Monday, August 31, 2015

MY WILD WEST VACATION


"The Hub" and I just got back from a few days' vacation in southern Utah.

There is some beautiful scenery in this area.

Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument are all within driving distance.

Beautiful red rock vistas, crystal-clear rivers, secret canyons and waterfalls, towering mountains, and wide-open spaces – a feast for the eyes!  We've visited them all, and reveled in the beauty of God's creation.

But, this trip we were on a different sort of adventure.

We *journeyed* to the Old West instead!!

Once a year, "The Hub" and I make the trek to Kanab, Utah, to attend a Western Festival.

It's such a great time!  

Four days of music, movies, shopping, food, and fun!

And, just to make our time more "authentic," we dress up!  "The Hub" – who many think bears a striking resemblance to Sam Elliott – puts on his Virgil Earp garb.  And I wear my city-girl lavender satin dress.

What a pair!!  (Check out the photos of us at the end of this post!)

One of our favorite things to do at this event is visit with the *stars.*

Many of you will probably remember such movie and TV stars as Bruce Boxleitner, Don Collier, Barry Corbin, Cheryl Rogers Barnett (daughter of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans), Wyatt McCrea (grandson of Joel McCrea), and Clint Walker.

Well, we got to visit with them all!

And the one thing that always impresses us is how very kind, polite, and respectful these people are.  They are genuinely interested in what you have to say, and they are very generous with their time.

These people portrayed characters from a different time who truly embodied something called, "The Code of the West."


A little background on the "Code":

It was first chronicled by the famous western writer, Zane Grey, in his 1934 novel "The Code of the West."  Although no actual, written code ever existed, the tough and hardy pioneers who lived in the West abided by a set of "rules" – rules that centered on hospitality, fair play, loyalty, and respect for the land.

Ramon Adams, a Western historian, explained it best in his 1969 book, "The Cowman and His Code of Ethics," saying:

"Back in the days when the cowman with his herds made a new frontier, there was no law on the range.  Lack of written law made it necessary for him to frame some of his own, thus developing a rule of behavior, which became known as the "Code of the West."  These homespun laws, being merely a gentleman's agreement to certain rules of conduct for survival, were never written into statutes, but were respected everywhere on the range."

There are many versions of the "Code" – but they all have one thing in common.

They closely parallel Biblical principles.


So, without further ado, here's a short version of "The Code of the West"and some spiritual *rules* I think we can all follow:


1. Live Each Day with Courage

We are called to be courageous, and exhorted often to "Fear not."  I find it so difficult to be fear-less, but I think it's crucial as believers not to be fear-ruled. The enemy's kingdom is dominated by fear.  But God's Kingdom is ruled by love.

As children of the King, we should live like it!

"…be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)


2. Take Pride in Your Work

My dad always said, "If it it's worth doing, it's worth doing well."  A great work ethic, but an even better spiritual principle to live by.  We speak volumes to others when we take our duties, our jobs, our responsibilities seriously. Displaying a thoughtful attitude about everything we do is crucial to our witness.

For in fact, we work for the Lord, and for His Kingdom.

"Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord…" (Colossians 3:23)


3. Always Finish What you Start

Lazy, irresponsible people do not make good Christian witnesses.  We are called to integrity and excellence in all we do.  God does not want tepid, half-hearted workers for the great harvest He is preparing.  He calls us to persevere and endure, to complete the tasks He assigns.

So, let's be strong to the finish of the race of faith.

"Now you should finish what you started.  Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now…" (2 Corinthians 8:11)


4. Do What Has to Be Done

The walk of faith is not easy.  It can be full of hardship and suffering. Following the Lord takes dedication and devotion.  And sometimes we are called to do difficult things.  In all of this, God calls us to do what has to be done – always giving of our time, our resources, ourselves.

Let's strive to be good and faithful servants.

"Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone's duty." 
(Ecclesiastes 12:13)


5. Be Tough, But Fair

Tough love.  Every parent knows that it is sometimes required.  And in the Body of Christ, we are also called to confront sin.  We are not to be conformed to this world, and that means we are to stand firm on issues of Truth.  Let us do everything in the name of love, but let's never slide down the slippery slope of compromise.

Pray for wisdom and discernment, and when called to do so, stand tall!

