Finding Your Focus

Little did we know, as we walked into the doctor’s office, our world was going to be turned upside down again.

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Little did we know, as we walked into the doctor’s office, our world was going to be turned upside down again.  I finished breast cancer treatment two years earlier, and we triumphantly drew a line in the sand, stepped over it, and never looked back.  Our focus turned to embracing life and finding our rhythm again. But sitting in our doctor’s office that afternoon, reality shattered around us.

Devastated, we contemplated how we were going to tell our children and family that the cancer had metastasized and the diagnosis was grave.

As my head swirled with conflicting emotions and confusion, I could feel stress and anxiety rise up inside me. I knew that I could not go through this next season in this condition. I had to shift my focus onto something that was solid and sure to find relief for my anxiety and stress.

The storms of life will rock, shake, and unsettle you. Without a battle plan you will be tossed, beaten, and battered. You must find a place where you position yourself that is resolute and sure in God’s word and His promises.

[su_quote cite=”Romans 10:17 TPT“]Faith, then, is birthed in a heart that responds to God’s anointed utterance of the Anointed One.[/su_quote]

God’s word became the fortified place that I positioned myself behind. I turned to the only place that I knew had the power to bring hope, and bring the miraculous into my life.  We added more faith to our faith, drenching ourselves in God’s anointed words.

My husband printed a list of verses about healing for me. These precious words were like water to my thirsty soul.  They nourished me and filled me with peace and calm. I began to compile ‘My Faith Binder’ with scripture verses sent to me from friends and family. I would meditate on them daily, speaking them out loud so I could hear them. I personalized them and decreed them over myself. They washed over me, soothing away the stress and anxiety, and birthed in me a deeper faith. Hope began to emerge and take root!

We all know the verse, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” -Romans 10:17 (NKJV) But what does that actually look like in our lives?

Faith is grown through hearing, speaking, repeating, and declaring God’s word over your life. It is built by taking His word and declaring it in the face of your enemy. Faith sees what is not seen. Faith speaks that which is not, as though it is. It looks with supernatural eyes at your situation and gives you the confidence to speak His word over it. It creates an expectation to see His word manifest in your circumstance.

Today, let the truth of His word cut through the lies of the enemy. Let it birth in you a new hope and enlarge your faith to believe for the miraculous! You have been set free, healed, restored, sanctified, and renewed. You can face your circumstances with confidence knowing that His goodness, faithfulness, steadfastness, loving-kindness, grace, mercy, hope, comfort, and righteousness are for you, behind you, and surround you. The full force of heaven is beside you, and with you, as you face your battles.

Fix your focus on His word, it is your fortified place. Respond to His word, and allow it to enlarge your faith. Believe for more![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][siteorigin_widget_vc][/vc_column][/vc_row]

When Pajamas Are Too Short, Holey, and Mismatched.

With the Christmas season fast approaching, sometimes us women get caught up with busyness. Our plates are full and our jobs seem endless sometimes. It seems like there is always something that needs to be done and sometimes we feel like our work never ends!

Image-1With the Christmas season fast approaching, sometimes us women get caught up with busyness. Our plates are full and our jobs seem endless sometimes. It seems like there is always something that needs to be done and sometimes we feel like our work never ends! But, sometimes it’s okay to overlook the mess and take advantage of those opportune moments to connect with our family.

What are your favourite Christmas memories? What do you love most about the holidays? What treasured memories have you created with your family?

What are some ways that we can take advantage of the Christmas season to connect with our families, creating lasting memories.

Embrace your family.   Not every family is the same, maybe you are just starting out and it’s just you and your spouse, maybe you are a single mom, maybe you have children with challenges, maybe you have young children, or maybe your children are teenagers, or maybe you are experiencing the empty nest.

No matter what your family structure is, embrace it. See it for what it is and become determined to make memories with them. Don’t wait for the perfect moment or time. Don’t think, ‘I’ll just wait until we have children, or we need to wait until the children are older, or’……. You will never find the perfect time. The time is now! It’s starts with just you and your husband as you are beginning life together. It starts now with a house full of little ones.   Don’t compare your family to others, but embrace your family as they are now and find ways to celebrate them and make memories with them.

