Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Women's Ministries, Writers

Your View: Windshield or Rear-View…

Are You Looking Out the Windshield or the Rear-View Mirror?

I got the idea for this discussion topic from a sermon I heard the other day on the radio.There’s a reason why the windshield on a car is so large and the rear-view mirror is so small.

We need to have a wide view of what is out in front of us so that we can see where we are going. The point of driving somewhere is to move forward to get where we intend to end up. We don’t drive backwards to get to our destination. Right?

I know these concepts are not mind-blowing or something new…but I think it’s a good reminder every now and then to take notice of where our attention lies.

Rear-view mirrors, and side-view mirrors for that matter, aren’t bad though…they are completely necessary.

When we look up to check the rear-view or side-view mirrors, that’s just it…it’s just to take a quick look to make sure we are not in danger of being in an accident or causing an accident as we move about the road. We are not to allow our focus to linger because if we do, we are bound to run into the car in front of us.

Our past is like those smaller mirrors.

There’s a warning bell that sounds in your heart or your head, when you’re about to veer off course.  It’s the alarm that alerts us to check ourselves. Are we about to make the same mistake for the millionth time? Are we about to say the wrong thing to someone…again…knowing it won’t work? Did we forget what happened the last time? And if the mirror checks don’t work, then when we drive over those little bumpy-things (I’m sure they gave a name!) that’s a physical AND audible alert that we need to correct our path or we’ll soon be in trouble!

When we look into the side mirror, we can see that car speeding up really fast to our left and make that quick decision to WAIT to move over.

When we look into our rear-view mirror, we can see that car speeding up behind us or flashing their lights at us, and decide we need to move over and let that person go on their merry way albeit too fast and not get involved in their crazy. We can also see the red lights of a fire truck or police car, alerting us to move over because there’s trohbke ahead!

So how does that this translate into our spiritual life?

What side glances get you off track?

What kinds of things do you think you should be focusing on in your “front windshield”?

Let’s look at some scripture that talks about looking forward or behind.

Proverbs 4:25-26 (AMP) “Let your eyes look directly ahead [toward the path of moral courage] And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you [toward the path of integrity]. Consider well and watch carefully the path of your feet, And all your ways will be steadfast and sure.”

 Right there in scripture ~ “…look directly ahead…”  When we direct our gaze straight ahead, like through a large windshield, we will see the path that clearly leads to integrity!

Hebrews 11: 23-29 (AMP) “By faith Moses, after his birth, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful and divinely favored child; and they were not afraid of the king’s (Pharaoh’s) decree. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, because he preferred to endure the hardship of the people of God rather than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of the Christ [that is, the rebuke he would suffer for his faithful obedience to God] to be greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt; for he looked ahead to the reward [promised by God]. By faith he left Egypt, being unafraid of the wrath of the king; for he endured [steadfastly], as seeing Him who is unseen. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood [on the doorposts], so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch them (the firstborn of Israel). By faith the people [of Israel] crossed the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; but when the Egyptians attempted it they were drowned.”

 I love that these verses in Hebrews remind us that it is not simply looking ahead & fixing our gaze on the Lord; it is through FAITH that we can accomplish this daily task.

 We are also instructed in God’s Word to take His direction for our life very seriously. When He tells us not to look behind us {dwelling on past sin; obsessing over something you think you’ve missed out on; staying stuck in a cycle of unforgiveness; etc.} then He means it!! 

Genesis 19:26 (AMP) “But Lot’s wife, from behind him, [foolishly, longingly] looked [back toward Sodom in an act of disobedience], and she became a pillar of salt.”

God also shows us through scripture how He provides the way out of a situation. One that is getting a bit frightening or unsettling. In Genesis 22:13 (AMP) we see just that…“Then Abraham looked up and glanced around, and behold, behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering (ascending sacrifice) instead of his son.”

 Let go of the past and start moving forward! Maybe it’s an actual physical move out of the environment you’re in (work, neighborhood, state…). Maybe it’s a shift in your heart ~ an attitude you’re having is causing disruption in your spiritual life. 

Luke 9:61-62 (AMP) “Another also said, “I will follow You, Lord [as Your disciple]; but first let me say goodbye to those at my home.” But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things left behind] is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Don’t linger on looking into the smaller windows. Look through the bigger lens of God’s Word…through His windshield!

