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A Year in the Spiritual Life... Discover Your Purpose

A Year in the Spiritual Life... Discover Your Purpose: March 2012

Saturday

Overcoming Disappointment and Finding Hope Again

Disappoint means not (dis) settled (appoint) if you break down the etymology of the word.


Disappointment (not being settled) is a hard thing to deal with. If you have anticipated something, like a new job, or a new baby, or a new home, and those things did not come, disappointment is a natural response. The thing we have to be careful of is not to allow disappointment (not being settled) turn into anger toward God or a lack of faith on our part.


Waiting on God in these times is hard. Sometimes we feel all alone.


Even the greatest prophet, Elijah felt alone. He had just splendidly called fire down from heaven, defeated the Baal worshippers and established the sovereignty and holiness of God before the nation and then with a death threat he forgets the faithfulness of God.


How did that happen? How did He go from such a high to such a low so quickly?


Elijah became disappointed the miracle on Carmel did not have more immediate results with the people of Israel. He became self-focused and overwhelmed by fear when Jezebel threatened his life, and he even wanted his life to end. This is more than just disappointment, this was burn out.


Burn out is defined as fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity.


If we are not careful, if we allow disappointment to fester and fear to take over, we end up depressed and unfocused. We become burned out on our works, and in desperate need to get back to the basics with God, which are prayer, worship and reading the word. It happens to the best of us and it often happens after great disappointments.


When we face disappointment we can recognize it, give it to God and allow Him to teach us in that moment, or we switch our focus from God to the circumstances and whine about it, like Elijah did. The former should be our response, but the latter is usually the case.


Thankfully, God is faithful despite our response and He can bring us back around, just as he did with Elijah.


The first thing God for Elijah is he provided for him, even in his desert place. He gave him food, shelter, and water. He teaches us in that moment with Elijah that He is always faithful. He meets our needs and is our sustainer.


Restoration and rest are essential to overcoming burn out and surpassing disappointment.


Resting in God’s provision begins to pull our focus from ourselves and begins to set us back on the path we were meant to be on in the first place. God allowed Elijah to rest and store up His provision, because there was a bigger lesson coming soon.


That second lesson was one I’ve had to learn over and over. God reminds me every time when I take my eyes off of Him, to find Him again. He reminds me to get quiet and focus. God is not in the circumstance: not in the hurricane-like winds, the earthquakes, or in the fire. God is in the quiet, still small voice. The comforter to our soul, He is our buckler and our shield. We have nothing to fear when He is the focus of our lives.


When we stop focusing on the circumstances and focus on hearing what God has to say about the circumstances, then we can move on to the next thing God has for us. Disappointments come, Jesus said in this life we will have trouble, but He also said He had overcome. BE of GOOD CHEER!


Trust in the Lord, and remember His promises are yes and amen. He has planned a future for us, one full of hope and peace. He has promised that He will work things out for our good if we love Him and are called according to His purpose- and we are called!


Jesus talked to the disciples about disappointment. When things do not go the way we plan, we should shake it off like the dust from our feet and move on. Let God deal with the circumstances, let God deal with people’s hearts, Let God deal with our hurts, as we shake off the disappointment like the dust it really is.


We need to get still and let God speak comfort and peace to us. We need to listen for His direction. He will bring us through the flood; he will bring us through the fire.


Let the winds of life blow, let the fire rage, God will raise a standard against it, and if we listen for His voice and follow Him, we will come through.


Lift your eyes to the Lord, where all of your help comes from.


So when you are disappointed, when the hard things of life come, trust that God has a plan, and that plan is designed and tailor made just for you. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, don’t lean on what you know, lean on Him, even in the disappointments. Don’t become burned out from the work and weighed down by the stress of what you have faced. Guard your heart, and listen for His still small voice. He cares for you.


Have you been disappointed before?  

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Thursday

WANTED: Genius!


There are moments, you know the ones, when you sit thinking, your imagination is engaging, and then that wall, that blankness, that inescapable bottomless pit of nothingness. You feel like you will never be able to be creative again.

You will never be able to sew another kid’s play costume, never be able to paint again, or draw another fashion masterpiece. Whatever you do, that brilliance that is your inspiration and talent seems in that moment completely dead and the well is dry.

I am so there.

Earlier today, after talking to a friend, I thought, yes! Eureka! I have it, I feel energized and know that I can write, but alas, nothing. Not even a dribble out of the faucet. So I am doing what all the experts say to do: I am writing anyways.

Fascinating stuff, I know. You must be on the edge of your seat with anticipation at the brilliance that is about to pour out of my fingers onto your screen.

…….Okay so that is not going to happen today: sorry.

This may seem weird, and it may be completely lame, but if all I do is write and never talk to you guys and gals, then what is this all for? I am obeying God in the actual writing, but I want to know where you are, what is going on in you?

