A Cautionary “Tell” on Highs & Lows

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A. M. Thoughts: 
Life brings with it many highs and lows. The highs are those feel good moments that allow for personal victories and triumphs. The lows are those what was that moments that challenge or stretch us beyond our level of comfort. Whether you find yourself on the high end or low end of these moments, it is important to center or rather to ground yourself by staying close to the LORD and in His Word. 

DANGER!!!

If one dwells on or in the high indefinitely, there is a possibility that pride may begin to consume you. How does this happen? It happens slowly. It happens subtly. It begins with a general sense of elation, but it later shifts and becomes an inflated sense of self. (No, not in all cases, of course.) One begins to think, “Look what I have done! Look at what I can do.” I versus God becomes the focus. 

There is danger in this thinking. When God is taken out of the equation, it is then easier for Satan to lure and entice. Without an attachment to God or a grounding in Him, more and more selfish liberties can be taken, more and more tainted excuses can be made for why something was accomplished, etc. It is at this point that the evil one has you. He knows that he simply has to attract self to self.  In doing so, he understands  that it negates your need for God. Be warned! This is dangerous.

In contrast (and yet not), if one dwells on the lows constantly, there is a possibility that hopelessness can suffocate or rather drain the life out of you. How does this happen? It happens slowly. It happens subtly. It begins with a doubt, moves into fear, and germinates and grows into immobility. One begins to think, “Can I do this? Is there anything I can even do to fix this, change that, or make things right?” I versus God becomes the focus.

There is danger in this thinking. When dark, debilitating thoughts become more prominent in one’s mind and heart, there is then no room for God. (No, not in all cases, of course.) If God is pushed out or crowded out, the evil knows that he’s got you. He understands that darkness can be eradicated by light. The Light – the LORD Himself – casts out ALL darkness. He and He alone casts out Satan every time you hope, believe and trust in Him. He doesn’t want you to realize the power you have access to. 

Scripture Reflection: Proverbs

Challenge: Make a list of your successes. Give thanks to God for every one of them. Next, write down your challenges. Thank God for them also. Once you have done the aforementioned, prostrate yourself before the LORD and fully surrender your highs and lows. Give yourself into His keeping. Ask the LORD to direct you, to guide you, and to tell you (by way of His Word) what He would have you do from this point forward.

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It All Comes Down to This, Part 1

Cross in Chilean Desert
A. M. Thoughts: When all is said and done, it comes down to this for me.

The LORD…

– Created the heavens and the earth

– Is the First and the Last

–  Is not man that He should lie

– Gave His only begotten Son

– Is not willing that any should perish

– Is the Way, the Truth and the Life

– Will never leave or forsake us

– Will make a way out of temptation 

– Has all authority 

– Is love

By His stripes, we are healed. 

What does it come down to for you?

Challenge: Write down the things you have come to know about the LORD. Allow Scripture to guide you.

Scripture Reflection: Jeremiah 29:13

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See No Evil, Hear No Evil…KNOW

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A.M. Thoughts: Can any of us un-see or un-hear what we have been exposed to in life? Sadly, the answer is no. Trust me, I know. Let me tell you about something that recently happened.

The other night, I invited my child to watch a cheesy 80s movie with me. It was a movie that I had loved and remembered so well…or so I thought. Everything was going just great until (insert horror music here) a profane word was uttered. (Yes!) I was so stunned that I sat speechless for a couple of seconds, hoping that my child didn’t hear what was said. Before I could turn the movie off, three more words dropped and a lewd innuendo was made. (Ugh!!!) I was beside myself. The damage was now done, and my child had been exposed to evil on my watch. (Of course, I did damage control promptly, and as a result, we had a well-needed and very thorough conversation on the tricks of Satan.)

There were numerous takeaways for me with this experience, but one of the biggest lessons I learned was SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL…KNOW. In this phrase, I have found a guide on how to parent and how to live a godly life in a morally compromised world. It all boils down to this – we must be vigilant, alert, aware, and mindful of what is around us and what we choose to expose ourselves to, at all times. From music to movies to books to conversations to places we frequent to activities we elect to engage in, we must see it and hear it through the filter of the LORD. We must be willing to ask the simple yet hard questions…

Is it wholesome?

Is it pure?

Is it good?

Is it beneficial?

Is it helpful for knowledge and growth?

Is it something that will add to my spiritual development or take away from it?

