F-O-C-U-S

 victory in Jesus

 

FOCUS…For such a small word, it packs a powerful punch.  So many of us are needing focus in our lives. That word seems to be the theme word for my prayer group/Bible Study. We all ask for things that are dear to our hearts but I am amazed that we all are asking for focus in one way or another. As I sat this afternoon and really thought about this stage of my life I would have thought that I had a better grasp on my focus. There are days where I have my to-do list and I have no problem getting it done and then there are days where I’m dragging just to get the dishes washed. Those days will come and go throughout our lives at any age and at any given time. It’s during those cloudy times that we really need to ask for help. There are circumstances that can cause us to lose our focus entirely on God. When that happens we feel very lost.

In the last two years I’ve been diagnosed with a kidney disease. I’ve gone from full-time employment to part-time. I gave up my part-time job for something bigger and better and that didn’t work out. I’ve been on all sorts of medications and now I’m unemployed. It has been very hard to keep my focus on track.

What would your definition be of the word F-O-C-U-S ? Really, ask yourself what that small powerful word means to you.  I have broken that word down into something I hope will help you…

F=Faith

O=on

C=Christ

U=Under

S=Stress

No doubt that our faith can waver from time to time. We all have things that happen to us to cause us to lose our faith in Christ. There is a lot of tragic stuff going on in our world around us, in our jobs, in our families in our heart. Life is at such a frantic pace now that no sooner do we finish one task than we have to start the next but we can’t focus because we are exhausted. Sometimes I’m juggling the writing of articles which makes it difficult to appreciate anything I create. I don’t want to live my life that way but I have a hard time putting the brakes on unless I’m forced to through my illness. God knows how to get my attention.

In order to get and keep our focus, we have to remember to take a break. In Genesis God took a break and the first thing Adam and Eve did was to rest and enjoy God’s presence.  “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” Gen: 2:2 AMP

Maybe you need to ask yourself if you are running ahead of God or if there is an area in your life that is out of balance? I know there are a couple of areas in mine and trying to keep it all in check is hard, very hard.  I don’t normally try to memorize any scripture in the Amplified version of the Bible because it’s more wordy but lately I’ve been reading and re-reading Isaiah 40 and trying to make it more personal.

But…Beth, if you trust in me, you will find new strength. In fact, you will rise up and soar like an eagle. You will walk and run without getting worn out, But those who wait for the Lord {who expect, look for, and hope in Him} shall renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up {close to God} as eagles {mount up to the sun}: they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not fait or become tired.40:31

 

F-O-C-U-S…We will find our strength, we will wait for the Lord and put our hope in Him…I love the next part; they shall lift their wings and mount up CLOSE TO GOD…We will stay in focus if we keep our focus. If you are angry, get your focus on HIM. If you are sick, get your focus on  HIM. If you have lost your job or are struggling financially, get your focus on Him. HE will allow you to come close to HIM and we will not become fait or tired. Thank you Jesus!!!

Are You Wining Again? It’s Okay!!!

coffee

Do you have words that heal the blues? I have some friends right now that are really struggling with some serious stuff and I don’t know if I have the words to help them heal their blues and, their blues are BIG BLUES. But, God, I have big blues too!!! What about me?

Oh my Beth, get out of your own pity-party because it aint working!!! Have you ever been there? You can help others but you want to just scream out, What about me!!! I don’t in any way try to be Joyce Myer when I say that either; although her robot motions are kinda tempting. I love listening and helping people and I love sipping coffee with friends who just need someone to lean on. I am good at that. What I am NOT good with is sharing my nitty-gritty with others. I want to, but sometimes I feel like a broken record. Been there? You’ve got all of the advice for others but can’t apply it to your own issues?

Well, through the love of Christ and some very loving gals and very supportive mom along my lifetime path, I’ve learned how to share my issues with my most trusted friends and family. I’ve learned that it’s okay to have a bout of the not-wanting-to-be-a burden-to-others but I can’t stay there. That is a dangerous place to camp out. God has gifted so many us to share His love to others that need it just at the right appointed time. There is no need to feel ashamed, shy, or undeserving of help from others. After all, isn’t it just our stinkin pride that gets in the way?MP900385327

My inner self knows when it’s time to reach out and call/text a friend for help or email my prayer group for a prayer request. Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am with them.” Matthew 18:20 NIV. I don’t know about you but I want God included in my request.

I am incorporating something new into my time with God in the morning and at night that is really helping me.  I first get my wining out. I cry, stomp, and am cranky for a few and let it all out like a nasty cut discharging infectious puss. Ewe; gross!!! Then I quiet myself with some meditation.

