Self Obsession

I just heard something that really got me: self destruction is a result of self obsession. What a way to put it in the most simple terms. Obsession with your mistakes, obsession with your problems, obsession with self criticism. We have all either done it or know someone that is doing it. Sometimes our problems feel like they are all our own. That is why my response is usually “you are not alone in that.” Because God speaking that to me time and time again is what brings me out of self destructing. Sometimes we allow ourselves to be singled out. We make ourselves a victim of the world. Sometimes we feel like we are one of those that dont deserve better. And we punish ourselves. God shows me more everyday to stop doing that. To love myself the way He does. He made me. He made you. We are not mistakes and we do not need to focus so much on ourselves that we dont notice a whole world that needs us. We dont need to be so intent on punishing ourselves that we never move into accepting the characteristics of Christ. We dont need to accept a victim role that holds us back from healing when He has proclaimed us victorious over all evil. Because we are His children. Because He made us for purpose. Step out of yourself and see where you are needed. Step into the bible and see where your thoughts need to be transformed. That truth is your weapon. Study it, train with it, and find your endurance in it.

1 John 3:1 – See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!

Isaiah 61:1 & 3 – He has sent me to…bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

Matthew 20:28
Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Psalm 9:9
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

John 16:33
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Living a life of integrity

My bible study this morning was in Proverbs 11. As I studied verse 3: “the integrity of the upright shall guide them: but all the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.” I looked into the enduring word bible study and read their definition of integrity: “living a trustworthy life without shame or secrets.” I know what it is like to want to hide something. I have done it for years with my eating. Raise your hand if you have ever eaten a whole box of cookies and hid the container deep in the trash so no one would know. 🙋‍♀️ Maybe a mistake was made at work and everyone knows it but doesnt know who did it and you do everything in your power to hide that it was you. Or maybe you said something bad about someone and it got back to them and you do everything you can to jusitfy or lie about what you really said. Why do we do this? Shame. We are ashamed of ourselves. Shame comes in many forms. Embarrassment, depression, or hatefulness. There is a cure for that. The bible instructs us to live with integrity. Secrets are kept in the dark. When you bring them from dark to the light then healing of shame begins. We are also instructed to be humble. We all make mistakes. Be humble enough to live with integrity and shine light on what you did instead of putting so much energy into hiding it in the dark. “No, the cookies didnt mysteriously disappear and the kids didnt eat them. I ate the whole bag and threw them in the trash. I need help to pray over this.” “It was me that made that mistake and this is what I plan to do to make sure I dont do that again. If you have any other ideas I would like to hear them as well.” “Yes, I did get caught up in gossiping and it was about you. Im sorry about what I said and I pray you will forgive me and we can work through this. Im so sorry I hurt you.” Living a life of integrity doesnt mean you wont make mistakes. It means you own up to your mistakes and find ways to make it right. Mistakes have literally been made by the most important people in the bible from the beginning of time. Remember good ol Adam and Eve trying to hide in the garden like God didnt know where they were? Of course He knew, but like Adam and Eve, He wants us to bring it to the light willingly. Here it is Lord. I did it. Please help me correct it. And He will. Everytime.

Are you living prolonged days or a shortened life?

Proverbs 10:27 states “The fear of the LORD prolongs days; but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.” I read that thinking to myself, so what about the Christian people that died young? What about the elderly that never gave their life to God and lived evil as ever? As I pondered these questions my thoughts went to my life before I started living for God. I was living but I wasn’t living with the true fear (awe, respect, admiration) of the Lord and His love for me. That was SO many years that I missed out on seeing the blessings that living with respect for the Lord provides. The earlier in our lives that we reach that respect for the Lord is prolonged years that we have on earth to live for Him and see the blessings from doing so. On the other hand, the longer we remain in our wicked ways then that is a shortened time we have on earth of living with respect for our Lord and seeing the blessings from doing so. A man decides to receive the Lord on his death bed has done a wise thing for sure, but didn’t get to see any life with the blessings of his time on earth living for God. His time on earth living for God is short. It isn’t about the duration of your time on earth, but the duration of your time on earth seeing the blessings of a God feared life. And for those that have tasted that life, you know exactly what the man on his death bed missed out on. Those that haven’t tasted that life…what are you waiting on? Time is short! Start living your life for Him today and I promise you will not regret a day of it!

Letting anger go

With all that is going on lately I find myself getting angry a lot. I even find myself disliking people over it. I have been praying for the peace we are offered as followers of Christ. I have been reciting “God turns all bad to good for those that love Him” to try to make myself feel better. But you never feel better if you don’t truly believe it. And you can’t truly believe it if you don’t understand why you can believe it. This morning was my “aha” moment. That moment God impresses His word on your heart one more time and you finally understand. God doesn’t allow evil to exist without reason. All of this is to fulfill a purpose. His purpose. Why should I be angry at something that He is allowing to fulfill His purpose. Just because I don’t understand it doesn’t mean I should get angry at it. I don’t understand why He stops the ocean where He does. I don’t understand why He makes a sunrise and sunset so amazingly beautiful. He certainly doesn’t need my understanding to do His work and I don’t need to understand His reasoning to trust Him. I know God is good. He is love. God will not allow the storm to rage one second longer than required to fulfill His purpose. This is why we can live without fear. This is why we can live with peace. This is why we don’t have to be the loudest in the room. We simply live as the word directs and trust in Him. Simple. It is the enemy that complicates things. So, when we feel the anger build, and we feel the complications of life start to weigh us down…remember the simplicity that is our Saviour. Remember His offer in Matthew 11:28-30: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Receive His offer and live in restful peace. Oh, how He loves us! Put your trust in Him today and everyday!

