Psalm 119_105

Who turned out the lights?

While I was making dinner the other night, my husband was installing new overhead lights in the garage. He had to turn off the power in there, but in doing so, it turned off the lights in the kitchen. He very kindly brought me a small, bright lantern light so that I could see to finish dinner. As I was cooking the chicken, I realized that I couldn’t tell if it was done or not so I had to bring the light closer.
Not being able to see the chicken was just the first of many problems that I had since I wasn’t able to see well.
The next problem that presented itself was the need for a glass bowl in the bottom cabinet, which looks invisible in the dark. Once the light was close enough, I found my bowl and continued. Here is something that I found interesting. Even though the light did not shine well enough to see the entire object across the room, it did show the itty bitty spaghetti bits that were on the counter top and the areas on the stove that had splashes of boiling water.

It reminds me of our lives sometimes. We go through life not using the Light, Jesus, to our best advantage or we only use the Light when we need it to make something brighter.

What if we went through our lives and used the Light of Jesus to guide our path as a light in the darkness every single day, not just when we need to use it. Psalm 119:105 tells us just that, that the Word is a lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path.

When we allow the Light to shine into our dark places, we are inviting the Holy Spirit to come in and show us places in our day to day lives that need help but the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
When we use Jesus as our light, it shows all of the little imperfections in our lives as well as the big ones. That in and of itself can be scary. But once you have illuminated the sins in the darkness you can begin to fix those and let God take them away!
Pray that He will illuminate the sins in your heart so that you can ask and be forgiven. This is not a one and done type of request; this is a daily assignment.

I challenge you to let Christ be your Light, refuge, and strength in very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) Let Him shine on your yuck so that you can work together to clean it up!

Psalm 119_105

Are you serious?

I follow this gal on Instagram, and she was telling us about an experience that she had were these two girls got into the back seat of her car while she is parked waiting for her food delivery. They thought it was their ordered taxi service.
Can you believe that?  They didn’t check to see if the car matched up with their order, or look for a logo, or whatever else they could have done to keep themselves safe.
The new taxi services have made it so easy for someone to get kidnapped, and that is so scary!

It made me think about all the ways that Satan tries to capture us.  Satan tries to make it easy for us to be taken by him tricking us into sin.  He knows just how to get us in his car.  Paul alluded to the first sin in the Garden of Eden in 2 Corinthians 11:3.  “And now I’m afraid that exactly as the Snake seduced Eve with his smooth patter, you are being lured away from the simple purity of your love for Christ.”

We are no different than Adam and Eve in the garden.  We can easily be tempted by Satan because he is crafty and spins the truth into our own deceit.  1 Peter 5:8, “Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.”

We must be in the Word so that we know what our enemy looks like because we know so well what our God looks like.

I challenge you to get into the Word more.  Read the love letters that Christ has written us and learn more about Him.  Stay strong in the Lord so that you are not so easily deceived.

Psalm 119_105

Name that flower!

My Mom loves flowers and birds.  Two of her, many, favorite things in life!  She can tell you the name of (in my mind) any flower or bird.  She has a large flower bed and loves buying new species of plants and watching them grow to see what they will become, how they will weather their new home as a transplant from another place.
Sometimes they die and wither away with just twigs left.  But most times they live and thrive and bring her so much joy each day that she gets the opportunity to watch them grow and bloom and transform.

Just like my Mom loves to watch her flowers grow, so does our Papa God.

When we are small He watches us grow and learn about Him.  As we get older we also increase in wisdom as we learn from the Word.  Growing in strength as you trust Him to strengthen you through every trial and test we go through in life.  And as you grow your Papa God says, “You are my child, whom I love; with you I am well pleased!”

You are a beautiful blossoming flower to God, bringing joy to Him daily.  Life isn’t always rosy (see what I did there) but with God all things are possible.  (Matt. 19:26)

I challenge you to set aside time each day to get into the Word.  You cannot grow if you are not being fed daily.  The world is a crazy place so we must be equipped to fight against the snares of the enemy by putting on the WHOLE armor of God just like it says in Ephesians 6:10-18.

 

Psalm 119_105

What do you do?

If you follow me on Facebook, then you know how crazy my days can be.  How tall the pile of dishes can get and the baskets, upon loads, upon heaps of laundry I have had to conquer at times.  Yes…I know… If I am consistent and keep up with it, it won’t get that bad.  But here’s the thing.  My kids mean more to me than an overwhelming load of laundry.  My daughter’s pretend play in is more important than the dishes piling up and calling my name.  My son’s need to sit close and just tell me all the details of his day means that the floors probably won’t get swept, or the toilets cleaned that day…But GOD.

He sees the work that I am doing in and through my kids.  My kids see that I value my time with them and I get to be Jesus to them.
God sees you helping a friend pay for their coffee, leading a small group in your home, or going on missions trips to help save the lost in a faraway land.

Whether you are front and center in a starring role or behind the scenes and under the radar, when you work with a heart that loves the Lord, you glorify Him in everything you do.
Colossians 3:23-24 says Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…It is Christ you are serving.

