Sunday, January 19, 2020

Chains


(photo from armstrongeconomics.com)
Most likely, your chains are not on your hands and feet, but on your mind. It’ll take more than just wishing to get free.

Surely, you’ve had bad dreams. The only way to get free is to wake up! When it seems like life is caving in on us, we need to awaken to what God has to say about it.

In Romans 12:2 God’s Word tells us to renew our mind. In short, this means to replace the thoughts in our mind that bring us down or lead us the wrong direction, with God’s thoughts on the matter; what we find in scripture. For example, if we bash ourselves with thoughts like, “I can’t do anything right” God wants us to know that we “can do all things through Him (Christ) Who strengthens us.” (Philippians 4:13)

In Philippians 4:8 God’s Word tells us to think on the good things. This is what enables us to renew our minds. What we think produces what we become. If I constantly criticize myself for being “so fat” I’ll just get fatter. That’s the direction my mind is going to take my body with those kinds of thoughts. Whereas, if I believe that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” (Psalm 139:14) I can begin to realize that I was purposefully made with love; I’m worth taking care of. Once I believe God on this, I’ll care enough to take care of myself. As I read that I am the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 6:19), I discover why I need to take care of my body. I’m housing the very Spirit of God in my heart! If too much weight is making me unhealthy, I can begin to take measures to lose it, by caring for this “temple”.

(photo from cnn.com)
In the book of Psalms, we learn that God wants us to listen to His voice. In Psalm 34:11 we read, “Come, you children, and listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” Again, in Psalm 81:8, God Himself implores us, “Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you. O Israel, if you will listen to Me!”

God gave revelation to man to write His Word for our instruction and encouragement. To not hear what He has to say to us is like buying a very expensive electronic gadget and tossing aside the instructions, then play around with it trying to figure it out. I don’t know how tech savvy you are, but I’d ruin my expensive gadget quickly. Some of us might figure out the basics of how to get it to work, but if we didn’t ruin it in the process, we’d certainly never be able to take advantage of everything it can do without those instructions. I cringe at the thought of wasting my money like that. I also cringe at the thought of how much God’s put inside of us that we never use, or for that matter, that we never even know about.
(picture from pinterest.com)

In James 2:18-26 God’s Word tells us that we need to put action to our faith, that faith without works is dead. (Works without faith may look good, but they count for little.)

That’s not to say that we can earn anything in the kingdom of God, only that once our faith comes alive, we’ll want to share it. That will include working to bless others. We can’t pour from an empty ladle, so we first need to find the gifts that God has already placed there.

If we piece together each of these points, we have a pretty good blueprint for freedom. Freedom from sin and the thoughts that bring us down. Freedom to live life abundantly, and to share it generously with those around us.

(picture from pinterest.com)
Freedom comes when we renew our mind. Delve into that, today!

Think good thoughts that are uplifting and productive; not evil and lazy and unproductive.

Listen to God’s voice, hear His instructions. Whether He speaks to you through His Word, or the still small voice that draws you closer to His heart, listen.

Act like the child of God you’re called to be. Put your love and your faith into actions, sharing God’s love with everyone you meet.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Sing Over Me


(musicgrotto.com)
There are songs our hearts need to hear. What song is your heart longing for today? When you quiet your thoughts, do you hear it? Maybe it’s a song of comfort. Perhaps and song to energize your day? A song of rejoicing? It might be a song to distract you from everything that’s overwhelmed you today.

As I sit down to write this blog post, I hear a chorus echo through my thoughts, whispering, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him Christ the Lord. It’s so familiar it could roll through my brain without much contemplation. But when did I last intentionally take time out of my busy day to close my eyes and just worship Him? Have I even slowed down enough today to adore my Savior? No. I haven’t. And you know what? He isn’t mad at me; He’s not holding a grudge against me or sitting up there in the heavenlies pouting on His throne because I once again allowed myself to get too busy for Him. He decided a long time ago to love me, no matter what, with His never-ending love.

Would He like me to turn to Him with my every thought, my every care or worry? Would He like me to include Him in my excitement and happiness? Absolutely!

Just as we like to be included in what our friends are going through, He too wants to share in everything we think, say and do. He wants us to honor Him with our thoughts, our words and our deeds. But He’s not going to punish us for getting too busy. He’d like to help, if we’ll let Him.

Whether He’s quietly calling us to Himself, or showing off in some ridiculously crazy way to get our attention – He’s waiting on us.

