Words have power. Written words provide proof. You can read them, and reread them whenever you want. They can speak life to someone who needs encouragement. They can speak death to someone who is being deceived. The choice lies within you. How is it that you want people to remember you? Encourager...that is the gift that God has laid on my heart. To use my written, spoken, and/or sung words to lift people up. To be one link in their road to healing, restoration, joy. I have been without those things, and I claim them to be mine again. If you want me to seek God on a prayer for a specific situation...that is why I am here. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to pray God's Word of Life over you.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

What is Enough? (Day ONE-30 Day Challenge)

Welcome to Day ONE of my 30-day challenge. I encourage you to get your Bible, your favorite pen, a journal and a steaming cup of coffee. (You really should think about trying coconut cream if you want to copy what I am currently sipping! It. Is. Delightful!) Get ready to write and underline in that Bible. It will be okay, I promise. Writing all through mine has been a huge help to me in making God’s Word come alive. I love to see what God says to me when I read the verses I’ve underlined and the notes I’ve written beside them. It really does make it easy to apply this ‘head’ knowledge. Soon enough…what I’ve always known in my head…is now forever etched in my heart. THAT is faith! =)

I am so excited to begin…and only slightly dreading the sleepiness that comes when you wake up BEFORE the sun.2013 End of Summa 092 Lol! I know, now that I am awake and writing, that I would rather be with my King than sleep. He never disappoints me in my time with Him. NEVER!

So… I sat down this morning and opened up my Bible to James chapter 2. My eye was immediately drawn to what I had written beside these God-inspired words of James. Let’s first read the verse… “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” James 2:19 (NIV)

Beside this bold statement made by James I wrote… “Belief is NOT enough! Religion does not equal relationship!” Don’t just skim over these words. READ them.

The demons believe in God.

You believe in God.

What IS the difference?!?! Is your jaw on the floor? Pick it up, dust it off. Don’t let these simple words cause you to feel shame. Shame is the tool of the enemy. But God…HE works with conviction. Conviction still doesn’t feel good…but it is necessary. Shame is not. Learn what God has for you today. Learn the difference between these words; religion and relationship.

RELIGION is knowledge without application. Religion is concentration only on rules. Religion is complacency. (The definition of complacency is- self (uncritical) satisfaction when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers. In my words…you are satisfied with where you are and what you know because you are choosing NOT to think about how dangerous it is to stay that way.) Religion is choosing comfort over the will of God. Religion is the unwillingness to stray from tradition when it is no longer effective.

The demons know all about religion. They are in religion. They hold their allegiance to death. Destruction. Confusion. Pain. They love head knowledge that stays there. They do everything within their power, to make any person with a heart still beating, to never know the difference. The enemy, satan, does NOT want us to know how fulfilling it is to apply Scripture to every part of our day. he knows that even our pain has purpose when we pair head knowledge with heart application. satan has seen God use what he set out to destroy us…to make us stronger. To make us fall more in love and have a deeper level of trust for our Father. The enemy cringes…I smile!

This whole post has made me smile since the day I knew God was asking me to write it. I understand that these are not new revelations I am writing. I am sure that these things have been said before. But I also KNOW that God is going to use them to set someone, as they read today, FREE from religion. They are going to dive into true…relationship! God has been looking forward to this day. He has seen your life…and He knew that your divine appointment was today. I am speaking to YOU! I am writing for YOU! I have been created for such a time as this…and I can not be silenced. Ha-ha!

RELATIONSHIP is constantly striving to move towards. Relationship isn’t happy with being stuck or standing still. Relationship isn’t content with just getting by. Relationship is passion. Relationship is seeking to know more. Relationship is constant conversation. Relationship is looking for ways to bless without expecting a return. Relationship is choosing to see ALL people as though they ARE/or absolutely COULD BE an heir to the Throne of Christ! Relationship is a life of worship…NOT a Sunday morning concert. Relationship is putting off all your old ways and running into the arms of Christ. Relationship is an intimate time spent with just you and your King…daily (at least!)

