Chaos

Chaos

I Corinthians 1:9 (ESV) God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Chaos! Utter chaos! The words scribbled in my journal this morning. The last few weeks have been a runaway train. Today our fourth child graduates from high school – breathe mama breathe! Time is flying by and the winds of change are clearly stirring up my heart and soul. With a mind fully of memories, thoughts and a to-do list that keeps on growing – I am seeking peace this morning. I need rest for my mind. Rest for my body. I am looking for the Peace of God and calling on the internal comforter – His Spirit inside of me.

The words that come next are from a place of deep reserve. The reservoir of hope filled each morning in this quiet time begins to spill forth from my mouth even though my head and heart may not agree right this second – God is faithful. The faithfulness of God is not surprised by circumstances or shaken in our disbelief. He is faithful always. Let that sink in for just a moment as I have this morning. Even though I have lost control – God is still sovereignly in absolute control of my life. My world is in His Hands because I have placed it there and refuse to take it back. It is in this passage I find new breath on a morning of absolute stress, worry and well…chaos.

Our little fur baby, Izzy, is asleep in the chair next to me. Our giant fur baby, Scout, resting at my feet. Both are completely passed out and intermittently snoring. They are resting after an early morning breakfast and frolic in the yard. They do not worry about their next meal. They are not concerned with the details of the day. The rain is of little to no concern to them in the shelter of the home provide. They trust me to take care of them. They follow me from room to room plopping down right where I am working, sitting or even sleeping if possible. I wonder today if that is the lesson in the busyness of life – a gentle loving reminder of the faithfulness of God that is for us and the rest found in Him. I must only trust Him. Believe Him. Take Him at His Word. Love Him. Desire Him. Seek Him. Serve Him. Follow Him…and all these other worries, concerns and details fall into place. Lord, let me find my way back into your Presence today.

Deuteronomy 7:9 (ESV) Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations…

Do you know that God loves you with steadfast love today? It is not performance based but a covenant promise to you, His Beloved Child. God keeps His Covenant with us because He is faithful. My ability to keep my covenant with Him was irrevocably broken by sin. So His Faithfulness provided a sacrifice for my sin to pay the debt owed and rescue me from certain death – He has apprehended me with love not by force. His Love set me free to choose who I love and serve in this life. I choose You, God! I have decided to follow Jesus and accept the grace that I have been given. God only desires our love. Not just any love, but a committed love. A love that tries to be faithful and is remorseful in our failures. We have made a very structured idea of church and set mandates for the Body of Christ never detailed by God. He asks only that we love Him enough to seek Him, follow Him and trust Him.

Deuteronomy 32:4 (ESV) “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.”

The firm foundation of our life, faith and confident hope is the unchangeable, all-powerful, fully authoritative, all-knowing, and ever present Rock who is the Lord. He is incapable of lying or changing His Mind without altering His Perfection. If something is perfect, it has no need to change. It is our imperfection that calls for change. God promises to be the Rock. Our shelter. Our refuge. The hiding place of the righteous who come boldly before Him. He is a Good God who is faithful and without iniquity. He offers divine disciple but thanks to grace there is no punishment involved. When faced with challenging seasons or long processes, it is the faithfulness of God that is our hope. We must look above the wind and waves to see that He is still right where He has always been and perfecting all that concerns us according to His Word. (Psalm 138:8)

Hebrews 3:3-6 (ESV) For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.

God’s faithfulness was demonstrated in Jesus Christ. Though tempted by the enemy, Jesus overcame him by simple telling him what God said. The enemy fled. Christ lives in us. The resurrection power and life that overcomes is in you and me. Moses built a tabernacle for God’s Presence in the wilderness. God revealed His Glory to the people. Forty long years of wandering and there were few who would ever enter the promise of rest. King Solomon built a beautiful temple. God was pleased. He went on to waste his life indulging in sinful conquests. God had a better plan and a more glorious thought – He sent His Son to inhabit those who would be His People. We are His House. Christ lives in us. He gives us the desire and drive to be faithful to God so it is no surprise that the enemy comes to tempt us. He reminds us of our past. He sows regret, remorse and shame to choke out new life and hope. He tells us that God is mad at us. He says that He is punishing us. He tells us that the Lord has forgotten us. Or maybe just that we deserve the consequences of our choices. He is a liar. The Word says that God has other plans for “His House”. Christ is building a strong “Body”.

I Corinthians 10:13 (ESV) No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

The greatest temptation commonly faced by believers each day is to abandon trust. To believe something other than the Word God has given us. To pursue lesser things hoping to achieve some other kind of glory. We have been given the Glory of God for our broken vessels. He resides in us and wants to shine through us. I don’t know what you are facing today – I only know the insufficiencies of my own heart. What I do know is that God is faithful! Some days, like today, I must remind myself that He is faithful. He is always faithful. His Faithfulness is unreserved when it comes to me. He is relentless in His Passionate Pursuit of me. I must learn to run to His Refuge and seek His Shelter when tempted not to trust Him. To seek His Peace that passes all understanding to pull in my rebellious thoughts. I must only call out His Name and He always rushes to my aid. He will leave the 99 just to carry me back. He is faithful today. He has already provided everything I need to overcome temptation and achieve my purpose today and every day. I must remind my heart, mind and soul – God is faithful every day even today!

