Run for It!

There comes a time in life when you have to lay down everything that is holding you back and run for it.

Hebrews 12:1 says, Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us

Our races and weights may be different, but none of us can do what God has set before us unless we lay down all of the weights that we have picked up over the years.
I can rattle off a dozen reasons why I couldn’t be expected to a winner in the race of life. They could be as obvious as my weight or age or as devastating as being the victim of a violent crime. But those are just events.
Sometimes we can easily identify the weight. It is the “running with patience” that gets us.  I need to replace the fruit of the flesh with the fruit of the spirit.
What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23, these attributes are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. When our lives reflect otherwise, we are walking in the flesh.
When I quit trying to do it all myself and rely on His strength, then I go at His pace. I learn to be gentle on myself and I talk to myself. Yes, I talk to myself.
What conversations are going on in your head? You may need to delete some old tapes. Replace them with what your Daddy says about you.
I find my true identity in who God says I am, not the voices of the past or that image in the mirror or even what a medical test says I am. 
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made:
 marvelous [are] thy works; 
(Hey! I am one of His marvelous works! Woo Hoo!)
and [that] my soul knoweth right well. Ps. 139:14

To redeem them that were under the law, 
that we might receive the adoption of sons.
And because ye are sons,
 God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts,
 crying, Abba, Father. (That means Daddy)
Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; 
(or daughter. I am a member of His family.)
and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Galatians 4:5-7

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, 
thoughts of peace, and not of evil, 
to give you an expected end.
Jeremiah 29:11

What is holding us back from appropriating ALL He has for us? Fear? Unforgiveness? Rejection? Self-Hatred?
We have lay these weights down, get up and  run!

Pit Theology

If there is ever a time when we need one another, it is when we are in the pit. Pits vary from hopelessness to grief, but they all feel like insurmountable, too deep to ever see the light of day. If we stay isolated in the pit, we are right. There is no rescue.

But there is an answer. I heard this poem read by Christine Caine on James Robison’s show back in 2014 , I don’t know who it’s by, but I thought it was profound.

A man fell into a pit and could not get himself out.
• A Subjective person came along and said “I feel for you down there in that pit.”
• An Objective person came along and said “It’s logical that someone would have fallen down into that pit.”
• A Christian Scientist came along and said “You only think you’re in the pit.”
• A Pharisee said “Only bad people fall into the pit.”
• A Newspaper Reporter wanted the exclusive story on the pit
• A Fundamentalist said “You deserve your pit.”
• Confucius said “If you had listened to me, you would not be in that pit.”
• Buddha said “The pit is only a state of mind.”
• A Realist said “That’s a pit.”
• A Scientist calculated the pressure necessary to get him out of the pit.
• A Geologist told him to appreciate the rock strata in the pit.
• A Tax man asked him if he was paying taxes on the pit.
• An inspector asked him if he had a permit to dig the pit.
• An Evasive person came along and avoided the subject of the pit altogether.
• A Self-Pitying person said “You haven’t seen anything until you have seen my pit.”
• A Charismatic said “Just confess that you are not in the pit.”
• An Optimist said “It could be worse.”
• A Pessimist said “Things will get worse.”

Jesus walking along seeing the man in the pit simply knelt down, extended his hand and pulled him out of the pit!

Are you reaching up, reaching out for help or are you content to stay in the pit feeling sorry for yourself?

The flip side is if you are not in the pit, who are you extending your hand to? All of us have been in the pit. Don’t forget it. Out of gratitude extend your hand. Kneel down means to humble yourself as you help. Share your story. Share the way up and out. Share both love and hope. Be gentle. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Excuses or Choices

There is a commercial on TV now about a patch to quit smoking. He says I always tried until I brought my baby girl from the hospital. Now I have a reason.

I think our reason for beating any addiction,  changing a habit or creating a new healthier one is it either must not have been right (I mean I can’t do it just for me. I am not that important) or we lie to ourselves.


I am reading a book called  Garment of Praise to Size 6. I can’t say I agree with all of her theology but she did lose 130 pounds.  She shared the story of John O’Steen’s mother and her snuff addiction. His father had promised her $100 if she would quit (a lot of money back then).  She never could. After he died, she eventually wanted to remarry but she realized her choice would be appalled at the snuff. So she quit it- just like that.

“What was the difference? She genuinely CHOSE to stop. Stopping became more important to her than doing the thing which she was in bondage. It was her choice.
The author goes on to say, “It came to me with clarity how I allowed Satan over and over to convince me I couldn’t ever become normal weight.” Then she lists her excuses, even the biological ones. She continues, “Somehow recalling John O’Steen’s message, I realized I had been buying Satan’s lies just as his mother had – and that
We have to take responsibility for our choices and quit making excuses.

