Category Archives: love

Thank You for Offending Me!!!!

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Thank you for not noticing I colored my hair.  Thank you for stealing my parking spot.  Thank you for not saying hi at church today.  Thank you for not buying me coffee.  Thank you for forgetting my birthday.  Thank you for not remembering I am allergic to green peppers.  Thank you for ignoring me yesterday at the store.  Thank you for not inviting me to go out to dinner.  Thank you for cutting in front of me.  Thank you for not asking me to be a bridesmaid.  Thank you for not buying me something when you went to the store. Thank you for posting what you did on Facebook.

SHOULD I GO ON?

Offenses are literally EVERYWHERE these days.  As the world grows colder and colder and we are busy building our walls of defense against one another, we are suffering on the inside and no one seems to notice it much anymore.  We shrug our shoulders and move on to the next offense which just adds fuel to the fire already blazing on the inside.  We misinterpret things.  We react to situations based on our past hurts.  We are literally destroying our bodies with all this harbored bitterness. Often we take on offenses that really are not even there.

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So how can we overcome offenses in our lives?  Our women’s Bible study is reading a book called “Who Switched Off My Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf and just in the first two weeks I have learned a few things. (you can look her up YouTube and watch her amazing videos)  The main thing I want to focus on for the purposes of this blog is good trees verses bad trees.  When we are offended we have two choices:  take the offense and create a black tree or reject it and create a green, healthy one. (see Dr. Caroline Leaf videos for further understanding)  From the moment something offends us we can either choose life or death.  It really does something to the chemical balance in our bodies.

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Let me give you an example which just happened this morning.  I was driving my husband to work and he simply said to me, “Ya know, you need to slow down.”  Um, What?  I was going 40 and was ready with my defense when he further explained the speed limit had changed to 35 a few blocks back.  As I listened to his explanation I realized I had a choice to make:  Green Tree or Black Tree.  Here are the two scenarios:

  • I take on the offense:  My mind starts racing.  My blood pressure begins to elevate.  So I begin to build my defense case.  I have been driving for 31 years and have had 1, yes one, violation.  Then pride begins to boast in all its glory, my mind tries to dig up ALL of the things I have witnessed while being a passenger to his driving (which the list was very short–he is a great driver).  If I proceed with this avenue I will then become bitter and EVERY time I am driving my husband somewhere I will feel like I am not driving right according to his standards.  I would also open the door to me being critical about his driving as well.  Do you see where the bitterness grows and festers until it’s a BIG ugly black tree?
  • I decide not to be offended:  I choose in that very moment to capture this offense and give it to Jesus.  My blood pressure does not rise.  There is no place for bitterness to grow.  I know that pride will only get me into trouble and possibly a future “told you so”, besides,  growing a green, healthy tree is much simpler in the long run.  Besides I plan on spending the rest of my life riding in the car with my husband and this could have grown into one BIG UGLY black tree.

I am so THANKFUL God is renewing my mind in this area of my life.  Letting offenses fester only leads to a bitter life and possibly damages to my health.  I want to be able to love people and not take on any offenses.  The journey will not be easy, yet I accept the challenge.  I have had several instances this week where I have failed to not take on an offense, but then I remember it is a learning process.  It merely is in slowing down and making the clear choice rather than the one tainted by past hurts.

Dear Lord, I thank You for renewal of minds.  I pray You will help me to keep seeking deeper understanding in this area of my life.  I thank You that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and You meet me right where I am at.  Thank  You for healing me and guiding my steps towards greater freedom!  In Jesus Name!  Amen

 

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Auto-Pilot Distracted Living

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I am almost embarrassed to tell this story yet I know that freedom comes from sharing our testimony, so here it goes!  

It was an ordinary Sunday afternoon, church was over and dad needed to go to the grocery store.  Let me preface this story with dad is 85  and can no longer live alone so we try to help him out as much as taking him to the store and doctor appointments.  Being in bad health his demeanor is usually grumpiness and some confusion so the usual running conversation on Sunday afternoon goes something like this:

Me:  Dad, are you ready to go shopping?

