3 O you poor and silly and thoughtless and unreflecting and senseless Galatians! Who has fascinated or bewitched or cast a spell over you, unto whom—right before your very eyes—Jesus Christ (the Messiah) was openly and graphically set forth and portrayed as crucified?
1 Corinthians 15:33
New Living Translation
“Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
I have always heard it isn’t what your life is, it is the attitude you face it with. It is like seeing the glass either half full or half empty. The first part of my life I was a ‘see the glass half full’ kind of person. For a time in my adult life I became a ‘see the glass the half empty’. Thank God, He got me back to the positive, faith filled way of seeing things. Even now I can still slip back to the ‘seeing the glass half empty’, but thank God He is still there to bring me back around and that attitude is almost extinct in me.
Recently, I did have a relapse in my attitude because my life has been forced into a simplification that is beyond anything I have ever known before. At first, after our house sold and we were forced to live in our travel trailer, I looked at it as an adventure. But, when that adventure began to turn into not just a month or two, but MONTHS, the adventurous aspect of it began to wane.
I felt a despondency beginning to try to overtake me. I began to think of what it would be like if this turned into years! I lost the adventurous, this is fun, a perpetual camp out attitude and I began to feel panicked and desperate to find a house with a concrete slab instead of tires!
One day recently, as I lay flat on my back…I had thrown it out…the thought came to me, “When did this become hard? I was actually loving it at first!” I realized I had crossed over from faith to fear. I had crossed over from trust to ‘Another one of your doozies, Juliana!’ Oh, how the devil loves to play that broken record over and over in my mind.
God began to show me all I had done RIGHT! Wow!! That is a new concept on this thing!! I sold my home when God said to…obedience is a major step in the right direction! I sold when I didn’t know where we were going to end up…total and blind trust…another God pleasing thing! I had learned to live with less and with true simplicity. All the clutter was gone from my life and God wanted the same of my spiritual and emotional life, not just my physical.
Living a life of simplicity is wonderful!! You can live without things you never thought you could! I had no idea how much junk we had accumulated over the years. Books, books, and more books that I didn’t even remember I had, much less did I read them! Crochet yarn piled almost to the ceiling…great gift for a knitter friend of mine since I only crochet once a year! Clothes from the 80s…literally! I could go on, but this is a blog not a book!
As I began to decide to think of what to throw away, give away, and keep my questions to myself were, “Have I used it in the last year? Is it an heirloom? Is it necessary?” If my answer was yes to any of those, it stayed…very little stayed. Those three questions brought such great simplicity and joy to my life!
By the time hubby and I moved into the trailer, we were down to a spring/summer wardrobe ( the fall/winter is in storage) that consisted of 2 weeks worth of clothes and accessories. I have a section in my closet for the casual, semi-dressy, and Sunday clothes. One closet! That alone, amazed me and it relieved me!!
No more frantic searches on Sundays for my black travelers pants and that blouse I haven’t worn in a year, but I remembered it when I burped from my last bite of pizza…yeah, that had to be what jogged my memory! I had minimized and simplified and ‘oh what a relief it is’!
Suddenly, I realized God wanted the same from me in my mental and emotional life. Now, all people are important! We love ALL people! Jesus did, but notice Jesus only kept 12 close to Him. Why did He do that while He was on the earth? I think it was because the more you ‘entertain’ the less you can focus on what is important.
There are some people who juggle fifty different things in a week. They have friends who they hang out with that fingers and toes could not count, and that is fine! But, for me, relationships have to be categorized. Have I talked to this person in the last year? Why or why not? Is this person someone who will build me or tear me down spiritually? Is this person someone who I can trust or someone who would betray me? Is this person someone who enriches my life or brings sorrow and fatigue?
I am very careful about who I bring close. All Christians should be careful of who you bring close! Paul even warned the church to not even eat with people who practiced sin. It tells us in 1 Corinthians a man/woman of good character will be brought down if they make those who are not of good character close companions.
