Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Focusing Your Motivation

Growing up, I was always extremely competitive. I HATED to loose. I was jealous of my friends for making better grades and being more popular in school than I was. I always wanted to be the one to win the award, win the game, be recognized for doing something well. My motivation for success was pride. As I got older my outlook on being successful was being the best at whatever I did, and being recognized for it....or be able to brag about it. It wasn't until I matured and started focusing my life on Christ, that I started to see the type of person I had become.


A friend in our Bible study group  just recently posted the following quote on Facebook. It said, "Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind...[and] Pride is essentially competitive - by its very nature... Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about. It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone." C.S. Lewis (Thanks Mike!)

God revealed to me that my motivation for wanting to be successful wasn't for His glory. He showed me that my motivation to succeed was based more on my selfish ambitions and my pride. I think there are many people that live life in a constant state of competition; always wanting to be the best, to be first, to be richer, to be the favorite, to be the one chosen, or to be on top. I have found that constantly living to meet the expectations of the world is exhausting, stressful, and in the end... dissatisfying! But, I have learned, if we live out the purpose that God has for our lives and not worry about our worldly status, our lives will be completely different! I have found that the more I focus on Christ the more content and joyful my life has become.

The problem with focusing on worldly success is that no matter how much money you have, how expensive your car or your house is, or how many toys you have; you will never be completely satisfied. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you focus on the fear of failing to succeed by the world's standard, then when you don't succeed then you will eventually become unhappy, depressed, or lonely.

God teaches us that He will meet our needs and make us successful if we keep our focus on Him. Proverbs 16:3 says, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans." Too many times we try to establish our plans and goals without God as the main focus. Then, when things don't go as we planned, we push God away instead of asking ourselves, were we living out His will for our lives to begin with or were we focusing on worldly ambitions? Our motivation to succeed should be for His glory. We were made to love God and love others. If that is our motivation, then our lives will glorify Him and He will make us prosperous and successful.

Psalms 1:1-3, "Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither -- whatever they do prospers."

Blessings,
Amanda

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Day After Easter

Did you know that the Monday following Easter is also known as "Renewal Monday", or "Bright Monday". Although it isn't largly observed as a holiday in the United States, it makes me wonder, how much do we continue celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ after Easter?



Last night, I couldn't help but think about how Jesus disciples felt during the three days after Jesus died on the cross. Can you imagine? Jesus's disciples loved him so much and they were devestated after Jesus was crucified. But, what they didn't realize is in a few days, their teacher, savior, and Messiah would rise from the grave!

I don't know about you, but I would think that the incredible amount of excitement, joy, and happiness they felt after Jesus appeared to them continued not only the next day but for the rest of their life! In fact, they died in persecution for proclaiming the GOOD NEWS of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the joy of that day continued over 2000 years later!

Today is Monday. The day after Easter. Most of us that attended church services yesterday heard the traditional message of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. THE MOST pivotal moment in history of the world! It is the day to remember that because of the grace of Jesus Christ, we have a SAVIOR that wipes our sinful life clean! Praise GOD! We have a risen savior that died for you and me!

My prayer is that when the eggs have been eaten, the chocolate is gone, and the family goes home, we continue worshiping and celebrating today, tomorrow, every day, and for the rest of the year; not just on Easter.

Blessings,

Amanda

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Finding Peace in the Dark

My heart has been aching the past several days over the broken hearts and the sorrow that many of my friends and fellow church members are experiencing since the untimely passing of one of our dear friends last weekend. Their suffering burdens my heart for them and so prompted me to write this blog about finding peace in the dark.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn." Romans 12:15

My hope is that if only a few words brighten their day, the Holy Spirit used this opportunity to give them peace and encouragement during their time of great sorrow....


There are many people facing heavy burdens and sorrow over the loss of loved ones, broken homes, broken marriages, and uncertain futures.

In our darkest moments of life, we may not always understand the reasons we are having to endure but even though we find ourselves fumbling in the dark, we can find ourselves in the embracing arms of Christ. He is in that dark room with you, and even though you can't see Him, He is there waiting to embrace you. If you reach for Him, you will still be able to feel His presence. You can reach to Him by touching Him through His word, prayer, and following His example.

