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Mountains and Valleys

Many of us have read or heard of the very popular Bible passage Psalm 23, where David talks about God being his Shepherd, how he leads him beside still waters and restores his soul.  One part of this verse stirs something deep within my heart in verse 4.

Psalm 23:4 ESV

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[c]  I will fear no evil, for you are with me;  your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Have you ever had a season in your life you didn’t want to be in, where you asked God, “Why am I here?”  “What am I doing in this place?”  With fists clenched, heels digging in the ground, telling God, “I don’t want to be here!”  Sounds like the valley of the shadow of death is one of those places.  Other versions of this verse also read valley of darkness or death.

What do you think David saw when he walked through the valley of darkness?

The valley David refers to in this verse is a valley in the desert of Judah.  Anyone who walks through this valley is putting themselves at risk of encountering anything lurking in the darkness, wildlife, bandits, even a random flash flood.

What strikes me, David is walking through the valley where there is a shadow of death.  Where there was a lot of unknowns surrounding him.  Anything could attack or happen to him at any moment.  Yet, he didn’t run away from the darkness, he didn’t take a different route, he walks right through it.

Do you think David knew he was going to walk through a valley of death?

I think many of us would have turned around if we knew what lied ahead.  We always wonder why God doesn’t share details with us.  If we really knew, we wouldn’t go where God was asking us to go.  David then says in response to walking in the valley, “I will fear no evil, you’re rod and staff comfort me.”  David knew even if he was in the valley he was safe and protected because God was with him every step of the way.

In Everybody Always, Bob Goff talks about fighter pilots who train in the valleys in between the mountains.  When asked why do they train at lower elevations where winds can get them, their response was, ‘so we can get better.’

God isn't always going to lead us to the safest route forward but to the one where we will grow the most. God knows without risk we wouldn't grow #quote @BobGoff #EverybodyAlwaysClick To Tweet

David knew walking through the valley would be hard.  But he also knew in the valley is where he learned to depend on and trust in God the most.  Walking through the valley will be dark and seem like God is far away.  When we trust in what God is able to do and not in what we see, He walks us safely to the other side every time.

It is so easy to praise God when we’re standing on the mountain but not always so easy when we’re deep in the valleys.

Imagine what would happen if we took the same approach as David?  If we faced our fears, our darkness and walked through them, depending on God for our guidance and comfort when we’re afraid?

In the valley is where we grow the most and receive the sweetest most unexpected victories when we trust God to walk us to the other side of our darkness.

Psalm 23:5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

God goes and prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies.  God doesn’t promise we won’t have to walk through our valleys in the absence of our enemies, but in their presence.  As our enemies surround us God our Shepherd, the master of provision provides for us everything we need in the midst of our battles.

The enemies in our lives are powerless over us when we praise him in our darkness–when we push through holding onto God’s hand, when we trust and don’t know how everything will turn out.  God’s generosity of mercy and grace then overflows in us, all the days of our lives and we will dwell in his house forever (Psalm 23:6).  In God’s house lies a sanctuary of peace and love like none other that sets us free from the fears of any darkness.

The next time fear gets the best of you, allow God to be your Shepherd leading you through your dark valleys.  Pray Psalm 23 over your situation.  Close your eyes and follow the voice of the Shepherd.  Trust in Him, take His hand, He knows the way.

A voice cries:[a]
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord;
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all flesh shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Isaiah 40:3-5

What season are you in?

How do you allow God to lead you through your valley?

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Failures Don’t Define Us

Have you ever failed something?  Not just a little failure, but a big failure that defined the course of your life?  I’ve shared in other posts the failure that changed my perspective was when I failed my nursing boards.  But what if you have a constant failure in your life one you have to deal with every day?

I’ve shared before about our daughter Brooklyn who has dyslexia which there is no cure.  She will have dyslexia for the rest of her life.  Every day she’s reminded of her inability to interpret text when she’s asked to read something.  Her deficits and inadequacies are amplified every time she’s asked to spell a word.  I can’t imagine what she goes through on a daily basis fighting the battle within thinking she’s not smart and not capable to do what others can do.

As a mother, I have a choice in how to treat my daughter and my daughter has a choice in how she will respond.  Will, I treat her that she has a disability and allow her to use it as a crutch to make excuses for why she can’t?  Or will I show her I believe in her and give her the skills she needs so she can run?