Psalm 62:8 (ESV) Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah

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Practice What You Preach

Practice What You Preach

Philippians 4:8-9 (ESV)  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

I heard a voice in the darkness. “Honey, it’s after 5:00 AM. Did you set the alarm?” I guess not although I thought I did. Too late to worry about that now, I try to pull myself from deep slumber. Immediately the cares and worries I went to bed with come to greet me. Warding them off, I stumble out of bed as my husband, the makeshift meteorologist, tells me that is a whopping 26 degrees outside to which I mumble, “Of course it is!”

For just a moment, let’s pause. Let me set the scene for you. I am late. I usually get up at 4:30 AM and need every moment of that time to take care of the dogs, spend time with the Lord, make lunches for my family, and get ready for work. Today is Thursday which is cleaning day in our house. I try to get our bathroom out of the way before I head out. It is also my weekly trip to the grocery store so a list is being made simultaneously. Add to this already scheduled day, our daughter’s baby shower is in two days. Her due date in just a month. Oh, did I mention that I have been sick for almost two weeks so very behind in last minute details. My mom, sister and sister-in-law will arrive tomorrow night to stay with us. On top of all that, I have a scheduled dental procedure on Monday. To some that is no big deal just a date on the calendar – but in my mind it is a date with absolute torture. Hate the dentist as a profession although mine is very patient and kind. All of these “things” came rushing into my head this morning, I almost became entangled in worry, stress, fear, and anxious thoughts. But now it is time to practice what I preach…

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things…

This is not a message for the unbeliever today. This is hope for the imperfect Christian. It is a word of encouragement to put down the bat and stop trying to do everything right. It is an invitation to rest. To rely on the Lord and trust in Him. Today, there is no possible way that I can do all the things that I think I need to do. The expectation heaped on me by my own hands is just too much. The Bible says, “I can do all things THROUGH Christ who gives me strength.” I must practice putting all the details of my life including those things I call priorities into the Hands of Christ and allowing Him to hand back what I need to do, say and be in any given day. So I called a meeting inside my head…

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

The only weapon in the enemy’s arsenal is the lie. If he can change your mind about God just enough to believe anything contrary to the character and nature of God – you will question everything you know about Him. If he can somehow convince you that the Lord is not with you, for you, and in you, he will have the power to persuade you to engage in detours, distractions and delays. We must learn to practice what we preach and become consummate doers of the Word until our mind and heart align with God’s Word, Will and Way and cannot be swayed.

When I was in gymnastics, I decided that I wanted to do a back handspring. I am not athletically inclined but I really wanted to accomplish this feat. So what did I do? The instructors showed me how to do a back handspring. They instructed me on proper form and execution. They encouraged me to practice all the time. So that is exactly what I started to do. I fell countless times. I made several attempts. Time and time again, I couldn’t get my feet over my head. I was on the verge of giving up but something in me just kept nagging me to try one more time. You know what happened? I learned to do a back handspring. Can I do one today? Nope. I stopped doing them and am what? Out of practice…

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (ESV) For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

As believers, we must protect our thoughts. Seeds of faith planted in our heart cannot grow until our heart is made up that God is for us. He is good. Working in us. Our dependency on the Lord requires a heart and mind that agrees. We must…We Must…WE MUST destroy arguments and EVERY lofty opinion raised against the Knowledge of God and take every thought captive to OBEY Christ. Why?

To say one thing and do another is a contradiction. Once our mind is made up – our flesh must follow. To worry, stress and be anxious is to accept that lie that there is something to fear other than God alone. To decide that change is impossible is to allow pride to tell us our flesh is stronger than our Savior. Disobedience to God comes with a heavy price. Grace covers sin completely. God does not punish His Children. The discipline of God is to right our way and send us into the Promise. Disobedience is the enemy’s ploy to keep us from all God has for us including blessings, favor and prosperity.

Psalm 111:7-10 (ESV) The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness. He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

When I woke up late today, the enemy presented me with anxiety overload before my eyes even opened. I reached my hand out until it was just beyond my grasp. But you know what else met me this morning, the new mercies of God – Jesus offered me His Hand – “Here let me take that from you.” It was definitely a standoff like an old-time western movie – I had to choose who I would give my burdens and cares in that moment. I haven’t always made the right choice. There have been many days when the things that happened this morning would have resulted in me rushing around completely overwhelmed snapping at my husband and children. I would have given up my time with the Lord in order to regain some lost moments. BUT NOT TODAY!

