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Inevitable Change: Encouragement in Transition

Revised from August 18, 2015

“Change is inevitable, Growth is optional.”~JOHN C. MAXWELL

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Change. The only time that most people search out change and willingly run with it is when unsavory circumstances have begun to dim the light and joy form their life and they are desperate to get it back. Otherwise, change is seen as the unwelcome guest who showed up at your perfectly numbered dinner party, uninvited.

Change requires sacrifice, which generally goes hand and hand with discomfort and for some of us, discombobulation.

But change is necessary. It is going to happen whether we like it or not, whether we are prepared or not.

Think about an infant in their mother’s womb. Change comes and is without a doubt a straining shock to everything within the infant and around them. But what awaits them at the end of their travailing journey is something far greater.

Consider the caterpillar who crawls through life, knowing in the core of their being that they are meant for greater heights. They must burn with the urge to fly at some point.

But they, like us, must go through the “changes” that enable them to take flight or in the case of a baby, to feel the tender kiss of their mother and father.

What is required for both of them (and all of us) to experience the full glory of what change has to offer?

Growth.

How do we grow? With willing hearts.

This puts me in the mind of John 15: 1-2:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.”

There is something in these verses that a lot of people miss. Bearing fruit requires CHANGE and GROWTH, but whether the vine is willing to grow or not, it will still get WASHED (JOHN 15:1-5), scrubbed free from the old calloused dead parts or even CUT.

Pruning is cutting and thorough washing. Being taken away is cutting. Cutting is change. Fruit is growth.

Life is filled with options but change is not one of them. Growth is always a choice that we are free to make.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

*Photo by Clever Visuals on Unsplash

My Favorite Read by Briana Lassiter: Encouraged in the Wait

Trusting God in the WaitThis weeks summer favorite is an article from 2016, titled, ENCOURAGED IN THE WAIT by Candice Coates.

I (Briana) had just met Candice and when I saw this post of hers on Facebook, I was in a deep waiting/suffering period and it resonated deeply as I sat and cried over the reminders of the truth about God that my tired heart desperately needed.

As I read it over today, I find myself in a waiting period again, and the truths about God are still true, and His comfort is still as powerful as it was the first time I read it. And as Candice wrote,

Our Heavenly Father loves us beyond measure so much so that He would never forget us nor forsake us, especially not when we are distressed. Just as a parent is moved by the cries of their child so too is our Heavenly Father moved by ours.

I hope you are blessed with the encouragement you need today for your own wait as you read this summer favorite!

By Briana Lassiter

Bri Small headshotI’m married to my dearest friend of 8 years and mom to an energetic 6-year-old. My greatest joys come from traveling with my little family, cooking for appreciative recipients, learning herbalism and natural medicine, and every experience I get to have in prayer ministry. I’m an avid tea and book lover and can’t get enough of either. I love Jesus and the daily adventure that comes from walking in friendship with him as he arranges and rearranges my story.

What’s Coming up with ICFTS

Hello Fellow Creatives!

I pray this summer has kicked off with a blast that has outdone the fireworks in splendor! Our God has so much in store for us, His beloved children, and I am expectant and excited about what the next couple of months will bring.

WHAT’S COMING UP

ABIDING FRUITFULNESS

Starting TUESDAY, JULY 9th, ICFTS will be hosting our 40-Day Session called ABIDING FRUITFULNESS: RESTING TO SUCCESS. Be sure to follow our Facebook page to watch the videos, share your thoughts and growth, and to get connected with our growing community. Also, look for the Content Page in our Main Menu Coming Soon!

SUMMER POSTING SCHEDULE

Because we will be focusing on bringing you, our community of Creatives, focused content to get you rested and ready for the season of sowing, we are, beginning SUNDAY, JULY 14th, only posting TWO NEW ARTICLES EACH WEEK.

SUMMER SABBATICAL 

The Team at ICFTS will be taking a 3-Week summer break from SUNDAY, AUGUST 18th, until SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9th where we will kick off the coming of Fall with fresh content!

We may drop in with a few special postings during our time of sabbatical so please stay tuned during that time and GET CONNECTED BY FOLLOWING US ON FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM

In Him Always,

Candice, Founder of ICFTS

*Photo by Alisha Mishra from Pexels

A Word to the Waiting: by Briana Lassiter

Have you received promises from the Lord that your breakthrough will come this year?
Has He given you specific impartations, specific instructions and specific direction about what to look forward to?

