Tag Archives: fear

Week #33 Proverbs 1:7

Proverbs 1:7Proverbs 1:7
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7 The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge; But the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.

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“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

After reading Proverbs 1:7Proverbs 1:7
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7 The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge; But the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.

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I’m left with a question for our hearts~ How would the Lord describe my relationship with him?

I believe the honest answer reveals my rate of growth in eternal knowledge and my extent of foolish living in a casual relationship with the Lord.

My desire is to continually live in reverent relationship with the Lord.  One that is characterized by respectful fear that honors His position, His presence, His promises and His priorities.

 

Position~ Above all thing: The King of Kings

Power~ All powerful

Presence~ In heaven & In His children

Promises~ To love, to forgive, to be with, and to provide for His Children

Priorities~ His children are to love Him above all else-obey His commands- & love others as themselves

How does the Lord describe our relationship with Him………….. Committed ~  Casual  ~ Consequential   ?????

Committed:  continual purposeful growth in relationship and eternal knowledge

Casual:  occasional unintentional growth in relationship and knowledge of God

Consequential:   random unsustained grow in relationship and knowledge of God

Will we be purposeful in our relationship with the Lord and grow in the knowledge and experience of His position, power, presence, promises, and priorities for us His children?

Live out your purpose child of the King of Kings!!!

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
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23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week # 26 Proverbs 29:25

Proverbs 29:25Proverbs 29:25
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25 The fear of man proves to be a snare, But whoever puts his trust in Yahweh is kept safe.

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“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

The quote from Lecrae says it all!  Trust in the Lord and live free and safe rather than living for people’s acceptance only to live caged in fear until who you were meant to be dies a slow death.  Live each day free in Christ living out God’s plan for your life!

This has been a personal struggle for me that I shared about in “What will they think?”.  Click here to read more.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
English: World English Bible - WEB

23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week # 24 Psalm 56:3

Fear has the power to grip us to the point of making us believe we are powerless.  Our response to fearful situations reveals our power level and our level of vision clarity  provided by our life lenses that we learned at over the past two weeks.  I know this all too well.  I vividly remember the day I was gripped by fear in a way I had never experienced.

It was a beautiful Summer day in Germany, we woke up that July morning to news of fresh snow fall on the mountain we would be exploring, the Zugspitze.  We took the train up the mountain with great anticipation of the fun and beauty that was before us.  The train alone was exciting for the kids, who were 10, 7re 10, 7
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7 The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the children of Ammon.

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,and 6 years old at the time.   They were excited to see snow since we had just moved to Germany from the state of Georgia.  We were not disappointed.  Everyone was able to walk in the snow and through snowballs, it was joyous.  Then my husband spotted his reason for making the journey— the summit.  He wanted to climb the rock face and touch the cross at the summit.  I gladly supported him.   The children and I remained on the safety of the observation deck where we could enjoy the view as Daddy made his climb and take pictures to record his triumphant accomplishment.  He returned to us so excited and he wanted to take our oldest with him.  Reluctantly, I let her go.  I was trying to convince myself to trust that this was a good decision.  I’m married to a natural risk taker and adventure seeker, unlike myself, and our measure of safe is determined on far different scales.

So against my better judgment off she went with her Daddy.  She returned safely and full of smiles.  Her excitement was contagious so of course her little sister and brother would not be left behind.  One by one they went, with each one it became much harder for me to watch as they climbed the rusty ladder leading to the summit rock face.  My fear grew as I noted the safety precautions that other local families had been using as they climbed.  They linked everyone together with ropes and wore helmets.  I struggled to believe this was still a good idea and began to let fear cloud my vision. I could see my petite 6 year old stretching to reach each bar until she climbed onto the rock face.  Then she took hold of an iron rope that served as protection from falling off the edge.  It started about her waist level as she moved closer to the summit her arm stretched  higher and higher until it was fully above her head holding on.  My heart raced, I was pacing, and gripping my son and daughters hands very tightly.  Then, she let go of the rope.  Now making her way holding only her Daddy’s hand.  At this point I was struggling to verbally encourage myself that it was going to be okay.  She might be on the edge of a mountain summit but she was going to be just fine.  Right Lord, just fine, you are going to keep her safe?  And He did she returned to me full of smiles and excitement that she did it!  She was a big girl!

Then it was time for me to release my baby boy to this adventure.  You would think at this point my trust would have been greater since there were two successfully completed trips.  Rather than trust my husband and the Lord I continued to look through my clouded lenses of fear. The view of what I believed to be true— this was dangerous and my husband is not recognizing the serious hazards he is exposing our children too without any safety equipment.   I just knew the other side was even more dangerous than the side I could see.  I wanted to have control but I wasn’t in control.

