You’re an overcomer!

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Are you facing a mountain and wondering how you will make it to the other side?  Then this is for you!

Sometimes it helps to hear from a person who has traversed the path and actually survived.  To know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and that its not just another train coming!  Its knowing that the view at the top of the mountain will be worth the climb which keeps us going when we are half way up and wish we hadn’t started right?

What if we are faced with a mountain that we didn’t choose?   The mountains of sickness, or poverty, debt, or trauma, or abandonment, or hopelessness?  These mountains often aren’t even tangible, they may be inside of us where no one can see them, but mountains they still are and we carry them with us everyday.

Mark 11:23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

This scripture is making a point, not so much about the physical mountain falling down into the sea, but about the authority that we have been given over that mountain and how that authority is released.

I love climbing mountains, I’m an outdoor girl, an adventure seeker who finds challenges exciting.  So when I found myself in a wheelchair at age eighteen, that did not fit my life plan.  In fact I had a real mountain that I was preparing to climb with my youth group in three months time, and I determined swiftly that a wheelchair was not conducive to accomplishing that goal.  The doctor’s report was not good, I had uncontrolled epilepsy and the seizures had damaged my brain.  I was not able to move anything below my waist and no one had any assurances of any improvement. Being a new believer, I did what I knew to do-ask Jesus what the deal was with this!

His advice to me was profound.  See the mountain under your feet. Do what you can do today and believe me for a little bit more.

Seeing the mountain under my feet gave me a different perspective.  What looked like the impossible began to be probable.  I visualized me climbing that mountain, and it began with me taking a step at a time.  I could believe for a step at a time all the way up until I could see the victory.  I imagined the view from the top of that mountain, I planned my trip and talked about.  I planned to conquer it while still sitting in my wheelchair.

I brain washed myself with the truth until it because the truth. Refusing to speak death over a situation is just as important as speaking life is to it.  When we receive bad reports its tempting to agree with them, to let them determine the outcome which we visualize.  But God.  Remember, He also has a report for you and only we can pick which one we want to agree with.  Taking control of our thoughts and keeping them focused is the the first victory!

When we begin to measure our problems up against the power of Almighty God who lives inside of us, we begin to get His perspective on them and suddenly we make the flip.

‘Mountain, meet my God!  Let me introduce you ‘paralysis’ to My Maker. Oh suddenly, you have gone quiet have you? Nothing to say?  Let me tell you how this works…’

As we begin to acknowledge the power of Jesus in us the mountains begin to shrink because our faith is becoming effective:

Philemon1:6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.

I challenge you today to name your mountain and begin to see it under your feet, see yourself in a place of victory as an overcomer, plan for it, talk about it, declare it!  I agree with you today for breakthrough in Jesus name!  Next time, I will tell you the rest of the story and and how to believe God for a little more each day:).x

 

 

 

 

 

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By Royal Appointment

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Growing up in England, I didn’t realize the significance of the Royal Crest that appeared on our favorite brand of ketchup and jam.  It was a sign that signified quality; a Royal stamp of approval. It is good to know that the Queen is stocking her pantry with the same things I’m feeding my family! After all, we are royalty too:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, 1 Peter 2:9

We may not have all been born into a life of privilege naturally, but we have all been born-again into a Royal family.  Adopted into the family of God, Ephesians 1:5, and chosen by Him and set apart for great things, John 15:16.

Recently Prince George was born into the Royal household.  He did nothing himself to deserve such opportunity, or favor.  The benefits he will enjoy growing up are based on his birthright not on his performance.  Yet as a member of the Royal family he will be raised differently, not just because he lives in splendor but in the way that he thinks.  He will be raised with the knowledge of who he is, that he has a defined purpose, that he is a leader, and as such it will influence his choices – the relationships he engages in, the career path he pursues etc.  His lifestyle will reflect his calling and identity.

As children of God, we have been given a new identity.  This was nothing that we earned, but it comes with all the benefits of a Royal birthright: favor Luke 2:52, Romans 8:17, provision Psalm 34:10, protection (Mark 16:18, Ps 91) and purpose, Ephesians 2:10!

The challenge is when we look around us and our situation doesn’t match up to what we believe.  It is easy to become discouraged and start agreeing with the world’s view of us rather than Gods.

