Freedom · Living in Bondage · Truth · worry

Getting Free From the Bondage of Lies

Bird cage a

For Mother’s Day this year my sweet husband bought me a floor lamp that caught my eye when we were visiting a Cracker Barrel on vacation.  It looks like a bird cage, and has the vintage vibe that I love.  What I didn’t know was that it was also going to be a useful tool to remind me of a truth I learned in Bible Study!

After having studied my lesson from Lies Women Believe, I looked at that bird cage in a different light (no pun intended!).  It brought back a reminder of a truth learned in Chapter one of the book.

Believing a lie that Satan puts in my mind is just like being bound up in a cage. Every lie is another rib, keeping me from being free and enjoying the life Christ died to give to me.  Just as Eve acted on the lie in the Garden of Eden and ate the fruit because she believed it would make her wise and like God, if I act on lies I believe, I too, will be held in bondage.

Christ said in John 8:32

Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.

So how can we be free from the bondage of lies?

  1. Identify any areas in which we are living in bondage.  Some examples…
    1. Areas of emotional distress – Depression, anxiety, fear, or worry
    2. Bondage to physical sin – over-eating, not eating, over-exercising,
    3. Financial bondage
    4. Sexual sin
  2. Identify any lies you may be believing that are at the root of the bondage – Some examples might be…
    1. I’m too sinful for God to really love me.
    2. I’ll never be good enough for _____________.
    3. I’m too (fat, short, skinny, ugly, uneducated…) to be of any use to anyone.
    4. I could never do that thing that God wants me to do.
    5. My marriage will never get better.
    6. My family member will never be saved.
    7. I have the right to be happy and do what I want to do.
      The list could go on and on.  But you need to ask yourself,

      What keeps plaguing me?
      What do I keep wrestling with that crops up again and again?

  3. Replace the lies with the truth.  Find Scripture that refutes the lie.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

We all have a choice either to be free, due to the Truth of God’s Word, or to be held in bondage by believing and acting on Satan’s lies.

What lies are living in your heart?  What truth needs to counteract it?  

I would encourage you to memorize Philippians 4:8 if you don’t have it committed to memory yet!

Refresh yourself with Truth!

Denise

Motherhood · trust · Uncategorized · worry

Don’t Connive – Confide

Israel Sea a.jpg

Years ago I remember hearing a story of a couple who knew God was calling them to a foreign mission field.  They were excited to obey, until the wife heard that there were poisonous snakes there that could strike a blow and kill a person with one venomous bite.  Her (understandable) fear for her children’s safety from such dangers caused her to set her proverbial foot down and refuse to go abroad.  She reasoned that they could give and share the Gospel right here at home where there were far less dangers! The sad ending of the story is that one of the poisonous snakes that inhabit the US found its way to their driveway one day after, and bit one of their children.

I have no absolutes that the story is legit, but would that wife’s actions come to our own mothers’ hearts?  Yes.  As women we could reason lots of things for the safety of our children, ourselves, our home or situation.
But when does our human reasoning become a lack of trust in a sovereign God?
When we step up with a plan that goes against what God has said.

Fear + My plan Image result for not equal sign  Obedience

Just last week I read a great example of this in Genesis 12.  Let me summarize:

God had sent Abraham and Sarah on the journey to the Promise Land.  When they got to Egypt, Abraham became fearful of losing his life for the sake of his beautiful wife.  Soooo, he came up with a plan!  He told Sarah to lie and tell the Pharaoh that she is his sister.  Sarah complied and Pharaoh took her into his palace.  Not longer after, God sent plagues to Pharaoh because of this lie Abraham was living.  When the Pharaoh approached Abraham, he scolded him for lying to him and told him to take Sarah and hit the road (go their way!).

Um, excuse me, consider what Abraham was afraid of (losing his life because of Sarah).

Did it happen?

No.

When Pharaoh learned that she was married to him, he told them to GO!

Like I shared yesterday, when we worry about things instead of praying about them, we ruin a good day!  That’s exactly what Abraham did.  But he also took things a step further by coming up with his plan to fix the problem!  The missionary story I shared at the beginning of this post was the same example.

Now, let’s stop and ask ourselves:

  • Are we being disobedient to clear commands God has given in His Word because of a fear we have?
    Are we showing a lack of trust in a loving, merciful God by our actions?
  • Are we keeping ourselves or anyone else from obeying God due to our fears?

 

Abraham reminds me that all of us can easily fall into the trap of conniving instead of confiding.

