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Breaking Away

Lately, it’s been one thing after another.  Although I realize that sometimes life is just that way, it hasn’t necessarily made it any easier.  During hectic times, the spotlight really turns right on the person going through, often revealing who he or she really is.  Unfortunately, I’ve noticed some things about myself that, let’s just say, are not becoming as a child of God.  A major stumbling block for me is anxiety (and fear).  Maybe some of you struggle with this ugly monster.  When things heat up, if I’m not careful, anxiety and fear kick in, and things begin to unravel quickly.

Most of us realize that when we operate in fear and are anxious, our flesh is controlling us.  After all, we can’t be spiritually minded and live with fear and anxiety.  Romans 8:6 explains, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”  When we live in the flesh and are overtaken by our fleshly needs, wants, and desires, we become spiritually blinded and spiritually deaf as well.  We can’t see the Lord in the midst of the situation and we can’t hear how the Lord is directing us.

Of course, when we are fearful and anxious, we don’t have peace.  Personally, I have often times felt like if only this or that situation would straighten out, then I could have peace—only to find out that another situation is lurking around the corner, once again threatening to rob me of the (superficial) peace I thought I had obtained.  Isaiah 26:3 reminds us, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”  I’ve had to make the decision to put my trust in Him because He is my source.  Honestly, it’s a daily practice of casting those cares and burdens on Him.

Breaking away from bad habits and thought patterns isn’t always easy.  However, I’ve realized, especially over the past several months, how important it is to really work on letting go of fear and anxiety.  Sometimes we can be tricked into thinking that if we’re fearful or anxious about something that we are only hurting ourselves, but it just isn’t true.  Fear and anxiety can poison any relationship in too many ways to count.  The tricky thing about fear and anxiety is that they often mask themselves and manifest in a very different way.  For example, when some are fearful, they appear angry, offended, or hurt and really, they are struggling with being fearful.

We have to make the choice to trust God, and then we have to be willing to really live out what the Word of God says.  We have to “be careful for nothing; but everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made unto God” (Philippians 4:6).  When God is our source, we are at the optimum vantage point in every situation, no matter what.  We don’t have to run to seek out approval, confirmation, and satisfaction from whomever will give it to us.  We have God’s Holy Spirit guiding us and enlightening us.  We have “the peace which surpasses all understanding, shall keep your hearts and mind through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).  Another version says that His peace will guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but the thought of His peace guarding my heart and mind is better than a vacation to the Bahamas or anywhere else!  There’s no better place to be than resting in Him and His peace.  Join with me as I break away from fear and anxiety.  Be willing to recognize if fear and/or anxiety is anywhere in your life.  Then, refuse to be bound by them, and break away to be refreshed, renewed and blanketed by His peace and love.

Breaking Away With You,

MaRita

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The Baby Bird Lesson

The Baby Bird Lesson

A few days ago we were visiting with friends and my sons were enthralled by a little baby bird who appeared to be either sick or had fallen out of its nest. I, equally intrigued, rushed to see the little bird that you see in the picture. With the temperature well above a hundred degrees, we all immediately felt sympathy for the baby bird. In fact, one of my sons rushed to get a small cup of water in hopes that the bird could get a sip of water.

“Son, you can’t give the bird water like that—he could drown,” my husband explained. He continued, “They get their water (moisture) from the food they get from their parents.”

My son swiftly took the small cup of water away, and a snippet of my grade school science lesson came back to me. The parents of baby birds regurgitate food for their babies.

I grabbed my iPhone and began to get really close to the bird, and my husband said, “You may want to be careful about getting too close. The parents have been close by feeding the baby and keeping watch.”
After I backed away, I thought about how helpless, alone, and afraid the baby bird looked, but then felt comforted, knowing that the parents were close by, never far from their injured bird.

I’m reminded of these verses from Matthew 10:29-31: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are more valuable than sparrows.” Incredibly, God knows about that little bird on the ground, and we, His people, are more important to Him than the bird.

We are instructed not to fear, which is a huge area I struggle with often. Worry and fear are enemies to faith, peace, and joy. We aren’t asked not to fear, but commanded many times in the Word not to fear. In spite of what we like to think, we do have control over fear and worry, but it takes the Word of God and His Spirit.

I don’t know about you, but just as I was comforted, knowing the parents were keeping watch over that baby bird—no matter what it looks like, I am comforted knowing that God is aware and is there to help us through every trial, situation, or condition concerning us. You may not see help, but the Lord is there, “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

Sometimes we try to fix things ourselves without consulting the Lord about what direction we should take. For example, my son tried to help the bird by giving it water, the very thing that could potentially drown the nestling. We often do this. We don’t see the Lord working things out in our time, and we rush to try to remedy our situation or someone else’s, often only to find out that we have made things worse.

One of my favorite scriptures is found in 2 Chronicles 20:17. As the enemy was closing in around Judah, the Spirit of the Lord speaks,
“Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.”

There are times when we have no easy way out of a tough spot, but we just have to stand still and refuse to let fear and doubt set in our minds, hearts and spirit.

During this time the Lord has given me instructions to wait on Him in a number of different areas. I’ve had to recognize that fear, worry, and doubt are roadblocks to hearing from God and seeing His blessings and path for me. We can’t always focus on what things look like now, but we can rest in knowing that He loves us and He cares.

If you are also waiting on Him, let me encourage you to remember the sparrow and how he cares about you so much more. He knows everything about us. He knows our needs, concerns, and desires. When we are tempted to let discouragement and doubt set in, we have to keep His Word and promises hid in our heart. Wait and know that just like the little injured bird who trusts in His parents to bring him his sustenance, God is there and will deliver, help, and bless you.

“[T]he battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15).

Trusting Him with You,
MaRita

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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