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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Brain farts and grasshoppers

Come on,  we have all had one at some point!  That moment when you walked into a room and completely forgot why you went in there, or got home with the groceries to find that the one thing you really needed you didn’t pick up.  Pregnancy does weird things to a woman’s brain, I’m just saying it girls so you can feel better that you aren’t alone in the baby brain fog.  Cordless phones, actually anything not tied down was likely to find itself relocated to either the fridge or the freezer.  (I distinctly remember the fridge ringing at some point, only to discover I had shelved not one but two cups of coffee in there along with the phone).

How we think has a huge effect on our physical body, our mental well being, our performance, our relationships..everything.  Proverbs 23:7 says as a man thinks in his heart so is He.  We become the person we imagine ourselves to be-winner, champion, overcomer, prosperous, healed, or sick, poor, defeated, victim or victor.

While our physical circumstances may change there is one thing that is one is unchanging or absolute, thats Jesus!  We are who God says we are, have what He says we have and can do what He says we can do, if only we can wrap our minds around His word enough that we allow it to transform us.  Rom 12:1-2.

Circumstances change, storms pass over, scars heal, but unless we take time to deal with the after effects of a trial in our soul, we can remain stuck in it long after it has finished.  Elephants taken as a calves and chained to tree  with nothing more than a bicycle wheel on a rope to scare them, learn not to  pull on the rope to get away.  Fear of that bicycle wheel will keep the elephant bound to the tree long after it has become full grown, and more than able to break free.

In Numbers chapter 13, twelve spies were sent to spy out the land that the Lord was giving them.  The spies were sent on a recon mission to devise a plan to take the promised land, not ‘if’ they could but ‘how’ they could take it. The report that came back though was less than optimistic:

30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” 32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. 33 There we saw the giants[d] (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.”

Only Joshua and Caleb could see past the problems, the others had grasshopper vision. screen-shot-2017-02-19-at-2-50-34-pmGrasshopper vision  had infected others around them and eventually stopped them from inheriting the promises too. Caleb and Joshua had a different spirit within them- they were victorious in their minds first, they were ‘how to people’.

Overcoming grasshopper vision begins with a decision to look beyond the circumstances of today to the future and the promises that the Lord has already set in motion for us. There maybe giants in the land but we are well able to overcome them with Jesus!

3 John 2- Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

Look out for my next blog where we will look at practical ways to reset our thinking and break free from grasshopper vision!

 

 

Tank Life

So You want to Leave the Tank?fish tank

Living with a Conservationist Animal Rights Extremist has its interesting moments.  Like when we had to explain to our then, nine-year-old that there are critters in America that can eat you, and that we aren’t in England anymore where the most dangerous thing is a badger.  Or when we found a Black Widow nest in our yard, and we debated the pros and cons of allowing them to live in a specially designed (by said nine-year-old) shoebox enclosure in our house.

No they can not come in the house.  Why not?  Because bringing them inside the house would not help them fulfill God’s purpose for their creepy little lives. (And Mom would likely pulverize them upon entry.)

Children have a way of thinking that is different to adults.  They are still in that phase of life where they believe that all things are possible, where they really can achieve anything (including personal flight so keep the windows closed;) when their dreams can be a reality, when obstacles are just there to be overcome, and vision is not limited by lack or impracticalities.  They are masters of thinking outside of the tank. That sense of wonder and imagination is what sets apart the exceptional from the average, millionaires from minions, inventors from wanna-bees, victors from victims.

Matt 19:26 Jesus looked at them and to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible’.

What does life beyond the tank look like? 

You wont know until you leap. Leaving the tank, that place of comfort and safety where everything is ticking along just fine, to chart a course into the unknown is potentially terrifying.  The truth is though, that many have gone before you and survived the walk of faith.

We have had our share of Christopher Columbus moments. England is a very small country compared to most and traveling is arduous to us.  If we have to drive more than an hour or two then that requires an over night stay, and any daily commute exceeding 45 minutes would necessitate you moving house.  So moving country was a huge step into the unknown for us.  What enabled us to make that move was a baby step.  We knew that God was calling us to this big adventure, but it took a while for our flesh to get brave enough to move in the right direction.  Thankfully, God’s grace is sufficient for us and His plans are not that fragile that time, or wrong turns can shipwreck them.

 Beware of small tank mentality.

What if it doesn’t work out? What if its not really God? What if you aren’t ready?  What if you are wrong about this?

All of these are great questions.  The real question though is, Is God big enough to cover our mistakes? Can we trust Him to do what He said He would do?  Is He our source of happiness, provision, health, peace and protection? Do we really believe that He is the God of the possible? Are we allowing fear to make decisions for us?

Leaving the tank will challenge those around us.

 As people move on there are always those who get left behind because they can not or will not make the journey with you.  This is the probably the hardest part of pursuing our God given destiny.  Remember though, that like when the Children of God left Egypt, they all were given the opportunity to enter the promised land. Not all of them could see past the giants and it hindered them receiving all that God had for them.

Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things ae possible to him who believes”.

Confessions from a previous tank dweller:

-Life is full of unknowns, stick with the one thing that you can know: Jesus, who always leads us to triumph (2 Cor 2:14)

-Be moved with compassion rather than motivated by fear.

-Know that God is bigger than any mistakes we have or will make in the future-in fact He knows them ahead of time and picked us anywayJ

-Believe Big- God is not up in heaven worried that you will over commit Him to a promise of His that He can’t deliver.

Take the plunge today, believe God for something outrageous that only He can do!

#youarehiskid

Will the Real You please stand Up.

As the tears rolled down her weathered cheeks and dropped into her lap, something miraculous began to unravel…

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Jeannie’s brain was being eaten up by the enemy inside her.  Not the cancer that her doctors saw but the hopelessness which consumed her every thought.  Her frail body contained a flicker of the life that once was the real Jeannie, now barely present represented by her physical shell but absent inside.  As Jeannie’s family wheeled her towards me my heart sunk, their desperation was evident, the mission was clear.  This lady was dying and only Jesus could heal her.  The question was not if Jesus could heal her, but if Jeannie was still in there enough to want it.

Crouching down, our faces almost touching, her soft breath moving my stray hair we sat still for a moment.  The bustling room was filled with the chatter of a thousand conversations, but there was only one voice that I needed to hear in that moment.  Where are you Jesus?  Where are you in this lady’s heart? How did she get to this point?

Love overcomes. It never fails. Tell her of my love. She feels unworthy.

It was the love of God that reached deep inside of her that day and found hope, hope that was bruised but not crushed, downtrodden with disappointment but not defeated.  It began with a whisper of truth, the truth that sets us free.  The truth that says we are chosen by God, accepted in the beloved, an heir of His promises, planned for, protected, dearly loved, formed with a future written in His book, set apart for great and wondrous things, destined to reign, equipped with power over the enemy and justified by the Most High God who loves us with the tender heart of a Father and the strength of a King.  The truth that says we are worthy to receive all that He has for us because of what He has done.

John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the ruth shall make you free.

As the tears fell, they became tears of joy. (Neh 8:10) The joy of the Lord became the strength that Jeannie needed.  The real Jeannie lifted her head, and I knew that it was done.  No longer could the enemy keep her bound, I was looking at a free woman.  A woman who took ahold of the truth with both hands and wouldn’t let it go. A woman who had let go of the enemies in her own mind and allowed the Healer to come in. A woman who came dying and left walking. A woman now free from cancer.

The real Jeannie stood up that day.  What will you do with the truth?

Galatians 5:6 is a great place to start:)

 

 

 

Faith Comes By Hearing

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Healing begins with hearing.

When I first heard God speak on the inside of my head, I feared I may have experienced some mental derangement, probably from a lack of sleep. (After all, any mother caring for three children under the age of three, who changes a minimum of 20 pampers a day, could expect a few damaged brain cells, right?) Then I got an epiphany; God always spoke—He was always there—but now I was finally listening (Is. 51:16, Heb. 13:5, and Matt. 13:15).

During an afternoon young Mum’s afternoon Bible study we sat; in as near a silence as one possibly could with a herd of toddlers dissembling the bedroom next door, and practiced listening to whatever the Lord had to say. I was certain that the only reason God would ever speak me would be to bring correction, so I was always careful to make sure every sin was promptly confessed. I even included a blanket statement at the end of my prayers, “And please forgive me for anything else I forgot to mention. Amen.” Because of my diligence, I was confident the Lord would have nothing to say to me. Still, I sat as requested, cleared my mind of wandering thoughts, and listened. To my surprise, thoughts began to pop into my head which seemed to come from nowhere. With one eye tightly shut and the other very slightly open, I shot a glance around the room to see if anyone was the source of the conversation going on in my head. It was then I realized the Lord was putting thoughts in my mind!

I had dealt with sickness forever. It was a source of strain in my daily life, but also my spiritual life. I was reading my Bible and just couldn’t reconcile the differences I was seeing in the early church and the one I attended. I couldn’t understand how God could be described as loving and yet be responsible for much of the suffering and heartache ascribed to Him. I began to recall all the people I had seen prayed for and healed. (I had actually never seen or heard of anyone receiving healing in a spiritual way. I knew of people who thanked God for healing them, and I am sure that He had a part to play in it, but they all followed some course of medical treatment. Rather than seeing this as a matter of divine intervention, the nurse part of me concluded that medicine had done its job.) In my experience, Christians prayed for the sick more from duty than with any real expectancy. We always ended our prayers with, “If it be thy will Lord,” and that hardly seemed a guarantee. But how could we know if God was in a good mood? Or if the person being prayed for deserved healing? Or even if God still healed? Then I recalled reading in James:

 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.            James 5:14-15

And I noticed it wasn’t just any prayer that “saved the sick.” Healing required a prayer of faith. Well if faith is to be sure of the things I hope for and certain of the things I cannot see (Hebrews 11:1), I thought, than praying with faith involves a level of certainty not wonder. Apparently, when James wrote about praying for the sick he was not asking God to heal them, but expecting to see them healed. No wonder I hadn’t seen or heard of any healings! There was clearly no shortage of sick or praying people, but there was a shortage of faith. That day I realized that faith has to be present for healing to be received. As I sat there processing these thoughts and listening, I heard something that sounded so alien to me I knew it could never have come from my flesh. I heard:

Carlie, you have held Me outside of the Epilepsy. You don’t need to. I want to take it from you, if you want me to. In two weeks’ time, you can be free from this if you choose to be. Flip the switch.”

