Prayer Running and Living Room Worship

 

2 Corinthians 12 9Sometimes I have these amazing “God Moments” and I debate sharing them. I never want to sound like I’m aiming spotlights at myself and saying “Check me out!” because I am seriously so not worthy of any spotlight.

I feel compelled to share tonight because I want to give God all the Glory.
I pray He will use my experience tonight to comfort and encourage someone else, because I know I am not alone.

I’ve faced some trials recently that have been very discouraging to my spirit.
Honestly, I’m “in the trials” now.
I’m not writing this from the other side saying “I made it through”. I write it while still walking through the storm that changes from drizzle to downpour to roaring thunder to drizzle again.
It’s a season of pruning for me in so many ways and honestly, for anyone who has been through a season of pruning or is going through it now, you know what I mean when I say it can be very painful at times.Read More »

Mary’s husband had a name….

A few years ago I was slowly blogging through the Bible with the aide of Max Lucado’s “Life Lessons Study Guide“* books. At the time, I had started the journey as part of my one word challenge that year, “Redeemed“.

Now I’m starting again with a friend. She was looking to read her Bible more, and I had recommended this study series and then thought “why not go through it all again myself?” Additionally, it seemed very fitting to get back into a disciplined habit of spending dedicated time in God’s Word and in prayer through His Word. And go figure, my one Word challenge this year is “Discipline“.

I started back with Matthew, reading over Chapters 1 and 2 slowly, intentionally, and prayerfully. And again, Joseph really stood out to me.

Joseph is referred to as a “righteous” man (HCSB). Matthew 1:19 specifically shares “So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly”.Read More »

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Moody Mornings and Gifts Collide

I got up this morning “moody”, I’ll confess it. I wanted to sleep in. I felt dog dead tired for no reason whatsoever. I made my hubs and son eggs for breakfast, and I can’t say I did it with a servant’s heart. I “did it” and did it “moodily”. When my poor hubs asked if he had made me mad, I told him “I’m moody, just ignore it and love me” because I knew if I attempted to talk about my moodiness right then, it wouldn’t be in truth. I was too tempted to want to put the blame on him or someone else, really, ANYONE but me. (Cause isn’t it just easier to blame someone else for OUR issues?)

I “get through” my moody morning and watch them both leave the house. Then it hits me. It’s day one of  #P31OBS #KeepItShutBook study. (And guess what, I’m still a little moody).

I volunteer with Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies, and with my church’s Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry. I realize both will need my attention today to get some things done.
Now I’m thinking of the to-do list.
I pour a cup of coffee and sit down to “get through” the to-do.Read More »

Feminine Appeal: GET THIS BOOK WOMEN

HerReadingHave you ever read a book and find yourself telling people, “I seriously recommend THIS book“? A book you go back to, re-read, and use as a tool to check your clarity and intention?

Be prepared.
Because this book review is about THAT kind of book.

The book is Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney.

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The title alone had me intrigued.

The foreword is written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, and while I’m not always a fan of name dropping, I’m dropping this one because I typically skip over the foreword and jump straight to the meat of a book. Seeing DeMoss take the time to write the foreword however slowed me down. It got me pumped. It got me thinking about what it means to be a woman. So don’t skip the foreword. It’s a great start to the journey you are about to take with this one.Read More »

When People Call God “Daddy”

Limitless Life Photo CoverFrom Orphan to Adopted.

As I started this chapter, in the back of my mind I was already assuming “this won’t really apply much to me”. Then I came across the story Pastor Gray shares of a person who left him an anonymous comment that he shouldn’t call God “daddy” because it hurts people.

Pausing for a moment, I must share I have often felt my insides tighten when I hear people refer to God as their “daddy”. I know God is my “Father”, and I have no hesitations calling Him my “Father” – but daddy? It bothers me. I find myself on guard. I think it must be disrespectful. It must be unworthy of who He truly is. How can we take our God who is Holy and Sacred and then dare to bring him down to a level of “daddy”?

