Right on time

I subscribe to emails from www.alldevotion.com. Today’s message was right on time and perfect.

“Today God wants us to know that you are to trust yourself.
If you do not, then you will forever be looking to others to prove your own merit to you, and you will never be satisfied. You will always be asking others what to do and at the same time resenting their help. Trust in yourself starts with being ok with the consequences of your decisions.”

This morning, I was late walking my dog because I needed to spend a few more minutes with God. I spend so much time and energy concerned with what others think of me, even people I don’t know. Whenever I make a mistake, I feel like the entire world is spending their time and energy ridiculing me. I am desperate for everyone to like me and to approval of me.

I seek approval from the world. I seek guidance from the world. God is my backup plan.

Man that is so backwards!

I need to trust myself, meaning I need to trust in who God created and called me to be. I need to rest in the assurance that the battle is His and not mine. I can let go of the shackles I place on myself. Those shackles are formed of what I think the world expects from me. I am constantly trying to prove myself to the world. I don’t need the world’s approval to validate me or my worth. Christ already determined that. I am priceless in Christ.

When I rest in God, I am free. Jesus takes my yoke from me. This isn’t just past tense. He continues to life my burdens. I am free.

I can breathe. When I sin, I can ask for forgiveness and repent. I don’t have to repeat it over and over again in my mind, weighing myself down. I can stand assured that no matter the consequences, God will not give me more than I can handle. He will be there for me.

I can stand in assurance that even if other people don’t like me or agree with me, I will be ok. I have God. There is no need to stop everything to try to figure out how to please them. I can continue living the life God has for me. I can move on, in victory.

This doesn’t mean I should just go about sinning whenever and where-ever. It means that I am a child of God and that there is still hope for me. Christ paid the ultimate penalty and I am able to live victoriously over temptations and sins.

The weight on my chest is gone. My spiritual lungs are clear. They are breathing deeply and inhaling joy and peace. They are exhaling troubles and burdens. Praise God!

 

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Focus

I like to think that I am good at multi-tasking. The truth is that I’m not. Today that was demonstrated to me while I was driving over to my parents’ house to visit. While I was driving, my dog started vomiting in the back seat. I had to keep my eyes on the road to protect everyone on the road, but I kept looking back to see if she was ok. I couldn’t do both things at once. I had to choose. When I got to my parents’ house. I went to check on her and cleaned the back seat. Nothing good would have come if I had gotten into an accident, especially if someone else had been involved.

This reminds me that I have to choose God. I have to constantly choose God. God is the safest and surest option. Choosing to ignore God or choosing to move Him down my list of priorities is a danger to myself and others.

Lord, please forgive me for not making You the first choice in my life. Please forgive me for considering other options. Thank You for Your mercy and for keeping me and others safe from my poor choices. Holy Spirit, help me to truly, wholly and completely focus on God and His Will. All praises to Your Holy name! In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.” ― Stephen R. Covey

“The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God…or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.” ― Elisabeth Elliot

“What you stay focused on will grow.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Stop and Think

I am an expert of thinking myself into stress. I will get all worked up over something and then finally look for or work towards a solution. I will work myself into suffering symptoms from anxiety and then pray about it. I don’t stop to think about the right things.

Instead of stopping to think of how mighty, loving, and creative God is, I stop and think about how I can’t endure the situation. Instead of stopping to think about how nothing is too big for my God, I fret over how a solution seems impossible. Instead of stopping to think about how I am making a mountain out of a molehill, I try to climb the mountain by myself. I also complain about the mountain.

I need to stop and breathe. I spend to channel that energy into prayer and letting God guide me to the solution he has for me.

I can panic about the smallest things. Today I was anxious because my grocery stopped carrying my preferred brand. I didn’t stop to think that there are other brands and other stores. I didn’t stop to thank God that I can afford to shop for what I need. I didn’t stop to think about how God provides for his children. I didn’t stop to think that this wasn’t a crisis and did not warrant a crisis response on my part.

Stop.

Breathe.

I am ok.

I will be ok.

Things will be ok.

My God has got this.

I’ve got God and He’s got this!

Peace and blessings to you.

Proverbs 3:5-8 Amplified Bible (AMP)
5 Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding.
6 [a]In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him,
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord [with reverent awe and obedience] and turn [entirely] away from evil.
8 It will be health to your body [your marrow, your nerves, your sinews, your muscles—all your inner parts]
And refreshment (physical well-being) to your bones.

Footnotes:
Proverbs 3:6 One of the ancient rabbis said that all the essence of the Torah (Law) depends on this verse.

Bible Gateway

The power of prayer

I am usually hesitant to ask for prayer. Maybe it’s my pride. Maybe I don’t consider myself worthy. I would much rather pray for someone else than ask for others to pray for me.

I am learning that there is peace in asking for prayer. It’s not selfish. It’s wrong of me to think God can’t handle it or that He doesn’t want to help me. I am insulting God.

I feel an emotional release when I finally do ask for prayer. It’s humbling. It’s freeing. I can feel the weight being lifted off of me. If only prayer would become a habit like grinding my teeth when I am stressed.

