Keeping a Clear Eye

My husband and our teenager recently got back from a missions trip to Mexico.  They spent a week with the locals, ministering to them, meeting their needs, and seeing the power of God heal and deliver them from affliction.  They came back with such fresh perspective and gratefulness for the luxury of immense blessing that they enjoy here in America.  Even in what we would consider our financially “tight” weeks they raved about how a simple thing like advanced indoor plumbing and water pressure was enough to sing Hallelujah!!!  It got me thinking about the concept of gratefulness and I began to examine my life and my attitude….

Earlier that week, as I was mowing our lawn, I found myself somewhat grumbling about the current, lengthy, difficult, season of life I was in; Its intense, hard labor, both in the physical and in the spiritual was bearing little to no available, tangible fruit as of yet.  There was a weariness that was setting in, as I would see many around me being blessed and excited about the fruit they were picking from their trees of life.  I asked God this question; “What is wrong with me?, why is it so hard for me to be happy for these others in their happiness?  I know it’s not my intent to be disgruntled, in fact I preach against it, so what is my real problem Lord, what is causing me to feel this way?”.  He began to speak to me about my weariness (Galatians 6:9) and encouraged me to stand in the ring and continue on for the harvest.  He also showed me that it was more of a self-pity problem than anything else, to which I at first resisted, but ultimately conceded and asked for forgiveness for. Early that next morning, as I was reading the Word, He brought me to Matthew 6:22-23

“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.  if then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” 

At first read, I didn’t really understand the meaning of this scripture or how it pertained to me, but I knew there was something there.  As I prayed and studied out different key words and other correlating commentaries and scriptures God began to deal with me heavily about the issue of my current heart attitude…

gratitude

Eye in the Greek is “Ophthalmos” meaning by extension – The faculty of mental perception and understanding.

We see the meaning of the eye come full circle later in Matthew 20:15 in the parable of “Laborers in the Vineyard”.  The landowner (who represents God) had hired several laborers (who represents us) at different times throughout the day, so some worked 12 hours, some just 1 hour but at the end of the days work, he compensated them all equally.  The reaction from the people who worked the longest was outrage, they felt it unfair that they worked a long 12 hours but were paid just the same as the ones who came on board for just a measly hours time.  The landowner’s response was this; “Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own?  Or is your eye envious because I am generous?”.

They eye is our mental perception and understanding of everything that takes place in us and around us.  When our eye becomes “bad” it is because we are clouded with worldliness, materialism, and the “me syndrome”.  Our eye can also become bad when we judge the blessings of others based on how we’ve chosen to live our lives for Christ.  On the contrary our eye is clear when it is receptive to the redeeming grace and powerful generosity of God the Father who gives every good and perfect thing to His kids (James 1:17, Matthew 7:11).  So the word says that when our eye is clear then the light is within us, meaning when we have surrendered to grace vision then we are full of light and prepared to operate in that light to touch the hearts and lives of those around us, and our power becomes limitless.  But when our eye, our mental perspective and understanding, is dark and clouded with selfishness and worldliness then even the things we perceive to be light in the world is just all darkness, rendering our anointing powerless and ineffective.

So we see that the Laborers in this parable were so concerned with “getting their fair share” that they couldn’t see with an eye of grace and be touched by the generosity of the landowner towards the others who didn’t deserve the full pay.  They missed out on the opportunity to be moved by God’s grace towards the lesser because they were clouded by their self-pity, as well as self-righteousness.   How many times do we miss what God is doing because we are so preoccupied with our own self loathe?  How many opportunities to encourage and be thankful for others do we miss because we ourselves are still laboring long and hard hours to gain our fruit?  We live in this world where we do things according to “what’s best for us” with no regard for other people, to the point that we cannot even be happy for others who are achieving an succeeding because we aren’t getting our “fair share”.  It’s a sickness that is taking over the souls of man/woman without us even realizing it, it eats away our grace for one another, it tears apart our compassion, our understanding and our genuine love for God instead of money and “stuff”.  We bicker over how overpriced everything is, or how so and so spends their money, how ridiculous it is for the Miller’s to have 5 boats, and we can barely keep our family vehicle maintained.  We’ve adopted an entitlement mentality to erodes away our dignity to the point of expecting others to give us some of what they have because “its just not fair!”.  You see it in politics, in schools, in reality TV shows… everywhere.

gratitude-cartoon

More over, our eye becomes clouded with the mundane details of this world and it’s affairs, and we are rendered useless to extend the gospel of salvation and peace to those around us.  If we ask God to wake us up so that our eye is clear then we can see clearly to extend the love and salvation of Christ to a lost and dying world out of the gratitude of our hearts for what God is doing in and through us.  We have to stop measuring our success by the world’s standards, numbers, accumulations, relevancies and the like.  I believe what we are missing out on is what God IS doing in our lives, the blessing He’s trying to show us how to receive – ““What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”-  (Matthew 6:31-33 MSG)

This hit me like a ton of bricks, and tears began to flow in repentance for my foul attitude towards God’s generosity and blessing towards others, I asked Him to wake my eyes up to clearly see by grace and not be clouded by the selfishness of the world that I didn’t even realize was setting into my soul.  The world is a tricky thing, it’s narcissistic perception, and ugly attitudes will creep in without you even realizing it, so stand guard, pray that God will awaken your “eye” which is your mental perception and understanding, to see clearly and humbly, His grace and mercy.  Continue to renew your mind to see others with love and respond to God’s gracious giving in your own life, so that you may be at peace to operate out of the overflow of abundance, instead of laboring so hard for every little bit.  Wake up grateful every day for the ways that God is and will work in and through you, blessings to you as you walk in an attitude of gratitude!!!

Gratitude1

 

 

Identity Crisis

“Who am I?”  A question I’ve often asked myself throughout my life.  A question that provoked a year long journey into the heart of who I am and who He is…

When I sit and have serious conversations with people, I find this question and others like it, to be trending.  There are two primary issues that are causing an identity crisis in our hearts today;

#1 – We don’t understand who we are

#2 – We don’t understand Whose we are, therefore we are not led by the Spirit of God in ALL things.

Who are you?

If you were to reflect on this question, who would you say you are? Mother/Father?, Husband/Wife?, Friend?, Leader?, Writer?, Teacher?, Singer?, Fitness expert?, Chef?, Business owner?  How about small group leader, Pastor, Baptist, Catholic, Charismatic, Church administrator?  If you spend a substantial amount of time perfecting or strengthening these areas more than you do your spirit, chances are, you find your identity in them.  These labels are roles that we play in this life, they are not WHO we are!  You are blessed to be a steward over these offices in this life, therefore we should always show excellence in all things, however they do not define your identity.

The primary issue with seeking identity in what we do here on earth is that is usually ends in disappointment, emptiness, discontentment, loneliness, frustration, and control issues.  The offices we hold, things we possess, and gifts that we manifest were GIVEN to us, they are not ours.  You were not meant to be tethered to the weight of this world by hiding your identity in the roles you play;  you cannot save your children, you cannot control your sphere of influence, you cannot ride the wave of the ups and downs that the world gives and maintain the peace of God.

Thank God that when Jesus came, he took care of this crisis for us by giving us an identity in Him!  1 Peter 2:25 (MSG) “You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going.  NOW you are named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your soul.”  Hallelujah we don’t have to search for our identity or wonder who we are or where we are going because we are NAMED and kept for good by the Good Shepherd who gives purpose to everything under the sun!

So Who are You?

