Soul Resistance

I have learned more about the faithfulness of God from my enemies than from my friends.~ Lisa Bevere

It is through the fire that we are refined. I don’t like this reality, but God is vastly smarter than I am, so I trust the refiner. I’m not in the thick of enemy fire at present time but over the course of my 43 years have experienced it more than I would like. Yet, I appreciate this perspective….what if we thank Jesus for our enemies? For it is through them that we press into Jesus, finding out what we are really made of and determining our source of strength.

Resistance makes the soul grow stronger. It likens working out at the gym. We won’t grow in strength, muscle mass, or endurance if we don’t push ourselves a little more than we are comfortable with. It’s the resistance that forms/maintains muscle and develops endurance.  What if we see our enemies as resistance training for the soul?  They push us to trust Jesus more, pressing into His promises, and applying His truth to our circumstances.  God will take what was meant for evil and bring something  good out of it, as revealed in Genesis 50:20.  Enemies are muscle makers for the soul.

At the same time, I want to resist becoming an enemy to my enemies. Others may choose to find flaws and fractures in me, not a difficult task, but my desire is to reflect His light. I hope He shines through all of my flaws. Defending ourselves is unnecessary when we know Jesus. He alone is our judge, jury and justifier. If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed! Resist the temptation to justify and defend yourself.   If you offer no defense, it takes the wind out of their fiery sails and they will be left to deal with Jesus in the matter. You, on the other hand, will have grater soul strength, enabling you to accomplish far more than you ever thought possible for Jesus. Choosing forgiveness is where freedom is found.

Who are you villainizing in your mind this week? Stop stewing over the offense, letting it simmer in your mind.  There is zero resistance in that kind of thinking.  Trust that God is going to do something amazing in you, as you persevere and praise Him through the pain.  The soul resistance is making you stronger.

Is there someone that once was a friend or family member that has suddenly started to accuse and betray you? It hurts. I know my friend. I’ve been there, but so has Jesus. He empathizes with you. Find strength in Him. He’s going to make you stronger through the fire. Resist the urge to defend yourself and don’t drag their name through the mud. Imagine taking them to Jesus and leaving them at His feet. Remember the guys in Luke 5 that lowered a paralyzed man through the roof of a house so he could be healed by Jesus? Think about your accusers that way. Maybe they are spiritually sick and paralyzed, but unaware of how infected their souls have become. Leave them before Jesus and move forward. He will attend to them. You will be free and your soul will be a whole lot stronger.

Prayer: Jesus, you understand betrayal and accusations. You were perfect and yet people chose to reject, insult, beat and murder You. In return, you offer grace, forgiveness, faithfulness, love and the hope of heaven. It makes no earthly sense and yet we are so thankful. Thank you for being our defender and loving us unconditionally. Help us to surrender our accusers to You, laying them at Your feet and trusting You to deal justly with them. Help us experience freedom in You and strengthen us through the resistance we encounter in this world, especially when we experience it from family and “church people”. Radiate through our weaknesses, Jesus, so that others will see You. Thank you that we can do ALL things through You! In Jesus name, Amen


Power Up

I have the poweeeerrr!!!” Remember that old cartoon, He-Man? I know I’m completely dating myself with this reference, but once in a while that slogan bounces through my mind. Random, I know. Growing up, my brother loved that show and occasionally I would watch with him, though I preferred She-Ra. Lol. From what I can recall He-Man was some kind of warrior that would thrust his sword into the sky seeking his power source, when battling with the evil Skeletor. When lightening would strike He-Man’s sword, he was empowered to conquer the seemingly impossible. I’m sure the show had nothing to do with God’s empowering grace but for whatever reason, it comes to mind when I feel I’m in need of strength much greater than my own. 💪😉

Power has an interesting effect on people.  God’s power enables us to do what we could never do on our own strength, while human power is based upon our physical and mental abilities.  God’s power can propel us to do amazing things; conquering giants for His kingdom, winning souls, overcoming obstacles, achieving His plans, and pushing back against darkness in our world.  Human “power”, or will-power, can only take us so far.  At our best we can accomplish goals, acquire knowledge, and achieve influence over people.   At our worst, our pride can inflate….leaving a path of destruction. Inflated pride will always deflate God’s power in our lives.

Ultimately, we are limited,  since we are not God.  There are situations we will encounter in life that will seem insurmountable.  We will ALL face them.  Inevitably, we will get to the end of our own strength; for some this might take a lifetime, but it will happen.  It is at the end of ourselves, that we can truly find power.

