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Do We Allow Emotions to Get the Best of Us?

February 19, 2017

Can we  be real?

We collectively spend an exorbitant amount of time struggling with feelings and emotions. One day we’re good, we’re getting it done. The next day we’re a blubbering mess. We don’t plan it that way and it often takes us by surprise.

We say things like, “Where did that come from?” and “Wow, what is wrong with me today?”. We blame it on hormones, lack of sleep, disappointments, mean people…

I do it too, so believe me, I know.

Absolutely true, there are physical and medical reasons for emotional melt-downs. We live in these mortal bodies and they’re not perfect. But wouldn’t you agree, a good number of emotional melt-downs are the it’s all about me reason? The I, the self? Maybe we find it hard to readily admit the truth behind the messiness.

Photography is not my gift. I have no talent for capturing candid shots. Half the time even my cell tells me I “cannot take photo”. I know it’s nothing personal, my storage is full or some such ridiculous reason, but after a while it could give a girl a complex.

You know what’s scary?

That feature on the cell camera that flips you from focusing outward to seeing your selfie self. I don’t know about you, but it startles me. Can you relate?

Even though I have zero interest in becoming a photographer, there are cool life lessons we uncover when we expand our horizons.

Here’s an interesting fact:

When attempting night photography auto-focus will not work, there’s not enough light. So what do you do? You adjust the focusing ring to align with infinity. I have no idea what this means in photography world, but in every-day world, it makes complete sense.

While I might associate infinity with Buzz Lightyear (simmer down auto-correct, it’s Buzz’s last name) or mathematics, it brings to mind another “nity” word:

Eternity.

When we rely on auto-focus and allow our emotions to run on auto-pilot, a hot mess ensues. When we adjust our focus to align with eternal things, light flows in and we reflect it.

It’s no surprise auto in the Greek means self.

True, we need to self-reflect and keep ourselves in check. The whole plank out of our own eye and love your neighbor as yourself.  But the cautionary tale is this:

Another great thing about photography, it’s not about the selfie, it’s about looking outward. It’s about looking beyond self and seeing things in a new way.

What or whom are we focusing on?

Life can have us going in all different directions. We’re not necessarily distracted by evil things, sinful things, but even good things and pleasant things.

Even those good and pleasant things can draw our eyes away from Jesus. It can be subtle, and isn’t that more dangerous than obvious?

Jesus came so we could have life and life more abundantly, but not at the cost of losing sight of Him.

But we’re talking about emotions here. I began writing this post a week ago, and after a blubbering-mess-melt-down, decided today was a good day to finish it. Once I took my eyes off the distraction and placed my focus back on the goodness of the Lord, the waterworks dried up and I’m good. Been there? My poor husband. He’s more glad I’m good than I am.

Living out our message makes truth a powerful thing.

When we feel disconnected and distracted by emotions, remember Jesus said this…

“‘…I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'” Matthew 28:20

When we allow our day to be ruined by emotions, we’ll miss opportunities to be a light to someone else’s lens.

Let light in. Reflect light out. Be light.

God will help us, this He has promised. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help He so generously and mercifully gives.

You are not alone. Ever.

When we focus on the Lord, our emotions transform from a blubbering mess to a joyful message.

So instead of allowing our emotions to get the best of us, let’s show the world the best of us is Jesus.

Be blessed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why I Didn’t Get in the Car on New Year’s Day

January 1, 2017

I’m not one for cliches, are you?

Of course we will wish each other a Happy New Year. It’s what we do. But I’m not one for evaluating the past and making promises for the future. Ones I can’t keep. Those resolutions never stick and who wants to set themselves up for failure?

However…

It is important to continually improve, grow, learn, dream…

Let’s trust God when He says He will do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine. Let’s be pleasantly surprised by grace instead of terribly disappointed by empty promises we make to ourselves.

Let’s be intentional about doing instead of saying what we’re going to do.

