Pick up the Mirror

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

 

It can be so easy to look at the condition of our world and point the finger of blame towards our government leaders and the famous celebrities. We can look upon others we consider to be “worldly” and “sinners” and shake our heads in despair.

We want to see breakthrough in our country, and we believe that if those who were in the spotlight would change the message they are sending, and live with integrity that the state of our world would change.

But this scripture does not say if all the sinners, who do not know Me, will pray and turn from their ways that I will heal their land.

NO.

It says – IF MY PEOPLE who are called by MY NAME.

Too many of us find it easy to point out the faults in others while ignoring the issues and sins that are raging in our own lives. We see what needs to change in others, rather than what we need to change in ourselves.

 

It is time to lay down the magnifying glass and pick up the mirror.

 

Do Not Judge

“For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?… Matthew 7: 2-4

We, as Christians, as God’s chosen people, need to examine our own lives. We need to take inventory of our own pride, actions, and thoughts.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

We have to humble ourselves. We are better than no one. We are saved by grace, and we are called to show the love of God to others around us, not point our fingers.  Jesus did not come to judge us or condemn us. He came to love and save us.

Something needs to change.

The standards of our culture are sickening. Heartbreaking. But, you and I, we can do something to change it.

We need to rise up, by laying down our pride and humbling ourselves before the Lord. We are promised that if we pray and seek the face of the Lord that He will hear us, that if we will turn away from our sin He will forgive us and heal our Land.

And our land needs to be healed.

The Chains that Hold Us Captive

Our country has always thought of ourselves as being “the land of the free and the home of the brave”, but everyday I encounter people who long to be free – free from the chains that hold them captive.

The chains that keep them from living the life they were created to live. The chains that hold them back from the dreams in their hearts. The chains that cripple them from moving forward.

Fear. Addiction. Insecurity. Past mistakes. Hidden sins. Adultery. Sexual immorality. Doubt. Painful experiences. Loss. Divorce. Lies. Unforgiveness. Depression. Anxiety. Hurts.

Each of these things has the power to bind us, hinder us, and keep us from living life to the fullest. Sometimes these things leave us paralyzed, feeling defeated and hopeless. Everyday I hear people ask “How?”

How can I overcome?

How can I succeed?

How can I fit in?

How can I make progress?

Although they may not say it, I know what they are really asking is “How can I be free?”

How can I get rid of this burden?

How can I escape this chain that is holding me captive?

How can I overcome?

How can I enjoy life again?

Although being free from your chains might seem impossible, I am here today to tell you that it is not. I have been set free from the chains that held me in bondage. The chains that altered the way I viewed myself. The chains that made me doubt in my value and worth. The chains that kept me from living with purpose and confidence.

I have the answer to breaking free.

I know the solution.

I know because I have experienced first-hand in my life that:

There is power in the name of Jesus to break EVERY chain.

Tonight the words of this song are on my heart, and as I sing it the faces of people that I love, the faces of people who confide in me, the faces of those I lead, and the faces of people I barely know are who I see scrolling across my mind.

I see chains breaking, and people being set free – and I can’t help but be excited. 

Love Me Some Hymns

Day: Wednesday, October 19th
Time: 9:45pm
Place: A Comfy Couch
Mood:  reminicent and hopeful
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Not long ago on any given afternoon it was quite possible you could find me belting out old hymns while taking a long country drive to no-where  with none other than Lara Williams. We would sing them in our best old-timey operatic voices. We would make up our own verses, take turns being the back-up singer, and in desperate situations we sang them as loudly and as annoyingly as possible to drown out the sound of fighting children.

Today, an old hymn came to mind that really brought me comfort. It is the hymn -Standing on the Promises of God.

Glory in the highest I will shout and sing
I’m standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises that cannot fail
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail.
By the living word of God I shall prevail.
I’m standing on the promises of God.

I’m leaning, leaning Safe and secure from all alarms
I’m leaning; I’m leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms

I particularly love the phrase, “Safe and Secure from all alarms.”

