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The Slippery Road of Unfaithfulness

Love and faithfulness are fruit of the spirit. Neither can come out of us apart from Christ. We may claim we love someone without having a relationship with Christ but what happens when the other person isn’t loving us back? Are we still loving them? What if they don’t make us happy any more or don’t supply our needs? How do we react? Are we faithful to stay or do we turn our hearts away?

True Godly love only comes from the spirit of God and it cannot be manufactured without him. The same goes for faithfulness. Some might say, well I’m faithful in my marriage I’ve never cheated on my spouse. A physical line might not have been crossed but has emotional one?

In our marriages, our first love must be God himself. He is loving and He is faithful to us. He will meet every need we have when we place him first. When we do this, It opens us up to love our spouse rather than feel needy toward our spouse desiring them to fill a hole only God can fill. But if we do not have God first in our lives our sin nature is to be self seeking. We turn our backs on God first. As we become unfaithful to him this unfaithfulness trickles down into our marriages.

Unfaithfulness doesn’t start off as a torrid affair. No, if that was the case we could see the enemy’s schemes and temptations and run. It comes slowly and slippery. It comes comfortably and what seems to be justified. We all have different ways we desire to be loved and when it is not fulfilled by our creator through a relationship with him and is not met by our spouse (which is impossible for them to do fully) we will begin to seek it out in other ways.

Maybe you desire quality time and the opposite sex lends a listening ear. So we cross the emotional line and begin to desire that time with someone else rather than God or our spouse. Maybe you like gifts, and the kind coworker brings in thoughtful tokens of appreciation and you begin returning the favor in kind and your heart moves from your spouse to another. Maybe you are the physical touch person and you begin desiring to see someone else because of the small physical gestures they give you. The pat on the back the hug across the shoulders the rub on the arm and your heart begins to turn away from your spouse. You could prize acts of service and delight in the person that is always so thoughtful in helping you out and begin to turn your heart away from your spouse. You might need words of affirmation. Where you might not get them at home, you seek to get them else where. Where ever the need is being met, our selfish and unfaithfulness will cause us to keep craving it from that place. We will invest more of our time, our heart and our mind there. We will desire to be where the need is seemingly being met rather than being with God or our spouse. Our desire for God and spouse will fade. Where we once cared, we will no longer care, we will just keep going where we think the need is being met. There may never be an intentional thought of hurting our spouse but the selfishness and sin that is in everyone of us only brings destruction and separation.

How is your relationship with God? How is your relationship with your spouse? Have you been emotionally faithful to them or have you began to walk down the road of unfaithfulness? We won’t see the devastating effects of unfaithfulness until we are well down the road. I pray that if you are on that road that you turn first back to the Lord and then back to your spouse. If you are a hurting spouse, I pray that you seek every need you have in the Lord. Allow Him to restore you and love you. Allow Him to heal your broken heart and help you to forgive and love as he loves despite the situation and circumstance.

Scripture

“He replied, ” You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:37-39‬ ‭

“I say be guided by the Spirit and you won’t carry out your selfish desires. A person’s selfish desires are set against the Spirit, and the Spirit is set against one’s selfish desires. They are opposed to each other, so you shouldn’t do whatever you want to do. But if you are being led by the Spirit, you aren’t under the Law. The actions that are produced by selfish motives are obvious, since they include sexual immorality, moral corruption, doing whatever feels good, idolatry, drug use and casting spells, hate, fighting, obsession, losing your temper, competitive opposition, conflict, selfishness, group rivalry, jealousy, drunkenness, partying, and other things like that. I warn you as I have already warned you, that those who do these kinds of things won’t inherit God’s kingdom. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the self with its passions and its desires. If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit. Let’s not become arrogant, make each other angry, or be jealous of each other.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:16-26‬ ‭CEB‬‬

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Practicing Rest

This morning as I was praying, I was made acutely aware that I was approaching the end of summer very quickly. Even more so, I was approaching a host of commitments I had on my plate that I really needed to get prepared for. My mind swirled for a minute, where do I begin? How do I prepare? The Lord took me a very different preparation route than I expected. He told me I needed to practice resting. What?!?! resting?!? How is this going to help me stay ahead or the at least on schedule with everything I will have to do? This is His beautiful explanation to me:

Our walk with the Lord is a marathon race. Paul describes it as a race in 1 Corithians 9, and we are to go into strict training and we are to beat our bodies and make them our slave. Well, let’s say before a big race I trained only in the weight room. I built up my muscles and and made them strong and powerful. I focused solely on the strengthening of my skeletal muscles that I never actually strengthened my heart and lungs for a longer race. The heart and lungs, a vital part in endurance, will not be strong enough to carry the necessary oxygen to these powerful muscles to keep them from fatiguing and cramping. Come big race day, I might have prepared but I did not prepare correctly. I will begin the race fast and strong but I will soon tire quickly and become fatigued and overwhelmed. I will not be able to finish the race. However, if I train appropriately strengthening the heart and the lungs I will learn to pace myself and take the necessary “breathers” that I will need to persevere.