I found a local dance studio that offers adult Ballet classes. I signed up. I’ve been stretching and twirling in anticipation of rekindling a childhood dream. Getting back to dance. I love it. There’s great health benefits, but actually it’s the grace and beauty I’m drawn to. If you want to get healthy, try doing something you love instead of punishing yourself for eating all those Christmas cookies.

We can believe in the promise of immeasurably more, but let’s not stop there…

The verse in Ephesians goes on to say, “…according to His power at work within us.”

His power is at work within us. To God be the glory because it’s all through His power, yet He chooses to do a mighty work in and through us.

Us.

It’s beyond amazing and it’s absolutely true. So clear the doubt, there’s no room for it when His power is there. And there’s no room for it in 2017. Doubt, be gone.

Another popular activity when a new year rolls around is choosing a word.

If I were to choose a word for 2017 it would be discover.  It’s time to discover new things, but not only new things. It’s time to discover what’s been covered up.

Like today, I was craving something and I had no idea what. Then hubby puts a subliminal message in my head. It wasn’t all that subliminal actually, it went something like, “How about a chili dog and a chocolate milkshake?”  Then suddenly, I wanted it. Bad.

But I discovered something. If I stayed away from the car I wouldn’t drive to Frosty King to pick up the hot dog and milkshake that I’d wind up feeling bad about consuming later. You know what? I stayed away from the car. It wasn’t easy.

Sure, I could have gone as far as turning that ignition. I would have still had time to change my mind, but let’s be real. It more likely would have been the point of no return. I needed His power at work within me, because my own power would have resulted in a chili-dog heartburn right about now. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, but don’t let the word self fool you.

And don’t be swayed by temptation. The enemy is cunning and he can’t tempt you to turn the key in the ignition if you stay clear of the car all-together. I think you get what I’m saying.

My example of avoiding a chili-dog and milkshake was a first right step to better health. Is there a person, place, or thing God is drawing you away from in 2017 so you can draw closer to Him?

Seek Him and you will find Him and He will direct your steps when you surrender your feet. And your car keys.

I wish you a Happy New Year and I would love to hear what’s on your heart.

Take each new day one at a time and remember, you are loved with an everlasting LOVE.

May His all-sufficient grace envelop you in 2017 and always,

How to Find Joy in the Empty This Year

December 15, 2016

 

They say my nest is empty.

I never truly understood what it meant until now. It slipped in quietly while I wasn’t looking and it magnifies at Christmastime. There’s something about children in the house that adds a special dose of delight and wonder (and craziness) to the season like nothing else can. Decorating the tree, hot chocolate, Christmas movies, and staying a step ahead of snoopy present hunters are just a few of the joys. You may have noticed, I didn’t mention baking cookies. There’s a reason and you can read about it here.

Now my nest is quiet, not always but most always. I enjoy the quiet moments, yet still miss the silly loudness and sticky peanut butter hand-prints smeared on the glass.

I reach for fleeting memories just beyond my grasp. My heart yearns for those crack-of-dawn Christmas mornings when little hands shake me awake in anticipation (and silly me wants to sleep-in a bit longer). I make them wait as I go out first to “put the coffee on” and light up the tree. I pop cinnamon rolls in the oven as the wrapping paper flies. Christmas lists materialize in the middle of the living room and I watch their faces light-up brighter than the star on the tree.

And then there was that time I accidentally doubled the measure of salt in the breakfast casserole. Ever do that?

But no matter the current status of this mama bird’s nest, I will choose joy and I will choose to be glad. For although life brings seasons and cycles and changes, life brings new and wonderful and fresh.

My nest is what I choose to make it. It’s a nest filled with love. A safe place.

And why not choose the full rather than the empty?

My children and grandchildren visit the nest and although they may only stay for a time, I am overcome with love and the realization that my nest is not empty after all. It is continually refilling as the years go by. I’m sure hubby agrees.

There is fullness of joy when I see the man and woman our son and daughter have grown to be.

I am fulfilled to overflowing as loving arms of grandchildren wrap around me like a warm blanket, and I smile as they sweetly kiss my cheek.

