New Habits

When I think of something working from the inside-out, my mind turns to a microwave oven!  I know – weird, huh?  Hang in there with me, I’m making a point.

Those little micro waves begin cooking in the center of whatever is in there.  Just as a microwave heats your coffee or cooks your bacon…  God works on us!  Now you feel like a cup of coffee or a strip of bacon, don’t you?  LOL!  I doubt that God sees you that way.  Nah…  pretty sure He doesn’t.

God begins His work with His precious Holy Spirit – in the center of our being – our hearts and minds.  Renewal begins to take place.  We love the things that God loves and hate the things He hates.  We have to be careful to never hate people – but behaviors we can definitely hate and refuse to participate in.

Because the enemy of our soul is still working in our world – it’s possible to slip and fall.  Even those who belong to God are to some degree vulnerable.  Actually, it seems the more you are trying to work for the Lord, the more that ol’ devil whispers in your ear – and remember – he copies everything that God does.  He’s a copy-catter!  He will do anything to get you off-balance.

God wants us to thrive in this life.  He wants us to lean on Him and learn His ways.  Remember when Nancy Reagan said, “Just Say No” – in her one woman drug campaign?  I was a young teen at the time and thought, “she didn’t go far enough.  You can’t just say no to drugs – you have to turn and say yes to Jesus!”  

There was a time when the 12-step program was centered around a faith and trust in God.  I think they tell you a “higher power” can be anything now – but it was originally all about God.  Lean on God instead of your addiction.  I’ve been through OA twice.  The second time, the leader explained the “higher power” as anything you place higher than yourself.  I wasn’t diggin’ on that, but I wasn’t the leader, so held my tongue.  I did – and yeah, it took a miracle.

Maybe your higher power is your cat…  but the only HIGHER POWER that you can always depend on to come through for you is Jesus Christ!  He will be by your side when temptations arise.

Let Jesus have your heart, soul, and mind…  let Him help you form some new habits – replacing your unhealthy and self-destructive habits.  🙂

Advertisements

Fresh Start

What if I invited you to my house for lunch and decided to serve a salad.  I have every imaginable kind of dressing available to choose from.  I have wonderful homemade lemonade to drink.  I covered the dining room table with nice clean linens and set it with my best silverware and dishes.  I have cloth napkins beside each place setting.  You walk in and stagger back a bit because you are so impressed!

Then after we say the blessing over our little lunch, I bring the big bowl of salad to the table.  You are expecting to see a beautiful green salad with vine-ripened tomatoes and crispy rings of red onion.  Everything else has been so clean and fresh, why wouldn’t the salad live up to expectations?

As I’m walking toward the table with the huge bowl, I start to apologize and explain that I had to use the lettuce and spinach that I bought a few months ago, and the tomatoes had some signs of spoilage, but I peeled all the white stuff off, so they should be just fine.  If the onion rings look a bit slimy, don’t worry about it.  😉  

Once you got over the shock and confusion, I’m betting the excuses to leave would be flowing like water!  Um…  I forgot to feed my pet gazelle – I really need to GO!  My house would be cleared out before you know it!

Everything was so right – but the salad was not FRESH!

As we entered into 2018, did we do so as the same spoiled and stale people we were in 2017?  Did we ask the LORD to make us new and give us a fresh start? 

Let’s break this quote down a bit.  A key word in the first part of the quote is APPEAR.  Some circumstances do seem insurmountable.  They seem irreversible.  Absolutely true!  Some really are, such as divorce, addiction, and loss through death.  I’m here to remind you that even the WORST circumstances can be made better through a relationship with Christ.  He can take anything and make it better.  The pain is not going to leave, but if you will give it to Him, it’ll surprise you because He will help you cope so much better.

And, let’s be honest.  Some circumstances that were not pleasant are brought back to our minds by the enemy of our souls.  Those are the ones we need to give to God and ask Him to take the pain away.  Thinking about them over and over will not change the outcome.  Putting them under the blood and telling the enemy of our soul that he will not win – that will set us free!

Father,  I pray that we will hand our difficult circumstances to You right now so You can give us a FRESH start.  We know that pain will not go away completely, but we know that You make all things new, and You specialize in making our lives better.  As we turn our hearts and lives over to You, I pray You will touch us and begin to do miraculous things, and as You do, we will be careful to give You the praise and glory!  We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,  Amen.

Do whatever YOU gotta do to get through.  Yes, Lord!  We need to say that prayer every day, don’t we?

Your peace is more important than driving yourself crazy trying to understand why something happened the way it did.  Let it GO!  – Chonda Pierce

So true!  In my life, 99% of the stuff I drive myself crazy trying to understand is stuff that the devil has tempted me to think about – again.  It’s always stuff that can’t be changed no matter how often it comes to mind.  I’m convinced that it doesn’t just come to mind – it’s put there by the devil to drag me down.  We’ve got to learn how to take those thoughts captive and say:

ENOUGH, DEVIL!  I’ve put this under the precious blood of Christ – and you need to quit putting it back in my mind.  Go sit on a tack and leave me alone!

