Invisible

imageInvisible

Do you ever feel invisible?
Do you find yourself getting your feelings hurt?
When you are asked to do something are you “all in” and then expect others to be “all in” too?

Right now I feel invisible. My feelings are hurt. I am always “all in” because that’s what I’m supposed to do, right? Therefore, I expect that from others too. Sadly, that doesn’t always happen. How do we learn not to expect “all in” from others?
How do we protect our hearts and our feelings?

I am not invisible. God sees me. God knows my heart. Getting my feelings hurt is not a surprise to God. But how does knowing that God sees me and is not surprised by these things help me to not feel invisible?

It is my flesh, my human nature that makes me feel this way, but Jesus said:

I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:33 (MSG)

So, I need to trust that:
HE sees me!
HE chose me!
HE loves me!
I am NOT invisible!
I am HIS beloved!

The Lord is fighting for you! So be still!” Exodus 14:14

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that HE fights for me and I just need to be still and trust HIM, keeping my hands open and ready to receive the next thing HE has for me. Life is sometimes hard. Life is sometimes joy. Life IS texture, which makes us all HIS beautiful masterpiece.

When I am feeling invisible I am focusing on myself. I make myself a victim of my own behavior, I am being selfish. Instead, I need to be still, calm my heart and ask HIM two questions:

What are you teaching me through this moment, this situation?
How can I glorify you through it?

Then keep my heart and my hands open ready to receive what HE says and trust that I am NOT invisible!

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Disappearing Respect

Our guest blogger visited again with a great post about RESPECT. . .

I have been saying “I guess it is because I am getting older…”, but that is not true. Respect is disappearing, it has been for years. Most children do not respect their parents, themselves, teachers, each other, personal property belonging to anyone or anyone else in authority over them. The news is filled with murders, robberies, beatings, bullying and suicides. In every age bracket these crimes and others are being committed. Everyone thinks it is okay to call others names, or slander one another in public and on social medias. With the technologies today there are inappropriate pictures and text messages being sent left and right. Stores and businesses have no customer service anymore, they do not care if you come back to shop with them or not. Stupid, idiot, or worse come out of our mouths so easily we think nothing of it. A sense of entitlement is the rule rather than the exception.

What is going on in this country? Have seen all manner of disrespect from people of all ages against our government, country and leaders. Even leaders in the House and Senate, (and White House), are disrespectful.

God’s word is very clear about how we are to act toward our leaders and government, oh and each other. Look what I found the other day in Matthew while reading The Message translation.

Matthew 5:21-22 “You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that WORDS kill.

Wow! How many times I have thoughtlessly called out “Stupid’ or “Idiot” in a moment of frustration. We are to be about unconditional love……toward one another…..oh my goodness. Our focus has gotten so far away from caring about the other people we are around, no matter where we may be, that we just open our mouth and spew out things that are hurtful without stopping to think how it will impact anyone, DISRESPECTFUL!

I don’t know about you but I am going to:

1.) Thank the Lord for showing me this scripture.

2.) Ask Him to forgive me.

3.) Write this on a card to keep in front of me where I can see it and try to do better.

If we know better, we can be better (Mya Angeliou)

So let us each try to be better, kinder, gentler toward all!

Modesty

When someone says “modesty” what does it make you think about? Modesty should be practiced by not only females but by males as well. When I think back about the way that I used to dress it makes me sick. Thank goodness that I serve a God who forgives because I did not dress modestly! I tried to show as much as possible whenever possible because I thought that was the way to get noticed. Well, let me tell you, I got noticed but not in the way a woman should want to get noticed that’s for sure! Not only did I get noticed for the wrong reasons but I also ended up with a reputation that matched the way I dressed. When we dress inappropiately it can make others question our character as well. Since I have become a Christ Follower I have had Godly conviction to dress modestly and to help teach others about modesty as well. When getting dressed ask God if HE is pleased with what you are wearing. If you feel like HE would not be pleased with it, change.
Let’s take a look at what scripture says about it.

And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.
1 Timothy 2:9 NLT

When we do not dress appropriately we can be a temptation to others that could cause them to stumble and fall into sin. Have you ever wondered about that? I read an article today that had the statistics of how many people look at porn in the state of Alabama and 3 cities in Alabama that are also known as “religious” states are also listed in the top 10 cities that frequent porn sites. That is very troubleing to me! Porn not only gives a warped vision of what a beautiful godly marriage-bed should be but it also destroys marriages, families, and relationships.

