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

Bootstraps break…

We’ve all probably heard the familiar phrase, “Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” ~ or at least something like it.  Maybe you’ve said it to you someone, or you’ve had it said back to you.  It’s phrase that is supposed to muster up courage and admiration, whether in yourself or in someone else.  But does it really?

Have you ever put on cowboy boots?  They have those looped straps on the outside of each boot, so they do serve a purpose.  When those cowboys are out on the range all by themselves, they needed something to help them get their boots on…and the cows couldn’t help out!  And really….could you see a couple of cowboys helping each other put on their boots.  Hahaha!!  Those bootstraps fulfilled a purpose; and fairly quickly became a “self help” slogan.  No where in the Bible does God teach us to do anything on our own.  Even the Lord Jesus taught us that it is important to partner with each other, and more importantly, partner with the God of the Universe!

In John 7:16-18, Jesus shares these wise words,So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”

Again, although this phrase is meant to be a compliment/encouragement, there are some hidden dangers you’ll encounter when you try and pull yourself up by those hypothetical bootstraps.

One of the first dangers that come to mind is pride.  The infamous verse in Proverbs (16:18) is known by most people, Christian or not ~ “pride goeth before the fall.”  When we have an attitude of pride, we cannot always see clearly the circumstances that require us to pull up said bootstraps.  We’re so busy looking down, struggling to get our feet to go where we want to go, that we will miss the path that God has for us.

Look at Jesus’ words in John 5:30-31, “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not true.” He was Jesus!  The Son of God!  The Messiah!  The Savior of the world!  And even He knew that He could not do anything on His own…He had to commit His ways to the Father God.

John 5 verse 30 and 31

The only thing that you could even remotely say that Jesus did on his own, was His death on the cross.  However, in this action, He was given full authority and ownership to lay down His life for our sins.  Jesus, the Son of God, knew what the outcome would be and He went willingly; Jesus, the Son of Man, knew what the outcome would be but needed a charge from His heavenly Father to complete the task.

See here in John 10:17-18 the simple beauty of obedience alongside serving the Father,For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

When we believe the lies of the world, tv media, social media, and let’s face it…our own thoughts sometimes…and strike out purely on our own to accomplish something, we are not walking in the truth of God’s word.

But what if that thing, that task, whatever it is that we “pulled up our bootstraps on our own” goes amazing well?!  What then?!  My friends, these are the moments that satan uses to blind us to our need for fellowship and obedience to the Father.  We start believing the lie that we don’t need God and maybe, we don’t need anyone else.  This kind of thinking is cute when it’s a toddler saying, “I do it myself.”, but it is not cute the older we get.  As we mature in our relationship with the Lord, we are learning to lean on Him and others more and more!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help!

Yep…you heard me right!  Sure, there are plenty of things we can do on our own ~ seeing to our basic needs, driving a car, paying bills, laundry, cooking, etc.  But even in those things, there will come a time in our life where we will need help with those basic tasks as well.

To give you some encouragement to ask for help (from others and from the Lord!) let the kindness of these verses wash over your tired soul ~ from John 15:12-14, This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.”

The more you continue to pull up on those bootstraps of yours, with your own strength and determination, the more you will wear them out ~ and they will break.  Trust me ~ you don’t want to be out all alone on the prairie of life somewhere with broken bootstraps.  Oh how much the Lord will welcome you into His arms, when you come to Him asking for direction in your life…and He will fix those broken bootstraps of yours as well!

Psalm 37:23-24, A man’s steps are established by the Lord,
and He takes pleasure in his way.  Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord holds his hand.”

Blessings,

René

Psalm 37 verse 23 and 24

 

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

Don’t Eat the Honey…

In the summer of 2001, we downsized and moved to a new house.  It was move #9….little did we know that we had 5 more moves ahead of us!  Actually, I’m thankful we didn’t know because God gave us the grace we needed each time ~ another post for another time!

So in this house, although smaller, was still a fairly large home and we were very comfortable.  We had downsized because we had started an animation company and were making loads of changes!  For the first few months we were very happy and pleased with the house and believed that God led us there.  I still think he did but that house came with a lot of baggage that we weren’t aware of.  Even the home inspector and appraiser missed it…missed what you ask?

BEES!!!

One day our sweet next door neighbor (they owned a local bakery and would bring us amazing french pastries almost every month!!) came over and said that they would appreciate it if we would take care of our bee problem before their dog ended up being stung.  I had no idea what she was talking about.  Bees?  In our house?  So, she asked me to follow her outside and we walked down the side of our home and there they were.  Hundreds of bees flying in and out from a small opening in the siding of our house.  That’s when I realized that I wasn’t losing my mind ~ our bed was on the other side of that same outside wall, and every now and then when I couldn’t get to sleep right away I would hear a buzzing noise!

