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Are You In A Dead Zone?

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 2.05.23 PMCan you hear me now? How about now? Those words are spoken from time to time by anyone who has ever used a cell phone. Even with more and more cell towers going up and the latest coverage offered, there are still many dead zones.

At our family lake cabin, there is a clear difference between which carrier has the better coverage. I have watched many people holding their phones with an outstretched arm on our patio looking for a bar of coverage to make a call or send a text. It’s entertaining to watch.

When I have not been able to get service, I have been bothered about it. How about you? In reality, is having no phone coverage for a little bit really a bad thing? We are so worried about checking our text messages, our Instagram, Facebook, and emails that the idea of being stuck in a dead zone seems to be cause for alarm.

In our desire to be connected to the world with our phones, we have become slaves to technology. Just before I started writing this, I was working on my Bible study and I got a text. I was going to reach for my phone to tell my husband, yes, I can talk now, and then it hit me… I was in my quiet time with God. There was not an emergency and my husband would understand if I finished my study before I called him. I almost chose to set God aside to answer a text.

That knee-jerk reaction to grab my phone and forget about my time with God was a reality check. How many times a day do I reach for my phone to check social media? Am I more concerned about how many bars I have, who is posting what, and what is trending than I am with God? What about you? Are you more concerned with those things than your relationship with God?

Finding the best coverage when it comes to our cell phone seems to be an important thing. However, shouldn’t we be more concerned about finding the best coverage for ourselves? It should be much moreScreen Shot 2015-02-03 at 2.12.47 PM alarming to be in a dead zone that applies to our salvation rather than our phone, and sadly for many, that is not the case. At the end of our lives, the number of bars we had, the number of texts, tweets, and posts will mean nothing. What will matter is, are you covered in the saving blood of Jesus?

He offers the best coverage for us in the long run and His coverage is free to all who seek Him. There is unlimited coverage and you will never experience a dropped prayer like you do a dropped call. With Jesus we all become sons and daughters of God, which means as far as plans go, there is no other family plan like His. Okay, maybe that is a bit cheesy, but it’s true… Jesus is the only way to avoid the dead zone. In John 14:6-7, Jesus said, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well.” (NIV)

I challenge you to put your phone down for a while each day and spend time with the Lord. Dig into your Bible, take time to pray, go to church, and fellowship with other believers. Get to really know Jesus so that you will know the Father as well. Being covered in the saving blood of Jesus Christ is the best coverage there is. It is the only way to avoid a dead zone. Put God first! I am not saying to avoid your phone and social media just that God should be our first priority. And, by all means, share that coverage with others. Don’t let those you know and love be lost in a dead zone when they could have eternal life.

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Take Out The Trash

Once a week my husband rolls the garbage can to the end of the driveway to be picked up by the garbage truck. Some weeks we have so much garbage that my husband can be seen climbing up on top of the garbage and jumping to smash it down so we can get one more load of trash into the can.Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 7.49.03 AM

Why is it so easy to let go of that kind of trash and yet the personal trash in our lives we choose to hang on to?  In a sense, we fight to push it down into ourselves like my husband stomps our trash down in the can.  By pushing down our trash (our past sins that we can’t let go of), we can never really be free and clean from our sin.

My pastor talked one night in church about how when we repent from our sins Jesus forgets about them.

As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 (NIV)

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more. Hebrews 8:12 (ESV)

He puts them in the garbage and puts a lid on it.  So why can’t we do the same?  We often repent and then we take it back.  I know I wouldn’t want to dig through my garbage can to pick some gross garbage out so I can stick it in the back of my closet. And yet it is so easy for us to go and dig our sins back out and hang onto them.

I love knowing that Jesus never holds our trash over our heads. He won’t bring up our sin to cause us shame. Jesus knows how to take out the trash if we would just let Him. If you have been carrying around a sin, let it go. Hang on to Jesus and not the trash that Satan loves to pile on us. There is freedom in Jesus, you just need to get on your knees and give up your sin. He paid the price; we don’t pay anything to dump our trash. Any day can be garbage day, so what is stopping you?

There is no right or wrong prayer in asking God to help you dump your trash, but if you are not sure how to start, let me help you.

Pray this:

Dear Lord, I am tired of dragging around with me the hurt from my past mistakes. I want to live in freedom and I want to know Your forgiveness. Please help me to let go of the trash that is holding me back from really living the life you want for me. Today I give you ______________________ (name it. Whatever it is, you need to give it to God). God, help me overcome the urge to drag that trash back into my life. Quicken my heart any time I try to drag the trash back in with the truth from Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He (You) removed our (my) transgressions from us (me).”   Thank you so much, Lord, for forgiving me. Today I believe with all my heart that what Your word says is true and that I am forgiven. Amen

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On Solid Ground

Originally posted on The Whatever Girls.Whatever-Girls-Button

 

In November, while in New Zealand, I toured a place of geothermal activity known as Hells Gate. There were warning signs everywhere telling people to stay on the trails. To step off them, you would be stepping onto unstable ground; it’s a molten substance that could burn you to death.

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 1.15.42 PMTwo of the features that stood out to me were called Devil’s Cauldron and Sodom and Gomorrah. Stepping off the path and dangling a toe into Sodom and Gomorrah or Devil’s Cauldron would cause excruciating pain and leave your toe badly burned. The hazards were very clear to anyone who was in the park.

While in the park, it got me to thinking about what happens when we step off the path God has laid out for us. Sometimes we choose to dangle our foot, here and there, in the world which is a huge gamble. The world offers some very dark things.