It gets a little lonely in the blogospere and I want to give your voice a chance to be heard. Now is the time. Put away your fear and trepidation. This is a safe place and I want to know more about you.

So, I really want to know, do you have something you want to say? Is there a poem, a song, a post, or comment you have been dying to say, but haven’t? 


Do you have questions about any one topic you have seen here? Is there something you want to study together that I have not touched on here before? Do you have a Christian based blog you want to share here? Leave your comments, questions, and genius moments below. I cannot wait to see what you have to say! 

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A Walk in the Park....

My view under a shade tree in Herman Park

Yesterday I walked through a beautiful city park, sat under shade trees, cracked jokes with my 13 year old daughter, rode a kiddy train, battled the metro, saw dinosaur bones, and took lots of pictures. You know why this was a wonderful day? Because it was a gift of time with my child. 

The whole reason we were out and about was because she had a doctor’s appointment, but we took the rest of the day just enjoying each other’s company and the things about each other that give us joy. Connie-Lyn can always make me laugh, and her unique way of looking at things makes me sit back and wonder at God’s grace and plans. Just when I thought, how can I possibly love this kid any more than I do right now, she delights me and I fall a little harder for her. 

Do you know, God feels so much more for his children? His love is constant. It never waivers and it never changes, and just like I wanted to carve out time to spend with my child, God wants to have one on one time with you. 

How, you ask? 

There are two ways we spend time with God: Prayer, and Bible reading. 

Prayer is effective communication with God. Without it there is no relationship. Think about this: if you never talked to your spouse, or your children, what kind of relationship would you have? Relationships are vital, growing beings. They are like sharks: they should always be moving forward. 

Learning and discovering new ways to please one another, to delight each other, to surprise one another: these are some of the ways a relationship shows growth, but without talking to one another, a relationship will begin to shut down and die. 

Why do we think our relationship with God is any different? 

If you just thought, as you read this, “Well, God knows my heart, and He knows everything anyway, why do I need to talk with Him?” then I have something to say to you: This is not about what God can do, it is about what God wants to have. 
Connie-Lyn  13 

He wants to have relationship with you. He wants times like I had with my daughter, where you spend time together just talking about anything and everything, delighting in one another and falling for each other in new and refreshing ways. God wants your prayers because if you will just talk to Him you will begin to see His love for you and understand the enormity of all He has done for you

But prayer isn’t the only way to know God. 

God left a love letter for us to read. It is long, and it has moments that you may not understand in it right away, but it is proof of God’s consistent love throughout time for us. This letter is called The Bible. King James, The Message, The Living Bible, The Amplified, and more are all wonderful translations. The Bible says meditate on God’s words day and night and write them upon your heart. As we read, we get to see God’s character. Yes, He is love, but He is also Holy and Jealous, and Faithful and so much more. 

When we pray and read God’s word, we grow as people yes, but we grow in relationship with God foremost. This has been His desire from the beginning: to walk in the cool of the evening with you, delighting in you, and you delighting in Him. 

Just one of the many apps for Bibles
Recently a friend said to me that reading was difficult for her. My husband has the same issue. That is why he listens to the word via an APP for his smartphone. There are several you can choose from and with mp3 players, smartphones, laptops, and tablets, there are so many ways to carry the word with you no matter where you are. GoBible, (which allows you to listen as well as read) Olive Tree Bible Reader, YouVersion and Bible Gateway are just a few. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. So if reading is not your strong suit, then listen, but get the word in you somehow! 

Praying and reading will take you from just knowing about God, to knowing Him intimately. So crawl up in the Father’s lap, rest in Him as you pray and go to His word to get to know Him more. He is waiting on you.

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Wednesday

Do we Really Appreciate God's Word?


This ten minute video brought me to tears, and it is a few years old, but I had to share it. This made me wonder, do we take advantage of the grace God has so richly bestowed on us by making His word so readily available? I do not think we do.

The word is a weapon, the Sword of Truth. We have not wielded it well. We must treasure it, must get it inside us like the Living Bread it is. It needs to be our substance.

We need to believe that it is full of God's words, and since God is not man that He can lie, we must believe every word that has proceeded out of His mouth and been written within it.

Believe it and act on it. Take it in like air and breathe it out like unbridled fire, passionate, alive, glowing, life sustaining fire.

John 1 says in the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was with GOD and the WORD was GOD! Jesus is the embodiment of the Word of God, and now we have the WORD of GOD in our hands, in our homes, in the back window of our car, in our bedrooms, and our living rooms, in the drawers of our hotel room bedside tables and we do not read it. We do not see it. We pass over it with our eyes and ignore it with our hearts.

How can we cry out to God, but deny that His word is true? How can we separate who He is from what He said?

We cannot!

I see this video and I cry out to God to forgive me. To give me this kind of passion for His word. To eat of His table, and to share the word with all men, that they might come to know the love of God and all He has to say about them.