I’ve never felt power-full, as I’ve often lacked self-confidence, but the truth is, I have access to great power. God’s power is made perfect in and through our weakness. He actually uses those of us that feel “weak” to do things we could never do on our own strength. For example, I could not pack up our home and kids, moving away from what is familiar and comfortable to a place I know nothing about and know no one, in order to help establish a new church for Jesus. I’m not strong enough for that, but that’s exactly what I did through God’s strength.  That kind of risk and change is not in my nature. I like predictability. I’m a creature of habit. I can eat the same thing, and do the same things day after day….and be ok with that. However, God has had, and continues to have, bigger plans for my life then my own small mind can imagine. His power has enabled me and my hubby to plant two churches, one of which required moving away from everyone and everything I was familiar with, leaving family and friends. Recently, God has called us to move again to begin a revitalization effort in an established church in Yucaipa, California. It’s meant uprooting our kids from everything they’ve known over the past 8 years. It’s been challenging, at times lonely, and we still feel the ache of those we’ve had to say goodbye to, and yet, we sense God’s power at work in this decision.🙌

With every move we have made, I’ve felt ill-equipped for the challenges, but God has proven faithful, giving us just what we need at just the right time. Experiencing His power only happens as we get to the end of ourselves. We witness the power of God as we cling to Him, as Jane to Tarzan, experiencing the exhilaration of a life surrendered to Jesus. He’s taken me to places that I never thought I’d go and I’ve done things I never dreamed I would do.

I was struck by God’s power exhibited through Paul and Silas in Acts 16 today. Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten and flogged without any legal or moral justification. They had actually helped free a slave girl from spiritual bondage and it bothered her owners because it effected them in the pocket book. The Philippian owners had been exploiting the poor girl for her fortune telling abilities and now she was useless for their financial gain. When they “realized their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities.” Greed can bring out the ugly in people and this was no exception. Things got U-G-L-Y.

These Philippian owners must have had some power and influence over the people. Before long a crowd had grown and they were all hurling insults and accusations at Silas and Paul, convincing the magistrates to have them thrown in jail, even without a trial. This was a no no because they were Roman citizens. It was illegal to whip a Roman citizen and to put them in jail without a fair trial. They were about to encounter God’s power.💪🙌

This is when Paul help up his sword and said, “I have the poweeeeeerrrr!” Not really.😉 At this point they are sitting in jail, exhausted, beaten, bloodied, and fastened in stocks. I’m guessing they probably felt like they were at the end of their own strength….and the end of their ropes! Their solution?

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…”

They prayed and praised God, realizing they could do nothing at this point upon their own strength. So, they trusted The One that could move mountains…and jail cells. 😀🙌. It was then that God released His power in that jail as a violent earthquake shook, opening prison doors and loosening everybody’s chains. This was no ordinary California shaker. This was the power of God!

What I love about this story is that Paul and Silas demonstrated such tenacious, steadfast faith in the most dismal of circumstances. Maybe they didn’t “feel” like spiritual power-houses, but they had at least mustard seed faith, and they knew their source of power. They tapped into His power by praying and praising! Their hope was in what God could do, not based upon their own abilities. This enabled God to get the glory in every way! The guards and other prisoners got to witness God’s power first hand; causing one of the jailers, and his entire household, to come to faith that very night! God often uses our weakest moments to draw others to Himself. But we have to let go of our frayed ropes and tap into His power.

God loves to get the glory for empowering us through impossible circumstances. But so often we don’t let Him. We try to control, manipulate, and maneuver to get our way. Or, as I often do, we lose sight of hope so easily and resort to “stinkin thinkin”. That’s what my hubby calls negative, downer thinking; as if all hope is lost.

But what if when we get to the end of our ropes, we let go and let Him swoop down and catch us? He has proven time and time again that He will never leave us or forsake us, so how can we lose hope? There is always hope, when we are clinging to Jesus! The trick is, you can’t see Him. We have to let go of our ropes by faith.

I’ve been there. Holding onto the remaining strings of my own abilities, knowing I can’t possibly make it without help. I was there when doctors said I would never have babies. (I now have 3 children). I was there when my son was dying in the NICU (He’s now in 7th grade). I was there when my marriage was crumbling and my rope became brittle bitterness. (I’m about to celebrate 22 years of marriage with my best friend). I was there when church leaders lied, accused, defamed us, and manipulated circumstances, having everything to do with the greedy pocket book. This has happened on multiple occasions; a sad reality. (God has provided for us every.step.of.the.way). He is faithful in every circumstance, through every trial, and every heartache. At my weakest, He has been strongest in my life….but I had to let go and trust in His power.

