The Battle Within

We all struggle with our flesh.  At times, we let our emotions and actions dictate who we are rather than seek God for answers.  We act before hearing from God.  Our heart tells us one thing when our mind tells us another.  We question who God is in those moments and blame Him for making bad decisions.

We start wrestling with ourselves.  We put ourselves on a battlefield.  One side is God’s purpose for our lives and the other side is the enemy telling us lies.  It is a tug-of-war on what’s right and wrong.  Confusion and chaos surrounds us, and we cannot think clearly.  We struggle with flesh and spirit.  There are times when we cannot determine who is speaking to us — God or satan.  It is like we are in a fog and cannot see past our own emotions.  We are angry and frustrated with ourselves, because we caused this chaotic battle within us.  We begin to blame ourselves for our actions and start to doubt who we are by what we do.

Currently, I am dealing with uncertainty.  I have a decision to make that will have a ripple effect, not just for me, but it will effect others.  I do not know if God or satan is talking and until I know who is giving me these commands, I will not move forward.  I will stand still in God’s presence until I have a clear answer.  If I move in the midst of the fog, I would be on the battlefield playing tug-of-war between God and satan.

The battle within us can be deep rooted.  The battlefield may look different for you.  I want to encourage you to not move until God says so.  Let the fog lift before making a difficult decision and cause a ripple effect in your life.

We can create our own battle by making poor decisions based off emotions.  I had someone tell me once, “Don’t make an emotional decision.  Make decisions when your mind is clear.”  When we make smart choices, we have less regrets!  Rather than wrestle with our flesh, let’s hear from God and make the right decisions based on God’s will for our lives.

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Bullying

Today, my post may look different but every writing comes from the heart.  Especially this topic — BULLYING.  Everyone is affected by bullying.  No matter our age — young or old — we are affected in some way or another.  Sometimes bullying comes from places you least expect it.  Places that should lift you up not tear you down.  People that you expect to speak an encouraging word to you, but instead you are mocked.

Bullying is defined as using superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.  Other words to describe bullying are: persecute, oppress, tyrannize, harass, torment, dominate, coerse, pressure, and push.  Bullying is a cowardly way to bring someone down and make him or her feel worthless.  Usually bullies have their own insecurities and one of the ways to build their confidence is to put others down.

As Christians, we are expected to be persecuted for our faith and to stand up for what we believe in.  But, as Christians, we are not supposed to bully people, because of someone’s personality, hobbies, fears, and so forth.  We are supposed to encourage each other.  We are not to be jealous of each other but love one another.

Bullying affects so many emotions and it hurts!  It causes:
Depression
Anxiety
Loneliness
Unworthiness
Helplessness
Quietness
Fear
Shame
Guilt
Self-blame
Insecurities
Defeat
Outcast

Currently, I am dealing with a bully who I do not know how to handle.  I am trying to be the better person, but it’s getting difficult.  I feel more like an outcast than part of a team.  I don’t know where I fit in or belong.  I do know one thing: God does not want me to feel defeated and let go of something I love to do because of a bully.  I may feel weak today, but I will stand up and try again.  I won’t quit!

If you are being bullied, please remember that what is being said about you is not true!  God loves you unconditionally!  You are wanted by an Almighty God who adores you!  He made you who you are and be proud of YOU!  Don’t change for anyone, because you want to feel accepted and loved.  It’s not worth it!  You should never have to change for someone who does not accept you for the REAL YOU!!!

You are loved by God!
You are defined by God!
You are accepted by God!

What Makes A Leader?

Recently I was challenged on what makes me a leader.  What qualities do I have that makes me a leader in Christ?  Am I showing others by example on how to be a good and humble leader?

Leadership is defined by leading a group of people or an organization.  A leader is someone who guides, directs, and influences those around him or her.  Christian leadership is defined as a “dynamic relational process in which people, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, partner to achieve a common goal — it is serving others by leading and leading others by serving” (www.andrews.edu).  Re-read the Christian version of leadership.  Wow!  “It is serving others by leading and leading others by serving.”  Everyone serves others, no matter if you are a leader or a follower.  We all have different roles to make the group / organization successful.  It’s team effort!  It’s all about serving and being an example for others to see.

The qualities of a leader are:
Integrity – Honesty
Appreciation – Compliment those who are following you
Strategy – Planning / Success
Humility – Humble
Passionate – Love what you do with all your heart / Believe in it
Inspiration – Inspire others by example
Commitment – Remain loyal to your words and actions
Responsibility – Don’t make excuses
Listening – Be a listening ear to those who are hurting
Principles – Structure for the group
Communication – Know your followers
Values / Morals
Stay true to yourself
Purpose / Vision Focus and Success
DeterminationNever give up
MotivationMotivate and rally those around you

“Great leaders inspire greatness in others.”

Anyone can be a leader!  You do not have to be bold and in front to be a leader.  God wants us to be a light to those around us.  Mentoring someone one-on-one is a leader.  Helping others is being a leader.

