Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Confident Heart {Week 3}

Well Ladies!  We are half way done with the book A Confident Heart by Renee Swope! 

This last week we read-

Chapter 5: Living Beyond the Shadow of My Doubts and
Chapter 6: When Doubt Whispers "I'm Not Good Enough"

I thought I would share a couple of thoughts that stood out for me from Chapter 5: 

Renee wrote:

"We were created to live in the light in such a way that our life stories tell about the light and our confidence in Christ draws others to the light."

"Jesus said, ' I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.'" (John 8:12)

"We find ourselves in the shadow of doubt many times because our thoughts are mostly about ourselves: how we're performing and what others are thinking about us." 

"When we focus our attention on ourselves, we turn our attention away from God."  (Pg 86, 87)

I wanted to string all these quotes together because it is great truth that when we keep our focus on ourselves, it causes us to live in the shadow of our doubts.  Our eyes need to be upward and outward, not inward. 

At the end of Chapter 5, Renee writes about comparison, which also is addressed in Chapter 6. 

"In the face of comparison, conflict, and criticism, I took my eyes off God's strength and focuses on my weaknesses." (pg 91)

"Comparison will always leave us feeling like we're lacking something.  We try to do more and be more, but it's never enough."  (pg 105)

The more we understand who we are in Christ, the more we will understand about our true identity.  It is not based on our past.  It is not based on our family or friends.  It is not based in our accomplishments or lack of accomplishments.  It is based on only one truth--You are His.  You are worthy.  You are accepted.  You are approved.  You are loved. 

Renee mentions on page 107, Dr. Neil Anderson's "Who I am in Christ" scriptures.  I am very familiar with these scriptures.  There was a time when I read them everyday. Everyday. For. Years.  Let's just say I had issues.  

I want to encourage you to read these scriptures over and over out loud everyday until they are rooted deep into our mind.  These scriptures will change the way you see yourself and if you change your thoughts you will change your life. 

Renee also talked about AM (against me) thoughts vs FM (For me ) thoughts.  We need to make sure our thoughts line up with God's Word.  When we are thinking negative thoughts (AM) about ourselves, those thoughts are NOT from God.  He is for us. 

We need to counteract those AM thoughts with the truth from God's Word to produce (FM) thoughts.  We have to tear down the lies and replace the lies with truth.  This, my friends, is the way to freedom.  Changing your thoughts will change your life. 

For discussion and reflection questions, let's talk about Question 4 and 6 from Chapter 5 and Questions 1 and 7 from Chapter 6. 
Chapter 5:
Question 4:  The angel of the Lord told Gideon, "Go in the strength you I not sending you?...I will be with you" (Judges 6:14-16).  With that promise in mind, what doubts are you currently facing that you sense God wants you to conquer with Him and depend on His strength to overcome?

Question 6:  What are some triggers that cause you to doubt yourself (e.g., failure, fear, conflict, discouragement, comparison, worry, criticism, tiredness)?  

Chapter 6:
Question 1:  What area of your life--as a woman, mom, wife, friend, daughter, housekeeper, professional, leader, etc.--do you currently struggle with most in believing you are good enough?  

Question 7:  What are one or two AM (against me) thoughts you are currently dealing with?  What FM (for me) thoughts from God's promises will you replace them with? 

For this upcoming week, we are going to take a little break.  {smile}  My family and I are going to Disney for the week.  However, even though we have a break, I still want to give you a homework assignment. 

Part of the homework assignment is Question #3.  I want you to go back to page 107 (for those of you who have the book) and review the "Who I Am in Christ" chart.  Highlight verses that speak to your heart and choose seven of the verses and write them down on note cards.  Read and pray out loud a different verse everyday. 

Also, identify lies that you find yourself believing and look up scripture to diffuse the lies.  If you have a concordance in the back of your Bible, look up key words to help you find scriptures.  Write those scriptures on note cards and say them out loud and pray them out loud daily similar to above. 

That is your homework assignment for next week.  We will read Chapters 7 and 8 and discuss on the following Thursday, September 13th.  Have a great week friends! Thank you for joining me here.  It is a joy and honor to study God's Word and His truth with you! 


