Thursday, May 15, 2014

Spiritual warfare

Satan has a way of making us doubt ourselves.  Whenever I fail, I feel like God can never change me; that it is in my DNA to be the person I am doomed to be.  God should just move on to the next person because there is no hope in me.  But God tells me today that Satan delights in heaping guilt feelings upon us.  He likes to accuse believers of Christ, and if I am being accused, that means I am on the right track.  Satan only attacks those who threaten him.  In order to dodge his attacks, I need to spend daily quiet time with the Lord, mornings being the best time.  Spending time with God is a necessity, not an option.  He will help us fight this battle with Satan if we only call upon His name.

Spending time alone with Him is essential for our well-being.  It is not a luxury or an option; it is a necessity.  Therefore, do not feel guilty about taking time to be with Him.  Remember that Satan is the accuser of believers.  He delights in heaping guilt feelings upon us, especially when we are enjoying His presence.  When we feel Satan's arrows of accusation, we are probably on the right track.  Use our shield of faith to protect ourselves from him.  Talk with Him about what we are experiencing, and ask Him to show us the way forward.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from us.  Come near to Him, and He will come near to us.
Revelation 12:10; Ephesians 6:16; James 4:7-8

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Weak = Strong

The thing that I feel most convicted about is my prayer time, or lack thereof.  As I have stated before, I have replaced prayer time with devotional blogging.  They are not one and the same.  Devotional blogging is one-directional; God speaking to me.  Prayer time, however, is a two-way street; me releasing all my cares and worries onto Him, and Him replacing them with His comfort and peace.  I have a few anxious thoughts going through my mind right now; but instead of praying to Him about it, I am stewing over them, trying to find solutions to my problems.

He is a mighty God.  Nothing is too difficult for Him.  He has chosen to use weak ones like us to accomplish His purposes.  Our weakness is designed to open us up to His power.  Therefore, do not fear our limitations or measure the day's demands against our strength.  Live in trusting dependence on His limitless resources.  Talk with Him, and listen while He talks us through each challenging situation.  He is not a careless God.  When He allows difficulties to come into our lives, He equips us fully to handle them.  Relax in His presence, trusting in His strength.
Luke 1:37; 2 Corinthians 12:9

I am weak, and if God does not show me that through my circumstances, I would live in pride and independence.  I need God to comfort me when life is unpredictable, give me peace when I am anxious and just provide me with the knowledge that He is in control.  As long as we are in the will of God, we are safe.  Instead of trying to fix my own problems, God reminds me to bring them to Him.  Nothing is impossible for Him.  He is our healer, our provider, our shelter.  Prayer might not change my circumstance, but it will give me reassurance that I am doing exactly what God has called me to do.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Wrong = Right

Thank Him in the midst of the crucible.  When things seem all wrong, look for growth opportunities.  Especially look for areas where we need to let go, leaving our cares in His able hands.  Do we trust Him to orchestrate our life events as He chooses, or are we still trying to make things go according to our will?  Worship Him by living close to Him, thanking Him in all circumstances.
1 Peter 5:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:18

My first pregnancy was unplanned.  Do not get me wrong, we were very excited, but Jeremy and I were not even married yet.  We got pregnant four months before our wedding.  This is one of those times where God orchestrated our life.  If we had it our way, we would have waited until EVERYTHING was in line; and by the look of how our life has been played out over the past several years, we would be having our first child now, in our mid 30's.  But we have three beautiful children, and a hectic household, and I would not trade that in for a perfect, careful, planned out life.  God always knows what He is doing, and He just asks us to trust Him and follow along with His perfect plan.

After working out hardcore for 7 weeks straight, I decided to take this week off and concentrate more on my eating habits.  As I have shared before, I have been over-indulging; mainly because I am burned out and I am going back to my old mentality of "I am working out, therefore I can eat whatever I want."  I have noticed that I feel better when I eat healthy vs. working out and eating unhealthy.  I also know it is 80% what you eat, and 20% working out.  I have also read that exercise really does not contribute to weight loss, it just tones and defines.  Besides, it is nice to give your body and mind a little bit of a break.  It will make me stronger and more motivated when I go back next week.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

A friend of mine reminded me last night that I failed to blog on yesterday's devotional.  It was Mother's Day, and a crazy day at that, so it escaped me.  I decided to save it for today instead of doing it late last night.  I was tired, and I did not want to rush through it, missing God's message.

