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What would happen if day in and day out you just never tried to do anything? By anything, I mean ANYTHING. You don’t pay attention to clocks and rise when you feel like it. You don’t go to work because you don’t feel like it. There is no showering, or grooming for you of any kind. You simply “step over” the trash in your home because you don’t want to take the time to throw it out and cleaning is just too much work. During the day you lay down some more, nap a little and watch TV, while of course sitting down on your trash ridden sofa. You eat whatever makes you happy for the moment and at night, or in the wee hours of the morning you retire to your disheveled, smelly bed to sleep until the next day begins…whenever you decide that is.
Some of you may be completely disgusted by the picture I just painted. But can I say that some who may be meticulous cleaners, organizers, and hard workers who never miss a day of employment sick or not, may also be living this kind of lazy-life existence? Sound funny? Well what if I told you that it is possible to suffer from emotional, spiritual, mental and even relational atrophy? It is. Proverbs 29:18 very clearly tells us that without a vision the people perish. So it is possible to neglect ourselves in the areas where most people don’t see. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Use it or lose it!”? It’s true. Just like our natural muscles suffer and degenerate with disuse so does our spiritual, emotional, and mental strength and acuity.
Atrophy does not only occur after disuse. It can also occur as the result of an injury. Have you kept yourself separated from others because you are “too busy” to make time for family or friends? Or is the real reason you avoid too much time with people because you have experienced hurt in past relationships and you fear opening your heart again to others. If you are nervous or anxious about building relationships here is a solution Paul gives us in Philippians 4:6 & 7. He says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” So in other words…Seek ye first… Matthew 6:33
Atrophy does NOT have to be permanent. Exercising the atrophied areas can build you up and make you strong where you were once weak. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be pain along the way. It happens, but we can grow through it and emerge stronger. When you work out for the first time in a LONG time you get sore. Even if you are normally a physical person you may have switched up your exercise regimen or done something that you normally don’t do. In the fitness world this is referred to as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). This pain can be alarming to a person who is new to exercise but someone who is used to exercising knows it and will be able to skillfully work through it because they know the soreness is part of a process that will lead to greater stamina and strength in that area.
Daily life makes it easy to neglect our health and growth in areas that we think are “unseen”. We are all busy but prioritizing is the key. For instance, how much time is spent watching television or trolling the social media sites? Could Facebook or Instagram stand a little less attention from you? Think about it. Could you replace ONE hour a week of social media time with actual human interaction? Could you attend a bible study or even sit down to read or pray by yourself in an effort to grow spiritually? These are the areas you can explore and only you (and God) know where you can give a little more.
Those who run marathons must train for this even if they are normally very physical. They must discipline themselves on a daily basis, watching what they eat, how much water they drink, and of course building their stamina for the race ahead of them. They push themselves to the limit and stretch the boundaries of their muscles and mental status keeping their eyes on the prize, the goal, the finish line. For some winning that race means crossing the finish line, no matter what number they are.
Others race against their own previous record. They want to push past what they were able to achieve before. For you and I…putting on those tennis shoes and making it to the starting line may be worthy of a gold medal.
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
You can do it…Flex that muscle…It’s time to DO WORK!
Written By Judy Smith
I have always struggled with the thoughts of my mind. My mind runs a hundred miles an hour and I have a huge imagination. As a child, I would use my imagination to escape. I was alone on the farm with my grandparents and there were no other children living nearby. So I pretended and used my vivid imagination to take me out of my pain. As I grew older I had to face reality and I toned my imagination down.
After becoming a Christian I discovered two scriptures to decree over my thoughts daily. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
We need to bring even our thoughts into obedience to Christ. We are to have a change of heart, and we must also have a change of mind. Obedience signifies attentive hearing and listening with compliant submission and agreement. We have all had strongholds in our minds. Strongholds are established ways of thinking that are contrary to the truth of God. This is why we are to take every thought captive. Behind a stronghold is also a lie- a place of personal bondage where there are unscriptural ideas, confusion, or an ungodly belief that we think is true.