Monday, August 27, 2012


Last weekend, my family made the long haul up to Michigan for Chris' brother's wedding.  It was beautiful!  The setting was a lavish flower garden complete with a stream and waterfalls.  The place was a gorgeous setting for a wedding. 

As the bridal party made their way down a stone staircase trimmed with flowers, one of the bride maids stumbled.  She quickly regained her composure, but it was apparent that her heel was now hanging off her shoe.  So, she did what any sensible woman would do, she kicked her shoes off to the side and continued her graceful pace. 

She could have decided to continue walking in her broken shoes.  She could have kept the hindering heel.  However, if she would have stayed in her shoes, she would have walked with an awkward ungraceful limp. Not to mention the even more awkward heel that would have been dangling beneath her feet.

Great peace have those who love Your law and nothing shall offend them.  Psalms 119:165

The word "offend" above is the word mikshowl in the original Hebrew.  It means to stumble or cause to stumble.  

My New King James Bible translates Psalms 119:165 as "Great peace have those who love Your law and nothing shall cause them to stumble."

Offenses can cause us to stumble if we let them.  However, God says that those who love His law will have great peace and nothing shall cause them to stumble.  No offenses.  Nothing shall offend them.  

We have to remember we have a choice when someone does something that could offend us.  Our response is up to us.  We don't have to keep the offense that will cause us to limp.  We can toss the offense to the side and keep walking in the Lord.  Like the brides maid kicked off her broken shoe, we can kick off the offense so we will not stumble. 

I don't want any awkward dangling offenses keeping me from walking gracefully with the Lord.  I know you don't either. 

Let's kick off those offenses that try to cause us to stumble and get free.  Kick off those shoes and get Footloose!  

Dear Lord, I know I may have opportunities to get offended this week or even today.  I pray that when those opportunities happen, that you would help me choose the right response.  I pray I would have peace and that nothing would offend me.  I pray that I would not stumble, but walk gracefully in You by the power of Your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus' Name. Amen.


Friday, August 24, 2012

A Confident Heart {Week 2, Ch 4}

In Chapter 4 of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope is best described by its title:

"God Promises Hope for My Future Despite the Pain of My Past"

At some point God will lead you gently on a journey of healing the heartache of your past.  When He does this, do not run from it or shy away from it.  Yes, it may be painful at first, but the eternal result is worth any amount of temporary discomfort.

Renee writes on page 75, "He walked me through a season of looking back so I could move forward.  God used that time to "rebuild [my] ancient ruins and restore the [broken] places [in my heart that had been] long devastated. (Isaiah 61:4)

The Lord will often open up an old wound in order to bring a deeper healing.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, 
Because the Lord has annointed Me,
To preach good news to the poor;
He has sent me to bind the broken hearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, 
And the day of vengeance of our God; 
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair;
That they may be called Oaks of Righteousness,
The planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.  Isaiah 61:1-3

God specializes in binding up the brokenhearted and setting the captives free.

Not only will He bind up the wounds and bring healing, He will also restore the broken places to wholeness.

The Lord will surely comfort [you] and will look with compassion on all [your] ruins; he will make [your] deserts like Eden, [your] wastelands like the garden of the Lord.  Isaiah 51: 3 (pg  76).

I love this verse.  The Lord will make your deserts like Eden.  He will take the old, dry, empty and dead places of our lives and transform them into beautiful green fruitful gardens springing with new life!  

When the Lord frees us, it is not enough for Him to simply free us.  He wants to completely restore our lives.  Then, when we are free, we can show others the way to freedom.

God frees us so we can lead others to freedom.

With these truths in mind, lets reflect and discuss a couple of the questions on page 82 and 83:

1. Has the pain of your past ever made it hard for you to believe God's promises and plans for your future? What do you sense He wants to change in your perspective?

2. Have past hurts robbed you of hope and affected your relationships today?

3. After reading Isaiah 61:1-3, What are some things God promises in these verses that you are asking Him to fulfill in your life?  (He will do it.)  

