Facing and Rising Above Distractions

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1 ๐‘ช๐’๐’“๐’Š๐’๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’‚๐’๐’” 7:35 “๐‘ฐ ๐’‚๐’Ž ๐’”๐’‚๐’š๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’” ๐’‡๐’๐’“ ๐’š๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐’ƒ๐’†๐’๐’†๐’‡๐’Š๐’•, ๐’๐’๐’• ๐’•๐’ ๐’‘๐’๐’‚๐’„๐’† ๐’“๐’†๐’”๐’•๐’“๐’Š๐’„๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’๐’” ๐’๐’ ๐’š๐’๐’–. ๐‘ฐ ๐’˜๐’‚๐’๐’• ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’•๐’ ๐’…๐’ ๐’˜๐’‰๐’‚๐’•๐’†๐’—๐’†๐’“ ๐’˜๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’‰๐’†๐’๐’‘ ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’”๐’†๐’“๐’—๐’† ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐‘ณ๐’๐’“๐’… ๐’ƒ๐’†๐’”๐’•, ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ ๐’‚๐’” ๐’‡๐’†๐’˜ ๐’…๐’Š๐’”๐’•๐’“๐’‚๐’„๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’๐’” ๐’‚๐’” ๐’‘๐’๐’”๐’”๐’Š๐’ƒ๐’๐’†.”
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You guys, I am so excited about what God is speaking to me to share in the new year. That He speaks to us and wants to use us to share His salvation with others never ceases to amaze me!
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But it got me to thinking . . . (a dangerous thing, I know). Already I see distractionsโ€”some of them are good distractions even, and some of them not, that could stand in the way of doing this work that God has called me to. How about you?
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What distractions do you face that keep you from seeking God and living out His purpose for you?
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Let’s deal with some of these distractions and discern how to overcome them.
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๐‘น๐‘ฐ๐‘บ๐‘ฐ๐‘ต๐‘ฎ ๐‘จ๐‘ฉ๐‘ถ๐‘ฝ๐‘ฌ ๐‘ป๐‘ฏ๐‘ฌ ๐‘ต๐‘ถ๐‘ฐ๐‘บ๐‘ฌ
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It’s hard enough that we live in this culture that bombards us with messages all day long (guess I am also sharing messages – we all are), but we have to carefully choose which messages we are going to listen to.
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Which messages are speaking life to us and a part of God’s plan to grow us in Him?
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Making ourselves push pause before we get lost in social media first thing in the morning, we can be intentional about what we are going to do with our time.
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I have to practice self-awareness and check myself – what is my purpose for going on social media and how long am I intending to scroll through? Phew! This is hard! And we are creatures of habit.
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๐‘พ๐’† ๐’‰๐’‚๐’—๐’† ๐’ˆ๐’๐’• ๐’•๐’ ๐’ˆ๐’†๐’• ๐’‚ ๐’‰๐’๐’๐’… ๐’๐’‡ ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’” ๐’…๐’Š๐’”๐’•๐’“๐’‚๐’„๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’๐’‡ “๐’๐’๐’Š๐’”๐’†” ๐’๐’“ ๐’Š๐’• ๐’˜๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’‰๐’‚๐’—๐’† ๐’‚ ๐’‰๐’๐’๐’… ๐’๐’ ๐’–๐’”! ๐‘บ๐’๐’„๐’Š๐’‚๐’ ๐’Ž๐’†๐’…๐’Š๐’‚ ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’Š๐’•๐’” ๐’ˆ๐’‚๐’…๐’ˆ๐’†๐’•๐’“๐’š ๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’‚๐’…๐’…๐’Š๐’„๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ!
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My son recently posted about how he deals with social media and it has changed his life to control social media rather than it controlling him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VtOqPKZWtY
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๐‘น๐‘ฐ๐‘บ๐‘ฐ๐‘ต๐‘ฎ ๐‘จ๐‘ฉ๐‘ถ๐‘ฝ๐‘ฌ ๐‘ซ๐‘ฐ๐‘บ๐‘จ๐‘ท๐‘ท๐‘ถ๐‘ฐ๐‘ต๐‘ป๐‘ด๐‘ฌ๐‘ต๐‘ป๐‘บ
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Ugh. Disappointments can really put us in a tailspin while we throw ourselves a pity party, right?
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It wasn’t supposed to be this way. We were supposed to work on our calling and have things turn out differently. Life is not like that. We will have to face disappointments, but they don’t have to distract us from the calling of God on our lives.
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๐‘ซ๐’Š๐’”๐’‚๐’‘๐’‘๐’๐’Š๐’๐’•๐’Ž๐’†๐’๐’•๐’” ๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’๐’‡๐’•๐’†๐’ ๐’‚ ๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’‘๐’‘๐’๐’Š๐’๐’•๐’Ž๐’†๐’๐’• ๐’‡๐’“๐’๐’Ž ๐‘ฎ๐’๐’….
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We just might have to pry our hands loose from the former appointment and trust God with the new one.
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Maybe it will make our calling or life harder and we regret that. But we can rise above disappointment when we know God is with us and in our situation. Maybe that disappointment will cause us to dive in deeper and to grow in a way that we would not have.
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I know – we would rather grow and flourish with everything being rosy and perfect. But that’s not life.
