Category Archives: Christ

Don’t Give Up

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I have walked through one of the most difficult times to date in my life. In short I had foot/ankle surgery 7 weeks ago. I just knew I would be back to it, the daily routine and being my ever so busy bee self within 2 weeks. Here we are 7 weeks later and I am still not walking and haven’t driven in months. I am literally learning to walk all over again and this process is so painful at times. Can you hear the screams on the inside? What? Are you kidding me? I am not going according to “my” pace? Not to mention I have to receive help, key word receive not resent the fact I must have help.

One of the key factors of the above paragraph is pride. I had no idea that was in my heart, I know I don’t ever feel I exalt myself above another. I without a doubt just know I have it together and that has been rooted out years ago. Clearly this isn’t the case.

The first few weeks I was totally 100% relying on my husband to do everything. Our church kindly provided meals for the first few weeks, thank the Lord for this or we would have starved. This is important to know because in the past I wouldn’t do that on any level. You know the “I can handle it,” “someone else needs that above me,” and the all to common “I just don’t want to bother anyone.” P-R-I-D-E!

In no way does our Heavenly Father do something to harm us, it would go against His nature (everything good, perfect, noble, kind and so on). However, I have learned he will allow a hardship, trial and test to show us what is in our heart. To root it out and grow us, which is for our benefit because He loves us so much.

Being in the 7th week of this process (which in retrospect of the rest of my life isn’t that much) I have learned to just trust my Father that He will protect me. Also, that everything will be completed and taken care of if I am not always involved. After all I am a Pastors wife and isn’t it my job to make sure all the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted? NO!!! I have learned that my girls will be ok and they actually LOVE to help if I will give them the opportunity. Also, do not worry how others see you, I have in the past felt I needed to “look together” and be able to handle anything thrown my way always with grace. Well news flash, I have found I don’t and that is what makes this so perfect, it gives God the ability to show Himself strong on my behalf. Lastly, Josh, my ever so kind husband, I didn’t realize I have felt I didn’t want to let him down and look “weak”. Wow, what a mistake that was, because I was not giving him the opportunity to be strong for me and stand in the gap. I could go on and on but you get the point.

Pride will keep us from the blessing of letting others close into our lives. We will lose the ability to receive love by letting others in and be a blessing. Meekness isn’t weakness, but power under control.

I found is so interesting when my mom-in-law drove from Oklahoma this week to cook us dinner, I just set there. She mentioned to me that 3 months ago I wouldn’t even let her in my kitchen. WOW!!! That is years of behavior wiped out in this 7 week difficulty. To my amazement I could not believe how much change had happened in my heart.

It is important to mention during this time I have continued to seek Him through, loads and loads of teaching, reading my word and many great books and of course prayer.  I knew if  I just kept my heart open to what God wants to show me then I would overcome this very hard season in mine & my family’s life. Making the choice of getting into a place of why me, why can’t it be someone else or just giving up and letting “life” just do what it will (which is chance not faith in Jesus) will not help you to overcome. Just keep your Spirit open to all God has for you and let him transform you.

In conclusion, I have learned that often times God  will use people to show us love. If we are to busy (prideful) to not receive the help, care & support, we keep people/God our Father at the same arms length. I never knew this was part of my nature I had developed I believe as a child; with the loss of my father & abandonment of my mother. It is so important to just let those things go, they can help shape you into all God has called you to be. I am no where close to where I want to be, but I am not where I once was in my heart. God can use every situation to totally transform your life. Our job is to keep walking, don’t give up, walk in the love of God and his grace & forgiveness. Don’t Give Up!

 

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Be The Best “You” That You Can Be

 

 

Recently I heard a pastor say, “be the best you, the person God created you to be.” If you think about that, it’s all He asks from us. Why is this such a hard task? Is it the media? A standard we place in our mind that we want to reach? Or is it ideological points of view that sets us up to fail before we even get started? What if we each just sought the Lord on how to be the very best we can be, and love who He created us to be.

We are all created with a unique purpose, with unique talents and abilities. No two of us are alike; even twins have their very own set of finger prints. As a pastor’s wife, I have learned this the hard way. I really look up to and watch those who really impact so many in ministry, I have quickly realized the trail I am called to blaze isn’t like my predecessors. They have their unique call and I have mine to forge, with the talents & abilities given to me by the Lord.