This is part of the path of life. And God will not allow us to journey it alone. No matter what, He is there.

So young moms, enjoy every moment and know this: sleeping-in on Christmas morning is overrated, even if you just went to bed an hour before. Careful not to blink because all that talk about time going by quickly? It’s not a cliche. Savor every moment.

And empty nest moms, hang on to your memories, but don’t miss the new ones waiting to be made.

This is not the end of the story because the old story is not gone, it stretches and grows and becomes something truly wonderful.

My nest is where abundance flows with the fullness of peace, love, and hope. My nest is where the Holy Spirit dwells and Jesus is Lord.

No matter our journey or whether we have young children, grown children, or no children at all, when we invite the presence of the Lord into our nest called home, we will find fullness of joy always. That’s a promise.

But maybe it’s not your nest that feels empty, maybe it’s you. Friend, this promise and truth applies to the deepest parts of our soul. The key is His presence. Invite God in and therein lies the fullness of joy.

Sometimes God allows the empty so we have room for more of Him.

Our nests are not empty, our nests are blessed.

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

Merry Christmas friend, and may your heart be glad…

Rejoicing in the reason for the season,

Doris

 

 

 

Feeling Like a Third Party to Your Email?

November 25, 2016

 

 

Can I ask you a personal question?

Ever feel like a third party to your own email?

Maybe the question isn’t all that personal, but it’s what I’ve been feeling lately. I open my inbox and a dam breaks as I watch a flood of emails load one after another. They’re addressed to me, but it doesn’t feel personal. I’m not talking about work email, I’m talking about personal email. It’s becoming impersonal. Can you relate?

These people emailing me?

They’re not uninvited guests. I’ve subscribed. I’ve Followed. Some offer encouragement and others offer discounts on items or courses that would benefit me. That’s not a bad thing. But I can’t do it all or buy it all. That doesn’t mean I won’t later, just not now.

So what do we do?

  • Unsubscribe to posts we never open
  • Set a time to open emails, then delete or take action
  • Try interacting and change the one-way street to a two-way street

I went through my emails a couple of weeks ago and determined which ones I never read. Nothing personal, I just don’t have time to read them all. First, I unsubscribed. Then I entered the name of the company or blog in the search field and deleted all their emails all at once. That cleaned up the clog-up and freed needed space.

After all, I don’t love that message “cannot take photo there’s not enough available storage” while trying to take a pic of one of the grandkids attempting a soccer goal. A-nnoy-ing.

That last tip of changing the one-way street to a two-way?

Comment. Share thoughts. Interact. Even the most introverted of introverts can comment without leaving the couch. Once you narrow down the focus, you can become a more willing participant.

We can ditch being a third-party spectator by being a first-party communicator.

Those famous, well-known, too-important-to-have-time-for-me people? They are people. They have struggles, doubts, dreams, flesh and blood. Step out and comment. Even if they don’t respond, they’re probably reading their comments. True, someone may manage their comments for them, but show up anyway. Show up and get in the conversation.

You may be pleasantly surprised. It may be easier than you think to communicate with that someone who has encouraged, inspired, and influenced you. They need to hear that too. Because sometimes even they wonder if anyone is listening. Numbers don’t talk, people do.

We can translate this from cyber life to real life, but that’s another post.

So simplify your life. Unsubscribe or take part in your subscription. Take action one way or the other and you’ll find the effort rewarding.

When we change from a third-party to a first-party, that two-way street can propel us to that place we subscribed to be.

Same is true with our faith. We have our own measure but we have to participate. Stepping out in faith is showing up when we make a commitment. What we have to say can encourage others.  But let’s choose our commitments and communities wisely, including whom we follow and subscribe to. Pay attention to what they’re saying because their views and values can change.

My most important subscription? I subscribe to follow Jesus and He never changes and He doesn’t need my email address. He’s the famous One, but not too famous for me. Or you.

We don’t have to be a slave to our email. We can take control.

I’m taking first-party action in regards to my email. How about you?

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2016

Dear Friend,

Just a simple message today. I am so thankful for you. May you have a blessed and joyous Thanksgiving.

