Sometimes Jesus whispers to us, other times He uses a megaphone and shouts. Sometimes He says something one time, other times He pours a repeating message into my heart. Today’s everyday jesus story is one of those shouting, repeating stories. I’m so glad you are joining me today. I invite you to email me ([email protected]) your everyday jesus story so I can share it with others here. Let your story be part of encouraging others to look for Jesus in their everyday lives. #everydayjesus
I always know that Jesus is trying to get my attention and teach me something new when He starts repeating a concept. He knows I am a slow learner, I suppose. The first time it happened to me in a big way was many years ago when Romans 12:1-2 began popping up almost everywhere I looked.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)
Over the course of almost 2 years, these verses were burned into my heart and memory. I would hear them in sermons, Sunday school lessons, on the radio, in books I read. Flitter, I fully expected to walk into a public restroom and find them scrawled on the bathroom wall. That was how often I found references to them in everyday life. I could write for a long time on how the Lord has used those two verses in my life, but that is not the topic of today’s post.
In the past eight months or so, Jesus has brought an issue to the forefront of my mind. It is something that needs work in my life. My attitude toward this issue is sinful, and the Holy Spirit has begun to convict me of it. In the past couple of weeks, He has turned up the heat to near boiling point.
I read a blog post that did everything but call my name out on this issue. The writer of the post was new to me, but it was like she had been reading my mail. Then, I heard a sermon that related to it that nearly brought me to tears. Two days later, a Bible study video addressed the same issue, then two more days later two separate radio programs, aired back to back by different speakers……you got it. On the same topic.
Okay, Lord, I get it! I’m hearing you megaphone loud and clear.
Even as I went back and looked at what I just wrote…Romans 12:1-2….I heard the Lord speaking to me about this issue through those verses, even though this issue is not named in those verse. Good grief! That’s the beauty of the living and active Word of God.
So, friends, as Jesus has spoken to me, I must choose whether to respond or ignore His promptings. I’ve walked with Him long enough to know that the better part of wisdom is to respond, and go with Him on the journey to which He is beckoning me. He is calling me to repentance, healing, and wholeness in this issue. He does it for my good, and for His glory.
Image courtesy of Traci Michele – www.tracimichele.com
And by the way, my word for 2015….RENEW….well, this issue definitely pertains to being renewed. That’s my everyday jesus story. What is yours?
Today is Cyber Monday and I am running a special on Legacy Bible study workbooks all throughout December. Beginning today, if you purchase a From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest: Creating a Godly Legacy workbook from me (through my website), you can take advantage of my BOGO special. Buy One, Get One 30% off.
I have put a special button on the right side of my website that will allow you to take advantage of this Christmas sale. Simply click over to any post that I have written. You must click into a post to find the sidebar. Then scroll down until you see the Paypal section on the sidebar. The BOGO special is the 4th ‘add to cart’ option that you will see.
Well, what do you know? Here it is December! We have journeyed through a whole of the Word this year, and I hope we have tucked a heaping helping of it into our hearts. God promised that His Word would never return void, and that it would always accomplish its purpose. So, I claim that promise over these Heart Notes posts. Although the comments are few on them, I believe that God has used them in some hearts and lives in 2014.
Have any of these Heart Notes posts and/or printables impacted you this year? Were you able to memorize some of the verses? If so, how has the Lord used those verses in your life in 2014? It would be a blessing to hear from you, either in the comments section or via email.
Now, let’s get on to today’s printable and verse. The December FREE printable is festive and bright, and I hope you will print it off and enjoy it. Here it is:
Pride will destroy a person; a proud attitude leads to ruin. Proverbs 16:18 (NCV)
Let’s begin at the beginning~~with a definition of the word ‘pride’. For that we will turn to our friend, Webster. Consider it, please.
a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people
a feeling that you are more important or better than other people
a feeling of happiness that you get when you or someone you know does something good, difficult, etc.
Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pride>.
Definitions #1 and #2 are where the wheels come off the wagon in most of our lives, although #3 can also get us into trouble. However, let’s focus on #1 and #2 for today.
Now that we have defined pride, let’s go back to our verse for this week and plug in those definitions. I think it will be instructive to us.
Pride~~~a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people~~~will destroy a person; a proud attitude leads to ruin.
Perhaps the place we get in trouble here is that we feel we DESERVE to be respected.
Pride~~~a feeling that you are more important or better than other people~~~will destroy a person; a proud attitude leads to ruin.