Christ told us there would be times of trouble and heartache we have to face, but we have to trust in God that He is working out something beautiful in us. We may not be able to see it now, but we can trust that one day we will. God molds us through our experiences and how we react to those experiences, reflects the faith and life we live through Christ.

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

I find encouragement through times of darkness in the book of John, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Even in the midst of great suffering, Jesus is our champion! Jesus is our victor and gives us the strength to endure any fear, worry, or problem we face. We can be greatful in Him that no matter what trials and tribulations we face, our faith in Christ and His grace overcomes the worries and cares of this world.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts by troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Stains of Life

It's spring time and you can just about guarantee, if you have kids that play outside you will undoubtedly have the "trophy" grass stain. I'm sure you can agree, that no matter how hard we try grass stains are just about impossible to remove from clothing. Parents and kids may look at the stain a little differently. Kids look at it proudly because it testifies to how hard they worked at playing the game. Parents look at it and cringe knowing that it is going to be just about impossible to get the stain out. And, no matter how hard we try to get it out, there is always remnants of stain visible. Many times, we either resort to throwing the garment away, or getting rid of it in a garage sale.


Grass stains and sin are very similar. As we look back and reflect on our past, I'm sure for some we see stains. Many people may look back and remember all of the good times they had playing the game of life and are proud of the experiences they have lived and the fun they had. Some people may look back and remember those times as not their best. You may have experiences in your life that you want to forget; stains that just don't seem to go away.

We may not be able to remove the stains that cover our lives, but there is one that can! Jesus Christ is the only stain remover we need. He has the ability to wipe us as clean as snow. It doesn't matter to Him what stains we have from our past. His love is unconditional! No matter how deep the stain, God loves us anyway! Even though we are not worthy to be cleaned and are covered in the stains of sin, if we ask for forgiveness through Jesus, He wipes us clean.

1 John 1:8-10 "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be liar and his word is not in us."

Through the eyes of Christ the stains are gone! "Therefore there is now no condemation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1-2) He doesn't remove us or discard us even though we may see our stains as hopeless. He completely washes us as clean and cherishes us as new in His sight.

"Have mercy on me O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin." (Psalms 51:1-2)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How Do You Want To Be Remembered?

Going to funerals is never a pleasant experience, but we usually go to pay our last respect to someone that we loved or that made an impact, directly or indirectly, on our life. Typically during the service we listen to stories of close friends and family reflecting on memories of good times with the deceased. Last weekend, after attending a funeral, I thought about "How will people remember me?" If you were going to die today, what will people remember you for?



We don't like to talk about death, or even think about it, but if what we say, do, and how we act impacts what people think about us, or how they shape their opinions of us, then if you were going to die today, what would others say about you? What will be your legacy?

Would people say you were really good at your job and that you made a lot of money? Would they say you were a nice person and a good neighbor? Would they say you were generous to others and were charitable to those in need? If we were honest with ourselves, would we be able to say with confidence we were leaving a positive footprint on the world? Will our children remember us as a parent that spent time with family, cared and loved their children and spouse? Or would we be remembered as someone who held grudges and gossiped about others?

Everyone wants to be remembered as someone special. Someone who wasn't rude, selfish, or fake. Most of all, I think Christians should want to be remembered as someone who loved God and people. Are you currently living as a witness to others around you that you are a follower of Christ? Ephesians 2:9 says "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

As you reflect on these questions, think about this..... Are you living out the plans God has for your life and is that reflected in the way you are living and in your relationships with others?