ENJOY your family!

Enjoy YOUR family!

Enjoy your FAMILY!

Did you catch that? 

Look for things that you like about them, embrace it, and enjoy! Don’t take life too seriously, relax and breathe in the moments of life. Learn to appreciate the uniqueness that each family member contributes. Sometimes it means setting aside what we think needs to be done, and just embrace the moment. With that in mind, when you think of each family member, what is one of the first things that come to your mind?

Focus on the Important Things

I love listening to my family tell stories. ‘Remember when’…….. How are these ‘remember when’ moments created? They often don’t ‘just happen,’ sometimes they do and those are beautiful moments to be treasured and remembered. But often, it requires us to be flexible in our schedules, to embrace little moments when they arise, to be willing to set aside my plans to enjoy those moments. In our increasingly busy lives, we must remember to carve out quality time for our families.

One of my treasured memories is when we would travel late into the night and my son would get talkative. He was in his teenage years and those were not his most commutative years, he would lean forward in his seat, hanging over my shoulder or his father’s to get closer and he became engaged. He would animatedly talk for hours!

When we travelled, I got to experience another side of him. The rest of the vehicle would be sleeping and quiet and he would begin to talk. (Maybe he finally felt free to do so, because no one else was talking!)

Now, those of you who have travelled anywhere with me know that I don’t really want to drive, it’s not that I can’t or don’t like it…….no, it is purely selfish reasons…..I like to sleep! I will put my ear buds in to tune out the noise, put on a movie or music, and then I am gone within a few minutes to be woken up at our next stop.   David on the other hand, loves to drive, so we are well matched!

Now back to my story. I learned to treasure those times with my son. I found out what he was thinking about things, friends, things that were going on in his life, and his opinion about matters. It allowed him to express himself during a season that was maybe hard for him to do so. It allowed us to hear his heart and speak into his life. This is a special memory for David and I. Was this a planned event? No. Did I have to adjust what I wanted to do or my routine? Absolutely!

My point in this story is that sometimes it is good to take a deep breath, pay attention to what is happening right in front of us, adjust ourselves and embrace the moment and create a new memory!

Often the times of prime connection do not present themselves when we are finished our jobs, when we are rested and have nothing else to do!

 Make some memories.

The holidays create a unique environment for creating treasured memories and traditions. Some memories and traditions are crafted from careful planning, and others are birthed out of things that are not so magical!

Like many families, we have a Christmas pajama tradition. Now I wish I could tell you it started out as some great ‘memory building idea’ but truth be told this tradition began in our family because when we were young and our children were little money was very tight. It was so tight that I remember wondering how we were going to make ends meet each month because there seemed to be more going out than coming in. But God was always there, He was faithful and He met our needs. We always ate, we always paid our mortgage, and no one was running around naked! Because of this, we didn’t have a ‘clothing budget’; we were just trying to survive every month! The only time we bought pajamas for the children was at Christmas!

As much as I wish I could say that I had thought of this great plan to build memories and make a tradition, I can’t. The real reason behind the Christmas Eve pajamas is a much more vain one! I wanted the children to be in new pajamas so that our pictures wouldn’t be of children in pajamas that were too short, full of holes, or miss-matched (because you know after they wear them once it is very rare to see the top and bottoms matching again!)

This is how our Christmas pajama tradition began, by a mother who couldn’t buy pajamas for her kids during the year and vainly wanted them to look good in the Christmas pictures!

But what began as my craziness, has turned into a beautiful tradition of coming home from Oma and Opa’s, sitting down with cups of tea (it used to be hot chocolate and marshmallows), opening their pajamas and slippers and posing for our annual Christmas Eve pajama picture. (Which is usually a gong show of laughter, howling and tomfoolery!)

Now our children are grown and my need for perfect Christmas morning photos has waned (it’s still there, just a little!).   My husband and I tried to bring it to an end, but the children……well let’s just say, the tradition lives on! (The above photo is from 2010.)

