Tag Archives: hope

Weariness In Doing (Part 2 of 4)

All of us know what being tired is like. Kids, work, school, church and other activities can completely drain us. Being tired is one thing, but weary is different and much worse.

When I was first injured not much changed, I continued to do me and at full speed. As more was revealed, treatments, medication & surgeries my role in life began to change. My  identity was wrapped up in doing, not being who God created and called me to be. After surgeries and long recovery times and all of the craziness, I became more and more depleted.

If you are like me, you completely shut down. It’s in these moments I lock myself away, try to sleep and provide me with something that it’s not able to provide.Physically, spiritually and mentally my body literally began to shut down. My body began to fight against itself, which caused me to have a 3 week hospital stay. I felt if I couldn’t serve, do and go then what’s the point. I found myself in an identity crisis.

While I was in the hospital God did something amazing, He sent people. People I hadn’t seen in years and those I didn’t even know came to see me or were praying for me. God sent and army of prayer warriors that did battle for me when I couldn’t. By this time The Lord had shown me that I wouldn’t let others stand with me, or help me. I thought it would make me look like a wimp. This could not be further from the truth, there is great strength resting in Him and letting others do battle on the front lines for you.

I began to learn, rest does not come in sleeping more. It is not in being alone. Rest is not passive but active and full of faith. It requires us to sit before the Lord and lay our desires before Him.

We all at some point get to the place of being weary. The question becomes what do we do once we find ourselves there. Here are a few things I find to be helpful:

  1. Share with a friend.Walk through it with them. It’s amazing how haring some simple thoughts or weariness can unclog your heart.
  2. Dump it. Look over your schedule, cut whatever you can to set you free. Even the smallest changes can be a breath of fresh air when the pressure has raised to the point of discomfort.
  3. Sit before the Lord. In the middle of my weariness, I’m often tempted to distract myself with “busy” work. I can turn my brain off and check out as opposed to being refreshed by Him. The problem is, the weariness always returns. However, grabbing my Bible, a cup of coffee and wrap up in a blanket in my cozy chair is just what the doctor ordered. Even as I sit I can sense my energy returning. Spending time sharing with the Lord, listening and reading His word always fills my heart up. Most of all I need to grab some scripture that I can hold onto and bury in my heart.

Next time you find yourself weary, remember you do not have to walk through it alone.

Matthew 11:28New International Version (NIV) 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Galatians 6:9New International Version (NIV) 9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

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The Process Part 1 Battle Wounds (1 of 4)

For a couple of years now I have been on the journey of healing from multiple injuries due to a bootcamp workout. During the process of healing I’ve had multiple surgeries, injections, medications and countless hours of physical therapy. This has been a painful, emotional & taxing journey with each step revealing more along the way.

From the start of my journey to healing I had many rules, orders, medications & suggestions to follow. In my stubbornness, I did my best to follow them but refused to ask for help along the way. I could do it. I’ve got this thing. All the while claiming I am healed in Jesus Name & having an attitude of I’ve got this on my own.Clearly, I wasn’t fully letting God in much less anyone else to assist me along the way.

Having the best of intentions, I decided I did not want to bother anyone with what I was walking through. I didn’t need help, this is just a little bump in the road. I’m pretty sure this is pride in reverse & God is not the center of walking thru this mess. The intent was right, but the way I carried it out wasn’t. I carried this thought process for well over a year, I have a stubborn streak to the core.

During this time I had 2 boots & 2 casts to heal 5 fractures, the muscles & tendons I separated. I’ve gone through 2 sets of crutches, a wheel chair and 2 surgeries. It’s shocking how much I made myself do while wearing casts & being on crutches. I drug that cast all over the place while standing on one leg. While in the boots I continued to do a modified workout.I refused to look weak or not be able to do something on my own. None of  which being doctors orders by the way. It was my way of masking my wounds & not wanting to stop, take the time & focus on what was needed to heal.

The injuries to our heart are very similar,they hurt to our core & deep to the heart. We prefer to say things like I’m fine or it will be ok. In life when we are wounded by hurt, fear or rejection we can only cover it up for so long. The wounds will show up in places in our lives, relationships, jobs & family.

