Organizing the Inside 365 Days

Empowering Christian Women To Get Organized and Discover God's Plan for Their Lives

Archive for January, 2012

Organizing the Inside – Day 150 Much Deeper Than The Surface

33“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. 35See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.”   ~Luke 11:33-36

The eyes that Jesus spoke about is your spiritual understanding.
This is spiritual discernment, your ability to perceive spiritual truth. If there is sin or sinful desires in your life, this represents the darkness that maybe in you. Consider this, you may think that something you desire is perfectly okay, but I believe part of what Jesus is teaching is that, you must look deeper to gain insight into your personal motivation. For example you may want to start a bible study group to share God’s word with others. A bible study group is a good thing to do as service to the Lord. It’s important however that you pause, and look at your motives behind wanting to start this bible study. If your real reason for starting the study is so that you will have an avenue to later promote your new project or book or even just yourself, than the light you think you may have, could very well be darkness to this day. Often what you think is right you later realized wasn’t right at all.

Seeing deeper than the surface.
Seeing deeper than the surface is like perceiving something beyond your intellectual ability to know. I sometimes consider this as putting on my (except they are not mine at all, only God can give this gift) spiritual eyeglasses; although I think that oversimplified my point.
Being able to look within your own heart, thoughts, and ideas to see your true desires is not always easy. But, taking an honest look at you through the Word of God and prayer makes this a much simpler undertaking. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 2 Timothy 3:16
Once you prayerfully allow the Word of God to have access, and apply it to every area of your life darkness of any kind cannot remain. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
Psalm 119:130
Perhaps it’s time for some introspection as you decide in your heart to have no hidden corners where you don’t allow God to have full access. Jesus gives us a heads-up that what you are thinking is light, may not be light after all. Maybe it’s time to allow the Holy Spirit to walk through the inner most personal spaces of your heart and mind. Jesus said, “…see to it” but we have to be willing to take time out to do the work. Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. Psalm 51:6

May I be first partaker of His truth.

Organizing the Inside – Day 149 Oh, I Just Have To Have That!

15Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” 16Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. 17He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ 18Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. 19And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!” 20“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’ 21“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”
Luke 12:15-21

Do you trust God with your entire future?
Certainly saving for retirement doesn’t mean you’re not trusting God to provide for your future. I think God wants us to plan for the future. The matter of concern is when we start to worry about the future. When your worry about your future supersedes your desire to serve God today, you have reason for alarm. The rich farmer reasoned within himself, that by storing up all this great wealth, he could retire and enjoy the golden years. Jesus called him a fool. God wants us to have a healthy attitude toward our future and His ability to provide for us. We must be obedient to God in both saving and giving. His word gives us clear guidelines about how to handle both.
19“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. Matthew 6:19-21

Do you remember the feeling?
Have you ever tried cleaning out your closet or another area of your home and thought, I just have too much stuff? I admit to the occasional thought of getting a bigger barn.  Each time I do, I am reminded of what place these things (that I want to hold on to) have in God’s “big picture” plan for my life. I’m challenged to think there is rarely any memento, or other coveted item of choice, that has anything to do with me fulfilling God’s plan for my life, rarely ever.  I can remember the feeling I had in the store while contemplating my purchase. Have you ever had that feeling? You just had to have it! I can remember thinking, “Oh, I want it; I want it, how beautiful!”  That lovely and likely overpriced vase I just had to have, is now taking up extra space in my closet.  Why on earth was I so pressed to buy it? Absolutely convinced, that if I made that one purchase I would feel a certain way. Advertisers spend a lot of money to get into the heads or would be buyers. It’s embarrassing to think of all that I’ve given away over the years in various yard sales or trips to the Salvation Army; yet when at the point of purchase, I could think of nothing more important to spend money on. Thank Jesus! I’m learning to have a healthier viewpoint about the accumulation of personal wealth.

Possessions and the desire for more distract us from the kingdom.
I’ve seen too many cases of Christians who seemed to have lost their minds once the fame and fortune came about. I suspect this had little to do with things, and more to do with the condition of the heart. Far be it from me to start wondering what imbalance or greed resides in the heart of another, which causes them to choose the love of possessions, over love for Christ.  I do believe, greed is a snare of the enemy, but those who choose God over riches will inherit the kingdom. Jesus warns us in many scriptures about worry, possessions and greed. What impresses me most about His teaching on the subject is He gives us the answers to all that we desire, and loving points us to the Kingdom of God. He teaches if we would trust God and stop worrying about all the “things” we want and need, He would provide everything we needed. Certainly if you asked most shrewd financial investors, they would explain that this type of thinking goes against the books, and defies human logic.

