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Archive for September, 2011

Cured

Compare the two.  “All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil by anxious thoughts and forebodings, but he who has a glad heart has a continued feast regardless of circumstances.” Proverbs 15:15

Which would you rather have?  A feast regardless of circumstances or evil days?

The choice is pretty clear.

There are always times in our lives when things are disconcerting and worrisome.  We have to be totally honest about how we feel during those times in order to move forward, but there is a danger when we choose to brood over them.

I call it sitting on the pity pot when we  choose not to move beyond.  It’s as if we are sitting in the bathroom, constipated yet unwilling to take the medicine that would help move things along.  So we sit there hour after hour, day after day miserable, uncomfortable and plugged up!  We play the blame game (accusing someone else of causing our problems), the victim game (Poor me, I don’t deserve this but there is nothing I can do about it), or the much afraid game (panicked and out of control anxiety and despair).

The more we sit there covered by every negativity known to man, the more plugged up we become.  Eventually every day is a bad day and every thing has gone wrong.  If we continue to live there, we may even find ourselves acting out and doing “evil”  or destructive things.

God never meant for us to live that way.  And there is a God given laxative to clean us out.  Proverbs 17:22 says, “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing.”

With God’s help and proper focus, we can move beyond trouble into a state of joy and gladness.  Here’s a few steps.

1.  Be honest before God.  Don’t stuff your emotions.  Cry out to God and be real about how you feel.

2.  Ask God for help and listen for His encouragement of His word.

3.  Think differently.  Choose to focus on the blessings, past successes, and things that bring you joy.

4.  Do the right things.  If you walk in integrity and character regardless of circumstances, you will eventually see the hand of God!

5.  TRUST.  Trust God and His promises.  In the end, that is what brings us confidence and hope for the future.

If your heart is hurting or you find yourself struggling at some level, what could you do today that would bring you a “glad and merry heart”?

It is the cure!

 

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Ever had a dream deep inside of you that you believe God has put there?  Ever done your best to follow His instructions and come to a point where you just didn’t see how the dream was going to actually be birthed?

I’ve been there several times.  In fact, was just there again last night.  It’s difficult to keep your mind and heart focused when you are discouraged by the outward appearances of what’s happening.

The voices that resonate in our head during times like that are so easy to listen to.   Things like:  Who do you think you are to even believe you could do this? It’s just like everything else you’ve tried, it’s a silly pipedream!  You are just an ordinary person, you weren’t meant to do great things.  You aren’t smart enough, don’t know the right people, etc. etc. etc.  God isn’t really in it.

These are just a few voices that cause so many of us give up on the thing God has put in our heart.  The first sign of struggle or the first objection can throw us into a pit of despair and discouragement.  And sometimes we labor, pray, travail and give up just before the birth happens.

What it really boils down to is faith versus fear.  We are afraid to let God really shine through us….to dare to believe we can do big things through Him.   We are afraid that God might not love us enough, might not have chosen us, might not think we are significant to His kingdom.

While we are believing the lies of the enemy, here is what God says in Isaiah 66:9.  “Shall I bring to the moment of birth and not cause to bring forth?, says the Lord.  Shall I who causes to bring forth, shut the womb? says your God.”

What kind of God would we serve if He didn’t care about the deep desires He put in us?  What kind of cruel God would He be if He brought us right to the moment of delivery and then ran away or stopped the birthing process?  God isn’t like that.  As long as we stay open and ready to birth what He has spoken by His strength He will bring it forth.  As long as we are willing to follow the plan He has given us, He will bring it forth.

We were meant to birth the things of God in our marriage, our children, our businesses, our relationships, and our lives!  God will bring it forth.  The question is:  What can we do to cooperate with Him?

Go forth and multiply!  Birth the baby God has for your life!

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Personal trainers are a very popular way to get in shape and move to a healthy lifestyle.

When I read this verse this morning, I couldn’t help but compare that to the spiritual training God has provided. I Timothy 1:4,5(Amplified) tells us the importance of accepting in faith God’s ‘administration and divine training.’

Two words stand out–in faith and love. 

I love the way the Amplified explains faith.   “leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence.”

In the gym……one has to trust that the personal trainer knows what they are talking about and asking us to do.  The understanding must be that they know how to get us in optimal shape and increase our well-being.  They are trained to work with our unique body type and style while implementing some consistent principles into our daily routine.