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I am talking about disappointments all month long on my Seeing Deep podcast: https://denisepass.com/sd35-dealing-with-disappointment-in-circumstances/. Disappointments in life, in relationships and this week and next week in parenting.
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Ooh, that can be so hard. We feel we “own” that appointment, not the disappointment.
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๐‘น๐‘ฐ๐‘บ๐‘ฐ๐‘ต๐‘ฎ ๐‘จ๐‘ฉ๐‘ถ๐‘ฝ๐‘ฌ ๐‘ป๐‘ฏ๐‘ฌ ๐‘ฉ๐‘ผ๐‘บ๐’€๐‘ต๐‘ฌ๐‘บ๐‘บ
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I am busier than I should be. I know this. And I am working on it. Pinky promise.
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๐‘ฉ๐’–๐’”๐’š๐’๐’†๐’”๐’” ๐’„๐’‚๐’ ๐’Œ๐’†๐’†๐’‘ ๐’–๐’” ๐’†๐’๐’”๐’๐’‚๐’—๐’†๐’… ๐’๐’“ ๐’Š๐’• ๐’„๐’‚๐’ ๐’ƒ๐’† ๐’”๐’๐’Ž๐’†๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’Ž๐’‚๐’Œ๐’†๐’” ๐’–๐’” ๐’—๐’†๐’“๐’š ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’…๐’–๐’„๐’•๐’Š๐’—๐’†.
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I can be overwhelmed when I have a long list (like today), or I can make my list and focus on one thing at a time.
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Multi-tasking can be a blessing and its burden. I am known for being a serious multi-tasker but recently I have intentionally chosen to not do so. Sure, there are some tasks that I can do that with, but sometimes the work at hand requires all of us. That is how it is with me and writing. I need my full attention on the work at hand.
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We don’t have to be ruled by busy – we can rule it and put tasks in place. And when we are beyond capacity, we might need to prune. Or God will prune for us. What matters most is having our priorities in place – Jesus is our priority. Then family and all of our other priorities come, but we can determine how they fit. Truly we can.
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We rise above busyness by surrendering our plans to God regularly and asking for His grace to do what He has called us to. And we can choose not to let “hurry” rule us. When we just write down our desires and then don’t let the inability to get to it all defeat us, we can be grateful for what we got done and work our list the next day. It will still be there. Trust me.
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๐‘น๐‘ฐ๐‘บ๐‘ฐ๐‘ต๐‘ฎ ๐‘จ๐‘ฉ๐‘ถ๐‘ฝ๐‘ฌ ๐‘ป๐‘ฏ๐‘ฌ ๐‘ซ๐‘น๐‘จ๐‘ด๐‘จ
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We’ve all got it. And sometimes we create it all on our own.
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๐‘ซ๐’“๐’‚๐’Ž๐’‚ ๐’‰๐’‚๐’‘๐’‘๐’†๐’๐’” ๐’˜๐’‰๐’†๐’ ๐’˜๐’† ๐’”๐’†๐’† ๐’๐’Š๐’‡๐’† ๐’‡๐’“๐’๐’Ž ๐’‚ ๐’‡๐’๐’†๐’”๐’‰๐’๐’š ๐’‘๐’๐’Š๐’๐’•-๐’๐’‡-๐’—๐’Š๐’†๐’˜.
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We rise above drama when we see things from God’s perspective. There is spiritual understanding to be had behind every new drama that crops up. Stepping back and seeking to understand the spiritual needs of those creating drama, we *might* be able to respond in the Spirit instead of the flesh.
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What other distractions do you face that keep you from seeking God and living out His purpose for you? Let’sseaarch God’s word for answers to each and every distraction so we can rise above distractions and live for One!
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Here’s a quote from one of my favs – John MacArthur:
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“๐‘ป๐’‰๐’† ๐’Ž๐’๐’“๐’† ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’‡๐’๐’„๐’–๐’” ๐’๐’ ๐’š๐’๐’–๐’“๐’”๐’†๐’๐’‡, ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’Ž๐’๐’“๐’† ๐’…๐’Š๐’”๐’•๐’“๐’‚๐’„๐’•๐’†๐’… ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’˜๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’ƒ๐’† ๐’‡๐’“๐’๐’Ž ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’‘๐’†๐’“ ๐’‘๐’‚๐’•๐’‰. ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’† ๐’Ž๐’๐’“๐’† ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’Œ๐’๐’๐’˜ ๐‘ฏ๐’Š๐’Ž ๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐’„๐’๐’Ž๐’Ž๐’–๐’๐’† ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ ๐‘ฏ๐’Š๐’Ž, ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’Ž๐’๐’“๐’† ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐‘บ๐’‘๐’Š๐’“๐’Š๐’• ๐’˜๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’Ž๐’‚๐’Œ๐’† ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’๐’Š๐’Œ๐’† ๐‘ฏ๐’Š๐’Ž. ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’† ๐’Ž๐’๐’“๐’† ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’‚๐’“๐’† ๐’๐’Š๐’Œ๐’† ๐‘ฏ๐’Š๐’Ž, ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’ƒ๐’†๐’•๐’•๐’†๐’“ ๐’š๐’๐’– ๐’˜๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’–๐’๐’…๐’†๐’“๐’”๐’•๐’‚๐’๐’… ๐‘ฏ๐’Š๐’” ๐’–๐’•๐’•๐’†๐’“ ๐’”๐’–๐’‡๐’‡๐’Š๐’„๐’Š๐’†๐’๐’„๐’š ๐’‡๐’๐’“ ๐’‚๐’๐’ ๐’๐’‡ ๐’๐’Š๐’‡๐’†โ€™๐’” ๐’…๐’Š๐’‡๐’‡๐’Š๐’„๐’–๐’๐’•๐’Š๐’†๐’”. ๐‘จ๐’๐’… ๐’•๐’‰๐’‚๐’• ๐’Š๐’” ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’๐’๐’๐’š ๐’˜๐’‚๐’š ๐’•๐’ ๐’Œ๐’๐’๐’˜ ๐’“๐’†๐’‚๐’ ๐’”๐’‚๐’•๐’Š๐’”๐’‡๐’‚๐’„๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’.โ€