Some of the weapons that pull down these strongholds are God’s word, the blood of Christ Jesus, and the name of Jesus. Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
When I war and decree and declare the scriptures over my mind, I see change. I am sure this battle will continue the rest of my life because the enemy will always want to rule our minds. Resist him. Satan has declared war on us and our minds are the battlefield on which the war is won or lost. Satan loves to place wrong thoughts into our minds; thoughts that are not in agreement with God’s word, hoping we will meditate on them long enough for them to become reality in our lives. We can cast down these wrong thoughts and bring every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.
Be thankful that you can choose your own thoughts and that you are not a prisoner to any thought that crosses your mind. Think good things that agree with God’s word on purpose. Think about God’s love for you, and the good plan He has for your life. Think about how you can be a blessing to God by simply being available for Him to work through. Thinking right thoughts will close the door to wrong thoughts and in the process it also closes the door to the devil.
Release the thoughts of worry. Matthew 6:27 And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure to his stature or the span of his life? Worry and anxiety manifest in physical illness and disability. It is one thing to know that we should not worry, but it is quite another to be the thankful for that truth, and then actually stop worrying.
Cast out the stronghold of worrying. What helped me let go of worry was realizing how useless it is. Let me ask you: how many problems have you solved by worrying? Has anything ever gotten better as a result of worrying or being anxious? Of course not.
The instant you begin to worry or feel anxious, give your concern to God in prayer. Release the weight of it, and totally trust Him to either show you what to do or take care of it Himself. Prayer is a powerful force against worry. Years ago we sang a praise song that said If I know the Lord is taking care of me what do I have to worry about? And if I know the Lord is going to see me through, why don’t I sing and shout? When you’re under pressure, pray about your need instead of fretting or complaining about it. Take those thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ!
Understanding alone will never bring peace. That’s why God has instructed you to trust Him, and not in your own understanding. Many of us have a voracious appetite for trying to figure things out, in order to gain a sense of mastery over our life. But the world presents you with an endless series of problems. As soon as you master one problem, another pops up to challenge you. The relief you had anticipated is short lived. Soon your mind is gearing up again, searching for understanding instead of seeking God.
The wisest of all men, Solomon could never think his way to peace. In Ecclesiasts we see that his vast understanding and wisdom resulted in feelings of futility, rather than fulfillment. Ultimately, he lost his way and succumbed to wrong thinking and began to worship his wives’ idols.
God’s peace is not an elusive goal, it is not hidden, and it is not unattainable. You are enveloped in peace when you are in His presence and in His word. As you look to God and draw near to Him, you gain a greater awareness of His peace and love. What do you have to worry about?
Written By Judy Smith
Believe- to as accept true or real; to hold onto religious beliefs.
Beliefs- something that is trusted or believed.
Sometimes we as Christians have a belief system, but do we really believe? John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
In my thirty years before Christ there were many who let me down and did not keep their promises. I didn’t trust anyone. When I welcomed Jesus into my life, I said that I believed, but I was still working hard to earn my salvation. I studied God’s word and prayed believing, yet I was still trying to fix everything and trying to make it happen.
Mark 11:24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. Did I really believe that I had received salvation? I began to search my heart. As I studied the scriptures I discovered that the disciples struggled with unbelief even after being taught by Jesus for three years.
Mark 16:14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. In Mark 9 the father of a demon possessed son brought him to the disciples and they could not cast the demon out. Jesus said in verse 19 “O faithless generation how long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me. In verse 24: Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord I believe; help my unbelief!”
I began crying out to Jesus, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief,” and thus began my journey to greater belief and greater faith. Let me encourage you to do this daily; and let me encourage you today through scriptures. Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Hebrews 11:1 NASB Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Here is the definition of faith for us to live by today: being completely assured of what we hope for, and absolutely certain of what we do not see. Though everything around us goes against that hope, we have complete confidence in God. We believe in God, and that He can do the impossible. Perhaps the question is “will He?” Does God love me enough to help me? The answer is absolutely yes. Even though God has shown His love for us in Christ, we must still accept His love by faith; fully believing that He will not fail us. God loves you, believe it!
Psalms 42:11 ESV Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God…
Every morning we have an option. We can either choose to be discouraged, or choose to hope and believe. It is a decision that remains in your power. We can govern our attitude, especially when meditating on the God who can turn everything around for us. Our circumstances need not dictate our mood.
