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

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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

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

Unconditional love?

Let me remind you of one unconditional truth, the way you see yourself is in no way an accurate picture of what Christ has done for you.

Sometimes I think that we feel we need permission to love (or even like) ourselves.

We need to get to the place where we love ourselves simply because God loves us.
First however, we have to take what the Bible says and figure out how in the world to apply it in our lives.

We live on self-rejection. One time I was asked if I was happy with the person God made me to be. I answered of course I am, well except for (fill in the blank) , ok maybe I think he could have improved the design a bit.
Instead of delighting in how He created us, we call ourselves ugly, clumsy, fat, dumb and worthless. We beat ourselves up emotionally because we do not measure up to the standards we have set for ourselves. Or should I say that we have let others set for us.
Is it to much to ask to love what I see in the mirror instead of throwing the mirror in the closet where it can never haunt me again? I want to look in the mirror and see what God sees.. That means I have to start seeing myself as I really am, right at this moment. Not after I have finally lost those excess pounds, or fixed my chin, teeth or boobs and am wearing skinny jeans.

When I can look at myself and see the real me and love the real me, that is when the chains of bondage have been broken.
When I can base my self worth on my identity in Christ and not on my accomplishments, looks or the job I hold. When I can realize that God loves me for who I am not in spite of who I am. That is when the chains of bondage have been broken.
When I realize that I do no need to be loved and approved of by virtually every person in my life, only God needs to approve, that is when the chains of bondage have been broken.

God offers us unconditional love, through His grace we are saved. However, grace sometimes does not come easily to us simply because of how we have conditioned ourselves to think. We have to start giving ourselves some slack and start believing what God tells us.

Look at Romans 8: 37-39 take a look and breathe in the truth of what can separate us from God’s love. .
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Take a minute and let this verse cloak you in the security of God’s love.

Dottie

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Let’s play a little game.
I have a puzzle for you. If you are playing a game and you move ahead 4 spaces, then next turn you have to go back 3 spaces, next turn you move ahead 6 spaces and your final turn you have to move back 4 spaces. Are you still ahead of where you started?

It appears that yes indeed you are still 3 spaces ahead of where you started. You are advancing, you are on the way to someplace different than where you started. Right?

Now, let’s look at life.

We start something, a diet, a project, a new job, a debt reduction plan, our Christian walk, it could be one of a million different things. Then when we get half way through it we get discouraged and frustrated because what we think progress is not happening fast enough.

Just because you are not seeing progress does not mean it is not being made. If we would take a moment to think about it, and be honest with ourselves, we are clearly ahead of where we started at.
We are an impatient lot aren’t we? A little arrogant too. The prevailing attitude is that if it can’t be done in MY time, I am not going to do it at all. Why do we tend to think that slow progress is no progress? A little or a lot, progress in progress.

A lot of the time, a little more effort and consistent effort and our goals will be met. However, discouragement grabs us and we throw what progress we have made away instead of plodding along and slowly moving forward. We don’t see that six steps forward and three steps backwards is still ending up ahead of where we started. I am willing to bet that in those backwards steps we learned some valuable lessons.

I think that our Christian walk is often like that. We have to slowly and sometimes painfully make our way to the Kingdom. It can take years, decades or a lifetime filled with ups and downs. A winding path can be enough to cause us to take our eyes off the prize. If we are no longer focusing on our destination you can bet we are focusing on the wrong things.
It is frustrating and hard. We have to remember that forward progress is forward progress. It is a good finish that we are after, the journey is not always going to be easy or pretty.

It is tempting to give up on living the Christian life because we are impatient and don’t see any progress, or not enough progress. Let Hebrews 12:1 be our motto, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Our Christian walk is intentionally meant to be an endurance event. It is an event that shapes us and makes us into what God means us to be.

Sure our Christian walk with have lots of meaningful and uplifting spiritual moments, but it will not be comprised entirely of good things. Neither will the times be all bad. Mostly it is about the everyday things, it is about each little step that we consistently take in faith no matter the circumstances.