30 Days of Cultivating Thankfulness Day 17 โ€“ Relationship

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

We were made to relate to God and to one another in a redemptive way in this mystery called life.

Scripture of the Day:

John 15:5

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:13

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down oneโ€™s life for oneโ€™s friends.”

Sometimes we can become hardened in a world of busyness that threatens to undo the essential need at the core of our humanity. Relationship. We were made to know and be known. Our value does not come from our accomplishments (which are really God’s) or from our function in this life. It comes from Being. In. Relationship. With. God. And. Others.

Yes, I know that last sentence is incorrect. But I, too, wanted to pause and soak those words in. I get busier than I should be and need the same reminder to be still before my God and to make time for people in my life.

Abiding is not an easy thing. The natural thing is to drift away from God and others and to allow sin to separate us.

We were not made to be isolated, not made to be an island. We were made to relate to God and to one another in a redemptive way in this mystery called life. All too often relationshipsย can be difficult as pride and self are on the throne more than people or honoring God in those relationships.

Christ exemplified perfect relationship with God the Father. He and the Father are one. He told us to be the same.

So how do we relate to a Holy God when we are unholy? By the mercy of God alone. How do we relate to people when we are different from one another? By God’s grace.

God has given us access to Himself though we did not deserve it. So often this access is not utilized and we can take this amazing reality for granted. God wants us to be in a relationship of dependence upon Him, where our needs are met by Him and we can enjoy His presence. He wants us to seek His will and understanding, constantly reading His love letter to us – His Word – and praying to Him. This is where we find our greatest peace, when we are living as God intended.

