Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~You Gonna Scratch That Itch?~ July 22, 2014

For just about a week now, I have been trapped in some twisted version of Hell. Sleep has evaded me night after night as I lay tormented. My mind has been clouded,  rendering me completely unable to focus. All I can think about is that itch that I desperately want to scratch.

That’s right, friends, I have quite the impressive poison ivy rash. I got you, didn’t I?!

Ok, so this may not seem like a teachable moment but stick with me.

At the peak of my hellacious discomfort, when my ability to reason was rapidly slipping away, the thought of how heavenly it would feel to scratch almost made me cave. Digging my nails into the blistered skin would have brought instant gratification. Miraculously, I managed to regain my composure and resist the temptation because I realized that the “oh that feels good” feeling would have been temporary. Had I given in to this little desire, I would have opened myself up to infection and pretty much guaranteed that my recovery time would be extended. So in the end, I was able to rationalize that one moment of “oh yeah” wasn’t worth the potential consequences.

While my choice of analogy may seem silly, you can see where I’m going with this. We all have found ourselves in this type of predicament at least once in our lives. What do you do when you’re faced with an opportunity to do something that not only would feel good but that you really want to do?!

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.”

First off, you need to realize that you are equally susceptible to temptation as Joe Schmo who has never set foot in a church. Your life as a Christian does not protect you from being tempted. Secondly, you are not the only person to face this struggle. Regardless of what your demon is, someone else is fighting that same battle right now.

“And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

(1st Corinthians 10:13)

There it is, a promise from God that He won’t allow you to be overwhelmed. Not only that, but He will provide you with a means of escape. All that you & I need to do is look.

The next time you find yourself facing an itch that you desperately want to scratch, take a look at the consequences. Is that moment of pleasure worth a heinous infection that will poison other areas of your life?a53ca0f130778460c5521725ae02df3b

 

~Check your pants~ December 11, 2013

liarRecently I had the pleasure of being lied to, straight to my face.  Lucky for me, I have the uncanny ability to read my children’s minds and know when their telling me a tall tale.  Not really…they are just terrible liars, praise God!  I like to think it’s due in part to the fact that Jesus loves me enough to help me survive the preteen years by making them transparent.

Having said all that, it’s story time.

All three of my older children attend the same school.  There’s not much one can do and get away with when there are two siblings anxious to bust you.  When the guilty party is the daughter, you better believe her two older brothers are chomping at the bit as to which one is going to rat her out first.  This particular time was no different.

My sweet girl has herself a little crush.  You should know that we have told them all they are much too young for dating at this point.  Friendship is good and encouraged, however referring to someone as your boyfriend/girlfriend is frowned upon.  Her first mistake was crushing on her brother’s best friend.  Her second mistake was breaking the rule by telling half the school he was her boyfriend.  Her third mistake, and the one that sealed her fate, was denying the above to my face with both of her brothers in the same room.  As soon as she shook her head, complete with darting eyes to avoid meeting my glare, both boys erupted into “Huh-uh, you’re lying!” and “OHHHH, you are so busted!!”

One has to chuckle.

To make matters worse, she tried to spin a little story as if she had misunderstood my very direct question, “Are you claiming (name to remain unknown) as your boyfriend?”  The more she attempted to cover her lie, the more she jumbled up her words.

Being the awesome mom that I am, I blurted out “That’s right, keep lying to me.  God’s gonna make you choke on them lies if you don’t watch it!”  (Yes, I know that is bad grammar, but I am from the South so cut me some slack.)

The look on her face was priceless as her daddy busted out laughing.  As amusing as it all was, there is a lesson to be learned here.

There was a reason she was struggling to find words.  She knew she wasn’t speaking the truth and was truly having difficulty making the lie come out of her mouth.

I feel certain that everyone has at some point in their life told a lie.  It may be a little, white lie or a big production that spun so wildly out of control that you could barely remember the truth by the time it was all said and done.

The trouble with lying is, once you’ve done it a few times, it gets easier and easier.  It starts with a fib to avoid having to explain your actions to a loved one.  Then it progresses to faking sickness to get out of your responsibilities.  Before you know it, your walking around with flaming britches and no one believes a word you say anymore.

Want to know what the Bible says about liars?

“The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.”

(Proverbs 12:22)

“We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to see that we are honorable.”