The same is true in our relationship with God.  He understands our unique human personality.   We can either choose to do our own thing  or put our strengths and weaknesses in the hand of God and listening to His divine instruction for our lives.  That is true faith.  Having confidence that when one of God’s principles or commands runs into conflict with our own desires or how we “feel”  we will choose to trust him and do what He asks.

The second part of this passage, talks about the purpose of our instruction.  Just as a personal trainer creates a program to bring us into health, God’s instruction and His charge to us has a purpose.  That purpose is love.

Pure love starts with loving God.  When we love God we can love ourselves and others.  So where does love begin?

Verse 5 makes it clear.   Love “springs from a pure heart and a good clean conscience and sincere unfeigned faith.”  If we are to truly love……we must be clean before Him.  That takes honesty.

A personal trainer will get no where with us if we are going home from our workout and “sneaking” food that is off the program.  Unlike the personal trainer, God knows every place we are being dishonest, every failure due to poor choice.

Yet we try to hide.  We either hide because we are ashamed of our weakness and don’t trust God’s love or because we are in direct rebellion against Him.  The results of that kind of life can lead to a lot of destruction rather than the abundant life God wants for us.

A sincere and pure heart is necessary to love and leaning on God in trust and confidence is the first step toward a sincere and pure heart.

What are the places in your life that you haven’t trusted or had confidence in God?  Where have you been insincere about following His ways?  What is clouding your conscience?

What steps can you take today to begin to get in shape spiritually, emotionally, and physically?

God and His word is the ultimate personal trainer.

 

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Reflection

I opened my Bible this morning to John 14:9.  “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

Jesus used these words in reply to Phillip’s asking for Him to show the disciples the Father.

When I read them, my heart was stirred.   I found myself asking, “Could I speak those same words? ”

There is nothing our world needs more then a true picture of the Father.  There are millions of Christians and I can’t help but think about the impact we could really have if we began to truly reflect who the Father is.

But, it’s easy to point to all the other Christ followers when really I am the one I need to be concerned about.  I’m kidding myself if I say I love God and yet do the opposite of what He says.  As verse 23 says, “If a person really loves Me, he will keep my word and obey my teaching.”

Following His teaching isn’t always easy.  It requires change.  It requires trust.  And most of all, it demands love.  That’s the peace I so often get hung up on lately.

It’s easy to say we love but when I see what love requires I wonder if any of us really grasp what it means.  It’s so easy to justify our actions even when we know they don’t measure up to God’s love.

For example:

God says in Malachi 4:15, that the purpose of marriage is to produce godly offspring.   Is the way you are treating your spouse, modeling for your children God’s commands? Do you want your own way more then you want what God wants?

In other areas, raising kids, handling money, maintaining your relationships , your own personal character attributes, we must ask, Does this reflect who the Father is?

I love what Maya Angelou says.  “I like to think of myself as a rainbow in the clouds.”  A rainbow certainly stands for God’s love, promise, and hope for tomorrow.  That’s an awesome way to think about reflecting who God is.

Where is God speaking to you today, asking you to reflect who He is?  What step can you take to show others the Father?

 

 

 

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Let Be and Be……

Life is full of activity. Both good things and not so good can create distraction. A heaven on earth mindset requires that we stay focused on God and His work.  Carrying the burden ourselves or trying to make things happen can rip off our peace.  I’m being challenged in two areas.

First, it is so easy to get stirred up inside over our problems and circumstances. If we allow ourselves to continually think about what is “wrong” in our lives or the problem that is affecting someone or something, we will not have peace.

It’s a good thing to think and problem solve, but I can easily find myself distracted because I want to understand or fix whatever is wrong quickly.  I can find myself consumed by the drama of whatever is going on rather than being focused in prayer and  letting go and letting God work.  When I allow myself to get off track, I sometimes block God’s ability to use me as a catylyst for change.

The second distraction for me can come when I am working hard.  I really love to grow, work toward goals, and make a difference for other people.  Sometimes, I get so focused on the project, goal, or what others require or need that I forget to listen for God’s voice.  I can become so efficient and independent in my own head that I forget that I need to depend on His understanding and guidance in all that I do.  I can easily stop coming away and being still because of the tyranny of the urgent.

Psalm 46:10 says:  “Let Be and Be Still, and know, recognize and understand that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations!  I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 62:1 tells us:  “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.”

There is a time to just wait in the middle of what ever life has brought.  There is a time to just let things be as they are and wait on God.  There is a time to remove your focus from what you can do or should do and get quiet so you can hear the voice of God.

