I Can’t But I Will

This is another post from my 2012 archives.  Be blessed!

A few weeks ago, I did something that I did not think was possible.  I. RAN. FOR. TWO. MILES. WITHOUT. STOPPING!  Don’t ask me how long it took, that’s not even the point of the story, don’t steal my moment.  Ok so back to my story, I ran the entire 8 laps on the outdoor track without stopping.  I started off with failure in mind, no determination to actually run the entire distance.  Before I began, I had already concluded that it was too difficult and not possible.   BEFORE I STARTED I CAME TO THIS CONCLUSION!

I ran the first lap and decided that it was too hard and that I would just walk the other one, alternating running and walking until I completed the 8 laps.  BUT THEN sheer determination kicked in after the first lap, I thought, “hey I just ran one, why not two, and then I will walk the third.”  I completed the 3rd lap and thought, “not too bad, why I don’t just keep going?”   I had this conversation with myself and before I knew it, well a little while after, I had ran all 8 laps.  When I came to the 8th lap and had a few more yards in front of me, I mustered up enough strength to sprint the last few yards.  Ok, so to others it would have been a fast jog but for me, I was sprinting. AND THEN SWEET VICTORY WHEN MY FEET CROSSED THE FINISH LINE.  I accomplished something I didn’t think was possible. Isn’t this how it can sometimes be with our walk with Christ?  Many times we see what God is requiring of us, and before we even start we tell God we can’t, it is just not possible.   I have had the” I just can’t do it, I don’t see how” speech with God so many times.  I realize that while my mouth is saying I CANT, when I take a closer look what my unsurrendered heart is really saying is I DON’T WANT TO.

However like I learned that day on the track, if you are willing, it is possible.  In my relationship with God, I find that He is not asking if I can do it in my own strength, it is more, ARE YOU WILLING TO DO IT?   When I am willing, He gives me the strength to carry out the task, His grace kicks in.  People often tell me how impressed they are at my ability to mother these five children but on my really humble days, instead of basking in the compliments, I am willing to admit that I am not doing this on my own.  I am operating on sheer grace.  Truth be told, I have moments where I am at an absolute lost and don’t know how to respond when everyone is having a meltdown, INCLUDING ME!  God is not at all concerned about your ability, He is more focused and your WILLINGNESS.  Your willingness points to your surrender, and I find that I can’t really surrender to someone that I don’t trust.  If there is an absence of trust, then this diminishes the quality of the relationship.  OUCH!  Tough truth to swallow but truth nevertheless.

What is God asking you to do that you have already said no to before you even start?  Is it a closer relationship with Him?  Is it a career move, a relationship?  More sacrifice in your giving, service, use of your talents? Are you allowing the enemy to whisper thoughts of defeat telling you that you have been down this path before, and you will fail again?  Go ahead I encourage you to take one step in that direction and watch God’s grace kick in to accomplish what you deem to be impossible!

 

Philippians 2:13  NLT
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

 

2 Corinthians 12:9 NLT
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

 

 

 

Losing to Gain

I was blessed to speak at my church this Sunday on the thought, “Losing to Gain.”  Click on the link below to hear a short segment of this message.  What have you had to lose since following Christ?  What has been your perspective on your lost?  What have you gained?

Rose Colored Glasses

 

This is another post from my 2012 archives but still very relevant.  Hope it blesses you!

We were sitting at the table having a lighthearted conversation over lunch when Joel asked me what I was like when I was younger.  Before I could give him a long poetic answer as to how wonderful, special & loveable I was as a child, his sister blurts out, “SHE WAS A HEATHEN!”  I was shocked and totally caught off guard by her response.  I have had previous conversations with Naomi about my past and explained to her that I did not always serve Jesus, I did not acknowledge the one true God so this made me a heathen.  I didn’t expect her to repeat this, at least not now.  Not in in my moment to shine, not in my moment of bragging to my first born man child as to how special his mommy was.

Isn’t it so tempting and easy to look back at our past through rose colored glasses?  If we are not careful, we allow the enemy to trick us into believing that it was better back then.  This can grow seeds of discontentment leaving us longing for a yesterday that really wasn’t all that wonderful, especially if we didn’t know Christ.  How often do we look at our present life and think it was so much better back then…but was it really?  We need the truth of God’s word to remind us how much better things are TODAY because we know Him. Even if we don’t have the perfect spouse, perfect job, perfect children, perfect home, etc… things are absolutely positively better because we know JESUS!

