Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.
– Corrie Ten Boom, author and human rights activist
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Recently, when asked what I had I given up for lent, I said “my foolishness”. My friend paused for a few seconds and said, ‘What does that mean?” I responded, “Trying to predict the future, correct the past and skipping over today.” She looked at me as said “Good Luck!”
It truly is not about luck. For me, this Lenten period is period of time to release, rejoice, rejuvenate and recommit to the Joy of being Loved by God, that He gave Jesus his only begotten son, who was crucified, buried and rose from the dead. This is a time for me to release anything that has held me back from allowing God to be my guide, the lover of my soul.
I have found that I worried about things that I could not change. I read a long time ago, that 90% of what we worry about never comes to pass. Whether that is true or not, I don’t know but there’s probably some truth to it in life. How much of our lives do we miss because we’re agonizing over what has happened and what might happen down the road? How often do we stop ourselves from doing something, –even if it’s the right thing to do–because of our fear of the unknown, second guessing ourselves, or looking for someone else’s validation.
While worrying did give me something to focus on; it was also an opportunity for me to avoid dealing with me and it did not solve any problems. All it did was to paralyze my actions and keep me in bondage – I was stressed out, mentally and physically tired and often times, worrying and anxiety sapped all the joy of what could have been a wonderful day.
Periodically, when circumstances lined up, I was happy, but not joyful and certainly not peaceful. And that’s why I decided to give up my foolishness, not just for 2013’s Lenten Season, but as a way of life. I am willing to come before God with my alabaster box and present myself, seeking the gift of joy. Because I now understand that I was being carried through life, and loved, and because He Is Lord, I can, and have the expectation that God’s peace will permeate my life. I no longer have the need to be anxious for anything, God’s peace, love and joy comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, not from what’s happening outside of me.
Matthew 6:25-34 25 That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and what you are to wear. Surely life is more than food, and the body more than clothing! 26 Look at the birds in the sky.They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not worth more than they are?
By bizarre coincidence this was touched on in mass on Sunday, in my priest’s homily. He talked about how we spend so much time being distracted by worldly things. So much so that we don’t always set aside any time to reflect and meditate on the word of God, and ask for guidance in fighting the temptations that will be continually laid at our door.
I have to hold up my hand to this, I do worry about my life and in particular about my children. I worry about decisions I’ve made, I worry about decisions I’ve yet to make and it can become a burden and a constant distraction. I’m learning through practice to hand my worry’s to God trusting in him to guide me, show me the way, discovering that I can plan all I want but in truth it’s about God’s time and it has already been decided.
For the Lenten Challenge I’ve chosen to abstain from refined sugar, the cravings for sugar are difficult to manage but I’m getting there (I’ll cover this in another post). For those of you abstaining from a food item in your diet, you’ve made the decision now let it go! Rather than being focused on how you will replace that food item in your diet, during this Lenten period, let’s take time out to deepen our relationship with God and put him first. He will not let you starve, he knows that you need food but leave it in his hands and he’ll take care of it. That is not to say that you should sit back and not use the talents entrusted to you. Work hard, trust that God will provide and remove the focus on the pursuit of worldly things, which serve as a constant distraction.
Do not worry, God will provide, you just need to trust in him.
Is your life filled with worry, how can you make trusting in God your priority?
Romans 1:16 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
I hope your season of fasting and prayer is fortifying and refueling you. I chose the Daniel Fast for my Lenten Challenge. Having participated in a Daniel Fast last year with our women’s ministry, triSistah4:12 Ministries I had some experience with this type of fast. Here we are now 5 days into the Lenten Challenge and I find myself thinking everyday something that I do not even think crossed my mind last year. After lunch or dinner I’m thinking…What was my main dish? I hope you can already see where I am going? Can We Talk?!
The way that many of us were taught to eat was that we have a main dish which would be the meat and then our side dish would be the veggies. Since I am eating primarily fruits and veggies now my mind is challenged to think that I am full and satisfied because I have not had my main dish. As I was going down this rabbit trail in my mind this morning I started thinking about our scripture for today and the Lord whispered, “I am your Main dish.”
During this season of fasting, prayer, and surrender we must reflect on our relationship with Jesus. Some of us can’t be content in our relationship with Him because He is not our main dish in our everyday lives. Jesus is our side dish. We have compartmentalized our lives in Christ by living one way on Sunday morning and another way “in the world” throughout the week. Our everyday lives are craving the Main dish. Our everyday lives are craving the power and presence of Jesus Christ. In the 12th chapter of Romans the Apostle Paul implores us to “Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.”
Don’t you think our daily lives should be a testimony of our relationship with Christ? Living in the world, but not being of the world means that our everyday lives speak to who we are as His followers. No, that doesn’t mean we pretend to be someone or something that we are not. That also does not mean that we are perfect faultless people. What it does mean is that everyday, unashamed, with all our faults and wrinkles we pick up our cross and follow hard after our Savior who lived and died so that we would be free.
John 3:16 (NIV) For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Every Sunday during Lent is a time to celebrate that God loved us so much that Jesus came, lived and died for us. This is truly amazing. In fact, it transforms all of our possibilities for living here on earth and for life eternally. While it is sometimes easy to say how great a gift we’ve received, we have the entire season of Lent for us to consider how we are responding to this gift of love.
Aligning our minds, bodies and spirit sounds as if it should be an easy thing to do. There are probably moments when everything is working together well. However, there are likely to be other times when things are not so smooth and we may not even recognize it nor know that God will help us to change it.
There are times when it seems we get accustomed to a little discomfort and don’t try to change it. Our clothes get a little tight, our jobs become a little annoying or our money is just a little funny. However, we might not make the effort to make a change. We may not even see away that things could be better. While we can’t see it, God can and God can make it happen.