But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.
1 Corinthians 2:14

32These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:32, 33

Can happiness, contentment, peace, joy and love be found outside of a relationship with God?  The answer is a resounding NO; besides who would want to? Only those who have not experienced the true treasures of the richest King would ever consider the alternative.  Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! Psalm 34:8

Also read Luke 12:22-34

Organizing the Inside – Day 148 Her Search for Joy

9“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!
~John 15:9-11

She desperately wants to be strong in Him.
This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 10:8  She just wants real joy, true joy that surpasses human logic, joy that is somehow more permanent. The kind of joy she seeks is enduring, yet far beyond bliss or happiness, far beyond what makes her laugh. Unlike the occasional joke that causes the kind of exuberance, where she can’t catch her breath and her side hurts from laughter. What she yearns for is nothing like that. Deeper than pleasure and it exceeds the temporal adventures of fun. She wants joy beyond the world’s definition; even beyond what her Moma taught her, she wants to know the joy of Christ.

True joy is not here today and gone tomorrow.
True joy is not something we can strive to attain, not really. It is a fruit of the Spirit that grows out of close and abiding fellowship with God. I believe real joy has nothing to do with ones current situation, except that the awareness of its existence is likely expressed through tears. The tears produced by joy are a humble expression of one’s awareness of God’s love.  Joy is like a long-lasting rich, sweetness that develops in a heart yielded to the awesome presence and power of God. Only the Spirit of God can lead you into that place of joy, which is created by the Spirit Himself.

Tears of joy will stream down their faces, and I will lead them home with great care. They will walk beside quiet streams and on smooth paths where they will not stumble. Jeremiah 31:9

The goodness of God’s love will produce abundant joy in the heart of His daughters and sons. Words cannot adequately describe the joy of Lord, for it is something deeply personal and intimate. Take time to fellowship with God. Create an environment that allows you to freely embrace His presence. Seek Him, not because there is something you want from Him, but because of who He is, and in time everything you ever really wanted will be yours. May your joy be full.

Organizing the Inside – Day 147 My Dysfunctional Family

34“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 36a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. ~Matthew 10:34-39

I honestly have never met a family that was perfectly functional.
I just don’t believe I have. I’m sure there may be one out there; I just haven’t met them yet. Most every family has someone, either a parent, a child, or Uncle Bill who made getting along difficult, for everyone else. Perhaps you have an auntie who always seems to mind everyone else’s business or tries to buy favor with her lavish gift giving. Maybe there is a cousin who usually brings huge drama along with her latest, barely there malfunctioning wardrobe to every family gathering. Whatever the case, whether it’s alcoholism, substance abuse, immoral, illicit or illegal activities which some family members are participating in, we have the responsibility of loving them with the love of Christ.

Loving and participating are two separate things.
I know many Christians feel like I once did, that no matter what kind of foolishness my family might be involved in, they’re still my family and I need to attend every family activity. These family gathering always were filled with someone creating drama by pulling a predictable, yet slightly different performance from our last gathering. I justified my choice to attend, with scriptures about how Jesus hung out with the tax collectors. I realize now that my way of thinking was somewhat flawed. Since then I’ve learned that it is far more meaningful to pray for opportunities to minister to those family members God would have me to minster to; on a one-on-one basis, or in a slightly more controlled environment can be far more effective. Along the way I’ve come to realize that I am called to be a witness, and I’m not called to be the savior of my people. This simple revelation freed me from experiencing guilt; on those occasions I declined an invitation to join another family event.

Putting family before God will surely send you down the wrong path.
God expects us to love our family. Nevertheless God still wants first place ranking in our lives whether our family members are saved, have a form of godliness or are just downright ungodly. He also wants us to witness to help bring those who don’t know Him to Christ. There are however, times when one has to choose. Yes choose, whether the stress, pressure and pain that is sometimes caused by being around dysfunctional family members is what God would have us to do. We can love them and pray about the right, appointed opportunities to minister to them. Maybe you’re thinking I love my family and I can’t stop being close to them.  I am by no means suggesting you kick your family to the curb nor am I saying you should stop being around them. I am however suggesting you take a look at those relationships that are stressful, ineffective and bringing you down. I believe God has the wisdom to guide us in what to do about our conflicting relationships with family. I’m only suggesting (one considers making what might be a tough choice for some) putting God first and not choosing your relationships with family over your relationship with the Lord.

