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

Daily Reminders

A Journey Towards Being Physically and Spiritually Healthy

I struggle deeply with stress eating and being physically unhealthy. Many would say, “you just have to get up and do it” and yes while that is true, I not only want to be healthy physically but I want to be healthy spiritually. God has been laying heavy on my heart about the connections between my physical health and my spiritual one and how both can effect the other.

I am not new to the health and wellness scene. Growing up I was very active in sports. Although I ate poorly, it didn’t matter much because I ran it all off. Once I quit the routine sports, my unhealthy eating habits caught up with me. It wasn’t until after my first son was born that I decided to quit making excuses and get back to healthy. I ended up dropping 75lbs in roughly 8 months through healthy eating and exercise. I continued to keep the weight off after my second child was born and then until my last trimesters of my third pregnancy. It was in that third trimester of the third child that my circumstances began to reveal some serious problems within my heart.

Well, I would love to tell you that I surrendered over to God and I went through my valley time having learned all that I needed and I came out better for it…but that wouldn’t be my story. No, I went through my valley kicking and screaming. I was stressed and I blamed any and everything for it. Instead of surrendering, I held on to my ways and I paid dearly for it within my own body. The more time passed the more miserable I became and every issue began showing up in my body. I then got pregnant with our 4th child and the baby weight just added onto the issue.

Instead of turning to God about my stress I just self medicated with food. The endorphins that were released, when I ate, took the edge off an otherwise crazy day of raising and homeschooling kids. In other words, I had turn to food as my comforter rather than my God.

However, over the last few months, God walked me back into that familiar valley I had once walked. The pressure was on and the stress of my life heightened. My body began to severely suffer. My hair started to thin, I gained 10lbs in a matter of months and the scariest for me, my “female body clock” began to malfunction and be delayed. That’s when I took one long and hard look in the mirror at myself. I did not like what I saw physically but I knew my physical problems were only manifestations of my spiritual issues. Even more, I was sickened at the thought of my daughters looking into the mirror and being frustrated and miserable with their bodies, because of a sin I had not surrendered over myself, so that I could teach them a new way.

So begins my health journey. Not so much a weight loss journey, because that will come in the end, but a journey towards honoring God with my body, heart and mind.

Daily Reminders

The Beauty in Scars

The Lord has taught me a lot about healing recently. This past year has been a series of ups and downs for me spiritually and emotionally. One of the latest things he has pointed out to me is the beauty within a scar.

Scars tend have a bad connotation. A reminder of hurt or pain that we would like to forget but what if we viewed scars in another light?

The Lord gave me eyes to see the state of myself spiritually. I drew a figure of a person and I placed a slash mark on the body for every wound that I felt had been inflicted that tied a lie to my mind. When I looked at the picture, tears welled up in my eyes. I might have thought I had drawn myself but what I drew was Christ. Every slash across him someone else’s sin. Every slash across him my sin. Every slash across the figure my sin spewing out across my children and husband.

He showed me however, my wounds are different. Some of my wounds are scarred over and infection is underneath. I had forgiven the original hurt but I had allowed a lie of who I was become an infection; That when current hurt brushes across these wounds that mimic the original, I spew my most vile self. The vile self that continues to inflict wounds onto others.

But, the Lord is not just a diagnostician he is The Great Physician. He not only tells me what is wrong, he has the power to heal it. He will have to cut away the wrong thinking and infection and will poor into my wounds wine (his blood) and oil (his spirit- the word) to clean and protect so they can heal properly.

He did remind me that there will be scars left but I have a choice in the way I can view these scars. I can either view them and see who and what hurt me or I can view them and see who healed me. I, like so many out there can view the scars left as a badge of the healing we have received in Christ as a testimony of his power and healing or we can view them only seeing the sin of others and the lies attached.

Although, I have many infected scars and wince at the idea of the discomfort of the cleaning, I am only hopeful of the healing that will come. Through His wounds we are healed.

Scripture

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭53:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.”

‭‭John‬ ‭20:20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.””

‭‭Mark‬ ‭2:17‬ ‭

Daily Reminders

Truths and Lies about Rest

I struggle with rest. I struggle with what rest is and what it is not. These are the things that God has taught me about rest:

Lies about Rest

– Rest is selfish (there is work to be done and you should be working)

– Rest is a weakness or a lack of Spiritual Maturity

– Rest only comes when we complete all of our tasks.