Dad:  I would have rather gone this morning.

Me:  Sorry Dad I had to go to church.

Dad:  Had to go?

Me:  Yes dad, we have Bible Study and I am on the worship team.

Dad:  Ok, well, I hope I can make it…

This is the conversation we have almost every Sunday.  Then we get to the store and he is frustrated with how full the parking lot is and how many people he anticipates to be in the store.  Once we get in he worries the whole time the electric cart is going to leave him stranded in the middle of the store.  It is really sad to see how much fear riddles my dads life and frustrating at the same time, especially when those around us have no idea what we have been through just to get to the dairy section of the store.

So on this particular Sunday I was thinking a strategy in my head of how I was going to drop dad off at the grocery section of the store and I was going to go in the other entrance because I knew we needed hand soap.  So as I was parking the car I was planning my trip into the store when I pulled into the parking spot only to notice the car in front of me was about to leave and I thought to myself, “Boy I bet they are mad because they can’t just pull through to leave.’ (which is surely a thought I would have had if it was me)  Then  a car pulled up two spots away with a really loud stereo and my attention was drawn to that instead.

After all of those distractions I went back to focusing on the task at hand:  Operation Hand Soap. I entered the store as planned, grabbed the hand soap and headed across the store to the produce section where dad was waiting not so patiently and we spent the next hour acquiring groceries and disputing whether we needed items or not.  Almost done and dad is in a panic because the electric cart is at half battery so I tell him to proceed to the front check outs and I will finish getting the last few items. (which I took too long to do and prompted a cell phone call to inquire what happened to me)

We get to the check-out, I pack up the cart and the usual routine is dad pays and I head off to load the car and pick him up.  I reach for my keys and they are absent from my purse…already in a state of frustration, I begin to panic.  I had hoped they were not locked in the car because my husband would have no way to bring me a key and so this scenario begins in my head about how he will be upset and what about dad and what about the frozen foods……

I arrive at the car only to discover with somewhat relief that indeed the keys were in the car and I had somehow managed to leave the door unlocked.  So once I calmed myself down a bit and forgave myself for not taking the keys out and locking the door, I loaded the groceries in the back of the car and got in to pick up dad only to discover that not only did I leave the keys in the ignition with the car unlocked I had in fact also left it running.  What?  How?  Why?  I ran through my head the events leading up to this and I decided I was just too distracted.  This was so out of my character.  How could I have allowed this to happen?  Only by the grace of God was my car even still in the parking lot.

Well, this got me thinking for sure and the Lord started showing me how we have become so distracted with the things of this world we have kind of left our Christianity on Auto-Pilot in hopes that it will still be there when we return.  We go through the motions of our days often being distracted by this thing and then another until we are almost running around like chickens with our heads cut off.  We are barely thinking straight and often allow the things of this world to upset us far more than we should.

When we finally do take a moment to come to our senses and spend some time focusing on the things of God we often discover the spirit part of our lives is often left to fend for itself.  We find it hard to read the Word.  We try to fit in a Bible Study when we can. Often we just don’t want to listen to Christian music and enter into His Presence.

BUT GUESS WHAT!!

God’s grace is there.  He will keep us running.  He will be still be there when our focus returns to Him and the distractions have gone away.  When we face our fears and overcome our anxieties we once again realize that it was His grace the entire time that kept us safe.  It is His Grace which keeps our spirit in perfect peace when chaos erupts around us.  It is His Grace which keeps us safe even when great storms seem to separate us from seeing Him in a situation.  It is His Grace that keeps us from falling apart at the seams when we are too distracted to notice.  It is His Grace and Love which prevents us from ever getting to distracted to notice He loves us right where we are, lost or found

Dear Lord, Please help me to stay focused and not to be distracted by the things of this world.  Keep me safe and headed in the right direction.  I thank You for the peace which passes all understanding and I thank You for always loving me no matter where I have wandered.  In Jesus Name  Amen

Time to Adjust My Crown

James 1:12 
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

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Under normal circumstances, I would NEVER have posted this photo of myself.  But, today is not a normal day by any means.  After a little bit of road rage on the way to the store, while driving my dad, then a few people “in my way” at the store, and a grumpy dad because of it, and then 3 hours of healthy food prep for the week only to have someone say to me (I am sure in love and concern):

Have you lost any weight since you started making all this “heathy food” because it sure doesn’t look like it.”

