Monday, October 29, 2012

Full Armor

"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests."  Ephesians 6:11-18

Some days I just need to pray this.

In His Grace...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Over and over again

Why does God have to teach me the same lesson over and over again?  Why can't I learn it the first time around and then not go back again?  Why do I keep returning to the same patterns again and again like my 4 year old son?

On my way home from work today, I was thinking about the trials we are going through right now.  I was thinking how some people we know seem to think they are not very difficult trials and it feels as if we are being judged for losing our house or for asking for prayer for an unknown health issue.  

But then I had a light bulb moment.

I am focusing on what others think of my situation.  I am focusing on getting the approval of others.  I am focusing on getting attention from other flawed human beings.  I am focusing in the wrong place.

I wrote about this toward the beginning of my blog (Following my Faith).  I would seek the attention, prayers and fellowship of other Christian women but when they would pray with me or empathize with me, I felt they didn't get it.

It doesn't matter if they get it or not.

God gets it.

It says in Scripture "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." Philippians 1:6

He is still working on me, He is doing his good work within me and all I have to do is seek Him.  Him in all His glory, Him in all His mercy.

Him in all His understanding, compassion and love.

God gets it, whatever you are going through, He gets it.

He is with you and He loves you.

In His Grace...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beyond Me

I don't know what I did to yesterdays post.  Somehow, it changed from what it was to something I didn't want it to be.  And I can't change it back.

So it will stay the way it is.  It is beyond me to fix.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus..." Hebrews 12:1-2

In this time of change, I want to "fix my eyes on Jesus".  I want to "throw off everything that hinders" and "run with perseverance the race marked out for" me.  I want to do these things. 

The only way I can do this, is through giving thanks for His grace.

Remembering all the blessings even during the trials.

The blessing of my son
my husband
our pets
our families
our jobs
the food on the table
the treats provided by Auntie
the toys
the visits to playgrounds
the beautiful rain
the glorious sunshine following the rain
the smell of clean, fresh earth
the love of friends
our small group
seeing a rainbow
reading with my son...

And the list goes on...I must remember to give thanks.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Be Joyful Always

Our small group finished the Fireproof study and moved on to study a book of the Bible.

The book of James.

It starts with "My brothers and sisters, when you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience." James 1:2-3, NCV

If you have been following my blog at all, you know that my family is facing a number of trials - losing our house, health issues and relational struggles.  I don't know about you, but I have not been one to journey through my troubles with joy.  These meaning of these two words seem far from each other in my mind. defines trouble as "to disturb the mental calm and contentment of; worry; distress; agitate," and joy as "the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation."  So how do we go about putting these two things together?

Scripture tells us to "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16

The answer yet again - give thanks.

And so I give thanks for the many blessings we are given every day and I pray that this time, for a little bit longer, I can keep my focus on giving thanks.

In His Grace...

Friday, October 19, 2012


The house is immaculately clean (at least as immaculate as it can be with 3 cats, 1 dog, a four year old boy and a husband).  There is a for sale sign stuck in our front lawn.  There are strangers coming into our house. 

It is officially for sale. 

As we entered this time of upheaval, my quiet time was interrupted.  All spring and summer, I was waking before the rest of the household, sitting up and reading my Bible in bed.  There was enough light, and if there wasn't, I could turn my bedside lamp on dim and that would provide enough light.  But as we head into winter, it is dark in the mornings.  I don't want to wake my husband by turning the light on more, and I don't want to wake my son by going in the living room (light sleeper).  So I had inadvertently stopped having a quiet time.  Sometimes I would take a few minutes in the evening but I didn't have a dedicated time scheduled daily when I needed one the most.

I still do not want to sell my house.  Even when I know in my head that it is the best decision.  I am still struggling with it. In the evenings, I didn't want to think about it.  I found myself falling back on my preferred method of drowning out my thoughts - TV.

We don't actually have TV reception and we do not subscribe to cable, but we have a subscription to Netflix in order to watch movies.  However, I found there are TV shows available to watch instantly.  Instead of sitting down with my bible and reading Scripture, I found myself tuning in to a TV show. 

This is a slippery slope for me.  I had been down it before.  It is how I drown out things I don't want to deal with.  It was my coping mechanism during several years of depression.

But I also know it doesn't help. 

After several weeks of turning to TV and not being able to sleep at night, I realized I needed to turn to something else. 

So I started having my quiet time before bed.  I climb into bed a little earlier than I plan on going to sleep, pull out my Bible and continue reading in Matthew (I am still working my way through the Bible from cover to cover.)

And I read, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28

And He takes my burden and He gives me rest.  And I am so thankful and grateful for His love.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My house is not my home

I have shared that we are getting ready to do a short sale on our house.  It has been a difficult decision and process for me.  While I know that my house is just a building, I have developed an emotional attachment to it. 

It is where we lived when our son was born. 

It has a great backyard. 

It is small and easy to clean. 

It is where we lived when we were both baptized.

It is where we have spent the last 6 years of our lives.

I understand that financially, it is a good decision to sell.  But emotionally, there is a struggle within me.

"For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands."  2 Corinthians 5:1 NIV

My home here is just that, an earthly tent.  Not a permanent place to reside.  God has a place prepared for me in heaven, an eternal home with Him.

"...And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23:6 NIV

And I will have the privelege of living with Him forever in my eternal home. 

I pray I can remain focused on that.

In His Grace...

Monday, October 15, 2012


Our small group has been doing the study based on the movie Fireproof.  It has been a good study on marriage.  But it also has some more far reaching truths. 

For example the command "Love each other as I have loved you."  As we were discussing verses like this one, I had a light bulb moment. 