– Rest looks only one way for all people

Truths about Rest

– Sabbath means to cease or to rest

– Resting is righteous and is holy

– Rest is necessary and needed

– Rest is from God and is done through Him

– It is done in conjunction with prayer, meditation on the word of God and abiding in Christ (staying connected throughout your day with Christ)

– God rested Christ rested

– It is purposeful and productive

– Rest is an intentional slow down of life and a stepping away from the everyday work.

What Rest does

– It restores

– It protects from being overwhelmed and chronic stress

– It is an opportunity for reflection and gratitude.

– It causes more fruit to be produced

– It gives new perspective to current circumstances

– It lends in trusting God’s divine timing by stepping away from the need to complete it all in a rush.

What Rest Does Not Do

– It is not an escape from current circumstances

– It does not change current circumstances

– It does not give you the freedom to step out of God’s will

– It is not a license to be lazy or idol

– It is not a cure all

Rest is a necessary thing for our spiritual and physical health. God the father and Christ himself modeled rest for us. Rest can look different from person to person. It may be something done in solitude or it could be found in a gathering of people. You may be in a season of life like myself, where rest may be taken in small sections daily, either way it all has the same elements. It is done with intentional purpose through God and with Him for the restoration of our mind and body so that we may be able to persevere and continue in on the work that lies before us. “Rest” outside of the eternal mindset will only produce a delay from current circumstances and leave you with discontentment of those circumstances and is not true Rest at all.

Scripture

“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.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭23:2-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 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 ‭2:2-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

““Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:8-11‬ ‭

“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 ‭NIV‬‬

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.””

‭‭Mark‬ ‭6:31‬ ‭NIV‬‬

““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 ‭NIV‬‬

““For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove. “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.”

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭23:10-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Daily Reminders

Practical Advice on Parenting

  • 1.)When life is too busy or you are overwhelmed:
  • Stop-Slow down- Abide

    Stop– whatever you are doing and the route you are taking

    Slowdown– all mental processes (what you have to get done, how this going to effect this or that etc.)

    Abide– Trust God is working, stay connected to him through his word and let go of control.

    ““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 ‭15:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    2.) Remember what he has called you to do and what he has NOT called you to do

    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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

    ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    3.) Remember that small faithful steps in obedience leads to great faith.

    “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.”

    ‭‭James‬ ‭2:22‬ ‭NIV

    4.) Go on walks with your children

    Walking beside another person slows down life so doors may be open for conversations that are missed in the everyday busyness of life. Take the time to stop and look at the world God created. Admire its diversity and beauty. Allow your children to question and wonder. Tie in God’s majesty to the world they are experiencing as they walk. Walks are a representation of our walk with Christ. We may travel the same route each day but each walk brings new experiences and new lessons. Some days it is a daunting task to walk and others, a joy.

    Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

    ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭11:18-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    Lessons

    Finding Purpose In The Fire

    Jeremiah 18:1-12

    Sometimes, God leads us into seasons of life with situations and circumstances that drive us to confront emotions we might try to bury otherwise. I find myself in one of these seasons. In this season, anger and frustration drives me to my knees in front of the Lord almighty. At times, I try to squelch my emotions buy burying them and holding my tongue but this is not what the Lord desires. It is not self control but avoidance of confrontation. If I bury what the Lord uses to draw me near to Him I only bring destruction on myself from within. Knowing I am powerless in my situation, I seek after the one who has all the power. He causes me to confront Him with my big emotions. He draws out of me what is really going on in my heart and brings it to the surface. I hate it but I am grateful for it. It is painful but yet it is comforting. At times though, I fight against the pressure of His mighty hand and I cry out why must you keep me here but He reminds me it is for my good. For if there was no kneading of the clay, a pot could not be formed and I would remain a useless lump.

    I do not enjoy the pains of the kiln burning away my impurities. I do not delight in the pain of the surrounding pressure of life in order to drive me to the Lord but I am thankful. I can find joy in my sufferings because it is not a waste in the hands of the almighty. He forms life out of death, creation from nothingness. He uses these emotions to cultivate a heart and mind aligned with his by drawing out what hinders me. It is a comfort to know, that my God is bigger than my situations and my emotions. It is humbling to be reminded that He is more concerned with my holiness than my happiness.

    Supporting Scripture

    “Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

    ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭64:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

    ‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