I challenge you to recognize that God loves your work.
If you are struggling because you aren’t being seen or that what you are doing is unimportant, let me assure you, someone GREAT is watching and you are the most important in His eyes.

Psalm 119_105

Are you on fire?

While sitting with my husband watching our bonfire burn down he poked one of the logs and the embers on the bottom lit up bright red and orange and released an intense heat.
We both commented on the heat that was coming off of the embers.

I said, “Isn’t it amazing that the pieces that were part of the big logs are actually hotter than the logs themselves?”

I sat there amazed at how good God is and how mesmerizing the flickering embers were. I watched as a little piece would flicker a flame on and off as if on command. And as I watched and giggled at that precious flame, the Lord dropped this little nugget on me.

He said, “You (His children) are just like the log and embers. When you are bright and on fire, people notice and stay close to watch and receive warmth, but then as your fire dies down, people become uninterested and you think it’s over. That’s when I can use you! Those little pieces that once were a log, full of fire became embers that are now hotter than the big flames.

That is what I want my children to know. You are not nothing. You are not useless after your fire goes out. There is more inside of you. Do not give up, my children. Press on.”

That fire that once burned bright inside of you might be down to little embers because of past hurt and pain but GOD can breathe new life into you and make your fire burn once again.
At the end of Ezekiel 37:6 God says I will put MY breath in you (make you alive) so that you come to life. Then you will know that I am Yahweh!

Will you let Him breathe into you?

Dear friend, I challenge you to let Him breathe new life into you.  Maybe you need new life in a relationship, into past hurts, or new life in your walk with Christ.  Whatever it is for you, ask God to do it and He will.  ((HUGS))

Psalm 119_105

What do you see?

Each time we have a birthday party, I receive pictures from friends and family that were at the party, so I am able to see so many things that I hadn’t seen myself.
The most recent party was my oldest and we went indoor rock wall climbing! The reason I didn’t get pictures myself was that once we got there we realized that we had way more climbers than we had places to climb without help, so I got trained to be a belay person for those climbing.  What that means is that I clipped into one side of the rope and the climber clipped into the other end.  I stayed on the ground and kept the climber from falling by taking the rope’s slack as they climb up and locking it in so that there is tension on their rope.  Without that stress on the rope, it would be loose, and the climber can become afraid that they will fall.  The belayer’s job is to keep that from happening.  I controlled the tension on the way up and let them down gently when they were ready to come down which meant I had to continually watch them and feel for their ascent.  In doing this I couldn’t pay attention to what was happening around me.

This reminded me of our lives and our walk with Christ.  We must stay focused on our own ascent and descent through life instead of paying attention to what others are doing.  When we do, it could be disastrous to our own life.  The comparison game is real and prominent in the world today.  Especially with all the social media outlets that allow anyone to post about anything whether or not it is true.  You only see what they want you to see.
We must be anchored in Christ.  Sometimes there is tension in our life, but that is an indication that God’s got you.  Everything we go through has a purpose.  God’s plan for each of our lives is to for our wellbeing, not for disaster, but to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

If we are continually looking at other people’s view of success, we will inevitably fall.  We must be alert, of sound mind, and moment by moment keeping our eyes on Jesus!  I love this reminder in 1 Thessalonians 6:4-8, “But friends, you’re not in the dark, so how could you be taken off guard by any of this? You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand. So let’s not sleepwalk through life like those others. Let’s keep our eyes open and be smart. People sleep at night and get drunk at night. But not us! Since we’re creatures of Day, let’s act like it. Walk out into the daylight sober, dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation.’

I challenge you today to think about where you are looking.  Is your eye on Jesus or are there other things in your life that have your attention?  What are those things in your life that are taking away your focus?  Write these out and ask the Lord to help you change your focus on Him.

Psalm 119_105

What is your season?

I was looking through our pictures yesterday, and I found some of the kids playing at the splash pad.  The same place where we went ice skating this evening.
Yes, you read that correctly.  I took my oldest daughter ice skating, outside, in 70degreeIt reminded me of the seasons in our own lives and how they change completely from one to another without us even knowing how it happens.
TN weather.  They have completely transformed the entire area into a winter wonderland and I don’t even know how it happened.  It is amazing to me how something that was used to cool us off during the summer months can turn into a frozen winter oasis that we can skate on now. Of course, it is God’s work in our lives that brings about change.  (Phil 1:6)  Each season builds on the next, and we can learn things from each season in our life that we can use in the future or even to help others.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 talks about seasons in our life.

There is a season for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:
a time to give birth and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot;
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to tear down and a time to build;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
a time to search and a time to count as lost;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to be silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

What season are you in right now?  Are you in a time of sadness, joy, anger, sorrow?  Are you reaching out to God to give you the steps toward your next move?  It can be difficult going through something that you don’t have answers as to why it has happened to you or what is even going on.  Stay in the Word and see what it says about where you are.

I challenge you to ask Him what you need to do.  He will guide you through this time in your life, but you have to be willing to ask, listen, and then follow through.

 

Psalm 119_105

How do you climb?