Each time I’ve neared my ropes end, He has been there to pick me up and catapult me to new heights, drawing others to Him through my weakness. It’s been glorious, faith building, and power-filled. Those moments have changed me and are shaping me still into the person He desires me to be. None of us are perfected yet, but we can spend our lifetime in pursuit of His holiness.

I don’t know what your week has been like, the circumstances you face, the hurt you feel physically or emotionally, but I know you have a power source much greater than yourself or your circumstance. He’s ready to swoop in, grab hold of you and empower you through. Maybe you need to stop right now in this moment and remind yourself, out loud if you need to….”I have the poweeerrrr!” You do! If you have Jesus, you have everything you need to overcome, press on, and become all that He wants you to become. He has such great plans for each of us. Don’t keep grasping hold of your frayed rope. Let go, and let God do His best work in your life. Pause to pray, praise, and power up! I’d love to hear your stories of how God has or is revealing His power through your weakness.💜 Feel free to share them below. I will be praying for you. Let’s give Him the glory! We can do ALL things through Him!!💪🙏🙌

2 Cor. 12:9~But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Acts 16:16-26~Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
When her owners realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.

Wrong Rights

I LOVE peanut M&M’s. They bring delight to my tastebuds and they are colorful morsels of happiness. On a bad day, like tax preparation day, I have my yellow bag on standby.😉 Now, I know they are not good for me. In fact, there have been articles written about the health hazards of eating to many. Occasionally, I have justified my indulgence by thinking, well, they have peanuts in them, and that’s a protein. Since protein is good for me, I can eat what I want. You could say, it is my right to eat peanut M&M’s, all day, every day, should I choose to.

The interesting thing about “rights” is they can be so very wrong. My body would revolt after awhile, if I chose only to partake in my little round, happy, chocolates. While they do contain  protein, they also have lots of ingredients that I can’t even pronounce; some of which have been linked to cancer.😳 I’ve considered laying down my rights to M&M’s altogether because of the health risks, but I’m a work in progress. 😉

In recent news and social media I have heard a lot about “rights”; women’s rights, immigrant rights, LGBT rights, African American rights, rights to guns, rights of free speech, rights to protest….the list goes on and on. Many of my Christian friends have participated in discussions about “rights”, which has caused me to pray and seek Jesus and His perspective.

In reality, there is a peanut of truth to the discussions about rights.  These discussions are labeled as rights, but I think the desire behind the dialogue is more about value.  Do we all have equal value?  The answer is a resounding YES.  Jesus is about equality of all people as evidenced in scripture, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”(Gal.3:28) Incidentally, this scripture isn’t absolving gender identity or the fact that we are born of different cultures.  Rather, it is demonstrating that every life has equal worth, through Christ Jesus.  He is the great equalizer.  We don’t need anyone else to tell us we are valued in order for it to be true…it’s true because Jesus says so. No person or circumstance can lessen our value.  Period.

Jesus also points out our equal need for a Savior.  He openly admitted we all fall short of God’s glory and are in desperate need of His grace and forgiveness. Every person, including Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, need Him.  Though they have differing views on political policies, they both equally need grace and forgiveness.

Honest dialogue about perceived inequality can be good and healing.  However, there seems to be more behind some of the social media discussions of “rights”; ingredients that are unhealthy for the soul.  There is an angry tone, a loathing, a disgust, an entitlement simmering that is damaging.  There is one who comes to kill and steal away our joy…we have a real enemy, and it isn’t each other.

As a Jesus follower, it is my right and privilege, to lay my life down, pick up my cross and follow Jesus; loving God and loving people.  His ways are often different than popular opinion…especially those displayed in the media.  The news and much of social media has been offering up a lot of spiritual junk food.  It’s of little value and we should be careful about absorbing to much of it.  Allowing ourselves to get caught up in angry finger pointing, is like eating to many M&M’s….it tastes good in the moment but makes you feel awful after. There is no value to it, since it solves nothing, just fans the flames of anger and hostility.

Brothers and sisters of the faith, remember we no longer fight for our rights, but for God’s. We no longer live for us, but for Him and His plans. What ‘right’ do we have to anything?  Is it possible for us to feel entitled to anything more  when God has given us everything in Him? If anyone could have felt entitled, it should have been Jesus.  Being the only perfect person to ever walk the earth, He had that right, but He waved His rights, out of His great love for us. Such humility and grace, I can hardly take it in.