Part of Pastor Gray’s response to this anonymous person was the following;

In the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) as well as in the apostle Paul’s letters, Jesus and Paul both use the Aramaic word Abba to describe God the Father. The Word Abba is equivalent to the English word daddy or papaAbba is a term that paints a picture of the intimacy that God the Father desires with His children. Abba paints the picture of a tenderhearted, love-filled father reaching down to pick up and hug his child.

I was prickled. Prickled because according to this response, to call God “Abba” or “daddy” is an extremely intimate moment between He as the Father and I as His child. I was prickled because I don’t call God “daddy”.
Then I cried.
I cried because I wondered why don’t I call Him “daddy”? What was I missing here?

So – no offense to Pastor Gray – I needed to look into this a bit deeper.

I discovered the number of times God is called Father far outweighs the number of times He is called “Abba”.
There are only three places in the New Testament where God is specifically called Abba: Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15, and Galatians 4:6.
The rest of the time the word Father is used, and often is used as Father in heaven: Matthew 5:45 (and throughout Matthew), Mark 11:25, and Luke 11:13.

Then I learned when Jesus is praying, many believe that when we read Father in heaven Jesus prays this with the implication of Abba.

I pulled out a Scofield Referenced Edition Bible (ironically loaned to me by my wonderful Father-in-law) and  looked up God (His Names) in the Subject Index.  Under “Father” all the scriptures mentioned above are listed together.
In other words, it doesn’t differentiate between Father in heaven and Abba, both point back to God as Father.

Then I came across this:

Is God ever addressed as “Friend” in Scripture? I wondered when I recalled the line of the song “As the Deer” by Martin Nystrom that goes, “You’re my Friend and you are my Brother, even though you are a King….” Several times Abraham is called “the friend of God” (2 Chronicles 20:7; James 2:23). Jesus calls the disciples “friends” (John 15:14-15). In mutual human friendships, at least, each party is free to call the other “friend.” It stands to reason, then, that God is our Friend, in the sense that a person might be said to be a “friend of the king” or a “friend of the president.” Certainly the metaphor is used in Scripture, but only one way, of us being God’s friends. No where is God addressed as “Friend” (except with heavy irony in Jeremiah 3:4). Perhaps that’s just accidental. But perhaps it is this way so that we might not presume on God’s friendship as a relationship between equals.

Perhaps this is the reason that Jesus taught us the friendship and love of God in a metaphor of a greater to a lesser, of a dear Father to a beloved son or daughter. Perhaps this is why Jesus taught us to call God “Abba.” ~Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

So what does this all mean?

To me, it means that I am a friend of God, and He is my Father. Why do I not call Him daddy sometimes when I pray to Him? Because instead of realizing that God IS the standard for “daddy” and is the perfect Holy daddy, I thought to call him daddy would be to bring Him down to a human standard of daddy. I know there are some adults in the world who still call their Father’s “daddy”, I’m not one of those adults. Earthly fathers and their children don’t always have intimate relationships. Many can have relationships, and even pretty good ones, just not intimate.

God is not an Earthly father. He is a Heavenly Father and He wants an intimate relationship with me.
Jesus wants me to have that intimate relationship with His Abba, through Him.

I remember the first time my son called my husband “dad”. He used the word tentatively, watching my husband out of the corner of his eye to see if he would be corrected or rebuked. His heart was not coming from a place of disrespect or mocking. He genuinely wanted to call this man “dad”. My husband smiled and answered his question. My husband never forced my son to call him dad, and never corrected him during those months when my son went back and forth between “dad” and “Jim”.
Now I can’t remember the last time my son called my husband “Jim”. My husband did adopt my son, and my son calls him “dad” without second guessing it or waiting for rebuke for using the word. He trusts that this man is his dad.

So I guess that is my big ah-ha moment. We are adopted children of God through the blood of His son Jesus Christ. Maybe for some of us, it just takes us a little longer to trust that we can, when we need to, humbly come before our Father and call Him “daddy”. He is our Father in Heaven. He is our Abba. Our Daddy.

And I am no longer prickly. 🙂

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Truth, Lies, and The Ultimate Test

Normally I do not blog on the weekend because this time is specially set aside for my family and friends, however,
today my boys are working with heavy objects. I am graciously bowing out so as not to unnecessarily re-injure my back.  This leaves me time to attempt to put into words something that happened to me this week, and something I feel called to share.

