Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kick Insecurity to the Curb

Monday night I had the privilege of having 15 wonderful women of God over to my home to start a new bible study by Beth Moore.  This is the 3rd year of hosting Bible Studies for me and I LOVE IT!  I am so thankful to the Lord for giving me the opportunity to open my home to these women who are hungry to grow in the Lord.  It is a blessing beyond words for me to be a small part of what He wants to do in their lives.

This fall we are reading the book "So Long Insecurity" by Beth Moore and doing the "Group Experience" workbook that goes along with it.  I know you all cannot come to my home, but I would like to invite you to be a part of this study with us if you are led.  My hope is to write about what we are learning once a week.

You are welcome to come here and be a part of what the Lord is doing by commenting here.  I would love to hear how the Lord is speaking to you.  If you would like to read the book with us, we are reading the Introduction and Chapter 1 for Monday.  I will plan to comment on them sometime next week. 

For now, I will share about the Beth Moore video we watched the other night.  It was from a webcast she did on Security.

For years I was haunted by a voice.  This voice, I learned the other night, was a "bad friend" to me.  This voice would say things to me when I was in a group with other people.  It would say things like, "Why did you say that?", "That person doesn't like you", "You don't fit in here", " You are not good enough to be friends with them", etc.   What a horrible friend!!!  Why would anyone keep a friend like that hanging around? It went with me everywhere I went so you would think we were best friends.  I don't know why I let it hang around for nearly 30 years of my life!

Well, about a year and a half ago, I finally told that "friend" goodbye!  I had had enough!  I told that voice that I didn't believe it anymore and I was going to believe what God said about me, and who I was and not listen to it.  It actually was not a friend, it was the enemy.   Its name is  "Insecurity".  In my case, A.K.A., fear of rejection.

So, I kicked that bad friend to the curb and replaced it with the security of God's love.

To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.  
Ephesians 1:6

He has made us accepted in the Beloved.  Friend, we are accepted.  We are loved.  If God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31) And I realized that I am God's girl and if anyone rejects me, they will have to answer to Him.  The truth was, though, that all those insecure thoughts of rejection were just that.....thoughts.  They were mostly in my head and not true at all. 

One issue with insecure thoughts is that they are inward focused.  They turn our eyes upon ourself when our eyes should be out and upward focused.  We should be focused on the Lord and on others, not on ourselves.

However, the main issue with insecurity, and why it is vital to overcome and conquer this enemy, is that it is flat out unbelief.  

It is sin, pure and simple. Ouch!  It grieved me to hear it as well.  Insecurity is unbelief and unbelief is sin.  How could it be anything other than sin?  We are not believing who God says we are when we are insecure.  Either we don't know who God says we are or we are not believing Him.  If we just don't know, we need to know.

Further confirmation for this is how God spoke to me when I was dealing with self-doubt as it relates to what God has called me to do.   He plainly told me that I was acting in unbelief as when the Israelites wouldn't enter the promised land because of the giants (Numbers 13:30-33)  This, my friends, is why I am doing the Bible study, "So Long Insecurity".

I want to do all the Lord has for me to do.  I want to be all the Lord wants for me to be.   I want with all my being to fulfill the purpose and plan He has for me.  I do not want to miss it because of unbelief, because I didn't think I could do it!  God lives in me, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!

It is my heart's cry to be free and help others be free to be all God has called them to be!  I am so thankful for His mercy and grace.  I am so thankful for His patience with me as this enemy called self-doubt is conquered.  It has been a bad friend, and I intend to kick it to the curb!  Who is with me?!

 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  Romans 8:37

Monday, September 26, 2011

CowAnt.Com

Suddenly the door flew open.  My nine year old, Joe, came screeching into the house to enthusiastically announce his discovery!  His eyes lit bright with excitement, and his face red and glowing.....

"Mom, come quick!  You have to see what I found!  You have to come before it is gone!"

Curiously I followed, "Ok, I'm coming.  What did you find?!"