You are a spirit, you have a soul (mind, will, emotions) to give your spirit expression, and you temporarily live in a body. (Thank you to Pastor Cesar Nieto for breaking this down in such a great way)

Genesis 1:27 tells us that God made us in HIS image.  The word image has several dimensions of meaning, a couple of them being:  A representation of, a copy, a reflection or resemblance.  So lets say this verse, taking out the word image and replacing it with the definition.  “and God said, let Us make man as [Our representation or reflection]….”  God is not flesh, He is Spirit and he made us to be a representation of Him on the earth.

Philippians 3:20 “But our citizenship is in Heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, The Lord Jesus Christ.”   You are here on assignment, this place is not your home, your citizenship is in Heaven.  Pull your anchor out of the world and it’s dealings because this ship is sinking, and if you hang on tightly to it, you will go down with the ship, you must remember that the natural parts of you here on earth serve purpose for the spirit, not the other way around.

Another part of our identity is explained in these next two verses and deals with our authority in the earth, and that’s a topic I’ll cover on another article but for the sake of understanding the identity portion of it, lets take a look…

Ephesians 1:20-22“which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.  And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church.”

Ephesians 2:5-6 “even great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace)and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” 

In chapter 1 it describes who Jesus is, and then in chapter 2, it defines who we are in Him.  So, in other words, you are royalty! You are anointed ones!  You are holy!  You are powerful heirs to the throne!  You are His priests and as such; Satan is under your feet, failure is under your feet, poverty and lack are under your feet!  It’s time to stop operating under the fake I.D. and start knowing who you are so you can effectively complete your calling here!!!

In addition to this description in Ephesians, the bible is full of declarations of who we are in Christ, and I encourage you to get them, write them down, post them to your wall, and speak over yourself and your family every day as a reminder of who you really are.  Here are a few to get you started…

Declarations

  • I am God’s sheep, and I hear His voice.  He knows me and I follow Him – John 10:27
  • I am a minister of reconciliation – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
  • All things are mine – 1 Corinthians 3:21
  • I am a friend of Christ – John 15:15
  • I am heir to the throne – Galatians 3:29
  • I am a citizen of heaven – Philippians 3:20
  • I am NO LONGER a lost sheep with no idea who I am or where I am going, but I am now named and kept for good by the Shepherd of my soul – 1 Peter 2:25
  • I am a member of Christ’s body – 1 Corinthians 12:27
  • I am complete in Christ, lacking nothing – Colossians 2:10
  • I am free forever from condemnation – Romans 8:1-2
  • I am born of God; the evil one cannot touch me – 1 John 5:18
  • I am the salt and the light of the earth – Matthew 5:13-14
  • I am a personal witness of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit – Acts 1:8
  • I was bought with a price, therefore I will not be enslaved by the world – 1 Corinthians 7:23

Whose are you?/Therefore who or what is leading you?

Everybody is a is led by something; something motivates and moves us to say what we say, do what we do, buy what we buy, live where we live, have the relationships that we have, attend the church where we do.  Some of the common things that lead us are: Emotional hooks (needing acceptance and approval), other people’s needs/emergencies, fear of rejection, religiosity, legalism, doubt, insecurity, fame, importance, money, status, fun and excitement, trendiness…  no matter what it is, we are all led by something or someone.

Romans 8:14 “for all who are being led by the Spirit of God, THESE are the sons of God.”

Romans 8:6 – “for the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and is peace.”

The second fundamental reason that we have an identity crisis in our culture and are not fulfilling our call in this life is that we are not being led by the Spirit of God in all things.  We allow life’s problems, excitements, the needs of others, and our feelings/perspectives to lead us into situations that we are not prepared to deal with, thus leaving us confused, complacent, frustrated and exposed.  Take a look at Romans 8:6 again… “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”  If you are being led by fleshy, worldly or even prideful and selfish things you are giving your spirit a slow death, it may even feel good for a time but the trouble of it will always follow, the regret, the pain, the confusion, the questions, the darkness, and tragically the eventual falling away of your soul.

Here are a few thought-provoking questions for you to inwardly and honestly answer to reflect on your identity and what you are being led by in your life…

  • Do you concern yourself more with trendiness or holiness? do you spend more time wondering how your butt looks in those jeans or how your character looks to Christ?  I know it’s trendy to have our bodies half exposed but when we get on board with this, it becomes a distraction for others to see the Holy Spirit in our lives.
  • Are you being led by keeping up with the Jones’ or being led by the Spirit? Consult the Lord before you take on financial burdens, don’t let heavy finances for the sake of status steal your peace in life!
  • Are you more concerned with saving a buck than being a blessing to others?  The flipside of being led by obtaining money is hanging onto money.  Don’t confuse stewardship with selfish hoarding and false security.  God blesses you to be a blessing.  Jesus said, “Freely you receive, freely give!” Proverbs 23:6 – “Do not eat at the table with a stingy man….”
  • Do you renew your mind with reality television or with the word and prayer? Listen, too much 9 o’clock news creates bitterness in our heart and mind, shut it off. Don’t give up time in the word for the Kardashians!
  • Do you need possession more than you heed submission? There is a difference between stewardship and control.  The sphere of influence that you have was GIVEN to you, it is not yours so quit trying to possess it.
  • Are you identifying your faith in your religion/church or in your relationship with Jesus? You are NOT: a Charismatic, Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Lutheran or whatever, you are an heir to the throne period.  Instead of asking someone where they go to church, how about you ask them how things are between them and the Lord.  Their answer may surprise you.
  • Do you seek your identity in your gift or in God? The gifts are GIVEN to you, they are not yours!  The anointing can change, or move, and you have to be flexible in the Lord to move with it.  What if you couldn’t teach? Prophesy? Sing? Pastor?  How would you react?  If you just couldn’t imagine how you would survive without operating in this way, you better get your identity checked.

Incoherency

I was praying for the body of Christ a few months ago, and I was pleading “God, what is going on, you are speaking something so profound to the body, and they aren’t hearing You!  Your prophets speak up and it falls on hardened hearts and deaf ears, help me with this God!!”  He spoke to my heart and said: “There is incoherency.”  The word incoherent can mean disjointed, lacking unity or harmony.  The primary issue that the identity crisis is causing, is incoherency among the people.  We are so embedded in our doctrines, our denominations, our Pastors, and the world and all that goes along with that, that we can no longer hear from God.

The Lord then took me to Matthew 13:13-17 when the disciples asked Jesus why He taught in parables to the people and wondered why He didn’t just speak in plain language, this was His response, Therefore, I speak to them in parables; because while seeing, they do not see, and while hearing, they do not hear nor do they understand.  In their case, the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says: ‘You will keep on hearing, but will not understand.  You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive.  For the heart of this people has become dull, with their ears, they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes, otherwise, they would see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return, and I would heal them.‘”  Oh, Jesus help us!

Why does God speak, but we reject it because our denomination says “that’s not how we operate in this church”, why do we care more about the worship song selection for that Sunday than we do about worshiping God?!  Why do we look to the success of the world to bring relevance to the church and bring new people in by entertainment, while those that once loved The Lord are falling away by the droves?!  Let us WAKE UP and separate ourselves from those things that keep us from following God, not just in the things that make sense to us, and make us feel comfortable, but even the new things and uncomfortable things that He’s calling us to!  Let go!

So how do we make the transition?

