Category Archives: Capture

In The Midst of Adversity You Are Covered

Rather than saying “God, here is my problem,” we should put the problem into perspective by saying, “Problem, here is my God! 
Anonymous 

We’ve all had to face adversity in our lives. It’s a time of hardship, affliction, recession, depression and otherwise unfortunate circumstances. If you are like me, you probably thought adversity would be a breeze after you sold out to Jesus.

Wow, was I ever wrong! In the beginning of my Christian walk, it seemed the more I obeyed God the more adversity came my way. I quickly discovered that I didn’t like adversity. I still don’t. I like peace. Like a severe storm, you can almost sense adversity coming…the calm before the storm. When the storm of adversity comes, it demands your total attention.

Adversity visits us all from time to time – and in many different ways. It can come disguised as marriage trouble, sickness, financial calamity, hardship from personal attacks, or even difficulty in the workplace and many other ways. Adversity is no respecter of persons. All of us will face it. The question is how will we respond to it.

There is a  scripture in the Word of God that reveals, “If we give up in the day of adversity our strength will be small” (Proverbs 24:10). In this context, giving means to withdraw, let go, or to show yourself slack. Instead of pressing through of what is a time of growth, we shrink back because we prefer to not go through the opposition. This will stunt our growth, I personally prefer growth.

When adversity hits, most people have a tendency to look for a way of escape…shrink back and say it’s not worth it. The Lord is very specific in this verse, though. He makes it clear that withdrawing from adversity is not the way to go. He also makes it clear that if we back off from times of trouble we lack spiritual strength.

Let me tell you stepping into the call of God on your life, does in fact come with adversity. As I have began to fulfill the call of God on my life it seems there are plenty of times to shrink back, or grow through adversity. Folks think that being a leader is something so great and is so breezy easy. That couldn’t be further from the truth, to get to where God is taking you, there is always opposition you have to overcome.  I have purposed in my heart, I will not give up, I will not give in. I will keep pressing forwarding, keep growing in Him, and love people. All the while knowing that in adversity I grow deep roots of strength.
Over the past few weeks I have seen several go through adversity and opposition. Cancer diagnosis, offense of a church member, illness, financial attack, a driving accident and so on. Some have grabbed ahold to the word of God and not given an inch. Others have taken to offense and left the place God put them to grow.  The attack on finances has caused folks to stop giving instead of standing on faith continuing to give; knowing that God will not let them fall but is faithful.  One friend had an accident and proclaimed the good news that God  protected her, giving Him all the glory. One group shrank back another group grew deeper roots.

I have personally been walking through a mess. Both of my daughters had strep then I  had it. Which turned into bronchitis and now into pneumonia. You name the symptom I have had it, and it’s not been pretty. As I thought about this adversity and my attitude through it, God has began to show me where I need growth & where I have  grown. One area of growth, I have received help and have reached out, not trying to do this alone. The pride I had isn’t there in the area of thinking I have to “do it all”, and not receiving help. Did you know that people really do want to help? Letting yourself say, “I need help, now,” is huge. That’s a place of letting God work in your life and a step of surrendering.

Another area I have noticed is the desire to just watch as much bible teaching as I can. I watch and re watch my favorite teachers. The enemy didn’t win in shutting my spirit man down. I felt myself just get so sad the other day and lonely, Josh has been gone so much I almost wanted to throw a pity party for myself. Instead, I asked my friend Rachel to come and set with me (for goodness sake she only lives 5 minutes from me) and just talk for a few hours, that is HUGE for me. My spirit man grew a little bit bigger this week.

Now the areas I have seen I need to surrender to the Lord. I have really struggled with how others perceive me. I am a pastor’s wife and I haven’t been to a service in 2 Sunday’s. My girls were sick then I became even more sick. What will others think, and will they be upset with me?  Seriously God is the only one I need to seek approval of, and now I see how I really need to give that to the Lord. I felt the same about my trainer, is he going to be upset with me because I can’t go to the gym? Not that I could do one workout without throwing up all over the place. Lastly joy, oh my how we let joy be stolen in the midst of adversity. I have had moments of just not wanting to talk, to upset, then crying and snappy.  Let me tell you, I still tried to be joyful. However, how I felt would take over from time to time. This is an area the enemy will attack the most, trying to get us to be led by our feelings. By faith we have to surrender our feelings to the Lord and speak we are full of joy until we see the evidence of it in our life. This is possible and there is so much power in doing so.