"This is what the LORD says: Be fair-minded and just.  Do what is right!" (Jeremiah 22:3)


6. When You Make a Promise, Keep It

I don't know about you, but it seems to me that fewer and fewer people value the virtues of honesty, honor, and sincerity.  Never is this more apparent than when this country approaches election year.  Do you believe anything anyone says anymore?!  God calls us to something greater.  He calls us to Truth.

Therefore, we should be people of our word, because we are People of His Word!

"The godly are directed by honesty…" (Proverbs 11:5)


7. Ride for the Brand

When I look around me, when I look within me, I sometimes question God's plan to make us His representatives.  What was He thinking?!  We are all too often very poor reflections of his Son.  We must realize that being a Christian is much more than just a title.  It is a responsibility to the Lord to let Him do His work through us.

Pray for the will and the power to represent Him well.

"So we are Christ's ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us.  We speak for Christ…" (2 Corinthians 5:20)


8. Talk Less and Say More

Can anyone tame the tongue?!  (Correct answer = NO!)  In fact, we must constantly be aware of our tendency to speak too much.  We must be aware of our power to hurt and wound with careless words.  Rather, we must allow the Holy Spirit to direct this mighty weapon.

May we allow the Lord to speak through us, and to silence us when we should not speak.

"…I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say.  I will hold my tongue…" (Psalm 39:1)


9. Remember That Some Things Are Not For Sale

We must never forget that we are a redeemed people, purchased and bought with the blood of Christ.  Therefore, we must be oh-so-careful to remember that we are living temples of the Holy Spiritand we are admonished to behave accordingly.

Guard your heart, protect your reputation, shield your mind, respect your body.

"You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.  So you must honor God with your body." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)


10. Know Where to Draw the Line

The very best *roadmap* in life is The Word of God.  Full of wise counsel, its words will guide us.  No, we are no longer living under the tyranny of the Law – the Lord has set us free from slavery to sin.  However, He has not given us a license to exercise bad behavior!

Know His rules, obey His regulations, and freedom will reign.

"Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation." 
(Matthew 26:41)


Yup, we would do well to follow the "Code of the West" – but it's much better to follow the "Code of the Word."

Which just might be summed up by Paul's words in Philippians:

"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing.  Then the God of peace will be with you." 
(Philippians 4:8-9, AMP)


Happy Trails, pardners…

See you on down the road!







If it's not yours,
don't take it.
If it's not true,
don't say it.
If it's not right,
don't do it. 




"Don't be afraid, for I am with you.  Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." (Isaiah 41:10, NLT)

"This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior..." (1 Timothy 4:10, NLT)

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace." (Acts 20:24, NIV)

"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.  Enter into the joy of your master.'" (Matthew 25:23, ESV)

"...we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church...So stop telling lies.  Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body." 
(Ephesians 4:15, 24, NASB)

"A man who makes a vow to the LORD or makes a pledge under oath must never break it.  He must do exactly what he said he would do." 
(Numbers 30:2, NLT)

"Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:5-6, ESV)

"In the same way, the tongue is a small thing...the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body.  It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself...If you are wise and understand God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom." (James 3:5-6, 13, NLT)

"Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ's body.  We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other." (Romans 12:4-5, NLT)

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." (1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV)




Are you living by "The Code of the Word"?



BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, August 24, 2015

LETTING GO OF MY KIDS


OK, to be totally honest, my sons are not kids anymore.

At 32 and 28, they are men.

But, as any parent knows, your kids are your kids are your kids…

They certainly grow up, but your heart still holds on tight.

Ya know?!


I have found that the journey of parenthood is a series of *letting go* moments.  From the moment a child is born, we learn to negotiate the stages of their development and growth into independence.

Most of the time, it's an exciting journey.

Sometimes it's the hardest thing a person will ever have to do.

It is really hard to love so intensely.  

It is really hard watching your children make their own decisions, especially when you feel like they could be potentially wrong decisions.  It is really hard to watch them go through painful circumstances, and to see them feel sad or discouraged or upset.  It is awful to watch them when they're sick or injured.

And, the older they get, the less and less you feel like you can do anything about any of it.


It's ironic to me in some ways that we work so hard to raise our children to leave us one day.  That our primary goal is to bring these little ones into mature adulthood, and that independence is a character trait to be nurtured and instilled.

I don't know about you, but some part of me had to work hard at this.

