Truth Seeking

“I love those who love me and those who seek me find me.” Proverbs 8:17

One of my very favourite things to do that God has given me much opportunity for lately is sitting with young women and being able to encourage them in their walk with God and life. Some might say mentoring, I say listening. Some might say it is the stage in my life where I have a great desire to bring wisdom to them from what I have learned, I say maybe it is because I miss my daughters and being able to speak things into their lives face-to-face. Regardless, it is where God has me and I love it. It is not only listening to them but learning. God is raising up such incredible young people in this time. I am continually fascinated by how they think and the dreams God has instilled in their hearts and their desire for truth. This generation seeks authenticity. They inspire me more than they will ever know.

Recently one young lovely woman and I were talking about the One Word concept that I spoke of in my last blog. She had written me a note after reading my blog telling me how she had been inspired to try this and was so excited to share how God had so obviously confirmed it for her over and over. I am excited to watch it continue to play out in her life. We talked about guilt and shame and she wisely said that New Years resolutions are fueled by guilt and that is probably the reason they fail. In doing the One Word it brings simplicity and focus to what God has for us instead of 20 different new things to try. It is attained by seeking God and not out of guilt. The enemy doesn’t have to look far at the beginning of each year to try and get people discouraged. If guilt was their motivation for starting something, that doesn’t give much fuel to follow through on a resolution.

In fact there is a date people have been throwing around which is deemed ‘Blue Monday’, usually the third Monday in January depending on what you read. It is reportedly the most depressing day of the year. Do you know how this began? It was a calculation by a travel company to try and determine when their traffic would increase. The concept has only been around for 12 years but thanks for social media, it is like it is written in stone. The variables used in the formula included things such as weather conditions, debt level, time since Christmas and lo and behold time since failing New Year’s resolutions.

Are these factors somewhat valid for feeling a little blue at this time of year? Perhaps. Is it a little more difficult, especially in the northern hemisphere where this term is aimed at, to stay upbeat in the longer nights and freezing cold days? Yes. Do we dream of warm faraway vacations to break the monotony, I know I do. But it seems when there is an expectation of something we go toward that. As Pastor Craig Groeschel said,”Our lives move in the direction of our strongest thoughts.”

What if we renamed it Celebration Monday? See where your thoughts go between thinking of Celebration or Blue? God has been showing me that just because the world says things are a certain way, it does not mean it is gospel truth. This same young woman I mentioned above rebels against the status quo. I say rebel, not with a negative connotation but one that inspires others to dig deeper and not take so many things at face value. Our society has created an instant gratification mentality and that means wanting answers now and fast. In this, we miss the deeper things. We also miss the truth sometimes.

Pastor Craig preached about how often people reject God but it is not the true God, it is a distorted view of Him. I think our culture is so inundated with information that it is prime territory for the enemy to come in and just twist things ever so slightly to become something of discouragement rather than encouragment. Instant gratification creates a thirst that drives us to take endless sips of information cocktails. In that we have become drunk on  half-truths, lies and deceptions. We believe them for truth when they have just enough truth to entice us.

Pause.

The next time you hear or read something, pause and ask questions, read what Scripture says about the idea you have encountered. Bookmark it if you don’t have time right at the moment. If it’s truth God wants you to hear, you don’t need to rush through it. We also do not need to swallow every cocktail we are given. I hope you do that with my words. They are just mine, I pray and seek God and ask what to write but I may not always get it right.

1 John 4:1 “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.”

Ephesians 6:16, “In addition to all of this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

1 John 2:21, “I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth.”

1 Corinthians 13:6, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

Galatians 5:7, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?”

Where are you drinking from? Are your thoughts and information based on truth? There is only one place that will truly fulfill your thirst and He is the Truth and He will set you free. His love story for you is written in the Bible. Ask Him to show you His truth and seek it until you find Him. He promises you will.

Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

seek

 

 

 

 

From Dungeon to Deliverance

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

dungeon-56155_640

I used to live in the dungeon of envy. You know the place? It was nested deeply in the root of insecurity and slithered around my lack of worth. It would rise up uninvited just long enough to awaken doubt and nudge fear to join in. Envy took root on my wishbone and tried to launch a weak attempt at celebration for the person or thing that awoke this whole mess. This green-eyed monster wanted to take up permanent residence, it was comfortable in my dungeon. As I started to realize the more Christ was my identity, I saw how jealousy was robbing me of my destiny.

Envy – a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc. (dictionary.com)

Escape into contentedness and out of the dungeon needs to be rooted in who we are in Christ. What does this mean you might say? It requires these things;

  1. Acceptance of His forgiveness
  2. Thankfulness
  3. Aligning yourself with God’s truth
  4. Childlike Faith
  5. Repentance – Agree with God that you have sinned and turn away from it
  6. Interrupting thoughts and deliberately taking them captive to Jesus
  7. Peace – with yourself, others and circumstances

I realize these aren’t all easy places to get to but it is part of the process to get free from this entanglement and hindrance in your walk with God. I hear a lot of teaching lately about taking our thoughts captive and how we need to be aware of the thoughts that pop in to our head. We do not need to entertain every single one of them. It really is a re-training and in some cases unlearning of old patterns of thinking. Audrey Meisner taught it this way, that our old thinking is like a well paved highway that has created a neurological pathway or wrong thinking. Be intentional about interrupting those thoughts.