Thank Him for our problems.  As soon as our minds get snagged on a difficulty, bring it to Him with thanksgiving.  Then ask Him to show us His way to handle the situation.  As we turn our attention to Him, the problem fades in significance and loses its power to trip us up.  Most of the situations that entangle our minds are not today's concerns.  He lifts the problem out of today and deposits it in the future.  In its place He gives us His peace, which flows freely from His presence.
Philippians 4:6; John 14:27

Yesterday our pastor preached on Godly mothers.  For the past few weeks, God has been dealing with my insecurities as a mom.  He has convicted me, revealed areas in need of improvement and comforted me when I felt like I was failing.  Yesterday's sermon solidifies all that God has been saying and showing me.  I have a lot of concerns and worries, but they are not today's worries, they are the future's.  I get so consumed about future worries, that it is shown through today's actions.  Worries consume me and affect others.  Let them be in the future, and God will help me through them when I get there.

Learn to relate to others through His love rather than ours.  Our human love is limited, full of flaws and manipulation.  Instead of trying harder to help people through our own supplies, become aware of His unlimited supply.  Let His love envelop our outreach to other people.  Many of us have fallen prey to burnout.  Countless interactions with needy people have drained us, without our conscious awareness.  Take time to rest in the love-light of His presence.  He will gradually restore to us the energy that we have lost.  Go to Him, all who are weary and burdened, and we will find rest for our souls.
Exodus 33:14; Matthew 11:28-29

Being a mom to 3 small children is a demanding job.  Last night I got no more than six hours of sleep; interrupted sleep at that!  Then to wake up and get husband off to work and children off to school.  Then I get a second to breath until everyone comes home and its chaos again.  Do not get me wrong, I love staying home and being a mother.  It is a very rewarding job, but sometimes it drains me.  I have nothing left to give by the end of the day.  Sometimes my children are sent to bed without bedtime stories.  But God reminds me to love my children through His love rather than mine.  His supply is limitless, and he can restore me.  Instead of begging for some kind of relief, I need to find rest in Him.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Growing Pains

Do not resist or run from the difficulties in our lives.  These problems are not random mistakes; they are hand-tailored blessings designed for our benefit and growth.  Embrace all the circumstances that He allows in our lives, trusting Him to bring good out of them.  View problems as opportunities to rely more fully on Him.  When we start to feel stressed, let those feelings alert us to our need for Him.  Thus, our needs become doorways to deep dependence on Him and increasing intimacy between us.  Although self-sufficiency is acclaimed in the world, reliance on Him produces abundant living in His kingdom.  Thank Him for the difficulties in this life since they provide protection from the idolatry of self-reliance.
John 15:5; 2 Corinthians 1:8-9; Ephesians 5:20

I am going through a self-struggle; an inner desire to be a good wife/mom, but an outer struggle to become who I want to become.  In my mind and in my heart, I know I need the fruit of the spirit to take over, but it seems as if my flesh is not willing.  I mess up, and when I do I want to give up, but God tells me today to not run from my difficulties.  Not only does He want me to change, but He wants me to grow as well.  Growth results from difficulties, and I need to trust that He will bring good out of them.  When I am feeling stressed or incompetent, I am relying on myself.  I need to rely on God because only He can provide me with what I need to succeed.

Today was STATday and I am just disappointed in myself.  It seems as if for the past couple of weeks, I have self-indulged.  I gained a pound and a percentage of body fat.  I also gained an inch in my waist.  Even though I have been exercising everyday, I have noticed that it is my eating habit that affects my body and the way I feel.  I need to get a grip on it before food controls me again.  I need to always remember how great I feel when I eat healthy.  That should be motivation enough to pass on the fried foods and continue pushing through.