Many of us believe the lie, our failures define us and hold us back from our future.  

Praise God we serve a God who is bigger and is able.  

We are more than our past failures.  We are more than our weakest link.  God uses our weakest traits as a catalyst to propel us towards his greatest plans.  Our weaknesses are not an excuse to go through life walking with a limp, but an opportunity to learn how to overcome and grow stronger for what God has in store for us.

Our failures don’t define us, God’s truth does.

I am always so amazed how God uses the unlikely to carry out His almighty plan.  He doesn’t use the strongest, the wisest or even the most powerful to carry out His plans.  Instead, he used a little shepherd boy named David, a young teenager named Jeremiah and a man with a stuttering problem named Moses.

When you are chosen, you can’t run or hide from God’s choice.  God sees so much more in us than we will ever see in ourselves.  When God chose Moses to go before Pharaoh, Moses wasn’t so sure.

Exodus 4:10 “And Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord.  I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant.  I am slow of speech and tongue.”

I love God’s response to Moses.

Exodus 4:11-13 “The Lord said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute?  Who gives them sight or makes them blind?  Is it not I, the Lord?  Now go, I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

God didn’t say to Moses, ‘you know you’re right, my plan is never going to work because you don’t have the skills to be a great leader.’  Instead, God reminds Moses, who made you and gave you the ability to hear and see?

We may feel deficient.  Not adequate.  Not prepared.  But God will never ask us to go somewhere without equipping us with the skills we need to accomplish what he is asking of us.  The tasks God asks may be hard and difficult.  They may even seem impossible, but God is bigger.

Jesus reminds us inLuke 18:27, 'What is impossible with man is possible with God.'Click To Tweet

Paul reminds us in Ephesians 3:20, “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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. “

When Moses went before Pharaoh, he had already provided a way and means to communicate to Pharaoh, his brother Aaron.  He provided the words and the details of what to do.  Moses was merely God’s vessel and needed his obedience.  Moses had no idea how everything was going to turn out, but God did.

I can’t always be there advocating for my daughter in what she needs to succeed, but with tutors, teachers and a strong support system, we are going to give her the skills so she can fly.  I never want her dyslexia to be a stumbling block and reason why she can’t but the reason why she overcomes and succeeds.

 

Just because my daughter has dyslexia doesn’t mean she’s deficient.

Just because Moses had a stuttering problem didn’t mean he was incapable.

2 Corinthians 3:4-5, 'Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves, but our competence comes from God.' Click To Tweet

Where we fall short, God makes up for our deficiencies and accomplishes His greatest plans through us.

We have two choices.  Allow the limitations of our deficits to confine us and stay in cycles of brokenness or allow God to use our deficits to refine us and move forward in His plans for us.

Do you believe God is bigger?

How will you allow your deficits to impact you? To confine or refine?

Has God helped you do the impossible?

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I Once Was Blind

The other week our family had the opportunity to get out of town and visit a nearby town called Cripple Creek.  The name in itself sounds kind of dreary, however, this was an old mining town that thrived in the late 1800’s early 1900’s.  Today it is a preserved gold mine used to tour tourists around its corridors.  I can’t believe our family squeezed into the 3 x 8 elevator shaft that lowered us down to the 1000 ft. mine.

It was dark and dingy and we couldn’t see anything without the lights on.  I couldn’t believe the dangerous conditions the miners worked in.  They spent hours working in these small mines using dynamite to blow holes in the rock or hammers to chisel it away.  Before machines were invented to haul away loose rock, donkeys were used to haul these carts full of rocks.  Can you imagine an 800-pound donkey lowered 1000 feet into these mines?  The donkeys actually lived down in the mines 24/7.  Eventually, the donkeys went blind from living in constant darkness.

When President Theodore Roosevelt found out about the donkeys living in darkness, he passed a law stating the donkeys had to be let out of the mines at least once a day.  Eventually, this became too much work and the donkeys were set free no longer having to live a life of darkness or blindness again.

Could you imagine living a life a darkness to then be set free–never to live in darkness again?

Have you ever felt like these donkeys?

I can’t help but see the parallel of the donkey’s lives who lived in the darkness to our own lives.  Oh, how I have been blind and lived in the darkness before.  Living in darkness is not living at all.  The longer we stay in the darkness we become blind just like these donkeys.

