Is Defeat Eating Your Lunch?

Today I want us to ponder something that all of us experience, yet many never find a way to crawl out of. But I know there is a way. Is there an area of your life in which you constantly feel defeated? A portion of your walk where you cannot seem to consistently walk in victory? If you answered ‘NO’, I’m here to give you a HIGH FIVE. But if you, like me, answered with a resounding ‘YES’, I want to share with you what the Lord spoke to me recently about this matter. I have an area where I just cannot seem to consistently walk in victory. I want to BADLY, yet it seems, more often than not, I default to defeat. The Lord showed me that I must begin the battle for victory in my mind. That is where it all begins. I must take seriously Psalm 19:14 and let the words of my mouth and the MEDITATIONS OF MY HEART be pleasing in the sight of the Lord. He made sure I understood that those meditations, those thoughts that lead to defeat, must be confessed before Him and repented of to Him. Then, I must ask Him to help me replace those thoughts with godly, Christ-like thoughts. In my case, as I confessed my thoughts, He showed me that I was defaulting to selfish and self-centered thoughts, rather than humble, others-first ones. Oops! That bites! Because really, who likes to think of themselves as selfish and self-centered? Will I immediately walk in victory over this area of defeat? Maybe, but not likely. Satan does not want...

How Strong is Your Core?

In my early 20s I began exercising, walking at least 30 – 50 minutes each day. This pattern continued into my 30s and 40s. My walking path included several very long and steep hills, giving me a great cardio workout. In my late 40s I developed bursitis in both of my hips and was forced to decrease my walking and find other ways to get the exercise I needed. I began swimming at the local gym. For several years I walked 2-3 days per week and swam laps 2-3 days per week, giving me a nice variety of exercise that satisfied my inner Richard Simmons!! Then, along came January 22, 2016 ~~ the day that will live in infamy, at least as far as I am concerned. It was on that day as I was innocently walking through my office that sacro-iliac joint inflammation hit me like a wrecking ball. I wrote about it in THIS post, entitled I’ve Reached My Limit. Needless to say, SI Joint Inflammation has stopped me in my tracks and given me a new view of life. My physical therapy is concentrating on strengthening my core, which includes doing planks. Sounds harmless enough, huh? Do not be fooled. These exercises are straight out of some evil dictator’s torture manual for prisoners! Core? What am I, an apple? What’s the big deal about my core? Glad you asked.     Our core consists of all the muscles in the abdominal area of our bodies. If you were a tree, your core would be the trunk which allows you to rise to the sky and stand...

Encouragement for When Life Hits Hard

As I prayed into today’s post, the Lord brought to mind one of the quotes from Bob Goff’s book, Love Does. “When Jesus invites us on an adventure, He shapes who we become with what happens along the way.” I am a fan of political thriller novels, which always involve a main character that perseveres through deception and danger to emerge the hero of the story. This type of novel is packed with hold-your-breath moments where you are not sure if the hero will make it out alive (of course, they will because they are the HERO of the story). If we were to interview the main character in the middle of the storyline when they are being shot at or tortured, ‘adventure’ would probably not be the word they would use to describe their current circumstance. They might say that life is painful and hard, and they would probably want to quit. Ultimately, though, they persevere, and who they are at the end of the novel is the sum total of what they have experienced in the preceding pages. Without exception, life for humans can be hard, and it does not always feel like an adventure. There are times of joy and pleasure, as well as times of pain and trial. Some days flow over us like a gentle breeze, while others twist us like a tornado. But, there is hope.     For the Christ-follower, there will be a day that you will look back on our lives and become fully aware of what God was doing in the tough times. Until that day, however, you may...