King David had to overcome this very thing.  When Samuel the prophet anointed David as king, he was the least likely of all his brothers to amount to much.  As the youngest he was not even invited to the king picking party, they had to go get him in from the sheep field!  It must have been an awkward moment, Samuel made them all remain standing while they waited on David’s arrival! (You can read this in 1Sam chapters 16,17)

Anyway, David was anointed king. What happened next was not a gold chariot, robe or Royal feast, no he went back out to look after the sheep!  It took a while before anything in the natural changed.  Yet inside David knew that God had set him apart for great things and He was with him.  It was this identity and confidence in his relationship with the Lord that produced the boldness that he needed to defeat Goliath!

In the face of adversity, David killed that giant first in his thinking as he saw himself as the victorious king that he was appointed to be.

Be encouraged today that the Goliath’s in our life may look huge but they are there to be defeated, and inside of you is everything it takes to win in Jesus name! It’s time to get our ‘Royal’ on, and live as heirs to the King of Kings!

Stop the madness!

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Parenting is a wonderful opportunity to learn ‘chaos control’, or crisis management as it’s often known. Parents have usually refereed more games by dinner time than their kids will ever compete in on the field! The business world has given the skills that we teach our children intellectual names like ‘conflict resolution’, but it’s really no different from the sharing lesson that we learned in the sandbox! Valuable life skills are passed on through that parent child relationship. The more a child can listen to the wisdom of those who love them most and have lived life a little longer, the greater success and happiness they find as they learn from others challenges and victories.

If only we could sit still long enough to listen though right? Anyone who has any emotions or has been around someone who does has had the opportunity to experience the effects of drama on a person’s ability to listen. Toddlers demonstrate this perfectly.

When our children were very small and threw a fit or hurt themselves in some way, we knew we were in trouble when no sound came out. The silent red faced scream as they inhaled ready to burst ear drums with their piecing wails. With our first child Zachary, we tried to talk him down, reason with him, explain that life isn’t always fair, and show him the error of his ways. By child number three the resolution was much swifter! We found that reasoning in the moment of crisis was hard for children to receive. This is true for adults too; in the midst of emotion it’s hard to hear the voice of reason. Yet listening is the very thing that will help us the most.

By the time Hannah was around four years old, we were half way through our Bible college studies. We had learned powerful lessons and were pumped full of the scriptures, ready to heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out devils. I guess we must have missed the class on binding the midnight madness though because we were woefully un-prepared!

At the point where we were in the deepest sleep of the night, we were awakened by a shrieking child. One of those ‘I’m really hurting’ cries that knots a parent’s gut. I rushed into Hannah’s room and scooped her up to comfort her, but nothing seemed to work. She was holding the back of her neck in pain and would not let me look at it. We did everything we knew to do-prayed for her, spoke to the pain, begged God; we bound the powers of darkness and even took her into our bed! Nothing. I was convinced that she had something serious going on, my mind checking off all the symptoms of meningitis. Finally, after running out of ideas I listened. Not to the ear piercing screams but to the Holy Spirit.

He said to look at her finger. Odd I thought but ok. Sure enough her little finger was caught up in her hair under hand at the base of her neck. She had fallen asleep twiddling her hair around her finger and it had cut the circulation off. When I pulled her hand away from her neck it hurt more so she screamed louder. One snip with the scissors was all that was needed!

I learned that night to listen first rather than after trying everything else! Often there is a simple solution, one that can easily be overlooked in the middle of the chaos. Listening skills are easier to practice when it’s quiet, rather than like me, and waiting until the storm was in full force.

John 10:27

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

Sometimes it’s hard to hear the Lord about the noise of life, and easy to assume that He is not hearing us. Be encouraged that He is always listening and that we can always hear Him, when we listen. Take some time out today, just to be still and listen for the answers that you have been looking for. There are many ways that God speaks to us, and we explore some next time, but listening and expecting to hear is the key!

Keep it Simple, Stupid!

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Keep it Simple, Stupid!

Making life complicated is a special ability commonly exercised by adults of all ages, especially prevalent when under pressure. Otherwise known as ‘storm in a teacup syndrome’. This condition presents itself primarily as a situation with a simple solution, that is quickly exacerbated until it reaches a storm size of epic proportions, of which magnitude the world has never seen, and all outcomes point to certain disaster.’

Does this sound like you? We may not all operate on this level of drama, but I am convinced that the ability to is in us all! Often it is in these moments as our emotions are spiraling out of control that the simple solutions evade us.