I heard about a young man who was a wonderful person! He had been someone who was respected by friends, family and his church community. This young man began to make friends with people who were more than a little rough around the edges, so to speak. It wasn’t long until this young man began to do little things the new friends did.
He began to drink, and then drink a little more and a little more often. It wasn’t long until the ‘old friends’ began to be pushed away and more of the rough friends began to come on the scene. This young man soon found himself overwhelmed in the new lifestyle he had developed. He ended up in jail one night after a drinking binge. His lawyer entered the room where he was and said, ‘Get rid of your ‘friends’, son. If you don’t you will find yourself here for a much longer time!’
I spoke with this young man, and he told me while he was in jail someone told him, ‘You lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas.’ Now the friends didn’t make him do anything, but their ways definitely rubbed off on him. ‘You are who you hang with’, is a saying I always told my children, and I could always tell when they were ‘hanging’ with the wrong people.
Now the ‘glass half full’ to this story is, the more we ‘hang’ with God, the more like Him and His character we become. The wiser we are because we learn to think as He thinks. We love like Him, because that is what He is. We take on His dignity, because we have been with the “King” and realize we are a King’s child! Children always imitate the father. Make sure you are a good parent, your influence carries much farther than you know!
Ask yourself, “Is it time to minimize some things and some relationships in my life?” Let God show you the answer to be sure you answer correctly and do the right thing! Take off the weights of busyness and things. We often fail to hear from God the way the apostles and disciples did, not because it was just for Biblical times, but because our ‘times’ have become times of ‘too much to do and too little time to do it in’.
In minimizing, you will find you actually maximize what is truly important in life and you have had the time to think and pray about what that really is!
1 The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.
2 He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.
3 He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him—not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.
4 Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with [a]oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.
6 Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.
I knew this day was coming. I have not been caught off guard or by surprise, but I still feel disappointed it did. I knew when we sold our house there would not be another waiting just around the corner in time. I have been to this dog and pony show before. At the same time, I didn’t expect it would take so long to find another house.
I would love to be able to walk into Wal-Mart, ask someone where their ‘Houses for Sale’ aisle is and just pick up what I want and need, land and all! I really didn’t think it would be much harder than that. We sold when God told us to and I just thought we would wait about a month at the most and BAM, there would be our reward for prompt obedience! It isn’t happening exactly like that.
Evidently we are going through a ‘maturing’ phase, a trust phase, and a ‘don’t you dare be jealous of someone else’s blessing’ phase! I have heard in the last month of two couples we know that found MY dream home, and paid next to nothing for it…well they paid what we were looking to pay.
Oh, my eyes turned heavenward and, in all honesty, these thoughts came to my mind, “That is great God, but where is mine? Really? Seriously? They turn a corner, look up one classified, and there it is! I am scouring every resource I can find and coming up with nothing! Forgive me, Father! I am happy for them, but I am the blessed, too and I have waited for 30 years on this.”
I have to be honest, dear reader, I truly don’t know what the lesson is. I have searched my heart and soul, had hubby search his and soul and, not that we are perfect, we truly can’t find anything that is so horrible that it would make us homeless and living in someone else’s backyard in a travel trailer.
I am grateful we have a place to live, be it ever so humble. Many tonight will sleep on concrete and have next to nothing to eat in the days and weeks to come. Nevertheless, this is NOT the blessing of Abraham we have been promised and I know God doesn’t lie.
I think my greatest concern is can I hear Him as I need to? Did He try to tell me about the house in the country that was a ‘steal’, did He try to move us to another state, did He try to tell me what classified to look at, or even what prayer I should have prayed to receive what I need, and was I to ditsy not to hear it? Did I miss Him? I don’t know.
I do take this comfort in knowing sheep are truly stupid animals. They will literally walk off a cliff and accidentally kill themselves if the shepherd isn’t watching closely. We are compared to sheep for a reason. My Shepherd is watching, and oh how I long to feel and know His guidance. He will not allow me to walk off a cliff into a pit of bad decisions, and He will lead me by His Spirit. In the meantime, I pray I can rest in the pasture I have been placed in for this time and remember my Shepherd can always be trusted to do what is best for all the sheep, including me.