Next we will be reading Chapters 5 and 6 and will be discussing them next Thursday. 


Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Confident Heart {Week 2}

We finished week 2 of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope.  This week we read the following chapters:

Chapter 3: Finding Love That Won't Fail Even When I Do

Chapter 4: God Promises Hope for My Future Despite the Pain of My Past

In Chapter 3, Renee revealed how she once searched for significance in the approval of people, relationships, places and things.

Renee writes:

"Those of us who struggle with insecurity and find ourselves in the shadow of doubt often get there because we are seeking our validation in people's opinions, our worth in accomplishments, and our identity in excessive commitments."  

We seek validation trying to fill the empty places of our hearts.  God revealed to me about two years ago that I had a tendency to idolize certain people in my life.  I held their relationship on a pedestal that was reserved for God alone.  I was hoping they would fill the empty places only God can fill.   

At some point we have to ask ourselves a question--"Is God's Love Enough?"  (pg. 54)

Just recently, I stepped down from a leadership position at my church.  It was a tough decision because I loved serving with the people in that ministry.  It also was tough because I was afraid of losing the "title" and "position" in leadership.  I had to ask myself some hard questions about why I was afraid of losing a "position".  The Lord helped me to see I didn't need the position to be used by Him.

My position does not determine my purpose or my identity.  My identity and purpose come from Him.  

What about you?

In the Reflection and Discussion Questions in Chapter 3, Renee asks:

Think about your desire to find a relationship, a job, a calling, or something else that would stisfy the longings of your heart.  Have you every looked to something or someone to fill or fulfill you?  Describe how that might have shaped the pattern of your thoughts, decision, and pursuits. 

"The origin of the word worship comes from blending tow words to form 'worth-ship'. When we worship something or someone, we give them great worth in our lives and oftentimes we find our worth in them" (p. 58).  Where are you most tempted to find your worth? In what area is it hardest to let God define you and not the world's standards (i.e. career, financial success, motherhood, marriage, or ministry)?

Ladies, I think I will break up Chapter 3 and 4 and write about Chapter 4 on Friday.  Come back on Friday and we will discuss Chapter 4.  I would love to hear what the Lord is revealing to you this week from the discussion questions. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Mother to the Motherless

The relationships we have with our earthly parents speaks volumes to how we relate in life.  It ingrains every fiber of our being and shapes the nature of other relationships in our life.

For many people, the experience with their earthly parents is not a positive nurturing exchange as designed. Many children spend their adult lives seeking healing for wounds inflicted on them by the ones who were created to provide and protect.  If they do not seek healing, they cover up the wounds with various band aids pretending to be fine.  Meanwhile blood is seeping through the band aids into every other area of their life. 

Several months ago I wrote a post that address our Heavenly Father being a father to the fatherless.  If you would like to read it you can click on A Father's Love.  There have been many times I have heard others refer to our Heavenly Father as being a Father to those who were abandoned or felt unloved by their fathers.

However, our heavenly Father is not just a Father to the fatherless, He is a Mother to the motherless.

Can a woman forget her nursing child, 
And not have compassion on the [daughter] of her womb?
Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you.  
See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands. Isaiah 49:15-16
In our culture today, it is not uncommon for mothers to be distant, negligent, detached, or abusive.  My heart aches over it.  God's heart aches as well. 

God designed woman with a heart of a mother, or a nurturing instinct. 

Even women without natural children have a mother's heart.   Many women believe only natural mothers have a mother's heart.  That is not the case. God created Eve and called her "the mother of all living" before she ever gave birth.  God designs all women with a mother's heart.  God calls us to use our hearts to nurture those He has placed in our care.  We are all God's children, so every single person we come into contact with is a child. 

When a woman suppresses or denies herself of her mother's heart she ultimately abandons her purpose.

Perhaps your mother neglected you, or physically or emotionally abused you.  Perhaps your mother did not care for you as a mother should.  She abandoned her mother's heart for one reason or another.  However, it does not mean you are abandoned. 