Zugspitze summit

That is when it happened.  He crested the top of the ladder and stood up on the rock face.  As he took each step on the mountain, I found myself pulling my girls closer to me and the wall of safety behind us.  I became glued to the wall and forced my daughter to do the same not letting them move to watch them climb.  In my mind somehow this was keeping the situation under control.  I was gripped with fear.  I was acting irrationally.  Tears were swelling in my eyes and I felt breathless.  I was angry that my husband would do this to me.  Why was he willfully putting our children is such a dangerous situation?  My oldest remembers trying to assure me and tell me it was safe up there.  What was keeping me from hearing her and from believing her?  Fear.

Looking back I can see that I was living in low battery mode since we were busy moving overseas and trying to get some exploring done as a family before my husband’s unit deployed.  I was fortunate to have a few moments to myself let alone find time for a regular quiet time and my prayer life was sporadic as well.  My focus was not on my daily relationship with the Lord leading to my blurry vision that opened the door to fear.  I missed out on experiencing the exhilarating moment of the Zugspitze summit as a family because I forgot to recharge my night vision goggles(NVG’s) and they lost there power.  If I had them powered up they would have helped me look at life from God’s perspective—-to live life unafraid of mere mortals.  A  life lived with God in focus and the world slightly blurred.

If I only would have had my NVG’s powered up then I would have been able to view the truth my daughters were trying to help me see.  I was so gripped by fear I wouldn’t let myself even consider what they were telling me.  As I held them tight against the wall they were trying to encourage me— saying: “It’s safe Mommy.  You can’t see it from here but it is flat up top with lots of room to walk and the view is really cool.”

Being bound by fear left me closed off from the truth that was right in front of me.  It is very scary to think I was open to such paralyzing fear.  It truly wasn’t until months  later that I realized how I had masked the truth of the situation.  I was sure that I was the only one with the truth.  How could I be wrong?  But I was very wrong.  That situation opened my eyes to some very serious trust issues I had.   I thought I trusted God, but did I fully trust Him with everything?  I thought I trusted my husband, but did I truly trust him with our children?  The truth remains, only when we are fully trusting and believing in God’s sovereignty  are we able to walk through the darkness of this world unafraid, cross the tightropes of life with balance, and climb to the mountain summits with confidence and courage.

Let’s live our lives abundantly on full power with our “spiritual heart full of love for God and His people, and a trusting daily relationship with Him.”   Remembering to recharge and “strap on our NVG’s to help us clearly see the Lord at work and keep trusting that He does and will work all things for good” when we wander into the fearful places of life.  Fear has no grip in a heart and mind that trust God to work all things for good.  Let’s practice our self defense moves—- powered up with trust in God with clear vision allowing us to avoid and escape the assault of fear.  We will reverently fear the Lord alone because “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”(Proverbs 1:7Proverbs 1:7
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7 The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge; But the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.

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) and the “fear of man will prove to be a snare”(Proverbs 29:25Proverbs 29:25
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25 The fear of man proves to be a snare, But whoever puts his trust in Yahweh is kept safe.

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).

What will we chose today trust or fear according to Psalm 56: 3-4Psalm 56: 3-4
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3 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. 4 In God, I praise his word. In God, I put my trust. I will not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?

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?

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
English: World English Bible - WEB

23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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Week # 21 Ephesians 2: 8-10

Did you have an opportunity to share your story last week?  If not, I’m sure an occasion will be presented soon.  I love the way last weeks verse, Matthew 28: 19-20Matthew 28: 19-20
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19 Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

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, compliments  Ephesians 2:8-10Ephesians 2:8-10
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8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, that no one would boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.

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(if this is your first time joining us click here to read more).  Both of these scriptures direct the focus in our life to Christ working in us for the purposes of God’s kingdom.  How does your story boast of God’s handiwork?

Sometimes that is an easy question to answer and other times it is difficult depending on the season of life we are in.  When our answer doesn’t come easy we should take time to reflect on how the Lord has worked in our lives in the past.  A purposeful pause might be just what we need right now as we are on the edge of entering the second half of 2017.

A good place to start might be with asking ourselves how has God’s free gift of grace impacted our lives?  Our answer to this question will reveal if we are accepting His grace freely and are living according to what He has created us, in Christ Jesus, to do.  An honest reflection requires us to start by defining God’s grace according to His standards.  Why?  Because, it tends to get muddled up when we try to define it within human parameters.  What do I mean by muddled up?