This isn’t about legalism; this is about serving God with purpose on purpose.
There are those of us who put family and friends (that are as close as family) before God. We don’t want to offend, break years of tradition or ruffle anyone’s feathers, so we make the choice to continue to do what we’ve always done. When it comes to parents, honoring your parents was the first commandment that included a promise. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Exodus 20:12 Honoring your parents, no matter what they think of your Christianity is nonnegotiable, if you intend to obey the commandments of God. What that honor looks like is also between you and God. The dynamics of having a good solid relationship with family members who, either aren’t Christians, or aren’t very loving, or even perhaps are abusive is something God will give you wisdom about.  If you and I put God first, we do well, and the law is fulfilled in our hearts.  And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Deuteronomy 6:5

The Word of God is clear; Jesus came to bring a sword.

Organizing the Inside – Day 146 Lord I Have A Big Dream, Now What?

When you have a dream always remember to trust the one who gave you the dream. Joseph went through a lot before he saw his dream come true. His life and hope will inspire you to keep the faith and stay on course. God really does make dreams come true, we just have to trust and obey.

Whenever you have favor expect to encounter jealousy.
When God gives you favor you will always meet those who are jealous of you. Often it’s the people who are closest to you, those who “knew you when” who will be the most jealous. This is when you must operate in the fruits of the spirit. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. 4When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them; they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. Genesis 37:3, 4

Be careful about who you share your dream with.
Most people, who have a dream, can appreciate the dreams of others. Be mindful about sharing your dream to receive affirmation or confirmation from family and friends.  If the people you are telling your dream, don’t have a dream of their own they may not understand and become resentful. Even those closest to you may not support you.
Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. Genesis 37:5
The haters will sometimes laugh and make fun of you and often try to stop you from fulfilling your dream. “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.” Genesis 37:19, 20

In spite of the situation, trust God to work things out and bring your dream to pass.
Stay right in your relationship with God, even through adversity and know that God will always work things out according to His purpose and plan. When God gives you a dream He will prosper you in whatever you do towards fulfilling that dream. Remember no matter what things look like God is always right there to ensure your success. The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered… Genesis 38:2  And in whatever he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:3

When God has a plan for you He will go to great lengths for you to be in postion to fulfill it. Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard. Genesis 37: 36

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Remember your relationship with God is paramount to the success of your dream.
Others will favor you when they see that God is with you. God will ensure your timely promotion, so don’t be concerned if you feel things aren’t happening fast enough. Your promotion is on the way. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. Genesis 39:3, 4

Don’t get caught up.
When you have a dream and God starts to prosper you, this is a time to be especially careful about your choices. We’ve seen the results of many Christians who let prosperity and position cause them to sin. They gave in to the lust and temptations of the world, and sin leads to death. (Romans 6:23) There are a lot of dead dreams and dead ministries because of sin. Joseph stayed right with God and chose to remain faithful; he chose not to get caught up in sin.
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, 7and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” 8But he refused. Genesis 38:6c-8a

Be loyal and remain faithful.
God wants us to stay faithful to Him and respect those who are in authority over us. God places authority in our lives to protect us, whether they are Christians or not. We should always remain under the protection of authority; and God will honor our choices. Being trustworthy will prove to be the right choice in the end.
“With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. Genesis 39:8b-10

We can learn a lot from the life of Joseph. He lived righteously and his life serves as a blueprint for behavior, for those of us who have a dream. If you have a dream I encourage you to read the remaining chapters, Genesis 37-50 to find out more about how God brought Joseph’s dream to pass. You will find more helpful insights about how to handle having a big dream inside your heart. A few last notes about the life of Joseph.

  • He never became bitter about how he was treated.
  • He relied on God.
  • He did not fear man.
  • He waited on God to promote him, and didn’t try to promote himself.
  • He used his gifts at the appropriate time.
  • He understood the importance of family and accepted that he was born in the right family for a reason.
  • He honored his father and God blessed him with a long life.