Growing up I never seemed to fit in the family I was raised in; I always felt I stuck out like a sore thumb. I grew up on a farm, a rather large farm at that, with every kind of animal you can think of running around our house. My grandmother had an enormous garden where we grew our veggies and canned to last through the winter. I have to say,  I believe my work ethic came from this but nothing else. I never enjoyed one second of it, however my brother has carried on some of what he learned about canning. I always had a dream in my heart greater than I could see. I really struggled trying to “fit in”, from time to time being called, “the city girl” with zero idea of what that meant. I always had an ability to create and draw just about anything, but felt I was the odd one. The confusion of celebrating and growing in my strengths, ended up in an identity struggle and low self-esteem.

Over the years I have had many positions, different jobs & changed my major countless times in college. I have ALWAYS been drawn to the Lord, even in the middle of my mess I always had Him pulling at my heart. I always knew I wanted to help people, and have tried to do that throughout my life. Still, who am I called to be? What am I good at? How achieve the vision in my heart? How can I get there with the tools I have?

It starts with knowing before God created you, he decided what role he wanted you to play on earth. He planned exactly how he wanted you to serve him, and then he shaped you for those tasks. You are the way you are because you were made for a specific ministry and a specific purpose. No accidents here, all divine purpose and destiny.

The Bible says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV). Our English word “poem” comes from this Greek word translated “workmanship.” You’re God’s handcrafted work of art. You’re not an assembly line product, mass-produced without thought. You’re a custom designed, one-of-a-kind, original masterpiece.

God deliberately shaped and formed you to serve him in a way that makes your ministry unique. He carefully mixed the DNA recipe that created you. David praised God for this incredible personal attention to detail God gave in designing each of us: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous” (Psalm 139:13-14 NLT).

This means nothing that happens in your life is insignificant. God uses all of it to mold you for your ministry to others and shape you for your service to him. God never wastes anything. He would not give you abilities, interests, talents, gifts, personality, and life experiences unless he intended to use them for his glory. God does want our very best. And He actually put some eternal thought into us before He made us. In Romans 12, Paul writes that God has graciously given each of us gifts. He has given us skills and abilities that are unique to us. I don’t know about you, but this is great news to me!

We should humbly seek to be great at what He’s made us for. Romans 12 4-5 says that we are all part of one body in Christ. The body doesn’t need the heart to be a mediocre heart. It needs the best heart it can have. Nor does it need bad hands or weak feet that can’t do what they’re intended to do. God can, and does, use us in our weakness, but we should also seek to be great stewards of the us God has made.

I found this on a website on how to be all God has created us to be, I believe it bares repeating:

Speak good things about yourself. Declare what God’s Word says about you. For example, say to yourself, “I am the righteousness of God in Christ. I am made acceptable in the Beloved. God formed me with His own hand, He loves me, and God doesn’t make mistakes.” Speaking who God said I am over my life has radically changed me, I share this with folks daily.

Avoid comparing yourself to others. God must love variety, or all of us wouldn’t look so different. He has created each of us differently right down to our fingertips. We can look to certain people as good examples to follow, but even then, good traits if duplicated will manifest differently through our individual personalities.

Focus on your potential instead of your limitations. Refuse to concentrate on your weaknesses except in an effort to turn them into strengths. Keep your flaws in perspective. People with a high level of confidence have just as many weaknesses as those without confidence, but they focus on their strengths instead of their weaknesses.

Learn to cope with criticism. If you dare to be different, you’ll have to expect some criticism. Going along with the crowd when you know in your heart that God is leading you in a different direction is one of the reasons many don’t succeed at being themselves. You won’t be comfortable in your own skin if you go against your own convictions. This has been one of the greatest challenges I have faced, overcoming criticism. However, like Jesus encountering many critics we will as well if we oppose the things in the world.

Remember this: God will never anoint you to be anyone other than yourself. Let now be your time to go forward and be set free from the torments of comparing yourself with others and trying to be someone you’re not. God is proud of who He made you to be!Start today by being the best you He created you to be.

 

Scriptures to Encourage You

Psalm 119:73
Your hands have made me, cunningly fashioned and established me; give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.

Psalm 139:13-18
For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb. I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery].

Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them. How precious and weighty also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I could count them, they would be more in number than the sand. When I awoke, [could I count to the end] I would still be with You.

Romans 5:5
Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.

 Philippians 4:6-7Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us everlasting consolation and encouragement and well-founded hope through [His] grace (unmerited favor), comfort and encourage your hearts and strengthen them [make them steadfast and keep them unswerving] in every good work and word.

 

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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.”

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The Ripple Effect

Have you ever thought about how touching water makes a ripple? Think about when you throw a stone into the water how it affects all the area around the point of contact. From the start of the first small ripple it grows into a large ripple. You can throw a small stone and make a huge impact with the ripple, I call this the ripple effect.

The ripple effect applies to how we respond and interact with one another. Take the cashier at Wal-Mart for instance. She can be having a horrible day, not friendly to you because of what she is dealing with, and it will effect  your day. The ripple effect will be, you jumping in your car, driving aggressively and get a phone call and respond with an attitude to the caller. We will think how someone could have been so rude, and get offended over something that actually had nothing to do with us. The same is true if you get a phone call that someone wants to bless you with a gift, this will effect  your entire day in a positive way. The ripple effect will be, because of someone’s action it created in you a positive response, which will in turn causes you to be kind to someone else.

This brings me to a story that happened while living in Chicago. Wow, that was a culture shock living in such a large city. Imagine everything you need within walking distance. People packing the streets busy about their day. Cars and their horns blazing. Sirens blaring and the yellow of cabs flashing by as you walk to your destination. Many people make these very streets their home. A place to lay their head and a place where they may find food to eat.

I will never forget the lives I passed daily who lived on the very street I walked to school every day. Do you think the passersby thought about the ripple effect? What about those who pass by and give no thought to the fact that these are lives, not just something to walk by as quick as possible. Ignoring these lives has a ripple effect, it says you are not important enough for me to stop by and say hi.  Muchless ask if they have a need that could be met.

I daily passed by such a person when I would walk off of the “L” train.  She would stand in the same place everyday not bothering anyone. She had a shopping cart with her full of things that we would throw away. On the cart were plastic bags tied to the side, of what I would assume were items she didn’t want to get wet. She has such a sweet presence about her. Everyday she would be singing and humming with such a joyful heart. She didn’t know that she was having a ripple effect on me.

As I made it home each day I would have her on my heart. God began to really speak to me about her . I felt in my heart I needed to reach out to her and bring her a hot meal. I really wanted to do something that would really make her happy. As I stepped off of the “L” train I approached her, this was the day to reach out. I said to her I had some chili on the stove and if she would give me 30 minutes I would make cornbread and bring her dinner. She said to me, “oh sweetie thank you so much but if I want to get a bed I have to be on time, thank you.” Oh gosh I felt like I had been gut punched. I knew the Lord had told me to feed her and to reach out. The following day I didn’t even say a word, I ran straight up ( took the elevator) I lived 15 stories up, put some chili in a bowl and ran right back down. She was gone. Oh how my heart hurt, I felt I was missing the Lord on this one.

 The weekend rolls around, I look out my window and I see her in her usual spot. This morning I made bacon, eggs and biscuits. I pack her a nice meal up and take off down the stairs, as you can guess she was gone. At this point I gave up, I thought forget it, I tried. Isn’t it funny how we want to make sure things are “perfect” and “just right”?  Often times God just wants us to make the step and let Him do the rest.One evening I make my way home, I see this joyful spirited women and I say to her,” stay right here, don’t go anywhere I will be right back.” I booked it up to my home, I had zero groceries at the time because I hadn’t had time to shop. I  ran to my closet and found a pair of wool socks and new tennis shoes. I had noticed she had holes in hers. I grabbed saltine crackers and some more “whatever is in the pantry” and I grabbed my Bible, packed it all up in a box and ran down the stairs.She was still there, I was so excited to see her. I said to her, Jesus told me to bring you these and I want to give them to you. She looked at each thing, but much to my amazement was her response to the Bible. She grabbed me, hugged me better than I have ever been hugged before and started singing a worship song. She loved the Lord and could not believe she now had a Bible. She kissed me on the cheek and thanked me over and over. I told her, this was from the Lord. This still brings tears to my eyes today. I left her and never saw her again. She was never there to greet me with her singing as I got off the train. I never saw her pushing her cart around making her way to where she slept in the evenings. To this day I believe she was an angel of the Lord. The Bible says we will entertain angels and not even know.