(psiloveyou.xyz)
And guess what else! The Bible says He never grows weary. Even I grow weary of my busyness, or my laziness or my forgetfulness. Any reason I can give for going on with my day without Him is no excuse at all. At bedtime when I lay my blurry-eyed head on my pillow, He’s patiently waiting on me. And if I fall asleep without thanking Him for my day, still, He waits on me.

He loves me no more or no less than He loves anyone else. Does He deal with us differently? Yes. Just as my children are all different and respond to me differently, God’s children are all individuals with their own personalities, needs and love language. He knows them all; every one of His children, their quirks, their joys, their needs and how they best give and receive love. None of us is beyond His reach. Not a single one of us slide under His radar, He loves us all.

No need to stand before Him with shame, Jesus took care of all of that on the Cross.

How would you like your child to come to you? Would it bless you if they poured their heart out to you? Would you love a hug? Would you like them to honor you, to receive from you all the wonderful things you’d like to give them? Would you like them to look lovingly into your eyes?

Before you close this blog post, share something with Jesus. He’s ever so patiently waiting for you.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.                                 -Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)


(thedodo.com)



Sunday, November 24, 2019

An Old Plea


(bethanychapel.com)
Sometimes old prayers are worth rereading; re-praying. Today as I searched through my computer files, I found this prayer from a few years back.  There was more, but, this is more than enough.

"Father God, I love you. Why am I afraid? What do I fear? How can I fear when You are with me, knowing You are in me? 


As I sit here embracing and contemplating what I’ve just read in Frances J Roberts’ Come Away My Beloved, I breathe in both sighs of longing and expectation – and breathe out yet more questions.

Do I think somehow, I’ll find peace or comfort or freedom of some sort in finding answers?  I’m afraid that perhaps I won’t find the answers or that I’m asking the wrong questions. Are You in the answers, or are You there in my questions?

If You’re here in the questions, I don’t feel so hard pressed to find the answers. All I want is You. I want Your peace, Your presence, the freedom found only in You. I am so afraid of not finding You – or of not having You here with me, in me. I find myself caught up in wanting to be sure I look the part, so no one will discover I’m afraid that sometimes, I am not found in You .....

As Your own mouthpiece, Ms Roberts tells me, that as I feel Your pulse, as I lay my head on Your breast and lose myself in You, I will experience resurrection life and peace and joy and that I will receive insight that will give me sustaining strength. But I find myself afraid of ‘doing it wrong.’ Is there even a wrong way to lean into You? Either I think too much or too little of myself to think I can do something wrong that has no way of being done incorrectly.

(crosswalk.com)
I know You bore my sins and desire to carry my burdens. I feel compelled to convince others to hand their burdens over to You, yet cling dearly to my own. I don’t want them; I know You do the caring FOR me! I know this in my head, help me to embrace this with my heart.  Help me to let go – to unburden on You.

I’m playing with the word ‘expectations’ – I hear You tell me that they’re all mine, not Yours. You are not burdening me with any expectations – You simply want me to enjoy You. Not to fret, not to worry, not to wring my hands over details that You have completely in Your control. 

Complete. I am complete in You. I can rest here, safely and without fear or anxiety. 

She writes: ‘You may take the gift of a light and merry heart, for My love dispels all fear and is a cure for every ill.’

I may take this gift? I desire a light and merry heart, I desire not to burden those You place in my path with my petty sorrows, but rather bless them with Your grace, Your mercy and Your love.

Yes, I’ve come here today with expectations Lord. I’ve come with the expectation of finding my freedom in You. I believe I am in You and that You are in me, what am I lacking?

I turn the page – and James 1:5 slaps me in the face, almost playfully. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.’ – She goes on, ‘Apply your heart to learn wisdom. This goal transcends every other aim, and any other good that come out of a pressure period is an added blessing in excess. Seek Me above all else.’

(unsplash.com)
Seek You! Not stories, not publishers, not purpose – seek You! Matthew 6:33 Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you – Lord, don’t You get tired of having to take me back to the beginning over and over and over again? I rejoice that Your patience never wears thin, with me, or with anyone on earth. You are my treasure.  You are my words, because You are THE WORD!

How can I feel so lost and yet expect to help others to find their way to You? My feelings betray me. The enemy of my soul has beguiled me. I pour out my heart to You, oh Lord.  Forgive me for allowing the snares of the enemy to entrap me. Suck me into Your Word where I am forever safe. 

A few tears, a few rants, a few fits of fear and trembling – and I am safe in You. You are here with me. You are smiling: at me! 

