Friday, March 30, 2012

Am I Enough?


Who hasn’t struggled at some time in their life with the deep self-doubt that “maybe I’m not good enough.” Or pretty enough. Or smart enough. Or liked enough. You fill in the blank. This overwhelming fear of inadequacy can prevent us from realizing the glory of God’s plan for us.

Believe me when I say that there is no truth to back up these harmful thoughts. Think about where this feeling of inferiority comes from. Maybe you can tie it to a past experience or perhaps it is a deeply felt inadequacy you’ve held onto for a long time. No matter it’s origin. When our need for fulfillment lies deep within our psyche, it is fodder for the evil one to do his work.
 
He preys on our weaknesses, and speaks from a voice within us that we hear as our own. He tells us we are not worthy, that we will never measure up. And our hearts wonder "why should I bother trying?"

Realize the source! It isn’t always immediately evident because of the sneakiness of the predator. But you must realize that Satan is trying to sabotage your will. When I become aware that my thoughts or my actions have been controlled by Satan preying on my emptiness, I realize I have allowed darkness to fill me when I should have turned to the Light. 

When the realization finally creeps into my consciousness by God's power in me through His Holy Spirit, and I become aware that I have been duped by the enemy once again, it makes me so angry that I want to fight back. Satan amplifies our weaknesses, through no fault of our own, by reassuring our psyche that we are not good enough. Then he shows us a way to satisfy our deepest desires, which is actually a path to our own destruction.

When I become aware of this devious deceitfulness and attack on my very life, I go into battle mode.

Spiritual warfare is very real, and for those on the front lines the battle is never over. Satan will do what he can to prevent the furthering of the Kingdom of God. If you are working for the purpose of leading others to Christ, you must realize that there is going to be a battle for you to keep your forward motion.

Even if you are not in ministry, Satan delights in leading us from the path that God has planned for our lives. He can make the wrong way seem like the truth. It is not until we realize our misery that Satan's devious plan is revealed to us. We need to remain vigilant by keeping a constant awareness of this struggle and search our hearts for something that just doesn't seem right. 
 
Most importantly, we must always remember one thing – God is stronger than anything sneaky Satan can throw at us! By clinging to God and praying for His intercession on our behalf, we will always emerge as victors. For in the beginning of the book of John we read, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5 (NLT)


God is Light. The power of light over darkness is a Biblical reference, and a physical one, too. Even in the darkest night, a candle or other source of light will shine brightly into the night. The light will always overcome darkness. And the Light of the World will always overcome the darkness of Satan. Darkness will scurry and hide from the light, and linger in the corners for its chance to regain a foothold once again. That is why the battle continues. 


Look to God for your strength. With the armor of God you can fight the battle and emerge victorious. Simply cry out to Him and Satan’s stronghold is extinguished. Keep your focus on God, and put on His armor. In this way you will not know defeat. Be strengthened by knowing God is always on your side. This is a battle we can win.



“Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s Righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. “ Ephesians 6:13-17 (NIV) (emphasis mine)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Freedom from Fear


We come into this life completely fearless. As young children, we will try anything - thus the need for good parenting, with voices of reason and experience.

When did we learn to be afraid?

God did not create us to be fearful. We are meant to shine for Him. Fear grows in the darkness, not in the light. We cannot let fear germinate in us. That tiny seed of doubt hidden in our deepest thoughts is like the seed we plant in the dark soil. But unlike the plants of the earth, fear stays underground.

Buried deeply in our psyche, nourished by repeated review and self-affirmation, our fear grows into an ugly mass of self-doubt and anxiety. It stifles our creativity, preventing us from sharing the beauty within each of us.

We all have gifts that are meant to be shared. Poetry, music, writing, painting, gardening and singing are only a few examples of expression of the beauty within. Hospitality, care-giving, parenting and teaching allow us to share our heart through the work we do. Our everyday interactions with people as we go about our work and our lives can be a reflection of the person we are inside. We can share joy.

What is keeping you from sharing the best part of who you are? We may harbor a seed of fear, but there is also a greater desire to express ourselves. You may have been criticized at some point in your life, which has stopped your creative expression. It happens all too often.

Not everyone is going to like everything we do all of the time. And that’s just fine. Our goal in sharing our art or our inner beauty is not to please someone, but to find our self-expression that will lead to more creativity.  The gift of who we are is a beautiful reminder of God’s love inside each of us.

Only by becoming who we are meant to be will we fully understand our place in this world. And through expressing the beauty and holiness inside each of us, through the Spirit that frees us, we honor our Maker and grow in our likeness to be more like Him.






