Category Archives: Spiritual Journey

Afflictions of our Soul

Worldly afflictions hold the enemy near, blinding us from the freedom we have in Christ. We often enjoy the “perks” of the world only because the enemy wants us to be addicted to worldly desires to avoid having a deep relationship with Christ. Even those worldly habits of sin you created, are not only miserable long term but seem so instantaneous to make us happy at that present moment. They are addictions that leave us hungry, hungry for something more. The enemy is on the prowl using his crafty side to blind you from true freedom making you constantly strive for worldly pleasures to fulfill that freedom. Some examples that we believe make us happier: a new job, more money, drinking, drugs, food, sex, material possessions just to name a few. In all reality some of this ‘things’ do make us happy and aren’t all bad. The problem lies when we strive for those things more than we strive for freedom in Christ.

Thanks to social-engineer.org

Thanks to social-engineer.org

Although some worldly pleasures are not necessarily wrong, we lose sight that God has even more in store of us that is way beyond the current pleasure. We often limit God and his ability to actually give us that freedom in Him. The battle of the mind and the battle of putting words into action are what keep us from experiencing the true freedom Christ has handed us. He is waiting for us to reach out and accept it. Are you living in the freedom or simply believing this freedom.

Thanks to spirituallythinking.blogspot.com

Thanks to spirituallythinking.blogspot.com

Moment of Truth: Our souls long to be fulfilled and as the human nature sets out on life’s journey we are battling every day the fulfillment of our identity. Choose to put an end to the enemies desire to ruin your life, seek the Lord and find your ultimate fulfillment living a life that is EXTARORDINARY not simply ordinary.

Belief

This morning in my bible study I was struck by one verse. The entire study was impeccable and very convicting that I wanted to share with you all the glorious riches we have been offered, but as I neared the end of the study, a verse leaped off of the page catching my attention.

Romans 10:9 most of you have probably heard this verse multiple times in your life, even those who don’t follow God’s word. “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

What brought my soul to such agony while reading that verse was the power in the word “believe.” Many people I encounter regularly openly admit their belief that Christ died for them and was raised from the dead. But as I pondered that statement a little more, it struck me how this word is not talking about head knowledge; not only believing that this took place in history but having a deep heart knowledge of this concept. There is a huge difference here. Head knowledge doesn’t bring the outflow of living in that knowledge, but with the heart, actions will follow. I yearn for all of those who have verbalized that they ‘believe’ Christ died for them and rose again from the dead, but the reality is the power within that statement should bring us all to our knees for what that one sentence holds for all of eternity.

Belief

Unfortunately, head knowledge isn’t enough to convince you to walk on the opposite side of the street, the side that feels uncomfortable, the side of the street that brings about gawking and humility. The side of the street that brings about ultimate life, and not only life but abundant life. We walk the side of the street that feels accepted, fitting in, being unnoticed carrying our shackles and chains down the street that leads to death; this is where the enemy tromps. The opposite side has life and is only a few steps away, yet the shackles pull you down, holding you captive. Your freedom is starring you in the face while you let your head knowledge control your next step rather then living in the knowledge that you truly believe Christ did die for you

Understanding that concept of what believing truly looks like will be the manner of breaking you free from the shackles around your ankle or continuing to live a life of despair. The answer seems so simple, yet we all wonder why we can’t obtain that freedom Christ talks about. It’s our sin that holds us captive and the uncomfortability of walking in truth rather then societal acceptance.

Friends, this is a concept we don’t truly understand the depths of the meaning behind ‘belief.’ Are you walking in that belief that Christ died for you? Or are you walking in a knowledge that Christ died for you while remaining in your shackles, residing where the enemy tromps?

I honestly believe we all long for a life that is abundant; living a life full of opportunity and love. The reality is we have that offered to us and many of us choose not to accept it. “Of all the Jews that had the chance to experience the promised land, only two took God up on His offer.” They say there was about 2 million Jews that were given this opportunity. That’s a 1 in a million chance. Don’t you want to be that one in a million?

Pricilla Shirer said it like this:

“The curse of sin enslaves our souls; it is a lock and chain that keeps us from finding freedom. It guarantees every human a life of separation from God…Church ministers, and messages address lighter spiritual topics that draw crowds without stirring controversy. While we often skip around the very issue that most needs to be addressed, we remain shackled, peering through the fence wondering why we cannot experience true freedom. Until we deal with the shackle of sin, we cannot cross the boundaries that keep us from experiencing an abundant relationship with God.”

Need I say more?