Organizing the Inside – Day 145 Dreams Do Come True

16He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; 17and he sent a man before them—Joseph, sold as a slave. 18They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, 19till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true. 20The king sent and released him; the ruler of peoples set him free. 21He made him master of his household, ruler over all he possessed, 22to instruct his princes as he pleased and teach his elders wisdom~Psalm 105:16-22

There are various types of dreams.
Some dreams occur while you are sleeping. There are those dreams that come as something hopeful for the future, and are likely propelled by our passions. There are those dreams that are more accurately referred to as a vision. These come in various ways: while you are wide awake, while you are in a type of trance, and or while you encounter an experience beyond our dimension. This type is similar to what John experienced in Revelations. Additionally your mind has the ability to take trips (imaginary) to foreign lands and create imagery that even affects your current physical condition. I’ve written before about taking a mini vacation to help relieve stress.  This type is commonly referred to as daydreaming.

I want to focus today on a special type of dream.
I want to look closer at the kind of dreams that many Christian woman carry in their hearts. These dreams go far beyond those that normally occur while you are asleep. This type of dream is far more prophetic and does not come as a result of, “much activity.”  I’m no authority on the subject of dreams.  I do however know much about organizing your life and creating an environment that fosters growth and development.  By making changes in the way you live, you can create an awareness that better identifies what’s holding you back from fulfilling your dreams. Moving beyond your current circumstances and fulfilling the dream God placed in your heart is not only possible, it’s probable, if you know what to do. There are many Christians who have gone before us with dreams in their hearts that in one way or another may have changed to world, yet because of choices, they left this earth having never seen their dreams fulfilled.

While we can follow God’s purpose for our lives we are not robots.
God will never impose His will over yours. He always gives you your divine right to choose. I want to help you make those choices that will help you get unstuck and joyfully (not grudgingly) moving in the direction of His will for your life. If God has given you a dream then, the way to truly find fulfillment is to begin moving in that direction. Your vision is directly connected to His purpose and following that will lead you straight into His will for your life.

No matter how big or small your dream; you have the ability to live it.
Joseph’s life is a wonderful example of how dreams which for years may have seemed impossible, will still come true. You may be going through a very hard time and your life feels unbalanced, imbalanced, and unfulfilled. Perhaps you are having financial difficulties, or relationship trouble. No matter what your situation we serve a God who specializes in impossible situations. Maybe you aren’t experiencing a specific challenge that you can point to; you just know you are not where you want to be. Whatever your situation is, God is in control, but only to a point. God limits His control, otherwise He would have to remove mans free will. I can tell you with great certainty that is not going to happen, so you may as well get busy doing the good you know to do. Start making different choices and eliminate the obstacles wrong choices have created.

Tomorrow if God is willing, I’ll take a closer look at Joseph’s life.  I’ll extract some quick, simple steps to help you get organized, focused, and clearly moving towards fulfilling your dream.

Organizing the Inside – Day 144 Happiness or Holiness? You Decide

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free. ~Luke 4:18

Why must we choose?
Is Christianity supposed to be a “woe is me” way of life? Surely we know that there will be suffering. We live in a world that is full of sin and some suffering will occur.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.Romans 8:18

Are we destined to struggle and suffer to show our loyalty and finally find happiness only “when we all get to heaven?”  There are of course endless lists of songs and sermons alike, that teach Christians that God cares nothing about their happiness; they are highly mistaken. If you’ve lived in the world as a true lover of sin,(which I have) during that time I suspect you never once experienced real happiness. I had no concept of unspeakable joy or peace, and unexplainable happiness never once crossed my path. It would require a huge suspension of disbelief to think that a loving God who is full of compassion, who came to redeem the lost, was disinterested in the happiness of His children.

Laughter is a celebration of His goodness.
God wants our lives to glorify Him. If you openly show an emotional expression of happiness it generally results in a smile.  Of course God cares about your happiness and He gave you specific muscles in your face to glorify Him with a bright smile. Run, jump and leap for joy if you dare express the overwhelming gratitude you experience each time you reflect on Christ’s sacrifice for your freedom – surely this makes you happy, indeed you must experience happiness.  What slave is unhappy to discover that her master has finally set her free? The slave that is ignorant to the limitless liberties of true freedom, because her mind is still trapped in captivity. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10

Abundant life brings happiness.
Shed the sadness, the despair and defeat. Look for new ways to enjoy God’s gift of happiness.
Let go of false reasoning like, God wants you to get sick so that He can teach you a lesson. His Word is sufficient to teach any life lessons needed.  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 2 Timothy 3:16

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
Often Christians don’t have any idea why they believe what they believe. At times we mistake a long-standing false belief as something true; simply because we’ve believed it since we can remember.
Perhaps you’ve accepted years of untrue assumptions like, God wants you to live in poverty and not be able to adequately feed your family so that you can find comfort in Him.