Think about Joshua. (Joshua 1:7-9) He was known as a servant of God. (24:29) His calling from God was to become a leader. God made a promise to Joshua that he would never leave him or forsake him. God promises the same for us and just as He instructed Joshua, God wants us to be strong and courageous. He wants us to live out the lives he has planned for us and rely on Him when we are weak. It is only through God that we can live a life that glorifies Him. If we remain focused on God,  it will be reflected in how we live, work, and treat others we encounter in our lives.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rushing Through Life

It seems our society is always in a rush.  When we are out shopping we want to check out quickly and we want to be served promptly. We don’t want to wait on the phone for customer service. People are also in a rush to get rich, to win big, and to have the biggest house, the nicest car, and the best job. Think about this....Is what you are in pursuit of the same as what God wants in your life? 

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." Often, we want everything to happen…RIGHT NOW and even though what we want may not be what God wants for us, we still want it right away without considering the journey God wants to take us on. We often want to skip the steps in life that God has in mind for us and do it NOW! We want to go from being caterpillar eggs to butterflies in an instant!
Caterpillars must go through four stages before their metamorphosis is complete. Starting as eggs, they then hatch as caterpillars. Then they eat...a lot. After some time passes, they become a cocoon before transformation is complete and emerge as a beautiful butterfly.
You can’t rush through life, just like a caterpillar can’t skip stages. You may feel that God is calling you in a certain area, but even caterpillars don’t go from an egg to a butterfly overnight. For some people, waiting for immediate change causes them to grow anxious and weary and then that waiting causes life to seem routine and mundane. Boredom sets in and for some it may seem like God has forgotten them. Some may even become dissatisfied because they feel they haven't accomplished much or it may be a result of trying to pursue something that is a personal goal and not God's.
In order for anything to be birthed, it must go on a journey. If you aren't certain what your purpose (or journey) is, then the best way to prepare is to eat and eat from the Word of God. We need to spend daily time in prayer and worship. We should be preparing and strengthening our spirit so that we can accomplish the things which God has planned for us.
Like the caterpillar, God wants to mold and shape us to prepare us for the plans he has in our lives. Job said in Job 23:10 "For He knows the way that I take, and when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." Unfortunately, sometimes there is pain in the process. The journey may be difficult, but God knows and sees exactly where you are. The cocoon may appear to be ugly from the outside, but God can see the inside  and that you are transforming into something beautiful. God may just be waiting for your character to catch up with His plans for you.
It is in the long and difficult process of breaking out of the cocoon that the butterfly becomes strong. If the caterpillar breaks its way out of the cocoon too soon, it won't survive.  The butterfly's wings will not be developed enough to allow him to fly. Just like if we step away from our purpose of loving God and others, our life becomes chaotic. God does not want us to simply arrive to life's destination, He desires our character to be shaped before we are to be successful in it.
You may also be wondering... "When is it going to happen?" Think about this.....Is it possible that you haven't yet completed your stages of metamorphosis? If you're having trouble waiting for the moment that you reach God's calling, your vision, or your dreams, just remember.... "He has made everything beautiful in HIS time." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Rest of the Story

Even as a kid, I was so fascinated by the stories told by the radio broadcaster Paul Harvey. He took stories about people and ideas and told them in a way that captured the attention of many Americans. People tuned in every day because they knew they would end up either being inspired or entertained. And at the end of his broadcast, Mr. Harvey would reveal the ah-ha moment...the moral....or "The Rest of the Story".



As you read through the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, you notice that when Jesus teachings were recorded He spoke in stories, or parables, about the truth in God. Many who followed Him during those days were very inspired by His teachings, but there were some people that didn't understand what He was saying and why he used parables. They didn't understand why he would be direct sometimes, but other times, he would teach using stories. Why didn't He just say what He meant? At one point, his disciples asked him, "Why do you speak in parables?" (Matthew 13:10)

Jesus answered, "The knowledge of the secrets of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. This is why I speak to them in parables, Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand"(vs 11-13)

Jesus is not withholding the truth to anyone, but he knows that some people can understand spiritual truth and some do not. Through the use of parables, Jesus is making a comment on the spiritual condition of people. Parables contain graphic analogies, often contain strong symbolism and interesting characters, and are easier to remember. But there are some people that simply do not understand the teachings of Jesus because their hearts aren't open to the spiritual truth. Some have eyes to see and ears to hear; others do not.