Now that we’ve uncovered some issue, where do we go from here?  As a fallible human being, I would never claim to know anything about your personal journey, let alone everything about how to achieve perfection in the spirit.  I will, however, give you some light on your path…

  • Start with the renewing of your mind – TURN OFF the T.V., facebook, emails, internet, and kill the noise.  Get into the Word and read, study, digest the promises and teachings of God.  I know reading the Word isn’t easy for everyone, but start somewhere; start with an issue that God has spoken to you about with your identity, and begin to study what the bible says about those things.  Start somewhere and be faithful to it, He will do the rest.  Matthew 5:6 – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled!”
  • Start being led by the Spirit – be honest with yourself and pinpoint those things that you have found your identity in (positive and negative) and repent from those things and resolve to turn to being led by the Spirit of God.  How do I do that??? – for some of you, being led by the Spirit seems like a foreign concept so I will say this: it takes practice, and discipline to hear from God.  Begin by praying about EVERYTHING, and I mean everything.  Get up in the morning and say “what should I wear today God?” and then listen.  Commit your daily agenda to Him and ask “Which things should I focus on today God?” and listen.  Ask Him what you can do to bless someone else each day, and then listen for Him to direct you.  Here’s the other part…. you have to OBEY!!!  If He speaks to your heart, don’t make excuses or mill it over fifty times trying to reason your way out of it, just DO IT!!!  As you are faithful and obedient in these small areas, He will begin to speak to you pertaining to bigger and bigger subject matter.  Just be diligent in the listening part; everyone loves to talk, but nobody likes to listen, well to hear from the Spirit of the Lord, you have to close your mouth, and listen!  Hebrews 11:6 says that “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”!!!
  • DON’T put God first!…… You have to keep Him at the CENTER of all things. – If you put God first on your list of tasks for the day, then that will be just what He is to you; another thing to check off of your daily list.  That will only result in frustration.  He has to be the center of all that you do.  In John 15:4 Jesus said: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.”  The word remains means:  To continue in the same state, stay in the same place.  You cannot get Jesus into your life quick in the morning and then catch Him on the flip side before bed and expect to effectively walk by the Spirit and have victory in life.  God wants you to remain in Him, and not move from that state of the spirit so that the scripture will be fulfilled in you that says that He is one with you in Spirit.
  • Be a Kingdom Ambassador VS. just a Christian – When you got saved and were born again, Christ came to dwell within you, which made you a “Christian” but that wasn’t the end of the story.  He calls you to be a Kingdom Ambassador and go and fulfill the Great Commission in the world which requires you to let Him back out through you, to others.  Read Matthew 10:5-8, pursue your Kingdom purpose and quit keeping Christ locked up inside of you selfishly, let Him out!

There is a profound difference between living YOUR life (your plans, your comforts, your ideas) and loving Jesus in the process, and literally having no life without Him.  Think about that.  You were meant for so much more but you have to grasp the reality of your spiritual identity!!!  You ARE a spirit, you HAVE a soul, and you live IN a body.  The time is now to know who you are, to rise up and to take on the mission that God is calling you to!!!

Blessings on your journey!
Rheanna

Behind The Mask

You are beautiful!  You are powerful!  You are inspirational!  You are pure in spirit!  You were created for greatness!  Nothing can separate you from the love of God!

The problem today is that many in the world have been sold a mask to wear.  What are these masks?  Guilt.  Pressure. Expectations.  Performance based approval and affection.  Comparison.  Shame.  Religion.  Insecurity.  Distortion.  Lies.

The weight of these things can keep us from being our beautiful selves.  We toil and work so hard to please people, achieve, and become everything to everyone, and in the midst of it all we lose who we are; beautiful.  We lose sight of who God created us to be and when we look in the mirror, we only see discrepancy.  When we were little we could look in the mirror physically and spiritually and see what God sees in us; greatness, beauty, value, purpose, and passion.  As we grew up and the world pressed in, we become callous and jaded only seeing fault, shortcoming and failure in all that we do.

We need to be reminded that we ARE just as God created us, and He still sees that value, that beauty, that grace in us.  It’s high time we circle back to that child like vision and begin to see clearly again who we ARE in the midst of this dark and superficial world.  Beautiful.

“You are all together beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.”Song of Solomon 4:7

The Beauty Within

There’s nothing more that I love in a person than pure unadulterated, raw beauty.  Inside as well as outside, there is nothing I find more beautiful than a person being fully and unashamedly themselves; no make-up, no defenses, no fraudulence, no excuses, just embracing all of who God made them to be.

“Do not let your adorning  be [only] external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be [also] the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” 1 Peter 3:3-4

Although TV, magazines and catalogues will paint a different picture, indeed beauty is much, much deeper than the outer appearance of our being.  We spend so much time fussing with the imperfections that we see in the mirror and primping and prepping our outer selves to be seen by the world, while we give little to no attention to the inward appearance of our hearts, our souls, or our character.  It is my belief that if you work on caring for the inner parts of your beauty, you’ll need very little primping and prepping on the outside, because inside beauty radiates 100 times the light and makes your outer countenance and appearance beam with beauty.

This brings to mind, a movie I once saw in my earlier years; the storyline in a nutshell was that this man was so hung up on the outer appearances of ladies, that he couldn’t see through to the true character of a woman.  He happened to cross paths with a famous motivational speaker who secretly hypnotized this guy so that he could only see a woman for what she was on the inside.  Suddenly he was seeing the beauty on the inside of a woman showing on the outside, and likewise seeing the ugliness of a woman’s heart being worn on her face and body.

The point is this… take a look around you, all the plastic surgery in the world cannot reverse the undeniable fact that you’re going to age, and your beauty will eventually fade on the outside, but what’s on the inside of you; your character, your heart and your spirit, will radiate through for eternity and no matter how many wrinkles or grey hairs you come across in your life,  you will always be radiant and beautiful to those you cross paths with if you’ve spent time cultivating the beauty within.

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  Proverbs 31:30 

Take care of your outer appearance because your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and your beauty radiates the beauty and creativity of God.  Take care even more to your soul, for your character reflects the heart of God and attracts those around you to the life everlasting.

Death By Comparison

“Comparison is the death of true self-contentment.” – John Powell

  • “Barb is a much better wife than I am, I can never find time to iron my husbands shirts like she does.”
  • “I wish I had legs like Sherry, she’s so perfect.”
  • “I’m not as graceful at homeschooling as Lisa is, her kids are far more behaved than mine.”
  • “I wish my hair was long and thick like Stacey, I just have this thin hair that I can’t do anything with.”

We hinder ourselves with these kind of thoughts!

If it’s one thing that I try to drive home with my kids is that everyone has value.  It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, what you’re great at or what you could use improvement in, you have value.  Just as everyone has value, everyone also has weakness and imperfections.  There is no such thing as a perfect person, situation or life, do not be fooled by this thinking.  We tend to point out and see all of our own shortcomings whether physically or spiritually, but then on the same token see all the ways somebody else has it all together and then we begin to compare ourselves and become dissatisfied with who we are and where we are.  The reason people have strength in areas is because THEY WORK ON IT!  If you feel you could use improvement in certain areas that would benefit you or your family and the Kingdom then pray, seek, and get to work!

Get your eyes off of the concerns of others and stay focused on who you are and where God is leading you, comparison is just a distraction from obtaining the greatness God has placed in you, don’t let it grip you!  Everything in life is all about perspective.  If you seek fault you’ll find it.  If you pursue gratitude and positivity you’ll find there’s a whole lot in this world and in who you are to be thankful for and appreciate.

“In everything, give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1Thesselonians 5:8

Get out from behind the mask that life has put on you, be you, just you.  Pursue all that God has for you, and radiate the beauty inside and out.  YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!!!

Be blessed on your beautiful journey ~ Rheanna

Left Behind For a Purpose

“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” – C.S. Lewis

Life Here on Earth

Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?”  Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.”John 13:36

You have been left behind on purpose, for a purpose, to live with purpose.

It’s difficult to understand why it’s so hard for us to dig deep, we roam about this earth accepting the norm, moving within our natural talents and only stretching just enough to feel satisfied within our own selves that we’re doing our “due diligence”; we work hard, we attend church, volunteer at the local food shelf, care for our children and pay our tithe on Sundays – which are all great things- but then we brush our hands together and sigh relief.

