For the Glory of God

I need to remember for whose glory I write.

A couple of months ago, as I finished a particular post, I was impressed to close with a scripture verse regarding sin’s consequences.  My instantaneous response was “Ending the post so ‘negatively’ may not go over very well”. So, to my shame, I quickly ignored the prompt and hit “post” without the scripture verse. Immediately I was strongly convicted. So much so, I knew I had to quickly retrieve the post and add the scripture. Unfortunately, by the time I did so, only seconds long, 2 people had read it.  I was saddened that my disobedience had cost them not reading what I felt strongly God had intended.

We as Christian bloggers write surrounded by conflagration. The enemy of the cross of Christ, the enemy of all mankind, Satan, fights against every inclination to write for God’s glory and mankind’s restoration.

Two of Satan’s greatest tactics in our modern culture are “acceptance” and “tolerance”. Jesus didn’t always accept or tolerate what was deemed “right” in his culture. He drove out money changers from the temple with whips because they insulted his Father’s house (John 2:13-17). And ate with flagrant “sinners and tax collectors”, while ignoring the insults and jibes of religious leaders and politically elite who couldn’t see their own sin (Luke 7:20-50) .  His heartbeat was his Father’s will and mankind’s restoration, rather than the nods of those who thought they knew best.  This too must be our heartbeat. Unfortunately, one of my greatest shortcomings is wanting praise from men. Wanting to be noticed and embraced.

Every Christian blogger’s heartbeat must be our Father’s glory rather than the nods of men.

A third tactic of our enemy is discouragement.  I have played to his mellow tune too long the last 2 weeks, sobbing along with the lyrics! So, today, rather than responding to “the tune”, I will remind myself of what is true. I choose, today, to sing a new melody loudly and passionately, as an offering to the One above every name who has given us an amazing story to tell.  And I will sing it to whomever will listen!

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NIV)

[So,]

Shout to the Lord, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy! Psalm 98:4 (NLT)

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:9 (NLT)

[Therefore,]

Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. John 12:25 (NLT)

Lord, this day, I rededicate my hands, my heart, my mind, my words – to you.  Use me as you wish, not as I deem “personally beneficial for my advancement”.  Forgive me for too often looking at numbers rather than at all you’ve done for me.  For wanting my writing to be appreciated by men, rather than solely for the purpose of advancing your kingdom and your call to all men.  For yours is the kingdom, power, and glory forever.  May your kingdom come, not mine.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

You may also wish to read the previous 3 posts: “Encouragement for a Weary Christian Blogger“; “Write for an Audience of One“; and “Patiently Grow

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True Relief

When I’m struggling, it’s too easy for me to look for relief in the wrong place, or to assume relief would come if only…….

The Jewish people had been under Roman rule long enough.  Most of their history they’d been under someone’s rule.  If only Messiah (leader/savior in Hebrew) would come!  He would be the kind of ruler that could crush Rome.

There were rumors that a young man from Nazareth was healing the sick all over the region. When he spoke, it was with the authority of God, unlike the daily fare the people were used to from the local religious leaders.  Why, even the demons obeyed and fled at his word!

Also, unlike the religious leaders, he spent time with everyday folk.  He loved even those any good Jew would consider “unclean”.  Tax Collectors, lepers, prostitutes. Why, among his closest followers were local fishermen, former tax collectors, and political zealots!

So much of what he said and did sounded like something the Messiah would say and do. His authority was reminiscent of the prophets of old.  Could this be the Messiah the Torah scriptures had foretold hundreds of years ago?

He’d even fed 5000 hungry men, along with women and children, after teaching them for hours, with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  Thinking he might be “the One”, crowds hounded, wanting to make him king by force.  They could get behind a king who could dole out food like they’d just seen!

However, Jesus told them their priorities were wrong – rather than clamoring for him to feed their bellies, they needed him to feed their souls and spirits, for he himself was the bread that would satisfy their deepest need.

——

The people thronged Jesus, but the religious leaders were more and more antagonistic, the atmosphere becoming volatile.  Jesus  spoke of  life and freedom found only through following him.  He spoke of the opportunity, through him, to actually have an intimate relationship with God; unlike those who passed themselves off as God’s representatives. The religious leaders demanded their converts keep rules and regulations piled deep, meant to keep people in line.  There was, with them, no talk of intimacy with God, nor freedom.

Amazingly, Jesus backed all he said with a power and authority only God could give.  His miracles were more numerous than could be written.  Yet he was humble.  Nothing like the leaders they were accustomed to daily.

He even proclaimed himself to be the Messiah whom they’d waited for.  His converts and their changed lives attested to the truth of his claims.  Why, even his cousin, John, who’d been baptizing people in the Jordan for years said he was given a vision from God stating Jesus was who he claimed.

