Sometimes our lives seem to be in a place of straight chaos. The definition being utter confusion. It is “the unpredictable and apparently random behavior.” The definition goes on but I believe this certainly brings the point home. Some of the synonyms include unorganized, haphazard, irregular as well as all over the place.
My chaos seems to be in finding a stable living situation. I have literally lived all over the place here in Las Vegas. Over the span of my life, I have lived on the east coast, the west coast and in the midwest. All that said, I do believe that God will use the chaos of our lives for His purpose and glory. I do not like chaos, especially in my home. I am really good at administrative things because I like being organized. I certainly do not like looking for things in various places. Kind of why the last year has been so frustrating for me. My things have been all over the place. I own whatever part I played in this chaotic state but also understand that some of it was out of my control.
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Serena ran to every door. Everyone was locked! Why? What was going on? She didn’t know or understand why she couldn’t get out? Someone was playing a trick on her. Locked in. No way to get out. No keys to open the doors, locked from the inside out. “What’s gonna happen to me?” The thought was fearful. Dwelling on it would only make the fear worse and cause a panic. A deep breath seemed to slow the heartbeat. But the thoughts kept coming. “Suppose no one comes and I am left here in this locked space to die. Never knowing how or why I got locked in. What is going on?”
Serena had to stop and take more deep breaths, to slow the heartbeat again. She had to minimize the negative and fearful thoughts that were bombarding her brain. She was unsure about how this situation came to be but she was determined not to let it get the best of her. Deep breath.
“God, I know you are with me. What is going on? Help me to get out of this place. It is claustrophobic and I feel like the walls are closing in without a door to open to escape. Lord, You said You would never leave me nor forsake me, so I know You are here. What is going on? Can You please shed some light? Please, Lord, please.” She heard the whisper of “I am here with you.” Like a friend in the room just a little ways away.
Serena looked around. She realized that she had been frantic and had not sat down for quite a while. She decided to sit in the armchair and deep breathe again. She realized, “This is not even my own home? How could I get locked inside someone else’s home? Why would I let them do this to me?” Deep breathing helped to calm the nerves as she realized panic would do nothing for her. “Okay, Lord, I am here, trying to get calm. I just need to know what’s going on? Why am I here, Lord?” She heard the whisper of “I am here with you.” Again, she slowed her thoughts to recognize the whisper.
She began to look around some more to see where she was. Her thoughts about the day before and how she got here in this place were still blurred. Not sure on what vehicle or route brought her here. And, why was she by herself? Wasn’t she with friends, or was that last week? The jumbled thoughts were un-nerving. She realized that she had increased her heart rate and the anxiety was returning. Okay, deep breathing…the whisper, “I am here with you.”
What is precious to you? Precious means valuable, of great worth, beloved, much prized. There are so many things people consider precious today. What is the intrinsic value of what you consider precious? This word prompt comes at a moment in time when dealing with family issues, transitioning, changing perspective, accepting new challenges and changing directions for the future.
What stands out as precious to me is my relationship with Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. This is my most prized possession. It is my only constant, although ever changing me. I look at my transition and take it in stride. While driving the other day, I checked my heart on the things that I have in storage. What would happen if I lose them? Would I be okay? Of course, I would be because I am okay right now without them. Do I want to lose them? No, I don’t. But I would rather lose them than my relationship with Jesus.
Fight … Surely the fight of faith is a fight worth having.
I believe all of us know what the word fight means. It is to contend or struggle in war, battle, single combat. It is a conflict or struggle. It is a vigorous effort in the face of difficulty. Holding our own in this world is a daunting task. However, God knew that we couldn’t do this alone or without Him, and because He loves us so much, He sent Jesus to die for us and Jesus left us His Holy Spirit to arm us. Let us fight the good fight of faith! God gave us all that we need including the descriptive details of what this looks like in Ephesians 6. There are no excuses other than we just don’t want to. I believe that equipping ourselves daily-yes, daily-with the Word of God is one of the first and very critical steps in fighting this fight.
Ephesians 6:10-18 – “(10)A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. (11) Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. (12)For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (13)Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will be standing firm. (14)Stand your ground putting on the belt of truth and the body of armor of God’s righteousness. (15)For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. (16)In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. (17) Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (18)Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
It is imperative that we get this. God is so detailed in how He gives us His Word that we should be excited. He has covered all the bases. Are you wearing your full armor in this battle? Fighting the good fight of faith is about the unseen. It is not necessary to have faith in what you already see because you see it. The unseen world, or the heavenly realm is just as real as the natural. The enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy by any means necessary and he certainly will use the supernatural realm to try to stop us from walking by faith. You have no ammunition that can fight the enemy when you do not have God’s armor. Those negative thoughts will come and those testy situations from the enemy are used to wear us down. However, we are not to be weary in well-doing. If you don’t put on the armor, you get weaker the more you get hit. Ask any veteran about the true art of war. To fight the battle, you have to be prepared. God is so gracious to us because He has given us explicit instructions on how to fight this thing. The battle is truly not ours anyway but the Lord’s. We are His soldiers. Make no mistake because Jesus has given us the victory in His death and resurrection. The requirement from us is to fight in faith here on earth. The extent of His love is so phenomenal because He still gives us free will to say yes. God gave us Christ to save us, gave us His Holy Spirit for power in the resurrection and the Word of God to arm us. How much more can we ask for? The enemy certainly has a clue of the value of you standing in faith for your purpose in the kingdom of God. I now ask again, “Are you wearing your full armor in this battle? Is not this a fight worth fighting for? ” Our eternity is based on the answer.
