Monday, April 1, 2013

Whenever I am clotheslined by the enemies airing of my dirty laundry, I can go one of two ways:

1. fall into the old mud hole of guilt and anxiety, or
2. agree with him with this disclaimer:
It is true what you say about me, HOWEVER... God's word has something to add:

"And when you were dead in your sin, and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our sin, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us, and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross". Colossians 2: 13 & 14

Don't let anyone judge what He has justified.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Faith facts

Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading.
Oswald Chambers

Bring Christ's Word - Christ's promise, and Christ's sacrifice - His blood, with thee, and not one of heaven's blessings can be denied thee.
Adam Clarke

Jesus Christ is not security against storms, but He is perfect security in storms. He has never promised you an easy passage, only a safe landing.
Annie Flint

In one thousand trials, it is not five hundred of them that work for the believer's good, but nine hundred and ninety-nine of them, and one beside.
George Mueller

Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.
C.H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Faith myths

Faith myth #3: I need to wait until I can be alone with God to exercise my faith.
Truth: Faith matures through hundreds of "in the moment" decisions to trust God each day.

Text messaging God in the middle of circumstances...sending an SOS...believing Him to be greater than the problem... is what the Bible calls "submitting to God and resisting the enemy" (James 4:7). If I wait until a better time, I will probably attempt to solve the problem myself and create a bigger mess. If I put God on hold while I battle temptation, I fall into the trap. Faith is a continual, present act of doing life with Jesus.

Galatians 5:16 says "Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh". The Spirit is my helper. He is always with me. His job is to enable me to trust God to overcome the current obstacles. God tells us He is a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).

My alone time with Jesus each morning settles me in who He is and what He will do for me. As I go through the day, I draw on that truth as my defense. I may need to hide out in the bathroom a while longer until I am able to turn it over to Him, but He has not failed me yet.

Trust God now. Tomorrow will be now when you get there.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Faith Myths

Myth #2: My thoughts have little to do with my faith.

Truth: The battle to believe God begins in my head.
What goes on in my mind regulates the spiritual climate of the rest of me. The outcome of either choosing to believe God, or mentally shriveling into doubt and unbelief, is determined by what I allow to stay in my mind.

My teenage years were filled with constant turmoil because I believed everything entering my mind originated from me. I'd follow one rabbit trail after another, trying to resolve ugly thoughts with reason or mental scolding. Guilt and doubt over my salvation plagued me until I learned the enemy often implants evil thoughts in our minds to rob our peace and joy. It had worked. My mental witch hunt kept me in a state of conflict.

Through discussing my problem with a trusted spiritual mentor, I recognized confusion, fear, and doubt as phantom rabbits sent to entice me into no-man's land. Rather than running after them and beating them into submission, I began training my mind to refocus on God whenever unpleasant and worrisome thoughts emerged. It felt unnatural at first. I wanted to chase those pesky critters. Yet as I let God deal with them, I learned the faith battle could be won right there.

Isaiah 26:3 says: "The steadfast of mind Thou will keep in perfect peace because he trusts in Thee."

Since our brains function in patterns, we can change our minds to operate in active faith. Taking issues before God in prayer each morning frees us from engaging in enticing worries as we go through the day. I often sing worship songs in my head as a reminder of God's presence at the gas station, grocery store, while doing laundry, even the mall. It's my way of establishing rhythms of faith as I live life. His peace is the gift of "staying" in Him. And if I can retrain my brain, anyone can.

We don't need to decipher where our thoughts come from, Ignoring the bad and focusing on the good isn't living in denial, it's remembering truth. And truth sets us free.

Evil thoughts may intrude, but possess no power over you as a new creature in Christ. Raising your shield deflects all the "what ifs" Satan can hurl.. Faith combined with Scripture is a spiritual weapon surpassing intellect. We don't abandon our brains, we surrender them.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Faith Myths

Myth #1: My faith isn't real if I don't feel it.
Truth: It is not hypocritical to choose faith when the feeling is absent. In fact, true faith is a decision, not a feeling.

Most of the time I don't feel great faith. My feelings come and go, and are influenced by circumstances. If I allow emotion to determine when to trust God, I'll ride a spiritual roller coaster. Emotion-based faith is strong when charged by worship services and Christian gatherings, but shrivels when faced with adversity.