Addictions cost money.
This month alone we will spend $2,000 in co-pays for prescriptions, doctor’s visits and my out-patient surgery. That is just for me, not Ray and it is with supplemental insurance. Think how much easier life would be if we had that money.

Addictions aren’t always alcohol, illegal drugs, gambling or pornography. We think because we don’t have a BIG addiction, it doesn’t matter. People would be aghast if we brought a six-pack to a church supper, but think nothing of it when we bring a sugar-laden dessert like chocolate ganache cake capable of giving you the same buzz.

All addictions whether drugs, sugar shopping or social media come out of the need to be loved. Ironically, that love is readily available from Father God, but we run to the false comforter of our choice.

Will today be the day we make the best choice for our life and honor that decision as a lifestyle?

I want to reiterate what I quoted before:  She genuinely CHOSE to stop. Stopping became more important to her than doing the thing which she was in bondage. It was her choice….

I, too, can become free IF I CHOOSE TO! ”

 

Can You Find Quiet?

When you wake in the morning do you have to turn noise on? Television, computers, iPads, mp3 players added to the mix is the noise of the other family members.

Your spirit needs quiet every bit as much as it needs fellowship. To begin with noise is to splash ice water on your face. It jolts you into your day.

In the Harvard Business Review an article written by Justin Tolbert-Zorn and Leigh Marz sais, “Recent studies are showing that taking time for silence restores the nervous system, helps sustain energy, and conditions our minds to be more adaptive and responsive to the complex environments in which so many of us now live, work, and lead. Duke Medical School’s Imke Kirste recently found that silence is associated with the development of new cells in the hippocampus, the key brain region associated with learning and memory. Physician Luciano Bernardi found that two-minutes of silence inserted between musical pieces proved more stabilizing to cardiovascular and respiratory systems than even the music categorized as “relaxing.” And a 2013 study in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, based on a survey of 43,000 workers, concluded that the disadvantages of noise and distraction associated with open office plans outweighed anticipated, but still unproven, benefits like increasing morale and productivity boosts from unplanned interactions.

But cultivating silence isn’t just about getting respite from the distractions of office chatter or tweets.  Real sustained silence, the kind that facilitates clear and creative thinking, quiets inner chatter as well as outer.

This kind of silence is about resting the mental reflexes that habitually protect a reputation or promote a point of view. It’s about taking a temporary break from one of life’s most basic responsibilities: Having to think of what to say.”

Do you know how many speak without thinking? Their talk becomes verbal diarrhea spewing insensitive, even hurtful remarks without any fear of consequence. All because there is no quiet between their ears.

I have to slip out of bed before others get up. Sometimes it is four a.m. and I just sit on the edge of the bed talking to the Father and then I listen. I enjoy the quiet. I hear birds singing. It is a way for me to begin with gratitude instead of demands. More often than not, I will then lie back down and get the sweetest ninety minutes of sleep. Now when the alarm goes off, I am ready.

I so understand that may not work for everyone. Another quiet time I have is when I come home. I sit at my bay window and watch the birds in the spring and the deer in the fall. This unhooks me from my job and refreshes me.

Others find solace in a bubble bath or a walk. It doesn’t matter where you find your quiet time. What matters is that you do.

It allows your body to come into homeostasis. It allows your mind to slow down and not race over to do lists. It really helps make you a happier person, because you are no longer wound up tighter than a banjo string.

Try a three day experiment of purposefully finding quiet. Carve it out where you can find it. Make it a priority and see if you better understand the Father when He says, “Be still and know that I am God.” You will find that some of the things you have been carrying are not yours to carry. Lay them down and Him handle them.

For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. Isaiah 30:15

When I run to Daddy, rest in His everlasting arms, I shall be safe and I will be strong enough to face whatever comes my way. I do not want to hear Him say, “Ye would not.”

 

How Obedient Are You Willing to Be?

There is a cost for obedience.

 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous,
 but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth
 the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them
 which are exercised thereby. Hebrews 12:11
Everyone lives under authority. It may be under laws like speed limits or paying taxes. Or at work when you are asked to do something a certain way but you do it your way. Or perhaps at church Leadership has recommended you not do something, but again you think you know better. We don’t have to understand every request, but the Bible tells us if we are willing and obedient, we will eat the fruit of the land.
We wonder why we are not blessed and why we struggle. Could it because we are tolerating sin, disobedience and rebellion in our lives?
 There is a price for obedience, but it sure beats the curse of disobedience.
To change a habit or be who God has called you to be you  withdraw from business as usual. It means you choose your time carefully realizing that it can never be regained.
It may mean turning off the computer, the television and phone and just listen to the Father. Can we be still that long without any results for the world to see?
You see the things that are wrought deep in our heart may not show for weeks or months. It isn’t a microwave experience but a crock pot one as you rest in the everlasting arms of your Father.