Because the truth of the matter was that there was a part of me that never wanted my boys to hurt.  I never wanted them to be sad.  I didn't want them to struggle, to make mistakes, to find out how tough life can really be sometimes.  And, truth be told, there was a part of me that never wanted them to leave.

I did, but I didn't.

And this is the tug/pull hanging on, and the push/prod spurring on that summarizes the bittersweet dance of parenting.


Let me tell you, I am very close to my two sons, a blessing for which I am very grateful.

But it's still so hard to watch them when they go through difficult things.  I have always been known as a helicopter mom.  (Definition: a parent who takes an overprotective or excessive interest in the life of their child or children).  In fact, my sons have occasionally been known to call me "Whoop, Whoop" (insert sound of rotor blades here).

I try hard not to meddle, to give advice only when asked, to be a support and not a nag, to release them to their own lives.

But that is the hardest thing for me, really – to release them into their own stories, their own journeys, and their own walks with the Lord.


Years ago, my old church had a wonderful Good Friday service.  Maybe some of you have had this experience, but it was totally new to me.  At the end of the message, everyone was asked to write down something that we wanted to give up, to hand over to the Lord.

I wrote down the names of my sons.

Then we walked down the aisle, picked up a hammer, and nailed that symbolic piece of paper to the cross.

In retrospect I think perhaps I must have only used a thumbtackmaybe even a post-it note.  Because I still find it nearly impossible to yield those boys to the Lord, and I just keep *taking them back*.


I have long struggled with the story of Hannah in the Bible.  Hannah, who was so desperate for a child, who agonizingly prayed to the Lord for this gift of life, who promised that if she gave birth to a baby she would give that child back to the Lord.

Well, you know what happened.  

God did indeed give her a child, Samuel.  And Hannah stayed true to her promise.  When Samuel became a certain age, Hannah brought him to the temple and handed him over to Eli, the priest, to be trained in the ways of the Lord.

True confession?

I'm uncomfortable with Hannah's story.  

While I completely admire her for her dedication, her selfless character, her unswerving commitment to honor the Lord with this most precious gift – there's my *mother's heart* that just agonizes over her decision.

I picture that day when she kissed Samuel and said good-bye.

O.U.C.H.

I'm not sure that I could have done that.

But, there's the rub.

And by rub, I mean the Holy Spirit convicting me!

Rubbing up against my earthly flesh, rubbing off the rough edges, rubbing to polish the parts that don't reflect the Lord so well.

Because whatever is nearest and dearest to your heart, whatever is your passion, whatever you treasure most – THAT is what God is going to ask you to surrender to Him.


Jesus counseled His disciples to count the cost of following Him.  And then He told them that if they truly wanted to follow Him, they'd have to pick up a cross.

Cross-carrying is not for the faint of heart.  It is a courageously painful journey of surrender that does NOT come naturally to our self-serving ways.

IT. HURTS.

Because, after all, dying to self is excruciating.

(Did you know that the root word for excruciating comes from the Latin word, excrucitus, which is equivalent to ex + cruciāre  - meaning to torment, crucify – a derivative of crux = cross)

And just as sure as I am that God will ask us to surrender the most hard-to-yield things (or people), I also know that the enemy of our souls will tempt and taunt and poke and pester us in this area more than anywhere else, because this is where we're most vulnerable.

Yes, the enemy will go after the things that we love.

He'll make surrendering feel like losing control.

I know this because it happens to me all the time.

The harder I try to give my kids over to the Lord, the more the devil entices me to tighten my grip.  The harder I try to relinquish them to their Father's care, the more the enemy increases my reluctance to let them go.

It's a foolish, yet viciously tenacious battle.

In the end, the thing that I don't like hearing from people – that my sons belong to the Lord, and they are only loaned to me – in the end, that is Truth.

And, no matter how much I love those boys, my heavenly Father loves them more.


So, what is God speaking to your heart today?

What is He calling you to surrender?

Maybe you're like me.  

Maybe the hardest thing to give over to Him is your kids.  Maybe you struggle with their burgeoning independence, and the ability to make choices and decisions that could be oh-so-wrong.  Maybe you ache over their pain and suffering.  Maybe you wish you could keep them from all the hard stuff of life.

Maybe you wish you could spend your life "whoop-whooping" over them.

Hovering, protecting, guarding.