Just like Teddy Roosevelt interceded on behalf of the donkeys, Jesus intercedes for us.  

The donkey’s story of their lives and sight being restored reminds me of the man who was born blind in John 9.  It was believed in Old Testament times, if you were born blind, then you or your family must have sinned to deserve such a rotten life of blindness.  But Jesus, tells His disciples the man’s blindness wasn’t the result of his sin, “but that the works of God might be displayed in him” (v.3).  Jesus then tells His disciples, “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (v.4).

Jesus then used his own spit and some dirt on the ground to make mud to spread over the man’s eyes.  He then tells him to go wash in the pool of Siloam to wash off the mud and came back seeing.  Neighbors and friends who had known this man his whole life were in shock and disbelief, after a lifetime of blindness, now their friend could see!

One of the mysteries from this scene strikes me when Jesus uses mud to heal the blind man.  Jesus is Jesus.  He doesn’t need mud to heal people.  His power didn’t lie within the mud but within the abilities of God.  Jesus didn’t use the mud to heal the man, he used it to open our unbelieving hearts.  

The biggest skeptics of all were the Pharisees, the Jewish high priests.  The man went before the Pharisees to explain how he miraculously gained his sight.  The Pharisees did not believe a man who had been born blind was healed, because only a person from God, their Messiah could perform such miracles.  The Pharisees called upon the man’s parents questioning them to answer their disbelief.  They confirmed, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind” (v. 20).  The Pharisees still weren’t convinced the man’s sight was an act from God Himself.  So they called upon him again and asked ‘how do you see?’

The man replied, 'One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see' (v.25)Click To Tweet

The Pharisees were spiritually blind to the fact God could perform such miraculous wonders.  This is the part of the story I love.  Jesus not only healed this man from blindness, he also came to find him.  Jesus found the blind man after he heard they cast him out and asked the healed man, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (v. 35).  

He said, “Lord, I believe, and he worshipped him.  Jesus said, “For judgment, I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind” (v. 38-39).

The longer we live in this dark world, we become numb to the tragedies surrounding us.  We become blind to what people are going through and stop seeing the hurting people around us.  In an instant, Jesus removed a lifetime of blindness from the man who had no hope of ever seeing again.  No matter how dark our lives are, how much we sin, Jesus loves us and will always come to find us, if we let him.  Many of us who have sight are blind to the fact Jesus is standing right in front of us, reaching out his hand for us to take hold of to lead us into a life of light.

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.Click To Tweet

Jesus is the light of the world.  Whoever follows him will never walk in darkness again………..

The old mining donkeys to this day are protected in the town of Cripple Creek, roaming around free.  Just as the donkeys are set free, so are we when we allow Jesus to have all of our hearts.

Has God set you free from a life of darkness and blindness?

Praise God, I once was blind but now I see!

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A Prayer for Vision

 

Have you ever been so afraid of something it kept you from engaging in life?  It kept you from travel plans, going out with friends or being involved in relationships.  I’ve been there, allowing my fears to linger and build to the point of isolation.  Fear can be so crippling, not allowing us to live life, keeping us from God’s abundant plans.

Faith and fear cannot reside in the same heart.  Fear alters our vision making it difficult to see God’s plan for us.  God never intended for us to live in fear, but to live in the abundance of everything He has to offer.  Today I pray our eyes are opened to see a clearer vision for our lives, the way God sees us.

In 2 Kings 6, there was an ongoing war with the Arameans and Israel.  The king of Aram became infuriated when he learned Elisha the prophet warned the king of Israel of the plan to set his army’s camp by the border of Israel.  Once King Aram’s officials told him where Elisha was, he made plans to capture him.  He sent horses, chariots, and a strong force to surround the city of Dothan ( 2 Kings 6:8-13).

The next morning Elisha’s servant saw the army of horses and chariots surrounding them.  The servant asked, “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?”  (2 Kings 6:15).

I love this next part.  Elisha’s response wasn’t to engage in his servant’s fears but to give him encouragement and invite him in to see what he saw.

Elisha tells his servant, 'Don't be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them' (2 Kings 6:16). Click To Tweet

Wow, I can’t imagine Elisha’s bold confidence.  His eyes saw the same thing his servant did, yet he did not waver.  His response could have only come from God Himself.  Even though Elisha saw the danger with his physical eyes, he stood firm in God’s divine power of what He is able to do.