I don’t even have the right to my next breath, unless He gives it to me.  There is no guarantee of tomorrow, or even 10 minutes from now.  Every moment we have on this lovely earth is a gift given from our Father above.  Rather than investing our limited time on endless discussions about ‘rights’, what if we savored each moment, appreciating the people placed in our lives and enjoying our blessings?

Jesus is our model for living and He didn’t debate much, and rarely got angry; leading me to believe we get into the wrong kinds of discussions.  As Jesus followers we need  to be careful that our pride doesn’t swell, leading us to have an unhealthy perspective of “rights” and entitlement.  We ought to get on our knees in prayer, seek Him and maintain a posture of surrender to His will.  We are living  in times that  will challenge our faith like never before.  Be leery of your own feelings which can lead to emotional outbursts; laying down your cross, and hurling stones at one another. Pick up your cross, and follow in His footsteps. He reached out to people in love, humility, grace and truth. If people throw stones at you for expressing love, in truth, He will be your shield and protector. Don’t be discouraged or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you. Keep looking in the mirror and asking God how you can be the best YOU for Jesus, then be the change you hope to see in the world.    We are shining His light, and the enemy would love to snuff us out, giving the impression we are outdated and irrelevant. Don’t fall prey to the lies of the enemy.

Lets choose a healthier diet of “rights” by  loving tirelessly, giving generously, and letting  grace abound. Filter through the spiritually sick ingredients that are being force fed to us through news and social media, and check those ingredients with His word. If the ingredients don’t match scripture, don’t eat them! Throw them out and stand firm in His truth. Don’t look for a loophole, absorbing what is bad for your soul. Accepting what is popular and ‘feels good’ can be the path of least resistance, but there is NO growth in that. It’s just a diet of peanut M&M’s; slowly malnourishing our spiritual health.  Pretty soon, all the absorbed loopholes we’ve ingested cause our lights to dim, and we are no longer distinguishable to the world around us.  Jesus stood out in a crowd.

We will all be accountable for what we did with Jesus. He laid down His very life for each of us….there is no greater love than His. No politician, no civil rights groups, no protestors, no sports figures, no celebrities, no peanut M&M’s will satisfy the hunger we have for true love, value, and justice. Jesus gives it freely and fully.  He hands out healthy love by the bucketfuls, if we are open to receiving it. Recieve the free gift of His love daily and then give it out to those around you.  Don’t get sidetracked by discussions meant to keep you on a merry-go-round to nowhere.  Grab His hand And walk with Him, even though you will stand out and may get insulted or even assaulted. You no longer live for yourself, you live for Him. You can do ALL things through Him! 🙏

John 15:13~Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Gal 2:20~I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Luke 9:23~Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Isaiah 41:40~So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Morning Tantrums

A, B, C, A, B, C, A, B, _… know what comes next. We get used to patterns. Patterns are predictable and seem safe. Our lives can become a series of repeated patterns and ruts. While some patterns are beneficial, others are hazardous to our spiritual growth.

Recently it was brought to my attention, from my 3 littles, that I am a grumbler in the car. Apparently I have “morning tantrums”, that’s what my daughter calls them. It seems I have one sided disagreements with other cars while dropping the kids off at school.😳 I grumble, mumble and complain most of the way to school, easily finding offenses in other drivers. They drive to slow, cut in front, drop kids off in the middle of the street, honk regularly, go to fast….there are a plethora of wrongs, and I am a classic rule follower. Don’t they know the rules?!?😉
Ashlyn started laughing last week as I carried on with my pattern of complaining. She finds it amusing since the cars can’t respond. It occurred to me that every day I’m starting her day with negative chatter, rather than demonstrating patience and grace. It’s such self centered behavior! (Not a quality of Jesus.😬). I don’t want my morning tantrums to become a template for how she should behave. So, I made an effort the next day to stop my bad habit….which lasted about 30 seconds, until a car pulled out in front of me. Ugh, foiled again!! Ashlyn laughed out loud as she “knew I couldn’t do it.”

The thing about patterns is they don’t require any thought. They simply flow out of us like a river flowing downstream. It takes intentionality to swim upstream and make a change. So, I put on my swim fins, took the matter to prayer, and asked God to help me choose positive words instead of negative. Help came in the form of a Mr. Rogers song.

