Are the waves crashing your world?

It was a windy, rainy day here in Daytona yesterday . The waves crashed around me. The sand was shifting under my feet as those waves raced themselves back out to sea. In fact the sand was shifting enough that I was no longer feeling sure footed and felt like I would surely topple into the water at any time. But no sooner had the wave rolled in than it gathered itself and rolled right back out. 

It occurs to me that there is some correlation between the ocean and mankind, or in other words, that which God has created. 
In the ocean there is a difference between the tides and the waves. 
The angry and mighty waves that I experienced were created when the wind transferred its energy to the water through friction between the air and the water. A wave can only happen when it’s windy and is only as strong as the wind that created it. A wave is caused by friction and as strong or as weak as the wind that’s blowing. 

The tide on the other hand is a constant force. It is caused by the gravitational interaction between the earth and the moon. It’s gonna happen day in and day out whether the wind blows or not. 
It occurs to me that our lives can be just like that. Ill winds can bring friction to our lives. Those ill winds leave us feeling as if we are standing on shifting sand and ready to topple over. 

However no matter how hard the winds are blowing in our lives and no matter how hard the waves are crashing around us, if we have secured our footing in our Lord Jesus Christ we can rest assured that He is like the tides and is a ceaseless force in our world. 

Never take the ceaseless force and power of our Lord Jesus Christ for granted. He loved us before, He loves us now snd He will love us forever, no matter how strong the waves crash in our world. 


Dottie

My Weakness/His Power/My Victory

God’s House

God’s Home We were flying to Florida for a family vacation. We were cruising at an altitude of somewhere around 39000 feet. I was thinking to myself, wow God, are you home because I’m at your front door! 

It was cool thinking that I was above the clouds and there was nothing between God and I. 

It took about $500, getting up at 4 am, navigating airport security,enduring airport food, and getting up close and to personal with the person in the next seat on the plane but I made it above the clouds and to God’s front door! 

I’m really glad that God doesn’t require that we go through that when we seek Him! 
“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).

Doesn’t say a word about airport security! God isn’t hiding from us, He is just a whisper away. 
But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, ‘May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone who sets their heart on seeking God—the Lord, the God of their ancestors—even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary’ And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people” (2 Chronicles 30:18-20).

We don’t have to spend our money, get up early, eat bad food or endure smelly people in to close proximity . We just have to say Good morning God, can I come into your home today? He will invite us in, every single time. 

Loving my God and loving my life! 

Dottie

My Weakness/His Power/My Victory

Hypocrite, Are You A Wolf In Sheeps Clothing?

Hypocrites
I saw a post on Facebook the other day that hit me to the core. It was written by a man I know well and respect a lot. In fact this guy and his ex-wife welcomed me into their home at one of the most difficult times in my life, accepted me and helped me through what was going on. Thank you Lloyd and Melissa.  

Then I saw his post on Christians and hypocrisy. It hit me right in the face, ticked me off to no end and stuck with me like a nagging fly that no matter how much I swatted, would not go away. 

I was practicing self righteous anger. However because I knew this guy and knew his heart I had to give his words a fair chance. I had to accept that maybe I was part of the rampant Christian hypocrisy problem he was talking about and not a big enough part of the solution. 
I found two definitions of hypocrite on the internet. One is a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs that they do not actually possess. 

The other says that a hypocrite is someone who feigns some desirable or publicly approved atttude when their private life, opinions or statements directly oppose their public statements or actions. You know, the Sunday morning Christian.

I like the definition I found on Got Questions.Org that says the word hypocrite is derived from the Greek term for actor and literally means “one who wears a mask” That kind of hits it directly on the head doesn’t it?

This behavior is mentioned in the Bible.

Matthew 15:8-9 “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me”

In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

I had to take an honest look at my life. Am I guilty of putting on a mask before I go out into the world? Are I so entrenched in being seen and gaining the applause of peers that I will do whatever it takes? Am I consistently inconsistent in my Christian walk? Is my identity based on society rather than Christ? 

