Responding to trials · Speech

Coming Clean

Have you ever driven through one of those intense car washes?  They start by manually washing off the windshield and side windows with a brush.  Then the car gets pulled through the wash on the conveyor track while huge sponge-like fingers slide over every nook and cranny.  Colored bubbles, sprayers and cloth wheels continue the cleaning process. The end result is a car that is totally and thoroughly clean!  

Last weekend I had the blessing of attending the Ladies Prayer Advance in Roanoke, VA. It’s a three day event focused on the Word of God and times of prayer.  I came out of the weekend feeling like one of those cars that had gone through that intense car wash.  There truly was no area of my life unchecked. The Lord brought the searchlight of His Word to Revive, refresh and restore me. I came away feeling so clean.  

I also came away with one word as a take away – Rejoice.

That word came as a result of many different teaching/preaching sessions. Here’s how that word  is working its way into my life as I’ve come home.

I’m to rejoice in my circumstances – As I mentioned recently, I’ve been experiencing a trial for quite some time.  It’s been heartbreaking, but I can also see that God is working in my life as a result.  I must choose to rejoice and give God glory rather than bemoan my situation. He is using this to draw me to Himself.  That alone is reason to rejoice!

Rejoice through forgiveness – The Lord taught me how I can give forgiveness in the midst of my trial.  I’ve struggled with this because I’ve felt that I’ve given it all to Him only to turn around in a day or so with thoughts of my trial swirling in my thoughts and heart like a spring twister.  Ugh. I’d wonder how that bitter thought got back into my heart. Then I heard this illustration that made it absolutely clear.

Corrie Ten Boom, a prisoner in the Nazi Concentration Camps, had tried and failed to forgive those that had mistreated her and her sister Betsy.  Coming to a pastor at a church with the question about how she could forgive, he took her to the bell tower of the church. He gave a tug on the rope and the bells clanged loudly.  

“Each time you rehearse an evil action or cruel word spoken against you, you are ringing the bell, causing unforgiveness to remain in your heart.  What you must do is let go of the rope.

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Suddenly I saw myself with my hands tightly gripped around that rope of those bells as I rehearse or repeat the misjudgments, or evil deeds done.  Clang, Clang, Clang. The bell of unforgiveness begins to ring loudly in my heart.

But now when those thoughts come racing in, or the words start to form on my lips, I make a choice to let go of the rope. How freeing it is to live this way!

Lastly, I’m also applying rejoicing to my speech.  The weight of my critical words have profound effect on myself and those around me.  How much better it would be if I found things to praise God for, rather than complaining about life’s irritants! Yes, the car that darted in front of me, the slow person at the check out desk, the hateful person who took my phone call can be turned into times of praise instead of criticism or complaint.   It takes intentionality to overlook the negative and be thankful for the blessings. This is a lesson I seem to have to learn and re-learn over and over again!

I’m so glad I took the time and effort to go to Ladies’ Car Wash Prayer Advance! It’s sure great to be clean!

Is there an area of your life that could use a good scrubbing?  A point of spiritual defeat?  A sin that is on repeat? You don’t need a weekend away to get it right. Do it now, then you, too can rejoice.

Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.  Philippians 4:4

denise a

Responding to trials · trials

Spiritual Leg-Bouncers

 

Leg bouncers amaze me.  Do you know who I’m talking about? It’s those people who are totally oblivious to the fact that while they’re eating, watching a ballgame, or listening to music, their leg is bouncing 100 mph!  It seems like such a waste of energy!

No criticism here, but I’m married to a leg-bouncer.  Many times when sitting in a quiet setting like a service or at a table, I’ve gently put my hand on his leg.  He knows it’s my request for him to bring his energy into control so the table or pew will stop its shaking!

I’m pretty blown away at leg bouncers’ ability to do this vigorous muscle sprint!  I’ve tried it and it just isn’t possible. Oh, except in my heart…

Yes, when I’ve got a problem, my heart steps in and begins its flurry of mental activity at the speed of 100 mph!  With each thought is

  • How this issue could be stopped
  • How I might help it stop
  • Who else might give me a hand!

