Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Narrowing Your Focus

Living in these days and times people we come in contact with are becoming less tolerant of our Christian ways and views. As these sentiments grow, we will have to find ways to combat the putdowns and sarcasm to gain the mental victory. Here is an example of making a negative comment turn into a compliment.

I was flying to my first writer’s conference when I was privileged to sit by an energetic mother of two. We’ll call her Judy. As we talked, I found out Judy was already a Christian but she was frustrated with people calling her ‘narrow-minded’ because of her faith in the Word of God.  As I continued to listen to this young mother’s search for mental stability and also her desire to be an example to her small boys, I began to pray for wisdom. Being a seasoned mother and believer myself, I wanted to help her receive something that would give her some peace of mind. Soon, the Lord’s inspiration began to flow.
I started by telling Judy that when people called her narrow-minded, she could actually consider that as a compliment. She looked at me funny. Then she asked how?

I explained to Judy that she had narrowed her scope to focus only on Jesus and His words. She was only funneling in what would help her grow in Christ and it was changing her perspectives. What others around her were seeing was a more purified version of her, one that glorified Christ and not her own selfish desires. In a round about way, others were actually validating her growth and giving her an opportunity to affirm her new lifestyle. Judy’s countenance began to lift with a smile.

Next, I asked Judy if Christlikeness was what she wanted to achieve? She said yes. Then I asked Judy if she wanted to proclaim the Christ living inside of her? She said yes. Last, I asked Judy if, she want to go forward or turn back? She thought for a moment and then responded with forward. Then I stated again, if she would choose to think of narrow-mindedness in a more positive way, she could turn the situation all around.

Last, I challenged Judy to respond differently when she was called narrow-minded. Instead of getting upset, just smile and thank them for acknowledging the godly choices she was making. I also told her to thank them for the opportunity to affirm those new choices. This way of response instead of frustration might lead to a greater opportunity to witness the love of Christ. Your positive attitude without judgment could change the atmosphere and bring forth seeds of salvation to be planted in the lives of others.

Judy was meeting her goal of becoming more like Christ by narrowing her focus to Him and His word alone. She was bravely standing up for what she believed when others wanted to pull her down. The fact that others were taking notice could be made into a plus, if she would choose to look at those situations in a new way.

I have set the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
 Psalm 16:8

Have you ever been called narrow-minded and formed a negative attitude about yourself and others? Looking that these situations in a more positive way could bring about a new freedom in your walk with Christ. The process begins as you make a quality decision first. Who do you desire to please more…Christ or the world?    

Judy means:
She Who Praises, Righteous
 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you. (The Name Book by Dorothy Astoria)
Isaiah 58:8 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Goal Is The Fruit

This past summer, I grew a couple of tomato and pepper plants in pots because I love BLT sandwiches and fresh toppings for my mini pizzas. Plus, I really just like to be outside in nature…well…at least until it gets too hot. At that point, you will only catch me out in the early morning.

When the plants matured to the point of having flowers and producing small fruit, I felt the Holy Spirit ask me to look at the fruit on the vine more carefully. It was then that I noticed ‘the flower came before the fruit.’ Simple…but I felt there was a spiritual implication to understand. So…I asked the Holy Spirit to explain. I didn’t get the answer until this week.

I had gotten up early, when He began to show me the mental picture of the flower/tomato on the vine again. Then I heard the Holy Spirit say,

“That is where you are right now…
The bearing of the fruit.”

Let me explain.

I received Jesus as my Savior at a young age. From there, I struggled with what it meant for Jesus to be Lord over my life. Even though I was growing in the knowledge of God, I still felt so defeated all the time. I tried for years to do the right thing to earn God’s favor and respect but all the while feeling like I was a failure.

Finally, I began to understand what the grace of God really meant. In time, I also began to accept Christ’s leadership as well. The more I studied, meditated on the scriptures and witnessed His presence, the more I relaxed in His arms. Now, our relationship has taken on a whole new look. Slowly but surely, I began handing over every aspect of my life to Him…. trusting Jesus to direct my paths.