I’ve been dabbling with some meditation; NOT to rid my mind of things, but rather to slow down my mind for God. I have applied a mantra to my quiet time with God. I repeat the word Abba. That word to me says it all; the intimate term for God the Father. Then I thank God out loud for the blessings of my day. Yes, it is hard at times to find them or I’m so tired that I’ve missed them; but I manage to get a few out of my mouth and then there are times I can’t stop thanking God for my overflowing blessings. Most often this is only a ten-minute slow-down trip with God, who deserves so much more, but I always hear Him whisper, “Be still and know that I am God.”letting go

Oh Lord, quiet our troubled hearts and minds so that we may have special meditative time with you. Help us to not be so humble that we can’t ask for help; for prayer; for whatever it is that we need. I love you so much and thank you for the mighty work that you are doing in my life. I thank you that you don’t yell at me when I start to whine. You are so good and loving.

Decisions! Decisions!

Holding Glasses over Bible

What do you do when you’re faced with an important decision to make? Growing up my father would read the Sunday version of the New York Times from cover to cover. He was a journalist for a huge company in New York City and following the current news was important to his job. I remember watching him always making lists of pro’s and con’s before making a decision on how he would respond to an article or for that matter, whatever decision he was facing.

One particular Sunday I asked him, “Dad, why do you make lists like that?” He replied, “Because it helps me decipher how to respond. I don’t want to rush into a decision before weighing the options.” Once my dad had his list in front of him, he would sit and stare and ponder. Was he praying? Probably; my dad didn’t make any quick decisions that I can recall. Did he make wrong decisions? Yes, we all do that. I believe he was bringing his list before the Lord and waiting for His wisdom.

We can go back to the Bible and see how some of God’s chosen waited on HIS word; waited on his prompting and then acted out in faith. I think of Noah, Abraham, Daniel, David and several others. I can just see it; they wrote their pro’s and con’s on a tablet and placed them before the Lord; well, not exactly but they all had their moments of seeking, pondering and then total surrendering to God’s direction.

The book of Proverbs is a fantastic place to camp out when you are trying to seek God’s direction. This melodic book is filled with words of wisdom. One book in particular that stands out to me today is Proverbs 25:8…Don’t take a matter to court hastily; otherwise what will you do afterwards if your opponent humiliates you? I once took a job where I did not think about anything but the money and growth…never prayed about it…never made my list…and it ultimately led to humiliation, compromise and loss of employment. I just jumped before thinking.

What decision do you need to make? The greatest moments in our lives are the moments when God intervenes on our behalf and blesses us way beyond what we expect or deserve and that is from seeking, walking in faith and loving Him. However, the flip side to that is to be careful not to step into something just for the rewards. It doesn’t work that way. God is a humble God and I am continually reminded of his sovereignty.

THERE MAY BE A VISION BEYOND YOUR DECISION!!! TRUST!!!

Dear Father, I pray for wisdom. I want to always put Your will first no matter what. Forgive me when my faith lacks and my actions do not reflect who I am in You. I give all anxieties into Your hands and leave them there. Thy will be done. Amen.

 

Join us as we discuss how to handle decisions. Join us at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-by-grace.

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Who Give You the Right?

no tresspassing

What gives people the right to trespass? Many do every single day. Many have no boundary line; they trample, stomp on and push aside others to get what they want. They somehow feel they have the right-of-way. What is the point of a “no-trespassing” sign if we are going to do whatever we want? What does trespass mean? It means to break a moral or social law and to commit a sin. (Bing Dictionary).

Let’s discuss a Biblical character who felt he had the right to trespass on Jesus. His name was Judas Iscariot; the betrayer; thief and yet a disciple. Judas deliberately took money from the chief priests to betray Jesus. He trespassed on Jesus even after he broke bread and sang songs with him. The result; Judas committed suicide because he couldn’t deal with the remorse of such a betrayal. As Christians, we are all called to be Disciples of Christ but we are all tempted to trespass as well.

A few modern-day examples trespassing on others, reminded me of this very person. There was a woman who felt she had the right to trespass on another woman’s life and it not only caused her a job but cause her to sink into a deep depression. Doesn’t the Bible say bring your issue before the person and if that doesn’t work, get the elders involved etc.? Who has the right to trespass like this?

A parking space is open under a car-port. There are assigned car-ports in the neighborhood but even though the sign says, “private-property” a person takes it upon herself to give that space out because the owner never parks in it. Who gives her that right?

A mother gets called into a school because her son has done something wrong. Instead of the mother taking action with the son, she jumps all over the principal in front of the son. Who does the mother think she is? Why does she feel she has the right to do that without any facts?

What gives us the right to encroach on someone or break a social law? We all do it to some degree. Why? Weather we know it or not, at the time, we are thinking evil thoughts. There are scriptures that focus on keeping our eyes on Jesus. Another words; if you focus on the evil; you will be tempted and probably will do evil. If you focus on Jesus; you will do good. The deep root of this is that we should be transformed by filling our minds with the fullness of Christ and thinking at the highest level of our potential in Him.

We don’t have the right to give out parking spaces; rat on co-workers for self-fulfillment; yell at a principal or betray a trust for our own purpose. Think of your words; think of your actions. Don’t be a Judas Iscariot by getting greedy and think only about yourself.

Words matter: you have more power over other people than you may have ever imagined. Your words can cause someone to get fired, someone to sin, and someone to go right down into the dark hole you’re living in. You have the power to either spark enthusiasm or to kill it; to build confidence or to destroy it; to foster peace or to steal it. Your words are not something you have to purchase either. You have the power to say what’s right. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer?” Psalm 19:14.

Think about the Lord’s Prayer: “And forgive those who trespass against me.” He has forgiven you. The difference between Judas Iscariot and us is that even though he felt remorse for trespassing on Jesus, he never asked for forgiveness. We don’t have to do that. When we hurt others we can come before the throne of God and simply ask for forgiveness . But the next step is even harder; go to the person you’ve offended and ask for their forgiveness as well. It’s harder to do because they don’t have unconditional love for you like Jesus does.

 

Do you owe someone an apology?

 

Did you do something to someone that you should not have?

 

Are you afraid to ask for forgiveness?

 

You can go to Christ for help. He will forgive and then give you the strength you need to ask others for forgiveness.

 

TRESSPASS: You don’t have the right! Judas did not have the right? He didn’t ask for forgiveness; You can!!!

God today I ask that if someone reads this meditation and feels they need to ask for forgiveness, You will give them the strength. You will show them the way and the truth and the light. Lord, if there is someone that needs to take their actions further by asking another for forgiveness, I pray that they will carry your Spirit with them. God, if there is someone I need to go to please show me and humble me to do so.

Morning Texts

I wanted to post this earlier today but I had to take advantage of the most-needed date day with my husband, Dale.  Now that I am refreshed, our marriage has had a face-lift, here it is.

I quickly responded to the text this morning. “You are going to be okay in the Name of Jesus.” My heart went out to two very special women in my life this morning. I couldn’t get them off of my minds.

Sometimes we just don’t understand what in the world is going on with our lives. We lose jobs, we suffer chest pains, we lose a loved one, house goes on fire and so much more. So many questions for God and so many times we can’t help but get angry or frustrated with Him for not meeting our expectations.

In reality the heart of the problem is that we don’t really know who God is and we don’t understand His ways and His timing. When I text my friend this morning who is going through a most difficult time I honestly meant it. I said, “I wish I knew. Why was I diagnosed with a kidney disease? Why was I fired? Why are their tax issues with my husband? Why were there so many adjustments in my life and the list goes on and on. I have gotten to the point in my life that the “why” doesn’t matter but rather the survival does.” I further went on to explain that there are going to be times in our lives that we just don’t get it.

I’m not saying we should toss in the emotions and give up; just the opposite. God doesn’t want us to give up. I think we need to embrace the emotions but try our hardest to step over them and grasp God’s perspective on our lives. As soon as I remember, it’s HIS way or the highway; I’m in a better emotional state.

I don’t say that to in any way insinuate that God is this abrasive man who is smiting us. No he hasn’t left His sovereign throne and he has not changed the position of his out-stretched arms. You can be overwhelmed with grief, in such anguish, such despair; such confusion that you felt you couldn’t go on. It’s okay. Please dear ones, you can rest in the knowledge that even when bad things happen, God is always there. His is always in charge. Although he may not always deliver in the way you expect, you will find His grace sufficient.

Psalm 34:4-6…I sought the Lord, and He answered me,

And delivered me from all my fears.

They looked to Him and were radiant,

And their faces will never be ashamed.

This poor man (woman, Beth) cried, and the LORD heard him/her/me

And saved him/her/me out of all of his/her/my troubles.

Oh what a comfort to know that he’s saving me every day. Every day I can embrace God in faith. I know He cares and has unconditional love for me and for you.

PRIVATELY

 

MH900409444

 

 

 

While I was re-reading chapter 11 of the book of John, I set my attention on vs. 28. There is always purpose in God’s Word, Always! I have gone over it again and again and there was ONE word that stuck out in my mind; PRIVATELY. When Martha, you know, the busy gal, alerted Mary of Jesus’ arrival at the house, Martha PRIVATELY spoke to her. The image in my mind would be this. Mary is grieving over Lazarus and Martha is respecting Mary’s emotions. She finds out Jesus is at her door, but instead of yelling from the kitchen while preparing the bread, “Hey Mary, Jesus is here,” she stops what she is doing and PRIVATELY goes to Mary. She gives up what she was doing for Mary.

With our society and technology now, there is no such thing as privacy. Everyone feels they have the right or need to share what they want with the world via, facebook, Pintrest or other forms of social media. I’m not knocking down social media because there is a lot of good there, however, what has happened to PRIVACY; between friend to friend, sister to sister, employer to employee? Do we always have to let the whole world know when something is happening? Are we seeking validation? Yes, we are.

Martha was respecting Mary’s raw emotions and was very private about the whole situation. I believe that each woman in their own unique makeup, were made to serve Jesus. One woman was more outgoing, more physical and ready to go, go, go while the other was to sit at the feet of Jesus and just listen. There are times that God is going to pull us into a ministry and although we feel unprepared, He is preparing!!! He may ask us to talk to a friend, send a letter, give a hug, make a meal, clean a kitchen, watch a child; the list goes on and on. But what we are to do with the assignment is to stay PRIVATE about it. Don’t shout across the internet or even across the room that you were somewhere to help a person because God called you and you were obedient. How PRIVATE is that?

Jesus loves the Mary and Martha in each one of us ladies. He loves when we are busy for him and when we are sitting at his feet listening to his word and praying. As women, how many of us go into Superwoman Syndrome; we think we should be able to do it all, all by ourselves. I have no idea if Mary and Martha thought that? My confession: I desire to stay home but work part-time because being home is not acceptable at my age. I’m not at retirement age! I MUST contribute financially but how can I write if I go to work? The syndrome goes on and on. Did Mary and Martha feel they had to rise about on the days when they felt sick or did they suffer from feeling weak, inadequate, and vulnerable?

There again, they were probably much more PRIVATE with each other and didn’t blab to other women that they had just spent the whole day with Jesus, and then asked, What did you do today? Look at us today gals. Are we comparing our self-reliance in what the public media dictates? As true servants of God, aren’t we supposed to be more PRIVATE and be okay with staying home or going to work? Mary and Martha saw their true worth and value in Jesus; not in putting pure oil on Jesus’ feet or preparing a meal.

The few points that I want to drive home to women, and did this in a round-about way is I want each of you to realize that you are unique, created in the image of God and He loves each one of you the way that you are. The other is that when you are obeying Jesus, don’t blab to your prayer group, your Bible class or your mother all of the good you did for the Lord. I so often have to remind myself that it’s not what I do; it’s what He does within me. I am only the messenger/vessel. I will close with John 12:26…Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And, the Father will honor that.” Just be where God wants you to be, privately loving Him and serving Him.

  • Center yourself and meditate on difference between Mary and Martha. See how loved they were by Jesus.
  • As you breathe, simply allow the Holy Spirit to flow through you, reminding you that it’s okay to NOT be superwoman. Allow each breath to take you deeper into that long-awaited PRIVATE moment you are about to have with Jesus.

Oh Dear Lord, as I write this my eyes fill up, crying out for myself and other women who feel they are not complete when at home or worthy when they are trying to be a superwoman but are unsuccessful. Lord, I thank you right now that I am unemployed so that I may learn more about you and what you have in store for me. Lord, calm our anxious hearts as we try to hold onto the YOU in each breath we take. Amen.

Hurdles

 

hurdles

I was never a runner much less a hurdle jumper. I tried it a few times in high school but was never able to get my short stubby legs over the hurdle without falling. They gym teacher would make me continue to try over and over until I was able to finally jump one, then two, then several. Did I fall? Oh yes, several times. If it had not been for my gym teacher being persistent with me, I would never have succeeded.

Sometimes in our lives, we have to be persistent and jump some pretty high hurdles in order to succeed. Some hurdles are more subtle than others but this I guarantee; there will always be hurdles. Stepping forward, jumping hurdles for Christ may mean exploring some unconventional choices regardless of other people’ reactions.

Think about the hurdles that Jesus had to jump during His ministry. When He was in the desert clarifying His intentions, he resolved to take his mission into the world. He too probably asked how he would do this and where to begin. Pretty big hurdle and he had no formal education, no wealthy or influential family behind him and…some of his family appeared to have regarded him as somewhat volatile, even mad. Mark 3:21 “He’s out of his mind”.

Jesus was always clever on his feet, capable of withering remarks. Jesus continued to press against the boundaries of taste and received wisdom, angering many who heard him, which set the stage for eventual arrest and execution. The accounts of the trials of Jesus face into a textual storm, as the four gospels harmonize badly there. Hurdles, hurdles, hurdles.

Our quest is to move forward jumping hurdles for Christ. When we jump though, make sure you are holding onto the savior’s hand. Make sure the jump gives you a newly sought after path from Him. The hurdle is just the block, the path is the destiny.

What hurdle are you trying to jump? Is there something on the other side that Jesus is calling you to? Seek ye first the kingdom of God. Join us today as we discuss jumping hurdles of life at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-by-grace.

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