God is pure Love, revealed through His creation. And that includes us. By allowing our inner beauty to flow into the world, we are participating in the expression of God’s love, and this makes life wholly worth living.




Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lord of Heaven and Earth




Sunday Scripture

and a

Song




Isaiah 55:8-9

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. 
      “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, 
      so my ways are higher than your ways 
      and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

 (NLT)



Blessings on your day! Enjoy this video revealing the God of Wonders
by Mac Powell of Third Day with Caedman's Call





Subscribers please click here to view this video on my blog site. Thank you!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Mountaintop Experience


Have you seen those ads where a climber reaches the peak of a great precipice and stands with arms outstretched as the camera pans around them? While I don’t harbor a fear of heights, if I were exhausted from climbing to the top of that mountain, I don’t think I would balance precariously on a jagged peak. Just sayin’.

The mountaintop experiences I savor are those I share with God, and I needn’t climb to places of thin oxygen to find Him. Mountaintop experiences can happen anywhere, and have more to do with my heart’s proximity to God’s than with where I am.

These intense feelings of joy and peace saturate my spirit, and I can’t help but smile and sometimes weep at the beauty of the moment. Feeling so connected to my Creator, in oneness of thought and pure joy, is exhilarating and peaceful all at the same time.

But I’ve come to realize I couldn’t enjoy these peak experiences if I hadn’t first walked through the deepest valleys. Because it is through the valleys of pain and sorrow where I met my Savior, or rather where He met me.

There have been times when I’ve been at my lowest, when my spirit was dark and my outlook on life even darker, and I couldn’t find any hope to start my day. It was from this deep valley of darkness that I was saved from my situation and from my own dark thoughts by the only One who could save me.

I cried out to God and He whispered into my darkness that I was not alone. That comfort helped me begin to find my way out of the pit of darkness. In my deepest sorrow, a voice spoke softly to my spirit “I am with you.” This ray of Hope shined like a beacon of Light leading the way out of the darkness. “Follow Me.”

I savor my mountaintop experiences with God, in pure joy and oneness of Spirit. Though these may be ephemeral moments, I treasure them knowing how far I have come to know this joy in my life through my relationship with God. I would not have reached these peaks had I not first walked the valleys. And through them I learned that I never walk alone.


"Even when I walk 
  through the darkest valley,
 I will not be afraid, 
  for you are close beside me."
           Psalm 23:4 (NLT)








Music speaks to my soul, and Mac Powell of Third Day shares my thoughts beautifully through this song, "Mountain of God." Subscribers please enjoy this video by clicking here.




Monday, March 12, 2012

Our Place in this World


We are seekers, searching throughout our lives for a connection to all that exists around us. We feel a deep longing within ourselves, yearning for completion. We desire, wish for, hope for, something or someone that can fulfill an emptiness we cannot describe.

Sometimes we connect with a person who seems to provide what we are missing in our lives. It could be that we desire to know love, or a feeling of security. Whatever we feel the missing ingredient is, it’s like a puzzle that's missing a piece and we want to complete the picture.

The truth is, people will disappoint us. I’m sure you have your own experiences to validate this. So if we put all of our hope and trust in a fellow human being to provide a “filling” for that emptiness we have inside of us, we may find it will only be a temporary filling at best.
  
Some people turn to things in an attempt to quiet the longing, and may try using food or drugs to satisfy the feeling of emptiness. The satisfaction is very temporary, and will always leave us wanting more. If we use things or people to fill that void, we’ll find we may feel satisfied for a little while, but the emptiness returns.

If we are honest, we must admit that we search for meaning in our lives. Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? Why do I feel empty when my life is so full?

I believe the missing piece is a connection to our own spirituality. We fill our lives with busyness, but miss the understanding that we are spiritual beings and need to nurture ourselves from within.

We are all developing an awareness for our health that is helping us to be cognizant of what we put into our physical bodies and how we can keep them working the best we can. This consciousness in our ability to control our physical wellness is a positive step toward understanding our wholeness.


But we need to go further. We must engage in a conscious effort to nurture our individual spirituality and our connectedness to each other and to all of life. A healthy spirituality depends on the understanding of our oneness with all of creation. When we nurture our own spiritual beings, we develop an awareness of ourselves as part of a greater whole.



I believe that God placed a longing inside of us to seek Him. It is part of our effort to gain an understanding of our place in the universe. The order of life here on earth and in the expanding universe would dictate that it is reasonable to believe in a higher power, one that structured the world and our place in it. And I believe that our Creator wants us to seek Him, to know Him and walk with Him spiritually through all of our days.