An omnipotent God does not need to make you ill or broke to glorify Himself.

Let go of fear and find the freedom that’s yours…trust God.
There may be thoughts lingering in the recesses of your mind that you cannot articulate. Are your thoughts telling you to fear happiness, because when you are too happy something awful is bound to happen, to knock you back down to size?  I’m not the only one who thought this way. Some sinners – having fun sinning, have only seen the down trodden side of some Christian’s lives and they’ve decided, being a sinner or a Muslim is a much better deal. We know nothing could be further from the truth.

I’m reminded of the lovely Christian family who live across the street from us. They were a young married couple who had five beautiful girls all under the age of eight. We’d all often ride to church together, twice on Sundays and both Wednesday and Friday nights for bible study. This young couple experienced so much pain. Neighborhood style “drama” fights would originate across the street between the mom and dad.  Wednesday night bible study was often painful to sit through, because we’d have testimony and prayer request time. Well, this family had enough burdens to keep the most optimistic Christian in a cloud of doubt. Week after week, we saw how this family struggled being 14 mortgage payments behind; and always with a sad story about how they were struggling to make it in. They were often sick and feeble-minded, as they spoke about their most recent illnesses and how God was getting His point across. One day, the girls and I were hanging around outside chatting. The oldest one spoke of how she never wanted to become a Christian. She said, she saw how miserable both her parents were and Christianity was not for her. I felt such sadness, and while I tried my best (a new baby Christian myself) to tell her that God could fix things for her family, she wasn’t convinced.  She’d grown up seeing her parents caught up in a life of heartbreaking, false beliefs. They clearly spoke openly about how God was doing all this to make them better saints. Years later, I saw the oldest daughter; she’d grown up to be an absolutely beautiful woman, with children of her own. I talked to her about the Lord, hopeful she’d found her way home. Shy and unassuming, she explained with what seemed to be genuine excitement; how she’d recently married and became a Muslim a few years back.

Maybe it’s time Christians start living holy lives that are fulfilled and happy.  Maybe it’s time we put away vain pursuits and decided to do the will of God.  Being afraid to be happy is giving your false inner voice far too much power in your life. Yes your life and mines serves as a witness to others  and the way you live your life is the only bible some people will ever read.

Jesus loved His closest friends.
I believed when Jesus hung out at Lazarus’ house where He sometimes went to chill and get away from the crowds;  He was happy while being holy. We know that He cried about the death of His dear friend Lazarus. I believe He also was happy once Lazarus was raised from the dead. When your friends are made free or a long time sinner repents, doesn’t heaven rejoice? Is it a celebration of happiness in the midst of holiness?  No need to choose holiness over happiness. Experience the abundantly living that the Anointed One came to give. Release your fears and live a happy life in the beauty of holiness.

Organizing the Inside – Day 143 Learning to Embrace Solitude

My people will live in a peaceful place, in safe homes and quiet places of rest.
Isaiah 32:18   

There was a time in my life when the thought of being alone was horrifying to me.  Although I am not a socialite, the quiet that came when the voices of my family, friends and acquaintances were gone, was so loud it was almost deafening.  I didn’t like talking when no one other than me was listening. Nevertheless, I often found myself talking to myself. My head had too much to say when things got quiet and still, and I’d rather not hear some of what my head’s observations were about how I was doing.

Now, I’ve learned to embrace solitude.
Actually I’ve discovered that there are real benefits in being alone. Taking a moment to breathe and enjoy my own company is something I cherish. It took months before I felt comfortable sitting in a restaurant without a meal companion. Now I think nothing of it, and only hope other women I see dining alone have too, decided to embrace their “me time” with no thoughts of loneliness. Without that time alone, things start to seem to get out of control. When I fail to take time to breathe and create an imaginary island where I’m the only human present I start to feel a slight imbalance. It’s like a taking a ride and once on that rollercoaster of responsibilities, commitments, and expectations it’s hard to get off until the ride stops, and it barely ever stops. Learning to embrace “me time” is one of the single most important things that I have done, to be the woman God has called me to be. I approach it with no agenda and no expectations to finish a project or any other deferred task. I just sit and do whatever I feel like doing. Selfish and self-serving perhaps a little, but the woman who emerges after I’ve had time on my peaceful island, is far more productive and more in tune with the heart of God than she was before the retreat.