Learning to rest, which seems ridiculous that you would need to learn to rest, is the training of the heart and lungs for the marathon season that lays ahead. So what types of rest are there? The Lord pointed out that I need three types of rest:

1. Spiritual Rest: this is resting in the Lord. Finding solitude with Him every day. Having Him renew my mind and resting/trusting in His assurances. This rest prioritizes everything else in life. It is where anxiety and stress is laid down and peace is picked up. This is where I can say I don’t have to do it all, and I let go of worldly expectations.

2. Mental Rest: This rest is a pouring into of the mind. So often life demands so much of us mentally. Always thinking of what we have to do. We also pour out into others lives praying and caring for others. Mental rest is a time to pour back into our minds. The best source to pour in is scripture because it feeds all parts of our body. Paul also speaks about whatever if lovely, honorable or praise worthy think about such things. I found when I listen to praise music or read a Christ centered book for my encouragement or teaching this pours into my mind and gives me rest from pouring out.

3. Physical rest: This rest seems to be a no brainer but too often it doesn’t happen. In America, if you aren’t moving and going you are losing or falling behind. We even have a city that is considered the city the never sleeps. Physical rest is stepping away from our normal every day work to pour into our bodies. Sometimes that is literally a nap. Other times it is exercise or a fun activity that honors the Lord.

When we pour what is good into our bodies and minds, it comes back out. For a long time, the enemy deceived me about rest. I was convinced that I must keep going. I must keep serving. Taking time away was selfish but where that landed me was an extremely overwhelmed and stressed out mom who had a short fuse. The enemy hates when Gods people rest, because rest restores the Lords army to keep waging war. If we never rest, we will become battle fatigued and overwhelmed. So how are you resting? Is rest apart of your life? Your family’s life? We all have our marathon seasons to run will you have trained in all ways including rest so that you can endure when the pressure is on?

Scripture

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:24-27

“Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2:3‬ ‭

“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:15-16‬

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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. 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.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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The Marriage Garden

Marriages are like gardens. It requires the intentional tending to by three gardeners God, Husband and wife. Every good fruit that comes from that garden is from the Lord but it will have been worked through by the hands of the husband and wife. The couple must be diligent and intentional in the care of the garden. Pulling weeds when first spotted and planting seeds that bring forth fruit. The every day work of watering and pruning must happen to keep a healthy garden and a healthy marriage. Although, the work at times will be difficult and even mundane the fruit that it will produce will be ever lasting.

Likewise, if the couple does not put forth intentional daily work the once fruitful plants begin to dry out and wilt. When weeds are allowed to grow, it chokes out the flowering plants. When we neglect our duties as gardeners, we not only stifle growth of our garden but eventually it will allow the weeds of sin, selfishness, pride and bitterness to totally choke out every good thing.

How intentional is your gardening? Do you lovingly care for the garden allowing the Lord to work through you pulling weeds and planting seeds? Or do you sit back and neglect your garden by allowing your partner to do all the toilsome work or refusing to do any work because of bitterness?

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Being Drug behind Our Calling

Since I was a teenager, I knew I was called to be a mother and raise godly children. There was no doubt in my mind that was the task God had given me in life. Still to this day, I believe with 110% certainty.

As I stepped into motherhood, I soon found out this task was extremely difficult. The more children I had the more difficult it got. I was simply surviving life. I was exhausted and overwhelmed by my blessings but I just kept pushing forward because well…it was my calling. I was made for this wasn’t I?

I would pray for rest but I refused to slow down because there was always something to do. I would pray for help but I wouldn’t release control of expectations. I was frustrated and I was angry and I was overwhelmed. I felt defeated all too often because I would constantly fail to meet my expectations and I felt lonely because I felt like my husband didn’t meet my expectations. It was a miserable state to be in.

But God in his kindness and gentleness sent road blocks along my path to catch my attention. He taught me to focus on Him not my calling. He taught me to work from His strength and not my own. He taught me the crucial need for rest and letting go of my expectations for my life, for myself, and for my marriage. I began to adopt a much slower pace of life. My calendar may have many things on it but the intensity of each task has slowed. I can trust that everything does not have to be completed right away. That it will all be handled in his timing. It has opened me up to enjoy life to enjoy my family and to live in the present with an eternal mindset rather than just living on the edge of survival.