Little did I know that this simple phrase would change the course of my life forever.  Hearing was the first step to believing, and believing to receiving.  Take time to listen and hear God today, He is trying to get good things to you that might just change your life.  Rom 10:17

Making a come-back!

Making a come-back.

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Everyone loves to see the underdog make a come-back and win don’t they? Whether it is an unknown soccer team from the lowest division winning the league, or a tiny country from the back side of the globe grabbing gold at the Olympics, something about this warms the heart.  That feeling of elation and relief when an insurmountable obstacle has been overcome is something that we can all relate to.

The determination to overcome, the will to live, the desire to succeed and press on, and the sheer stubbornness to prove life wrong when it says you can’t is in us all.  Science may refer to this as the laws of nature or natural selection, but human kind has something distinctly different on its side that nature does not account for: faith.  By faith we overcome the world. (1John 5:4, Phil 4:13)

When I became a follower of Jesus, I was not wholly prepared for the challenges that were ahead of me. Life until that point had been a series of obstacles emotionally, physically and spiritually, there were several Goliath’s that I had learned to live with and which the Lord would show me needed to be slain.  This process was not a comfortable one, and as He began to gently show me the parts of my heart that were broken, that felt more painful before it felt better.  Today though, I can see that killing those giants was essential, and has it has changed how I now approach life’s challenges and disappointments.

Jesus did not promise us that we would not face problems in this life, quite the opposite, but he gave us the solution to overcome them:

John 16:33

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will[d] have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

This came from a man who knew the enormity of the challenge ahead of Him.  He knew of the persecution, the torture and torment, the pain that was to come when he said these words but he was not focused on it.  He was looking to the victory that lay beyond that situation. The difference; Jesus was viewing life from the other side of the cross.   Jesus is the ultimate come back King!

There are two keys that the Lord showed me, that I remember anytime that life presents me with opportunity to get into the flesh.  These have helped me keep focused on the finish line rather than the hurdle ahead, and to trust God to deliver me in the midst of adversity.  Ultimately these two keys have set me back on track when I needed help to overcome.

The Come-back Keys:

  1. Three days changes everything.

Jesus was celebrated, paraded as a king through the streets on a donkey, and honored.  Yet this was short lived, because a short time later he was crucified.  Our confidence has to be in God alone, not in the circumstances or even those around us.  People fail, even with the best intentions, but God is always on our side.  At the crucifixion, it looked like all was lost and the devil had won, but three days later Jesus rose from the dead and changed the course of history forever.  Whatever the situation, however bad it looks today, wait three days and it will look different.  Responding hastily, out of reflex or fear often causes us a bigger mess.  Time helps us see things in perspective, it allows us to refocus on the Lord and hear Him above the noise, and all the while the Lord is intervening on our behalf.  I have seen situations that appeared hopeless completely turn around as I took time to seek God rather than respond in the flesh!

  1. He is big enough to handle our emotions.

In times of tragedy, betrayal, confusion, helplessness, or just pure emotion, we do not think clearly.  Our decisions are not always the best ones as we struggle to be objective.  In those moments of whirling thoughts, the Holy Spirit is our Comforter.  He is our voice of reason, our guide, our protection, our best friend.   He alone can heal broken hearts, show us how to love our enemies and what forgiveness really looks like, but we have to participate.  Ultimately we are the ones who hurt the most when we hold on to hurt, anger, pain, and unforgiveness, not the person who wronged us.  These things become like a cancer in our bodies and will spread to other areas of live if we don’t deal with them.  So how do we deal with these feelings? How do we stop feeling them?

This is what works for me:  I see a box, and in it I place all of the emotion, the thoughts, the confusion, the drama, the whole situation in that box.  I close the lid, and address it to Jesus. In my mind I mail it.  I ask to Holy Spirit to be my comforter and place my trust in Him .This is casting my cares upon the Lord!  If at any time I begin to dwell on those thoughts, and start to feel that emotion, hurt rising up inside of me again, or fear creeping back, I picture that box again.  I remember that those feelings are no longer mine to deal with; I already gave them to Jesus so I’m not taking them back.

Phil 4: 6 -9

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  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. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Jesus is the original come back King, and He lives in us.  Jesus in us is greater than any defeat; He always leads us to victory and causes us to triumph.  Be encouraged today that you have everything you need inside of you to be who He called you to be.  And if that devil tries to send any of his junk your way, just label it ‘return to sender’!

 

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!