Living Like an Overcomer

OvercomerNo matter what is happening in this broken world, I am an overcomer. So many things in the last few months have happened to make my heart heavy, sad, broken — it can be difficult to muster the strength to hold on to joy and peace. But — I have chosen to hold on to joy and peace. As believers in Christ the adversity, grief, heartache, woe and injustice that we experience is to be expected. We are not citizens of in this earthly realm; our home is in heaven – we are foreigners here, aliens on a journey. It would stand to reason that we will experience enmity, bigotry, bias, hate. The world will not embrace us nor will its systems treat us with fairness.Sadly, many of us, who are citizens of heaven, have forgotten our place and are treating other citizens of heaven in ways that we should not — but I digress.

As we grieve the things that happen to us on this earth, we can rejoice that we are not alone nor or we forsaken! We have a great High Priest who is acquainted with the troubles that we face. He is limitless in His mercy and grace and He invites us to cast our cares upon Him. We are His chosen children – He loves us and wants what is best for us. You see, the world wants us to believe that all is lost, that our case is hopeless, that the battles will never end, that we are less than deserving of a peaceful life. But God has told us over and over again in His word that this is simply not true. We will overcome!

We can hold on to joy — because our hope does not lie in the things of this world or in the systems of this world – but in He who cannot and will not fail; in He who loves truly and perfectly; in He who is our all! Much like those three Hebrew boys who were in the burning furnace, we have to make the choice to believe that there is One that sees us, hears us and will deliver us in His own perfect time. We have to choose to embrace His truth – He is our peace.

Yes, it is painful; it is unfair; it is discouraging — all of it feels so wrong; but don’t lose sight of the truth that it is not contrary to what our Lord has spoken to us. He has foretold that the trials would come; but more than that He has revealed a future victory that no world system will be able to snatch from us. The troubles of this world can touch my flesh and they can prick my heart, but I will not allow them to swallow my heart and He will not let them cover my soul in darkness. I am very grateful that my life is filled with friendships that include people of all races, colors, religious backgrounds – I am blessed to have good friends across the color spectrum. But even if no one down here values me, I know who made me and I know He adores me. Man can hold me in disdain, but He is exalting me as His called out one. I am an overcomer — and I intend to live like it. Make the choice to believe His truths no matter what is happening around you so that you can experience his peace that man cannot understand. The one who dwells within you is greater than any issue that you might face. Don’t lose heart – in the end, you will win!  Yes! In the end He will reign!

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (‭John‬ ‭16‬:‭33‬)

Color Your Day with Gratitude

Today, I woke up Gratefulhappy that gratefulness and acclamation can change my whole outlook in an instant. God is the first person I dialogue with in the morning. Before I open my eyes, before my feet hit the floor; I greet Him with a holy good morning. I thank Him and praise Him for the day ahead and for the nights rest and I feel His presence enter the room! Best part of my day! I realized that because I take this time to thank and adore Him first, I have a good outlook on whatever lies ahead. 

I have a lot to face each day, the work I do does not afford a day off; the people I serve in this role need me operating in His power and wisdom throughout the day. I could choose to stain my day with worry; fretting about a bill that is due; an unpleasant meeting; a home or car repair; a doctors visit; etc. OR I can choose an upgrade! We all like an upgrade! Choosing to start the day in thankfulness will color the rest of your day. There will be problems today; there will be people who grate on your nerves today; there will be office politics that make you cringe today; there will likely be a home or car repair that you have to deal with; but in the midst of all of that is joy! 

There is a song called “Gratefulness” that says ‘I could go on, and on, and on about Your works, because I’m grateful, grateful, so grateful just to praise You Lord!” If you’ve already started your day — just allow your mind right now to recount the works of God in your life and keep thinking about them until you feel His presence with you and your heart turning toward being sincerely thankful. I believe you might find that there is very little to complain about AND you’ll have the bonus of experiencing His presence with you because He dwells in our praise!

Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. (‭Psalms‬ ‭100‬:‭4‬)