In Christ’s Love,

Doris

Walking Deeper

 

 

 

Are We a Moving Target?

November 5, 2016

Feeling a little picked off, ticked off, and worn out?

It’s no wonder. We’re on the radar. We’re that bullseye on the target.

Here’s why…

I love the book of Esther. Can’t wait to meet her someday. She’s the true Queen of Hearts.

Through the providence of God, she saved an entire people from total annihilation.

I’m as appalled as you are something like that could even happen, yet we know it wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last. Anne Frank’s diary gave us a tragic glimpse.

So how does this relate to us Gentiles?

Are we surprised Christians are continually persecuted? Martyred. Singled out in schools, universities, in the work place, in the media… Targeted.

There’s an undeniable connection on how this relates to us.

Believers believe this…

Gentiles have been adopted into the family of God. In Christ, we are part of a chosen people, a holy nation. We have been grafted into the lineage of Christ. We are of Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise. It’s divine and It’s God’s plan and it’s only through His grace and the blood of Jesus Christ. It’s our heritage along with whatever other bloodline heritage flows through our veins.

That makes me an Italian/Irish Christian girl with a Jewish heritage. I’m a combo of lasagna, corned beef, and matzah ball soup.  A smorgasbord of culture transcendent of time.

So that picked off, ticked off, worn out version of us?

We need to recognize what’s happening here. The enemy is targeting us, again. And again. And again. We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers. We know that, right? Yet, our foot keeps getting caught in the barbed wire fence.

It’s time to walk free, walk tall, and walk worthy of the calling.

I know. I’m right there with you. I’ve used the term “throw in the towel” a few times this week.

But we’re not done. We’re just getting started. Hang on to your towel.

We are in good company and we are family. We were made for community so let’s not go isolating ourselves. We don’t want to make the target even easier to hit. Esther didn’t cower in a corner. She didn’t hide away alone. She called on people to fast and pray with her. For three days people fasted and prayed. We have a lot to learn about asking for prayer and denying the flesh, can I get an amen?

And we know how to deflect those fiery darts, don’t we? Ephesians 5 and 6.

Walk in Love, Walk in Light, and put on your armor. Every day.

I love when Esther says, “If I perish, I perish.” Courage comes from the Lord. Our flesh may fail, but our inheritance is imperishable.

We are targeted because we are chosen. We are singled out because we are set apart for a purpose.

“Now I commit you to God and to the word of His grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” Acts 20:32

Our mission may not look like Esther’s, but it’s every bit as important. Keep seeking the face of God, keep persevering in the face of persecution, and keep serving to glorify Him, because remember this:

It’s harder to hit a moving target.

For more about sanctification, check out this post on Desiring God: http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/how-the-spirit-sanctifies

Grace & Peace,

 

 

By the way…

Shopping for gifts? My book, Goodbye, Regret is on sale for a limited time. Check it out here.

 

How Do We Know if Our Plans Are God’s Plans?

October 15, 2016

 

direct-my-steps

We had a plan.

Emphasis on we, meaning hubby & me. I’d reach a certain age, retire, then work in our business. It was a good plan, we thought. But it didn’t quite happen that way.

Things changed at the company I worked for and the above plan launched too soon.

Because the original plan didn’t go as planned, things happened we hadn’t planned on.

Has this happened to you?

We can make all the plans we want and planning is a good thing. But we have to accept our plans may change because of circumstances beyond our control or choices we make along the way.

Or both.

After years of doubting, I can clearly see the plan we hadn’t planned on is a better one. The new plan is better because it’s God’s. I know this because I never could have dreamed up the series of events on my own. They weren’t random in the least.

Another reason why I know God was definitely in the new plan? I prayed fervently for direction.

So what happens to the plans we make and the dreams we have? Are they meaningless and null and void if God has already made our plans?

Be encouraged. Scripture provides the answers:

Without counsel, plans go awry,
But in the multitude of counselors they are established.  Proverbs 15:22 NKJV

God directs us to seek wise counsel in our plans.

