Tag Archives: believe

The Monster in the Mirror

There she is again.  Every time something goes wrong, even with something goes right, this wicked monster is the first to cast stones.  She’s quick to remind me of everything I’ve ever done wrong.  Every day, I must contend with her.

Every day, she reminds me of how weak and beaten up I am and all I’ve been through.

Minute by minute if I listen to her, I’m reminded of why I shouldn’t try, why I shouldn’t believe for better and should quit while I’m ahead.  With every new day, the old stares me in the face – if I focus on her long enough, her voice overpowers the God in me.

Perhaps the most important choice is at the beginning of the day, deciding who you’re going to listen to.  The monster doesn’t lie, she tells the truth…her version of it, anyway.

She wants to keep my focus on the past and all the pain affiliated with it.  She needs an excuse to make no effort.  Not because she doesn’t believe (she does – she knows God) but because she does and she knows if I choose not to listen to her (myself) and heed His word and His truth instead, efforts must be made, exercises in faith and trust must ensue.  She’s tired.  She’s weary and she’s discouraged.  She finds very little reason to believe a single word she says or trust even a fleeting thought of hope.  It’s all justified.  Just like a victim seeking revenge on her assailant, her actions would be righteously justified.

Here’s the thing, though.  She’s submitted to God so her right to herself has been relinquished to His right to her.  Her own actions to justify herself are null and void…She’s put her trust and heart into the hands of a Mighty Savior who has already won the battle with the monster.  All she has to do is believe it.  She knows she’s no match for fighting the monster but she’s sure her Jesus is more than capable for the battle of the day.  It’s not her strength against who she sees (and remembers) in that mirror that will have victory this day; it’s His.

Every single day, the choice is ours.  Who will lead us?  Who will we listen to?  Who will we believe?  Ourselves or our King?  The battle is won or lost with that one decision.  The truth is, we may have to make that decision on a minute by minute basis. It won’t be easy (the past will attempt to discourage); it won’t be fun (fighting ourselves is ugly and messy) but we will be victorious against our giants if we choose to fight with all of our armor on – trusting Him with everything they throw at us.  Are you in?

“…even if our hearts condemn us.  For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.”  1st John 3:20 NLT

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Thank You For The Tree

Let’s walk with the Israelites for a minute.  We’re still celebrating watching what we saw God do at the Red Sea – we saw the water turn in to two huge walls.  While being chased by our enemy, we stepped onto the bottom of the ocean to find it dry, just as dry as the sand in the desert.  No one but God could have pulled that off and we knew it.  We had ourselves a Holy fit and celebrated what we saw Him do.  That gave us the courage to keep following. We were full of faith at that moment, so we gladly followed Moses on even though we had no clue where our faith (or Moses) would take us.

Now we find ourselves in the Wilderness of Shur (my interpretation…sure enough wilderness).  No food.  No water.  Nothing but nothingness.  We’re tired and our feet hurt.  We’re hungry and thirsty – every one of the million or so of us.  On the heels of one of the greatest miracles we’d ever seen, we start complaining.  We’re in a tough spot.  Everyone knows survival…in the desert no less…requires at the very least, water. Walking out of bondage by faith is one thing but when physical need takes over, faith sometimes takes a back seat to what we feel, doesn’t it?

Can you feel it?  I doubt we can – I’m thinking with everything we want and need at our disposal these days, none of us have been without water – while walking – in the desert – for three days.  The complaints grew louder and they grumbled at Moses so loudly the man could hear nothing else.  Moses did the only thing he knew to do – he cried to the Lord for help.  What else could he have done?  There was water (Marah) but it was undrinkable.  I’m sure to all of them none of this made any sense.

This whole adventure from the beginning to that moment was all about full and complete reliance on God and obedience to Him.  After he cried to God the Bible says, very simply and unmistakably “…and the Lord showed him a tree…”

Allow me to indulge my humanness for a moment, will you?  A tree – this word indicates it was most likely a branch…not even a whole tree.  Can you imagine the look on his face? “OK Lord, you hear YOUR people (not mine) You KNOW we NEED water…and you show me a tree…a tree branch…??”  What?

In the moment of a great physical need (three days without water), I would have cried out, “LORD! What are you thinking?!  We don’t need a tree!! WE NEED WATER!!!!” Not Moses. Not this great man of faith.  He threw the branch in the water which made the bitter water become sweet and they drank.  God met their need – every one of them who drank got their thirst quenched.

