Friday, April 29, 2016

When Your Tiara Slips

Sometimes you just have a day when your tiara slips off center.  I mean really, there are times when things just happen and before you realize it you’ve said something, done something, or something then realize that your pretty little sparkly tiara is sliding off the side of your precious head.  You messed up.  Well, big deal.

I don’t mean that to sound harsh or even condescending.  It’s life.  Life happens.  It’s not always pleasant and God didn’t say that it would be.  In fact, quite the opposite.  The Bible says that when we have trials we should be joyful.  Kind of hard to fathom isn’t it?  Be joyful during trials?  Hm.  Yet it’s true.

Here’s what I’ve learned in my journey; life is going to throw you curve balls.  It’s going to shoot arrows of fire at you especially when you are about to step over the threshold of something wonderful.  The enemy, the devil, does in fact throw fiery darts (arrows) at you.  Whether they meet their mark is up to you.  He may succeed in causing your tiara to slip, but truthfully he can’t knock it off.  You actually have the power to stop him.  It’s not the other way around. 

The enemy doesn’t have the power to overcome you.  You already have the power to overcome.  You are already victorious.  Because the day you accepted Jesus, you became a powerful person.  You were given the authority and the power that Jesus also possessed.  You see, when He died and then rose from the grave, He sealed not only your fate, but the fate of the devil.  You and I came out on top!

The problem we face today is that the enemy deceives us.  He lies to us just like he lied to Eve in the Garden.  He twists God’s words and throws them at us trying to get us to listen and question.  If he can make you question, he gets his hold on you and smacks at your tiara trying to knock it off your head.  But even if he causes it to slip, he can’t take your inheritance away from you.  He will try to make you believe you’ve lost it.  But again, he’s a liar.  You never lost anything.  He did.

You, dear lovely ones are the winners.  So reach up there and put your tiara straight back on your noggin.  The enemy can’t take that away from you.  That’s your identity.  That tiara tells the world that you are royalty.  You are a masterpiece.  You are an heir to a beautiful Kingdom.  And the King of Kings is crazy about you whether your tiara is on straight or has slipped just a little.  Nothing can stop Him from loving you, not even the enemy of your very soul.

Straighten your tiara, lovelies.  Throw your shoulders back.  Hold your head up.  Smile.  You’re going to be just fine.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Hold Up Your Shield

There comes a time on this walking healed journey where you run into people who don’t understand your healing.  They don’t understand your walk of freedom.  In that, rather than find out the details and learn that there was years, literally years of suffering, pain, anguish, hurt, heartache, loneliness, fear, guilt, regret, thoughts of suicide, along with threats from others, accusations, disbelief by others that you actually have a problem, and many other things, they would rather throw insults at you.  These people are uninformed.  They are close-minded, helpless in their own walk and don’t know it.  They say that your words are “vile” and “garbage” and try to discredit you.  That could cause more hurt and damage to your newly healed mind but…

There is good news for you, dear one 

God’s Word promises that, “No weapon formed against you will prosper, and every tongue that rises against you will fall” (Isaiah 54:17).  Oh but that’s not all!  When you are dressed in your armor of God, you can stand against this and “stop the fiery arrows of the devil” (Ephesians 6:16).

When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert, he didn’t rise to the occasion by throwing back arguments.  He had no need to defend Himself.  It’s easy to get in a heated debate with those whose sole intent is to engage you in a spiritual debate, discredit your belief, or even insult you and hurt and oppress you back into submission and intimidation.  But rather than allow someone to do that to you, remember how Jesus handled His accuser, because he’s your accuser as well.

Jesus answered every taunt of the devil with God’s Word

You, dear one, have the power to defeat the enemy whether he’s in spiritual form or human form, using another person to come against you, including people who say they are Christians.  But here is another precious gift; you don’t even have to utter a word to that person.  You don’t have to respond.  They will still throw taunts at you, but even your silence speaks volumes.  I know this from experience.

I sit here today smiling.  Not because what I write was recently called vile and garbage.  That wasn’t pleasant.  Instead, I had the most unusual response.  Laughter.  Not in a mean way, but in a way that assured me in my soul that yes, I am truly healed.  I never felt fear.  I never felt intimidated.  I felt peace.  I felt joy.  And though my accuser said what was said on social media, no one responded to the taunt, including me.  When I think about it now, instead of causing hurt he sent me right into the place where I belong; God’s Word.

My mind flooded with God’s promises from His Word.  They were “hidden in my heart” (Psalm 119:11) ready at the exact moment I needed them.  I am giving you a list of those promises below.  Look them up, lovelies.  Then the next time the devil throws fiery arrows your way, you’ll have your armor on too and his arrows will ricochet off your armor and be extinguished in the sea of hope surrounding you. 

Arise, mighty warrior princess!  You are victorious!  So live brave.  Begin to believe that and never let another person get the best of you again.