Commit your works to the Lord
And your plans will be established.  Proverbs 16:3 NASB 

God directs us to commit our works and thoughts to Him. When we walk in His will our plans will be fruitful and established. The NLT versions says our plans will succeed.

 In their hearts humans plan their course,
 but the Lord establishes their steps.  Proverbs 16:9 NIV

Our plans will do well when our ultimate goal is to please God. Sounds easy except for one thing.

We’re human. We can’t always trust our hearts to do the right thing.

I don’t know about you, but for years the ultimate goals of my plans were to benefit me. I wasn’t focusing on how my plans were going to please God. What a win-win when we set our goals on pleasing God, because when we do, our benefits are far more than we could dream up on our own.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:6 NKJV

When we trust God and acknowledge Him in all our ways, He directs us in the way we should go (or not go). He won’t have us doing a U-Turn in the middle of nowhere or drive us off a cliff like that GPS we place so much trust in.

The most well-known and quoted scripture on plans is Jeremiah 29:11. What plans does God have for us? A future and a hope. Plans for no evil or calamity, but for peace and for our welfare.

How should we make our plans going forward? Here are a few options:

  • Seek God. Plan. Succeed.
  • Plan. Fail. Seek God to fix it.
  • Plan. Succeed by world’s standards. Don’t include God and we won’t know what we’re missing.

We wonder why there are people who never seek God, may not even believe in God, yet appear successful and lacking nothing. It can seem that way when we base success on the standards of this world.

But I don’t want to be in the “don’t know what we’re missing” community. If we miss seeking God and including Him in our plans, we’ll always feel there has to be more. We’ll always want more. There will always be something, or rather Someone, missing.

Therein lies the lacking of those who seem to lack for nothing. A misdirected hunger for things of this world.

When we hunger for God, He can satisfy like nothing else can.

To You Lord, we commit every single step.

Let’s invite God into the beginning of our plans. Let’s map out our plans with the ultimate goal of pleasing Him instead of pleasing ourselves because when we do, we will be delightfully surprised.

Let’s make pleasing God our ultimate plan in life.

What are your thoughts? Have you experienced a change in plans?

 

Is It Ever Okay to Lie?

September 20, 2016

Have you ever served on a jury?

I have and found the experience to be quite fascinating.

My case?

The big, bad insurance company vs. the little guy, who paid hundreds of dollars in premiums to said mega-company in exchange for the peace-of-mind-in-case-something-happens homeowner’s policy.

Well something did happen. The little guy’s home was burglarized.

Then his claim was denied.

Not having heard the details, one might be inclined to think the big, bad insurance company wasn’t keeping up their end of the bargain.

But that wasn’t the case.

On day one, a critical section of the policy was read aloud to the jury. It clearly stated if any portion of the claim was false, the entire claim would be null and void.

After the closing arguments, twelve of us “little guys” sat around a table sharing our key take-a-ways. Opinions went flying, but the one thing we all agreed on? The little guy lied. Not about all of it, but about some of it.

So we had no choice but to rule in favor of the big, not-so-bad-after-all insurance company.

The moral of the story?

Even a half-truth doesn’t pay.

We all face times when a lie seems right, when a lie seems easier, nicer, softer in a where’s the harm in it kind of way.

Maybe we’re afraid the truth will hurt. Maybe we’re shielding people like that famous line from Jack Nicholson, “You can’t handle the truth.”

Who gave us the authority to decide who can’t handle which truth?

We try softening lies by referring to them as bending the truth. We label less significant untruths as little white lies because it makes them sound fresh and crisp like laundered linens. Truth is, sin is sin. We can dress it all in white, but it won’t make it pretty and it won’t make it truth.

And while we don’t like to think of ourselves as full-blown liars, I’m pretty sure God isn’t on board with little white ones or half-truths either.

Warm and fuzzy lies don’t move mountains.

It may be hard, but when we tell the truth, it frees people. It allows people to experience what they need to experience. It allows people a choice to make positive changes in their life.