What was birthed many years ago has turned into a beautiful tradition that everyone enjoys and no one wants to give up.

So this Christmas season as you are celebrating our Lord’s birth, embrace and enjoy your family. Find ways, intentional or unintentional, to create fun and lasting memories. Breathe deep, lay aside the busyness and enjoy your family!

Have a wonderfully blessed Christmas season!

Blocked Vision – Seeing Past The Giants

As I was reading, I was struck how the enemy had become so much larger than God to the army of Israel.  How did Israel lose sight of God’s provisions, miracles, signs and wonders, and deliverance? What had blocked Israel’s vision of God?

I was reading in I Samuel this morning the account of David and Goliath. Most of us can recount that story and we have told it to our children with flourish and excitement. It is iconic in our society – David vs. Goliath. As I was reading this morning, I was asking God, ‘why were the children of Israel cowering in fear and David wasn’t?’

  • What are you cowering in fear over?
  • What has you paralyzed and fearful of your future?
  • What area do you need to see the goodness of God fill and rule over?

As I was reading, I was struck how the enemy had become so much larger than God to the army of Israel.  How did Israel lose sight of God’s provisions, miracles, signs and wonders, and deliverance? What had blocked Israel’s vision of God?

They had seen God deliver them, fight their battles, and defeat their enemies.   But when faced with Goliath’s size, armour, skill, his taunting, his words, they couldn’t see their future, they only saw fear and defeat. The whole army of Israel was paralyzed by fear. They were stuck on their side of the valley, huddling in fear, they couldn’t see past what they saw across the battle field, they couldn’t hear past Goliath’s taunts. Their faith was demoralized, they felt hopeless, and no one was taking direction or authority over the battle.  They were fixated on Goliath, their eyes were focused on what they saw. Their eyes were fixed on the enemy.

What is blocking your vision of God?

Then along comes David, he was just a youth; he had no battle experience. He had been tending his father’s sheep when his father sent him to the battlefield to check on his brothers. He comes into Israel’s camp and he hears Goliath. But let’s notice the difference in David’s actions and the army of Israel.

David heard the words, he saw Goliath, but it was like he was assessing the situation clinically. He did not allow it to settle into his spirit; he did not allow it to control him. He saw what was happening but his focus was not on himself but rather it was on God. He had an unshakable confidence in God. If God had helped him kill the lion and the bear, then why would this uncircumcised Philistine be any different? David was not deterred by the taunts of the enemy. He was not swayed by what he saw going on in front of him – Goliath’s size, armour and weapons). He fixed his gaze on God; he recounted what God had done in the past; he then moved forward with confidence in what God was going to do through him. He became fearless!

We all know how this story ends, David defeats Goliath with a small stone, cuts the head off the giant and Israel has victory over the Philistines.

But what does that mean for me today? How can this change my life? Those are great questions to ask! Often we are overwhelmed and swayed by what we see in front of us, we become fearful of that giant in our lives. We begin to fixate on it, dwell on it, we become captivated by it and in the end dominated by it.   Just like Israel, we tremble with fear, and fixate on the enemy. We become paralyzed!

But God wants us to be like David, full of confidence in Him, seeing from the correct perspective. Goliath was a giant to many, but he was nothing to David!  David saw Goliath as a defiant, heathen that was defying the armies of God.

David came forward and he told Goliath what was going to happen. He got vocal with Goliath! He challenged him – ‘you come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin……BUT I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defiled.’ He told Goliath what was going to happen. Look at the language of his words.

  • ‘The Lord will deliver you into my hand.’ ‘
  • I will strike you and take your head from you.’
  • ‘I will feed the carcasses of your army to the birds and beasts.’
  • ‘All of the earth will know there is a God in Israel.’
  • ‘Everyone will know that you don’t save with a sword and spear, for the battle is the Lord’s.’
  • ‘He will give you into our hands.’

Look at the difference between how the army of Israel dealt with Goliath and how David did! David took what he saw, filtered it through what he knew of his God, and spoke to the giant with authority. David took charge, he took authority; He stated what was going to happen to Goliath.