Preface this with the night before my body acting out of whack and not getting much sleep and this makes for a very “fleshy” day.  Under normal circumstances I usually don’t have road rage and I am not irritated by those also shopping for their weekly groceries but for some reason today was just one of those days.  Then when I heard the words of defeat concerning my weight I was just done.

On a day like today I just need to take the advice of our pastor this morning and “Adjust my crown” and know who I am in Christ.  On a day like today I need not worry about the mistakes I have made, I just need to adjust my crown and move forward.  When one realizes they are the daughter or son of the Most High King the perspective of life should change.  One should be able to stand up tall and put their shoulders back and accept who God says they are not what the world just threw at them.

I could walk around the rest of the day moping and sulking because nothing I seem to do changes my outward appearance.  I have cut out soda (6 months), I have GREATLY reduced my sugar intake and gluten.  I cook fresh veggies for lunch and eat salad…I could go on but I think we all know the routine.  What will it take to lose the weight?  More healthy eating?  More exercise?  More defeat to push me to try harder?  I have been there and done that for months now with no results.  I even was doing my Faith and Fitness videos and feeling really motivated until I saw no results so I just gave up.  Defeated I stopped encouraging others all together.  Why bother?

Well, it’s time for me to put on my “Big Girl Panties” and buck up to the plate and try harder.  Do more to be active.  Do more to be healthy.  Concentrate all my time on measuring and monitoring my meals.  Time for me to be very meticulous about what goes on health wise for my body….

WAIT…(INSERT SOUND OF A RECORD STOPPING ABRUPTLY)

I do not need to do any of those things if they are causing me to worry or be stressed.  I must simply adjust my crown and move on.  Move to prayer and resting at the feet of Jesus, for it is at His feet that I will received all of the answers I need.  It is in my resting where God can do His most mighty miracles.

I am at the heaviest I have ever been pushing 210 pounds.  No wonder I am tired.  No wonder my body is out of whack, however, I can’t do anything about it if I am worried and stressed and over achieving.  Pushing myself to get motivated.  I am only going to achieve weight loss if I take Jesus with me.  If I allow myself to be still long enough, He will show me what to do and give me the desire to complete it.

Well, now that I have decided to straighten my crown and not to accept what the world thinks about me, I can enjoy the rest of my evening with my beloved husband knowing that I am loved by the Most High King and He is happy to see me with my crown on straight and my heart in the right place.

Dear Lord,

Today I pray for all of those who are struggling with poor self image and weight issues.  Help them to see themselves as You see them not like the world does.  Help them to rest in You and to be still long enough to hear what the next move is.  I pray Lord for hearts to be healed and lives changed.  I pray for crowns to be straightened and for minds to be renewed.  Thank You Lord for direction in all areas of our lives.  Thank You that You accept us just as we are and You love us right where we are.  In Jesus Name Amen.

 

From Drops to Floods

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But me he caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!
Man, I missed the mark again.  That did not turn out like I wanted it to.  I can’t do anything right.  I failed again. Everyone is going to be mad at me now.
Nobody likes me.  Nobody wants me.  Nobody want to hang out with me.  Nobody wants to spend time with me because _________________________.  (fill in the blank)  Everybody hates me, what good am I?
I feel like we think  plagues were just a thing of the past in Old Testament times.

BUT, I feel the devil uses counterfeit plagues to keep us in fear and bondage in our minds.  So many of us struggle everyday with our minds.  We never think we measure up to the standards of God or man.  We feel like no matter how hard we try nothing seems to turn out right and we think people are mad at us INCLUDING God Himself.