Is that all there is?  Is that the extent of the power that was handed over to us at the cross?  Why are we so hesitant to abandon all ideals and expectations to find a deeper call of living?  What is in that place that the enemy does not want us to see and experience?  Could it be that we are just too afraid of what that process may do to our perfect realities?  This is the journey I am on and the questions that burden my heart today…. where are the warriors of the faith?  Where are the men and women of God that have reckless abandon to see miracles and experience what it means to truly LIVE?  Do they exist anymore?  I know they do because I’ve had the blessing of befriending a few, but what keeps the majority of us from this level of living?

John 14:5Thomas said to Him, “Lord we do not know where you are going, how do we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Even the closest few who knew Jesus were nervous about being left behind here, they worried saying, “how do we know the way?” and be it just like Jesus to give an answer that doesn’t come with some profound poetic process just simply understanding that there isn’t a “way” naturally speaking, there is no amount of good deeds to be done, or some scientific formula that will manifest a “way” to the deep places of living, He IS the way.  Seeking Him out, and what God wants for you and your life, IS the way, it is the only way.  You can do all of these great natural things that I spoke of in the last paragraph but if you rely on them to fulfill your spirit you will be left feeling empty and discouraged.

If you are truly pursuing God you will find yourself in a place of disillusionment and challenge.  It is a vital part of the process to question who God is, if He is real, and to be frustrated with the point of life, it means you are honestly pursuing truth and depth.  Without question and frustration, there is no depth, you are merely swimming in a shallow pool of comfort.

His Kingdom has come, His will is being done

“…For behold the kingdom of God is in your midst.” – Luke 17:21(b)

Look no further!  God IS doing magnificent things right within your midst.  Open your eyes and your soul to perceive what is happening in and around you, do not be dismayed by the destruction that this world is going through but search deeper and find the fulfilling of His plan in action so that you may be a light in this dark place.  Thank Him in your prayer time for His will being done on earth, and in earth (in you, for you are the salt of the earth) as it is in Heaven!  Do not question whether or not He’s forgotten about you or turned a blind eye to the darkness appearing in the natural but understand that this battle is being fought on much deeper ground than we naturally see, so therefore you must seek it out on a much deeper level to find the rewards of your purpose.  If you seek the kingdom here on earth, you will only be disappointed; pastors will disappoint you, churches will disappoint you and religiosity will disappoint you, because His kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36) it is of another world and must be sought with wild abandon and deep intention.

God is With us

We are to be the workers in the field, bringing in the harvest.  We were created to be the warriors fighting for the victory in the battle, God has equipped us by sending the Holy Spirit to help us “finish the job”…

“But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart.  But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” – John 16:6,7

I urge you to not be distracted with the frivolities of worry, anxiety, concern and control, the firmer you hang onto such things the more you will experience unnecessary grief.  There is a purpose for you here on earth, and you’ve been equipped to fulfill this purpose and that purpose will come with power if you surrender yourself to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  I’m not talking about the Spirit as He enters us upon salvation, I am talking about an intentional filling and following of the power of the Spirit, there is a difference and that’s a whole other topic of discussion.  God is with you, He walks beside you and goes before you, He has given you the tools to live a powerful life that will speak to others through intangible evidence. Take heart and search Him out!!!

…there is a season for everything under Heaven

Not long ago in dealing with a family issue the Lord spoke to me and gave me the word “tumulous” I had never heard the word and did not know what it meant so when I got home I looked it up and the word tumulous is an adjective and means “full of mounds [a natural or unnatural elevation of earth, as for defense; barriers]”  I had an illumination of the fact that the journey before me was not going to be without resistance and required a certain tenacity if I wanted to truly purpose to do all that God had for me to do here on earth.  This means seasons of abundance as well as seasons of discomfort.

The seasons of abundance seem to be easy to handle, exciting, fruitful and naturally enjoyable.  However when the season of challenge comes to move on to new levels, and for God to clean out the shrapnel in my soul; to disturb my “red-tape” ideals, that’s when I find it hard to resist the temptation to be troubled, dark, stressed, lonely, anxious and heavy.  I believe this is why God’s word refers to these conditions so often in warning us not to succumb to them and giving us a way to deal with the temptation of falling trap to them, because he knew we’d be entering un-charted waters where the only vision we have is trusting in what He says and where He’s leading us (Phil 4:6).

If we’re being honest with ourselves these seasons can be the most difficult even for the strongest of spiritual warriors, Jesus didn’t come and tell us we’d never have issues if we followed Him, no, on the contrary he said “In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties.  But take heart!  I’ve conquered the world.”John 16:33 (MSG).  So yes, seasons will be sure to bring obstacles but God has given you a way to fight against them and work through them while enjoying the journey with Him.  It seems counterintuitive but if it wasn’t so, He wouldn’t have said it!

We Need to Renew our Mind and Have Victory!

“Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth, meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it, then you will be prosperous and successful.”Joshua 1:8

Woo Glory!  Thank you Jesus that there is a way to renew and refresh, there is a way to have victory in this dark world!! We may have been left behind for a purpose, but we are NOT forgotten or forsaken!  God of angel armies cares about your victory, His best for you is ready for you to receive.  You do not have to live at the level that this world says you do,  you no longer have to watch TV shows to have adventure or romance, you don’t have to get drunk to experience relaxation or fun, and you don’t have to be on 50 medications to experience health and wholeness.  The Holy Spirit wants to fulfill every need you have, He’s just waiting for you to receive it.  God’s favor is waiting to cover you, Learn to Receive it!

The purpose of God’s word is for your sake, God gave you instructions and insight because He knew you’d need it, especially in the time we live we need nourishment for our soul and spirit, food to mature us, to push us forward and to challenge us to continue to become.  If you ever think you’ve arrived and have God figured out, I will warn you to look out!  So meditate on it, read it, breathe it in, let it refresh you, renew you and bring you through to victory so that you can be a living testimony to those around you.

In closing I want to challenge you to find a discomfort with this life, a disillusionment with the process and a hunger for deeper things of God, for it is in this vulnerable state that you will find the filling of the Spirit and new levels of living beyond your wildest imagination!  There is adventure to be had, lives to change, miracles to see and refining to experience! “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous!  Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!” – Joshua 1:9

Blessings on your journey to the deep!!!

Rheanna

Learning to Receive

Oh how I love the idea of the finer things in life!  The big house, the well groomed yard, the luxury vehicle, New fangled electronics, a fit and healthy body, the latest trends hanging in my closet,  the little details and decorations adorning my home on all levels, the idea of my kids being in multiple activities and being the best at whatever they do.  Even in homeschooling the vision is cast of having super achievers, scholarly graduates and highly knowledgeable students on all levels.

In the midst of the lure of all these things I can hear my soul crying out,  “simplicity where are you?”  Where can I find a place to be quiet and rest?  Where can I go to find peace and serenity, a place where my “to do” list doesn’t exist but only the simple tasks of living and enjoying the small things are on the days agenda?

