Sunday, January 22, 2017

Be Transformed: Keeping our Mind on Jesus

This past week, Romans 12:2 was my verse that I was to pray everyday. And I want to be honest, I didn't do it everyday like I wanted to. I allowed my mornings to be hijacked by other things I lost my quiet mornings. But as soon as I could, I was drawing away for prayer and meditation on this verse.

 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

There are several key words that continued to stand out to me, but the phrase, "be transformed by the renewal of your mind" played over and over in my mind all week.

I had to evaluate what I spent my time thinking about, what did I fill my mind with (images, words, etc.) and what did I spend my time worrying about. It all boiled down to my mind and what it is in it.

There are several scriptures where God is telling us what to do with our mind.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Matthew 22:37, And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

There are so many more, I'll let you look them up. 

So, what is the big deal with our mind? Why does our mind need to be renewed in order for us to be transformed? I'm so glad you asked!

The  mind is the core of our being. What our mind is filled with, determines what we do, what we say, how we feel, how we respond. Nothing in us can change until our mind is changed.

I love when I find a science connection to Scripture. I did a simple search on YouTube on the science of the mind and found a short, but fascinating video that explains how our brain works. 

Now I understand why I must fill my mind with the truths of scripture.  Now I see why scripture tells us to love the Lord with all of our mind. It matters so much! This is how I can know and discern the Lord's way for me. There is so much of the world blasting untruth that if I do not prepare my mind, I may begin to believe it.

So, what happens when we are transformed by the renewing of our mind.

We can know the will of God.
We know what is right and acceptable in his eyes.
We know God!
We are transformed!

Oh Lord, I know that on this side of Heaven I will never get it right. But help me to fill my mind with the truth that you are faithful, trustworthy and worth of all praise and honor. May I experience the mind of Christ through your promises and be transformed.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Trusting Him through the Fog

It is part of our human nature. The fear of the unknown. We don't walk in the dark without a flashlight.  Faith does not come natural for us. We struggle with it. We often push it aside because it seems easier to fear than have faith, even though the fears we allow to creep in can initiate a chain reaction of fear based actions. And then we have a whole new set of problems.

In my last post I shared how I am Praying with Anticipation in 2017.  Prayer is one of those ways we prepare ourselves to be ready for what could cause fear in us, but instead we choose to trust God. Prayer brings us into the presence of God in a way that nothing else can.

January 1st I was walking our dog Ruby early in the morning. It was very foggy. Visibility was just about zero.  As Ruby & I were walking, I began talking to the Lord, not expecting him to talk back.  I know...I'm still learning what this "praying with anticipation" thing is all about.

I was basically complaining about the fog.
Lord, this is a crummy way to start the new year off. Fog so thick we can't see where we are going.
And then He began to whisper to my spirit...

Look at that fog, he said. Let that fog serve as a reminder to you that I can be trusted, especially when you can't see what is in front of you. When you don't know what direction I am taking you, trust me anyway, because I am taking you in a direction that others can't see. They don't have to trust in what I'm doing, only you do. My ways can be trusted.


My head knows I can trust God. I know his ways are perfect.  I know he loves doing new and exciting things. But my heart often has a more difficult time believing it. And I am pretty sure that is why He has me praying Deuteronomy 6:5 this week.

Until my heart is completely consumed with the agape love for the Lord, trusting him will always be a struggle.  I don't know about you, but I'm so done with struggling!

Fill me with your love oh God. Make my heart so consumed with your love that trusting you is second nature, something I don't have to consciously think about because I just do it. Help me to not fear the foggy days, but to face them with courage, knowing that you are leading me and will make my steps firm. A-men

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Praying with Anticipation in 2017

Several weeks ago I began asking the Lord to show me a direction for 2017.  I was surprised at what he showed me.

I would not say that 2016 was a great year. Sure, there were plenty of blessings and great things that happened. There were many times I could see the Lord at work.  But when I think back on the year as a whole, it was a struggle. Not because we had so many trials, but because I struggled.
I struggled with God.
I struggled with our current living situation.
I struggled with my business.
I struggled all of 2016 and I shouldn't have.