Do I say one thing then do another? 

If we are honest these are questions that we could all ask ourselves.
As much as we tell ourselves it is not the case, there are Christian wolves in sheeps clothing.   
While we might think that our hypocrisy is not transparent, we would be wrong. 
Will God forgive our hypocrisy? Yes He will. Will those who are watching you here on earth forgive you? Not so much. 

Let me explain that stark comment. 

If you go to God with repentance in your heart, God will forgive you. Cmpletely and unconditionally. However, when you practice hypocracy you have planted a seed for your friends, neighbors and those who are seeking God. Is that the kind of seed that is growing the Kingdom of God? 
This is a hard and heart wrenching subject. I don’t think very many of us wake up and say “I think I will put my mask and sheep suit on on and deceive my fellow man today”. But in many ways that is exactly what we do. Following Christ is not something we can be inconsistently consistent with. Will we make mistakes in our walk with Christ? Of course we will. Will we admit those mistakes, repent of those mistakes and learn from those mistakes? Well if we do that is a good sign we are shedding the mask and putting on the cloak of Christ. 

Keep pressing into Christ. 
Dottie

My Weakness/His Power/My Victory

Exercise Your Right To Be Resilent

If only life were calm seas all the time. A perpetual vacation would be paradise. Unfortunately we live in a fallen world and are beset with financial loss, divorce, death, loss of jobs, a devastating medical diagnosis, betrayal and when that happens we tend to focus on what is happening around us not who lives inside. Life can knock us around in a grand fashion.Paul was not speaking out of turn when He asked the question “Do you not realize about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?

2 Corinthians 13:5

So when any number of devastating circumstances fall at your door. Remember that Jesus isn’t only walking beside us, He is living in us. If He is living inside us, we can know that no matter what happens. He is going to be there with us. 

The Biblical References to our resilience are abundant. 

Joshua 1:9

2 Timothy 1:7

Romans 8:37

Ephesians 6:10

A particular favorite of mine. 1 Peter 1:8-9

Stop dwelling on the bad. Yes, it hurts, it changes your life, it feels as if nothing will ever be the same but remember where your strength comes from. Stop looking out, start looking up. 

Exercise your faith even when you don’t feel like it. 

The hope, faith and trust that you experience when you rely on Jesus Christ will temper the hurt and pain if only by the fact that we know we are preceded by Him who we have put our faith and trust in. 

Christ will keep His promise to always be with us. 

The definition of resilience is “the ability to persist in life’s pursuits in spite of difficulties and obstacles. Isn’t it comforting to know that our resilience is grounded in our faith in Christ and nothing can shake that. 

Be strong in your trials with the truth you know of Christ. 

As you wade through the pain trust in the truth you know of Christ. 

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NLT)

Dottie
My Weakness/His Power/My Victory

The Condition Of Your Christian Condition

How’s your heart?

Are you stumbling block for someone else.
I don’t think there is one Christian who, if asked, would say they were a stumbling block to another. We all think of ourselves as encouragers of Christ. 
If we were honest with ourselves however, we would have to admit that there are times that we put what we want before what God wants us to do. Ok, I can hear the “Oh not me, I would never do that” shouts. But think about it. 

A stumbling block does not necessarily have to be a huge cement block sitting conspicuously in the middle of the sidewalk. Nor does a stumbling block have to be for people seeking Christ. You can be a stumbling block for believers or non believers. Both have consequences. 
It can be as simple as differing opinions on a book, music or a movie. If you disagree about a controversial movie,book or music billed as Christian, you see it as pure evil meant to deceive people and someone else sees it completely differently and when asked about the movie you state your case but flatly refuse to hear why they see it differently, you are a stumbling block. But more than that you leave them feeling as if you are judgemental and unbending on your opinions and their opinion is not worthy of being heard. They might walk away feeling like Christianity isn’t all it is billed to be. 
Your opinion may certainly be the right opinion but if you take away another’s right to voice their opinion you lose the opportunity to engage in a meaningful conversation and your lose the possibility of gaining a life for Christ. 
It can be as simple as becoming so focused on making the almighty buck, that we offend others with our zeal for selling just one more car, one more insurance policy or one more whatever it is we are selling and we don’t even give a thought to how it appears to others. 

