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The Secret to Being Perfect

Summer is here. The sun is shining, kids are out of school, days are filled with relaxing, activities and hopefully vacations.  I love the things we learn from our seasons and vacations we go on.  There’s indigenous wildlife and landscapes we discover in the places we go.  One bird indigenous to Alaska I will never forget is the raven.

These birds live in parking lots and attack trash cans, devouring any food left on the ground. They live up to their name because they are ravenous scavengers that will eat anything. I’ve always wondered why these birds choose to stay during Alaskan winters. If I were a bird I would definitely use the wings God had gave me to fly to warmer temperatures. Even though ravens don’t migrate when the weather gets cold, I don’t think these Alaskan ravens could fly very far even if they had to. They are self-indulgent glutinous birds way too fat to fly anywhere. I have never seen ravens this big ever in my life. These birds may be sleek and shiny on the outside, but their selfish desires hold them captive in the tundra weather as a result.

These Ravens remind me of the Pharisees in the Bible.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” Matthew 23:25-26

The Pharisees had a tradition to engage in ceremonial washing of their body before eating, so nothing dirty would enter their bodies. However Jesus was pointing out, the Pharisees were missing the point. What was the point of physically cleaning the outside of their bodies if their hearts were filled with greed and self-indulgence? The Pharisees thought they were perfect because they followed the traditions of men. They were more concerned with keeping the tradition of ceremonial washings then keeping their hearts clean with the righteousness of God.

How true is this for our lives?

Am I like the Pharisee trying to maintain perfection on the outside but really full of un-righteousness on the inside?

I have been guilty of trying to maintain the facade that everything is perfect in my life on the outside by keeping a clean house, car, a perfectly manicured yard, obedient kids, a successful husband the list goes on. Maybe you can relate?

Have you tried to find value and worth through your circumstances like me? Have you tried to seek righteousness in your own works? Truth is I can have everything perfect and neatly organized on the outside but really am falling apart on the inside.

Where is the hope or freedom in my failures?

Is success in life really measured by my performance and how perfect I look from the outside?

There will be times my achievements fail. Times I don’t always get it right.  There will always be another room to clean in my house. There will always be a child’s behavior to correct. There may be times my husband and I don’t get along. There will always be that certain something that doesn’t go as planned.  Does that mean I only receive hope if my circumstances are going well in my life?

Perfectionism and keeping a bunch of rules will never make me righteous or bring me peace or freedomClick To Tweet

I am not perfect.  But I am made perfect in God. Through God’s eyes even when I fall short, He sees me as his perfect workmanship and makes up for my shortcomings (Romans 3:23).

He created and designed all of us with a purpose that is greater than our next performance.

The secret to being perfect isn’t in what we do ourselves with our own strength but in what God can do in us with His strength.Click To Tweet

God cares more about the condition of our hearts than how clean our houses are. His desire is for us to love him with all of our heart, all of our soul and all of our minds” (Matthew 22:37).

Jesus tells the Pharisees, “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” Matthew 23:26. He was trying to teach them you will always be held captive by selfish desires and trying to maintain perfectionism. We will always be set free in God’s truth and love for us.

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

When I seek God for my righteousness and desires of my heart he shows me “I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; our souls knows it very well (Psalm 139:14). Righteousness does not come from ourselves or in anything we do, but from God himself.

“…not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—“ (Philippians 3:9).

Our hearts will always find peace in His presence and freedom in His truth.

The next time there are a pile of dishes in your sink, say to yourself, “Bless this mess, because I am made perfect in God!” Thankfully God cares more of how clean my heart is than my sink!

Have you ever met someone and thought wow they have it all together, to only find out they are shattered and broken on the inside?

You never know what someone is going through. Just because their life seems perfect on the inside doesn’t mean it’s true.  Thankfully we have all been saved by his grace.  His grace and purpose are always greater.

“He has saved us and called us to holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.”  2 Timothy 1:9

Can you relate to the Pharisees?

Do you allow circumstances to enslave you and determine your happiness?

Have you been victim to performance and perfectionism?

How has God’s truth set you free?

Our circumstances will always change.  God’s truth is eternal and everlasting!  There is hope when we seek our truth and identity in God. You are perfectly perfect in who God says you are. He created you and never makes mistakes. You are perfect!

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The Struggle is Real

The other day I was sitting in Sunday school class and the pastor asked us questions about storms we go through as couples.  Couples raised their hands and said they had struggles with finances, loss of a job, unexpected sickness, a baby born were some of their responses.  Our pastor then asked, “How many couples have had a miscarriage or lost a baby?”  A surprising amount of us raised our hands.  No one would have ever known by looking at the couples in the room, that we had these deep struggles.  
There are so many of us that go through struggles in life that we keep hidden and in the dark. Many of us walk around with smiles on our faces but in reality, there are deep struggles going on inside.  
Some of us may have struggles that are hard to even admit.  They might be something we are ashamed of or the enemy has whispered lies that have led us so far astray we don’t know how to get back on course. 
 