“The reality is, my prayers don’t change God. But, I am convinced prayer changes me. Praying boldly boots me out of that stale place of religious habit into authentic connection with God Himself.” – Lysa TerKeurst

“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.'” – Billy Graham

“Rather than set aside daily time for prayer, I pray constantly and spontaneously about everything I encounter on a daily basis. When someone shares something with me, I’ll often simply say, ‘let’s pray about this right now.'” – Thomas Kinkade

Philippians 4:6-7 Amplified Bible (AMP)
6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. 7 And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].

Mark 11:24 Amplified Bible (AMP)
24 For this reason I am telling you, whatever things you ask for in prayer [in accordance with God’s will], believe [with confident trust] that you have received them, and they will be given to you.

 

In the moment

I am not good at living in the moment. I tend to live in the past of hang my hopes on the future. I can’t seem to just be still and be content in the right here and now. I don’t know how long I have struggled with this. Maybe it has been my entire life. Maybe I am just recognizing it now.

God keeps me. This is present tense. God has also kept me. This is the past tense. God will keep me. This is the future. Why can’t I rest and find joy right now?

Today, as I was brushing my teeth, a thought entered my mind. What am I happy about right now? How is God blessing me in this moment?

It brings me peace to think about this. It also convicts me because I realize I have spent so many years not thinking like this. Father, please forgive me. Help me to live in You at ALL times, not just tomorrow. I have so many reasons to be thankful in all moments. Is it my pride that makes me forget You? Help me to see what I need to see. Please help me know what I need to know. Please help me to trust You. Please help me to feel Your peace and joy.  Help me to breath You in with each breath. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Forever is composed of nows.” ― Emily Dickinson

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”  ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Happiness, not in another place but this place…not for another hour, but this hour.”
― Walt Whitman

 

Fighting Zombies

I have been dreaming about zombies lately. I don’t know why. I don’t watch zombie tv shows or films, nor do I read books about zombies. In these dreams, I am chased over and over again. I spend so much energy trying to outrun them. I look for places to hide, trying to wait out the attack. I’m always exhausted. Finally last night, in my dream, I decided to use some weapons lying around to fight back. There were so many weapons, I had difficulty deciding which ones to use. Then I was joined by many others fighting back and the zombies were defeated.

This morning, I finally decided to pray about it. The zombies represent temptations and fears that I am trying to hide from and out run. The weapons are the weapons and tools God has given me to be victorious. The others who helped in the battle were fellow Christian warriors and angels.

What a differences prayer makes. What a difference it makes to be able to fight back and not just run and hide. What a difference it makes to know that you have a choice of weapons. What a difference it is to know you are victorious before the battle begins.

Lord, please forgive me for not using the tools, gifts, and weapons you have blessed me with to fight the daily battles of life. Please forgive me for wanting to surrender to any and everything but You. Thank You for victory. Help me to live in Your victory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Ephesians 6:10-18 Amplified Bible (AMP)
The Armor of God
10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. 11 Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. 13 Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. 14 So stand firm and hold your ground, having [a]tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waist and having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), 15 and having [b]strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. 16 Above all, lift up the [protective] [c]shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

18 With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season] in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all [d]God’s people.

Footnotes:
Ephesians 6:14 Lit girded your loins, a phrase often found in the Bible, is an urgent call to get ready for immediate action or a coming event. The phrase is related to the type of clothing worn in ancient times. Before any vigorous activity the loose ends of clothing (tunics, cloaks, mantles, etc.) had to be gathered up and tucked into the wide band worn around the midsection of the body. The band (usually about six inches wide) also served as a kind of pocket or pouch to carry personal items such as a dagger, money or other necessary things. Gird up your mind or gird up your heart are examples of variants of this phrase and call for mental or spiritual preparation for a coming challenge.
Ephesians 6:15 A reference to the Roman soldiers’ shoes which were studded with hobnails to give them stability on the battlefield.
Ephesians 6:16 Here the Greek word refers to the large Roman soldiers’ shield designed to protect the entire body. It had an iron frame and was covered in several layers of leather. When soaked in water before a battle the shield could put out the fiery missiles thrown at them by the enemy.
Ephesians 6:18 Lit the saints.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+6%3A10-18&version=AMP

Learning to accept my reality

I put so much pressure on myself. I expect to be able to do things when I know I can’t or shouldn’t do them. I expect myself to be perfect. I don’t allow myself to have hope. I don’t allow myself the benefit of learning from my mistakes. I don’t allow myself the benefit of having limits, just like everyone else.

I tend to think the worst of myself and I live waiting for the bottom to fall out from under me. I need to learn to be still in the moment. I need to learn to rest. I need to learn to rest in God. I need to accept what I cannot change and trust God with it. I need to ask God for wisdom and discernment to see what I should be changing. I need to smile more. The Lord has given me plenty to smile about.

I’m no theological or philosophical expert, but this may be my pride. Pride in myself over confidence in God. I am assuming I can and should be doing it all on my own. There is freedom in realizing that I can’t do it alone. There is freedom in know Who really has control. I enjoy that freedom. I can rest in that freedom.

“Wisdom. . .is knowing what you have to accept.” ― Wallace Stegner

“To experience what isn’t, love what is.” ― Eric Micha’el Leventhal

“If we live our lives looking for the excitement and exhilaration that change can bring, we will be much happier than when we are eventually forced to accept it anyways.”
― Daniel Willey