He led me to the driveway, then to the road just outside.  His eyes searched and searched.  "It was right here!  It must have left, " he said with disappointment.

"What was it?  What did you see?" 

"A Cow Ant.  It was this big I-------------------------------------I.  (Pretty big for an ant!)  They can eat a person!"

I questioned the existence of the cow ant and that this man eating creature was outside our driveway.  However this nine year old insisted he saw one and that they could eat people. (Needless to say, I am glad it was gone!) : )

A few hours later at the dinner table, Joe described his discovery to everyone.  Again, we questioned if there was an ant who could eat people.  Chris, his dad, recommended we look it up on the internet.

Then, our 6 year old, Luke, said, " You can look it up at CowAnt.Com."  
Laughter filled the room.   
(After all, doesn't everything have a .com behind it. )  : ) 



Well, after some research, I am surprised and not too thrilled to announce that there IS a killer ant nicknamed the "CowAnt" because it can kill a cow.  Holy Cow Ant, Batman!  However, it did not say anything about eating people.  Thankfully, it is not native to Tennessee and is only found in the desert.  No, this information was not found at CowAnt.com.  : ) 

Even our six year old understood that we can find most information on the internet. There is another source, however, that is even more useful to life. Many people do not realize the value of the information it contains.  It is also always accurate, unlike the internet.   It is called the Bible. : )

There are some who may attempt to dispute the fact that the Bible is accurate and truth.  If that is you, I encourage you to read, "Evidence That Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell.  He was also skeptical at one time, and set out to disprove the Bible.  You may be interested in what he found and how he found it.

The Bible is a resource that is living, breathing.  It is God's Word and it is alive.  That may sound strange, but it breaths life into any situation.  The truth of this book spoken has tremendous power.  When you read it, it speaks to you, the Lord unlocks the secrets of mysteries.  This Word changes lives.  It is alive.  When Jesus spoke the Word, Satan had to leave Him. When we speak the Word, the enemy leaves us too.  Powerful.

But Jesus Answered him, saying, 'It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'   Luke 4:4

My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.  Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.  Prov 4:21-22

It brings life.  No matter how dry or dead your life may seem.  The word of God will bring you life.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  John 14:27

It brings peace.   I know this first hand.  When I was in graduate school and away from the Lord, I desperately wanted peace.  It occurred to me that reading my Bible might help.  (That had to be the Holy Spirit.)  It did help, I gained a peace I never knew before.  Today, it still brings peace. 

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  Romans 10:17

It brings faith. The more we hear God's word, the more faith we have in it.  Whatever area you need more faith in, find verses in God's Word and read them over and over again until it is a part of you. 

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalms 119:105

It brings direction.  God's word is better than a google map.  It won't ever get you lost!  The word of God will direct and guide you in life.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

It brings enlightenment and revelation.  The last part of the verse above says the word "is a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart."  The word of God reveals what is in our thoughts and hearts.  It is a mirror into our soul. 

Now, I know you won't find all that at CowAnt.com or any other .com for that matter unless it is a biblical .com.

The above verses describe only the surface of what is found in God's word.   You will have to dig and see for yourself all the treasures that are available to discover.  Then, just like my son when he found his cow ant, you won't be able to keep it to yourself.  You will go running, eyes bright with enthusiasm, to tell someone......You have to see what I found!

Friday, September 23, 2011

M.A.D.

Very few things make me mad.  One is when the enemy picks on one of my friends! 

It makes me M.A.D.

Maintain ground, stand, resist, don't give in
Armor up with the whole armor of God
Declare victory in prayer and by the power of the Blood of Jesus!

You don't want to mess with my family or one of my friends.  You are about to have a fight on your hands.

The Spirit of the Lord rises up in me and says "No!"  Satan is defeated.  He has no right to our lives.  We are children of the MOST HIGH GOD.