Please bear with me as this is a bit lengthy, and without pretty pictures. It’s simply a “need to write it out” blog.

I recently got a “bible cover”, one with a strap and a pockets for pins and a zip around enclosure. I’m such a goof when it comes to “bags” and “organizational” items. I’ve almost grown to enjoy these little treasures more than *dare I say it* shoes! The Bible I’ve been using does not fit in this cover. The other Bible I normally use, I have recently gifted to my son. The conclusion: hop online and check the price of a new Bible.

Do you have any idea how many Bibles there are?
How many different versions exist?
How many different study guides, devotionals, etc?

Wow.

Now first, AMEN! What a blessing right? What a joy to live in a country where with the simple clickity click of some keys on a computer I can find Bibles galore!

The more I searched though, the more my excitement began to fade. Which one did I want? Did I want one with all the extra devotional material? Did I want one written by this person or by that person? Which version is the best version for me? And the covers? Why do we have so many different Bible’s in the world today that have covers which do not say Holy Bible right there, in bold print, on the cover? Are we hiding? And my new Bible Cover would only hide the cover of a Bible that said Holy Bible on it anyway. Am I hiding?

The more Bibles I saw with blank front covers, no matter how pretty the designs, the more I craved a Bible like the Bible I remember my grandmother reading from everyday. The more I wanted a Bible that was simply, The Bible. No extras. No study guides or articles or daily quotes. No opinions or teachings or pictures. No fancy flowers or swirls or polka dots.

Just a Bible, that said, right on the cover, Holy Bible.

Let’s skip ahead now for the purpose of tying these thoughts together.

A friend of mine and I got together to listen to a new CD series she had. I LOVED it. Absolutely LOVED it. There were some great truths that I heard, as I frantically scribbled down notes. We also watched the speaker on the TV for a few minutes. I loved her conviction as she spoke. I loved her humor. I loved listening and watching and absorbing more information. Loved it.

After agreeing with my friend to meet weekly to go through this series, I rushed home and spent a good thirty minutes allowing my overflowing excitement to bubble out as I told my husband. The full display of my arms flying through the air as I punctuated my excitement with my hands.

I happily fell into the couch, fully prepared to sit down and continue to absorb more of all the excellent stuff I felt the Lord was showing me this week, when my darling husband came into the living room and sat down across from me. I curiously looked at him, as his eyes were very soft, yet concerned. I wondered what of my joy could possibly cause him to look at me in such a way, and so he honestly started with “Oh my love, this is going to be a little awkward”.

He then proceeded, in the most  gentle and loving and caring way, to share with me that this woman speaker I had just discovered, had a past of saying and teaching things that were heresy.

WHAT!?!?!?!?!

In the most loving of ways, my husband sat down, and he spoke to me softly, lovingly, explaining to me everything that he knew about this woman speaker and why he was concerned about me following one of her studies. I felt my excited air “whooooosh” right out from me. Like a balloon that was just filled to the point of bursting, and then released. My mind which had been a delightful whirling spin of worship was suddenly stopped and thrown into a feeling of betrayal.

My husband, knowing me, and knowing how I need to process information, then reaffirmed his love for me, and left me alone to process for a few minutes. The first thing I did, was to dive onto the Google machine and start researching this speaker. I found things that made my heart quicken and my spirit bristle. The more I read, the more I started to think about what I had watched that day and what I had heard on that CD. The more concerned I became at the fact that I could now remember her saying things that had caused me to raise an eyebrow, however, in the goodness of my heart of wanting to believe the best in people, simply ignored.

Then came my own gasp. I needed to share this with my friend. My friend whom I adore, whose love for Jesus and her family encourages me. A friend who when I met her that day, had taken the time to write down a Bible verse she came across and wanted to make sure to share with me as she felt it would help me. A friend whom I have had such wonderful conversations with.

And then I realized why my husband had that look of care and concern in his eyes. He had not wanted to be the person to deflate my happy bubble, just like I didn’t want to be the friend to potentially deflate hers. However, I knew in my heart, I had no choice. There was no way, as a believer of Jesus Christ, I could not tell my SISTER in Christ, that she may need to have her spiritual armor on with this particular speaker.