The struggle is real.  We all have them.  Even godly people of the Bible had struggles.  
For example, King David had a wandering eye for another man’s wife, which got him into trouble.  One night when David was walking around his roof, he saw a beautiful woman bathing who caught his attention.  He was intrigued and sent someone to find out about her.  The messenger returned and informed King David, her name was Bathsheba wife of Uriah, one of his soldiers in command.  Even though King David knew she was married to another man, he slept with her and she conceived a child.  
To make matters worse, David covered up his mistake.  He concocted a plan for Uriah to return from the field and lay with his wife, to make him think he conceived a child with Bathsheba and not David.  When David discovered his plan didn’t work and realized his mistake would be exposed—King David had Uriah killed by putting him at the front line of battle.    
Talk about scandal!  King David’s wandering eye not only led to adultery but also murdering another man to cover up his mistake!  David had some real struggles.  
At what point do you think David should have came forward his struggle?  
If David had just opened up to God about what he was dealing with or asked someone to pray for him, the scandal could have been avoided.  Just imagine all scandals that could be avoided in our own homes and communities if we would just let someone pray for us?  Or if we would just entrust God with our struggles?
David did not go on to live the rest of his life allowing sin or his struggle to reign over him.  After being approached by the prophet Nathan, David said to him, “I have sinned against the LORD” (2 Samuel 12:13).  David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).  Through David’s repentance and turning away from his sin, is what transformed his life to become apart of one of the greatest plans ever—the bloodline to Jesus.  
David had to learn the hard way.  His choices did not come without consequence.  Nathan tells David, “The LORD has taken away your sin.  You are not going to die.  But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the LORD show utter contempt, the son born to you will die” (2 Samuel 12:13).    
Scandals.  They are everywhere.  Our government.  Our homes.  Our communities.  Our schools.  Even our churches.  The very place where we think we can feel safe and entrust another in prayer, is the very place the enemy attacks the hardest. 

No one is exempt from the enemy’s trickery, even godly people, even the anointed and appointed.
Here is the Real Truth. 
“But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 1 John 1:5-7
The struggle is real.  We are all human, we all fall short and make mistakes.  (Rom. 3:23)
Behind every struggle there is an enemy force at work.  
The dark is where the enemy does his best work.  
The enemy desires to keep our struggles hidden in the dark. 
When our struggles are brought into the light, the enemy can no longer reign over us.  
Bring your struggles into the light.  
1.  The best way to expose the plans of the evil one—bring them to the light.  
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”  Ephesians 5:11 ESV
2.  No amount of darkness can ever extinguish the light of Jesus.  Keep his light inside of you.    “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” John 1:5 ESV
3.  Follow Jesus He knows the way.  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 8:12 ESV
The enemy has us scared to believe we will be persecuted and abandoned if we expose our flaws.  He  disillusions our minds to think keeping the struggle in the dark is a better option than getting help that is so desperately needed.  

Imagine what our world would look like if we were free from the reign of the enemy and exposed his evil plan by illuminating it with light?  Suicide wouldn’t be an option.  Abortions would not occur.  Divorce would be non-existent.
We don’t have to learn the hard way, like David did.  We can put an end to the enemy attacks, by allowing someone we entrust to pray for us.  Allowing their prayers to intercede on our behalf.  By surrendering our struggles to God and getting the help we need before it leads to our destruction.  
Hold onto God’s promises.  Stay in His Word.  Stay faithful in prayer!  This will allow our struggles to be brought to the light and allow God’s divine power to fight our battles for us.  
 
Do you have an an accountability/prayer partner that can help you get through your struggles?  
 
Do you have a pastor you can entrust? 
 
Do you take your struggles to God and allow Him to fight your battles?
 
I pray and hope this post is an encouragement to you.  If you are struggling with something, please don’t keep it hidden in the dark, bring it into the light.  Don’t let the enemy silence you.  Entrust another to pray for you, take it to God.  Allow God to fight your battles for you.  
 
Keep praying our hearts and minds will be guarded against the evil one, before it is the death of us.  The enemy is relentless and won’t stop until he has destroyed our lives, our families, our marriages, bank accounts, it is endless. 

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This post was first published on www.akchristianwomensministry.com


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7 Miracles I Have Witnessed as a Nurse

Have you ever witnessed a miracle, something so amazing, you knew it could only be God’s handiwork?  Being a nurse I can say I have been a first hand witness to some of life’s most amazing miracles.  I’ve witnessed countless births—babies taking their first breath of life as they enter into this world.  I’ve seen patients on their death bed who had no chance of survival, walk out of the hospital on their own two feet.  I’ve seen a father donate his own kidney to his son to give him a chance of life. It is an honor to be a nurse and a witness to some of life’s most precious moments that can only be explained as a miracle.  A miracle is something that cannot be explained by laws of nature but only by the divine work of God.