Well, we tend to want to continuously tie an “if– then” condition to grace.  For example, in my Sunday School Class, an illustration of restaurant tipping is often used to differentiate between God’s grace and an individual’s grace standard.  God’s grace standard is given freely without connection to if the individual deserves His grace.  God graciously provided salvation for us before we did anything to deserve it.  We receive God’s grace through faith, of any size, by accepting His offer and trusting His ability to freely gift us eternal salvation.

The tipping illustration places us in a service providing restaurant.  The person serving our table has a level of faith that their customer will provide a “monetary tip” for services rendered to the best of their ability.  What should our standard for tipping our server be?  As a paying customer we have been conditioned to measure the service provided by various personal standards.  How often are we trapped by our engrained service standards and “tip” based more on what they deserve rather than freely tipping with grace to bless our server?  From the conversations in my class I can tell you grace tipping is more of an acceptation rather than the standard. This topic is met by  some of the following comments:   “If I get bad service how is the person ever going to know they are terrible?”  or “I only give what they deserve, I shouldn’t have to tip, it’s the owners job to pay their staff.” This is meant only as an example— please don’t feel judged if your not a grace tipper.

I hope you didn’t get lost in this illustration.  The point I hope we will all take away is—- grace is given without consideration of merit and in many cases extended when by all measure when not deserved.  God’s free grace is absent of any “if or then” calculations.   But,  if we are focused on living life still trying to “deserve or earn” God’s grace.  Then, our understanding could be compared to believing that God is more like the paying customer who gives grace based on what we have done or are doing.  Does this belief align with scripture?  According to Ephesians 2:8-10Ephesians 2:8-10
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8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, that no one would boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.

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the answer is, no.  Paul states very clearly that we are saved by grace through our faith in God NOT by anything we do beyond freely receiveing it all, because even our faith comes from God.

If our very faith, is the basis of receiving grace, comes from the Lord what is our role?   I propose that it is to act on the faith we are given through belief in Christ and to obey his commands.  Jesus gave us our first step when he revealed the greatest commands of the Lord in Matthew 22:36 -40Matthew 22:36 -40
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36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 A second likewise is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

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—  first, to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind and second to love your neighbor like you love yourself.  When we obey these commands(John 14: 23 -24John 14: 23 -24
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23 Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him. 24 He who doesn’t love me doesn’t keep my words. The word which you hear isn’t mine, but the Father’s who sent me.

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) it leads us into deep relationship with the Lord, increases our faith, and pours out into our love for him, ourselves, and our neighbors.  When we embrace the faith He has given to us we are able to live out His commands in love through His free grace.

Personally the concept of free grace was not one that I embraced immediately when I first believed Jesus is my Savior.  I spent many years believing that I had to earn God’s grace.  As I held onto this belief I felt like I couldn’t measure up or do enough for God and others.  My feelings of inadequacy became the substance of the walls that I built.  Barriers that separated me from experiencing God’s free grace and who He wanted to be in my life.  I blocked His love because I didn’t feel like I was good enough.  I couldn’t forgive myself, so I questioned  how or why the God of the universe would forgive me, love me, or even listen to me?  It breaks my heart to think of all the time I wasted behind a wall of unbelief, fear, and insecurity.  Maybe you can relate to the walls I built in my life or maybe you have other walls built to keep God at a distance.  If you do and are still struggling with this belief my prayer is that you will chose to believe in His unconditional love for you, as His child.  That you will act on the mustard seed of faith He has given you to receive His free gift of grace today.  It is as simple as us telling Him we believe in Jesus His Son and we receive His gift of grace— the key that brings us freedom from our sin.  After that we are free to continue to act on our faith and seek His help to obey His commands.  Now, let the boasting begin— of how God’s grace has invaded our life and caused us to live as the handiwork God created us to be in Christ!

Does boasting always mean through words?  Let’s consider how we can boast of God’s grace by extending grace to others through forgiveness, unconditional love, kindness, and maybe even some grace tipping.

How will you express the free grace you have been given this week?

Who needs to hear your story of grace and freedom?

Join the conversation I would love to hear your ideas!

**If you find your mind wondering back to the question of our source of faith being God himself?  I encourage you to answer your questions.   Here are some digging deeper scriptures for personal study. (Acts 3:16Acts 3:16
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16 By faith in his name has his name made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which is through him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

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, Acts 15:9-11Acts 15:9-11
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9 He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore why do you tempt God, that you should put a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, TR adds “Christ” just as they are.”

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, Acts 26:18Acts 26:18
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18 to open their eyes, that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

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, Romans 1:17Romans 1:17
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17 For in it is revealed God’s righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, “But the righteous shall live by faith.”