God’s Promises for You (a short list)
Ephesians 6:10-18                  Philippians 4:13                       Romans 8:31
Romans 8:37                            Isaiah 54:1                                 1 Samuel 17:47
Isaiah 66:13                              Jeremiah 1:5                             Jeremiah 17:7
Jeremiah 29:11-14                   Jeremiah 32:27                        Matthew 11:28
Mark 9:23                                 2 Corinthians 5:17                    2 Corinthians 12:9
Ephesians 3:17                         Colossians 2:7                           1 Timothy 4:12
1 Timothy 6:12                         2 Timothy 1:7                            2 Timothy 3:16
Hebrews 11:1                            Hebrews 4:12                            Hebrews 6:19
James 4:8                                 1 Peter 5:7                                  1 Peter 5:8
2 Peter 3:14                            

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power.  ~James 5:16, NLT

Friday, April 15, 2016

Run Through the Dark

A while back there were a few nights that were beautiful.  The sky was clear and the full moon was so bright that it lit up the yard in a bluish glow.  Of course, in the middle of the night it’s still difficult to see very far, but just gazing out the window I was able to see enough to know God can make the ugliest things beautiful with just a little light.

There was a time though, when I was in the dark and it wasn’t pretty.  The fog was so thick I couldn’t see even on a sunny day.  The fear pressed in on me so heavily that it took my breath. Depression is like that.  The fear, confusion, and utter devastation can cripple a body and cause you to believe that nothing will ever get you out of that.

It’s a lie

When you’re in the deepest pit of darkness and are about to give up, may I give you some advice?  Run through the dark!  Run, dear lovelies.  Press through it.  Yes, I know the weight seems to be too much.  That’s exactly what the devil wants you to believe.  He’s a liar. 

I know the darkness is overwhelming.  I’ve been there.  I’ve felt the hopelessness.  I’ve been terrified of those creepy noises in the recesses of your mind that whisper ugly things.  They remind you of your mistakes.  They try to get you to believe you’ve gone too far to be rescued.  They’re lying.  Because help is within reach.

Help is a breath away

With even just a whisper, you can run through the darkness and the Lord will be there to pull you through to the light.  Ah, but the enemy doesn’t want you to know that.  He wants you to believe that you’re broken beyond repair.  He wants you to believe that God doesn’t love you anymore, that He’s done with you.

The devil is a liar

He wants to keep you in the dark.  But darlings, if you’ll put on your running shoes and run through the dark you will find something amazing waiting for you on the other side.  You will come out alive and in one piece.  You may have some scars, but lovelies those scars will be your story to encourage someone else.

Use your scars

You may think the scars left behind from your stay in the darkness are an ugly reminder of the trials you’ve been through.  Think again.  Though the devil meant to destroy you, God had a perfect plan all along.  He planned for you to use those scars to show the beauty of His love for you, His healing, and His deliverance.  All for you.  You are not alone.  You never were.

Oh dear ones, you have no idea just how much God loves you right now.  The darkness cannot overtake you.  The darkness cannot overcome the Light.  Jesus is your Light.  He’s your life and your hope. 

Light shatters darkness
The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second.  Darkness is just darkness.  So when light penetrates the darkness it shatters it.  Darkness cannot overtake light.  But light has the ability to get rid of darkness just by shining.  If Jesus is the Light and He’s your light, then you are no longer in darkness lovely one.

Run Through the Darkness

Run through it!  You carry the light of Jesus within you.  So wherever you go, you shine.  Even if it’s the smallest of a flicker, you are still shining.  If you’re shining, you are shattering darkness.  Bet you didn’t know that.  Can you imagine what you’re doing if you’re running through the darkness, carrying even just the flicker of a light?

Run through the dark dear lovelies.  As you run, others will see your light and you’ll give them a way out of the darkness, too.  You’ve been in the dark way too long.  It’s time to run.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Taking Care of Business

It’s a beautiful, sunshiny (Is that a word?  I’m going to use it regardless) day.  I’ve muddled through my prayer time, my morning talk with the Lord.  I have no excuse.  I just muddled it.  Of course, I did wake up with an ocular migraine (those lovely flashy light thingies that block your vision before you get the real migraine) and the pain in my shoulder was so bad it felt as if I had sharp daggers driving into the joint.  But hey, you didn’t come here for TMI (too much information).

However, the reason for my TMI has a point.  I woke up in pain.  So trying to talk to the Lord while in pain, well let’s just say it didn’t go very well.  Then I tried to do my exercises for the shoulder that’s in pain and even that didn’t go well.  Just trying to take care of business, the sharp, shooting pains prevented me from doing the exercises properly.  But at least I got some of them done.  Then I cried because I don’t have as much movement in that shoulder as I should.  Frankly, it bothers me.

Then I sat down to read my daily devotion and today’s lesson is on giving our best will always cost us something, but God always gave His best to His people.  How can I give my best when I’m in pain?  I can’t even think straight much less concentrate on what I need to pray about.  Then I read, “Our human tendency is to give what’s easiest and cheapest to God.  God saw our potential to do that and went so far as to detail the imperfections that would make it less valuable.” *

In the Old Testament, God laid out the details of the sacrifices to be brought to the temple.  He already knew that this would never be enough to cover our sins.  So He sent Jesus as our perfect sacrifice.  The blood of Jesus covers everything, once for all, so that we no longer have to bring perfect sacrifices for our sins.  All we have to do is trust in Jesus.  When we do that, we are now under His blood and all our sins are covered.