We don’t need to be hateful to be truthful. And don’t forget, we need to hear the truth, too.

Then there’s the whole lying to ourselves thing, including how we’re of no value, not able, and not good enough. The truth is, we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.

He thought we were worth going to the cross for, so let’s believe Him.

Here’s more truth. Satan whispers lies to us, but we can’t give him all the credit. We tend to help him out in this department, am I right?

Lies may seem harmless, but they can quickly grow from a seedling to a bean-stalk. Bean stalks lead to fee-fi-fo-fum and the giant is real. But we can slay the giant. David showed us that.

Here’s some good news. It may come as no surprise that telling the truth has positive health benefits.

WebMD published an article on the health benefits of telling the truth:

“Our findings support the notion that lying less can cause better health through improving relationships,” says researcher Anita Kelly, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame. “Improvements in the relationships accounted for a significant improvement in health.””

“What we are suggesting is, not violating others’ expectation of honesty is likely to build trust, which may be key to good health through improving our relationships.”

The findings echo some other research findings by Sally Theran, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass.

“My research on girls and boys … indicates that the process of being authentic, or being honest and open in meaningful relationships, is significantly related to feeling less depressed and having higher self-esteem,” she says.

Honesty is also related to feelings of intimacy in friendships, she has found. “There may be increased conflict, as a result of being open and honest, but it leads to better quality of friendships,” Theran says.

Telling the truth can feel risky, she says, but when you do so, you can feel less inner conflict. “When we lie,” she says, “it adversely affects our self-esteem and increases our sense of shame. So, it’s not surprising at all that the authors found that telling the truth was related to all these positive outcomes.”

Did you catch the part about how lying increases our sense of shame?

When we lie to others, we’re not doing them any favors and we’re not doing ourselves any favors either.

Let’s be totally real and totally honest. It’s better for our relationships, health, and spiritual well-being.

Always offer truth because truth = trust. tweet it

We can always trust God and He always tells the truth. The Word tells us Jesus is the truth. Let’s follow His lead.

Truth is freedom. Let freedom ring…

“Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another.'” Ephesians 4:25 NKJV

Have you avoided telling the truth to spare someone’s feelings?

Share your comments…

 

Excerpt taken from the article: Fewer Lies, Better Health By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News © 2012 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

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When We Feel We’re Barely Holding On…

September 1, 2016

 

Ever have that dream where you’re standing on the edge of a cliff?

I have to admit, I have a fear of heights.

It amazes me how window washers trust that flimsy platform ten stories up. And how can crews building skyscrapers walk across beams like gymnasts? Freaks me out.

You know that screamer at the top of the Ferris Wheel? Me. Yup, me.

Actually, that fear of heights? In reality, it’s a fear of falling.

Life can make us feel as though we’re teetering on the edge of a cliff. We hold tightly to colorful balloons we used to call our life, but when things change, it’s as though we’re barely holding on. We don’t know what’s worse, falling off the cliff or letting go of those balloons.

What happens when the life we knew or hoped for, turns into something strange to us? Uncharted waters? The seas can be rough.

Read this verse out loud slowly:

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”      Hebrews 10:23

What lies ahead doesn’t have to be scary, although it may be different. He who promised is faithful. He’s got this. We’re in good hands, and I don’t mean Allstate.

We exist for a purpose. Our life has meaning no matter what threatens to push us off the cliff.

And you know what? We can let go of those balloons. It’s hope we want to hold on to.

While falling isn’t pleasant, sometimes we have to fall so we can get up. Did you know God holds our right hand? How far can we really fall if the God of the universe is holding us up?

Then there’s the hurting…

Hurting doesn’t mean we’ve lost hope. When it’s hard to see through the pain, we can reach our hand up to the Lord while He holds it. We don’t even have to say a word. He’s right there.

And you know what?

We are loved with an everlasting love. And although God’s love is greater than anything we could imagine, He blesses us with friends who want to hold our hand, too. Don’t miss that. It’s precious and part of His plan. Jesus said the greatest commandments are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself. Our sisters care.