Both my husband and I started out in ministry as children and youth workers. One of the most valuable lessons that I learned during those years was to keep things simple. There is only so much information that a person can receive at one time, and the simple solutions are usually the most effective. In our zeal and enthusiasm, the temptation was there to teach everything we knew in the 30 minutes we had available. Not only did this not work well, it was boring, and bored kids stop listening. After a baptism of fire (being thrown into the deep end on the mission field), and ‘trial by teenager’ (finding out that you aren’t as prepared as you thought you were), we scrapped the carefully laid out curriculum that our team had spent months preparing and sought the Lord. What did the Lord say? ‘Keep it simple, stupid’. In other words, refocus and have fun.

Our ten step discipleship plan went out the window, along with the crafts, dramas and coloring activities designed to reinforce the key scriptures we wanted to emphasize. Hopelessly out numbered and overwhelmed, it didn’t take us long to realize that the kids sitting on the dirt floor in front of us were not going to behave in the same way as our Sunday school class back home. They climbed the walls, the tin roof above us, devoured the weeks supply of candy on the first night, and couldn’t read regardless if we had light to read by or not because they were unschooled and hungry. What they needed most was to be loved and fed. That week we learned from those children, that the love of God changes lives through the simplest acts of human kindness.

Keep it simple, stupid! Have fun, eat candy, play games, laugh a lot. When we keep Jesus at the center we are keeping the main thing, the main thing!

Matt 22:37-40

 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Our relationship with Jesus is what enables us to love and live with those around us. The love of God is still the most simple and profound truth. As we start to grasp this we begin to take ourselves less seriously. God’s love for us, and in us eventually finds its way through us to others. We become the channel of peace in a world of craziness.

Isa 26:3

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

As I am writing this today, I know that there is someone who feels like their life is out of control. Turmoil, uncertainty and drama have followed you and there appears to be no clear way forward. This word of encouragement is for you. Jesus, is the peace that you are looking for. It’s a good day to refocus and refire! Keep Jesus the main thing. Keep it simple, stupid!

Don’t Be Lion Bait, Take Yourself Off The Menu!

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Don’t Be Lion Bait, Take Yourself Off The Menu!

When our kids were little, before the conveniences of hand held electronics we were their entertainment on car rides! To pass the time we used the standard variations of i-spy until we all became bored, and then Ashley created a new game. It was called Real or Fake? The object being to learn the difference between what was truth and what was make believe. Eventually, the question arose ‘Is the devil real or fake?’

After a moment of deep thought our then four year old, Hannah, exploded with her new found revelation: ‘the devil is real but his weapons are fake!’

To this day that is still the most profound description that I have heard on the power of the enemy!

Many Christian’s struggle to find the balance between recognizing that there is a real spiritual enemy operating in the world today, while not giving him so much credit for life’s wrongs that he ends up getting way too much attention.

Colossians 2:13-15

 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,  having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.  Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

The devil is real, but scripture is clear that he is defeated. Jesus disarmed satan’s power when he rose from the dead and the truth is, that he no longer has any power to operate in our lives as believers. When we trusted in Jesus we changed Kingdoms and entered into all of the benefits of a new covenant.

Col 1 :12-14

giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,  in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Through this covenant we can enjoy forgiveness, healing, prosperity, deliverance, peace and protection. That is not to say that the enemy, the thief won’t come looking to take them from us! In fact, the only reason a thief comes sniffing around is because you have something that he wants! If healing and prosperity were not ours, then he would not be after them.

John 10:10

 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly

The only real weapon that loser has left is deception. If the thief can convince us out of what is already ours, he gains a foothold in our life. He has no rights anymore to operate in our life and no power to do so, so don’t let his lies deceive you.

1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

The devil is nothing more than wanna-be toothless lion. Jesus, stripped him of his power and made a public spectacle of him. He doesn’t even have the power to devour us, he has to have our permission: seeking whom he may devour. Like a lazy bear looking for an easy picnic basket, he is wandering around waiting for an opportunity.

This is good news! It means that we don’t have to be afraid of the enemy, because he has already been defeated! He is the original biggest loser.

Refuse to be lion bait today, take yourself off his menu!

When Life Gives Us Lemons

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When Life Gives Us Lemons

It sure is easy when things aren’t going the way we think they should, to find ourselves siding with the opposition! Without realizing it I found myself it this very spot.

