Gimmee Cake!

Do you do this?  Am I the only one?  We just finished a really healthy dinner, low in fat and carbs, high in protein and veggies.   The dishes are done and the kitchen is sparkling so I skip on over to the couch and settle in for some TV with Mike.  About 20 minutes in I start hearing this voice in my head, screaming for a snack.  I need cake!  Cake is good, it’s carrot cake so it’s almost a vegetable.  It’s ok, just one little piece, it won’t hurt anything.  You know the drill.  The voice gets louder and louder as the minutes tick off.  Pretty soon I’m convinced the voice is also shaking me to get my attention.  I want cake!  I deserve cake!  I’ve been good all day and need a little reward!  Ok, so I give in and have just a little piece.  That’s when the real trouble starts.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 came up this morning in my prayer time.

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  4 “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.  5 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,”

Well then, that shines a lot of light on the problem.  The flesh argues, creates strife, anxiety and gets your mind twisted up.  Your flesh hammers at your mind bringing confusion and frustration.  Give me cake, give me cake!  Then, when you give in and shut that voice up, the devil swoops in to berate you and make you feel guilty and condemned.  Depression, negative self-talk.  He loves to grab our weaknesses and make them forefront in our minds.  But wait, here comes the flesh again gearing up to demand another snack.  Sugar after all, is addictive, and now that you’ve had some, it stands to reason that you need more.  So what do I do?  I decide that’s it!  I will just go on a diet and deny my flesh the satisfaction of unhealthy sugary goodies.  Sentence imposed, no more snacks, gavel down!  And what happens?  You guessed it, epic fail.  Now the devil is not only making you feel bad for eating, he’s berating you as a complete failure in life, doomed to be chubby.  And, the whole cycle begins again the next day.

God said He would never leave us nor forsake us.  That’s the Bible, that’s the truth.  So where do I go to find the answer to my fleshly dilemma?  The word of God.  I dig in and He is faithful to provide the answers.

The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.  This my friends, is a stronghold.  The enemy has discovered my weakness for cake and has created a stronghold from the lie that I can’t resist.  He bugs me with that till I accept that as truth rather than the truth that Jesus conquered all on the cross.  My focus is off, I need to repent and get my thinking in the right direction.

I need to use my weapons.  What are they?  The Word of God, the Blood of Jesus and the name of Jesus.  The Word is truth and like a sword, cuts off the lies of the enemy.  The Blood of the cross overcomes all evil, even death.  For we have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  I declare and testify that the Word is truth, the devil is a liar and the father of lies, there is no truth in him.  I plead the blood of Jesus and I am covered by that overcoming power.  Finally, I wield the name of Jesus and all the authority that name bears.  I have the privilege of naming the name that is above all names in Heaven and in earth.  In the name of Jesus, I declare I am free, I am saved and am provided for.  I am now equipped to cast down those arguments in my flesh and bring them to the obedience of Christ.

 

So the next time I think I need some cake, I’m prepared to do battle with my flesh.  If I sow to the flesh, I will reap weakness in the flesh.  If I sow to the spirit, of the Spirit I will reap life.  Now I know, now my eyes have been enlightened.  Now I get it.  I am not weak; I am strong because He is strong in me.  I am filled with the Holy Spirit and He goes before me and is my rear guard.  I will, in His strength, resist the devil and as promised in the Word of God, he will flee from me!  I have dominion over cake, cake does not have dominion over me and the devil can no longer use it to make me crazy!

Bless the Lord!