Elisha then turned to God in prayer and said, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.”  Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:17).

Elisha’s prayer amazes me.  He didn’t ask God to help save them from the attacking enemy armies, instead asked God to open the eyes of his servant so he could see what Elisha saw.

I would surely think the next thing Elisha would ask God for was protection against the attacking enemy army.  Instead, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike these people with blindness.”  God heard Elisha’s prayer and struck them with blindness, as Elisha asked (2 Kings 6:18).

The servant witnessed firsthand the power of Elisha’s prayer for vision.  His eyes were opened to see what God and Elisha saw.  Elisha’s prayer took the focus off of the enemy/fear and prayed a prayer for vision to see God’s divine power more clearly.  We may not always see God’s bigger plan, but He is always at work behind the scenes.

Our own physical vision can limit us to focus on the circumstances that surround us, but God’s vision can free us to focus on His abilities, putting our trust in Him.  We can follow Elisha’s pattern of prayer when we feel our fears caving in.

Elisha’s Vision of Prayer:

  1.  He recognized the enemy’s plan to instill fear.  Instead of being a victim of fear, He put his hope and trust in God’s abilities of what He was able to do.
  2. He turned to God in prayer.  Instead of worrying, He sought God and prayed.
  3. He stood firm in God’s promises, his faith did not waver.

Satan will always try to keep us from God’s plans by instilling fear in us.  Fear will always blind us to God’s presence.  We must recognize the tactics of the enemy, stand firm in God’s promises, seek God in prayer and trust in Him.  The closer we are to God, the more clearly we can see His vision for us and hear His voice.

Are you struggling to see past your circumstances?

Write your own prayer for vision.  Ask God to see what He sees.

Prayer-  Lord Jesus, open our eyes so we can see what you see.  We pray our vision will not blind us to your presence of voice, that we will see and hear what you want us to.  We pray we will stand firm in your promises and trust in your divine power.  You are greater.  We pray your desires will be greater than our desires.  You are our God who loves us more than anything.  We praise you and thank you for your eternal gifts.

I pray for God’s vision in your life to see more clearly what God sees.  You are loved!

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Praying Through Blind spots

When I was a teenager I endured an eye injury which left permanent damage. As a result, I have a huge deficit in my peripheral vision, leaving me with a permanent blind spot. When I’m driving I’m extra cautious of this blind spot for fear that I may not see oncoming cars because of my deficit.

My physical blind spot makes me think are there other blind spots in my life I’m not aware of?

The funny thing about blind spots, is we can’t see them—then how do we detect them?

One person in the Bible reminds me what can happen if we allow blind spots to go undetected.

King David a man who went from a shepherd boy to warrior, to a commander, to a king—had a huge blind spot. David was known for his tremendous faith in God and had everything he could have ever wanted, wives, power, a kingdom, wealth, victories, a palace, even the anointing of God (1 Sam. 16:13).

David was at the top of his game, at the peak of his career and in favor with God—“What could go wrong?”

These are the times when blind spots can get the best of us.

In 2 Samuel 11:2, David merely got up in the night, walked around on his roof probably just to get some fresh air, when he saw a beautiful woman bathing. David was so intrigued by this woman he sent someone to inquire about her to find out her name was Bathsheba and was married to Uriah one of his commanders. He then sent a messenger to get her, she came to him and he slept with her (2 Sam. 11:3-4).

Needless to say, David had a huge blind spot in his life. His blind spot didn’t allow him to see he was flirting with seduction that brought him to the edge of a very slippery slope.

In that one action of inquiring about Bathsheba, David’s lustful blindspot caused him to commit adultery, lie, cover up his lie by murdering Bathsheba’s husband and stealing someone else’s wife. He ended up breaking 4 out of the 10 commandments and displeased the Lord (2 Sam. 11:27).

We can only speculate, but what if David at that moment he saw Bathsheba stopped to pray before responding out of his lustful desires? I think his situation would have been drastically different.

David eventually asked for forgiveness but not until God sent the Prophet Nathan to talk some sense into him (2 Sam 12:1,13). Nathan used a striking parable about a rich and poor man to reveal the atrocity of David’s actions (2 Sam. 12:1-5). It wasn’t until Nathan spoke the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) to David that his eyes were open to his secretive evil deeds and shed light on his blind spot.