It can make the person we are dealing with, who knows you are a Christian think that if this is what Christianity looks like, I don’t want any part of it and they come away with a bad taste in their mouth for Christianity. 
It can be as simple as offering an apology and instead of stopping at I’m sorry you follow that with reasons why it wasn’t your fault. That isn’t an apology at all. It is simply manipulation. 
The things we do consciously or unconsciously can make a difference to others rather we realize it or not. If we are seeking to make ourselves feel good rather than going about our business in a way that is pleasing to God, the chances are at least once in awhile, we are that stumbling block. We often don’t know if those we encounter in our daily lives are seeking Christ or not. If they see us engaging in behavior that although not blatantly offensive, makes them think twice about what Christianity is and what Christianity is not, maybe we should be looking a little more closely at what we are doing and how we are doing it. 
We may not even be aware how others perceive what we do. We may not have any idea that what we are doing can be coloring how others look at Christianity and ultimately Jesus. We are certainly not doing anything on purpose that we think would hurt how others see the Christian life. But, It happens nonetheless. We get complacent, we think that our opinions are the right opinions, we forget that others are watching us. You name it I have probably done it! 
As long as the Bible doesn’t forbid it, we are free to enjoy life. However, our freedom to enjoy all that God has given us must always be tempered with love and concern for those around us. 
I don’t think many of us wake up thinking “I will go out and be a stumbling block today”, take the time to make sure we don’t advertantly do just that. 
I am going to close with a quote I read on the internet and that I love. 
“Love always triumphs over liberty. Unity always triumphs over personal rights.” 
1 Corinthians 8:9

9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

Dottie

Plant A Seed

Mustard Seeds

It’s funny, the mustard seed is the smallest seed there is and with something that small you wonder what can its impact be? However, the mustard seed when planted grows to be a dark and hearty green with a powerful, flavorful impact.

Jesus talks about mustard seeds in the Bible.

31It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of allseeds sown upon the earth. 32But after it is planted, it grows to be larger than all garden plants and puts forth great branches, so that the birds of the air nest in its shade.”…

So now that we have had our mustard seed lesson let’s get to my point.

In life, we often get ourselves into situations where we only want to help. We offer our homes, our resources and mostly we offer ourselves. We meant to do good, we want to do good whether it is for a stranger, family or simply someone we love.

So, we do what we believe is right. We help in whatever form the situation calls for.

Helping in a bad situation often means sacrificing our privacy, our finances, our hearts. We know that going in, in most cases, but we do it anyway. We offer the best we have.

But what happens when it all goes wrong. What happens when the recipient is not grateful and in fact takes advantage of the situation in every way possible? What happens when relationships are torn apart, what happens when finances are strained, what happens when all we meant for good has not turned out like we hoped it would?

Let me tell you what happens. You planted a seed. Satan may try to snatch that seed, or the seed may lay dormant for days, months or years, the seed may lay in the weeds of life for a time while worries of life, deceitfulness of life and our carnal desires take precedence over the tiny seed.

But in the end, you still planted a seed.

Growth can only happen when a seed is planted. That tiny seed can become a giant plant that has flavorful impact! Sometimes all it takes is the small act of planting the tiniest of seeds to have huge impact. Have patience, pray for God to keep that seed alive, even if it is currently dormant. Take joy in the fact that God can take that tiny seed and make it into something that flavors all it is mixed with.

Sow your seeds and even if you perceive what you did for good has turned out disastrous, trust what our God can do with that seed!

I commend you for having the faith to plant the seed in the first place!

 

Dottie

Fake News

Fake news, we have all heard the term. It is everywhere.The trouble is that when you hear something often enough, it becomes gospel truth. I love the quote “A lie can fly half way around the world while the truth is still putting on its boots.”Lies certainly do fly quickly in the modern world of the internet and social media. The trouble is that fake news spreads like a contagious illness regardless of the truthfulness of the content.

