Thursday, May 16, 2019

Your Thought Life Will Either Make You OR Break You

This morning I opened the refrigerator to get my fourteen year old pup's "snack" out of the refrigerator; a package of lunch meat I had bought.  Problem was it was not where I last placed it.  I looked and discovered it in my husband's stash in the bottom bin of the refrigerator. It was sitting right there on top of other lunch meat he had bought that was identical to the package I had bought Angel. I knew it was Angel's because the top, from the moment I opened it, would not seal back up. Clearly he was under the impression that "someone" was dipping into his stash, seeing the package NOT where he last placed it. All evidence seemed to point that direction, did it not?  But fact was things were not as they appeared to be. And let's be honest, in life, they usually aren't!

There is that timeless, I believe birthed in middle school, saying, "If you assume, you make an ___ out of u and me."   You would be the exception to the rule if you had not heard that expression until now or tasted its bitter fruit of truth.  The point is we have ALL been there; thinking something we just knew to be true turning out to be false.

God has spent the last decade endlessly, tirelessly tutoring me in the "process of thought".  Please note I did not say simply say thought life. I intentionally used the phrase process of thought because He has indeed shown me in painful, yet effective, detail how one's thoughts become reality ....listen up!....EVEN WHEN THOSE THOUGHTS ARE FALSE!  Please reread that and take a moment to really stare down those last six words.  

The natural man operates from a paradigm that if he thinks a thing, that thing is automatically fact and therefore true.

The rebirthed-in-Christ-man knows just how far from true that paradigm is and sets a daily course to guard absolutely every thought.  (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Is it exhausting?  Absolutely!  But I can tell you that as you do it, you do build up a stamina for it.

Understand this: EVERY Christian has a call on their life the enemy absolutely does not want to see come to be, and he sets OUT DAILY to derail that call and the ONLY WAY he can do that is in your MIND.

Zig Ziglar was an amazingly optimistic man, who by default of that optimism coupled to his unabashed faith in God became very successful.  However, I am of the strong opinion it is his character ...his thought life... that is the main thing most remembered and revered today.  He clearly vigilantly guarded his mind-field.

I saw one of his quotes this morning that began with "Today be thankful and remember how rich you are...." and he was not talking materialistically!

In math, ANY number times zero equals ZERO.  Think on this: if you were to list let's say twenty five blessings, but just couldn't restrain yourself and listed even one "don't have", listing the "zero" effectually multiplies its presence and thus effectually yields a ZERO in the psyche; a complete feeling of lack.

It was said of Ronald Reagan's father:

"Jack had a dark side. He tended to be cynical, and his cynicism pained his son, who flinched at the sourness of it. The boy wanted a father who was idealistic, in part because it would have made it easier for him to be what he was, which was hopeful.(...) Ronald Reagan never developed an affinity for pessimists, and the defeats they seemed to summon."   (From "When Character Was King: A Story of Ronald Reagan" / underlying is mine)

Today, I want to challenge you: Be ever vigilant concerning your mind-field.  The enemy will absolutely be about his business, planting all manner of pessimistic seeds among your field.  He has bags and bags of those nasty seeds! But you MUST NOT permit them to take root in your field!

Exercise --- with great effort if needs be, particularly if you are just beginning to literally workout your thoughts --- a heart of gratitude and a resting in God, His ability, His plan, and His timing.   ♡

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Introspection Transforms Through the Power of Christ Alone

A great shift is taking place.  I feel it deep within.  There is no stopping it.  There is no influencing its speed nor its trajectory.

I don't know exactly when, but at some point in my past I dropped the fear of introspection in the presence of Christ; and adopted it as a part of my regular repertoire.

Chris Tomlin, Louie Giglio, and Jason Ingram collectively penned "Here's My Heart".

It's a cry of each believer's heart to courage up and acknowledge what's really there, from the center to the crevasses, KNOWING God can and WANTS to take it all and transform it to something remarkable.  But understand divine transformation can only take place in an environment of COMPLETE HONESTY before God. Light does not fellowship with the dark.  All things must be confessed.  He already knows what is there.  Can I encourage you to courage up and confess it all?  Life is fleeting.  I ponder to myself how much time the enemy has successfully caused us to waste hiding behind our individual, woefully inadequate, bushes as God calls out to us, "Where are you?"  (Gen3:9)

I went to see the new movie, "Tolkien". One of the standouts to me was how Providence is seen looking backward in time.  That's not a challenge for most. We could, for example, take the biography of George Washington, and most would agree the Hand of Providence rested upon him.  But, if one were to go back in time and take a front row seat beside George, would we SEE the hand of Providence?  I conjecture to say, "No, no we would not."  I suspect a good many of us would be tempted to think, "Just who does he think is?"  Certainly those in the British camp thought this!