Moment of Truth: Take a moment to ask yourself: Are you living an abundant life, walking in the freedom you’ve been offered? Have you graciously accepted that freedom, or are you walking in the shackles with a head knowledge that Christ died for you unwilling to accept that freedom from slavery? “The Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as today.” Deuteronomy 4:20 The Lord has lifted our souls from a bondage that is associated with a hot iron furnace. This is your fate my dear friends, pray that your head knowledge outpours into your heart giving you the response to break free from those shackles.

Lead Me With Strong Hands

“Lead me with strong hands”….this song (below) was on the radio as we were driving home from my Mother-in-laws who is extremely sick with terminal cancer. I was driving through the rain while my sick son grasped my hand tightly and my husband perched in the passenger seat sick as a dog who began vomiting at my Mother-in-laws house.

While this song was playing I was realizing the deep need of love we all long for whether that is from parents, spouse, children or God. Sometimes when tragedy hits, sickness takes place or depression sets in, people tend to search in all the wrong places for a love that is fulfilling. I have found when we are at our weakest point this tends to be the only time we find God; or shall I say allow Him to shine down on us. The reality is you can push and push to never turn to God, but sometimes God puts His foot down and brings you directly face to face with Him, nowhere else to turn but to Him and Him alone.

Sometimes we get caught up in life chasing dreams, goals and in the midst of it, forgetting to give back that deep love our children and spouse are so deeply longing for. This songs speaks directly to this matter and not because sometimes we want love and sometimes we lose sight of life, but because this is applicable in every one of us, longing for that deep love and acceptance.

Sometimes we are so sick and down that we can’t face another moment, we need to be taken care of, held and have a strongness surround us to keep us going. This is what I felt on the drive home: My husband weak as could be, vomiting without control, my son with the runniest nose I’ve seen in a LONG time and his poor little ears bothering him. My family needed me, and they needed me to be strong, care for them, love them and help them. So much so that when you can’t make it to the bathroom in time, the walls, floor, shower curtain, bath toys, sink  and décor all need some deep cleaning.

Lead me with strong hands

The picture I had on this gloomy drive home was nothing more than the reality that relationships can’t fulfill that deep longing we all have. Whether married or single, children or childless you still want love. We were created for love. We often think, if I just got married, boy would that longing simply disappear. Or, If I just had a baby I would be fulfilling that hole inside of me. This isn’t true! Don’t succumb to those lies. Do we want these things? Or course, but let me explain something that we all need a good reminder of: We long for love, but sometimes receiving these two relationships actually brings a deeper hole within. Not because you haven’t found that love and fulfillment, but because you are searching for a person to satisfy something that only God can satisfy. Our relationships are imperfect but God is perfect. He longs to fill that hole HE placed within each of us! God created families and spouses as an earthly picture of what sacrifice and love should look like. Do not place your hope solely in your spouse or your children as God needs your whole heart! By giving this to God, he will bless you with your earthly relationship!

Listen to this song: Lead-me-with-strong-hands

We all put on a façade that assumes our life is held together quite well. We can smile all day long, but on the inside be yearning for something so much greater. We need to seek for advice and wisdom but not fulfillment within those around us. There is a huge difference between these two concepts. Our real home is in heaven and no hole will be yearning to be filled at that point, but right now while in our earthly home we need to be providing a Godly love for our entire family, friends and acquaintances. Please embrace the love Christ has for you, find it and embrace it. Pour it out on those around you! We know they need it just as much as you do!

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Moment of Truth: We can and need to be that support to our families BUT with the support of Christ to develop that through us. Pray for grace within your relationships and delight in your relationships that Christ has blessed you with. Pray that God leads you in a manner to love abundantly, pure, and with Gods love; nothing less.

 

The Struggle of Trust

Just when you think you couldn’t lose your trust in someone, it happens. The devastating blow that what you had known previously has now crumbled to the ground. How do you push through, how do you manage your life when life revolves around trust in all aspects? Every relationship we hold begins with trust whether it’s a solid foundation or has become excruciatingly severed. What I’ve come to realize through the years is the only reason trust does not exist in a relationship is due to selfish gain, insecurities and fear of failure. Pride breeds lies.

As soon as a tone begins within a conversation or a defensive state occurs, immediately my guard pops up. If you are an honest person you do not have a reason to get defensive or develop a tone. I honestly believe through watching people, circumstances, and learning through psychology that a person who can’t show all their colors upfront is hiding something they are either ashamed, embarrassed, incompetent, seeking approval and/or fear of disapproval. These feelings unfortunately can dictate a relationship and destroy a family immediately. A friendship or marriage cannot exist without trust.

So how does one stay in a predicament that is untrustworthy? Where does the stamina occur to hold their part of the marriage or friendship together? And when should someone simply walk away?