Blessings,

René

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, Women's Ministries, Writers

I Told You So….

So when you read the title, did you immediately picture a charming little scene of one child saying this to another?  Hands on hips, chin jutting out, smirk on face…with the sing-songy lyric, “I toooolllldddd you sooooo!”  Oh man, did I get in trouble if I ever said this to one of my siblings, or worse…if I said it to my Mom!  Yikes!  Just had to happen once and that swat cured me for life….or at least within earshot of my mother.

Today, I want to linger on this phrasing in a positive way.  The Lord Jesus tells us, in so many words, “I told you so” in a variety of circumstances throughout His word.  A more “biblical” way to say it is in all of the “I will” statements the Lord makes.  It is really exciting to me whenever I read the words “I will” because I know that if the Lord said it, He WILL do it!  Most of these verses are positive, but there are some that are in a tone of warning.  But the same is true for both statements ~ what He says He will do…He WILL DO IT!

As early as in Genesis chapter 2, the Lord tells Adam that He will create for him a special helpmate…and He created Eve (vs. 18). Throughout the entire book of Genesis, you can read mulitple accounts of God saving those who worship Him, destroying the earth He made because the people had become so evil, God promising Abraham & Sarah that they would have a child from whom a multitude of descendants would come from including Jesus, God comforting His people when they were discouraged, the promise of new land ~ and that’s just in Genesis!

Of course, the “I will” promises are much easier to take to heart but we have got to be fully aware of the “I will” warnings. We cannot simply go through life taking scripture out of context because it makes us “feel good.”  We cannot twist things around that are meant to be a warning into some kind of proof that we can do whatever we want because Jesus has said that once we confess our sin and our need for a Savior, that He will save us.

Don’t get me wrong…I absolutely and wholeheartedly believe that once we are saved by Jesus Christ, we do not lose our salvation.  We do not have to repeat the salvation prayer, “just in case” it didn’t work the first time.  In the same vein, we cannot ever do anything to earn our salvation either.  Only the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can do that.

The Lord brings us to Him to be saved, not so we can remain living in our sinful ways…so we can become like Him.  The world is so backwards right now saying that Christians aren’t fair.  True, there are some who call themselves christian and act nothing like the Lord teaches.  And it is true that Jesus will accept everyone exactly as they are.  However…Jesus will not abide by us STAYING exactly as we were.  He calls us to Himself to learn who HE is and how we can mirror His character.

We cannot be a light to the world if we haven’t changed our power source!

Let’s go to the scripture so you can see a few verses showing some of God’s “I Will’s…”

Romans 9:14-16 (HCSB) says, What should we say then? Is there injustice with God Absolutely not! For He tells Moses: I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy.”

I love this because it reminds us that there is nothing that we can do on our own human efforts to change God’s mercy, blessings, grace, or discipline…it will be done as He sets forth.

Genesis 17:2 (HSCB) shows what God the Father says to Abram (aka Abraham after this blessing is spoken over him) when He calls him to leave his comfort zone, “I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you greatly.”  And He did.  There were definite hurdles in the story (if you haven’t read it, go now and see how even though Abraham tried to hurry up God’s plan, God still had the final say on it all!)

Psalms 91:14-15 (HSCB), is a promise from the Old Testament as to how God will act toward His people when they believe in Him, Because he is lovingly devoted to Me, I will deliver him;
I will protect him because he knows My name. When he calls out to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and give him honor.” Even when we feel we are not being heard by God, or answered by Him, He does in fact hear our every cry.  He is in tune with our hearts because He loves us.  Remain connected with your Savior and trust that He has your best at heart.

Jeremiah 30:11 (HSCB), (spoken to Israel and Judah through the prophet Jeremiah after the Lord freed them from captivity) For I will be with you— this is the Lord’s declaration— to save you!  I will bring destruction on all the nations where I have scattered you; however, I will not bring destruction on you. I will discipline you justly, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.”  The Lord God does not take joy in disciplining us, but because He loves us so much He will do what is needed.  Our lives are to be a reflection of Him and if we are not living out what scripture teaches then we are not representing Him properly to the world.

I love this verse in Isaiah 41:10 (HSCB) because it is a faithful reminder to me that as a believer, I have the power of the living God inside me and I can trust that what the Lord says here in scripture is true, Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.”