Have you received attack on attack? Have you felt in a fog? Have your promises seemed untrue? Has the voice of the Lord–however He speaks to you–grown dim and hard to hear? Have you experienced pain and hindrances like never before?

Beloved, we are shifting. We are moving. We are coming out and we are breaking forth in a historical move of God.

We are like waves crashing on the shore, sometimes being pulled back, but gaining in momentum and power and height with each crash.

We feel as if we are walking alone at times, we feel blindsided and oppressed by the enemy. We may carry the fear of being hindered and fear that we will forfeit the promises by how we are getting through this time. But we are being called forth in a new glorious way.

We are being called out and tried. We are being tested and we are losing things. We are getting what we prayed for when we asked Him to take everything in us away that is not right.

He is holding our hands. He has never left our side, whether we see Him or not, He is holding us as we walk up, the way a Father or Mother holds their child learning to walk, guarding our back, hovering over us, holding our hands and pushing us forward.

We will be propelled into our destiny, what He put us here to do, and we will not be hindered. The enemy will try. But will not ultimately be successful, because we serve a God of restoration and redemption who is able to bless our latter end even more than our beginning.

And we WILL go forth. And we WILL be blessed. And we WILL be fruitful and we WILL multiply!

Everything He has said is true, and we will, with patience wait for it.

Here is my prayer for the people of God in this season. Follow along if you feel led.

Abba, we feel knocked around and torn in two. We feel confused and tired. Our hearts have grown so weary waiting for the promise. We are tired from the pain and tired from the waiting.

We, here and now, choose to put our armor on, the full armor of God that you designed for us, and then having done that, we will stay standing. We will not run away, we will not turn back in unbelief. We set ourselves in belief and trust and faith. And anywhere where our armor has become broken or cracked, we present every part of it to you: anywhere we have believed lies instead if truth, we repent and ask you to heal our armor.

Anywhere we have not claimed your righteousness over us and tried to walk in our own, we repent and ask you to fix our breastplate. Anywhere we have not believed, walked or taught the gospel of peace, we repent and ask you to fix our shoes. Anywhere we have agreed with doubt, unbelief, or not trusted you, we repent and ask you to fix our shields.

Anywhere we have not regarded You alone as our salvation, we repent and ask you to fix our helmets. Anywhere we have not picked up and carried the sword of the spirit which is the Word of God, we repent and ask you to heal our swords.

We trust you to confirm us, and we trust you to heal us so that we can stand strong in the evil day, and be victorious and not afraid. We trust you today, that the battle is not ours, it is yours, we trust your own words when you said in Isaiah 14, “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies has spoken— who can change his plans? When his hand is raised, who can stop him?”

We trust you with the plans and the future of our lives and we choose to trust you with our today, because we know we are yours, and you are going to work and no one can stop you.

We choose to rest in you, in the face of pain and struggles and confusion, we choose this because we walk by faith and not by sight, and we trust you to come through for us, and we trust you to carry us until you do.

We love you and thank you for everything seen and unseen that you have done to love us during this time.

In Jesus name, Amen.

*Photo by Thiago from Pexels

By Briana Lassiter

Bri Small headshotI’m married to my dearest friend of 8 years and mom to an energetic 6-year-old. My greatest joys come from traveling with my little family, cooking for appreciative recipients, learning herbalism and natural medicine, and every experience I get to have in prayer ministry. I’m an avid tea and book lover and can’t get enough of either. I love Jesus and the daily adventure that comes from walking in friendship with him as he arranges and rearranges my story.

Triple Berry Salad by Briana Lassiter

This is, hands down, one of my favorite salads EVER! Its colors make it the perfect patriotic side dish, and I’m obsessed with the taste of spicy arugula blended with earthy spinach, and the sweetness of the berries and a dressing balanced by the tanginess of the cheese.

With the chicken, it’s enough to make a full meal! I hope you enjoy making and eating this salad as much as I do!

• A 5oz of fresh spinach, with a handful or 2 of arugula mixed in
• 5 sliced strawberries
• A small handful (or 1/4 cup) each of blueberries and blackberries
• 2-3 tablespoons of gorgonzola cheese
• 1 tbsp of chopped red onions
• A small handful (or 1/4 cup) of walnut pieces
• Any type of sweet and tangy dressing like Tessamaes poppyseed honey, or Primal Kitchen honey mustard vinaigrette etc.
• 1 chicken breast cut into bite size pieces (I like to use an herb rotisserie chicken)

Assemble all ingredients, top with dressing, and enjoy!

