Another New Year’s is upon us and as I am looking in my closet I am thinking to myself, time to kick this “getting back in shape” project up a notch.

Then I felt kind of silly as I am also thinking to myself, just what do you think is going to be different this year than every other year? What makes January 1st any better for commitments than any other time of year?

How many times have I started something and two weeks or a month later (ok more like a day) decided it is just too hard and quit?

It is interesting to me that I get the same result no matter how much planning I do or don’t do.

I guess maybe I should check my motivation for embarking on a healthy lifestyle. Am I doing it because clothes come in cuter styles in the smaller sizes and if clothes are smaller it stands to reason you can fit more of them in your closet! Right???

Thinking through this some more I am realizing that this is probably not the best motivation in the world.

Am I working to pay my credit cards off just to be able to buy more stuff? Am I paying them off just to get more available credit which will allow bigger and better shopping sprees? Or maybe I have read enough to know that having high credit card balances is not a very smart move and I don’t want to appear foolish.

I guess what I am trying to say is that maybe the reason I have not been successful with resolutions in the past is because those resolutions are pointless unless I have the right motivation. I have a sneaking hunch that if I make a resolution to get healthy and do it to honor God the power will lie in the honoring God and not the resolution itself.

I have never before turned over my resolutions to God and worked towards results for His honor. I have never before made Philippians 4:13 my resolution mantra. I bet if I honor God by taking care of my body instead of honoring myself and my vanity that my healthy lifestyle would quickly follow.

So I will honor God with my whole heart and soul, my whole life in fact. I want to bring glory to my Father in everything I do.

Dottie

…………………..and so I ridetumblr_n1z51sfRpw1rhr6kfo1_500

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“It might have been!”

For of all sad words of tongue or pen
The saddest are these: It might have been this is originally from an 1856 poem, “Maud Muller” by John Greenleaf Whittier however it has been widely attributed to Kurt Vonnegut.

The part of that quote that intrigues me is “it might have been”.

There is an epidemic in the land, I am not writing of EBOLA but rather one much more deadly. I am speaking of Incognito Christianity. The symptoms are indifference and apathy. It manifests a couple of ways I think.

There is the Incognito Christianity Royalty, you know, the upright, decent and self-sacrificing ICR sufferer. They might hide and keep the fact they are Christians on the down low because they don’t act like Christians, they are less discriminating than they know Christianity demands, but because they know their actions would not be pleasing to other Christians, or certainly to Jesus, they keep right on doing what they are doing……………..because they want to. They don’t leave Christianity, oh no, they certainly don’t want to do that, but they keep their Christianity covered. If asked, they would probably say, oh yea, well actually I am a Christian, just not a very good one.

The other way I have seen if the Incognito Christianity Embarrasnasum. These are the people that, when asked about their religion say, well I don’t talk about it, it is private. I don’t talk about my faith and I don’t want to hear about yours either, so back off! However, in all actuality they are embarrassed by it, they are ashamed.

Just a word about that before I go where God is directing me to end up…………..

Yes, our faith and relationship is private and between God and us. If you live for Christ it is bound to be a deeply personal thing and it will be a private thing to a certain degree. I firmly believe however that the things Christ is giving you in your personal and private relationship with Him will probably be important and noteworthy enough that it will spring forth from one’s private life into their public life and transform that in the same way it has transformed your heart.

Faith without works (and words) is dead.

Now, follow me here, the symptoms we just read about are bad enough but what about when we get to the end of our existence and all we have is the nagging question wrapped around us that is filled with emptiness and a forlorn sense of a chance wasted? And the phrase “what might have been?” won’t let you rest.

These symptoms (indifference and apathy towards your Christian walk) will lead to the diagnosis of regret. The regret of a life wasted, the regret of the glories that Christ offers us, regret of a chance ignored and taken to lightly

2 Peter 2:21 comes to mind here.” It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. “

I want to know the feeling of being a true disciple of Jesus Christ, I want to know the rewards of following, learning and imitating the Great I am.  I want to feel the passion of the Christ and reap the rewards of loving the One who loved me first and loved me best.

Matthew 4:19 And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”20Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee

their father, mending their nets; and He called them.22Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

I want to be a fisher of men and take great comfort in the fact that who I am today is the direct result of what I did in my past.

I don’t want who I am today to be diminished for one second by the nagging thought, “it might have been.”

The only way to be a disciple of Christ………….is to be a disciple of Christ.

Dottie

……………..and so I ride.