Today I must practice what I preach. God is love. So I will be loving even though I don’t feel very loving but agitated and stressed. God is good. He will work every detail of my life out for His Good. God is with me. Christ lives in me. The important things will be done if I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and do what He has called me to do. We must make it a conscious effort each day to respond to the promises of God rather than reacting to the lie of the enemy. To focus on the call of God rather than the taunts of the giant. What is my purpose today? “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) The Lord knows the desires of my heart. He knows my motives and good intentions. He will never let me down if I put my whole heart and all my trust in Him. I must not only read the Word of God but do what it says to have its promises. So today…I will practice what I preach!

Romans 8:35-39 (ESV)  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Overwhelmed to Overcomer

A close-up shot of a broken chain

Romans 8:37-38 (NLT) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.

Overwhelmingly victorious – that’s us in Christ. Do you feel victorious today? Are you overwhelmed? Or are you an overcomer? Are you convinced? Convinced you are sinking fast? Or convinced the Lord will lift you up? Tis the season for the overwhelmed to experience the greatest of difficulties. Carefully laid traps along the way to snare our emotions, feelings and even suffocate us with exhaustion. It is time to stop defending our depression and disappointment and take a step over to the offense. We have the power to be overcomers in life. Not just in the big things, but in every detail. The Lord gives victory over our worries and cares to those who believe.

Neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s Love. The scripture seems like such a wide curve. We go from death to life straight to worries, cares, and feelings. We must overcome fear to circumvent doubt. Doubt can only exist where faith ceases to exist. If you have fears, cares, worries, burdens and stress today – you are not alone. The winter months are considered the most depressing time of the whole year. Add the holiday lists and enormous expectations put on each other and people are easily overwhelmed during a season of great celebration. The birth of Jesus changed everything. If we could only convince ourselves of that, maybe this season would be filled with overcomers not the overwhelmed.

Expectation adds weight. I expect that chair I am sitting in this morning to bear my weight. I have put my faith and trust in the cheap desk chair to hold me and not fold to the floor under the burden. During the holidays, expectations run high. Human expectation is put on one another. Impossible demands on our time. Suddenly our faith in God is displaced and put on the shoulders of ordinary men and women to make everyone’s dreams come true. Demands turn to debt in all shapes and sizes. What do you expect this holiday season? Who do you have you give your full expectation? If our full expectation is not on Jesus Christ, then the substance of our faith has been compromised. Given to a lesser thing that is not able to render full satisfaction and the abundant life promised by the Lord. What is the substance of your faith today? Or should I say, “Who?”

John 16:33 (NLT) “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Many times, people decide only to take “big” things to a Big God. Yet, He is interested in every facet of our life. Every day, moment, second and breath – the Lord is with us turning the details into good things for us. (Romans 8:28) Our inability to give every burden, care and worry to the Lord is a detriment to us. He will perfect all that concerns us (Psalm 138:8) – our only responsibility is to trust Him more. The Lord was quite transparent – here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. I think sometimes we forget that part and jump over the “but” to “I have overcome the world.” You are an overcomer and there will be many opportunities to exercise our faith in the realm of impossibilities called trials and sorrows. You cannot find peace until you understand uncertainty. You cannot have faith until you overcome doubt. Trusting God requires believing Him at His Word.

Psalm 112:6-9 (NLT) Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They share freely and give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor.

Who? Those who fear (respect) the Lord and delight in obeying His Commands. “Such people will not be overcome by evil…) Yes, to be overcome by evil can be sin. What if it also means the lie of the enemy that leads to anxiety and fear, too? What if the Lord is warning us here of the carefully laid trap of feelings and emotions. The Word says that God is greater than our feelings. Please God take hold of my emotions, wrap them in Your Word today so that I may do Your Will at all times. The rules and regulations of the Bible are for the religious. The instructions in God’s Word are for His Children and those who live in a loving relationship with Him.

Psalm 119:133 says, “Guide my steps with your word so I will not be overcome by evil.” Feed your soul today. Give the Spirit of God something to nourish your spirit man. Fill your mouth with praise. Empty your hands long enough to lift your hands in worship. The relationship you have with Jesus Christ is not a religion it is the role of beloved. He wants to help you carry the load called life. He will take your burdens and turn them into blessings. We must only believe. Funny, that we plaster this word all over the place during the holidays but seldom take the time to truly live it accordingly.

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23-24) Before getting overwhelmed in the days and demands ahead, take a moment to ask the Lord to help overcome unbelief. Jesus Christ overcame the world. (Period) There is nothing you will face today that can defeat you. There is nothing you do today that is not marked by success. God already promised to supply your need and released every spiritual blessing in your life so be generous. Confidence is born of trust. You will never be confident in someone or something left untried. Test the Lord. Try Him at His Word. Believe. He can handle it.