These are questions I have struggled with for a long time within many different relationships I’ve had throughout the years. I have learned that my character and integrity lie in the hands of whether I prove to be a trustworthy, honest individual. Why would I expect someone to hang on to what “could” be if I constantly fail to gain their trust? I CAN’T!

This is something we all long for and unfortunately some of us stay in heart wrenching relationships in hopes to change them and gain a solid trust to feel complete in that particular relationship. There is a significant difference between a marriage relationship and a severed rope with a friend. In marriage vows we promise to hold dearly and care for our beloved through sickness and in health, through richer and poorer and through the good and the bad. But what do these vows truly mean? Do you honestly wholeheartedly believe those words? Now, we don’t promise those same vows to a dear friend and although maybe we should, the covenant between a marriage and friendship is different. Marriage is not only a covenant but a covenant with our Heavenly Father.

Struggle of Trust

Unfortunately we as humans were created for a greater design, yet our instincts are out for ourselves. When you boil it down, the scary truth is we are only in it for ourselves. If you aren’t, than you have to continually make the choice to humbly serve our “brothers and sisters” of the world. The reality is friendships unfortunately are destroyed and marriages burn with affairs, addictions and utter disrespect. So the question is not what to do if this happens to you, the proper question is ‘how should you respond when this does occur’. It’s inevitable that you will travel through life without broken trust, broken hearts, and broken friendships. Unfortunately this is all part of the fall of man; the sinful curse.

The exciting news is there is hope. There truly is, you cannot change any person out there let alone to truly change oneself for the better. The only hope we have is in Christ Jesus. To some of you that may sound foolish, but once you have hit rock bottom and come to a honest reality of who you truly are, it’s ugly. We are all nasty people trying to save an extra buck, losing work ethic, purchasing items that are not healthy and beneficial for our mind and bodies, deserving you should be first in line or not cut off on the freeway and putting ourselves before ANYONE else! Christ calls us to lay our lives down as a sacrifice for our neighbor. Did you catch that? Our neighbors! How many of you know your neighbor and know them intimately? Probably not too many of us! When push comes to shove would you willingly lay your life down to the neighbor on your right? How about the neighbor on your left?

My neighbors seem nice enough, but I can’t honestly say I would lay my life down for them. I long to wholeheartedly say I would do this in an instant but I would be lying to you all. There is a few people I have no question, I would in a heartbeat. But the rest of ya’ll out there….I’m not so sure! This is a sad reality. I know each and every one of you have a beloved story to tell. One that would probably bring me to tears, others that would make me laugh with joy and in either case, having heard your story would make me want to do lay my life down for you! The transition needs to happen prior to any story I hear! I want that deep love of Christ that even the man who cuts me off on the road and slams on his breaks I would easily say “Okay, for you I will!”

Lets be honest, without the love of Christ there is NO WAY any of us would give it a second thought. But even WITH the love of Christ the battle rages and poses one to many questions to immediately talk yourself out of it. So here we are and we evaluate the true meaning of love and honesty. Those who hurt us we make excuses for, those we don’t know, we automatically judge, the high performers we speak poorly about. Insecurity after insecurity flows from our mouths and actions.

So how do we love our neighbors and how do we trust those who betray us? We aren’t always given the answers! Every scenario is different. But just remember when you aren’t walking with Christ, you must expect bridges to be burned. Good cannot sustain itself in a worldly environment. Remember there is a battle fighting for your soul, a real battle taking place at this very moment; don’t let the enemy win and conquer your mind and/or soul.

Philippians 4:6- Give thanks in spite of difficult circumstances.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 – The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds…..taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.

Colossians 3: 13- Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Acts 26:18- to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.

2 Samuel 7:28- Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.

These are just a few verses that have stood out to me giving encouragement. We don’t have all the answers but we know that man is utterly deceitful and the only trust we have lays in the arms of Jesus Christ; hold tightly to truth. The power of sin is beyond what our eyes can see. There is so much more raging around us in spiritual warfare. Pricilla Shirer Said it like this “Every good gift, Satan counterfeits.” This is exactly the essence of our daily walk through life. Every positive step you take, Satan’s next five steps to ruin your one. Walk with the eyes of Christ, if you walked in this confidence you would constantly walk on Satan rather then allow him to walk on you.

God doesn’t tell us exactly what to do with every scenario we face. The basis I have seen is to still love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. God calls our focus to be on Him, so when those lies and deceit show up, KEEP YOUR EYES ON CHRIST. Take the next right step for God, not yourself or that person. God will conquer evil and already has. That doesn’t mean your marriage will be redeemed or your friendships healed, BUT it does mean, if you are seeking God and walking with Him in the midst of your pain, he will be gracious to you and bless you. Now what happens with the relationship is unknown but keep your eyes on Christ! Do not hold grudges, do not be angry and do not dwell.

