Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I hear voices!

"If left to defend ourselves from self-condemnation or the condemnation of others, we’d be defeated every time. Thankfully, we have the greatest defender in God and His Word. His truths re-build the confidence that condemnation breaks down."

So many women beat themselves up over past choices, past mistakes, past regrets (myself included).  We hear the lies of satan and accept them as truth.  But, those of us who are believers should be claiming God's Truths.  We should be hiding scripture in our hearts so that when satan's voice starts whispering doubts and condemnation for our past, we can SMACK HIM DOWN with TRUTH!  Others will say things to throw our past in our face.  Same action applies - holding scripture in our hearts, allowing it to help us respond the way Jesus would, NOT the way we want to!

I think that when we allow the condemnation of our past to continually control us and weigh us down, it's a slap in Jesus' face.  It's like we are saying that His death on the cross wasn't enough to take away our particular sins.  Now, of course, we would NEVER say that out loud or even really think that! (I hope!)  But, seriously, contemplate it...when we allow the past to have that power over us - especially when the Bible tells us "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36), isn't that what we are doing?!? Sin from the past, satan's lies, our doubts - they make us slaves and we are NOT SLAVES!  Jesus' death on the cross  was not "half-hearted"!  He covered ALL SINS, so...we are free!!!  No condemnation!

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Romans 8:1

I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.  Psalm 119:11

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Choose wisely

I have this friend.  She is a spit fire!  She has been called the little energizer bunny because she keeps going when everything and everyone else has run out of steam!  She's wide open and says what she thinks.  She talks a mile a minute and as she puts it "has the attention span of a moth"!
Let me tell you about her though...she has the most incredible heart.  The tenderness and kindness she feels when others are in pain - it's a supernatural gift from God.  She jokes that there are people from her past that would argue whether she even has a heart, but I believe that she mistakes hurt for lack of heart.  On several occasions, she has gone out of her way to show me just how special and cherished I am to Jesus! 

I have another friend.  She is as fiery and spirited as her reddish hair!  She's opinionated, bossy, a control freak about most things.  But, she has this HUGE capacity to just listen and encourage others around her!  She has this amazing ability to see past the surface hurt and what people "say" and hear what they actually "mean"!  Her heart truly desires to give comfort and encouragement to those she comes in contact with.  She struggles with hurts of her own, but she never allows those to overshadow the people she is loving on. 

I have yet another friend. (I know, I'm blessed!)  She is strong willed.  She doesn't want to rely on anyone.  She was raised to "suck it up" and deal with the things that life throws at you.  She doesn't hand out sympathy easily.  But, she does have a great deal of compassion.  She gives that out in wheelbarrow loads!  She is the one that people just feel at ease talking to - because they know she will listen and give them the ear they need, but she will, in no uncertain terms, give them a swift kick in the behind to get them moving back in the right direction!  Those around her ALWAYS know where she stands and she is unwavering in what she believes!

I was blessed with this friend!  She has always been a little bit "mousy".  Growing up, she was so quiet - some might even say shy.  She didn't give her thoughts or opinions easily.  She kept a close couple of friends, but didn't let just anyone get too close to her.  Well, this friend has been a ROCK!  She has been through so many heartbreaks in her life, but through it all, she has maintained that sweet kind attitude.  Now, she will tell you that she's become more outspoken.  But, she always has wise counsel for me.  Even though we are hundreds of miles apart, she is still one of the first people I want to share my joys and my sorrows with.  The impact she made on my life will stay with me til the day I die.
There are other friends that have been an influence in my life!  I have been very blessed!

Proverbs 18:24
Proverbs 17:17
Proverbs 19:4
Proverbs 27:6
Proverbs 27:17

CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS WISELY!  Surround yourself with those that God can use to keep you moving on the right path!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Battle fatigue

"A tired warrior of Jesus need not burn out for lack of grateful praying friends."   ~ Anonymous ~

When people grow tired they need the support of sensitive friends. Their fatigue may flow from trials and tribulations out of their control. They may be worn down over ongoing financial challenges. Fatigue can weaken faith.