Let me share a recent example of  this from my own life.  The flu is pretty rampant in our part of the country right now and it’s showing itself present in our church.  I have 14-month old grandsons who attend our nursery every Sunday.  When I learned that church members were dealing with the flu, my heart jumped into my throat and I immediately thought about sending a text to our daughter to consider keeping the boys home from Sunday services.  But immediately after, the Spirit of God spoke to my heart –

Can you not trust me to take care of them?  Even a sickness, if they got it, would not be overlooked by My care.  Trust me.

Yes, the flu was evident at my church on Sunday, and my grandsons were there, but instead of fretting and jumping into action, I prayed to a God Who is in that nursery and is aware of their needs.  I can trust Him.

So can you, my friend.

We need to lay our plans down, and then fall down…down on our knees and confide in our merciful, loving God Who wants what is good for us and for our families.

Are you at work trying to take care of everyone and everything, or are you trusting an omnipotent, omniscient God for everything that touches your life?

Denise Signature 150 px

 

Prayer · trust · worry

How To Ruin the Trip of a Lifetime or a Day At Home

Israel flight 2.jpg

This time last year I was on a 15-day trip to Israel!  This was my second time to have the privilege of going, so I knew what was in store…well, sort of.

Our first trip to the Holy Land was great for the most part.  It did involve rain…lots of it and some pretty cold weather, oh and also a night in a room with little heat.  I loved being there, and was so thankful for the opportunity to see where my Savior lived and ministered and died for me.  However, I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to make the trip again.

  • The flight over is pretty long and grueling.
  • The weather was nasty at times.
  • It’s an expensive trip.
  • Been there, done that.

Then my husband got the wonderful idea to take some of our church people over as a group.  I hated for him to go “alone,” so, I knew “his” trip back meant “our” trip back. I prayed about whether or not to go along the second time. Then all my reasons for not going again began to be crossed off the list.

  • The flight over is pretty long and grueling. We were traveling with a bunch of our dear friends! Even the flight would be fun!
  • The weather was nasty at times. The weather prediction was pretty fabulous!
  • It’s an expensive trip. My husband’s trip was paid because he was the leader of the group. The Lord provided my expenses as we saved.
  • Been there, done that. A second trip would bring new, greater understandings.

Spite all those answers, I worried.  I worried about the safety of the flight.  I worried we might not come home.  I worried about traveling home on Inauguration day and protesters…on and on my anxious thoughts went. Finally one day the Lord convicted me of this sin of worry.  I was not trusting Him.  I confessed and asked others to whom I had spilled my fretting to forgive me.  I was now ready to travel!

We prayed much, packed our suitcases to bulging, and headed to Israel!  That trip was one of the best experiences of my life!  It was FULL of blessings – beautiful weather, floating in the Dead Sea, luxurious hotels, a perfect boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and getting to do it all with my husband, son-in-law and dear friends.  My prayer partners/friends and I prayed on the Sea of Galilee, in the Mount of Olives, at the Garden Tomb and the Road to Emmaus.  We laughed.  We cried.  We read God’s Word and marked up our Bibles.  We sang. We ate falafel. We shopped.  We snapped hundreds of pictures and we came home with our hearts so full we thought they would burst.

But that trip was nearly ruined.

How?

Simply by my worry.

 

Those worries could’ve cause me to ditch it all and stay home and miss those blessings!  Thank the Lord I didn’t carry it to that extreme.  But even continued fretting would’ve kept me from enjoying every minute while I was there.

I’m grateful for the turning point before we left when I let it go.  It kept me from ruining it all.

None of my fears happened.

None of them!

Have you ever worried about something so much that it changed your plans, or you took the matter into your own hands instead of making it a matter of serious prayer? Have you ever worried so much that it overcame your thoughts during the day and into the night?  It might have been a relatively minor situation, but it plagued you.

Little worries can turn into big mistakes when we take over.

Little worries can ruin big plans.

Little worries can rob us of today’s giant blessings.

But this will only happen if we allow it!

The Lord commands us instead ~

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Reign in your worries and pray about them, giving every detail to the Lord Who is in control of every inch, every second, every detail of it!  Pray rather than letting worry ruin the trip of a lifetime or a simple day at home!

What worry is taking over your thoughts?  What imaginations are running wild in your heart? Will you allow it to ruin the blessing of a lifetime or even this day?  It’s your choice.