To say it frankly – it sucked.

Some of what this speaker said however was TRUE. I know it was TRUE because it was BIBLICAL TRUTH. However, this speaker has also been quoted (and I dug deep enough to find the quotes from her directly) as saying things that are absolutely NOT BIBLICAL TRUTH. My husband agreed, that truth is TRUTH, and it is important to hold onto the truth. However, someone who speaks truth and throws in the slightest little untruth, is dangerous. Which I agree with.

So then I thought, maybe I can find a different study we can do, by someone who is a more trustworthy source than this! (For those who are wondering, the speaker I have been talking about thus far, is Joyce Meyer. You can read one of the disturbing links I found about her here.)

I started researching other women speakers/teachers. Of course the first one that came to my mind was Beth Moore, whom I know my church has in our church library, whom other sisters in Christ have enjoyed learning from.

To my complete and utter disbelief, the one website I found which truly revealed some very disturbing things about Joyce Meyer, also stated that they could not endorse Beth Moore on the grounds of “She is leading many astray with her approval of contemplative prayer, personal revelations, and faulty biblical exegesis“.

WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?

*Insert Hyperventilating Here*

The I took off on a Google driving machine of insanity. Speaker after speaker, teacher after teacher, the names that I had grown to trust were being picked at, and chipped at, and raked over the coals. I found myself wondering, “WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I SUPPOSED TO READ TO LEARN?”

Then came that soft, gentle, loving voice from across the room again. From that man whom is my husband. That man whom I am still learning how to be a Godly wife to. That man who is striving and trying and praying to be the Spiritual Leader to our family God has called him to be.

“Honey, this is why we must be in The Word of God ourselves. We must be in the word so that we will know a false prophet when they speak. We won’t know unless WE know the scriptures ourselves.”

Truth. There it is. Simple Truth.

However, I have read, and agree, that it is helpful sometimes to have a study guide, or a book, or a devotional, to assist us in our journey of learning the Scriptures. The key difference is that whatever book I am using, is to never REPLACE the Word of God. His Word is above ALL OTHERS. And yes, I do need to be in HIS WORD everyday. Even if it’s just a chapter, I need HIS WORD above these other books.

So, I had my husband read over with me what I had found about Beth Moore. And about Max Lucado. The article I found on Beth Moore, he did agree based on the quotes he was reading that she at times takes scripture out of it’s strictest of context. However, even though that particular website really really bashed her, he did not feel it was 100% just. He felt that I should not throw her out of my learning life. He also pointed out to me how completely incorrect the article I found on Max Lucado was, so incorrect that I’m not even linking anything about it back to him.

Whew. OK. Breathing returning to normal.

The most important lesson he shared with me, was knowing, that no matter who it was, Beth Moore, Max Lucado, even our own pastor, it is our responsibility to be in the Word, and to know the Word, to draw closer to Jesus, to live like Jesus, and to teach and share based on Biblical salvation. To live Biblical love. The Love of Christ.

You see, the thing is, we are ALL under attack. The best Christian speakers of the world are under attack. We are never NOT under attack. Our Personal Relationships with Jesus are so incredibly, unbelievably, totally important. I’m only just really beginning to learn this. To really begin to understand this. Like, just the very outer edges of it I think.

Anyway, I did have that conversation with my friend. Even though it was really hard for me. Even though it was completely out of character for me. I did it. She was so sweet, and so amazing. She even tried to apologize to me! I couldn’t accept it though, and I told her I couldn’t.

Why? Because all is for God’s glory.

This lead to my husband having the opportunity to step into his leadership role with me, and gave me an opportunity to submit to his authority as my husband. WOW. (If you have known me all my life, this is a HUGE WOW, like HUGE, me and submitting is an ever growing process, praise God for never giving up on me!)

It allowed me to sit back and really see the importance of simply being in, and meditating on, and praying over, God’s Word. His Holy Bible. The Living Word that is above all other books.

It reminded me of the importance of always having my armor of TRUTH on. No matter what book I’m reading, which Bible I’m combing through, I must always be ready to submit to the All High Authority, His word, His will.