What does this have to do with my painful shoulder?  Well, as I’m sitting here, crying out to God, asking Him what He’s trying to teach me, my thoughts went back to this devotion.  Past sacrifices had to be perfect.  Then Jesus became my sacrifice.  He was perfect.  And it hit me; as I sit here, upset over my shoulder and the pain I’m in, I realize that  I would not have been nor would I ever be a perfect sacrifice.  I would need help and Jesus is just that, my Help.
 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”  ~ Psalm 46:1, NIV

Whether my shoulder stops hurting or not is irrelevant.  The whole point is that He is there for me regardless.  He took care of my business.  I don’t have to be perfect, act perfect, or talk perfect.  My prayers don’t have to be said the perfect way.  All I have to do is come boldly to Him.  Trust Him.  Talk to Him.  He is there, always.

So today, as I muddle through the pain I’m in, I will adjust my tiara as best as I can and walk with the dignity that Jesus gave me.  Because after all, when He became my sacrifice, He took care of my business and your business.  We were adopted by God and became heirs to a Kingdom much greater than any this world has ever seen.  I’m glad that I belong to Him.  He takes care of His own.

So what about my shoulder?  It’s okay.  It’ll be okay.  We have to go through trials to learn.  Right now, I’m learning to trust Him even more.  When this is over, I’ll be stronger for it.  God never said life is perfect.  But Jesus is.  So I’m going with that and going to enjoy my sunshiny day.

How about you?

* Excerpt from First5 devotion, A Worthy Offering by Wendy Pope. First5 is a division of Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Don't Diminish His Love

“The deepest sorrow we could ever drape over God is our refusal to believe He loves us.”  -Lysa Terkeurst, First 5 devotion, April 4, 2016

That quote sparked a memory for me that made me catch my breath.  As I read the devotion from First 5 that particular morning out of Hebrews chapter ten, that memory stayed just at the corners of my mind, allowing me to absorb the contents of the devotion.  God loves us with such an abundance yet we often never come to terms with that.  Instead, we believe the lies of Satan causing us to doubt the One who gave His very life in exchange for ours so that we could live far above the reach of the evil, nasty, slimy one who wants to destroy us.

Are you there today my friends?  Are you one of them who refuses to believe God loves you?  Sure, we can believe He loves everyone else around us, but could He even love us?  Could He?  Yes!  Yes, He can and He does.  So why do we have such a hard time believing that?

Think of it like this; you love your children so much you would do anything for them.  But they don’t believe you love them.  And because they don’t believe it, they act and speak quite the opposite, even live in ways that disconnects them from you.  Wouldn’t that just break your heart?  How do you think God feels?

Hebrews 10:23 states, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

God is faithful, lovelies.  All He promises to us He will back it up.  He never goes back on a promise, including the one where He says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5).  How then, can we possibly think for one minute that God doesn’t love us?  It’s a nasty lie of the enemy.  Listen, God loves you so much and there is not one thing you can do, have done, or will ever do that will cause Him to stop loving you.  Just as you always love your children no matter what they’ve done, God loves you even more than that.  And just as it would break your heart for your children to refuse to believe that you love them, how much more is God’s heart broken when we refuse to believe He loves us?

At the end of my devotion that day, there is a section for comments.  This is where I pulled my memory out of the dusty corner and posted a comment using that memory.  The memory stems from a bad back injury I sustained several years ago.  The pain medication I was on caused me some very bad physical reactions and illness.  It also caused me to go into a severe state of depression with even worse panic and anxiety attacks. 

As I dealt with these issues, I was convinced by the enemy that I was suffering because God hated me.  I could not wrap my mind around the truth that He loves me unconditionally.  I truly thought God had turned His back on me. Then one day He literally showed me what that would feel like.

Suddenly I felt alone.  I felt hopeless, helpless, and in such despair that it nearly tore my heart out.  The instant terror and darkness that threatened to overtake me was too much.  I knew in that moment that I was as far from God as I had ever been in my life and it was worse than all the depression, panic, and anxiety I had been dealing with since my back injury.  In desperation I literally cried out loud, “God, don’t leave me!”

In an instant, the love that I took for granted was back.  I knew without a doubt that I was going to be okay.  He had been there the whole time, but my mind was so messed up with lies and pain that I couldn’t accept it.  Yet, He was there.  The peace was back.  The security was back.  And I knew in my heart that it would never leave me again.

All of that took less than a few seconds.  Yes, I said SECONDS.  God didn’t let me suffer without Him any longer than it took to get my attention.  Even in my distress beforehand, He was loving enough to only take His hands off me for a few short seconds.  He taught me a great lesson that day and I will never forget it.

Thank God that I'm healed today!  His love for me has never wavered.  But when we refuse to believe that He loves us, we diminish His love.  We also disconnect ourselves from Him because of the doubt we place between us and Him.  What a horrible way to live.

Listen lovelies, God loves you so much.  He always has.  How much more must He show you before you believe?  Stop listening to the lies of the devil today. God loves you more than that.  He promises... and He never goes back on a promise.

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