Therefore, submit yourself to God, Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  James 4:7

We are not door mats just having to take everything the enemy tries to throw our way.  Yes, sometimes we make poor decisions that bring about negative consequences.  Not everything is the enemy's fault, we mess things up by ourselves without his help at times.  But, there are also times when it is just flat out an attack! 

When we are being attacked, we must Maintain our ground, resist!

We need to get our Armor on and fight.

Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hots of wickedness in the heavenly places.  
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.  Ephesians 6:11-13

You may be thinking, how?  How do I take up the whole armor of God?  What does that look like?

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness.
and having shod your feet with the gospel of peace;
above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
And take the helmet of salvations, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.  Ephesians 6:14-17


Today I am going to break this up and take a closer look at these different aspects of our armor.

Girded your waist with truth means to equip oneself with the knowledge of truth.
Do you know the truth about your situation?  Do you know what Isaiah 53: 4-5 says?  Do you believe it?

Surely He has borne our griefs (means sicknesses in the Hebrew) and carried our sorrows (means emotional or physical pain in the Hebrew);
Yet we esteemed Him strickened, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.   Is 53:4-5
(Really, this is a whole other post for another time.  This verse is powerful.  The blood of Jesus is powerful.  Jesus paid the whole price for us on the cross.  Like I said, another post for another time.)

Now back to our Armor....

Having put on the breastplate of righteousness.  Jesus made us righteous, we are not righteous in and of ourselves.  We can choose to do right and we should aspire to maintain a clean heart before the Lord.

And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.  We have to put on our walking boots and everywhere we go be ready, be prepared  to share the good news of the Lord. 

Above all (interesting....this must be important for the Lord to say, "Above all") taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  Yes!  It is vitally important!  Again, resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Take up that shield of faith and resist!  Faith...that goes back to the belt of truth at the beginning of the passage.  We must first know the truth and believe the truth to have faith in the truth.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God. 

The enemy may try to throw a bunch of fiery darts at us.....sickness, disease, lies, negative thoughts, temptations, strife, etc.  We resist those darts with the truth of God's Word and by rebuking the enemy.  He must leave at the name of Jesus.  Jesus rebuked him and we can also.  Jesus gave us that authority.  (Matt 16:19, Luke 9:1)

Just think about those darts of fire coming and as soon as they hit the shield of faith (God's Word spoken in faith), the Living Water quenches them and they just go out.  They no longer have any power, they are extinguished.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  God's Word is powerful!  Every time the enemy attempted to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus responded with the Word of God.  The enemy was powerless against the Word of God.  He eventually gave up and left.  The enemy will eventually give up and leave us alone also when we resist him.

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.   This part of the verse often gets left off, but when I was reading it, it seemed pertinent to spiritual warfare!  PRAYER!  Praying always, being watchful with perseverance and praying for each other. Declare victory in prayer!

My bible noted that prayer is not so much a weapon as it is the means by which we engage in the battle.  The armor is to prepare us for battle and then prayer is the battle with God's Word being our major weapon to defeat the enemy. 

I have said before that I don't like to give much attention to the enemy because I think he likes attention, but we do need to know how to defeat him and his evil schemes.

God has a good plan for you, a plan to prosper you and not to harm you, a plan to give you a hope and a future.  (Jeremiah 29:11)  I know some people think that God gives us sicknesses and diseases, or that it is the Lord causing a marriage to fail.  After all, it must be God's will if it is happening.....not around me, you don't!  I actually heard someone say that it must have been God's will that she was raped.  That is completely from the enemy.  Satan is the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy, not our God. 

Think about it for just one minute, why would the Lord put something on us that Jesus died to redeem us from?  Seriously, it doesn't line up with the character of the Lord.  Not my God. 

Today, I am just mad at how the enemy keeps trying to throw fiery darts at my friends.  And I am mad that some people think those darts are being thrown by God.  Totally contrary to God' Word.  They aren't going to resist them if they think it is God's will. 