We sometimes find ourselves on top of the world after a mighty move of God and for some reason, we think we’re going to stay there!  When something happens to us, we pray specific prayers and God gives or allows something that makes no sense whatsoever: Trees in place of water, a pink slip instead of job security, an illness instead of good health, etc.  In those moments we have two choices:  1) Lean on what we think we know and have an emotional breakdown when things don’t make sense or; 2) Trust God with every fiber of our being, even when it seems He must’ve gotten it wrong.

Thank God for the tree.  Pick it up in faith and apply His word, remembering the promises contained within.  He never fails.

Exodus 15:22-25  Philippians 4:19

Come Closer

Sampson loves to run and chase squirrels in the park. When he can’t find squirrels and the park is vacant of people, he enjoys his freedom.  He’s usually far ahead of me in a full trot…just because he can be.

Lately when someone approaches especially with another dog, he’ll come right next to me, his side touching me, and stop. He’ll look up at me for reassurance and won’t move until I put his leash on. After I secure the leash, he’ll go back to his normal trot, but he stays closer until the people have passed.

Just like my sweet doggie wanting to be closer to his master when uncertainty approaches, we need to do the same with our Master.  We should stay close to Him in heart all the time, but especially when anything uncertain approaches we should want to be closer.

We’re grown adults who enjoy our freedom, don’t we?  We love we can pretty much go anywhere and do anything at any time.  Sometimes freedom can be a dangerous thing; a lonely thing.  There is no certainty in anything but God. Rest assured, whatever happens, when it happens He’s right there, waiting on us to want to draw closer to Him.  We don’t have to be afraid or even lonely.  There’s a lot of freedom in God and freedom from unsureness and uncertainty with Him if we believe He’s who He claims to be.

Come closer to Him today, if for no other reason than because you’re free to do so.  Enjoy His “leash” of protection and the peace of His presence.  He’s going to see to you whatever comes your way.

Galatians 5:1  “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”

John 8:36  “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

Tie IT Down!!!!!!

I have issues.  Deep rooted, core issues, things I wrestle with on a daily basis.

Three years ago after a huge move back to East Tennessee, I had a change in my job which triggered a long term downward spiral in my life.  No money, car broke down, I could go on and on but it was traumatic and took a long time to recover from – every area of my life was impacted.

To this day because of that, I sometimes wake up in a cold sweat paralyzed in fear that it will happen again.  I can’t seem to shake it.  The FEAR of what has happened happening again holds me hostage and like a hostage negotiator with prayer and reading the Bible, God convinces me to “come out” – to believe and relax, relying 100% on Him.

This morning I was reading Genesis 22 pulling a lesson together for Sunday School tomorrow.  I confess to you I was doing this after I had been outside with my dog and seeing that I have a FLAT TIRE!!!!!!!!!!!

Every time I read this chapter, I try to put myself in Abraham’s place, walking up that mountain with his son of promise, the son God promised him in his old age; the son he waited for 25 years for; the very same son God asked him to sacrifice.  The “spiritual” Abraham walked that walk in faith but I wonder what the “physical” Abraham was thinking.

I got to the part where he tied Isaac to the altar, 100% willing to kill him (KILL HIM!) out of 100% obedience to God.  When something’s tied to the altar, it can’t escape.  There’s my problem.  I put things, concerns, prayers…ME…on the altar – totally in my heart giving whatever it is, including myself to God…but I don’t tie it down. In other words, when I get scared or I don’t understand I pull it right back up and walk away with it…then I bring it back…then take it back…then…

Oh God.   Help us TIE IT DOWN!  Help us leave it at the altar; help us have the faith of Abraham to 100% believe You and who You are and act accordingly, believing who You are.  That would mean we can’t act based on our feelings, fears or frustrations.  Help us to believe in You more than we believe in ourselves and even what we see.  Help us to seek the ram!  Help us to live in confident expectation that because You ARE our Provider, You will provide.  That’s who You are!  Forgive us our little faith.  Help us to remember Your promises and to walk in Proverbs 3:5-6.

Whatever your “it” is, take it to God, tie it down and leave it there.

Proverbs 3:5-6; Genesis 22

 

Even With Squirrels!

Sampson looks forward to his morning adventures at a park close to us.  After I take my son to work we usually stop by there so he can run the squirrels (his passion) and do his “business”.

Sampson hates rain.  Mind you, he’ll jump in any body of water regardless of temperature, but the boy just hates to get rained on (I’d love it if someone out there could explain this to me).

On a day filled with more than I could do, it was pouring the rain.  I mean pouring.  When it was time to walk, I opened the door prepared to get soaked and he wouldn’t budge.  I tried enticing him with everything I could think of and he just wasn’t doing it.  I was stressed for two reasons: 1) he had a full tummy and hadn’t been outside since the night before and 2) I was going to be gone a good part of the day so the morning was my only chance to make sure we wouldn’t have an accident in the house.