Ugh!  Stupid devil.  I am so tired of people living in fear of failure.  It causes so much stress and anxiety to good people.  God does not intend for us to spend one minute or even one second thinking that He is mad at us.  He gave up His only Son to die on a cross which took care of all of that.  Now He only sees us through His Son.

We are good enough.  We are worthy of love.  We are loved by God.  

If we could only wrap our heads around this every waking moment of the day we could live in a river of peace so deep and wide nothing much else would matter.  If we messed up at work we would just forgive ourselves and float down the river on our inflatable mattress without a care in the world.  If we felt like we disappointed someone we would just ask for forgiveness and continue on down the river, eyes on Jesus because in the end He is all that matters.

When those drops of doubt start invading out minds, its really hard to stop them because the devil will just keep bringing up your past and pretty soon you find yourself in a flood of disaster barely holding your life together.  Everything seems dark (plague of darkness).  Everything seems to be too noisy (plague of frogs).  Things seem to be so irritating (plague of lice, boils & locusts).  We feel like we have lost everything (plague of livestock and firstborn).  And nothing we seem to do makes us feel any better almost as if we have poisoned ourselves (plague of water into blood).

Do you see how twisted the devil has made or minds?  What a mess we seem to be…YET..that’s not how God sees us.  Let me show you how God sees us:

We are Loved.

We are Valuable.

We are wanted.

We are NOT rejected.

We are Blameless.

We are the Righteousness of God.

We are Worthy.

We are Friends of God.

We are God’s living stones.

We are Children of God.

This is how we should be floating down that river of peace.  Knowing who we are in Christ!  Spend some time today and begin to believe who you are in Christ.  Below are  90 I am statements, read through them  and begin to BELIEVE in who you are to God.

I am blameless and free from accusation. (Colossians 1:22) Christ Himself is in me. (Colossians 1:27) I am firmly rooted in Christ and am now being built up in Him. (Col. 2:7) I have been made complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10) I have been spiritually circumcised. My old unregenerate nature has been removed. (Colossians 2:11) I have been buried, raised, and made alive with Christ. (Colossians 2:12,13) I died with Christ and I have been raised up with Christ. My life is now hidden With Christ in God. Christ is now my life. (Colossians 1:1-4) I am an expression of the life of Christ because He is my life. (Colossians 3:4) I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved. (Col. 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4) I am a son of light and not of darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:5) I have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7) I have been saved and set apart according to God’s doing. (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5) Because I am sanctified and am one with the Sanctifier, He is not ashamed to call me brother. (Hebrews 2:11) I am a holy partaker of a heavenly calling. (Hebrews 3:1) I have the right to come boldly before the throne of God to find mercy and grace in a time of need. (Hebrews4:16) I have been born again. (1 Peter 1:23) I am one of God’s living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house. (1 Peter 2:5) I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a People for God’s own possession. (1 Peter 2:9,10) I am an alien and stranger to this world in which I temporarily live. (1 Peter 2:11) I am an enemy of the devil. (1 Peter 2:11) I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God by Which I am a partaker of God’s divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4) I am forgiven on the account of Jesus’ name. (1 John 2:12) I am anointed by God. (1 John 2:27) I am a child of God and I will resemble Christ when He returns. (1 John 3:1,2) I am loved. (1 John 4:10) I am like Christ. (1 John 4:10) I have life. (1 John 5:12) I am born of God, and the evil one…the devil…cannot touch me. (1 John 5:`8) I have been redeemed. (Revelation 5:9) Over 90 Statements from Scripture Describing Who I Am In Christ My Nature In Christ I have been healed. (Isaiah 53:5) I am the salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13) I am the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14) I am commissioned to make disciples. (Matthew 28:19,20) I am a child of God. (John 1:12) I have eternal life. (John 10:27) I have been given peace. (John 14:27) I am part of the true vine, a channel of Christ’s life. (John 15:1,5) I am clean. (John 15:3) I am Christ’s friend. (John 15:15) I am chosen and appointed by Christ to bear His fruit. (John 15:16) I have been given glory. (John 17:22) I have been justified…completely forgiven and made righteous. (Romans 5:1) I died with Christ and died to the power of sin’s rule over my life. (Romans 6:1-6) I am a slave of righteousness. (Romans 6:18) I am free from sin and enslaved to God. (Romans 6:22) I am free forever from condemnation. (Romans 8:1) I am a son of God; God is spiritually my Father. (Romans 8:14, 15 Galatians 3:26; 4:6) I am a joint heir with Christ, sharing His inheritance with Him (Romans 8:17) I am more than a conqueror through Christ, who loves me. (Romans 8:37) I have faith. (Romans 12:3) I have been sanctified and called to holiness. (1 Corinthians 1:2) I have been given grace in Christ Jesus. (1Corinthians 1:4) I have been placed into Christ, by God’s doing. (1 Corinthians 1:30) I have received the Spirit of God into my life that I might know the things feely given to me by God. (1 Corinthians 2:12) I have been given the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) I am a temple…a dwelling place…of God. His Spirit and His life dwell in me. (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19) I am united to the Lord and am one spirit with Him. (1 Corinthians 6:17) I am bought with a price; I am not my own; I belong to God. (1 Corinthians 6:19,20; 7:23) I am called. (1 Corinthians 7:17) I am a member of Christ’s Body. (1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 5:30) I am victorious through Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57) I have been established, anointed and sealed by God in Christ, and I have been given to the Holy Spirit as a pledge guaranteeing my inheritance to come. (2 Corinthians 1:21; Ephesians 1:13,14) I am led by God in triumphal procession. (2 Corinthians 2:14) I am to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. (2 Corinthians 2:15) I am being changed into the likeness of Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:18 Since I have died, I no longer live for myself, but for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:14,15) I am a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17) I am reconciled to God and am a minister of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18,19) I have been made righteous. (2 Corinthians 5:21) I am given strength in exchange for weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:10) I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I am now living is Christ’s life. (Galatians 2:20) I am a son of God and one in Christ. (Galatians 3:26, 28) I am Abraham’s seed…an heir of the promise. (Galatians 3:29) I am an heir of God since I am a son of God. (Galatians 4:6,7) I am a saint. (Ephesians 1:1; ! Corinthians 1:2; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:2) I have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. (Ephesians 1:3) I was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and am without blame before Him. (Ephesians 1:4) I was predestined…determined by God…to be adopted as God’s son. (Ephesians 1:5) I have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13) I have been redeemed and forgiven, and I am a recipient of His lavish grace. I have been made alive together with Christ. (Ephesians 2:5) I have been raised up and seated with Christ in heaven. (Ephesians 2:6) I am God’s workmanship…His handiwork…born anew in Christ to do His work. (Ephesians 2:10) I have direct access to God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18) I am a fellow citizen with the rest of God’s family. (Ephesians 2:19) I may approach God with boldness, freedom, and confidence. (Eph. 3:12) I am righteous and holy. (Ephesians 2:24) I am a citizen of heaven, seated in heaven right now. (Philippians 3:20 Ephesians 2:6) I am capable. (Philippians 4:13) I have been rescued from the domain of Satan’s rule and transferred to the kingdom of Christ. (Colossians 1:13) I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins. The debt against me has been cancelled. (Colossians 1:14)

