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Welcome back to Unfiltered Faith podcast with your host Meredith and stores. And today we are going to be launching into the New Year with you guys, 20, 21. Let's go, baby. We're leaving 20, 20 behind us. I think everyone's leaving. Yeah, we know it was a hard year, guys, and we empathize with you. Everyone had something in their life that was just rocked them and just really shook them this year. And it is by the grace of God, it's by the grace of God that we're still here.

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And that's what we can be so grateful that God has led us through twenty twenty. And he has kept us here. He's kept us alive. And we have to just look on the bright side of things and look forward to the future and not worry about the future, because God, God holds the future.

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A man's all lead us in prayer before we get into it. Dear Heavenly Father, we just thank you that you have walked us through 2020. We may not know what twenty twenty holds, but we know that you hold twenty twenty one in your hands Lord. So we will trust you. Let our faith rise up to new heights this year. May all fear and worry be silenced. And may we continue to fight the good fight in Jesus name we pray.

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Amen. OK, so in this episode I thought it'd be a good idea to kind of like reflect on twenty twenty kind of like talk about what God has taught us in this year and kind of talk about some encouraging things going into twenty, twenty one and what we're leaving behind in twenty twenty. Good. We don't need none of that coming in 2012 baggage guys and kind of just ask each other questions. And so you guys can also use these questions to reflect on your year and, and take away things in twenty, twenty one that you want to leave behind in twenty twenty.

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Yeah.

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Well I wanted to talk about what kind of God has taught me in twenty twenty a little bit of things that I really was taught that God really opened up my heart and my mind was you can't be half in and half out because in the beginning of twenty twenty I was still very like I was decisive is the word maybe. Yeah. I was not committed honestly to my life in general. Not I like spiritually with God, but it was just more so of like my career and just I was very obviously lukewarm and I lack of vision.

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Yeah. Like I had no vision, I had no like clarity. I wasn't depending on the Lord, I was depending more so on myself and not around like. Well we were obviously close. But you still lived in L.A., so we I just was not around the best people kind of just, you know, dipping my toes and back into, like partying and going out to bars and clubs. And I think God has really taught me, like, you can be half in and half out with anything in your life and you really have to grow in your faith and grow in me and rely on me more than yourself, because you will fall you your flesh.

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You cannot live in this world based off your fleshly desires or by your own human strength. There's a verse in Jeremiah seventeen five. This is what the Lord says curse are those who put their trust in humans who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord. Like we cannot rely on our own flesh or anybody else besides God to really, you know, with anything. Yeah, like with our career, our finances, our help with anything.

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It's like he needs to be the. The pedestal in your life, I know that there are some of you guys, maybe you guys caught covid or, you know, it's been a rough year mentally, I know for a lot of people as well.

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But, you know, someone that died from a good friend of mine. Committed suicide because of this whole situation happening, and it's so hard because it's like I want you know, I want people to hold on to faith and hope and realize that this year is has been a lot, obviously. But at the end of the day, we we have this the Lord gives us strength to fight through these battles and trials and we can make it on the other side.

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I like your pain and suffering is not permanent. And you'll get out of it like I went through in twenty nineteen and I'm living proof that you will God will take you out of the wilderness. So what God has also taught me for 20 20 because I've battled in twenty nineteen also with, you know, mental health and with you know, thoughts. It's the enemy wants to on the story. So I think the first thing you will come after is our minds.

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So God is really teaching me you have to renew your mind. And there's a verse that says Isaiah fifty five eight. My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts as Lord.

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So we also have to think. Godly thoughts, and that's why reading scripture is so important, because we can fill our mind with the truth, we can fill our mind with what God is saying about us, and we can really start to renew our mind with that. I'm very passionate about neuroplasticity because I personally have went through a lot of physical and mental trauma these past two years. And I feel like a lot of people have, especially being inside and kids having to be in school and online like this is real life psychological trauma.

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And I wanted to mention Dr Caroline Leaf, Dr Kelly leave on Instagram. She's an incredible Christian mental health expert, all about neuroplasticity. So you guys should definitely check her out about renewing your mind and detoxing your mind to have a healthier mindset going into twenty twenty. God was really teaching me like you have to trust in me and have to have faith in me. And he's the way the truth and the life and nothing else will satisfy us in this world.