Like busy leg-bouncers, I don’t even give real thought to what I’m doing until the Spirit of God puts His loving hand on my heart, making me aware of my useless activity.  It happened just yesterday.

I’ve been in the midst of a hard trial for over a year.  At times I’m sure I’ve had “both legs bouncing” while trying to make this situation stop.  Then in my time in God’s Word, I came to Psalm 62 and read,

Verse 5 – Wait thou only upon God…

Beside that verse I had written,

While waiting be still and silently wait:

  1. Patiently – Stop all your activity of trying to fix the problem. Sit still.
  2. Trustingly – Stop any questions about why God would allow this. Don’t doubt His character or His promises.
  3. Expectantly – Start looking for what He will do. Be on the edge of your seat watching for His answers and His solutions!  It will be better that anything I could imagine!
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O my soul, wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is from Him.  Psalm 62:5

In short, stop your leg bouncing and use that energy to be on the lookout for what an awesome God is up to.

Are you “bouncing your leg” while you wait for God to care for your trial?  Sit still and be patient, trusting and expectant.  Then you can say as the psalmist said in verse 6 – I will not be moved. There will be no temptation to fix things when we realize that God is at work.

Whew.  We can rest!

denise a

Encouragement · Overwhelmed · Responding to trials

When Your Holly’s Not So Jolly

 

hollyA couple days before all the twinkling lights were removed, the evergreen boughs were swept up off the floor, the empty cookie tins were cleaned of their crumbs, and the gifts were neatly put in their rightful spots, a picture was taken and linked to my blog showing my family in the middle of our Christmas festivities. It revealed genuinely Continue reading “When Your Holly’s Not So Jolly”

Responding to trials · womanhood · Work

Dealing With the Mundane Or Critical Times With Purpose

What mundane things does this day find you doing?  Going to work?  Washing dishes?  Caring for a baby or toddler?  Cleaning up a mess?  Perhaps yesterday was the very same and tomorrow will follow suit.  As you trod through your days, what guides your steps?  What makes you do the next thing and the next?

There are also those days when the situations makes your heart race and your steps quicken.  We gasp at the thought of those days that are marked by trial and difficulty.  How will you respond?  What will keep you from coming apart?

Proverbs 4:11-12 gives good encouragement about how we can do more than just survive both kinds of days.  Watch the video below to hear the wisdom we get from God’s Word.

Where does today find you – walking the monotonous, plodding steps? Or are you running in a trial?  I pray you now have the wisdom to know how to make the most of each kind of day so that you know what to do next and how to keep from stumbling.

God has a purpose for today.  Make it count for His glory.

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Responding to trials · trials

Keep Looking Up!

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Last week I was doing my weekly errands of grocery shopping  and Target run with the typical flurry of moving quickly from one place to the next.  While walking up the parking lot towards Target, I had my head down, towards the pavement, while also reaching for my shopping list.  Then in my peripheral I caught a glimpse of

PINK 

lots of pink! 

I turned my gaze away from my frenzied walk to look up towards the sky.  There in my view was this lovely sight –

spring tree

Of course I had to snap a picture!  I didn’t want to waste the gorgeous view of these pink blooms against the crystal blue sky.  It literally took my breath away.

After I finished my shopping and walked again under its beauty, I heard the Lord whisper in my heart ~

You need to keep your eyes upward.  That’s where the joy is!

Oh, that is so true!  Hebrews 12:2,3 tells us:

 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself,
lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

It’s really difficult to stop and consider Jesus when I have my head down, dwelling on my concreted  problems.  It’s hard to see the beauty of His presence and remember His promises if I focus on my list of troubles.

I must lift my gaze into His lovely face.  It doesn’t take the problems away, but it reminds me of the truth that He endured mistreatment from sinners, but He is now in heaven, victorious!  Because of that, I don’t have to be weary and faint! I can have victory, too!

That’s a beauty even spring blooms can’t come close to! One day all those that know Christ as their Savior will be gathered with Him where troubles and trials will be over forever.  Until then, friend, let’s

Keep Looking Up!!

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