Religion is the complete opposite of this privilege of relationship we have with God in Christianity. Religion is man-made, dead, focusing on a performance mentality of doing good works. Sadly, for the one pursuing religion, they will never arrive at their goal or achieve real relationship.

In our relationship with God, it has all been done. This truth causes us to worship the One Who set us free so we could know Him. It also causes us to realize that we need to relate to one another in a way that God intended.

Do we see the people in our lives as precious gifts from God? Even the thorny relationships that bring us to our knees? How can we relate to one another in a humble, others-centered way? It might mean dying to our own agenda, building others up instead of ourselves, and pausing long enough to think, serve and pray for others.

In the end, relationships with people cause us to go deeper in our relationship with God. When relationships of this world fall short of our expectations, our God helps us to pick up the pieces and to be like Christ, Who laid down His life for others.

When Christ is at the center of our human relationships, it is a beautiful witness to the world of what it means to know God and one another and still be accepted and accepting.

Lord, thank You for drawing us near to You that we could know You – our God and Creator. Help us to never forsake this amazing privilege and to love others as You have loved us.

Mundane Monday: Bless You!

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

God is for us more than we are.

Scripture of the Day:

Numbers 6:23-27

“Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is the way you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: 24 The LORD bless you and protect you; 25ย The LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; 26ย The LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.’. 27ย So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

Bless you, friend!ย It’s always good to start Monday off well. Go ahead – bless someone around you. It does not deplete our joy to give joy and blessing to another. In fact, it is an incubator that increases our joy all the more. Let’s start this week with a blessing, what say you?

Ever just feel like you wish someone would encourage you? Critical judgments come easily, but for someone to take the time out to encourage us goes beyond the norm. We, too, can often be so wrapped up in the busyness of life or preoccupied with self that we don’t notice the deep need around us for some en-COURAGE-ment.

A blessing might be the very thing someone needs to give them strength and courage to carry on or to undertake a challenging assignment. Why not give it?

We probably all know what it is like to be on the giving and receiving end of a blessing as well as being one who withholds it. The irony in sticking ourselves out there to try and accomplish a project or work God has placed on our hearts is that we are often misjudged as being prideful for doing so, when we are actually being vulnerable and obedient, motivated by a desire to honor God and giving ourselves over to our calling. Observers watching the progress can misjudge our heartsย as promoting self and withdraw their blessing or seek to discourage us from the work we are doing.

Ever felt like that?ย Reminds me of Nehemiah. Many detractors sought to undo his work. But He pressed on. Not a lot of blessings flowing his direction. But he knew the One Who had called Him and His blessing was all he needed. It is all we need, too, and this same blessing He has given to us so we can freely give to those around us.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the disciples who were envious of other co-laborers who were baptizing; their methodology wasn’t the same “brand” – must be sinful. Not according to Jesus.

It is easy to encourage someone we admire, but what about someone we don’t? Maybe they just don’t stand out or maybe we envy a person and can’t bring ourselves to praise them. Yuck. Jealousy is insidious and ultimately hatred disguised in a competitive spirit. We all hate being envied, but we can be guilty of it ourselves, if we are not careful.

Ok, back on the encouragement bandwagon. God wants us to bless believers around us – He spoke it as an imperative, not a suggestion. He even spoke the kind of blessing to be given.

Maybe we don’t feel that we deserve God’s blessing or perhaps that an enemy does. Well, none of us do. But isn’t it amazing that the God Who made us, whom we sinned against and violated His Holy covenant would turn around and bless us?

God is for us more than we are.

In that moment of blessing others, Scripture says that we are putting God’s Name on that person. Wow. What a picture of Christ being an atonement cover for us. His Name being placed upon us, blessing us now and for all eternity.

Maybe the hesitation to bless others can be set aside and blessing can become a norm for the body of Christ. As we share God’s kindness and love with all of His children, amazingly we end up just as encouraged – and maybe the blessing we give might impact generations and eternity through the encouragement of one vessel.

Oh God, we are all one body and all need encouragement to run this race. Help us to be on mission to offer Your sincere blessing to those around us.

 

Mundane Monday: Margin of Possibility

It is in pausing and being still that we are empowered to make an impact that ripples throughout eternity.

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

It is in pausing and being still that we are empowered to make an impact that ripples throughout eternity.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 127:2

“It is vain for you to rise early, come home late, and work so hard for your food. Yes, he can provide for those whom he loves even when they sleep.”