The wounds in our lives mean as much to God as the healed places in our hearts. God’s heart is, let’s take a look at this and go deeper.Let me in & heal the parts of your heart that have been broken & damaged.

After the bones & muscles healed I still had pain. This pain was a knife stabbing kind of pain in my heel. After what I had been through I did not want another doctor’s appointment. I did not want to be touched, looked at, tests ran or share my story with anyone. I was simply over it all, I wanted to be normal again. The problem was, I still needed to go deeper to find the root of the problem & pain.

Just like what the doctors wanted to do, God does in our lives. The pain had been masked by pain medications, so I couldn’t tell I was still injured. We often mask the wounds in our hearts with anger, insecurity, resentment, bitterness, or by cracking jokes often at the expense of others. God loves us too much to leave us wounded & broken.

My doctors followed the road of pain from my injury with all roads leading to the nerves in my back.  I had many tests and the results led to a blown back with my sciatic nerve trapped. I was in so much pain and was so miserable.

Like the root was to my injury, so is the root to the wounds in our hearts. I had compensated so much that I’d strained muscles & over worked parts of my body. Hearts that are wounded overused, strained & compensate by using substances, people & exhaust all we have to give.

I began a 13 month painful treatment of epidural spinal injections & medications. This was an attempt to treat the problem instead of fixing the problem.  Just like the doctors trying to treat a problem we also do with our hearts. We love to treat our wounds & mask them when they really need healed.

I had to make the choice to have back surgery and trust the surgeon. The surgeon had to go to the root of the problem. I knew it would be painful & I wouldn’t be able to do things on my own. I would cry and show emotions which I prefer not to do. However, I made the choice to no longer function at 60%, I wanted to be healed to 100%.

Often we choose not to look at the wounds in our hearts because it’s messy and we have zero control.  God says, “I want to live in your heart.” He wants to heal your wounds, hurts & brokenness. Yes, it can be a messy & we will have emotions we prefer to hide that will come out. BUT GOD! But God will walk with us, live inside of us & hold our hearts in His hands. When we choose to let go we become free & healing can begin.

Just like we have to do with our hearts, I had to do with my recovery & healing. I wanted to be free of crutches and a wheel chair. I had to decide to trust the doctors & the process towards healing. When we let go physically of what is holding us back and begin to trust the process, our healing can begin & heal the battle wounds in our life.

 

 

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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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Scars

 

 

As I drove home from the gym this morning, I began to think about scars. How they look. How they heal. How did it get there in the first place. The Lord began to show me how scars relate to how He transforms our life.

Over 20 years ago I had a surgery that changed my life forever. A doctor made a mistake, which in turn caused me to have a total hysterectomy at age 19. I have a scar from one side to the other on my lower abdomen (along with others in the same area). These aren’t noticeable to others, however they are to me. They are reminder of a deep wound not only physically but emotionally. I don’t dwell on this, I have accepted it as part of my past.

I have experienced great disappointment of never physically being able to have children, and hurt from the trauma caused by the hand of someone I trusted (my doctor). What was an attempt to destroy life, turned into something that forever filled my life with great joy. Had I not had the hysterectomy,  I may have never adopted my 2 daughters. What the enemy meant for bad, God turned into good. The scars of the past, are erased when I see them. They are my absolute joy.

This is how Jesus is when we accept Him into our hearts. The wounds and things of the past are healed. We may have the memories and thoughts which are the scars but we have a future in Him, which heals the broken hearted.  I want to encourage you today that the scars of the past do not determine your future. They may take you in a different direction, BUT God will turn whatever was meant for bad into good.

The scars Jesus has in his side and hands, are the scars that reveal our future. Jesus took the most brutal beating that left him with scars of His past, but oh my goodness the promise of the future. Jesus knew that the wounds He took for us were to give us our destiny, a great future in Him. His scars from the nails in His hands, to the spear in His side are a reminder of Him being raised from the dead and the redemption for His people. Thank you Father that you heal the wounds of our past and have given us the promise of a great future through your only Son.

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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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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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