I am greatly convicted by today’s exercise in plugging the definition of a word into a verse of Scripture. I have been guilty of pride so often in my life. That is why I consistently ask the Lord to show me any pride that hides in my heart. Just when I think I am free of pride, the Holy Spirit sweeps out a corner of my heart, and finds a crumb of pride there. I want to be faithful to do away with ALL pride in my life, because I want a consistently intimate relationship with Jesus.
Thanks for reading today, friends.
“My people have done two evils: They have turned away from me, the spring of living water. And they have dug their own wells, which are broken wells that cannot hold water. Jeremiah 2:13 (NCV)
Have you ever dug a well? I have not, but I can imagine that it is back-breaking, hard, hard work. I’ve dug a hole for a plant, but a well that goes deep into the ground? Uhh, no. I’m exhausted even thinking about it.
In today’s Heart Notes verse, we find God admonishing the Israelites (and by extrapolation, you and me) for turning away from Him and turning to other gods. He calls this evil.
In my 20s, I did this. I gave my heart to Jesus at 15 years of age. I loved Him with all my heart. Then, in my 20s, I turned away from Him, and ran after the pleasures of this world. I forsook the One who died to give me peace and joy in this life, and heaven in the next one. I tried to find joy in people and things that can never bring joy. I dug my own well, but it was broken and would not hold life-giving water. Joy could not be found. Neither could peace. I had done evil.
Then, in my 30s I came running back to Jesus. I was so thirsty for His living water, for peace and joy. He forgave me of my evil, and loved me completely. He offered me an unending supply of that life-giving, thirst-quenching living water. I never want to turn away from Him again.
Have you ever tried to dig your own spiritual well? How did that work out for you?
It’s Friday!!! Today I return to the keyboard to participate in Five Minute Friday ( #FMFparty ). #FMFparty is a writing prompt that is offered by Kate Motaung at her blog. She throws out the word, and dozens of bloggers write like mad for 5 minutes on that topic. Unedited, unscripted, raw, and real. Today’s word has taken me a bit to process, but as I have prayed, I believe the Lord has given me the words to write about the prompt, whisper.
I’ve heard the whispers almost my entire life. I’m 50, so that’s a passle of years.
Whispers that said,
“No, you can’t have that. It’s fattening.”
“That will make you fat.”
“We don’t eat that because it is fattening.”
It began at age 5, after I gained 25 pounds in one year…the result of finally having a throat that was not infected and full of swollen tonsils.
The whispers grew louder and louder, yet always a whisper because they came from the deceiver.
“You are fat.”
“No boy will want to be your boyfriend if you are fat.”
Eventually, I believed the whispers.
I decided one day, consciously or unconsciously, to do something about it. So I began dieting.
Then came more whispers.
“You need to be thinner.”
“You will get a boyfriend if you are thinner.”
“You will be more popular if you are thinner.”
Thirty pounds later, I was at my ‘goal’ weight of less than 100 pounds.
Marvelous, right? No! The whispers continued. They couldn’t be silenced.
Soon, I was passing out multiple times a day, weighing myself dozens of times a day.
I was in full-on idolatry and my body was my god.
Anorexia. Eating 600 calories per day was my goal.
I was half dead.
Then, one day a different whisper. One from Jesus. It pointed me toward a book.
“Tired of Trying to Measure Up: Getting Free from the Demands, Expectation, and Intimidation of Well-Meaning People” by Jeff van Vonderen.
Oh sweet mercy! Thus began my walk to freedom. Freedom from the whispered lies of the devil.
The voice I now heard was Jesus telling me that I didn’t have to measure up to the world’s standard. I was already accepted in the Beloved.
That still small voice saved my life.
If you would like to read more about my journey with anorexia, please visit my website. Here is the link to the first of a handful of posts about my journey.
I’m back. As you know, last week I took a break from the Heart Notes posts to celebrate my BIG birthday. I lived through turning ‘50’ and now am ready to finish June strong with our final two Heart Notes Scriptures. Join me, please.
Oh by the way, if you haven’t downloaded and printed the June Heart Notes FREE printable, here it is. Hope it is a blessing to you.
He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30 (NIV)
It is a difficult obedience for me…this becoming less, while allowing Jesus to become greater. You, too?
Both of us can’t be great…Jesus and me. It has to be one or the other, and the choice I make determines my entire relationship with Jesus. If I choose for Leah to be great, then Jesus has to take a backseat to ME. That is never a good outcome. In my own strength and so-called wisdom, I make poor choices, allow hurtful words to come out of my mouth, and give reign to destructive thoughts and habits. When Leah is great, it is all about Leah.
