Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memories - Friend or Foe

I'm writing over at Daily Fast Fuel this week on how your Memory can be your friend, and not your foe. (Please check it out

I wanted to go in a little more detail about how we truly know we're free from past memories that haunt us.

God created our mind with the ability to remember for several reasons. One of which is to use as a teaching tool. We're to remember what God's done in the past, so we can trust Him in the future. Memories from our childhood can help us know what kind of parents we want to be (or not be). Good memories give us hope and joy when we're facing tough times. Bad memories teach us about spiritual warfare and how to combat the enemies lies with God's truth. All throughout the Bible God is telling us to "remember something"...

  • Remember the Sabbath & keep it holy"
  • Remember the Passover and teach it to your children, and your children's children
  • Remember the Covenant He's made with His people
  • Remember Communion - "Do this in Remembrance of Me"
Alters were built whenever someone had an encounter with the Lord so they would always remember what God had done. Jacob built an alter of rocks that was known as "Bethel" because he said God's presence was there. So, remembering the good things God has done, will help us trust Him with our future.

As usual, the devil tries to counterfit everything the Lord does, so he wants to remind us of some things as well.  He wants us to remember our sins, past failures, negative words spoken to us and over us, hurt and pain inflicted on us by others either intentionally or unintentionally, and everytime we felt rejected, humiliated, insecure or inadequate. He constantly brings these memories before us in hopes that we'll meditate on them. He wants to gain a foothold by building up anger, resentment, unforgiveness and bitterness. The last thing he wants for us to do is take these situations, with every negative memory and leave it on the cross where Jesus paid the price for it.

So how do we throw out the bad and keep the good? 

The key is replacing the lies of the enemy with God's truth.
Rom. 12:2 says "do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind".

When negative thoughts and memories bombard my mind, instead of taking them in and meditating on it, I will apply God's truth and reject the lie. As memories of past failures and bad experiences flood my mind threatening to bring condemnation, I'll confess and personalize the Scriptures that talk about who I am in Christ and how God views me.

One way you can test if you're truly free from past memories haunting you is when you can think about the situation without it stirring up any emotions or pain.  If you remember something and it brings up the hurt, like peeling a scab that leaves a fresh wound all over again, that's a clue that you haven't truly laid that situation on the cross and left it there.

An important thing to understand is that being free from bad memories doesn't mean you don't remember the details anymore. The old saying "time heals all wounds" is not true. Time and distance may dim your memory some, but not always.  I still remember my past in detail - it's just now I see it through the eyes of one who's been forgiven and sin has no hold on me!

So, let's sanctify our memories not by trying to forget, but by carrying our past to the cross and leaving it with Jesus.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Hope everyone is having a safe & happy Memorial Day. We definitely want to take some time to thank God for our military, and honor those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.

It's my turn to write on our co-op blog at Daily Fast Fuel  I'd love for you to stop by and see what else I had to say about "Remembering Their Sacrifice".

Have a great day!

Monday, May 23, 2011

How to Train a Child

I'm certainly not an expert on parenting, although before I had kids, I really thought I would be, LOL! I had a wonderful Mother, who really made it look easy. Yet even she didn't keep her kids (my brother and I) from making some really bad decisions along the way. It certainly wasn't because we didn't know any better. My Mom was a wonderful teacher of the Word of God. She listened to us when we had problems, and prayed for us more than we'll ever know.

I know that I'm the woman of God I am today because as the Word says, she trained up a child in the way they should go...and now that I'm old, I will not depart from it. (Prov. 22:6)

However, as a Mom of two boys, one of which is about to go to Middle School (YIKES!) I am looking closer than ever at the best approach to parenting a child so that their testimony will be "I never departed from God's will". I'm not saying they won't make mistakes, I'm saying that they don't have to walk away from the Lord, go into the world and then come back after they've discovered the pain the world has to offer.
Psalm 78:7 "He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands."
Teaching our children to follow God's Word is not a suggestion! Of all the things in life we want to teach and pass down to our children, the Word of God must be top priority!

Not only that, it shouldn't just be the "letter of the law" but the "spirit of the law" as well. In other words, we have to instill in them that obeying God's commandments goes far beyond a list of rules & regulations. It is a matter of the heart. I've told me kids, I don't want you to follow the rules just when you think I'm looking. I want you to believe in the rules so you'll make wise choices when your Dad and I aren't around. I've known kids who obeyed their parents purely out of fear of getting caught and having to face the consequences. While some of that is useful in keeping them from making huge mistakes, especially in the teenage years, it isn't the ideal way of getting the best results.