http://www.risenking.org/_literature_125219/Who_I_Am_In_Christ

Taking Control

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I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms— I’m celebrating your rescue. I’m singing at the top of my lungs, I’m so full of answered prayers.
How am I going to fix this?
What am I going to do?
When will I be able to accomplish my goal?
Why can’t I figure this out?
Who am I going to consult with next?
Where am I going to find peace?
Are you plagued daily by these questions running through your head?  Bogged down with worry and stress about everything in life?  Can’t sleep?  Can’t rest?  Can’t enter into worship?  Well, I know you are not alone.  I bet millions of people from one end of this earth to the other are suffering while trying to figure out their next step.
God has only asked a few things of us:  love one another, be obedient to His Word and trust Him.  Sounds as easy as 1,2,3 doesn’t?  Well in today’s society the simplicity of what God requires as been contaminated with doubt, fear and worry…all instruments of the devil himself.  We find it so hard to unplug and unwind from our days as we are consumed with so many distractions and disasters in our lives.
God made an everlasting promise to us in Jeremiah 29:11 and to paraphrase, He has great plans for our lives, plans of prosperity and goodness…..no harm!  When we come to the full understanding of this we can than do the 1, 2, 3, but until we see just how much God loves us and that He is in control, it’s tough.
How do you escape from your mindless thoughts about how you are going to figure out your life, when you know full well that it’s God’s job to do that?  Pray for others.  Take the focus off from self and pray for others.  I prayed for my kids, my husband and anybody I could recall that needed pray from my Facebook friends on my way to work this morning. I did not even let the thoughts enter in of what I was going to  do.
By focusing and praying for someone else we are loving them, being obedient to God’s Word and trusting God for them.  It has to be a choice to pray but once you start, you will find yourself praying more often for others because it is destroying the endless rat race in your head.  Instead of trying to figure out what you should do next, you are asking God to bless and heal your family and friends.
Dear Lord, Help us all to find the simplicity of life.  Help us to focus more on others and to begin to pray for them instead of worrying.  We praise You and thank You for the mighty work You are doing in all of our lives.  We trust you with our lives Lord and we know Your plans for us are great, help us to believe in that promise.
In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Faith Zero

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[ Faith in What We Don’t See ] The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.
Ever been so lost at sea that you are being tossed to and fro and lose all sense of where you are?  Ever been driving in a storm and lightening is flashing and thunder is crashing all around you and your body is on high alert of danger?  Ever gone to a new school and as all the unfamiliar faces gawk at you in curiosity you feel unwanted and unliked?  Well, this is what life is without faith.  Without faith nothing is possible.  Faith is how we get closer to God and it is the very substance that brings us into the presence of God.
When my faith was at zero I could not make heads or tails of my life.  I was standing in a dirt storm chocking on everything that hit me.  My eyes hurt because of the debris.  My lungs were working over time to catch up with the fear racing through my body.  I could not see God.  I could not see anything good in my life.  I felt doomed to die right where I had chosen to be.  Now that might sound a bit dramatic but when you get to the point in your life where you feel that you must fix all of your mistakes before God can change your life, that’s how it feels.
Empty. Exhausted. Alone. Depressed. I begin to seek God.  I wanted out of my mess.  I wanted to feel what life felt like again.  I longed to smile.  I longed to be carefree.  I had this burning desire within me to move beyond my past, yet I could not make sense of the broken, shattered heart laying before me.  Where do I even begin to let God into my mess?
With one teeny tiny seed of faith.  One moment of surrender on my lips.  One whispered sentence into the surrounding darkness, “I’m sorry Lord, please forgive me.”
My life has been dramatically changed in five short years because I chose to believe God was bigger than any mess I could have ever gotten myself into.  God is bigger than addictions.  God is bigger than abuse.  God is bigger than neglect.  God is bigger than shame.  God is bigger than sin.  God is bigger than regret.  God is bigger than pain.  God is bigger than any bad decision I ever made.
Today I can hold my head up and be thankful for my word of the year: FAITH.  I look forward now to what God can and will do in my life.  My marriage, children, job and christian walk are all in His hands and I just need to rest in the knowledge of who He is.  Yes. Rest.
Dear God,  I thank You and praise You for bringing me to such sweet freedom in knowing who You are.  I pray that You will keep me on track.  I long to Linger in Your sweet Presence.  Lord, I pray for those who are reading this today that they will begin to believe that You are bigger than anything in their life right now.  I pray all will find rest in You today.  Thank You for being bigger than life to us.
In Jesus Name.  Amen.