On the other hand, Matthew 7:23 (HSCB) reminds us that those who choose in this life to ignore the authority of Jesus Christ and the fact that they need a Savior, He will have no choice on the day of Judgement but to say, “Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!'”  It is difficult to think of this sometimes, but the world has an opportunity every day to choose Christ and choose to serve Him.  When we do choose Him, Matthew 10:32-33 (HCSB) tells us what we will hear, “Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.”

John 14:27-29 (HSCB) speaks beautifully to the peace that only God can give us. While John 4:14 (HCSB) shares the promise of the New Testament that the living water of Christ will well up in our soul.  Matthew 11:28-30 (HCSB) provides the encouragement that following the Lord is the best way to become unburdened.

Perhaps one of the best “I will” statements that the Lord makes in Scriputre is found in Mark 14:36 (HCSB). “And He said, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Even now as I read this it brings tears to my eyes and joy to my heart.  Because Jesus showed us that His heart was breaking for the task ahead, He ultimately was letting us know that the will of the Father is what is the most important to follow.  Jesus chose to live a human life that was destined for death in order to bring us eternal life that we don’t deserve.

As you read the Bible in your quiet times ahead, look out for those “I will” phrases (the “I told ya so’s). You will never find a promise that is unfulfilled.  You will never find a contradiction of God’s love and grace for us. Rest in His promises!

Blessings,

René

genesis-17-verse-2

* (HCSB) ~ Holman Christian Study Bible version *

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Captive OR Captivated?

Are you living a life that is held captive by something or are you living a life that is captivated by Someone?

What’s the difference you say?

BIG difference!

To be captive by someone means to be “a prisoner;slave; made or held prisoner, especially in war.”  To be captivated by someone is the opposite, to attract and hold the attention or interest of, as by beauty or excellence ~ one is negative and one is positive.

If you are familiar with the Old Testament, there were laws set in place by God that the Israelite’s were to follow.  These laws served an important purpose in their lives as God’s people were able to focus on serving Yahweh (God the Father).  There were covenants made between God and His people (all throughout the book of Genesis); the 10 Commandments given to Moses by God on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 20); a variety of Festivals honoring God (Exodus 23); sacrificial offerings for forgiveness of sin and for celebration (the book of Leviticus); and other laws that were given to the Levitical priests (the book of Numbers and Deuteronomy).

So. Many. Lists.

In the New Testament, Jesus came with the express purpose of teaching us directly about the Father and the grace & mercy He was offering.  Jesus wants to reconcile and redeem ALL of the people back to relationship with God the Father.  However, it just seemed “too incomprehensible” to the Jewish leaders of the day to believe that everything they had been doing for centuries, were no longer needed.  Jesus wanted to shed light on the fact that the Jewish people were living as captives to an old set of laws that didn’t need to be practiced anymore.  Why?

Jesus coming to earth as a man AND at the SAME TIME as part of the Trinity, and eventually fulfilling prophecy of being crucified and risen again, we mind-blowing!  By each miracle, by each teaching, by each healing ~ and ultimately by His Resurrection, Jesus made the absolute and FINAL sacrifice for us.  With that fulfillment of Old Testament promised prophecy, the old laws that governed the Jewish people (and all people for that matter) were finished.

The gap was forever bridged by the cross.  

The throne room of grace was opened for everyone to enter into and sit at the feet of the Father.  The Holy Spirit was made available to live in us and be our Intercessor.

But habits can be hard to break.

There are so many amazing truths that have come to fruition by the coming, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we can move from being captive to the old laws, to being captivated by the beauty, grace, and mercy of the Lord.  HIS ways are meant to be attractive to us, to hold our attention so that we can live a full and complete life.  Hear me when I also say that these promises of the Lord do not mean we will be exempt from troubles.   If I could sit across from you at one of my favorite coffee shops, I would listen to you as you poured out your heart and hope to encourage you not to lose hope…to not lose faith in God’s goodness.

At bible study today, one of the women in my group shared a powerful image with us.  We were talking about having faith and peace in our lives, the kind that only can come from strength in the Lord.  She held her coffee cup up and squeezed it just a bit.  She likened that motion as to what we do when we are holding “the cup” (whatever circumstance we find ourselves in) that God has given us but then we start gripping it, squeezing it as we try to take back that situation and bring it under our own control.  We have to learn to be content in the place we are at…easy or difficult…it is a place of God’s design.