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, Romans 4: 1-8Romans 4: 1-8
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4 1 What then will we say that Abraham, our forefather, has found according to the flesh? 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not toward God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 4 Now to him who works, the reward is not counted as grace, but as debt. 5 But to him who doesn’t work, but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also pronounces blessing on the man to whom God counts righteousness apart from works, 7 “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, Whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man whom the Lord will by no means charge with sin.”

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, Romans 4:16-17Romans 4:16-17
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16 For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace, to the end that the promise may be sure to all the seed, not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all. 17 As it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations.” This is in the presence of him whom he believed: God, who gives life to the dead, and calls the things that are not, as though they were.

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, Romans 5:1-2Romans 5:1-2
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5 1 Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; 2 through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

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, James 2:21-22James 2:21-22
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21 Wasn’t Abraham our father justified by works, in that he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith worked with his works, and by works faith was perfected;

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) **

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

Welcome if you are joining me for the first time. This post is part of my weekly series “Wisdom Wellspring”. Take a moment to visit the page to learn about the heart behind the series and view previous posts.

Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
English: World English Bible - WEB

23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

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What will they think?

 

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My sweet Sol and Kate.

Can you relate to my “Sol experience”? It’s all about the art of dog walking. My preference is with my sweet Border Collie Kate. It is a tranquil time of reflecting through the wooded trail behind our home. Now it has become a “Sol experience”. What is a Sol experience you ask? Well it’s walking the family rescue dog ,Sol–a “Jack-a-be”, or Jack-Russell and Beagle combo. The first time my husband and I walked her we were mortified. We had just become “those dog owners”.

You know them. You’ve seen them, and when you see them, you wonder, “Who is walking whom?” “Those dog owners” have no control over their dog. You consider turning around to avoid them altogether. It’s comical and scary at the same to time as they approach. Their dog is lunging forward with every step at the end of the leash no matter how long or short it is, huffing and puffing, straining to get to the next thing, zigzagging across the path, whimpering excessively, and barking. If you have experienced it then you can relate to my “Sol experience”.

Sol does it all, but everything becomes excessively exaggerated when we walk near another dog, she spots a squirrel, or notices a bird. The looks I get– and oh, the advice I get– when I’m trying to train her. All the time, Sol is barking and usually getting more aggressive looking by the moment. It is comical at times, because the advice is so important to girl-1245678_1280share they willing my agony of this incessant dog barking performance for what feels like an eternity. I nod my head and repeat, “She is a rescue in training.” I smile as much as I can through my complete embarrassment, all the time wondering to myself, “What does this person think of me?”

Growing up the same question seemed to always be on the grown-ups minds too. I would get questioned all the time. Should you being doing that? Should you say that? Why didn’t you________? With the follow on question/statement “because what do you think they think about you after_________?” I know the questions all came with the best intentions but they developed a habit I’m still struggling to break.
I wonder if you can relate? I became hyper sensitive to what I think people might think about my choices and behavior walking-349991__340big and small. It led to constantly evaluating and wondering if I was good enough in other people’s eyes. I became entangled in the web of real and perceived expectations in my mind. In our Christian walk it is important what others think of us to an extent. But I can get wrapped up in seeking to please others rather than the Lord. Especially when I worry about what they “might” think.

So let’s take a moment to be honest with our selves. How often do your thoughts wander to “What do they think, or will they think about me?” When you are deciding what to wear, what to post on social media, where to go, what to buy, etc., how often has that determined what you would do or not do? If you are like me your answer is images-25much more than I would like to admit. It is amazing the power other peoples’ opinions, perceived or true, that I will give others over my life–even a stranger’s opinion. At times I may even find my self fearfully making choices in hopes to not offend and disappoint people. This fear robs me of full enjoyment to experience life in freedom. Proverbs 29:25Proverbs 29:25
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25 The fear of man proves to be a snare, But whoever puts his trust in Yahweh is kept safe.

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“ Fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.” Since I discovered this truth images-27I have been growing in my ability to recognize my fearful thought patterns. It’s a work in progress but day-by-day I am getting more skilled at “taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ”(2 Corinthians 10: 52 Corinthians 10: 5
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5 throwing down imaginations and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ;

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).

It is a transforming process. I’m thankful I don’t have to do in my own strength and knowledge. It is the Holy Spirits job to transform me from the inside out making me desire to be obedient to this foreign way of living (2 Thessalonians 2:132 Thessalonians 2:13
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13 But we are bound to always give thanks to God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth;

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). And just as I think I’m taking ground on this “fear of human opinion” disability I realize I have a long way to go. I need of a make over of my self-centered thoughts. The Lord wants to tree-84573__340completely remove this fear from my wardrobe. He wants to refit me with a style that is more flattering for His warrior-princess.