The next day I told Ashlyn I was changing my ways with God’s help. She giggled, not convinced. The entire way to school, I smiled, waved, and patiently waited my turn, as I sang the happy tune,”It’s a Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood…”. It’s funny how songs can pop into my brain even though it’s probably been 30, or more, years since I’ve heard that kid tune. But I think that’s how God works. When we pray and seek God even in minor areas of our lives, He pokes through like the sun peeking through cloudy skies.

By God’s grace I made it to the school, smile still in tact, with no ranting. Victory! 👏👏🙌 My victory wasn’t just for me, it was for Ashlyn too, as she watches how I’m living out this thing called faith.

I’d like to tell you I’ve been victorious every day since then, but like Pinocchio, my nose would grow with that claim. That’s ok. His mercies are new each morning, His grace is sufficient, and I’m going to “just keep swimming” up stream with the Lord’s help.

Are you a grumbler? Are there areas of your life that you’ve gotten in a rut and you can’t break the negative pattern? Maybe you tend to see the negative in others, rather than the positive, or you find it easy to let gossip flow from your lips, which not only hurts you spiritually, but hurts others. Pray, seek Him and He will give you a new song to sing. Replace your repetitive, negative chatter, with life giving words. It will take your effort and His grace, but don’t give up. You can do ALL things through Him!

Lam. 3:22-23~The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Psalm 19:14~May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Phil.4:8~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.
2Cor.12:9~But He said to me, “My grace is
sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Locking Horns

“I’m not going to church!” That’ll show him. We had been battling the same “issue” for days. (It’s been a repeat offender in our marriage from the beginning.) Like two deer with antlers locked, there were big crashes, but we weren’t getting anywhere. You’ve seen the big deer on National Geographic that use their antlers to shove one another, usually getting tangled up, but not able to move forward. It always looks futile, like neither deer is winning. That was us, and so I said it…I’m not going! The stand off ensued, as if we became enemies battling to maintain control of our comfort zones.

The tragedy in all of this is that we have a real enemy, and it isn’t each other. Our enemy prowls around like a ravenous lion seeking to devour us, eating up our joy and peace. Our self-centered behavior is His prime rib.

At some point we decided it was time to call in reinforcements. Our counselor friend was called and he spoke to each of us, encouraging us to remember we are on the same team and to fight this battle together in prayer. We are smart people, but stubborn, and so we periodically require admonishment. Like the apostle Paul, we know what we should do, but we just don’t do it. Our biggest battle is often our own selfishness.

In the end, there was no “winner”. To be truthful, Randy laid down his preference for my comfort. It might have been done half-heartedly, but at least he gave half…my heart wouldn’t budge. His surrender, eased my discomfort, but didn’t make me feel much better. I was then forced to deal with my own fears and insecurity….which, when I was honest with myself, was behind the whole stand-off.

I’m thankful that my hubby surrendered. It enabled me to see my own shortcomings. His surrender was the beginning of a change in my heart and mind. It’s so much easier to fight external battles rather than the internal battles, that really help us grow. Locking horns with Randy had kept me from looking within. If we keep locking horns with others it will distract us from the real work of searching our own hearts and minds and allowing God to slay our emotional Goliath’s.

Are you locking horns with someone? What’s behind the stand-off? Pause and pray, or seek Godly wisdom from a trusted friend. Be willing to look at your internal, emotional Goliaths. God can help you slay them but only if you are honest with yourself. As you stop blaming others, you will find tremendous freedom in your life and you won’t feel the need to lock horns. Instead you will be able to stand together fighting the real enemy and taking on new territory together. Stop charging ahead. Look inward and upward so you can move forward. You can do all things through Him!

1Peter 5:8~Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Romans 7:15~I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
Ephesians 6:12~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.

Please Don’t Label Me

If you do have a fault or a weakness or make a mistake and you do not own it, you still have it. You will repeat it. It will occur again.~ Henry Cloud

Please don’t label me with anorexia, just call it for what it is, sin. My counselor looked stunned at my statement. In her twenty-ish years of counseling no one had ever made that request. She chuckled at my reply and said she needed to have a diagnosis in order for insurance to kick in. Regardless, I insisted the diagnosis could be depression (or control freak, which seemed more fitting for me), but not anorexia.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew I had those tendencies, but I didn’t want to be labeled. A label felt like an excuse, as if I couldn’t control eating, or not eating. I was concerned that allowing myself to be labeled with a “disorder” would give me a mental license to feel as if I was a victim of my tendencies, like I didn’t have a choice in the matter. The reality was I had a sin problem….the root of it was control. Infertility, among other things, had left me feeling out of control, and controlling my food became my method of coping. In my fear and impatience, I took matters into my own hands and decided to control what I could…food.