Take a moment to examine what your goals truly are for this Lenten Season and beyond. Remember that God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to transform us. We may not have an overnight transformation, but everyday we can work with God to give us the lives that we desire and that God wants for us.
No matter how well you did on the Lenten Challenge last week, this week provides another opportunity. Praise the Lord for how far you’ve come and lean on Him all the days ahead.
Peace & blessings,
Jesus paid it all! Whatever you are worried about. Whatever you are fretting about. Whatever you are throwing away your life for—Jesus paid it all! The Good News of Jesus Christ is that there is nothing that we could have done to earn our salvation and there is nothing that we can do to lose it. Can We Talk?!
When we are on a journey to improving ourselves to be more like Christ for the glory and honor of the Father, we can sometimes get lost or confused in our thinking that we somehow must be perfect or good enough to gain His acceptance and approval. That couldn’t be further from the Truth. As we go through this challenge, we may make some miss steps. We may fall short. Mostly because of some unrealistic goals we set. We may eat or drink something that we gave up and guilt and shame will set in because we think we’ve let God down.
My best advice to you is to get back up. The very next minute after you recognize you have gone your own way, repent and get back on track. Our God is loving, forgiving, gracious, and merciful. My experience will God has not been one of judgment, punishment, and condemnation. God sees us through Christ’s eyes. Christ is interceding to the Father on our behalf for our miss steps and set-backs. I can imagine Him saying “My blood covered that, all of that”. Because I know that Jesus has my back, I can get back up again!
See you at the top,
Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and the One who saves me. So why should I fear anyone? The Lord protects my life.
Fear. If we all would just take a second to think about and deal honestly with the fear that has plagued us in our lives, we would hopefully be willing to confess that fear only has the POWER that we give it. Can We Talk?!
When we allow it, fear has the power to paralyze us and keep us from our appointed destiny in Christ Jesus. We all have seen fear paralyze people so much that they do not move. Literally and figuratively. These are the people that are always waiting for the right time, a burning bush, an angel in a vision, or a prophetic word before they can step out on faith. They check, double check, and verify as they wait on countless, nameless people and signs to confirm a Word from the Lord.
Conversely, we have probably seen fear make people move through life so quickly that they have not stopped to check with God to be sure that their will lines up with the plans He set before us. Busy, busy, busy, but not productive or anointed. Driven but by what? Afraid if they slow down, God will ask them a simple question. “Who told you to do all of that?”
Life changes and life challenges have a way of invoking fear. The next 43 days may seem insurmountable. You may be thinking what have I gotten myself into? Put your faith into action. Put your faith on your fear. Faith has a way of arresting fear. Stopping fear in its tracks. We are not alone on this journey. The Father has equipped us to handle every challenge, struggle, and temptation ahead. He will be here with us every step of the way. Since God is for us, what demon has the strength to oppose Him? None. Not one.
Believing is seeing,
Ephesians 6:10-12 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, [c] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
There is nothing more powerful than the power of God, EXCEPT the complacency of man. I heard a minister say this about a year ago. As I meditated on this thought then and share it with you now, the truth of that statement resonates in my spirit. Can We Talk?!
We have free will. God doesn’t force us to do anything. Even salvation, the single most important decision I believe we make in our lives, God leaves to us to make freely of our own volition. I can testify that many times in my life I have gone against what God was commanding me to do because of laziness, content, or complacency. Yes, I was disobedient. Comfortable in my situation, routine, or way of life. Then here comes God, shaking the foundation of my complacency and commanding more of me. Doesn’t He know I’m busy here?!
Thank God for His grace, mercy, and love. God’s love meets us right where we are, but He doesn’t leave us there, in the same condition He found us. His love compels us to change, move, grow and be different. His love fuels our desire to obey and change.
When God instructs us to change we have to be ready for Satan to oppose us. We have to be ready for our own flesh to oppose what our spirit knows to be the right decision (Galatians 5:17). We will think of every excuse possible to remain the same and hold on to what God is trying to pry from our grip. If we are going to change and be all that God ordained we have to first get clear in our minds that the work is going to be hard. If it were easy, then everyone would be doing it and knowing us, we would be bragging about how WE did it. Yes, the work of changing our old habits, attitudes, and behaviors will be challenging, BUT God! He is faithful to complete the work He began in you. Put on your armor Warrior. Stand.
See you at the top!
Mark 11:22-24 22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly[f] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
Here we are Day 1 of the Lenten Challenge! We are so excited to get to this point in our journey with God and our journey with you. Our prayer today is that the next 46 days will bring you into a closer love relationship with the Father. Our hope is that you will be healed, refreshed, rejuvenated, and set on a path to living your best and blessed life in Him. We believe this journey is one of joy and peace, testing and discovery, and challenge and victory. Can We Talk?!
During the next 46 days you will be spending time with Jesus, reflecting on His work and purpose on the cross. Yes, Jesus was crucified. He died. They laid Him in a borrowed tomb. For 3 days there was silence. The Good News is that He got up with all power in His hands conquering death, hell, and grave. Because Jesus got up, so can we! We have the power of His spirit living inside of us. We have the power to overcome the struggles and circumstances of this world. We have the power to change our world.
If we commit ourselves fully to this next 46 days, our lives will change. Others, who we pray for will see a change in their lives. Surrender and obedience will be our food. We are going to speak to mountains and cause them to move OR we will climb those mountains in the strength of Jehovah-Tsori. We will pray believing. We will trust as if we can already see what we are asking God to do! The victory is promised to us in Jesus’ name. The promises of God are Yes and Amen! (2 Corinthians 1:20)
See you at the top!