I have to laugh here. The very next scripture Ms Roberts takes me to is, Matthew 6:33. I thank You, Lord, for my friend Diane. She gave me this book, now, knowing it contains my hearts cry – and Your cry to my heart. Every other sentence snatches away my breath.  

(stpeterscomox.ca)
Though I look here and there for direction and purpose and meaning for my life – and suppose that the words you give me to write should be going somewhere and I try in vain, in my flesh to find their place, You have my purpose tucked there in Your heart, where You deeply long for me to resign myself. In seeking You my purposes will reveal themselves.

My heart catches as the thought dashes across my mind, seek God? How? How do I seek God?  Suck me into Your Word, Jesus!

Clutch my children to Your heart, oh God. How can I possibly think I love them more than You do??? Why do I cry over them, when You oh God, rejoice over them? Why do I grieve, yet You sing and dance over them? Yes, I’m proud of them. I know Your heart protects them, and by Your loving kindness You draw them to Yourself. I trust You with them. That is the bottom line. I no longer shoulder sorrow or apprehension. You oh God love them, treasure them, cherish them, hold them, cover them and protect them. You oh God draw them, You woo them, You test and try them, because You trust them. Why do I cry? Why do I tremble? I have a hard time believing it’s because of lack of trust in You. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. I trust You, help my distrust.

(victorycville.org)
Lord, why is it that I get excited about something You’ve shown me, yet when I try to share it, no one seems to care or be blessed by it? Surely, You’re not just showing me something trivial. Everything You touch is big. Everything You’re in, is great. Help me not to be saddened or to turn away from something You’ve revealed to me simply because no one else seems to care about it.  Help me to never turn away from anything You bring me to, or bring me through – or bring through me!

Why this quiet place? Why have I longed to be here with You? You’re everywhere. Will I leave here somehow closer to You? That is my desire. You know the desires of my heart, oh God. You, oh Lord know me inside and out. If You care to know how many hairs are on my head, You surely care about the cares in my heart. I hand them over to You. Here they are Lord. They’re Yours."  


(stlukesyork.org)

Thursday, November 21, 2019

I Doubt It


(cbn.com)
Sometimes I get a little pitiful. Just a few minutes ago, my phone rang. I heard it, but I couldn’t see it. I knew where it was supposed to be. I thought I’d plugged it in to charge, but it wasn’t there on the counter by the plug. I spun around in circles, listening for it, I didn’t get any closer to or further from the ringing. Times like this I get so frustrated with myself. How can I lose something while using it? Or having just used it? How can I not find my phone? It’s never that far from me! It makes me doubt my own sanity. I’ve been sitting here at my kitchen table, writing a letter and lost the pen I was writing with! How can this be? No. There are no roaming ghosts in my house. The only ghost here is the Holy Ghost. Sometimes I find my pen, sometimes I never do. But, my phone? I need my phone. I can always go to the drawer and grab another pen, but I only have one phone. Where was it, you ask? In my pocket. I hope you’re laughing at me, too, because I am.

I’ve also done ditzy things like apply a wet, hot washcloth to my face – without taking my glasses off first. Who does this?

No, I don’t have dementia. I’m not going crazy. But, it goes to show you how simple things can cause us to doubt ourselves. They can cause us to stop trusting our own judgement.

(faithdisrupted.com)
It’s just as easy to doubt God. Crazy, I know. But, true. We look at something simple in the flesh and we don’t make the spiritual connection and we begin to question whether God knows what He’s doing.

We often ask, why does God allow bad things to happen to good people. Wasn’t there a book with that title?

If I can’t find the phone in my own pocket, or the glasses on my own head, how can I seriously believe I understand every little thing about how God moves in our lives? How can I think I fully understand the Word of God when the pen I was just writing with has completely disappeared and I have no earthly explanation for where it’s gone?

Yet, there are many who toss aside their Bibles, muttering to themselves, “I’ve read this, it doesn’t help.” I have friends who have given up on the power of prayer because they’ve prayed and didn’t see their answers manifest according the instructions they’d given to God. Reading the Bible and knowing God are not the same thing.

(phillyvoice.com)
I’m not saying God is too complex to understand, but I don’t think I know anyone who will gather a complete understanding of Who He is before they leave this world. Our understanding is finite. God is infinite.

My neighbor and I were just talking about Peter walking on the water to Jesus. He did great, as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. The minute he looked at the waves blowing up around him, he sunk into the water. Immediately, Jesus reached out and grabbed his hand. How far out did he walk? Watching the waves and paying attention to the wind caused him to doubt what Jesus had just said to him.