What are we teaching our children when we let them wear things that are inappropriate? What are we teaching them when we let them watch things that are inappropriate? Not to long ago I heard a mom offer her early teanaged son the Victoria’s Secret catalog to look at if he did his homework! What?!? And then people wonder why there is such a problem with porn. Lusting is a sin! Check out these words from Jesus Himself:

“You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye —causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Matthew 5:27-29 NLT

Looking at porn or looking at others with lust is the same as having an affair. I truly believe that if we all REALLY believed that God really is omnipresent that we would not do, say, look at or even think most of the things that we do. Omnipresent means that God is EVERYWHERE all of the time. HE hears what we say, HE sees what we wear, HE knows what we look at. WOW! If we really did believe these things and had a healthy fear of our mighty God this world might look very different than it does now.

Fear God, and keep his commands, because this applies to everyone. God will certainly judge everything that is done. This includes every secret thing, whether it is good or bad.
Ecclesiastes 12:13b-14 GWT

I Am Everything God Says I Am

The problem with stuffing your feelings and putting on a mask in front of others is that when you finally come clean about being a stuffer nobody believes you. This could essentially be detrimental to your relationships.

When you stuff your feelings, especially over long periods of time, it can cause you to become a perfectionist at trying to keep everything perfect that way you won’t have to worry about failing or being rejected. It causes you to desire to control every aspect of not only your life but the lives of those around you.

Growing up in an environment where you have not experienced a normal parent-child relationship can also cause people to stuff their emotions because of feeling unloved and rejected. These types of environments can also cause low self esteem, self-doubt, second guessing yourself, it can also cause you to second guess yourself and avoid making decisions or setting goals for yourself.

They believe the lies that the world is telling them. These lies are a stronghold. They are chains that are keeping you locked up in a prison. And to avoid further hurt, rejection
and emotional distress they do whatever is needed to take the attention off of themselves and become masters at making cynical comments or sarcastic criticism at others.

Once you become a child of God you should know that He loves you and wants you to break-free from the chains and lies that have kept you in bondage. In order to be set free you have to replace each lie you have believed with the truth. Below is a list of what God’s Word says is the truth about who we are once we are a child of God. My encouragement to you is that you would read these statements of who you are every single day. Read them out loud to yourself in front of a mirror, several times a day when you first start. Journal your about your feelings when you read these out loud. Ask God to help you believe the truth about who HE says you are.

You are accepted. . .
John 1:12 I am God’s child.
John 15:15 I am Jesus Christ’s friend.
Romans 5:1 I have been justified.
1 Cor. 6:17 I am united with the Lord, and I am one spirit with Him.
1 Cor. 6:19-20 I have been bought with a price. I belong to God
1 Cor. 12:27 I am a member of Christ’s body.
Ephesians 1:1 I am a saint.
Ephesians 1:5 I have been adopted as God’s child.
Ephesians 2:18 I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 1:14 I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Colossians 2:10 I am complete in Christ.

You are secure. . .
Romans 8:1-2 I am free forever from condemnation.
Romans 8:28 I am assured that all things work together for good.
Romans 8:31-23 I am free from any condemning charges against me.
Romans 8:35-39 I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Cor. 1:21-22 I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:3 I am hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 1:6 I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected.
Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
Hebrews 4:16 I can find grace and mercy in time of need.
1 John 5:18 I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me.

You are significant. . .
Matthew 5:13-14 I am the salt and light of the earth.
John 15:1-5 I am a branch of the true vine, a channel of His life.
John 15:16 I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
Acts 1:8 I am a personal witness of Jesus Christ.
1 Cor. 3:16 I am God’s temple.
2 Cor. 5:17-21 I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
2 Cor. 6:1 I am God’s co-worker. (1 Cor. 3:9)
Ephesians 2:6 I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

I would recommend saying the following quote out loud as well over and over:
“I am nothing my enemy says I am and I am EVERYthing my God says I am”

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Attitude

Imitating Christ’s Humility

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:1-11

Politicians and other world religions point to unity as being key to a tolerant and harmonious life.

I find it interesting that Paul does not point the Philippians to the idea of Unity itself. But to a deeper foundation which is to be found in humility. Jesus Christ is God and man in one, indivisibly, meekness and majesty, the man who is God and Paul points us to having his attitude. The fact that Jesus was both God and man makes His humility that much more incredible to me. Christ had a higher priority than His own interrupted Glory. Christ did not give up the attributes of God by subtracting His Authority but He accomplished His plan by the addition of His humanity.

When we live with self being our priority and pride our conceit, disunity is born. It’s easy to miss what Paul is not telling us here, he isn’t giving us a list of things to do in order to be in harmony or unity with others, he is simply pointing to Christ and the fact that Christ did not hold onto His Authority but He made himself nothing, a servant. Don’t forget that God didn’t just speak to us from the heights of heaven but He spoke to us by walking with us and speaking to us right here on earth in the Form of Jesus Christ. And during His time with us, He established an attitude that is to be the attitude of His followers.

