In a Moment of Truth

The more I allow myself to stew on something the more it grows inside me like chewing on a tough piece of meat it gets bigger and bigger and is hard to swallow. The enemy can take a good thing you are trying to do and twist it out of shape until it becomes a bad thing if we allow him to.

Even when I know what the right thing is and I’m praying and pushing my way through it, it can become bigger than me and tie me up in knots because I have allowed it to become my focus, instead of God. But just as soon as I release it and seek “wise council” to re-iterate the truth and what I knew all along it frees me, clears my head and I can once again loosen my grip on the reins and give God full control. There is a freedom and peace that comes when I can just stop thinking about it and leave it to God.

There is just something about saying it out loud that brings clarity and shrinks it down to size. That is freedom in all it’s glory by the grace of God shining like the sun, parting the clouds in my mind to see a vivid picture to carry on another day. God’s will- not mine. This brings peace and joy in a moment of truth.

Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! Truth springs up with the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven. Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings. Our land will yield its bountiful harvest. Righteousness goes as a herald before him, preparing the way for his steps. Psalm 85:10-13

*wise council: There is a big difference between council and “wise” council. The wise are experienced people in your life whose advice you can trust.

God Is Not Punishing You

Many moons ago when I was married, in my former life, I made so many mistakes and bad choices I don’t even want to think about it. I didn’t know God’s truth even though I thought I was a Christian. On the outside the people in my life probably thought so too. But on the inside, I was a total mess.

When my husband got sick, we had a doctor take me aside and inform me there wasn’t anything wrong with him. “Men do these things when they feel they are not living up to the standards.” Frankly, I was shocked. But at the time, I took all the blame. If he was doing this because of that, it had to be my fault for the mistakes I had made. I thought I was being punished by God for my bad decisions.

It is only now that I can honestly say with no doubt in my mind that God does not punish us for our mistakes. He may want to more times than we will ever know. He might get angry or sad when we don’t come to Him. But He doesn’t punish us.

The bad things that happen to us are the circumstances of our own bad decisions and the enemy. God is Love. He may allow things, but He doesn’t cause them for punishment. He can bring good out of the bad and tragic situations and use it to bless us and others in a profound way that we could never have imagined.

What would your life look like if you stopped trying to control it on your own?

What do you think God wants for you?

What does God say about you?

Knowing the truth of what God says about us will help us stay strong in the faith and know we are free. All our bad choices have been covered by Christ on the cross. Grace and love carry us through.

 “Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you. For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then, my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken” say the Lord, who has mercy on you. Isaiah 54:9

Temple of God

Everything we have is a gift from God. Our house, car, job, everything. It may be exciting to get a new car and we can certainly thank God for it and the fact that we are able to pay for it, that is a gift from God. But these material things are temporary. They won’t last. The real gifts that matter are the ones He placed inside us by the Spirit. These are the gifts that shape our character and are meant to help others as we use them for God.

These are the gifts that are most important, and they are inside of us. If we take good care of our material gifts, we should take even better care of our spiritual gifts and the body, mind and spirit they are housed in.

One time, I decided to go on a sugar detox for a few days. I wanted to see how much better I might feel if I left off the extra sweetness. The main thing I noticed was that I didn’t get as hungry when I was eating more real food that didn’t have the added substance. I went off it because it was getting close to Christmas and I didn’t want to miss all the goodies. I might not have noticed a huge difference in the few days as far as how I felt but once I added it back, I realized some of the twinges and pains came back that had previously been prominent.

Since 2013, the year I had multiple fractures, surgeries and spent half the year in physical therapy, I have often prayed asking God to help me make healthier choices and take care of my body. As I wrote in my book, Beyond Yourself- A Spiritual Awakening, I began to figure out that the more I worked on my spiritual side the better shape my body and mind were too. It all works together, mind, body and spirit. I want to strive to take care of all three to the best of my ability as long as I can.

Not only for my own health and lifestyle but I also realize now that I belong to Christ – He is living inside me. I want to act like it by what I put my body through. Romans 12:1 tells us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship. We are to treat our bodies as a temple of God and not grieve the Holy Spirit by what we put it through. (Ephesians 4:30)

As I look at how I take care of myself in the light of these scriptures and others it gives me the motivation to do my best to treat it honorably for Christ. I want my thoughts to be pleasing to Him, my words to honor Him and treat my body like I know He is inside me every day.

What kind of house are we allowing Christ to live in? Are we giving Him our best and making necessary repairs and remodeling our house (renewing) to keep our minds, words and body holy for our Savior?

I want to challenge you to think about these truths and ask God if there are any areas of your life (house) that you need to do some spring cleaning. Read the above referenced scriptures and really meditate on how Christ is inside us and see if that changes your perspective on how you treat your body and your thoughts as it did mine.

Take care of your temple and keep it holy as God is holy. What’s on the inside will surface and be what is shown on the outside to others and will reflect how you treat others. Do not slander yourself or others. Show love and kindness to all including yourself. God’s grace covers us. Let us learn from our mistakes and move on. God has. Don’t dwell in the past. Today is the focus- not yesterday or tomorrow. Do the very best today with your focus on Christ.