One of the greatest hindrances to answered prayer is offense. Recently I was perusing a book on prayer and this jumped out at me. It was titled “Unforgiveness Hinders Your Prayers”. The last part of the Lord’s Prayer which Jesus prayed brings to light a very important principle.
Prayer will not work in an unforgiving heart. You cannot hold things against people and be offended and maintain a prayer life that is successful and gets results. It is so important for this to be realized and for it to be a true revelation to our minds!
In Ken Hagin’s workbook on prayer, he tells us this:
It is so natural, so human, to hold things against people; it is part of our carnal nature. I have had people who were saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, but who were not walking in the best of fellowship with the Lord, tell me just how badly they had been treated by someone. They would tell me in great detail what So-and-so did to them.
Then they would say, ‘Oh, yes, I have forgiven him, alright. But I will never forget how they treated me” (talking about their brother or sister in the Lord). So, you see, they really hadn’t forgiven that person. Unforgiveness was still in their hearts because it showed up in what they said.
In many cases people need help because they’re frustrated and mentally confused because they are harboring offenses on the inside of them against people. They need to forgive. Their frustration and confusion can many times be attributed to their unforgiveness.
I have read that medical doctors have found that resentment causes some people to be more prone to certain types of diseases. The doctors said that when they could get these people to get rid of resentment, often their ailments cleared up, when before they had not responded to treatment.
We are learning more and more how unforgiveness is connected to sickness and disease and ultimately with unanswered prayer. These things are all related. We don’t want anything to hinder our prayer lives.
As you can see, satan has tied many issues to offense from our health to our power in prayer, or lack thereof. No wonder the Bible tells us to beware of offense for a chance to be offended will come on a daily basis! We will delve deeper in this soon. We will find out why it is important to know the strategy of our enemy and how to successfully counteract it!
God bless you! See you soon!!
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Not long ago, I observed a young woman who I was very impressed with. She was happy, loved her life, was well-rounded and well-adjusted. She loved her family and took great joy in the simple pleasures of life.
I noticed not long ago she had put something up on Facebook that went something like this, “I get so annoyed by ignorant people.” It wasn’t long until I noticed she didn’t seem as full of joy as she had been. I noticed she wasn’t interacting with others as I had seen her do before. I noticed her posts were getting to be fewer and when she did post, the happiness and joy did not seem to hold the same intensity that was so rich it blessed me to just think about it.
I began to wonder what happened, but I didn’t have to wonder long to know she was offended. My heart was just crushed over this! Why? Because I used to be offended. I know what follows if you don’t deal with it and deal with it quickly.
Offense carries with it a multitude of problems! First comes the offense, then comes anger over the offense, then come walls of ‘protection’ when they are actually prison walls set firmly in place by satan, himself. After the prison walls go up, you find yourself more and more isolated. The more isolated you become the more lonely you are. You find people don’t want to be around you the way they had in the past. Why? Because you have become negative, quick-tempered, and irritable. Gone is your joy, your peace, your gratitude for God‘s great blessings because you are consumed by the one or ones who ‘annoyed’ you! You are miserable and so are the people around you.
Your marriage begins to feel it because your heart has changed. You have literally begun to change. Your children are no longer the joy they once were because you have become negative and satan is sure to make certain the littlest things now get under your skin. You have left your love walk and opened the door to strife.
You are no longer the powerhouse in God you once were. Why? Because you are letting a different voice have precedence in your mind, and without realizing it, it is the voice of the devil! You were baited and you took it and now you are on the hook. He will pull and push you wherever he wants.