What giant are you facing today? What giant is causing you to live in fear? What giant is causing you to lose sight of the goodness of God in your life? What is blocking your vision of God? What are you focusing on, what are you seeing? What does the Word say about your giant?

Fix your eyes on Jesus!  Speak the Word to your giant! Take authority over it and tell that giant what is going to happen to it! You are not subject to the giant; the giant is subject to you, by the power of the Living God!

Speak this over your enemy:

  • _________________, you will not have victory. You are defeated by the Power of the Living God. By the blood of Christ, you are defeated and destroyed.
  • _________________, you are utterly destroyed; not one part of you will remain in my life or body.
  • By the authority and power of the Most High, Living God, we cut off your head and we feed you to the birds and beasts. Your authority to rule has been severed and you will not reign any longer.
  • All of the earth will know that my God has delivered me! He will be glorified and the ends of the earth will know His name.
  • This battle is not mine, but it is God’s. You fight for me and it is by Your power and His might that the battle is won. I rest and trust completely in You!
  • Fear has no place in my life; I choose to walk in faith, having complete confidence in the Almighty God.

O God, open my eyes to see Your provisions in my life! Open my ears to hear Your voice; that it would drown out the taunts of the enemy. God, that I would see You for WHO you really are; larger in my life than the enemy that I am facing.

References:  I Samuel 17,  Hebrews 12:2

What Do You SEE?

Eye

There are some people that we just love spending time with and then there are those who we would rather not.  Well, the Lord decided to have a little fun with me one day and gave me the opportunity to spend sometime with a challenging person.   They were thrown across my path unexpectedly, and I was challenged in my attitude.  I was like, ‘Lord, really?  This is not how I planned on spending my day.’

The Lord said, to me, ‘How do I SEE them?’  I laughed and said, ‘I know how you see them!  Very funny Lord!’  I was chuckling because I knew exactly where He was taking this conversation and encounter!

As the day continued on, I thought, ‘Why do I have to deal with this today Lord?  How much more enjoyable and restful would my day be if they were not part of it?’  Again the Lord said, ‘How do I see them?’  I laughed again and said, ‘I KNOW how you see them!  And yes, I have not chosen to see them through your eyes.  I’m sorry that I chose not to view them through your eyes of love and compassion.  Lord, I will see what you see and act accordingly.’

The Lord challenged me to see them from His eyes, His perspective.  Why are they doing and saying those things?  Where is it coming from?   Instead of taking it personally or being annoyed by it, I was challenged to show the Fruits of the Spirit -love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5:22

I began to see them with different eyes. I saw them through their need,  and what they needed.  Not through the eyes of how they should be.  I left my expectation of their behavior at the door and just loved them where they were.

I wish I could tell you that they changed,  but they continued on throughout the week just like they always had, but somehow, it didn’t irritate me so much.  Instead of being annoyed, I just laughed and thought, ‘it’s just the way they are, it’s not my job to change them.’

I am reminded of how God loves us and displays His fruit towards us even when we don’t deserve it.  I am reminded of how patient He is to work out the unlovelies in our own lives.

Choose to see what God sees!

Blessings – Winona

Reality or Truth?

truth-and-reality-hi

What is reality and what is truth? 

Sometimes I think we get confused and lump them both together.  If this is really happening, if this is how I am feeling then this must be truth.  But I have discovered that this is not the case. There is a BIG difference between reality and truth.   The definition of reality is ‘the state of things as they actually exist.’   The acceptance of reality is acknowledging the state that we are in.

Sadly many people stay in this state.  They have acknowledged and accepted that reality and that’s where they stay.  They acknowledge, I am not having a good day, I am sick, I don’t have enough money, I am depressed, etc….

But what is truth?  TRUTH is what God’s Word has to say about you and your circumstances.  Discover what His Word says about you and your circumstances. (hint: this is usually the opposite of our feelings).

Now I have the opportunity to come into agreement with myself and negativity or I can come into agreement with God’s Word and declare TRUTH over my situation and circumstances.  By taking this step of faith, I am now positioning myself to receive and move into what He has spoken.