Earthquake

Have you also sensed this? I think a lot of people have. There’s a stirring, a rumbling, a shift about to happen. I sense a great move coming. It’s global and immanent. It’s deep calling to deep.
In the natural, right before an earthquake, there is a rumbling. It’s loud. It heralds the coming of the shaking. It’s a warning given a split second before the quake begins. It seems to throw us off balance because it’s so strange, but it warns us to take cover, to hold on, to seek immediate shelter.
An earthquake is a shifting of tectonic plates that causes the ground to shudder. It would follow then that a spiritual shaking is a shift in the very foundational beliefs of Christianity men have layed down to help them control their own interpretations of God’s Word. These are interpretations that became law, false religion, false doctrine, legalism or frivolous tradition. When these things are shaken, the core of the faulty foundation is exposed. That foundation cracks and crumbles under the weight of rules and regulations, works that have no eteral value. The rubble falls away leaving the true foundation exposed. That foundation is strong, reinforced and true and it continues to stand even if the walls of the structure are gone. Once the refuse is swept away, new construction can begin with bricks of truth, peace, love and freedom.
How joyful to be relieved of things not eternal! Shake me Lord, expose wrong and faulty foundations. Let the deep roots of my salvation choke out the crumbling bricks and mortar of wrong doctrine. Free me from my own made up things that seem logical, but are not of You. Build me up in your truth, your love and your freedom.

Resting in Precarious Places

I haven’t been here for quite a long time, but I decided to share this new one with you.  You see, I’m busily writing a book and that’s taking up a lot of my time.  I hope to have it published soon and it finds its way into your heart.  In the meantime, here’s one of my stories of the goodness of God.

Resting in Precarious Places

I was washing dishes at my sink one day and happened to look up and out the window. Just past the patio in the forest is an old fashioned park bench sitting between two big pine trees. It’s the kind of bench that has a wrought iron base and sides with polished and stained wood slats making up the seat and back. Laying full out on the very top of the back of the bench was a huge grey squirrel. I mean he was layed out on his tummy, all comfortable and relaxed, arms and legs dangling down the sides. I could not believe my eyes. For a moment I thought he was sick, but he was just sleeping there on the edge of the top wooden slat.

The Lord spoke into my heart that we need to be like that. We need to rest in precarious places; rest in His goodness and faithfulness. Most of the time my life is so blessed and easy, but then there’s times that test me and challenge me. Things frustrate me or grieve me but I have learned that I need to keep my focus on the Lord. He instructed me that it’s not as limiting as to just trust Him so we can cope. We don’t just go through the time of pain and sorrow or fear and worry trusting God to get us out of it, but we yield. We yield up our feelings, our flesh, our pain. We say God, I know that all things work together to those who love you. We say God, I know it is impossible to please you without faith so reveal to me the way I should walk in this season. Instead of my whining and crying about it Lord, show me every nugget of faith I can glean from my circumstance. I don’t want to learn to just cope, I want to be victorious. I want to come out with a testimony Lord!

Sometimes the Lord wants me to fight and stand, sometimes to just rest in Him. I know in those times that I’m in a dangerous place, not secure but wobbly and uneasy. He says, just rest in this precarious place knowing you are rooted and grounded in Me. My arm is not too short to save. You will not be shaken. Lay down beside the still waters and sleep knowing that there is joy in the morning.

Hope and Joy!

What is abundant life promised by Jesus to us in John 10:10? “The devil comes to steal, to kill and to destroy, but I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly”. Too many times we quote only the first half of that scripture to explain away a negative event in our lives. That’s ok, that’s what happens to us and it’s truth. However, I want to explore the second half. Abundant life.

I sense at least part of the answer us found in Romans 8. We have trouble and tribulation in this life. We are joint heirs with Christ IF indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified together. It’s not what you suffer, it’s how you go through it. Did you get that? No, there’s no condemnation here, this is encouragement. Faith knows to the very core that you don’t go through it alone. Faith knows that this momentary suffering will build character and perseverance. Every blow you feel gets lighter till you almost feel separated from the trouble because Jesus carries you through it. Faith stands in the hope of the glory Jesus receives from the tribulation. Faith anxiously awaits God’s hand in it. Faith doesn’t receive the evil. Faith in the magnificence of Christ, His promises and His love overrides the tribulation and the effect of it on our lives. You may pass through the fire but you will come out the other side and not smell like smoke. In other words, no hardening of your heart occurs, no lasting fear of being hurt again, no distrust of others. It’s not about you, it’s about His glory.