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Like nothing else will help us during tough times like that. Except for God. It's just that's facts. It's just it's not it's that's it. It's not.

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And once you've tasted and experienced the goodness of God, like nothing will satisfy says when you taste and see that the Lord is. Yeah. It's like when you have that experience and that that love, just his perfect love casts out all fear. So when that love just overcomes you like nothing else satisfies.

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I wrote in my notebook at the beginning of twenty in January. I said, This year God will give us spiritual vision. We will have to fight and basically like start warring in the spirit, not like physically fighting on earth, but like having to go into the prayer closet, go into your secret place and start praying and interceding for people. And God really gave me like spiritual vision this year. I didn't really have a lot of, like, creative vision.

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Like, I really was not making a lot of content because God was showing me things spiritually.

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And he really revealed to me a lot of things, a lot of past hurts, unforgiveness, things. He wanted to uprooted me and really purify my heart in my mind, in my soul. And so that's kind of what God was showing me in twenty twenty. So in twenty twenty one, he's giving me all this creative vision like I have. Old dreams have been resurrected, old like passions that he's laid on my heart. So in twenty, twenty one more celebration, less comparison and that's a big one.

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Like comparison kills joy, more leaps of faith, less lingering and fear, more surrender, less driving, more generosity, less greed, more worship, less worry. That is us. Like when we start to feel a little bit of worry, we just break out worship like hallelujah. Yes. It's like it's psychological, too. Like if you have a worry or thought of worry, you like break it by thinking of I literally start to praise God in the middle and I'd be like walking around and I have this worry and I'm like, thank you, God, I just do that.

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So more direction, less doubt, more resting, less ruminating. So that's actually a word God gave me for this past year was to really rest in him. And that was kind of like where Stoss and I were at at the end of this year. We were just kind of resting in the Lord and that allows him to restore things. And so I feel like for both of us going to twenty, twenty one, we're going to be like kind of getting back into the swing of things like we were resting, but we were preparing.

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We prepared definitely like. Getting our vision clear, like learning and reflecting from twenty twenty one and coming out into twenty twenty one, stronger and better.

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So some things we're going to lose in twenty twenty one, the idea that changing your body will make you happier and safer. And this is something I struggled with, which was like having control over what I was eating and how I was working out. And I had to really let that go and give it to God and trust that he has. He's going to take care of my body and that ultimately, like, I had to trust him with my body because I was so like I had so much control over that.

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So I had to let go. The idea that whatever my body looked like, that that was going to be my source of happiness and that that's where my identity was found. And that's not where it's found. It's found in Jesus. So we're losing that in twenty twenty one negative self talk, no more negative self talk. And it's a battle that we can get through, like when we have a negative thought, like I used to just let it pass by and let it run in my head and just like take over.

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But it's like we have to really let go of those negative thoughts and like fight them and question them and say, is this true about me? Yeah, it's true about the liars is true. Yeah. Like if it doesn't match up with the word of God, it's a lie. Yeah.

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Coping mechanisms that are no longer serving you, that's convicting one like it could be anything guys like I'm just going to let your your own personal whatever you cook. I mean a coping mechanism is something that you do to cope with an emotion. Right. So if you're feeling worried, stressed, what are you going to do? Because ultimately what God was showing me was I was going to certain things instead of going to him to cope because he's our greatest comforter.

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Right. Because we can cope with a lot of things, like people cope with like access, social media, people, food, food, alcohol, buying too much, having sex.

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Yeah, yeah. There's a lot of things. So just think about them. You have to have healthy coping mechanisms. Yeah. Because there are there are ways actually to cope like you. You can take a bath, you can, you can go on a walk, go on a run like that. Helps, that helps get your endorphins flowing. There's many, many ways to cope with certain things that and it's just being aware like awareness is so key of like why am I acting, why am I responding this way?

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Why am I acting this way? What is triggering that?

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Before we get into the rest of the episode, I wanted to talk to you guys about the app called Calm. I know that twenty twenty has been a lot and we could all benefit from less stress and more sleep in our lives. And that's why it's so important to take care of ourselves and invest in our wellbeing.

