Showing posts with label change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label change. Show all posts

Monday, January 20, 2014

Focused on the Pigs

This past weekend I was reading in Matthew 8 and came across the story of Jesus casting demons out of two men and into a heard of pigs, who then jumped into the sea and drowned. A funny thing happened after the pigs drowned…the people got mad. I set down my Bible at that point, wheels turning, because every time I read this story I see it from another angle. This weekend was no different. (See, this is what is so neat about the Word of God being living and active. God is constantly speaking new things through it to us.)

Now, let me back up a bit to the beginning of the story. I’m using the Message:

“They landed in the country of the Gardarenes and were met by two madmen, victims of demons, coming out of the cemetery. The men had terrorized the region for so long that no one considered it safe to walk down the that stretch of road anymore…”

The people were held in bondage by these two demon-possessed men. They couldn’t walk down this street. They had to plan alternate routes and avoid any place these men were. These two men were messing with the Gardarenes’ lives.

Jesus saw this. So what did he do? He stepped in, and he changed things. He commanded the demons out of these two men. Those demons took up residence in the pigs who then ran into the sea and drowned.

And look at how the people responded:

“Those who heard about it were angry about the drowned pigs. A mob formed and demanded that Jesus get out and not come back.”

That sounds like such a strange response, doesn’t it? We read it and think, here Jesus delivered you from this oppression and you’re angry about how he did it? Angry about the pigs?

Thing is, if we stop and really look at it, we can be the same way: focused on the pigs. Maybe we’ve begged to be delivered from an addiction, but to do that, God needs to kill off some old haunts or friendships. Perhaps God wants to help us overcome a bad attitude, but he’ll need to drown some unforgiveness in us. Possibly God wants us to grow deeper in our relationship with him, and he’s asking us to change some music, books, or tv shows we watch.

Oh, we so badly want to live lives free of detours and problems. We want to live in freedom, far away from the things that have plagued us, caused fear, or simply kept us from the path we should have been on. Yet when God delivers us, we can sometimes point to the dead pigs and complain.

“Why did that relationship fall apart?”
“Why can’t I watch that show?”
“Why can’t I have that drink?”

We start to focus on the things he killed in our lives so we could live in freedom, rather than rejoicing in that very freedom!

Don’t let another day go by focusing on the pigs. Look to what God has brought you through, not what you had to give up. Because if God had you give something up, it’s only because he’s got something so much better! And freedom is one of those things:)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Inward vs. Outward

So I recently had to get ready for pictures. On a normal day, I'm in yoga pants with a pony tail and no make-up, but what lady wants a picture in that condition?

I took my time. Did my hair. Painstakingly applied my make-up. Choose a cute outfit. Then another. Brushed my hair again. Used some hair spray and then some more. Even put on perfume--not that anyone can smell it through the photo, but hey, it sounded good.

All the while my youngest stood watch wondering why mom was getting "pretty". I certainly didn't look that way every day.

As I put on my mascara, and my little girl perched beside me, God took the time to speak to my heart. It was fun for her to see mom get all dolled up--we girls love to do that--but was I showing her the same dedication to my inside? Was my heart always dressed-up for her, or was it only on certain days that she saw me making my inside beautiful?

Because while there's nothing wrong with working on my outward appearance, none of it will matter if my inside doesn't outshine it.

Anyone else out there know what I'm saying? Which means we need to daily apply his patience to our short-tempered areas. His grace and mercy to our unforgiveness. His unfailing love to our expectations. His soothing words onto our tongues. Do we spend the time needed with him to change our inward appearance? Because a picture may last several years, but how we treat others will last for an eternity.

Simple thoughts today? Yes. But sometimes taking it back to the basic is exactly what we need. Hoping as you get ready this morning you put Christ on above all else~it'll make the biggest impression on those around you:)

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2
(Now that's a perfume that is always noticed.)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Falling and Jumping


So I took this past week for my "quiet and rest" as I said in my last post. I was blessed to spend it in Destin, Florida, and I definitely found my quiet moments there:) I tried to hide the car keys so Hubby wouldn't be able to take us home, but he found them, so back North we go.

While I was enjoying those quiet moments with God, He started talking to me about the difference between jumping and falling. See, there are moments where we fall--usually if our feet aren't on solid ground or we slip, or maybe even the ground suddenly opens beneath us.
In those moments I'm always amazed at the depth of His presence and how He never fails to catch me. There's a sweetness found there like no other, a trust that's built where I know that no matter what, no matter how far the fall, He's there. Those are the moments that help me when I'm called to jump.

