Category Archives: Take Him at His Word

A different perspective on being overwhelmed

Do you use the expression “overwhelmed” much?

I do.

It is a good description of me most days around 3 P.M. when I stack my tasks left undone up against hours left to accomplish them and feel overwhelmed by a sense of defeat.

Or when I take a good hard look at all the hard bad news and I am overwhelmed by the evil and insanity of a world system gone haywire.

I can be overwhelmed sometimes by my own capacity to misunderstand people I love and to be unable to cope with life settings that others seem to sail through with not a glitch in sight.

And I am pretty sure that all of these bouts of being overwhelmed are NOT fruit of the abundant life promised.

So my ears have perked up lately at a phrase that either is in the lyrics of one of our new hymns, or was offered as a mediation by the worship leader one Sunday, or mentioned in a sermon a different Sunday or showed up in one of the gazillion devotions I have read in the past few weeks…or knowing God…showed up in several places as He is prone to repeat messages I need to hear until they finally sink in.

And, so like Him…it is simple and short and to the point so that I can actually remember it….

God overwhelms whatever it is that is overwhelming  me.

Think about it.

Overwhelmed…I looked it up, of course….because that’s what I do.

And Webster’s gives the fullness of the feeling in the wording of its definition.

Even at it’s root in Middle English, the redundancy of meaning is clear…it comes from blending two words:

over + whelmen, to turn over, cover up…so basically to  cover over, over something…to cover up over it…to overthrow, upset; cover over completely…submerge.

And the picture I get is the emotional and spiritual equivalent of playing in the surf and suddenly one of those breaker waves comes that knocks me off my feet. The surge not only covers me with water, but completely disorients me physically and emotionally.

Tossed and pulled, my nose is filled with burning salt water…my knees scrape across the rough sand as I try to gain my footing and as I fight to get upright so I can breathe oxygen instead of the sea, I flounder against the power that is greater than me.

And that’s how I feel when I am overwhelmed.

So whoever has played a part in giving me a new perspective, I thank you with a grateful heart for opening my spiritual eyes to yet another name for God…

The God who Overwhelms that which overwhelms me.

What a beautiful picture throughout the day when I am feeling submerged under some powerful force.

To lift my eyes above what I am “feeling” and to see that the circumstance or the habit, the sin or the sorrow, the angry shouts or the slanderous whispers…all of these that would threaten to submerge me in defeat…have been covered over completely by God.

To literally picture the “thing” that is pressing down on me being completely wiped out by the majesty and righteousness of God.

I don’t know what forces have power over you, but I pray today each of us will hold fast to the promise that there is nothing greater than our God.

I pray the only thing we feel overwhelmed by, submerged in, covered over-over with is His deep love for us…His mighty power at work in us…His Sovereign reign over us…His steadfastness holding us …wave after precious wave. All day long  <3

 

 

 

Fools rush in…

Good morning <3

I am in the book of Proverbs now as my readings continue through the Chronological Bible.

This version of Scripture lumps the sayings of Solomon and such into themes and one of the sections today was on “rashness.”

It addresses the folly of rushing into a setting and airing opinions and assessments without the recommended counting to ten…or a hundred…or a thousand.

Well, actually it recommends more taking our rants and vents to God FIRST before we march into the boardroom or the kitchen or the committee meeting and sound off about what we see as needing correction.

I think we see this attitude prevailing from our media, both social and news related, more and more.

A kind of in-your-face confrontational approach to calling out what is perceived as unrighteousness.

And have mercy…often it is not based on a standard of truth, but rather on some popular opinion or movement.

As Christ-followers, we can see this so clearly in worldly settings, but are we as sensitive to it within the Body of Christ?

When something is being done within the context of our church and church family, are we acting more like the world as we seek to confront it? (And I am NOT talking about issues of blatant sin and wrong-doing that can happen within a church, so don’t take your mind down that rabbit trail!)

Are we responding with a  Holy Spirit-led/Holy Spirit-filled speaking out? Or with an almost arrogant plowing down of anyone and everyone who does not agree with us approach?

Let’s look at Proverbs for a minute..

What you have seen with your eyes do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame?    Proverbs 25:8

This one speaks to me of how we can see things that look like wrong-doing, but we may not have all the information and facts. Sometimes we are jumping to conclusions and if we do not pause a moment to take in the whole picture, the truth revealed once we have pressed our pre-determined verdict on someone or some situation could prove rather embarrassing.

A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless. Proverbs 14:16,17

Here we see two characteristics of a wise person. This one fears the LORD and steers clear of evil.