What I thought was me doing a good deed and doing my best to listen to the Lord, turned into impacting me in a life changing way. She had a ripple effect on my life and I am sure on so many others. Today, this has set me on a course for helping those in need. To see the value in everyone. To take the time to talk with someone and make sure they know they matter. The one pebble of encountering one of the most beautiful people I have had the pleasure of meeting, created a ripple so large that it still reaches others.

As you go about your day, think about the impact you have on someone else. Something as simple as a kind voice tone and attitude can have a ripple effect to help change someone’s day. Next time you are at the check out counter, think about how many people the cashier sees a day and does anyone take the time to just talk and see how they are doing. When you go home to your spouse, take the time to notice one another. This list can go on and on. Jesus made a HUGE ripple when he went to the cross for us that is still making contact with lives every day. Jesus will lead you to someone if we will be open to listen and obey. Make a ripple today.

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You Came To My Rescue

Knowing what it is like to feel unwanted has created in me a desire to make sure others know they are wanted-Oprah

When I heard Oprah say this statement while giving her story of how she overcame her past and has grown into who she is, rang a bell inside my heart.  I have a deep care for those who have been “tossed away” by society, families and life in general. This care has really taken over in my life regarding pets. Oh my, I believe I could take in every unwanted animal and help rescue every abused animal out there. Anyone or thing being mistreated or tossed to the side breaks my heart and I have deep compassion.

As a child my father passed away at the age of 5 years old.  My mother ran off around the age of 4 years old.  You can tell by these 2 sentences what really affected me, the loss of my father first, then abandonment of my mother. This created a deep wound inside my heart, along with insecurities and fear. You don’t really know how deep a traumatic event effects a child until they develop as they age. I grew into someone who wanted to please and be everything to everyone at the cost of myself. I developed a fear of being left, unloved and would break off relationships (create rejection) before I would let others reject me. How unhealthy is it to have that in your heart? VERY!

I grew up where you didn’t talk about this kind of stuff, it just was what it was. I never understood why my dad died, I actually for a while thought he died on purpose, because something was wrong with me. I never knew why my mother ran off, or how to navigate through life having such a deep wound in my heart as a child. I always felt there was something wrong with me. I never really felt it was others, more from a place where I wasn’t good enough for others. I never believed I could make it, that I could make a difference or amount to anything. I felt unwanted, not loved and like I was just simply in the way. This kind of loss and rejection as a child, will set you on a course to a life of destruction if God has not been made the director of your life.  Oh, did I make so many bad decisions. I am so thankful that God has redeemed me and used everything for His Glory and to help others!

Once I cried out to the Lord and He changed my  life, I began to see how valuable I am and the value in others.  God says, we are wonderfully made, we are made in His image and He has a future we have hoped for. The Lord says, that he came for those who need a savior (hello that us you and me), those who have been given up on, who’s lives are a mess. He is our deliverer. He came to heal the broken hearted. He is the Father to the fatherless. We are adopted into Christ. I can go on and on. Isn’t that good news? The Lord wants to make sure they know they are wanted and He created them to have a full and great life. Oprah didn’t come up with that, Jesus did.

What the devil meant for bad God turned to good in my life. I have gone from knowing I wasn’t wanted by my mother and feeling abandoned by both parents; to knowing I have a Father who has set me free from my past. I have been adopted into the family of the Lord, I have a HUGE family now that fellowships around the love of God. I have gone from being rejected to accepted. From feeling unloved to loved. From letting my past decide my future, to letting what Jesus did determine my future.

Growing up with this in my heart has given me a compassion and heart for the really wounded. To help those who do not know they are even seen. To use what had my heart broken, into helping others walk through healing in their hearts through the power of God’s word. Knowing what it is like to feel unwanted has created in me a desire to make sure others know they are wanted and loved. God wants us to know our past doesn’t determine our future, but our future can help others determine theirs. If you have a wounded heart make the decision today to call out to God, and ask Him to fill you with His love. If you have already walked through the healing power of Jesus, reach out to someone who is broken and share of His power in your life. Today could be THE day for you!

 

 

 

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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.

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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!

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Indignant and Rightfully So!