In some ways, I believe we will always be searching, as that is the nature of our species. But I know we can find the missing piece to complete the picture of who we are. We will find that in our relationship with our Creator, through knowing Him and by trusting in this Higher Power to guide our footsteps here on earth. 



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Winds of Change


Amazingly powerful gusts of wind blow across our hilltop, drying up the melting snow and changing the landscape from solid white to barren brown in less than a day. The winds brought warm temperatures along on their gusts; so warm we opened up the doors and let the breezes blow in, which is very refreshing after a long season of being shut-up tight with furnace-blown heat.

As winds of change blow through our lives, we can find new direction in the way we look at our situations. If we are open to change, we can find ourselves with a new perspective and a more positive outlook.

We can get stuck-in-a-rut in our thinking, and sometimes it takes a refreshing breeze to open our minds to a different point of view. It may be an event that causes us to review where our lives are going, or perhaps the words of a friend spark a thought that encourages us to consider different possibilities.

When we allow God into our lives as a constant companion and friend, we invite His work in shaping our views of how to live. He gently blows an idea across our mind, and we can choose to latch onto it and ride along the breeze.

When we engage our subconscious mind with the possibility and hope of change, we open our thought processes to allow us to get out of the rut of our regular thinking. Through honoring God in the surrender of our fears and control of the details of our lives, we open our hearts to hear His voice of wisdom and guidance.

Change is never easy, but it is always good. These winds of change that blow through our lives give us direction. They save us from the patterns of our thinking that cause us to feel stuck and unable to change.  

Though it may seem difficult to escape these life-long thought patterns, opening our hearts and minds to the possibilities of change allows refreshingly new insight.  Actively engaging in a desire for change is the first step to initiating transformation in your life.

It may begin quite subtly, but when we look back in the direction of where the wind came from, we begin to see the change that has begun in us. Our path has shifted slightly, and our thinking along with it. We can view the same situation through a different perspective. And most likely, this will provide a more positive point of view.



Stay open to change, and let nature be your guide. Nothing in nature ever stays the same. It is in a constant state of growth and development and change. Nature even recycles. What was once living matter continues its usefulness to help begin new life.

Everything we have experienced in life is useful, and can be used to encourage new growth and perspective as we move forward in our lives. Don’t be afraid of change. It can be the pathway to a better understanding of yourself and your place in this world.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Rest for Weary Souls



Sunday 
Scripture

and a

Song

Psalm 23 (New Living Translation)


    A psalm of David

 

The LORD is my    shepherd; 

  I have all that I need. 

 He lets me rest in green meadows; 

 he leads me beside peaceful streams. 

      He renews my strength. 

   He guides me along right paths, 

      bringing honor to his name. 

 Even when I walk 

      through the darkest valley,

   I will not be afraid, 

      for you are close beside me. 

   Your rod and your staff 

      protect and comfort me. 

 You prepare a feast for me 

      in the presence of my enemies. 

   You honor me by anointing my head with oil. 

      My cup overflows with blessings. 

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me 

      all the days of my life, 

   and I will live in the house of the LORD 

      forever.


    Relax and enjoy today's beautiful video. I have chosen 
"The Lord is My Shepherd" from John Rutter's "Requiem"
Let peace wash over you,
and let God's promise of His constant presence 
 rest in your heart.


For my subscribers, please click here to view the video on my blog site. Thanks!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Strength for the Journey





This week has been filled with tragic news stories. Sadness overwhelms us at times as we try to understand such pain in God’s world. Tragedy and grief touch all of our lives, and when you add in the daily challenges of finances and health issues, it would be easy to succumb to fear and defeat.



But we must not let that happen. There is Strength that we can draw on. There is Hope for better tomorrows. We can find Peace, when we turn our eyes to our Heavenly Father and rest in His wisdom and grace.


It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with sadness amidst the suffering. When we are challenged with yet another trial or obstacle to our happiness, how can we cope?


If the tears want to come, let them. It is a cleansing of our sadness. Let the tears wash away your fears and then turn your heart to God.  Pour our your sadness to Him. Tell Him of your fears. Let go of all you hold inside that threatens your sense of security and peace.


He is waiting for us to come to Him. He can offer comfort that the world cannot provide. In inexplicable ways, we are calmed when we lay our troubles at His feet. Peace washes over us, and we realize we can go forward into the trials we are facing because we know we are not facing them alone.



God is there with us. He will always be beside us. What a comfort it is to know we never walk alone. When we lean on Him for our strength, we find it is limitless. As we grow in our trust and faith, we begin to find the glimmer of hope that propels us to keep trying. And by resting in God’s love, we are blessed through knowing His perfect peace.





“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Phillipians 4:13 (NIV)


“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 (NIV)