What’s all the fuss about marriage?

What’s all the fuss about?  It seems to me that this year of 2015 has had so many conversations about marriage ~ what it means, what it’s for, who needs it, who doesn’t, when to give up, when to stick it out, and so much more.  I’ve personally had several friends dealing with truly difficult circumstances in their marriages…and what can I do?  What can I say to someone dealing with things I never have (and pray that I never will!)  All these questions swirling around in my mind have made me draw upon the one place I know I can get all the answers I need.  God’s Word.

So why does it seem that marriage is under attack?  Notice I didn’t say “Christian marriages”, because it’s not just those relationships within a home of Believer’s ~ it’s EVERYWHERE!!  I have heard some great sermons and talk radio lessons on what marriage is and how we can gird up our mind, heart, and soul to combat the true enemy of marriage.  So, I have been thinking a lot about this lately, and wanted to share my thoughts with you. ** And it’s a long post today…but I want to share my heart on this subject of marriage and have a lot to say today. **

First, marriage is the epitome of who God is.  He created man and woman in His own image, to complement one another, (Genesis 1:27).  He wants us to need each other ~ not in an unhealthy way, but in a way that balances one another so that as husband and wife, we can be true partners (Genesis 2:18, 22-24). God is the one who created marriage ~ not a church, not a religion, not a people group of days gone by…GOD created marriage from the beginning of time.

God intended for man to have a wife and that the two would be an inseparable team (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7; and Ephesians 5:31).  God intended marriage to be a good thing; a beautiful symbol of how He loves us is how He intended for us to love our spouse.  So the answer to the questions above?  Why is marriage under attack?

It is actually really simple….every good and perfect gift from the Lord God is the exact thing that will be targeted by Satan and his demons.  The goal of the enemy is to undermine, destroy, annihilate, and defame any and ALL of the things of this world that God has determined is good and honoring to Him.  And Satan HATES marriage.  He hates anything and everything that reflects the image of God.

James one 17-18 bible verse with photo

If you are a Christian, then you know that we already have the victory in Christ and that He is still on the throne!  BUT….we have to live here on this earth, which is run by the principalities of the devil, and deal with the mayhem he causes.

Of course the enemy wants to ruin marriage ~ because He stupidly thinks that if he can attack marriages enough, then he will tarnish the beauty of who God is.  If marriage is a picture of who God is, and how He has established the heavenly realms, then when difficulties arise and marriages go awry, the enemy wants marriage to reflect everything that is opposite of who God is.  If people believe that they cannot find trust, unconditional love, faith, support, guidance, truth, kindness, gentleness, or absolute commitment in marriage ~ the danger is that they may begin to believe that they cannot find those in a relationship with God.

How do we know for sure that Satan has been attacking marriage since the very first one? Shortly after God created Eve to be a helpmate to Adam (Genesis 2), Satan comes along in Genesis 3 telling Eve lies and making her doubt what guidance God had given her and Adam.

Doubt brought about deceit. Deceit brought about shame.  Shame brought about fear. Fear brought about blame. Blame brought about accusations. Accusations brought about punishment. Punishment brought about separation.  Separation brought about the need for restoration.

Everything good that God created about the marriage relationship has been under attack from the enemy since the beginning.

In studying these verses in Genesis 2, I just realized something exciting!  Adam was referred to as “man” from the time he was created by God UNTIL God decided to create a woman to be “a suitable helper” for him.  Adam was given his name when he was made complete by Eve.  That is so cool!  Now don’t go thinking I’m about to have a Jerry Maguire “you complete me” moment ~ far from it!  I am made completely a woman.  My husband has been made completely a man.  But when man and woman join together as husband and wife, there is a new sense of completion that we cannot have alone.  We are complete individuals because we are created in God’s image, but the marriage relationship brings about a whole new sense of purpose in relationship like no other relationship.  On the flip side, I’m not saying that if you aren’t married now, or never plan on being married, that you aren’t a whole and complete person ~ you ARE!  As a child of the living God who created the universe, you are complete in HIM!  In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul talks very pointedly (and candidly) about the benefits and wisdom of being married or staying single.  Paul is very clear to make sure to remind the reader that these are not his own whims and recommendations, but instructions from the Lord via Paul’s hand on paper with pen.