I have heard of a lot of people in Christ who are offended and holding unforgiveness in their hearts. It seems those who have been created to walk in freedom and forgiveness are holding onto just about anything that they “believe” they are right about.

In the Gospel of Matthew verse 24 – the disciples asked Jesus as He was departing for Heaven “What will be the signs of your coming and of the end of the world?” And Jesus answered: Matt 24:10-13 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

WOW! This looks like how the world operates and this has also creeped it’s way into the church. This day has come. The Church has become offended. Members are offended by their Pastors, so they leave the church. Employees are offended by their employer, so they quit. Couples are offended in marriage, so they divorce citing irreconcilable differences. Children and Young Adults are offended, so they bring guns to school and shoot anyone in there way. We wake up with attitudes. Angry. Mad. Upset.  Build sides. This has become your disposition.

The Dictionary defines offense as: a violation, transgression, to hurt or cause pain, to cause to fall into a sinful state.

The “spirit of offense” chokes off ordinary conversation. It chokes off benefit of the doubt. It chokes off forgiveness. It denies human imperfection, and expects a simple, loving person to be precise and mechanical while trying to express sincerity. It assumes the worst. It ignores the obvious intention and digs for something ugly. It allows common every day words to be misconstrued and implicated as the offender of rights. This is becoming one of the most vicious problem in our society today, and that it nourishes an attitude of dissatisfaction with life, especially for those who choose to carry it around like a badge of honor that reads, “Indignant, and rightfully so.” So easily offended and never seeing that the problem is within them, but most often they would rather place the blame on someone, anyone else, rather than accept responsibility and acknowledge that it is their choice to be offended.

An offense is Satan’s trap to hold you back from God’s blessings in your life.

Recognizing this spirit of offense and restraining it is the key to personal freedom that ultimately unlocks the ability to enjoy life and its simplest pleasures.

We have all had our feelings hurt at one time or another. We have all felt insulted by someone or felt like an injustice has been done to us. When our feelings are hurt or some other injustice perceived, we have to let it go, resolve it immediately, forgive and move on, otherwise; resentment begins to build, soon followed by indignation, hatred, and finally, seeking some form of revenge or restitution. What a trap. If we do not recognize offenses for what they are, not only can we have our joy stolen, but we also trap ourselves with our own lock and key.

Luke 17:1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offenses will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!

The spirit of offense can affect us on a daily basis. We have to choose not to allow people, words, or actions to offend us. After a period of time, if you consistently build on benefit of the doubt, patience, understanding, and always allowing for human imperfection, you will begin to enjoy the people around you and even cherish their unique differences. Sometimes you may even find that you are amused at the very things that used to annoy you. I have learned that offenses that come often give us an opportunity to grow or regress. I prefer the growth!

We need to learn how to release it and move on with God.

Mat 5: 23-24 states, Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Jesus thinks so much about your relationships that He doesn’t even want your sacrifice until you mend your differences with your brother. He just wants the love of God to flow between His kids. Every morning I purpose in my heart not to carry offense,I always repent and hand anything over to the Lord where someone has hurt me or I may just be off with how I “feel” about a situation. One of the keys I live by , is always thinking about how Jesus was treated and then thinking about how small whatever I am walking through is, in comparison to what Jesus did for me.

Unforgiveness is an acid in the container it dwells in. It will destroy you from the inside.

Generally you will notice that people who constantly talk about their past probably have been badly hurt. They may have been in an abusive relationship, or had an abusive parent, or perhaps even been raped. Some may only have been hurt by a comment made against them – whatever it was – you have to let it go.  Or, one of the greatest offenses that is actually small in it’s stature is that someone didn’t meet an expected need you have, which they probably didn’t even know about. Offense can literally kill you.

Forgiveness doesn’t make the person right – it sets you free.

Allowing offense to stay in your heart can stop your growth in Christ. Isn’t it time to let what your holding onto go, today? Make the decision this very moment to let go of anything you “think” you are right to hold onto.

Take any offense you may have had in your life and right now take it to the Lord – get on your knees and ask Him to forgive you for harboring this offense – and then PRAY for that person. Even if you think you are not holding un-forgiveness in your heart. Ask God to search your heart and purge you from unforgiveness Prayer will change how you feel about that person and cause you to love them with God’s love.

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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

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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.

 
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