Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Struggle is Real

(Picture from livestrong.com)
What an honor to be asked to share a guest blog for Positively Debbie! She never ceases to amaze me with her courage, tenacity and determination. She continues to inspire me and encourage me in my fitness journey as I watch her push forward with hers.

It’s not just about weight loss, but that seems to be where we measure it the most. For me, it’s clearly about what I do and don’t put into my mouth; that’s where my weakness seems to triumph over me, daily.

I tend to look at things through the mirror of parallels – what’s going on around me spiritually while I take part in what’s going on around me physically?

My weight loss pendulum swings far to the heavy side, at the moment. As I age, it’s quite tempting to blame the advancing years for the slowing down of my body. It’s also easy to blame my emotions for the Doritos and pizza my mouth craves.

I’ve read some terrific books over the years (here’s a great one: - Made to Crave, by Lysa Terkeurst).

And, I’ve met some fabulous encouragers, those who’ve gone before me in this fitness journey, and met it with success. Debbie is one of those who’ve faced the battles, though different in appearance from my own, the roots are the same.

Among so many things, we face loneliness (empty nest syndrome), sadness (the absence of loved ones), hormonal fluctuations, boredom, and an overall emptiness that longs to be filled.

The way I see it, the deciding factor for reaching our fitness goals is simply: with what do I fill my gaping voids?

Another great book? I AM, by Michele Chusatt

Sometimes, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m a Christian, because too often, there’s a lack of evidence with which I could be convicted as such. I feel like many could judge me and say, “If this God of yours truly loves you, why doesn’t He help you with these important areas of life struggles?”

And that’s just the kind of thing the enemy tries to silence me with, not being a good example before my fellow strugglers.

But, the blame lies with me. Enough of this banter that says, “…it’s not your fault…” Indeed, most of the time, it IS my fault. I get to choose whether I listen to the voice of logic and reason that tells me the bag of Doritos I’ve hidden for myself is the wrong place to go for validation and acceptance. I know in my heart, that God has already validated my heart, and has unconditionally accepted me, blemishes and all. He waits eagerly to meet my every need. He longs to be my source, for everything. Better yet, He loves me – always has, always will.

Yet… I too often seek refuge in a salty snack. Why? I suppose if I had all the answers, my book would be the next best seller and I wouldn’t have a weight loss care in the world.

The answers that I know will truly work, are those answers that have worked for me in the past:

*Get my eyes on Jesus, not on the weight scale. What we look at determines what fills our minds. Is my mind on God? Or on that little digital number that can ruin my day?

*Turn to the Bible before I lunge for the snacks. Most often, the desire for the snack disappears. My focus determines my actions.

*Get my praise on! Don’t listen to sad, sappy love songs where the songwriter ended up on the losing end of things!

*Listen to what God says about me, not what the world tries to force down my throat. I AM worthy of love, I AM accepted and justified, through Jesus Christ! Gone are the days of shame, Jesus has washed me clean of all that. The enemy of my soul loves to drag me down with his lies and a big bag of chips.

*Recognize: I GET TO CHOOSE. With every single choice presented to me throughout my day, I get to choose my response.

*My go-to passage in the Bible: Philippians 4:4-8 – Think on the good things!

Of course, eating clean and moving more are pivotal, but, we have to get to a place where we recognize that we deserve to eat clean and move our bodies. The lie that it’s just not worth it, we’re just not worth it – is the chain that binds us to unhealthy habits (whether it’s overeating, or overconsumption of alcohol or any other addiction that tempts us).

(Picture from Pinterest.com)

 Thank you for hearing my “points to ponder”.

Here’s a poem I wrote a few years back while seeing the weight scale greet me with pleasantries each morning. But, it’s true, even when the scale is mean to me.