Moment of Truth: This is not an easy topic and often doesn’t solve each individuals pain. All I can offer in the midst of my own heartache, is that Christ still gives me the strength and wisdom to get through the next moment and the next day. How that will look, is often beyond what I had envisioned. Trust your instincts when you are in the Word, but remember if you aren’t walking solely with Christ, be careful in trusting your instincts as we can make decisions based on fear rather than faith.

This is tough stuff…unfortunately my advice is even when a marriage is burned down to ashes, pray for healing, don’t give up. Walk in confidence knowing you did everything in your God given power to save your marriage. I do care about the heartache, but not when it comes to walking away. God will be faithful to you! You made that covenant before the Lord! He will bring healing whether your spouse walks away or stays. The healing begins within yourself, not them! Push through dear friends. (There are circumstances that simply aren’t safe, I’m not advising on these particular circumstances) Seek godly council and pray for wisdom! God will bless you beloved!

In regards to friendships, you must weigh what the Lord is pressing on your heart. Seek Him and ask for wisdom. Are you walking in Christ but still living in the places that the enemy reigns? If so, than run away from those broken friendships. God calls us to turn from evil and by turning from evil not only means placing your faith in Christ alone, but then by responding by walking down the opposite side of the street avoiding the roads the enemy tromps. You can’t walk down the same streets you walked before you came to Christ and expect different results. You must change your route, build new friendship, and seek godly wisdom not worldly advice!

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I’m not suggesting this is easy, even as I share this with you all, I feel the battle fighting to not believe what I tell you. Living my life for Christ will bring about spiritual warfare but I must take my mind captive as the battle is out to destroy my soul and relationships around me. Holding tightly to God’s promises rather then my fear will bring about faith!

In Christ’s I place my trust!

-Amen

 

Wickedness

This morning I headed to Bible study and it seemed as though everything kept me from being on time as usual:

Cooper woke up soaked from head to toe. Quick bath. Quick breakfast. Coffee spilt. Beat traffic. Drop Cooper off in toddler room. Head back to the car for his pacifier and diapers. Rush into study 20 minutes late.

This is how my morning proceeded but I kept plugging along. It did get better. Although many times I kept asking myself why I was trying. Surprised I didn’t give up on the morning, I took a sigh of relief as I sat there for the remainder of the devotion taking place. Hearing the last few sentences before heading to my personal class on Deeper Still by Beth Moore, Kay Arthur and Pricilla Shirer unsure why every time I try to proceed with something positive and healthy for me, everything is against me trying to keep it from happening or simply causing many distractions to take place before I even step foot in the building. Unfortunately the many questions of why should I keep trying to plug through, my tiny brain telling me I am there for a purpose and a great purpose that is; to grow deeper in my faith with Christ. Standing to break as we head to our individual classes I head immediately to get a refill on my coffee that was well needed this morning; taking a break to chat along the way.

I sit in class for a second trying to compose my self, focus my thoughts and prepare to listen and learn.

(Sigh)

Awe the thoughts that rushed through my head all through study continued to fill my mind even on the drive home:

I’m realizing as each day passes, God is doing a mighty work. Friends, we must choose to believe this. This is same God that gave us the power to move mountains if we simply believe. We don’t understand that power. We just don’t! We would live a radical life if we truly believed this one fact Christ has given us. We hold such weight on our immediate circumstances that our vision becomes cloudy before we even realize it. Our perspective gets lost on the trivial situations we face rather then the purpose God is trying to fulfill through these situations. Every day brings about hundreds if not thousands of distractions. Are you one full of distractions as I am, or are you simply pushing God away feeling He serves no purpose in your life? Or do would you rather not be involved with the hypocrisy of “Christians,” you get along just fine without Him or them?

Here’s some food for thought…

Our pastor spoke on the simple distractions that cause our belief to become angry towards God and keep asking for more signs as if we haven’t already been given enough.

The cornerstone of wickedness is what you do with it for Christ.

People can see Jesus if they want to, yet many people simply push it aside because they don’t want to hear about it. They think they are better than that and have life under control; their control. (I’m speaking more towards those who make excuses for committing their life to Christ) I used to be there, I thought I had life all figured out, I was a responsible adult and didn’t need any advice unless it was my own. I was blind, blind to truth and things that ultimately mattered for eternity. My simple pleasures in life would quickly blow away in the wind, no weight holding them down; materialism and popularity was all I believed in. Being on both sides I can relate, but I still find utter foolishness for blaming the hypocrites of the church as we will search to find anything wrong with a “Christian.” We avoid looking into the mirror realizing we have too many of our own problems that it has become easier to convince yourself that Christians are hypocrites and that’s your final answer. Rather than turning towards Christ, you turn towards people to convince you of this truth or rather steer you away. Your hope is in the wrong thing, people will always let you down.

