This is not a test…..or is it?

This year 2019 has certainly come in like whirl wind as our family and home endured trials and challenges from about every direction possible. With everything we are facing time is just flying by…And just like that March is almost over….

One of verses I have been studying for this month has been James 1:3.

testing= challenging, requiring considerable effort

Steadfastness=form in brief, adherence, not subject to change, constant

So I can have comfort and peace in knowing that all of these trials we are being challenged and tested by are perfecting me and will help me to be firm and constant in my faith.

So in our whirl wind of tests, trials and challenges that 2019 is bringing to us we will count it all joy.

Staying strong in our faith, staying in God’s word, fervent in prayer.  Blessed in our trials as we are perfected into steadfastness in our faith.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:7-12‬ ‭

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Heavy duty stuff

Lessons from Sunday school the few past couple of weeks keeps jumping through my mind. Over and over and over….the words and lessons speaking to my heart mind and soul. Words that are hard to hear but must be absorbed. Things that need to be heard again. And again. And again…..  Reminders to push and direct me. To keep me going forward on the narrow path and not sliding backwards downhill in spiritual cruise control as so well said by our pastor during the sermon this past weekend!

—> ARE YOU TRUSTING THE LORD THE WAY HE CALLS US TO???        I’m not, I am guilty of anxiety and worry….

—> WHEN YOU WAKE IN THE MORNING WHAT IS YOUR FIRST THOUGHT? Is it focused on the Lord?…     mine isn’t its normal grumbling about being tired and not wanting to get up and start another busy day

Beware!

‘Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning’ Luke 12:35. ‘And he said to them “take care and be in your guard against all covetousness for ones life does not consist of the abundance of his possessions’. Luke 12:15

I need to remain in prayer and study of God’s word to be able to beware and prepared for the trials of this world.  The days/weeks I am more obedient with this there is a noticeable difference.  There are so many idols in our lives that it is easy to slip into not making this a habit and a priority in my routine.

Have no fear!

“”I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” Luke‬ 12:4-5

To truly trust the Lord and live fearlessly in Him, I need to be with Him, I cannot do this if I am not studying His word, meditating and learning His word and alive in my prayer life with Him.

Do not worry, do not be anxious!

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:22-26‬

Who am I to question God and His plan with my worry and anxious heart???  But yet I do.  This is truly my greatest struggle and something I am actively working towards.  In the heat of the moment when fear hits the ceiling and physically overpowered by anxiety is when it is most challenging, again I need to continue to improve in my bible study and prayers to move closer to the Lord and farther from living with constant anxiety.

Be ready!

“”Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”” Luke‬ ‭12:35-36, 40‬

I need to be ready with God’s words constantly in my mind and heart.  I need to be on constant and frequent fellowship with Christ to stay ready, if His word is in my heart and mind then that is what will come out.  If sinful and evil is allowed to be entertained in my mind and heart then that is what will come out.  We must stay in God’s word and know it so intimately that we can distinguish false teaching.    Application of scripture in life may change but the truth of it will remain the same.

Christ must come first!

“”And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” Luke‬ ‭12:8-10‬

I need to rest in the Holy Spirit, putting Christ above all else, first in and above all things in this world and the Holy spirit will be there leading me, convicting me when needed, and preparing me for His return one day.

I am so very thankful for God’s truth, for God’s mercy and grace upon me and my life.  I am so thankful to be in this Sunday school class where I am being challenged, spiritually fed and convicted.  I am so thankful for my salvation in Christ. My heart is so happy to be moving forward in my walk, learning and growing along side sisters and brothers in Christ.  I am so VERY THANKFUL for HEAVY DUTY STUFF to be laid on my mind and heart on Sunday mornings ❤

Hitting RESET

We have had a whirlwind of the last few months in our home and lives.  I have been taking a step back for over a week now as I reset and refocus.  Started with social media fast, haven’t been on Facebook for over a week.  I have had some things, like my runs,  upload directly to Facebook but have not tapped on the app to look at anything or spent anytime online.

This has been quite refreshing to experience to do this.  I would like to say I have taken all the time saved from looking facebook to something productive like memorizing scripture or catching up on reading  but I haven’t.  I have however have been able to catch my breath emotionally, physically and spiritually.  Not so much from the time I would have been looking online but more from refocusing my thoughts and energy.

“Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord who walks in His ways.”  Psalm 128:1

Something that I have been focused on during this time is that God is faithful, He is always with us and He is always in control. He promises to be there and provide peace even in the most distressing circumstances however I must LET GO and surrender to Him to receive His promises. I need to trust in His will over all things in my life not just when I feel like it.