It’s both of these which allow the wise person to recognize something that looks to be wrong, and yet turns to the sovereignty of the LORD first before reacting.

If we confront wrong-doing with a knee-jerk reaction we will basically be acting like a…well…a jerk.

One more….

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.  Proverbs 19:11

This one reminds me that when I get hot and bothered about something, it is wise to take it to the Lord first in prayer and conversation.

Key word being conversation, because as I talk to Him about what is troubling me in a situation; I also need to listen to His side.

Because sometimes it is not so much an offense to His Righteousness that is the issue.

Often, as I bring my complaint before Him, I realize it is, in fact, my own indignation over what I perceive to be the violation of my “rights” in a situation that has me riled up.

In our town, we have an intersection that is currently holding the record for accidents due to people running red lights.

A dear friend of ours just recently, thanks be to God, escaped unharmed physically from such an incident…yet his truck, not so much.

But many other intersections here in town are competing to become #1, as drivers increasingly seem to consider a yellow light as an indicator to rev the engine and barrel on through.

Other cars follow suit and the results can be devastating.

We, who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ,do not want to be…physically, emotionally or spiritually…like those who see a warning as an invitation to blast forward.

We want to see the warning signs of wrong-doing as God’s discernment kicking in and use these as opportunities to slow down, get serious in prayer…and then proceed with His leading.

Be blessed today.

Be pro-active to seek wise decisions at all the intersections you will face today.

Remember always…you are loved and led and held by GRACE <3

 

Oh my goodness…what in the world…

Well….happy Friday to you and wow…thank you for those of you who donated because of yesterday’s post <3

…blew me away and made me cry. Many thanks  – so sweet you are <3

So here I posted about human trafficking yesterday and then I read the headline on the “Your Money” section of the newspaper and I about get sick.

The lead article is about how “Wealth Shock” can be fatal.

Wealth Shock.

The new malady of our culture.

To lose our investments can prove highly contributive to an early death.

What in the world?

You all know me.

I never read the paper.

But this one caught my eye.

They have documented statistics about this.

And how women are more likely to have wealth shock than men.

And then there is this quote about how we need to be doing everything we can to prevent people from experiencing loss of … wealth…

Seriously.

This is in the newspaper.

They are researching how to implement policies to prevent this from happening.

I am not sure who “they” are.

But I am thinking….

People are dying of starvation…

and abuse…

of thirst…

AIDS and Tuberculosis….

all over this world.

We need to get a grip America.

We are dying but it is a poverty of spirit not of wealth.

Sorry my dears…not a fun Friday post…but it’s my heart.

Be blessed.

Be the change agents in the name of Jesus.

Here’s the program and policy we truly need.

Don’t die because you were trying to hang on to your life and your lifestyle….

lose your life for My sake, and you will find it ….Matthew 16:25  <3

 

 

All that’s missing is the Cheshire Cat <3

As of yesterday at 10 am I am attempting to adjust to wearing what is known in the optical world as “progressive bifocals”.

I prefer to call them “falling down the rabbit hole” or “the crazy dizzy boat ride in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

Without the fun of any of those.

Because currently, anything with in the range of 1 inch to oh…six feet is so skewed that I may need to take dramamine just to finish this post.

To give you an idea, yesterday as I was preparing dinner…all of this occurred at the exact time….

our lettuce spinner and all round lids looked like ovals, the counter looked like it slanted both backwards and sideways PLUS had the appearance of a topographical map of the alps in black granite finish.

My phone looks like a trapezoid as does this computer screen and I would swear the desk is currently tipping dangerously downward toward the foggy area of the floor to my right.

I am seasick in my own world of dry land.

It is only with great effort that I try to remind myself that nothing has really changed shape or levels or flatness….it is just the glasses.

Right now, more than ever…seeing is NOT believing.

So this morning I took special and personal note of one of the passages as I work my way through Joshua in the Old Testament.

After Israel had entered the Promised Land and shortly into several major victories, a group of travelers showed up claiming to be from a distant land. They wanted to make a peace treaty with this successfully conquering army that had already sent shock waves through the country side.

They pointed out that since their homeland was so much further from the area of conquest, they would be no trouble to this new nation that was taking over the land.

In tattered clothes and weary from the road trip, they produced the evidence to back up their story.

Cracked wine skins that had aged on the journey and bread, once fresh at the outset, was now molded and dry.

We are told in Joshua 9:14 that the men of Israel sampled the evidence but failed to inquire of the LORD.

Based on what they saw and tasted, they made a peace treaty.

Interesting.

The optometrist told me I need to wear these glasses for a couple of days and then my eyes will adapt. I do need to be able to wear them sometimes and so I will endure this Fun House Mirror world they are creating.

