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

Potholes of Negativity

I would venture to say that wherever you live, you have traveled down a road or two that has potholes.  Some roads are simply riddled with what seems like a million of little ones, and some road have “gigantor” size potholes….I mean like you feel like you left half of your engine in the road when you hit it!  If the roads you travel are ones that you encounter every day, you learn to navigate away from the big ones, and well, you just deal with the little ones.

Have you ever spent time with someone who is constantly complaining?  They are looking for advice, but never follow it? Someone who “stirs the pot” and brings up things that don’t really have any relation to anything you are discussing, but brings it up anyway?  Someone who is basically attracted to the potholes of negativity?  Or perhaps the more difficult question…have you ever been that “someone?”  Ouch!  I know I have..and it’s a struggle to stay positive sometimes.  But it’s so worth the effort.

I’m gonna cut to the chase real quick here ~ the Lord has no patience for negativity.  You can read just about any part of the Old Testament and find out the severe penalties that people (or tribes) had to suffer due to their negative attitude of unbelief.  When the Lord told them to do something, or to go to a certain place, they needed to be obedient…not participate in the fear or doubting hearts of a few.

Take a peek into chapter 14 of Numbers (verses 36-38), “So the men Moses sent to scout out the land, and who returned and incited the entire community to complain about him by spreading a negative report about the land— those men who spread the negative report about the land were struck down by the Lord. Only Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh remained alive of those men who went to scout out the land.” (emphasis mine)

In the previous verses in Numbers 14, you can read the larger account of why those men lost their lives and why Joshua and Caleb’s lives were saved.  To boil it down, the men who died chose to not obey the Lord’s commands and denied God the opportunity to show the Israelite’s of that time, how truly powerful He was.  God had told them that He was giving them the lands of Canaan.  He promised them that HE would fight for them and that in all the battles Israel would fight, they would win every single one…that the 12 tribes would inherit the lands as promised.

But.

Fear.

Fear of the unknown.  Fear of uncharted lands.  Fear of strange people groups.  Fear of failure.  All of that fear turned to negativity.

Those men that riled up the people (and practically got Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb stoned to death) to such a degree, there was no other way for the Lord to take care of the situation, except by putting those men to death.  Their own negativity was so deep, not only did those select men lose their lives, future generations were affected.  Forty years worth of future generations.  FORTY!!  Long enough for the negativity and fear to leave the people so that the tribes who eventually entered the Promised Lands of Canaan, entered with trusting hearts.  Hearts that were focused on what the Lord says and able to hear God’s call on their life and move forward to live out the promises He’s given.

Thankfully, because of what Christ did on the cross for us and for the immense love He has for us, we are not under that same Old Testament law.  It does not mean that we are free to do and say what we like simply because we want to say it.  We are covered with God’s grace and mercy, and must conduct ourselves in such a way.  But there are those days when we stumble…when we hit one of those “potholes of negativity.”

Possibly, you’ve been on your road of those little potholes for so long that you don’t realize that you are bouncing along, and uncomfortably so.  It’s so easy to complain.  Complaining and stirring that proverbial pot actually takes very little effort.  It’s that moment when you should heed the warning my mother used to tell me,

“Just because that thought came into your mind, it doesn’t mean that it should come out of your mouth!”

Yep…you know what I mean…the off-handed remark to another mom in car-line about your kids’ teacher…the snarky comment to your co-worker about your boss…the veiled “prayer request” to a friend about another friend at church…your own dismay as you look in the mirror as you get ready to go to that party.  I’m sure you can think of many more examples of the kind of negative thinking which breed unhealthy actions.

HOWEVER….Today is the beautiful day my friend that you can get off that road!

Today, you can decide that you want to lift  your eyes and focus on what the heart of God wants for you.  How the Lord desires to share in sweet fellowship with you.  Will  you let Him fill in those potholes with the truth of His Word?  With the truth of who you are in Him?  Here’s a few verses to get you started on a smoother, more joyful path.

Romans 5:6-11, For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment,Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life! And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him.(emphasis mine)

Romans 15:4-6, For whatever was written in the past was written for our instruction, so that we may have hope through endurance and through the encouragement from the Scriptures. Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice.”

I Peter 1:3-4, Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”

Ephesians 2:8-10,For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”

These verses are just a small taste of how good the Lord is and how much He loves us!  I encourage you today to check out more, as you dig deep into God’s word to find the treasures of His everlasting promises of our true identity in Him!