How about the disciples who walked with Jesus for three years; seeing, talking, walking, eating, sleeping by His side?  All evidence leads us to understand their immense struggle to wrap their beings around, IN THEIR PRESENT TIME, the Cross, yet were compelled to defend the testament of their Christ, the risen King, POST-Cross, UNTO DEATH themselves.

The present, for reasons known only to God, cannot illumine Providence's Hand as clearly as a future retrospect gifts to us.

I recently read a query: are you living in present-past or present-future?

Certainly, no one could argue to the contrary that the past has brought each of us individually to our present, but I am utterly convinced that it is the lens we SELECT in viewing our present-past that determines our present-future.

Do we take up the courage to face.... really face... the one in the mirror ...with a deeply-rooted belief system that God not only desires to take our past and make our future remarkable, but that He is ABLE to do so?

Elisabeth Elliot said, "Of one thing I am perfectly sure, God's story never ends with ashes."

I love to read, particularly the stories of those who made their mark on this world.  Do you know the one thing that seems to stand out in common amongst them?   That against the odds of their beginnings, they DETERMINED to fix their being immovably upon A POWER....a Divine Power.... that COURAGEOUSLY called them to inspect themselves first and foremost .... A POWER that COURAGEOUSLY called them to face doubt YET move forward despite it..... A POWER that COURAGEOUSLY called them to defend what is right, not by their own standards, but God's.

There was a scene in the movie where the four main characters were together, when one of the characters declares, "I have the power to determine HOW I live."   That line sent a shock-wave through my spirit.

Think on that for a moment.

The truth is we ALL do possess the POWER to determine HOW we live. God gave us a beautiful gift when He gave us free-will.  But how many are rightly exercising said free-will?  That is the paramount question we ALL must answer whether we want to or not.  We will most certainly give an account for our stewardship of this life He gave to you and to me.

I would dare say many are going through their days in a slumber-like state, otherwise known as "going with flow".  True Christians, however, do not... dare I say CAN NOT.... live life in such a careless, thoughtless, reckless manner, for the Spirit within compels us to take the path LEAST taken....

Understand, opposition in this life will ALWAYS be PRESENT, both from within and without!

There are a number of war scenes in the Tolkien movie, and one thing was clearly depicted: war is indiscriminate.  It cares not what casualties are taken, only that vast numbers are taken.  In the movie, the blow torches, the gas, the bombs, the guns.... they all had one purpose.  Decrease the soldiers in number.

The world remains at war.  It does not need a grand title such as World War I or World War II.  It has been on-going since the Garden, and it will remain until Christ plants His feet back upon the world.

The question is will you WAKE UP?  Will you boldly face the one in the mirror, and despite all the reasons not to.... take YOUR place in history?

Or will you be among the masses who sleep through this life, duped into the enemy's plethora of lies, inevitably becoming disenfranchised by the chasm that lays between what the world promised and what it actually delivered?

It is recorded that Jay Gould, an American millionaire, upon his deathbed, said, "I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth."   Duped.   One among millions.  Are you among the millions?

This world is not my home, but while I am here, I do, by way of Christ's blood, possess His mark and His power, and with Providential courage, I am determined to take my place, my appointed place, for such a time as this, BY Him, Through Him, and In Him.

 What about YOU?

(PS: Make all efforts to ensure your aim is on-point "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Eph 6:12)

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Walkabout Wonder

Before sharing, I want to preface what I share by a timely quote from Joyce Meyer:

"Don't compare yourself with anyone in any way, especially not spiritually.  We can see other people's good examples and be encouraged by them, but they must never become our standard."

That said, take what you will read below as a mere example, but at the end of the day....

DO YOU as God instructs!


I have been going on walkabouts with God for years. A walkabout is where I set off with no clear destination and no time frame.... just my listening ears wide open and my mouth shut. I believe He has chosen to stick with this method with me to share some of His richest treasures because in 2000 I was so hungry for something far exceeding religion I made a promise to Him that I kept.

Looking back I know that promise originated with Him. I went on a walk one morning and poured out my starving and thirsty heart to the invisible God I knew from the Bible and all my many years attending church. I boldly told Him, "I am going to show up each and every day, same time, and walk until I HEAR You. I want to know Your voice." So I did.  Days passed, until one day as I was about to enter my apartment, as my hand touched the door knob, I heard Him crystal clear speak to me as I had never heard Him speak. And since that day, I am PROFOUNDLY grateful He hasn't stopped communicating.... and I haven't stopped listening.

So, yesterday, April 30th  (Tuesdays are my day off from work.), I awoke and immediately felt His call.  I had my list of "must dos", but have learned ....oh, I have learned.... the wisdom of  Matthew 6:33: "Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."  When I forsake my "must do" list at His call, I know I can emphatically trust Him with that "must do" list.  Can I tell you I have never once regretted answering His beckoning!