What woman would ever say “no” to a wardrobe makeover? Not me! The new designer label is “Fear of the Lord”! Just the name sounds fit for a warrior-princess. My first peak at the collection left me breathless. I would be stepping into a whole new way of thinking. He no longer wanted me to measure my choices and behavior by what others would think of me. He is asking me to be more concerned for what my choices would make others think of Him. Making this change would reflect righteousness from the hummel-1437243__340inside out. I would be putting on my spiritual garments of praise, robe of righteousness, and crown of salvation to send the message of love and hope found in Christ. My Christ- focused choices will spread His fragrance, thereby providing the opportunity to lead others in the direction to hope in my King. The new decision questions I will be asking myself are: What message am I about to send? Does it give others a glimpse of God’s love? Will it point others to Him? Can it send the fragrance of life in Jesus? How will it speak to those who need a loving God?

The way I live every part of my life sends a message. Will I live each part out in such a way that I send a message, giving off a fragrance that points others in the direction of their Creator to discover His love for them? Even in my “Sol experience” I need to turn my thoughts to the Lord. In what area of your life is he offering you a wardrobe makeover? Will you accept the invitation and receive the gift?images-2

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Together!

I’d love to hear about your “Sol experience”. Please pray for Sol and I in our obedience school!

Here are some other scriptures the Lord is using in my make-over process:

Philippians 4:8Philippians 4:8
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8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.

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- “….think on such things…”
Romans 13:14Romans 13:14
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14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, for its lusts.

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- “…clothe self with the Lord Jesus Christ..”
Colossians 3:12-14Colossians 3:12-14
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12 Put on therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do. 14 Above all these things, walk in love, which is the bond of perfection.

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- “…clothe self with compassion…over all of these virtues put on love…”

 

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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Courage to Reflect

 

I remember that Sunday morning well. The summer sun peaked through the bedroom blinds before my eyes were ready to greet the day. Sounds of a squirmy infant and toddler encouraged one more attempt at squeeze just 5 more minutes of sleep before I faced the activities of the day. Then it happened– the whimpers of a hungry little guy. Before I knew I was awake I found myself settled in the rocker with a nursing bundle in my arm and my snuggly brown eyed girl in my lap. After the morning snuggle we were off to the races to get everyone, Dad, Mom, and three kiddos under 4, ready and in the van for church.

At some point, I called out “Where is Erika?” Our brown eyed, 19month old was not under foot and too quiet for my comfort. After an unsuccessful, thorough search of the three story home, panic set in Brian’s and I’s heart. Then came the knock at the door. Brian opened the door to find little Erika standing there, hand in hand, with a wombonding-1407833_1280an he did not recognize. She proceeded to ask in a sweet voice “Is this your little girl? I found her wandering along the road.” He immediately lifted Erika into his arms and held her tightly while answering “Yes, thank you so much!” When he turned to follow-up with the kind woman, she was nowhere to be found. It was like she had vanished. He and Erika looked down the street and around the corner, but it was like she was gone without a trace. Brian was puzzled and smiled as Erika announced, “Bye-bye, all gone, bye-bye” in her sweet little voice.

He rounded the corner of the stairs to share the mystery of Erika’s morning adventure outside. After hearing the story of the disappearing lady, Sara, our 4 year old, declared, “She’s an angel! She brought her back!” Brian responded “Your right Sara. She must be an angel, because I’ve never seen her before and she disappeared so quickly.” We took a moment to say a prayer, thanking the Lord for protecting Erika and a blessing be given to the angel that returned Erika safely. Then off to church we went with full hearts.

Has your desire ever taken you on a dangerous adventure like Erika that summer morning? She had a strong desire to go outside that morning, and she was inspired by the sunshine to go explore. All she needed for her adventure to begin was the courage to open the door and take that step out. In my previous post, The Journey, I talked about having the “courage to take the first step”, following through on the desires and inspirations the Lord places in your heart. Today I want to follow up with having the courage to challenge your hearts desire. Proverbs 4:23Proverbs 4:23
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23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it is the wellspring of life.

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instructs: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Have you ever let your guard down? Have you ever regretted doing or saying something? My answer is a resounding “Yes!” I have reduced the regularity of such regrets and moments of a lax guard over my heart and mind with the Slide4practice of self-reflection and others to help keep me accountable in my walk with Christ. It takes courage to be honest with yourself and listen with an open heart when you ask the Lord to search your heart and reveal any wickedness or pride that lingers. It takes courage to align your thought life to Philippians 4:8Philippians 4:8
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8 Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.