But, God is calling…

Calling you to surrender them into His care.

It's OK.  He knows how hard it is.  He understands.

For He gave His only Son – the Son that He loved perfectly – He gave that precious Son over to death.  And if He loved us enough to do THAT, He'll surely take care of us all the days of our lives.

And that includes my two sons, whom I adore.

And because I adore them, I will continue to surrender them to the One who loves them more…


Lord, give me the courage to relinquish my sons to You.  To let You do Your work in their lives, no matter where their journey takes them.  Help me to not be afraid, and to trust in Your perfect love for them.  Give me wisdom in my relationships with each of them.  Enable me to be a good counselor when advice is asked for.  And to keep my words to myself when I am tempted to be meddlesome.  Teach them to follow You in all their ways.  Thank You for bringing them into my life, and for the great joy they bring me.  And yet, I also ask that You empower me to surrender them, to let go, to relinquish my control, and to trust YOU with every moment of their lives.


Thank You that You love them more than I do…and thank You for loving me.






Please tell me that you notice
the "helicopter rotor blade" arm
that I have wrapped
around the shoulders of my sons!

Whoop, whoop!! 



"Behold, children are a gift of the LORD..." (Psalm 127:3, NASB)

"I asked the LORD to give me this boy, and he has granted my request.  Now I am giving him to the LORD, and he will belong to the LORD his whole life." 
(1 Samuel 1:27-28, NLT)

"'Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he?  Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he?  If you then...know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give...?'" 
(Luke 11:11, NASB)

"'Can a mother forget her nursing child?  Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?  But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!'" 
(Isaiah 49:15, NLT)

"'[Jesus] said to them, 'Let the children come to me.  Don't stop them!'" 
(Mark 10:14, NLT)

"Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.'" (1 Peter 5:7, AMP)

"'I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.'" 
(John 10:28-29, ESV)



What, or whom, is God asking you to surrender to Him today?



Linked with:

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BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, August 17, 2015

FRANKLY, I'M OVERWHELMED


There.

I said it out loud.

Friends, I have to be honest.

I have literally been undone by the last five weeks of my life.

I can't really go into all the details, but suffice it to say that it's been a seemingly endless parade of trials.  It's been mostly medical stuff, ours and family members – which is always fun when you have to wait for test results, and particularly trying when the results don't come out OK.

No one has received a deadly diagnosis.

And I am very grateful for that.

But there are problems that are going to require further treatment, possible complications, unresolved outcomes, and maybe some sort of surgical intervention.

Personally, "The Hub" and I have made seven trips off the hill just to take care of our own stuff.  (The joys ??? of living in the mountains, far away from easy-access medical care…).  Extended family members have their own issues, and it's much harder for me to bear their difficulties, as I cannot be there to help out.

Let me tell you, I am not good with health matters.

I have a desperate need to understand the scary things in life, and so, I am driven to the Internet in a mad-dash effort to find out information.

Unfortunately, there's a lot of misinformation out there.  And, armchair physicians like me are woefully inept at making accurate diagnoses. Therefore, I find that just about every single symptom has a way of leading to a very serious, usually fatal, disease.

And when I read all the dire stuff, I hop on the *What If Train* of fear and anxiety.  Full-speed ahead, I plunge down the tracks of no return.  

Sidelined, sidetracked, blindsided…


I wish I could say that I then find a way to rise above the circumstances, that I am then washed with supernatural peace, that I then rest in God's perfect assurances that He is in total controlbut, that usually doesn't happen.

Usually I become a screaming banshee of a disciple, rushing to the back of the sinking boat, shaking Jesus by the shoulders, and yelling above the winds and waves…

"I'm drowning here!!  Can't you see that?!"

And then I kinda crumple in the bottom of the boat, and wait for Him to calm the storm.  And when the storm isn't calmed, then I just pull a fishing net over my head, close my eyes, and cry.

Sure, I know the Lord's still there.  

But me?  I'm like an overly-cooked steak on the grill.  Stick a fork in me, I'm done.


Have you ever gotten to that point in your life?

Where you just want to give up?

Life seemed a lot simpler when I wasn't following the Lord so closely.  I didn't get the feeling that there was a target on my back.  There certainly weren't so many situations that tested my endurance.

I didn't feel so afraid.

I don't think I failed quite so often…


So, here I am.