Yes, jump. That moment when God beckons you to jump into His presence. Sometimes it's an area in your life that you've been working on, and God finally says it's time to leave it all behind--let that last little grip of it go. Maybe it's trusting Him with something so dear to you that you want to cling to it when you need to cling to Him instead. Or maybe there's a change happening in your life and you can't quite see your landing spot, but God's asking you to jump--He's already there waiting for you.


See, falling happens. We're walking along with confidence and suddenly find our feet out from under us. But jumping, well, that takes initiative. We need to leave the solid ground we're on and
jump to the place He's standing, waiting to catch us and take us deeper, farther, beyond where we've been and to the place He's designed for us to be.

Will you dare take that leap? He's there, waiting.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Senses: Sight


I grew up in a Christian household, but it wasn’t until I was a teenager that my personal relationship with Christ began to grow. I can remember the exact turning point in my life, and after that moment, God began to change me.
Change takes time. It is not a one time deal, it’s a constant motion. And it takes choice on our part to make change occur. Can I be honest here for a moment? I hate change! It’s tough. There are learning curves involved, and it’s often uncomfortable. But one thing I’ve learned, I’m always better for it. The more I experience the new change, the more it becomes natural to me and easier to choose. Then an amazing thing happens, the new becomes comfortable and the old is no longer appealing. That’s when I know the change has fully taken affect. It’s become my new habit.
Over the next few weeks I want to talk about some new habits centered on our senses. Today I want to start with sight. What we take in.
What enters our bodies through our eyes is crucial to the well-being of our mind and soul. It can be a stumbling block to us. God cautions us in Mark 9:47, If your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out. It’s better to enter the Kingdom of God with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell.” Sounds harsh, right? I believe it was because He wanted to catch our attention. Make sure we don’t fool around with this—it’s that important.
Sight plays into all aspects of our lives. What we watch on TV or the movies. What we read in magazines and books. What ads we gaze at—even at the mall. Let’s not even start with what you can find on the internet. Temptation is always there, but we can choose to look elsewhere. If we don’t, it can hurt us.
I know because I played with this fire when I was younger. I was in love with all things horror. My friends and I would have marathon movie sessions. I’d read books that would make your toes curl. I told myself it was because I loved the adrenaline rush and I could handle it. And yet, I couldn’t understand how I, a child of God, struggled with a spirit of fear. All the while, I was feeding it with what my eyes took in.
And it was easy to hide. Things of our sight always our. My books and movies never would have been allowed in my family, but I still accessed them. Now I want to say something here. If you feel the need to hide something, it means you shouldn’t be doing it. Put it away. Run as far from it as you can. Stop it! You’re playing with fire and you will get burned. I know I did.
I struggled for years with that spirit of fear, and my soul is still sensitive to the area. To this day I will not even watch a commercial that deals with fear based subjects, the occult or horror. I will not touch a book with the subject matter. It is a part of my life that I must consistently give over to God and tread very carefully with. If you’ve dealt with an area of something your eyes took in that became a stumbling block, you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, don’t start. Keep what your eyes rest on as holy. Everything you see, ask if it glorifies God. Does it edify your spirit and your walk with Him? If the answer is ‘no’, walk away. If the answer is ‘I’m not sure’, walk away. This is not a game you want to play. It will suck you in before you even realize it.
And if you’re currently stumbling with what your eyes take in, give it to God this instant. Cover it in His blood. He can deliver you from it, but you need to choose to take it to His altar and leave it there. It might be a minute to minute issue for you, but He will take it if you are ready to give it to Him. Read Romans 8 and remind yourself when His spirit lives in you, you are no slave to sin.
This week I challenge you to remember—your eyes are controlled by voluntary muscles. They do not stray someplace that you haven’t first directed them. What you're looking at is feeding something in your life. What are your going to feed and what will you starve?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Choice

It's so easy to focus on our failures, isn't it? At times, they are so large we believe we cannot possibly come back from them. Will we ever change? Do we ever do anything right? Oh believe me, I understand these questions.

We will never be perfect here on this earth. Saved, yes...but saved does not make us perfect. It simply means that now we are God's and He's able to work in us and through us. And, chances are, once satan knows you're saved, he will come at your weak spots again, and again...and again. Because his goal is to make you useless in the army of God. To focus you in on your problems so tightly that you miss the grace of God and His plan for your life. To get you to stop trying.

So what do we do?

We choose.

We choose to push our focus back towards God. We choose to pick ourselves up again, by His strength. We choose to believe in His changing power in our lives. Because what other choice do we have? To give up? To stay where we are? Neither are ones I want to make. You?