Envy…a very dangerous place to be
Envy is a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by another’s better fortune. This definition includes jealousy, bitterness, animosity or covetousness. Of course, I have to go here and give you several of the Scriptures that speak to this because it is one of the Ten Commandments. “Thou shall not covet.” Envy is a condition of the heart and I do believe that God, in His infinite wisdom, had to put it in writing for us. Because it is a condition of the heart, it is a danger zone. It is part of the things that defile you. And, according to the Bible, it is a sin.
Romans 1:29 – “Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.”
Galatians 5:19-21 – “(19)When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, (20) idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, (21) envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort life will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The operative word here is living. It is necessary that we confront the uncomfortable areas of our sinful nature. God is love and His love for us is what changes us from these harmful ways. Now, of course, the following Scripture contrasts the way we should be living as believers.
Galatians 5:22-23 – “ (22)But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23)gentleness and self control. There is no law against these things.”
There are quite a few Scriptures that address envy. It is a good thing to be familiar with them and when it’s time to evaluate where your heart is, you know the standard by which to do so. From a Biblical perspective, it is taken very seriously. We should also. It is an evil and destructive force that when it becomes uncontrollable will not only destroy your very life but the lives of others. It is very important to recognize the undercurrent of jealously. It doesn’t just rear its ugly head at first. Most times it can be a very subtle adversary and before you know it, it’s out of control.
Envy leads to a multitude of other sins such as hatred. Titus speaks to this. Titus 3:3 – “Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our livers were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other.” We are called to drop these things; to separate ourselves from whatever separates us from Christ. We are called to examine ourselves and most of us know when we have crossed boundaries in our personal hearts. If we are walking the Word, of course, there is a check in our spirits. Once we have that check, we need to decide what we are going to do. Be obedient to Christ or continue in our own way? The choice is ours. God gave us free will and in that, desires that we give our hearts to Him.
It is not easy to accept when we experience such things. However, when we look to the Cross and know that Jesus died for just this reason, we will be overcomers in these situations. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. God has something special for each of us and jealousy, envy as well as other such emotions need to be checked at the door, the door to our hearts.
Drop…Anything that takes you away from Christ
There are quite a few definitions for this word. However, for the purpose of this post, the definition used means to release, let go of as well as discard, get rid of, and forsake, relinquish. This may seem like a daunting challenge. In speaking of his lineage, education, etc., Paul says that he counts everything as loss except for knowing Christ.
Philippians 3:7-8 – “ (7)I once thought these things were valuable, but now consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. (8)Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.”
We have so much distracting us from the cause of Christ these days. I am surely a fan of social media for the good that can be accomplished through its use. However, staying focused for the purpose of bringing others to Christ is challenging none-the-less. Dropping anything that doesn’t draw yourself and others closer to Christ is certainly a work in process. It does require that you become very aware of what this looks like in your life. What can it look like? Too busy to pray, too busy to answer the call of helping your neighbor, too busy to read the Word just in case God has a word for you to share with another, and any number of other things that pop us to distract from the call of Christ on our lives. Continue reading…!
Incomplete…I do believe that we are incomplete without Christ.
Without Christ we are incomplete. We are unfinished. This may be unpalatable for some but the truth be told, we don’t even know who we are without knowledge of Him. All the points that make us who we are incomplete, undone without Him. Sure, we have our earthly family that speaks to the biological origin but the spiritual origin is from God. He is the vine, we are the branches.
John 15:5 – ““Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
What a contrast! Living in the Spirit or Living in the World
This prompt is an exciting one! The definition for yet another strong word begins with “juxtaposition or comparison showing striking differences. Distinguish or set together so as to reveal a contrast.” Psalms and Proverbs do a great job of revealing the contrast of life in the Spirit and life in the world.
When I first thought about this word, the image of a black background with a white circle in the middle came to my mind. How significant is this? I think of the world and what God did when He sent His Son Jesus to reconcile us to Himself. Jesus is the white circle in the center, or the light in a dark world, the black background. He is the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star. Thought the image of the white lilies on the black background captured what I wanted.