Fear or Fire?

When troubles come, what do you do? Do you cower, shivering in fear? Do run away and hide? Do you stand, paralyzed by indecision and doubt? Do you run to the flames, ready to encounter what comes?

How you endure the heat will often times dictate who you become when the embers cool. What wisdom you to use to conclude your decisions will often determine your promotion or your failure. The whys of your choices will always impact those who follow.

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

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The Struggle is Real

Somedays, the confidence in who I have become is almost mesmerizing…to myself. Other days, the struggle is real…so very real. Does anyone else go through this?

Often, I wonder if anyone else actually goes through the struggles of purpose, pertinence, and passion. I walk through life with a limp and wonder if I’m just simply destined to embrace these struggles for eternity, never really getting beyond them, just settling for a toleration, a sort of cease-fire, until the moment of intimidation or fear of rejection creeps back into view. I watch as many of my friends seem to have it all together, or at the least, are so comfortable in their own skin, in their own calling and in their own life choices that they don’t seem to battle the same mind games and moments of hesitation.

Then, I see from whence I’ve come, and I see those who have gone before who are still struggling for this place of significance and value. I see those who have won the battles and those who are still wallowing in their demise. This is the moment my determination and fight, and solidarity with Scripture, comes into clear focus. I realize in this moment, there is no turning back. Retreat is not an option. Failure can not be part of the equation.

Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the goal for this the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

The struggles we face aren’t only given to us for our own learning, our own character-building and our personal faith-strengthening. The victories on the other side of those struggles are not only for us and our own celebrations. These are to be a witness to those coming behind us. These are to become testimonies which help someone else to achieve more than we ever imagined. These are to stand as pillars, mile markers and ancient boundary stones to mark the way for those coming behind, to help them find their way through similar struggles, and to enable them to achieve more victories than we ever thought possible!

So resist that urge to quit! Keep up the struggle for as long as it takes, and win that fight toward your destiny! Clear the path, and strategically change those battle lines to victory, and set those boundaries in place that scream to the world you have won! So then, all who encounter these will know, “There is hope! You can fight and win, too!”

How Big Is Your World?

Wikipedia.com

This thought came to mind as I listened to my 89 year old grandmother talk about life last week on her birthday. She told stories of her childhood and talked about friends and family members who have long crossed over. She talked of her small southern town that she loved so much, and she spoke of her world travels with the love of her life who passed away almost 16 years ago.

This thought came to mind as I perused through my pictures from our recent trip to Ukraine, and again, when my husband and I were asked today how many countries we have been to. We spoke of our combined travels to Ukraine and Bahamas, his trips to Israel and Central America and my long ago childhood trip to Haiti, all mission trips of one sort or another. It lead me to remember others who have traveled so many more times and to so many more places throughout the years, All reaching someone for a cause.

This thought lead me to think of how small our orbits can become in day to day life and how big our sphere becomes when we reach out beyond where our comfort lies. Will we remain for dependability, or will we go for availability? Will we resist out of fear, or will we embrace out of love? It’s all in the choices we make.

So, I ask you again, How big is your world, really?

https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/space/milky-way/#milky-way-2.jpg

Comfy Cozy

Comfort zones are so… well, comfortable. They’re nice and cozy. They’re places of no discomfort, no pain, no adjustment, no change. They are places where it’s easy to do what you do, and you have no fear of failure, intimidation or rejection. Comfort zones are where you can set your course “steady as she goes” and not worry about a thing.

Comfort zones can also become the place of stagnation and mediocrity. If you remain in your comfort zone long enough, you’ll never grow, you’ll never be challenged, you’ll never have to face the fact that you could be wrong in your methods, your words or even your mindset and how you approach life. When you choose to stay here for decades upon decades, you can even begin to regress.

The huge oak trees never become massive shelters in the forest without the acorn moving beyond the comfort of the warm soil. The flower never becomes a beautiful rose or a lovely tulip that comforts at the graveside without the moving and sprouting beyond the tiny seed that once was. A child never develops a skill that can affect the world until he goes through the needed the process of learning, development, and training that causes him to step beyond where he began the process. Growth simply doesn’t happen without change.

Even so, you and I never become mighty men and women of strength, character and grace without those uncomfortable moments that draw us out from the shadows and force us to adjust to the new, the uncomfortable, and yes, the changes that come.

If we constantly refuse to adjust, we will constantly stunt our growth. If we constantly stunt our growth, then we may remain in that comfort zone, but we will have nothing to show for it at the end of our days. Once something (or someone) grows comfortable, unyielding, unmovable, and stagnant, what purpose and what value does it really hold at the end of life?

How comfy are you??