How does this relate to us in our lives? When was the last time you refused to forgive someone because you waited for them to make it right or you didn’t want to be the first to give in? When was the last time you refused to apologize because it wasn’t your fault? There are few things that we have control over but two are the effort we put into living our lives and our attitude. We must remember the example of Christ, we must live the example of Christ. Thankfully we are not without an unending supply of Grace because we are going to mess this up.

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Don’t Go Looking For Trouble

How many times have you been accused of doing something or saying something maliciously? I mean really, some people are always on the defensive, looking for something done wrong or said wrong. Do you know anyone like that? I think we all do.

So, how do handle situations that others put us in like that? I know for me, if I let my flesh decide what to do I would cut off all contact with this person and just be done. But guess what? I try really hard not to listen to my flesh and seek out God and what HE would have me do when I find myself in a situation like that. By seeking HIM it gives me a chance to cool off, calm down and react out of love and not anger or bitterness. Scripture commands us to forgive others so we can also be forgiven.

“If you forgive the failures of others, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your failures. Matthew 6:14-15

If this individual continuously causes you strife you may want to think about setting some new boundaries with them. I found a great devotional the other day that dealt with this specific issue, here it is:

If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them. Titus 3:10

Paul admonishes believers to be satisfied in whatever circumstances they endure (Phil. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:7-8), but Scripture makes a distinction between godly and ungodly contentment. Because of their own brokenness, some people are not happy until they’ve stirred up strife in the relationships around them. Uncertain about others’ love for them, they attempt to find security in controlling the environment and creating factions.
When we come to Christ, however, He redefines our understanding of normal and healthy. No longer dependent on our selves, we find that he calls us to trust in His protection rather than our own. But we may not recognize how deeply our defense mechanisms rn, and some individuals simply choose not to walk in Jesus’ promise to make all things new (2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 21:5). In Titus 3, Paul shows us how to handle relational strife: First, we respond with grace through a right understanding of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross (vv. 4-7); we teach, model, and warn if necessary (vv. 10-11).
Reflecting Jesus’ love doesn’t mean partnering with other’ dysfunction. Instead, we mush present to others the light of His truth (1 John 1:5)
~ Regina Franklin

Now this isn’t to say that we should appear perfect and holier than thou, we will never be that and never could be. But we should be vulnerable when we make mistakes, we should be quick to forgive and ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but we don’t ask for it and we don’t offer it. Why do we choose to darken the light within us? Our God is big enough to change not only you but whoever you are having trouble forgiving. We need to let go of the chains of un-forgiveness, because we are not shackled to them we are holding onto them. God tells us to forgive and then He will forgive us. It’s pretty simple but we make it so complicated, God doesn’t want the perfect person He wants us with all our baggage. And with HIS help we can start to sort through that junk too!

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Christian Interrupted

Do you like interruptions? Most of us don’t, what we need to consider is that God can only use us if we are willing to be interrupted from the things we are doing. Discipleship is messy and at times difficult and when people struggle it usually isn’t at opportune times, so are we letting ourselves be interrupted or even worse are we sitting around making excuses; because Christ told us to go make disciples. But before we go and make disciples we need to examine our own lives and ask ourselves if it’s a life that should be replicated.

One of the hardest things about discipleship for us to do and teach a Christian is accountability; we avoid it not because we don’t want someone to feel bad, but because we don’t want them to blame us for making them feel bad. When it comes to sin we all know what we do, and most of us know how we do it, but very few know why they do it. When we keep each other accountable we need to see clearly the why and we need to be disciplined in the how and the what.

I believe the resistance of the flesh comes from the moving away from selfishness and comfort. A step towards faith is a step away from comfort and the flesh resists this and when we disciple we need to encourage and lift up because fear is always around when someone doesn’t know what comes next. Remember it takes courage to embrace the broken instead of the comfortable. And no matter how hard we try, we won’t make everyone happy and we can’t make anyone read their Bible and we can’t make them pray and we can’t make them fall in love with Jesus, but we can continue to point them to Him. We need to remember that we are never going to make Christianity cool, it offends and if it doesn’t then it’s not the gospel. It’s not our ideas that can change people it’s God and don’t forget He has changed the convictions in our own hearts, so lead with your heart. For it’s our hearts that contain the hope that God has given us and too many people live their lives with an absence of hope.

Discipleship is hard but if we are being obedient to God we will face opposition and we will be criticized. Everything significant and everything new and effective will face resistance. Remember in the face of resistance, opposition, and being criticized prayer is the difference between the best you can be and the best God can do.