We can do that, you know.  There is a reference in the book of Luke, but also one in Matthew where Christ is talking to Peter:

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”  – Matthew 16:23

As earnest as Peter was trying to be, Christ knew that he was going to betray Him!  He knew that the devil was being a stumbling block to Him.  In this same way, we are to hold thoughts captive and hand them to God – let them go, saying,

“Get thee behind me, satan, in the name of Christ Jesus my Lord and Savior.”

It’s okay to call him on the bad thoughts he dumps in your mind.

Then invite the light of Christ in to your mind.  Sing songs of praise to Him and pray with a smile on your face!  Make your day all about Him!

Ask Him for a fresh start – each and every day!  🙂

 

 

 

 

New Soul

I want a new soul – a soul that is more kind, more compassionate, and more obedient to God.  The opinion that others have of me pales compared to the opinion that God has of me.  I want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant – enter into your rest.”

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  – Matthew 16:26

What good is a new year, a new beginning, if we don’t have a change?  Consider that the change does not have to be physical.  Yes, that’s what we see in each other – but what about a change of soul?  I know you probably don’t think much about your soul…  that invisible part of you; but what if I told you it’s well worth taking some time this year to ask your Heavenly Father what He would like to see changed in you.  There’s always room for improvement – in all of us!

A new soul…  a heart and mind like that of Christ Jesus, our Lord!  What does that look like?  It looks like moving forward in truth and right living, at whatever pace you can.  It looks like doing your very best in the face of difficulties that could slow you down.

Since New Year’s Day I’ve read and heard so many people teaching us how to be successful either financially or in our appearance.  It’s amazing how often we see these articles or hear these advertisements – but we don’t see or hear anyone emphasizing the importance of maintaining a happy and healthy soul.  Is any amount of money worth losing your soul?  Can a person lose all the weight they need to lose and still have an unhealthy soul?  Of course!

There is not a job, profession, time not spent in prayer, time not spent reading your Bible – that is worth it!  There are a gazillion ways to be successful here on earth, but be careful – because some of those methods involve the exchange of your soul.  I know, you are rolling your eyes and calling me crazy – but I’m right.

I know this is really long…  but take some time and take a look at this:

Oh I really like this!  

There is one way to be successful as God’s child.  Read your Bible and pray.  Does that mean you can’t have the best of both worlds?  According to God’s Word, it’s nearly impossible for a RICH man to make it to Heaven.  It likens a camel going through the eye of a needle.  Have you ever seen a camel go through the eye of a needle?  Yeah…  neither have I.  

Once we dedicate our lives to the cause of Christ, our priorities change.  We are not interested in the same things as those who are only after earthly successes.  We want different outcomes in life.  That’s why Christians are sometimes said to live IN the world without being a part OF the world.

The soul may be the most quiet part of you, but it’s not good to ignore what your soul needs.  Your soul longs for Christ and His love, peace and merciful salvation.  Let His amazing grace be your goal in this new year!

I invite you to take a look at this sermon on Philippians 2 from Darick Jones.  I worked with his mom, Pam, for several years.  Darick makes some good points here and I know I plan to glean and grow – hope you will too.  🙂

http://www.fbcclearwater.org/sermons-2/

Always Remember

Well, it’s day number 7 of 2018 – how’s it going?  My new year is fantastic!  I went in for my final appointment with the surgeon – and I got cut loose!  I’m officially mobile and getting into trouble again on a regular basis.  It’s great to be up and going again!

God wants us to know that no matter what circumstances we face, He will be by our side, take our hand and guide us through it.  There are no endings while we rely on the Lord to lead us down the pathway.  There are only endings when we decide to let go of His hand and give up.

10-11 This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.  – Jeremiah 29:10-11

Have faith in God – you know He has come through in the past – so of course, He will make a way now.  He didn’t bring you this far to leave you alone!  I love the part of this Scripture that says, “I’ll SHOW UP and TAKE CARE OF YOU AS I PROMISED AND BRING YOU BACK HOME.”  I also love the reminder that He knows what He’s doing!  I sure do need to be reminded of that once in a while.

I love this poem by Lucinda Berry Hill:

Our God keeps every promise He makes to us.  We know our joy is not dependent on our circumstances – but it hinges on our faith in the One who is worthy!  Thou art worthy, oh Lord!  

Don’t let the enemy of your soul steal your joy because you’re focused on circumstances instead of keeping your spiritual eyes open with your physical eyes studying God’s precious Word.  It’s through His Word and the time we spend with Him in prayer that keeps us filled with His joy, hope, peace and love.  Trust your relationship with Jesus, and the sovereignty of God.

Isn’t she wonderful and encouraging?  I hope and pray we all have a wonderful 2018, and that the sovereign God that we put our trust in no matter what – will bless us beyond measure in our lives.  🙂