I’ve been married for 27 years to the same man through trials hard times and bull crap. The only thing that I was able to change through prayer was me. Your focus must be on your spiritual mental emotional and physical health. When you’ve effectively taken care of you, then all else will fall into place because you will begin to operate in discernment that comes from God. Men generally don’t change, we do. We change to placate and pacify and keep them. Doing everything for them and forsaking ourselves. That’s unhealthy and they don’t appreciate it and begin to take us for granted and so do our children. Pray, take care of yourself, get counseling for you, go back to work. He’s not going anywhere.
Do you ever get so caught up, that you misstep and slip and fall? I do. I mean there are so many important things going on around me that warrant my attention and time, my advocacy and voice. There are so many injustices in the world and so many opportunities to hang out and have fun. There are reasons to celebrate and things to abhor.
During this lenten season, I’ve committed myself to get caught up or catch up with the Lord. To allow God ways to be my ways. To really know God and to hear God and what God desires. Generally, fasting becomes a kind of Black Ice for me. I can become so caught up in the fast and what the fast requires and how long the fast will last and what I cannot have and when I’ll be able to have and if it’ll make me lose weight, that I have oftentimes not really been fasting but found another thing to get caught up in another way to slip and fall.
I’ve seen the enemy and it’s me. If I’m honest the only thing that can really slip me up is me, my mouth, my attitude, my reaction, my inaction, my will, my desires, my hands, my feet, my heart.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
When I get caught up in the Lord’s will and desire for my life, alignment happens, order comes, I decrease that God increases in and through me. Every little thing doesn’t require my attention and response. I don’t have to be 4 places at the same time. My fasting becomes what it was supposed to, a time for me to retreat and draw closer to God. At that point, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. I am able to withstand all the little invisible things that would make me slip up and fall.
Loving Caring Forgiving God, thank you for your peace. We Praise you Lord that in the midst of trials and tribulations you steady our gait and help us to step back to understand your desire and your will. Gracious God Thank you for the power of prayer and the suit of armor that enables us, not just to manage our own stuff, but strengthens us to encourage others to seek you for theirs. We stand firm in the name of Jesus, Amen.
one of the things that i think folks always get caught in is law versus faith. the law is easy. it’s a set thing. the law is readily available. the law is quantifiable. the law is tangible. you can FIND the law. you can read the law. you can justify the law. the law and the following of the law is measurable. there can be clear judgement based on the the law. the law is comfortable. that’s it. In the law there is comfort. everyone wants to do and think and believe that which makes them comfortable.
what i have found is that which makes us comfortable is not the same as that which God requires, desires or even has prescribed. the things that make us comfortable are also the things that have broken up our households and families. the things that make us comfortable are generally the things of least resistance. comfort keeps us in our homes watching tv and cooking more food than we will ever eat on a snow day, instead of serving God by serving people.
it is definitely easier to write off everyone who does not look like act like walk like talk like live like love like think like us. when folks and situations don’t fit into a quantifiable equation, then life stops being easy. relationships require thought and consideration, people become more than just people, but become human and we have to begin to imagine them not in the image of the law, but in the image of God. that’s work, that’s hard work, that’s uncomfortable work, generally, because it makes us have to know God. yea, i know, we all know God, the heaven and hell and law God, but do we know the compassionate, living, loving, merciful, just, forgiving, healing, faithful God?
getting to know God, really know God can put us in an uncomfortable situation. the uncomfortable part comes mainly because to know God is to faithfully trust God. to faithfully trust God, means to in all situations and relationships asking God for wisdom and discernment. getting God’s wisdom and discernment means that once we know better, we must do better. treat people better. have better relationships. live better lives.
lol the crazy and most uncomfortable part about all this is that all of a sudden when we are no longer bound by the law, but operating in faith and thereby grace, we realize that life isn’t and never really was about us. our living is about God and all about glorifying God. we glorify God through reconciliation and forgiveness and compassion and respect and tolerance and healing and comfort and caring for others the way that God cares for us.
snow days are great ways to start becoming uncomfortable. we are already not doing what we would normally be doing. let’s take the next step
loving God. thank you for your faithfulness even and especially when we haven’t been faithful. thank you for the opportunity Lord to spend quality time with you. Lord in the name of Jesus help us to not get caught up in the expectations and normalcy of others, but strengthen our resolve that we are able to operate and love and live our lives in faithfulness to you. healing and delivering God, help us to see our children and our families and our associates and even ourselves as you do – in your image. in the name of the One who came to abolish the law that we might operate in faith and in your grace. amen
There it is, not with a pot of gold, but with something far more significant. The bow in the sky even in the cold icy snow is our reminder of God’s covenant with Noah. The promise that God made with not just Noah but with all successive generations – that’s us! God promised that the bow will remind him never to destroy the earth with a flood again! God has established that he is faithful, that he keeps his covenants to us – successive generations.
Being stranded in this cold icy weather provides a great time to reflect on the promises God has made to us and how faithful God has been to those promises. It is significant that in the midst of both literal and figurative storms the bow in the sky doesn’t just remind our just and faithful God about his covenant to us, but it also provides us comfort and peace as we think on all the promises of God!
Magnificent and Merciful God we bless your Holy and you Righteous name! We thank and extol you for your faithfulness towards us especially when we have not been faithful to you. Incline our hearts to see your covenant with us as an opportunity to trust you with all that we are. Help us dear God to be faithful, trustworthy, promise keepers that reflect your love. In the covenant name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Toni Belin Ingram
I have always marveled at those who hear from God, those whose path is guided by God’s truth, those who trust fully and wholly in God for their lives and livelihood. I thought of them as folks who were super special, extraordinary, incredibly favored folk. Then I did a restart on my life, putting my trust, cares, concerns and family in God’s hands. Not only did I learn that I too am super special, extraordinary, incredibly favored, but I learned YOU are too! You just have to live it. Not the fake it until you make kinda living, but wholeheartedly trusting God with all that we are.
This Lenten season is the perfect opportunity to restart our spiritual lives. To truly spend time in devotion and meditation to hear from the Lord. To embrace the Lord’s ways and trust God for our lives. To sit still in the early quiet of the morning pushing through the distractions of life, family needs, bills, what’s for dinner, enables our minds, souls and hearts to hear the God’s truth of how God wants us to live trust and forgive.
Gracious and eternal God, still our minds of the distractions of our lives. Open our hearts that our sinful souls and bodies feel your forgiveness and healing. Lord reveal to us who we are in you. Show us holy and merciful God the plan that you have for us, that we see ourselves as you see us, in your image. Loving caring God enable us to embrace the quiet and faithfully trust you with all that we are and ever hope to be. In the trusting name of Jesus we pray.
Here we go again. I hear the Lord say. Ash Wednesday is here they’ll parade in and out of church, put some ashes on their heads, commit to a fast for the next forty days and the entire time ask others what is allowed and what’s not can they eat this or that all the while succumbing to the distraction of being on a fast. You know the distractions that make you talk about what you’re giving up fasting, never what you could possibly gain.
What would it mean to fully and faithfully fast. Not to hear folks talk about our piety for fasting, but rather to hear God talk about who we are in the free pardon of sins and our circumstances. What if on this Ash Wednesday, we weren’t so busy parading around, but inwardly expressed our sinfulness and our need for forgiveness to the One who has already forgiven us. And then commit to operate in the grace and forgiveness of Christ.
Holy Righteous and Eternal God show us the fast that you choose. Teach us merciful God to not get so caught up in the ways of this world that we forget who we are in you. Strengthen us loving God that in the time of trial we will reflect your peace and your righteousness in our lives. In the faithful name of Jesus we Pray. Amen.