Do you ever read through the bible and think to yourself, I just don't understand what this means?! The same goes today as it did back then.  The Holy Spirit opens eyes to the light of the truth and the ears to the words of eternal life. But there are some people that lack the connection to the Holy Spirit and so cannot discern the meaning of scripture. Is your heart open to hear and understand God's word? Do you pray that God will reveal His truth through His word before you start reading? God promises that if we seek Him, He will reveal Himself to us.

Pray that God will open the hearts of people who seek the truth and to understand the message God has through His word.

After three months of being off the air in 2001 due to losing his voice, Mr. Harvey stated that God healed his voice one last time so that he was able to address the country and help put 9/11 in perspective and revive the resiliency of people through faith. And still today, many people remember his stories and the footprint he left on America.  And now you know THE REST OF THE STORY!

Amanda Wallace...........Good Day!

Listen to "The Man and The Birds" short story by Paul Harvey - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddai8rkXWRs

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Love Letter from Jesus


My beloved sons and daughters,

Oh, how I love you! You who long to know me, to see me, to encounter my love, I am here! Do you not see?

When you experience the adoration and joy holding a newborn baby, that is me! When you smell the clean air after a cool rain and feel the warm breeze touching your face, it is me! That day you were driving down the road and a thought of something peaceful washed over you, that was me! When you walked outside and you felt the sun on your face. That was me! When you were in the woods on that cool crisp morning, listening to nothing but the sounds of the natural earth, I was whispering to you.
There have been days I tried to get your attention, but you were busy. You had work to do, places to go, and kids to take to ball games. At night, when you are so tired from the demands of your day, I wish you would talk to me and let me be part of it.

 I am always there for you. When you are tired, I will give you rest. When you are sad, I am there holding your hand. When you are lonely, I am sitting with you. When you are scared and need advice, I will be your counselor. Talk to me. Those days when you feel rejected, betrayed, and broken hearted, talk to me. My love for you will never fail! I don't just love you when you are at your best. My love is constant.

Believe in me, trust in me and know that I love you! I love you so much that I hung on the cross at Calvary. I died for you, and if you believe in Me you will have everlasting life (John 3:16). When you pass through the deep waters, I will be with you. Your troubles will not overwhelm you. The hard trials that will come will not hurt you. (Isaiah 43:2).

I think about you all of the time and I long to sit and pour out my very soul to you. I want to build a relationship with you. I want to be the one who meets all of your needs. I will be waiting to hear from you.

All my heart and unconditional love,
Jesus
 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Committed or Desperate?

I was watching a bible study video on YouTube yesterday and a question was posed, "Are you a committed christian or a desperate christian?"



I thought about that and I wondered what the difference might be and then today, after our message at church this morning on James 5, I think God revealed an answer.

In James 5:7-12, James tells us to be patient until the Lord's coming. He says that we need to be patient in our sufferings, trials, tribulations, and endure. We learned this morning about patience and were provided examples, such as the patience of Job. If you look back on the story of Job you will remember how much Job went through, and although he suffered much, he never waivered in his faith. He never denounced God although he lost everything, his wealth, his family, and his health.

How was it that Job was able to endure all of this suffering? Job had a strong faith and trust in God. His faith was strong enough to withstand anything he came up against. I thought about this today and wondered, if we have a committed relationship with God, is it enough? We may commit to reading the bible, to going to church, or to pray daily, but can just being committed to doing these things strengthen our faith? I wondered... Is being committed enough? Does just being committed to doing these things mean that we will put all our trust in God and relenquish control to Him when we face times of trouble?

David expressed a desperation for seeking God in Psalms 63. He thirsts for God and he expresses how his whole being belongs to God. Paul also expressed his desperation to experience the same suffering Jesus endured just so he can experience what Jesus experienced. These two men were so strong in their faith that they were able to endure anything.

Do we yearn for God? Are you desperate to know Him and have a relationship with Him? Does that yearning allow you to grow in your faith enough that you will be able to withstand suffering of this world? Our desperation to seek God and His grace will provide the motivation we need to commit ourselves to seeking His will and know His word so that when the time comes for suffering, trials or tribulations, we will have the strength in our faith enough to endure and live in the hope of Christ's return.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

This Just In - Excercise Works!