You may even be deemed unfriendly if you withdraw from gossipers or those who are in rebellion. When you choose.  to spend more time with the Father to fully receive His love not just for yourself, but so that you may heal and pour out that same love on others, you will be criticized. Who is it more important to please? Friends and family? Or your Father ?

There is a cost to finding the route to that Father. I have dug around the roots to gluttony and a sugar addiction. Are they the same or evil twins?
How about procrastination? Is that fear of failure?
An article called  Adverse Childhood Experiences written in the Huffington Post gave some clues. But we are triune beings- spirit, soul and body. So it is a one-dimensional snapshot that assessed the connection between childhood trauma, abuse or tragedy that colored  later-life health including obesity and well-being.
I am on a journey to take back those things stolen from me and live my life as my Father intended for His plans for me are for good and not evil. The key to walk with the Father step by step and stay on that straight and narrow path.

The Heart of God

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 1 Peter 4:7-9


Without grudging simply means without murmuring complaining. The Lord may have sent this person as a gift to you. He may expect you to invite the unlovely and entertain him as if he were the Lord himself.

Each of us has  gifts. Use your gifts for the whole body’s sake, that the body might be blessed by the gifts that God has given you Be a good steward of your gifts. God gave them specifically to you for a reason. . Maybe you don’t have the ability to relax and be the “hostess with the mostest.” However, you can invite someone to coffee or lunch.  Give them the gift of listening even if you have heard it a hundred times. Don’t allow it to defile you, but lovingly re-direct. Be a good steward of that which God has given to you. Use it and use it well. It’s been entrusted to you and you are  responsible.

Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; [and] them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
Hebrews 13:1-3

We need each other. Living simply may be a gift, but it must include the body. We are all a part of God’s body. We need each other to be who He saw before the foundations of the world. You may be just the one to provide that missing piece in someone’s life. You may have just the encouraging word they need to hear, the hug they need to feel, the meal they need to taste to see that the Lord is good.

Make time and space in your heart and your home, not just for the popular, but for those who need your love. Who knows? You may just entertain angels unaware.

Stop the Navel Gazing

Our lives can be full of very real problems, challenges that invite fear to join us. The more we focus on the problems, the greater fear and stress will fill us.

I saw on Facebook a quote by Corrie Tem Boom sharing her concentration camp experience:

“I prayed to dispel my fear, until suddenly, and I do not know how the idea came to me, I began to pray for others. I prayed for everyone who came into my thoughts – – people with whom I had traveled, those who had been in prison with me, my school friends of years ago. I do not know how long I continued my prayer, but this I do know – – my fear was gone! Interceding for others had released me!”

Job found the same thing.

And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10 KJV

When Job quit singing, “woe is me” and prayed for his friends, who were not exactly the best sources of encouragement, in fact, they were a source of accusation, he got the breakthrough.  When he got his focus off of himself, quit telling God how to fix it,  and prayed for his friends,  he was blessed.

Moses wrote the book of Job and later had his own run in with those who criticized and accused him Moses’ own sister Miriam rebels against Moses’ leadership and stirs up strife. Miriam should have respected his leadership as God’s servant and the anointing of God that was on Moses’ his life.

As a consequence, she is struck with leprosy.

And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them; and he departed.10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.

Moses didn’t say, “Serves you right!” Instead he called to the Lord for mercy.

13 And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, Heal her now, O God, I beseech thee.
When you have been wronged, maligned, or just plain hit bottom. Quit focusing at YOUR circumstances. Give them to the Lord.
1 Peter 5:7 says Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you.
Don’t say, well. sure Job and Moses were mighty men of God. What about Corrie Tem Boom. Yes, she did become a mighty woman, but in the beginning she was someone who was wrongly put in a concentration camp because of hatred.
Trust Him to handle your circumstances. Keep your heart soft. Pray for your friends. Remember you may the only one who is.
Don’t pray to get. Pray to give.

Timing Matters

time standing still

Timing matters.  God’s timing matters the most. If we live within God’s timing then our faith is strong and unwavering even in the midst of storms.  If we live only by our own sense of timing and we try to make things happen for God, even good things,  then we’re left on our own and in the end lose everything.