You may keep making the same mistake. It may drive you nuts. But remember, God is bigger. He can change you. It might take longer than you ever thought, but keep on keeping on. Life in Him is a process. The change that occurs is your testimony. And it will change lives--yours included. If you simply choose to keep moving. One small step at a time.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Clean Up

It’s springtime and things have been crazy around our home. Between finishing our homeschooling for the year, little league and spring fever, not much indoors has been accomplished. Yep, the house is a mess – just ask my husband. So yesterday I told my kids they needed to clean their disaster areas, err…bedrooms…before they could play.

Meanwhile, I worked on Mount Laundry.


Some time later my children informed me their rooms were complete. I checked on them and stood amazed. Shiny and clean, with minimal complaints while doing them – what great kids. Giving my okay, they ran past me to play outside and I returned to the laundry.


Well, I finally scaled my mountain and headed to put the items away. Normally my children need to put their own clothes away, but they’d been so good about cleaning their rooms that I decided to do it for them. The first closet I opened nearly buried me alive. Upon closer inspection, I found under their beds held whatever the closets could not. They hadn’t cleaned their rooms, they’d just hidden their messes.


After I brought them back inside and set them to cleaning – again – God hit me with this little thought. Don’t we sometimes do the same thing? God asks us to clean something out of our lives and we shove it into the corner, claiming we’ve dealt with it and hoping He no longer sees it. On the outside, our lives look all neat and tidy, but on the inside they are a raging mess. Then someone walks by and unsuspectingly opens our closet door and gets dumped on.


Here’s the thing, we may successfully hide our stuff from the people around us - though they often fall victim to our avalanches - but do we really think we’ve hidden anything from God? His Word clearly states that “you justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows you hearts.” (Luke 16:15) You’re not hiding a thing from Him. And it’s not doing you, or those around you, any good to keep your mess.


So go clean your room. I know it’s not always fun and that you’d rather keep playing, but it needs to be done. You can’t find anything in the chaos, and you don’t have room for anything new because you’re overrun by the old. People around you are wondering where that ‘drive-by’ dumping came from and you’re left feeling out of control. Listen to your Father’s voice calling you back inside, telling you it’s time to clean it all out, because the only thing you should be hiding in your heart is His Word. So come on, grab your Bible, get on your knees, and start cleaning. Things will look a lot better once you’re done.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

God's Nature

Looking outside this morning, I was amazed at the picture. A fluffy white landscape, powder covering every surface, sunshine streaming through ice crystals on the trees, and a crisp cobalt sky. Isn’t God amazing?

I posted on my Facebook that only God can paint a picture with the color white. Take nothing and make it something. It is truly inspiring. I find that I am often inspired by His nature.

I am lucky enough to live in a place with four distinct seasons. Each year I get to watch God’s story of our lives unfold around me. It starts with Fall, a season where things are dying, making me think of our sinful nature. Now, we all know sin. Whether we’ve been saved or not, we have a sinful nature that brings death. Yet look what happens with God’s power in our lives. We call on Him, profess him as Lord, BELIEVE in Him, and “Though our sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” (Isaiah 1:18)

Winter. It is the season where all that death is covered with a blanket of white. Cleansing. A place for a fresh start. Beauty in it’s simplicity. This is the picture that caught my eye this morning. It was like standing in the middle of God’s grace. And the entire time we’re admiring it, something new is taking place. Life is getting ready to break forth.

Spring. It’s name says it all. Life is springing up new around us in brilliant bursts of color. Sounds explode as everything comes alive, singing God’s praises, showing it. He's doing a new work in us. Making all things new again. “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up…” (Isaiah 43:18) And He doesn’t just stop there with life beginning. He shines the son on it, grows it, deepens its roots so it can thrive.

Summer. Life in full swing. Days full of light and warmth. Productivity. Beauty. Hardly any night. It is an amazing place to be. One we wish could last forever, and someday will.

See, He will be the Light of our world. It’s not just the seasons He’s given us as a picture, but even each day. Night comes, blocking out the light and there are times in our lives where it feels like the night has won. But just hold on. Dawn is coming. It never fails to do so. And with it a promise that one day, “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelations 22:5) (Can I get an AMEN!)

So when life is buzzing around you, when you feel overwhelmed, just stop. Look around you at the painting God has placed you in. See the reminders He’s given you that you are not alone. That time keeps moving forward. Daybreak comes. Life springs forth again. It can't help but have to. It's God's nature.