When we extend a little bit of encouragement, it can be a lifeline that leads someone back to the Lord. Well-timed encouragement is internal "chicken soup for the soul"!   Each day, life can drain courage from a hurting heart, but when we are there to give back courage with a kind word, a little cash, or a heavy duty faith-filled prayer, it can change lives.  Few people complain of receiving too much loving support!

A tired heart is especially in need of spiritual encouragement... I've been the tired heart that fought doubt in God.  I've been the emotionally exhausted soul that just couldn't find any courage left inside myself.    But, close sensitive friends poured out spiritual love and encouragement on me!  They prayed for me non-stop.  They held out their hands and sat with me and cried with me. 

This rant is just to boldly encourage Christ followers to reach out and GENUINELY support each other.  That support is evidence that God is at work!  Listen and discern when the Holy Spirit is prompting you and then DO SOMETHING!  Call someone you know that is struggling.  Send them a card.  Give them a small gift of money or a gift card.  Do coffee with them and allow them to "lay down" their heavy burdens.  Don't allow a fellow warrior to die from battle fatigue...

“He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:10-11).

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:13)

Monday, September 16, 2013

The throne or the cross

"Every person has a throne and a cross in their heart.  If you are on the throne, then Jesus is on the cross.  If Jesus is on the throne, then you are on the cross - you must die to self."   ~ JD Greear ~

I struggle EVERY DAY with giving up the throne of my heart to Jesus.  I know it's human nature, but sometimes I think I was given an extra dose of stubborn, pig-headed, control freak.  My human nature is against giving up control.  Some folks just naturally "go with the flow".  Me - not so much!  Now, I know that God created me to use these "character traits" for His glory!  I just want to do so much better than I am doing right now!!!  I want to be at a place where I can say without thinking "It's all Yours, Lord.  Take it, I trust You!".  He makes a better ruler than I do.  He has a better picture of things than I do.  He has a better plan than I do.
I have days where I do better than others.  But, my heart's desire is to remove myself completely from the throne and to engrave Jesus' name on the seat! 

"You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fresh Air!

Yesterday in church, the pastor was talking about the place where the northern hemisphere and the southern hemisphere meet.  In this place, the air is still.  So still, in fact that if sailboats get caught in this area, without help they will be stranded and eventually will die.  WOW!!!   Scary thought - no air!

The series he started is about fresh air and the need for it in order to revive our souls.  I gotta tell you, I felt like he was speaking directly to me.  I sat there thinking "Yep, I do that.  Yea, I've felt that. Oh yea, I've done that to get through."   Well, I don't want to just "get through".  I want to breathe FRESH AIR again!!!  I want the Lord to fill me up!  I want to be so in love with Jesus. I want to obey Him out of desire and not duty (1 John 5:2-3).  So...
A couple of things I need to do:
  • Stop faking it!  Yes, the smile you see on my face is not ALWAYS how I am inside.  God is Faithful though!  He WILL restore to me the joy of my salvation!!! (Psalm 51:12)
  • Fall in love with Jesus again.  I remember what it was like when Claude and I first fell in love!  I would do anything to make him happy.  I WANT that with Jesus!!!  I will pursue Him and fall in love with Him again!!
  • DIG UP ROOTS OF BITTERNESS.  This one will be my biggest challenge.  Unfortunately, I have allowed bitterness to take root in my heart.  I have allowed satan to use that to hurt me and my testimony (Hebrews 12:15).  NOT ANYMORE!  It will take alot of prayer, courage, and strength but I will dig out those weeds, all the way down to the roots!!!  
  • Forgive myself and others.  Hurt is inevitable in life.  People are human and they will let me down.  I have no choice but to give the same grace and mercy that Jesus gave to me.  I will also forgive myself.  I am human too!  I do things that I don't want to do, but my flesh does it anyway (Romans 7:15-18).  Thank God I am forgiven!!!