You have One who loves you unconditionally.  God says to those who have been left and forgotten,

"Surely they may forget, YET I WILL NOT FORGET YOU."

May those words sink down deep to fill the crevices of neglect. 

May those words be healing ointment in the wounds inflicted by the ammunition of abandonment. 

Let Him be the Mother of your longing.  Allow Him to cradle you as He rocks you in His loving arms and dries years of tears. He compassion never fails.  

Seek healing from the only One who can heal.  Run to Him and let Him bandage your wounds so the healing power in His blood will seep through into every area of your life. 

He is a Mother to the motherless and He has not forgotten you.  You are written on the palms of His hands.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Confident Heart {Week 1}

This week was the first week of the my Proverbs 31 online "Gather and Grow" study of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope.

If you are not reading along with us, you are still welcome to just read the commentaries every Thursday here and comment.  You are also welcome to start reading the book and jump in at any time!  It is a great book! 

We read the following Chapters this week:

Chapter 1:  Discovering the Shadow of My Doubts

Chapter 2:  Because God's Love is Perfect, I Don't Have to Be

In Chapter 1, Renee describes how one day while she was getting ready for a speaking engagement, her self-doubt caused her to second guess her calling. Then, she noticed her enormous nine foot shadow on the wall!

"Just like my shadow on the wall was distorting my shape, my doubt was distorting my thoughts and overpowering my emotions with confusion and questions.  The shadow of doubt had become bigger than what I doubted --myself. " pg. 21

God then spoke to her and said, "You can only see the shadow because you have turned away from the light.  Turn back toward the light." pg. 22

Just like her distorted shadow lied about her image, doubt lies to us.  It creates an image of ourselves in our heads that is contrary to what God says about us.

Doubt says, "You can't do it."
God says, "You can do all things through Christ." Phil 4:13

Doubt says, "You are alone."
God says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Heb 13:5

Doubt says, "You will fail."
God says, "You are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus." Romans 8:37

Don't listen to doubt.  It will lie every time.

Isaiah 49:23 reminds us, "Then you will know that I am the Lord. Those who hope in me will not be disappointed."  

God will not disappoint us. Hope in the Lord.  Choose hope instead of doubt.

Sometimes people will say, "I doubt that" about a good thing that may happen.  Instead we need to say, "I believe that!"  Choose hope. 

Another lie the enemy tries to defeat us with is:  My worth is related to my performance.

In Chapter Two, Renee explained how she grew up on a performance-based value system.  She felt like she could never measure up.  Her value was based on how well she performed.

Renee writes, "Oh how I longed for someone to see past the exterior facade and look into the secret places of my heart.  I wanted to be known and loved for who I was." pg 33

Renee discussed the Samaritan woman at the well  (John 4).  Jesus saw past her exterior facade.  Jesus saw past her past and saw her.  He offered to meet her deepest need and fill her empty places, to give her "Living Water" so she would never thirst again.

She had nothing to offer Jesus.  She couldn't earn acceptance from Him.  He freely gave it.

Jesus went out of His way that day to meet that woman.  He knew she would be there. He knew her needs.  He knew her heart.  I love this line from Renee's book, 

"Let this truth sink in, my friend: wherever you are, He wants to meet you there." pg 37

Jesus, the One who knows us completely, wants us to trust Him with our failures.  Will you let yourself be real with Him?  Give Him your deepest hurts.  Give Him your deepest longings.  Let Him meet you where you are and let Him fill our empty places with His Living Water. 

Reflection and Discussion Questions:

1. What do you think hinders you most from living with God-confidence on a consistent basis?  Which of the following promises speaks to your greatest need right now?

"Those who hope in me will not be disappointed." Is 49:23
"See, I am doing a new thing!" Is 43:19
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  (Rom. 8:28)
"All things are possible to [her] who believes." (Mark 9:23)

2. Jeremiah 17:7 says, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord."  What does this verse promise and encourage you to do ?  Think of one situation where you could live in the power of this promise and describe what that would look like this week.  