It is for this time, this day, this moment that you see this video and read these words. We are called to pray, we are called to give, we are called to go. To find out more about the organization that made this possible, go to http://www.worldteam.org/.

Have you read the word today? If you get God's words inside you, you get God's Life inside you!


This video is available in Spanish and in German

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Wife with a Knife or Wife for Life? The 3 things a wife needs to do to help her mate.

Becoming the wife you want to be may not be as hard as you think: becoming the wife your husband needs may require some more work. 



We are supposed to be our spouse’s helpmate. But this isn’t about helping him find his socks, helping him remember to pack a toothbrush, and it is definitely not about helping him with driving directions. GPS can handle that. This is about helping him hold his spiritual ground. 


Listen, with all the things God has for you as a couple (and your lives should work to some extent as a unit because in God’s plan you are now “One”) - the wife should serve her husband in three ways in order to help him be the spiritual leader of the house. 

The first way to serve your husband is prayer. 

As wives we need to be lifting that man up. He needs prayers for everything from “Lord, let him burp less” to “Lord, protect him from the snares of the devil.”

I cannot stress this enough. Prayer girds us up. (Gird is a weird word I know, but like a good “girdle", it is sometime necessary.) Prayer builds a wall of protection and empowers us to perform the work we are called to. 

Is your husband’s confidence shaken? Pray. Are there big decisions coming? Pray. Want to protect his heart and body from falling into temptation? Pray. Prayer based in the word, full of truth and trust in the Lord is what the bible calls fervent and effectual prayer. 

The second way a wife should serve her husband is by her actions. 

No, this one isn't about sex, though sex is important, that is another post for another day. This is about agreement.

Unity is essential to a spiritually fruitful house. As the leader of the home, your husband needs your support. This in all honestly, is probably the most difficult one for me. I am strong minded, and love a good argument. Blame it on my upbringing, my stubborn nature, or whatever; I do not like to give in. I think God calls this being “stiff necked”. 

But giving in and giving up are two different things.

When my husband and I disagree about how to handle something, he is the ultimate decision maker. That is his place. It does not mean my opinion is not heard, it means that once he has chosen the path we take, the action we do, then I shut up and take that path or perform that action. Unity is in the doing, not the saying. 

My kids have seen this first hand. My kids may not like it, but they know that if Daddy has said no, so does Mom. They can pick up fairly easily on whether or not I agree with Daddy, but they know that agreeing or disagreeing doesn't matter.

What dad said is what mom says. What dad does is what mom does. Jesus said a house divided cannot stand, and that is so true. Get on the same page with your husband. 

The third thing is this: allow God to be God.

Emasculating our spouse is never a good thing. He bears the burden and the risk for the family and when you take that from him by becoming the decision maker or by telling him how things are going to be, then you are never going to be satisfied in your marriage.

This is why we get told, “You cannot fix a man”. It is not that a man cannot change, he can, the gospel says so, no: you cannot fix a man because it is not your job to do so.

 When a man is in his place as head of the house, actively loving, not lording over, the family, then you will have a fulfilling and satisfying partnership for life. 

When your husband has made a mistake, and he will because he is human; let God and circumstances teach him, not you. You will turn into a nag and rob your husband of his personal and spiritual growth if you “correct” him or tell him “I told you so”. 

Look, as I write this I am preaching to myself, believe me. I have to be reminded of these things all of the time, but when I keep them in the forefront of our marriage, I see God’s blessings. I see my husband having to seek God for himself, and the fruit that grows out of that, our whole family gets to enjoy. 

Don’t be a wife with a knife, cutting off God’s blessings before they are fully formed, be a wife for life and actively support your husband with prayer, in agreement and unity, and allow God to do the guiding, not you. These three things will make you the wife you should be and make you husband stronger along the way!

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Tuesday

Four Gardens - God's Plan for Fellowship

More on Gardens



There used to be a song we sang when I was growing up that said "I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses". This song and the post yesterday has me thinking again about Gardens. This time though I want to talk about four very special gardens.



The Garden of Eden


The garden of Eden was created by God. It was His original plan. Protected, secluded, it was made for man to dwell in so He could fellowship with them in the cool of the evening. Here man missed the mark, they sinned and forever after that were made to earn from their labor everything God had automatically provided before. Now they would face hardships and pain. This garden was lost forever.

Garden of the Sepulcher

The Garden of the Sepulchre was the garden that held the tomb Jesus was buried in. Here Jesus redeemed the first garden by his death, burial, and resurrection. Here he rose to greet the morning and found a woman completely unsuitable by the worlds standard to be the first one trusted with the life changing gospel:Jesus is alive! 

A woman partook of the fruit that separated man from God in the first garden and now a woman was bearing the first fruits of this garden. The first Adam missed the mark and became separated from God forever, the second Adam, Jesus, made a way for God to be reunited with man forever. This place held the redemption of man as much as the cross, if not more because this in this place Jesus had resurrected!