It forced me to step out of my comfort zone and have a conversation, out of love, with a sister in Christ.

So how does this all tie in together?

  • It is totally OK to have a Bible with all the “extra stuff” in it, however, I always want to have a Bible that is simply His word with no distractions.
  • I must always have my armor of Truth on. Because it will be attacked every single day, it will weaken and dent with the blows. The only way to keep it strong, to reinforce it, is to spend some time in God’s Word daily.
  • God gave us teachers to help us. Part of fellowship, of growing, of learning. The key is to test every teacher against the Scriptures. We can only do this if we, ourselves, are learning, living, breathing the Scriptures.
  • Why am I sharing all of this? Because somewhere in the day to day happenings of life, I forgot some of this. Because when untruth’s are taught, even slight ones, it damages the hearts of people. It turns people away from the all loving, all wonderful, all amazing Jesus. That my friends, that is what makes it a heart break.

Some of you may be big fans of Mrs. Meyer, or some of the others I have mentioned, or even others I have not mentioned. I will simply end with this, we must always, ALWAYS test our teachers by holding their teachings against the Scriptures and seeing if they match. We must ALWAYS hold ourselves against the Scriptures when we are teaching.

And over it all, I simply fall down, at the cross, and pray for His grace to wash over me daily.

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Thoughtful Thursday: “Your Heart Racing Anxiety Has Run It’s Course” Sayeth The Lord

I’ve had anxiety problems for years.

My anxiety problems have raged to the point I’ve had to seek medical help in the past. In one very dark time in my life I was on multiple medications with a medical diagnosis of PTSD, Anxiety Disorder, and Bipolar II disorder.

In addition to this, I’ve also struggled with being a “perfectionist“. Finding my self worth in my “perfectionism“. Setting for myself unrealistic expectations and then pushing myself to the point of a nervous breakdown trying to uphold them.

I say all this so one may understand what angle I’m coming from as I try to organize the many thoughts that have been rambling in my head the last 48 hours.

To attempt to grasp the severity of how my anxiety has effected my life, let me share just a few examples of what used to be “normal” to me:

  • Driving in the car, thinking about someone I love dying (husband, son, step-daughter, etc.) to the point that I am sobbing, crying uncontrollably and being so caught up in those fears that I lose myself in them completely, to the point that I’m talking out loud, to myself, in the car, as if I’m really in “that moment” of loss.
  • Laying in bed at night, trying to sleep. I start thinking about something that happened earlier in the day, then think about what “could” have happened, then think about my past, painful, hurtful moments in my past. I toss and turn and toss and turn, finally having to physically get out of bed or splash water on my face to try and break the thoughts.
  • The thought of going into a crowd of people, or meeting a crowd of new people, sends my heart racing. Racing to the point that it fills my chest and my ears and then I find myself worrying about my heart and wondering if I’m about to have a heart attack.
  • I’ve had panic attacks just sitting on the couch, when my thoughts have ran away from me.
  • I love going home to visit, however, typically the entire day before, and during the drive down, all I can visualize in my head is my entire family dying in a fiery car crash. So I usually become nearly obnoxious in trying to be “funny” and talk and do anything I can to attempt to distract myself from the visions playing in my head.
  • I want to someday go to a tropical island, however the thought of riding in a plane that far speeds my heart right up. I see it crashing. I see death. The few plane rides I have taken, again, I spend it looking out the window, feeling sick to my stomach and willing myself to not throw up because I’m afraid of the impending plane crash I just know is coming.
  • Every time I go to get on a roller coaster, or any other type of ride, even though I love them on the one hand, on the other, as I wait in line, I see it running off the track. I see something breaking and myself and those I love falling to our deaths.
  • Listening to my son dream about his future, talking about joining the military someday, or being a missionary and traveling the world, I feel my breath quicken and I immediately jump to worrying about his death and how he will die.
  • I have avoided going to places altogether, because of the gripping fear of going there “alone”. Of not knowing anyone. I have avoided involving my son in extra curricular activities because of the fear, the anxiety, of having to take him to and from. There have been times that when my husband and I would go to pick my son up from our church youth group, I would all but beg to stay in the car because I simply did not want to walk into the building. For reasons I don’t even know anxiety would fill up my heart. There have been many times I have lashed out at my husband when we have gone places because I simply did not want to get out of the car.
  • The first time I went skiing with my husband, as we got closer to the mountain, I could feel my heart start to race. Fear seemed to grip me. I don’t even remember what I was afraid of. It was just, happening. I not only got snippy with my husband, however, immediately after being snippy, I cried.
  • Every new freckle is cancer. Every head ache is a possible aneurysm. Every bug bite is a deadly disease. I say it as thought I’m joking about it, however, the truth, the brutal cold truth, is those are my true first thoughts.