What God created in marriage:

Adam (man) ~ the head of the household

Eve (woman) ~ the helpmate to complete Adam

their bodies ~ naked and unashamed

marriage benefit ~ to be fruitful and multiply ~ sex inside marriage is a gift

What Satan has imposed on the world about marriage:

Man ~ fight for superiority using threats, violence, and other means of domination.

Woman ~ made to feel a doormat; decides to emasculate by intimidation; made to feel “less than.”

Our bodies ~ riddled by comparison, jealously, insecurity, and shame.

Benefits ~ sex used as punishment, or withdrawn as a punishment; partners sought outside of marriage relationship

God did not create men to be overlords ~ He created them to be creative, bold, problem solvers, and kind leaders who walk alongside the wife God created for him.

God did not create women inferior ~ He created them to be strong, determined, brave, help mates to walk alongside their husband on the journey of life.

God did not create our bodies to bring us shame ~ He created them to be able to care for His creation, to be able to create life, and to quite frankly, be able to bring joy and delight to our spouse.  God wants us to be excited and thrilled at the sight of our spouse because our bodies are to be a gift unwrapped only by that ONE person!  This goes hand in hand with the benefits of marriage.  Only I should have such intimate knowledge of my husband, and he for me.  It is a gift given to one another unconditionally, with the deepest level of trust ~ a place that is meant just for the two of you.

So if we are created in God’s image & created for marriage relationship, all in efforts to be examples to each other of what relationship with God is and relationship with the Heavenly realms is, why are we surprised when marriages are attacked and how they are attacked?

The devil uses many ways to attack marriage and here’s just a few:

Doubts about my worth = My spouse must not love me either

Shame about my body = My spouse must think I’m ugly too

Pornography addictions = My spouse obviously thinks I’m not enough

Walls of distrust = My spouse is always lying to me about everything

Past abuses = My spouse cannot be trusted

And so many more ~ just take a quick look at your own upbringing and ask the Lord to show you ways that you are repeating negative behavior in your own marriage relationship.  You’re going to feel tempted to look at your spouse’s negative behaviors, but don’t fall for it ~ that’s just another attempt by the enemy to place blame and make you feel as if you don’t have any responsibility.  One of the hardest things to do in marriage is to look within to see what your own contributions of marital breakdown belongs to you.  You can only fix you!  You cannot (and by the way, will never be able to) fix your spouse!  But you can PRAY!!  For yourself and for your spouse.

** Disclaimer here ** ~ I would never advocate for someone to stay in a marriage where they are being abused in any way: verbal or physical.  This is a dangerous situation and should be treated as such.  Please seek out a trusted friend, pastor, or counselor who can help you find freedom from these abuses and assist you in recovering the life that God has truly planned for you.  There is NO kind of abuse that you deserve.

Marriage is hard.  Marriage takes work.  Marriage takes a unity with the Lord AND each other to make it work.

Marriage is worth it!  Marriage can be fun!  Marriage can be a great adventure!

Don’t let the lies and deceit of the devil destroy your opinion of marriage.  God created man and woman to be married to show the world ~ through Christ-like love ~ who He is!  Let us take up the task as followers of Christ and believer’s in God’s Word, to point our own flaming arrows of the truths of God’s Word and fire them into enemy camp.  Let’s remind the enemy who the true Victor is!  Stand up and fight for your marriage and for what marriage stands for!  Pray, pray hard, and then pray again!

Ask God to help you determine what needs to be worked on in your marriage and go from there ~ He won’t disappoint you ~ He will answer you!  If you are struggling with any kind of addictions, please go and see a counselor who will help you win those battles.  If you are feeling “out of love” for your spouse, ask the Lord to give you His love for them and although it will take time, you will feel love for them again.  If you are angry (with yourself or with your spouse) first seek to find out why the anger is there (might be a long process), ask for forgiveness (or give forgiveness) but stick with it so that you can find restoration and move out of anger into contentment.

In the marriage vows, some Pastor’s will say the phrase, “If there be no objections, let no man put asunder what God has ordained.”

There will definitely be hurdles to jump over and issues to deal with in your marriage caused by man; but the one you have to be even more aware of is the enemy of God ~ the devil who seeks to destroy His children by any means possible.