Are you discouraged? Put your hope in God. Believe! He will certainly bless you. Psalms 43:3 NLT Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live.
Blessed is the believer. Luke 1:45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said. There is so much peace in simply believing and knowing that God will do as He said. Even at her young age, Mary knew to believe. Perhaps that is the reason God chose to bless her with being the mother of the Messiah, because her faith was so strong; she believed. Certainly it’s not always easy to rest and believe in God’s promises. When you believe- really, fully trust- that God will do as He says, you will experience a deep abiding peace, faith, and belief that bless you. You will know His presence and power in a way that will amaze everyone.
Lord Jesus we want to have Mary’s faith; the kind that believes the impossible. Thank you for blessing and strengthening our faith!
Written By Remaliah Evans
They say time heals all wounds… I beg to differ. Time is a band-aid that covers the wound. As time passes the pain seems to diminish, until we hear a song or see a photo that brings us back to that heartbreaking moment. And the pain resurfaces because the wound was never healed, it was merely covered.
A band-aid is never a remedy for a broken heart. A band-aid covers a wound but it does not heal it. A heart can be broken by betrayal, prodigal children, a departed loved one, disappointment over shattered dreams, a breakup, or a divorce. What do you do when your heart breaks?
My heart was first broken when I was sixteen and I was betrayed by the person I trusted most, the person who was supposed to protect me and love me unconditionally. I did not know what to do because I had never felt that type of pain before. I was confused, hurt, frustrated, and angry and I felt powerless. I knew that I never wanted to feel that way again so I made promises to myself. I said I would never trust anyone again, I would stop crying, I would never give anyone the power to hurt me like that again, and I would stop feeling. If I could just stop feeling then I wouldn’t feel the hurt, or so I thought. I built walls. Walls are another type of band-aid. They hide the wound, but they do not heal it. Walls are also not boundaries. Boundaries are fences with gates, so you can allow people in at your discretion. I built my walls with the intention of keeping everyone out, even though I secretly hoped that a trustworthy person would get a ladder and climb over the wall. That secret hope was immature and unfair because people should not have had to jump through hoops to get to know me. Jesus Himself knocked at the door of my heart and waited for me to answer.
My heart was broken several more times as the years went on and I kept covering up the heartache. I covered it with denial, inner vows, food, partying, and busyness- whatever I could find that would make the pain go away, even if the pain only went away for a little while. Then I rededicated my life to the Lord and started attending church. I was a hot, mean mess. And just to make sure that God and I were on the same page I told Him, “I’m here for You, and for You only. I don’t want to make no friends and I don’t want to be involved. I just want to get right and come on Sundays.” The plan was to stay isolated so no one could hurt me or see my brokenness. God had a better plan and despite my best efforts I ended up in a small group.
In that group God showed me through His word and through incredible friendships that He is love, therefore I must love. 1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. [S]he who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” When they taught on this passage, I realized I could no longer refuse to love others. Later the Lord showed me that my unhealed heart made it impossible for me to love unconditionally.
Finally I yielded to the process and I asked God to heal me. Together we are tearing down walls and taking off band-aids. He led me to support groups, counseling, and to integrous people who told me the truth. I am still in the process. This past weekend I was talking with a friend about some old dreams that did not work out and I started crying. I thought that I had already dealt with the disappointment; however the Lord showed me that I was still heartbroken. He is faithful and He reveals to heal. I used to refuse to cry, now I let the tears flow and I ask God to heal me because He promised me that He would heal my broken heart and bind up my wounds in Psalms 147:3. I have a long way to go but the band-aids are coming off. Now, I give my heart to the Healer.
Written By Lynn Waters
I have been recounting the fantastic Life Builders Conference we had with Havilah Cunnington. I didn’t know who she was until I listened to her “I Do Hard Things” series on YouTube. I enjoyed the series, learned a lot, and I was very encouraged by her upbeat ideas. If you attended the Conference you received her workbook and you can review the teachings on YouTube follow along with the workbook.
She has made it possible to take just ten minutes each day and be encouraged, because she knows how busy our lives are. She has four small boys and she ministers, so she is quite busy. If she can take to time to create the videos, we probably have time to watch them.