When people start to question the Lord, it’s easier for them to begin blaming others out of fear that their deeds well be exposed (John 3:20-21). Their heart will show their true colors and that can be very scary for most people who want to push God away. People who want ‘signs’ that God is real and wasn’t simply a historical figure begin demanding that Christ performs that miracle He said He could do. These people are out to “test” God for who He says He is rather then acknowledge the signs already given to them; they’ve chosen simply not to see it.

Thanks to asburyandasbury.typepad.com

Thanks to asburyandasbury.typepad.com for the photo

John 7:17 states “Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teachings come from God or whether I speak on my own.” He is stating the truth that penetrate the hearts of those who believe in Him. Truth will be shown to those who seek; they will find. The problem is the disposition of the heart; is your heart teachable or do you have a defensive heart shoving truth to the farthest corner possible? This verse also explains why unbelievers simply don’t get it; their hearts are unteachable and they don’t want to see the real truth. And until their hearts begin to change, no one can ever convince someone of Christ’s promises. I’ve been there, my heart was beyond unteachable for years! I had every excuse under the sun as to why I didn’t need God and why my life was so much easier on my own. Unfortunately, God took my words and found me in the pit of despair; I had nothing left to offer. It was ugly. Sometimes it takes our stubborn attitudes to be completely humiliated before we finally surrender, this was me, I had to come to a humbling point in my life to realize the deep need for Christ. I learned the hard way, I know unfortunately too many others who have or are going through their humbling experience as well; pride is the root of all evil.

It fascinates me that we are the one nation that has everything figured out; wealth, fame, materialism at our fingertips, job security, suburban lifestyles, 2.5 kids, and so on and so forth. But do we really have it all figured out? We are also the one nation that has Christ at our fingertips yet we are the one nation who takes Christ for granted because we have everything else to make us happy. There are countries burning people at the stake for their faith. People choosing God and living a radical life is causing them to die, people care so much to keep faith uncovered, ignored and controlled, that they would rather kill one another to attempt to disprove God. Many countries have underground churches and we have every opportunity to believe in Christ and have His very Word in our homes but we still need more signs, more miracles to convince us. Many homes in America have the Bible, even homes that don’t believe in God. Hotels even have a Bible in the nightstand while most of America still chooses to not believe. We hear all too often that it’s just another book, yet for some reason it brings about controversy and is important enough to have millions of rooms throughout thousands of hotels filled with the Bible. But it’s just another book right? Lets keep killing people for something that is ordinary and has no power. Friends, if this was true, other countries wouldn’t fight to stay alive and fight for God and fight for that freedom or religion that we have.

The love for the world is so deep. Stop asking for signs, you have it readily before you. The spirit convicts and you choose to listen or willfully be blind.

Moment of Truth: God does not call you to put your trust in a church or its people, only Jesus Christ who is no hypocrite. Seek and you WILL find.

White as Snow

Oh the cozy feeling of my electric blanket wrapped tightly around me as I look out the window seeing the gorgeous skies filled with a soft blanket of snow. Beautiful trees, snow capped houses filling my view is beyond describable. Last night I felt this peace wrap around me as we shut the lights off outside allowing the soft white blanket of snow to radiate enough light keeping the dark far away. We kept starring outside shocked by the amount of light this blanket had provided.

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The more the snow falls the more I realize it’s pure, perfect and without blemish. Isn’t this the exact picture of Christ as he is pure, perfect and without blemish? He has washed our sins white as snow. Do you realize how quickly the snowy roads become trampled and dirty, slushy, and watered down? Is that how your faith in Christ is? Are you believing you are washed white as snow? Or, are you live in the streets slowly losing the temperature of faith and grace, washing you to the gutters and falling through the cracks? Rocks pierce your soul rubbing dirt into our insecurity taking away your white innocence. This is the routine of life that I hope to not fully succumb to.

We all have some amount of dirt in our snow as that is part of our imperfect world but when Christ looks down upon us, we are that soft, untouched blanket of snow. Lets choose to become the path that’s narrow, untouched, and hidden from the main roadways. Lets not throw ourselves to the street allowing the dirt to come near us. It’s impossible to avoid unless you choose the narrow path; the road less traveled. That road is never near the main roadways, it’s usually tucked far away under a tree or off in the distance. Never to be comingled with the wide common path. There is no mistaking which path is the untouched, narrow road.