No need to just take my word for it ~ read the promise from God in His Living Word in Romans 6:14“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”  I think I hear a Hallelujah from somebody out there!

My encouragement to you today as you read this, is that you make that full transition to become CAPTIVATED by the immense peace and beauty of our Lord Jesus.  When we allow our entire mental, emotional, and spiritual attention to be focused on Him, we will be able to be confident on the road ahead.  We can have faith that as we follow Him, He will not disappoint.

Romans 7 verse 6Blessings,

René

*http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/captive?s=t

*http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/captivate?s=t

*All verses found at: https://www.biblegateway.com

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Filled to Fullness

Hello there friends!  It’s Tuesday and I’m posting my first “blog bite” of the week!  It has been so great to connect with many of you over the past month.  But I don’t want to keep waiting until Monday to write and post….so I’m going to send out “mini posts” throughout the week as a daily encouragement to stay in God’s Word and to keep trusting in Him!

With this weeks’ blog in mind, “What’s in a Name?”, I chose this verse to encourage you with today ~

Ephesians 3:14-20 (NIV)

A Prayer for the Ephesians

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”

When we are filled with the goodness of God, goodness will flow out of us.  When we have the strength of the Lord, we are capable of handling all that comes our way.  When our feet are firmly planted on His path, we are free to become exactly who He created us to be! What a true blessing it is to know that God can do amazing things through us, because we have Him in our heart!  Keep your heart, mind, soul, and body on track with the Lord today and He will see you through!

Blessings,
Rene’

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Uncategorized, Women's Ministries

Operate out of Covenant, not Feelings

“I don’t want to!” ~ “I’ll do it myself!” ~ “That’s not fair!” ~ “How come?” ~ “Why?”

If you have ever dealt with a toddler, or a teenager, or had your very own little tantrum with the Lord, you’ve heard these phrases before.  These are all-too-common things we say when we are operating out of our feelings.  When we are honest with ourselves, if we only operate out of feelings, we wouldn’t get anything productive done.  Quite frankly, we would have lives full of mess after mess with no clean up on the horizon.

I don’t always feel like doing the family laundry – but I know we all enjoy wearing clean clothes.

I don’t always feel like going grocery shopping – but I know my family appreciates a home cooked meal instead of a bowl of cold cereal for dinner!

I don’t always feel like being kind to myself – but I know when I do, I am setting a better example to my daughters to treat themselves respectfully.

I don’t always feel like making the time to read my Bible and devotions, but I know that my day will be far better organized when I first set my mind on Him.

I’m sure you can fill in the blank here with many, many more examples.  When I operate out of a covenant of love towards my family, myself, and most importantly the Lord, I can set aside the stubborn “feelings” of apathy.

A covenant is “an agreement between two or more persons to do or not do something specified; a solemn agreement to act together in harmony; to pledge.” (www.dictionary.com)

Speaking of covenant and what it means on a personal note, my husband Tony and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this past July.

T.W.E.N.T.Y.F.I.V.E.  YEARS!

It is a magnificent accomplishment but not because of what we have done on our own, but what we promised to each other all those years ago, standing in front of family and friends ~ to keep Christ as the very center of our lives, our marriage, and our family.  In essence, we “made a solemn agreement to act together in harmony” ~ and when harmony has been out of tune, we always knew Who to go to in order to get back on track! To honor this celebration, we renewed our vows, our covenant to each other in a surprise ceremony in our backyard.  Those marriage vows mean so much more now that when we first said them.  We know from where we have come and we know that the future that is sprawling out ahead of us is certain to be a breathtaking ride of a Christ-centered life.

Psalm 105:8, 42-45 “He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations,”  – “For he remembered his holy promise given to his servant Abraham.  He brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy; he gave them the lands of the nations, and they fell heir to what others had toiled for — that they might keep his precepts and observe his laws. Praise the Lord.”

God…Keeps…His…Promises!

There are over 330 verses that speak to the concept of ‘covenant’ all throughout God’s Word.  God made covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Moses, King David, King Solomon, with His Son….and with YOU!  That’s right!!  If they existed, and you could take a peek at the “Covenant Journals” of God, you would find your name included.  What we do have proof of, is that He has given us His Word as one big ‘journal’ of the covenant He has made with us!

In scripture, we see time and again how people didn’t believe or fully trust in God’s covenant with them, and we make the same mistake today.