I am not suggesting that we deny the state that we are in.  I am suggesting that we are not destined to stay there!   But to move forward, we must change our mind set and stop looking at our reality as truth.  We must view our reality for what it is, the state that we are in at the moment, and this is NOT truth.

Begin to speak God’s Word, what He has spoken, what He has promised, what He has decreed over your life and circumstances!   Stand on TRUTH!

Fear – What to do with it.

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear) but (He has given us a spirit) of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.  2 Timothy 1:7

Fear, we have all experienced it and had it affect our lives.  There are many types of fear.  To name a few, there is the fear of abandonment, death, people, being unloved, heights, spiders, germs and the list goes on.  Doctors spend hours a week with patients helping them overcome their fears.

There is a healthy fear that triggers and gives our bodies a signal to take flight and flee, when there is danger near. Our creator designed our bodies to react quickly to protect us from danger, however, when our imaginations and fears are left out of control, Satan uses them to keep us bound, in terror and not able to enjoy our lives.

John 10:10 says ‘The thief comes not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’   God’s plan for our lives is that we would live a life of joy, freedom and abundance.

Fear lives and feeds on poor self-image, failure, and my past.  Because it is a spirit, it has constant movement.

Fear can be debilitating if it is not brought under subjection and under control.   Fears abound everywhere in all of us.  That is not going to change, fear will always be here.  The place that we allow it in our lives is what matters.    We are not denying the existence of fear, but we must put it in its proper place.  Whatever we give a place of influence in our lives, rules us.  If we give fear an elevated position in our lives we will live in terror incapacitated to fulfill our life’s assignments.  This is why it is so important to have the Word of God firmly rooted in us, knowing what His Word says about life, my circumstances and situations.  We must elevate His Word above all.  We must believe what His Word says and not be dictated to by fear.  The power is found in aligning ourselves with the Word!

When we function from a position of:  my identity in Christ and what is the destiny assignment that I have been given, we begin to place our emotions, fears and circumstances in their proper place.  We must not give them an elevated position in our lives.

When fear dominates our lives we are ruled by it.  It controls us and it dictates our actions.  We should not be ruled by fear.  If we are not to be ruled by fear, then we must ask ourselves the questions, what should we be ‘ruled’ by?

There are two Kingdoms in the Bible – the Kingdom of God/Heaven and the Kingdom of Darkness.  These two kingdoms have very distinguishing differences, and are ruled by different kings.  You were in the Kingdom of Darkness and now you are in the Kingdom of God.  He took you into His kingdom and wants you to let it rule you.  But your flesh doesn’t like that and it wars against your mind and uses your weaknesses, failures, and your past to terrorize you and paralyze you.

Why is this important for us to understand?

Kingdom of God is the rule and reign of God in my life.  The word king is used for a reason, because many believe in God but are not ruled by Him.  A King is the one who rules His domain in my life.  This is what we should be ruled by.  What does that look like?

The Bible tells us that ‘For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.’ Romans 14:17

When His Kingdom is ruling our lives our fears are dealt with in the way that  our King has set out.

This brings us to our position in Christ. To function at our fullest capabilities, freedom, and authority, we MUST understand what our position is.  We MUST know what our identity is.

When we fully understand our position in Christ, we move into our rightful authority.  All that Jesus took possession of He shares with us.  All the victories of the cross, He shares with us.  This is an amazing position to be in.  We are His sons, His heirs.

In Romans 8:15 we read ‘For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” ‘

Paul is bringing out the reality of our position in Christ Jesus.  We are no longer slaves but sons and we qualify for all that is available to sons.  Sons do not function from a position of fear and cowering, rather they are dressed in royal garments and the have full access to all that the father has and the authority to execute it.

We need to realize that we don’t need to remain in states of fear and panic.

Spirit of Fear:
For a moment let’s dig a little deeper into the spirit of fear.  The word spirit is defined as the movement of wind.  So the spirit of fear is the constant movement of terror, torment, intimidation, cowardice, and dread in our lives.