When adversity hits, most people have a tendency to look for a way of escape.. Shrink back and say it’s not worth it.  The Lord is very specific in the verse Proverbs 24:10. He makes it clear that withdrawing from adversity is not the way to go. He also makes it clear that if we back off from times of trouble we lack spiritual strength.

When adversity attacks, run to Jesus: When adversity attacks, the first thing you should do is run to Jesus. Don’t flake out, shut down, break rank or isolate yourself from those who can help you. Run to Jesus. Remember that Jesus is the Author and Finisher of your faith. He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus will not let you down. You can trust Him to get you through this turbulence. After you run to Jesus, check your heart. Go down your personal checklist and check yourself. If you have sinned, repent. If you violated the Word in any way, repent. Running to Jesus coupled with repentance should always be our first reaction to adversity.

One thing to help you overcome adversity – get back to church. God’s Word is very specific: don’t forsake the assembling of yourself together with other believers (Hebrews 4:9). Listen, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Isolation is not healthy. Find a good Bible-believing church where the power of changed lives is visible. Plug in and help that church fulfill its vision.

Adversity attacks everybody, but with your love for Jesus you can overcome it every time. Remember this, God causes all things to work together for good to those that love him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). That’s you! With Christ in your life you can make it through every sorrow, oppression, trouble and adversity.

Psalms 91:1,2  He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,  my God, in whom I trust.”

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PUNCH FEAR IN THE FACE

I have been thinking about  fear, and how I was able to overcome living a complete life of fear. In my past, anxiety and panic attacks controlled me. I was afraid making one wrong move, letting the fear of not being loved because of decisions I made be the driving force of my life. Fear was the root, however the byproducts of fear are anxiety, depression, panic attacks and an eating disorder, I was paralyzed with fear. I would stay with the thoughts in my mind and let them grow into a deep fear inside my heart. This happened through traumatic events as a child not being dealt with, to situations as I grew older, broken relationships and more. I was created to be a person who just loves folks and I tend carry rejection in my heart. I hate to see people hurt or disappointed. I come from a place where I don’t understand why folks can’t just get along and love each other. The big kicker, I am a perfectionist to a fault. All of these characteristics can be used to really help others and benefit my life. However, these characteristics can also grow deep roots of fear that can try to stop living life to the fullest that God has for me.

Several years ago the fear in my life was confronted. I came face to face with Jesus that has forever changed my life. I had tried everything from counseling, medication and even treatment. Nothing worked, if anything it kept me in a numb place and kept the cycle going, even worsen. One thing I could never do was lay blame on someone else, that just never felt right in my heart, and caused me to have a hard time in “counseling”. Of course I felt that I couldn’t even do treatment/counseling right. The good news is Jesus doesn’t tell us to give the blame to others, he tells us we are overcomers and to forgive.

So, how did I over come fear and it’s cousins; anxiety, stress and worry.  The main life changing moment was an encounter with God. He met me face to face, and I believe I cried every tear I had held in since I was 4 years old. A defining moment for me that I will never forget. I made a commitment in my heart  to surrender to Him, dig my heels in and let Jesus get the junk out of my heart.

I grabbed ahold of the word of God and any good Bible teaching I could get my hands on. You couldn’t get my nose out of the Bible, I wanted to know everything God said about me and my future in Him. As we know, the enemy does not want this to happen. He knows that we will begin to share and others lives will be changed because of our testimony. So how do you combat that attacks of the enemy and still overcome all the fear and doubt? I am so glad you asked!

Let’s start with when we ask Jesus to transform our lives. The first thing that happens, we are given a new spirit. We have to dig into the word and find out what is this new spirit and what is the power that is now on the inside of us. The word says that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of a sound (peaceful) mind.  I meditated on that word until it became the way I walked in life. We have to keep our minds fixed on the word of God. Part of this means our faith needs filled everyday, make sure you give your spirit and faith something to feed on everyday.

The bible says be anxious for nothing (Phil 4:6-7). I meditated on this word and would say it out loud when I would feel anxiety. Another cousin of fear is worry. The bible says cast ALL your care on Him, for he cares for you. So the cares of this world, the little things that take up residence in our mind, God wants those. Make an effort when the thoughts come say, “Lord I give this to you, I can’t carry it but I know you will because you love me.” That’s acting on faith!