For the most part I have hidden this side of me fairly well. I used to think the best way to confront my anxiety was simply to force myself  to do things. So while there were many times I did not do and avoided altogether, there are many times I’ve forced myself to do things with anxiety eating away at my insides.

I now see the danger in this.

I’ve learned how to fake a smile like a pro in public.
I’ve learned how to fake a laugh like a pro.
I’ve learned how to pretend, to not be authentic, to lie on some very deep personal level to myself and those around me.

In other words, I did not address the anxiety problem.
I was simply covering it up even more. Burying my secret even deeper, allowing it to gnaw away at my insides in ways I cannot explain.

And who took the brunt force of that pain, frustration, fear, anger, and sadness that the gnawing left exposed and raw and hurting? My husband. At times, my son. At times, my step-daughter. Mostly, my husband.

Oh the realization of that, the complete honesty of really “saying it” out loud brings tears  to my eyes.

I became a homemaker in July. It was something my family needed desperately, however, I had no idea just how much I may have needed it on a personal level. What it has allowed me to see, is the extent of my anxiety. The brutal truth of how devastating my fears and anxiety have been. The brutal truth how unreal I was being with myself. The brutal truth of how much stress, worry, fear,  and anxiety I was filling up my mind, my heart, and my soul with.

Slowly, over the course of summer, I found some peace in serving my family. I found more time to talk with my son, with my husband. More time for us to be relaxed without worrying about the never ending to-do list. Blessings. Then I found more time to read. To study. To be discipled. To pray. More blessings.

Then I realized I wasn’t thinking about death every day. I had days, whole, entire days, where I didn’t think about death. I had whole, entire days, where my heart was not consumed with fear.

And that thought, immediately, put fear into me. I was having anxiety about not having anxiety.

More prayer. More reading. More studying. More blessings.

Which brings us to today.

The two books I’m currently reading, both hit me in the last 48 hours with a message I felt the Lord was delivering to me. I felt as though He was holding my hand and saying, “My daughter, it is time for you to come to me, and let me heal your fears, let me take your anxiety, let me transform what you’ve known, and give you my peace.

In other words, it’s time to let go of the bondage of anxiety. 

Out of “Humility: True Greatness“, I read the following on Tuesday:

“Where there’s worry, where there’s anxiousness, pride is at the root of it. When I am experiencing anxiety, the root issue is that I’m trying to be self-sufficient. I’m acting independent of God.”

“The issue isn’t God. It’s my pride that resists trusting in Him through depending upon Him.”

“Sin – including especially the sin of pride – is active, not passive. Sin doesn’t wake up tired, because it hasn’t been sleeping. When you wake up in the morning, sin is right there, fully awake, ready to attack. So rather than be attacked by sin in the morning, I’ve chosen to go on the offensive. I’ve chosen to announce to sin, “I’m at war with you. I know you’re there, and I’m after you.” From the moment I awake, I’ve learned to make statements to God about my dependence upon God, and in this way I’m humbling myself before God.

“All the cares coming my way are actually provided by God specifically for the purpose of cultivating humility in my life.”

Out of “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World“, I read the following yesterday/this morning:

“When God tells us in the Bible not to worry, it isn’t a suggestion. It’s a command. Worry and/or anxiety is specifically mentioned twenty-five times in the New Testament along as something we should avoid.”

“If my God isn’t bigger than life, then my life is bigger than God – and that’s when anxiety takes over.”

“What we put in our minds affects our hearts. And out of the abundance of our hearts, our mouths speak.”

