Archive | April 2015

Feelings Are Fickle

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-image32604285“For whenever our heart (emotions and thoughts) condemns us,

God is greater than our heart (emotions and thoughts),

  he knows everything.                                    1 John 3:20

 It’s been two weeks since I’ve written a post.  It’s not for lack of trying as I sat down at the computer many times, but the words just wouldn’t come.  It’s not for lack of ideas.  If anything, there are too many ideas floating around in my mind and I can’t seem to hear God whispering to my heart where I need to focus. And now I am feeling inadequate and a failure and the enemy is whispering in my ear “Who do you think you are to write words of encouragement to women?”

Have you been there? God may not have called you to write but He has called you and given you a ministry and there may be times you feel inadequate or even a failure – as a wife, a mother, an employee, a student, or even as a Christian.  Maybe you are single and your feelings accuse you of being unlovable; maybe you are divorced and your feelings burden you with guilt about a broken relationship.  Whatever your circumstances, your feelings have labeled you as failure.

Our feelings will control us if we allow them to do so.  There are times when we feel so happy that we think we will never be sad again.  At other times we feel so sad that we think we will never be happy again…and still other times we feel almost nothing at all. We treat our feelings as truth.

Our culture has conditioned us to place a very high value on our own desires and emotions.  In fact we are encouraged to base both our major life decisions and our daily lifestyle choices upon how we feel.

God gives us very different directions when it comes to our heart and emotions:  “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26a) and “the heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9a) When we allow our emotions and whims to lead us we become slaves to our feelings rather than the leadership of the Holy Spirit with a resulting attitude of selfishness instead of surrender.

Feelings aren’t bad in and of themselves. Jesus experienced feelings. Scripture tells us that in the Garden of Gethsemane  Jesus was “distressed”, “deeply grieved”, “troubled” and “in agony”.  Jesus expressed how he felt, but in the midst of his feelings he trusted the Father.

We don’t have to live our lives dependent on how we feel because God’s Word is the final authority in our lives.  As daughters of the King, our feelings must submit to the Word of God and what he says about our situation.  God’s truth is unchanging, and He cannot lie. (See Titus 1:2)  We do not have to live our lives riding an emotional roller coaster.

We have a choice to make.

  1. Will we choose to believe the Word of God instead of our feelings no matter what is going on around us in the natural world? Choosing to believe God’s Word, regardless of the circumstances, requires an act of the will (faith).
  2. What will be the final authority in our lives – our feelings or God’s Word? Our tendency is to ask ourselves, “How do I feel about this?’ instead of “What does God say about this?’

Once we have settled in our hearts that God’s Word is truth and have surrendered our lives to its authority, we must make a commitment to know and love the Word of God.  We can only obey and apply that which we know.  We must…

  • Spend purposeful time in God’s Word daily and meditate upon it.
  • Learn how to explore Scripture through inductive Bible study so that we are not dependent on others to explain it but can discover the truth for ourselves.
  • Memorize some key verses.

Remember, no matter what your feelings or circumstances there is always an answer that can be found in the Word of God and God is faithful to His Word.

Truth to Claim: Feelings are fickle but God’s Word is true and can always be trusted.

Application:  Measure your feelings against the truth of God’s Word which is unchanging.

 Solo Deo Gloria

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Running on Empty

empty

  “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being.”  Ephesians 3:16

There was a beep and wondering what it was I glanced at the dashboard. Then I saw it – the light on the fuel gauge was flashing     as the beeping continued.  I was running on empty!

Let’s face it, life is exhausting and if we are not careful we can find our lives running on empty as well. When I was a college student running on empty was characterized by late nights cramming for exams and subsisting on coffee to stay awake.  When I was a new mom those late night feedings and babies who wanted to play instead of sleep often left me sleep deprived and  exhausted.  As my children grew older I was caught up in the rush of life keeping schedules and worrying about seemingly never ending demands on my time.  In my empty-nesting years I often find myself exhausted by doing tasks that overtax my muscles and are better left for a woman half my age.

Even Christianity can be exhausting!  When we think of all the people who need to be helped, encouraged, taught, and ministered to, it’s no wonder so many Christians are tired.

It is so encouraging to know that when I have nothing left to give physically and mentally, that God never tires and He gives me strength and understanding when I need it.

There are some steps that we can take to refuel our tanks when we are running on empty.

1.  Remember that it is not a sin to take a break! When I relax I often feel guilty – maybe you do as well.  Did you know God wants you to enjoy yourself?  1 Timothy 6:17 says that God richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  So take a break, smell the roses, get a pedicure and simply enjoy life every now and then – be refreshed.

 2. Remember that you can’t solve all problems! As much as we may want to solve all the problems that come our way, we must acknowledge that we can’t convert every person, reconcile every broken relationship or bring comfort to every broken soul.  So, let’s cut ourselves some slack realizing that someone else is better equipped to solve some problems than we are; some people need to solve their own problems; some problems can only be solved by God

3.  Remember that the world won’t end if you take a break! The Lord is fully in control and “in him all things hold together.”  (Colossians 1:17) Things will not fall apart if we stop for a minute to catch our breath.  Some of us are exhausted because we lack the faith to believe God is in charge and He can handle things without us!

4.  Remember that your salvation does not depend on how much you do! Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Working yourself to death will not bring you salvation!  Your salvation is dependent upon whether or not you are in Christ, period.  (Romans 8:1)

5.  Even when you are exhausted – Keep Going! Even as we have noted above that it is important to take a break when we can, there are periods in our lives when we cannot afford to take a break or slow down.  There were times in Jesus’ life when he was exhausted (Mark 6:30-34) but he kept going.  Sometimes we need to take a break but we have to keep going because there is work to be done and God has called and equipped us to do that specific work.  In those moments, lets trust him to give us the strength to carry on (Philippians 4:13)

One of my granddaughters and her brother raise and show animals.  The first year my granddaughter raised a lamb.  It was her first time to show the lamb and as she entered the show arena with him it was obvious that he was feeling frisky and uncooperative.  (Her mother had cautioned her as she entered the arena to keep a tight hold on him and not to let go no matter what.)  All of a sudden the lamb made a break for it and my granddaughter held on with all her might as she fell and the lamb drug her across the arena and out the gate.  As the runaway lamb was caught, my granddaughter stood up – her face and shirt were dirty, there were abrasions on her tummy and tears streamed down her face.  As her mom hugged her close and told her how proud she was of her, she looked up into her face and said “I hung on Mommy.  I didn’t let go no matter what!”

When you are tired and exhausted and feel like giving up – hang on and don’t let go, no matter what!  Your Abba Father will be there to wrap you in His arms and tell you how proud He is of you.

Truth to Claim:  It is alright to take a break, but if you can’t, God will provide the strength you need to get through the challenge you are facing.

Application:  Take a break when you need to and can.  Memorize scripture that will provide strength when all you can do is hang on.

 Solo Deo Gloria