Well, at least you know how I feel now.  Next time you feel attacked, get M.A.D.  Jesus has already won the battle, victory is His!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Plugged in and Praising

We are so blessed, we have so many gifts.  Do praise and thankfulness fill our lips?  Or do we complain about the mundane?

At our home, we have a list of house rules.



 Let's have a look at #3. 

The Amplified bible says it this way:   Do all things without grumbling and faultfinding and complaining and questioning and doubting, that you may show yourselves to be blameless, innocent, uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and wicked generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights in the dark world.  Phil 2:14-15


This post today, however, is not about one of our kids breaking the rule.  I broke the rule.
Oh Lord, forgive me, help me.

When I broke the rule, none of my privileges were taken away (which is what happens when our kids break a rule), but if it were to continue, I know the Lord would have to deal with me.  I probably would have gotten a little spank'n so to speak.  Gentle conviction of the Holy Spirit is where it starts.  Complaining can be habit forming if not dealt with and stopped.  I realize this and the fear of the Lord has me in arms.  It is a good fear, a reverence for the Lord, not negative.

The Lord's correction is never to condemn but to curve.  To curve us to be more like Christ.  To curve us to the center of His will and what is best for us. 

The last part of the verse says that when we do things with the right attitude and a thankful heart, that we will be "Seen as bright lights in the dark world."  Oh, how my heart desires to be seen as a bright light.

However, I know there are times when my light is flickering, struggling to shine.  Light can only be bright if completely plugged into the Power Source.  Complaining must be a indication that we have a faulty connection somewhere.  When we complain, our light is dimmed. To complain is a step out of the spirit and into the flesh. Oh, how we need to stay plugged in, and keep our connection to the Lord strong. 

The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Gal 5:22

Hmmm. I don't see "complaining" in the list.  No wonder it implies in the Phillipians 2 that we won't be bright lights when we are complaining, we are not walking according to the Spirit.

Why is a healthy fear of the Lord vital?  Why do we need to stand against complaining?

 1. When we complain, we are complaining against God, proclaiming that we don't trust Him.  (Go to Exodus to see how that worked out for the Isrealites, not good) 

2.  We are forgetting all the blessings He has given us, and focusing on the negative.  (opposite of Phil 4:8)

3.  We are expressing unbelief in His ability to fix the situation (unbelief is a big sin--ouch!).

4.  We are allowing the enemy to get a foothold into our life (dangerous).

5.  We let our light go dim.

What have we to complain about when the God of the Universe is on our side?  He is our Power Source. Our Supply. Our Provision. Our Everything.  His Grace is enough. When we are weak, He is strong. 

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.  2 Cor 12:9 (love this verse....O, how much His grace covers)


I am ministering to myself right now.  The Holy Spirit's conviction is all over me.  Before a couple weeks ago, I saw my work situation as hard.   Perspective is an eye opener.  Tragedy struck at a heart of a friend, a dear sister in Christ.  Everything that seemed big seems so small now. We serve a BIG GOD, He is able to handle the big and the small.

I now have the amplified version of the rule #3 verse on a post-it note on my work binder as a constant reminder.

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad.  
Oh, Magnify the Lord with me, And let us exalt His name together.  Psalms 34:1-3

Let's stay plugged in and praising, and not let our light be dimmed by complaining.  Let us magnify the Lord with praising, not diminish our witness by complaining. 

Oh Father, I have been so wrong.  Please forgive me.  You have given me so much, thank you for all the blessings you have given me.  Forgive me for focusing on what is so small, and making it bigger in my mind.  Forgive my unbelief.  I know You will help me with anything and that Your grace is sufficient for me.  Forgive me for ways I have let a complaining attitude block my light to the world.  I pray you would help me shine, that Jesus would shine in me.  I pray for a positive mental attitude in all situations and that I would be a light in a dark world.  I pray to see the best in every situation and in every person.  I pray that Your peace would rule in my heart and that your Word would give me wisdom, that I would sing praises unto You with grace in my heart, and that whatever I do, that I would do it all as unto You.   Help me see through your eyes.  In Jesus' Holy Name. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

He Knows Your Name

One of the greatest compliments I have heard someone say about someone was said this past week.  My friend, Julia, wrote on her blog Fuel for the Marathon Called Life a compliment about a dear man of God who passed away last week.