Do what feels right.
If you are learning to appreciate the beautiful woman God created you to be, then cultivating just a bit of solitude will only help the process.  Jesus promised that He would never leave us or forsake us and being alone and away from Him is certainly not possible. Prayer and meditation could be a part of your alone time. However be led by the Spirit. I am recommending this time be spent in addition to your regular devotional time, not in place of. I suggest you not put a whole new list of standards and restrictions on this time away from family, friends and others.  God knows that you need time alone, so quiet yourself and take it. Just keep it simple. Do what you feel you want to do.  If you decide you want to have a slice of New York chocolate cheese cake in the bath tub with candles then do so. I only suggest you put it on your schedule and make sure it happens. Make your “alone time” an important priority which will help replenish you and bring much-needed peace to your mind.

Schedule it
Post it
Do It!

Organizing the Inside – Day 142 How To Be Ready For Battle

10A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12For 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.13Therefore, 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 still be standing firm.
~Ephesians 6:10-13

This post is part II of II, if you missed yesterday’s post, I invite you to go back and read it first Day 141

Stand your ground.
As a Christian in spiritual warfare you are not on the defense. Your weapons are offensive weapons. Your have nothing to defend. When you are fully suited for battle, keep these three things in mind.
1. God Himself will be your rear guard. Consider this; your armor is basically for frontal assaults on the enemy. You should have no concerns of a strike from behind.
2. Paul admonished Christians to have on the “whole armor.” You must be fully ready to wage war and this cannot be done unless you are fully prepared.
3. Read the last book. If you ever have any doubts about how this battle is going to end, read the back of the book. God’s army wins!!!

Let’s look at the full armor.
…having your loins girt about with truth, Ephesians 6:14b
This part of the armor is extremely important and God chose to make it the first one mentioned. The loins is where your reproductive organs are. Too many Christian struggle with sexual immorality and are living a false life before God due to their immoral behavior. God is showing us that we need to establish truth in this area of our lives first. The way you establish truth is simple…God’s word is truth. Do what the Word of God says. Don’t fornicate and don’t commit sexual immorality of any kind.

and having on the breastplate of righteousness; Ephesians 6:14c
The breastplate protects the heart. Wherever God is on the matter, that’s where you should be also. Righteousness is not something we could have apart from God. Frankly our righteous deeds are like filthy rags, but we are made the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ. A yielded heart that chooses to follow His word and live a life of obedience can be “right with God.” Righteousness only comes by God living in the heart of a man.

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Ephesians 6:15
God wants us to share the gospel wherever we go. Your feet carry you from place to place, and as Christians we must be ready to share the gospel of peace. In the grocery store, at the hospital, on the subway train, at all times. As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:15b

Always be ready to share the Word, but not in a forceful or arrogant way, God wants us to share the gospel in a spirit of love and gentleness. But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 1 Peter 3:15

In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Ephesians 6:16
The shield of faith is one of the counter measures that are already in place when you go into battle. It is your faith that prevents the fiery darts from penetrating and harming you. Now we know, consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17 Faith is built up through hearing the Word of God. It’s pretty simple the more you hear the Word the more your faith is increased. True faith only requires as much as a mustard seed. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen Hebrews 11:1 When the darts of the enemy fall to the ground you know that it is because your faith is at work, doing exactly what God strategically planned for it to do. If the darts are getting through then, most likely you need to hear more Word.