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Calm is the number one app for sleep, meditation and relaxation. So over Thanksgiving, my brother was telling me that he has the calm app on his phone and he has found it so helpful. He works a nine to five job and he's in his apartment all day and at the end of the day, he just wants to relax. And he said that this app has helped him so much get a great night's sleep. And so that's a testimony in itself.

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You can use calm with a special limited time promotion for forty percent off your comp premium subscription at Comic-Con Backslash, unfiltered faith. That's 40 percent off, unlimited access to comms, entire library and new content that's added every single week. Now back to the episode.

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Let's see. Oh, striving to earn approval from others. Yeah, because Roseby down once God is your audience, the world is no longer your sustenance.

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Oh, baby, did you know and Hebrews 11 six, it says, And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. See God wholeheartedly with your thoughts connecting to them, because sometimes, you know, we get so busy, we seek other things. We we set our goals for like the New Year or just weekly. And it's like, are we setting our intentions and our goals really to see God first and to put God first realize something akin to.

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Settling for less than you deserve, we ain't settling for oh, man, I got it. Oh, they got to go. They got to go cut them out, says Levi, leave them in 2020. Got that point of wow.

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I literally we're really good at not settling, I feel like. Yeah, but I feel like I know for sure I don't. I technically never had a boyfriend in 20 years my existence because I've never really settled. But I've had those feelings. But it's like why are we, why am I wasting my time. I'm not settling, but why am I also wasting my time and like talking and texting to him. Yeah, being we need to be intentional in 2021 with who you're talking to, like who you're giving your energy to and who you're letting into your life, your inner circle.

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And lastly, in twenty, twenty one, we need to stop underestimating how much God loves us guys. There is nothing that can separate us from God's love and he will never leave or forsake you. He's your heavenly father and he's not there to, like, scorn you. Yes, he'll discipline us because we're his children and he wants. But it's all out of love like he's doing it so that he can help you. God's grace and forgiveness is a free gift to you.

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It says in Second Corinthians twelve nine. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness so that Christ power may rest upon me.

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So going into twenty, twenty one, obviously we have goals. We have, you know, things that we want to accomplish and do things. And I feel like everyone gets that like cake like it's the new year, like new me goals. Like I'm going to go ham and I'm going to crush all my goals. And then halfway through the year that I don't know about, I mean, that has been me a couple of years back, like it's normal.

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But I really believe that people forget the importance of starting small with habits and goals and starting with small disciplines, because if you don't have a small disciplines really intact, how is God going to bless you when he asks you to do things for better, bigger and disciplines? And that's with any aspect of your life.

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If you're not obedient or disciplined in those small little things, how are we supposed to take on the bigger take on, you know, bigger goals, bigger projects, bigger things in life without being really intentional, of being disciplined with starting small? So I'm so grateful because I now know this, that I'm not going to go into the year like writing all my goals and writing all my things that I want to accomplish, thinking I'm going to do all that without realizing where I'm at and where I want to get to by starting small.

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And so what are some small things, practical things we can do?

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Well, some practical things. It depends on what goals, obviously with health, with finances, with career, like what you want to do with like personally me.

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I want to get stronger with my health mentally and physically. And because without that, I won't be able to function and be optimal and everything else my life.

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So if you discipline your body and have self-control, yeah, that will leak over to your other stuff. But you're trying to be disciplined and and trying to accomplish so. Like, if you just have a goal, like say you're like, I don't brush my teeth the night before I go to bed, like having a goal of, OK, I'm going to discipline myself and make sure I brush my teeth every morning and every night, like that's something so small and easy that we can do.

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But it trains your mind. It's getting into the habit of Hebrews 12 eleven. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful later on. However, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Oh, that's fire. Hebrew is is so good, guys.

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I feel like that's if you haven't read it, read Hebrews. What's the next verse James. One twenty two. But be doers of the word and not here is only deceiving yourselves.

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OK, that's convicts. Yeah I know all of these things. If we read the Bible we're not applying it to your life then we're, it's a waste of like it's a waste of knowledge.

