Where Are Your Baskets?

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“Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased and they were completely overwhelmed, because they had not understood the miracle of the loaves” – Mark 6:51-52

 

I tend to be pretty optimistic, like obnoxiously optimistic.  I refuse to receive negativity, I rebuke it and speak the truth into existence…most of the time.  Other times, I find that I suffer from what I like to call Charlie Brown syndrome.  On an episode of Peanuts (I know, showing my age here…)  Charlie told Lucy, “I think I’m afraid to be happy.  Whenever I get too happy, something bad always happens”.

Do you ever find yourself there?  You want so badly to feel God in your situation but the doubt is always lingering that this time is going to be a let down just like so many of the others?  You know exactly what His finger prints look like but in the midst of this storm, you just can’t seem to make them out?  Well I have been there and let me tell you sweet  sister, I am there now.

Oh but God…

In Mark 6, we learn of Jesus feeding the multitudes with 5 loaves and 2 fish.  The disciples were astounded by the faithfulness of God in this situation.  He took all they had, multiplied it and it came out to be more than enough!  After all ate and were satisfied (Mark 6:42-43), the disciples picked up 12 baskets, 1 for each disciple, and picked up the remaining food.  What I love about this teaching is it shows the disciples had doubt, they had no idea how they were going to feed so many people, but that didn’t stop God from fulfilling the promise.
Highlight: Its okay to doubt, its not okay to operate in doubt.

Later in Mark 6, the disciples were struggling at sea.  The wind was strong, the waters were brutal but I can only imagine that in the midst of that storm, the disciples look down in their boats and see 12 baskets of leftovers.  They had 12 examples- 12 past experiences of God’s faithfulness right at their feet…but they missed it.  They allowed themselves to get overwhelmed by their circumstances and miss the opportunity to trust.

Where are your baskets?  What are your experiences that you can look back on while you’re in the middle of the storm and say “God did it then, He’ll do it again”.  I like to write, so anytime I have one of those God moments,  I write it down.  I have dozens of paperback journals with reminders of God’s faithfulness.  No matter what it is, come up with some “baskets” that you can turn to in your times of trouble and say Won’t he do it!  I know the light feels dim right now but marinate on those times when He came through.  He has never let you down and He won’t start now.

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Planted Not Buried..

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“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”  – Isaiah 42:9

Have you ever planted your own herbs or flowers?  You buy the seeds and on the package is the beautiful finished product.  You imagine the recipes you’ll use for those herbs or the beautiful vase you’ll put those flowers in but what you don’t think of is the watering, the pruning and the wait.  You have to labor, day in and day out to get the finished product that you were promised.  To reap the finished product, you have to sow in the process, even when it looks like nothing is happening.

To the untrained eye, planting something can look a lot like burying something.  Both objects are being put in the ground, covered in dirt and left alone.  But what sets them apart is the expectation of what will happen next.

Have you ever felt buried?  Like you were on the right track, blessings were unfolding right and left, you could feel it- something big was about to happen and then…nothing.  You have to go back to your mundane reality and asking God, “How much longer?”.  To you, that dream has been buried but to God, it has just been planted.

In Isaiah 42:9, God tells us before it springs forth, He tells us of them.  The dreams and ambitions we have in our hearts are put there by God.  He gives us previews of what the end result will be then takes us through the process.  If He showed us all the dirty work it was going to take, we might have never signed up 😉  He  shows us what we could be, what we WILL be if we follow Him then He plants us and allows us to take root in Him.

If you feel buried today, take heart.  He has planted you.  He covered you to hide you, so he can prune you, cut off what will hurt you and develop your roots in His good soil.  You are on the come up, my beautiful sister!  Declare new things in your life!  His word does not return void, it is eternal and true.  “Behold, the former things have come to pass and new things I now declare!”.

Planted Not Buried..

Image result for planting

“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”  – Isaiah 42:9

Have you ever planted your own herbs or flowers?  You buy the seeds and on the package is the beautiful finished product.  You imagine the recipes you’ll use for those herbs or the beautiful vase you’ll put those flowers in but what you don’t think of is the watering, the pruning and the wait.  You have to labor, day in and day out to get the finished product that you were promised.  To reap the finished product, you have to sow in the process, even when it looks like nothing is happening.