Perhaps you didn’t hear me when I said I’d lose this weight

I meant it when I said it and you cannot change my fate

In Jesus’ Name I cast down any morbid enemy

that would try to take my freedom

and my grace away from me

I rebuke you, I resist you and you cannot steal my day

I choose this day Whom I shall serve,

and I shall serve His Way

I choose to live and not to die, I’ll walk a life of faith

I choose to lose the extra weight I’ve carried and I hate

In Jesus’ Name I’ll not give in to worldly ways and whine

I’ll not go running back to food for comfort for my mind

The God that made the universe and holds it in His Hands

Can surely take me through this trial into the promised lands

My mind’s made up, I’ve turned my face

away from earth’s rewards

I’ll draw upon my GOD as I take up His trusty Sword

I’ll fight the battle to be fought and know that I will win

His Sword is filled with Living Words

that keep my soul from sin

His Word will build me up

and keep me from the snares of man

He’ll fill me up with all I need -as only Jesus can

He Himself said meat is just to do His Father’s Will

He is the Bread of Life and will sustain me ever still

I’m living proof that Jesus truly saves, forgives and keeps

He’ll sanctify me daily as I yield my heart so deep

The wounds that I have carried for so many haunting years

Are healed in Jesus’ Precious Name, erased with all my fears.

~Helen Williams! c  2002

Monday, August 14, 2017

Shake It Off

(photo from walesonline.co.uk)
“God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)

I personalize this by receiving the good news that, God has not given me a spirit of fear (another scripture points out that perfect love casts out all fear). But, God HAS given me His spirit of power, His spirit of Love and the spirit of a sound mind.

Fear has reigned in my heart for a good deal of my life, even when I thought I’d tackled it. But, yesterday it jumped out at me, that the word for fear in this verse is also translated timidity.

God has not given us the spirit of timidity.

Timid – lacking in self-assurance, courage, or bravery; easily alarmed; timorous; shy. Characterized by or indicating fear. (dictionary.com)

(photo from onepeterfive.com)
I immediately recognized that I’ve allowed a spirit of timidity to overcome me and my daily actions and conversations. It dawned on me that I’ve allowed the opinions of others to cloud or overshadow my own thoughts and convictions. Not so much to the changing of my thoughts and convictions, but, limiting and inhibiting my expression of these beliefs. Since these are beliefs that I hold dear, I now challenge myself; why? And how have I let this self-doubt or apprehension creep into my thinking?

Are my thoughts and beliefs any less valid than the thoughts and beliefs of those around me? No.

Have I fallen prey to the notions of political correctness that would intimidate me into silence for fear that I’ll offend someone? Perhaps.

Am I so concerned with what others might think of me, that I’m hiding the very core of who I am? Is my ego that shallow? I think so. What a crushing blow!

I choose to live my life as I believe God leads me.

I’ve chosen to surrender my life to the God of the universe, the God that created us all and everything we see, as well as plenty we don’t see.

I believe that all life is sacred, that God loves us all, with His love that knows no limits and cannot be removed from us. Whether we want His love, or feel we deserve His love or not – He loves us, without end and without conditions.

I believe that to live in peace with God, we must go through Jesus Christ, His Son, Whom He sent to redeem us from a fallen state.

I believe what God says in His Word, I receive His promises to me, knowing that most of them are conditional upon submission to Him. I choose that submission.

(picture from maulshri.com)
Today, I choose to shake off that spirit of timidity; it’s not from God.

Today, I choose to take up that spirit of power, God’s spirit of Love and the spirit of a sound, confident mind and wear them boldly.

Might I fumble? You bet.

Might I fall flat on my face, and even get angry with myself for doubting my relationship with God or for doubting the power of the spirit of Love that wants only the best for me? Of course.

Continuously, life is choice after choice. Most of the daily choices we make, we make subconsciously, not even recognizing that a choice has been made. Whether we give in to old patterns, or whether we step out into new boldness; whether we see why we do the things we do or not, choices are being made.
(picture from pinterest.com)
Today, I choose boldness.

Today, I choose to trust God with all my heart.

Today, I choose God’s generous, rewarding will over my own selfish, limiting will.

Check back with me tomorrow. The spirit of fear is sneaky, I’ll likely need your prayers.

Friday, July 28, 2017

How Did He Teach Us to Pray?