Take the helmet of salvation Ephesians 6:17a
The helmet protects the head, this is where your thought life is. The enemy would have you to believe you are not saved. If you would dare to doubt your salvation then perhaps, you would also think that living life as a Christian is impossible. The battle of your heart starts in your mind. Therefore as a child of God you must know without a doubt that you are saved by the blood of the Lamb. If you are saved then you must walk in the fullness of that salvation, knowing what Jesus said, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,” John 10:28

and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17b
The sword when used skillfully can launch an assault on the enemy at any stage in the battle. It is critical to know the Word of God, if you plan on using it. The Holy Spirit will help by bringing it to your remembrance in the heat of battle, but something has to at least be in there, if He is to have something to help you remember. (John 14:26) Christians are equipped to cut down, cut off, and destroy any plans of the enemy with the Word of God. For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 The Word of God also cuts all the way down to where blood is manufactured, the marrow.  It searches, knows and reaches your deepest thoughts and desires – the truth about your life. The Word reaches the very essence of a man. The life of every creature is in its blood. Leviticus 17:14  As a skillful warrior uses the Word of God they know of its power to cut both ways. When you use the Word of God your own heart is greatly affected by that power. For optimal benefit, one would want to apply the Word to their own life first.

Finally do all this while in a constant state of prayer.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18
To be ready for battle remaining in a constant state of prayer is needed. This is praying as you go about your day. Practice communicating with God in every situation. When you walk into a room, talk to God about what your interactions will be with those in the room. Consider communicating with God, about everything. He is interested in all details of our lives. So as you go about your day, make talking to God a habit, “God I know you saw that,” or “God tell me what I should say,” in every situation keep alert and pray for all Christians, because we are all comrades in God’s army.

Please read these scriptures again and study them. Ask God to show you everything He would have you to know about this topic. His truth is so relevant for successful living.

Organizing the Inside – Day 141 Are You Single-Minded?

6Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. ~James 1:6-8

Are you a single-minded person?
When we think of single-mindedness it usually has a negative connotation that goes along with it. I find nothing negative about being single-minded. The person who has integrity is often called a single-minded person who thinks one way. This person doesn’t have divided loyalties but remains true to the values and principles that they believe in.  These people have nothing to hide and are not overly concerned with what others think of them. Having high moral standards and values, the single-minded person lives a life of great integrity. If you are a single-minded person for Christ then you are part of something that is greater than your personal convictions, you are a part of God’s plan for His people, the body of Christ.

The war within
Even a single-minded person whose desires are shaped by their convictions at times find the conflict of spirit and flesh a constant reminder of their own human limitations. The single-minded Christian is predisposed to a sense of knowing that the Word of God is the final authority. When faced with conflict it is that same internal conviction that causes the single-minded person to look to the truth, and their personal core values (the heart) to make the right choice and win each battle.  Paul spoke openly about this internal confliction. 18And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. Romans 7: 18, 19 For everything in life that Christians battle, God has already put in place countermeasures to ensure your success.

Every battle can be won if you are equipped to fight.
I believe that no matter which battle, a battle of truth, a battle of the mind, a battle of the heart or a battle of the flesh each Christian is fully equipped to not only fight that battle, but to come out victoriously. Be mindful that, although the enemy may use people and things around you, these people and things are not whom or what you are fighting. 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.  Ephesians 6:12 The person standing in front of you who has just betrayed your trust, or said untrue things about you, no matter how real it may seem – they are not the issue.  Put on your spiritual eyeglasses to see that the weapons God has given you are weapons to fight a spiritual war not a physical one.

Some Christians are fearful when it comes to the subject of spiritual warfare.
For many years I was one of them. The thought of battling with demons and other unknown forces that I couldn’t see was something I wanted to have nothing to do with. If you can relate, I understand and the enemy would have you remain ignorant to the truth.  The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful… 1 Corinthians 10:13a The word ignorant comes from the word ignore. Yes, if you are like I was you would rather ignore that part of the Christian life. Keep in mind, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.  Psalm 119:130 No doubt, the spiritual forces of darkness hate it when the truth of the light of God’s word enters in.  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. John 1:5 The darkness doesn’t understand it, cannot extinguish it and is rendered completely powerless before it.

Tomorrow if God is willing, I will share with you God’s plan on how to get organized to fight and never lose another battle again. Yes, I say that with a great degree of certainty, simply because I know that God is the one truly fighting through His warriors. Having to deal with spiritual warfare is inevitable for every Christian. Whether you are a newbie in Christ or you have walked with the Lord for many years. The internal conflict and the need to stand steadfast in your single-mindedness is not going to change. But thank God for Jesus; He defeated death, hell and the grave and it’s that same power that raised Jesus from the dead that makes you and me more than conquerors, through Him who loves us, and equips us for battle. Stay prayerful for tomorrow’s post.