And what to do from here?

OK, so the first thing I want to do is admit something to you.

True confession time.

I've been rather desperate for Jesus to give me a tangible sense of His presence.  To tell you the truth, I've been asking Him to show up in my dreams.

And each morning for about two weeks now, I've woken up with absolutely no remembrance of any dream whatsoever.  Nothing.  The other morning I mentioned this to "The Hub."  And you know what He said?

"Maybe He'll show up in His own time."

OK, whoa.

But still, I kept asking telling the Lord to please appear to me in my dreams.

And one morning, after "discussing" His failure to do this, I was complaining to Him (again) about it all…

"Why couldn't You just show up, Lord?  You do it for other people.  Sometimes people even have a vision of You when they're awake.  It wouldn't be that big a deal.  And I'm asking because it would just help me so very much to SEE You.  Just once.  Just to know You're there."

And then, one morning He answered me.

"Sharon, you don't need that."

(Small argument ensued – "Oh yes, Lord, yes I do.")

"No, you don't.  You KNOW I'm there, and that is enough."


Immediately, these verses came to my mind:

"Though you have not seen him, you love him." (1 Peter 1:8, ESV)

"For we live by believing and not by seeing." (2 Corinthians 5:7, NLT)


And then, as if He Himself said it out loud to me, this:

"'Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.'" (John 20:29, NLT)


So, here I ponder…

What is God saying to me?

I know that He wants to meet me here, in this place of distress.  I know He wants me to know something important.

So, in the words of Samuel, I utter, "Speak, your servant is listening."

And lo and behold, I feel something being revealed.  Three things, actually.


1) Though I do not see Him, I love Him.

This is an amazing thing when you think about it.  How can I love someone I've never *met*?  Well, it's possible because of God's great gift of faith. His Spirit within me enables me to do this.  For only by faith could I love Him without ever meeting Him in person.  And love Him I do, so much.

Love cannot be manufactured for a fantasy, and my love for Jesus *proves* His presence within me.


2) I am living a life of believing.

You know the old saying, "I'll believe it when I see it."  Well, I've heard it said that in the Christian walk, it's more like "I'll see it when I believe it."  The faith journey is not a journey of proof, but of conviction.  Sometimes not a journey of reassurance (something that is said or done to make someone feel less afraid, upset, or doubtful), as much as it is a journey of assurance (the state of being sure or certain about something).

The life of true faith does not demand, it depends.

It is learning to let go of my demands that Jesus "make an appearance" like a holy jack-in-box, so that I can learn to depend on the Truth that He is there.


3) In the *not seeing*, there is blessing and joy.

Looked up some synonyms for *blessed*:

Adored, exalted, glorified, redeemed, resurrected, rewarded, fortunate, blissfully happy or contented, divinely favored.

Sign me up – I want ALL of that!

And when Jesus Himself calls us blessed, He means it!

Might I paraphrase His words?

"Child, because you believe without seeing Me, you are divinely favored.  You have been given a special dose of Spirit-filled revelation and faith.  You are fortunate!  Rest assured, happy and contented, in the sure knowledge of My presence.  And be blissfully joyful that you are a partaker of My salvation."


Ah, even Scripture confirms this heavenly Truth:

"…though you do not [even] now see Him, you believe in Him and exult and thrill with inexpressible and glorious (triumphant, heavenly) joy.  [At the same time] you receive the result (outcome, consummation) of your faith, the salvation of your souls." (1 Peter 1:8-9, AMP)

Doubly blessed with joy and salvation.

Blessed indeed.


So, I guess I'm looking at things a little differently now.

I've always kinda envied Thomas for his singular opportunity to actually, physically touch the hands and side of Jesus.  But now, I'm concentrating more on what Jesus said to Thomas after this encounter.  

For indeed, He was saying these words about me (and you, too!):

"'Blessed and happy and to be envied are those who have never seen Me and yet have believed and adhered to and trusted and relied on Me.'" 
(John 20:29, AMP)


Still hiding under the fishing net, I hear Someone approaching.  I sense a hand lifting the corner.  I feel the warm breath of Jesus.  And, I hear Him whisper…

"The storms will come, and the waves will roar.  But, I am here. Believe!"

As soon as I open my eyes, He is gone from sight.

And that's OK.

For He is there, always and forever, by my side, as near as a heartbeat.