The Garden in Heaven

The garden in heaven: two trees separated by the river of God. One one side the first tree of life, bearing fruit and on the other side a second tree of life, bearing fruit. Each tree bore 12 fruits, 1 a month. God's plan completed. We will rule and reign with Him in heavenly places. We will stand before the throne, from which the river of God flows and see the plan of God fulfilled in those two trees.

Your Secret Garden

We are talking about gardens. In biblical times they were places of solitude and peace. Walled or hedged in these places were protected from the outside world. 

Here all of your senses were engaged: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. You could see the lush greens and hear the sounds of birds and babbling brooks. You could touch the flowers and smell and taste the fruits of the garden.

Jesus sought a garden (Gethsemane)  to pray to seek God. Here He solidified His resolve and honed His purpose. This is something we should do: find our secret garden. It may not be a green space, but it should be a space that engages your senses, that evokes tranquility and allows you time alone with God

That is all God has ever desired: time alone with you, walking in a "Garden" together. A place where personal fellowship and worship are the focus. 

It was God's design in Genesis, it was good enough for Jesus, and we should follow this plan too.

Question: Do you have a place you like to go that is like this for you- your "garden"? Share with us you favorite place to be alone with God.

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Monday

Gardening 101- It is all about the soil!

Seeds I started in my kitchen are ready too plant, but my garden is not ready.

It is spring and I am starting seedlings for my garden. These seedlings have already had some challenges- mainly in the form of my daughter's cat, who thought my zinnias were his new litter box. 

The zinnias are gone, but I still have hope for the green beans, squash, sunflowers, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, eggplants, bell peppers and herbs. 
Alex the Cat

But I have a problem beyond Alex the cat. I have all these seedlings and I haven't prepared the ground yet. Weeds need to be plucked and the ground needs to be turned. I am running behind. 

So, of course, as I ponder the problem God seems to line up things that remind me of the spiritual parallels between gardening and us. 

We are a garden, and we are expected to bear fruit. 

The parable of the sower in Matthew 13:1-23 is very clear about the importance of good soil. Jesus talks about 4 types of soil: road, gravel, weeds, and good earth. 

The Road is a person who hears about God, but won’t receive God, so when the enemy comes, the seed of God’s words are easily corrupted and eaten. 

The Gravel, or road side, hears the word and immediately responds, but there is not enough depth there. This is a person that lives by emotion and often is the type of person that flits from one fad to another. When the emotional high wears off, and trouble or testing comes, then they have nothing to show for it, because it was about the experience of the sowing and not about the maintaining or the growing. 

The Weeds are worry. Man, so many of us get caught here. I have before. Weeds seem to be able to grow just about anywhere, but they grow just as well in what could be good ground as they do in the gravel or in a tiny crack in the road. Weeds are hearty things that flourish under even the most inhospitable conditions. 

Weeds are the worries of life. Bills, family, and unexpected obstacles are the worries we allow to grow in our lives. Another class of weeds is false expectations. Jesus did not promise a life full of rainbows and unicorns. Life would not be suddenly perfect because you asked God to rule and reign in your heart. That assures your salvation, but the world is still a broken place. 

When we get wrapped up in the would-a should-a could-a, or we get fixated on desiring more than we are ready for, the weeds of false expectation begin to choke out our peace, and contentment, then they rob us of our faith. These weeds need to be plucked out at every opportunity. 

Who has gained one extra day of life because he worried? No one has. Worry is a faith killer, and faith in action is a weed killer. Remember what God says, He is our provider and He gives every good and perfect gift. Doing this allows us to begin to let go of worry and keep our hearts from fear and disappointments. 

Prayer and submission to God is the way to pluck out weeds. Prayer and supplication to God displace worry in our lives. Focus on Christ as the Center of provision and worry will have no place to take root. 

The final type of soil is Good Ground

Isaiah 62:10 says “Go through the gates, prepare the way for the people, cast up the highway, gather up the stone, and lift up a banner for the people. “ 

Un-tilled soil is rocky soil. The stones need to be removed, just like the weeds in our lives. Stones are those things we stumble over. Offenses, false-doctrines, and unbelief are examples of stones. 

When these are removed from our lives, and we continually pull the weeds from our hearts, the soil is ready for sowing. As the word falls verse by verse, seed by seed onto our hearts, it takes root, grows, it gets watered by the Holy Spirit and bears fruit

My garden needs a lot of work to get ready for these seedlings. My heart needs some preparation to receive what God has for me too! I want a harvest that is beyond my wildest dreams, and that means I have to prepare the soil. Time to put on the gloves and get to work!

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Sunday

Sunday Reflection March 25, 2012

What a wild and woolly week!  I feel a little overwhelmed with the amazing response this week to both this blog and to the Facebook page. This week we had over 1000 visitors to the blog and I cannot tell you how excited this makes me. Day after day the numbers began climbing and even with a late posting midweek, you came to read what was here. I am so thankful for that. And humbled. And more than a little in awe. 