In that same way, when we listen to a diagnosis, or feel pain in our bodies, it’s just as easy to take our eyes off Jesus; to doubt what He’s promised us in His Word.

What are some examples of what you see around you that causes unbelief to stir up inside of you? What situations make it easy for doubt to raise its ugly head and sneer at you?

If we can doubt ourselves and each other, how can we not take into account that we doubt God? Yes, we’re the ones doing the doubting. God’s existence and love for us isn’t in question.

It’s not God that’s failing us. It’s us that fail to believe in God. It’s us who doubt. It’s us who turn away too quickly, who give up before we triumph, sometimes even turning to pity or bitterness.

We may insist we believe in God. But, in effect, most of us merely believe in a higher power, an anonymous, shapeless, unidentifiable, helpless entity, who does nothing at all for mankind. That’s not believing in God.

(crosswalk.com)
Is it easier to believe that God won’t help us than it is to believe He does?

I know that I know that I know that my God is intimately involved in every single aspect of my life, even the parts I don’t understand, myself.

My lack of understanding doesn’t negate the God of the universe.

When our lack of understanding rises to that level, we’ve made ourselves into our own god, and we’ve failed ourselves.

It’s time to get back to our first love. It’s time to get back to the basics of God’s Word, to nourish ourselves with the milk of the word, since we’ve begun to choke on the meat.

Repent. Do you now what it means? It simply means to turn around. When we recognize we’re messing up doubting or going the wrong way completely – it’s as simple as turning around.

Jesus said, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.” – Mark 11:23

Not addressing what “this mountain” might be right now, just pondering how much we doubt…..

(luxecoliving.com)

Friday, November 15, 2019

Worry Much?


(crosswalk.com)
Do you ever worry?

I imagine most of us do.

I’ve never thought of myself as a worrier, though. I was a military wife for almost 25 years, and I saw God intervene to protect my husband. One night while he was working in the weather tower at RAF Bentwaters, I called the children together to pray for Daddy. In my mind I’d seen him flailing like a flag in the wind off the side of the tower. When Dave got home from his shift, he told us how the wind almost blew him off the observation platform, but something pulled him back. Yeah, I think I can trust God with Dave.

We’ve seen countless prayers answered. 
(biblestudytools.com)
As young adults our boys joined the military and went off to war; enough to worry any mother. Yet, trusting them to God’s protection, we heard stories of how God’s protection manifested. Our daughter has moved far away from us twice now, and God has provided for her every step of the way, even when things got ugly. Yeah, I think I can trust God with our children.

Throughout this journey of life, God has taken care of us. He’s always proved Himself faithful.

“We need to give not only the situation that weighs so heavily on us to Him, but ourselves as well.” James Banks pours into us with simple, yet powerful truths in his book Prayers forProdigals. His point is very valid. When I place my children or my husband or my friends into the powerful hands of God, Who’s been loving them more than I do, He joyfully provides for them. But He wants US to climb up into those loving hands, too. How can we trust Him with people who are a part of us, without trusting Him with everything that makes us who we are?

(returningtooneness.com)
Mr. Banks goes on to say, “When by faith we take hold of Jesus, reaching for Him and not just what He can do for us, He takes hold of us and lifts us to new places of grace.”

That takes us to the exciting level of believing that nothing is impossible with God. Living in the blessings of God shows us that His grace provides everything we need, even miracles.

Is trusting God with anything trusting Him at all if we’re not trusting Him with EVERYthing?

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own (puny, human, incomplete) understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5 Amplification in parenthesis are mine…

(billygraham.org)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

What's in....your mind?


(from clipart-library.com)

“Your mind is the command center of your life. For your mind to guide you into a good future, it needs to be free from painful memories you’ve been holding on to. The battle for your happiness is inside of you, specifically in your mind. Other people matter and influence your life. Ultimately, though, your thinking more than any other factor determines your happiness.” -Eric Thurman

This quote comes from a book on retirement that Dave and I are currently discussing, Thrive in Retirement, Simple Secrets for Being Happy for the Rest of Your Life. (Click here to go to Amazon to check out the book yourself.)

My mind tends to want to wrestle everything that doesn’t line up completely with the Word of God. Sometimes I try to make it line up, other times, I pray about it and God shows me what He was saying through the person making the statement; specifically, what He was saying to me.

This quote though, I don’t really wrestle with it at all; I’m pondering it. I like it. It just makes sense.

(from owlcation.com)
I was chatting with a woman about her retirement years. She wasn’t encouraging at all. She made it sound like each day was merely a matter of existing; waking up to breathe for another day. I almost wanted to ask, “So, you’re just waiting for the day you don’t live through?”