4 Things Jesus Wants You to Know About Hell

Last year I wrote a post about HELL entitled What About Hell?: 4 Things Satan Does Not Want You to Understand About Hell. It was the most read and pinned post that I have ever offered. Although we do not hear many sermons on the topic of hell, people are apparently very interested in it. As Christians who have the answer and antidote to hell, it is our responsibility to tell those who are not yet believers about heaven and about hell. Jesus spoke frequently of hell in the Scriptures, so I believe we are wise to consider His perspective. Today, I want us to do just that. There are 4 things that Jesus wants you to understand about hell.     Hell is a real place In Revelation 1:18 Jesus appears to John on the Isle of Patmos and declares that He holds the keys to death and hell, or Hades. While there is debate over whether Jesus actually descended into hell in the three days between his death and resurrection, the Revelation passage makes it abundantly clear that Jesus has personal experience with hell. It may be simply because He was part of creating it, or because He has been there. Either way, He holds the keys. When you purchase a car or home and receive the keys that will open or start your purchase, you also receive a title that proclaims you to be the owner. Jesus has the keys to hell. Clearly, He owns it. Hell was never created for man. It was created to be the place where Satan and his demons would suffer...

Learning to Embrace My 2016 Word

Sometimes you pray and ask God for something that you think you really want. Then, when He answers your prayers, you discover that perhaps you are a just a little bit miffed at the answer He gave. So it is with my One Word for 2016. For the past several years I have asked the Lord for a word that would define the coming year. A word that I could lean into. A word that He would use and bring to pass in my life that year. Each year He has been faithful to give me a word, or two. Each year that word has impacted my life in ways that I cannot even begin to recount. 2012 ………………. TRUST 2013 ………………. JESUS ……………… FOCUS 2014 ……………… LOSS……………….OTHERS 2015 ……………… RENEW I’ll just tell you, though, I do not like my word for 2016 one little bit. I’ve told Him that. This word will require something of me. Not that the other words and years did not. Oh, boy did they! This one, however, is different. If you know me at all, you know that I am a Type A controller. I have little patience for laziness or shirking one’s responsibilities. My motto has always been ‘if I want something done right, I just need to do it myself’. I go like a crazy woman from the time my feet hit the floor until I drop in bed. I feel guilty if I am not productive, and lists are my very best friend. Oh, I would love to just plop in a chair and read for a few hours,...

Color Your World

I have decided to write on a single word prompt for today’s post. It is always interesting when I approach a piece in this manner, because I find that the Lord speaks incredibly loudly to me as I focus on a single word. The word that I chose to write about is the word BLUE.     I reach up high in the closet in my guest bedroom and pull down a box. A very old box full of Crayola Crayons. They are my crayons from childhood. The box is tattered and patched with tape. I know what I will find when I open it, and I hesitate for a moment. The past year has offered many ‘ugly cry’ moments as I mourn the passing of my Mother and the unraveling of some family relationships. Opening my box of crayons could bring on another ugly cry, yet I decide to open them anyway because I need inspiration for this post. Inside the box the crayons are neatly organized by color. My eyes scan for the grouping of BLUE crayons. There on the bottom row I find them. Thirteen different BLUE crayons. Each unique. Some well used, others not so much. I also find two notes, hand-written by my Mother. One reminds me that my crayons are now antiques, (I ponder whether that might mean that I am an antique as well???) and that when I am her age, I will appreciate them. I am now the age she was when she wrote that note, and I do appreciate them. The other note tells me that some of the crayon colors have been retired....

Does God Care About Me?

Sometimes a day can just wring every ounce of hope out of your soul. Sometimes an hour can, too. Your physician’s office calls and says they need to see you back in the office ASAP. The mailman drops a(nother) late notice from the power company in your hand. The flashing blue lights on the police car behind you do NOT mean there is a blue light special at Walmart. Your husband says he doesn’t love you anymore. The pot roast has a distinctively charred look about it. Your children cannot seem to speak one kind word to each other. And on top of it all, it is THAT time of the month. It is in those moments that we are tempted to think, Does God care about me? Does He know what is happening in my life? Where is God in all of this mess?     I’ve been there. So have you. Our eyes tend to focus on the immediate: the circumstance that is filling the entire space of our heart in that moment. When our life takes a decided turn for the worst, our first thought may be that God has abandoned us, that He doesn’t care what is happening to us. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Just because we cannot see God does not mean He does not care. He cares deeply. Today I want to encourage you with two verses from the Psalms: The Lord will record, when He registers the peoples: “This one was born there.” Selah. Psalm 87:6 (NKJV) God keeps a record of each person, and in that...