I want to take time and thank Rashad McConico  for sharing his story with us. What a brave and precious thing to be so completely transparent and share such a personal story with the world. I shared this with Rashad all ready, but one of the stats I can see on this blog is what search words or phrases are being used to direct people to this site on search engines. People are looking for answers. They are searching for hope. "Stories about guys overcoming homosexuality" was searched at least twice and brought people to Rashad's testimony. God cares about the individual and if sharing his story helps one person, I know Rashad is happy to have done so. 


I also wanted to point you guys to a guest blog I wrote for Alan Knox's blog, The Assembling of the Church. I know that I have had to deal with offense before and as a Christian it was hard, but what about the people who are still without Christ, who are hurt by a something a Christian did or didn't do and now they lump that offense with the Church, and run from the congregation? What is our response to them? That guest blog was a blessing to write, but even more of a lesson for me. Thank you Alan Knox for the opportunity. 


What was the lesson I learned from the first guest blog post? Well, it is this, do what God told me, write, and let Him grow it to be what He intends. The bad habit I had fallen into was to over-think and obsess over how many people were or were not commenting on things and what did that say about me as a writer. Alan Knox, Jeff Goins, and other wonderful mentors of mine gave me wonderful advise and it was this: just write. So from that came How does your Garden Grow and Just Keep Swimming.  


Last week I shared that I had fasted my words. I shared the three things I had learned from that and I have to say I probably could have written more. If you did not get a chance to read that, click here for that. 


Then my week got turned upside down as we traveled an hour to Texas Children's Hospital with our youngest daughter, Connie-Lyn. She is battling health issues and we will be continuing to pursue answers this upcoming week for her. Please be in prayer about it. So because we were stuck in an ER with no service, I almost did not get to post for Thursday. This is what did make it: The Post that almost Wasn't. 


To round off this week's entries, I killed my "self" and wrote an obituary for her. I had hoped that you would join me and there is still plenty of opportunity to do so by taking the OBIT CHALLENGE.  Weird, I know, but I think it is so helpful in addressing the issue of obedience in our lives that I encourage everyone to do it at least once. 


So many other wonderful things happened this week, some I am holding close to my heart for now, but I do want to say something to my family who may be reading this right now: May God's grace comfort and uplift you in all you do as you mourn the loss of our dear Sister/Aunt/Friend Barbara Lou Green Frankum. Her funeral was one of the most amazing I have ever attended with laughter and joy permeating the room and even the sadness was tempered by hope. She was a no-none-sense woman with a heart bigger than Texas and she will be missed until we see her again in heaven. 


May the joy of the Lord fill you as you go into this week, may you be blessed by what you read here and I pray that you grow in grace and wisdom as you go from glory to glory. 


Dayna 

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Saturday

"Just Keep Swimming" The Lesson I Learned from a Cartoon.

Sometimes when I write these devotionals, I have no problem figuring out what to write. Sometimes, the words are pressing so hard against my heart and fingers they fly out of me like a geyser. Shooting into the air, my words become water on the page, at least for me, because as I write I am the student of God too. 

Then there are those days, like today, where I am sitting at my desk, praying, looking at the blank screen in front of me and wondering how am I going to come up with something edifying to say right now? What do I do when this happens? I write anyway. 

Why? How? 

Disney/Pixar all rights reserved
It is the lesson God taught me just recently as I babysat two very precious little boys I know. They wanted to watch a movie. After much deliberation, they settled on Finding Nemo, a Disney Pixar Film. As I sat there with them, cuddled under blankets, I heard something that sparked inside of me. Dory, said “Just keep Swimming”. 

I know it is crazy that a grown woman has anything to learn from a Disney movie, but God uses the foolish things to confound the wise

Her persistence in the movie spoke volumes to me. “Just Keep Swimming” 

I don’t know about you but I usually give up. If it gets hard, I walk away. If I got offended in the past, I left. If I started a book and got stuck on the story line, then I would scrap it, lie to myself and say “it wasn’t a good idea anyway” and be frustrated because I wanted to be a writer. 

I am a writer, and Dory was a fish. She swam. I write. “Just keep swimming” 

Persistence is important. 

No one knows this better than God. He is faithful. He persisted throughout time after man. He wooed us, He chastised us, and He loved us

Now it is our turn to be consistently faithful. To follow after God with our whole heart, our whole body, our whole mind, to love our neighbor as ourselves, these are the call of God for every man and woman in Christ

Persistence is defined as tenacity, holding firm in pursuit. We need to focus on what we are pursuing and then be persistent. 


Jesus looked at Peter and said “Follow me” and Peter did. He made mistakes along the way, he even got so discouraged that Jesus had to re-enforce in Peter his calling: Feed my sheep

But Peter’s persistence lead him to be the one who preached on the Day of Pentecost and thousands came to the Lord. His persistence caused him to be faithful unto death

I want to be that persistent. I want to be told at the end of my life, as I stand before my Father, “Well done, thy good and FAITHFUL servant” “Just Keep Swimming!” 