 While walking and praying on one of my favorite trails, I saw revelation in the Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father. My intention was to pray over one specific friend this morning, as I began my prayer, I joined myself to my sister and prayed, “Our Father….” We share this heavenly Father; she is my sister, whom I love dearly.

Our Father in Heaven. Heaven has reached into our hearts. The very kingdom of God is within us, growing and reaching into the lives of those we love.  As we allow God’s love to grow in us, we expand the kingdom of Heaven here on Earth.

Our Father in Heaven, holy is Your Name! Time for the hosannas and the hallelujahs as rejoicing breaks through my prayer time. How can one commune with our Father, even in times of despair or great sorrow, without allowing His joy to permeate our prayers, without reverencing all that is holy?

Thy kingdom come. By joining myself to God I allow His kingdom to come and reign in my life. I exalt Him as King of kings and Lord of lords; I submit to Him as God of my life, as God of all life. His kingdom is the only kingdom I want to explore. There are principalities and dominions I don’t understand that have hold in the lives of many around us, but, I choose to live in Christ and allow Christ to reign in me. Every facet of my life somehow revolves around expanding God’s kingdom reign in the world around me. Is He God of all? Absolutely! Has He given dominion of the world to man? Yes. Every unholy choice we make leads us further from the next line…

Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. I won’t claim to know God’s will in everything. It’s His will that we commune with Him, it’s His will that we know His Word, His Son, Jesus. It’s His will that we love, always. But, whether or not He wants me to take a specific job or to redecorate my kitchen, well…..sometimes He lets us in on which way to go, other times, I think He’s willing to bless what we choose. He always guides and directs us, but, He’s given us tremendous freedom as well.

Can you imagine His perfect will, as it is in Heaven, surrounding us here on Earth? According to the Bible, I don’t think that will happen until a new heaven and a new earth are ushered in….but, can you just imagine it? Yes, we pray come quickly Lord Jesus, and we agree in prayer, Let Thy will be done in Earth as it is in Heaven. I want God’s perfect will accomplished in my life, and in the lives of those I love. And yes, in the lives of everyone on the planet.

How pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! (Psalm 133:1)
(Picture from seriouseats.com)
Give us this day our daily bread. We generally consider our daily bread to be our meal. Jesus Himself said that His meat was to do the will of the Father. So, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that our daily bread isn’t just our physical meals, it includes all the sustenance we need from day to day. It includes our food, but so much more! 

What else do we need to thrive? Not just to exist from day to day, but to really thrive! Our greatest need is something many of us push away, as if we don’t deserve it, as if it’s a special treat reserved for the truly worthy. Our greatest need is love; God’s love!

We all need to feel loved. It’s not just a want, it’s a God-given need. We’re not asking for something God can’t provide. He created us with a built-in need for His love, and for the love of our fellow man – and perhaps that of a spouse.
(picture from thefreshloaf.com)
God freely gives us His love – and more; everything we need is within our grasp.
And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Many years ago, I read a column (as they were called before the word blog became popular) which told the story of a mother listening as her child prayed at bedtime. Reciting the Lord’s Prayer, he said, in part, “forgive us our trash passing, as we forgive those who pass trash against us…” That’s the way I hear it in my head now. Cute? Yes, adorable. But, just as true.

I think perhaps, this might be the scariest prayer to pray. Forgive us as we forgive others?

But – what if we’re not so forgiving of others?


Mark 11:25 says, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (NIV)

Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (NIV)

Yeah, to me, that’s some pretty heavy stuff. “But, God…..” we whine.

There’s the story of the man who was forgiven much then turned around and demanded that another who owed him a pittance pay up immediately or he’d have him thrown into debtor’s jail. In Matthew 18:21-35 Peter asks Jesus how many times we’re to forgive those who wrong us. Jesus explains the parable of the unmerciful servant. Because forgiveness is so important within the kingdom of God (which reigns in our hearts), I’ll include the story here.

“Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him and forgave him the debt.
Personal note here, that was a forgiving king! He didn’t just agree to be patient until the servant could pay him, he forgave the debt altogether. I wonder how the servant came to owe the king so much, or how he ever thought he could pay it. But, the king shows mercy, so it’s kind of irrelevant. But, the parable goes on….