Can you sense Him, too?!






Do not be afraid.
 When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through waters of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up,
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the LORD,
your God,
your Savior.

Don't be afraid,
for I am with you.
Don't be discouraged,
for I am your God.
I will strengthen you
and help you.
I will hold you up
with My victorious right hand.




"'…blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.'" (Matthew 16:13, NLT)

"Jesus replied, 'You are blessed…because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you.  You did not learn this from any human being.'" 
(Matthew 16:17, NLT)

"'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.'  But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit.  For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets." (1 Corinthians 2:9-10, NLT)

"So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever." (2 Corinthians 4:18, NLT)

"For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it." (Romans 8:24-25, NASB)

"Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]." (Hebrews 11:1, AMP)

"And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." (Isaiah 32:17, KJV)



Are you feeling overwhelmed with life? 


(No worries - we are NOT in the middle of a wildfire.  Only the refining fires of testing...)



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, SMALL WONDER, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, GRATEFUL HEART MONDAY, REFLECT LINKUP, WORDS WITH WINTER, MOM 2 MOM MONDAY, THE ART OF HOMEMAKING MONDAYS, WORDS OF COMFORT MONDAY, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, SOLI DEO GLORIA, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAYS, RA RA LINKUP, WOMEN HELPING WOMEN, INTENTIONAL TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, TELL HIS STORYUNITE, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY, WISE WOMAN, COFFEE & CONVERSATION, SO MUCH AT HOME, THE (NOT JUST) HOMEMAKING PARTY, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, WOMEN WITH INTENTION, WAITING ON WEDNESDAY, JOYHOPELIVE LINKUP, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, EVERYDAY JESUS, GRACE AT HOME, SHINE, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, FROM HOUSE TO HOME, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAY, HEARTS FOR HOME, LOOKING UP LINKUP, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, EVERYDAY TESTIMONY, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, COUNTING MY BLESSINGS, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, FAITH & FELLOWSHIP, GRACE & TRUTH, DANCE WITH JESUS, THEOCENTRIC THURSDAYS, TGI SATURDAYS, SATURDAY SOIREE, STILL SATURDAY, WEEKEND WHISPERS, LIVING PROVERBS, SMALL VICTORIES SUNDAY, SUNDAY STILLNESS, GIVE ME GRACE




BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, August 10, 2015

DEJA VU - ALL OVER AGAIN!


Hello, my friends!

I've got to be honest with you.  This week has been unreal.  "The Hub" and I have worked like crazy to help my son and his wife move.  It brought back memories of our move to the mountains three years ago.

With a lot less stuff.

And not so far to travel.

And a lot less stuff…

But, it was time-consuming and exhausting!!

So, needless to say, there wasn't a lot of time to write a new blog post for this week.  And frankly, my little brain cells (and trust me, they're quite little these days!) were too tired to fire!

That's why I've decided to cheat, cave in to laziness, be creative and re-print a post from August, 2011 – (with a little 2015 revamping).  

I think the words are still timely…

So, in the words of Yogi Berra – It’s déjà vu all over again!



SOMEONE'S BEEN MISBEHAVING


If you talk to anyone, read a newspaper, watch TV, connect with social media – it doesn't take much to realize that there's a lot going on in the world these days.

And a lot of it isn't so good…

The world is a hard-scrabble place.  

And everyone has a story to tell lately – a story of struggle, suffering, trial, and hardship.

What's going on?

In my opinion, the enemy is on the loose.

He loves creating mayhem.  He loves being the master of nefarious activity(don't you love that word?  Evil, wicked, sinful, unlawful...).  He loves being mean.


I was talking about this with my mom the other day.  There's been a lot going on in our family lately – both my immediate family, and my extended family.  I was sharing with her how overwhelmed I was feeling.  She's feeling overwhelmed, too.

But then she said this to me…

"Remember when you were a little girl – how you pictured Jesus and Satan in a boxing ring?"

Yeah, I do remember that.

"And how you used to say that Jesus was bigger than Satan and He could just 'POW' Satan and win?"

I remember that, too.

However, right at that moment, I wasn't feeling too victorious.  Nor was I feeling much like that confident young girl who was so sure of her Jesus' mighty power.

I looked at her in dismay…

And she said, in her adorable "Trust me I'm a mother" voice…

"I know, he's gotten out of hand."