Walking with Christ in your calling VS Being Drug Behind your Calling‬ ‭

Mindset While Being Drug Behind Your Calling

  • It has to be done ASAP
  • I’m tired but I have no time to rest there is too much to do
  • It needs to be done NOW
  • I’m alone if no one is with me
  • I’m overwhelmed with stuff to do
  • I’m so busy
  • I’m just surviving
  • Everything else can wait but I have to complete this task
  • If only people would understand
  • I can’t do this anymore
  • The calling comes before the quiet time with the Lord
  • I must push forward no mater what
  • I’m afraid of failing

Your Mindset While Walking With Christ in your calling

  • “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭
  • “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah‬ ‭40:31‬ ‭
  • ““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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 Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm‬ ‭23:1-4‬ ‭
  • “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.” Isaiah‬ ‭41:10‬ ‭
  • “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm‬ ‭27:14‬
  • “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.” PROVERBS‬ ‭28:26‬ ‭
  • “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans‬ ‭8:31‬ ‭
  • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6

The greatest feeling is when we have surrendered up control and begin to rest in the Lord presence. We begin to experience peace, contentment, strength, perseverance and joy. We go from simply surviving to keep up to stepping intentionally on the path the Lord has for us. This change does not come easily and it is not a one and done thing. It is a every day surrender sometimes a minute by minute surrender but we can be assured if we are walking with the Lord he cares for us the entire way. He does not push forward while dragging us behind him.

Daily Reminders

Internal Transformation Brings True Change

Some thoughts during my morning quiet time:

If my circumstances were different my marriage would be better. If my husband/wife only ___________ (full in the blank) then my marriage would be better. You could do the same for children, parenting, family, careers etc.. We focus on external change, thinking if we could simply change circumstances or people we would somehow come to a place of joy, peace, and contentment. However, if we really look at what we desire joy, peace, and contentment these things are only found in God alone. No external change in our life will supply those needs. Only internal change by the Spirit truly produces those fruits.

So instead of saying “if only my _________ would change.”, we said “Lord, change me, my heart, my mind to produce joy in my marriage, peace in my life and contentment in all circumstances.” How then would our perceptions of those around us look? How would we feel about our marriages, our children and parenting?

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:12-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Lessons

The Predator and The Prey

Have you ever watched on National Geographic, a Lion pride stalk and kill its prey? You sit there watching the poor prey animal and thinking run little zebra run like the wind, but the lions stalks silently. The prey may hear the soft rustle of the grass as the lions inch forward giving them a head start but many still remain with their head down until the lions pounce and it’s all over.

This gruesome scene of the unsuspecting prey and cunning predator is all to familiar to the spiritual attacks we receive from Satan and his gang of followers. The question that really has me pondering on is “am I the unsuspecting prey?” Do I live life with my head down oblivious to the stalking predator watching me and waiting to pounce? Do I just go about my work my daily life not thinking too much of possible spiritual dangers? Am I the zebra so involved in munching my grass that I have wandered away from the protection of my heard? Have I got so caught up doing good things that my focus has shifted from God to my work? These moments of slight deviation from the Lord puts us ripe for the unsuspecting pounce.

But what if we worked with our eyes open? What if we remembered that when we follow God we will be attacked so we remained alert. We wouldn’t escape an attack but we would be able to defend from it. When we keep our eyes on the Lord and our mind and heart set in truth we will be able to hear the rustle in the grass. We will be able to sense the tension in the air knowing we are being stalked but always on alert and ready to defend with the word of God. We would be able to identify paths that would take us into harms or temptations way.

So, as a believer, how are you living life? Are you staying alert? Ready for the attack? Or are you living oblivious and only realizing you are under severe attack after the enemy has began to pull you down?

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:6-9

Letters of Encouragement

Living Life Eyes Wide Open

I never felt like I fit inside any social box, even from a young age. I always got along with most everyone and could relate to them in one way or another. As I grew in my relationship with the Lord, I found I was never meant to be in any of the boxes. I was not created to fit into a man made mold because I was created to glorify Him with every part of my existence.

This morning an outpouring of thankfulness came from this understanding. I hope it will give others the encouragement to ask God to free them from the boxes that we place ourselves, others and God in.

My mind and the natural mind of humans wants to think in terms of boxes. We want to categorize ourselves and label ourselves. We want to separate and organize and try to make sense of our known world. And what we don’t know we still try to place in boxes of what we do know and neglect what we don’t understand. Instead of pursuing knowledge (that is the knowledge of God) that we lack understanding in, we dismiss it as trivial, unimportant, or too lofty. We dare not not ask for understanding or if we are bold enough to ask, we fight the transformation it requires to understand.

Lord, we will never totally understand and know you with this finite mind but one day in glory we will know you as we are fully known. I rest assured in my life that all I am and how you have designed me and what you have gifted me work in tandem with one another. Every weakness an opportunity for growth. Every circumstance opportunities of preparation to do the work you have called or will call me to do. Good or bad all working toward your end your goal. I cannot see every single connection in its entirety but I know it exists by this simple truth. You are an omnipotent God. You have ordained everyday ahead of me and you know the deepest depths of every woman and man on this earth.

I do not know what lays ahead, but I am empowered and I know it is for my good, whether it feels good or not. Nothing is coincidental all situations and circumstances tied and linked to a greater plan. I am just partied to that greater plan. I desire to live eyes wide open to watch the master creator put together and weave lives to one another to further His kingdom. I want live life knowing I am not simply here to exist but God has purposes and plans for me, great or small. I want to live life surrendered to the Lord, so that I am free to take part in his blessings and glory in my life. Lord I thank you for freeing me from the box that I knew I never belonged in.