What you need to do Vs. What you want to do

Yesterday, I took my super tired 4-year-old to bed for a much-needed nap. As we headed up the stairs to her bedroom, she started crying real tears. She protested repeatedly, “I don’t want to go to bed!” I kissed her on the cheek before putting her in the bed and told her, “I know you don’t WANT TO but you NEED a Nap.”

Then I had another one of those moments when God shows me myself through my children. I have had many “I don’t want to” moments with God after He tells me what I NEED to do for my own good. He doesn’t force me to do it, the choice is always mine. However, I continue to learn that God is a lot smarter than me so it is ALWAYS in my best interest to submit to Him. My current NEED TO list from God includes; a drastic reduction of my sugar intake, forgiving others and not replaying the offense, and being confident in who I am in Him and not obsess about what others think of me. By the grace of God, I have made huge strides in these areas. However, there are days when what I need to do gets hard, REAL HARD and I just want to cry and scream, “I DON’T WANT TO GOD!”

There is a similar tension in 2 Kings 5. In this story, we have Naaman the leper who was given a message from Elisha the prophet to go and dip seven times in the Jordan River in order to be healed of his leprosy. Naaman, a respected leader was appalled that Elisha didn’t even come out to greet him. He had different expectations on how his healing would take place. However, after some wise counsel from his servants, Naaman went and dipped 7 times in the Jordan as instructed and was instantly healed of his leprosy. The very thing he did not want to do was the thing that he needed to do to receive healing.

How about you? What is God saying you need to do? Have you been doing it or have you been disobedient because it is not what you want to do? I want to encourage you to respond in obedience because God ALWAYS KNOWS what is best!
Be Blessed
Anika

Admit that you need to be cleansed (Part 1/3 : Spiritual Cleaning)

With summer only a few weeks away, I realize I am a little late getting on the spring cleaning bandwagon.  However, whatever the season, purging and cleaning is always in order. As I have been doing just that, the Lord has been ministering to my heart and showing me some spiritual correlations.

The first step for effective cleaning is facing the mess, acknowledging the need to clean. Admitting that I need to be cleaned (purified) requires humility.  It can be painful to face the mess and quite honestly it can be extremely overwhelming, but God gives grace to the humble.  Most cleaning experts say it is unrealistic to try to clean our house in a day.  The same is true in the spiritual; purification is a process.  God doesn’t expect you to get it all together in one day and He certainly doesn’t expect you to do the cleaning. You cannot fix yourself.  However He requires us to surrender, allowing Him to begin the process.

Most of us are willing to acknowledge that we need to get things in order.  We may say in vague terms, “Oh I know I am not perfect and there are things I need to work on,” but we stay stuck at just talking about it.  We don’t begin the process of giving it to God, allowing Him to begin the process of purging and healing us.  You may ask, where do I begin?   I encourage you to spend some time in prayer and ask the Lord to show you the areas in which you need to be cleansed, the things that you may be holding on to; anger, resentment, unforgiveness, worldly mindsets…just to name a few.  Be deliberate about pausing long enough to hear God’s response.

Scripture to meditate on

Psalm 51:10

Create in me a clean heart, O God,And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Note: While this scripture was written by David after He was called out for His sins with Bathsheba, I believe that His earnest cry and repentant heart is applicable to those who desire to be cleansed from whatever is not like God.

Be blessed!

Anika

 

No Pretending Honest Prayers

I used to be really good at playing pretend but then I got tired.  Somewhere along the road, I realized that playing games can get real old.

When I stopped pretending, that’s when I learned how to pray

Stop pretending that everything is ok when it is not

Stop pretending like it doesn’t hurt when it does

Stop pretending that I want to do the right thing when everything in me is screaming go left

Stop pretending like I am perfect.  Oh you already knew…I am not

So I pray

Real prayer

No script

No pretense

Honest I don’t want to do it God

This is just not fair God

How come God?

Child to parent dialogue

My Good Good Father…He listens

I cry

I whisper the darkest secrets of my heart

Thoughts I didn’t even know where there, ugly thoughts

Prayer is my therapy, I unload the burden

He continues to listens

Yes I have a really good father… I am blessed like that

I am learning He is not looking for an act

He requires honesty

The kind of honesty that scares nice church folks

Yep I know the right answer… I shouldn’t think like that

But what happens when I do

Confession:  And I sometimes do

I pray

Honest Prayers

No pretense cause that’s outdated and ineffective

In honest prayers, I am not the only one that speaks

My good good father he response

With love

With His truth

He knows that even in my brokenness

Even in my humanity

I have said Yes to His will, Yes to Him being Lord of my life

A Yes I won’t take back

So in my no pretending prayer

He molds me

He refreshes me

He reminds me

He corrects me

He fills me again with His spirit,

Bringing an even greater death to Anika

How about you over there, have you been praying no pretending prayers?  Or is it difficult for you to share the ugly parts of you with God?  Leave a comment and let me know.

 

 

WHEN YOU ARE READY TO END THE SHOW BUT DON’T KNOW HOW TO GET OFF THE STAGE

I remember how it felt to be tired.

Tired of performing.

Tired of living beneath my God given purpose.

Tired of being away from where I belonged… in Christ.

But it all just seemed so hard. I knew that serving Jesus was the right choice.  That was not the question.  I just did not know how.  Yes, I understood the need to repent but I just did not know how to really just come, how to end my affair with the devil and surrender my all to Jesus.  It seemed like such a daunting task, such an insurmountable mountain.  Would He really forgive me? Could I really live a saved life?  I was not ignorant to bible stories.  I heard about His love in Sunday school.  I sat in church Sunday after Sunday but I was far away from Him because sometimes your head knows truth that your heart rejects!

Perhaps this is where you are today.  You are tired of being a cast member in the devil’s show, you are ready to surrender but you just don’t know how to get off the devil’s stage.  How do you do this?  It is all about putting one foot in front of the other. Yes you acknowledge that you are a sinner, repent of your sins, acknowledge Jesus as your Lord and your need for Him to be your savior.  Get into the word, and get to know your new savior.  Resist the prideful mindset that you can do saved all by yourself, we need to be accountable to God and to each other.  There is a need for getting together with other believers.  Pray and ask Him to lead you to a bible believing church filled with a leadership that is crazy enough to preach and live ALL OF HIS WORD. And then after that?   Well you pray and ask Him to give you a heart to believe like a child!

Believe what doesn’t make sense, what seems foolish to unbelievers. 1 Corinthians 1:18

Believe that He loves you with an everlasting love.  Jeremiah 31:3

Believe that as far as the east is from the west that is how far He has removed your sins from you. Psalm 103:12-14

Believe that His grace is sufficient and that He meets you in your place of weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Believe that when you are tempted to go back, you don’t have to be overtaken because God will provide a way of escape… believe for His grace to kick in for you to take the place of escape. 1 Corinthians 10:13

Believe that He will give you power to walk by the spirit and not the flesh.  Galatians 5:16-17

How about it?  Are you ready to make the best choice of your life, one with eternal consequences?  Get off the devil’s stage.  A new life awaits you!

 

 

 

 

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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.