I took my son to work praying the whole time about what to do about the situation.  What else could I do?  “Father, Your Word tells me to pray about everything, so here it is, the concern on my heart. It’s pouring rain and this doggie refuses to go outside…please help us in this dilemma.  I believe You will.  In Jesus’ name.”  I was sure I heard laughter…

I pulled up at the park and my uninterested and very unhappy Sampson showed no interest whatsoever in being at his favorite place.  Any other day, he’d be standing in the back seat wagging his tail waiting for the door to be opened so he could jump out.  I rolled the windows down, still in prayer, knowing I couldn’t budge him – he weighs 100 pounds. All of a sudden a squirrel pops up on the sidewalk right where we were parked.  “Sampson look, a foo-foo!” and with that, he popped up, saw the squirrel and when I opened the door, he hit the ground running. Boom.  That was probably the shortest walk he’s taken with me to date but he got done what he needed to and both of us felt better.

I know you’re laughing, maybe rolling your eyes right now but here’s my point.  To no credit of my own, in a testy situation, I prayed believing God would help us.   I believe He provided the incentive (squirrel) for Sampson to get out of the car to take care of what needed to be taken care of.  I’m still not sure he would have gotten out of the car had the motivation to do so not come. God reminded me, yet again, He is concerned about ALL that concerns me, including taking care of Sampson.  Praying about everything means exactly that; praying about E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

Every time I start stressing over big things or little things in my life, I think about that situation, the prayer and the answer.  Silly me.  If He’s listening when I talk to him about helping me take my doggie to the bathroom, of course, He’s listening to me talk about everything else.

Philippians 4:6:  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

1st Thessalonoians 5:18:  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

DEEPER IN…

What concerns you right now?  Will you pray about it, honestly talking to God?

After you pray will you believe Him?  That means acting like He’s heard and He will provide.  Tell someone what you learned through this experience.

Beginnings

 

IMAG1491It’s a brand new year.  None of us knows what this day will bring, must less the year.

This plate is my latest painting adventure.  I haven’t done this in quite a while, why I chose such intricacy is beyond me.  Pray for me!

We have to start somewhere – it’s our choice how we begin a new day, a new year or a new project.  We can choose to think about it, how we’ll do it and it can stay right there – in our heads.  The grandest plans often never materialize.

Let’s start off right.  Do something, be purposeful to get a good start.  My first moments awake this year were spent with God.  I didn’t want to get out of bed (it’s cold in my room) – I just wanted to stay under the covers but move I did and I’m so glad I started this year that way.

Now to paint this plate. I have a great plan in my head of how it will look when I’m finished. One thing’s for sure – it will stay just like it is if I don’t paint it.  Let’s begin shall we?IMAG1492

Anticipation!

IMAG1326

These are angel trumpets planted from seed my Aunt Tootsie gave me.  They’re purple.  I prefer orange but they’ll be beautiful just the same.

It’s turned cold here in my beautiful mountains so I’m doing everything I can to keep these plants alive. The rule of thumb is to cut them down to the stalk after the first frost and cover the stalks with pine straw.  Not gonna.  I want to see those beautiful blooms so I’m covering them at night, watering them every day in the hopes they will survive long enough to bloom.

I believe the same for us.

I’m anticipating a huge blessing and refuse to give up just because the circumstances (cold weather, frost) say I should.  The same CAN be true for our lives if we choose to trust God and keep walking it out, not sitting it out.  If we keep on doing what we can, believing in faith we’ll see our God-dreams come true, we will.  It may not feel good right now, it may not be any fun right now but keep going.  Feed your faith and starve your doubt – make every effort to see this thing through with great faith, determination and anticipation and you’ll see the good.

What if the plants die or get frostbitten?  Still good!  Because they all have blooms, if the blooms wither they will still produce the seedpods – and I’ll start over again next year (earlier than I did this year)! I still win!

What if things don’t work out like we think they should? Still good!  Things may not look like we think they should – in fact we may be truly disappointed and it may be hard going through some things to get where God wants us to be – but with every step we learn to trust Him more, know Him more and believe through all of it He’s not wasting one second of our journey.  We may think we’re going nowhere and if that’s what you think, you’re wrong.  “ALL THINGS” – **IN** all things, He works and He’s faithful to bring something good (good for our growth and to glorify Him) out of everything filtered through Him that touches our lives.

With great anticipation, keep walking.  Keep believing. Keep watching, knowing in your heart it will all be worth it because it will be!

Romans 8:28