In what areas of your life have you allowed discontentment to creep in, leaving you longing for yesterday?  Do you feel like you look back at your past through distorted lens?  What can you be thankful for TODAY?  How is your life better today, have you thanked God for the change?

 

But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”  Luke 9:62

 

 

 

Spiritual Deep Cleaning

Note:  I first wrote this post in 2012 but thought it was worth reposting today.

I was on a mission to clean my house the day before my 34thbirthday.  I thought this was an appropriate birthday gift for myself.  Forget the flowers and candy, I just wanted to sit on my birthday and look at a clean house with everything in order.  While I was on my mission, my tenacious two year old had his own agenda.  He was looking for some candy.  He knew that I often kept gum in my room, out of their reach.  As I was cleaning, he was searching.  I stepped out of my room for a few minutes and when I returned, Elijah had moved the ottoman from the front of my bed in hopes that he would find gum there.  Instead of finding his treasure, he found a mess of clothing and random things that had fallen on the ground and had been covered by the ottoman.  When I walked in the room, I looked at the mess, and did what any sleep deprived, mission oriented, I just want my house to “look” clean if only for a day mother of five would do. .. I pushed the ottoman back in its proper position and hid the mess again.  PERFECT.  As I pushed the ottoman back in its ‘proper’ place, I muttered to myself, “I just don’t want to deal with this today.” My focus was to clean the surface…only what could be seen.

 

How often have we taken this approach with our walk with Christ?   We come to the Lord and we cry out, “Lord clean me, wash me, mold me.”  All the things that sound good, the things we think God wants to hear.   But as He begins to clean (purify) us, He pulls away the spiritual ottoman if you will that have been covering our mess.  God uses different methods to expose our mess and to keep us accountable.  He uses His word (written and spoken), our spiritual leaders, brothers and sisters in Christ, and by directly speaking to us. Of course this is not an exhaustive list. Sadly we often do what I did the day before my birthday. We push the ottoman back to cover the mess.  Too much work to be purified.  We want to remain on the surface. Lord don’t start shifting stuff and showing me how “dirty” I am, my imperfections.  It is more comfortable to appear “clean” as opposed to allowing the Lord to go beneath the surface with us.

But consider this, I would have had to be the one to clean up the exposed mess in my room that day.  However, it is not the same when God shows us our mess.  He doesn’t expect us to clean ourselves, He does the job for us!  He just wants us to humble ourselves and surrender to the process.  We don’t have to get it right on our own!  Isn’t this awesome news?!   Are you resisting the deep cleaning that the Lord wants to do in you?  Allow Him to do it, you won’t regret it!

 

Psalm 51:7

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;   wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

 

Disobedience Opens the Door to the Enemy

God’s word and my personal experiences have taught me that disobedience opens the door for the enemy to oppress me.   Disobedience is an invitation to God to lift His hand of protection from my life.  Daniel 1 says that the Lord gave the enemy the victory over His people because of their disobedience.  Also in Judges 13 we see the Lord allowing His people to be taken over by the Philistines because of their disobedience.  These are just two of many examples in scripture.

It is not realistic to think I can insulate myself from trouble because it comes knocking on everyone’s door.  However, I want to walk in obedience so that when trouble comes knocking it is Jesus that answers the door.  When He answers, I ALWAYS WIN.  I do not want to evict Jesus through my disobedience.  I desperately need His protection.  I cannot do life on my own.  I cannot fight the devil in my own strength.  I just can’t.  He is a real enemy.  When trouble comes my money, my degree, my connections, NONE of them can provide a lasting protection.

For the record, the enemy is ALWAYS on the attack.  He is a relentless foe.  He is so serious about doing his job well…to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  I cannot afford to be left uncovered.  There were seasons of my life where I walked in disobedience and the scars were there to prove it.  There were painful consequences that I had to deal with even after receiving Jesus’ forgiveness. The price that I had to pay for disobedience was not worth the pain.

God always requires obedience.  We don’t get to pick and choose when or what we obey. A pattern of disobedience brings consequences.  There is no way around it.  God puts restrictions and instructs us for our own good and ultimately to bring Him glory.   The beautiful thing about God is that He asks us to obey but also gives us the grace to do it.  He wants His children to close the door to the enemy and claim the victory we already have in Him!  There are tremendous rewards now and later for those that obey.

Are you being attacked by the enemy?  Do you feel like you have the victory or are you being devoured?  Are you walking in obedience?  If not repent, receive God’s forgiveness and grace and begin to do ALL you know you should do.

And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2:17(NLT)