Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.(Psalms 119:105 ESV)
Whether I am rejoicing or in deep distress; succeeding or struggling; laughing or weeping; I am striving to hold on to the truths of God's Word. And I want to share with you.
So... grab a cup of coffee or tea...and join me in my journey...
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Somedays I really struggle with the whole "rising while it is yet night" part of Proverbs 31.
I want to get up early. I like getting up early. I really enjoy my quiet times when I get up early. So, why the battle? Once again I know the answer. Warfare. (or sometimes - just maybe just laziness)
Solution... I just ask my Savior to wake me up. And when the eyes pop open with no intention of going back to sleep - I know I have just been tapped on the shoulder. Awesome. Overwhelming.
That happened today. Last night I made preparations for my "quiet time" this morning. Got the Bible and books all together. (Forgot the highlighter, pens and mechanical pencil - but gathered them when I got up this morning.)
6:00 a.m. (now I know that this is not early for some of you - but our alarm is set for about 6:30) Eyes wide open. I knew. I had an appointment and I did not want to miss it. Went down stairs to get the glass of tea. Had to find the reading glasses :) Began reading. There it was. The beautiful sunrise. Painted just for me this morning. And what a sunrise it was. Now, I know others may have seen it - but it was for me. Really.
Once again, I sat there wondering why there is ever a battle to get to the desk? It was truly a Divine appointment.
Sleep is good. ("He gives His beloved, sleep" Ps 127:2)
Rising while it is yet night is better. Much Better.
Thank you, Father.
Isaiah 50:4b "He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught."
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
My husband and son have recently pressured-washed our house. It is a white vinyl house with green shudders. Because of the water-restrictions in our city for the last year and half (or so), and because we needed to clean it before the restrictions, the white house was GREEN. I forgot to take pictures. That probably is a good thing. I do not think I really would want proof of how bad it was.
But can I just tell you how good it looks now? Clean. White. Fresh. Washed.
So, how did they clean it? First, they used bleach. Lots of it. Then they used the pressure-washers to wash off all of the mold/mildew/green stuff. On one side of our house, it is actually three stories high. The son climbed that ladder. He is a trooper and has no fear. It was good that I was not home that day. I am not sure I could have watched him on that high ladder, OR the husband on the roof of the front porch washing the front of the house. They did such a good job. Bleach, high pressure with water, and lots of hard work. Wonderful results.
So, how does it get there? How does it get that bad? Negligence. Just a little bit at a time. Over an extended period of time. Not really noticeable for a while. And then all of a sudden – it is real bad. Really obvious.
Just like we are.
Little sins are usually not very noticeable. And then one day you see the results. How did it get this bad? Just a little “yes” that should have been a “no” – one at a time – over an extended period of time. All of a sudden it is a REAL problem.
Now, it (our sin) is easier to take care of on an on-going basis. But I am afraid that does not always happen. And if neglected – then it is time for a ‘pressure-washing’ of our own.
Apply the Word. Lots of it. Dive in and stay there till you have answers. Acknowledge the sin for what it is. Then allow the power of the Holy Spirit to help you cleanse the whole being.
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Ps 139:23-24)
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9)
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith Jehovah: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. " (Isaiah 1:18)
Confession is good for the soul.
Cleansing is good. For the outside of a home. For the inside of the soul.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
He delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
Their faces are never covered with shame.
It’s taken me some time to realize that shame comes from Satan. Satan will put thoughts into your head like “yes, you’re the type of girl who would do that” or “everyone knows what you did.”
Psalm 103:12 “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
It’d be a whole lot easier if we just believed Him and we felt like our slate was wiped clean. Then we worry about what others might think of us and wonder if they’re judging us. This too is what Satan does to trick us into thinking we are not forgiven, but sister, let me tell you- you are.
Now, my face is no longer covered in shame because I sought the Lord and he answered me.
Have you given God the glory out of a sinful situation?
Friday, July 18, 2008
Several years ago – we were at Walmart… and I was intently looking at the exercise dvds. Studying them. My husband came and asked me, “What are you doing?” I told him – I was trying to find the exercise video that would actually jump out of the tv and pull me up off the couch and make me exercise. Of course, he just laughed and walked off. Probably because he knew how many exercise videos that we had at home. He knew I did not need a new one. I just needed to use the ones I had…. or the treadmill… or the ab machine… or the rubber band workout… or the small free weights … or whatever else that we have bought through the years that I thought I would use.