Oops! I almost forgot to mention again about those huge potholes that catch us off guard.  You know, those moments you have when life seems to be going pretty well and then out of nowhere ~ we forget to drive around the pothole that we see coming, and go head first!  Sometimes we are just rattled a bit and sometimes we pop a tire and careen out of control.

Having a relationship with Lord on a daily basis will help us to see those potholes BEFORE they arrive.  Oh, and they WILL arrive my friend!  But it’s how we deal with them.  God’s precious Word can assist us in navigating away from (or at least around) the people or situations that would at times cause us to lose control.  We do not have to be controlled by the potholes ~ we have a Lord and Savior we can ask each day (okay…some days I know its moment by moment!) to fill in those treacherous potholes with the truth of His Word…and He will do it!  One of the tremendous benefits of allowing God to fill in those potholes, is that we can share with others who are struggling with the same issues, and in doing so, we help them along in their journey with the Lord as He fills in theirs!  It’s a win-win situation for sure!!

So go now….and start paving a new path…one that is filled with God’s grace and mercy; and with the knowledge that you have been created for great things in the Kingdom of God!

Blessings,

René

Romans 15 verses 5 and 6

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

Keeping an Open Mind…

Do you have an “open mind?”

What does that even mean?  That our minds should be a blank canvas?  An open space of which to fill with anything and everything? To be “free thinkers” so as to accept all activity as good according to what each individual desires?

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrases, “Garbage in; Garbage Out”; or how about “If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for everything.”  Both of those concepts come out of what we allow to enter our mind.  Our brain is a masterful creation ~ one that should be taken care of, and attended to, on a constant basis.

I Corinthians 2:15-16 (Amplified version) is very clear when it states, But the spiritual man [the spiritually mature Christian] judges all things [questions, examines and applies what the Holy Spirit reveals], yet is himself judged by no one [the unbeliever cannot judge and understand the believer’s spiritual nature].  For who has known the mind and purposes of the Lord, so as to instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ [to be guided by His thoughts and purposes].”

We are created in God’s image, therefore we have been given the ability to understand the things of Christ when we become Christians.  The reason that non-believers argue so vehemently against God’s Word is actually fairly simple…they don’t understand it.  They have not received salvation, thus they have not received the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit helps us to discern the wisdom of the Lord and of scripture so that we can understand it.  Our brain, our mind, is connected to every part of our body ~ it is the command center for all information that comes in and goes out.  It is essential to keep our mind cultivated with the knowledge and truth of God and of His Word.

If you are wondering why it’s so important to keep our mind healthy, there are so many verses in scripture that encourage us in this manner.

There are over 200 verses with the word “mind” in it ~ here are just a few examples of how God sees the function of our mind ~ which is to love HIM first and foremost:

Deuteronomy 6:4-6,“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one [the only God]! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being]. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be [written] on your heart and mind.”

Romans 8:5-8, “For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are living according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit [His will and purpose]. Now the mind of the flesh is death [both now and forever—because it pursues sin]; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace [the spiritual well-being that comes from walking with God—both now and forever]; the mind of the flesh [with its sinful pursuits] is actively hostile to God. It does not submit itself to God’s law, since it cannot, and those who are in the flesh [living a life that caters to sinful appetites and impulses] cannot please God.”

There are only three passages in scripture that I found which talk about having an “open mind”:

Proverbs 8:8-11,“All the words of my mouth are in righteousness (upright, in right standing with God); There is nothing contrary to truth or perverted (crooked) in them. “They are all straightforward to him who understands [with an open and willing mind], And right to those who find knowledge and live by it. “Take my instruction rather than [seeking] silver, And take knowledge rather than choicest gold, “For wisdom is better than rubies; And all desirable things cannot compare with her.”

Luke 24:44-49, Then He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you, everything which has been written about Me in the Law of Moses and the [writings of the] Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”Then He opened their minds to [help them] understand the Scriptures, and said, “And so it is written, that the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance [necessary] for forgiveness of sins would be preached in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.  Listen carefully: I am sending the Promise of My Father [the Holy Spirit] upon you; but you are to remain in the city [of Jerusalem] until you are clothed (fully equipped) with power from on high.””

Acts 17:10-12, The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea; and when they arrived, they entered the Jewish synagogue. Now these people were more noble and open-minded than those in Thessalonica, so they received the message [of salvation through faith in the Christ] with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. As a result many of them became believers, together with a number of prominent Greek women and men.”