“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion o your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due him.

“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” (NKJV)
(picture from ipost.christianpostcom)
Yowza! It doesn’t sound like Jesus is making light of the powerful act of forgiveness, does it? I’ll just leave that there for us to chew on.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. None of us wants to endure trials, as they tend to stretch us. But evil? No, none of us ever want to experience evil, personally. Most of us are grieved to hear of others enduring evil. Although, plenty of us seem to enjoy watching it on television or at the movie theaters.

Deliver us from evil – when we ask God to lead us in His ways, to turn us from the path of evil, we’re asking Him to direct our footsteps. We’re giving up the right to choose to walk down a road that’s filled with consequences, some we know of, some of which hide in the darkness along the way. But, we’re directly asking God to spare of us all that.

(picture from thoughtco.com)
Then. Sometimes. In our own stubbornness, we continue down that road, because the temptations seem so rewarding in the moment. Then, we wonder why God allowed such evil to befall us. In a word; consequences.

God chastens those He loves. Yes. But, punishment is reserved for the wicked. Consequences follow when we walk where God has clearly shown us not to. We can’t feign ignorance, we have the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us.

If I tell my granddaughter not to ride her bike in the middle of the road, and she defiantly does so anyway. She may get hit by a car. Being hurt by the car isn’t a punishment for riding where she was told not to, it’s a consequence. My telling her to be careful not to pedal there was a warning out of love, not me playing dictator and keeping her from “all the fun”.

For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory – forever and ever. Amen.

(picture from delivertheword.com)
Here comes the rejoicing and the hallelujahs again. What a thrill to share in God’s kingdom and in His power and in His glory! It’s all His, but, He chooses to bless us in all of it, simply because we are in Him and He is in us! Hallelujah! Ponder His kingdom, His power and His glory!

Along the trail, God brought my attention to a tiny ant carrying a stick that was measurably, much bigger than he was. As he made his way across the smooth sidewalk, I was impressed. He skittered down the edge of the sidewalk and through the grains of sand, that looked like boulders around him. He didn’t seem to let the harshness of his terrain deter him from his task at all.

Sometimes, our hearts are heavy and we carry them around for everyone to see, or we hide the struggle as if we’re punishing ourselves for feeling the crushing weight of whatever it is we’re going through.

Though our terrain changes, God is still God and at the end of the day, He’s still the One Who carries us. He’s still the One Who gets all the glory. He’s always the One Who never gives us on us; Who will always answer our call.  He is still, our Father.

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” – Jude 1:24-25 (KJV)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Gifts or Giver?

(Photo from colorsongyarn.com)
We’re surrounded by so many blessings, we sometimes take them for granted. Generally, around the winter holidays, we see an upsurge on social media, extolling the virtues of thankfulness, and that’s great. Sometimes it even sticks and we find ourselves being mindful to be grateful on an everyday basis.

But, going a step beyond not recognizing the plethora of blessings God pours out on us daily, I ponder whether we often times look to the gifts of God, rather than to God Himself.

The church isn’t a building, it’s the people of God that gather together, the body of Christ. That’s blessing enough, in many circumstances, especially when it’s a congregation of hungry souls seeking after God’s best for everyone, led by a godly man or woman who won’t compromise with the world or ignore, or even hide sinfulness that threatens his or her congregation.
(photo from keywordsuggests.com)
But, as I look around, it sometimes appears that people look to, follow or even worship individuals within the body of Christ. Yikes!

We see how whole congregations fall apart when their leader falls from grace. We read how pastors of mega-churches are being investigated for financial fraud and mishandling of the funds their congregations have entrusted to them. When pastors are making millions of dollars a year from the giving of those who trust them, sometimes the very poorest among us, I have a problem with that. Not to say that pastors can’t prosper financially, but, I’ve often heard it said that God sends you more when you don’t let it stick to your fingers. There are too many needy people in the world that the church isn’t reaching, though giving may be at an all time high.