I do believe Lord, help me not to doubt

Mark 9:24

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We trust God but we live in the real world. We live in a world governed by laws where if you don’t like the law you find a loophole.  What is good, right, moral and ethical varies from person to person or maybe that would be better stated as what is good, right, moral and ethical varies from situation to situation depending on what you want the outcome to be. Hard to hear, yes, hard to read, yes, is it true? More often than we would expect.

Living in the world such as it is, is it any wonder that we have a hard time defining trustworthy? It is darned hard to find a completely trustworthy person, business, or most anything these days, not impossible but mighty hard because it is easy to justify almost any behavior in the world we live in.

Bit by bit, life step by life step our faith in others is harder and harder to justify and doubt, skepticism and disbelief become a way of life instead of an uncommon event.

So what happens? I think it is pretty common for us to frame our broken faith with doubt. Yes, we say, God I trust you, take my life and make it yours. However, how often are we saying to ourselves at the same time “I’m pretty sure that even you God are going to let me down too.” If you are like me, you don’t doubt that God is capable of miracles, you just doubt that He will work them for you.

Go ahead, admit it, you can’t fool God because whether we admit it or not, He knows the truth of your heart.

Trust Him. TRUST- To trust is to place your confidence in something or someone. Psalm 56:3-4 “ When I am afraid, I will trust in you, In God, WHOM I TRUST; I will not be afraid.

We are left with three little words that have as much impact as we allow them to. Read that sentence again.

FAITH–HOPE-LOVE

FAITH

Let’s start with Hebrews 11:6 “and without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. Live in confidence and conviction with the knowledge of God that you possess.

Remember that we have been saved by God’s grace, through our faith. We are not saved by anything we are capable of doing, it is a gift from our Father. Faith won’t grow like the money we stuff into our bank accounts and compound interest daily, faith has to be renewed daily with diligence and determination.

HOPE

To hope is to desire something with CONFIDENT expectation of its fulfillment. Col 1:27…………..Christ in you, the hope of glory. Christ lives in you, you can take that to the bank, to those who believe in Christ, He does not hide himself from you, if you go to Him, He is there.

LOVE is strong affection, desire and devotion. 1 Cor 13:13” and now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. If love is unselfish service to others, if that is what it takes to show the world that we care…………I think that Christ showed us He loved us, unselfishly and undoubtedly.

As the Life Application Bible so aptly puts it, “when faith and hope are in line, you are free to love completely because you understand just how much God loves us”

The remedy for doubt is faith, hope and love. AMEN!

Dottie

…………….and so I ride

Drinking Poison

We all know what the Bible says about forgiveness. See Matthew 6:14-15 for one example.

We all know the old adage that says not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting it to affect the person who we have not forgiven. It’s not hurting them but it is poisoning your life, slowly but certainly surely.

We all deal with the forgiveness issue at some point along the way, but what if the person we have not forgiven is ourselves? What if the poison we are carrying because of un-forgiveness is working double duty because not only is un-forgiveness making us miserable, our lives are being upended because the person who needs our forgiveness most is ourselves.

I believe that most of us, as Christians can, after time with our Father, find it in our hearts to forgive those who have wronged us. I also believe that we have a harder time finding justification and the same compassion when the person we need to forgive is ourselves.

I think it is mighty arrogant of us to expect the forgiveness that God offers us but not be able to offer the same.

I suppose there are a lot of reasons for this. Maybe we don’t want to let ourselves forget our former sins so that we don’t make the same mistake again, maybe we feel that we must pay a price of life long penance for our past sins. Maybe it is a habit now and we don’t know how to break free from the perpetual circle of self-hatred. Whatever the reason, if we have not forgiven ourselves for some past offence the results are a potent poison coursing through our lives and wreaking havoc.

Although the Bible does not specifically address forgiving ourselves it would seem to me that we can apply the same principles to forgiving ourselves that we do for forgiving others.

Forgiveness is based on one thing, the fact that Christ already paid for our sins…………ALL OF THEM………..if we have trusted Him as our Lord and our Savior, we can trust Him with the sin we are harboring and not forgiving ourselves for. He forgives us, He has paid for our past sin. It really is as simple as that.

We have a few choices to make. Do we believe what God says, do we trust His promises or do we wallow in our past sins and live in guilt the rest of our lives? Part of forgiving ourselves involves taking our thoughts captive and when we think of the past sin, we can either roll in the muck or we can think on the one who forgave us and retreat into a praise party instead of a pity party.