There is a time to let be and be still.  When we honor that time we will become more of who we were meant to be.

What can you let go of or let be today?  What can you do to be still and listen?

I’d love to hear what happens for you when you do.

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Have You Given Up?

I am awake at 4:30 am and thinking and praying about some special people in my life.  I’m reflecting over my own experiences and can’t help but remember times when I was about to give up.  You can probably relate to times when you’ve prayed for an answer.  I remember seasons of crying out for intervention for my family, my marriage, my kids, my finances, and a host of other issues I faced.

There were times all those tears would appear to go unnoticed and the prayers seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.  I couldn’t understand why something I knew God wanted would be so delayed.  Those times left me discouraged and often times with a feeling of hopelessness and despair.

But as I look back, I see a totally different picture.  God was always listening, always working on behalf of the things that He wanted too.  He was working on my husband, kids, and other relationships.  He was working in me.  He was preparing the ground for all the good things He had in store.  He was refining, purifying, testing, and proving my character.  He was truly answering my heart cry at a level deeper then I understood.

There were times I gave up.  Other times, I almost did.  Why?  Because what God was doing didn’t look exactly the way I had thought it would.  I didn’t understand God’s process.  I wanted instant change.  I wanted perfect people, perfect circumstances, or at least pretty darn near perfect.  I didn’t want struggle.  I didn’t want to be patient.  I didn’t want to have to grow beyond the pain I felt at any given moment.  So often despair set in.

I took my eyes off the prize of my hearts desire and focused on the way things appeared.

Here’s what I see now.  When you pray according to His purposes, agreeing with what He desires, He listens and answers.  He will move all of earth to see heaven come down. He absolutely has our best interest at heart always.  And the beauty of God’s ways is reflected in the process of moving people and circumstances for the good of all involved.  It’s not always an overnight process.  It can sometimes take years.

If you are praying for God’s intervention in your life, the only way you can experience unanswered prayer is to give up.  If you are experiencing despair over what appears to be an ongoing problem, perhaps it’s because you are looking at things according to your perspective instead of His.  Maybe you haven’t really let go and placed it in His hands.  Maybe you are still trying to control or make the answer look a certain way.

I have to ask myself:  “Do I trust God or have I set my mind so firmly on what I want the answer to look like that I can’t see His hand moving?”  I have to remind myself that I will never see the promised land in my marriage, kids, or life in general if I give up.

I have to ask myself:  “What if God gave up on me?”  If God never gives up, if He loves so much, why should I give up on His ability to answer my prayer?

Will you join me in renewing faith and agreeing with God’s ability to work in our circumstances, our difficult relationships, and in ourselves?  I’m not giving up on God, or my hearts desire to see things come to pass on earth, in my life, as they are in heaven.

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Let There Be…….

Reading through Psalm 119 this morning I came across another interesting thought.  In the Amplified version, verse 160 talks about the word being truth and every one of His righteous decrees enduring forever.

Decree?   I looked it up.  A Decree is an order usually having the force of the law.  It’s a foreordaining will, a judicial decision.  All of those apply in God’s case.

What are God’s righteous decrees?  I’ve decided to start in Genesis and find out over the next few months.

I didn’t have to look any further then verse 3 in Genesis 1 to get a revelation.  God looked into the darkness and said, “Let there be light.”

When God spoke those words into the abyss of nothingness, it came to be.  He didn’t eliminate the darkness.  He put light right in the middle of it and saw that it was good!  Then He separated it and called light Day and darkness Night.

The next few verses talk about him creating and separating.  “Let there be” became the decree of God in forming this world.  He took what was here and made something out of it and then separated it from what was.

That is a profound truth for our lives.  God is still the same and His decree still resounds through all of time.  Let there be…….light that comes from darkness, a expansive sky in the midst of deep waters.  Night and Day, and Heaven above Earth.

Wherever we find ourselves, we can be certain God’s intention is to bring light into our dark times, and hope and possibility into our overwhelming and deep struggles. He has declared that Heaven is above the earth and has taught us to pray….Your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. 

It doesn’t matter what we see or feel.  God is bigger and His decree still goes forth.  His word is never empty.  And the foundation of everything He decrees is truth.

What circumstance do you find yourself in?  What do you need breakthrough in?

I can hear God decreeing Let there be……peace, joy, abundance, quietness, goodness, hope,  and most of all love.  He has and is decreeing good things for you.  Can you hear it?

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