I think that Christians are just a susceptible to fake news as anyone else. There are many false doctrines out there that are taken as gospel truth. This can get dangerous very quickly as it is a proven fact that we tend to pay attention to beliefs that we already hold. We seek people who hold like minded beliefs. Even when new information is presented that contradicts the beliefs that we are holding, we resist that information and double down on proving we are right instead of searching for the real truth.

This should concern us for a couple of reasons. People usually practice resistance to anything that goes against what they currently believe are much less likely to listen to what we have to share. Realize that those we are to share with are often taking in what we are sharing with a doubting heart.

 Second, we have to make darn sure that the news we are sharing is not fake news.

When it comes to fake news versus the truth of God, we have an enemy that is a master deceiver. Satan is the ultimate liar and the father of all lies. Make no mistake, every false religion, every cult, every misguided philosophy and every thought that is opposed to God, is authored by Satan himself.

 Satan has but one goal, to destroy that which is of God..

 

Our message should be about the faith and hope we have in Jesus Christ. Our message should proclaim the great love our Savior has for us.

Just as we are working to share the good news of what Jesus did for us, Satan is working to spread fake news.

We must become unstoppable crusaders for the truth. God is the source of all truth. God is our foundation in a world run afoul with the lies of Satan.

This means we go the extra mile and we must spent as much time communing with God and in the Word of God as it takes to make sure we know the news we are championing is based on true Godly foundations.

The real truth, the absolute truth of God must be boldly proclaimed and preached by us, His crusaders.

 Lets get out there and spread some Good News!


Dottie

A Silly Story But Is It Your Story

A silly story, but is it your story?
A lawyer had to distribute what was left of an estate to a client’s beneficiary. It was a huge estate, over 100 million dollars were to go to the lucky man. The will stipulated that the lawyer was to try to deliver the remains of the estate for a period of 6 months only and if the man could not be contacted and connected within that time the estate would be forfeited and go to a local non profit charity. 

After going and knocking on the beneficiaries door three times a week for six months and being told to go away as he, the beneficiary was to busy to talk to him, the lawyer was forced to turn the estate over to the non profit. 

The beneficiary lost a vast fortune because he was to busy, afraid, stubborn, etc to answer the knock on his door. 

Yes it is a silly story with just a breath of truth, but is it your story? 


I am willing to bet that there are a lot of us who have heard God knocking on our door and have ignored or reasoned our way out of answering. Anything and everything in our lives take precedence over that small but insistent call on our heart. 

It is not that we are just busy, it is that we are afraid to step out of our nice comfortable box. 

It is knowing that answering that knock could well inconvenience us as we have never been inconvenienced before

It is knowing that we might be asked to pack up our nice comfortable and familiar life and move to surroundings that are totally unfamiliar and very uncomfortable. 

It is knowing that we may be called to leave something or somewhere that we are comfortable when we are A-Ok with where we are and have no desire to leave. 

The fact is that God will call us to leave something in order to make room for a new something that He has prepared for us. He may not give us a clear image of where He is taking us, He may simply say follow me. 
If we never answer the knocking on the door we could well miss out on the blessing of our life.
Before we can move to the greatness that God has prepared there may be an essential ending, if we are prepared for that and if we are trusting God, we simply say, ok. There is a time for departure, even if we don’t know to where the road leads. 
The way we look at it makes all the difference in the world. Take your eyes off the world and lift them heavenward. If we recognize that surrendering to an essential ending helps us to grasp the freedom and completeness that we can only get by following God, then we are wise, truly free and living in the grace and wisdom of God. 
When we tire of the game of tug of war and you are weary of holding onto the old for dear life simply lift one finger, then another, and before you know it, you will feel God taking that burden from you and you will find peace. 
It is quite possible we hear God telling us to move but we can’t seem to figure out where he wants us to move to. Well there is a time for departure even when there is no certain place to go. God will reveal the map to where you are going. He will show you, even if it is one small step at a time. 
Don’t ignore God knocking on your heart. It will probably come at the most inopportune and inconvenient time imaginable. There will be a thousand things that will seem much more important than answering God’s call and most will seem a lot less scary. But don’t lose your inheritance because you ignored the one who took the time to seek you out and knock for entrance. 