Let’s let go of whatever keeps us from holding tightly onto hope. Hope is an anchor for our soul when our life wants to drift away from God. Hope keeps us grounded.

Don’t worry if you feel you’ve lost hope, because unlike the usual definition of lost (losing sight of something), hope that is seen is no hope at all.

“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?” Romans 8:24

And having confidence in what we hope for but cannot see? That’s faith.

Can I pray with you today?

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for another day to live and breathe in deeply what your hand has provided. Help us to see our life and value through Your eyes; that we may love like You do and serve in a way that’s pleasing to You. When we walk along the edge of the cliff, hold our hand, Lord, and help us to always hang on to hope. Lord, when we fall, help us to get back up and when we do, help us to reach out our hand to others. Thank you, Lord, for the plans you’ve designed for us and that we are precious in Your sight. Thank you for Your unconditional love, mercy, and grace. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Be encouraged, friend, and draw near to God. Nestle in the shadow of His wing.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

 

 

Goodbye, Regret_ Forgiving Yourself of Past Mistakes(2)

 

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When Your Faith is Attacked

August 24, 2016

Have you ever felt your faith was being attacked? How did you react?

Today I welcome my friend and inspirational writer/blogger, Abby McDonald, for a visit here on Walking deeper. Abby and I met through a writing course and I’ve been so inspired by her words. I know you will be, too. Check out this encouraging guest post…

I looked at the words typed across my screen in disbelief, not knowing what to do. Should I ignore the person? Block them? My spirit stirred and I felt shaken, stumbling for my footing.

Sure it was social media and I couldn’t see the other person’s face. But it felt very personal. This guy was attacking my faith, something as vital to me as breathing. I remembered the words of Peter to the church and decided to answer his question.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15 NIV

In a few sentences, this person was asking me to prove the existence of God. While I knew I couldn’t do this in 100 character tweets, I shared what I could. I told about answered prayers that couldn’t be explained. Things which couldn’t be justified by logic, reason and even doctors.

But no matter what I said, it wasn’t enough. More questions came pouring into my Twitter feed and when I brought up my testimony, another user decided to jump in.

If I was shaken before, at this point I was ready to retreat. An insult was hurled at the part of my story I hold most sacred, and I felt certain there was a spiritual battle taking place right there on my screen.

I stepped away from the phone and made my kids lunch, trying to put the comments out of my mind. But no matter how I tried to busy myself, the conversation kept circling through my head.

Then, God brought a verse to mind. At first, I dismissed it.

Scripture won’t satisfy their questions. They’ll come up with some sort of retort and it will only get worse.

But Paul’s words kept repeating themselves. They were the answer to the exact issue I was having explaining my testimony, my faith. Things which could only be explained using spiritual terms.

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV

It was plain and simple, but I hesitated.

Then, in a spirit of boldness I addressed the scripture to the other user and waited. And waited. Nothing. No response or rebuttal.

At first, I was confused. Where was this person’s argumentative retort? Where was the question?

The next morning, I remembered the sword. Instead of trying to fight with logic, reason and facts, I had gone to the Word.

And the Word isn’t a dead weight that goes limp when we use it in our defense. It is living and active, able to divide soul and spirit. The same Word Jesus used when he defeated Satan in the wilderness, speaking truth unchanging in its power and application.

I don’t know what happened to the people who questioned me that day. I pray a seed was planted and the Spirit softens their hearts toward the truth. But I learned one thing.

There is a time to use logic and facts. Apologetics exists for a reason and has turned many toward the one true God.

But where logic fails, the Word of God stands. Its power goes beyond anything we can explain with our own reasoning. Tweet

Use it. Memorize it. And when your feet falter, its unwavering authority will give you a firm place to stand.

 

 

Abby McDonald is a mom, wife and writer who desires to show women the hope of Christ can be found in the middle of life’s messes. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, you can find her writing about her adventures on her blog, Fearfully Made Mom. You can connect with Abby on her blog, on Twitter or Facebook.

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