If only one would make me…. Then it would have to be easier.
Then there is the issue that I posted about a few days ago... Clutter. Paper clutter, specifically. I wanted someone to write me and give me the quick fix. Maybe I just wanted someone to tell me what my daughter did… JUST THROW IT AWAY. All of it. That would fix the problem. However, there is the fact – that I cannot throw all of it away. I have to go through it all. But I had the file folders. (mine are even color coded) I have the desk and the credenza and even a file cabinet. I just had to do what needed to be done. No easy way out.
Sorta like my Christian Life. It all takes discipline. It all takes just doing what I know I need to do.
I need to exercise to take care of this body. I feel better when I do. I just struggle getting started. Almost like there is a barrier there.
I need to continue de-cluttering my office. It will not happen by itself. I function better when I am organized. I just struggle getting started. Almost like there is a barrier there.
I need to “Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.” ( II Timothy 2:15-Amplified) I am prepared for the day’s battles if I am studying the Word… if I am a workman that has no cause to be ashamed… if I am rightly dividing the Word of Truth. I feel better when I do. I function better. I just sometimes struggle getting started. Almost like there is a barrier there.
And in reality there is. It is a spiritual warfare. The enemy does not want us to excel in any area of our lives. Whether it is exercise to take care of the body (the temple of the Holy Spirit) or whether it is taking care of my earthly home and possessions or whether it is studying the Word to learn more about my Savior and be better equipped for service. So, the battle rages.
Sometimes you just have to do it.
You just have to get up and go out for the walk –
You just have to sit down at the desk and start sorting –
You just have to pick up the Word and study.
You will feel better when you do.
The battle is on – but we are overcomers because, “… greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (I John 4:4b)
What do you need to do today?
Just do it…
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Eph. 4:32 AMP “And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.”
Luke 6:37 AMP “…acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment; let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released.”
Why is forgiveness so hard sometimes? And why is it that life sometimes catches you off guard and you find yourself instantly in a situation where you know you need to forgive – but your flesh desires to nurse the offense and hang onto it just a little while, just long enough for that bitterness to start to well up…
That happened to me this week… My father-in-law is here visiting for a week. He will be here thru this coming Sunday. This is no big deal, no problem. He is very laid back, very easy to please, very appreciative of anything we do for him, and we are all enjoying his visit. The boys are absolutely loving having him here – I just fear they are being too demanding of his time, they desire to play with him constantly!
So, the incident which brings up my need to extend forgiveness… My husband gets a call from a cousin who is coming through town Saturday. Without discussing it with me first, he invites 7 people to spend the night here Saturday night! I hear him on the phone saying he will just have to ask for forgiveness! I feel the rage and the stress building!! I am a planner, I am an organizer – and this bit of information seems to throw my life in CHAOS!
I am thinking: where will they all sleep, what will I feed them all for dinner and breakfast, even snacks, how can that many people shower and get dressed on time on Sunday morning – we have to go to church, how will I get my house clean again while we still have company, I have already bought groceries for the next 2 weeks, I will have to go to the store again, and on and on the thoughts go.
I even wrote a short, frustrated and irate sounding post, posted it for about 10 minutes but then deleted it – the Lord would not let me leave it up.
I know I need to forgive him BUT… He does not seem to understand why this has upset me. I told him he should at least consult with his wife before inviting 7 people to spend the night, say you need to talk to your wife and you will call them back. I would not have said no, I just wanted to be consulted. It made me feel unappreciated and like all that I do is taken for granted.
The whole time I am mentally ranting and raving, that still small voice is saying “You need to forgive him.” But I reply, “He hasn’t asked for forgiveness, he hasn’t even apologized…” The still small voice replies, “That does not matter, I command you to forgive, whether he ever asks or says he is sorry.”
So, I have forgiven him. That night as we were laying in bed, I had to force myself to tell him that I forgave him for hurting my feelings and not talking to me about having overnight guests before committing to it. He did not apologize then, but he did the next day… but why was it so hard? It is the battle of the flesh against the Spirit, they do not like each other. I strongly desire to be more controlled by the Spirit rather than my flesh, what about you?
Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive? Even if they never apologize or ask for your forgiveness, God has commanded us in His Word that we are to forgive. Ask Him to enable you to forgive, do not let the bitterness, anger, or rage build up for one more minute, one more day. Forgive, and walk in the freedom and abundant life that Christ has for you!
Luke 17:4 AMP “And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled).”
Col. 3:13 AMP “Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].”
1 Peter 4:8 AMP “Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].”
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
This last week has been one emotional exhausting week for me. There are a couple reasons for this, but for today’s purpose, I am going to share the general situation I am in.
I have a friend that I have known for years. Since childhood really. He and I have not had much contact through the years, but this last week I heard about some serious struggles he is having with his relationship with Christ. He and I started emailing back and forth about his questions, my questions, my answers. The emails have been long, deep, and challenging. We have kept a spirit of conversation, I don’t want it to seem as if we were at odds with each other, but we have also kept true to what we each believe – and those are as different as night and day.
Monday this started. Wednesday, my husband sees how even my eyes look tired as I deal with this and asks that painful question. “Julia, are you fighting this spiritual warfare without Jesus?”
I just walked away. I didn’t want to answer the question. The truth was, yes, I was fighting for three days, a battle that is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, and other rulers of darkness. I was fighting without my Sword! I was fighting leaving my Shield lying beside the bed! I was completely unarmed!
Wednesday night, before we went to bed, my husband made sure we had some time together with Christ.
Thursday night, we were eating with friends, and discussing things along these lines. My friend said to me “Oh, I will be praying for you, because you are in a battle, probably along with his family and other friends, but you guys are battling for this young man’s eternity. Truth is, the enemy won’t like that. He may come after you!” For the next two hours, I was sick to my stomach. I am not sure if it was the realization that I am now on the front lines…. Or how ashamed I felt to have left God, while I was presenting His case! We were at Red Lobster (one of my favorites) and even then I could barely eat! (That should tell you how sickly I was!)
So, here I was, not only feeling like I could offensively go into a battle without my armor… but also thinking I could defend the fiery darts being shot at me without and protection.
We are reading in Hebrews – and we crossed the scripture at the top of the page. In my head, my question was “Why do I leave my double-edged sword on the ground?” If I were going to fight a “flesh and blood” battle, I might forget to take some things… its just the way I am. However, I guarantee my weapon would NOT be the thing I left behind. Not only would I take it with me to the battle, but I would be training with it before the battle so that I knew how to use it in the best way properly.
On Friday morning, I sent the next email. It was the first email I sent knowing that I had fully prepared and got my armor on before going into it. It was also the first email in which I felt like I had something worth saying!
The conversation continues. Pray for my friend.
What are you facing? When do you have those moments of feeling “too strong,” or “too busy” for getting your armor together before walking into the battle field?
So, this week, as each of us face different battles, I encourage you to go find your Sword, Shield, Helmet, Shoes, Breastplate…. And don’t forget to gird those loins (whatever that means)!!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
We all face trials and difficult seasons in life. The key to victory during these times is to stay encouraged. Although it's important to be lifted up by our friends, the best way to stay encouraged is to encourage ourselves! In this day and age when people are so critical of themselves, we need to be just the opposite and become our own greatest encourager.
David is one of the best examples of this.
1 Samuel 30:6 says, "David encouraged himself in the Lord his God."
He faced many oppositions, disappointments, and set backs. But the key to David's success is found in the fact that despite the negative circumstances all around him, he drew his strength from the Lord and remembered what God had done for him in the past.
Start a journal of how God has worked in your life each day.
List the delights that God has sent your way. Examples: when a red bird is on the fence post - a nice summer breeze blows across your face - enjoying the taste of strawberries or chocolate or both together!
List your prayer request with a date ...also list your praises and answers to your requests.
When you look back on the journal you will see how many times God worked in your life and all the prayers HE has answered for you.
If you forget one day to write in your journal ...its okay. It is your journal write as much you like....or pick up where you left off.
What season of life are you in?
Can you look back and see where and what God has brought you from?
When you are faced with trials and well just life....DON'T GIVE UP! Remember God has got your back!
A great way to encourage ourselves is to remember what the Lord has done for us. Nobody else can truly know how the Lord has provided for, blessed, cared for and delivered you than yourself! Focus your mind and heart on what the Lord has done for you. You will increase your faith and have more strength, joy and hope to continue living a better life.