I hope you noticed that these passages listed above ONLY talked about having an open mind toward the Lord so that we can allow HIM to fill our mind with the truth of His Word.  And this is in order for us to be able to go out into our neighborhoods, work places, family, or into the world, to share the truth of what God’s Word says…to bring others to the saving grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus.  Never in scripture does it tell us to have an open mind in terms of worldly knowledge and beliefs.

Let’s look at some of the warnings ~

2 Peter 3:15-18,And consider the patience of our Lord [His delay in judging and avenging wrongs] as salvation [that is, allowing time for more to be saved]; just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given to him [by God], speaking about these things as he does in all of his letters. In which there are some things that are difficult to understand, which the untaught and unstable [who have fallen into error] twist and misinterpret, just as they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. Therefore, [let me warn you] beloved, knowing these things beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men [who distort doctrine] and fall from your own steadfastness [of mind, knowledge, truth, and faith], but grow [spiritually mature] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory (honor, majesty, splendor), both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

In reading the above passage, I’m reminded of sweet Christian mom who I knew a few years ago.  For months, I knew something was bothering her, but knew I couldn’t press her for a response.  Finally, the flood gates of heartache opened and she shared with me, and a few others, that her husband had begun a very quick dissent into the darkness of atheism.  They had once been a strong couple, committed to the Lord in their marriage and in the raising of their family. They were both very active in church and in serving the Lord.

Then one day, her husband came home with a book from a friend.  It was a scientific book that had explanations of earthly phenomenon’s, including events recorded in the Bible.  Her husband was a very logical man, and the more he studied this book, the less he studied the truth of God’s Word.  After 25+ years living as a devoted Christian, he gave it all up because he began to believe that scientifically, Jesus couldn’t have possibly been who He was or could have done the things He claims to have done in the Bible.  And if Jesus wasn’t true, then the Bible wasn’t true.  This process only took about 6 months (from what I can remember).

This woman was broken-hearted.  The man she loved, the father of her children, was now a completely different person.  Someone who suddenly didn’t love the Lord, believe in the Lord, didn’t go to church, and didn’t want to have anything to do with the Christian community.  Someone who began to demean her for continuing to live a life as a Christian, and for taking their children to church.

Week after week, we encouraged our friend to stand firm in her faith and to keep praying!  Our hearts were broken for her as she had to navigate these murky waters, watching her husband sink deeper and deeper into a life devoid of God.  He then began making ultimatums…it was either stay with him or stay with God.

About three months later, the very sad news came that she and her children would no longer be attending church.  Against much advice from her friends and pastor, she decided to appease her husband by reading the book that he’d first been given.  And then she read another one, and another one, and so on.  She had become so fearful of losing her husband, that she instead chose to deny her relationship with the Lord.  She had been a Christian for just about her whole life.  Now she would rather “make her own rules” and “live freely without religion” than stand firm in her faith…in what I still believe she knows deep down inside.

Within one years’ time, this couple who radiated God’s love in their service to the Christian community and within their family, completely and “logically” removed themselves from under the lordship of Christ.  I tell this story to illustrate how quickly Satan can work to destroy the mind that once knew the truth of God’s Word.  How is this possible?  Remember who Satan is…he was created as an Angel of Light, an Angel of Music.  He had a prominent place in Heaven.  But one day, he decided he wanted to be equals with God and began a battle of wills.  He was so influential that he caused a host of other angels to agree with him, and they were all eventually cast out of heaven….permanently.  This is how he knows how to manipulate the mind of others and trick them into thinking that God does not exist.

Romans 12:1-2 is a beautiful reminder of why we must be cautious of what we think about, and what we allow into our mind.  It says, Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].”

How do we renew our mind?  That part is simple too actually…

Be. In. God’s. Word. Every. Day.

~ Every. ~ Day. ~

Blessings,

René

Romans 12 verse 2

**Addendum to today’s blog ~ I was remiss in ending the story I shared above how I did.  Their story is not over.  Prayer is STILL bigger than any lie and deception of Satan!  If you are struggling to regain your faith, or you know someone who has drifted (or run!) away from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, please don’t stop praying for them!  Prayer is the open door for God to work ~ He loves to have us partner with Him in His Kingdom work!  His Word will never return void!**

Isaiah 55:11 declares this truth ~ “So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void(useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”

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

Have you forgotten your worth?

Have you forgotten your worth?

Today, before you start reading, I would like to ask you to quiet your heart and your mind. Ask the Lord to speak to you and show you all the ways the enemy has tried to steal your royal worth.  Then ask the Lord to begin to repair all those hurts, to fill the voids you’ve been struggling with, with His love, grace, and joy.