Friday, May 09, 2014

A Blast from the Past

Alexa is 8 years old.  In the first two years of her life I was not a Christian.  Even when I was saved at the age of 27, I still did not live a life fully devoted to God.  Here I am now, wanting desperately to raise my children in a Christian home.  To teach them how to love others, to put others before themselves, to be patient, kind and compassionate.  "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it" Proverbs 22:6.  Last Thursday I took a parenting class at ladies bible study.  It was taught by a woman that I view as a woman who lives for God.  She said we need to be intentional and active about making God's Word a part of our everyday lives.  That children need a model to go by, and that is the Word and us.  We need to model God in our lives.  My children see me spending time with God in prayer and in my devotional, but I do not always imitate Him.  I have my moments where it is easier to act out my frustrations than to let Jesus work in me.

During the parenting class, our teacher read a children's book called Koala Lou.  In summary it was about a little koala who was not receiving her mother's full attention due to a new addition to the family.  She entered a contest hoping to win back her mother's affection, but ended up losing.  Disappointed and sad, she climbed a tree and sat by herself.  Her mother went up there and told her she was so proud of her, despite her loss.  That she was sorry she did not have time for her lately, but that she loved her always.  While she was reading that, I cried.  I cried because that is how I feel about my relationship with Alexa.  Chandler and Caleb are so demanding that I never have time for Alexa.  She is so self-sufficient that I take her for granted.

Our teacher gave us tips on how to build a Christian foundation in our household, and how to train up our children.  She gave us some examples of what they do in her household, and it sounded like they had it altogether.  Her children knew what it meant to love God while my children constantly fight for their rights.  I had all these regrets about the way I have been raising my children.  I knew I could not turn back the hands of time, and I hated myself for being the mom I have been.  I ruined my children's lives and it was all my fault.  Even though my boys are still young, Alexa is 8 years old and has her ways.  How can I train an old dog new tricks.  After class I approached our teacher and poured out my heart to her.  My main worry was that I was too late for Alexa.  She shared with me that she did not start until her daughter was 8 as well.  I was so surprised because of all the things I have heard about them.  She assured me that it is never too late.

Don't be so hard on ourselves.  He can bring good even out of our mistakes.  We tend to look backward, longing to undo decisions we have come to regret.  This is a waste of time and energy, leading only to frustration.  Instead of floundering in the past, release our mistakes to Him.  Look to Him in trust, anticipating that His infinite creativity can weave both good choices and bad into a lovely design.  Because we are human, we will continue to make mistakes.  Thinking that we should live an error-free life is symptomatic of pride.  Our failures can be a source of blessing, humbling us and giving us empathy for other people in their weaknesses.  Best of all, failure highlights our dependence on Him.  He is able to bring beauty out of the morass of our mistakes.  Trust Him, and watch to see what He will do.
Romans 8:28; Micah 7:7

Thursday, May 08, 2014


Do not long for the absence of problems in our lives.  That is an unrealistic goal since in this world we will have trouble.  We have an eternity of problem-free living reserved for us in heaven.  Begin each day anticipating problems, asking Him to equip us for whatever difficulties we will encounter.  Discuss everything with Him.  Remember that He is on our side, and He has overcome the world.
John 16:33; Isaiah 41:13; Philippians 4:13

As a mother of three, everyday brings new challenges.  Some days go smoothly, and some days are chaotic.  The way I handle one from the other depends on when I spend time with God.  Some mornings, I get up before the kids and take care of my spiritual, emotional, mental and physical being.  Other days, I hit the snooze button until the sun comes up.  Those are the days when my patience is short, kindness is thrown out the window and there is nothing left to give until I can find a moment to spend time in the Word.  God tells us that in this world, we will have trouble.  The way to deal with it is to begin each day with the Lord, asking Him to equip us with what we need that only He can provide.  He is for us and with us.  He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Good vs. Evil

For the past week, I have been eating whatever my heart desired.  I did not worry about how many calories I was consuming, nor did I really care.  For the last couple of days, I have been feeling regretful.  All of the hard work I invested into myself was going down the drain.  I felt heavy, drained of energy and just not myself.  I have been having limited sleep lately, and I know lack of sleep contributes to overeating, so I hope this is an easy fix.  In the meanwhile, I cannot help these feelings of regret, shame, sadness and anger.