Can you imagine the amount of courage it took Nathan to boldly come before King David, one of the most powerful men at the time?

Nathan could have been killed for being so bold. Nathan knew David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 13:14) who had a blind spot. But God gave Nathan the wisdom to use the parable to lovingly speak the truth to David, so his blindspot wouldn’t destroy him again.

Our blind spots leave a door open for the enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, to get into our lives (1 Peter 5:8).

Like David, we too can fall victim to our blind spots if we’re not careful.Click To Tweet

How can we detect blindspots?

By seeking God in prayer and asking Him to reveal our blind spots.

By allowing others to speak the truth in love into our lives—so our blind spots can be brought to our attention.

We may not be able to see our blind spots, but God can. Our blind spots help us to constantly seek him for guidance and lead us straight on our paths.

Are there blind spots in your life?

We all have blind spots. Some of us might have blind spots in our finances, with self-control or in how we treat others. They may not all be the same but it is a part of our human nature not to be able to see everything that God sees. When we can’t see, God is the light on our paths.

Do you have a Nathan in your life that you allow to speak the truth into your life?

I am afraid of where my blindspots can lead me if I don’t let others bring them to my attention. To stay alert and aware I ask God to reveal any blind spots and if there is anything in my life that is getting in the way of God. I ask Him to expose and my blind spots making them visible with His light—so that everything that is illuminated becomes a light” (Eph. 5:13).

Imagine if David didn’t allow Nathan to bring his blind spot to his attention?

I love how David allowed Nathan to speak truth into his life and didn’t allow his blindspot cause his downfall again. He surrendered it all to God and turned his sorrow into praise. God then used David to be apart of his greatest plan ever—the bloodline to Jesus.

I also love how David dedicated the rest of his life to prayer by writing the most poetic prayers in the Psalms. I can’t help to think when David wrote Psalms 86 he was referring to the moment that almost destroyed him.

A prayer from David.

“Lord you are forgiving and good abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer Lord: listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me. Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead.” (Psalms 86:5-6,11-13)

Lord Jesus, please expose our blind spots with your light, so they don’t cause us to stand on slippery slopes. Help us to keep seeking you for discernment and wisdom when making choices and decisions. Help us to allow others to speak the truth in love into our lives. Help us to stay in your will and plan for our lives so we aren’t flirting with disaster. You are greater and able to see so much more than we can. Help us to trust in you even when we can’t see. We praise you, Lord. In Jesus name. Amen.

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Why is it Important to Be Alert?

I will never forget the day I went hiking on a popular Alaskan trail this summer with a friend and all of our kids. It was a beautiful day. We came prepared wearing our hiking gear, brought our bear spray, filled our camelbacks with water and brought snacks for the kids. We were the first hikers of the day to set off on the trail.

As we approached the pseudo summit, we had stopped to take a water and snack break. As we were looking around at the beautiful mountain, I had spotted something across the field about 500 ft. from us. I could see something pacing back and forth. At first I thought it was a dog, but then soon realized it was a wolf! Right next to the pacing wolf was another wolf!
We immediately put our dogs back on their leashes and instructed the kids to get together in a huddle around us, stay together to go back down the mountain. As we were walking off the mountain we were praying for God to please keep us safe and protect us from the attack of the wolf pack! I am happy to report we made it safely off the mountain, but were so glad we were alert to our surroundings. If we were not paying attention, the situation could have been so much worse.

Our situation on the mountain that day reminds me of when Jesus took the disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray (Matthew 26:-45). Jesus knew the time was approaching when Judas was going to betray Him and be taken away by the Roman soldiers. In the garden, Jesus is overwhelmed with sorrow and asks Peter and two other men to keep watch while Jesus prayed. When Jesus returned from praying, He finds His disciples sleeping. Jesus says, “could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matt. 26:41).

According to Mark 14:41, Jesus goes away and comes back two more times, each time telling the disciples to keep watch and pray. But each time Jesus returns, He found the disciples sleeping. After the third time, of warning the disciples to keep watch and pray, it was too late. A crowd armed with swords and Roman soldiers appeared to take Jesus away.