What is more, you can look at them as many times as you wish. They are there 24 hours a day. You can listen first thing in the morning before the kids get up or late at night in your pajamas after the kids are asleep. After hearing the teachings, I would go to bed thinking about how I can be a better person. WE CAN be better. We can all improve ourselves in some way.
Havilah Cunnington has various books, and videos on YouTube to choose from. This means you don’t have to stop listening to the fantastic speaker and have the Conference become a memory, you can keep it going for as long as you want. You can make it an everyday event and be encouraged daily.
We can encounter much negativity day in and day out, so it is good to add positive bible-based teachings to our lives. This could move us forward into new and positive areas and give us a brighter outlook on life.
Positive people attract positive people, and they are also likely to exchange great ideas, best practices, and ways to remain positive on a daily basis. Your positive disposition will also influence and affect your family.
I think we all want a happy positive life, moving toward what God wants for each of us. A life where we encourage others to reach their goals, and others encourage us to reach our goals. A life where we wake up each morning with a positive plan for the day, the week and the year. This more positive life begins as we spend time with God, and in the word of God.
A Poem and a Prayer.
by Ruby Heaton
What Kind of Praisers Are We?
Do we only praise God…
When the sun shines on us?
When everything goes our way?
When we get exactly what we ask for?
Do we still worship God…
When we fail?
When God delays?
When God tells us no?
Do we praise God…
When our dreams are shattered?
When people betray us?
When we hit bottom?
When we’re in the dirty dungeon
In the midnight hour
Can we still praise God?
Paul and Silas did.
You praise God,
Through hell or high water,
When you know who God is.
You praise God
When your memory is intact
Because you’ve trained and disciplined
Your emotions to stay out of the way.
You praise God
When he becomes real to you.
You praise God
When you’re fully submitted to him.
You Praise God
While everything crumbles around you
Because your faith is high.
You Praise God
When you know his voice
And you’ve followed it
So you know where his paths lead.
You praise God
Because your love is so deep
And you really believe.
Have you arrived at the place where you can praise God on the mountain
Or deep in the dark valley?
Have you arrived at the place where you have to praise God
Because that’s what you were created to do
And you’ve stepped into your destiny and power?
Prayer: God teach us how to worship you in ways that please you. Help us to always remember who you are and all you have done for us. May we long to worship you, so that praise is on our lips and songs come out of our heart. In Jesus name. Amen.
Written By Judy Smith.
If you think about it, we are stuck on planet earth until further notice, or as the hymn says, “till the roll is called up yonder.” I am so looking forward to that day, but for now I had better make the best of my time by choosing to pray and get unstuck.
Sometimes we stay stuck too long and then we take up emotional residence by getting comfortable and decorating that stuck place with “I can’t, I tried, and I don’t wanna.” We need the Holy Spirit to reveal why we are stuck, and we need the Holy Spirit to empower us. Repeat Acts 3:6 to yourself, “In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” We must keep walking!
John 12:35 Ask Jesus’ light to shine into your stuck places, “Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.” Let the Holy Spirit reveal to you why you are stuck, and He can empower you to change yourself and your circumstances.
Imagine what will happen if we step out of our routine and deliberately walk in His ways, and stop trying to do it ourselves. 1 Corinthians 1:9 NASB God is faithful; through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
I used to have an answer for most problems in life and I had much to say about almost any subject. I now have fewer answers because I have discovered that God is faithful. I say it because through experience, I know it is true, and I have discovered that it is true no matter what is happening in my life. My child is sick and I don’t know what to do; God is faithful. I lost my job and I don’t know how I will pay my bills. God is faithful. My husband has been diagnosed with a fatal disease. God is faithful! My husband has left me and my heart is torn in two. God is faithful!
Through my troubles and trials of life, and with my forty-four years of knowing Jesus as my Lord and Savior, my expectations are still high. If the whole purpose of my life is to learn to love God and to show His love and compassion to the world, then what He is doing in me is more important than what He is doing for me. I have discovered through many tears and struggles that if I bring every damaged, jagged edge of my life to Him, He will continue to mold me to become the woman I am called to be, and I will not be stuck.