Ralph W Sockman, D.D. urges believers not to rely on emotion:
"Habit must play a larger place in our religious life. We worship when we feel like it, we pray when we feel like it. We read the Bible when we feel like it. Leaving our religious exercises to the promptings of impulse, we become creatures of impulse rather than soldiers of Christ. An army made up of creatures of impulse would be only a mob. So is a church."

God cares about my feelings and uses them to sense the working of His Spirit, but I cannot count on them to gauge truth. It is actually a matter of the will. Saying no to my natural tendencies and yes to God is a spiritual discipline honed by purposeful, daily intake of His word, and claiming His promises for myself. Just like building muscle, faith in Jesus Christ grows strong with intentional use.

Emotions carry us to random places. A whim shifts from one thing to another based on whatever strikes its fancy. Yet anyone can choose faith at any time, regardless of feeling. Trusting God when we don't feel like it, or when our feelings are contrary, is what He considers "faith more precious than gold" ( 1 Peter 1:7).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fix no more

Whether its fear, or a warped sense of responsibility, or that darn Mother-hen instinct, women posses an insatiable  urge to fix problems. It's in our DNA. After all, so far we've survived every imaginable near-death crisis as our families careen down the streets of life. Our ability to change a diaper with one hand, coincide baths with chicken casseroles, and make yesterdays hair look fresh are nothing short of miraculous. We should have honorary doctorates in Gerry-rigging strollers so two kids, a diaper bag, the dog, and a Starbucks can all fit ever so nicely. Besides, who else can claim to have wiped thousands of noses and cleaned more toilets than the population of Los Banos?

Women know stuff. Just ask us. We can determine your color palate, how to remove unsightly hair from your upper lip, that great match for your son., and what you should make for dinner in the first five minutes of a conversation.

The problem is, fixing is hard work. It requires a great deal of time and energy to care for the masses. And it is never done. Someone could always use our services. No wonder we are exhausted.

Given all that, you would think multitudes would be eternally grateful for our advice, The truth is, fixing does not always go over well. People don't really want to be fixed.

So what is the solution for us fixers?

In Matthew 11:29-30, Jesus says: Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you, and learn from Me, for I an gentle and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.
I think Jesus has a different perspective on fixing. Since He is the only one who can actually change the hearts of others (even though we want to), and alter circumstances (even though we try), and provide for needs (even though it seems like it's up to us), we must abdicate to Him.

In fact, when we attempt to do His job, we get in His way. In this passage, Jesus says his way is humble and gentle. I think our fixing must seem a little arrogant and forceful sometimes. And He must know we tend to carry things that aren't ours to carry because He is asking us to do two things: lay down our yoke (the way we think is right), and take up His yoke (which He says is light).

Learning from Jesus clarifies when lines are blurred about our responsibilities, Rather than rescuing, He prayed for those He loved. When they messed up, He extended grace and gently guided them in loving conversation without scolding or hen-pecking. He spoke truth without anger, and cared for others without requiring the right response. Although He possessed the power to change minds and wills, He waited until people asked for help. His respectful kindness attracted others, while not crossing their personal boundaries by offering uninvited assistance.

Jesus didn't preach the 10 steps to success or the 5 ways to avoid temptation, He simply pointed people to God as the source for all their needs. He wants us to learn this light way of living - to let go of the responsibility of trying to make others happy - and to learn how to truly help them.

The weight you carry for another is God's reminder to bring their needs before Him. The next time you are tempted to step in, stop and say a prayer something like this: Lord Jesus, I release this problem into your capable hands to do as you see fit. It is your yoke, not mine. Help me to pray for this person every time I feel anxious. Please provide all the wisdom and resources they need., and Help them to navigate their own path with you at the helm. Tell me if there is something specific you want me to do, but keep me from attempting to change what is not mine to change. Thank you from taking the weight of this problem on yourself. I receive your peace and rest from my work.

Embracing the light yoke of Jesus is liberating. As you continually surrender your urge to fix, you may have more free time. The void may feel strange at first, but eventually you will see how much more effective your prayers are than your frenzied rescuing. Maybe it's time to take up snorkeling.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Some dreams are not meant to be birthed immediately. They need to gestate in the womb of time and life experience. When you are mature enough to refrain from making the dream an idol, God may entrust it to you for awhile.