When we stand on God’s promises and rest in His everlasting arms we are safe and secure from all alarms. We are safe from panic and fear.  Satan came to kill, steal, and destroy EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING that is good and from God. He is the master liar and he is a great manipulator.  Satan alarms our hearts, not God. Satan causes us to believe things that are not true, so that he can steal, kill, and destroy the things that mean the most to us.

I have had to learn this truth the hard way. I am learning daily that we cannot go off of our feelings alone. Feelings can betray and deceive us. We have to act on truth and wisdom… aka… the promises of God. I guess it is just as they say “’live and learn””. It stinks awfully badly when the lesson that comes from livin’’ and learnin’’ comes at the cost of heart-ache, but as the song says “”By the living word of God I shall prevail.””

I am learning every day that fear and faith cannot co-exist. Yes, we may have feelings of fear, but fear is just that- a feeling. Faith is more than a feeling – it is trusting, hoping, believing, and acting on God’s promises despite how we feel. God is bigger than a feeling.

Some wise advice I heard recently…… Do you ever wonder why you feel like you can hear Satan all the time and in your head, but you have to strain to hear God?

Well, picture a husband and wife lying on the couch. The husband loves his wife so much that he wants to express to her how great his love is. Does he lean into her and scream in her face “I love you”? Or does he whisper it in her ear?

Satan is like a little dog – all bark and no bite. Satan has no juice to back up this threats and lies, so he has to scream at us. He uses fear and intimidation to keep us from God’s best.
God however is like a big dog. Big dogs don’t waste their time barking back at the little dogs. They just ignore the yapping, because they have the juice to back it up. God doesn’t need to yell at us. He doesn’t need to intimidate us. He loves us and wants us to be in an intimate relationship with Him. He wants us to pursue Him, like we pursue relationships, and when we do we will hear His voice – not as a threatening shout but as a loving whisper. God will do what He promises.

Has something ever happened that left you numb? Someone told you something that made your body tingle? You see something, read something, or hear something and a wave of anxiety rushes over you?

When that happens don’t let your feelings lead your next move. Don’t react based off how you are feeling. Stop. Remember God’s promises. And rest in His arms.  Learn from my mistakes and know it is not wise to make your choices based on fear.

Let’’s start making decisions based on faith not fear. I don’’t know about you, but I would rather have God’s best than let my emotions be the driver and dictator of my life.

*
Just a few of the many promises of God I will cling to:

I know there is a purpose for my sufferings (Ephesians 3:13)
I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am assured all things work together for good (Romans 8:28)
I am confident that God will perfect the work He has begun in me (Philippians 1:6
I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7)
I am given God’s glorious grace lavishly and without restriction (Ephesians 1:5,8
I have peace (Ephesians 2:14)
I am secure (Ephesians 2:20)
I can be humble, gentle, patient and lovingly tolerant of others (Ephesians 4:2
I am not alone (Hebrews 13:5)
I am growing (Colossians 2:7)
I am prayed for by Jesus Christ (John 17:20-23)
I am promised a full life (John 10:10)
I am victorious (I John 5:4)
My heart and mind is protected with God’s peace (Philippians 4:7)
I am chosen and dearly loved (Colossians 3:12)

Ghost Buster

Day: Wednesday, September 14th
Time: 9:18 am
Place: Mom’s house
Mood: pumped

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If there’s something strange
in your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call?
GHOSTBUSTERS

If there’s something weird
and it don’t look good
Who ya gonna call?
GHOSTBUSTERS

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts
I ain’t afraid of no ghosts

If you’re seeing things
running through your head
Who can ya call?
GHOSTBUSTERS

The best Ghostbuster ever is the Word of God.

Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

There is a spiritual battle going on around us all of the time. Satan wants nothing more than to cause us to falter and fail, and two of the biggest tools he used in the past against me are my fear and guilt. I used the word “ “past”” because from this point on, I REFUSE to let fear and guilt determine my actions, my thoughts, or my feelings.

Over the past two days there was a huge breakthrough in my life.  One of my “ghosts” was slayed. I had an immediate feeling of peace and one of those awesome “”light bulb” moments.”