Just like your physical muscles require excercise to achieve maximum strength, your spirit requires exercise to be as strong as it can be. In order to achieve that maximum level of joy and peace in our life we need to excercise our spiritual health.



Think about what you have to do to be fit. You make lifestyle changes. You change your eating habits. You would typically increase your physical activity, and you might stop doing the things that are unhealthy like smoking, or doing something else that isn't healthy for your body.

Increasing our spiritual health can be achieved in the same way! We need to stop doing the things that are bad for our spiritual health. It could be guarding what we watch on TV, what we say, how we react to people or things that we worry about or don't agree.

Isaiah 40:31 says, "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

The next step would be to feed ourself what is important and healthy. We need to fill up on God's Word! His word is the nutrition our spirit needs to strengthen our spirit and for us to produce the fruits that come with a healthy spirit! Next we need to exercise in worship of God. Just like if we don't lift enough weights or we only workout once per week (like some worship only once per week) we don't see the full benefit. We need to worship and praise God on a daily basis! Spending time daily in prayer, the word, and in constant worship will strengthen your spirit to maximum capacity!!

Psalm 29:11 - "The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace."
2 Samuel 22:33 - "It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect."

Blessed in Christ,
Amanda

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Finding Your Purpose

One thing people so often don't understand is their purpose in life? Why do we do what we do? Why do we exist? Why did God put me in this place? If there is a reason for everything, then why are we where we are right now? Is there a bigger reason?


I just read a book that has completely changed my perspective to why I exist, why I am where I am in my life, and what I am supposed to be doing with my life. I feel as though my soul has had a new awakening to what God has planned for me. I may not know all of the exact details to my future, but I have a new sense of purpose.

Have you ever asked yourself, "Why do I do what I do?" What motivates you? Is it prestige, money, accolades? Is it being the life of the party or knowing that you are the one everyone goes to for the answer? Or is it fear... fear of failure, consequences, or being punished? In the book I read recently, the author leads you to realize if you rely on rewards or fear to be your central focus, eventually things fall apart. He says that if we allow those things to become the central focus instead of God or our personal relationships, then we eventually end up frustrated, angry, and even bitter. For example, the more money or prestige you get, the more you want. You will never be satisfied. The more you fear failure the less likely you will try again, or you become burned out.

We may be very successful, have lots of wealth, friends, or have the respect of many people, but if the motivating factor is focused on those things, and the rush that comes with acquiring them, then we aren't living up to our true potential....who we were created to be.

Jesus centered his teachings on love: love for God and love for others. In other words, focusing on the relationships in our lives. That in itself is our purpose. If we want to motivate ourselves or others around us, be a leader, improve our personal relationships with our spouses and children, then we have to focus on God and love them. We need to focus on building relationships with God and with the people around us. This is why we were created in the first place. Matthew 6:33 "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you."

In everything we do we should do it selflessly. If the very reason for our existence is not being fulfilled, then we will not experience the joy and peace this life has to offer.

Mark 12:30-31, "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Book - Lead for God's Sake by Todd G. Gongwer

Amanda

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wisdom from God

We have been studying James for the past several weeks in our Sunday church service. The Book of James is a wonderful book that is easy to read and provides practical instruction on how Christians should live their daily lives and continue their walk with God.



In chapter 3, James discusses the subject of wisdom. In previous chapters James presents how Christians should act toward others, during times of trial and tribulation, and how we should control our tongue. I think he sums it all up in the end of chapter 3 by bringing up wisdom and the difference between godly wisdom and worldly wisdom. I think that if we strive to gain godly wisdom then we will know how to react to the problems of this world, how to act toward others, and how to control what we say.

In order to have true wisdom, godly wisdom, what does it take to receive it and how do you know when you have it? First of all, wisdom doesn't necessarily depend on the amount of education you have or the experiences you have lived. Wisdom is the proper application of knowledge. To take the knowledge that you have and apply it properly is to be wise. Wisdom begins with the fear of God. A person that fears God, will live a life of good behavior.