You see the reality of it is (as my husband would say) is that my longing for simplicity; for peace, serenity, and rest have been swallowed up by the natural desire to work at acquiring and “having it all” in this life.  The more I strive to get, the more weary and empty I become and the more I long for a simple life.  I begin to forget to look around and enjoy the landscape bursting with colors, the smell of fresh baked bread no longer comforts me, the giggle of a baby no longer moves me.  I become cynical, careless, busy.  The cleaning of that big house takes up an entire day of time, the washing of those trending clothes morphs into a big blob staring me down every morning when I wake up, and every night when I go to bed.  The electronics divert the attention of my loved ones, and we become silent, detached and disinterested in one another.  The vehicle has to be maintained, the grass needs constant mowing and treatments.  I start pouring in the coffee as I toil in vain to mold my kids to become the best, because they sure don’t seem to give a rip so I work twice as hard to accomplish the feat.

and then God downloads this into my spirit…

31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” ~ Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV)

My favorite version of this verse is found in The Message…

“What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.”-  Matthew 6:31-33 MSG

All of this fussing and working in vain avails me very little, and this one truth begins to take center stage and illuminates in darkness of my weariness and humanness and that is this;  All of these things are already done for me, all of these needs and desires are already met, the table has been set, the invitation has been given, it is for me to pull up a seat to and partake.  This partaking comes when I trade in all of my reliance on my own efforts in exchange for His blessing and grace.

Relying solely on my ability to “do it all” robs me of the most precious gift in life; peace.  The understanding that His blessing and grace is what sustains my hard work, gives the abundance in life a whole new level of enjoyment.

As the blessing pours in; the laundry and homework pile up, the grass grows long, the dust settles on the furniture and the work beckons to be done it’s easy for the finer things in life to lose their appeal in the stress of it all.  My perspective has a paradigm shift and suddenly I feel like it’s more of a burden than a blessing to maintain the abundance that God so freely and graciously gives.  I begin to murmur and complain, judge and become negative.  The TV suddenly gives way to a world that gives me a break from reality and sinks me deeper into that emptiness.  Religion sets in.

Yet again God downloads His perfect truth and word…

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28 (MSG)

This world is so hectic and demanding, pressuring us to do it all and obtain it all, it doesn’t give us permission to enjoy the small things in life, to be content in the season we’re in while we use our faith to seek new levels.  You must give yourself permission to do these things, to let go, to only hang onto what’s important and to seek God and the riches of His glory so that the abundance that He desires to release to you in life can be yours to enjoy just the way He intended you to.

Be blessed on your journey!!

Rheanna

Two Halves Don’t Make a Whole

A girl who dreams of the man that will sweep her off of her feet, complete her emotionally, and fulfill her every dream.  A boy who searches for the woman that will make him feel whole and cared for, who will fulfill his every desire, and complete his vision of happiness and contentment.  They meet.  They fall in love.  They plan their future, marry, and ride off into the sunset.  They pay no mind to the short comings of the other, they see only the beauty, and strength in one another, side by side they set out to conquer the world…..

Then they wake up.  They realize that 5 years into marriage, they are no closer to the goal of the perfect life then they were when they met, in fact they are further from it, their dreams and love for one another have been dimmed by life, bills, kids, dogs, laundry, arguments and that clump of toothpaste that lies forever in the sink; stranded with no one to care enough to just wipe it off and send it down the drain.

You see what these two perfectly imperfect human beings DO realize is their need for completion, their need for wholeness, for fulfillment.  What they don’t realize, until years after the honeymoon, is that the person they married is just as incomplete as they are and that there’s no way for one person to fulfill every need to complete the other.  They realize that they are each half a person on their own, but joined together their two halves don’t make a whole.

Now before the logical type A’s jump all over me, I want to clarify that I am not implying this theory in a literal mathematical sense;  yes, I know that 1/2 plus 1/2 equals 1 whole numerically, you can stop worrying about the future of my poor homeschooled kids… what I am saying is, as it pertains to relationships, you cannot join together two imperfect, incomplete people and expect to make a whole person, in my opinion it doesn’t work that way.  I believe when men and women have the expectation that “if they could just marry that right person then they will be complete and lacking nothing”,  they are setting themselves and their marriage up for failure, and here’s why…

You can’t force pieces that don’t fit

I marveled at the determination of one of my sons when he was 3 as he would sit down to put a puzzle together.  He would take a puzzle piece that looked as if it fit into a specific spot; same color, almost exact shape, but because it wasn’t the correct piece, it would just refuse to interlock with the other pieces in that area.  He would grunt and push, and press, and growl, and rip the piece to almost shreds until finally he had forced the piece into the incorrect spot.  His desire to fill the space superseded the will to find the right solution to the puzzle.

We often times look to our spouse to fulfill empty spaces in our hearts and lives, we so long for fulfillment that we try to force the imperfections and short comings out of the other person and begin to force our spouse to fit into and fill that space in our heart to make us feel complete and whole, we begin to play the “If/Then game”, it looks something like this; “If you would just lose weight, then I would be affectionate”, “If you would take me on more dates, then I’d feel loved”, “If you kept the house picked up, then I’d feel at home here”,  “If you help me with the kids more, then I would respect you”,  “If you ironed my shirts, then I might have a better attitude about you behind your back”,  “If you listened to me more then I wouldn’t feel so alone”,  “If you didn’t nag so much, then I would feel more loved”.

Maybe you’ve said something along these lines in your marriage, or have heard it said in a friend’s marriage, either way the fact is that our needs for wholeness are unique to each of us individually and it is an impossible burden for another person to take on the responsibility of fulfilling something in us that they are incapable of fulfilling.

It is impossible for another imperfect human being to fill a God shaped space in our heart…

Iron Sharpens Iron

“Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”Proverbs 27:17

The purpose of relationships are to reflect our strengths and weaknesses in a way that encourages us to become all that God intends for us, and to support us on our journey.  The intent of relationships has never been to fulfill the spaces in our hearts, but to support us as we become.  God places the people in our lives that specifically connect with us and possess qualities that will sharpen our strengths and support us as God is made perfect in our weakness.

It is often our instinct to see the imperfections of another and want to change them, to perfect them, because we think we see the solutions to their problems.  On the contrary when we focus so much on the short comings of our spouse we forget to examine our own hearts and realize, though our problems may look different, we still have just as much to work on as the other person does.  When we begin to have a humble understanding of our own need for salvation and growth, we can have more grace and patience with others especially our spouse on their journey of growth.  They may grow A LOT slower than we would hope for, but to understand that it’s NOT YOUR JOB to fix them, nor do you have the capacity to do the job only God can do, you will begin to find peace in releasing the bitterness towards them for their imperfections and really begin to dig deep into your own journey.

Your purpose to your spouse is to sharpen them, to reflect grace, humility, and patience to them so they can see for themselves what needs to be worked on.  Your spouses purpose is to do the same for you, NOT to fulfill your every need and desire, but to sharpen you by reflecting that grace that’s needed on the journey.

The Source of Wholeness

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” – James 1:17 

He is.

He possesses every single thing that you could ever possibly need.  He has the plan, the strategy, the solutions, the victory.  He has authored your life, and He WILL finish the good work according to His purpose (Philippians 1:6).  You can let go of all of those expectations that leave you disappointed and lonely, the expectations that have tricked you and left you feeling unloved, unattractive, insecure, angry, bitter, and on the verge of divorce or insanity.  You can leave those in the dust and have peace knowing it’s not your burden to bear your spouse’s imperfections, it’s God’s job to work with him/her.

In addition to that and most importantly, stop burdening your spouse with the responsibility of “completing” you, eventually that castle will fall and all of the hope and stability you’ve placed in them, and rely on them for, WILL crash down, because they are human, and you will be left standing alone.

Fix your eyes and heart on your own journey, draw close to the only One that can truly fill all of those spaces, heal your hurts, and complete you, He is a solid rock on which your foundation is secure and you’ll NEVER be let down, NEVER.  The world may crumble around you, your spouse will show their uglies and society’s ideals will cast you out and give you death by comparison, but God will be constant, He is the one gamble you can afford to take.

Listen; relax!! Enjoy your journey together; no pressure, no lofty expectation of one another, just freedom to become all that you’re meant to become.   Have fun with your spouse; laugh, play, lighten up and LIVE!!!  Equally importantly; start your personal journey, work on you, and appreciate the process because when you can each individually become a whole person in Christ; lacking nothing, you will begin to see unity and fullness in your marriage, then you will watch the greatness unfold and true purpose working in and through the two of you!