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. Are my thoughts focused on whatever is true, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy? When I’m on a short time line and my family is on their own time line, my thoughts are not very lovely. Or when I’m driving and the drivers around me seem to have forgotten what it means to merge, yield, or go at a green light; I struggle to turn my thoughts to admirable truth. The natural human tendency is to pridefully elevate my needs above the needs of others. It takes courage to be selfless and keep my selfish desires in check.

I struggled with my desire to elevate myself above my husband in the situation of Eriblue-925209__340ka escaping on her adventure that summer morning. After all “He was responsible for her…she never would have got out if it was my responsiblity.” I’m thankful I had the courage to catch myself in the unloving thought pattern and to change it to one of praiseworthy thoughts before my thoughts became my words.

Luke 6:42Luke 6:42
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42 Or how can you tell your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck of chaff that is in your eye,’ when you yourself don’t see the beam that is in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck of chaff that is in your brother’s eye.

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“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”

 

Have the courage to guard your heart and reflect on the purity of your desire.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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The Power of Self

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“Time to reflect”

Can you walk in a straight line? How about with your eyes closed? With our eyes open and something to focus on, yes, most of us are able to walk in a straight line. But when the ability to see and focus on our destination is removed or interrupted we will end up off course.  Is your life still on course? Has your focus been interrupted?  When is the last time you purposefully carved out time to quietly self-reflect with the Lord? The most common time for us to pause to contemplate where our life is going and consider changing direction is when the year draws to a close. I am learning the value of taking this time more often than once a year.  For me, self-reflection is an effective tool the Lord uses to help keep my life on track and arrive at my destination without too many detours.

Recently, in an almost forced pause for reflection, I was faced with a question: Does the way I live reveal that my identity and self worth are established in Christ? The honest answer was that I’m not sure it is as recognizable as I would

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Psalm 39:23-24Psalm 39:23-24
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like it to be-which meant it was time to get to work. In my heart I knew that my identity and value are in Christ. However, when I was honest with myself my outward behavior showed that I believe differently.  I was seeking acceptance from this world. In some areas of my life I had put greater value on other’s opinions of success (as measured by this world) than over my unmatchable worth in Christ. The source of my true identity and self-worth were in conflict. My heart was reminding me that I am secure in who God says I am; his child, enough for him, loved, and the list goes on. My mind was measuring differently and offering its own list “You are lacking compared to….”; “You are out of style compared to…”, “You don’t have enough  education to…”, People don’t really like you.”, and that list went as well. Do you ever experience this conflict?

What does the world require of you to achieve its standard of worthiness? By what standard   do you measure and align your identity and your worth?   The world’s or Christ’s?

Here are some verses to remind you of your identity in Christ:

Colossians 2:10Colossians 2:10
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10 and in him you are made full, who is the head of all principality and power;

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“ In Him (Christ) you have been made complete and He is the head over all rule and authority”

1 Corinthians 6:111 Corinthians 6:11
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11 Such were some of you, but you were washed. But you were sanctified. But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.

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“And that is what some of you were.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Christ and by the Spirit of God.”

 Also-  1 John 4:41 John 4:4
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4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.

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;   Ephesians 1:3-13Ephesians 1:3-13
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3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ; 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love; 5 having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire, 6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely bestowed favor on us in the Beloved, 7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him 10 to an administration of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, in him; 11 in whom also we were assigned an inheritance, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his will; 12 to the end that we should be to the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ: 13 in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the Gospel of your salvation,—in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,

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;  Ephesians 2:2-13Ephesians 2:2-13
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2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience; 3 among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ , 6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus; 8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, that no one would boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them. 11 Therefore remember that once you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “uncircumcision” by that which is called “circumcision,” ; 12 that you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off are made near in the blood of Christ.

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Do you ever struggle to be truly honest with yourself and minimize your choices?  During my forced reflection time I wrestled with being honest with myself. I had to admit that trying harder was not the answer.  I had to finally surrender to the Holy images-22Spirit’s transforming power and fight the urge to rationalize my thoughts and behavior. Opening my hands and releasing control,  I chose to trust that he would gently show me the source of my weakening witness for Christ.  And he did. The honest truth was I had experienced a pretty painful rejection. Until that time of stillness, I had never named it, but that is what it was. Rejection.