If you have stuck with me this long, I really appreciate it!  I know this was long, but I’m so passionate about couples saving and protecting their marriages.  I wish I could fix all of them…I can’t but I can pray.  Even if I don’t know you, I will pray!  I will keep praying for marriages in this world to be strengthened by the love and power of the Almighty God!  It’s possible!!

Promises from God’s Word to lift you up & encourage you in your marriage:

Romans 5:11, “Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,”

1 Corinthians 1:9, “God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;”

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;”

1 Corinthians 7:3-5, “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

Ephesians 5:22-24, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”

Ephesians 4:31-32, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Ephesians 5:2-4, “and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.  Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.”

Titus 2:4-6, “Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.”

James 1:17-20, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.  My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

Blessings,

René

Visits to the Past

What is the best way to deal with your past in order to move forward with your future?  Just VISIT!!  Here’s a few tips for the trip:

~ Bring a map! ~ 

Psalm 31:2-4Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.”

~ Don’t pack an overnight bag! ~

Isaiah 43:18-19“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

~ Take your ID, so that you remember who you are! ~

I Corinthians 3:16-17Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”

1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

~ Don’t bring back souvenirs! ~

2 Peter 1:3-11, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

You have a beautiful future ahead of you!  A magnificent plan has been set forth for you long before you were born!  God has a spectacular journey for you ~ not an easy one, but one that is more incredible than you can possibly imagine!

So as you move forward in the future, there will be some necessary trips back to your past. Events that you will have to face in order to move forward.  People you will need to extend forgiveness to in order to see clearly the path God has for you.  You don’t need to do either of those things by yourself.  Through the strength you receive from the Lord, you CAN do astonishing things!!

But don’t move back there!  Tether yourself to the Word of God so just in case you feel yourself slipping deeper into the past than you need to be…pull on that tethered rope and let the Lord pull you back to safety!

Blessings,

René

 

Proverbs 23:18, “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”
Proverbs 24:14, “Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”
Jeremiah 29:11, “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.”

 

 

Are you friends with Doubt?

It’s mid-December and we are in the midst of celebrating “the most wonderful of the year.”  At least that’s what the popular Christmas song says.  But for many, it is not.  For some, it is a time of sadness, depression, fear, anger, loneliness, angst, and a season filled with doubt.

You long for companionship, family, a loved one who’s passed away, financial stability.  You long to be happy and filled with joy.  But whatever the reason, the sense of doubt is easier to cling to than the reality of what the Lord wants for you.  I have seen so many in my life make the apparent choice to be friends with doubt.  I have watched myself fall into the same trap that doubt puts forth ~ and here’s the scary part ~ doubt will never let you down.  What’s that?  Come again?

When you cling to doubt and it becomes a dear friend, all of the negativity that comes with the feelings and attitude of doubt, will always be there to make you feel insecure, insignificant, unseen, unknown, alienated, and desolate.  Those are the promises that doubt carries with it.

Literally, this is what doubt is summed up to mean: to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe; to distrust; to fear; be apprehensive about; to be uncertain about something; be undecided in opinion or belief; a feeling of uncertainty about the truth, reality, or nature of something; fear; dread.”

What part of that very enlightening definition makes us want to have doubt as our friend?  As our companion? Lies of the enemy my friend ~lies of the enemy!

Jesus knew that we would struggle with doubt and wrote about it a handful of times in His Word.  James 1:5-8 says this about how to deal with doubt,Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways.” 

Our Lord is constantly available to us and hears us when we call out to Him.  It may not always feel like we are being listened to, mainly because sometimes we aren’t willing to hear the answer He’s giving us, but He DOES hear us.  Every time!

The words in James chapter 1 are an incredible encouragement to me in that God instructs us to ask God for wisdom (in all things) no matter what the situation and He will not criticize us and He will give that needed wisdom to us generously.

Did you catch the part in there about what we have to do in order to get that generous wisdom?  Or what we owe Him for giving us what we ask for?  Nope?  Well good!  Because there isn’t anything we can do to earn it ~ we simply have to have faith in our asking.  Oh, I know, bringing up faith!  It’s so hard sometimes to have faith!!  And that’s what satan is counting on ~ if we give up on faith, then we welcome in doubt…which brings on fear, sadness, depression, indecisiveness, instability, etc.