To the untrained eye, planting something can look a lot like burying something.  Both objects are being put in the ground, covered in dirt and left alone.  But what sets them apart is the expectation of what will happen next.

Have you ever felt buried?  Like you were on the right track, blessings were unfolding right and left, you could feel it- something big was about to happen and then…nothing.  You have to go back to your mundane reality and asking God, “How much longer?”.  To you, that dream has been buried but to God, it has just been planted.

In Isaiah 42:9, God tells us before it springs forth, He tells us of them.  The dreams and ambitions we have in our hearts are put there by God.  He gives us previews of what the end result will be then takes us through the process.  If He showed us all the dirty work it was going to take, we might have never signed up 😉  He  shows us what we could be, what we WILL be if we follow Him then He plants us and allows us to take root in Him.

If you feel buried today, take heart.  He has planted you.  He covered you to hide you, so he can prune you, cut off what will hurt you and develop your roots in His good soil.  You are on the come up, my beautiful sister!  Declare new things in your life!  His word does not return void, it is eternal and true.  “Behold, the former things have come to pass and new things I now declare!”.

Great Expectations

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“Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”  – John 16:23-24

I am guilty of praying simple prayers sometimes.  “Lord, keep us safe today.  Lord, surround us with Christian friends.  Lord, thank you for a roof over our heads.”  I wonder if God ever hears my prayers and thinks “Yeah, you said that.  Let me know when you want to tell me how you REALLY feel”?  I have a hard time going to God and telling Him “this sucks, God!” or “God, I’m scared”.  It is convenient to pray something safe before we fall asleep, that way we never have to unbox what is really bothering us.

But isn’t that what God wants, bold prayers?

One of my favorite books of all time is The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.  It teaches the art of circling an obstacle in prayer and believing for a miracle, much like the battle of Jericho.  Joshua’s army circled the walls of Jericho, blowing their trumpets in victory..as though they had already received the miracle!  Now that is bold faith!  That is the kind of faith that pleases God.  Yes, we will honor simple prayers but don’t you want to see what He is capable of? We have to get back to praying with radical faith.  We have to start walking in victory like we have already been approved for that loan, like we already have that job of our dreams and we already know God is sending us that spouse that we have been praying for.

Pray to God with great expectation that He will bless you.  He loves honoring the prayers that are so big, He gets the credit.  When you have an obstacle ahead of you and the only way it will happen is if God steps in, THAT is the kind of challenge He is waiting for.  Begin each morning with a prayer so bold it will take a miracle.  You will start to see an out pour of miraculous blessings in your life.  Praise Him for what He has done because God will always do it again!

Anxiety: Your Own Personal Terrorist

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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6

I tend to be highly Type B.  I’m easygoing, I don’t worry and satan knows that about me. I don’t stress about much, unless I am passionate about the outcome and I have NO control over the process.  Then it’s helllooooo type A.  I panic, I stress and I start to assume the worst.   Why do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we let the enemy creep in and paralyze us with possibilities?

The enemy is sneaky.  He will send terrorists; thoughts and doubts to keep us imprisoned by our imagination.  “You won’t have enough to pay rent.  You’ll never get out of dept.  You’re a terrible mom.  You’re a terrible wife”.  Sound familiar?  Terrorism doesn’t work if no one hears about it so satan plants these thoughts in our minds then watches us spiral out of control.

The good news is, Apostle Paul gives us 3 weapons in verse 6 to defend our selves when anxiety attacks:

  1. Prayer- Don’t suffer in silence.  The enemy is defeated when you open your mouth and call upon the name of The Lord.  If the enemy can isolate you, he can beat you.  Call on the mighty name of Jesus and show your problems how big your God is!
  2. Supplication- This is a different kind of prayer.  This is the prayer you pray when you have nothing left in the tank.  When you have exhausted your imagination, humble yourself.  Show God you know you can’t do this without Him and you know nothing is too big for Him.
  3. Thanksgiving- Count your blessings.  When satan whispers “You’re going to lose your job”, tell him God is my provider!  When satan whispers “He’s going to divorce you”, tell him what God joins together, NO ONE can tear apart.  Satan is not after your stuff, he is after your peace of mind.  Show him God is on your side and the battle is already won.