Did you know that the fear of rejection is one of the greatest human fears?? Once I openly assessed my behavior and thought process it became clear, to me I had been rejected. Naming it allowed me to recognize how my thought life shifted from focusing on Christ’s best to my “best” according to the world. The transition blurred my unquestioned security in Christ. This lead to a search for cropped-IMG_2063.jpgreassurance of my value in this world. When the fog of selfish thinking was removed from my eyes, I could see clearly how pride had crept into a corner of my heart. Living in the haze of pride it gave me permission to behave and make choices that I never thought I would. Thank God nothing earth shattering occurred, but enough happened to leave me embarrassed and regretful as I look back. I find assurance and comfort in 2 Corinthians 7:102 Corinthians 7:10
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10 For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world works death.

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“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

I sought after and put more value on the acceptance and approval of people around me that at the end of the day, wouldn’t even remember we had crossed paths. (John12: 43 “for they loved human praise more than praise from God.”; Proverbs 29:25Proverbs 29:25
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25 The fear of man proves to be a snare, But whoever puts his trust in Yahweh is kept safe.

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) I images-23pushed aside God’s unconditional love as my creator, the one who has great plans for my life (Jeremiah 29:11-12Jeremiah 29:11-12
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11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end. 12 You shall call on me, and you shall go and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

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), and accepts me just as I am. I took my eyes off Jesus and put them on myself. Faced with this truth I was left  to stumble through the questions: How did I not see this happening? Why didn’t anyone say anything to me?

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“Love covers all.”

My answer:  I couldn’t see because I was living out of a place of hurt. It was easier to choose to justify myself and blame the people who were causing my pain for my poor choices.  This included making sure other people in my life knew I was being wrongly treated.  I responded pridefully, rather than trust God to heal my hurt heart and ego. I rationalized that my feelings were justified, and I ended up stuck in a cycle of rejection, hurt, looking for assurance.  Around and around it went. The situation didn’t change, but I became more effective in dealing with my response.  Many months later when I finally gave the situation fully to the Lord I had the strength to put  change in action. The most perplexing factor was that during this whole situation I had not drifted from my involvement with my daily devotions or Bible study. I was living in a false security and blindly choosing not to fully lay that corner of my hurt heart and wounded identity in His arms for restoration. I was going through the motions in that area of my heart.

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“Find your power in your armor!”

Have you ever caught yourself in a similar heart situation? If yes, then you can attest to the sense of peace that comes as you practice the process of surrender. I had to surrender my hurt and release my hesitation for future interactions. I had to forgive and release my need for restitution. I had to repent of pridefuly seeking approval of man and live for the approval of only my Savior.
The enemy is so subtle in his ways. This is just another reminder that we need to live our life as the Warrior-Princess we are and stand fully armed for battle everyday. “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against he powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12Ephesians 6:12
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12 For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

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Remember~ Armor up and lay my pride down!

Take time to reflect with the Lord by focusing on Psalm 139:23-24Psalm 139:23-24
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23 Search me, God, and know my heart. Try me, and know my thoughts. 24 See if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.

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he will meet you in the stillness of your heart and lead you in ways everlasting.

Be Alert~ Stay Strong~ Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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BREATHE!

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“Oxygen is essential to life”

How is your spiritual breathing? Have you been holding your breath too long? Take a deep breath. Hold it…..keep holding it….okay BREATHE. Did just the thought of holding your breath make you anxious? I don’t like the feeling I get after holding my breath for too long.  My heart starts to race and I begin to feel light headed. Why do you think that is? Because breathing oxygen is essential to life and our breath rate is usually in rhythm with our heart rate. They are dependent on each other to do their job- provide O2 to the body.

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“Maintains strength in our spiritual life”

Like physical breathing is essential to our physical life, taking time to spiritually BREATHE is essential to our spiritual life. Living out my identity in Christ should be as automatic as each breath I take, right? But why isn’t it? Oxygen taken in with each new breath is essential to maintain the strength of life in our body– from all the tiny cells to, each major organ.  Likewise, the way we live out our identity in Christ maintains the strength of our spiritual life. I am challenged by the harsh reality that I am not as immediatly aware or alarmed when my spiritual breathing has been interrupted as I am when I am forced to hold my breath for more than 30 seconds.  I can begin to feel the panic rise up inside, as I desire to release the old air and receive the new to avoid loss of consciousness or ultimately loss of life.

So what do I mean by spiritual breathing? Well recently I’ve been challenged with principles to help maintain spiritual balance in my life or taking time to BREATHE. I tend to put principles into acrostics making them easier to remember and put into practice. Here is my BREATHE acrostic:

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“BREATHE”

Believe God is able ~Remember you are redeemed and release ~Everyday eternally focused ~Available and aware ~Trust with thanksgiving ~Humbly resist ~Exhale ~

When I keep each of these “BREATHE” principles active in my life I am strengthening my spiritual life through responsible relationship with the Lord by living my identity in Him. I notice that I become spiritually oxygen deprived when any of the principles are out of balance or rhythm. Let’s take a brief look at these principles.