As broken as I was, He still wanted me. He wanted to live in me so I would be blessed and experience joy as I love others, help others, and share words of encouragement and hope. He wants the same for you too.

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So, I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. (Galatians 2:20-21)

Find a Penny Pick it Up…

All day long you’ll have good luck.

Do you remember this little superstition from childhood? Maybe it has carried over into our adulthood? Maybe we need to take a moment to reflect and ask ourselves if we are still putting our stock in these old wives’ tales or an all-powerful God?

We can choose every day to put our trust in a loving God who can bring us joy through any circumstance. We can face any trial that comes our way through the day.

The definition of the word luck, according to the dictionary, is a success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than one’s own actions. But if you search for the word luck in the Bible, you won’t find it.

We don’t need luck- we need Jesus. We need to let our actions reflect our love for Him and trust Him with our day. We’ll have much better odds than by taking a chance on a penny.

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3

Brazen!

In case you didn’t get or see my email this morning…I am posting the same message as my blog. Thank you for being a friend!

Bold without shame. This word has served me well this year. As I reflect on the year, I realize God gave me this word for a good reason. I have had to overcome many fears, doubt and worry about what others would think of me, to enter into a place of peace, trust and joy as He blessed me to share my story with others in such a way that shines the light on Christ and what He did for me.

I heard this saying a few years ago and it stuck out to me. “Not to impress you, but to press upon you” That is my goal every time I write a message, post my blog, stand before a group of people and share my ugly past as a way to glorify God for where I am today.  Don’t look to me, look to the Masterful Creator of all things.

Is the enemy spoon feeding you lies? Don’t digest it. Spit it out. I would encourage you to let God’s word sink deep down into your heart. Let this be the year you believe in a greater purpose for your life. If God can use someone has broken as me, He can use you too.

God uses my weaknesses and gives me the strength to be obedient to what He is calling me to do. Nothing is impossible with God. We can rely on Him and trust Him with the outcome. It is easy to say, ‘I can’t’ but we aren’t to live that kind of life when it is God calling us out to do His work By ourselves we can’t but with Him we can make the next step putting our faith in the One who is asking us to.

I hope you will ask God what word He wants you to focus on in the upcoming year, pray about it and focus on it in the light of His redeeming love. Take the next step on the journey to Christ and live a life of adventure with Him by your side. You won’t regret it. Put the enemy behind you and boldly go where Christ is leading.

John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. John 1:8

A Dog’s Purpose

Even when others don’t know what we are going through, a dog is always there to comfort us. They listen and seem to understand when no one else does. They are known for their faithfulness, loyalty, obedience and are anxious to serve.

In the grand design of things, I believe God must have created dogs for human companionship and they seem to show up in our lives when we need them most. We can mask our feelings to others, but not to our dogs. They sense when something is wrong and offer a loving nudge with the nose and are always willing to snuggle, well almost always.

When my son was going through a rough period in his life, he decided to get a dog to keep him company. It wasn’t long that I started to notice how much the dog resembled the same behaviors as my son. Either he got the perfect dog – personality wise or the dog adapted to her owner.

As he has grown, and his anxieties improved- likewise she has come out of a lot of her own nervousness. Granted when they moved in with me and I started sharing caretaking duties, she began to adapt to my personality at least partially.

All I know is that she came into his life when he needed her most. They have been good for each other. She is so smart, loving and gentle with everyone. What a sweetheart and delight to have around.

Likewise, my sister adopted a little dog at a time in her life when they were both looking for their way in a sense. Abundance, “Bundy” for short, was full of energy and a free spirit at heart. She did not want to be restrained to any limitations- not even the 140-acre farm in which she had free range, most of the time. She would still get a wild hair and take off up the road to ‘visit’ the neighbors or maybe just see the world. Could be that she just went to say she went because she could. People often reported seeing her in the road, on her hind legs, begging with her little front paws in the air. What a sight. She was one adorable little doggie.

At this time, my sister travelled regularly, (like a free spirit) and had a sense of freedom that she hadn’t experienced in a while. When she would go on trips, if I wasn’t tagging along, I would keep Bundy for her at my house in the suburbs. I walked her on a leash and kept her in the house with me.

It was also at a time in my life where I was finding my own way and enjoyed her company. I guess you could say she had two foster moms. I was trying to redefine who I was as a person and believe I was allowed this time with her for a reason. She showed me there is a different way other than following another person and being controlled by them. She was certainly not doing either one of those.

As my sister began traveling more frequently and I was settling into my new life, we had the conversation about me taking her full time. I know she didn’t like the leash and the confinement of the suburbs as much as the farm where she had freedom to roam, but I hoped she would adapt and enjoy my company as much as I enjoyed hers.

Before we could make the transition, this little individualist made her way back up the hill to the road and was hit by a car. My first thought was that if I had taken her, she wouldn’t have been hit, but in my heart, I know she was doing exactly what she wanted to do. She had served her purpose for more than one person in her short life- and no telling how many others before us.

I am grateful for the time I had with Bundy and for the lessons she taught me. I know in my heart when and if I personally need another furry companion in my life, God will provide it at just the right time.

For now, I enjoy the long walks I share with my son and grand-dog, Alley.