So, I made some phone calls for bee removal and it is pricey!  And bee relocation was more than double.  Money was super tight…so we didn’t schedule anything right away hoping the problem would go away and we kept praying the neighbor’s dog wouldn’t get stung.  God answered our prayer about the dog….not about the bees!

In the new year we finally had a bee removal company come out and take care of the problem.  Before he started digging around outside, he had to come inside to our bedroom and take a heat measurement of the wall to see how large the hive was.  How large the HIVE WAS????  Say what now?  Thankfully he didn’t have to go through the inside walls because it wasn’t “too big.”

Next thing I know, the guy is dressed in his beekeeper outfit, trudges a few buckets and a huge ladder down the side of the house and off to work he goes.  I asked him to not bag anything until I could take a look at what he found.  Of course, I wanted to take pictures to show Tony and the girls later too. However, what I wasn’t prepared for was how absolutely beautiful that honey was!  It was glorious!

In a moment those bees went from being a nuisance (and a possible danger to pets and my small children) to being one of the most magnificent creatures God engineered.  These little insects that, according to scientist, shouldn’t be able to fly, not only fly but they help to create something as amazing as honey.  A food that has numerous health benefits and bottom line, just tastes good!  God created something so fantastic…and I couldn’t touch it!

That day, the bee-guy removed over 150 POUNDS of bee, hive, and honey into 6 huge plastic bag lined buckets.  I took pictures of the hive, which was almost 2 feet long by a foot wide; I took pictures of the intricately lovely honeycomb too.  I was able to keep a piece of it in a plastic bag and promised the bee-guy that I would NOT take it out of the bag and that I would toss it in the trash after showing the kids and Tony.  We all marveled at this beautiful sight!  Oh, and if we could have kept that honey, I could have passed out a jar of honey for everyone up and down our street, to our entire family, and still probably had enough to keep our little family in honey for years.  It was so sad.

To go through this process once is bad enough….you guessed it! Two years later, they came back and brought some of the Africanized Honey Bee friends with them.  We did not wait once we saw those little guys…”Hello Mr. Bee Removal Guy?  Can you come over again?”  We found out that our house was in direct line with a large bee farm that was over the hill from where we lived.

Once bees are used to a pattern, they don’t like to alternate from it.  That day the Lord showed me that when I am in a pattern of reading His Word every day and spending time with Him in prayer every day, I am less apt to alternate from His path!

Okay, so this second time of bee issues….almost 200 POUNDS of bees, hive, and honey.  Yeah…and the honey seemed to glisten in the afternoon sun even more than the time before.  Man, I gotta find those pictures!!

Can you tell I still think about that honey?

It was a brilliant amber color, twinkling in the sunlight.  It was rich and thick and beautiful!  And you could smell how good it was.  If it was bottled up, you could sell it at a Farmer’s Market for a pretty little penny.  It just looked so perfect!  But if I’d eaten any of it, I would most definitely have fallen ill and quite frankly, I would have run the risk of dying because of it.

Because it was a bee-removal process, instead of a bee-relocation process, there were chemicals used to extricate those little honey bees, the hive, and the honey out of my house.  Trust me…it was sad but necessary.

How many times in my life, in your life, have you gone ahead and “eaten the honey?”  You dated someone that was completely wrong for you? You spent money on something that you shouldn’t have? You allowed gossip to spill out of your mouth? You went somewhere you knew you shouldn’t be going?  And that’s just to name a few.

But what about those times when things looked great?!  You wanted something so badly, and believed that after praying about it that it was God’s will that you have what you wanted?  The suffering we go through when we have walked off God’s path for us, when we’ve allowed our pride and desire to blind us, causes pain for ourselves and often times for those around us too.  Don’t be deceived by how good and beautiful something looks ~ it may be tainted so we have to pay attention to where the desire came from or from whom is making the tempting offer.

In the Old Testament, Proverbs warns us in chapter 25, verse 16 & 27, how too much of a good thing will indeed make us sick, (16)“If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.” (27)“It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.”

I’d say that was pretty clear!

Having nice things isn’t a bad thing.  Driving a nice car isn’t a bad thing.  Having money isn’t a bad thing. Drinking fancy coffees in a posh little coffee shop isn’t a bad thing.

When those “things” become overwhelmingly shiny in the afternoon sun of our minds…that is when those things become a danger to our health ~ spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and yes, sometimes, physically.  Digging into God’s Word and eating the good food of His teaching is what will keep us healthy on many levels!

Psalm 119:103 is proof of this (and proof that God loves honey!!), “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”  There are over 60 verses where honey is referenced as something beyond good…but also something to be wary of having too much!

I would love to encourage you today that as you begin to ponder what that “thing” is in your life…what your “golden honey” looks like…stop looking at it as something that God is keeping from you.  Start looking at it for what the truth of the matter is….God is keeping YOU from that thing because He knows you will get hurt somehow.  He doesn’t want you to get sick, or get stung.  He loves you so very much!  AND…He will still be there to tend your wounds should you decide to go forward with your own plans too.