However; as I fight to keep my balance in a world that is appearing more and more skewed…I don’t want to trust my own “spiritual eyes” but seek the LORD daily for wisdom to know when the “peace treaties” I am being offered are simply a ruse.

I cannot trust my perceptions…my tastes…my visions.

I will bless the LORD who gives me counsel, my heart also instructs me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.    Psalm 16:7-8 NKJV

Well when you explain it like that, even I can get it <3

So did you meditate and ponder the Scripture from yesterday?

Here is is again…

For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ. And we are ready to punish any disobedience, once your obedience has been confirmed.   2 Corinthians 10: 3-6   HCSB

Or perhaps this version is more helpful…

The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way –  never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structured life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.    2 Corinthians 10:3-6   The Message

Ok…now I just wish we really were sitting across from each other with plenty of hot coffee and time enough to really dig into this.

But we can’t so…

just grab your favorite beverage and imagine me waving my hands in the air instead of tapping out these words and here are few musings to start us off.

First look at the language describing how our thought lives can lead us astray:

arguments…high-minded things that set themselves up against the knowledge of God…strongholds….tools of the world…manipulation…marketing…warped philosophies…barriers erected against the truth of God…loose thoughts…loose emotions…loose impulses…obstructions

Next observe the expressions applied to their removal…

warfare…demolition…take captive…punish…smashing…tearing down…clearing the ground

So let’s take one of my examples from yesterday and work it through here.

For the sake of illustration I will set the stage with a scenario.

I find myself feeling particularly down around 3:00 in the afternoon as I stumble across a reminder that triggers a new wave of sadness. In an effort to shake it off, I do some mindless checking of email which leads me to a visit to Facebook and there I see some happy somebody celebrating some event that just enhances my sense of loss. I begin to ask God why I can’t be them and then immediately feel remorse because I realize all the wonderful things I do have and why can’t I just be happy…which leads me to think of several uber positive friends I have who somehow take life in stride so much better and no wonder God is blessing them and I don’t deserve anything good anyway and so … more tears…more guilt…

Ok…hopefully that is general enough that you can plug yourself in there.

Maybe it’s you are sitting at your desk at work and starting to assume what the powers that be think of your value.

Maybe you are sitting in a gym and your child has been riding the same bench you rode twenty some years ago and it’s getting old.

Maybe the house didn’t sell or the stocks dropped or the test results were positive or…whatever…and suddenly your head is filled with all manner of thoughts that are stacking themselves up against God and Truth and He is getting smaller and His plan for you is diminishing and the more He shrinks the bigger the lies grow.

And you don’t realize it but you have exalted your thoughts above your God.

I recently listened to a random sermon  as I was driving south to meet Sarah for lunch and antiquing a few weeks ago.

Only God would provide me with this wonderful picture as I was brewing this series in my mind.

Matt Cassidy, from Grace Covenant in Austin, Texas, gave a perfect illustration of this passage.

He said that we have a tendency to invite thoughts that are counter to God’s truth in to our homes. We basically welcome them in like an honored guest and offer them a cold drink and the best seat in the house.

When what we should be doing is to handcuff  them, put a restraining vest around them and tie them to a hard back chair.

Look again at what we are to do with those thoughts…aggressive, violent words.

warfare…demolition…take captive…punish…smashing…tearing down…clearing the ground

So don’t let just any thought occupy your mind today.

If you are feeling trapped by your emotions, look at your thought life.

Is it leading you toward Christ or away from Him?

Any thought that leads you away from what He says in His Word is a liar.

Lock. It. Up.

Philippians 4: 8-9 tells us how we can identify the things our minds should be camping on as we journey…

Is what I am thinking really the truth?

Is this thought noble?

Is it reputable and authentic? Is there fact to back it up, or just my embellished narrative?

Is it a gracious thought…towards me or towards others?

Is it beautiful? Is it worthy of my praise of God?

Is it the best thought I could be spending my energy developing?

If not…just imagine escorting it to that time-out chair in the corner reserved for misbehavior.

And if you think you don’t have that kind of imagination…you were the one that developed the thought to the point that it’s tearing your world apart. Think about it..

Take some duct tape and strap it down…and use a little across it’s boasting mouth for good measure.

And then take yourself to some truths you can sing or say out loud and let the peace of Christ RULE your heart and your mind.

God bless you today as you visualize thoughts you need to kick to the curb.

May the LORD bless us with wisdom and discernment to begin to grow up into right thinking about ourselves, our circumstances and others because we are thinking right about our God!