In the Bible, God describes what a good humble leader looks like.  John 10:11 says we need to take care of the people around us — to be good shepherds in Christ.  Corinthians 11:1 says we lead by example.  What we do matters!  What we say matters!  Galatians 6:2 talks about the Fruit of the Spirit.  We must have good character and morals to lead successfully.  We must live pure and holy lives to be a good Christian leader.

The next time someone says you do not have what it takes to be a leader, remember that God called all of us to be leaders.  Our calling is to make a difference in someone’s life.  Leadership is a rewarding position to be in and be honored that God entrust you with such a task!  Lead like a good shepherd and stay humble in whatever God ask you to do!

Is God Listening?

There are times when God is silent, and we don’t feel Him near to us.  We pray desperately to hear His voice in time of need, and we hear nothing.  This does not mean that God does not love us or that we are distant from God.  It just means we are in a season that we need to crave God more.  We need to soak in His presence and read the Bible more diligently.  We need to pour ourselves into who God is.

We can all relate to Psalm 4:1 when the author cries out, “answer me when I call to You, my Righteous God.  Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.”  Isaiah 59:1 confirms that God listens to our prayers and rescues us.  It says, “surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.”  God hears our prayers!!!  Let me say that again: God hears our prayers!!!  All we need to do is call out His name.  Psalm 145:18-19 declares that “the Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.  He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.”

We must remember to call out His name in prayer.  John 16:24 says that “[we] have not asked anything in [His] name.  Ask and [we] will receive.”  Ask and we shall receive!  That is great news! — Definitely in time of need.  Do not stop praying in the silence.  Do not stop praying when it gets too hard.  Remember God is on your side and God listens to every prayer you speak.  He hears your urgency.  He sees your tears.  He feels your desperation.

At Times…
The silence may be hard to comprehend where God is in our lives.
The hardships may feel too much of a burden to carry.
The unknowns may be scary and bring about confusion.

But, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to [God], and He will make your path straight [again] (Proverbs 3:5-6).  Lean on God today!  Pray with all your might that God comes through for you in a mighty way.  Don’t give up on God!  He is next you listening to every word you say and wiping away your tears.  Believe that God is with you and hears your prayers even in the silence.

God Completes You!

We are all searching for something or someone to make us feel complete.  We even create idols in our lives to seek what we are lacking or feel like we are lacking.  We put people and objects before God.  Rather than go to our creator for the answer, we go towards earthly things.

Personal Story
I know for me it is hard to feel complete without a husband and children.  I used to think I was lacking something without those people in my life.  I used to feel the need to rush to get married and rush to have my own family.  (Now, don’t get me wrong, I want to have a family one day.  That is one of my dreams.)  But, there comes a time when that becomes an idol in my life.  I feel lonely or the house is too quiet.  I begin to second-guess God, and how good He is.  Satan comes in and tells me that I’m not good enough or pretty enough to be married or tells me I will not be a good mother.  The truth is, no matter if I get married or have children of my own, that does not complete me!  That is not who I am!  I am God’s child.  I am His daughter!  I am complete in Him!

God is my husband.
God is my savior.
God is my healer.
God is my comforter.
God is my everything!

Puzzle Pieces
Imagine dumping a 1,000 piece puzzle on a table.  All the pieces are scrambled and out of order.  It looks like chaos and confusion.  As you diligently work to get the pieces to fit, you begin to see an image.  Each piece fits perfectly in it’s place.  There are no gaps.  The two puzzle pieces come as one — whole and complete.  God does the same thing with us.  Our lives may look like a lot of broken pieces laying around, but when we begin to live for God, we become whole.  We are complete in Christ!

Made Into God’s Image
We forget, in the midst of chaos and confusion, that God created us into His image.  Genesis 2:7 says that “God formed man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The man came alive—a living soul!”  We were created by the creator of all things!  In the Book of John, chapter 1, verses 1 through 5, it states that, “the Word was first, the Word present to God, God present to the Word.  The Word was God, in readiness for God from day one.  Everything was created through Him; nothing—not one thing!—came into being without Him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by.  The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.”

Our Purpose
He made us and gave us a purpose.  Jeremiah 29:11 declares that He has big plans for us and knows our future. We may not always understand why God makes us wait for our dreams and desires.  We may feel like we are missing out on something that others are experiencing.  It does not mean that God does not love us or loves someone else more.  It just means that it is not the right timing — it’s premature. When we stop comparing our lives to others and realize that we lack nothing, we will find that we are whole in Christ.  Whatever you believe is lacking your life, begin to pray for God to give you comfort and remove the anxiety over that situation or concern.

Taking Action
God completes you!!!!  God puts the pieces back together in our lives, and it reveals a beautiful image of who we are!  We are not defined by a status, title, or by others.  We are a child of God, and He knows what’s best for our lives.  So I pray you surrender to God and let Him work in your life completely.  Let Him make you whole today!!!