It is not about forgetting your past sin but it is about letting go of what you are holding against yourself so that you can get on with the task of a fulfilling walk with the one who forgave us first.

Dottie

……………and so I ride

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You sparkle like a snowflake

You sparkle like a snowflake.

Spiritual Gifts
I have a dear friend who lifts me up no matter the circumstances. She stands by me no matter the situation and plain and simple understands me. We were talking about spiritual gifts after church the other day and she was downhearted because she didn’t feel she had anything to give and she was struggling to see where her spiritual gift(s) lie. The truth was perfectly obvious to me about her gifts but I wrestled with how to get her to see the truth.
Let’s look at what the Bible says about spiritual gifts. 1Corinthians 12 says that the Holy Spirit gives us gifts or special abilities to use to attend to the needs of other believers. It should be noted that the real purpose of our gifts, no matter what they may be, is to lift up and minister to other believers. Though some of these gifts like writing, singing, etc can be used in the world to make us rich and famous, or to bring glory to ourselves, their first and really only purpose we should strive for is to use our gifts to minister to other believers and bring glory to God.

So how do you find what your spiritual gifts are? I found spiritual gift tests online you could take, books you can read, even programs and group studies that you can participate in.
There are several places in scripture that list spiritual gifts, Romans 12: 6, 1 Cor 12:8, Ephesians 4:7-12, 1 Peter 4:11, to start. I do not think that these lists are meant to be a ‘choose the one that fits you best list,. N a check all that fit you list and then go do it whether it fits, feels good and you are good at it kind of list. I think that instead of a menu it is more like a place to start, a list to think and pray over.
I truly believe that God wants to use your personality and uniqueness in a way that is true to only you and is duplicated in no on else. We quite possibly and most probably have more than one spiritual gift that is mixed and measured to be used by us personally in a way that cannot be duplicated by any other.
We are kind of like snowflakes in that they all originate from the same circumstances but fall to earth distinctly different and each quite beautiful in their own right. So it is with God’s children, we all have gifts that originate from Him but by the time they fill us they are unique to us and distinctly and uniquely beautiful.
So it doesn’t matter if we can write about what matters to God, or sing about it, photograph it, paint it or if our gift is a simple as a hug, or to be able to lift shattered spirits, to stand by a friend no matter what or to be able to offer a heartfelt “I understand” ………………whatever the gift is that God has bestowed on you , it is a beautifully unique gift given to a beautifully unique you. No one else can use the gift that God has given you quite like you can.
Your gift may no be apparent to you my friend, but it shines all around you.
Dottie
……………………and so I ride

Spiritual Gifts

Revenge

We all know that we are going to experience the troubles of the world whether we are saved or not. Like it or not, difficult times are inevitable . The Bible indicates that is the truth and when those times come we are to give our trouble to Him and let Him take care of them and sustain us. (Psalm 55:22 and 1 Peter 5:7)

But what about those “troubles” that are particularly harsh and where the wounds and consequences run deep? What about those times when all you want to do is to seek revenge and retribution? If we are honest with ourselves sometimes there is no better feeling when you have been wounded deeply than to see that person receive justice. The problem is most times it is our style of justice and not Gods.

Perhaps it might serve us well to ask God to help us resolve those feelings of wanting to seek our own type of revenge. I have been known to say that the only job I wanted at the moment was the job of driving the Karma bus.

Somehow I don’t think that we are to cast our cares on the Lord at the same time we are obtaining our Karma bus driver’s license.

If we are seeking revenge any way we can get it are we really any better than those who have wreaked havoc in our lives? There is a huge difference in letting the court system work in the way it is supposed to or using company procedures to right a wrong than seeking revenge the way our hearts tell us to at times.

If we have settled the matter in our hearts by talking it through with our Father and we truly “cast” our cares on Him He well care for us. He won’t let us fall. He is ready and willing to be the strength that supports us.

So often our minds will lead us in a thousand wrong directions and we will let our emotions guide our actions. That is almost never a good thing. God will provide emotional support, He will strengthen us spiritually and He is just waiting for us to give Him that which is overwhelming and threatening us.

So instead of fixating on those feelings of revenge and retribution it might be a good time to start practicing “rejoicing” in our problems. Romans 5:3-4.  If we do that we are promised it will produce perseverance, character, and hope.

We tend to forget that no matter what, no matter the problem……………God is bigger.

Hold to that truth.

Dottie

……………….and so I rideRom5.3-4-Lock