It was not a year of submission or surrender. It was a year of struggle.

So, when I asked the Lord for a word for 2017 and he said, "Pray with Anticipation", I was a bit surprised.
Pray? That is what you want me to do? Don't get me wrong, I know how important praying is. It just wasn't what I was expecting. I realized that most of my struggle last year was mostly because of my lack of true prayer.

True prayer is not..."God! Why? Why? Why?" which is what most of my prayers were.
True prayer is pausing, praising and then petitioning.

So, then I asked, "What do I pray?" and he gave me 12 verses to pray.

I have decided that I am praying these verses, one verse a week three times a day. At the end of the 12 weeks either I will just start all over with the same set of verses or He will give me a new set of verses.

Can I just tell you that I already see a huge difference in my spirit. I am not struggling. I am resting. I am full of His peace & joy. I am excited about this new year. I don't know why, except that God has placed within me an anticipation and it is energizing.

Will you join me? Will you pray with me these scriptures? Or maybe the Lord has different scriptures He wants you to pray.  I know that when we pray his words back to him, He is free to do remarkable things through us!

He is ready to do something new! Are you ready?

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Because She Believed

I'm journaling my way through the scriptures leading up to Jesus birth this month. I started doing it last year but never finished and this year I got off to a late start. So goes my life.

It has been very refreshing and deepened my understanding of all that God did to prepare his people for His son. I love when the Lord gives me a refreshed and new view of characters in the Bible that I have heard about my whole life. The Lord brings them alive in new ways every time! I am ready to keep it going with a new book of the Bible after Christmas. 

And then there was Mary.

The Bible doesn't give us a lot of details about Mary. We have to make a lot of assumptions about her based on the culture of the time and the events that surrounded her. The character of God also gives us some very definite hints about her character because he chose her to play such an important role; being the mother of Jesus.

But this morning as I read my scripture passage I read it as a mother, expecting my first child.

I couldn't help but let my mind wonder into the mind of Mary on that night when Jesus was born.

Wait! I can't go into labor here! I want my mother with me! I need the midwives! I want to be at home! We are in an animal barn in another town with complete strangers! The Son of God cannot be born in an animal barn! It smells horrible in here! It is dirty! God, this isn't how it is supposed to be! My baby needs to be born in a quiet, clean place where I can protect him and keep him warm, not in a barn!

I don't really know if this is what Mary was thinking, but I bet a barn was not where she expected to give birth. I'm sure she had a plan for Jesus birth. I'm sure she had idea's of where the birth would happen. Her expectations were possibly all being tossed out with the straw in that barn as her contractions grew harder as the animals looked on. And to make things worse, as far as we know, Joseph had to help deliver the baby. That was not appropriate according to culture. 

Mary was a real person with real feelings and even though she had great faith, I have a feeling she also had a lot of spunk about her. Serious spunk! Her whole life she had to deal with people who didn't understand who Jesus really was.

She could have recalled scriptures read to her by her father.

"For I know the plans that I have for you, ' declares the Lord,' plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

"Many plans are in a man's heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand." Proverbs 19:21

How many times have I let my expectations of something or someone cause me to miss out on truly experiencing God's blessings. Many times!

How many times have I let my own plans get in the way?  Many times!

How many times have I become so caught up in the chaos around me that I can't see what God is trying to do? Too many times to count.

And because she believed...

But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. Luke 2:19

I don't think anything happened like she had thought. Actually, her life had been turned upside down for the past 10 months so I'm sure his birth didn't surprise her much at all.

Maybe that is why she was able to cherish it all in her heart. She knew who was orchestrating this world changing event. She knew God would do what he said he would do. That is why God chose her to be the mother of His only begotten Son!

Lord, give me the faith of Mary. A faith that is so solid that any plan I have is simply laid aside for your will that is always so much more exciting than anything I could ever dream.

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