Take a deep breath….let’s get going!

Let’s first look at a beautiful passage in Psalms 139:13-18 ~

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

All you need to know about your worth is right here ~ How amazing are your thoughts concerning methat’s a literal translations from verse 17.  We are precious to the Lord and He is enthralled with us, His children!

He did not make any kind of mistakes when He created us.  He didn’t get confused, or distracted, or annoyed.  He kept His eye on us the whole time while we were formed in our mother’s womb ~ and He continues to watch over us.  We are created in God’s image…He is worthy…we are worthy because we find our worth IN HIM.

There is a tremendous amount of distraction in our world today ~ tv, magazines, the internet, social media, neighbors, and people….pretty much everything we are surrounded by on a daily basis.  When you start to believe that you are worthless….why is that? What is happening?  What lies are you believing? What happens to skew our thoughts about our worth?

I John 4:1-3 is a picture perfect warning from the Scriptures: Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”

I feel like I can trust you with my vulnerability here and share a few that I struggle with…

Not being good enough

Not being thin enough

Not having enough finances

Driving around in a scratched up, dented up car

Not being able to afford to pay for our kids college expenses

Not being able to afford to have my hair dyed professionally (the struggle is real my friend!)

Okay…that last one is a little silly, but in recent weeks, my hair was a catastrophically BAD color!  I dyed my hair VERY well…and it was VERY scary! In looking for sympathy, I turned to my youngest daughter.  In all seriousness, she looked at me and said, “It’s not like someone was standing next to you at the store telling you NOT to get that color Mom.”  Well….yeah…but come one!  Feel sorry for me!  My hair is burgundy and that is NOT a good look!! (btw…my husband drove me to the store at 10:30pm to get a box of dark brown to cover up the mess I’d made…we both knew I was in no condition to drive myself!)

In that moment of looking at my horrifying hair color (can you tell I’m still a bit traumatized here!), I felt worthless.  If this hair color deal couldn’t be fixed I was contemplating not going on a weekend trip with my husband that next day.  We had been planning this for months.  But I felt that I would be an embarrassment to him (and personally, utterly mortified at the thought of being in public!) ~ of which he wisely denied that would be the case. So not only did he drive me to the store, he stayed up with me until midnight when complete disaster was averted. He didn’t laugh at me.  He didn’t scold me.  He just love me and supported me through my crazy!  I love my man!!

How like the Lord is that?  When I have made a decision, all the while ignoring the still small voice of the Holy Spirit warning against poor choices, then realize the consequences I’ve created….ugh!  My sweet Heavenly Father doesn’t chastise me; He doesn’t mock me; He doesn’t make me feel guilty.  He stands beside me waiting for me to get off the bus to crazytown (a place of my own creation…you might know what I mean!), then gently guides me back onto the path He has for me.

Satan is the one who plies our mind with those distracting, and sometimes devastating, tactics to make us think we have lost our worth. God’s grace is sufficient to rescue me when I seek His face and ask forgiveness for those moments of weakness.

Matthew 10:30-32 is a great encouragement ~ And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”

Do you realize that every negative thought that slithers in off the enemy’s twisted tongue has to be said IN the very PRESENCE of God.

There is nothing that the devil lies to us about that God doesn’t know.  In our humanness, we need to call on God’s strength in that moment to combat the lies.  Rest securely in the knowledge that we don’t have to muster up the strength or courage to beat down the devil on our own.  We only have to call on Him to help us!

Read this promise here in 2 Samuel 22:2-4 ~ He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent people you save me. “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies.”

Oh those words from scripture are like floating along a delightfully cool river, feeling the soul quenching power of Living Water!  As a daughter of the King, I have the right and accessibility to call upon the name of the Lord and He promises to save me from my enemies…especially when that enemy is myself!

You are WORTHY my friend!

You have been set apart by a loving God who has an amazing journey for you!  You have the ability to make a difference, one person at a time, in HIS timing!  You are created to be a guiding light of God’s love and mercy to a world that is desperately lost!  You are beautiful! You are special!  You are loved and cherished!

Blessings,

René

I John 4 verse 1

{this photo was taken on that weekend away with my husband}

** For further study, check out these verses about how worthy our Lord is to be praised! **

~ I Chronicles 16:24-26

~ Psalm 96:3-5

~ Psalm 48:1

~ 2 Thessalonians 1:11

~ Revelation 4:11