I arose out of the bed, knowing my plans for the day had been replaced.  I put my walking clothes on, prepared my backpack, went downstairs for our prelude (ie: Quiet time), and set out through the front door.

I'm going to relay my exact conversation with God as I began my walkabout.  I do believe some of it or all of it will speak to you wherever you are along your life's journey with Him.

As I walked out my front door, I suggested (We love to make our suggestions to Him, don't we?!), "How about a casual walk, a bit of lunch, and a walk back?"

This would have amounted to about four miles; all the while my feet are in motion, heading out of the neighborhood.

He said, "The airport."
"Excuse me?!"
Again, "The airport."
"That's a LONG walk, Lord, even for me!"
Gently He said, "I know."

My feet in still in motion even as my comprehension all but flat-lined.

"Hum, you know there's that really long incline that I'll have to walk back up?"

"You mean the one WE will walk back up? Yes, I know the one."

"Then there's that really sketchy part down by the asphalt plant.  There aren't any sidewalks along that way, but big trucks, lots of big trucks. That's just not rational nor safe!"

"Like walking on water?"

"Well, what about that highway crossing? You know how crazy that is even for a car!"

"I WILL make safe passage for you."

Silence set in, but my feet stayed in motion.  After a few moments, confidence had risen.

"Okay, Lord, the airport it is!"

He did EXACTLY as He said He would, and with each step there was a lesson, a rejoicing, a laugh to share.

Curious observations:  As I arrived at the entrance to the airport, I declared to myself, "I made it!" But then it occurred to me, no, I need to make my way all the way in... all the way to the destination He set.  And a mile and a half later (Hello, is that speaking to anyone else besides me?!), I did arrive.

Can I tell you that last mile and a half was the longest stretch of perseverance. And can I also tell you He didn't say word one to me at the beginning of my consent about the STEEP hill at the VERY end of my destination; His prerogative as LORD, you know.  (Funny what you don't pay any attention to behind the wheel of a car that speaks volumes from the vantage point of walking!)

On my many walkabouts He has indeed imparted many valuable lessons, but I want to both challenge and encourage each of you: a walk with Him is *always* beyond the scope of the rational and the safe, but if we, through even rational, *valid* reasons, render ourselves unable to walk with Him in our "now sphere", don't bother asking Him for grander walks!  Be bold in your obedience, *especially* when it takes you outside ....perhaps even WAY outside... your comfort zone, because that's where you will discover facets of Him that simply cannot be revealed nor experienced from inside your comfort zone.

On my way back home, I had to tackle all the hurdles I had tackled on my way there, BUT by then it was much hotter, and I was getting tired.

Do you think He knew of these coming conditions when we set out?  Of course He did!

Remember that point of silence I mentioned before I consented?  During that point of silence, I too thought through the return trip without the exact knowledge, but certainly speculating it wasn't going to be a "walk in the park"..... but the material point is I CHOSE to go all in.  Dear ones, let me strongly encourage you when He asks something of you.... just do it.  He covers... he makes up for our lack.

And lack did happen.  I was almost at the peak of that LONG incline when I felt my entire being start to crash.  I looked ahead and told myself, "It's only about 40 paces. You can rest then."  I knew if I sat down where I wanted to sit down, I would have alarmed traffic.  "Press on," I told myself.  I barely made it. My body was crashing to the point I gagged.  I thought, "Don't you dare toss your cookies here!"   Ever been at such a place metaphorically?   Where you thought you just could not hang on one more second?  Where your soul was wrenched and convulsing to the core? Live long enough and everyone crosses such conditions.  Question is what do you do?

Well, providentially (You do know Father permits testing, correct?!), in my case... my son had just texted me (probably very close in time to the point where I begin crashing... 70 paces or so from the apex).

"Home now."

Simple text.  MASSIVE temptation!

I saw the text just after sitting down, trying not to toss my cookies.

"Can you come get me?"  I texted back.

Then God spoke, "Deborah, RISE!"

Immediately I texted my son, "No, nevermind....I'll finish."

I got up, and not 50 paces later, "God of Resurrection" began to play.  I'm posting it here for your listening pleasure:

I was so overcome by the song coupled to my Walking Company I sincerely felt I would take flight at any moment. Above all.... God is faithful!  Oh, dear ones... HE IS FAITHFUL.

I have long since said and walked, "What God calls us to do, He equips us to do!"

Such a memorable walk with Him... valuable treasured lessons I will put in my life-vault...not to be taken for granted, forgotten, or devalued!

All my love from one sojourner-in-Christ to all my fellow sojourners-in-Christ...walk on confident in HIM!