I Corinthians 15:57-58 (NLT) But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

The Will of God for you is to overcome fear, stress, worry and doubt today. The Lord desires nothing more than to move you from overwhelmed to be an overcomer. To overcome means to overpower and overwhelm that which is trying to do the same to you. It means to succeed in dealing with a problem or difficulty. It means to be immovable. We must fortify our faith by investing trust as seeds of success in our everyday life. The roots of a tree do not stop growing until faced with a limitation. I have trees in pots that hardly grow because they have reached the limit set by the container. My yard is filled with trees of all kinds. The roots have been growing for years without limit as the treetops tower high in the sky. How big is your God today? Have you placed a limit on His Power by limiting the space of your heart? He wants to make you strong and immovable ready to thrive and prosper in this life. We have victory over sin, death and the grave so what is there to lose. We have been given His Promise that He has overcome the world for us so we do not ever have to be overwhelmed again! God even goes so far as to promise that we can enthusiastically work for Him and nothing we do will ever be in vain. We will always be successful.

Success in Jesus is prosperity of our soul that works its way into our life. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Take a deep cleansing breath. Breathe out every worry, care and fear you have been holding on to. Breathe in His Spirit. Whisper His Promises. Let the Lord love on you today. He will never ever let you down. The Lord is with you always even to the ends of the earth. We just have to get to the end of self and trust Him more.

Isaiah 61:10-11 (NLT) I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels. The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere.

Overwhelm Me

http://wallpic.net

Isaiah 61:10 (NLT) I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels.

Life can be overwhelming. Circumstances, conditions and even change can overcome our mind, run rampant through our emotions, and stir up anxious thoughts and feelings. I would rather face an issue in my body then to deal with my mind. Sickness in our body, in my opinion, is much easier to overcome than weakness in our mind holding us captive in our mind, will or emotions. Physical ailments are one thing, but mental impairment is twice as debilitating. Our spirit, mind and body must work together in our pursuit of Christ and all that He promises, but it is our flesh that fights for its life. It is our will that refuses submission and clings to stubbornness. There will always be things that overwhelm us in this life. We choose who holds us captive. Will I live in bondage to negative thinking and limited vision or will I be captivated in the inconceivable yet always perceivable love of God? Lord, overwhelm me with Your Love today!

2 Corinthians 4:7-8(NLT) We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.

The pressures of life are inevitable. There will always be something attempting to weigh you down, block your path, pull you back or divert you altogether. The enemy is relentlessly and ruthlessly attempting to quench that tiny fire burning inside you. He wants to make sure that it does not become a bright and shining light representing God’s Love, Goodness and Faithfulness that will lead others from the dark and dying places in the world. He is after that seed of faith. If he can just pluck it out of you or maybe overcome the Word in you with the weeds of problems, troubles or trials – you will stop this foolishness called faith, hope and love.

The word “overwhelm” means to load, heap, treat or address with an overpowering or excess of anything. The word itself is not negative. How one responds to it determines the meaning? How do you respond to pressure in life? Do you press in? Do you give in? There will always be pressure. There will always be something that is trying to overwhelm you. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed! We have the freedom to choose that which overwhelms us today! Will it be the great load of temporary things that threaten us in this moment or will it be God’s Faithful and Abiding Love that is greater than death and the grave? Will it be the sufficiency of His Amazing Grace that empowers me when I am weak and flailing? There will always be a “master” in our life. Jesus gives us the right called freedom to choose who it will be. I choose the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! How about you?

Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT) I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Generally, it is not the problem that brings the pressure but our perception of the problem. Have you ever looked in the side mirror of the car? There are words written on it that warn us – “OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.” We look back rather than looking ahead. Our focus should be on the future but the past is bearing down on us. It seems like the enemy is hot on our heels. Out of breath. Losing hope. Wondering if today is the day. Will I fall? Will I fail? Oh Lord, I am so overwhelmed! The Lord says to us today, “Look again!”

Psalm 23:4-6 (NLT) 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.

What if that “thing” you think is after you is really the Lord? Is it Him who is the one pursuing you and positioning you for an outpouring of His Goodness and Unfailing Love? When I was in fifth grade, I had an unwanted suitor. He would taunt me at the bus stop at school every afternoon. Rocking back and forth poised on his bike. He would push me to run away threatening me with the most heinous and horrendous threat – a kiss. I didn’t want to kiss him. I didn’t want him to kiss me. He would chase me around in circles until a teacher came along or the bus arrived. One kiss – it was harmless but to an unsuspecting child an unwanted advance. Fast forward forty years to now, I will chase my husband around or let him catch me just to steal a quick kiss. It is all about perception. It is all about possibility. What if the seemingly impossible situation is just a divine set up for the Lord to catch us and keep us just a little closer? After all, His People are His Bride. His Heart longs to connect with us. His Spirit to remain intimately acquainted with our soul. Jesus is pursuing you and me with His Goodness and Unfailing Love.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT) We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 