—–

Jesus knew he’d come for battle, but not one that would win him political contests.  His battle wasn’t with religious leaders or political ideologies.  He’d come to battle the serpent who’d long ago urged Adam and Eve (and all since) to rebel his heavenly Father’s authority.  His very life was part of the battle – as God in human flesh, he exhibited daily, through lavish grace and love, the character of his heavenly Father, dispelling the serpent’s lies spoken long ago in mankind’s ears.  He set captives free from sin and its consequences by speaking truth with healing power, transforming the lives of those who’d been caught in the serpent’s chains.

He was and claimed to be God in flesh, but never acted on his own for his own benefit. His whole earthly life was one act of obedience to his Heavenly Father.  “He learned obedience by the things he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8 NLT) Many times he could have used his authority as God’s Son to destroy his enemies. Rather, he chose to love them.  He could have proclaimed himself king a million times over, with grand gestures of power and might, but rather he humbled himself like a servant.

All to restore a relationship long ago broken by mankind’s rebellion.

Now, he would finish the battle.  Now was time to once and for all crush the serpent’s head.  One last blow.

Yet, it wouldn’t be as anyone would imagine.  Great warriors slay their adversaries and walk away.  Yet, this time, the great warrior would die.  He had to.

Jesus came not to temporarily relieve us but to permanently free us, at the cost of his own life.

Tomorrow, “The Battle”

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

You may also be interested in reading:  One of Us

p.s.  If you are interested in the scriptures used to write today’s entry, please go to the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament of the Bible. John is a wonderful book to start with.  Each book was written either by men who witnessed the events personally, or with Luke, a physician who heard eye-witness accounts.

 

 

How to Ride Out the Waves

Day 5 of “Fighting Fear”

First of all, a heartfelt thank you to all who have prayed and given encouragement the last week.  How blessed I am! 🙂  Unfortunately I still have no news!

Last Thursday morning as I sat in my Bible study, knowing that Evan’s doctor’s appointment was only hours away, I suddenly began to feel panic rising within me – and there was nothing I could do to stop it’s ugly head appearing after so long an absence.  I couldn’t stop it’s appearance, but I’ve learned over the years how to more effectively keep it from escalating.

The things I had written all week weren’t theory.  And rehearsing these truths over and over again all week truly strengthened me.  I began to learn the power of the truths I shared last week 8 years ago.

About 6 months before Norman’s death, I began to experience anxiety attacks, unaware at first what was happening.  I was never given the luxury of a warning.  Day or night, I’d sense a sudden rush of adrenaline followed by lightening bolts and fireworks coursing through my body at speeds that made me want to jump out of my skin and run.  The more I fought the rising emotion, the worse it became.  I felt so hopeless!

The first time I realized Jesus could help, I had just pulled into a Target parking lot, was about to open the door, when wham – “it” began.  As the cycle of panic ramped up, I heard the preacher on the radio calmly begin the story of Jesus fast asleep in a boat, as his disciples fought to keep the boat upright in a fierce storm. In their panic, they awoke Jesus.  “Master, aren’t you concerned we’re going to drown?”  Surprisingly, Jesus chided them for their lack of faith, then spoke peace to the storm, and all became suddenly calm. The preacher then said something I’ll never forget.

“Jesus was in the boat with them, so they didn’t have to fear the storm.  They only needed to ride out the waves.”

jesus_stormThis statement began my training in learning to “ride out the waves” of panic and anxiety. Over the next several years, I learned the things I shared last week, finding greater and greater victory as time elapsed. I have also learned other needed tools to ride out the waves.

We are made up of soul, body, and spirit – and every aspect of our being is greatly effected by stress.  So, this week, as I continue to go “live” in dealing with concerns about Evan’s health and my need to overcome fear, I’ll share how I’m learning to “ride the waves” as I provide what is needed for my physical body and my soul.

Tomorrow, I will share some things I am learning about the effects of excessive stress on the body, and how the Lord used this knowledge to keep those feelings of panic last Thursday from moving into a full blown panic attack.  I am certainly not a medical practitioner, so anything I say is solely from my personal experience.

Please join me.  I would love to hear how you have successfully dealt with anxiety, since we all deal with it throughout life.

With love,

Robin <3

p.s. If you felt last week like I just don’t get where you are in your journey, I’m so sorry. I hope that this week helps!

 

Take Fear Captive!

Today’s Plan to Up End Fear:

Don’t Argue With Fear – Take It Captive.

Rationalizing with fear doesn’t work.  Fear is a foe able to bend kings and mighty warriors to it’s sway.  So, how can I succeed against something so powerful?

The battle with fear begins in my mind, so it must be waged there:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV – emphasis mine)

These verses speak of weapons.  What weapons?

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”  Ephesians 6:10-18 (NLT)

It says I’m to make every thought obedient to Christ.  What does Jesus say I am to think about?  What am I to do?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:6-9 (NIV)

As I fight with God’s strength to dwell on what is true, noble, right…. I can more easily remember God’s loving, powerful faithfulness to me in the past.

Remembering and dwelling on his past faithfulness strengthens me to come to him fully trusting he can do the same today, in this situation!