If we learn to trust Him with our whole being, then nothing can separate us from His peace.  Everything we endure can be put to good use by allowing it to train us in trusting Him.  This is how we foil the works of evil, growing in grace through the very adversity that was meant to harm us.  Joseph was a prime example of this divine reversal, declaring to his brothers, "You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good."  Do not fear what this day may bring.  Concentrate on trusting Him and on doing what needs to be done.  Fear no evil, for He can bring good out of every situation we will ever encounter.
Genesis 50:20; Psalm 23:4

I have done extremely well during my weight loss journey so far, but I have stumbled.  Satan is using this opportunity to do harm; he wants me to go back to the person I used to be.  But God reminds me that He puts to good use EVERYTHING we endure.  I am to trust Him with all that I have, and all that I am.  In return, He will provide me with His peace.  I will push forward, concentrate on trusting Him and do what needs to be done.  Like I said in the beginning, there is no room for excuses.  I will do what I set out to do, and succeed.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Peace for the Weary

I am not one of those women who get all dolled up to run to Walmart.  Just yesterday I ran to Target and TJ Maxx with no makeup on and soaking wet hair.  However, on days that I am mingling with a bunch of southern women, who are dressed to the t, I feel the need to at least put on a little bit of makeup and blow dry my hair.  So on those mornings, it gets a little stressful.  We are talking an extra 45 min to an hour, depending on if my closet is cooperating, added to my morning.  So if I know I have plans, the night before is spent making a mental itinerary so that I can get out the door in time.  Waking up the next morning at the time I need to wake up is the hardest part.  I enjoy spending some quiet time before the kids get up, and I want to do it every morning, but when you can't fall asleep the night before (because your husband likes to fall asleep with the tv on) and your littlest one cannot sleep without waking mommy up at least once in the night, 5:30 comes too soon.  But God reminds me today to not search for security in this world.  That we should not make mental checklists in order to gain control, but to be more relaxed and at peace.

Do not search for security in the world we inhabit.  We tend to make mental checklists of things we need to do in order to gain control.  But the more we work to accomplish that goal, the more things crop up on our list.  The harder we try, the more frustrated we become.  There is a better way to find security in this life.  Focus our attention on His presence with us.  This continual contact with Him will keep us in His peace.  He will help us sort out what is important and what is not, what needs to be done now and what does not.  Fix our eyes not on what is seen (our circumstances), but on what is unseen (His presence).
Isaiah 26:3; 2 Corinthians 4:18

Monday, May 05, 2014

Empty Nest

Today I receive a phone call from someone close to me, saying that she thinks she has fallen into some sort of depression.  After listening to her, I come to realize that she felt this emptiness within her and she just could not pinpoint what that was.  It did not take long for both of us to realize that she just needed God.  A lot of us feel empty, a void in our hearts that we just keep filling with other things.  While it might fill that void, it is only temporary.  I know people who fill that void with material things, and while it satisfies them, it is not permanent.  Sooner than later, they start feeling that emptiness again.  They start feeling hopeless, lost and sad.  I have been there many times.  It was not until I started seeking God daily that I stopped going around in circles.  God is ready to meet us halfway, and to start filling that void in our hearts.  It is up to us to take that first step.

Go to Him for all that we need.  Go into His presence with thanksgiving, for thankfulness opens the door to His treasures.  When we are thankful, we affirm the central truth that He is good.  He is light, in whom there is no darkness at all.  The assurance that He is entirely good meets our basic need for security.  Relax in the knowledge that the One who controls our lives is totally trustworthy.  Go to Him with confident expectation.  There is nothing we need that He cannot provide.
Psalm 95:2; 1 John 1:5