Just like I don’t have to tell my lungs to take in air to help me breathe, or tell my blood which veins to flow through, or instruct seeds to grow ~ my faith in God’s love and grace has to be something that is a part of me; a part of my heart, mind, body, and soul.  And when I feel that my faith is waning….that is something I can ask the Lord to refresh in me.

If a child ever came up to you and asked you to teach them to become wise and trusting, would you laugh and turn away?  Absolutely not!  You would do whatever you could in that very moment to come alongside that little one, and encourage them in what they’d asked.  God the Father does the very same thing.  He is so excited to meet you right where you are and give you what you need.

He can give you peace that passes understanding.

He can give you joy overflowing ~ Philippians 4:7

He can shower you with mercy ~ Deuteronomy 4:31

He can lift away the sorrows of your heart ~ Isaiah 35:10

He can save your soul ~ Galatians 2:20

He can restore in you a clean heart ~ Psalm 51:10

He can reconcile you back to relationship with Him ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17-19

…All because you ask…

So now I ask YOU ~ do you want to be friends with doubt any longer?  Or do you want to live in the freedom and peace that comes from knowing and trusting the Lord Jesus Christ?

During this season of never-ending parties, family get-togethers, bell ringers, and carolers ~ remember that these are not what our focus should be centered on.  Cast off the distractions and the doubts that the enemy is trying to foist upon you! He only goal is that you miss the peace, the mercy, the joy, the reconciliation, and the love of the Son of God who came to bring us life…true life and joy with not a seed of doubt in the mix! 🙂

And just for fun ~ take a quick listen to this beautiful song by Bethel Music ~

Blessings,

René

James 1 verses 5-6

{All verses are from http://www.biblegateway.com}

Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Deuteronomy 4:31, “For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.”

Isaiah 35:10, “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
2 Corinthians 5:17-19, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”

Punctured Faith

I’ve watched enough medical drama’s to know that having a punctured lung is a really bad thing.  Okay, that’s a complete understatement I realize, but it’s true.  Our lung tissue is so delicate that God created a cage of ribs to protect it. But if something makes it through that cage and the lung is punctured, that person is in immediate and very real danger of dying.  You must seek medical attention quickly so that they can avert tragedy and begin the healing process.

According to WebMD, here’s a very basic answer as to how a lung can be injured: “There are two main types of lung injuries: direct and indirect.  Direct lung injuries are caused by infections, chemicals, and trauma that directly affect the lung. An indirect lung injury is caused by another condition elsewhere in the body. A lung injury can cause a collapsed lung or develop into acute respiratory distress syndrome — two potentially life-threatening conditions.”

Now that we have a medical definition of a punctured lung, I hope you are still with me here…let’s look at the similarities of that physical issue compared to have punctured faith.

Similarly, your faith can be punctured by indirect and direct injury.  A direct injury could look like losing a loved one, paying attention to deceitful thoughts from the enemy, or being hurt by someone we trusted (or even someone that we didn’t even know).  Indirectly, your faith could be punctured by a trauma that was in your past but was never dealt with. So when it rears its ugly head, you feel like you have “no idea where that came from” and you are forced to deal with the trauma many years (or decades) later.

As physical injury to our lungs creates a life-threatening condition, so too comes a threat to our spiritual well-being when our faith has been punctured.  Either way, we must act immediately!  Many times, it takes someone else taking a closer look at our life to see that we are about to succumb to the distress our body is going through, in order to save us.

Faith distress looks different for everyone.  Every single person on this planet is going through something.  No one is exempt from pain, grief, sadness, anger, desolation, vulnerability, sorrow, despair, fear, or basic concern.  BUT….we do have the Great Healer as our Heavenly Father, and He can take away those issues when we rest in Him.  Not an easy task at all, but with His strength and His assistance, we CAN do it!

What happens when we decide to hold onto those attitudes?  They are directly and indirectly poking holes in our faith which makes it harder to breathe in the life that God has for us.  There have only been a handful of times in my life that I felt so disheartened, so desperate, so distraught, that I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  I felt like I was going to pass out or have a heart attack.  I felt like the world was spinning out of control and gravity was slipping out from under me.  I wanted the pain to stop.  I didn’t want to think.  I didn’t want to try and fix anything.  That is a frightening place to be and I thank the Lord for the people in my life who pulled me out of those potentially tragic situations.