 

Let me close this week with “You Are Faithful”, by Carrollton:

This afternoon we head to the specialist.  Thank you for your love, encouragement, and prayers.  They, along with the reminders of the truth, have strengthened me more than I can say! Fear has been kept at bay – and I am so thankful to God, and to you!

With much love and gratitude,

Robin <3

p.s. You may also wish to read:  Caution, Emotions At Play!

 

Pressing In

Today’s plans to up-end fear:

Press in to Jesus.

Seek Him with my whole being.

Promises I hold onto today as I “press in” (above my fear):

“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” Jeremiah 29:13 (NLT)

If I’m pressing in to Jesus, I can’t be pressing in to other things, including fear.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” I John 4:18 (NIV)

Jesus is perfect love, and so as I press in, fear will flee. (But maybe not without a fight – so I must persevere!)

In this case, fear is a tactic from my enemy to bind me in chains – deal with it as such.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NIV)

I don’t have to press in with my own strength.  I have a powerful, compassionate Ally to defend and protect me, if I choose to take shelter within his walls:

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord:  He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.”  Psalm 91:1-2 (NLT)

When I take shelter within his walls, I will find the rest I long for:

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)

Pressing into Jesus allows me to exchange the backpack of fear for the gift of rest.

The promise is for any who will press in.

Thank you for doing this with me,

Loving you,

Robin <3

 

 

 

The Power of Our Ally

There have been many times in my world when anxiety, fear, or turmoil prevailed in the midst of my circumstances, and yet when I began to worship God with all my heart, His peace took over and circumstances began to change, as I placed my trust in him alone. God is amazing, and our most powerful ally!

James 4:6-7

And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

I would love to hear your stories of victory, because God has been your ally!  Later in this series, we will go more in depth as to how praise and worship will effect the outcome of our battles, but for now let me encourage you that God is bigger, and his praise is effective.

Should you be in a battle today, fill your home and mind with worship music, and then begin to worship God with your heart and soul. Let the words fill you, and strengthen you. Don’t remain a listener only- by your worship proclaim who God is!

Lord, I pray any who read this post, who are in battle, that your word through praise and worship would route the enemy – for you are the most powerful ally.  You are God alone!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Please also remember that I would love to stand with you in your battle.  We were never meant to battle alone. My private email for the blog is “email.rseaton@gmail.com”.

God is our most powerful Ally – and his praise is effective to route the enemy!

With love,

Robin <3

 

Fighting to Win…

Have you ever had one of those days or weeks or months when you feel like life is a losing battle?  Me too.  This past weekend seemed like that, until I stopped long enough this morning to ask the Lord what was going on.  I soon got an answer, and the day is going better.  But life and battles are rarely that easy.

As I thought about the struggles within this past weekend, and about this post, I was reminded of a battle about 3 years ago, culminating in a late night where wars raged more inside than out.

I was a fairly new step mom, and the boys and I weren’t doing very well adjusting to each other.  The normal new blended family issues, personalized for us.  This particular night, the war inside me waged severely.  My feelings for the boys at that moment were explosive, but I had no clue how to change things.  Those feelings had been building for many months, and I saw no end in sight.  I was helpless on my own.

I knew I couldn’t sleep. My thoughts desperately wanted to keep replaying why I had a right to feel as I did.  Fear for my interests and hatred from rejection pounded mortars through my mind and body.  After-shocks of anxiety ripped through me.  Yet through the noise, I kept hearing the Holy Spirit not so gently demanding, “Yield to me, Robin”.

Finally, my abilities failing greatly, I cried, “Okay, God.  I can’t keep doing this.  I yield.” And I meant it!  Literally, within seconds, the battle ceased, and peace settled like the silence after a hurricane.

To win the battle, I must be able to distinguish my allies from my enemies.

My ally is always God and his will. Because he is for us.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 (NLT – Jesus speaking)

At that moment, my greatest enemy was my own emotions, and the enemy of my soul who bombarded me with fear, anxiety, and hatred to keep me wrapped tightly in chains.

Yet in the middle of the onslaught, I was having a hard time distinguishing friend from foe, and in reality was getting the two mixed up.  It’s easy to do when emotions are high.

Ever been there?  Ever spent all your energy praying and fighting and trying to convince someone else, or change something else, only to find yourself spent trying to fix it alone?

Yet with 2 short words, “I yield”, God began to move.  Peace overcame the barrage, and slowly.  Carefully. Strategically things within and around me began to change, by God’s grace and power.

Is life all rosy now?  No way.  Is it better? Yes in many ways.  And, I haven’t had a night like that since.  God is working.

The Bible describes yielding moments by saying,

“The fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.  Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” Proverbs 9:10 (NLT)

This week we will continue to look at the issue of ‘Perspective’, in regards to how to “Fight to Win” by embracing God as our greatest ally.  I’d love to hear your stories – for I can’t do this alone!

With love,

Robin <3