To wrap up fear and all of it’s cousins we will tie it all together with stress. This word is used so much in our everyday lives, we really need to get a handle on our mouths. If we can say, ” I am stressed.” Why can’t we say. “I am peaceful”. “I am full of joy.” I give all my cares to you Lord.” This isn’t popular and people think you are nuts, perhaps “they” are the one’s who are nuts, literally going nuts because they carry all this mess in their minds and hearts. Why do you think people drink alcohol to step out of their reality for a bit?

We can’t deal with fear naturally because it is a spiritual force. We have to deal with it through the word of God. Romans 10:17 says, “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” So, we need to feed our faith and starve our doubts and fears.

When faith rises up on the inside of you, the enemy knows he’s been defeated. If you can’t rise up, than get some crazy faith believing friends around you that will walk and believe with you. They can help hold you up. God can and will deliver you from all of your fears (Psalms 23:4)

Start today by taking  His word and choose (it’s a choice) to believe and step out, you will reach your promised land just like Abraham did.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Out of gas can somebody help me?

We live in a fast food, microwave society. If  I can’t get it now or do it now then I don’t want it, and forget working hard for it. It’s amazing to look at photos from 50 years ago and see how hard society worked for what they had.

The world wants amazing benefits with no effort. We eat whatever we want for years,gain a bit of weight and don’t want to put forth the effort to get it off.  We want diet pill or this and that workout machine to get the weight off quick. Instead of making healthy food choices and good ol hard core working out. We spend too much money on credit cards,it’s time to payoff the debt and we get new cards to pay  off the debt. Instead of working to pay it off by setting aside extra, make choices to not go out to eat or buy items we don’t really need.

This same thinking has now creeped into the church. Everyone wants something for nothing. Either they want from the Pastor with zero commitment or just “fix it” for me. We want our kids taught at church and to “change”, but don’t even crack the Bible. Much less pray with our children at home. We want to be taught the Word, come to church and be radically changed. However, we don’t spend time with Lord and forget about reading our Bibles daily. We want options to attend and connect at church, but don’t reach out to anyone and get offended when no one “seems” to notice us. As Joyce Meyer says, “it’s all, what about me, what about me?”

Of course we are to live by the grace of God. However the word grace means, “the ability to do what you can’t do in your own strength.” God doesn’t empower us to set on it. He empowers us to go and to do what you have been called to do. He empowers us to over come in His strength not on someone elses strength or anointing. Often times when someone prays for you, it renews your strength to continue by standing on what He has promised and the word of God. The problem is we don’t know what to do, because we haven’t built ourselves up on the inside. Think of the word built, it means we have to be active in the building process. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. We are grown from faith to faith. You build your faith on the Word and you grow it by exercising your faith.

The Kingdom of God needs you, we aren’t meant to just ask Jesus into your heart and then set in the church and just get fed.  What happens when you set and eat?  You get fat. We are supposed to go and do, exercise what has been deposited in your heart. Otherwise wouldn’t He had just taken us up to heaven?

We have to press on, it doesn’t matter if you have tried 10 things and failed, you have to keep trying. Sometimes we step out ahead of  God’s timing but that doesn’t mean we shrink back. We keep moving forward!

Thomas Edison failed over 2,000 experiments before he invented electricity. What if he would have given up or relied on someone else to do his work for him?  I can see him now, just trying and trying to get it right. I can see him staying up late thinking to himself, ” I will get this, I just know it.”

That is how we need to be with the Lord, put all our trust in Him by growing in Him daily. We have to get rid of the fast food-microwave thinking, make the decision today to dig our heels in and start pressing in. Say to yourself, ” I can do this with the Lord.” Commit today to grow more and more in Him. Reach out to someone today and share what God has done for you. Come to church with your vessel full not empty so you can pour out onto others not always with a “fill me up attitude”. A car without gas will not run. Fill your tank with the word of God.  You can do it, begin to live from the overflow that is in your heart!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Follow The Follower

“To be a good leader, at some point you have to be a good follower.”

“Are you a leader or a follower?” I can’t keep count of  how many times I heard that when I was growing up. But when adults ask that question, I don’t think they want an answer. As a teenager, I heard it from my  pastor, parents, friends and other caring individuals. A subtle principle was communicated through that question: “be a leader not a follower!”