Let the past go, press on into what is ahead toward the high calling of Christ Jesus and run your race

Be persistent and JUST KEEP SWIMMING! 

Can you share with us about a time you felt like giving up or giving in and you persisted anyway? How did that affect you? 

Be blessed and be a blessing and remember persistence is a noun.

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Friday

Developing Your Automatic Truth Response!

My Heart Broke

Recently I spoke to someone who described themselves as unhappy. This was a believer, and a strong woman of faith. She is more than unhappy, she is depressed. I heard her pain, and that is real, but I believe there is a way through. After all, we serve a BIG God! 

I Understand 

My husband and I both have battled depression. This is something that I can spend quite a bit of time talking about. I believe that  depression for the Christian does occur, but there is a way to conquer it and never have to deal with it again.

We get depressed when circumstances and fear exalt themselves above our trust in God. Our doubt allows us to become overwhelmed and over-taken. When this happens, we often do not see any way out. 

A Matter of Perspective 


Let’s look at the 12 spies that went into the Promised Land. (Numbers 13-14) Per God’s instructions Moses sent out 12 spies and they all saw the same things: giants, and milk and honey. In other words they all saw obstacles/circumstance and they all saw God’s promises, but 10 came back choosing to focus only on the circumstances and 2 came choosing to focus on God’s promises. The fate of a nation was delayed 40 years because they had their focus in the wrong place.

We are three parts. God likes threes. God - The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit. See? Three. We are a spirit, we live in a body and we have a soul which is made up of our mind, will, and emotions. 

Depression is a soul issue.

Dictionary-Online defines depression as this: ‘sadness, gloom, dejection’ and goes onto define it as a ‘condition of general emotional withdrawal’. All of these things are a part of the soul, our mind, will, and emotions. (Remember, that we have talked about condition versus position before, and for more on that click here.)

Romans 12:2 says we must renew our mind. We must think and dwell on the things God says, not the lies we allow in our lives, those lies we tell ourselves, and that the enemy, Satan, the father of lies, tells us. Meditate day and night.

The Practical Application of the Spiritual Message


So let’s talk about how we do that. First, get the word in you. Read and listen to the Word daily. Faith comes by hearing and hearing and hearing and hearing…..get the point? Then we must remind ourselves what the Word says throughout our day to day walking around life: our feed the baby, shop for groceries, and drop kids off at the mall- life. This is how you meditate on the Word day and night.

For me it is like a vitamin I take daily to build up my immunity. We boost our immunity physically by feeding our bodies good things and taking care of it regularly, right? And when our body is in working order and a foreign virus enters we have an automatic response to get rid of the thing that does not belong. We must be the same when we have encounters with lies. I call it an Automatic Truth Response  or ATR. 

LIE or CIRCUMSTANCE
WHAT GOD SAYS- the ATR
YOU ARE SICK
GOD IS HEALER
YOU ARE UNABLE
GOD IS MORE THAN ABLE
YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH
GOD IS MORE THAN ENOUGH

What God says is what we should say, believe, act on, and walk out in our lives daily. It should become our ATR. Focus on God more and the problems less.

Let’s look at what happens when we DON’T develop this ATR.


A thought (idea) becomes a high thought (something we think about with regularity) then we begin day dreaming about the thought, playing out scenarios in our heads (Imaginations) and before you know it we are in a strong hold of the enemy, all brought on by a little thought we did not take captive in the first place. We have given a foothold to the devil. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

Now we feel like we are helpless in our circumstances. We would rather disobey God’s will for us and wander in a desert for 40 years, barely existing, than battling through our circumstances and enjoying the milk and honey. Now we are depressed and taking a pill to get through the day and we don’t seem to know how we got here.

We need to WAKE UP! For a lack of knowledge God’s people perish (die!!!!).

2nd Corinthians 10 is clear! We must cast down anything that exalts itself above God.  Proverbs 23:7 says as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.  “Cast down” in Strong’s Concordance (2507) means pull down, lower, and to take authority over!

A Real-time Example of Authority


Recently a friend of mine told her six year old about authority. After having a bad dream that scared the child, his mother wanted not just to comfort him, but to teach him to overcome fear and the enemy. So she reminded him about the times she gave him instructions to tell his little brother something on her behalf. It could have been something as simple as clean up a mess, or to stop throwing a toy, but what was said was not as important as the authority behind it. “Mom said!” It is the same with the enemy. Any lie or circumstance that exalts itself above God, that brings fear or doubt into your life - you must take authority over it and tell it “Daddy says!”

Our authority comes because we are the righteousness of God in Christ. We are the head and not the tail. Our authority comes because THE SAME SPIRIT that raised Christ from the dead lives in us!