Satan uses fear and guilt to keep us from making progress and moving forward. The fear and guilt I feel often comes from the people in my life. But I have learned a very important lesson…
“God uses men and women who are set on obeying and pleasing Him, not those who are controlled by the fear of men.”

THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. When we let fear and guilt control us we live to please man. King Saul lost his kingdom because he allowed his fear of man to cause him to disobey God. There is no way that I am willing to lose my ““kingdom”” because I let fear and guilt over take me. What about you?
 
Saying ““yes”” to God means that we are going to have to say “no” to the world. People are going to discourage and turn against us. History is filled with the accomplishments of world-changing breakthroughs, BUT each one of those people who accomplished something great had to persevere past the criticism and judgment of people. WE SHOULD TURN AWAY FROM THE PEOPLE WHO TRY TO DISCOURAGE OR ACCUSE US INSTEAD OF ALLOWING WHAT THEY THINK TO AFFECT US ADVERSLY.

Turning away from people feels to me like I am going against the heart of who I am.  But the Bible clearly says that we cannot serve two masters ““for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other.””

I really feel that is one of the big lessons that God needed me to learn on this journey. I have always worked hard to keep the peace and make everyone happy, but I cannot serve both God and people. It is that simple. I love what Joyce Meyer says in her book The Confident Woman, “”Anyone who tries to keep people happy all the time will never fulfill their destiny.”” That hit me hard. There is nothing I yearn for more than fulfilling my destiny.

Many people who have done great things in life were willing to stand alone. Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Gram Bell, Margaret Knight, and Hedy Lamarr were all people who were not afraid of hearing “”no”” from the world or from their family and friends. They overcame tremendous persecution to make the world better.

Satan fights progress of any kind, and will use all kinds of fear and guilt to stop people from accomplishing the mission for which they were put on the earth. But a confident person will keep pressing on and say “”YES”” even when the world screams “”No””.

I am declaring today that I am a confident woman. I am confident because I have sovereign Father, and He is the author of my life not man. I believe the promises we can find in the Bible aka the ultimate Ghost Buster 🙂

It is time for me to say “”bye-bye”” to my ghosts: guilt and fear.
 
If there’s something weird
and it don’t feel good
Who ya gonna call?
GHOSTBUSTERS

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts
I ain’t afraid of no ghosts

I am leaving you with a gift of peace of mind and heart (NOT FEAR AND GUILT!). And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

John 14:27

D.A.W.G.

Day: Wednesday, September 7th
Time: 9:00 am
Place: My Mom’s House
Mood: full of anticipation

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Sup Dawg? What’s crackin’?

Okay, that is not the type of “dawg” this blog is about. I just had to get that out of my system.

D.A.W.G = Day Alone With God

I had never heard about D.A.W.G before, but yesterday while working through the Portrait of a Leader workbook by Tim Elmore, he suggested carving out a D.A.W.G. for the following exercise which is a “Life Planing in 10 Steps” list. The list is designed to respond to during a single extended block of time. Solitude Time – you know time alone. Time to be left to your thoughts.

Philippians 4:8

 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things

THAT is what I am supposed to think about. But, after yesterday’s C-R-A… oh, I mean H-A-P-P-Y day, God knew I needed a reminder. If today is going to be a D.A.W.G kinda day I need to watch my thoughts. You know the kind…

Guilt. Fear. Worry. Self-Doubt. Self-Condemnation. Stress.  Pressures. Anxiety. Failure. C-R-A-P-P-Y Days. Mistakes.

um… I hate to state the obvious but those are not very comparable to true, noble, right, pure and lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy are they?

What types of things do you find yourself thinking about?

I bet that if I did not have the reminder that I had this morning, I would have thought self-condeming thoughts all day. The day that I carved out to spend time alone with God. The day that I believe God wants to show me something amazing.

Now just what ammo does Satan have to keep me from focusing on God’s Revelations? MY THOUGHTS.

uhh uuuhh, Satan. oooohhhhh nooooo!  I just don’t think so. NOT TODAY. NOT EVER. I am reclaiming my thoughts.

