Archive | Daily Living RSS feed for this section

How many wars get ignored?

11 Nov

How many of us are affected daily by the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Does it change our routine? Our spending habits? Are the number of settings at the dinner table different? Does the war show up in our prayers?

With so many years of war-time and so many families with a loved one serving, the number of people saying “yes” to those questions is increasing. But the majority of us do not have such a personal connection. We’re not constantly attuned to what service men and women are doing every second of every day on behalf of their nation’s citizens. Nor do we experience the turmoil of the family members serving at home without their spouse, son or daughter, mom or dad.  And we don’t see the family members whose roles are transformed into caretakers of the ones who come home wounded and changed. We aren’t confronted daily with the ongoing grief of those who mourn the lost.

One day a year is not enough to acknowledge the service, the sacrifice, the realities of war.

Yet, we are all in a war of our own every day and few acknowledge its existence.

The Word of God tells us clearly that spiritual war surrounds us. The battle for your eternity and how you impact it is constant.

Rev 12:7 – 9 tells us there are evil spirits in the world.

“And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”

The eye-witness accounts of the four gospels tell of numerous encounters between Jesus and evil spirits. Demons were repeatedly confronted and defeated by Jesus as He walked this earth. These demons are Satan’s angels and their mission is to take over humans  — to steal, kill and destroy anyone they can.

Yet, these evil spirits cannot stand against Jesus. Any person who confesses with their mouth and believes in their heart that Jesus is Lord, the Holy Spirit seals, protecting the final victory forevermore.

But what about the meantime?

We are in battle. Let’s not just wait for the final victory and show up trampled and wounded. Let’s acknowledge the war and change our daily approach to life.

How? Here are two scripture passages to show us.

1 John 4:1-6

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

And we are equipped by our Lord with all that is needed to conquer. Take hold of it daily.

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Be aware. Be ready for daily battle. Be prayerful for all the saints in the spiritual war.

The national battles and the spiritual battles are both real, even though we do not see them right before us. They are real whether we acknowledge them or not.

Advertisements

What’s Biggest Today?

8 Nov
“…we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek”  Hebrews 6:18b-20. 
What’s biggest in your life today? A problem. A need. A hurt.
Even something good can feel like the biggest thing. A surprise. An accomplishment. An opportunity. 
But our LORD is the greatest of all. Nothing is bigger, nothing more powerful. Nothing can stand against Him or rise above Him.
I’m in the midst of a wild storm, clinging to the One and Only Living God and His Word to me. May my hands and heart be blistered from gripping His anchor which never fails.
So if you’re tired or hurt today, God is greater than that hurt.
If you’re thrilled about something, it still can’t compete with the fullness and everlasting joy of our God.
Click on the song link below and worship Him right now. Tell Him He is above all things.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca1EEYayu4M

Do You Avoid Bumps?

4 Nov
A few years ago, my middle child said, “Mommy, do you know how I walk with my eyes closed and still get there?”
He squeezed his eyes shut and gave a play-by-play demonstration.  “I head in that direction -even though I can’t see it – and just bump into things until I get there!”   His voice and smile showed nothing but sheer delight.
Are you willing to be okay with the bumps as you move?
Growth requires movement.  You may not be sure where you are heading exactly.  It may be necessary to bump, adjust, bump adjust.  Without that, you stand still instead of moving where it is you feel compelled to go.
If your destination feels uncertain, but the urge to get moving is strong, be willing to hit the bumps and keep on adjusting. Be willing to move even before you can see the final destination.
Consider this.  You can be caught up in the same place, doing the same things, knowing you are meant to do more.  Or, you can forge a new, unknown exploration, trusting God to transform you along the way.

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)

For we live by faith, not by sight.

I’m moving, bumps and all.

What’s Your Mile Marker?

25 Oct
Sharing my journey from Good Girl to God’s Girl has me celebrating. And what a thing that is, as many of my loved ones are sick and battling serious situations today. 
A heart that’s able to be joyful in my relationship with God while pouring out the prayers of great need for my loved ones — all at the same time– that’s what turning myself over to Him has done. Let’s keep going, Lord!
A heart in transition; that’s what I want to share with you today. This is a poem from my journal. It’s a mile marker to me as I reflect on it now, a marker of how God began to empty my heart of the old stuff and transform it into a pure heart for Him. It’s a daily process by the way. 
Here’s my journal entry as I wrote it,  back when I first started this journey. A journey of becoming fully and purposefully His instead of routinely His.