It’s in our genes, its how we are wired….for us to be great. We all long to be noticed, to be important, to be special, to be the one with hundreds of Facebook friends, Twitter followers, blog posts commenters, and parent of the year awards. Our desire is to be known…by someone, anyone, lots of people, that special person. It is a hunger that is never fully satisfied when we seek fulfillment outside of Jesus.
But, when we choose to become less, and allow Jesus to become greater, we lay down that desire to be the biggest, brightest, best, and most well known. Now, I’m not saying that Jesus will not allow us to have boatloads of Facebook friends, Twitter followers, blog post commenters, best selling books, and mom of the year awards. He just might, but only if we allow Him to shine through us. It is in that sacrifice of self in favor of lifting up Jesus, that we find true and complete satisfaction.
So, in your relationship with Jesus, who is becoming less and who is becoming greater?
Each Thursday, we have been talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts. Today, it is my honor to share my dance with this untrustworthy partner called insecurity.
Insecurity is like an onion. Every layer that is peeled back reveals something stronger and smellier. When peeled all the way to the core, we find Satan lurking there.
Insecurity cloaks itself in many disguises. Sometimes the insecure seem shy and reserved, while others are just the opposite, jealous for attention or envious of other people.
Although insecurity is not mentioned directly, I believe we find some consequences of it in James 3:16 (NCV).
Where jealousy and selfishness are, there will be confusion and every kind of evil.
Your area of insecurity may be vastly different from mine, but regardless of what insecurity looks like, it all needs to be dealt with. May I share from my battle with insecurity?
The Lord called me into a speaking and writing ministry in 2007. The call couldn’t have been any clearer if the heavens had rolled back and a trumpet-blowing angel announced it. I moved forward, writing a weekly email devotional and speaking wherever the Lord opened doors.
Eventually, I moved my writing platform from email to a blog. Suddenly, I was a small fish in a very big pond. I saw other bloggers who had more followers, and received more comments on their posts. Insecurity crept in. Why didn’t I have more blog followers and comments? I began to compare myself to other bloggers, and the jealousy and insecurity grew.
Other speakers received invitations to speak to larger groups, or had more invitations than I. More insecurity! What was wrong with me? I was a trained speaker who had spoken publically for over a decade. Maybe I was not supposed to be in ministry? I began to doubt my calling.
As insecurity and envy took root, my focus turned inward. I began desperately visiting many blogs and leaving comments, hoping those bloggers would reciprocate, and my comment count would go up. Sometimes it worked, and my mood rose like a thermometer in July. Other times, the comments were few, and I was as low as a snake’s belly. When I had a speaking engagement on my calendar, my mood soared, but when there were no speaking engagements on the horizon, jealousy, envy, and self-pity threatened to engulf me. My eyes were focused inward rather than on Christ, and my worth was based on externals. The more I kept my eyes focused on what the Lord was doing in the lives of others, the more insecure, jealous, and self-centered, I grew. That was a perfect insecurity storm ginned up by Satan.
Eventually, the Lord grew tired of my pity party. For about a year beginning in late 2012, the well of speaking opportunities dried up, as did much of my writing voice. At the same time, the Lord began opening doors for one-on-one, mentoring ministry. It was not what I had asked for, nor was it where I felt my strengths lay. Thankfully, I was wise enough not to fight the Lord on it. I remember one day when, with tears in my eyes, I bent my knees before Him and said, “If I never speak again, if I never write another word, help me accept that plan as good, and as coming from you. Whatever ministry you have for me, help me be pleasing to you.”
My focus turned from myself to college-age women, and I felt the smiling nod of God upon me, once again. The more I sought Jesus in that ministry, the more I was okay with not having speaking engagements. I became content in the circumstance the Lord ordained for me. Insecurity and self-centeredness fled as I fixed my focus on Jesus. Jealousy was replaced by the desire to encourage others in ministry. Interestingly enough, as I bent my knee to God’s plan, my writing voice returned, and the opportunities to speak began presenting themselves again.
Satan’s tools are insecurity, jealousy, and self-centeredness. Your area of insecurity may not be ministry related. It might be finances, marriage, job, children, physical appearance, emotional stability, social status, spiritual maturity, or any one of a bazillion other areas. Whatever it is, by the power of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, you can live above insecurity, if you keep your eyes focused on Him, and your knees bent in submission to His plan. I am living proof that it can be done.