Thankfully, our spiritual lungs are much tougher than our physical lungs.  I am grateful that in all of God’s goodness and grace, He is the patient Physician who attends us along our path to recovery.  He brings us friends to encourage us, His Holy Word to strengthen us, and many times uses seemingly random interactions with strangers to call out to us that He sees us.  His goal is to make us whole again ~ to bring restoration to our punctured faith.

Today, my heart is heavy with the sadness I feel for one of my daughters’ friends who lost their mother to a long illness this morning.  In the midst of her young adulthood, about to graduate from college, she has to now mourn the loss of her mom.  This is too young for her to mourn.  And at this time in her life?  So many things do not make sense to me, so this is EXACTLY when I have to trust that even in this, God has a mighty plan for this sweet young woman’s life.  I have to believe that He sees her and that He will carry her through the distress and extreme sadness of this time in her life.

It is God’s strength and being filled with the power of the Holy Spirit that we can sustain injuries, and come out healed on the other side.

Ephesians 3:20-21 says, Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Remember, this isn’t a “rub the magic lamp and the genie will grant us our wishes” kind of deal.  The life that the Lord intends for us to live, is absolutely far greater than anything we can imagine.  Humbly we come through tragedy, with a fresh dependence on the Lord to give us what we need.

Ephesians 3:12 tells of the promise we have, “in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”

Notice that it does not say that we have confidence in our self to come boldly to the throne of God in our time of need ~ or in our time of rest!  Our boldness come through our faith in the LORD.

How do we know that the Lord will hear us when we call on Him?  Or when He comes alongside us to repair that punctured faith? Right here in 1 Thessalonians 5:24 states the answer, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”  As believers, we are called a Child of God.  We have been adopted into the Royal Priesthood of our Heavenly Father.  He calls us His own and what He promises, He will fulfill.

Life is not exempt from hardship.  God’s Word promises that as well.  But He ALWAYS provides a way of escape!  A way out of the dark shadows of fear and doubt.

Isaiah 43:1b-3a, are a collection of promises that I absolutely have clung to in various times in my life.  These words from the Lord are so precious and I hope they offer you comfort today ~
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
What absolute joy these bring ~ can you feel it!?  Look at all those amazing promises!!  Come on now…stand up and say them out loud…
He has redeemed you!
He calls you by name!
You are His!
He will be with you!
You will not be overwhelmed!
You will not be consumed!
He is the Lord!
He is Holy!
He is your Savior!
Do not make fear and doubt your friend ~ they will disappoint you and suck the life out of you every single time!  Trust in the One whose ways are higher than ours, Who never lies, Who never cheats or steals, Who always has the best intentions and plans for you, Who always keeps His Word, and Who is always dependable.
When I was a young girl, I played soccer for several years.  When we practiced running the ball toward the goal net, our coach would tell us emphatically, “When in doubt, kick it out.”  Well, let me take a bit of liberty with this one and tell you, that as you run toward the goal of living your life to serve the Lord with all you’ve got….When in doubt, SHOUT it out!  Cry out to Him in your pain and grief, shout out praises to Him in the midst of chaos!  He will hear you and He will carry you the rest of the way.
If you feel that your faith has been punctured by the sharp disappointments and tragedies of life, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10).
Psalm 16 verse 8
Blessings,René

Distracted and Procrastinating!

So it’s very late on Wednesday night….and I’m determined to finish this post that I started on Monday morning….hence the title of this Blog today!  This week has been a string of choices that left me distracted and procrastinating!  There have been a few things that I did accomplish but many more that I haven’t.  “I’ll do that tomorrow.”  Sound familiar?  Do you find yourself distracted?  Do you find yourself procrastinating?  I’ve lived long enough to know that I’m not alone in this!

To be distracted means:  having the attention diverted; rendered incapable of behaving, reacting, etc., in a normal manner, as by worry, remorse, or the like; irrational; disturbed.

And the meaning of procrastination: the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention.

Um…hello….welcome to my week!

My Thanksgiving decorations that I began collecting on the dining table (on Sunday by the way)….still there.

My laundry that I started putting in the washer….still there because I haven’t collected all the baskets in the house (water shortage means…cram as much as you can and still get it clean!)

