Jul 6, 2011

Dead Weight

“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” James 1:21 (NIV)
Ever have a reoccurring bad attitude drain the life right out of you?  It can cause your spirits to wither and your joy to die, leaving you limp and lifeless like a water-deprived plant.
I was feeling that way recently when I came across the secret to helping plants thrive is called “dead-heading.” Here is how it is done: As soon as any beautiful blooms begin to whither, fade, or turn brown, they must be removed.
I’ve discovered it is a tedious, never-ending task. Just when I think I have removed every dried up blossom, the next day a dozen more appear. But if I want my flowers to keep blossoming, I have to dead-head daily because the deceased blooms sap nutrition and strength from the core of the plant. They rob the flowers of energy that could be used for new growth.
However, if the dead and debilitating weight is properly plucked, the stems will give gorgeous petals throughout the entire life of the plant.
As I pluck my dead flower heads, I am reminded of my life with Christ. There are places in my heart, thoughts in my mind, and actions in my will that stem from bad attitudes. And they are nothing but dead weight to my spiritual life.
Often these deep-rooted thought patterns and their companions — doubt, fear, wrong choices, old habits, nursed grudges, or current conflicts — threaten to choke our growth and prevent us from displaying the splendor God intends for us to show.
We start our day hopeful yet give in to the hurtful. Our self-doubts or judgments of others often take root in negative thoughts and counterproductive actions that not only have the potential to ruin our day, but also affect those around us. However, if we are intentional in nipping these at their first appearance, we will be more likely to experience new growth in our walk with Christ and health in our relationships.
        James tells us to get rid of such issues and instead to humbly plant God’s word deep in our hearts. So, instead of dwelling on a temptation in our thoughts and allowing it to morph into sin, we quietly focus our hearts on a truth from scripture such as “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 5:14)
Dwelling on scripture empowers, rather than drains us. It is spiritual dead-heading at its finest. This switch in our thought pattern can save us from wrong choices, unhealthy relationships and self-inflicted heartbreak.
Could your heart use a dead-heading session? Are there faded blooms you have been carrying around that are sapping your spiritual energy and strength, causing heartache and tears? Get rid of the bad. Plant God’s good Word in that spot instead. Then stand back — patiently now — and watch beautiful blooms begin to appear

When You Are Ready

Most people have heard the statement 'God will not put more on us than we can bear.'  And many people complete that with saying 'I just wish He didn't trust me so much.'
            1 Corinthians 10:13 says; No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
            In this scripture, the word 'tempted' means to try or test ones faith, or to prove or test one's feelings or judgments.  God is just and He will not put us in situations we are not ready for, even if we don't always know we are ready for them.
            I remember when I was first born-again I had an experience that I certainly did not feel ready for.  I was asleep one night and suddenly I felt something come into my room.  I looked up and there was a demonic spirit standing in my door - I saw it with my physical eyes.  Scared me silly.  The next day I asked my Pastor why that had happened and she said 'God wouldn't have allowed it if you weren't ready for it.' 
            I certainly did not feel ready but obviously it didn't scare me away from walking with God and desiring to walk in the supernatural. 
            God protects His people until they are ready for certain tests and trials.  It always amazes me when I think back to when I was a 'baby' Christian, how easy it was to get prayers answered, and it seemed like God just poured out His blessings on me every time I prayed.  It also seemed like I got away with a lot more stuff.  You know what I mean.
            He knows when we are ready...and He knows when we are not ready for certain things.  And He wants us to come through the tests and trials with victory even more than we do.  In Exodus 13:17 the word says:  Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by the way of the land of Philistines, although it was near; for God said, 'Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.' 
            God took His people a certain way because He knew they were not ready to face war.  He did not want them to fear and go back; therefore He protected them, even though it was a longer way.  They did not see war until God knew they were ready.
            You see His goodness and mercy in this scripture, God does not put us in positions we are not ready for, He doesn't even allow us to go into positions we are not ready for...at least if we are listening to Him and following His way.
            God will keep you away from challenges that you are not ready to face.  He will only allow challenges if He knows you are ready to face them and overcome them AND come out with total and COMPLETE victory.  He never sets us up to fail - He only sets us up to grow.  I would never send my daughter to do something she couldn't handle, neither does God.  Remember, God never sets us up to fail; He only sets us up to grow.
            Over the past few weeks God has taken some things out of my life.  First He told me to get rid of my television.  I did that and spent a lot more time with God.  Then a couple weeks went by and He told me to get rid of a laptop at home, so I wouldn't work at home.  I got rid of the laptop and spent even more time with God.  I was restless a few days but it passed and I began to enjoy the silence and the peace it brought. 
Then one morning I was standing at my kitchen thinking about how I had done all these things and God spoke to my spirit and said 'I'm going to need you to fast for three days.'  Now this was two days before Bryson's birthday party...you know...the one with the cook-out.  I said to God 'God, why do you keep raising the bar?'  And He replied 'Because I know how high you can jump.'  I loved that.
            Only God knows how strong you really are - only God knows how high you can jump.  Only God knows if you are really ready for a challenge, test or trial.   Trust Him to never lead you the wrong direction and remember, He want you to pass the test with flying colors even more than you want to...otherwise you would not have come this way at all.