God loves all of us so much and he commanded us to love each other unconditionally. 

I need to be loving some people that are very difficult for me to show love to.  It was just a flash of insight for some very specific people. 

It doesn't just mean that I am to love my husband or my son unconditionally.  It means I am to love everyone - my enemies, my friends, my neighbors, my family, my husbands family, total strangers - unconditionally.  I am to be showing them love, regardless of how easy or difficult it is to do.  I dare say that God enjoys it even more when we continually show love to those that are the most difficult to love.

When the Pharisees asked Jesus what the most important commandment was, he answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these."  Mark 12:30-31

It is a commandment.

It is my challenge.

Sometimes I wish I didn't have light bulb moments.

In His Grace...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Making good habits

I have made it to the New Testament.

I have been reading through the bible from cover to cover.  I started toward the end of 2011 at Genesis and have plodded my way through the Old Testament.  As I started the New Testament, my husband started a new schedule at work.  Because of this change, I have had to adjust my "quiet time" with the Lord and there was a chunk of time in which I had not yet figured out my new schedule.

As I read through Matthew 12, I was struck by a number of passages but this one took the cake for me.  "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.  Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.'  When it arrives, it find the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.  Then it goes and takes with it several other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there.  And the final condition of that man is worse than the first."  Matthew 12:43-45

Or to paraphrase, if we don't replace bad habits with good ones, if we just try to remove the bad habit but do not put a good habit in its' place, then we are setting ourselves up to fail.  For example, if I want to stop relying on food for comfort, but I do not fill that void with God, then I will end up falling back on food for comfort. 

This is something I have struggled with for a number of years.  According to health professionals, I am in my healthy weight range.  But when I look in the mirror, I am not in "my" healthy weight range. 

I use food for comfort.  It had not occurred to me that I would continue to fail in my healthy eating pursuits if I did not replace that desire for comfort with something else.  I was trying to rid myself of a bad habit without replacing it with a good habit.

Lord, help me replace the comfort I crave with your never ending love.

In His Grace...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sharing Jesus

After coming to Christ nine years ago, I was slow to share my faith.  I didn't feel like I had all the answers.  I didn't feel prepared to answer questions, if the person I shared with had any.  I felt inadequate and incapable of sharing something that was new to me. 

But this attitude continued as the years went by.  Yes, I was growing in the Lord.  Yes, I was building my relationship with Jesus.  But I wasn't sharing Him.  Not with family, not with friends, not with strangers. 

My family did notice differences in me.  My relationship with Jesus was changing me.  But I wouldn't step out in faith and trust that the Lord would give me the words to share. 

Romans 1:16 says "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..." I know I had heard this verse before, but when our Pastor mentioned it last weekend, I realized I had been allowing my fear of what others might think, stop me from sharing.  In effect, my actions were saying I was ashamed of the gospel.

I am not sure exactly when this changed, but at some point, I found myself saying what I was thinking.  If someone asked a question, I didn't just have a Jesus answer in my head.  I would also let it out of my mouth.  And it was freeing.  The more I shared, the easier it was and is to share. 

As I continue to share, I encourage you to do the same.  The Holy Spirit will give you the words and you never know how your words might change the life of those with whom you share.  Even if there is no immediate effect, you are sowing the seeds.

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously." 2 Corinthians 9:6

In His Grace...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Feeling like a failure

As we headed into the whole process of doing a short sale with our house, I was feeling more and more like a failure.  

I don't take well to failure.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I was a perfectionist growing up.  If I didn't think I could do something and do it well, I just didn't do it at all.  I worked hard in school to earn good grades.  I wasn't doing it for the right reasons.  I was trying to win approval from others.  But that doesn't change the fact that I did not allow myself to fail. 

In losing our house, we failed.  We made a bad decision to buy a house we couldn't afford at the wrong time.  We messed this one up and it was leaving me feeling empty, dark and alone.

Today, as we sat in church, there was a flash of reassurance.  I don't really know how to explain it but I just felt a reassurance from God. 

We are experiencing this for a reason.  I don't know what that reason is, I just have to lean on Him and trust in Him. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart..." Proverbs 3:5

He will use this experience for His glory.

In His Grace...

Friday, October 5, 2012

God works for our good

"And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

This was the first Scripture I ever memorized. 

It is such a comforting Scripture.

In conversation today with a friend who has every right to be asking God, why us? why me? what is your plan? this verse came up.  Our friend said that as he tells his kids every evening that God has a plan for them, God loves them, God is watching out for them, he is reminding himself of the same thing.

And as this verse came up, I was reminded too.

As we head into a short sale on our house, I was reminded that God does "work for the good of those who love Him."  I was reminded that "in ALL things" God works for my good.  Even when I can't see the good.  Even when I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

God is good!

In His Grace...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Perfectionism and Pride

As I was working on yesterday's post about pride, God nudged me about something else.  Something else with which I struggle.

Perfectionism: "a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less."

This is something that I have lived with my entire life.  My parents tell me that I wouldn't try to do anything new unless I knew I could do it well.  I am still working on this issue. 

But as I read the verses about pride in Scripture, it became apparent to me that perfectionism is led by pride. 

Pride: "a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct..."

Scripture tells me that only one person has ever been or will ever be perfect -


"As for God, his way is perfect..." 2 Samuel 22:31

"Every good and perfect gift is from above..." James 1:17

No matter how hard I try, no matter what I do, I will never be perfect.  I am a human being, I am flawed and I live in a sinful world.  By trying to be perfect, I set myself up for disappointment because I am trying to prove myself and please those around me. 

There is only one I need to please and that is God.

I pray that I will keep my focus on Him and work toward pleasing Him based on what He has written in Scripture.

In His Grace...