When that same kid goes off to college, where the parents can't enforce the rules quite as easily as when they were under their roof, you have to hope that some of what you taught them will come into play. However, if their only motivation for doing the right thing was fear of getting caught, it will not stop them from living as they please.

Ultimately we have no control because they are people with free will, the same as us. So parenting must switch from the need to control, to the desire to mold.

Our Pastor has said a few times, our kids don't have a "mini Holy Spirit" living inside of them. They have access to the same Holy Spirit as we do! I also believe that we shouldn't wait until our kids are older to experience the things of God that we ourselves want to experience. Why do we want to teach baby stuff to our children when the world is giving them a full dose of it's ugly reality at an alarmingly younger age? I say we hold nothing back.

Parents, don't always go into your "prayer closets" to pray in the Spirit - pray out loud for your kids to hear! Let your children feel God's presence come like a blanket of peace over your house when you fill it with praise & worship. Tell them what that feeling is and where it comes from. When you have to pray for healing for someone, tell your kids to come along with you and lay their hands on the person right along side you. When you read your Bible, read it out loud to them and then talk about it. Ask them what they think it means. Encourage them to be baptized, in water, in the Spirit, AND with Fire (boldness & zeal for the Lord)

Okay, you get the picture. I'm encouraging myself too - I'm not always faithful to do all these things on a regular basis. I'm asking God to help me be more disciplined and consistent. But starting today, starting with any of these things, as much as you can, is better than nothing at all. This is especially important for those of you like me, who are about to have their kids home with them for the entire Summer. What a great opportunity to mold & shape them before they are surrounded by voices contrary to yours.

May God bless us as we partake in the greatest challenge and privilege on earth - being a Parent.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A 6:33 a.m. Promise

Have you ever had life just pile up on you until you felt like you couldn't breathe? Have you enjoyed prayer and praise & worship with the Lord, only to face circumstances that immediately stole any joy or peace you just received?

If your answer is yes, you are so NOT alone!

The Bible says in Matthew 13:22
"The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful."
Anytime we have seeds of life sewn into our heart, the enemy comes to steal it from us. Often the tool he uses is piling up the cares of the world until we feel overwhelmed.

My family, as well as some close friends of ours, have all been dealing with certain "cares of this world" that are trying to "choke" our peace, joy & strength. Sometimes it's tempting when you get weary from fighting the battles, to just give in to the hopelessness of your circumstances. In these times, you may not even know how or what to pray.

I experienced one of these moments recently - the only prayer I could express was "Lord, I don't know what to do, I can't fix this...what do I do?" I went to bed with this prayer still hanging in the air and a very heavy heart.

Waking up the next morning, I glanced at the clock and it read 6:33 a.m. I was about to roll back over and get a few extra winks, when I felt strongly that I should read Matthew 6:33. I reached for my Bible.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
Praise God! I've known and quoted this Scripture many times, but didn't know the chapter & verse.

The context of this passage is where Jesus is telling us not to worry about how our needs are going to be met. (Read Matthew 6:25-34). I love that in vs. 32 it says "...for your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things".

I know God was answering my pitiful prayer from the night before. He was promising me that as I seek Him, He will take care of everything else.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Don't Fear...Your Master's Here!

I took my dog, Abby (a Lhasa Apso) for a walk in my Dad's neighborhood this morning. Our route takes us just around the block from his house, but there are several BIG dogs along the way.

Abby is spoiled, and quite possibly doesn't know that she IS a dog...but I'm always amazed at how she acts when she encounters other dogs. She never barks and she's not afraid!

Today, for example, two yellow labs that are almost three times her size came charging toward the edge of their yard, barking as loud as their voices allowed. She stopped in the middle of the road and just starred at them. She looked at me, and then turned to go on with our walk. I happen to know that these dogs had an invisible fence that kept them from coming any further...but as human as she sometimes acts, I'm pretty sure Abby wasn't aware of this fact. What she does seem to understand is that she's completely safe with me. If somehow these dogs were able to come out of their yard, I would have immediately picked her up and done whatever was necessary to protect her.

(sorry the picture is hard to see the dogs - I took it from my phone camera)
(This is Abby standing on the road directly across from the other dogs)

This paints a perfect picture of how we are safe and secure in our Heavenly Father's arms. The enemy may charge and bark loudly, trying to scare us. However, I rest in the assurance that my God has put boundaries on him. There is a line that even he can not cross, without my Father's permission. If for some reason the devil is allowed to get too close for comfort, God holds me closer and keeps me safe.

When He is by my side, I too can face down my enemy without any fear. I don't have to react...I can just turn and continue on my journey with my Master.