Looking at what some consider a polar opposite to the church, we have science, another incredible gift of God. How exciting to have the need, the drive, the ambition and intelligence to seek out the mysteries of God and His universe, the world around us, and our own bodies! It must thrill God to see us exploring all He’s given us. Observing the world around us can create peace and excitement. Discovery can be phenomenally fulfilling. Wonder is a beautiful gift in itself.

Yet, there are those who put science above the God Who gave it all to us in the first place, even denying that Someone greater than they can conceive, has orchestrated everything around us and within us.

I’ll never understand how the minds that can fathom what most of us find unfathomable and seek out great mysteries, can be locked into their own little paradigm so snuggly, that they can’t see beyond it.

Life doesn’t just happen. It’s created. To be created, there must first be a creator. That sounds like Logic 101 to me.

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” – Luke 11:13 (ESV)

We all have so much in common, but our thinking can be so diverse. It’d be silly to assume that everyone thinks like we do, yet many of us carry that myth well into adulthood.

(picture from theodysseyonline.com)
 Art and music are often such an integral part of our lives that we don’t notice it surrounding us. Yet, there are many of us who feel that these beautiful things are the substance of Life itself; enthralled with the places it takes us or the serenity or excitement it brings us; putting pleasure before anything else.

Money is certainly something people put first in their lives, giving their lives away in pursuit of it, giving it the authority of a god over their every day comings and goings. Some people put so much effort into acquiring money; they leave no time to enjoy what it can afford them.
(photo from irs.com)

Working! We have workaholics who set no time aside for anything else, not family, not vacations, not even the God Who gave them the strong hands and the brilliant mind with which they themselves into an early grave, because they’re driven to work, work, work. I’m not pondering the reasons behind it, just that it happens.

Our children! Don’t get me started. How easy is it to put them first, before the God Who gave them to us?

(picture from catholiclane.com)
When we look to the gifts God gives us instead of looking to God Himself, we make those gifts into gods. One of the most important commands God ever gave us tells us: I am the Lord your God, you shall not have any other gods before me. He doesn’t instruct us this way because He’s arrogant and selfish, thinking more highly of Himself than He ought, though there is no one higher. He knows that we’ll miss out on so much that He has for us, if we serve His gifts instead of enjoying them. We can’t really enjoy them if we don’t honor the God Who gives them to us.

When our focus is so single-minded and focused on one gift, the others fade from sight, though they’re still there to enjoy if we can allow ourselves the freedom to look up and see them. When we focus on one gift – we become slaves to the gift and to how we think the gifts benefits us.

“Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves.” – Nehemiah 7:66 (ESV)

Are you seeking God for what He can give you? Are you seeking a relationship with the God Who gives? Or, are you denying yourself the opportunities to really enjoy everything life offers, by denying He’s the God of every good gift?

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Light…” – James 1:17 (ESV)
(photo from ccis.sg)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Write Anyway

(photo from indeanexpress.com)
Writing, whether in blog format, or journaling or for a project, taps into my soul and my spirit, even when I’m not aware of it.

I suppose that’s why I neglect writing when I’m hurting or sad or fearful.

God wants me to turn to Him, of course, in those times of need, just as He wants me to share with Him in my joyous times and celebrations.

But, the heaviness of the hard times can weigh us down and tempt us to curl up in a ball inside of ourselves. We can convince ourselves not to reach outward and upward, but to reach inward and wallow in the grief and anguish.

Without God, I am undone, in good times or in bad. I just recognize it more clearly in the bad times.

Celebrations can cover over feelings of emptiness or lacking, because there are so many distractions while celebrating.

But, sometimes, a person can sink so low, that even amidst celebrations, they’re pretending; forcing the image of sharing in the revelry. That can magnify sorrows even more intensely.

I suppose most of us who put our blogs out there in cyberspace are really writing to and for ourselves. Those who have a larger following may cater more to what their readers want or even ask for. But, those of us with smaller audiences basically pour out our hearts, in hopes that perhaps something we say can bless someone in some small way.

