Monday, February 27, 2017

Fasting - It's Not Just For Food Anymore

When you hear the word fasting, you automatically think of food, don't you?  Fasting goes back thousands of years as a way to show God you were serious about something.  We see examples of this all throughout the Bible.  For example, in Daniel 9:3, Daniel is preparing to pray a prayer of confession and petition. 

"So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes."  NIV

But in today's world with so many distractions, fasting other things besides food can be just as important in our journey to grow closer to God and know Him better. 

This morning, I am sitting in my local Chick-fil-A writing this because I have been a victim of distractions for too long.  God has called me to do certain things and the devil has used my weaknesses to distract me from my best.  Last week I was reading this passage in Daniel and in that moment God laid on my heart my need to fast - not food, but other things.  For me, it is television, social media and other things using my electronic devices.  Now, don't misunderstand - God wasn't asking me to get rid of these completely, but simply to fast during certain times and focus on Him.

As many of you know, I work from home and my house if full of distractions.  I would wake up in the morning, ready to attack the day and I would look back at the end of day and I hadn't accomplished anything.  Not even the simple stuff.  This has been going on way too long and God knew my heart.  He knew I really wanted to accomplish it, but the devil was messing with me and winning.  I would find myself watching television even though it was a show I had seen hundreds of times.  I would get caught up in my book and read all day long (fiction - fun not learning).  I would even set boundaries - just 2 games - and end up playing 10.  But not today!

I couldn't handle the distractions in my own strength; therefore, I removed them completely.  And what I have found in removing them is a lessening desire to do them. 

God showed me that fasting isn't just about food - it is about anything that gets in the way of spending time with Him and doing what He has called you to do.  Maybe you think my distractions are silly - I should be able to turn off the television and just do my work.  But we all have weaknesses.  We all have something that the devil uses to distract us from God.  I know someone who's distraction is housework.  She cleans her house obsessively over 8 hours a day.  I love a clean house and my house is clean, but the devil uses her perfection desire to take her away from her time with God. 

I challenge you today to look at your day and see what the devil might be using to take you away from God.  It can be something as simple as television, social media, your phone or tablet, but it also might be your kids, your spouse, your job, or even your clean house.  God isn't asking you to get rid of all of these things - however, He is asking you to put Him first and the rest will fall right into place.

Have a blessed day and an awesome week!  We love you!!

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Love Day

Love Day is everyday!

... is everyday!

"Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

This week on the calendar is known as "Love Week" culminating around Valentine's Day.  It is a day that society has set aside to love your significant other.  But in the Bible, God tells us that we are to love everyday, not just one day a year.  He even went one step further - He told us exactly what love looks like in the verses above.

5 years ago, I was blessed to marry the man of my dreams.  And on my wedding day, I was blessed even further by having all 4 of my sisters and my brother attend.  As part of the ceremony, I asked my sisters to read the verses above - not for others to hear, but for my husband and I to hear.  We had both had unsuccessful marriages before and we wanted this marriage to be a 100% godly marriage.  So it seemed fitting that these verses be our guide on how to love each other when the human part of us creeps in. 

But these verses aren't just for couples.  These verses are for Christians.  They represent how we are to love one another each and every day - just as Jesus commanded us to do.  It can be challenging to love everyone all the time because truth be told there are some people who are just hard to love.  But God didn't say to only love the lovable - He said to love everyone with the same love He has for us.

God's love for us is what is reflected in the verses above.  It is unconditional.  It is not dependent on our lovability or on God's mood that day or even on what we have done.  It is always and forever.  Love day is everyday!  Whether it be your spouse, your children or a stranger.  It is okay to step it up a notch on February 14th, but make sure that that is not the only day you show your love.  Show it everyday just as God does to us!

"Love never fails."  1 Corinthians 13:8 (NIV)

Have a blessed week!


Monday, February 6, 2017

Victor or Victim

We all, for the most part, fall into one of two categories - we are either victors or victims.  You probably assume that if you are a Christian you are automatically a victor, but this is simply not the case.  Sadly, there are many Christians with a victim mentality.

"When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long."  Psalm 32:3 (NIV)

How we communicate each and every day is a dead giveaway as to whether we are victors or victims - not only with our words but also with our body language.  Victims complain all the time - they can only see the negative in a situation.  A victim Christian will complain and then follow it with "...but I'm so thankful for what God has done."  With a victor, there is no "but".  A victor talks mostly about the victories - the blessings even in the trials.  You see, we are all going to go through something as we go through this thing we call life.  But it is how we respond that makes us a victor or a victim. 

I know too many people that are great people but they are victims in their lives.  They focus on the bad, things are always someone else's fault, they believe nothing good will come to them.  These people, as much as I love them, can be very draining.  We are born for greatness.  And if you know God, there should be no excuse for being a victim.  All Christians should be victors as we have the one and only God in our corner every minute of every day.  This means that if you are having a bad day, it's okay because God is going to bring good out of the bad.  It says so right in the Bible and God never breaks a promise. 

Make it your goal each and every day to be a victor.  Speak positive and bring any negative you may have to God.  Begin to look at life not through the glass half empty/half full analogy but knowing that the glass can be filled any time by our awesome God.  Negative things are going to happen - everyone has something - but how we handle them says everything about what we truly believe.  Have the faith today that God is in control and with that you are a victor!

"But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."  1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV)

Prayer:  God, thank you for everything in my life - the good and the bad as I know they both serve a purpose.  I thank you that you are in control and that you will bring me through any situation that you allow in my life.  Help me to always be a victor and no longer a victim.  Thank you God!