He wants us to function with the principal of replacement.

So now as we read 2 Timothy 1:7, let’s expound on the words and pull out the original meanings.  It says, He has not given us the spirit of fear – He has replaced it with….power (dunamis of the Holy Spirit)  This is the constant movement of the Holy Spirit in our life.  His power is working in us.

Power:  dunamis of the Holy Spirit.
It is from this word that we get our word dynamite.  When we read the definition of dunamis we begin to get a fuller picture of power that God has given us.  It enables us to understand what our authority is.  We have enough power in us to blow up the terror.  In the Holy Ghost is where you find strength, power, and ability.

Ability of dunamus:  inherent nature in which a person can be exerted or put forth.  Who we really are can be put forth.  Excellency of soul, moral power, ability to perform miracles.

The power and influence that belongs to riches and wealth.  They have the ability to buy anything, go anywhere they want, and do what they want.  Dunamis is this power.

Its classed as a power consisting or resting upon armies, forces and hosts….its overwhelming power.  It cannot be stopped.  It has all the weapons you need.

Sound mind:
Let’s look at the definitions we find for sound mind.  It’s an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, to moderation and self-control.  It is to moderate, control, curb, disciple, to hold to one’s duty.

To admonish, to exhort earnestly.  It is to be of a sound mind, sane.  It means to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction.  To deliver from the penalties of Christ’s judgement.  To save from the evils which obstruct the reception of Christ’s deliverance.

When we read the definitions of sound mind we begin to understand the fullness of we have exchanged the spirit of fear for.   We have traded up!  We have given up terror and fear and it has been replaced the provision of being safe and sound, being rescued from danger, injury, disease, saved from evils which obstruct the reception of Christ’s deliverance.  We have been given the provision of healing and health.  We have the ability to think sanely and be in our right senses.  We can curb our desires and impulses.

The sound mind operates on the Word, what does the Word say? Get to KNOW the Word.  Power comes from aligning with the Word!

By virtue of its inherent nature – the new creation (which you are) has a sound mind.

Love – brotherly affection, good will, benevolence, celebration (celebrate love).

The negatives effects of an abusive past are not greater in power than dunamis, love, power and sound mind and they should never keep you from living a free, abundant, full life that Christ has paid the price for.

Know Your Resources.

We have studied the importance of knowing our identity in Christ and we have seen in I Timothy what God has replaced the spirit of fear with.  These are very important for us to understand.  But I would like to address a few other areas regarding combating fear.

David

Let’s look at I Samuel 30:6 first.  The background of this story is, David and his army had been out fighting.  (They were on their assignment.  They were doing good.) They returned home from war to find that all of their wives, children, and possession had been taken.  David’s men were very angry with him and ready to stone him.  David was distressed and I am sure he was experiencing some fear.

Read 1 Samuel 30:6-20

We can learn from David’s example of what he did during times of distress.  We discover a few interesting principles in this passage.

  • His condition.
    • What was David’s condition? v. 6
      David was in great distress.
    • He had to put up with others distress.  Everyone wanted to stone him – he had no friends.  He had no one to support him, build him up, encourage him, instruct him.
  • He encouraged himself.
    • It is interesting to note that he commands the Ephod be brought to him. ‘Bring me the thing God communicates with me.’ V.7
      • David knew that he needed to hear from God. He didn’t want to hear from others, he needed to talk to God.  He knew the avenue from which God spoke to him.  He recognized it.  Before he spoke or gave direction, he enquired of God.
      • He enquired of God v.8

Enquire means – to ask a favour. To borrow. To consult. To seek, desire, require, salute, demand earnestly.  It is a strong word.  He was enquiring for a result.  God, You’ve got them, and I need to hear from You.  He wanted direction, but he also wanted to know what the result would be.

  • He followed the instructions.
    • He followed the word.  You can never encourage yourself outside the Word.  The Power is found in aligning yourself with the Word.