Running on the treadmill this morning I couldnโ€™t help but feel somewhat like a hamster on a wheel. Another Monday, another day full of routine and responsibilities. Despite waking up with a headache, in an effort to be disciplined to reach my goals, on the treadmill I go. After that, I meant to throw some pinto beans and sausage in the crockpot this morning to feel especially accomplished to have exercised, showered and made dinner all by 8:00am, but life happens.

One child lost their cell phone, another childโ€™s car was on empty, so on a day full of school orientations in addition to my normal full-time job, I need to flex and be creative, which is why I started work earlier today and am out the door early to accomplish the new challenges of the day, including writing this blog while my teenager with a learnerโ€™s permit is driving me to follow the child whose car is on empty on our way to Verizon. I meant that to be a run on sentence for effect. And Verizon is not open this early. Great โ€“ plan B or C, whichever plan we are on now. But I digress. Oh, wait โ€“ todayโ€™s blog is about creating margins in our life. Ha.

If I have a minute, or any amount of time, I will fill it up โ€“ Lord willing with useful endeavors, but I have often been told that I do too much. Guilty. But life is so short and I want to make the most of it. So where does margin come into this lifestyle I have created, which includes 5 children, a wonderful husband, leading worship, speaking at conferences, writing a book, writing a new song and working as an executive assistant? Good question. Very creatively is the answer.

It starts with rising early. I cannot accomplish all the LORD has placed upon my heart if I am not up before my kids, and one child in particular is awake before the sun rises. I tell him to occupy himself reading or building legos while I seek the face of God. Oh wait, that should have been point #1. God first. Am I perfect in that goal of placing God first? No, but somewhere in my day I have got to get into His word and my personal preference is to use a โ€œBible in a Yearโ€ reading plan. Here is a link to a website where you can choose a plan that works for you. Do I complete this perfectly every year? No, but I have learned to give myself grace and to press on year after year.

Discipleship. With a full life, discipleship for myself and my children, as well as time for my husband has to be intentional. These are the โ€œbig rocksโ€ of life. My husband truly helps in this goal of closeness with date nights almost every week and setting aside time every year to go away together. Work will always be there, people won’t.

Discipling my children doesnโ€™t look as neat and tidy as when my kids were little, when almost every morning we would rise and do a bible curriculum together, but they are older now and have responsibilities of their own. Creating opportunities to have one-on-one time is the challenge; it might be while driving in a car, or maybe just talking late at night, or finding a spot in the house to have a private conversation. Purposeful dates with kids is also one way this is achieved. Discipling for myself is a little harder to come by. This is where I mentor myself with books and studies โ€“ but when?

Multi-tasking. While on my treadmill, I have my reading glasses on, reading an inspirational study or a book on ministry, highlighting key phrases. An iPad is one of my favorites to use while on the treadmill, because it is easiest to highlight while literally, โ€œon the goโ€. Another place where I multi-task is in the car. Since I have teens, I have built-in chauffeurs. It might make me a little sick to my stomach temporarily, but I can usually get something accomplished, whether it is doctor’s appointments, planning, working on my laptop, etc. Of course sometimes I need to be sensitive that it also might be time just to listen to loved ones.

Rest. My secret weapon is Melatonin gummies to help me get a good night’s rest. This is imperative for me to have strength and energy for the coming challenges of the day. It also helps with autoimmune diseases and might even curb headaches. The verse for today convicts my soul and reminds me that I am not invincible. Acquiescing to a schedule and getting proper rest are fundamental. This is still an area I am challenged in, but setting rest as a priority helps me achieve my goals.

Goals. I can have great ambitions and plans, but if they do not have deadlines, it will not get done. My flesh is a great obstacle in this regard, but as Paul said, I press on! In the past this has included registering for races which was an impetus to make me train. But goals are not enough alone. The motivation for the goals is essential. But where does that come from?

Attitude. My attitude needs adjustment that is only found in the word of God. This is the most important fuel for my heart. But all sorts of problems try to dismantle the joy and positive attitude that is formed by God’s word. What then? I can find motivation in courses, groups, studies or courses. Michael Hyatt’s course Best Year Ever was a real encouragement to me. But sometimes we need somebody to come alongside us.