We are human. I wish for just a moment even the strongest Christian would be transparent enough to admit this is true. Everyone sins and falls short of God’s Glorious Standard every single day. The message of the Gospel is not good news that sin is completely extracted from us making us flawlessly perfection but that in our absolute and complete imperfection that His Grace is enough to cover me in His Love. We must use God’s Mightiest Weapons to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and destroy all the false arguments arising between humans. All humans. All people. God desires every single one who He created. Jesus died for them just like you and me. The Spirit of the Lord full of His Faithfulness, Goodness and Unfailing Love is after them equally. We must destroy every prideful obstacle IN US until our complete and total focus is on Jesus Christ. We must capture the religious and rebellious thoughts that give us some kind of superiority. The truth is that I fail in my attempts to be faithful every day, but God never fails at being faithful. In fact, He overwhelms me with His Love and Commitment to me even when I fall, fail or quit.

No matter how hard I try, I will mess something up today when it comes to my good fight of faith. (Romans 7) I will find myself off shadowboxing rather than doing what I know to do and resting in the Peace that God has offered me. Like a toy – wound too tightly – bumping into the wall with wheels still spinning but getting nowhere at all, I will get distracted and caught up in temporary troubles or momentary weakness. I am human. So are you? The true character of Christ is His Love. The identity of God is He is love. Love is the challenge that I am given. To accept His Love and then distribute it throughout the world. This is a far cry from religion, but a genuine invitation to a real relationship with the Living God. Obedience to Christ is not in one’s ability not to sin. It is in my ability to love the Lord and His People. It is that simple even though we make it so hard. It begins with allowing God to overwhelm the strongholds in our mind. Releasing us from every fear, doubt and insecurity and drowning us in His Love. This is what allows us to become real light in this world. The kind of light that attracts others to Jesus rather than driving them farther apart.

Romans 8:37-39 (NLT) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Despite all these things, every situation, problem, people, trial or circumstance, overwhelming victory belongs to me. I win. No matter what the weapon is I am victorious. I believe it. Do you? The Power of God is made available to me by His Grace. His Love provides all the grace that I need to endure this life. He has made us more than conquerors. If I find my place in Christ, I will never now the agony of defeat again. I will always have the opportunity for the impossible to be made possible in my life. It is all according to what I believe, and my ability to hold on to that hope.

There is absolutely nothing in heaven or on earth that can or will every separate me from the Love of God. Nothing. No sin. No shame. No regret. Nothing in my past. Nothing in the present. Nothing in the future. Even if I wander off or wonder more, God is still pursuing me with His Unfailing, Unconditional Love. So today if a care or concern begins to overwhelm you, overwhelm it instead. Tell it what the Word of God says about. Remind the enemy who your Daddy is. Take captive every single thought that is contradictory to God’s Word and hold it subject to His Promises. Praise, praise and praise some more. Protect that little light inside you until it burns passionately. Fan the flames until the whole world can see it burning again. The Spirit of the Living God lives in you and me, too. Every detail in our life works for our good and His Glory according to His Plan that is unfolding. We must only wait and watch because God will make it happen for those who believe. Let your mind be totally overcome and your heart fully apprehended by the Love of God today. Nothing can ever separate us from Him or snatch us from the folds of His Mighty Hand. His Love is overwhelming. Lord, wash over me today and overwhelm again with Your Amazing Love.

John 16:33 (NLT) I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Wild Horses

Wild Horses

Psalm 20:6-8 (NIV)

Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.

My thoughts were off to the races before I opened my eyes. I am not even sure that my brain was turned on when the cursor started spinning this morning. You know the kind of days when the tasks outweigh the time and you have not recovered from the exertion of the day before – welcome to the holidays. Parties, practices and productions. I am already sick of meatballs doused in barbeque and grape jelly. Did I mention a milestone birthday in the mix? Jesus take the wheel. It feels like I am running like a racehorse set off with a single gunshot hoping to finish the race and find a warm stall with fresh hay to hide from all the chaos mixed with madness all around.

Oh I had the best of intentions signing up for everything. I know that it will all come together because truthfully it always does. Everyone will be happy and satisfied at the end of the day. I will joyously collapse in my bed with a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. See I am already thinking about going back to bed. When my feet hit the floor, my head zoomed past my precious moments spent with Jesus straight to my to-do list. Yet in the back of my mind, I could hear Him whispering, “Come to me, first. Spend time with me, first. I need to talk to you, first.” So I pushed aside the list ignored the clock telling me I overslept 30 minutes and headed for the office. My computer was already on and I cannot remember turning it on, could it be Jesus? Oh who knows? Melting into the chair, throwing a blanket over my legs, it hit me. Stillness, silence and peace in His Presence. Suddenly, all the things I need to do today took their rightful place and I realized He wanted me to stop. A gentle pulling back of the reins while patting my side and telling me, “Whoa girl!”