Dottie

My Weakness/His Power/My Victory

A Time For Everything 

A Time for EverythingECC.3:1 There is a time for everything,

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
The secret to knowing the peace that God offers is to discover, accept and appreciate that God is the only one with perfect timing. 

Being a child of God is amazing because it means that no matter what season of life we find ourselves in, we can choose to celebrate and honor God in the midst of it. 

We can make a choice to grow in the fullness of God and recognize the wondrous season God has plopped you in. As you are appreciating the season, no matter what it is, you are becoming more like your Creator. 

We all have our favorite seasons. 

Some like the new beginnings that spring offers. 

Summer is a favorite of others because of the opportunity to enjoy long sunny days. 

Fall can bring people happiness because of cooler temperatures, colorful leaves and bountiful crops. 

Still others love winter for blazing fires, warm clothes and snuggle blankets. 

EVERY SEASON IS HANDCRAFTED BY GOD FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, the season you are experiencing is no different. 

Some seasons are more fun and comfortable than others. Some we enjoy, some not so much. But each season provides an opportunity to learn something more about ourselves and our God. 

If we weather the storm, we sometimes get to see our God reveal himself as miraculous and wonderful right before our eyes. . 

We don’t always get to choose the seasons we experience in life, but we can choose to know that God is there with us. 

There are times we simply don’t understand the season we are in. However, knowing God trumps knowing answers. 

No matter the season bestowed upon you. Take a moment to thank God and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. 


Dottie

Are You Paying Attention

We had a special weekend spent with special people. I took a morning walk in the woods yesterday and amidst the grumbling about the early hour, the steep terrain, the hot, muggy weather, it was a weekend filled with friends, nature, sustenance, boundaries and revelations, all beautiful things. . 

It was a weekend of recharging our spirits and reawakening the parts of us that had grown dormant. We walked, we ate, we rested, we found “God Delights” everywhere we looked. We learned “Fact from Crap”  (thanks to Mary) . We weren’t to good at figuring out what was fact and what was crap but it sure was fun guessing. We pondered the meaning of the “spirit of compromise”, again a lively discussion started by Mary.  We decided that the spirit of compromise is in mighty short supply in our world, no matter what circles you run in. 

You can’t spend a weekend with others in such close proximity without seeing and appreciating true hearts. You move further apart as mere acquaintances and closer together as true friends. This weekend meant that we learned to love our casual friends as dear friends.Mostly we learned that God is what bonds us together and God is what will keep us tied together. 

As I walked  I snapped photos of all the beauty that surrounded me. I can be so darned un-observant at times that I am ashamed. There was a diverse array of photo subject matter and I asked God to show me what He wanted me to see.

  The first thing God showed me was that the world He created was filled with beauty of many kinds and I needed to pay closer attention. Some of the lessons that God taught me this weekend are as follows. 

GODS WAYS

.       

  


There were fantastic views of distant mountain peaks that we came upon. Once I could stand straight and breathe again, I understood why I was there. Some of the views where full blown beautiful, easy to see and very distinct, some we were only able to see partially and were blocked by trees at least partially. Isn’t that typical of how God works in our lives. Some times we know beyond the shadow of a doubt what He wants of us and how it will look. Other times however, things are only laid out for us a little at a time and in an indistinct way. We only see a partial picture and sometimes we have to look closely and pay careful attention to see it. We must spend time communing with God to see what His vision is for us. 