She wrote  "It was just before this man's death that I thought to myself how much I'd love to get to know him better.  Though I did not have much interaction with him, he knew my name!  If I was around him and his family in church, I would make sure to greet him, just so that I could hear him say my name."

There is something powerful about someone knowing our name.  It signifies that we are valued, that we have significance, that someone cares about us enough to know us.  Our friend loved people and made them feel valued.  What a tremendous compliment! 

This trait is godly, it is Christ-like.

The God of the Universe knows you by name.  He values you, He loves you, He treasures you.  You are significant to Him, He cares about every detail in your life.  He knows us and longs for us to know Him more. 

You said, 'I know you by name and you have also found favor in My sight.'  Ex 33:12

And the Lord said to Moses, 'I will do this thing also that you have asked, for you have found favor, loving-kindness, and mercy in My sight and I know you personally and by name.  Ex 33:17(italics added)


This was not some special privilege that only Moses could claim.  The Lord knows YOU by name, the Lord speaks your name.  The Lord knows you personally.  You are valued, you are loved.  Value is determined by cost.  He paid a dear and precious price for you.  Christ went to the cross for YOU.

Knowing someone's name and calling them by name indicates that they matter to you.  When we forget someone's name, we know it can be awkward to ask them again.  Why?  Because we know it may offend them.  We know we should remember, that it is important to remember.

So, I ask myself, how am I doing in this area?  Do I know all the people in my life that I see frequently by name?  Do I call people by name?  You never know what a difference it will make.  Julia looked forward to seeing him because he knew her name.  He valued her as a child of God.

Our friend understood the gift of valuing people, of calling them by name.  What an extraordinary gift, what a legacy to leave, what a Christ-like example....He knew my name.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beaten By Things Unreal

A week or so ago, I was playing the game "Hi Ho Cherry-0" with my four year old and one of her "friends".  This particular friend happens to be a Barbie doll named Makenzie. Yes, I am 37 years old and play with barbie dolls.  : )  

In case you have never played this game or if it has been 30 years and need a refresh, you put plastic cherries on a tree and then spin a spinner.  Whatever number the spinner lands on, that is how many cherries you can take off your tree.  The person who removes all the cherries from their tree first is the winner.

Well, that morning Makenzie, the Barbie doll, won the game!   I had been beaten at a game by a Barbie doll!  How sad, right?  The only thing sadder would have been if only the doll and I had been playing.  : )

I thought it was pretty funny and shared it on facebook.  One of my friends said, "There has to be a great blog illustration there somewhere."   So, I started thinking.  Yes, there is!

I was beaten that morning by something that isn't real.

Oftentimes in life, we allow ourselves to be beaten by things that are not real.  

We allow fears based on the unreal to keep us bound up.  

We live our lives in defeat because of insecurities that are based on lies.  

When I was a little girl, I slept with my light on every night because I was afraid of the dark. Now, there was really nothing to be afraid of in my room.  I thought I saw a pirate on my closet door and I was afraid of the pirate in the dark.  Looking back.....what are the chances there was an actual pirate in my room!  0% chance!  So, I was afraid of something not real.  There was no chance that it was real, yet, I was afraid of it.  I let it beat me.

Even more recently....about 12 years ago, the movie "The Sixth Sense" came out.   After seeing this movie, I feared that I would see dead people.  Come on, are you kidding me!  It isn't real!  I really use to struggle with fear. It took a few days of saying the verse below out loud to defeat that unreal fear.

I cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God,and I bring every thought in to captivity to the obedience of Christ.  2 Corinthians 10:5  (I inserted "I" to make it more real for me and to personalize it.) 