Accountability. This one is tougher to find, but within our own household we can find someone who has a vested interest in our success. Small groups at church are another great option, or if we have to go it alone, planning tools can help to keep us on track.

Planning.ย Speaking of planning, building in time for planning is essential. Evernote really helps me in this regard, but then so does utilizing an old fashioned planner like Amy Knapp’s that I write all of my children’s work schedules and daily reminders for me in. But sometimes you just need to come apart or you will come apart. This past weekend was such a time for me, but I confess it was not planned.

Saturday was a beautiful day. No obligations other than preparing for worship leading and making meals for the family, who were all out of the house working. I basked in the presence of God and spent most of the day planning. This was a rare moment for this girl and I cherished every moment of it.

Don’t get me wrong – I am also the girl who wants to be around my family 24/7, but in this moment God created a space for me to think and ponder for an entire day. (A dangerous thing, I know). This time served as a catalyst that inspired a lot of changes to how I approach the Seeing Deep ministry going forward. Exciting stuff!

Examination. So in my quest to be effectively used by God and maximize the time God has given me, I learned again this past weekend that I need to take one day a month to set aside to pray and plan, in addition to my daily quiet time.

It also might mean examining my life to see where precious time is wasted and asking the LORD for wisdom with what needs to be pruned and what needs to be added. This article How Americans Spend Their Timeย was at once enlightening and a little sobering in that it conveyed both an opportunity to be introspective and aware of how we are numbering our days, as well as hopefully an encouragement about how someย of our time is well spent.

I long to be faithful and passionately pass on this faith in Jesus that has arrested my soul. Ultimately we are all accountable to the LORD for how we used this evaporating commodity called time. But to be more effective, ministry, family goals and work take planning. It is in the margins of life that our souls are replenished and refocused to the mission God has called us to. It is in pausing and being still that we are empowered to make an impact that ripples throughout eternity.

Lord, help us to number our days aright that we might gain a heart of wisdom. Help us to honor You above all else in these lives You have given.

Freedom Friday: Fleshly Persuasion

Photo Credits Jordan Dewitt

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Don’t settle for the excuse of “I’m only human” – in Christ you are a child of the King. Walk in the spirit and resist the flesh!

Scriptures of the Day:

Galatians 5:1

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery. 7ย You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? 8ย That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 16 But I say live by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are in opposition to each other, so that you do not do what you want.”

Galatians 4:31

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman but of the free woman.”


I was only a small child when I first saw the movie “The Body Snatchers”. It still makes me shudder. The thought of being ignorant to an entity that takes over our identity and takes over all of mankind was enough to make for many sleepless nights. The horror of friends and loved ones no longer residing in their bodies is freakish and terrifying.

I had written another blog entry previously about this movie – it obviously had a profound effect. But while this idea of our souls being snatched makes for an intense sci-fi thriller, it is also ironically a reality for many. No, I am not an advocate for the belief in martians coming and taking over our bodies, but I have seen within myself and others the propensity to let the flesh rule what is otherwise the property of God.

The flesh is persuasive. It wants what it wants and often goes unchecked. After all, we reside in these casings of flesh and it is difficult to recognize the worldly influence steadily creeping into our lives.

Sometimes we do not stop to reflect in our fast-paced world when our impulses seem so natural. After all, the flesh makes things look attractive, pleasing to the eye. Kind of reminds me of Adam and Eve and that fruit on the forbidden tree.

But a pig with lipstick is still a pig. If we drink the Kool-Aid without checking our thoughts and actions with the word of God, recognizing the flesh will become increasingly harder.

Like Paul, we ask the burning question, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Although Paul acknowledge that we are easily controlled, he did not leave us there. His vivid description of the battle against the flesh ends with gratitude: “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

We do have a choice. We are not slaves any longer to our flesh. It will be hard to resist the flesh, but perhaps clearing up the lies our flesh is telling us might motivate us to not swallow its prescription. If Jesus has given us everything we need, why would pursuing the flesh when its fruit is exposed and it is stripped of its deceit be desirable at all?

The days are evil and we live in a flesh-saturated society. Marriages and families are wrecked because of fleshly deeds being unchecked. The Christian must be in the Word of God to be able to see clearly. The cost of Jesus’ sacrifice was too high for His followers to live for their flesh. We were crucified with Him and must be a testimony of the life of Christ within our members. Others around us are depending on it and it just might be what makes the difference for all of their eternity.