Believe God is able. This principle challenges us to keep who God is in alignment with who we believe He is. Sometimes this looks like remembering that He is the great I AM who holds all that is dear to me in his all-powerful, majestic hands. This principle asks us- “What do you really believe about God’s ability to provide and care for you and all that you hold close?” This of course cramps the style of any of us control freaks, right? ~Psalm 46:10Psalm 46:10
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10 “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.”

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“Be still and know that I am God…” ~ Deuteronomy 7:9Deuteronomy 7:9
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9 Know therefore that Yahweh your God, he is God, the faithful God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with them who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations,

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“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God…”

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“He is faithful!”

Remember you are redeemed and release. Knowing who God is and remembering he has redeemed us as his daughters is the foundation of one’s identity in Christ. When I reflect on the power and sacrifice that were exercised for my redemption it calls me to a place of surrender and release. I surrender to his never-ending love where I am able to experience his gentle kindness. In this sweet relationship I release my hold on the shame of my sinfulness and allow him to wash me in his forgiveness. Remembering this also releases me from the snare and trap of the enemy leaving me free in Christ. ~1 Peter 1: 17-211 Peter 1: 17-21
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17 If you call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judges according to each man’s work, pass the time of your living as strangers here in reverent fear: 18 knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a faultless and pure lamb, the blood of Christ; 20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of times for your sake, 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God.

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“…live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear…. it was not with perishable things …you were redeemed from the empty way of life…but with the precious blood of Christ…He was chosen before the creation of the world… through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” ~ Ephesians 1:7-8Ephesians 1:7-8
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7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

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“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding.” ~ 1John1: 9-10 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us…”

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“A new day dawns with eternity at heart!”

Everyday is eternally focused. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”(Mathew 6:21) These words of Jesus ring true don’t they? Keeping our heart and head focused on where our real eternal treasure is difficult and takes determination. I struggle to fix my eyes on what is unseen because of the lure of the seen is so tangible and tempting even though it is temporary. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-182 Corinthians 4:16-18
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16 Therefore we don’t faint, but though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory; 18 while we don’t look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

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“ Therefore do not lose heart…outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day…our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen…what is unseen is eternal.”

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“Here I am Lord!”

Available and aware. This principle reminds us “it’s not all about me”. Though I will make plans for my days and weeks it is the desire of my heart that the Lord will direct my feet. Some days it is evident that the Lord has better plans for the day than I do. My response to his redirection reveals my heart attitude toward being available for the Lord’s purposes and determined to press on in difficult circumstances. It also is evidence of my sensitivity to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. I must remain available to do the good works the Lord has prepared for me in advance.  I also need to be aware of his leading and the needs of others in my life. ~Philippians 3: 13-14Philippians 3: 13-14
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13 Brothers, I don’t regard myself as yet having taken hold, but one thing I do. Forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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“…Forgetting what is behind and straining…I press on toward the goal…for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” John 14:26John 14:26
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26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you.

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“…the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send… will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you.”

Trust with thanksgiving. Philippians 4:6-7Philippians 4:6-7
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6 In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

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sums this up. We are not to be anxious or worry about anything. Rather we are to trust God wholeheartedly with everything. To not be anxious means trusting God through petitioning in prayer and believing he is able with a thankful attitude. This is not easy but I do breathe more easily when I practice this principle.

Humbly resist. Resist what? The temptation of pride to take control and live like I don’t believe God is able. Pride is the root of all sin and it is the hardest for us to detect in ourself. A heart of humility helps us live selflessly and resistslide1 the tendency to control and capitalize for personal benefit. Proverbs 16:18Proverbs 16:18
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18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.

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“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 3:7Proverbs 3:7
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7 Don’t be wise in your own eyes. Fear Yahweh, and depart from evil.

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“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” 1John 2: 16-17John 2: 16-17
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16 To those who sold the doves, he said, “Take these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a marketplace!” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will eat me up.”

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“For everything in the world- lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.”

Exhale. Exhale everything into His hands and exclaim His excellence. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6Proverbs 3:5-6
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5 Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, And don’t lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, And he will direct your paths.

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) When we take time to exhale, we are able to maintain an attitude of worship and experience the peace of the Lord in relationship with him. I am able to see him at work in the big and little things of life. Then I am moved to worship him with my life.

Take the time to review the principle verses that speak to where you are in your relationship with the Lord.

Armor Up, pride down, Pray Always

Warrior~Princess Sherry

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