Blessings of obedience

An obedient life is a blessed life. Those are words that, once upon a time, I never would have said. I was a rebel without a cause. Truly. No cause. If you told me to do something, even if I was just about to do it anyway, then I would not do it just because you told me to. In fact, I would then try all the other ways of doing it just to prove you wrong even though your way was the way I was going to go to in the beginning. The enemy sure knew how to train me to be disobedient to God. As I studied bible verses this morning in Psalm 119:45-47, it made me thankful for the obedience God has taught me over the past few years. These verses spell out our blessings of obedience.

“And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.”

When we study and follow God’s word then we begin to feel the freedom from being a slave to sin, or we “walk at liberty”. We have all heard the phrase “oh, what a tangled web we weave when we first begin to lie and deceive.” We can weave ourselves into a tangled mess when sin becomes our choice in handling things. One sin requires another and another until we are so buried we see no way out. But that first step of obedience to God immediately starts to dissolve the web and brings in the light to show us our way to freedom. When we choose God’s way instead of sin’s way then we walk with liberty, free from the bondage sin puts us under.

We will be able to speak our testimonies unashamed. This can seem very daunting at first. “I don’t want to offend anyone.” Or “People will think I am a Jesus freak or super religious and not want me around.” But when you speak the truth in God’s way it won’t always hit like a hammer over the head but as a bandage for the heart. Truth is truth. Some may feel conviction and be offended. Some may decide they don’t want you around. I know this because I was once one of them. There were many people that would say things that would offend me. I believed in Jesus and that was good enough so leave me alone. But I certainly was not living for Jesus and many Christians could see that. While I was offended at the time, little did I know the seeds were being planted. Seeds that help lead me to where I am today. The more obedient we become in sharing the truth then we will no longer be ashamed in doing so. We begin to see the importance of speaking truth no matter who we are around, no matter what questions asked, and no matter the situation we are in. This does not mean we must enter every argument we are invited to, or to even argue at all. Simply speak the truth. The other person can either take it or leave it but I can guarantee you will leave a seed behind.

We will delight in His commandments. Obedience may seem dreadful. It may seem impossible. Being perfect is very much impossible. That is why we, as Christians, are so thankful for God’s grace and mercies that are new everyday. But when you fall in love with the Lord…when you have that special one on one moment with Our Savior and you truly fall in love with the Lord then you delight in pleasing Him. Think about when you first fall in love with someone. How much does it delight you to do something that makes them happy? And the best part about pleasing our Father is His way makes our way straighter. His way puts us in position for a light yoke. His way leads all bad to turn to good. The things that please Him actually benefit our lives! You are free to completley fall in love with Him. To completely surrender to that love because His love will never leave you.

Life isn’t easy. Even the Christian way isn’t always a bed of roses. But when you handle those thorns with the weapon of obedience secure in your heart then the blessings will abound compared to the alternative. Don’t you want to be free today? Take that first step. May God’s love and mercy be felt by you today. In Christ name, Amen

Is this where you want to be?

If Jesus came right now. Right this second. Where would He find you? Would you be right in the middle of that sin you like to justify? Be strong and run your race well my friends. We don’t know when the hour will be, but we do know that hour will come. Pray over the sins you justify and let them go. Perfection is impossible to achieve, but you have to set your aim on progress. The sin you justify is the hardest to surrender. The first step is the simple acknowledgement of it. Get in agreement with God about it. Yes, Lord, I know this is a sin. I know it needs to end. I know I need You to end it. Pray over it constantly and watch God work.
Lord, I pray over these sins that attach and we try to justify it as ok. Your word clearly lays out where sin lies and we come in agreement with You today. Search our hearts, oh Lord, and remove what is not from You. Thank You for Your love, grace, and forgiveness while we work with You for change. We pray in Jesus name, Amen

Fight with your heart for a change

I love this excerpt from To Kill a Mockingbird, but these days I would replace head with heart. Not everyone who comes at you has a problem with you. Many times the problem is within themselves and when you choose not to fight but to love like Jesus then you start to make a difference. You plant a seed in their heart and you give yourself freedom. Freedom from drama, anger, and regret of words you said. Replacing a habit of fighting back with a habit of love will allow God to move more in your life and others. Stop looking at how much they hurt “me” and look for how much they have been hurt. When you walk in strong confidence with God and allow Him to declare your value then what others say doesn’t sting so hard. And when it does sting, you know where to take it so you can release it quick and get back to your Father’s business.