The tomato plant, root system, leaves, and finally the budding flower all represent different aspects of my growth in Christ. The developing flower symbolizes the eventual lordship of Christ over all areas of my life, each pedal, an area surrendered. The final fading of the flower represents my total surrender to develop Christlikeness in my life to the greatest measure.

The Holy Spirit’s lesson is that I now have the wisdom of maturity to allow the fruits of the spirit to ripen fully. My present goal is not only to continue allowing Jesus to be Lord over my life. I also want to go even farther to acquire His mind and personality. Then others can taste and see that God is good. (Ps. 34:8) They will be able to get a glimpse my ripening fruit as I display His love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, meekness, long suffering, faithfulness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:23) Spiritual fruit only gets sweeter as it ripens.

The scripture that keeps popping up as I type is this:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Where are you in your walk with Christ? Are you a new member of the family or have you been a fellow believer for a while. Wherever we are, there is always something new to learn to grasp for that will bring more confidence and freedom to your life. I challenge you to keep seeking Christ so your fruit can come to full maturity.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lord Do You See?

Welcome to Friday Friends with Jamie Britt. I met Jamie several months ago and have been amazed at her tenacity in spite of her difficulties. 

Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?” (Genesis 16:13, NKJV)

I titled this post with a question that I'm sure we've all asked. I know I did this weekend. My plans to see a dear friend had fallen through, and I was (and still am at times) wrestling with questions in my mind. "Lord why isn't this happening?" "This is the third time this has been canceled, why Lord?" Ladies, I felt as if I was all alone. I felt like God wasn't anywhere I turned. But the reminder of a dear friend once again reminded me that He is there. He is El Roy. He is the God who sees. He sees my frustration. He sees my disappointment. He sees my pain. Are you in a place where you feel God isn't anywhere in your circumstances? Ladies, He's right there. He knows what you're going through, and He cares. Let me encourage you, call out to Him. Tell him you're hurting, after all He's been there. He's struggled with disappointment. He's struggled with pain. He's struggled with everything that we as humans struggle with. So, call out to El Roy. He sees you, and He'll see you through your storm of despair.

Dear Lord, thank You for being El Roy. Thank You Lord that even when we don't feel you near, You've never left us. You've never left our side. I pray for each of my readers. Give them the comfort that You so long for them to have. Lord we love You and we praise You. Amen.

Have your call out to your Lord in the mist of your difficulties lately? Jamie has been blind since birth. Yet, she has become an overcomer in the truest sense. Knowing about her struggles brings an instant richness and depth to her writing that wasn’t there before. How does she know when she has never seen? I hope Jamie will inspire you to face and overcome the difficulties in your life.

Jamie Britt is a devotional writer who resides in North Carolina. Her message is of hope and restoration. She wants to see women find restoration in Christ and know that in their trials, they're not alone. She  wants to convey the sovereignty of God and His love and faithfulness. Being the author of the blog, Encouraging Women, she's seen  women transformed by the power of Christ. God has also called her to a ministry of counseling. She's a graduate of the 2011 NCompass
Writers Retreat and the 2012 Writers Advance! Boot Camp. She's also been a featured guest blogger on the blogs of Morning Glory, Cindy
Rooy and Cathy Biggerstaff.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rain to Rainbow

Saturday afternoon we had a bad storm come through. One minute it was sunny and pleasant and the next minute a storm was moving in. Leaves were blowing across the yard in the swirling air. When I went over to the sliding glass doors and looked out towards the deck, I could hear the wind chimes gently ringing. As the wind got stronger, the chimes rang out louder. Then thunder struck close to the house. I saw the light and heard a loud boom. I quickly turned everything off so nothing could be harmed. Then as quickly as the storm came in, it was gone. The sun came out shining brightly. The rainbow appeared. The only traces the storm had passed through were all the leaves in the driveway and the wet streets.