Jesus knew before the crowd and soldiers came, they were about to be faced with threatening circumstances. Jesus wanted His disciples to not waver in the face of temptation. He was trying to warn them to keep watch and pray so they would not fall victim when confronted with threatening circumstances. Instead the disciples fell asleep.

How much more prepared would the disciples had been if they were alert and listened to God’s instructions?

Jesus was trying to warn the disciples that night in the garden, to remain physically and spiritually awake to keep them from falling into sin. Having an encounter with the wolves that day was a reminder how important it is to be alert not only to our physical surroundings, but our spiritual surroundings as well. Satan can be so quick and deceiving. Like the wolves, he is lurking around ready to attack at any moment.

What a great important reminder to stay awake and alert to Satan’s schemes, because he is sneaky! I for one have been a victim and didn’t even realize it.

Just as Jesus instructed the disciples to keep watch and pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, is what He asks us to do.

Stay alert in prayer; it will keep you close to God’s truth and ready in threatening circumstances. Click To Tweet
Even though we were prepared for the hike that day, we weren’t necessarily prepared for our encounter with the wolves (a threatening situation). God heard our prayers that day and kept us safe as we hiked off the mountain. In that situation, our prayers are what kept us safe.

We become more alert and watchful when we are devoted in prayer.

“Devote yourself to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” Colossians 4:2 NLT

“Be alert and always keep praying.” Ephesians 6:18b NIV

How do you stay spiritually awake?

How has staying alert and watchful kept you safe?

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This post was first published on www.akchristianwomensministry.com.


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The Truth About the Facebook Fairytale

Chances are if you’re  living this day and age you are apart of the social media craze.  You have a Facebook account, Instagram, Twitter, snapchat, you name it.  You post pictures, sending messages of what you are doing in your daily life, painting a picture of what your life looks like.

Facebook doesn’t always tell the whole story.  It has become more of a fairytale than the real tale of our lives.  I love Beth Moore’s quote “Facebook is  Fakebook.”   Just because we see a perfectly posed family picture, a person smiling, doesn’t always mean everything is going perfectly behind the scenes.  The pictures we see are merely snap shots of what are really going on in our daily lives.

Sometimes Facebook can get the best of me.  Everywhere I look there are pictures of perfect skin, perfect makeup, perfect outfits, perfectly plated dinner plates, manicured houses, perfect vacations, the list goes on.  I then become disillusioned in thinking, ‘Wow everyone has it so together,’ then realize these are the deceptive lies of the enemy.  If I’m not careful I can fall into his trap of doubting my worth by comparing myself to others or being discouraged that I have not done enough with my life.

I am someone who is not always honest and transparent about what has been really going on in my real life.  I would like to be better about posting ‘Hey friend I’m struggling today, I could use your prayers, will you pray for me?’  Instead I coward to what others think of me for fear their comments of what they will really say.  Facebook has become a not so safe place where we can reveal the struggles of our daily lives, for fear of criticism.  We can’t expose our real battles we face for fear of insults.  Or we fear when we expose our vulnerabilities, there will be no where to hide once the flaming arrows start launching?

I’m not saying we should use  Facebook  as a place to spill our dirty laundry, but as a place where we can feel safe and encouraged;  not attacked.

This has made me think what is our purpose in using Facebook and what do we use it for? 

Are we using Facebook as someone who casts out the  first stone or the one walking away with grace?

Are we portraying lies and fake facades of a superficial life that will never last?

Or are we displaying God’s splendor, displaying His fruit that is evident in our lives, in what we post, making it all for His glory?  Are we being transparent and real truthful and honest.

How are we really using Facebook?  As a weapon of the enemy or an instrument of righteousness for God?  Let’s find out.

Do we use Facebook to encourage and build one another up?  Or leave not so nice comments and cast judgements upon what we see?  Or are we silent stalkers who like to look at others posts but choose not to like or comment, but instead make assumptions upon what we only see on the surface?

Do we use Facebook to tell God’s story of what He is doing in our life? Or as a facade putting together an assemblance of the appearance of how great our life seems?

Or does Facebook attack our minds?  Tempting and luring us to mindlessly scroll through everyone’s lives taking us away from what we should be paying attention to?

How does Facebook really affect us? Do we allow the enemy to fill us with his deceptive lies of dissatisfaction? Making us desire more of something we don’t have?   Making us wish we had the life of someone else?