(2 Corinthians 8:21)

It’s pretty cut and dry.  No one likes to be lied to.  It’s a relationship killer.  And as I explained to my girl, “if you will lie to me about the little things, what’s to stop you from lying about something bigger?”

Maybe there is something that you haven’t been completely honest about and it’s eating you up inside trying to keep your secret.  Search your heart and ask God to reveal to you were you may be dealing with un-truths.  Get that junk out of your heart.  Honesty is most certainly the only policy if we are to honor the Lord in our words, actions and thoughts.

So check your pants, brothers & sisters and unless your clothing is constructed of flame-retardant material, you may want to extinguish the fire.

 

~Strength in my Weakness~ December 3, 2013

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So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

(2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NLT)

I don’t like to struggle.

I don’t like to be uncomfortable.

And I definitely don’t like being insulted.

However, these verses have helped me to realize that if my life was always hunky-dory, then I would really never have reason to rely on God.

Our Pastor has often said, “The Bible doesn’t say we should rejoice because of our circumstances but that we can rejoice in them.”  I have to remind myself of this when life isn’t going according to my plan.  I don’t have to give thanks for troubles, but I do need to learn from them.  Every challenge we face is an opportunity for growth.  When I choose to wallow in self-pity, I’m wasting the chance to strengthen my faith, increase my endurance and deepen my reliance on God.

Speaking from lots of experience on this issue, I know how incredibly difficult it can be to find joy when a loved one is sick, the debt collectors have you on speed dial or your marriage is on a slippery slope.  How can anyone expect you to be joyful when your life is a wreck, right?

You can rejoice right where you are, no matter how bad it seems, because God has promised to never leave you nor forsake you.

You can celebrate because He has said the battle is not yours but his and that you have already been given the victory.

You can hold your head high with a smile on your face because His word assures us that he who began this good work in us will not relent until it is finished.

So as hard as it may be, shift your focus from your struggles and thank God for the character he is building in you.  Think of it as if you were an athlete in training…by the time God is done working on you and me, our strength and endurance will rival that of the elite.

humility

 

~The Words of Our Testimony~ September 16, 2013

testimonyLast night I had the privilege of sharing my testimony with a small group of young adults.  It was, by far, one of the most amazing things I’ve been a part of since beginning my walk with the Lord.

It was pretty awesome that our pastor had just spoke that morning on the importance of sharing our struggles with others.  After all, what good are we doing anyone by walking around like we’ve got it all figured out?  I can honestly say, that even with this message still playing in my mind, I wasn’t sure that my story could really make any kind of difference.  BUT, I was willing to share.

Once we got going with the interview, God just took over.  I was able to share so much of myself; about who I was, what I’ve gone through, who I am & my hope for what is still to come.  And as I was going through the details of my not-so-fairy-tale past, I got to relive the grace and mercy that God has showered me with over the years.  I was, and I am still, in complete awe of the work that God has done in my life.  Even when I was unaware of His presence, He was with me; protecting me & leading me towards the life that He had planned for me.

I can’t say that I have always known the importance of sharing one’s testimony, but having done so in this setting, I totally get it now.  The feeling of liberation that I experienced afterwards was unreal.  When you lay it all out there for others to see just how big a wreck you used to be, before Jesus, and how much of an impact accepting Him has had on your life, it is not just for their benefit but for yours as well.  Being real about the struggles that we still face, even with Him as the Lord of our lives, shows that we know we are all just a bunch of messed up sinners in need of a Savior…daily, not just a one time “Lord forgive me for everything, amen” kind of Savior.   It opens the door for others to find their way to a full and complete life with Jesus while at the same time reminding us of how far we’ve come with Him in control.

In searching for a Scripture to share that would sum up how I felt about this opportunity to share with others, I came across 2 Corinthians, verses 1-5:

“When I first came to you, dear brothers & sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.  For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified.  I came to you in weakness-timid and trembling.  And my message and my preaching were very plain.  Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied on the power of the Holy Spirit.  I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.”

I pray that each one of us would use our testimony of God’s goodness to help transform the lives of others.  When you become transparent for the sake of growing the Kingdom, you will be amazed at the transformation that takes place in your life.  And even if you never know on this side of eternity the impact that you may have made on someone’s life, one day, it will all be worth when you hear the Lord himself say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”