Blessings on your journey to becoming whole, by the power of the Spirit!

Rheanna

Living in the Rearview Mirror

I have a past.  We all do.  I’m far from perfect and my past is full of good choices and bad choices.  For the longest time I would stew on all of the ways I could have done better, things I should have done or shouldn’t have said.  I lived with so much guilt and pressure in my day to day because I couldn’t let go of anything, and as a direct result of that I struggled with anxiety, depression and anger.

Isaiah 43:18“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  19 See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness, and streams in the wasteland.”

God began to make streams in the wastelands of my past.  I had to understand that, much like a car, I had a rearview mirror in my life, I could look into it anytime I wanted and for some things, such as a learning aid, it is beneficial to look into that mirror but to dwell on it, only meant that I couldn’t move forward with the rest of my life.

The Benefits of a Rearview

  • Perspective –  There are times in our lives when we will get down in the pit because we see ourselves for what we do and don’t do, instead of seeing ourselves for who we are, and because of that we are often tempted to beat ourselves up and feel as if there is just too much “fixing” that needs to be done in order to feel peaceful.  The rearview of your life often times can give you a paradigm shift so that you can remember this:  “You may not be where you want to be, but thank God you aren’t where you use to be!”
  • Hindsight is always 20/20 – Use your past to learn and grow.  When you fail, fail forward to success by learning from mistakes, victories and life lessons.
  • Level with Yourself – Just as you can adjust your mirror in the car to look yourself straight in those beautiful eyes, look your past right in the eyes and be reminded of your worth and value.  God loves you so much that He’s worked to call you out of your old self,  build you up and seat you in a place of honor, to comfort you, to assure you that you are a treasure to Him and to use your gifts AND YOUR PAST to help others.

The Reality of the Rearview

  • You can’t change it!  Stop trying to go back there, you cannot change where you came from, you can only seek to move forward and change where you end up!
  • You Risk a Crash! – If you drive while looking into the rearview mirror, you risk a major wreck, since you cannot focus on what’s behind you and what’s in front of you at the same time, so the only way to successfully, consistently focus on the past is to put your life in “park”.  Remember, you are going to have to choose what you give your energy and attention to, and if it’s constantly dwelling on what’s behind you, chances are you’ll be stuck in a rut without making any forward progress, so put it in drive, switch your focus, and move onward and upward!!
  • You’ll Always Have One –  Just as a rearview mirror is installed in every automobile, so it is for each and every one of us, we have a past and we always will, each new day you wake up, your past just got bigger.  Do you ever have those moments when something really random will pop into your head from your past that you really wish you could just forget?  Those are the tapes that we play over and over again in our minds, and the devil loves to press play on those tapes to keep us from realizing our potential and our future.  Since you cannot erase what’s happened in the past, you have to learn to combat your thoughts and renew your thinking, speaking and actions. Romans 12:2 says to “..be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  and the first and foremost way to do this is God’s word; it is LIFE to all who consume it.  In addition to that,  I have included a few books on the list below to help with the battle of the mind, I highly recommend reading one or all of them!  And remember….   “Every time the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future!”

 

You Have Right Now

“Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery, Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the “present” so unwrap it and enjoy it.”

This is easier said than done for some of us, and I know this first hand since I happen to be a STRONG futuristic thinker/planner with a “let’s get it done quick!” undertone and a side of “success is determined by your level of preparedness!” on a platter.  I moved so quick, and planned so far ahead that as I was doing one thing, I’d be thinking of the next five things that were going to happen after it was over.  I spent my free time scrapbooking, not because I love to scrapbook so much as I wanted to take the time to look at the pictures, and enjoy the memory of being in the moment, since I wasn’t in the moment at the time.  It was quite sad really, I realized that was living my life in pictures and not in real time.  I knew that I was wired this way for a reason, but I felt God calling me to get some balance in my life and learn to use these gifts to be a blessing to myself, others and for the Kingdom.

One of the most intensely painful but most cherished lessons God has taught me is to slow down, s l o w  d o w n, s l-l-o-o-o-o-o-w-w-w down, breathe in each moment, and really be alive.  I know you’re thinking, why would that be painful? but understand that I was used to doing everything at the speed of light, buzzing around from one task to another, getting every little thing checked off my list.  I spent a lot of time being impatient, flustered and nervous.  In addition to that I spent a lot of time beating myself up for past words, actions, choices, behaviors and so on because I so badly wanted to have everything running smoothly and perfectly.  So in all honesty, to force myself to just slow down and appreciate each moment was really tough for me.

So it began that each day I would get this nagging feeling to just move slower, talk slower, react slower.  Even when I would fold laundry, I would feel that pressing feeling to slow each fold down, take note of the shirt I  was folding, which child it belonged to, noting how big they’ve grown, the memory of the ice cream stain that was on it, etc.  In the mornings when I would sit outside on the bench reading my Bible, I would take the time to read and re-read a verse over and over again, I would write down my surroundings; the colors, noises, activity.  I remember one morning about 2 months into this process, a hummingbird flew up to the porch where I was sitting, he was looking in the hanging flower baskets for some breakfast I assume, anyway I put my hands in my lap and sat very still, watching him, and he got so close to me that at one point I closed my eyes and I could feel the wind from his wings  blowing lightly on my face.  It was so precious that it brought tears to my eyes, and it was then that I truly understood all that I was missing in my day to day by rushing through everything.  This may sound silly but I learned to really listen to what my kids were saying to me, I’d kneel down and look them in the eye, and I would just be amazed at how much I loved each of them.

The biggest lesson I learned from the “slow season” was that I didn’t have to wrestle over my past, it didn’t define my today or my tomorrow, Jesus had already covered all of it, forgiven it all, and separated it from my life.  So I let it go, found my identity in who God said I am and decided to live each day deeper and with more purpose, to truly be ALIVE!

Habakkuk 2:4b (MSG) “But the person in right standing before God, through loyal and steady believing, is fully alive, really alive.”

This applies to not just your personal life, but your marriage, parenting, friendships, and family relationships as well.  Quit living in, and bringing up the past, put it behind you and keep moving forward.

If you struggle with where you are because you haven’t given up your past, I understand, I’ve been there in my own unique way.  God has better for you, you have so much more life to live than the emptiness that your past can offer.  You cannot expect to effectively move forward in your journey if you’re living in the rearview mirror!

Be blessed!

Rheanna

Book List:

Battlefield of the Mind – Joyce Meyer

Victory Over the Darkness – Neil T. Anderson

Your Best Life Now – Joel Osteen

Eight Ways to Keep the Devil Under Your Feet – Joyce Meyer

Overcoming Hurts and Anger – Carlson

Know Your Enemy

I heard a story recently on the radio about a guy in California, who went to a Home Depot, headed down the tool isle, grabbed a couple different kinds of saws and began to saw both of his arms off.  As soon as he got all the way down to the bone, he passed out and was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

Later that very same day, there was a commercial I happen to catch on TV while I was running at the gym, about a show called “Preacher’s Daughters”.  After seeing several plugs for it, I gathered that it was a show that follows these Pastors and their families to air the rebellion, disobedience and strife that’s stirred up in their lives.  I couldn’t help but wonder why in the world someone who’s suppose to be an example of the love and life of God would deliberately expose and exalt the disaster happening in their lives and the lives of their children to make some money and have a little fame.