Or do we try to compete, try to keep up with the  Joneses, try to rise above the shouts of the world to be heard, to barely hear the whispers of the Lord?

Or do we compare ourselves to others,  allow the seeds of inferiority to be planted, that I’m not good enough because I don’t have what so and so has?

Are we being lured into the trap of the enemy, using Facebook as his weapon of destruction?  Or are we protecting ourselves using it the way God would like us to as His instrument of righteousness?

“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”  Galatians 6:7-8

Have we become disillusioned in the lies of the Facebook fairytale?  Thinking this is what life should be like?  I promise you behind every smile, every perfectly posed family picture, there is a struggle and battle that lies deep within, that is merely resting right beneath the surface.  Truth is, life is messy.  Facebook may not always portray life’s messy moments and tell all of God’s story.

Next time you use Facebook, say a prayer.  Ask God to help you use it for His glory, to pray for those you see who need prayer.   Offer a word or two of encouragement.  Become an instrument of His righteousness and  build His kingdom.

We can break down the walls of the fairytale, build the walls of His kingdom when we tell His story;  allowing the  author of our stories to shine through our authenticity.  Truth is, fairytales never last.  God’s story is eternal and will never fail.  We need to tell the real tale of our lives, to tell God’s story.  Don’t hide behind the Facebook fairytale, allow the author of your story to be known.

When we hide behind the fairytale, how will anyone ever know it is Only God that got us through our trials and Only God that provided?  Hiding behind the lies, hides  His story He has written, keeping His story hidden in the dark.  His stories need to be brought to the light for all the glory be to God!  Amen.

“Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.” Romans 6:13

We are real people with real problems.  And that's okayClick To Tweet.

How will you use Facebook this week?  As a weapon of the enemy building up his armies?

Or an instrument of righteousness building up God’s kingdom?

Have you been  disillusioned in the Facebook fairytale?  How or in what way?

What truth has Facebook revealed to you?

How do you use Facebook and how has it affected you?

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3 Things You Don’t Need to be Victorious in Jesus

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:14

I don’t know about you, but there are days where I feel like I have fallen short.  Days where I feel like I have failed.  Days when I can’t seem to get anything right.  Can you relate?  I am so thankful we can find rest in who God says we are, not in what we do on our own.  Because every day I would fall short.  God makes everything beautiful.  He does not make mistakes.

The world says you have to be something great to be accepted and loved.  The world says you have to be successful and perfect.  The good news is, we don’t have to wait or rely on the world in order to be loved and accepted.  God loves us just the way we are, right now.  We can rejoice in who He says we are.  In Him, we can always be victorious no matter what our circumstances are.

Here are 3 Things You Don’t Need in Order to Be Victorious in Jesus:

1.  Perfect and Sinless-  “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”  1 Timothy 1:15 NIV

Myth:  In order for God to love us, we must be perfect and sinless.

Truth:  God’s love is unconditional and loves us despite our imperfections and sin.  God loves sinners. He doesn’t love sin.  But loves us even in our sin.  Truth is God created you.  You were loved even before you are born into this world.

2.  Have it all Together or Achieve Something Great-  “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”  Romans 15:7 NIV

Myth:  In order for God to accept us, we must have it all together and achieve something great.

Truth:  You are accepted and loved no matter who you are, who you were, who you will be or what you achieve.  Your success and worth are not dependent on what the world says, but in who God says you are.

3.  Do Good Works-  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

Myth:  I must accomplish good works to earn God’s love, approval and entry into heaven.

Truth:  You do not ever have to earn God’s love.  It is His free gift He offers to everyone who is willing to accept it.  Your good works do not guarantee you entry into heaven;  your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Savior does.  No amount of good works will ever be enough to earn God’s love.  When you accept Jesus as your Savior, good works overflow from within you, from Him;  not something you do on your own.  When Christ lives in you, His love is what overflows from you, producing good works.  God receives the glory when good works are done as a result of His love living within us;  not us.  It is through God’s grace and our faith in Him we have been saved, not by something we have done on our own.

You are victorious in who God says you are. There is victory in God's love. Click To Tweet

There is nothing the enemy can do to change what God has already done for you.  There is victory in what God has already done for you.  

How do you live a life that is victorious in Jesus, no matter what your circumstances?

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