A couple of day ago I signed up to receive Proverbs 31 Daily Devotions. If I were the swearing kind, I’d swear they have been writing them just for me. But, I’m not, so I’ll chalk it up to one of those “God Things” 😉

Today’s devotion was called…

DRUMROLL PLEASE…

bradurnbreadrundru,drumdurmdumdumdumdum

(my best drum roll)

No Condemnation

That’s right. God’s got my back. We are tight like that.

I believe to some degree every person struggles with self-condemnation. This devotion is perfect to help fight away those thoughts. I especially love the reminder that we don’t have to defend ourselves. If God left us to defend the condemnation of ourselves or others we would lose the battle every time. But, and this is a BIG BUT, But God’s word promises the Lord himself will fight for us!!! hallelujah! And with that I am off for a D.A.W.G.

A Day Alone With God full of thoughts that are true, noble, lovely, praiseworthy…

Enjoy the devotion “No Condemnation” by Melissa Taylor! Click Here to View 

Audience of One

Day: Tuesday, August 31st
Time: 6:30pm
Place: My Mom’s House
Mood: Mellow

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Words of Affirmation… according to the book The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman this is one of my dominate love languages.

*~*~*~*~*~*

The description of the Words of Affirmation love language is:

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—. Hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.

*~*~*~*~*~*

This is truer of me concerning my friends, family, and mentors… basically, it matters to me what the people I care about think about me.

It hit me today and I realized that I rely on people too much for affirmation… He is the only ONE whose opinion matters. He is who I am living for. It is His purpose I am living out. It is Him I want to be like. 

I do what I do for God. It truly is His purpose I seek to live out every day – of that I am sure. But it is the approval of people that keeps me going.  It is the approval of people that affirms to me if I have made the right decision; if I am headed in the right direction, or if I am making progress.

There is nothing wrong to have your love tank filled by words of affirmation from those you love. It is okay to seek guidance and ask for opinions. HOWEVER, I cannot thrive off of THEIR affirmation ONLY.  The only approval I need should come from God. I have to be obedient to Him. The final word is His.

Am I doing what He askes of me – no matter what anyone else thinks?
Am I okay with people thinking I am crazy or weird when I do something they don’t understand or agree with?
Am I okay on my own? Relying solely on Jesus for love, comfort, advice, affirmation, direction…

The truth is that when you are in ministry or a position of leadership God is going to call you to do something: make a decision or change a direction and people around you (even those you care about) may not support or understand the decision you made. I have to be okay with that. 

God put a purpose in my heart. He laid out the path – He is calling me to fulfill it. I have to be obedient to get the job done. It is my responsibility to seek God for the vision and complete it – no matter what.

I will live for an audience of one. Will You?
He is truly all we need…

God is Sufficient!!!

 You say : “It’s impossible.”
God says : “All things are possible.” (Luke 18:27) 
 
You say : “I’m too tired.”
God says : “I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28-30) 

  You say :  “Nobody really loves me.”
God says : “I love you.” (John 3:16 & John 3:34) 

  You say : “I can’t go on .”
God says : “My grace is sufficient.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15) 
 
You say : I can’t figure things out.”
God says : “I will direct your steps.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) 

  You say : “I can’t do it.”
God says : “You can do all things.” (Philippians 4:13) 

  You say : “I’m not able.”
God says : “I am able.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

 You say:  “It’s not worth it.”
God says : “It will be worth it” (Roman 8:28) 

You say : “I can’t forgive myself.”
God says : “I forgive you.” (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1) 

  You say : “I can’t manage.”
God says : “I will supply all your needs.” (Philippians 4:19)

  You say : “I’m afraid.”
God says : “I have not given you a spirit of fear.” (2 Timothy 1:7) 

  You say : “I’m always worried and frustrated.”
God says : “Cast all your cares on me.” (1 Peter 5:7) 
 
You say:  “I’m not smart enough.”
God says : “I give you wisdom.” (1 Corinthians 1:30) 

  You say : “I feel all alone.”
God says : “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

 
Father, thank You for reminding us that You are all we need. Amen.