Category Archives: Assurance

Where You Are

You’ve seen the countless pictures I post of our morning walks in Borden Park.  That’s Sampson’s favorite place as we go there every day.  It’s full of blessings for him: lots of squirrels to chase, sometimes other dogs, scraps of food (which I don’t like) and smells to sniff for him.  Often in the mornings no one is there but us so I let him off his leash and let him run while I walk.

Across the street from the park there’s an empty field and a softball field.  No trees, no nothing, a literal empty field.  Sampson goes to the edge of the park and stares at the field.  He wants – every day – to go over there. I can’t figure out why.  I mean EVERY DAY he wants to go where he’s not.  He wants to leave all the things he loves about the park and where he can walk and run freely, all the trees that provide shade, all the squirrels he loves to chase, everything he enjoys to go to an empty and barren field. So today I hooked him up to the leash and we crossed the street. He walked to the middle of the field and stood there, staring at the park!

Isn’t that just like us?  We’re in a place where we have everything we need and where without a doubt God has blessed us beyond what we deserve and yet, we’re always longing for more.  We look “across the street” and think there may be something over there that will satisfy us or make us happy that we can’t find in the middle of where we are right now.  We look at it every day; think about it every day (amongst all the blessings we’re privy to right now, not appreciating any of it) and when we walk over we find ourselves longing to be back where we just came from!

Before you “cross the street”, look around you.  Consider where you are, what you have and if not satisfied, ask yourself why. Look for – really look for – the goodness of your place, the blessings in your place and make the decision to appreciate what you have and where you are.  If you find you’re always in want of more than what you have while not appreciating what’s around you, you’re missing out on a wonderful blessing that seems to be getting lost in this world we live in: CONTENTMENT.  Society compels us to never be content, to always want more and not be satisfied until we’ve nearly killed ourselves to get it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a better life and other things; just be sure you have a healthy grip on those things and don’t let those things have you.

Want what you have.  The abundant life starts right there. If you find yourself across the street into that thing or place you thought you wanted more than where you were and what you had the remedy is simple.  Walk back to your blessed place and look there.  Be grateful you could and appreciate where you are.  Sampson did.  As soon as we crossed back over and I let him loose, he found two squirrels to chase.  He was perfectly content.  We can be too, if we appreciate where we are right this moment.

1st Timothy 6:6  “…but godliness with contentment is great gain.”

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Don’t Go Back!

I’m writing my very first novel.  I’ve written short stories and devotionals and this is my first attempt at such a big project.  Every time I open the document, I go back to the beginning and critique it to the point where my allotted time to write is more times than not consumed by this process.  Over and over and over again, I start at the beginning and find that I’m frustrated and disappointed when I’ve not made any progress.  I can’t seem to get anywhere!

Oh that’s a word for our lives isn’t it?  I see that same pattern in my life and in my walk with the Lord.  I keep going back to painful, regretful spots and “pick the scab”.  The Lord does His part and keeps His promise.  I see & feel where He’s touched that area of my life and forgiven me and helped me move past it…but I keep opening the wound.  I keep going back to that place which makes me feel like I’ve not progressed or gotten over it.

Stop going back! Stop it! When you find yourself remembering that initial pain, hurt, shame or loss, remind yourself you’ve already lived through it; why put yourself back in that spot?  Remember how sweet God was to give you just what you needed to move on and not be stuck in that place.  When familiar, painful memories of what it felt like when it was happening invade you, intentionally stop yourself and say, “God’s allowed me to live through that once, I don’t need to survive it again”.  Yes, remember all He’s brought you through.  NO don’t relive the agony again.  You don’t have to.  You’re here, not there.  That was yesterday; this is today.  See the difference?

We have to be intentional in our lives.  Yes, things happened that were excruciating but we have to sometimes forcefully remember, it’s not that way now.  We’re past it.  Let’s stay past it.  Let’s don’t go back.  Let’s move forward.

This morning I opened the novel document and wouldn’t allow myself to look back.  Not today.  Today I’m making progress.  What about you?

Philippians 3:13, 14 NASB:  “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Always Chasing

That beautiful dog that had looked friendly for years wasn’t friendly today.  Big German shepherd that I had seen numerous times before decided to bark, growl and chase my car.

That’s a picture of the enemy.  He sits quietly as you pass by and do your routine things.  He doesn’t flinch lots of times – he just watches.  Rest assured, he watches.  He’s always there waiting for an opportunity for a surprise attack.

Sometimes he visibly and actively pursues you and you know it.  Other times, he’s lurking in your complacency and when you least expect it he’s on you, in you and working through you.  He’s always there.  Don’t ever doubt it.

Why even try to avoid him?  If he’s always pursuing why even try to avoid him?  Here’s the thing. YOU can’t! You’re not strong enough to fight him off, not fast enough to outrun him or smart enough to outwit him.  On your own, despite your best efforts he’ll beat you every single time.

As that dog chased me and Sampson, I looked at him and smiled.  We were safe in the car.  No matter how fast he ran or how hard he tried to get to us, because we were protected by the car – far faster than he – he would never catch us.  We were in something he couldn’t penetrate.

As long as we stay close to God the enemy may bark, show his fangs and give chase but he’s no match for our Protector. The enemy can only hurt you if you remove yourself from God’s protection.  Had I stopped the car and gotten out, I would have been bitten, Sampson would have fought him, or both. I had the choice of stopping and challenging the challenger. I chose to stay in where I knew we were safe. We rolled on leaving the aggressive dog behind.