We celebrated my son’s birthday at an indoor rock wall climbing place.  As I climbed, I had to use my brain a lot!  I had to think about each move before I made it.  I had to plan out my steps and grabs so that I could continue to go further up and not slip.

One wrong step and I could slip and smack my face on the wall or worse, fall and bust it on the ground!  It is so exhilarating, but I have to trust the auto belay to catch me as I fall back.  But each time you fall, whether on purpose or not,  you have to believe that belay system to let you down slowly, keep your feet out, so you don’t hit the wall and hope to land gracefully on the ground.  There is a split second of time where the belay hasn’t caught you.  A split second of complete terror as to whether or not it will grip and keep me from getting hurt.  A moment of my life flashing before my eyes and then…it tugs a bit to let me know it has me and lets me down gently.

This is such an excellent representation of our Heavenly Father.  We go through life planning each step of the way and hoping that God will catch us when we fall.  And we will fall.  But in that moment of fear or lack of faith, we wonder, will God catch me this time?  Will He help me out of this mess that I am in?  And yet He does.  He lets you down and puts you back on solid ground.  And then we do it all over again, climb, plan, worry, and fall.  What if the next time we climb, we ask God where we should take our next steps.
What if we ask God where we should go next and then we can let go into His loving arms and know that He will carry us down. Isaiah 46:4 says just that, “Even when you’re old, I’ll take care of you.  Even when your hair turns gray, I’ll support you.  I made you and will continue to care for you.  I’ll support you and save you”.

I challenge you that the next time you make a plan that you ask God first.  Ask Him to plan your steps and guide the way.  You might be amazed at how much simpler your life can be if only we ask God to make plans instead of us.

Psalm 119_105

Did you laugh?

Yesterday morning I was reading in Genesis, and in chapter 17and 18 it talks about God’s covenant with Abraham and Sarah getting pregnant…at 90!
In Gen. 18:12 Sarah laughs to herself and says, Can an old shriveled up old woman have a baby with this old man?.  And then in 18:13 God asks her why she laughed, and she denied it, but then a few verses down God says, “No.  You did laugh.”
He called her out.  She lied because she was afraid.
How many times have we laughed at God and then denied it when someone calls us out on it?
God asks us questions already knowing the answer.  My favorite verse in this is the last one.  Gen 18:15 “Is there anything impossible with God?”
If God can make a 90-year-old woman pregnant, raise people from the dead, and move mountains, then why do we laugh when He tries to give us something big?  Is it a faith problem or a trust issue?
Faith can be the opposite of fear.  So if you allow fear of the unknown to take over, you can not have confidence that it will come to fruition.
Trust is a belief in the reliability, truth, or strength of something or someone.
Has God not shown us that He can be trusted?  So I ask you again,  why do we dismiss Him or laugh when He is giving us something?  I don’t have an answer for that because that question is for YOU to answer.  

What is keeping your hands closed instead of opening up and grasping what is YOURS to take?
I challenge you to think about the gifts that the Lord is trying to give you, but because of either your lack of faith or trust, you won’t move forward.
Moving into the unknown can be scary, but if it is from God, you best believe that He will be there with you and go before you.
Will you trust Him?

Psalm 119_105

Where are you looking?

My Mom was working on a commissioned painting, and it wasn’t working out like she had envisioned, so she called me, as she often does, to get my opinion.  Any time she calls for help, I will ask questions that may seem obvious, but when you are so focused on a problem, it is hard to see the big picture.  I asked her what medium she was using for this piece.  I asked her if she had looked at other pictures and what else was going in the painting.  She said that she had looked at several different paintings for inspiration, but nothing was helping.  As she was answering, I remembered that she did a similar art piece a few months back.  I suggested that she go back and look at it and think about the process that it took to get to that finished piece.  I was out of ideas, as I am not an artist, so I was hoping that I was able to help her.
The next message I got from her was a beautiful picture of the painting that was nearly finished.  I called her and asked her what changed.  She told me that she went back and looked at her previous painting and it brought back the memories of the same struggles she had with that painting as well.  Reminiscing about her own mistakes and victories with her previous painting helped her to move forward past the bump in the road in the current painting.

As all of this was going the Lord reminded me that we are all too often looking at other people’s lives instead of looking at back at our own lives. He wants us to do this so that we can move forward into our present while learning from our past.
We can’t learn how to fix our own mess by looking at someone else’s “finished project.”  When we look back at our past, we can see how God helped move us forward over the hurdles that life put in our way.  Learning from the mistakes and victories in our own life help us to be overcomers!
This does not mean that we can’t learn from the past mistakes of others, but what it does mean is that we have to stop comparing and thinking that other people’s mistakes will save us from our own.

Deuteronomy 4:9 tells us to make sure you stay alert.  Keep close watch over yourselves.  Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen.  Don’t let your heart wander off.  Stay vigilant as long as you live. Teach what you’ve seen and heard to your children and grandchildren.”

We must not forget our past because that is where God was working to help us in our present.

I challenge you to look back into your own life the next time you feel stuck.  Think about the situations that you went through and how you got through it.  What lessons did you take away from that experience?  What hardships were shown after all was said and done?  Step back for a moment, ask yourself questions, and then reevaluate.