Go To The Source

I have a friend, a good friend, who trusts no one.  She hasn’t always been this way, but she has grown callous over the years from people failing her. She has even turned away from fellowship with the Body of Christ because they have not met her needs or expectations. She is dear to me – I am concerned for her and I pray every day that she will see that there is only One who satisfies. As a wife, I know that I put a lot more faith in my husband at the beginning of our marriage than I should have; poor Lloyd had to wear a halo and a superhero suit almost every day. But one day he told me plainly that he was not interested in being my god or my hero — only my husband. We’ve been living in a joyful marriage ever since that realization came to us. Who are you depending on? Who do you expect to be there whenever you call (or text)? Who do you expect to be there when you cry? Who do you expect to defend you? Who do you expect to understand what you are feeling? When your friends disappoint you by not showing up; by not understanding; by not answering the phone; by saying just the opposite of what you need them to say — what is your reaction? We all spend a lot of our time disappointed in people because they don’t do what we need them to do; say what we need them to say; act like we need them to act. People just don’t meet our needs. In our frustrations, it is common to lash out at people – to cut them off from your ‘inner circle’; even to bad mouth them to others. Most of us do not kill people physically, but we do call people ‘dead to us’ because we have been failed by them. It is kind of funny when you think about it — we throw tantrums when others fail us as if we never fail anybody. Laughable! We all fail other people – every day! I don’t know where we all got it wrong, really. The Word of God is clear that He is our sufficiency; that everything that we need is in Him; that He will supply our needs; that He will not fail us. I don’t know where we all got the idea that other people – other fallen beings – other imperfect humans; would be able to satisfy our longings for anything. As for me, I will just go to the source – the The One who cannot fail; who will not forsake; who cannot lie. I will give myself no cause to desire what another person might have that I think I need, rather I will place my needs and desires before my God and King and await his answer and his provision. Before you decide that your friend/family member/co-worker is not worth it because of their failure; redirect yourself – consider going to The Source for your needs. He loves to meet the needs of His children – He is waiting for you to ask.

You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. (‭James‬ ‭4‬:‭2‬)

In His Power

Sometimes it seems that what God is asking us to do is much more than we can bear. God calls us to service, and He calls us to do and accomplish things beyond our capacity; that part is true; but He doesn’t ask us to do it in our own strength or wisdom. We are to rely on His capacity and not our own. He is not at all annoyed when we say to Him “Lord, I am willing. Help me to accomplish it!” As for me this was a hard lesson to learn because I was raised to accomplish things quickly and on my own. When I did not complete a task in a time frame that I considered reasonable, I felt like a failure. Finally I had the good sense to take my ‘failure’ to the Lord, He opened my eyes to see where I had bitten off more than I could chew AND He opened my eyes to see the people around me that could help me. He taught me that there were things that only He could do — things like carrying the troubles of others on my shoulders; things like figuring out how to solve issues in other peoples lives; things like making everybody happy — He taught me a saner way to live and, as a result, the way toward enjoying my life. I learned that when He called me to full time missions, for instance, He wasn’t expecting me to disciple the world in 7 days (in the manner that He created the world). I’m not God — that is quite a concept!! So, I encourage you today to say yes to Him in all things that He asks of you, but before you reach your breaking point; before you get to the part where you quit –stop and invite Him into the situation. Ask Him how to do what He has called you to do. Ask Him who will help you, who is your team. Ask Him to lay out His plan for you. You can’t do it on your own; you can’t do it your own way; you can’t do it in your own power. When you feel the stress of it all in the midst of doing what God has called you to do; give God’s will for you back to Him and let Him direct you in the way you should go. As my mom says all of the time: “He’s a Mighty Good Leader!”

Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that You should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which You swore to their fathers’? (Numbers 11:12)

Trust Him

When Lloyd and I were at Dallas Theological Seminary – we discipled recovering addicts and their wives as they tried to rebuild their marriages. One of the statements I consistently made to them was that I had the sense not to trust my husband, but rather to trust God in all things. I trust God completely. The Lord knows what’s best for me — even more than my beloved husband does — The Lord knows. I trust that the Lord has given Lloyd to me as my husband; I trust that Lloyd follows the Lord’s direction; therefore, I trust Lloyd’s reliance on the Lord. I have applied this same principle to myself, realizing that I can’t trust my heart or my own knowledge to make decisions because my heart is deceitful and wicked AND my knowledge comes from my very limited experience here on this earth. The One who made me, however, has a heart that has nothing wrong in it — His knowledge encompasses all of what has been known; all that is known; and all that will be known. Where He leads me does not always make sense to me but I can testify that as I have learned to rely on His heart and His wisdom, the paths before me have been plain/unencumbered. We all struggle with giving another control of our lives, submission is not easy for anyone. I challenge you to give God a chance to show you what He can do and who He is. He won’t lie to you; His promises are yes and amen; He is unwavering; He is dependable; He desires that your life be rich and full; He has plans that include a hopeful future for you. If that isn’t enough – even when His will for you makes you cry – He is there to comfort you deeply in ways that no other can. When you don’t understand why something has happened, you can rely on the fact that His understanding is far above yours and that not even the worst circumstance is wasted.** As for me, I’ll just trust Him with my heart and with my life. **Thanks Linda Gawthropfor that reminder!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)