Sunday, November 30, 2014

Refined by Pressure

I think you ought to know, dear brothers and sister, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia.  We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it.  In fact, we expected to die.  But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead.  2 Corinthians 1:8-9 (NLT)

I’m amazed how perfectly God orchestrates everyday circumstances for our own good.  It’s very clear how well he sees the big picture and guides us into truth in ways we can each understand.  God used a recent experience for me to really bring home a message I needed to hear.

I train Border Collie dogs to work livestock.  It’s a dance of pressure and release.  They need to apply the right amount of pressure to livestock to get the desired response from them.  They also need to release pressure at the right moment.  The same goes for me in training the dogs.

I went to a small sheep dog trial (competition) awhile back.  I had been dealing with some strife and conflict in my own personal life right around that time.  I kept replaying the conflict over and over again my head.  I was explaining to God how he needed to fix this problem.  I had many conversations with myself on what I could say to fix this whole situation if given half a chance!  To be perfectly honest, I wanted to fix this problem with my fists.

Jess is my little female dog that is a firecracker!  She had always come out fighting (gripping) when she felt pressure.  So at this trial when she was feeling pressure from the sheep challenging her, she immediately went to her default of hanging and dragging on sheep.  Because I wasn't disqualified with her right then, which was a first, she had to work through the pressure.  She had no choice but to start dealing with it.  No cop out this time.  She learned to settle in and find other ways to cope and deal with pressure.  It was hard for her but she progressed!

Rock, my older male, on the other hand came out and handled some extremely tough sheep with calm power.  They weren't pushing him around but he wasn't lashing out from the pressure either.  He handled them calmly and with respect.  The sheep tried to split up as to divide and conquer. They weren't going to get away with anything but to be completely victorious in the situation he needed my help!

God revealed to me that my default reaction is just like Jess.  When I feel pressured or especially if I feel like someone is hurting one of my “own” I want to lash out and get physical.  It’s honestly a cop out as I don’t have to deal with the hard stuff that way.  The emotions and discussions that come with the dealing with conflict.

God wants me to react with the calm power that He has given me.  He is right there with me!  I can’t do it on my own.  But I CAN do it with HIM beside me and IN me!  Stand firm!!  That is the practical side of all of this.  That IN HIM I can do all things.  It might not be easy but it’s possible.

I don’t have to settle or back down from the attacks of the enemy.  But, I don’t have to lash out and give the enemy any foothold into my life or my relationships.  These people that I think I’m protecting, God is already protecting!  I’m putting my faith, trust and hope in God to handle the situation!

Father God, help me to trust you in pressure filled situations.  You are the God who raises the dead!  Surely You alone can handle these pressured areas of our lives.  I trust YOU to handle these situations and give me the words, if any, to say at Your perfect time.  Help me to trust You and to not take it back into my own hands.  Thank you Lord!  In Jesus name, Amen!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Words of Life

“Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.”  
Psalm 119:133 (NIV)

What we allow into our lives always effects our lives.  If most of our life is filled with words from negative sources, we can’t honestly expect to not be negative!  It just makes sense.  If we put trash into our minds that is what we’ll get back out.

When we spend our days listening to music that’s filled with sinful behavior, it will seep down into our hearts.  We try to make excuses for the TV shows we choose to watch. “It’s just entertainment and means nothing” we tell ourselves to justify watching it.  These are lies the enemy uses.

Freedom!  Jesus brings freedom.  This freedom is not permission to continue to sin.  It’s not always easy to look honestly at ourselves and admit our sins.  The seemingly innocent material we fill our minds with is a doorway for the enemy to bring about temptation and destruction.  We need to be honest in our evaluations of ourselves on the material we are allowing into our lives!

We MUST guard our mind as it greatly affects our heart.  “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NLT).  

We need to fill our minds with God’s word.  That is where we will find the truth!  Jesus told us there would be times of trouble in our life.  When you face troubles, and you will, you need to be armed with God’s truth so you can endure the test.

Fill yourself up with Christ.  More of HIM and less of me! 

Father God, please help me to run everything I allow into my life through the filter of your truth.  Let me look honestly at what worldly materials I have allowed into my life that conflict with your word!  I repent and ask for forgiveness.  I need your help!  Fill me up with the truth of your word so that my life may be shaped by words of life!  In Jesus name, Amen

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Participate in Your Miracle

God says, “By my stripes you ARE healed,” so I take him at His word.  This is a done deal, right?  Pray for it, step back, and let God do His work.  I know I can’t do it, so it’s always best to just step back and let God handle it.

So, I was praying for healing from a non-stop head ache that had basically been crippling me for three days.  I claimed healing and was going to stand firm and know healing was accomplished.  I was thanking God for the healing when I heard in my spirit the following, participate in your miracle! 

Wait, what?  I thought I was participating by praying and standing in faith.  Don’t get me wrong, that is participation, and God calls us to “Ask for anything in MY name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.” John 14:13.

I was going to the throne boldly when the Lord put on my heart that there was something I could do to participate in my own healing.  I prayed and asked if it was lack of sleep, a spiritual attack, maybe getting sick, anything I could think of at the moment.  Then He spoke clearly to me that it was what I was eating.  Who would have thought? 

Well, I should have since I like to study nutrition. I had just gotten so wrapped up in my own stress from the past month that I didn’t slow down long enough to realize how bad my eating habits had become.  That in turn had wreaked havoc on my health.

So, I will continue to stand on faith that I’m healed.  I will also pray for strength to make smarter food choices, so that my health isn’t negatively affected. 

I’m SO grateful that Jehovah Rapha is the God who heals and also lets me join in on this healing!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Come and follow!

I raise sheep. Quite a few sheep actually. I will admit I don’t live out with them 24 hours a day like the shepherds did during Jesus’ life. They’re in fenced in pastures and have guard dogs that live out with them to help protect them. I have learned a thing or two about the ovine species (fancy name for sheep) during my life.
Sheep can be quite skittish. They’re a prey animal so they’re always on the lookout for danger. It takes quite a little work in order for sheep to really trust anyone or anything. It is their only real means of defense.
I check on the flock regularly for health issues as well as to feed them. During lambing season I spend a LOT of time out with the flock. They know me and I know them. They recognize my voice. They know they belong in my flock and they follow me. There is peace.
“After He has gathered His own flock, He walks ahead of them, and they follow Him because they know His voice.” John 10:4 (NLT)
When a stranger walks out to look at or visit the sheep there is a different reaction. They become very uneasy. They bunch up and retreat to a safe place. It’s especially noticeable if the stranger speaks. Peace is not found in that instance.
“They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.” John 10:5 (NLT)
There are many voices calling to us in this world. Many of these voices we don’t know and we can’t really understand. This is because God has called us to be HIS, to listen for His voice alone.
Jesus calls us to follow Him. Do you know His voice? He promises in John 10:28 “I will give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me.”
Today, listen for God’s voice. He wants to have a relationship with you. You can trust and follow Him!

Prayer: Father God, thank you that you want to be in relationship with us. You desire to spend time with us. You know our inmost being. Thank you that we can know you better each day through time in your word and prayer. Help us to listen for your voice alone today! In Jesus name, Amen!



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I'm madly in love with Jesus and hope I can share some of that with you here.  I pray for freedom and wholeness for all of us.  God longs for us to be in relationship with Him.  He desires for us to live out His great commands to love Him above all and love others.  I hope the words on these pages will help us all draw nearer to HIM!

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God's favor and blessings on you, my friend.