Apart from God we can do nothing…..nothing good. And so I journeyed down the rabbit trail of control. I ate less and less, working out more and more. Everyday, I got a little closer to the “perfect” weight. (As if there is such a number). It’s an endless, hopeless, dark pursuit, which can ultimately lead to death. It took an  infertility specialist to shine some light in the darkness of my thinking. Thank you Jesus for the truth, even when it hurts!

No, I wouldn’t make excuses, I would call it for what it was, sin. This didn’t feel condemning, it felt freeing. Taking responsibility helped me loosen the chains. I wasn’t resisting the chains, I was surrendering, and by God’s grace, they fell off. It didn’t happen in one single moment, it happened one victorious moment at a time, eating one “taboo” food at a time, all of it, not hiding any. There were times I thought I would never be completely free. But that’s a lie of the enemy, for if the son has set you free, you are free indeed! So, I kept seeking Jesus, finding Truth, and pursuing holiness as best I could, until one day I realized, the inward battle was gone. No more chains of distortion binding my heart and mind. Surrender is peaceful and freedom weighs less than chains. I would never go back.

The counselor never did diagnose me with anorexia though she could have. But it really wouldn’t matter because that label would no longer define or describe me. I am not defined by my worst mistakes, or even my best works, neither are you. I’m defined by WHOSE I am, not by what I’ve done….thank you Jesus!

Are you struggling to overcome something? There is nothing that you can’t overcome by God’s empowering grace. Remain in Him. Ask Him to help you and surround yourself with people that can help you achieve victory over your battle. Take it moment by victorious moment, and He will set you free! When you trip and fall, He will pick you up and send you on your way to victory. You can do ALL things!

(If you have a love/hate relationship with food, I’d love to pray for you. The battle of the mind is a powerful one. Send me a message and we will battle it together in prayer. Prayer is where the battles are won!)

John 15:5~I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
John 8:36~So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Romans 12:2~And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Seatbelt Distress

My disclaimer, it was late and I was sleep deprived. The three of us (Randy, our friend Chandra, and me) had just flown into St. Louis, hopped on the shuttle to pick up our rental car, and were just pulling up to our stop. As I gathered my belongings, I attempted to lift myself from my seat, but something was….wrong. My brain said ‘get up’ but my body couldn’t accomplish the orders given. A second attempt was made, followed by a third…I’m embarrassed to admit, it took Chandra saying, “I think you need to unbuckle your seatbelt first.” (Which was followed by eruptive, tear streaming, stomach-aching, irrepressible laughter😂😂😂). Did I mention it was late and I was tired?😜 What could have been one of my all time, most embarrassing moments actually became one of the most hilarious. (Laughter is good for the soul…my soul was healthy that night.)

Funny how God can use incidental moments and apply biblical truths to them. As I thought of my seatbelt distress and my lack of awareness, it occurred to me that sin works the same way in our lives…minus all the laughter. Sin holds us captive, yet deceives us into believing we are free. We might think we are moving ahead in life, while we continue to buckle into dependency on people, bad habits, addictions that numb pain, pride, or illusions of control and pursuit of the ever elusive quest for our own happiness…but we are really stuck.   What’s amazing is, it is ALWAYS a choice. We can unbuckle ourselves at any time from all strongholds and hand those seat belts over to Jesus. He longs to set us free from those pesky belts that deny us our full potential in Him.

It is impossible to move forward in God’s plans when we are buckled into sin. What’s holding you back? It’s good to ask ourselves, and God, this question on a regular basis. We have a tendency to buckle into stuff unintentionally. Often times, God will use people to point out what we can’t see, like Chandra did for me. They can help us identify what we are strapped into. There are no limits to what He can unbuckle in our lives and He won’t lash you with the seatbelt once removed. He just forgives and says, “Get going, I’ve got such great plans for you!” Pray and ask Him to help you unbuckle from sin and buckle into Him, our belt of Truth. You will feel freedom and discover your purpose like never before…and you’ll be able to get off the shuttle when it stops. 😉 We can do ALL things through Him!🙏💪

Eph.6:14~Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist…
John 8:11~“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
John 8:36~ If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Jer.29:11~For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.