The Physicality of A Mind and Heart Battle


When I was a smoker, quitting was not easy. Sometimes I still remember the temporary satisfaction I got from a cigarette. When I do I cast it down. I remind myself that God is my refuge, not a pack of Marlboros. I remind myself that I am the temple of the Holy Spirit, not a blackened lung from a health class poster circa 1990. I say that I am bigger and better than that cigarette because the God of the universe made me and that cigarettes were made by man. THIS WORKS!

What Christ did on the cross is freely given and we can freely receive that, but real freedom from strongholds like I am talking about comes after a battle FOUGHT AND WON! That is freedom that will not be wasted. That is freedom that reflects in our everyday life and shines like a beacon on a hill and draws the lost toward Jesus!

I do not mean to sound so strident. I only want you to find freedom from depression and anxiety. Do not believe the lies. Do not be overwhelmed. Rest in God’s authority and cast down anything that tries to make itself bigger than God in your life and you will OVERCOME! You will have a Breakthrough! Depression will no longer hold you in its talons. 

Join the Conversation: 

I mentioned my husband and I have battled depression before. My husband still does. What get's you through every day? 


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Obedience Kills Me- THE OBIT CHALLENGE

Matt 16:24-26 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” 


When we allow Jesus to not only be our Savior, but also our Lord, we have to crucify ourselves daily. We have to do as John prayed and decrease so He (Jesus) must increase. This is the first step to submission. 

How do we “Crucify” ourselves? We OBEY

Obedience to God is counter-intuitive to the ways of a man. 

The Bible says there is a way that seems right to a man, but that way leads to death. Since God’s ways lead to life, we must chose to do the thing that seems unrealistic in today’s world in order to obey what God has said. 

So how do we know what God has said? We learn to hear God by learning how God speaks. The way we learn how God talks is by reading the Bible. 

The Bible is just recorded conversations between God and many ordinary, everyday, walking around in the flesh, imperfect men and women. 

The only one who was perfect was Him. So as we read, the word begins to imprint itself on our hearts, and we begin to see that God’s faithfulness and love for us prompts us to want to please Him. It prompts us to obey. 

God’s mercy is new every morning and so too must be our commitment to place Him first in our lives. 

The bills cannot come first, the pursuit of fun cannot come first, and neither can the pursuit of study or a career. Our priorities must reflect God’s standard. 

We must figure out once and for all the chicken or the egg order of our lives. 

You know what I mean. What came first- the chicken or the egg? Well, the Bible says on the fifth day He created the birds, THEN He told them to multiply. 

So what comes first with us? What comes second? And so on and so on? 

I believe it is this: 

God (No other gods before Him) 

Your Spouse (Leave and cleave) 

Your children (Training a child is a full time ministry and a joyful responsibility) 

Your ministry (Your purpose is multi-layered and this may bleed over, but do not sacrifice family for it) 

Your career and all the rest (eat to live, don’t live to eat mentality) 

We must always place God first, with nothing between Him and us. We must sacrifice our wants, our desires, our needs and do what God calls us to

He calls us to love Him with all our heart, our mind, and our body. He wants us to serve our fellow man, just as we would serve ourselves. When we do this, we live the life He designed for us – a life of obedience. 

As we obey, as we serve others, we ourselves get less important. 

We have to wake up, especially as Americans, because we have served ourselves for too long! We have lost focus on what it means to love others, to feed the widow and the orphan, and to help in times of want, not just times of plenty! 

We have been the “I’m okay, you’re okay” generation, the “me” generation, the “x” generation and the “Y” generation. I want to know why we are leaving out our fellow man? Why have we failed to obey this commandment: SERVE ONE ANOTHER

So this brings me to THE OBIT CHALLENGE. I want to stop living just for me. I want to be all God wants me to be. I cannot do that in my “self”, but I have to do that in Him. I have to lay down my life. I have to pick up the life God calls me to, and I have to do this daily! 

I have written my daily spiritual obit. I want to challenge you to write yours. It does not have to be long. It can be a sentence or two. The point is to have a definitive moment where you choose obedience to Christ over yourself. Let obedience kill you. Let God resurrect a new you and a new life in Him. 

So share your obit below and we will rejoice with you, not mourn, because “a man who lays down his life WILL gain it

Worried? Think you can't do it? Okay, I will go first: 

HERE LIES Dayna Bickham, age 38. She leaves behind her old self: the one who cared little to nothing for others, who always needed to be admired, feared, and knew better than everyone.

She died of self-inflicted wounds because today she crucified her flesh, she laid down her “self” and she took up the cross.

She surrendered her pride, her reputation, and her hard demeanor. She laid it all on the line, she laid it all at the feet of Jesus.

                  She denied her anger.

                  She denied her offense.

                  She denied her over-inflated 
                  sense of fair.
 
Instead she focused on peace, she chose love and she allowed God to go to battle on her behalf. 