3.  Is there one lesson learned this week that you will walk away with and hold on to so that you can live in the security of God's approval and acceptance?  

Next week, we will read Chapters 3 and 4.  We will meet back here on Thursday again! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Natural Highlights

This is Sarah.

Sarah is my precious five year old daughter.

The reason for the picture is that I want you to take notice of the blonde highlights in her hair.

You would be surprised how many times I have been asked if I highlight her hair.  I am always so surprised by the question!  A couple of weeks ago, I had three people ask me in just one week!

I always tell them with a smile, "No, her highlights are all natural.  They are God-given highlights."

I also have highlights.  My highlights are..ummm...not natural.  My highlights are Debbie Barnes-given.  Thank you Debbie!  My blonde highlights have the important job of.....ahem.... concealing the grays.   

Wouldn't it be great to have beautiful natural highlights like Sarah?  Her hair shines!  Her spirit does too. 

Arise, shine; For your light has come! 
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 

For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people; 

But the Lord will arise over you.  
And His glory will be seen upon you.

The Gentiles shall come to your light, 
And kings to the brightness of your rising.  Isaiah 60:1-3

Does that bring joy to your spirit as it does mine?!  The GLORY of the Lord is upon us!  His light makes us shine in a dark world.  HIS GLORY will be seen on YOU!  

No matter how dark the world is or how dark things may seem all around you, He says He will arise over you.  He will make His glory SHINE on you!

The light that shines on you will attract the lost!  The lost will be drawn to His glory in you!  Oh, I love this!!  My heart rejoices at the thought!  

We also have God-given highlights!  Hallelujah!  My gray has nothing on His glory!  

Praise the Lord for our natural highlights!  


Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Confident Heart Introduction

Today is the start of the study of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope. 

As heirs according to the promise of God, we have been given confidence through Jesus Christ (Gal 3:29).

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.  Romans 8:16-17 

The world defines "confidence" as "having self-reliance" (Merriam-Webster). 

The Biblical view of "confidence" is not about self, it is about having confidence in the Creator of self.

As heirs in Christ, God desires that we lack nothing, including confidence (1Thess 4:12). 

By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us, O God of our salvation, You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth.  Psalms 65:5

As we cry out to God for a confident heart, He will answer us. 

The word "confidence" above comes from the Hebrew word mibtach and means:  Trust.  Object of confidence.  State of Confidence. Security. 

Jesus is our object of confidence.  Jesus is our security

He is the confidence of all the earth!  He is our confidence!  He is your confidence! 

This week with will be studying:

Chapter 1: Discovering the Shadow of My Doubts and
Chapter 2: Because God's Love is Perfect, I Don't Have to Be

We will meet back here on Thursday for my commentary and discussion.  There are about twenty ladies meeting on a private facebook page as well for discussion. 

If you did not get on the private facebook page or are just joining us, I'm sorry to say the page is now closed but you are welcome to comment here.

You can buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or any Christian book store. 

I am looking forward to all God will show us and do over the next six weeks as we find our confidence in Him and develop "A Confident Heart".  

Dear Lord God,  I am so thankful for all these ladies studying your Word.  Thank you, Lord, that You alone are our confidence.  Thank you, Lord, that because we are in Christ, we can have a confident heart.  Help us to fully develop our confidence and security in You, and to be free from self-doubt.  Speak to our hearts this week.  We thank you that you are here with us as we study your Word.  You are our confidence. 
In Jesus' Holy and precious name.  Amen.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hidden Messes

Upstairs we have a bonus room.  This room serves as a play room for our three energetic kids to run, play and...well, be kids. When you have three kids, you accumulate toys without even trying.  We give them away, but the toys seem to multiply.  I like all the toys to have "a home", a place where they rest when  not being used for play. However, when three kids pick up the toyroom, the toys don't always make it back to their "home".  Sometimes, they hide in a closet, or under a bed.  Often times, however, they are just put in the wrong box. 

To look at the room, it might look like everything is picked up.  It is only when one starts looking in closets and under the beds that the truth is revealed.