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I think also like from twenty twenty it really gives us lessons going to twenty, twenty one about preparation. Like preparation is key. Like I was not prepared for how life was going to happen in twenty twenty even though in twenty nineteen I was like I'm going to make it my year, this and that. But I wasn't prepared for it because look what happened with you know, the coba situation, economy crashing, you know, a lot of things that were happening.

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And I believe, you know, preparation is a really big thing with even with learning to be disciplined, like you have to prepare yourself, OK, how am I going to stay disciplined? How am I going to be doing these things? How I'm going to be reaching these goals? We have to prepare before going. Into our dreams, physically and most definitely spiritually. It's all definitely all aspects of our life, so, yeah, we can't control what is being said done, we can't control our surroundings, but we can control how we respond to to the circumstance.

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We can control how we respond. We can't control what's going on, but we can control what we do and how we react. And that's where the power lies. Yes, 100 percent. Because life can throw curveballs at you. I'm like twenty, twenty one. I'm already preparing myself. It's not going to be easy breezy pumpkin squeezy too. Like we have to mentally prepare ourselves, like, OK, through trials and tribulations they are going to come.

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But it's like you have to be prepared and we have to have joy through those trials and tribulations like through this last year. Like we have to have joy in the midst of our trials and in this first first Peter, one six through seven. So be truly glad there's wonderful joy ahead. Even though you must endure many trials for a little while, these trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire test and purifies gold, though your faith is far more precious than mere gold.

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So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

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That verse is a I've never read that. Yeah, but for some reason I like knew. I knew it in my head, but I didn't know. So that's first Peter.

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And I don't think it's even it's even applying to this because I know for a fact we're all still going to for the rest of our lives. We're going to go through trials and tribulations. It's not going to be an easy walk through life, this life. But when we when we share in Christ suffering, we will share in his glory. That's in Romans eight seventeen. Right. So it's like we have this joy and we have this. Presence and peace, knowing that through our trials and tribulations that our faith is being tested, our character is being grown to be more spiritually matured and to even just grow as an individual, individual human being, to come out is pure gold.

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Guys, at the beginning of twenty twenty, God led me to Psalm 91 and this passage is very applicable to what's going on right now. It says whoever dwells in the shelter of the most high will rest under the shadow of the Almighty. He is my refuge in my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you and his feathers. And under his wings you will find refuge.

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His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror by night, nor by the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness or the plague that destroys a thousand may fall at your side. Ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes, eyes and see the punishment.

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So my last bit of encouraging advice going into twenty twenty one is to just really hold on to God with dear life.

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Let God be your everything, your sanctuary, like he is a garden of love and he wants you to rest in his green pasture. The Lord is our good shepherd, as it says in some twenty three, and he wants to lead you into green pastures so that you can lie down and rest with him. And it says in Romans eight twenty eight.

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And we know that all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. So rest in that that is such a promise that all things will work for the good of those who love God.

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So like that verse is really just like bless me during this time.

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So we shouldn't be living by our feelings or living by our flesh and thinking, you know, we have to be living by the truth and know that we should be only going to God for for things that we oh, I don't feel like praying or I don't feel like really reading my Bible. I don't feel like drawing closer to the Lord wall. You're never going to feel like you're never going to feel like going to the gym or wanting to be healthier, you're never going to feel like, oh, I need to do these things, but I don't want to.

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But the whole discipline thing is like. It will you will reap what you sow, your consequences will reap after a long term, whatever you can do to encourage guys. There is so much hope we just have to cling on to it. It's not a strategy. It's a reality we can have that it's a promise from God that our hope is found in Jesus. So it's not a strategy. It's literally a reality, that's for sure. I know.

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I don't know. You get that. Anyways, we love you guys. We love you so much, and I hope you get encouraged for a twenty twenty one and I hope you reflect on this year and know that it's all a learning lesson and we bless you and to going to twenty, twenty one and. Yeah, let's close it out on prayer. Heavenly Father, we thank you so much to every single person that is listening to this episode.

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We pray, Lord, for their twenty twenty one for blessings and more to come and that in their year and that you protect them, you guide them, you give them peace, you give them the serenity. Jesus. And so they will cast all their fear and worries or their doubts going into this next year in the years up ahead. And we thank you, Lord, for your promises that you've already given us. And we thank you for this time that we have together in Jesus name.

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We pray. Amen.