It’s sad but true to say that these are just a couple of examples of the frequent experiences I have with things that disturb me in our society today, and when I see and hear these kinds of stories and others like them, my first reaction a lot of the time is to think “What in the world is wrong with people?!”  I think it’s safe to say that we all jump immediately to blaming something or somebody for many of these kinds of indecencies; parents, music, movies, bullies, cultures, religions, government, spouses, teachers, etc. 

Choose Your Battles

I’m a fighter by nature.  My great-grandmother was 100% Irish and from the stories I’ve heard, she had a fierce temper and presence about her that made even the strongest man hide.  So naturally,  I could find a reason to scrap with anybody over anything, anywhere, anytime, and in my former years I truly did. I fought my parents, my friends, my brother, the law, even my teachers, in fact my mother enrolled me in Catholic school half way through Kindergarten because my teacher and I were always at odds, and I couldn’t advance educationally because of the constant strife between her and I, this was in Kindergarten!!!  You can imagine the rest of teen years…

As a young mother, I took this approach and attitude with my kids and my husband, and as a young adult in general I took this approach with the issues of the world that got my attention.  I went on and fought every battle, and was determined to win.  I had something to say about every situation that arose.  I spent my life exhausted, bitter and depleted, never having energy to laugh, play, grow or LIVE!

Through my walk with Christ, He had to teach me to choose my battles.  He had to show me that by constantly putting up a fight, I wasn’t going to change every situation, I wasn’t going to change people and I alone wasn’t going to change the world, and that not every battle was worth the effort.

While there were issues I was called to stand against, and truth that I was called to stand for, there were many things in life that I was going to have to let go of, like going 20 miles out of my way to grocery shop because I’d boycotted a store due to the actions of the CEO…. (I mean seriously, if I’d boycotted every person, product, or establishment that was imperfect in some way I’d be barred to my house for life!!)  I needed to rid myself of hateful attitudes towards all the crazy people aired on the 10 o’clock news, I needed to stop carrying on and on about who had the nerve to put the toilet paper roll on with the paper coming from underneath instead of  over the top, and investigating every clump of toothpaste that was left in the sink! And oh how I needed to stop lecturing everyone and their mother about the effects of this food, or that product, or this lifestyle and that parenting style, and realize that just because it was something that God was teaching me, it didn’t mean it was for everyone… On and on it could go, if we chose to fight every battle with every opinion on every topic that we have.  Good grief, I can’t tell you how much life and energy I got back after I came to terms with the fact that I was wasting a lot of time addressing things that I was not called to address.

A Swing and a Miss 

As I said before, I used to be so exhausted all of the time.  I would fall into bed at night just fatigue, and frustrated with many of the actions of my day.  Even after I learned to choose my battles and work hard to fight only those that were really important to my calling in life, I was just always discouraged and frustrated with it all.  I would spend my days, arguing with my kids, crying over spilled milk, shaking my fist at God, and being at odds with family members, friends and even random customer service representatives.  I would cry out to God and prayerfully ask Him to help me with my anger and constant frustration with the seemingly endless battles of the world, and most of the time it would come out more like “Oh God, just kill me already!”

Then one weekend I attended a “Bridging the Gap” women’s retreat up in Alexandria, MN.  I met a prophetic minister through a friend of mine, and she began to speak into my life in a powerful way.  In the midst of speaking to me she identified that I was a fighter, and that I spent my life exhausted because I was always ‘swinging and missing’.  As she spoke, God illuminated the fact, that the reason I was always so exhausted and never winning over these hurdles in my life was because I was swinging at the decoys, and missing the target.  I imagined myself in a boxing ring with gloves and mouth guard, hopping around swinging like crazy at thin air, wearing myself out, while my opponent just sat on the other side of the ring laughing at me.  Eventually I would get so tired that I’d “KO” myself!  Like a light switch I realized that I needed to stop swinging and start learning to do a one punch knock out on the situation.

I had to identify what I was swinging at.  A certain demographic or movement of people, an establishment or corporation, someone’s lifestyle, a faulty choice that was made, or an act of offense that was performed…. none of these things could account for the real issue, these were all symptoms of the real issue, the issue of the heart and the battle for the soul.  Swinging at any of these will leave you tired, unfulfilled, hateful and bitter, which changes nothing.

Know Your Enemy

Ephesians 6:12“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

What then is my target, who is my enemy?  Is it God when the tsunami rushes in and sweeps away thousands?  Is it my husband or kids when I feel invisible and unappreciated?  Is it the reality TV that airs a false perception of what’s normal and exalts evil as good?  What about the music that drives the teenager into a dark place or internet sites that produce the pornography that separates a husband from his wife?  Is it the bar that serves the alcohol to the guy that drives home drunk and kills an innocent person?  Is it the companies that manufacture the gun that ends up in the hand of a deranged killer?  Or perhaps is it the government when a father loses his job and is unable to support his family?

How would we respond to these situations in life then if we couldn’t point our finger at someone or something, could we find peace amidst it all?

Yes, I whole heartedly believe that you should stand up for those things you believe in, in a constructive and prudent way; Pray, vote, fund ministry and outreach to parts of the world in need, volunteer for a cause, minister to hearts in need, share LIFE with those around you.  Discipline your children and safeguard them from things that are detrimental to their spiritual and physical health;  Keep them from watching smut TV,  listening to garbage music and reading crap magazines.  After all that’s why you are their parent, to lead them, protect them, and bring them up in a way so they are well equipped and ready to be leaders!

But listen folks, our enemy is not with flesh and blood, our enemy is NOT other people!  Our fight is with the dark spiritual forces of this world that are battling for our very souls.  There is an assignment on your life whether you believe it or not.  Our weapons to fight the enemy of darkness is not of physical nature, it is not to hurl insults or curses against your neighbor, or to wish ill, harm or death upon those who do us wrong.  Open your eyes, and your heart, don’t be numb with hate and bitterness for the things you cannot control, but be filled with LIFE and LOVE and overflow in prayer and ministry to those around you, and LIVE each day with wild abandon, allowing God to show you your calling so you can make a real difference in this life.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

…. So before you take aim and ready yourself to begin waging war in the battles of life, big or small, public or private,  be sure to “Know Your Enemy”.

Rheanna

Live Free or Die Hard

There is an assignment on your life.  Actually, there are two assignments on your life.  One assignment is for your benefit, your growth, and for you to become all that you were intended so that those around you could benefit and the world would be changed in some way.  The other assignment, is to take you out.

The Forward Assignment

Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

We are here for a purpose, we are here to rise up and grow into our calling in life, become the greatness that God has put in us and run our race of life.  This assignment is to bring health, hope, prosperity, joy, peace, reconciliation with God, power, strength, and the like.  It is not just for our benefit though, it is so that out of our own abundance, we may pour into those around us and make a difference in the world.  To pass a legacy of purpose to our children and grandchildren, and to inspire and uplift those in our sphere to take up their assigment and become and live the way they were intended to live, in abundance.

John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – NIV

The Assignment of Darkness

The second assignment on your life is pretty simple really, it’s to take you and everything that you are suppose to be, out of the game.  The enemy wants you gone, he wants to conceal who you really are by convincing you that you aren’t anything more than just another person here on earth, that you don’t posess any special gifts or power, and that life is easiest being lived in the average – (In fact there is a book by John Mason “An Enemy Called Average”  I highly reccommend reading it).  The bombs that go off in life like; death, sickness, disease, poverty, anxiety, brokenness, struggle, fear, doubt, insecurity, and detattchement are all meant to stop you, to put you out of order, to keep you from seeing and becoming who you really are.

John 10:10The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). – Amplified Version

Again I say, the one and only intent of the enemy is to take you out, he is a liar, a stealer, a cheater, and the king of destruction.

What is Our Response?

Do we have a choice as to which assignment is carried out?  Does it matter how we respond?  Will it change the outcome for us?  YES!