It is vital for us to learn to encourage ourselves in the Lord.  We cannot depend upon others to do this for us, to prop us up, wind us up and send us on our way.   We must learn the art of encouraging ourselves in the Lord.

Elisha & his Servant

The next area I would like to briefly discuss, is knowing what is going on in the spiritual realm.  The story that comes to my mind is the story of Elisha and his servant.  The background for this story is, king of Aram was at war with Israel.  They were continually trying to raid Israel and he was frustrated because every time he moved the Israelites knew he was coming.  So his people told him, that the prophet Elisha was telling the king of the Israelites what was going on even in his bedchambers.  So king Aram sent out his army to find Elisha and capture him.  Here is where we will pick up the story, with Elisha’s servant opening the door and discovering the army

Again, we see a powerful principle in play.  Elisha’s servant was afraid because he only saw what was going on in the natural.  He did not have the discernment to know what was going on in the spiritual.  Maybe he was not skilled in hearing from God. When Elisha asked God to open his servant’s eyes, the servant’s fear dissipated because he could now see things clearly, the whole picture.  He then recognized that he did not need to fear because God was with them.  The enemy was trying to steal and raid in Israeli territory and by only seeing in the natural the servant let fear and terror rule him, but when his eyes were opened and he saw what Elisha saw (and what God was up to) his fear left.

We need to remember that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12.

Sometimes the enemy is trying to steal our territory.  Sometimes he is running raid parties into our territory.  We do not have to tremble and fear, nor do we have to tolerate it.  Rather, we can like David and Elisha did:

  • Enquire of the Lord.
  • Ask the Lord to show us what is really going on.
  • Ask Him for instructions and a game plan.
  • Ask Him what the outcome is going to be.

Then base your decision on what God reveals to you.  If I cower and run in fear, I will give up my territory and I will never receive the help that the Father has made available to me, but if I seek His face I will recover and protect the territory He has for me.

Do not let the past dictate your present or plan your future. Remember that you are a child of God, He is your Father and He has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind. The thief comes for destruction, but our Father does not. Change the way you look at situations, ask God to open your eyes to see His hand behind the circumstance.

You do not need to live in fear anymore.

Help! I Need Strength!

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your circumstances?  Is stress and anxiety a constant companion in your life?  Do you sometimes wonder, ‘why do I bother?’  Have you ever felt like you were going down for the last time?  I envision a drowning person, with their hand raised above the water line sinking one more time! I think we all have experienced these thoughts and emotions at some point in our lives and I think we can all relate to that helpless feeling.

I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency]. Philippians 4:13  Amplified Bible

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your circumstances?  Is stress and anxiety a constant companion in your life?  Do you sometimes wonder, ‘why do I bother?’  Have you ever felt like you were going down for the last time?  I envision a drowning person, with their hand raised above the water line sinking one more time! I think we all have experienced these thoughts and emotions at some point in our lives and I think we can all relate to that helpless feeling.

I am sure we have all heard and quoted the verse, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ Philippians 4:13  I would like to look at this verse and discover what it means and how it can effect my life in a positive and dynamic way.

As I read the scripture verse, I was reminded of a study that I did on the Names of God – El Shaddai.   In that study, I discovered that He is All Sufficient. He has all that we ever need; in fact, He has more than we need. He is more than enough.

We can only be self sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.  It is only through Him who is All Sufficient that we can face and accomplish the tasks set before us. So self-sufficiency is met in Christ and lived out thru us.

We need to change the way we think about situations, circumstances and problems.  Instead of succumbing to the problem, we need to bring the problem into Christ’s arena.  It is critical that we train ourselves to think first and foremost, ‘I can do whatever I need to do through Christ who is my strength.’  This is speaking covenant words, bringing the problem to line up with the Covenant words.  We also bring Christ into the situation, not just ourselves.

We actually believe the words we say, so if we keep saying, ‘I have a problem, I have a problem, I have a problem’ we will believe it, and we will have a problem!  But if we say, ‘I can do all things, I can, I can’…. We will then be looking and speaking towards a solution and not defeating ourselves with the problem. We will actually look at the situation with a whole different mindset!