Relationship flees from evil. And I DO mean flees! To flee is to run away from a place of danger or evil. To hurry toward a place of security. If you stay in the places that drag you toward sin (while you are still drawn to that sin)…how are you going to effectively resemble your Father?! What is your plan? You must have a plan…because the enemy already has a scheme. he sees you reading this now. his scheme is already in place to make you busy. To forget. To doubt. So do me a favor…

Right now…write down your own definition in a journal/notebook of what “Relationship is…” or what “Relationship is not…”. This will help you to not forget. This will prove to the enemy that you are serious. This will help you when doubt tries to creep in. You can say, out loud, “There is no room for doubt in me!” You can scream it if you have to. I do!  Proclaim it now… “There is nothing that will make me too busy to have this relationship with Christ that I have been created to desire! NO THING will stand in my way!”

Can you see how the enemy has so easily deceived a multitude with the thinking that religion is enough? Oh how many people bought into the lies that knowing rules and stories were enough. Learning them definitely has purpose, but it was never meant to be enough. When you realize that even the demons KNOW…you must choose to be different. The enemy is not new at this. he’s been deceiving since the garden. he’s practiced up! he knows what has worked on your mother/father/sister/brother. he doesn’t work harder than he has to. he doesn’t need to come up with new ways, if the current ones are already working. Are you prayed up to handle his scheming? Do you make him come up with new schemes because you keep defeating his stale, old ones?

Let’s focus in on one more word before I leave you for today. Shudder. Read James 2:19 in your Bible and if you will underline it. Circle both times it says the word believe and put a box around the word shudder. Again…I am not into skimming past words that pack a powerful message. Let’s define shudder so you get a clear mental picture of what the demons do because they believe in the power of God.

  • to tremble convulsively, typically as a result of fear or a sense of disgust and loathing
  • shake
  • shiver
  • quiver
  • palpitate
  • spasm
You see, the demons shudder, shake, palpitate because they know and believe in the power of God. Their belief  is exactly why they tremble with loathing fear. They detest God. They are disgusted at His evident power. They know that they have absolutely nothing to match it. They know that God can speak and even THEY must obey. They hang their head in shame at the mention of His name.
What about you, my friend? Do you only believe? How have you been proving/showing that your religious belief…has made it to relationship status? Do the demons know Who you belong to? How can you actively seek to have a real relationship with God today? The wait is over. Your time has come to get serious.

You can start by praying that God will give you a real desire to meet with Him. Set apart a time. 5am is now my time…feel free to join me! I do not promise it to be easy…but I can guarantee it will leave an eternal effect. In you. In your spouse. In your children. In your church. In your community.

This is your homework.
  1. Find a Bible that you love and understand. If you don’t have one IN your home…let me know. I will set you in the right direction with one of my favorites! ;)
  2. Find a journal or notebook that you can write in. Write prayers. Write struggles. Write revelations from God (AKA-Light bulb moments that leave you finally understanding what was always there.) Just write! I want there to be a record of where you started and how far you’ve come.
  3. Find a church that loves you and actively engages in your life. A church that is alive. A church that does. A church that loves the lost enough to refuse to let them stay that way. A church that not only preaches the Word (religion)…but lives it (relationship)!
  4. And find a friend that can keep you accountable. A friend that wakes up at 4am to pray for you if that is what her King asks of her. A friend that roots for your success. A friend that inspires you to have contagious, audacious faith. A friend that doesn’t allow you to settle for LESS than you were created to be.
I have each of those listed things…and I have never been closer to God in all of my Christian life. I have never understood how specifically intimate He is to each of His children. Set out to find a reason not to love Him…you won’t. Because it says in John 10:27-28 “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.”-Jesus

2013 End of Summa 1052013 End of Summa 102  2013 End of Summa 104
My son, Levi and little kitten, Princess who followed me out to take a picture of the sunrise this morning. I can. not. fathom. a love more real or deep to my core…than what I feel for that handsome little man pictured above. But I know that I haven’t even scratched the surface of understanding how God feels for me. Dive in to what He has for you. He is waiting for you. I expect great things for you…because I KNOW my Redeemer lives!