Whatever is happening in your life right now, as your sister in Christ, I urge you mediate on these words of life: God is faithful.
Pray bold confident prayers. 2 Corinthians 3:12 AMP Since we have such glorious hope (such joyful and confident expectation) we speak very freely and openly and fearlessly. Jesus is looking for men and women who will pray bold prayers. We often pray, “now Lord, I just ask that You protect us. God if you would just help us in this situation.” These prayers sound as if we are afraid to ask God for very much. In this context the word “just” means barely enough to get by. God wants to give us exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to Ephesians 3:20. That’s something to be grateful for! God wants to hear bold, confident, faith-filled prayers from thankful people who are secure in their relationship with Him. Don’t be afraid to ask God for too much because He loves you and wants to do more for you than you can imagine.
When you belong to God, you never have to fear. He is stronger than your circumstances. He is stronger than any enemy you could face and His perfect love will always protect you.
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; instead perfect love drives out fear.
Hebrews 13:6 ESV So we can confidently say, the Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Ephesians 1:4 He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him, you also trusted after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory!
You are His beloved child. He chose you before the foundation of the world, to walk with Him along paths designed uniquely for you. Concentrate on keeping in step with Jesus instead of trying to anticipate His plan for you. If you trust that His plans are to prosper you and not harm you, then you can relax and enjoy the present moment. Your hope and your future are rooted in heaven, where eternal pleasures await you. Nothing can rob you of your inheritance of unimaginable riches and wellbeing. Sometimes He gives us glimpses of our glorious future to encourage us and lead us on. But your main focus should be staying close to Him. He sets the pace in keeping with your need and His purposes.
So get out of the rut and don’t be stuck! We have been set free by the blood of the Lamb! We are free indeed!
Written by Ruby Heaton
When I say walking the fine line, I’m talking about the fine line of pride. I grew up lacking self-esteem because of the way I was raised. My upbringing caused me to be extremely shy. Friends often tell me, “Ruby you’re really smart.” Sometimes I feel like I can do anything and other times I still struggle. Many people teach on building up self-esteem. While we must know who we are and what we are capable of, here is where the line can get confusing. We should be confident, but not overly confident. We should obtain knowledge and wisdom, while recognizing that our ability to obtain that knowledge and wisdom comes from God. We should take chances, yet tread carefully. We should let others know our strengths so we can assist, but not sound haughty. While we shouldn’t boast or be full of pride, we do need confidence to be bold. God’s word tells us to be bold and to have no fear. Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion. We need confidence to do many things, if not all, and we must present ourselves well.
I once introduced an acquaintance to a Pastor. What should have been a quick introduction dragged on as my friend listed all of his accomplishments, what he had done in the past, and his current endeavors. Not only was it not the proper time, it sounded a lot like bragging. The Pastor finally changed the subject, gently. I felt very uncomfortable about the whole situation, as I’m sure the Pastor did too. Later that day I wondered how many times I may have sounded like that when I only wanted to convey that I was qualified to help or teach.
There is a time to share, a certain amount to be shared, and it needs to be shared in the proper way. I forget who said this but I love it: Stay little in your own eyes. While we may indeed “stay little in our own eyes” it may look different to others. Maybe we want to connect or fit in so we say too much and it sounds like we think too much of ourselves. Maybe we have just won an award or accomplished something we really wanted to do, so we’re super excited about it and we come across wrong. Perhaps we are getting too big in our own mind and our heads no longer fit through the church doors. We should always go to God and ask Him to check us and make our motives clear to us. Sometimes we are the last to see what is going on with ourselves.
Join me in a prayer so we can make sure we stay in the right place.
God forgive us for anything that we thought, said, or did that wasn’t pleasing to you. Father help us to always see ourselves through Your eyes and help us to present ourselves as you would have us. Not as the world wants us to be, or family and friends think we should be, or even as we suppose we should be. Help us to be more Christ-like. Remove any wrong ideas and mindsets. Give us clarity and fill us with your wisdom. Help us to never try to take your glory. Give us wisdom and strength for each day and every situation we encounter. In Jesus name we ask. Amen