The verse right above this one is....

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.  2Cor 10:4

Much of the battlefield is in our minds.  The weapon we use to win the war is the Word of God.  We must cast down wrong thoughts and every thought that is contrary to the Word of God.  Fear is not from the Lord, and we need to cast it down and find the truth of God's Word to replace the fearful lie.  God's Word will pull down strongholds (anything that has a hold on your mind).

To this day, I won't watch that movie.  There are many movies I won't watch.  We have to protect our minds.

Much fear comes from what we put in our minds.

The two examples above are like the fear of "monsters in the closet".  Fear based on something unreal, it couldn't happen.

There are other fears that could happen, but we need to choose to believe God's Word.  Often, even these fears are based in a lie.

Examples:

1. A friend of mine shared with me how she feared her husband leaving her for another woman.  He is a wonderful man and there is no truth to back up this fear, and she was letting this unreal fear keep her in bondage. 

2.  A fear of rejection causing one to not make new friends or feel uncomfortable around people.  This fear is often based on a lie and is not real.

3.  Fear of disaster happening, fearing the worst.  Yes, we live in a fallen world and bad things happen.  However, we do not need to live our lives in fear.  God is our protector  (Psalms 91).  When those thoughts come, we need to cast them down.  Fearful thoughts do not line up with God's Word. 

4. Fear of failure, not trying new things or what is outside our comfort zones in fear that we will fail.  Yes, failure is a possibility, but it is definite when fear paralyzes one from trying.  We may fail, but the Lord never fails us and He will turn any failure into a victory.

There are many examples of how we fear things that are unreal.  We fear things that have not happened and there is no basis to believe they will happen.  There is actually a medical term for people who fear sickness when they are not really sick.  The term is hypochondriac.  Many times, these people actually develop symptoms of what they are fearing.  They let something unreal defeat them.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.  2 Tim 1:7

Fear may have such a hold that is seems real to us.  It is never from God.  We need to have more faith in our Lord than in our fears.  Fear may try to come into our thoughts, it is what we do with it from there that will determine if it defeats us or not.  It is bad enough to be beaten by a Barbie doll, let's not let things unreal beat us in life.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Not This One

I had in mind to write a different post this morning.  There were two I had thought about writing. Not this one.

So teach us to number our days.  That we may gain a heart of wisdom.   Ps 90:12

My heart is heavy this morning.   A news report. A text.  In a moment, everything changes.

Lord, make me to know my end,
And what is the measure of my days, 
That I may know how frail I am.
Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths,
And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor.  Selah (pause and think about that)

Surely every man walks about like a shadow;
Surely they busy themselves in vain;
He heaps up riches
And does not know who will gather them.  Psalms 39:4-6

Life is a gift, every day a present from the Lord.  One text and everything in my life seems small.  The cares I had, meaningless.

We busy ourselves in vain.  We spend our days in worry, in planning, in doing.  Our schedules are full, and our hearts empty.  We pursue riches at the expense of our families.  We ignore our children, or get frustrated with them.   We have so many gifts.  Do we treasure them?

We take our husbands for granted, forgetting they are God's gift to us.  Do you kiss him everyday?  Do you tell him you love him?

A text.  A friend from church was killed in a car accident.  He left behind his wife (my friend, Jacque) and 3 young children.  His mother, Eva, is also my friend.  Please pray for this family.  I love them dearly and my heart aches for them.  Tears and prayers are all I have known since last night. 

This song is running through my mind.  I cannot think of the name or who sings it....

Lord, teach me to number my days.  To live every moment, and not let it slip away......

Kiss your husband, hug your kids, treasure your time with them.  Life is but a vapor.  Stop.  Breath it in. Savor it. What are you doing with your life?  What am I doing with mine?

Friday, September 2, 2011

One Blueberry

Let's blast back to the past for a moment to the year 1993.