Time to breathe in that FRESH AIR!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I use to be!

Growing up, I know I must've given my mother and father such a challenging life!  I know that I was headstrong (big surprise!), stubborn (again, DUH!), tenacious (yes, even as a child!), and fearless.  What?!?  I was fearless???  NO WAY!

I mean, I know I am STILL headstrong, stubborn, and tenacious, but I don't see myself as fearless anymore.  In fact, if I were completely honest, I would say I've somehow become a scared-y cat.  Just yesterday, we went to this wonderful swimming hole, Green Springs!  It's alot of fun and yet for the life of me, I can't get past the "dark water" part of it.  I don't like jumping in to the water because I can't see what's down there.  I sit on the "ropes" and literally try to keep my legs and feet up near the surface because I don't want them dangling so far under the water (I know, pathetic!).  One of the girls that went out there with us yesterday was dealing with the fear too.  She wanted so badly to jump into the water.  She stood there and stared down into the water.  Her boyfriend even waited in the water for quite a while coaxing and encouraging her to jump in towards him and he would be right there to get her.  But, she didn't...all because of fear.

Now, I know that some folks who know my personality would probably say that I am fearless.  They "wish they could speak their mind" like I do.  They wish that they could just push through and DO things, be a "go-getter" like me.  Well, to me that is not fearlessness.  That's just part of the way God made me. Fearless, to me, is feeling in your heart the desire to do something so bold that you don't stop and look at the circumstances or surroundings telling you "don't do it".  You simply listen to what your heart is saying and jump-feet first! 

I am not a fearless girl.

I have looked back and tried to figure out just where I stopped being that fearless child.  When did I stop believing that I can do ANYTHING I put my mind to?  The only answer I come up with is this - When I stopped believing that in Jesus I can do anything.  When I take inventory of myself, I realize that I rely quite a bit on myself and I forget that Jesus and His power over death is the one thing that gives me ALL the power I need to be fearless.  His Word tells us over and over that we don't need to be fearful.  So, why do we still fear the unknown?  Perhaps it's because we don't fully understand just how powerful our God is.  The only remedy for that is to drown ourselves in His Word and in prayer asking God to reveal Himself boldly! Ask Him to show His power to us daily in our lives.  I believe that God can AND WILL do this for us, if we ask out of a trusting heart - knowing He will do these things.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.  ~ Philippians 4:13

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart..  ~ Psalm 31:24a

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  ~ Philippians 4:6

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart.  ~ Psalm 27:14

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  ~ Romans 8:38-39

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What it means to be held

There have been times, more so in the recent months, where I felt like God was far away from me.  It felt like He has had more important things to handle; so the struggles going on in my life would need to take a backseat for awhile.  I have felt lost.  I have felt discouraged.  I have felt betrayed.  I have felt frustrated.  I have felt angry.  I even got to a point where I was so mad at God for allowing circumstances to happen that (and I'm embarrassed to admit this) I didn't WANT to talk to God anymore.  It felt like what was the point.  After all, for my entire life, I've been told that He knows my heart.  He knows what I'm am going through and He sees the tears that I cry.  So, why do I need to tell Him yet again...?

So, why does a God that knows my hurt and brokenness, why, does He allow it to happen? 

I don't know the "Sunday school" answer.  But, I do know what I am learning.
When my heart starts to hurt and the tears start to pool up in my eyes, I have found myself running to Him like a little girl begging her Daddy to pick her up, hold her, and let her cry on His shoulder.

I think about my nieces...the way they run to my brother and cry to him when they are hurt.  He picks them up and wraps his arms around them.  He nestles their hair with his face and just holds them tight.  He doesn't make the hurt go away.  He just holds them.  He holds them...

God, through so many circumstances in my life you have held me.  You have pulled me up close to You and held me.  You didn't change the situations. You didn't need to - because You just held me.  Thank you for being my Daddy and letting me run to You. 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  ~ Isaiah 41:10 ~