Pornography is a multimillon-dollar industry that feeds prostitution and sex trafficking. Personal ads asking for explicit sexual things are a huge part of Craigslist. Sexting is not just an adult activity, it’s ugly and sinks its dangerous claws into our children. Social media sites have taken bullying to a whole new level of evil. Cyber bullying continues to rise and with it comes the deaths of those who cannot take the pain of what is done to them.

As parents, we need to talk to our kids about the risks of what is out there. We need to give them the tools to stay on the path. Prayer for our children is huge but it can’t be all we do. We need to talk openly with them about the dangers of the internet. We need to talk with them about sex. It may be embarrassing but if we don’t talk to them, someone else is going to.

When we don’t keep communication open and give our children the important tools of prayer and scripture along with a relationship with Jesus, we are like a parent who sets their toddler on the path at Hells Gate and lets them run wherever they want with no guidance. Your toddler could be burned alive right in front of you if they fell into Devil’s Cauldron, Sodom and Gomorrah, or one of the other pools along the path.

As parents we should also be horrified by what our teens can fall into if we let them run through their teen years without guidance. Press into God and give your children what they need to stay on solid ground. Keep communication open no matter how awkward the conversations may feel.

The world is beckoning our children to step off the path into Devil’s Cauldron or Sodom and Gomorrah. We need to be guiding our children to do what it says in Philippians 4:8-9.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (NLT)

IMG_3653Teach your children to fix their thoughts on “what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.” When they are faced with peer pressure, we need to teach them to take it to God. If it is not something that is excellent or worthy of praise, step away from it. It is our job to teach our children to put into practice everything they have learned and received from God and from us. Our children learn from what they hear and see us doing. Be sure you are a godly example. When you teach your children to walk with God, He will be with them and help them stay on solid ground.

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Fear Is Not From God

LB50ContributorSQOriginally posted on Living Better 50 magazine

Fear is not from God, but there should be a reverent fear of the Lord. There is also the fear that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. That kind of fear is a warning telling us we should not be where we are.

The kind of fear I am talking about is fear the enemy sends our way. Once we let that kind of fear take root, it can become the mode in which we operate from. My fear from a childhood trauma caused me to parent out of a “mode of fear” more often than once. With God, I have been able to overcome it and you can overcome your fears, too.

The enemy wants to see God’s plan for our lives fail. He loads up a big flaming arrow of fear and fires itScreen Shot 2015-02-04 at 8.40.29 PM into our camp. All it takes is one little spark to start a raging fire of fear in our hearts. If you have a hurt from your childhood, shame from a past mistake, or fear of rejection, the enemy is going to look for a crack in your armor and he is going to fire right at it. God, however, has given us the ability to extinguish all those flaming arrows. He has given us the most powerful weapon, “faith”. Ephesians 6:16 says, “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.(NIV)

Fear is one of the most powerful weapons he tries to use against us, but with faith, we can overcome fear. If you are operating out of a mode of fear, you don’t have to any more. Go to the Lord, tell Him your fears and ask Him to take them away. Claim the truth of God’s word over your life. Fear that cripples us, that takes us away from living life victoriously, is not from God. “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NKJV)

You can claim scripture for yourself in a prayer. Not sure what I mean? Deuteronomy 31:6 can be put into a prayer like this:

Lord, Your word tells us to be strong and of good courage. I need You to give me that strength and courage. I no longer want to be afraid, and Lord, I believe You are the one who goes with me. I believe You will not leave me or forsake me. I give You my fear, Lord, because with You, I do not need to fear. Thank you, God, for being here for me always. Amen.

When you raise your shield of faith, you can extinguish the flaming arrows. There may be times when you feel you need help to hold up your shield of faith. If you find yourself in a place where you feel too worn out to fight, you can ask others to pray, too. Don’t ever think you are weak because you ask for prayer. To call in reinforcements that can raise their shields of faith around you is a strategic move. A good soldier never goes into battle alone and you don’t have to either. When the arrows come flying at you, raise your shield and call in reinforcements. Stand strong with your feet planted on the word of God and you will extinguish the flaming arrows of the enemy.

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When Life Gets Hard……

When life gets hard go shopping… No, that is not it. New clothes can’t make your troubles better, sure you may look nice in your new outfit but you are still the same hurting person underneath your new look.

Oh I got it…

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 11.23.48 PMWhen life gives you lemons make lemonade. No, that can’t be right. Once you drink it than what? There must be something else we can do when life gets hard?

There are so many self-help books out there with the authors answer to what to do to over come this or that. On Facebook someone posted when life gets hard punch it in the face? Um not sure how to do that exactly? Or how about this, I saw a sign that said when life knocks you down roll over and look at the stars.   Okay the stars are great and it I do love to lay on the dock at the lake and look at the stars but how is that going to help me face my troubles.

When life gets hard we need to pray!

Better yet,

We need to Pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians 5:17.1609822_620760681334589_459762485_n

In other words don’t stop praying! We don’t need to wait for life to get hard before we pray.  

Philippians 4:6-7 teaches us to: be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

There is power in prayer. If you don’t believe me, give it a try. What have you got to lose?

It is simple, Just say…Jesus I need you to help me right now. I am hurting, life is hard and I don’t know what to do. Jesus help me, Jesus give me strength, Jesus give me peace. Amen.

Today I want to encourage you to pray, to pray often, to pray big prayers and little prayers. To pray with the faith that God is hearing every word of your prayer. Hold on to the truth that there is not a prayer that is prayed in faith that God doesn’t hear.

If you can’t find the words just say, “ Jesus”. Sometimes just saying his name a few time with a true and open heart is all it takes to feel peace.

It is written in Psalms 145:18 The LORD is near to all them that call on him, to all that call on him in truth.

What are you waiting for? Call on Him…Pray without ceasing.

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