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Settling for Less

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6:33

I must admit it.  Writing on the subject of settling for less has been a struggle, but one that the Lord hasn’t allowed me to let go of for weeks.  You may ask, “Why the struggle?”  Well, like peeling an onion, I’ve discovered that on so many levels I have settled for less than what God has for me.  You know how your eyes tear up as you peel away the layers of an onion?  Sometimes it’s painful to the point of tears when we examine ourselves and the choices we make because we are forced to see our mistakes.  If we’re spiritually “healthy,” we will then be accountable for our decisions—no matter how difficult.  Recognizing where, what, and how we’re compromising can be the beginning of renewing our minds towards positive life changes, full of lasting joy, unshakable peace, and endless possibilities.

A lot of times we rationalize ourselves out of trusting God’s plan for us by recounting in our minds the number of hours, days, years, or decades we’ve put into someone or something that is clearly not what the Lord has intended for us.  For example, I’ve heard women say that they can’t let go of a relationship because they’ve invested too many years into it.  If a person has spent a number of years in a dead end relationship, why should she spend another minute in one?  Often, women look at the statistics of how hard it is to find a good man and settle.  God never intended for us to compromise our core values, beliefs, and spiritual wellness for another person.  He wants us to be totally committed and devoted to Him first.  When we are anchored in Him, He will send us blessings, and it doesn’t matter what the statistics are.

We all know that settling isn’t just a relationship problem either.  We may find ourselves settling for less in our careers, callings, and even total mindset.  It may not seem to be a big deal, but it’s deceptive and very dangerous to compromise God’s Word and His divine will for our lives.  It always eventually leads us to unrest, unhappiness, and unbelief.

Living for Christ is a journey down a road where we understand that we aren’t living to fulfill our flesh.  Instead, we should be on a path to subdue our flesh and feed our spirit, which can only be done by faith, prayer, and Bible study.  As Christians, we understand that we are living to bear spiritual fruit.  We are allowing ourselves to be vessels and to be used by Him.  We can bring Him glory, and we can advance theKingdomofGodby others’ experiencing Christ through whatever avenue that that God has specifically given to you to be a testimony of His love, grace, and mercy.

When we are shortsighted, we fail to see the big picture.  Satan wants us to keep our vision narrow, limited in scope and in possibilities.  If we allow him to accomplish this, we are doomed.  Hosea 4:6 says, “My people perish from a lack of knowledge.”   Clearly, no good thing comes when we don’t know who we are and where we are going in Him.  Another verse in Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”  We must have vision, and we can find happiness and peace through a relationship grounded in obedience, trust and love.

Are you settling for less than God’s best in any area of your life?  That area that you don’t want to think about, you know, that one that you are afraid to touch?  Trust God totally, and let Him reveal what you need to let go and how you need to do it.  Step out on faith and believe that He wants what’s best for you!  When you move on faith, God will open up your understanding and His will for your life.  Don’t allow excuses, guilt, or blame to trap you in a state of paralysis.  I’ve made the choice to turn areas over to Him where I’ve been settling for less than what God has for me.  Will you join me in trusting Him fully and getting all that God has for your life?

We need to accept that “it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture” (Psalm 100:3).  He made us, and He knows us.  He knows what’s best for us.  When we make our own decisions, based on our knowledge, feelings, and desires, we are destined to fail.  When we are grounded in His Word, and determined to pray and seek His will, we are destined to reign.

Blessings,

MaRita

 

 

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Happiness is a Warm Blanket

My three year old has had a blue blanket that he’s loved, cherished, and been attached to since he was a baby.  Just like Linus in the Charlie Brown cartoons, he carries his blue blanket everywhere and won’t even go to sleep without it.  For Christmas, we bought him a Charlie Brown DVD entitled, Happiness is a Warm Blanket.  In the movie, everyone is trying to get Linus to give up the blanket.  Lucy, of course, is the most passionate about Linus giving the blanket up and actually takes it from him.  When Linus tries to use Snoopy’s ear, a curtain, and a few other things to substitute for his blanket, Lucy yells at him, “NO SUBSTITUTES!!”  This was funny to me, but I realized how I can apply it to my (our) spiritual walk with Christ. 

Many times, instead of walking and living by faith, we grope for substitutes, only to find them ineffective and unsatisfying.