James 4:7-10 “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field…” (MSG)

I’ve highlighted the action words in this verse, to make the point that you have a will, and God does have an amazing plan for your life, however God will not force you to do anything.  You have to make a choice on how you respond to life.  You also have to put on your big boy/girl pants and take responsibility for the cause and effect in your life and learn to be accountable to the things you can change.  Sometimes when things happen to us in life it’s because of our choices, and lifestyle.  Sometimes things happen because life is life after all, but our response to these things is where true character is shown and the outcome can be changed.

Taking Hostages

The other week, I was on Netflix and I stumbled across the original Batman Movie from 1966 with Adam West.  There are so many questions that arose while watching this movie like; does shark repellant spray really exist?  If so does it work? Further more, how does said large shark hang from Batman’s boot in mid-air without ripping his leg off? and so on.

The scene in particular that caught my attention was when Commodore Schmidlapp was being held hostage on his own yacht by 4 extremely flamboyant villans in obnoxiously bright clothing and painted faces, and yet he was oblivious to it all, he seemingly had no idea that he was a hostage.  These villans apparently did such a great job manipulating him, with top of the line room service, fake scenery and official noises of the sea that Schmidlapp truly thought he was on course, headed for his destination and things were hunky dory.

As cheesy as this movie is today, this scene revealed something so profound to me about the way in which we go about walking through life, thinking we are on course because the enemy does such a fine job of encouraging us to fill our voids with everything from intoxication to lust to running after money, and then spending all our money buying the latest and greatest crap.  We’re hunting for that next thrill in life to make us forget about the questions we really have, like “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose?” and “What’s the point of life?”.  Many believe they are living freely but do not realize they are being held hostage in their own life.

You see the enemy doesn’t want you to stop and evaluate your purpose or ask such questions that I listed above, he wants you to be average, status quo, “ok”, comfortable, “fine”, because if you dare ask these important questions, he knows that you’ll get an answer and when you get the answer, your eyes will be opened to an entirely different level of living, that will threaten the kingdom of darkness something fierce!

Matthew 7:7  “Ask, and what you are asking for will be given to you. Look, and what you are looking for you will find. Knock, and the door you are knocking on will be opened to you.”

You want to know the purpose and assignment of greatness on your life?  just ASK.

Live Free or Die Hard

  • Free – enjoying personal rights or liberty, as a person who is not in slavery; to release, as from restrictions.

Galatians 3:13-14 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, by becoming the curse for us…so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

You were born to live free, Jesus died so you could LIVE, you are no longer a slave to the carnal, but free by the Spirit to live by the Spirit so that you can see amazing things come to pass in and through you, to leave a legacy for generations to come.

  • Die Hard – a person who vigorously maintains or defends a seemingly hopeless position.

Why do you hang on so tight?  What in the world are you hanging on to?  Why do you defend your ways so strongly?  Sometimes when I’m listening to people talk, I think, “do they even know that what they so vigorously defend is actually limiting them?!”

Take a look at your life, you are dying, we all are, as soon as we’re born, we’re dying.  Why on earth do you want to “comfortably” fly under the radar and just live an average, mainstream life without really finding truth about your purpose and seeing it come to pass?  What else are you planning to do with your time!?

So my question to you is this, will justice prevail in your life?  Will you choose to keep going around this mountain, getting the same results?  Will you ask the hard questions in life? Will you continue to lose hope when life doesn’t go your way, or continue to hang on tightly to things that will burn away in the end?

Will You Choose to Live Free or Die Hard?

*** Check out my short testimony on the “About Me” page.  I briefly sum up the assignment of the enemy that followed me when I was a young girl, left me for dead spiritually and considered me a loss…. until God picked me up, showed me who I really am and sent me on a mission to raise hell against darkness. ***

Be blessed as you CHOOSE to LIVE FREE!!!

 

 

As always here is a suggested book list…

An Enemy Called Average – John Mason

A Spiritual Awakening – Tommie Zito

The Unusual Suspect – Stephen Baldwin

Victory Over the Darkness – Neil T. Anderson

Your Best Life Now – Joel Osteen

Run Your Race

I really enjoy the movie Secretariat. If you haven’t ever seen it, I strongly reccommend it. There’s something so spectacular about a winner’s spirit, a fighter’s heart and a faith that could move mountains that just fires me up!  I have a passion to see people win in life, to rise above despite of their circumstances, not shy away from the battle and become mighty, leave a legacy, and show God’s true power and strength.

Job 39:21-22 “It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength, and charges into the fray.  22 It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword.”

Running the Race

My husband and I were training for a triathalon a couple of years ago and it happen to be my first experience with running.  Since I’d never run before, I had to train my body to learn endurance and how to sustain a pace for a period of time.  a few months into the process, I’d gone out for my morning run and my left knee began to give me trouble.  There was a sharp, tight, pain behind it that would twinge every time my foot hit the pavement.  My first instinct was to stop running and get the weight off of my foot to ease the pain, but as I slowed down to evaluate it, the pain got worse.  So I regained my pace and steadied.  The pain was still persisting, but if I tried to slow down, even to just walk, the pain was so bad I would limp and hop around, so I had to stay at a running pace to keep the pain manageable.

I had two choices, either I finish my course and deal with the situation after I get home, or I turn around and run straight home and be done for the day.  I decided I was going to finish my course, since it hurt either way, I wasn’t going to shy away from the pain and turn around.  After about 15 minutes more, I realized that somewhere along the way, the pain had left, my knee loosened up and I was running my full pace and close to done with the course.  Once I realized this particular pain worked itself out if I pushed through it, it never deterred me again.  It would show up now and then, but I paid no mind to it, and ran through until it subsided.

We all have a race to run.  A physical, mental, emotional, and most importantly a spirtual race.  We each have a course laid out, we have to train, endure, overcome and build muscle to the harshness of life.  We have to be ready for battle, ready to stand firm for the finish, the fire will come and when it does you’ll be stretched, challenged and often times discouraged.  Decide to run your race whatever the course is, and make your decision final no matter what adverse weather or pain may come.

Hebrews 12:1b “…and let us run with perseverance, the race marked out for us.”

Run For the Prize

1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

When Christ came to suffer and die for you and I, so we could live freely, all that the law required was one drop of His precious, and spotless blood to settle the debt, but instead of just the one required drop, Jesus gave it all, He bled every last drop of His blood from His body on that cross, even so that as John 19:34 says, ” Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.  Water ran from His wounds because that’s all that was left in Him.  That was the example He left for you and I.  When you consider how to run your race, whatever you do, run your race with passion, with purpose and with the prize in mind.

If you start a business, work hard at it.  If you sign up for an event, train for it.  If you’re married, give 110% of yourself in service to your spouse.  If you’re in school, study for tests.  If you want next level living and have a committment to God, run to Him with wild abandon.  Whatever the race, dig deep, give it everything you got, lay everything on the line and run for the prize.

Finishing the Race

Anybody can sign up for a 5k, enroll in school, get married, read a page in the bible, say a prayer, start a job, workout for a day, go to church once a year or try anything.  What separates the winners from the rest is your committment to see the thing through.

You’re going to go through tough times, school gets boring, parenting is stressful, jobs are demanding, change is frustrating and you’ll be tempted to give up and turn back, but DON’T DO IT!  Stay the course, follow through, finish strong.  Anybody can start something, it takes guts, strength, faith, and passion to finish it.

2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

(Justin, Evelyn -our 2nd daughter- and I posing before the Heart of the Lakes Triathalon, 2010)

Blessings as you run the race that is life!

Rheanna

 

Suggested Books to Read

Reaching Your Dreams – Tommy Barnett

The Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren

You Can if You Think You Can – Norman Vincent Peale

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