Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~The Thrill Is Gone~ June 16, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 1:36 pm
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This morning I went for a run with my usual running partner.  Initially, all was right with the world and we were settled in to a decent pace.  About a mile and a half in, my body started to resist.  Try as I might, I couldn’t will the cramps away nor could I outrun them.  At the 2.5 mark, I had to walk.

I left feeling somewhat frustrated.  It seems the more I try to do the “right thing,” the more I am met with opposition.  I try to eat healthy, for the most part.  I mean we all need to cheat once in a while!  I exercise on a regular basis & I drink enough water to hydrate a camel.  And yet I’m not reaching the goals that I have set for myself.

It’s enough to make me want to say the heck with it, grab a box of Krispy Cremes and chase them down with a 2 liter of Coke!! It’s really hard to keep at something when:

  1. It’s harder than you expected.
  2. You hit an obstacle.
  3. The outcome isn’t what you had anticipated.

While my current struggle is with health & fitness, I have been in this exact predicament in my marriage, in parenting and in my writing ministry. So what does one do when they reach a lull in life or ministry?  When the initial excitement wears off, you lose momentum & frustration sets in, do you throw in the towel?

Let me take you to my favorite chapter in the Bible, Hebrews 12.

  1. Let us strip off every weight that slows us down.  While this applies directly to sin, it can mean so much more.  What is it that you are struggling with today?  Is there something you can remove from your life that would help you to succeed?
  2. Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.  Really?  One might ask how endurance is possible in the midst of fatigue and when the odds just aren’t in your favor.  We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus.
  3. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.  Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.  Doing the right thing is rarely going to be the easy way.  It is often the path less chosen and you may even find yourself on it completely alone.  Fighting for your marriage when it seems all hope is lost; staying firm in your parenting convictions when “so-and-sos” mom let’s their kid do it; sticking with your calling when it doesn’t seem to be doing anybody any good; buckling down on your health & fitness when you plateau & the benefit isn’t clear-none of these things are easy, but they are virtuous.

It is normal to become weary at any task throughout life.  Quitting is enticing, especially when the only alternative is to plow through that which seems impossible.  Let me assure you, eyes on Jesus=nothing is impossible.6a0a33efe69987c2c803a7c5e62bcfd7

 

~Condemnation vs. Conviction~ March 17, 2014

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1 KJV)

I would venture to say that nearly every Christian has allowed themselves to feel condemned at some point in their spiritual walk.  I know that when I have failed miserably, I have a tendency to be insanely hard on myself.  In my mind, I would rationalize that the only way for me to be truly forgiven of my sin was to punish myself relentlessly, then God would see that I was truly sorry for my transgression and accept my request for forgiveness.

It wasn’t until quite recently that I realized just how wrong I was in my twisted thought process.  I am currently reading “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God” by Lysa TerKeurst and it has been wrecking my world, but in a good way!  In her chapter that covers the obstacles that keep us from saying yes to God, she talks about the ever-so-subtle battle between the voices in her head that bring conviction and condemnation.  Her logic is simple: the voice of condemnation comes from Satan because the Bible tells us flat out that Jesus doesn’t condemn but convict.

Condemnation leaves us feeling hopeless and worthless.  Conviction invites us to make positive changes in our lives. -Lysa TerKeurst

The definition of condemnation is a punishment or sentencing and that is precisely what you are doing when you condemn yourself or others.  The trouble with that is the Word makes it clear that we are not the judge or the jury, but “God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:12)  We have no authority to dole out punishment, not even to ourselves.

Conviction, however, is the work of the Holy Spirit.  It is that nudge you feel in your heart when you think of sinning or comes once you’ve already slipped.  Conviction is what reveals the sin in our life and causes us to repent and seek forgiveness.  Without it, how would know what is separating us from God and therefor preventing us from receiving all that He has for us?  Conviction is a gentle correction, comparable to that which a loving parent gives their child when they misstep.  It is meant to better us, shape us and mold us into the absolute best version of ourselves we can possibly be.

It is time that we lift the sentencing we’ve placed on our lives over past mistakes that we’ve repented of.  Let us embrace the love and forgiveness that conviction brings so that we can move beyond our failures and live as the conquerors that Jesus says we are.live victorious

 

~Silent Judgment~ October 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:31 am
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This week has been a particularly taxing week.  Aside from the entire family being bone tired from all of our running, my husband and I had to take part in a rather uncomfortable meeting.  This isn’t the time or the place to elaborate but I will share one thing. This meeting involved several people and was called to deal with a difficult situation regarding one individual specifically.  After some discussion, this individual was given some news that she wasn’t exactly fond of.  She went from crying in hopes of receiving sympathy to feigning ignorance.  Next came the defensiveness which was followed by pointing the blame elsewhere.  All the while, my husband and I sat silently.  Out of nowhere she says, “I don’t know why ya’ll are sitting here judging me like you think you better than me!”

We hadn’t said one word.  There was nothing that could have been perceived as judgmental by us simply sitting across a table from her.

But she felt convicted.  It wasn’t necessary for us to speak.  She knew the lifestyle that we live didn’t agree with the one that she has chosen and that knowledge alone made her feel judged in our presence.

“Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.”

(2 Corinthians 2:15-16 NLT)

In researching the topic of conviction, I came across the website Acts 17:11 Bible Study.  I felt like their words adequately described what I wanted to communicate:

It should not surprise us that as we follow Christ, people who want to remain in sin will start to get uncomfortable around us; that we will be accused of being “judgmental” before we have said a word, and that in general we are disliked and avoided for the sake of His name.  Others will be attracted to us for this same reason.  This is sure proof of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  If this does not happen, can anyone rightly claim to have a measure of the Holy Spirit?  Holiness, by its very nature, illuminates sin in sharp relief.

In light of this knowledge, should we feel guilty when unbelievers make unwarranted accusations of judgment in our company?  No.  Simply put, no.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit and who are we to intervene with His process?

If we never felt convicted of our sin we would never have that overwhelming sensation that something was missing in our lives.  Without conviction, we would have no reason to repent and seek forgiveness from our heavenly Father who is anxiously waiting to give it to us!

Conviction leads to repentance.  Repentance draws us closer to God.

I’m happy to take the insults that will likely be thrown my way again if it leads just one more person to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

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