How do we get so spun up? Running like spooked horses or a chicken with our head cutoff over things that really do not matter. Seriously, my lil smokies will get cooked today along with the macaroni and cheese. The cake is done. The gifts ready other than a tuft of tissue paper. I am on top of this right down to what I will wear. But truthfully, sitting in His Presence, it seems kind of dumb. I am a champ at trusting God with the big things in my life. It is a learned characteristic that comes through trials and tests. It is all the little things that I heap on myself such as the cares and worries of life. I am not a beast of burden though I act like it sometimes. We trust in what we do rather trusting every detail of our life to Jesus. Transferring every worry, care and burden is tough when our flesh is always reaching for control. Those who learn to depend on God for everything from the largest to the smallest most insignificant details that make up our life will be victorious in all things. At least, that’s how I read it.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus invites us daily to come to Him. To those who are weary and burdened, He promises rest. He does not define what made us tired, worried, anxious or stressed, just simply says give it to me in exchange for peace. He also said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…” This is interesting today as I feel a bit overloaded and overwhelmed. The Lord does have a job for us something that He called us to do but it is not all the things that we make it. It is easier to do than to be undone. The Lord desires our hearts. He wants to align our heart with His Heart. His Heart and Mind are always set on His People. It is all about loving and being loved. He loves us and we extend that Love to the world.

My soul is at rest even though my mind is a mess right now. It’s funny how the Lord can change our mind so quickly when we think about Him, mediate on Him, communicate with Him and read His Word. He doesn’t come and make all the plates we are spinning fall down around us but simply says, “Give them to me.” See the Lord knows that although so much of what we become consumed with is trivial and meaningless, He loves us and knows they are important to us so He offers to carry them for us. In exchange, He frees us to do the thing that He called us to do which is love other people. We are His Hands and Feet in the world as messengers who share a Love like no other with those who need Him most. All the while, Jesus takes those cares and concerns that distract us and works it all out. I think that is part of the good that comes from every detail of our life promised in Romans 8:28. His Yoke is easy and His Burden light. Simply take the Love that I have given you that is measureless and share it with others generously. If only it were that easy…

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NIV)

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

There are a lot of websites that have popped up for parties and events that allow the administrator to schedule a gathering and create an online signup sheet for items needed and allows people to RSVP quickly and easily. During this time of year, I get these evites quite a bit. When I logged in to the most recent one, I began to look down the list of items to choose what to bring. Cups, napkins, plates and utensils are the easiest and I love to sign up for these inexpensive items. No preparation or refrigeration needed. Next would be chips or drinks. Holla! These are pretty wonderful, too for the same reason. There are those who will always pick one of these items especially if they do not have the time or resources to do anything else. Others want to bring something as not to be judged but just don’t want to invest a lot. There are others who selflessly give of their time, talent, resources and kitchen to bring the costly food items such as meat, fruit or side dishes. It just depends on the person, the situation and often one’s attitude.

Giving is a mindset. I use the “SignUpGenius.com” as an example probably because I have been on it quite a lot. My life is run from list to list. As I evaluate the lists in my life, I set priorities. Those have changed over the years. In our spiritual life, it is no different. We prioritize Christ in our life. Where He falls on the list of priorities determines our success or failure in maintaining our peace and joy in life. If Jesus stays our first priority, all these other things will easily fall into place. Just like choosing what we will bring to the next holiday event, we must decide the level of our time, talent and resources that we will invest in our relationship with Jesus. We will never win the war for our thoughts until we stop depending on what we can do and solely on what Go will do when faith and obedience become the one thing to be accomplished in each day with everything else falling into place around it. Before we give anything, we must give our heart and mind to Jesus. Casting down every thought and emotion contradictory to Christ and taking captive every disobedient longing, we will be victorious in every aspect of our life. We will live successfully in the Presence of God. We must go there first reining in the wild horses spooked by the enemies lie that we must “do” anything to please God other than faithfully and obediently loving one another until the whole world is saved.

2 Kings 6:15-17 (NIV)

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

When we are overcome with stress, worry and anxiety that leads to fear – it is expressed in doubt. Anything what we do or want to do becomes bigger than our God so we hang on to it, we will be worn down. We are not designed to carry the burden of our life, Jesus is. To depend on our warhorse or chariot puts power in the enemy’s hand, because we have stepped out of God’s Power and Authority. This is not just for spiritual warfare but daily battles with our flesh. The enemy isn’t only focused on destroying the ministry of your life sharing Jesus with them. Oh no friend, it is much more personal than that. He wants to wear you down, tire you out, and cause you do drift from the Protection of God into the darkness so He can take you out. He wants to destroy you. He hates you and the God in you. Sobering huh? I think so as I have worn myself out doing and thinking that God will honor it. When all along, He has been whispering for me to come closer because my doing has become a distraction and my work that of my flesh.