It all began one rainy afternoon, in a time not long ago, in a city exactly like mine, on a bed in my bedroom. Where a husband (actually my husband) had committed the unpardonable sin of forgetting that his wife is always right. Feeling the injustice and looking for a way to justify my offense, I retreated to the bedroom to complain, I mean pray. Yet when I eventually quit whining I realized that the Lord was quiet. He did not respond to whining. I tried crying. Then asking for the Lord to fix that man He gave me. Still nothing. The pity party began to feel rather lonely. Finally after the tears had run dry, and the Kleenex were soggy, I listened. In those new few moments I heard ‘Let’s talk about you’. In the most gentle way, the Lord told me about all of the good things that He had put on the inside of me. He would not discuss the wrongs of another with me, because His love covers a multitude of sin. As I wrote down the things that He told me, joy and peace exploded on the inside of me. The situation had not changed but I had changed.

Isaiah 26:3: He who keeps His mind stayed upon the Lord is kept in perfect peace.

The whole time that I was focused on the bad, the wrong, the hurt, my thinking took a downward spiral. Anger, frustration and turmoil played with my emotions.   Yet within minutes of mediating on the truth of God’s word, my heart was free again. The truth literally sets us free.

John 8:32:

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Romans 8:6:

For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

I learned an important lesson that day. That our thinking produces fruit in our lives and if we want to taste the good stuff it comes from planting good seed. The joy of the Lord is our strength, and it’s one of those things that the enemy tries to steal from us when we get distracted focusing on all the junk that’s going on rather than on the Lord.

Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Keeping our mind stayed upon the Lord, plants good seed. You can often tell the type of seed people have planted by the look on their face and the words that they speak. It’s that tell-tale lemon sucking expression that gives it away! If we don’t like the fruit that’s in our life, we can to pray for a crop failure and replant!

Be encouraged today, that the Lord has uniquely planted in you: gifts, talents, ability and purpose that position you for victory. Life may give us lemons but we don’t have to suck them! We can start agreeing with His promises today and we will see the fruit of them in our lives.

Check out the link to my confession card:

https://carlieterradez.wordpress.com/who-do-you-think-you-are/

When our thoughts spin out of control the best thing to do is……..refuse them permission to land!

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When our thoughts spin out of control the best thing to do is……..refuse them permission to land!

(Preparing our hearts to receive a miracle part 3)

Life happens whether we are ready for it or not! Everyday there are circumstances that develop and continue without our input. People speak, act and change, governments rise and fall, life starts and ends all outside of our control. It is often those moments which we can’t control that disturb us most. Those are things that play over and over in our minds while we lay awake at night wondering if we will see every hour tick round on the clock, because we can’t switch off our brain to sleep.
The truth is, we will never be able to control everything around us, but we can learn to control those thoughts that appear from nowhere and send us spinning in circles. We can become the Ring Master in this circus called life!
The realization that I could control my thoughts was never more real to me than in those moments when life and death were hanging in the balance. When I’d had so many seizures that I needed to learn to walk again, when the doctors told us that our unborn baby was deformed and offered us a termination, when our child was given a week to live, when we were sued and it looked like we would lose everything that we had worked for, when thugs threatened to burn our house down, when we had loved and lost, when life hurt so bad it hurt to breathe, in those times survival depended upon our ability to listen to the voice of God above the chaos.
In my last blog I mentioned fear being the enemy of faith. Fear was an emotion that I lived in for a long time, until the Lord showed me that I had power over it through a simple picture. The picture was of an airport control tower and planes circling overhead. Each time a plane approached the tower and came into radio contact it had to request permission to land. Those planes did not have the authority to land without the go ahead from the control tower. Our thoughts are like those planes. We cannot stop those planes coming into contact with our mind but we do not have to give them permission to land!
This is what the bible is talking about when it mentions taking every thought captive. 2 Cor 10:3-5
Literally we can recognize and isolate thoughts and judge whether they are good/bad or ugly. In other words are they from God, the devil or just our flesh? A great measure to decide this is John 10:10:
The thief cometh not but to steal and to kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Does the thought bring fear or dread? That would be from the enemy. Does it fill me with love, joy, peace? That would likely be God. The flesh can be a little harder to distinguish sometimes, but if we are seeking first the kingdom of God, and God wants to give us the desires of our hearts, chances are that our ambitions will be in line with His. Failing that the Holy Spirit will guide us in the right direction because we are in relationship with Him. In finding a thought circulating that’s not good or God, serve the eviction notice! That would be anything that challenges a promise of God: fear, anger, poverty, sickness, despair etc.
This amazing ability on the inside of every believer enables us to be in control of our emotions rather than having our emotions control us. Thoughts left unattended can quickly turn into a runaway herd of wild horses, they need training!
This is your life, your air space. Start controlling the air traffic in it today, and watch the transformation in your life that happens as a result of preparing your heart to receive more than you could hope or even imagine!
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, Eph 3:20