Monday, April 29, 2013

Sitting Ducks

It hit me about bedtime. The chills, upset stomach, headache, body ache…and I could not get comfortable. My mind would not even rest. I felt like a sitting duck. Imagine. There it is, floating on the water nice and peaceful, and then BANG! What a dirty trick to play on that poor little duck.

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I often felt like a sitting duck whenever I would come under attack by various individuals. The jokes about my personal life, my looks, my size, and the things I was interested in always seemed to be the things that people used to cut me down. The hurtful thing about it all though, was that while they were saying these things, then laughing, if I showed any emotion at all, that got me more attacks and called more names.

We often feel like sitting ducks when these things happen. If we aren’t prepared, the effects can be devastating and the scars can last a lifetime. However, if we put our trust in Jesus and let Him handle the upsets in our lives, we won’t just be sitting in the water of life, unprepared for those setbacks.
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Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. ~Psalm 23:4 NLT

He is with us in everything we do. Whether it is the physical sickness of the flu or the heartbreak of the infidelity of a friend or family member, pain is pain. And Jesus knows all about that. He has been through the most horrifying things on our behalf. He understands. He cares. And more than that, He loves us in spite of it all. He became the sitting duck for all of us!

Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested. ~ Hebrews 2:18 NLT

Life happens. Upsets and sickness happen. But the great thing about it all is we don’t have to endure it alone. We also don’t have to become sitting ducks for the attacks of life. We can be prepared. We can trust Jesus. Let Him show us what to do and how to handle things. He will, if we will just ask Him.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Leave Your Light On!

The lights are on, but nobody’s home! I have heard that statement many times throughout the years. That statement was made as a joke, usually about me, by various people in my life; family, friends, church family, etc. And they always laughed. But I did not.

We are often made fun of because of our looks, our actions, our beliefs, and many other things that others do not understand. It is called persecution. And as a Christ follower, we endure it even harder at times. The outside world tries to put our light out, whether physically, mentally emotionally, or spiritually. But we are told that our light should shine for everyone to see!

You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden… let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. ~Matthew 5:14, 16(b) NLT (emphasis added)

Many times we think we have to stand and fight, when all we really have to do is just stand and shine. I used to think I had to have a snappy comeback for every person who attacked me. Whether it was an insult, a nasty joke, or just an outright attack, I would usually feel the burn from my head to my toes and end up lashing out. That’s about the time that my attacker would begin laughing sarcastically in my face. And I could literally see in their eyes the crazed, lunatic-like enjoyment that they were getting knowing that I just messed up.

All that mattered to them now was that I made a mistake. They saw my light and quickly tried to extinguish it. And I allowed them to cause it to dim. But now, I have learned to stand.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. ~Ephesians 6:13 NKKJ (emphasis added)

My lights are always on. Yet I don't always answer the door! I let Faith go instead. I have learned that I don’t have to fight like I used to. I never had to. In the past though, because of the constant intimidation and manipulation, I was always on the defensive. But when God healed me, He replaced the intimidation and oppression with peace and a confidence so strong that, when faced with those who thought they could still intimidate me, I stayed calm and just looked at them!

The enemy saw my lights on. He sent intimidation to knock at my door, but I didn't answer. And my would-be intimidator was at a loss for words or actions. This is what happens when we use the Word of God to stand on instead of the standards of the world.

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. ~James 4:7 NLT (emphasis added)

Don’t be intimidated when trials comes knocking. They will definitely come. But how we handle them will mean the difference between letting our light shine, or causing it to dim. Be strong in the Lord, leave your lights on, stand… and let Faith answer the door!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Change is in the air! At least it is around my house. There are a lot of things going on and not just around here, but all over the USA and the world. And while there are a lot of negative things going on, one thing remains the same... JESUS! He never changes!

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. ~Hebrews 13:8 (NLT)

I'll admit, we are creatures of habit. We get in a rut and before long we are doing the same thing...different day...and we become so set in our ways that change becomes a "four-letter-word." We don't want to try new things. We don't want to visit new places. But the crazy thing is, if we don't make changes we won't grow. Whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or even spiritually, change is quite often a good thing if it helps you to move forward into the place that God has prepared for you.

"As Christians we should never fear change. We must believe in change so long as it is change oriented toward godliness. The Christian life is a life of continual change." ~Jay Adams; Godliness Through Discipline (1972)

I had just such a change almost eleven months ago. Yes, I was fearful. But at the same time, I was ready. I was so tired of the way things were going. I was so beaten down mentally and emotionally. I tried to stay upbeat and happy, but it is so difficult when you have no idea what it is that is causing you to feel this way. 

It came to me one afternoon when I finally told D.A., "I want my mind healed." I knew enough to know that it was something from my past, something that had been drilled into me, said to me, continually pressed against me, that was keeping me the prisoner of my own mind. Joyce Meyer talks about the mind being a battlefield. In her book, Battlefield of the Mind*, this is where I began to see how thoughts, words, and situations can dominate our minds and cause us a world of problems. Things like anxiety, stress, feelings of worthlessness, anger, bitterness, etc.  Her book and teaching series were paramount in turning me onto the path of eventual healing. But I had to get to that point where I was ready.