Every few months I reach a point where I can not stand it any longer!  At that time, we take all the toys out of their hiding places and put them out in the open center of the room to sort.  We take the stuff out of the hiding places to deal with the mess.  Then, I help the kids clean it all up.

We deal with the broken toys, the junk, and put the rest back where it goes.  

This picture was taken in April during the last sorting.

We too have hidden messes.   We have messes hidden in our hearts we don't want to address. We stuff the junk into a closet or under the bed and think, "I'll deal with that later.  It is too much to sort through right now. "

We may look "all picked up", but underneath our tidy exterior, lies the truth. 

Sometimes we don't even know the issues in our hearts.  God hides them from us until He is ready for us to deal with our stuff.

If He hauled out all of our hidden junk at once, we would become too overwhelmed to deal with any of it!  

He waits.  He reveals the hidden messes for us to sort through one piece at a time.  He brings out into the open areas of our hearts we didn't even know needed healing.  And the good news is, He will be by our side to help, to heal.   

God knows our hearts.  He knows the areas that are broken or wounded.  He knows what needs to be removed.  He knows what areas of our hearts need cleaning.

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.  You know my sitting down and my rising up;  You understand my thought away off.  You comprehend my path and my lying down.  And are acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.  

Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as day; 
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.  Psalms 139:1-4, 12

He reveals and then He heals.  He puts our hearts back together.  He puts the pieces all back in the proper place to make them whole.  However, we have to allow Him to show us the mess.  We cannot keep it hidden in the closet refusing to deal with it or our hearts will never be healed.  We must allow Him to bring it out in the open.  

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; Save me and I shall be saved, For You are my praise.
Jeremiah 17:14

It may seem easier to just leave the mess.  It may seem easier to just keep it hidden away.  It is. 

It is easier to keep the door closed and pretend the mess isn't there. 

Do we want easy or do we want freedom?  Dealing with messes and broken pieces may be work, but the end result is worth any amount of discomfort involved.  Trust me, I know.

Will you ask God to reveal the hidden messes of your heart that need healing?  He will put it in its proper "home", which is in Him.  He takes the mess and gives us a beautiful heart in exchange (Is 61:3).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

One of "Those" Days {Part 2}

The other day, I wrote about a day last week that qualified as "One of 'Those' Days".  Click on the blue to read it if you missed it.

At the end of the previous post, I had just forgotten my wallet after shopping for school supplies for three children, had the ATM refuse my request twice before processing it, and was running late to church.

Note to self:  Don't ever go to Walmart before church!  

I had maintained composure during the entire ordeal at Walmart, but was on the edge of losing it towards the end of the trip.  Thankful to have left Walmart with school supplies and seemingly passed the test, I headed to church with my darling five year old Sarah. 

I was scheduled to be in charge of our children's department that night.  All the regular "in charge" people were at camp with most of the kids.  However, there was children's church that night for the kids who didn't go to camp and they needed someone to lead.

I arrived at church a little late as explained.  However, not too late and there were only a couple kids waiting.  "This is ok.  I am here now and everything is fine,"  I thought as I sighed another sign of relief.

Then, my sweet Sarah started crying.  She didn't want to go to her class.  She didn't want to leave her mamma. 

 You have got to be kidding me!  She never does this, not now! 

She clenched my leg with all her might.  It is surprising how strong a 40 pound five year old can be when it comes to holding onto her mamma.

Now, I know I am suppose to be a sweet mamma.  I know I am suppose to be patient, loving, and understanding.

But Walmart. And the school supplies. The missing wallet. The stubborn ATM machine. And now this!

Yes, I was still in my test and I regret to say... I did not pass.  

In that moment of the test, when I was tempted to lose my patience, I had a choice.  I could have chosen to be patient with Sarah (yielding to the Holy Spirit) or I could lose my patience (give into my flesh). 

"Yield" means to surrender or submit to another.   

We have to decide in our "those" moments (the "everything is going wrong" moments) to whom we will yield (or submit to)--the Holy Spirit or our flesh.  The flesh is our old sinful nature. 