Here are 7 of the Most Precious Miracles I have witnessed (as a Nurse and Mother)-

1.  A Mother’s selfless act of giving her baby up for adoption–    I have worked in the operating room as a nurse anesthetist for over 13 years now and in that time, have witnessed hundreds of babies born.  I will never forget the love of the mother who gave her baby up for adoption.  I couldn’t imagine what that mother felt at that moment knowing she was giving her motherly rights away to another mother.  How selfless of the birth mother, putting her own child’s needs first before her own.  By giving up her rights she was giving another mother a chance to be a mother and a chance for a better life for the baby.  This selfless act of love reminded me of the selfless love Jesus gives us everyday.

2.  The Blind Couple-  One of the other births that I will never forget is a baby being born to a blind couple.  Both the mother and father were physically blind.  When their baby was born, they handed me their camera and asked me to take a picture of their new born child.  I literally had tears in my eyes taking the picture of their new baby, knowing they would never physically see their child with their own eyes.  What impressed upon me so much about their baby’s birth, was no amount of blindness can ever change the amount of love they had for their child.  Just because they couldn’t see their baby with their own eyes didn’t mean their love for their child was any less.  This picture of blindness showed me we may go through periods of darkness or spiritual blindness in our lives, but that doesn’t mean God ever leaves us or doesn’t love just as much.  

3.  #1 Nurse Necklace-  I will never forget the family who gave me a #1 nurse necklace.  I was a nurse on a medical floor and took care of an older gentlemen for many weeks.  This man had a very loving family. He became very ill and passed away a few weeks after being ill in the hospital.  I was so touched when the family invited another nurse and I to their father’s funeral.  I have had patients pass away before but have never been invited to their funeral.  Afterwards the family gave the other nurse and I a #1 Nurse necklace to thank us for taking care of their father.  It stirred my heart the way the family showed gratitude by giving us the necklace after their father passed away.  I never before had a family respond in that way and it moved me.  It showed the power in giving gratitude and kindness out of our grief and sorrow.  

4.  The Russian man-  I will never forget when a Russian man, whom I never met before, reached out his hand and said, “Do you believe Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior?” I said, “yes.  Then he says, “You are my sister” (while still holding my hand).  We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, adopted into God’s one big family.  It doesn’t matter if we are Catholic, Greek or Jew when we accept Jesus as our Savior, what unites us as family is the blood of Christ.  

5.  The Roll Over Accident-  Have you ever witnessed something and you know what you saw, but couldn’t believe it?  My children and I were driving down the highway one day when it was raining.  A pick-up truck about 3 car lengths in front of us lost control and flipped horizontally (3 times) on it’s side with a flat bed trailer attached to it.  When the truck and trailer stopped rolling, it laid horizontally on it’s side laying across all 3 lanes of the highway.   Not one car hit the rolled over pick-up truck.  What was so amazing, all 3 passengers inside the truck boosted themselves out of the window and walked away unharmed.  It was a bone-chilling moment, knowing the accident could have been much worse, but God protected us.  This moment showed me not only do physical seat belts keep us safe but so does God’s belt of truth when it’s worn.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place.”  (Ephesians 6:14).  

6.  Brooklyn-  Our daughter Brooklyn who is almost 10 years old now, was born 8 weeks premature.  When she was born she only weighed 3 pounds 8 ounces.  She was too tiny to bring home and needed to stay in the hospital to learn how to feed and grow.  Her birth and life have nothing been short of a miracle.  Since she was born, she has alway defied the odds.  She came home after only 3 weeks (usually babies have to stay until they reach gestation).  She never needed oxygen when she was born, in fact she came out screaming!  One thing she has taught us is to trust in God’s plans.  Life may not turn out the way we planned but God’s plans are always greater and better.

7.  Bowen-  Out of all the miracles I have witnessed, there has been none greater than our son Bowen.  He is our third child born six years ago.  Even though he lived a short life of only two weeks on earth, his life impacted us greatly.  God used Bowen in a big way in our lives to show us how life’s most devastating moments can be turned into life’s greatest blessings.  How God takes our tragedy, our hardship and heartaches uses it, molds it and turns it into something more beautiful than it was before.  He showed us the meaning of living a life of love is a life worth living, when we are loving we are living.  There is no gift greater than that.  

Our son’s life taught us that God does answer prayer, maybe not in the way we want. Our son is no longer suffering, he is living a life free from pain, disease and sorrow.  God went ahead of us and made the greatest plan ever.  He is taking care of him until the day we will see him again. 

Have you ever witnessed a miracle from heaven?  Something that could have only been God’s handiwork?  Please Share!

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Join me next week for the 4 part series of meeting Jesus in the scriptures, our struggles and our everyday lives.  I would love to hear from you!    Please Leave Your Comments Below.  Have a Blessed Week!