Until you are ready, you will never change. Until you are ready, you will not seek out the healing that God has waiting for you. On May 30, 2012, I was ready, and I knew that something was going to change that night.

He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control. ~Philippians 3:21 (NLT)

Sure enough, it did! With the prayers of godly people surrounding me, and a spiritual coach leading me, God healed my mind and introduced me to my new Best Friend, the Holy Spirit! Together, we began a journey that is still going on today! Every day is something new. Every day something changes. While the world spins out of control... it really isn't out of control. God knows exactly what's going on, and He is watching, He is taking care of those who trust in Him.

We may not understand change. We may not understand why bad things happen to good people, to innocent people. But no matter what, we can trust and believe that God is in control of all of it. Our job is to trust Him, to confide in Him, and to rest in Him. Changes come. If we are focused on the Lord, those changes won't be so big after all.

* If you are interested in learning more about healing your mind, check out Joyce Meyer's book, Battlefield of the Mind.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What's Growing in Your Garden?

Spring is here! With that comes the rain, the thunderstorms, the growing grass, the budding trees and bloomin' flowers...and ah, yes, the planting of the garden! What will you grow in your garden this year? I'm trying to grow a little more love and compassion. I'm also trying to grow patience. And come on now, we ALL need more of that! What else? Let's see... self-control would be good to grow this year.

In Galatians chapter five, the Apostle Paul gives many references as to what we should be growing. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It isn't mentioned, but a bit of compassion and mercy wouldn't hurt some of us, too. Forgiveness is good. Grace is fantastic! And there is always hope.

There are many people though, who grow bitterness, un-forgiveness, anger, jealousy, grudges, gossip, lust, greed, and a whole host of other, not-so-nice things. These are the things that breed more unpleasant attitudes and personalities. One thing will lead to another, and before long you have a garden of ugly weeds and an attitude to match it. I'm sure you have heard the saying, "Bitterness breeds contempt." Have you ever wondered how people get such negativity in their lives? Where does it come from? Let me explain it this way; it is planted in them. 

Don't be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. ~Galatians 6:7

We have the power, with just our words even, to plant either good things or bad things. We need to sow seeds of love, seeds of hope, seeds of grace and mercy and compassion. Yet there are those who, in the name of Jesus, sow seeds of calamity, hate, bitterness, and contempt. They use the name of Jesus to promote their poison, but one day they will have to reap what they have sown.

I want the best in my garden. That is why I do my level best to sow the fruitful seeds from Galatians 5:22-23. My weed killer is the Word (Bible), and my Gardener is the Holy Spirit who helps me in my garden. Whenever a weed starts to take root, He lets me know and we go together and get rid of it.

I hope your garden grows beautiful things in 2013. Mine is coming along nicely. A few weeds here and there, and a serpent or two, but they've been taken care of and the tender shoots of spiritual fruit are taking form and growing. Now about my vegetable garden... well, that's an entirely different story!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Answer the Phone!

Hey! Answer your phone! No, not your cell phone. No, not your land line either, if you even still have one of those. You need to answer your spiritual phone.
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You have a calling on your life. You have a purpose. Your age does not matter.  Your physical abilities do not matter.  All that matters is your salvation. You've been saved? And you are still breathing? Then you most definitely have a calling. You have a ministry. Oh yes, you do! Yet, you still think God can't use you?

I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations." ~Jeremiah 1:5 NLT

Before you were even thought of, God was programming you for some sort of ministry. You have it in you already. All you have to do is use it! Sure, I used to think that God couldn't use me. I mean, I didn't have a huge testimony. There was not any "lightning bolt" type of crash and the Hallelujah Chorus start playing. Mine was subtle.  But it was there nonetheless. So is yours. 

My ministry came after a 30-some-odd-year hiatus.  The reason for the lapse is because I was literally consumed in a well of intimidation so deep that I didn't even recognize it. But thank God that someone else did!  That Someone was Jesus, and He sent others to help rescue me out of the pit of darkness that held me frozen in intimidation.

When God healed me of that, I could hear the spiritual phone inside me ringing. I answered it and you are now reading my ministry. My passion is writing. God places in my heart a desire to write my experiences; to write something so unique that people read it and go, "Yeah! I get that! It sounds like my life, too! Wow, I'm not the only one!" But don't misunderstand; I don't do this to impress you. I do this to serve God. HE is the One who is speaking to you... through me.

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What is He saying to you? What is it that burns within you? What are you passionate about? Let me encourage you today...if you have been saved then you are most definitely called to minister in some way, shape, or form. Maybe not behind a pulpit. Maybe not oversees as a missionary. But you are definitely called!

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge... ~1 Corinthians 12:7-8 NLT (also see verses 9-11)

You have a very special gift. God wants you to use it to help someone, or several someones. Mine is right here, giving encouragement to those of you who are suffering intimidation, oppression, depression, and whatever else it is that keeps you tied down.

It's time to answer the phone. Why not pick up and ask God what it is that He wants you to do?

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