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.  So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.  Romans 8:5-8

I mess up.  I messed up that night.  I let my emotions rule instead of yielding to the Spirit of God inside me.  The good news is that God does give us the ability to follow the Spirit instead of our flesh. 

The Spirit also helps in our weaknesses.  Romans 8:26 

In those moments of weakness, we can pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help us respond correctly.  He will.

We have a battle going on inside us.  It is our flesh versus our spirit.  Our spirit is made new when we received Jesus.  Jesus comes to live inside us, the Holy Spirit lives inside us.  He is our new nature.  However, we still have our old nature (the flesh) hanging around. 

Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.  Galations 5:16-17

Whatever you feed becomes stronger.

Feed your Spirit with the Word of God.  Pray.  Memorize the Word so resides inside you.  As you do these things, your Spirit becomes stronger and your flesh becomes weaker. 

Does it mean you will never give into your flesh?  No. We are human.  We sin.  We fail.  However, it does mean that the next time you have one of "those" days, you will be better equipped to respond like Christ.

I know I need Him.  I pray that next time I am tempted to lose my patience with one of my kids, that I would walk according to the Spirit and not give into my flesh. 

How about you?  Have you ever had one of "those" days?  How did you respond?  Did the Holy Spirit help you?



Friday, August 3, 2012

One of "Those" Days

Thank you to all how entered to win A Confident Heart by Renee Swope!  The winner was randomly selected by  And the winner is..........BECKY C.!!! 

I will get the book to you Becky!! 

One of "Those" Days

The other day was one of "those" days.  

You know...the kind when several things go wrong all in a row and you are praying and doing all you can do to keep yourself together.  Do you ever have one of those days?  Maybe it is just me.  

With only one hour, I was determined to get school supplies checked off my list.   Surely one hour was enough time to shop for school supplies at Walmart.  Yes, I know that may not have been the wisest decision.  Did I mention I was shopping for school supplies for three children, all with different lists? 

Thankfully, I only had one of the three children with me that day.

I am sure you can picture it...

Going in and out of aisles, searching for scissors, crayons, folders, dry erase markers, etc.  Of course, it seems there are always items on the list that aren't considered actual "school supplies" and they are  completely separate on the other side of the store.  It seems there are always two or three items that refuse to be found.  

I miraculously find all the items in the hour allocated and jet to the checkout. Time running short, but only one lady in front of me.  No problem, I should be fine. 

Wait!  Pencils!  I didn't get enough pencils.  Placing the other items on the conveyor, I ask the cashier if I can run and get some more pencils.  She graciously agreed.  So Sarah and I jolt back to the school supplies.  Got them!  Back to the cashier.

She had just started ringing up the items.  With all the items now in the cart, she tells me my total.  I dig in my purse to find my wallet.  No credit cards! Oh no!  I had left my credit cards at home in the swim bag.  

My heart starts pounding.  Please, no!  I look in my purse again.  

Thoughts start to fill my mind, "An hour.  All those school supplies.  Do I have to reshop for all these supplies?!" 

Ok, Lord. Please help me.  If this is happening, it is probably a test.  Sue, you must need this.  Stay cool. 

Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  
But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.  James 1:2-4

Can I tell you, that "joy" was not my first response when I realized I left my credit cards at home! 

What can I do?  Thankfully, I remembered that I did have my ATM card in my purse.  There was an ATM machine in the Walmart.  The cashier graciously waited while I hustled to the ATM.  

I requested the desired amount.  The words "I'm sorry we were not able to process your request", appeared on the screen.  Again, my heart raced.  I tried the card again.  The words appeared again.  I tried another time, (please let it work) and this time it processed.  Sighing a sigh of relief, I  snatched up the cash and went back to the cashier.  

I paid for the school supplies.  Sarah and I raced to the car.  I was now running a little late due to the forgetting my wallet ordeal.  

Next  : )  

Isn't it interesting that many of these kinds of instances happen right before church. 

I would like to tell you that when I got to church, everything was wonderful.   No, I thought I had passed my test, but this test was not quite be continued....