Hearing the wind chimes ringing during that storm got me to thinking. The chimes prompted me with an idea of what I needed to do when a storm of circumstances passes through my life.  I needed to “ring out” and “sing forth”.  

By ringing out I mean to speak out proclamations, decrees or scripture Truths. These pronouncements will let the enemy know where I WILL be standing in this situation. It also makes a firm foundation for my faith to stand on.

You shall also decide and decree a thing, 
and it shall be established for you; 
and the light [of God's favor] shall shine upon your ways.
Job 22: 28 (Amplified Bible)

By singing forth I mean gathering with others of like mind to sing forth the praises to God. When I was alone, I could continue by making melody in my own heart towards God until the storm passes.

Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, 
offering praise with voices [and instruments] 
and making melody with all your heart to the Lord... 
Ephesians 5:19 (Amplified Bible)

It down poured more then once on Saturday. Each time a storm came through, the chimes on the deck would go through the same routine of ringing out and singing forth.  Each time I see a storm developing, I need to start the same process as well. If the storm becomes stronger, I need to resolve to ring out and sing forth more passionately.

There may be stormy seasons where I seem to have more challenging moments then I feel I am capable of handling. Through these times, I have to keep remembering God is Sovereign over my life. He will not allow any situation to become more then I can handle with His guidance. Sometimes I wish He wouldn’t trust me so much or stretch me so far. But in the end, when the rainbow comes out, I am thankful for the learning process and the wisdom I gained. What the enemy wanted to scare me with, God used to mature me.

How do you handle the stormy situations in your life? We cannot avoid all storms even though we may be able to dodge some of them occasionally.  The next time you notice the wind starting to pick up, try ringing out His Truth and singing forth His praises until the rainbow appears.  I sincerely believe you will be glad you did.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Cultivating God's Presence

 When I am at home, I have been keeping a candle burning almost all the time. For me, it represents the Presence of God being near. I started doing this after I heard my friend, Elizabeth’s explanation for doing the same thing in her home.

Elizabeth was having trouble with knowing the Presence of God was right there with her everyday. As she prayed about it, God told her to light a candle in those times of doubt. In that way, she would have a physical focal point to concentrate on when she was having trouble feeling God near. This simple habit strengthened her faith in God being present with her.

The candle helps but what does it mean to be in God’s Presence?

Learning to be in God’s presence means we are looking to foster intimacy in our relationship with God. To do that, we determined to keep Him in the forefront continually. Our desire is to learn everything we can about Him. What He likes and doesn’t like. We long for His will above our own and His ways above the world’s. We communicate with God about everything.

Learning to be in God’s presence is a process. It is learning to live in your present reality while also being aware of the eternal reality where God lives. As our determination to pursue both realities matures, our relationship and His presence become stronger.

How do we come into God’s presence?

As His child, God’s presence is a promise to us. (Hebrews 13:5) We need to develop this promise by faith so our circumstances do not change our mind.

We cultivate His presence by:


Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Psalm 100:4

Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come His presence with singing.
Psalm 100:2


Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
Psalm 95:2

Reading and mediating on His Word

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
John 1:1

This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall
meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make you way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Joshua 1:8

Being able to be in God’s presence is not dependent on how we feel.  Our feelings are so unpredictable. It is easy for us to come into His presence when our lives are going well. However, when our lives are upside down, we may not ‘feel’ like seeking God out. At those times though, feelings have to be dealt with and what better way then in the presence of your loving Father.

God wants to radiate the awareness of His presence through us inwardly so that we can radiate His presence outwardly to the world around us. By cultivating God’s presence in our lives continually, we will know we can accomplish anything.

How about you? What do you need to do to better cultivate the awareness of God’s presence in your life?  You may want to start with a candle or several minutes of praise and thanksgiving. Whatever you decide to do, God is ready to meet you right where you are and the benefits begin with joy.

Come near to God and He will come near to you.
James 4:8