Denise Signature 150 px

Prayer · worry

Take It To the Throne

 

phone notificationRecently I got a text message about a difficult issue concerning someone close to me.  Their situation was critical, and there was nothing any person could do to fix it.  I found myself so anxious and uptight. In tears, I expressed my concerns to my husband.  Right then he took me by the hands and stopped to pray.

Immediately, I felt the Lord’s peace come over my heart.

Gone were the anxious thoughts,

the worry

and the twisting of stomach and emotions.

With shame I asked the Lord to forgive me for not stopping myself from worrying and taking time to pray.

Why is it easier for us to go on with our fretting, rather than running to God’s Throne to find mercy and grace to help in our time of need?  Hebrews 4:16 I knew I was helpless to change the situation, yet I went about my tasks with my furrowed brow and fearful thoughts.

Even though the situation we prayed about wasn’t helped immediately, I was!  God’s peace flooded my heart as my husband took us to the Only place where help could be found!

I also knew I needed to help the sender of the text.  I called and said,

“I need to help you by taking your hand, too, and going to God’s Throne right now.  Can we pray together?”

If you’re anxious about ANYTHING today, can I remind you of what you probably already know?  You need to stop letting it weigh you down and simply go to God’s Throne in prayer and leave that burden with Him.  And if you know someone who is worried, or in a difficulty or a hopeless situation (your spouse, a friend, a child), do what my husband did for me and grab their hand and take them with you to the Throne of God.  What peace you will both find there!

Is there a burden you need to stop and pray about?  Is there someone who needs you to stop and pray with them?  

Denise Signature 150 px

 

 

Christian Life · Speech · worry

Praise More!

running.jpg

Recently while my husband was out running, he received a phone call that he had to take.  Slowing his pace to a walk, he hit the “answer” button, then proceeded to explain to the caller the reason for his hard breathing.  The caller said, “I knew you were running the second you answered; I heard it in your breath!”

As he relayed that story to me, I wondered, “what do people hear when I speak?”

Psalm 150:6 says,

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”

When I pick up the phone and talk to my husband, does he hear praise to the Lord coming from my lips?

When I talk to my children, are they hearing praise?

What does the cashier,

the waitress, or

my neighbor hear when I speak?

Is my breath consistently praising the Lord?

No, not always.  Sometimes those I speak to hear criticism, worry, fear or complaint instead.  I was convicted.

The God Who created you and me gives us every breath we breathe.  Why do we not use that breath to praise Him? I’ve come to this conclusion –

I need to praise more and criticize less.
I must bless the Lord more and complain less.
I have to praise more and worry less.

How would you fill in this blank?

I need to praise more and _______________ less.

Now, turn that phrase into a prayer.

“Lord, thank you for every breath you give me.  Help me to praise you more and _______ less!”

What could you praise the Lord for today?

With praise to my God,
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Uncategorized · worry

Stop Focusing On the Lizards

lizard 1

I hate snakes.  I hate them so much that I hate anything that looks like a snake, acts like a snake or moves like one – that would include worms!  I hate anything that is related to a snake – any reptile, like lizards.  Guess what beaches and warm weather attract?  You guessed it – lizards – the snakes even uglier cousin!

Last week while at the pool area on the first day, my chair was right next to the edge of the concrete.  On the other side of the concrete/fenced area were tall grasses and sand and…lizards!  I saw them zooming here and there, always in a hurry.  (I’m sure they were scurrying to scare other vacationers!)  I was okay with them being on that side of the fence, but when I saw one come under the fence and run over to the rocks in front of me, I thought I would die!!!  Those rocks were where I had to set my feet to get out of my chair!  Ahhhh!  My skin was crawling and I was squirming, filled with fear. I failed to mention that I was also squealing, but if you know me at all, you would have assumed that!

lizard 1a

In the meantime, my husband is happy as a clam in his chair.  He was watching the parisailers flying above the ocean, commenting about the beauty of the day.

Parisailers?  Where?  

What beauty?  

ALL I SEE ARE LIZARDS!!!

It was then that I realized I had to get a handle on this.  Here I was looking into the grasses waiting for a lizard (who, I’m assuming, would be more afraid of me…and he should be!)!  I decided then and there that I was going to stop looking for the lizards and keep my eyes upward.  I could slip my sandals on and avoid stepping on a lizard, should he be dumb enough to sun himself on a rock near me!

Guess what?  I never saw another one all week!  I know it’s not because they all left the beach, but my focus was turned from them.