He will pull you out of church because the people you once loved and loved seeing now are flashing neon signs of problems to you. He will infiltrate your home and the love of your life will be someone you ‘need time’ away from. You will become exhausted with dealing with the smallest of things, including your children, because you blame their noisy play and refusal to go down for their nap for your lack of peace and your new-found stress. You have been deceived and trapped.
Offense is a poison. It quickly turns into bitterness and when it does it spreads like a cancer! My great-grandmother had a beautiful wisteria bush in her yard. She loved to garden! She would plant different plants in cans and they would thrive! She had planted the wisteria bush quite a few feet from one of her towering oak trees. She had several oaks in her yard and it was beautiful! There wasn’t anything she couldn’t grow, or bring back to life…until the wisteria bush was planted.
The wisteria bush began to grow, and it began to crawl. What started out as a small plant in Grandma‘s yard began to reach out and grow beyond the space she intended for it to occupy. It crept across until it reached the beautiful oak tree. It began to wrap itself around the bottom of the tree, then it began to climb and wrap its vine around and around the tree. It wrapped and wrapped and tightened its grip and with each day it grew. It was not long until the wisteria had literally taken over the towering oak tree and choked the life out it until it was dead. The wisteria dug in and took the tree over and even Grandma could not stop it. God can’t stop it either. You have made a choice and you have been given a free will. He has to allow what you allow because He will not and cannot violate your will. Be careful who and what you give permission to occupy any part of your life!
Offense and bitterness are the same way. What starts as a small seed grows quickly. It spreads from a small annoyance to all out dislike. Soon it isn’t just one person, it is several you have become ‘annoyed’ with and critical of. The root of your offense is growing. Its tentacles are reaching into every part of your life until it chokes the very life of love out of you that once flowed so freely and beautifully! It chokes out your joy. It chokes out your blessings. You no longer look forward to the day, but dread it because you are squeezed and the pressure is uncomfortable instead of being free to bloom as you once were!
God is love. You were full of that love at one time. That is when you felt close to God and now He seems so distant. Why? Because you are bound and the nutrients of His love and Spirit have been blocked. You were destined to be a powerhouse for God and now you just can’t seem to concentrate on God like you used to. Satan knew what you were destined to be. He knew if he could get your eyes on the wrong thing, he could stop your progress and your future and all the mighty works that would have brought great glory to God and all the blessings He had for you would be lost.
No longer would people look and see you shining, but they would look and see someone they pray they will never become. From the palace to the pit is what satan intended and that is what he accomplished. You had it all, and because someone was ignorant, instead of praying for them and walking on in love, you let it become your hindrance and stopping point in God! If you ask me, that is what is ignorant! Knowing you did it and not doing anything about it is just plain foolishness!
Go to God and confess if you have any offense in your heart. Get rid of all malice and wrath as the Word tells us. God will deal with those people, and if they refuse to change don’t let it change you! Allow God to cleanse you and preserve you. Allow Him to bring back your joy and your love for others! You will never be happy any other way.
Have you ever written your mortgage payment and thought what you could do with that money if you were free and clear of that debt? How wonderful it would be if you could pay your house off and then sell it and not owe any lending institution any of that money? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to pay a thirty year mortgage in ten years or less? It is possible and I am going to show you how to do it!
Today, as I spoke to a young man, the Lord led me to share my testimony of how God led hubby and me to become debt free. He told me I should write about it because few people his age knew this one small trick in doing just that! I had no idea that not many young people know about this until he told me. I was happy to tell him and I would love to share it with you as well.
When we started out with one of our first homes, we had no idea about borrowing money, principles, interests, etc.. I had no idea that for years we had paid nothing on our home itself, but instead all of our money was being wasted on interest! Instead of a mortgage payment, you could have called it an interest payment.
When I found out how long we had to go to actually pay our house off, it was almost sickening! Thousands and thousands of dollars was going straight to the bank, instead of paying down our house!
The Lord led us to get out of debt years ago. Now, I am not telling you to do this, but for hubby and me it was what God wanted for us. We had almost drowned in debt and if it had not been for the goodness of God we would have gone bankrupt! There were times I could not even buy groceries our money was so tight!