The amount of light the snow brings is also a perfect picture of Christ. White snow reflects the moon eliciting a sweet glow forcing the darkness to flee; in darkness the enemy stalks. Last night I had an incredible peace as Christ wrapped me in His white blanket clearly showing me a physical form that He has His protection wrapped tightly around me and my family. In Psalms 91 it’s states that “darkness will not come near your tent…” this was a very clear picture to me last night and all day today that Christ brings about light even when our lives seem to be filled with darkness from the trials of this world. I feel blessed with the precious snow bringing about perspective while forcing me to place my busy life on hold and spend time with my family.

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Moment of Truth: Christ is the light and in the midst of darkness He shines His light refocusing your perspective back on Him; the pure, untouched light. Stay off the dark black slushy roadways and take the path less traveled bringing about light and life; keeping you white as snow!

The Depth of Our Choices

The Depth Of Our Choices

Our sins carry a weight we think we can manage, yet we can’t. This is when depression, anxiety, insecurity, worthlessness, doubt and much more seep in.

This song talks about washing our burdens away. Placing them in the river and laying down our sin that we weren’t meant to carry. In the water we allow Christ to wash us clean and watch our sins float down yonder, never to live under that yolk again. Christ has given us this joyous opportunity to meet us in the midst of our sin, not having to do anything but surrender.

We’ve all been at that point where life literally weighs us down, feeling we can’t get up and carry our burdens for the day. I always picture Christ carrying the cross on the path to His crucifixion; beaten along the way, weighed down, barely able to move yet still given the strength to carry the cross for us. For me, this is the greatest picture when I feel my burdens are strangling me; if Christ can do it, I know I have the strength to push through.

Lately I’ve continually talked about our sins and the deep impact they have not only on us, but everyone around us. I have been in the midst of the trial for awhile and I feel this is when I grow closer to the Lord. If that’s all that comes from the hurt and pain in this world, than I can rest assured I am living the life that is refining my soul and allowing eternity to be changed rather than seeking material possessions that will pass away.

As mentioned many times, just over two years ago I gave my life to Christ. I promised I would live a life that Christ has called for me, going where He asks, keeping my feet planted in the Word and allowing my life to shine for Him and Him alone. With this commitment I asked God to please make my life extraordinary as living the ordinary life wasn’t something I wanted to partake in day in and day out. I know if I seek Christ for direction, He is longing to meet me at those crossroads giving me that extraordinary life. Through these past two years God has had to bring me to my face in humility; shedding my pride and control to prepare me for that extraordinary life. I like to think I am in boot camp. I wish I was done with boot camp as it has been very exhausting to keep my eyes on the prize when giving up seems to be the easier way out. Two years ago when I was pregnant with my son Cooper, I knew taking the path of truth wasn’t going to be easy but I did now it would be the best path for our family and for my son. His little innocence was more important to me than my pride and my own selfish ways. I knew I had to take up my cross and follow Him no matter the cost. It was my only hope.

They say having kids changes you; boy is that true. I’ve become a woman I never knew existed and could become as quickly as I have. My husband and I battle that quite often as my motives in life are firmly grounded in Christ. Most my decisions are black and white. There is no middle ground, no room for negotiation. If the decision is clearly laid out in the Bible than I have no hesitation. As it says in the Psalms Seek my heart and see if there is any evil way within me. I want to grow and grow beyond my own strength. I want to be that mother and wife that lives a life that only Christ could have done. I will not settle. Sometimes I allow my own ‘problems’ to cloud my perspective and I can quickly believe that everything is a waste. Sometimes it takes moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day to remind myself of this as I will never fully get there while on this earth. But Christ will prevail, evil was already conquered. So when I continually make mistakes and say dumb comments, I know there is still hope and grace to be received.

Even though our sin has great pain and depth to it, the great news is you do not need to sit in it. Pick up the pieces and move ahead learning from them rather than continuing the small choices that seem innocent; they will ruin your life at some point leaving you unfulfilled and unaccomplished. I’m very passionate and living proof that this is possible. Have some faith, truly believe it is possible.

Moment of Truth: Don’t live in the midst of your sin making excuses for your continual patterns and habits. Repent and let go, watch them float down the river. Break through the concrete holding your feet in the muck rather then becoming free and running to glory and peace. Ask God to take you deeper still. He will take us if we ask and are willing to move.

Waiting on the Lord

The old saying “everything comes in three’s” seems to ring true right now. Although I am not superstitious what-so-ever but currently I am in stage three hoping the 4th isn’t lurking right around the corner. My eyes have been unveiled to a lot of pain and reality the last 7 days. I do not have the right to share some of the tragedy as they are not regarding me to the fullest but the reality is tragedy has hit and hit hard affecting me and those around.