An extra table that we used for Thanksgiving dinner with the family…still up in the kitchen…collecting new items that I haven’t put away.

Okay…you get the picture.  So where do I go from here ~ sit down at 11:30pm at night and finish this blog!

So when does distraction, or procrastination, turn into disobedience?  Oh!  I got your attention, eh?  Me too!  I was reminded this week of a sweet new friend who told me earlier this year (when I wasn’t pursuing the passion of my heart in writing this blog), “Sister, you gotta get right with God.  You are living in disobedience.  You are not doing what God has told you to do, which means you are missing out on the blessings He has for you!”  Whoa!!  That got my attention.  Between her tender discipline and help from my oldest daughter to create a plan, I moved forward!

I absolutely LOVE to write!  I love to share what God has taught me with others.  I have an ongoing “blog ideas” list on my phone and I had ideas to it several times a day.  So why has this week been different?

I know exactly why….I was allowing my brain to be distracted by outside forces that were completely out of my control.  And some that were.  Long story short, I was finally able to quiet my soul today and realize that I am writing for the Lord.  I cannot write for myself.  I cannot write in hopes of success.  I cannot write hoping to receive the proverbial pats on the back.  I must write what the Lord has put on my heart.  I must write FOR Him and for HIM alone!

Psalm 119:36-38Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.  Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared.”

Is this verse great or what?  Totally sums up what has slowly become my prayer this week.  Oh dear Lord ~ keep me focused on You and not on the distractions of this world.  It’s different for everyone ~ TV, Facebook, relationship issues, home life, housework, daily tasks, etc.  When I keep my focus on the Lord, He is most assuredly going to help me put into proper perspective the things on my calendar in such a way that all that I do will be a reflection of His goodness and His graciousness.

Mark 7:21-22  For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.”

I saw a posting on the infamous Facebook the other day that said, “It is in herself she will find the strength she needs.”  Please hear me when I tell you that I absolutely believe that women have been created so uniquely wonderful, and we are capable of doing A LOT of things that surprise us!  What I want you to see is in the above quote is that the strength it speaks of is from within the woman.  But when we check this quote against what God’s Word says, we can see that this will never work.  I cannot do anything by MY own strength (any doubts here…check back at that list I wrote in the beginning of this blog post.)  🙂

Left alone to our own strength, to looking at our own heart for guidance, trusting our own mind to determine our path ~ we are paving the way to a life of disenchantment and disappointment.  When that happens, the distraction and the opportunities to procrastinate seems to increase ten-fold.

Deuteronomy 10 verse 12 and 13

Psalm 96:9Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!”

God’s Word is beautifully written!  He is holier than holy!  He is clothed in splendor and calls us His child!  God’s Word applies to our life today as much as it did to the original audience it was written for.  Proof that God’s Word is alive! We can look to scriptures to encourage us to focus on the Lord, and as the above verse in Deuteronomy speaks to, we will be able “to walk in all his ways.”  When we are walking in ALL of His way, we can more easily pursue a relationship with the Lord.  To daily learn how to love and serve the Lord with greater intensity, everyday.  My heart and soul must be full of HIM ~ not full of my own strength.  Because if that is all my heart is full of of ~ then I will be limiting the future plans that God has for me.  I will miss out on the blessings He has intended for me.  How sad is that!  Yet that is EXACTLY what I’m doing every time allow outside distractions to encourage the spirit of procrastination in me.

Praise the Lord that He is patient.  Praise the Lord that He does not get distracted where I’m concerned.  Praise the Lord that He does not procrastinate when it comes to making sure that I return my focus to Him.  Praise the Lord that He sees me and knows my name!

And now…I am recharged.  My focus has been reignited on the face of my Heavenly Father.  The distractions of my heart have eased as I give them up and allow God’s plan to take first place in my mind.  I’m thankful for a new day…which by the way…it technically is now because it’s 12:15am.  Time to go and rest in the peace and calmness of the Lord.  Trusting that when I wake in the morning and give the day back to the Lord, asking for His guidance to see what is important, He will answer me right away ~ because He will be waiting for me to start the day.  He will be enthusiastically anticipating the arrival of the sunrise on my day to show me how much He loves me and how great the plans are that He has for me.

God bless you with clarity and responding with first time obedience when the Lord ask you to do something.

Blessings,

René