A wise man builds his house on the rock. Running ahead of God’s timing will not allow a sure foundation to be laid.

When I see people come in and out of my life, I remember Solomon who said, For everything there is a season.

Ecclesiastes 3 says:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time. The messes I have made have often been because I tried to push the time forward. Hurry up and get it done.

This Scripture isn’t about taking charge, or making the most of opportunity, or having a good sense of timing. This Scripture isn’t about us at all. It’s about God. The Bible isn’t telling us that we need a better sense of timing but rather that everything depends upon God’s timing. We surrender. We trust. We rely on Him and Him alone. If it doesn’t happen and I was totally yielded in the journey, praise God He spared me.

Not all good ideas are God ideas. I want His thoughts to be my thoughts. He will be there all the time and just in time.

 

 

Is Self-Help Always Wise?

Confession: I am a Google queen. If I stub my toe, I will Google the best remedy or ask my friends. But that is not always wisdom. For instance, I have a problem with thinning hair. It is only on the top. Think male patterned baldness. My grandmother had the same problem.

So when my friend and Mary Kay Director, Kathy, suggested Biotin, I HAD to try it. Right? Well, I did grow hair, but it appeared on my face and my legs. Not the result I was looking for.

I am not the only one guilty of the toddler slogan, “I do it myself.”

Recently on Facebook, a reputable estate seller posted pictures of all the homeopathic remedies that were going to be available. There were literally over a hundred.

She got immediate responses like “I want those” and “I have to have that.”

Did no one see the irony? Estate sale means someone DIED. Okay, that person was counting on these remedies to stay alive. It didn’t work. She died.  Now you want to try it? It really made no sense to me.

Where does that “I do it myself” mentality come from? Why are we afraid to admit we have a problem and seek sure solutions?

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5

I think part of the problem is that we don’t think we should bother God with little things. But the little things become big things without is wisdom.

God wants us to form the habit of total reliance on Him. This isn’t a co-dependent relationship, but more like a loving parent teaching her toddler how to walk.

I remember decades ago reading the book, Practicing the Presence of God. While I am not in agreement with all of the book, I was intrigued by the fact that he asked God to join him in the simple act of washing dishes. Could God join us in the mundane? I have found that He indeed can if we will only invite Him.

“We must know before we can love. In order to know God, we must often think of Him; and when we come to love Him, we shall then also think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure.” Brother LawrenceThe Practice of the Presence of God

Do you see how that would eliminate the “I do it myself” theology? It will eliminate rebellion and even passivity.

Let’s purpose to seek Him first. Walk and talk to Him as we go through our day thoughtfully and purposely.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matt. 6:33
 

This Is The Way. Walk in It.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecc. 3:1

Ever been a control freak? I certainly have. All control comes out of fear. Fear of loss. Fear of things falling apart. Fear of being controlled. Fear of being hurt (again).Fear of (fill in the blank).

What is it that compels us to make plans without diligently seeking the Lord first? Is it fear He may say no? Those plans are time wasters and often bring destruction.

I think one of the reasons is that we cannot stand the pain of our present situation. Often Christians believe that they must not be in the will of God if things are going wrongly, but look at the story of Joseph. Or how about Paul?

Paul says in 2 Cor 11:23-27 says,

23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I [am] more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.24 Of the Jews five times received I forty [stripes] save one.25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;26 [In] journeyings often, [in] perils of waters, [in] perils of robbers, [in] perils by [mine own] countrymen, [in] perils by the heathen, [in] perils in the city, [in] perils in the wilderness, [in] perils in the sea, [in] perils among false brethren;In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

Compared to Paul,  I am a wimp. I have been guilty of complaining because I am here and my children and grandchildren are elsewhere. Yet when I sought the Lord about moving to their location, I got a resounding no.  That does not take away the sting of separation, but I am practicing being willing and obedient.

Often I have done good things that were NOT God things like going to Lesotho and leaving my youngest two. They were young adults but not yet prepared for the separation. I did good things, but it wasn’t what God called me to. It was wood, hay and stubble. (1 Cor 3:10-13).

Men can call you to good things that God has not called you to. It may look like God, but it may be the wrong time or season like neglecting your family’s needs to serve or minister to others. Your family may not give you the warm fuzzies that applause does. Their gratitude is often delayed or even absent, but we are called to live as unto the Lord.

Today ask the Lord to show you if you are on a good path that isn’t His path.

 And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here. Isaiah 30:21 (TLB)

 

 

 

Please wait...

Subscribe

Want to be notified when our article is published? Enter your email address and name below to be the first to know.