Know who you are, friends. You and I are children of the righteous King, Jesus Christ. Our identity is sealed in Heaven. No more playing church – let us live wholly Holy lives for God, provoking one another toward righteousness. May we stop playing in the mud and walk in the light. We are not slaves anymore – we are free from the influence of our flesh in Jesus Christ! Hallelujah!

Jesus, thank You for revealing our sin and showing us where our flesh is taking over. Open our eyes to see and help us to live victorious lives as a witness in this fallen world, all for Your glory.ย 

Thoughtful Thursday: Full Fool

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Get stuffed with living water

Scripture of the Day:

Proverbs 1:29-31

“Because they hated moral knowledge, and did not choose to fear the LORD, 30ย they did not comply with my advice, they spurned all my rebuke. 31ย Therefore they will eat from the fruit of their way, and they will be stuffed full of their own counsel.”ย 


 

Thirsty? We are all born consumers. We crave food, drink, love, respect, acceptance, knowledge, and the list goes on and on. We are humbled by the fact that we are always needing to be refilled. Like the woman at the well who longed for water that would forever quench her thirst, we long to be satisfied. And Christ invites us all to drink – deeply.

While we have practical needs that make us look to God our Provider, there are other things we need that we often overlook. God wants us to hunger and thirst after righteousness, wisdom, His Word and after Himself.

It is a choice we have to make to crave after God, though. He invites us, but He will not make us come into His presence. He is all we need, but we can spin our wheels chasing after temporary “water” instead of living water found in Christ.

Sometimes it can be hard to discern our own fleshly thoughts from the wisdom of God – especially when we are full of self and our own worldview. There is very little space in a vessel that is stuffed with our own opinion instead of God’s truth.

Asking questions about motivation and filtering our perspective through God’s Word helps us to cleanse ourselves of a lot of excess “stuff” that we do not need in our thoughts or heart.

We can never empty ourselves completely of self, but we can pursue God and His wisdom and store His truth in our mind. Ultimately, the more we feast on God’s word instead of worldly wisdom, the more we are strengthened to walk in His ways.

Instead of full of stress or worry, we can be full of joy. Instead of being full of self, we can be saturated with Jesus. Instead of being filled with despair, we can be filled with hope. When we drink deeply of the love of God and His word we will never be the same and those around us won’t be, either.

Lord, thank You for filling us with Your Holy Spirit. Fill us to overflowing and satisfy us with your presence so we never hunger after counterfeits.

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Worshipful Wednesday: Pause for Praise

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Inspirational Thought of The Day:

When we consider the works of God, we cannot help but praise Him.

Scriptures of the Day:

Job 37:7

“He causes everyone to stop working,ย so that all people may know his work.”

Exodus 34:10

“He said, “See, I am going to make a covenant before all your people. I will do wonders such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation. All the people among whom you live will see the work of the LORD, for it is a fearful thing that I am doing with you.”

Deuternonomy 4:32

“Indeed, ask about the distant past, starting from the day God created humankind on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether there has ever been such a great thing as this, or even a rumor of it.”


There is something special about times when foul weather or illness strike so the work man does comes to a screeching halt. Like hamsters spinning incessantly on a wheel, a break in routine is jarring at first, but a welcome relief.

It is in those moments that we are forced to stop – when the busyness that encompasses us about is silenced just long enough for us to consider and ponder something other than our normal routine. When snow blankets the roads and man has to admit that even his mighty vehicle cannot circumvent them, we are humbled to realize that God made it all.

God wants us to slow down long enough to see His work. All creation testifies of His greatness. Every minute detail lauds Him as our genius Creator and heroic Savior.ย We hear it said many times, we read it and sing about it – how great our God is. When we consider His character – unmatchable, indescribable – it overwhelms us to even attempt to try to give Him the praise He is due.

Pause and praise Him today. Think on what He has done in your life. Reflect on His promises and His mighty deliverance. Take a break from the vicious cycle of life and breathe. That’s right. God gave you that breathe to praise Him.

The distractions of this world threaten to blind us to seeing the wonders of God. When we forget what our God has done for us, we are in danger of living for self and forgetting our very purpose – to bring Him glory and praise. That is simply what we were made for – to know Him and enjoy Him forever.

Lord, You are awesome and we cannot thank You enough! Thank You for opening our eyes to see how wonderful You are. Help us to never forget your works and great gift of salvation.