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!

 

 

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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

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!

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!

lion blog pic

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/