 Lord, Be Exalted in My Heart 

God, I believe in who you are
Shaper of moon, earth and stars
Show me how and where to start
So you can rule inside my heart

 

Jesus, You saved me from eternal death
This earth won’t hold my last true breath
To work and play and church I go
Your hymns, commands, and truths I know
 
But God, my prayers are so routine
My do’s and don’ts can’t make me clean
What good comes from this outward game
If in my heart, I’m still the same
 
I try so hard to do what’s right
Performing, working, holding tight
But in my heart You do not see
Yourself exalted, only me
 
Wanting purpose and security
To be known and feel free
I think that now I finally see
I must search for You, not for me
 
At last to find all that I need
Your plan holds my identity
Only faith counts as righteousness
This, my Lord, You will bless
 
Your words are life, Your works are great
On You alone, my Lord, I wait
You are the God of the patriarchs
Lord, be exalted in my heart

Get Real or Stay Stuck – Series Post #4

21 Oct
Know how when you’re on a diet–ahem, or making a lifestyle change–you’re often advised to list everything you eat? It makes you get real about what you are putting into your body.
My food journal often looks great the first half of the day. Boiled egg whites, whole wheat bread, grapefuit. Perhaps there’s grilled chicken over salad or tuna at lunch. Early afternoon snack is  an apple and light cheesestick. 
But, around 4:00 o’clock, things often take a turn. And the food journal stays incomplete the rest of the day.     Who wants to put they ate 3 cookies and a stack of Pringles in their diet log?
A food journal also shows you what you aren’t eating. Enough fruits, veggies, fiber — the good stuff.
On my good girl to God’s girl journey, I had to get real about my diet. Eating great on Sunday morning church and being spoon-fed on a weekday morning study group was about like my food log. I wasn’t getting anywhere, my spiritual diet had me stuck in the same place for years.
This is when I got real and prayed to God. “Make me want to read your word on my own. Make it jump off the page at me, teach me what you want me to learn, show me what you want me to see. Give me a craving for it!”
Maturity requires a healthy diet. Maturity brings rewards and responsibilities
Take a few minutes to read this great blog post by Waylon Bailey, a pastor in Louisiana.  What’s your diet missing?
http://waylonbailey.com/2011/08/a-checklist-for-taking-the-next-step/

Linking up with

Life: Unmasked

Damaging Detour – “Good Girl” Series Post 3

18 Oct
Welcome back to post #3 from the “Good Girl to God’s Girl” series.
Last time I shared my mantra, “Being Right Is Not Who I Am.” 
God had revealed my true condition:  Much of my identity was rooted in myself, in what I did or didn’t do. That’d been my main problem.
Think of it this way. Even within the heart of a true believer, vast detours can take place.
Self-centered living drives the Good Girl.
Christ-centered living drives God’s Girl.
So how could I do the 180 degree turn and shift my thoughts and heart away from self and to my God?
I couldn’t. But God could.

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

The first thing I needed to do was pray to God and admit the pride in my heart, and ask for His forgiveness and His renewal.
Here are some personal notes from my journal during that time.
God, you can see my good motives and genuine care for people. But, you can also see my selfishness, the laziness in my approach to you. My desire to be in control and produce immediate results. I believe you created me with special care, giving me abilities to be used for your kingdom. I do not want to lose you in the middle of obedient routines. I believe you can teach me and show me how to be fulfilled and submitted all at the same time. Only you have what I need.
Another key verse became my earnest prayer.

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  Psalm 139: 23 – 24  (NIV).

What might God reveal to you about your own identity? We can always go further, releasing more of us to be filled with more of Him.
Leave a comment, what’s one thing you sense God asking you to let go of to move closer in relationship to Him?

False Identity – Good Girl to God’s Girl Series (#2)

13 Oct
“Have you ever failed?”
The question stopped me. Made me pause.  A coach asked me this question one morning while I was in over-analysis mode about a car purchase. Should I or shouldn’t I? I didn’t want to make a mistake.
Pride.
A vehicle purchase of all things. This is what I was spending my time discussing.
Measures. The cost. The value. The smart thing to do.
But that question: Have you ever failed? It jolted me. It shifted my perspective. Those words forced me to realize where my identity rested.
Me. What I did. Performance. Being Right.
The answer was yes. I’d recently failed in a business. And I wanted to avoid any type of failure ever again. It stung. It tasted bad. It dented the armour of me.
“I was tired of acting free when I was not, tired of acting strong when I was in fact weak.” That’s a quote from Lisa Bevere’s book Out of Control and Loving It, and it depicts exactly where I lived at the time.
The car discussion was a snapshot of the pressure I put on myself in everyday life.  I had gotten so accustomed to doing the “right” things and living an “obedient” life, that it’d become a false identity for me.
People unintentionally reinforced my performance-based identity. They’d say how efficient, reliable, loyal I was.
Nothing wrong with that, except for what they couldn’t see on the inside.
I was focused on tasks. I didn’t focus on God. I knew right from wrong. I’d invited Jesus into my heart at age nine. I went to church every week. I listened to christian radio.
I also ran my own life within a box of do’s and don’ts.
I didn’t spend precious time satisfying myself in God. I was only satisified by tangible tasks being done. Items crossed off a long list. Bank account balances showing progress. Anything I could measure. Something I could control.
That same day, I developed a mantra. “Being Right Is Not Who I Am.” I repeated it to myself over and over. Especially when I felt the perfectionist rising inside.
It may sound silly, but for a good girl who fell into the trap of always trying to do the right thing, it was groundbreaking. Paradigm shifting. It also created the obvious question: Who am I?
When my coach asked me this, I said, “Just another child of God.”
Lord, forgive me for the word “just.” What a gift that I am yours and that is everything. You are more than enough.
That’s where my journey from good girl to God’s girl really took off.
What are you more hungry for than God? What attaches itself to you, good or bad, as your identity that’s not from God?

Linking up with

Life: Unmasked

%d bloggers like this: