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Muck Boots

Muck boots.

Muck boots and laughter.

Muck boots, laughter and deep mud.

I can still hear the sound of my daughter and her best friend stomping in the mud on a cold November day. The37363764_s rest of us enjoyed the warmth of the bonfire as we listened to the Apple Cup football game on the radio.

Those two were having so much fun in the deep mud. However, the fun came to an end when they got stuck. The more they panicked trying to get out, the more stuck they got. At the bonfire we could hear the sound of the girls yelling for their dads to help them.

Both of the dads ran quickly to help the girls. They carefully positioned their feet so they would not get stuck themselves. They had to pull as hard as they could to get the girls out of the mud. One of the girls lost her boot because the mud refused to loosen its grip. Their dads were stronger than the mud that had its grip on them.

What started out as fun, led the two girls to be trapped in a place that only their fathers were strong enough to pull them out of. No matter how old we are we may find ourselves playing in the mud in a different way.  Pornography, unhealthy sexual relationships , drugs, and excessive drinking are just a few ways you can find yourself stuck in a mess you never wanted to be in.

If you are stuck in a place you don’t want to be, call out to God. No matter how much mud you may find yourself in, God can pull you out of it and clean you off. Tell Him you need His help and He will be there. He will make you white as snow when you ask Him for forgiveness. Also, ask someone you trust for help. Go to them and be honest about what is going on. Tell them you need prayer and accountability. You might even be surprised to find out that they may have stepped in their fair share of mud too. If you need to speak to a professional or seek treatment do so. There is never any shame in getting the help you need.

Don’t ever think there is no way out of the mud. Cry out for help. Your father in heaven will come running just like the dads did when the girls yelled for help. Psalms 40:2 says, He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.(NIV) Believe He will lift you out of the mud, out of the muck and mire, just like scripture says. Please be honest with God and those you love.

Be careful what you step in, even with your muck books on.

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Don’t Bite Into the Apple

Originally written for Living Better 50 Magazine.

Some of the biggest lies we believe start with a little bit of truth. If you don’t believe me just take a look at Eve. Thanks to the serpent, Eve bit into one of the biggest lies in the history of the world.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He 20800870_ssaid to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. Genesis 3:1-6

The cunning lie began when the serpent said to Eve, “Did God actually say”, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’? He opened the conversation with the truth of what God said. After stating what he knew to be true he went on to say, “you will not surely die, for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil”.

The enemy took the clear instructions that God had given to Adam and Eve and spoke the truth that if they ate of the fruit they would know “good and evil”. He offered them wisdom. Unfortunately for Eve, he left out the part about dying. Instead he got Eve to focus on the fact that she could be like God. He tempted Eve by getting her to look at something God clearly said was off-limits, the forbidden tree, and convinced her it was something she should be allowed to enjoy.

The enemy is the king of deceit. His goal is to get us to believe that “feeling good” is better than the truth found God’s word. God wants me to be happy, right? Certainly, this must be from God. The enemy wants you to begin to think God’s word must be wrong because of how happy you feel after biting into the proverbial apple.

Getting us to doubt God’s word is his mode of operation. He is clearly no match for God so his only way to hurt God is to cause His children pain. Greed, anger, all kinds of sexual sin, and pride are just some of the things he can use to pull us away from the truth of God’s word. When we realize what we have done, we are ashamed and in pain. This hurts God’s heart. Because God is a loving God he hurts when his Children hurt.

If you find yourself in a place where you believe God’s word is wrong as a means of justifying your choices, you have bitten into a lie. In Christ you have the authority to rebuke the enemy. Tell him to take a hike because you are not going to believe the lie he has fed you.

The first thing you need to do is start with a prayer asking God to forgive you for doubting His word and thank Him for loving you so deeply. Now take the lie you have bitten into back to the Word of God to see what it says. As you read the Word and discover the truth, ask God to help you let go of the lie that the enemy has fed you. Ask God to give you the strength to resist the lie when the enemy tries to suck you back in again. Trust me he won’t just walk away, he is going to put up a fight.

He will come at you with things like this: “You know you liked the way it made you feel” or “If God really loved you He would want you to be happy. He would be okay with you doing this”. There is also his famous “God is not fun” approach, “He is always making you give up what you like.”

Everyone is going to be faced with temptation and lies from the enemy. Eve wasn’t the only one to take a bit out of the apple. What the enemy is offering may be pleasing to the eye but all it takes is one bite and you have fallen for the lie. Choose wisely because believing one lie pulls you out of the will of God and onto a path of destruction.

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Don’t Just Frost Yourself

The thick layer of frosting swirled perfectly on top of the cupcake was calling my name. 6604420_sI’m a frosting girl. One bite into that cupcake, that looked so beautiful, led to instant disappointment. Underneath the frosting was a very dry cupcake lacking any flavor.

We can very easily be just like that dry cupcake. On the outside we can frost ourselves with our cross necklaces and bracelets. Over our shoulder or on our arm we may carry a beautiful purse that is adorned with a silver-studded cross. Maybe there is a pair of cowboy boots decorated with a turquoise cross that you have your eye on.

One thing we need to remember is, no amount of jewelry or clothing worn on the outside is a true reflection of our walk with God. I am not saying we should not wear things with crosses. I have a cross necklace that I wear almost daily. In my closet hang items of clothing with crosses and I do want a pair of cowboy boots with a cross on them. No matter what we wear on the outside, it is not as important as what is on the inside. We need to make sure that what is on the inside is not dry like the cupcake I bit into. No amount of frosting could ever cover up how dry and bland that cupcake was. And no amount of cross swag worn on the outside can hide how dry and bland we may be on the inside.

Cooking is not one of my strongest giftings. More than once I have forgotten to add the salt to what I was making. Forgetting to add the salt to a batch of chocolate chip cookies can change the way they taste. I can’t help but wonder if some salt would have helped improve the bland taste of that cupcake.

Scripture teaches about the importance of salt.

” For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:49-50 (ESV)

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Matthew 5:13 (NIV)

Salt not only adds flavor, it is also a preservative. We are told to have salt in ourselves. If we are not salting ourselves with the peace, love, kindness, gentleness and truth of God, we will become dry and bland in our walk. Just as salt preserves, God preserves. We need to make it a point to not lose our saltiness. No amount of frosting could make that dry cupcake taste good and no amount of outward religious swag that we adorn ourselves with will ever hide our dryness in God’s eyes. Sure the world may think we are Christians because we wear a cross necklace but God looks at our heart.

Don’t just frost yourself… salt yourself.

In closing, l will leave you with this prayer.

Lord, I pray whoever reads this will have a love for You that is much deeper than their outer appearance. May they be salted from the inside out and filled with the peace, love, kindness, gentleness and the truth of You, God.

Originally posted on Living Better 50 Magazine.

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