Hebrews 9:15 declares, “For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance – now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”

Had Jesus acted from a place of ‘feelings’ and not from within an attitude of ‘covenant’, we would be a lost people forever.  The Lord is gracious to show us the beauty of dealing with difficult feelings yet outwardly moving in covenant. He was in partnership with the Father.

Luke 22:41-44 shows us this beautiful picture ~ “He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.  And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

Jesus had a choice!  Covenant or Feelings!

Don’t miss some very important clues in these verses above, as to HOW He accomplished this.  The only part that Jesus did on His own, was to kneel down and pray.  The strength He found was given to Him by a ministering angel and by trusting no matter what, His Father had the best in mind for Him.  We can learn so much here!  We need not wait until “all else has failed” to fall down on our knees in prayer.  Let’s START with that and watch the pieces fall into place down the path that the Lord has intended for us to take.

In this day and age, we are a society of people who don’t know how to stay in covenant with each other and many times take the easy path rather than staying in the course.  As Christians, we must choose between remaining in covenant relationship with the Lord, or stepping outside of His protection and going our own way.

We don’t feel like going to work, so we call in sick.

We don’t feel like we love our spouse, so we site “irreconcilable differences.” 

We don’t feel like being a ‘whistle-blower’, so we allow illegal work practices to happen in front of us.

We don’t feel like we are being “productive enough” as a stay-at-home mom, so we seek outside attention in various forms.

Before you log off and think I’ve lost my sanity and practicality (or my understanding) because of what you just read ~ please hang in there with me.

There are always two sides to the situation.  I have friends and family who have dealt with, and who are currently dealing with, serious emotional and mental health issues.  These are REAL FEELINGS due to some kind of severe trauma experienced at some point in their life. Anxiety.  Depression.  Bi-Polar Disorder. Schizophrenia.  These and other situations like this, are real and I do not discount any of the feelings that go along with it.

What I do know, is that these are not labels that have to define who you are.  The identity of who you are is in the fact that you are a child of God, created in His image.  **If you are in doubt of this, or don’t know what I’m really talking about, I would love to help you pray as you ask Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins, to become your Savior and Lord of your life. Please feel free to message me.**

Remember in the passage in Luke 22, Jesus “sweated drops like blood” ~ I would venture to say, in my basic theological perspective, that He was under a tremendous amount of anxiety to have produced such an intense physical reaction.

If you are experiencing extreme emotions and don’t quite “feel like yourself,” please give yourself the gift of seeing a counselor, your Pastor at church, or your doctor.  God has blessed these professionals with the ability to give you the help you need.  I will be praying too that as you read these words you will allow yourself to be freed from the lie of the enemy that you are in this life alone ~ YOU ARE NOT!

As you name the Name of Jesus as the Lord of your life, you have been given so many gifts that can never be taken away…

  • You are a friend of God (James 2:23)
  • He calls you by name (Psalm 91:14 and Isaiah 43:7)
  • You are never alone (Psalm 71:12)
  • The Holy Spirit dwells in you (Acts 15:8)
  • You have the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23 and John 3:16-17)
  • We can call on Jesus name personally (Psalm 116:4)

Can I get an Amen!  Come on…say it…SHOUT it out loud ~ HALLELUJAH!!

Today, right now and every day, you can choose to live and operate out of covenant or out of feelings.  When living in the moment of feelings, ask yourself “How’s that working out for ya?” Take a breath, spend some time in prayer with your heavenly Father who loves you so very much, and start again.  There is a tremendous amount of LIFE that our Lord wants us to live ~ family to cherish, friends to support, and neighbors to encourage.  All of this can be done as we live an outward life of covenant with the Creator of the Universe.  What a blessings and a privilege to walk with the Alpha and Omega.  He knows my name ~ and He knows your name too!

Blessings,

Rene’

**Scripture references below**

  • James 2:23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.”
  • Psalm 91:14 “Because heloves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.”
  • Isaiah 43:7 “everyone who is called by my name, whom I createdfor my glory, whom I formed and made.”
  • Psalm 71:12 “Do not be farfrom me, my God; come quickly, God, to help ”
  • Acts 15:8God, who knows the heart,showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.”
  • Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death,but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  • John 3:16-17 “For God so lovedthe world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
  • Psalm 116:4 “Then I called on the nameof the Lord: Lord, save me!”

 

Blessings,

Rene’