I’m not saying hide your pain and pretend everything is fine. I’m not saying God doesn’t feel your pain, I’m not trying to diminish your suffering in any way. On the contrary, I want to help you overcome the effect of it on your heart and to look past trouble and into the face of Jesus. The attitude of your heart makes the difference between wallowing in miserable self pity; bleeding the negative pus of unbelief and fleshly pride in your sufferings, versus the absolute knowing that God will deliver you. He delivers, He restores, He rewards, He knows, He feels, His love is everlasting. He doesn’t want you to be in pain or sick or suffering, and He will help you and He will receive glory. Therefore, you ARE free from sickness and death because He never fails. In this world you will have trouble, but rejoice! Rejoice! You are a joint heir, you are a platform for the glory of God!

When trouble comes, joy should rise up and overflow. Joy unquenchable, a fountain of living water, bubbling up and pouring out all around you. Yield to joy, cry out to the Holy Spirit to counsel you and show you how to overcome. Cry out for instructions, how to find the joy in the situation. Build yourself up in your most holy faith, read the word. Read Psalms, read the words of Jesus. Worship is the firm foundation. Begin singing the praises of God’s glory and faithfulness until you believe it without a bit of doubt. Sing till the tears of pain become tears of joy. Yes, it is for you, Yes, all the promises of God are yeah and amen for you.

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”. Are you “the called”? Ok then, all things are working together for good. The Holy Spirit will reveal to you how the Lord is turning what the enemy planned for evil into good. Because He who is greater is in you, you need not dread.

Hope is waiting for God’s glorious miracle and faith is knowing it’s coming.

Fringe

Fringe

I have bangs.  Someone once told me that having bangs is like having cute decorative fringe on your face.  Fringe is just before the line between hair and skin, the boundary line.  That boundary grows, receeds, is cut or curled up so it’s not always the same, but there is a boundary and it’s decorated with fringe.

And so, is life.  I have found that at times I walk the fringe doing just what I have to do to get by.  At times I get way inside the boundary lines, go beyond what I need to do, exert myself.  Inside the line is best but often comes with more effort.  Some circumstances require me to work harder.  They knock me out of my comfort zone.  Some circumstances are easy and just require me to hang out and rest on the fringe, aware but unaffected.

Sometimes it’s like that with God.  I feel like the Spirit urges me deeper into the center of God’s promises, away from the fringe.  The fringe is fine, it’s enough, but deeper is so much better.  I think there’s a choice.  I can choose the fringe where I know I’m safe.  I have a covenant with God, I’m His.   Even if I have to walk that fringe line, that scary circumstance, I know God will get me through it.  Or, I can dive into the deep where I know He will go before me, be my rear guard, He will fight the battle for me.  He will heal, deliver, protect and preserve.  It’s a choice between “enough” and “exceedingly abundantly.”

Psalms 91:1 says He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  For me, I want to condition my spirit and my flesh to choose to dwell and abide, not to walk the fringe.  We get to do that.

Walking in Power, Love and Peace

Good morning!  I was asking the Lord for understanding about some things. Some friends have suffered some pretty devastating blows recently and I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.  I heard the Spirit say to my heart, you must draw near to me.  Illness can’t come on Me, so if you are in my arms, it can’t get to you.

Psalm 91:9-10 says, “Because you have made the Lord who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling pace, no evil shall befall you nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.”

A commentary inidcates that the Lord is describing an abiding defense against inflicted disease, but the promise is conditioned upon making the Lord our true refuge and habitation.  The word refuge in Hebrew means a shelter, a place of trust.  Dwelling place means a retreat.  It describes a security of intimately dwelling together as in marriage.  When we make the Lord our refuge and habitation by trusting Him, taking our cares, fears and needs to Him, seeking His counsel, spending times of refreshing with Him and by loving Him closely every day, we enter into a sheltered place of promise regarding health.  This truth safeguards against making prayer for healing only a recourse for emergencies.