James also tells us there is worldly wisdom that stems from three places; earthly, natural (unspiritual), and demonic. Doing whatever you can to get a head in the world stems from earthly wisdom. Natural wisdom that does not come from God it is from our own flesh. When we try to justify our actions or feelings of hate by blaming others comes from our flesh not from God. Demonic wisdom comes out of deception on a spiritual level. The devil tries to deceive us to follow the ways of the world and follow our fleshly natural instincts.

How do you know the difference? How do you know when you are being wise or giving a wise answer? Wisdom is not argumentative or contentious. It is gentle and peacemaking; merciful and true. All we need to do to receive true godly wisdom is to ask God. James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."  The Word of God is the second source of wisdom. If you need advice or counsel, or to know how to apply knowledge you have, the Word and prayer are the answer to finding God's wisdom.

Blessed in Christ,
Amanda

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Battling Through Spiritual Warfare

As I was reading this week I ran across some scripture that disturbed me. It disturbed me enough that I had to re-read 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 three times before it really sunk in. My first thought was "spiritual warfare". Many of us go along in our daily lives not always fully aware of the spiritual battles we face. As a christian, is it important that we know and understand what spiritual warfare is and how to guard against the enemy? The answer is an emphatic YES! There is no way to get around it. We must prepare ourselves, be vigilant, be courageous, and arm ourselves with the right weapon. First of all, what exactly is spiritual warfare? It isn't a physical battle or a human battle. Our enemies, its tactics and weapons are all spiritual. The enemy attacks with deception, temptation, and accusation.

Paul writes in verses 14-15, "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. If he appeared as a horrible creature with horns and a pitchfork, we would know exactly who he is. He knows that so he appears to be something beautiful. His servants are the same way.

Jesus warns us in Matthew 7:15-20 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit; but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits."

So the question for us is, how do we protect ourselves? We need to know how to inspect the fruit and discern what is truth and what isn't? We need the ultimate spiritual weapon -- Scripture. The sword of the spirit is the Word of God.

I have challenged myself and so I challenge all of us to become warriors for God and arm ourselves with the wisdom of God's Word. It is only then that we will be able to obtain the knowledge we need to fight the spiritual battles and defend ourselves against the enemy.

Check out this bible study about spiritual warfare: http://www.greatbiblestudy.com/spiritual_warfare.php

Blessed in Christ,

Amanda

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Person in the Mirror

Looking into the mirror can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how we react to what we see. Sometimes people look in the mirror for small imperfections they can immediately fix with the brush of the hair or a quick pick at the food in their teeth. Others see flaws in their appearance be it a nose they wish they could fix or a body they would allow a doctor to adjust if they had the means to arrange it. In some mirrors people may see a whole different story, someone they wish they could change altogether. They wish they were someone else with another life.

If you are one of those that see the negative, understand that no matter what you may feel about the person looking back at you in the mirror, you are special! God made you to be unique. You are His child and you are His perfect creation just the way you are! Satan uses those moments of insecurity to allow the thoughts of inadequacy or lack of selfworth effect how you feel around others. Moments like those may cause you to feel threatened by others who you feel are better than you. The more you tell yourself that you need to fix something or are worried about what people think about how you look, the more it will lead you to unhealthy relationships, and hinder your ability to have compassion or love for others.

If you don't see yourself as a beautiful child of God, how can you see others that way? If you are not satisfied by how God created you, then how can you become more intimate with your creator? Being obsessed with appearances or with desiring another life draws us away from God. If the reason we try to perfect our appearances is to impress other people, than it becomes a matter of pride. Matthew 23:12 says, "For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted." We should be humbly aware of our appearance rather than try to conform to the world's standards. The desire to be physically fit and take care of the body God gave you is different than trying to appease the world's view of beauty. I Samuel 16:7 reminds us that "The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

Remember that true beauty is on the inside. God judges our hearts not our outward appearance.

Blessed in Christ,

Amanda