Isn’t it so easy to get our focus on our worries and forget to look up and trust our heavenly Father?  We miss all He is doing.  We miss out on the beauty He was created around us.  We miss out on telling our family about God’s goodness – all because we’re focused on our “lizards.”  It’s what we talk about, dream about and look at.

What “lizards” do you have in your life?  Are you worried about a person?  A situation?  A need?  A health issue?  It’s important and even urgent that you stop worrying and start putting your eyes on the Lord.  Why?  Because

Focusing on Christ instead of the anxiety at hand
has the capability to change
your situation,
your attitude and your influence!

  • Your situation – God is omnipotent.  You cannot change the situation, but He is able to do so!  Have faith and trust Him to do what only He can do!
  • Your attitude – When you focus on Christ, He replaces your paralysis with peace, your jitters with joy and your moaning with mirth!
  • Your influence –  People enjoy being with someone who trusts instead of tremors!  Who wants to be with someone who’s always screaming about their “lizards?!”  What worrier do you long to be with so they can go on and on about their woes?  I’m sure my husband was glad when I let the lizards go and started enjoying the fun he was having. We will only have a powerful influence in others’ lives if we are triumphing over worry!

God is bigger than our “lizards,” so enjoy your day!

Lovingly,

 

 

worry

Step Back

…continued from Tuesday

Yesterday as my husband and I were returning home from our morning walk, I saw a couple pieces of trash in our front yard.  I crossed down into the driveway and over into the lawn to retrieve the fast food cup and what I thought was a piece of paper.  I gingerly picked up the trash and was headed to the trash can when my husband said, “Let me see that.”  Taking a closer look he said, “This is the empty package for synthetic drugs!” I would have never picked it up, had I known what it was! I had just recently learned that synthetic drugs are legal at this time, and they give the “buzz” that the real drugs give.    Sadly, it was called Mary’s Joy. It’s sad that people think a drug can give them joy.  I stared at it in disbelief.  How ironic that this synthetic drug had such a name!

My mind went to Mary in Luke 10 – the Mary from Bethany who had welcomed Jesus into her living room, but more importantly into her heart.  She had joy – real joy at Jesus’ feet as she worshipped Him and listened to Him teach on that day.   There is nothing synthetic about joy that Jesus Christ gives when we worship Him!  It is true, lasting and deep joy that the world cannot manufacture, nor can they take it away! 

The next step to being cured from worry and anxiety is making sure that our lives line up each day with what Christ wants us to do.  Therefore, we must take a step back.  We step back so we can get a better perspective.  We step back and ask :

  • Lord do I have the load in my wagon You want in there? In other words, am I doing only what you want me to do today?
  • Have I added a load that You didn’t intend for me to carry?
  • Am I carrying others’ loads? Johanna Weaver says, “Nothing is harder to bear than a burden we’re not called to carry.” Sometimes we get tired because we’re carrying things the Lord never intended for us to carry. 

If we’ve picked up someone else’s load, we need to put it down.   Also, if we see that the Lord has given us a load and we’ve neglected it, it’s time to obey and carry it.  Nothing is emptier than a life that doesn’t serve.  Because the Lord has done so much for us, we should want to serve Him!  We must be faithful and not set that ministry down for someone else to have to come along and pick up because of our negligence.  Johanna Weaver says, “20% of the church does 80% of the work.”  That wouldn’t happen if we each asked the Lord what He wants us to do and then did it!

We also need to ask:

  • Am I carrying my load in the correct order?  Too often we get things misplaced.  Instead of putting our worship of Christ first in our day, we run hither and yon, doing this and that, carrying boulders we weren’t supposed to carry yet.  Then at the end of the day we’re too exhausted to sit at Jesus’ feet.  If we would have put in worship in our day first, all our other steps would be directed by His hand.  All along the day we need to ask:  Lord, do you want me to do this now?  He will show you and He will order your day in such a way that you will not be worried or upset, like Martha was!

After asking all these good questions, we then need to adjust.  Reorder your priorities.  Remove what shouldn’t be in your life and add those things that should be, as the Lord has directed you.  You know what the result will be?  You’ll be cured!  Your anxieties will be lifted.  If an interruption comes in your day, you’ll see that it was ordered by the Lord.  There’s peace there, my friend!  The Lord Himself will help you carry the load He has given you.  His yoke is easy and His burden is light!

What truths have pricked your heart?  Are you doing a good thing that isn’t what God has called you to do?  Are you doing things instead of spending time at His feet first?  Is your load out of order?  Stop and confess this to the Lord now and feel the burden lift!

With love,