I turned on the TV this afternoon while Cooper was napping and I had to immediately turn it off. Talk shows are feeding our selfish desires and how to act on them. “We deserve” better. This lie is so prevalent within our society and is the essence of self absorption and pride wrapping itself around our brains forcing us to think we deserve revenge.

What has happened to society is we are easily allowing ourselves to be influenced by what we see and hear rather than what we know to be true. My heart is broken! This is the basis of where I am lately.

This song “While I’m Waiting” has been my song of the month and continually reminds me to wait on the Lord as each day these past 7 days has brought three major events of life to light. I currently have the choice to respond with humility asking the Lord to give me strength and wisdom when circumstances as these tend to arise. It’s easy to walk away, sweep our problems under the rug, cope in ways that are dangerous and unhealthy and simply shut down. My deepest desire is to engrain these words from this song on my heart and take my own advice that I share on a continual basis with you all about trusting the Lord. I can tell you tell I get blue in the face to trust the Lord but the outflow of my life needs to reflect this exact thing. While I am human and will forever make many mistakes while I am here on this earth, my deepest desire is to live a life worthy of His calling. To influence those who are in the midst of tragedy themselves. Simply meeting you right where you are; where we all are, if we are honest.

Thanks to "Got Prayer?"

Thanks to “Got Prayer?”

Having a discussion with my husband two nights ago, I was realizing the depth of our sin is beyond powerful and self consuming, even to the point of death at times. When death arises we tend to ask ourselves “why could they never figure it out?” Why do we wait until death knocks at our door to simply attempt to put our lives back together again. Why do we wait? Why do we tend to look at other people constantly hoping and praying they “figure it out” when reality is why can’t we figure it out ourselves. Sometimes death knocks and sometimes the door is open for healing and redemption while other times we turn to coping mechanisms that are even more destructive than where we were before our door was knocked upon. How come we can’t humbly lay our life down and beg for understanding and healing? We tend to resort to the habits of our mind, believing this is who we are rather than accepting our habits are unhealthy and need to firmly be addressed. We can change the patterns of our mind if we truly sought to change them!

We cry for help without accepting the hand reaching down to pull us up from the muck and the mire. We turn a back looking for that “quick fix” in the way we see fit, not the way that’s going to bring about change and healing.

We have a long list of excuses, ways we justify our decisions and thinking we know what’s best. These are lies that need to be unveiled to each and every one of us. What lies are you believing about yourself? Earlier this week in Bible study the discussion was “resolve to resolve.” Set out to resolve our own heartache rather than mask our problems that will only worsen and deepen over time. The enemy tries to come and divide families and friendship and drown out the light. But why succumb to this, Christ already defeated evil on the cross. So with the power of Christ you can defeat any and all of these masks we wear depending on which masquerade party we are currently attending. We wear a different mask with different people around but reality is we need to tear off the mask to allow the ugliness to shine through only to bring about true healing. The more we cover up the deeper our sin goes.

John 11:40 states “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” I don’t really know how else to say to this rather than try it. Test and see that the word of the Lord is true, active and alive. I know you will see His glory.

We pray for blessings, healing, peace, redemption, prosperity and the list goes on. We simply want our suffering to end. I’m not suggesting that trusting the Lord will take away our heartache. Blessings come in many different forms. Trials of this life tend to be God’s mercies in disguise. We hate to admit this as heartache usually tends to bring good from our circumstances. What Satan meant for evil, God turned to good. Again we have freewill and our circumstances will never be delightful but we can choose to seek the good apart from accepting the evil. Sometimes God allows us to be in the ‘pit’ until we have nothing left of ourselves but to seek God. That unfortunately can inflict pain on those around us simply by our choices that seem so small at the time, that actually are dragging us further into the pit. Before we know it our lives are public to those we walk with and eventually you have a choice; let redemption in or run away to the masquerade party wearing yet another ‘different’ mask.


Moment of Truth: Don’t attend the masquerade party, let your light shine. I struggle to find good in these past few days, but I have to trust and have complete faith that something good will eventually shine through. I believe God is trying to heal our relationships in one aspect or another and unfortunately it’s taking a lot of heartache and pain to accomplish this task. I believe when we look back maybe even years from now, there will be an epic journey we will have traveled having not gone through this. I believe it will be turned to good just as Christ says it will.

Temptation

“I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” Romans 7:18-19

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How do we take hold of this formidable force of self-control to not live a life dominated by failure? Titus 2 explains a list of temptations to flee that result in gaining self-control. If we gain self-control, we can conquer life’s formidable choices that we believe takes away everything we enjoy in life. If we exercise self-control we begin to believe the essence of life has slipped through our fingers. We no longer have ‘control’ over our life.