Busyness is an evil spirit that steals our time, kills our joy, and destroys our faith by allowing fear to take over and run us to death. This is not the Will of God for us. He provides a place of love, joy and peace for us to live and prosper in His Presence. Being overwhelmed and overwrought has never and will never be His Will for our life. It is symptomatic that we have taken the reins and are driving the chariot. Whoa! Just whoa! Lord, open our eyes to see You all around us. Leading us, guiding us, preparing us and protecting us as victory is nearby. Do not let us become consumed with fear that the enemy produces in the overwhelming details of life but open our eyes to see You, Jesus.

Psalm 27:4-5 (NIV)

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord     all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

Every single time that I allow myself to let busyness overtake me, it comes back to these verses. One thing I ask for the Lord and only this that I seek that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life. One thing. It all comes down to one thing and every other detail of my existence must find its proper order behind the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Feeling like you are being drug behind a herd of wild horses? Ridden hard and put away wet as the old adage goes? This is not the Will of God concerning us. I know that some people are having a difficult holiday season. This is the first I can ever remember not suffering from depression that overshadowed me for years and years so many I cannot count. I had no reason for it to be that way. The enemy had a stronghold that only this year somehow the Lord has broken. Yet still… the spirit of busyness was having its way with me until now. I break that spirit along with the one called fear that the Lord did not give us in His Precious and Holy Name. As I take a deep breath right now, Lord fill me again with the Holy Spirit as You draw me closer and tighter to You! Jesus I surrender my mind, will, emotions and even my body to You! Lord, have Your Way today that I may dwell in Your House forever.

Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV)

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Overwhelmed – A Devotion

Overwhelmed

Isaiah 61:10-11 (NLT)

I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels. The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere.

 

Remember a while back, the game application came out called Temple Run. In “Indiana-Jones-like” fashion, the player would take off running from the entrance to a temple being chased by the guards who resembled evil ape-like creatures. Scaling walls, avoiding trees and clearing obstacles, the runner would continue being pursued until they made an error only to be overcome by the predators chasing them. The game was addicting and most of our family got caught up playing it endlessly trying to make it the farthest on the route. I played the game briefly before deleting it from my phone completely. At first, it seemed fun but then became stressful as the enemy would catch us. I found that I didn’t like being pursued like that even if in animated form. It would get me all riled up. My stomach in knots and nerves tangled up over nothing at all. I have decided that it was the feeling of being overwhelmed that I found so distasteful and still do to this day. We choose what will overwhelm us each day. Being overwhelmed is not a physical state of being but a mental and emotional decision that can be changed by the Power of God that is found in His Great Love for us. However, most of us set out each day like the adventurer in the game, Temple Run in hopes that we can stay just one step ahead of the enemy and make our way through our day. But the Lord is speaking to overwhelmed hearts and minds today telling “us” that we do not have to live like that anymore.

I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! I want to be that person. He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation, I am truly thankful for such a gift. He has draped me in a robe of His Righteousness that does not fit properly over the sin I hang on to but each day I work to make it more fitting by His Grace, Mercy and Love. He is my bridegroom. He has promised to be a good husband and proven so thus far. Everyone will praise Him and it should begin with me. Why do I get caught up in the worries, cares and anxieties of life when I am promised such a marvelous future? I am overwhelmed but not as I should be. I should be overwhelmed by His Love.

Psalm 142

I cry out to the Lord; I plead for the Lord’s mercy. I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.
Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me. I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me. Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life. Hear my cry, for I am very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. Bring me out of prison so I can thank you. The godly will crowd around me, for you are good to me.”

 

Are you overwhelmed today? I feel that way but I am confused in this place. In dealing with our son’s illness and the uncertainty of it, I do not feel this unsettling inside me but I am overcome by peace. Yet, now in everyday life I feel pursued to the point of exhaustion. The pressure is almost crushing as I try to cram everything that everyone expects of me into a human schedule with its own limitations. I feel dumb to feel this way after having gone through so much to be overwhelmed by ordinary life but I am transparent today. It finally hit me that my mind is exhausted. My thoughts are constantly spinning. I feel just a step in front of the rolling responsibilities that I feel are pursuing me. Either I will get on top of them or they will plow over me and each day I am just as surprised as you are at the outcome. I left the refuge that I made my home in that is the Peace of God. I had no intention of vacating the premises but someone has flushed me out into the open. I am surrounded by people yet find no real help. No one can do for me what My God can do for me. I find solace in the careful reminder from My God who loves me so that He is “my place of refuge” and that He is “all that I really want.” God is good to me. When I feel overwhelmed by anything other than His Love than something is amiss and it is up to me to find my way back into His Presence to get all wrapped up in His Love once again.