There is good honey out there ~ BEE patient and God will lead you to greater fulfillment of His riches beyond your wildest imagination!

 

Blessings,
René

Proverbs 16 verse 24

 

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

Peace is NOT Anxiety Management…

This past week or so, I was on vacation with my family and we had a wonderful time together.  Not only did I enjoy the fact that we were seeing beautiful parts of the TN and visiting family and friends that lived there, all five of us were together and enjoying spending time with each other.  Even with the unfamiliar humidity, it was a peaceful and relaxing time together! My daughters are 22, 20, and 16 and they are hilarious!  We truly had great times and they are so fun to be with! I remember traveling with them when they were little ones, and it is so challenging…so if you’re reading this and you have littles…hang in there!  You WILL reach a day when you don’t have to pack a stroller, diaper bag, three changes of clothes, and a pack n play!  But while you have your littles…enjoy those moments too…they really are fleeting!

While on this trip, I had the opportunity to go to two different churches with family there and loved how God gave me insight to even more truths in His Word.  Hearing from a pastor that is not from your home church, sometimes makes you pay a bit more attention because it’s all new.  The setting, the people, the worship team….I love seeing how God’s people come together with the main goal of soaking in knowledge and pursuing the truths of scripture, and making them a reality in their lives.

One of the pastors went through several verses in Psalm 27 ~ which I love!  Such words of encouragement painted a picture of hope on a backdrop of the fear King David was up against. The pastor was talking about what we do in life to combat fear and how we can allow the Lord to take away those fears and replace them with peace.

Psalm 27:3 says,Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.”

Psalm 27 verse 3

There are so many verses in the Bible that speak about peace (over 350 of them actually), but I believe that this verse above completely encapsulates what it is to have real peace in our lives.

It doesn’t say that we can be without fear and fully confident because nothing bad is happening to us or to those around us.  No!  In this passage, David was literally surrounded by an army of bloodthirsty jealous men and a King who was completely out of his mind, and their goal was to find David and kill him.  Why?  Simply because God the Father had called David to be the next King of Israel and the current King didn’t want to let go of his title.  You may not be crowned the next King of your country, but I would venture to say that the feeling of being surrounded by people who want to see you fail, is probably something most of us are familiar with.

The word peace means ~ “a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations; freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction,anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquility; serenity.” 

How do we get to a peaceful place?  If you think you can accomplish this on your own…let me encourage you to take a new tack.

We are not called to manage our emotions or feelings…nor are we called to keep them “in check.” When you have a relationship with the Lord as your Savior, we are called to give over all of our anxieties and worries to Him and trust Him to cover them and all the fears that go along with them.  We are not promised a stress free life, but we are promised life everlasting.  We are not promised a life without pain or struggle, but we are promised a life of grace and mercy, through the salvation we find in Jesus Christ.

So when we submit our fears to the Lord and truly allow Him to take them away from us and give us peace in return…remember that it is not peace that we have mustered up for ourselves.  It is HIS PEACE that we are given.

John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

This verse in John mirrors the verse in Psalm 27 ~ the Lord does not intend for us to walk around with troubled hearts and minds.  He knows that we will encounter incredibly difficult times and situations, but He wants to give us His peace so that we can endure those moments.

Recently, my heart has ached for those around me that I see who are ruled by fear.  This doesn’t mean they necessarily hole up in their homes.  Fear can present itself in the form of: control, anger, bitterness, regret, self-righteousness, or pride…just to name a few.  Honestly, I see right through these attitudes and know they are based in fear because I recognize them in myself.  I have battled with all of these negative attitudes and have hurt those I love.  It has taken years to repair some relationships, and sometimes only a short time.  God is good and He wants me to live a peace-filled life.

So because of knowing the pain of being controlled by fear, I want these friends to experience the pure joy and freedom of God’s peace, but I cannot force them to take His peace.  They have to want it for themselves.  Instead of being frustrated with how their fears manifest them-self, I must instead be in prayer for them and seek the Lord on their behalf, that they will one day soon give over their fears to the Lord and live in peace.

I love Psalm 27 so much, that I feel led to just print the whole thing out right here for you to read…and this is how I will end today’s blog.  Before you read them, I would like to ask you to pray and ask the Lord to see these verses anew and for Him to show you deep meaning in them that pertain to YOUR LIFE TODAY!  The Lord wants to show you how much He loves you, and He can accomplish so much of that when you read His Word. Soak in these words and let them resonate in your heart.

Blessings,

René

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
    and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
    he will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up
    above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent
    sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!

You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

    Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
    O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
    but the Lord will take me in.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.

12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
    for false witnesses have risen against me,
    and they breathe out violence.

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!

14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

 

 

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm+27&version=ESV

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/peace?s=t