.

Anger can steal our joy, take away our fun and steal our opportunities. Anger makes us bitter, struggle with vain imaginations, and can literally drive us crazy

Forgiveness is so critical … it boils down to life and death; spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and even physically. Many of us suffer with ailments whose root is unforgiveness.

Unforgiveness is rooted in pride.

It has the potential to steal, destroy and kill us. It’s vital that we choose to forgive those who have wounded us, whether it was intentional or unintentional. I realize that some of us have been severely wounded by betrayal, but there are no exceptions to the command that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves and that means forgiving everyone who has ever hurt us. 

God’s grace will enable us to do this, if we lean on it, rely on Him, depend on, have faith in and believe in Him to do it.

Our sins are literally not forgiven unless we forgive others.

Choose today who you will serve. Choose life or chose death. Either way, it’s your decision and regardless of which we choose, we will reap the consequences of that decision. I appeal to you, to choose life and life abundantly. Let it go. #EmbracetheJourney. It’s time to move on, be healed, and fulfill your God given destiny. God loves you more than we’ll ever likely completely be able to comprehend and He’s got a good plan to prosper you and to give you hope. Let His love cover and heal those wounds.

Lord, help us to forgive those who have wounded us and give us the courage we need in order to go to them, if it’s your perfect will to do so. We thank you for your grace, for forgiving us of all of our sins and that you throw them as far as the east is from the west and remember them no more. We thank you that your grace is sufficient and that we can do all things through you, who make us strong when we are weak. Thank you for your amazing, extravagant, and relentless love. Help us to understand it more today than ever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

If you’re new here, WELCOME! I’m really honored that so many people are signing up to receive my blog … actually shocked, but really grateful. I apologize that there appears to be no comment button. We’re trying to get one put in, however if you simply hit return after entering your comment, I’m pretty sure it will come through. Yes, I’m screening them. This is not a place for controversy and drama. I’ve learned to have very strong boundaries over the years, not just to protect my emotional health, but those who are trusting me to be in their sphere of influence. This blog’s purpose is to be a safe place for encouragement, spiritual enlightenment, growth and healing. I hope to inspire you to walk in the fullness of your destiny and to encourage you in the lavish love our Creator and His Son, Jesus Christ. 

If you’d like to connect with me to do bible studies together, I’m on YouVersion. I’m hosting a free online art class now every Tuesday 9-10am EST through a closed group on facebook, Art With Julie Academy. Feel free to send me a DM for the password. I’m posting daily on my instagram, twitter and facebook fanpage, JulietheArtist. Check out the stories for the latest in creations from my art studio and day to day activities around the ranch. I’d love to connect with you. If you need prayer, please don’t hesitate to contact me! If you’re an intercessor and feel called to pray for my husband and I and all that God has entrusted to us, please send a request to join our closed facebook group, Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries Prayer Team

Above all, know that you’re, loved, valued, and cherished, and that your life has a very special place in the purposes of God! If you’re holding onto unforgiveness, LET IT GO! God will enable you to do, if you allow Him to. He’ll turn the ashes of your life into beauty, if you allow Him to. But it’s on His terms, not ours! We simply gotta trust and obey. 

In His lavish love and amazing grace,

Forgiveness, Matthew West (video)
Stand in Your Love, Bethel Music and Josh Baldwin (video)

25 So Discard every form of dishonesty and lying so that you will be known as one who always speaks the truth, for we all belong to one another.
26 But don’t let the passion of your emotions lead you to sin! Don’t let anger control you or be fuel for revenge, not for even a day. 27 Don’t give the slanderous accuser, the Devil, an opportunity to manipulate you!
Ephesians 4:25-27 TPT

Confidence and strength flood the hearts of the lovers of God who live in awe of Him, and their devotion provides their children with a place of shelter and security. To worship God in wonder and awe opens a fountain of life within you, empowering you to escape death’s dominion.

Proverbs 14:26-27 TPT

22 But I’m telling you, if you hold anger in your heart toward a fellow believer, you are subject to judgment. And whoever demeans and insultsc] a fellow believer is answerable to the congregation. And whoever calls down curses upon a fellow believer is in danger of being sent to a fiery hell.

Matthew 5:22 TPT

Shelley Lubben: The good, bad and ugly, Part II
20 Feb 2019
Julie Shematz one comments

Part II: Wounds in need of healing.

Ten symptoms that indicate wounds that are in need of being healed: 

  • You avoid specific places.
  • You avoid certain people.
  • You have made a silent inner vow.
  • You suffer from emotional triggers.
  • You engage in addictive behaviors or have an unhealthy attachment.
  • You wound others.
  • You experience ongoing, unresolved grief.
  • Your thoughts bully you.
  • You have a secret you’ve never told anyone.
  • You struggle to verbalize your hurt.

(more…)