I don’t want to live out our retirement like that.

I suppose, just like every day of life before retirement, we have to choose whether or not to be happy as the day unfolds. But this book gives us food for thought as to how to get the most out of our latter years. It could all be applied to our younger years, as well. I think he needs a different title.

On another page he wrote, “It is my ambition to be happy for all the years I have left, and I want to infect you with the same enthusiasm. A thriving life of delight and meaning isn’t going to come as a streak of good luck. It will happen as the result of deliberate choices and actions.”

Again. Makes perfect sense to me!

The Bible tells us that what we think is what we’re going to be. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on the good things. For my real fans, you know that’s part of my favorite chunk of scripture. Another portion of scripture tells us that “as a man thinks, so is he”. (Proverbs 23:7) Even secular books tell us this same profitable message.
Song: Think on the Good Things - The Gaither Trio

What we allow to roll around in our heads is going to shape our lives, whether we’re near retirement or just starting out in life.

(from me.me.com)
There’s a popular credit card commercial that asks, “What’s in your wallet?” Can't you hear him ask just by seeing his face? 

I ask, “What’s in your mind?”

You don’t have to answer out loud.

Many of us would answer that our minds are filled with our mounting problems. Or that we constantly think of how someone wronged us, or that we dwell on how unfair life seems to be.

Can many of us honestly say that our thoughts are filled with good things – all the time? That we dwell on our blessings more than our problems?

God tells us to “fret not” and to “fear not”. (Someone told me that the Bible says to “fear not” 365 times! Once for each day of the year.) God’s Word tells us to be anxious for nothing, that means not to worry about anything. It’s written there to be careful (full of care, worry) for nothing, because He does the caring for us. (1 Peter 5:7)

Maybe our enemy doesn’t have to tempt us with the “big sins” like murder or the like. Maybe all he has to do is get us worrying, about anything, actually.

(from Facebook.com)
I read a meme on social media, and then shared it myself. It read: “The serpent did not tempt Adam and Eve to steal, to kill, to commit adultery; he simply tempted them to question God’s Word.”

Ponder THAT!


Think on the Good Things Gaither Trio



Saturday, November 2, 2019

He Stood Up


(Photo from everydaypower.com)
Sunday morning at church a powerful, popular young woman asked us to envision Jesus sitting on the throne, at the right hand of God – smiling at us. Then she asked us to smile back at Him.

In my mind, as He sat there in all His glory, He smiled, having finished the work He was sent to complete – our salvation, and everything that comes with it, is paid for. That’s a mighty hallelujah! His smile was everything I needed. As I was out there, buried in the crowd of the masses of believers, I could see Him as if He were right in front of me. I waved and smiled back, overjoyed to see my best friend. To my joy and surprise, He spotted me in the crowd – and HE STOOD UP! He stood up and waved at me, His smile even bigger than ever, as if He was smiling at me alone. I know the crowd didn’t disappear, we were all still there, but in that moment, I felt like I was the most important person in the world to Him. He waved vivaciously as if saying, “Helen! Hi! I’ve missed you. There you are! I’m so excited to see you!”

I felt awe cover me like the steam in a steam room comes up to take your breath away. Excitement washed over me, bathing me, permeating every pore in my body.

Time stood still.

I have no idea what the woman of God standing before us said after that. I was immersed in the glory of God that wrapped itself around me.

(picture from Pinterest.com)
Do you ever make the time to spend time with God? Reading or studying His Word, praying or just quietly pondering His goodness? Even in those moments, it doesn’t always feel like God is present there with you, in the here and now. But, in this instant, I felt His very real, tangible presence.

I get it, we don’t walk simply by our feelings. But, when feelings are added to our faith, it’s a beautiful moment, indeed.

Whether I “feel” Him here with me or not, He’s here. There’s an old anonymous quote that says, “Bidden or not, He is here”. His Word tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. When it feels like He’s a million miles away or has completely vanished from the horizon of our soul – it’s because we’ve turned our eyes to other things. No matter how many steps we take in the wrong direction, it takes only one step to get back into His presence. Not even a step, really. Just turn around, He’s there. He’s had your back all along.

Picture Jesus sitting there on His throne, right next to His Dad, smiling at you.

Smile back.

Oh, and one more thing: “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” – 1 John 3:20 (NIV)



“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified… for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave your nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)

“No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Joshua 1:5 (NIV)

“…Because God has said, “I will never leave you; never will I forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)


(Picture from Pinterest.com)