I paused – and then I started laughing.  Downright guffawing…

"What?" she said.

I told her how her response had made the enemy sound like an errant child. How she made him sound like a scoundrel, a cad, a ne'er-do-well.  

She might as well have said, "Tsk, tsk.  Bad boy…"

She started laughing too.


Now I'm not one to spit in the devil's face, so to speak.

I'm not taunting or challenging him.

But my mother helped me do something very important – she helped me cut him down to size.

You see, I think there are two crucial mistakes that believers can make when thinking about our enemy.

One, we can ignore him, and open ourselves up to unexpected and unrecognized attacks from him.  We can make him something less than he is. 

Or we can empower him, and open ourselves up to being constantly afraid and intimidated by him.  We can make him something more than he is.

We need to have a sober, but correct, view of him and his power.


He is not a god.

He is not good.

He is not omniscient or omnipotent.

He does not have control over our lives. 


All he can do is take his anger out on us –

And yes, the enemy of our souls is an angry enemy.  He hates God, and because we are so very dearly loved by God, he hates us too. 

But here's the truly wonderful thing – he really cannot win.


He can influence us, but he cannot overpower us.

He can tempt us, but he cannot overcome us.

He can threaten us, but he can never have our souls.


Satan might stomp his feet, and aim his arrows, and do his best to steal and kill and destroy.  But he will NEVER own us, for we are securely wrapped in salvation, with confident hope in our future – we belong to God.

He can rant and raveand he can be a scary guy – but, he isn't going to win.

And I think he knows that deep down inside.  

He knows that Christians are being awakened in their hearts to pursue God in a new way.  He knows that we are being called to become warriors.  He knows that the Holy Spirit is movingand we're listening, and responding, and arming ourselves for battle.

I think he's running scared right now…

Good.


So, I am thankful for my mom and her words of wisdom – and for how she helped me regain my perspective on things.  Yes, with all that's been going on, Satan "took” over my thoughts for a while – but he will never take me.

I am redeemed, rescued, ransomed – forever.


I think I really had it right when I was a little girl.

Jesus is bigger than Satan, and I think He just scored another knock-out in my heart…

POW!!






A crown of thorns
An offering of blood
bought us
secured us
and we will rise
victorious.



"'But you belong to God, my dear children.  You have already won a victory...because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.'" (1 John 4:4, NLT)

"For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith." (1 John 5:4, NLT)

"What then shall we say to [all] this?  If God is for us, who [can be] against us?  [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]" (Romans 8:31, AMP)

"Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?  Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?" (Romans 8:35, NLT)

"...in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us." (Romans 8:37, NASB)

"'I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.'" (Matthew 16:18, NLT)

"'I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.'" (John 16:33, NIV)

"Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, 'Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.'  And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb..."(Revelation 12:10-11, ESV)

"...thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:57, ESV)



How is God giving you victory in your life?



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, SMALL WONDER, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, MAKE A DIFFERENCE MONDAYS, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, GRATEFUL HEART MONDAY, REFLECT LINKUP, WORDS WITH WINTER, MOM 2 MOM MONDAY, THE ART OF HOMEMAKING, WORDS OF COMFORT MONDAY, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, UNITE, SOLI DEO GLORIA, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAYS, RA RA LINKUP, WOMEN HELPING WOMEN, INTENTIONAL TUESDAY, TELL HIS STORY, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY, COFFEE & CONVERSATION, WAITING ON WEDNESDAY, JOYHOPELIVE LINKUP, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, WOMEN WITH INTENTION, THE (NOT JUST) HOMEMAKING PARTY, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAY, BELOVED BREWS, EVERYDAY JESUS, GRACE AT HOME, SHINE, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, FROM HOUSE TO HOME, HEARTS FOR HOME, LOOKING UP LINKUP, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, EVERYDAY TESTIMONY, FELLOWSHIP FRIDAY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, COUNTING YOUR BLESSINGS, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, FAITH & FELLOWSHIP, GRACE & TRUTH, DANCE WITH JESUS, THEOCENTRIC THURSDAYS, TGI SATURDAYS, SATURDAY SOIREE, STILL SATURDAY, WEEKEND WHISPERS, SMALL VICTORIES SUNDAY, SUNDAY STILLNESS, GIVE ME GRACE



BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"