Now don’t get all condemned and start arguing.  That’s not my intent.  What I got from this and the rest of Psalm 91 is that God is complely merciful and full of grace toward us.  He wants us to set our love upon Him and as a result He promises deliverance and honor and protection.  He longs for us to stop and look into His eyes, to hear His heart daily, to dwell there.  I think this gives me hope.  I want to set my eyes on the Lord, to seek His face and share my life with Him.  I believe His promises are for me today, not some obscure myth that applied to people in a story.  So I press on, I want to apprehend what He has promised, what He has in mind for my life.  I want to go forward in the power and might of the God of Glory who sets me free and gives me purpose in peace.  And yeah buddy, in case you’re wondering, it really is for real, life doesn’t have to be a spin of a wheel.  The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord.  Thanks Father.

THE SLOW DANCE

THE SLOW DANCE

A friend asked me to make 2 large tailored box cushion slip covers for her L shaped kitchen nook bench seats. I got all excited and jumped all over the chance to do it. I’m pretty good at sewing so even though I’d never done box construction before, I was confident. The way I do things like this is to spend some time figuring it out in my mind because I’m scared to death of cutting fabric and ruining the project. Other than that, I trust my own process. Did that, made the pattern and cut it out. There’s a top, a bottom and a long center strip containing the 45″zipper, that joins them together. I encased piping in strips of the fabric and sewed that to the top and bottom edges. All that was left was to prepare the center strip and sew it in. At least that’s what the 3 tutorials on UTube said… I sewed the top to the center strip. Yay, awesome. I unzipped it and sewed the bottom onto the other side of the strip. It didn’t fit. The corners didn’t match up. I ripped it out and started over. Same mess. I ripped that out and figured what needed to be tweaked. But no. I ripped that out and at this point I’m 2 weeks into it and so stressed out I’m imagining in my head my friend hating it and ending our friendship. The mean little voice in my head is screaming, “failure, failure, epic failure”! There’s no more fabric at the fabric store, that was the end of it. There’s no way to fix it! I am completely mortified at this point so I humbled my no longer confident self and went to see what the local upholstery guy had to say. He was so nice to me, complimented my sewing and just suggested a few tips for making it all come together. He was so encouraging, just what I needed.

The next day, I was praying in the morning and the Lord just dropped the most awesome inspiring things into my spirit that I’m going to share with you below. I was writing everything down that He was pouring into me when He stopped and said, “Carol, by the way, here’s how you finish that slipcover”. So I ran upstairs singing His praises, sat down at my sewing machine and 6 hours later had a perfect cushion done! Perfect! Exactly what the Lord told me!

Praise and worship opens the door to revelation It gets your mind under control, your soul at peace and your spirit filled to overflowing with the joy of the Lord. Productivity follows. The focus has to be on God, not the project, not the problem, the calling or what you think you should be doing. If all your focus is on worship and seeking Him, His heart, His face; then He puts the ideas and the ability in you. He equips you.

Seek not where you’re going with God, just seek God. By seeking the project, I wasted time, I got confused and stressed out. I lost confidence and just kept striving only to fail. Sounds like the enemy to me. When I went back to getting quiet before God, worshipping Him, thanking Him for the trial and the victory that was sure to come; He revealed it in all His glory and grace. A trial, a failure, a redemption, a blessing and a victory! Blessed be God who always leads us in triumph whether it’s a sewing project or a life calling to do something way bigger than we can ever ask or imagine. It’s true that He does give us everything we need for life and godliness. Look for it. He’s in it.

The Lord showed me this amazing picture about living in the world today. “There is a difference between living this life by coping with the degredation of society, the demise of the family, the end of democracy, the sleepiness of the church, confusion, deception and your grief over all of it. There is a diffence between living with it and living victoriously through it. Seek victory. Rejoice! The only way to live in victory is to live in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit guides, protects and comforts. Look at the book of Acts. The Holy Spirit came with demonstrations of power. He hasn’t changed.”

“Ask Him to show you how to do everything. Stop trying to do things without Me. Condition yourself to do everything with Me, in Me. Step by step, missing nothing along the way. It’s a slow dance. We move together, glide in one another’s arms. That is joy overflowing. That is life and peace. Dance through life with Me as your partner and there will be no lack of anything physical or spiritual. Stay humble, let Me lead, I know the way.”