By Briana Lassiter

Bri Small headshotI’m married to my dearest friend of 8 years and mom to an energetic 6-year-old. My greatest joys come from traveling with my little family, cooking for appreciative recipients, learning herbalism and natural medicine, and every experience I get to have in prayer ministry. I’m an avid tea and book lover and can’t get enough of either. I love Jesus and the daily adventure that comes from walking in friendship with him as he arranges and rearranges my story.

This One Thing: Faith for Creatives

“I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind…The end of the matter, all having been heard: fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole man.”~ECCLESIASTES 1:14;12:13

The book of Ecclesiastes was inspired by the Living Spirit of God and written by not only the wisest man to ever live–besides our Savior, Jesus Christ–but the wealthiest man of all creation; King Solomon.

In his lifetime, he had tasted of every indulgence he could, wealth was in abundance, nor did he lack the company of women. There was nothing under the sun that was denied him.

And yet, after running around the mountain of indulgence and want, whether of Godly pursuit or in the attempt to appease the longings of his own flesh and desires; he came to the simple and yet profound conclusion, that nothing, NOTHING else was of true value, all was as chasing the wind, except loving God.

The word “fear” used in the scripture in regard to the Holy God of creation, is not that of being afraid and cowering, but one of awe and reverence. To be totally stricken silent by the glorious wonder of the One you are beholding. At the end of it all, King Solomon had found his One thing.

God was his one thing.

Some may be thinking, “Well, that’s all well and good for him, but I live in the real world and I have real problems and cares.” So did Solomon. Whether at your greatest height or your lowest low, there is nothing so sweet as the embrace of Christ Jesus but you can only experience that by giving Him permission to take you in His arms.

Christ Jesus longs to love you and be loved by you. He died for you as His greatest expression of His love because YOU are HIS ONE THING.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”~ROMANS 5:8

I encourage you to listen YOU ARE MY ONE THING, by Hannah McClure, read the words and maybe even sing along. Allow yourself to be enraptured by the truth that you are His One thing and His desire is to be close to you. And allow Him to be your One thing, for in Him are all things and you will lack for no good thing! (Matthew 6:24-34)

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.”~REVELATION 3:20

*Revised from November 18, 2015

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

Abiding Fruitfulness: Summer Series Coming Next Week!

On Tuesday, July 9th ICFTS will be kicking off a Free 40-Day Community Teaching called Abiding Fruitfulness-Resting into Success, and we want you to join us!

WHAT IS ABIDING FRUITFULNESS:

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” ~JOHN 15:1-5

In the Book of John chapter 15, the Lord Jesus tells us that He is the Vine and we are His branches and that if we abide in Him we will bear much fruit, that apart from Him we can do nothing at all.

For the hustlers and grinders, the go-getters, and the doers, this concept and truth is one that we sometimes struggle to take hold of. We get into the motion of doing, and sometimes misinterpret worldly success for Godly success.

Time with our families is lost as we climb the world’s ladder. Intimacy is exchanged for a bottom line and the act of accomplishing another goal.

Now, don’t misunderstand. We are called to be diligent in all we do and to do these things as unto the Lord (COL. 3:23). But in our society, we have allowed the lie that unless we ‘do’ it, it won’t get done.

WHAT DO WE LOSE

We sacrifice rest, relationship, worship. We forgo peace in exchange for anxiety and the false sense of accomplishment because we have allowed our calendars to be jam-packed with boxes to tick.

If you have found yourself in this place or pattern, you are not alone. But be comforted that Christ died for you and for me to have so much more.

BUILD AS HE BUILDS

 “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” ~MATTHEW 11:28-30

The Book of Psalms 127:1 tells us “Unless He builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” The Lord Jesus also told us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. This, from the very One Who in six days created the Heavens and the Earth and Whose words are still creating and expanding the universe!

The key to all of this is that our God, being Wisdom, knew when to rest and when to abide. He knew when to pause and look at His accomplishments and call them good, when to rest, and when to begin again.

You may be thinking that, well He is God. But Christ, in the fullness of His humanity, built the Kingdom and birthed the Church in three years and all throughout this glorious and great work, He paused to abide and rest with the Father (LUKE 5:16), and after those moments came forth to bear exceedingly great fruit.

WHAT IS ABIDING FRUITFULNESS

This 40-Day session is about creating the Kingdom Culture in our lives to take time between seasons of sowing and reaping, to:

  • be refreshed by the Master,
  • renew our minds,
  • retune our hearts to align with His, and
  • prepare for the new ‘planting season’ that is coming.