"I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That) by Meatloaf was the # 1 hit song that year.  (What was that one thing he wouldn't do?)   It was also a bang-out year for movies with Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, Sleepless in Seattle, The Firm and The Fugitive listed as some box office favorites.  It was just another year.
 
However, for me, it was a year that would impact my life forever.  The impact was like that of a car crash, not a good one.  It was undoubtedly the worst year of my life. 

This is a story of something that happened at the end of that year, during the darkest season of my life.

In 1993, I was in my sophomore year of college.  My family took a trip to the Grand Canyon over Christmas break.  We went with my Uncle and Aunt and their son, Tim.

Tim is my cousin.  He went to Bible school and at the time of this trip was a missionary, working with youth in the inner city of Chicago.

So, just to recap.....Tim: Bible student, missionary with youth.  Me: heathen, away from God.

Tim, Paul (my brother), and I were in the hotel room.  A popular movie at the time came on the television.  We were excited to watch the movie.  Even Tim was excited because the movie was supposedly about basketball and he liked sports.  A little into the movie, a compromising scene came on and Tim got up and turned it off.

Amazed, bewildered, and irritated, I questioned, "What are you doing? This is a good movie!  What is the big deal?!"

Then, Tim said something that has stuck with me until this day......

How many blueberries does it take to stain a white Easter dress?

I rolled my eyes and said, "Whatever."  But, it stuck with me.  Truth sticks.

He was right, and somewhere deep inside of me I knew he was right.  My life was just a messed up mess and I didn't care about myself enough to care if I got a blueberry on my dress.  After all, when your dress is already as stained as mine was, what difference does another blueberry make.

Tim turned off the T.V. because he valued himself as a child of God and knew what was on the screen was unworthy of his eyes.

He knew that one compromise was like a blueberry stain on a white Easter dress.  We are children of the Most High God, called to live holy, separated lives.  Purity doesn't just happen.  Purity and Holiness has to be our pursuit.

He also knew that one compromise can lead to another compromise until one is entangled in sin.

What we let into our eyes and ears is what comes out in our lives. 

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life.  Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.  Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.  
Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.  Proverbs 4:23-27

The word straight in Greek is the word yashar.  Yashar means "be pleasing, be agreeable, be upright.".

So, when the above verse says "look straight ahead" it isn't refering to a forward direction.  It is literally meaning to only look at what is pleasing and right.

There are so many opportunities for compromise in this day and age where we live.  Anywhere from the ever-assessable internet, to television, to billboards or just walking at the mall.   Even the cartoons kids watch on television have impurities woven into them.  We have to be mindful to watch what we are allowing our kids to watch or listen to on the radio.  It is our duty to protect our minds and theirs.

If you have been compromising, or not guarding your heart, this is not for condemnation.  The Lord never speaks to our hearts to condemn us, but to help us change.

We need purity.  We need pure hearts.  Without a pure heart, our prayers will be hindered and our relationship with the Lord will be dismal.

Jesus Christ loves us so much that He died so we could be pure.

Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify, and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.  Ephesians 5:24-27


He loved us enough to die for us to make us pure, holy, and without blemish.  Do we love ourselves enough just to guard what He already died to give us?

I don't know where you are today.  You may guard your heart beautifully and treasure keeping it pure.  Or you may be like I was thinking this is crazy.  Seriously, what is the big deal?  Perhaps you may be thinking my dress already has too many stains.   His mercies are new every morning.  His conviction is never to condemn.

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; 
Though they are red like crimson (or blue like a blueberry) , they shall be as wool.
Is 1:18 (italics added) 

The good news is that Jesus is the ultimate Clorox Pen.  Not only does He get the stain out, He removes it so that it was like it was never there. He gives us a new dress! White. Clean. Beautiful.

You are worthy of God's best.  Remember Whose you are, you are a child of the Most High.

Let us not allow our eyes and ears to be tainted by that which is not worthy of us.  We need to value ourselves and love ourselves enough to protect that which God says is Holy.









 
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