Let’s look at Philippians 4:4-13.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Paul had discovered some important truths. 

He had learned how to rejoice, be at peace, he had learned how to live with little and to live with a lot.  He had learned who his source of strength was.

  • Paul learned to rejoice always.
  • He knew that the Lord was with him and he did not need to be anxious.
  • Paul knew his source.
  • Paul knew that he could bring his requests with thanksgiving to the Lord.
  • Paul experienced peace.
  • Because of his belief of who God is and was, when he brought his requests to Him Paul experienced the peace of God.
  • He said it was a peace that went beyond our understanding, because it was a peace that came from above.

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

What instructions does Paul give us in these verses? 

  • Think about these things: what is true, what is noble, what is right, what is pure, what is lovely, what is admirable.  Think about what is excellent and praise worthy.
  • He then tells us to put into practice what he has instructed us in.  Do it.

What enabled Paul to be able to live out verses 10 -12?  (the key is in verse 13).

10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Paul was able to live in whatever situation he found himself, because he realized that his strength was in Christ and it was Christ who enabled him and infused him with strength.  He recognized that his source of power was by remaining in Christ and connected to Him.

James 4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Hebrews 4:16 says that we can cry out for grace in time of need.

When we are going through difficulty, we can cry out for grace and ask God to give us grace (favour) for that situation. His grace is there for us and it is an enabling grace, it is a favorable grace, it is an empowering grace. We can cry for it when we need it. It is rather assuring to know when I have the need I can call out to Him for favour, power, help and He will give it to me.

Often when we are facing difficulties our emotions begin to run high and when we speak out of our emotions we are not necessarily speaking words of faith and courage. Can we trust or emotions?  Are they reliable? It is important to remember that our emotions are not reliable foundations upon which to speak and act upon.  Speaking God’s Word during these times then becomes vitally important for my perspective.  His Word will bring my scattered emotions and thoughts back into a framework of His divine ability, grace, empowerment and courage.

We do not face life alone we have Christ enabling us. You are not alone when you face seemingly insurmountable situations.

The Power of Christ is full of the Spirit of God.  He is the one who resides in us and it is His power that enables us.

He gives grace, in fact He gives more grace, and I can call for grace when I am in need!

Start speaking His covenant words and build your faith!

Blessings,
Winona

Turning Love Around

Our society seems to flourish on ME.  What can you do for me?  What does your organization have to offer me?  What can I get out of this?    This seems to be a resounding theme in our culture, which is opposite to the Jesus culture that Jesus created.

In the Old Testament we were given the laws and the commandments, but in the New Testament Jesus redefined it all, He summed it all up into two commandments. ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

He made it simple for us – two things to remember!  Love Him with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind and love our neighbors as ourselves.

We can break that command up into three questions:

  • Whom am I to love?
  • What am I to do?
  • How am I to do it?

The definition of love is:

  • to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly, benevolence
  • to approve of, to like, to treat affectionately or kindly, to welcome, befriend, to show signs of love, to be friendly to one, wish him well
  • To esteem, love, indicating a direction of the will and finding one’s joy in something or someone.
  • To respect, veneration, meaning to love and serve with fidelity
  • Love is caring in action.  It is an action, not a state of being.  It is a habitual action that often reflects a lifestyle. It is in the active voice which means that we carry out the action.

What does that picture look like?  How do I love my neighbors as myself? What would happen if we turned our questions around?  Turning, What can you do for me? into What can I do to help? Asking the questions, What can I do for you? or What can I give? What would happen in our homes, jobs, churches, schools, neighbourhoods if we began to ask the question, ‘what can I do’?

By changing our focus from ourselves and onto others we create an environment for fulfillment and an environment for God to work through us.  What would our impact on those around us look like if we daily became dispensers of His love and goodness?  When we create an environment for God to work, exciting things begin to happen – miracles, God moments and encounters.  Possibilities begin to open  that were not there previously. When we invest in others we take our minds off of ourselves and our problems; we begin to live much happier and more fulfilled lives.

Be a dispenser of His love and goodness!