When all is said and done, know this – Satan will come at you, he will come at me, and he will come at everyone we care about with anything that can be imagined…even a cheesy 80s movie. Don’t close your eyes, stuff your ears, or stick your head in the sand, and don’t allow that to be the case with your kids either. Know that God will help you.

Challenge: Complete a study on the word evil. Write down what you learn. (Feel free to come back and share it here on this post.)

Scripture Reflection: Philippians 4:8

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The Power to Speak Life

Woman Smelling Red Flower
A.M. Thoughts: As humorous as this may sound, I confess that it is only now that I realize I have a super power. I have this power. You have this power. In fact, everyone in the world has this super power. 

What is this super power? The power I speak of is the power of the tongue. Our ability to use words and to communicate to others can bring about much – much in the way of change and transformation or much in the way of destruction and poverty of the spirit. 

This super power can be used for good, or it can be used for evil. It can be used to tear people down, or it can be used to build people up. It can be used to spread lies, or it can be used to share truth and a message of hope. It can be used to speak life into someone’s heart, mind, and spirit, or it can be used to speak death, slowly killing and bringing about destruction or decay in a living soul. 

How will you use your tongue in the coming hours? What will you say today? Will you lash out or lift up? Will you discourage or encourage? Will you say things that are profitable only to self, or will you say things that add a sense of value or worth into the lives of others?

“With great power comes great responsibility…” (Uncle Ben, Spider-Man)

Challenge: Let the first words you speak to others today be a word of encouragement. In fact, take it upon yourself to speak a Scripture truth from God’s Word. You have the power!

Scripture Reflection: Ephesians 4:29; Proverbs 18:21a

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Love God More

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Happy New Year! 

2017 has just begun, and it is fresh and new, with no mistakes in it. 

What will you do? How will you go forward? When will you live and move and breathe in the abundance that is spoken of in the Bible? Where will you serve?

Will you strive to move beyond self? Will you seek to know God more? Will you walk in His truth? Will you surrender to the LORD who was King yesterday and still exists as such today?

If you hear nothing else of import this year, hear this. Know this. You must, I must, we must love God more. 

Love Him more than your favorite comfort. Love Him more than your favorite perversion. Love Him more than your secret obsession and your pet sins. Love Him more than your selfish needs, your costly wants and your deviant desires. 

Love God More! 

You can do it. I can do it. We can do it. He will help us. 

Scripture Reflection: 2 Peter 3

Challenge: Share this message with someone you care about deeply and commit to praying for them, without ceasing.

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The Hardest Choices

  
There are times in our lives when we are called to make tough decisions. We are expected to make difficult or hard choices. In these moments, we face ourselves clearly, seeing where conscious meets conviction. Do we decide to do what is good, godly and right or do we choose to do what’s right in the sight of our own eyes? Do we do what is just and fair on the behalf of those who cannot fight or defend themselves or do we make a call against that which is righteous and in the best interest of all? Do we find comfort and peace in being one with the One or do we experience unrest and anxiety as we foolishly and blindly go against truth just for the sake of following the crowd? 

Spiritual Life Fitness Challenge: Consider the life of Christ. Notice what He did each and every time He was called to make the hardest choices on His life path. 

Reflection: The hardest choices should also, in a sense, be the simplest. Who or what we choose to follow or whatever it is we decide to do or not do should lead us directly to the LORD every time. 

 Scripture Meditation: Philippians 4:4-9

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Fear is the Beginning 

  
Scripture of Reflection: Proverbs 1:7

A.M. Thoughts: 

He who is holy and Most High – the Father, Son, and Spirit – was first. Before all, He established Himself as LORD. No other was to be before Him. No other is meant to take His place. And yet…

What becomes the god or gods of our lives? What do we allow to take the place of our Creator and Savior? Who or what serves as our spiritual guide, compass, or teacher? What prideful, empty representation do we lose ourselves in, deluding ourselves into thinking that we are safe, saved, and satisfied? 

Going back to the beginning of our knowledge is paramount when we have, perhaps, lost sight of the who, what, why and how of God. It is helpful to be reminded of His God-ness, His goodness, and His grace. 

Study Challenge: Investigate, explore, and discover what Proverbs 1:7 is all about. Look into the richness of reverence for the Almighty. Seek to understand how fear is the beginning. 

#destinationJESUS