From July 9th until August 18th we are going to look at several principles of Abiding Fruitfulness, exploring biblical truths of rest, sowing, and reaping, while allowing our minds to be transformed so that we can be conformed to His likeness in all things.

We are going to press in with open hearts and hands, listening to Him to hear what it is that we need to let go of in order to take hold of what He has planned for us in the future.

We are pressing into Abiding so that we can, through His divine rest, produce the fruit that He has purposed for us to produce.

WILL YOU JOIN US ON FACEBOOK FOR OUR 40-DAY ABIDING?

Please join us by liking and following our Facebook page, tuning in on Tuesday the 9th and then every Sunday after, to catch each new video teaching, spending time meditating on the scriptures, questions, tasks, and worship song of that week, and share what the Lord is teaching you in the comments.

We pray that you will join our community and be a part of this collective prayer of Abiding Fruitfulness.

SUGGESTED READING

Take a look at THE ART OF STILLNESS as a great jumping point to prepare your mind for the 40-Days that are coming!

Share with those you know as we enter His rest!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Today is a Good Day: Being Grateful for Those Around Us

*Revised from November 18, 2016

“Today is a good day! Why? Because you’re in it, I’m in it, and we’re in it together! Praise Jesus for making this day!” ~CANDICE COATES

The Psalmist said it best Psalm 118: 24 when they said, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” What a blessing it is to not only know that the Word of the Lord is the truth, but to also choose to live it out.

The glory of this life is that the Lord did not design it or us to do it alone (GENESIS 2:18). He created us as communal creatures, beings destined for relationship. When we take the time to celebrate those who the Lord has blessed us to do life with, whether that is for a season or for many years to come, we find it hard to not walk in joy.

My prayer for each of us this week is to allow the Lord to shift our focus and to enable us to be steeped in the goodness that pours forth from those we are in community with, be they our friends, our parents, siblings, children, spouse, even our coworkers.

If you know that you have support and love from those around you, you are already at an advantage! Praise the Lord for them and thank Him for blessing you to walk with them one more day!

Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up. Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; But how can one be warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” ~ECCL. 3:9-12

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

Three Bean & Feta Citrus Salad

There is nothing like creating a salad or side dish that can be used in a multitude of satisfyingly delicious ways! This Three Bean & Feta Citrus Salad, that I invented over a decade ago, ticks all of those boxes.

This salad is not only quick and easy to make, easy on the wallet, and absolutely delicious, but it is a great source of protein and can be added to anything. Use it as a side dish, a snack, a tasty touch of protein inside a breakfast burrito. Or use it in a lunch or dinner burrito with rice, chicken, beef or fish.

The possibilities are endless!

INGREDIENTS:

1 can drained  & rinsed chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

1 can drained & rinsed black beans

1 can drained & rinsed dark kidney beans

½ red onion diced

1 heaping tsp of minced garlic

A handful of chopped cilantro (or to taste)

1 lemon (juiced)

1 lime (juiced)

1 small tub of crumbled feta cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle of olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Simply take all the above ingredients and mix them in a bowl and then serve. I came up with this recipe a while ago and it has been a hit with my family for years and I hope that you and yours will enjoy it as well.

Also, consider dicing up cold cooked chicken breast and adding it to the salad if you are in the mood for meat.

*Remember some local supermarkets carry organic canned beans that are priced competitively with their non-organic counterparts. You can also use dried beans but be sure to soak and cover them overnight.*

Pausing in the Moment: Faith for Creatives

*Revised from May 25, 2018

Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He (Jesus) went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” ~MARK 1:35

Our Savior and God, Jesus Christ, did not just come to the world to save us from our sins, but He also came to give us life to the fullest, and in so doing, be our example for how to live our best life.

As our example, He shows us how to be in the ‘moment’ with others, to be available to their needs, to do our work in delight, but He also shows us when to pause…and to surrender our hearts to Him in quiet seclusion, just as He did with the Father.

Whenever our Savior did this, even with great multitudes at His heels, He was able to return to them empowered, enriched, and able to give of Himself.

Being Creatives, we often struggle with the idea of being still especially when we want to keep going. But we have to realize that ‘burnout’ is real and when there is no rest we forfeit the option of being our very best.

Remember to take the time in your schedule, in your doing, to rest, to pause, and allow your mind and spirit to be renewed so that the Father can fill you with greatness for your next step and level.

If the God of all creation made time to be still, then we should joyously, and guiltlessly follow His loving lead!

~Poiema, Poetry in Motion

*Photo by Spencer Selover from Pexels