That was a word to my Spirit. Keep moving.  Keep allowing God to protect you.  You may hear, see and even fear the enemy for a time but remind yourself he’s no match when you’re “in” Christ.

1st John 4:4:  “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

Just Breathe and Believe

Don’t worry, if you’re worried, that this present issue you’re dealing with will kill you.  It wasn’t designed for your demise.  It was designed to prepare you for your destiny. That’s both good and bad!

The enemy through which this circumstance, place you’re in, or person you’re dealing with desires to make you miserable (if you’re a believer).  He doesn’t want you dead for many reasons, the most important of which is the fact he knows where you’re going and he can’t use you anymore once you’re physically present with Christ.  He knows how salvation works; I think he witnessed it while in heaven with God.  No friend, he doesn’t want you graveyard dead; he wants you spiritually dead.

The enemy wants you alive so he can rejoice in watching you suffer!  He wants you to feel everything thrown at you.  He wants you to focus on your broken heart, your shattered dreams and the depression and sadness you feel. He wants you to stay completely focused on yourself and how hard life is.  He loves that.

The enemy wants you to be so afraid of past disappointments, failures and rejection that you don’t dare venture out of your self-imposed prison to believe God.  He wants you to believe your doubt and past experiences more than you dare believe God.  He wants you to constantly recall the times you ventured out in 100% nothing but faith and things didn’t go like you planned.  He wants you to remember how crushed you were when even the things you did for God weren’t easy, in fact they were extremely difficult.  He’s aware that the seed of doubt was planted back then and he does everything in his power to see to it your doubt grows every time you even think about stepping out in faith.  You remember every single pain and disappointment of that time.  Some will never, because of the pain and devastation, take a step…let alone a leap…of faith, ever again.  That place of doubt becomes the cemetery where their faith is buried.

If you’re reading this, you’re not dead.  You reached for a smidgen of encouragement – a “mustard seed” of faith.  God allowed what happened to you, to happen.  He has his reasons, some of which may never be understood so maybe it’s time to quit trying to understand and just simply trust.  You’re not dead.  You’re still here and if you’ll just lift your head up, pour your heart out and believe that all things – all things work to the good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose, then He can heal and restore you.  It may not be easy and it may take some time, but if you’ll believe and stay with it, He will do things for you, in you and through you that will strengthen your heart, heal your mind and way of thinking and touch your weary and wounded soul.

Sometimes it takes a lot of courage and strength to believe after you’ve been hit hard but what do you have to lose?  Come on out to the Light.  Darkness doesn’t become you at all.  If all things aren’t possible for those who believe, He wouldn’t have said it.  Come on.  Believe one more time, then another and another.  Don’t let the enemy rob you of one more second.  Just breathe and believe.

Ellis

He was a friendly little kitten and at first glance, he looked like a normal, orange tabby.  He was meowing in the parking lot.  A big tomcat was approaching him so me…being me…got out of the car and picked the kitten up.  The first thing I noticed was the huge scar on his neck and upon closer inspection I fought back tears as it wasn’t an animal marking, it was a knife wound.  Still, he purred and cuddled like nothing had happened. He was seemingly unaffected by his past trauma.  As I got to know him better, the visible signs of abuse were evident.  His eye looked abnormal, whiskers had been burned and cut, and two more deep gashes on his sides were prominent.  This kitty had been through some stuff, yet he was still loving and affectionate.  How in the world could this baby critter (vet said he was no more than 4 months old) still be trusting to any human hands? I was amazed.

Ellis reminds me of us.  Some have wounds that are visible and when we see them we find them repulsive and sad while their owners, because they’ve become a reminder of their survival, think nothing of them. I’ve met so many courageous people who’ve been through unspeakable things who bear their marks as evidence of our God who freed them and flipped their horror into absolute healing.

Oh that we would believe to be an Ellis. God can do it.

He can turn our ugly scars into most beautiful reminders of what He’s done for us. More importantly through the healing He renders, we can cultivate a deeper relationship with Him discovering who He truly is.  You can trust Him.  Will you?

Proverbs 3:5-6

Hebrews 10:23

Go With What You Have

Gideon was in a winepress threshing wheat. I’m sure since it was a winepress and he was trying to thresh wheat it was a hard job because the place was most likely ill-equipped for wheat threshing.  This hard job in a less than favorable place was the result of Israel’s turning from God and being captives of the Midianites.

I can picture him talking to himself not happy with his current circumstances  – because honestly that’s what I would be doing.

In the midst of hardship and hard times, the Angel of the Lord greeted him: “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” (Judges 6:12 NLT). Gideon responds with questions and doubts. The Angel didn’t indulge him; he simply said “Go with this strength you have” and save Israel to which Gideon responded with statements justifying the reasons he couldn’t comply – “We’re the least of the least…and I’m the least of the least of the least!”

I know you’ve been there – things are looking pretty bad, so bad you begin to question God.  Prayers seem unanswered and you find yourself in a place you shouldn’t be, never intended to be and don’t want to be in.

Take to heart the truth captured in Gideon’s story.  You have what you need to do what you need to do.  If you’re saved you have Jesus, His power and the Holy Spirit inside you Who is the power to get through what you’re going through.

Go with what you have.  Trust God for the rest.

Judges 6