Stumbles

I blew it! I messed up. Oh, it was not a big thing, but enough to make me feel like a failure. In life. In my marriage. In my faith. I failed to have a servant heart. I failed to love my husband well and serve him. I was prideful and self-serving. I thought speaking my mind on a matter would make me feel better…would make right something that I perceived as a wrong toward me. It did not. And I felt terrible about it afterward. Pride! Selfishness! I am never more like Satan than when I allow pride to creep in and convince me that I am all that and a bag of chips: when I allow selfishness to engulf me. Stumbles. We all blow it from time to time. We all mess up. It may not be a big thing, but then again…it might. In life. In our relationships. In our faith.   Stumbles. You want to hear some good news, friend?     God is not surprised at our stumbles, nor is He disgusted by them. When you and I have a heart that longs to please God: when we have a will and a desire to walk in His way, God is pleased even with our stumbles. So, hear this friend….deep into the recesses of your heart…hear this:   You are not defined by your stumbles.   You are NOT DEFINED by your stumbles, any more than a baby is defined by its stumbling efforts to learn to walk. You may feel that your stumbles define you, but that is a lie from Satan. Do...

Finding Quiet Time

Is your life loud? Does the noise of your world crowd out the peace that should be in your heart as a follower of Jesus Christ? Today I am pondering the benefits of quiet time. I am not speaking of having a quiet time with Jesus. I’m all about that, and strongly encourage you to have one! Rather, I want us to think about times of quiet, where there is no television, no electronic media, no radio…just quiet solitude.   In my day job as a pharmacist, I am constantly bombarded by noise…telephones ringing, employees asking questions, patients wanting my attention, printers spitting out labels, the door chime ringing, sounds of tablets being poured out of and into bottles…constant noise. By the end of a ten-hour day, when I get home, I am DONE with noise and activity.  In the past, my end of the workday routine was that I would get in my car, turn on The Message (Sirius SM Radio), and drive the 40 miles home. My husband would be waiting for me, wanting a hug and a chat. I, on the other hand, would NOT. Instead, I just wanted to eat a few bites of supper and hide for about 30 minutes. Needless to say, that is not a great prescription for happiness in marriage. Now, I’m a slow learner, so give me some grace here. It was just in the last couple of weeks that I realized that I had the power to change how I reacted to my man when I walked in the door after a day at the pharmacy. I know….DUH!!!  Jesus gave us the example in Luke 5:16 (NIV) But Jesus often withdrew to lonely...

Popping the Christian Bubble

The Lord has been teaching me a very important lesson in the past few months. I grew up in church. My earliest memories are of church…the nursery, Vacation Bible School, Sunday school, people being baptized, mission organizations and activities, sitting in ‘big’ church and thinking that the preacher would never finish, singing in the youth choir, hearing the stories of Noah and Moses and David and Paul. I understood what it meant to be ‘saved’ and ‘baptized’. The reasons for the rainbow and the Lord’s Supper and so many other Christian traditions were ingrained in me since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I have lived in a Christian Bubble for the entirety of my life.     Perhaps the same is true of you. But, maybe not. Which brings me to the lesson the Lord has been teaching me. I have a new friend who grew up in a denomination where the members are never encouraged to read the Bible. They are not taught the lovely Bible stories that I learned as a child. They are not encouraged to have a personal relationship with Jesus. They have no idea who or what the Holy Spirit is. Please know that I am not belittling that denomination in any way. It just is what it is. My friend joined my Tuesday morning Bible study group, and unwittingly, we have baptized her with fire. She bought herself her very first Bible a month or so before joining our group. She has been through 1 and 2 Thessalonians with Beth Moore and our group. She is studying the topic of Covenant with...