While I am not by any means advocating blanket addiction, we should live as dependent on Christ and our faith as Linus and my son depend on the blanket.  Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38all tell us that “the just shall live by faith.”  If we are in right standing with God, we are living by faith—not just going to church and knowing scriptures.  When we live by faith, we do go to church and we do know the Word, but we live the Word out.  We obey the Word and we exercise our faith daily in all that we do and say. 

A lot of times I have to catch myself because in the situations when I have the perfect opportunity to exercise my faith, I do what Linus does in the movie.  I grope for substitutes.  I might want to talk to someone else before taking it to the Lord.  I may try to figure out a million ways to make what I want to happen work out.  Sometimes, when I can’t do anything to work a situation out, I worry and anxiety kicks it, robbing me of the peace I know that the Lord has given me free access to have. 

Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”  We cannot please the Lord without faith, and faith isn’t faith if we can see or figure out the outcome.  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).  When we don’t know where to turn, and we don’t see a way out, we need to exercise our faith.  We also must be assured that the Lord knows when we are truly believing and depending on Him totally, and He will reward us for our diligence in seeking Him and His will for our lives.

Through the trials and setbacks I’ve experienced this past year, I’ve discovered a lot of good spiritual fruit has been produced.  I’ve needed and still need a lot of ‘working out’ in the spiritual area of my life.  I’m not boasting, but it’s caused me to learn to trust and depend on Him in ways I’ve never had.  It hasn’t been easy because my flesh wants to react the way that it has been conditioned to act.  However, it is possible, through His Word and your faith, to use your pain, setback and trial to trust in Him totally.  He has blessed me naturally and spiritually, and He will bless you.  Don’t give up and give in to the temptation to use substitutes for exercising your faith!  He loves you, and I’m a witness—He is able!  He never fails! He is the only anchor that holds.

Trusting Him with You,

MaRita

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Walking Worthy–Even on the Internet

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Usually, I don’t use the blog to vent because it’s a devotional blog, devoted to sharing God’s Word.  However, I’ve been troubled lately about the comments, posts, tweets, and updates (or whatever you want to call them) on Facebook by those who profess salvation.  Quite frankly, I am appalled by some of the comments.  Those of us who call ourselves saints of God are expected to walk worthy of the calling that God has placed on our lives.

One of the publishers for my novel, The Taste of Good Fruit, is Walk Worthy Press.  The title of the publishing company was given to Denise Stinson, the publisher.  There are several references in scripture about walking worthy but a key one is from Ephesians 4:1, which says, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering; forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Throughout the writing and publication process, I was always reminded to “walk worthy.”  As servants of the Lord, we are not instructed to be led by our flesh, but by His Spirit and His Word.  In these verses, Paul reminds us that we represent Christ.  We have a responsibility to represent Him at all times, not just on Sunday morning or Bible study nights.

On the internet, people often post things about people that they wouldn’t say directly to them.  People want to air their true feelings on social media forums, such as Facebook because they want people to click the “Like” button and comment back.  While this may gratify them and momentarily make them feel important and funny, have they considered the impact on all the others who don’t click the “Like” button or comment?  Have they considered that if they call themselves Christians, it is never okay to be mean-spirited and “throw-off” on other people, especially those of the household of faith?

The Word says, “we are to forbear one another in love.”  If it’s not uplifting the body of Christ, we shouldn’t say it, type it, text it, or post it.  Philippians 4:8-9 instructs believers on what our thoughts should be.  After we are given a list of the things we should think on, which includes things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, Paul says, “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”  When believers’ thoughts are resting on picking people apart and then taking it to others on internet to laugh about and expose others’ weaknesses and flaws, it’s an affront to the name of Christ we profess to represent.  In addition, the God of peace can’t be with those who engage in this behavior.

Paul also tells us, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:21).  Our conversation and our written (and typed) words should never be ones that divide, alienate, or offend any, especially in the body of Christ.  Our goal should be to lift one another up, recognizing that none of us is perfect.  As a body, we should be striving to help one another become more like him, which means being more effective, bearing much fruit, and advancing the Kingdom.

The Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins.  As believers, Jesus’ love for us covers our sins, and He is our model, not the world.  Let’s all strive to walk worthy in what He has called us to do and how he has called us to do it.

Striving to Walk Worthy With You,

MaRita