“We cannot underestimate the effect of what we think about. The war of worry, as well as the trial of temptation, is won and lost on the battlefield of our minds.”

“Will we pray? Or will we worry? We really can’t do both.”

The Bible Verses Brought to my attention in the last two days are:

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s might hand, that he may life you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” ~1 Peter 5:6-7

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11: 28-30

“The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way that are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” ~Luke 8:14

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~John 16:33

“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 9:5

“Finally, brothers, 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

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:19

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7

The thoughts that have been planted as seeds in my mind, and today, are beginning to take root:

  • I need must acknowledge that I need God. The amount of “respect” the world has placed on self-sufficiency is simply the worlds view. It is simply pride trying to hide in yet another facet of my life. God calls us to come before Him with a humble heart. He hates pride. Because with pride, we don’t need Him. We don’t want Him. With self-sufficiency, we look inward instead of Godward. Instead of Christward. I’m tired of being self-sufficient. I’m tired of being prideful.
  • I need must acknowledge that Jesus paid my ransom. He paid a price that was because of me. He suffered a death, a death that was not because of His sins, because He is sinless. It was because of mine. I must humble myself at His cross, to truly accept what He has done for me, to go to Him for my needs.
  • I need must pray about ALL things. I must capture these thoughts that have been binding me for years, and give them to God. I must cast my cares on Him, and take His yoke. I will have trials. I will have problems that I am faced with. God has told me that again and again in His word. Yet my trials, will draw me nearer to Him. My trials will grow my spirit in Him. My trials will grow my love in Him, that I may better reflect His love to my husband, my children, the world.
  • I need must be active about this. I cannot sit idly by. Satan will attack me. Again and again and again. As I lay down, as I first wake up, those last thoughts, those first thoughts, Satan will do whatever he can to attempt to capture those thoughts so that my mind falls into the trap of fear, worry, and anxiety. I must actively pray. I must actively humble myself before my all powerful, all loving, all amazing, all great, all able-to-transform-me-and-free-me-from-this-prison-of -anxiety God. To be faithful. To trust Him, completely, to trust Him with my worries, my fears, my problems. To trust Him who always has my best interest at heart. To trust Him who always only wants the best for me because of His perfect love for me.

I feel like I’ve heard the Lord’s message to me. I feel like I’m finally reaching up, to take His hand, bow my head, admit, confess, and repent of my pride, and start following.

My plan: To wake up every day, and acknowledge my need for Him first thing every morning. To acknowledge my need for Him as I lay down every night to sleep. Throughout the day, as soon as a thought of fear, worry, or anxiety comes to fill my mind, I will capture that thought and pray. I will cast it upon Him, so that I may be free to instead take His yoke. I know that there are some thoughts that are so deeply ingrained that I may give them to Him, and then attempt to take them back again. I will just keep giving them to Him, over and over, actively fighting against allowing those thoughts to fill my heart. Because I know, deep down, He is truly my only way to freedom.

In closing of my rambling spiderweb of thoughts here, I’ll share this. I created this fairly quickly yesterday after reading Chapter five in “Humility: True Greatness“. I put it in a frame, and hung it up in our bathroom. Why the bathroom? Because this is the first room we go into after we wake up, and last room we go into before going to bed. Simply as a reminder to me, first and last thing every day, and throughout the day.

For anyone else out there who suffers from anxiety, fear, stress, and worry, my prayer for us all is that we will be able to put our faith in our Lord and Savior, because He can handle it, He wants to handle it, that we may be free in Him and filled with His peace.

In Love & Faith,
RaZella

Off with the Old and On with the New

I found myself back in Colossians today for this morning’s reading and meditation time. I continued into Chapter 3, which in my reading is broken into two different headings:

  • Rules for Holy Living
  • Rules for Christian Households
Sometimes I hear people attack the Bible for it’s “rules”. I think we all, believer and non-believer alike, have probably attacked or scoffed at the rules even if we’ve done it secretly. Maybe just a simple refusal to follow. That inside rebellious voice (that I must assume sounds very much like a child on the verge of throwing an all out temper tantrum) says “Well, it doesn’t REALLY mean that because I know better and that was written too long ago to apply to what I want today.”

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