Today, she has no power. She is dead.

Tomorrow, hopefully, she will do it all over again. 

Okay- Your turn.

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Thursday

The Post That Almost Wasn't

What a day and a night! I first want to apologize that life got so busy, I missed posting. My youngest daughter is having health issues and we spent the night in an Emergency Room for 14 hours over night into today and I had not reception on my phone to get online. I am so sorry.

The bad news, my girl did not get a lot of relief from her pain. The good news is, that horribly long night is over.

Paul had nights like this. That may have seemed unfruitful. Stuck in a prison cell. Locked in a dungeon. But one thing Paul never did was let his circumstances hold him back from praising the Lord.

At midnight, he sang. His praise shook the very foundations and the chains literally fell away from him, and spiritually and physically fell away from those around him. 

Last night I experienced a small portion of that. A close friend had joined me in my ER vigil and in that desperate, cold, and oppressive waiting room, I began to sing "Revelation Song", and not timidly, but with authority and boldness.

"HOLY HOLY HOLY IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND IS AND IS TO COME. WITH ALL CREATION I SING PRAISE TO THE KING OF KINGS, YOU ARE MY EVERYTHING AND I WILL ADORE YOU."
She said to me later, "The very atmosphere changed." The oppressive desperation began to lift and quiet and calm came into the room. Babies who had been fussy with pain and exhaustion began to settle and I began to feel God's presence in the room.

I am so thankful that He is with us! No matter the circumstances He reminds me that He is there, comforting, protecting, and healing. Changing the very circumstances and atmosphere that surround us, God moves on our behalf.

Another song comes to mind, this one by The Parachute Band and their new album Matins and Vespers.

 "I BELIEVE YOUR PROMISES ARE YES AND AMEN, I BELIEVE YOUR PROMISES ARE YES AND AMEN. I KNOW YOU SAID IT ONCE AND I BELIEVED YOU THEN, SO I STILL BELIEVE IT"

So I may be exhausted, and I may be late on posting today, but nothing can dampen my love for my Father, or His love for me. His love is the reason for my praise. I "promise with my lips" (the meaning of the word praise) that I will always sing until the chains fall off.

Please, continue to pray for my daughter, Connie-Lyn as she journeys to discover answers and forgive any typos, run-ons or fragments, since I have not seen sleep in 30  hours.

Be blessed and be a blessing and know that sleep in both a verb and a noun and I will be comatose for a while! 

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Wednesday

Motivational Speech? Nope! What Fasting my Words Taught Me.

Fasting for two days is difficult- for me anyway! I love food, and a fast never goes by fast. 

But God did not tell me to fast my favorite foods, or even coffee; which might have killed me, I am just sayin’.

Nope. He told me to fast my words.

As a woman, I talk an average amount, maybe more than average… and not talking for two days was much more difficult than I thought. Playing a perpetual game of charades for 48 hours is not as fun as it sounds.

There were very funny moments trying to mime certain things to my girls and them asking me “What is it Lassie? Did Timmy fall down the well?”

The funniest thing was people’s reaction in public. Knowing just a little bit of ASL (American Sign Language) and typing out requests or questions on my cell phone for store clerks to read caused quite a stir. People’s faces and body language changed. Some people got louder. Some people looked at me like I had three heads. I wasn’t handicapped in any way, just communicating in a different way.

So here are three things I learned from fasting my words.

First: My body language is communicating so much more than I thought.

My husband took a wrong turn coming home from the beach. Since I usually give the directions, he got very upset when I was “telling” him he had made a mistake, because he said I was acting like it was a bigger deal than it was. My body language was all he had to go by, so what he “heard” was me yelling, even though I had not said a word.

Even when you don’t talk, you mind is still trucking along at full speed. 


Being quiet in the physical did not slow me down mentally; it actually did the opposite for me: my thoughts seemed to race. Stuck in my own head, I had paid very close attention to what I was thinking, how I was thinking. It made me realize that I gave too much focus to unfruitful and sometimes even harmful- thoughts: much more than I should.

So the second thing I learned is that I must pay attention!

48 hours of silence made me realize that there is a battlefield I am not even fully engaged on: the battlefield of my thought life. Taking every thought captive that exalts itself against God is a battle. When we allow our thoughts to encroach into God territory, coming in direct conflict with what He says about an issue, then we lose. Often, we are not even aware the trespassing is going on, because we are not paying attention.

The third thing I learned is this: Our words have power. Life and death are in the power of the tongue.

With our words we can insight riots or inspire change. With our words we can tear down, or we can build up. With our words we can plant seeds or we can pluck them up. Our words can and do set the course of our lives.

So now, as I reflect back on my two days of silence I know I will remember these lessons and I am sure there will be more lessons to come.

Questions: Have you ever had an unusual fast? Can you share a story about a time when you know words moved you to either a positive or a negative action? Please comment below.

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