(picture from pinterest.com)
It frustrates me that my posts have become so infrequent and sporadic. It frustrates me that I feel I have less and less to share. But, it frustrates me most, that from the wealth God has given me, I feel as though my bucket is running dry.

Feelings can betray us. If I feel as though you’re judging me and you’re not, I’m feeling something that isn’t even true. Thus, I know that I know that I know that God’s eternal life springs up within me, even when I feel my proverbial bucket has run dry.

I've got a river of life flowing out of me
makes the lame to walk and the blind to see
opens prison doors, sets the captives free
I've got a river of life flowing out of me.
Spring up, O well, within my soul
Spring up, O well, and make me whole
Spring up, O well, and give to me
that life abundantly

Click here for: River of Life Song

(photo from iamhealed.net)
Should I just stick to praying for you, instead of writing to you? Or will the enemy of my soul then seek to steal that from me, also? He’s already stolen most of my songs….not this, too!

No. I’ll write. I may continue to be sporadic and sparse, but, I’ll continue to write.
I’ll write when no one reads. I’ll write when I write through tears. I’ll write – even when I don’t share it in a blog post.

But, I’ll write.

To God be the glory. He who began a good work in me, shall be faithful to complete it.  (Philippians 1:6 paraphrased, I sometimes memorize scripture via song choruses.)

“Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”” – John 4:13-14 (KJV)

Click here for: God Will Make a Way Song

(picture from crossmap.com)

Monday, May 1, 2017

What's In Your Closet?

(picture from pinterest.com)

Last week our pastor made mention of a book that intrigued me. I haven’t gotten it yet, but, I took note of it. From a Women’s Aglow Bible study, it’s called Shame; the Thief of Intimacy.

Sometimes shame, like other negative feelings, can bring us down. We can wear it like a cozy bathrobe, not even aware of how it’s dragging us into darkness, until it’s too late. It’s a subtle thing, we reach for it there on the hook in our bathroom, right where we left it that last time we shook it off.

(photo from houzz.com)
 But, shame isn’t the only thief in our wardrobe.

Throughout our average day, we may well put on something that looks more like depression, sadness, sorrow, anxiety, worry or fear.

Throughout scripture, we read about clothing ourselves; in the righteousness of God (Isaiah 61:10; Ephesians 4:22-24), in the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18), with praise and rejoicing (Isaiah 61:1-2)….

I delight greatly in the Lord;
    my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
    and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
    and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. – Isaiah 61:10 (NIV)

When I show up at the elementary school to pick up my granddaughter, if I notice I’ve spilt coffee on my shirt, it’s too late to do anything about it. If I’d noticed it before I left the house, I could have changed into something clean, and avoided any embarrassment.

So, maybe one of our first steps into the day should include looking at ourselves in our spiritual mirror (the Word of God) to see if we line up with what He has to say about us. (James 1:22-25)

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom,and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. – James 1:22-25 (NIV)

(photo from etsy.com)

Pastor also mentioned something about pride being the root of a poor self-image. Say what? Didn’t make sense to me at first, but he went on to explain that pride says that what my opinion is of me, is more correct than what God thinks of me. Ouch!

So, if I feel worthless or shameful or defeated, that’s truer than what my Creator, the God of the Universe has to say about me???

Yeah, I guess that would be pride.

God knew we’d have hard days; days when we feel as if the world is moving on without us, days when we feel worthless, days when sorrow overwhelms us, and days when the bad news just won’t stop coming. As a matter of fact, we can quote His Word, saying, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.– John 16:33

His Word also tells us to put on the garment of praise in exchange for the spirit of heaviness. Here it is, tucked into some of my favorite verses.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
   and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor. – Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)

So no matter how we’re feeling today, look need into the mirror of the Word of God, throw our shoulders back and admit it; what He says about us is true.

Yes, we will overcome – even this.

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. – 1 John 4:4 (KJV)

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. – 1 John 5:4 (KJV)

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? – 1 John 5:5 (KJV)

What’s in your closet?

(photo from myclothinghelper.com)