We always tithed and gave an offering, and thank God we had the good sense to do that. Just about the time I could put going to the grocery store off no longer, there would be a check in the mail from our insurance company either saying we had overpaid or we had met our deductible and had paid too much to the doctor. That is before we walked in the complete knowledge of healing, but that is another post!
One day I went to the Lord in tears. There is no pressure in this world like financial pressure! It is no fun being poor and doing without and it is even worse when you see your children doing without! I cried out to Him and told Him we had to have His help. I had seen other tithers and givers who had plenty of money and then some besides! I didn’t understand why we were barely scraping by. It just didn’t seem fair.
God was so merciful and gracious to me when He answered me. He told me we were spending more than we realized and it was wasteful spending. He had me get out our charge CARDS. We had more than one and that was a great deal of the problem. Many times it is tempting, especially when you are young and don’t really realize how fast money can slip through your fingers, to not cash a check before you go out to eat or to the movies. Whatever the case may be, it is so easy to slip that plastic out of your wallet. It is convenient until you get the bill. What is bad is many will max out one charge card and turn around and get another and, before you know it, that one is maxed out as well and you are now drowning in a sea of debt. Let me add, we did not have a debit card. I knew if I had one, it would be as if I had written a check and failed to write the amount down. We just were not comfortable with the possibility we could overdraw our account.
The Lord had me get together all of our bills and put them down on paper. As I began to look at our charge cards, it was obvious they were the culprit. I began to see a pattern of where we were going wrong. We would go out to eat, and we were amassing a debt of about one hundred dollars a weekend in eating out and ‘recreational’ activities. BAM! The problem was so simple.
As those ‘weekend outings’ began to pile up to the sound of 100.00 a weekend and we were paying the minimum on our charge cards, soon I discovered we were over 8,000.00 in debt to charge cards alone. This did not include our car notes, day care, or household expenses. We were in over our heads and we were drowning.
God in all of His grace and mercy began to show me how to budget. I had never been able to stick with one before, but I knew God had heard my cries and was giving great grace to me. I went to my husband and showed him where we were going wrong and what God had said to do about it.
God told us we could only go out to eat once a month and it HAD to be cash or we couldn’t do it. I learned how to cook during this time. Little did I know one day I would be a contributing writer for a nationally known recipe site. God takes even our biggest goof ups and brings us great blessings through them.
At the end of one month, after budgeting not only on the food bill, but cutting some other corners, we had actually saved 800.00. When I showed my husband that figure at the end of the month we both cried and praised God. God told us to take that 800.00 and pay it on the charge card that had the smallest amount of debt. Within about 3 months the card was paid off.
After paying off the first charge card, God told us to take the full amount of money we had paid on it, along with what would have been the minimum payment and begin paying it on the second and largest one. When we did, we were able to pay the 8000.00 in debt down in just under a year. We went from seeing no end to being DEBT FREE with charge cards to being debt free in less than 12 months! Glory to God!
At this point we were able to take the money we had paid on the cards and we began to apply it to the principle on our house payment. We went from a thirty year mortgage to having our house paid off in 11 years!! Another miracle for us.
If you can just pay 200.00 a month on your principle, you would be shocked at how quickly your debt will dwindle! It won’t be long until you will be holding the deed to your home in your hand instead of the lending institution holding it in theirs!
We had to learn that you HAVE to mark how much is your monthly payment and how much is your principle payment. Often banks will apply that to your next mortgage payment instead of putting it toward the principle. This does you no good. Make sure you earmark it and double check with the bank and triple check by closely examining your bank statement!
You may feel as though you are drowning, but there is a way out! If we can do it, so can you! Remember, we had God’s mercy and His Word working in our favor by doing what God commanded in being tithers and givers! We paid our tithe straight off the top! You cannot afford to not tithe! Try God in this and see if He is not faithful to you. I am proof He is!