This is actually the exact opposite, self-control is the beginning of life. If we can walk in a blameless dignity, we are enabling ourselves to meet our goals, declining the sinful temptations to unfold the depths of our soul to bring pure happiness. Without self-control we will all succumb to life’s evil rulings; sex, drugs, alcohol, greed and much more. We are built to feel wanted, accepted and good enough. We all are on a search to find the answers, whether that is faith, money, sex, drugs, food or gambling we are hunting and will devour our prey as soon as we can wrap our hands around it. We will seek and find but it’s what we find that will determine our destiny to be glorious or painful.

We are to flee temptations, not simply turn away or walk away but RUN away and flee from temptation. We are weak, feeble beings that end up conquered by our greatest fears if we are not continually, daily, moment by moment seeking the face of Christ to not succumb to our selfishness.

All of our choices drastically affect our family, friends, and people we encounter on a daily basis. What seems to be small sins for us end up ruining our life and have much larger consequences than what we had thought to be. We believe our selfishness is solely selfish, when reality is, it changes the lives of those we love and walk with. Did you hear that? Our selfishness dramatically effects the lives of those we love and walk with. That’s a powerful statement. Our selfishness is our own desires that will spread throughout the lives of our children, spouse, family, friends, co-workers, and even acquaintances. We impact history on some level or another.

For example remember a year and a half ago when the shooting took place in Aurora, Colorado and 12 people were shot at the Movie Theatre while watching “The Dark Night Rises?” 70 people were seriously injured, within those 82 people (which is a lot) all of them had families, friends and co-workers that were highly influenced on some level or another. History changed that night while that man decided to act on temptation; misery overtook him. History was forever changed in hundreds of lives.

Flee temptation and run rapidly to Christ! Ask and plead with the Lord to not succumb to the misery we create on ourselves and those we love.

Waiting on the Lord

What does it mean to wait on the Lord? The first resolution should be to be obedient to Christ no matter the cost. This is the decision of being driven by fear or faith. The outcome will take place whether we choose our own direction or let Christ lead. The outcome will be the same, it’s the path in which changes; we can make the path longer and more painful or trust in faith that God will come through.

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Gods design isn’t to make us happy but to make us holy. When we are made holy is the moment in which sincere happiness can occur. When we trust on the Lord, we will wait on him in anticipation to fulfill His promises.

We need to be thankful for what God has done and what we have. When doing so our attitude will become that of a thankful heart rather than a vindictive bitter heart. Are we seeking revenge on others or a thankful peaceful heart desiring self growth?

I’ve noticed how quickly it is that one bad thought can lead down a spiraling path of anger, revenge and much more. Allowing these thoughts to even enter in, requires self-focus with a prideful attitude believing we are deserving of something better than whom we seek revenge. I’ve noticed in the work force while talking with a few people who feel betrayed in their positions, how quickly these negative thoughts seek vengeance and bad “Karma” to those who are incredibly difficult to work with. For some reason there is an entitlement within ourselves that these people are below us and we are so much more ‘put-together.’ This attitude comes within our self from a prideful insecure mentality that we ‘deserve’ better. Stop! Think for a second! These people are in the same shoes as us; trying to make it through their day, struggling with lifes circumstances on so many levels. Everyone ultimately wants respect and appreciation. If we treated those around us who we don’t believe ‘deserves’ respect, how would that change their day? How would that change their perspective of you? How can you help change their outlook for that particular day, all by being nice and respectful to those who don’t deserve it.

Yet who are we to judge who deserves what? Our pride seeks happiness, yet again, God didn’t create us to be happy, but to become holy. Our goal should be to understand we are all wandering through life looking for something greater.

Take time today to treat those you encounter with high respect, love and appreciation. Whether that comes in the form of a smile to a stranger you pass, opening the door for a customer walking into Starbucks; paying for their drink as a nice gesture. Or in the work environment, remind yourself of the top three people who make the hair on your neck stand up and ask them how their day is, put a smile on your face and treat them with utter respect even if they toss disrespectful comments your way. Your integrity will shine for who you are when you don’t ‘fight’ back. Your actions do speak louder than words.

Ultimately, does it really matter? We never feel better about ourselves after the revenge takes place. Ultimately we just stooped to the same level as them, lowering our integrity and respect to those who are watching. It is never worth it. A silent heart speaks truth while our mouths seek ourselves. Wait on the Lord, ask Him what he wants from us. Ask Him for a heart like His, and ask for patience and love. RENEW YOUR MIND ALL DAY LONG.

Choose Faith not Fear and watch your life be transformed.
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The question we need to ask every day is: Am I driven by faith or fear?