Dottie
…………….and so I ride

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Getting Real

Things are going to get real for me today. I am going to venture off the path I usually take in my writing and cautiously step out of my self imposed box. It is scary for me. Laying a soul open is never easy but often necessary. Getting to the bare truth of a situation means venturing uncomfortable places and even places that are muddy. To get to the absolute bare truth one must shine the light of brutal honesty. Leaving oneself vulnerable can be brutal but beneficial. It is only then that we can start to live with honesty and start the journey that God has long ago assigned to us.

To coin an old and often used phrase, today, I will start the first truly honest day of the rest of my life.

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Weight has been an issue for me my whole life. I was not overweight in grade school or in high school but I can remember many diets. I was trying to get weight off that was only in my imagination. My Mom (who was overweight) even took me to Weight Watchers with her when I was in grade school. They refused to let me join because in their words, I was not overweight. That did not deter my Mom or myself, it was still diet after diet to get to a weight that was acceptable. I suppose this was my Mom’s way to make sure I always stayed at a “normal” weight and would never have to deal with the weight issues she did. It backfired, big time. Diets, binges, diets, binges and over the years my weight went nowhere except up. Oh there were times that I lost weight and felt wonderful. However, there was never a time that the weight did not return and along with the original pounds came a few extra.
Fast forward to my late forties and I finally found the solution. Barbaric surgery, in my case, Lap Band. Starting at a high weight of 236 I lost about a hundred pounds. I looked great, felt great and basked in the attention. Then life did what it always does. Times got hard, really hard and I went scampering back to the only thing that I could ever count on for comfort, food. Eight years post surgery I find myself having regained 50 of my 100 pounds.

My relationship with food was what gave me a weight problem. The surgeon had fixed my stomach. He did not fix my head. Actually, the surgeon did his job. My band worked well and did its job. It was my self image,emotions and erroneous thinking that failed me. I was looking to a diet and a surgeon for something that was life-changing. I was looking in the wrong place.

I have always hated myself for being heavy and have never forgiven myself for my sinful relationship with food. However, nothing is as bad as regaining weight after bariatric surgery. That holds a special kind of shame.

I have been trying to figure out why I am getting no-where in my efforts to lose the extra weight. I can not keep motivation, food literally speaks to me, it just doesn’t seem worth the effort and it seems easier to live life as a plus size woman. Except and this is a big except, I feel tired, my muscles hurt, my knees and feet kill me, I waddle like a duck and feel like I need a crane as am unfolding myself from a sitting position. Getting out of a low vehicle probably looks comical but is anything but. I am on a fast road to diabetes and many other diseases related to obesity. However, the biggest thing is that I know that God wants me to come to Him for all the things I think I receive from food. I know this with a certainty that comes from deep inside me and that I can actually feel burning. My relationship with food is a sin I need to repent of.

I have felt like a failure my whole life and I have a deep seated hatred for the weakness inside me that makes me seek food for comfort. I have never forgiven myself for being weak, self destructive and selfish.I have never forgiven myself for finding a remedy to obesity then blowing that opportunity and regaining weight.

There is only one solution to this problem and it starts today.

It starts with this verse.
Isaiah 43: 25 “I, even I, am he who blots out
your transgressions, for my own sake,
and remembers your sins no more.

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Can you feel the hope and cleansing whiteness in that verse?

I CHOOSE to hate myself and live in self-condemnation. God does exactly the opposite. My unforgiveness only hinders my efforts to become healthy. How can I be healthy when the cancer of unforgiveness festers in my soul and poisons everything around me?

Today is a new day and I am a new being in Christ. I will CHOOSE to wear that robe proudly. God CHOOSES to forgive me, forget my sin and the gloriously wipes the slate clean. This is a very important piece of the puzzle. I need to choose to forgive myself for the weight gain and then forget it and move on………. from this day forward.

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I am no longer who I once was. I will walk forth as the wonderful women of God I am. I am clean and pure and will start living that way from today. I truly believe that only when we have forgiven and forgotten our past transgressions can we give ourselves the best chance for success in our walk to health and in our role as children of a FORGIVING God.
I will take my cues on behavior from Him.
From this day forward my relationship with food will be replaced with a hunger for God. How I fill my soul is up to me. I will make wise choices.

Dottie
……………and so I ride

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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