Proverbs 3:5-6New International Version (NIV)

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart

    and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways submit to him,

    and he will make your paths straight.[a]

BOUNDARIES

Oh boundaries, pesky, tiresome boundaries. What do we need boundaries for and how do we use them? It seems such a bother to put up one more fence, one more hurdle to jump over. It took me awhile to figure out why it was so important that I take this photo and to figure out what God wanted to show me. . A healthy boundary shows others what is and is not permissible. If we feel like someone is walking all over us, or if we feel as if we have lost our voice and no one listens to us then you know that maybe your boundaries are either being ignored, are not being implemented or are non existent. Take time to examine what is going on. 

In theory a boundary creates a buffer zone between individuals, they define expectations and show respect for others. In reality, at times, boundaries can be used for creating impenetrable brick walls.  When we use that buffer zone to isolate ourselves, (lets just say that this is a long standing problem for me and God showed me that), it can be detrimental. I’m taking down those bricks one at a time. 

WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW CAN HURT YOU

Short and simple. Even if it looks delicious, it could very well make you very sick. Educate yourself,  Use your God given discernment. 

My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests, because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. — Hosea 4:6

GOD WILL PROVIDE 

We were hiking uphill and in pretty high altitudes. Needless to say, I was winded and tired. Ok, ok, I was downright flat on my back unable to breathe unassisted. If I could have gotten off the ground, I was ready to turn around and go back. But sheer will power (ok Mary threatened me) I got up and we came around the next rock and see a clearing with a small table and two chairs. It was oddly out of place but right where I needed it, right when I needed it. God is so good. At times He takes us on paths that test our endurance and committment. But when we have come to the end of what we think we can endure, when we cannot take another step, He provides what we need to continue our journey. I sat right down and prayed that Mary would lose her energizer bunny enthusiasm for walking. I’m teasing of course. If not for Mary, I would not have had the weekend of revelations that I experienced. 

Matthew 6:31-32 Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ The people who don’t know God keep trying to get these things, and your Father in heaven knows you need them.

THE OLD PASSING AWAY


God reminded me that there will be times when “what was” will appear as pinecones dropped to the ground, seemingly forgotten and rotting away. This is necessary to make room and to prepare for growth. Trees disperse their seeds then the pine cone falls to the ground in the next year or so. So when our God given seeds have been dispersed He may very well be telling us its time to let that particular cone drop so new growth can be initiated and new seeds can be scattered.  

NEW GROWTH OUT OF THE OLD FOUNDATION

         

          
I have a keen sense that some old things in my life are being replaced by new beginnings. It was a time away that was meant to be spent soaking in the presence of God and seeking His wisdom. God brought it home to me that when it is time for a change in your life, if you move forth from a strong God given foundation, that foundation will support the new life/ideas/direction God is urging you toward.

When God is propelling you forward, into something new, it can be disconcerting when what you are involved in isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it is simply not where God wants you to be. Rest assured, that He will support the new life and new direction that He is taking you. Take your eyes off the world and their judgements and opinions, place your eyes directly on your Lord and walk forward. Spread your wings and free the Holy Spirit to guide you. 

Sometimes God does not close a door before He opens a new one. However, your gut, your conscience, circumstances and that never ending nagging will let you know that it is time to take a closer look at where you are and where you are being urged to go. 

Sometimes He gives you the keys to the new door and encourages you to take what you have gained from your previous experiences and trust Him enough to use the key to the new door. Permit Him to guide you in a new direction. 

Thus says the Lord, my Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.” (Isaiah 48:17)

God will show me the path of life. (Psalm 16:11)

God will instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. He will guide me with His eye. (Psalm 32:8)

             
           

    There is beauty all around us. There are paths we need to trod and paths we need to steer clear of. God will be our pilot if we let Him. Do we have the courage to look at the pictures of our lives and see the lessons He has for us? Take an hour, take a day, take a weekend or a lifetime. Look at the pictures of your life!
    I hear Jesus’ voice and He calls me by name and leads me out. Jesus goes before me and I follow him, for I know his voice. I will by no means follow a stranger. (John 10:3-5)

      Dottie

      ……………and so I ride