Did you know that to be overwhelmed is a state of mind? Overwhelm means to overcome completely in mind or feeling, to be overcome or overpowered buried beneath a heavy load or emotional burden. It is an overpowering or excessive amount of anything. It means that the Holy Spirit has been overthrown of ruler of our heart and mind as the enemy invades our thoughts crushing our faith in fear, worry and doubt. When we are overwhelmed by our thoughts, it puts our heart in fear and bondage once again choking out the peace, love and joy that the Spirit of God is working through our life. We must commandeer our thoughts and surrender them once again.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT)

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 

 

We are only human. Disappointing as it is, we have certain limitations that must be accommodated in order to protect our heart and mind from becoming overwhelmed. Before we will win the battle in our mind, we must learn to care for our natural man. For example, we need to eat properly, get plenty of rest, and yes, even that dreaded word exercise. Exercise releases endorphins in our body that help our mind function properly. You know the old saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Well, this is true. A well-balanced life of mind, spirit and body are essential. It is alarming the rate of obesity in the House of God today. We must care for our temple to be better serve God. Exit the soapbox, if we are poorly nourished, overtired and easily exerted, how will we ever finish the race? Once we properly care for our human physique, it better accompanies our spiritual stride. Now we can take better hold of God’s Mighty Weapons which are spiritual. How? Because we are not physically exhausted and overrun in the natural so we can focus on the spirit man more effectively. We must learn to attach our Knowledge of God to every single thought we think and task we encounter. God in everything is the only way to succeed in it all without being overwhelmed. The enemy is powerless in our life where God is present. The Holy Spirit will inhabit those who allow Him to do so. He will work in those who release Him freely in their life. This does not mean that we do not have to swing the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God through our life bringing down every “proud obstacle”. You may be as surprised as I was to discover that from time to time that obstacle in my life bears a fierce resemblance to myself.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

I am beginning to think that it will take my entire life to fully discover the true meaning of these words and the sufficiency of God’s Grace. It just keeps stretching and spreading over more and more of my life. My grace is all that you need. The Lord keeps reminding me of this over and over again. His Power works best in my weakness because it is such a state that I finally let go. When I am weak, then and only then am I made strong. Humbly I begin to comprehend that I feel overwhelmed because somewhere along the way I have tried to assume full responsibility for my life again rather than continuing to rely on the Grace and Power of God that He has given to me. We are all naturally independent. Yet, we depend on others more than God without even knowing it. We expect them to see that we are buried in our responsibilities and help us out. We hope that they will help us get through this tough season feeling abandoned when they don’t. We cannot see that they too are barely getting by. We do not really care because of the pressure overwhelming our heart, captivating our thoughts and overtaking our mind. God is whispering to me today, “My grace is STILL all that you need. My power STILL works best in weakness.” Could it be that this overwhelming feeling that I am having is as easy to forget as a silly video game that consumed way too many hours of my life?

Romans 8:37-39 (NLT)

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

To fully accept the truth that NOTHING can ever separate us from the Love of God and applying this truth to every aspect of our life will keep us from becoming buried in the trenches of this life. (Psalm 65:10) God’s desire is to bless you! His Goodness is pursing us every day of our life. When we are convinced of this, we will stop being overwhelmed with life and choose to be overtaken by His Great Love. The Glory of God promised to us is far greater than anything that we can imagine so it is too easy to take hold of lesser things. (2 Corinthians 3:9-11) We become overcome by temporary problems and make permanent decisions when everything is subject to change. The closer we are to the Lord and deeper we move into His Presence by faith the bolder His Intervention in our life as His Glory, Power and Goodness finally make it to us. We will have a peace that passes all understanding just like He promised. The Lord has promised perfect peace to those who trust Him and fix their thoughts there, too. (Isaiah 26:3) The opposite of overwhelm is to encourage. The Lord is encouraging those who are overwhelmed today that you don’t have to live this way anymore.

Psalm 18:1-3; 25-36 (NLT)

I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies.

 

To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud. You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall. God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect.  He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.

Reading these words of David, I am encouraged. I like King David. He was not perfect but his heart was after the Lord. Even when he messed up, David was quick to find his way home to the refuge found in the Presence of God. The Lord was faithful to David simply because of his sold-out heart. I love the Lord. He is my strength today. I must learn to rely heavily on Him with my whole life and not just parts of my life that I have chosen to delegate to the Lord. I must surrender my life to the Lord once again to be overwhelmed by His Great Love for me. Jesus Christ has overcome the world and everything in it. If I fully surrender my life to Christ, that same power that conquered the grave lives in me, works its way through my life and changes the impossibilities to probabilities. It is a head decision to give up before God. It is a heart decision to fully give in to Jesus Christ. It is my decision to be overwhelmed by His Great Love today and every day for the rest of my life.

John 16:33 (NLT)

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”