Now…go do your homework! ;)


  1. Love it!! On to day two! I'm glad God has put this on your heart. I cannot wait to hear about the lives affected by this blog.

    1. Thanks Ashley!! :-) I can't wait to see the chains of religion fall off of people being blindly deceived. I will not be silent anymore!!! #davidcrowderband

  2. Vanesa, Bekah here! I am pleased to announce, I now have the internet! (praise the Lord!) b/c now I can read your blog! I have been "floating" lately through Scripture not really sure what to read--and wishing I had a devotional of some sort to read! For 2-3 weeks I have been this way. I was kind of a lost puppy after I finished Blair's 40-Day Challenge! This morning the Lord put your blog on my heart and I am so thrilled I can now participate in your 30-day challenge! Already on Day 1 the Lord has been speaking to me! Thank so much for letting the Life in you spill out onto us! I look forward to more of a Relationship with the King! I've been writing down "quotes" from your post and putting them in my journal. I was just journaling about how this 'religion' vs. 'relationship' translates into a marriage illustration. What if I always struggled with doubt of whether my husband existed or not? Yes. I would be in a mental institution! What if I walked in and announced to everyone, "I have been struggling for years about whether or not my husband exists, is really there, and is a real person---but I finally believe he DOES exist!" Of course that would be crazy. But it is SO that way with God!! If all I contributed to my marriage was to believe my husband existed--that would do NOTHING for our relationship! This helped me realize that with God--just like in marriage (if you want to have a good one) you need to engage with your spouse, communicate, listen, show affection, minister to, enjoy, have fun with, pursue to understand, be patient for, and be intimate with! Ah! God is so good. Thanks for helping me see this. And also holding the record for your longest comment. ;)

    1. Thank you Bekah!! I needed to hear that today! I have such a strong desire to write..and I just don't know exactly where to go first. (As I am SURE you, of all people, can completely understand!)
      I love your spin on my post! It is incredibly insightful...and yet so simple. If we really just took a minute to think...relationship is very simple. Religion is what makes it difficult!
      I think you will hold the record for longest comment for a while my friend. I loved every word...keep em coming! Us writers must stick together. Lol! Love you!! -V

  3. Thank you Vanesa! This has given me a challenge. To step up and to devote more time to reading, writing and praying. I'm leaving now to go get a new notebook, highlighters and note cards to start memorizing more of his word. Now make me accountable :) Love you girl!!!!!!

    1. You are a wonderful testimony of the power of prayer! Keep seeking and you will keep finding Him in EVERY area of your life! Love you too!! ((hugs))

  4. Vanesa,

    I am ready. I have all four things -two of them because of you :)

    I have opened my notebook again, to write (even before you requested!)

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    1. I am teary and so so humbled that God would use me in any way to help unlock desires that are/were already hidden within you. So thankful for your hug Sunday. Seriously!!! This is the outcome to your vulnerability! xoxo

  5. While I was writing what a relationship is and what a relationship is NOT God brought a word to my mind. Stagnant, I have heard this word before but needed to look it up to truly understand. The definition was still, motionless, sluggish, dormant. But when I read dead and having an unpleasant smell it really hit me what God was showing me. If we are not constantly seeking, praying, reading, listening, worshipping then we are DEAD and SMELLY. I choose relationship with my Father, I choose to not be too busy. Jesus help me to NEVER become stagnant.

    1. YES!!!!!!!! Stagnant water also is repulsive and obvious! I want to be recognized as a relational follower of Christ. I want people to see HIS heart when they know me. And staying dormant does not help me to attain that goal. Thanks for sharing your insight my friend. I would also suggest you read Bekah's comment above too...if you haven't already. It is so simple and yet POWERFUL!