Anxiety can be paralyzing.  But you are not weak prey.  You are powerful, fearless daughters of the King!  Remind yourself who you are, confirm your identity in Christ and take each thought captive in the name Jesus!  The enemy is a defeated foe and you already have the victory, don’t let the enemy rob you of what is truly yours: Peace of mind and eternal life 🙂

 

Our Reactions Determine Our Reach

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Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord and he proclaimed a fast for all of Judah.” – 2 Chronicles 20:3-29

Our reactions can say a lot about us.  If we get caught off guard or someone wrongs us, what we bury deep down inside will surface.  Luckily, I am far enough in my spiritual walk, if I get startled I might let out a Christmas Story “oh fuuuuuduge” but that is still a little too close for comfort ;(

How we react determines our reach; meaning how we respond on impulse will speak louder to others than what we rehearse.  We have to be careful that we don’t act on our emotions.  As females, our emotions run rampant and they cannot be trusted.  When you are faced with a situation that requires a response, allow yourself to take a second and let the holy spirit take over.

I am guilty of reacting immediately, especially in my marriage but we all know when our spouses finally do open up, attacking them or “I told you so” are toxic responses.  In 2 Chronicles, Jehoshaphat was being attacked from all sides.  Verse 3 states he was alarmed but resolved to call upon the Lord.  It is okay to be afraid or angry but take a second to let your flesh subside and consider the consequences of your reactions.  Had Jehoshaphat reacted immaturely, he would have doomed his entire kingdom.  But because he took time to pray, fast and praise the Lord with Thanksgiving, the opposing armies attacked themselves and Jehoshaphat was given rest on all sides (2 Chron. 20:29).  He was able to reach a multitude of nations because of how he reacted.

Let us condition ourselves to react in a way that brings glory to God.  How much would our relationships and marriages improve if we considered how our reactions might skew the image of God?  It would speak volumes to our spouses, friends and family if we met their anger or frustration with love.  Allow God to use you in these relationship defining moments as a stream of living water.

Your Rejection, God’s Redirection

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“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life” – Proverbs 13:12

 

Have you ever wondered why the feeling of rejection is so crippling? You get dumped or you don’t get the promotion, it is almost paralyzing.  A study done at the University of California concluded that the same areas of the brain were activated when participants experienced both physical pain and social rejection from peers.  Now does it makes sense why your first break up almost killed you?

Rejection is powerful and if we’re not careful, we can fuel that fire.  We can feel upset but don’t let it escalate to depression.  We can feel disappointed but not discouraged.  A popular auto response to disappointment for me is “Not today, satan” but We have to be mindful of two things:

1) It’s okay to feel letdown but don’t stay there.
When faced with rejection or disappointment, we have to adapt and adjust.  Find the lesson to be learned and keep moving forward.  Our journey through life is trial and error and God is a patient God.  He knows every hiccup and bump in the road that is coming and He gives us grace to get back up.  We have to remember greater is He that resides in us than he who is in the world.  You won’t be for everybody. In fact, you’re always going to be too much of something for somebody but who cares?  Be it anyway.  Don’t rob the world of the only you, in fear that somebody won’t like it.

2) Maybe it’s not satan….maybe it’s God.
Satan gets glorified a lot for our troubles and if you’re beginning your walk with God, I’m sure there is a target on your back.  But a lot of times if we don’t get our way, “its the devil”.  Not always the case.  God will often use rejection for our protection.  In Haggai, the Jews were facing famine due to their procrastination and disobedience.  The word of the Lord came to the jews saying “You labored much and brought home too little and even then I blew it away, Why?”.  God used rejection of their resources to redirect them to his purpose.  It wasn’t satan killing their crops and causing uncomfortable living conditions,  it was God protecting them from building their lives on a faulty foundation.

God will make him break up with you, God will make them not text you back, God will let it go bad because He knows that path is destructive.  God has a way of protecting us that to us, seems like the end of the world.  If you could only see what He has laid up for you in your future, you wouldn’t give that disappointment another minute of your time.  So remember this the next time something doesn’t go your way, you don’t get the promotion or that relationship goes south;  Could this be God redirecting me to His best?  I asked that question a lot and “Yes” has been the answer more than once 🙂