Challenge of Praise

ochsnerfamily.blogspot.com

I’d like to challenge you today with this scripture…

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord from the heavens;

Praise Him in the heights!

Praise Him, all His angels;

Praise Him, all His hosts!

Praise Him, sun and moon;

Praise Him, all you stars of light!

Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,

And you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,

For He commanded and they were created.

He also established them forever and ever;

He made a decree which shall not pass away.

Praise the Lord from the earth,

You great sea creatures and all the depths;

Fire and hail, snow and clouds;

Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;

Mountains and all hills;

Fruitful trees and all cedars;

Beasts and all cattle;

Creeping things and flying fowl;

Kings of the earth and all peoples;

Princes and all judges of the earth;

Both young men and maidens;

Old men and children.

Let them praise the name of the Lord,

For His name alone is exalted;

His glory is above the earth and heaven.

And He has exalted the horn of His people,

The praise of all His saints—

Of the children of Israel,

A people near to Him.

Praise the Lord!

He is so very good. He deserves our praise!

Decrease Me. Increase You. 

You teach me through Your Word that I need a reformation. I need reproofing, and I need transforming to be more of who You desire me to be. Yet, I find myself, time and again, pushing against Your sovereignty. I find myself entangled in my own desires, my own selfish perspective.

I wish that You would decrease me that I might increase You.

You draw out of my soul the ugly, the begrimed and the despised things. You point to the waywardness of my heart and challenge it to change. You mark those fleshly wanderings and call them to a duel. You refine and chastise to remove that wretched sin.

I wish that You would decrease me that I might increase You.

You extract the waste that Your purity might flow. You entrap the filth that Your Spirit might invade. You ensnare all that is lost that Your anointing might abide. As the mire is expelled, Your holiness can thrive.

I wish that You would decrease me that I might increase You.

I find that as I yield my heart and surrender my will, You are enabled to dig deep within my soul. You eliminate all that is not like You. The fire refines me. Your love renews me.

I step back from the pruning to see there is so much less of me, and then I realize there’s so much more of You. ❤

 

Love Me Challenge #28

What have I learned in these 28 days of this Love Me Challenge?

1. Challenges can be fun

2. Challenges can be challenging

3. Sharing your heart in factual questions/answers about yourself can be both fun and challenging. 

4. Sharing your heart by answering questions from someone else’s creation can draw out things you haven’t thought of in years, or even, never really put a lot of thought into until that moment. 

5. Lots of people read these kinds of posts but not so many join in with you…But that’s ok! 😉💕 … and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the “join ins,” as well as, the encouraging words. You guys are simply the BEST! 💗

Love Me Challenge #27

Oops! So sorry, I thought I had posted this. 


What have I accepted about me through this LoveMe Challenge? I have definitely accepted that I’m unique. I’m quiet. I’m scarred. I’m doing some things right. I’m flawed. I have a past, and I have a future. I am loved, and I am an overcomer!

This has been fun! I hope you have enjoyed it, too. 😊

Love Me Challenge #25

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Our boys make me laugh all the time. They are so fun and funny. They really keep my on my toes! 😊

Comedians make me laugh sometimes, too, but it definitely depends on their humor and the condition of their words. Honestly, if they’re gonna cuss every other word or be crude and perverted, I just don’t see the humor in that. However, Tim Hawkins, Jeff Foxworthy or Jeff Allen can crack me up anytime! 😂 I even like some vintage humor like The Carol Burnett Show with Tim Conway and I Love Lucy!

Hope you get a good laugh from these! 
**Note: I do not own or possess any of these linked sites/videos. Simple google and link search to YouTube videos. If this has violated any copyrights or trademarks, please let me know, and I will gladly remove.**
 

Love Me Challenge #24

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This might seem like a little of a repeat from #19, but there’s really no way I can answer differently. My God, my husband and our boys make me happier than anything in this world! My God has become my Refuge, my Strength, my Peace, my Friend and so, so much more! My husband has become my best friend, my love, my confidante, and the list could go on and on. Our boys just bring so much joy, adventure and laughter in to our lives, I couldn’t imagine life without them!! …any of them!!

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I will have to say, another thing that makes me happy is great friends, especially lifelong or what I like to call “covenant” friends, because lifelong/covenant friends are hard to find. Covenant friendships don’t come into your life by chance nor are they birthed only from easy, fun-filled times together. Covenant friendships are birthed by choice and, often, through moments when you join arms and hearts and walk through the fires of life together. Life long friendships withstand the frivolous, the petty and even the physical miles that may grow over time. When you find one of these, hold onto them, cherish them and never let them go. Over the years, no matter the distance between you, you will be glad you did! 😉