The renewing of your mind really needs to happen in God’s strength, it does take our cooperation but we cannot do it just by willing away the negative things. Only God can do this. We need to take them and say this does not line up with truth, this is the truth and ask Jesus to take them and as they go to do as the Word says, “Finally brothers and sisters, what is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.’ Philippians 4:8

Our circumstances may not immediately change but how we think about them will. God often transitions our heart before outside change happens. After all His desire is for our heart. He wants all of us. He is relentless in His love for us and that we know Him.

Changing our patterns begins with our recognizing that we need His help. My heart transition about envy, jealousy and their sister comparison has been happening for some time. Seeing it was killing my creativity was more recent and gave me a new urgency to be free from this spirit. God showed me that I wasn’t made to do what others are doing because I am uniquely made for His purposes. It is a new freedom place to celebrate others genuinely from the depths of me. People long for authenticity and the true heart of God is to love others right where they are at. An even greater challenge from Bill Johnson is to love people where they are at even if the mess they are in is self-inflicted.(Soak in that a while)

Sometimes our healing surprises us. Recently I was able to sit and listen to a dear amazing friend share how God worked in and through her and I spoke how honoured I was to listen to her. It never struck me until she thanked me that I truly realized God has done an incredible work in my heart. His love in me for people continues to deepen and I want to share it and remind them how special He has made all of us and there is a purpose for their life. We were made to celebrate each other and cheer them on and we cannot do this if we are pressed down with envy or comparing apples to oranges. Healthy community needs to be rooted in holding each others’ arms up because navigating this life is a hard enough journey.

Now will those thoughts pop in and try to get me to go down that well grooved highway of envy again? Probably, the enemy doesn’t really have new tricks, just ones that have worked before. I am learning as the thoughts come to bless the person that I am comparing to or wishing I was like or had what they had. I bless and pray and bless and pray, sometimes sending a note to encourage them and submitting my thoughts and feelings to Jesus. It sometimes still is an acrobatic workout to keep my mind stayed on Jesus but it used be like a marathon, so we are making progress God and I. Please join me in changing this world upside down like Jesus did by joining hands and seeing ourselves as we are in Him. Through this lens we can do what we were created to do, as we are.

 

Grace Growers

‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’ Proverbs 27:17

We all have them. The iron sharpeners. I know this verse is a reminder of our constant need for fellowship to encourage one another. It reminds me about the subject of community that I have spoken of before. I know in many stages of my life I would not still be standing if I didn’t have the cheerleaders God has sent to me. ‘And let us not neglect our meeting together as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that his return is drawing near.’ Hebrews 10:25

On the other edge of the blade sort of speak is where we have the grace growers. Iron sharpening iron consists of rubbing the two blades together making the edges sharper and therefore more efficient. This is true when two people sharpen each other with the word of God in essence fulfilling the law of Christ as they grow together more in Him. But have you touched iron before? It is hard, solid, sometimes rough and heavy, an element used in making metal and sometimes magnetic. It is also by definition strong and enduring.

The reference that I heard about grace growers is they are the difficult people in our lives, the ones that rub the wrong way but essentially are part of God’s plan to rub the things out of us that need to go. If you think of those people right now, do they feel like instruments for God’s good in your life? Although I heard this term in a different context, this is what Graham Cooke says, “God deliberately puts people around us who are meant to be loved by us. Oftentimes, we will have to be very creative to love them;  some of them, by design, are not easy to love. But those unlovable ones, ironically, teach us the most about God’s heart. I call people like these grace growers. They cultivate the grace in my life by forcing me to be intentional in loving them.”

I read recently that emotions travel 80, 000 times faster than thoughts do. I think then when it comes to grace growers it is imperative that I ‘do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Then I will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ as it says in Romans 12:2. The training of my mind to think on things that are true, right, pure, lovely and excellent will help me respond in God’s way to the grace growers. Emotion motivates thoughts and if I let that happen when I am rubbed the wrong way by someone, then my response is far from godly. Hear me say, this is a process and I am far from perfect in it but I can more easily recognize these people in my life and choose to bless them rather than curse them. It is fairly apparent when I reflect back over the years how God has sent me grace growers in different skin that rise up the same reactions in my flesh , that my lesson (s) are still  a work in progress.

Graham Cooke also talks about a concept called ‘moving in the opposite spirit’. When you move in the opposite ways of your sinful nature or say the sinful nature coming against you through your grace growers then you are moving in harmony with God’s ways and the enemy loses ground. I just listened to Graham Cooke’s Clothed in His Presence and it just affirmed all that I was speaking of today. I think I am done. 🙂 May your grace growers encounter God in your responses.