Monday, September 28, 2009

Running in the Right Direction

Several weeks ago my daughter and I made a decision to train for a local 5K (3.1 mile)race together. It sounded good at the time we talked about it, but then when I put on my running shoes and started hitting the pavement, I realized how out of shape I was for running. I used to be a big runner – 20 something years ago. Well I’m not quite in the shape I was back in college!
The first day I went for a run, I do believe every muscle in my legs ached all day long. But I was determined to get back in the swing of things, so I could join my daughter for the race and not embarrass myself in the process. Every day, bit by bit I got out there and went a little further each day, even when it was painful.

The Bible reminds us of a few things we need to run toward and a few things we need to run away from in our lives. David said, “I have chosen to be faithful; I have determined to live by your laws. I cling to your decrees. Lord, don’t’ let me be put to shame! If you will help me, I will run to follow your commands. “(Psalm 119:30 – 32) What a beautiful picture of where we should run – to God’s commands!
Isaiah described those who have turned away from God by saying, “Their feet run to do evil.” (Isaiah 59:7)

What kind of runner are you? I’m not talking about physically, but I’m talking about spiritually. Do you run toward God’s loving arms and toward His commands? Or do your run away from Him, living as you want to live, running toward evil? We have a choice as to which direction we will go.

I like how David said, “If you will help me, I will run and follow your commands.” So if you are feeling weak and unable to run toward Him, or if you feel like you don’t know how, ask for his help and then Just Do It! One step at a time you will begin to run with strength and confidence in His direction.

Moms, take your kids on a short little run in your neighborhood. Come on, give it a try, you can do it! When you come to a crossroad or fork in the road, stop and talk with the kids about the choice you have in which way you will go. Then tell them that in the same way the Bible talks about where we can run. We have the choice to run toward God’s commands or we can run toward evil. One choice brings life, the other destruction.
Remember, run to God for help, strength, wisdom and comfort. Run to help others in need. Run away from sin, bitterness and self-centeredness.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Most of us have experienced those times when we feel as though we just don’t have the strength, energy or ability to go to accomplish the tasks ahead of us. It may be an overloaded schedule or responsibilities with an aging parent or chasing several preschoolers around the house. Perhaps a tragedy or trial in your life has gripped you with anxiety and fear. I want to reassure you and encourage you that you are not alone. Take one day at a time and begin to turn your eyes off of the overwhelming circumstances and onto the God who loves you.

God will not leave you in your darkest hour, although you may feel as though He is far away. As a believer in Christ we have the reassurance that His spirit dwells within us and will net leave. Jesus said to his followers, “I am with you always.” There is a peaceful reassurance in knowing that God is with us. Look to Him for strength and wisdom as you face your challenges. Day by day, give your anxieties to Him and thank Him for what He is doing in your life.

You are not alone, because others have walked similar paths. You are not the only one who has gone down this road. Find comfort in the fact that others have made it through and you can too. You can find strength and comfort in connecting with people who have journeyed down these similar roads through support groups and friends.

Take steps forward. Don’t stay in a rut, and don’t allow yourself to be gripped with fear. Move forward asking God to lead you, guide you and equip you. You may not be able to conquer everything, but you can do something. One step at a time. You remember how to eat an elephant don’t you? One bite at a time!

Day by day, one step at a time with eyes on the Lord (not on your circumstances) you will get through this. David said, “I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.” Psalm 62

Teach your kids at an early age to take their cares to God. When they have a test at school or difficulty with a friend or fear about a piano recital, pray with them and continually remind them to turn their eyes upward. As moms, we are a living lesson book helping our kids see how to handle difficulties. Let’s show them by our example, the importance to relying on God and living in His peace.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Listening More, Talking Less

In my line of work, my voice is quite important. For example this last week, I spoke to a moms group on Wednesday, a Bible study on Thursday and a MOPS group on Friday. Normally my voice is delightful and soothing, but by Wednesday evening my voice became terribly course and raspy. By the time I went to teach Bible study on Thursday, my voice was almost gone.
Several precious women (Sandie and Linda) prayed with me that my voice would hold up through the lesson, and it did! By God’s grace His message from Philippians was powerfully presented. I went to a board meeting for Women in Christian Media after Bible Study and the precious women there prayed over me for God’s healing touch. They put me on complete vocal rest until Friday when I was to speak again.

On Friday, my friend Christy sent a note to all the leaders at Friday’s group to pray for me and again, God allowed me to speak boldly during the meeting. But my voice was not healed. Crumb! I wanted to be all better because I was going down to Waco on Friday to hear Anne Graham Lotz speak at her “Just Give Me Jesus” conference. Of course I was going with some friends, and I wanted to be able to talk and laugh with them, but I couldn’t. I just had to listen.

Why wasn’t my voice completely healed, especially when my Godly friends prayed that it would be? Perhaps God wanted to teach me something through being silent. I heard His voice saying, “Just listen.” Sometimes the chatter of life, keeps me from listening to His still yet penetrating voice. I needed to listen to my wise friends as we spent the weekend in Waco. I needed to listen to what God was teaching me through the “Just Give Me Jesus” conference. I needed to be quiet even today as I write this and just listen to his voice.

Reflection. Taking time to Listen. Contemplating His Word, His love and His presence through being silent. I don’t do it often enough. Sometimes God just needs to grab me and stop me. I need to be still and know that He is God. How about you? When are you quiet?

My friend Jody Capehart says, “God does not take us through the deep waters to drown us, but to cleanse us.” What challenges are you facing right now in your life? Stop and listen to His still, quiet voice saying, “I love you. I am with you. I will be your strength.”

A simple game you can play with your kids is called, “Lay Down and Listen.” Tell the kids to lay down on the floor on their backs. As they do tell them to use their ears, not their mouths and listen to the noises around them. It’s amazing what you will hear when you are completely quiet. Often you hear sounds you have never noticed before, the wind, the air conditioner, the refrigerator , the dog snoring. What a great reminder for us all, to lay down and listen to God’s voice, which we so often overlook because of our noisy lives.

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's all about Choices

“Pain is inevitable, but misery is optional.” Barbara Johnson.
Life is tough, but we do have choices. We have a choice about our attitude. We have a choice to make positive changes and do things differently. We have a choice to trust God and believe he will give us strength. We also have the choice to despair and wallow in self-pity or fear.
What are you choosing to hold onto right now in your life? Are you holding onto the right to grumble and complain because things aren’t going well? Decide today to release that right to rehearse your hurts and instead begin to pray and thank God for the glimpse of hope.
Are you choosing to only see the faults in someone around you? Decide today to stop dwelling on his or her bad qualities and instead look for a treasure or blessing that person brings to this world. And yes they do bring something.

Are you angry right now at a person or at God? Choose to forgive and let it go. Choose to move on and stop replaying past hurts. Choose to be happy once again, instead of bitter and miserable.

Now I’m not saying these choices are easy. In fact they are not at all easy, yet we have a God who loves us and wants to help us make wise choices. Do you lack strength and the ability to make wise choices? Pour your heart out to God and seek His help. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).

Watch my show Fresh Start at