But if everyone is leading, then who is following? I have never heard anyone confess, “I am just a follower. Leadership is just not for me.” Especially in our current recognition-hungry society, we all want to lead.  Soceity says that we need to be individuals, everything goes, it doesn’t matter as long as you are leading your “own” way. So much has been written on leadership, but very little has been written on following. You know, the art and skill of being a great follower. There are no articles, books, blogs or interviews on the subject. Nada. Nothing.Zip. Zero. Following even sounds weird. Go ahead and say I am a follower out loud several times. It doesn’t even sound right! Now say leadership. That sounds powerful. Following sounds weak.

 “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.”
– 1 Corinthians 11:1

The best leaders have mastered the art of following, and that is why people are drawn to them. Following does not mean going with the flow and doing what everyone else is doing. Following means intentionally watching, learning from and imitating others. You observe those who are walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, who live with humility and courage, who exhibit integrity and compassion, who make wise decisions, and then you choose to follow in their footsteps. Humilty says, I need help and will submit to being discipled. Paul, as he followed the example of Jesus, urged other believers to imitate him.

 

You don’t follow others based on title or position but example and influence. Those you imitate will not share about all the people who follow them; instead, they’ll tell of the people they follow, the lessons they’ve learned and which path to take. This is the way I prefer to grow and have influence.

Following starts with humility. Followers admit they don’t know it all, and they can learn from others. They are humble. They have a thirst to grow and get better. They don’t need the glory or recognition; instead they pass on the praise to those around them. They are in pursuit of growing in humilty and maturity.

Following grows with serving. If being a great leader means being a great follower, then what is the secret to being a great follower? It’s being a servant. Followers have a willingness to serve others in sacrificial, humbling ways. A leader is someone who follows Christ’s example of serving. I have to say, serving is my very heartbeat. Servanthood can impact 1 life and change a city. All it takes is starting with serving the 1.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
– Mark 10:45

Following is perfected with Jesus. Jesus was the ultimate follower. He followed the voice and will of His Father. He served and sacrificed. He gave up His glory for our ultimate good. He didn’t seek the spotlight or the position of power. Instead, he walked with humility and compassion. He served to give, not get. God calls us to follow Him first and to follow Him daily. As we follow Him and listen to His voice we will be promoted to a place of leadership and influence.

“Then he said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.’” – Luke 9:23-24

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No More Monkeys Jumping On The Bed (capture your thoughts)

A mark of spiritual maturity is the ability to examine our thoughts to determine whether they are worthy, healthy, and God honoring.  By allowing God to govern our thoughts we are more able to balance things in our life and find much-needed rest.  This about this, if we allow the enemy to consume our mental activity it poisons our desires and robs us of joy, we can become exhausted, frustrated and ill not only physical but also spiritual.  This looks like so many monkeys jumping on a bed that can’t be controled, they just run wild and do as they please. We need to examine the thoughts we have.  What were they and how did they affect you?  How much time did you spend comparing yourself to someone else, feeling sorry for yourself or wishing your life could be better?  Do you worry about tomorrow?  Do you engage in gossip that is destructive and consumes your mind?  We must choose the voice we listen to.  We must carefully decide even when we see or hear something, we must focus on the message it is trying to send into our mind and into our heart.    It is important to take rest when you find yourself overloaded mentally with thoughts that should be thrown in the trash.  How do we focus on the good and not listen to the bad?  Find rest and peace with God.  We should turn every thought and every seed that is put into us over to His power and strength.  I look at most thoughts as either weeds or fruit giving life.  How do I know if my life has been fertilized by weeds?  I feel down, depressed, anxiety, and I question my faith in God.  I also question those who God has put over me or feel angry toward them and others.  I know I have a short fuse, grumpy and I can’t sleep.  How do I know I have been fertilized by positive thoughts or word seeds?  I feel good about myself, can be productive throughout the day, my attitude is happy and people want to be around me. I feel rested and energized, eager to work for the Kingdom.

A very key issue in life is what you think. You are what you think. We have to capture the monkeys jumping around in our mind that we give a place to live and submit them to the Word of God.How we think determines our success in the Christian life. Many people say, “You are what you eat.” No, you’re more than that. Food affects you a lot, but the main thing that controls you is your attitude.

Proverbs 23:7

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.

Isaiah 55:7

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

 
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,