This is a tough one for me sometimes (ok a lot of the times). I am your typical ‘type A’ personality, (some may say even OCD!) As a result this causes me have the natural desire to control things. So the surrendering completely part is where I struggle. 

For me surrender is an everyday moment to moment challenge. I have to consciously choose to let things go to God, choose joy, choose to be positive. Some days it is so much harder to make these choices and I fail, fail miserably at times when I need Christ the most. Fear, anger, selfishness all these sinful things pull and direct my emotions and I fall guilty of not being thankful in all circumstances, of not honoring God with my love and obedience.

I make the same mistake over and over in different situations and trials, I don’t turn the situation over to God immediately, I hold onto and try to “fix” it myself and oh boy does this backfire! I have to fall flat on my face from trying to do it my way and then I turn to God for help. And yet I do this over and over. During the more difficult struggles I am human, I am weak and the enemy knows this. This is when he strikes, plants doubt and fear in my mind and heart, sin separating me from God. I know that am most weak when I am not as dedicated or intentional with my scripture reading and prayer life and yet at times I will let day to day life take priority, GUILTY!

Now I don’t do this every trial in my life and I’m certainly a work in progress.  I learn from each mistake and each failure.   Every time I fall and He lifts me up and carries me I am closer to Him.  I am not who I was, and will continue to grow in Christ.  Thank the Lord He doesn’t except me to be perfect, He knows I am human and sinful and yet He loves me and He forgives me.  What an AWESOME God we have!

 

So this week while I am refocusing I am renewed and refreshed by these wonderful reminders and truths.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭

“Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm‬ ‭25:4-5‬

God’s forgiveness

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”. ‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭

God’s grace

“Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” John‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews‬ ‭4:16‬ ‭

His mercy

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” ‭Matthew‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭

“Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.” Romans‬ ‭9:18‬ ‭

His love

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:9‬ ‭

“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” ‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:16‬

Go Away!!! And don’t come back!!!

One of our five year old’s favorite bedtime stories is an interesting book titled ‘ Go Away Big Green Monster’.  I have read this book to him dozens of times and he still loves it every time.  Essentially the first half of the book is the author describing every detail of this big green monster, add one detail per page with a matching illustration.  For example it reads ‘ Big green monster has two big yellow eyes’ and you see two big yellow eyes staring back at you.  Then after several pages you have this complete picture of this big green monster.  And then…  You turn the page to read ‘YOU DON’T SCARE ME!’  Then page by page each scary monster feature is told to ‘Go Away’.

  ‘ Go Away Two Big Yellow Eyes.’


The book ends with the bold command, ‘Go AWAY big green monster and don’t come back until I say so!’.  I can see why this is appealing to our son, it allows him visualizes the power and confidence to tell a scary monster to go away.  He feels empowered by hearing this.  During our most recent read through this book, probably the 318th time reading it I had visualized this big green monster a little differently.  What if I faced my monsters with this simple and confident approach.  

                            We have victory and power in Christ to tell satan to go away!

           
 

          “I will never be as good as she is.”

When we feel tempted with envy —->Go AWAY evil lies of satan!!!

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  ‭‭James‬ ‭4:7‬

                   “I am worthless and will never be good enough.”

When we are attacked with self doubt—-> Go AWAY evil lies of satan!!!

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”   Romans‬ ‭12:21‬ ‭



                “I have failed my kids and family and am a terrible mother.”

When we are assaulted with feelings of failure—> Go AWAY evil lies of satan!!!
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”  ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8-9





              “This is too much, I cannot handle this and am not strong enough.”

When circumstances of the moment seem overwhelming and impossible—> Go AWAY evil lies of satan!!!

‬ ‭”But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”  ‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭






1- Armor up!!!  Stay engaged in His word and His truth.  His truth teaches us how He loves us unconditionally, not because of who we are or what we do but because of who He is.

      “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”  Ephesians‬ ‭6:11-17‬ ‭

2- Tell satan to “GO AWAY!” We are victorious through Christ.   we WILL conquer satan and his evil lies and constant attacks in our lives, Christ is our protector and through Him we will rise up victorious!

     “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:3-5

3- Choose positive thoughts.

      “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. ”  Philippians 4:8

4- Fall to your knees in prayer, most important battles are won with the weapon of prayer.

      “Hear my prayer, Lord, listen to my cry for mercy.”  Psalm 86:6

      ” Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6