Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stop, Drop, And Roll

I get so sick of myself sometimes. I know that you can't relate, so let me tell on myself so that you can see what I mean. 

Once in a while, every so often, a doosey of a situation comes my way. At times it's a problem I've had to walk through before. Other times it's a brand new one that comes out of nowhere and stares me down. A Goliath of a situation. An impossibility. Then there are the ones that look like Goliath, look impossible, but really are just smoke and mirrors and not as threatening as they seem. 

I'm getting better at it, I must say, but there are days. Oh man, there are days when I forget, I jerk my knees in reaction, I open my big mouth, or all of the above. Since you can't relate, just picture it in your mind. 

Perhaps some day, one day, this will happen to you. Perhaps this piece of advice that I'm about to give will come in handy for you, one day. Coming off of a few dooseys in the last week, God gave me three little words to remember the next time I'm tempted to make a fool of myself, either privately in front of Him alone, or heaven help me, in front of some flesh and blood folk. 

You may recognize the Stop, Drop, and Roll principle from fire safety techniques. It's a method to extinguish fire from a person's clothes or hair. It is also found to be psychologically beneficial because it gives a person on fire something to focus on, instead of giving way to panic. This is the part where if I were sitting in church, I would say, "Come on, now!"

Let's take the three parts of this technique, look at them a minute, and see how they can be compared to something we can do when we are on fire from trials, problems and seemingly impossible situations. 

The fire victim must stop still, ceasing any movement which may fan the flames or hamper those attempting to put the fire out. *

The very moment that you feel yourself losing control, STOP! When a person is on fire, ferocious movements only fan the flames. Practically speaking, when you lose control of yourself, you only make matters worse. Can you honestly share a time when you were out of control in a bad situation, and it yielded good results? I didn't think so. 

Your loss of self control may actually inhibit someone from putting your fire out. There may be a very real solution to your problem, but if you are panicked, out of control, and trying to fix it yourself, you may be shutting out someone, something, or even God, from giving you a good outcome.  Just ask Sarai. (Genesis 16) 

You know how it feels when you're about to lose it. When that panicked feeling is starting to build, you can feel it in your gut, face flushed, your breathing quickens. Pay attention to the warning signs. Know yourself so that you can stop yourself.  Then...

The fire victim must 'drop' to the ground, lying down if possible, covering their face with their hands to avoid facial injury. *

The very moment that you stop, DROP! To your knees. Face first on the floor before the Lord.  Put your face in your hands to block out any other distractions and pour your ever-lovin' heart out to your God. Tell Him everything. Cry aloud. Use words if you must. He knows your heart. He knows it's breaking. He knows that you feel helpless. He knows that you have forgotten, if only momentarily, how He brought you through the fire before. He understands. 
"When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
(Isaiah 43: 2-3)
"We went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance."
(Psalm 66: 12)  

The fire victim must roll on the ground in an effort to extinguish the fire by depriving it of oxygen. *
Roll your problem onto the Lord. When an object is too heavy to lift, it isn't as hard to roll. 
"Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."
(1 Peter 5: 7)
A problem in your hands is an impossibility. A problem rolled onto God is no problem at all. In front of a holy, almighty, powerful God, your problem is nothing. No. Thing.
One of my favorite Scriptures is found in the book of 2 Kings. Faced with battling the Moabites, the kings of Edom, Judah, and Israel went out to fight. After seven days, there was no more water for their men or their animals. They inquired of the prophet Elisha and God promised them miraculous water, without wind or rain. God said, "This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord." (2 Kings 3: 18)   
Your problem is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord!

Man's extremities are God's opportunities to show Himself mighty and to get all of the Glory!

When you roll your problem onto God, it is deprived of it's oxygen. It is deprived of it's power to torment you. You will know that the God of the Universe has your problem in His perfect hands and that you have nothing to fear. 

Once upon a time, there were three Hebrew boys who were thrown into a furnace of fire because they refused to worship an image of gold set up by an idolatrous king. The furnace was heated seven times hotter than normal; so hot that it killed the soldiers who placed them in it. Inside that furnace, the evil king saw four men, when only three were put in. He described who he saw as "one who looks like a son of the gods." 

In that furnace, with those three Hebrew lads, was not just a son of the gods, but THE SON OF GOD! 

Jesus Christ, the One and Only, Son of the Living God, is in the furnace, and in the flames with you. You will not be burned. You will not be harmed. You will come out and not even smell like smoke! (Daniel 3: 27)

Stop, Drop and Roll is a technique taught to people of all ages. It is even taught to those as young as preschoolers. If littles can get this principle, surely we can remember it when we are on fire. 

Stop, Drop, and Roll.

(Linking with Shanda, Emily, Ann, Rachel)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

As It Was In The Beginning

Happy New Year! I hope that you had a great Christmas and New Year celebration, enjoying time with family and friends. It's good to be back at the keyboard today dropping in on your day. 

Wow. The Lord really has been speaking through the Advent and holiday season. At least to me anyway. Some of it hasn't been pretty. Revelation of self rarely is. But all of it has been handed to me in a cup of grace. An overflowing, bubbling, redeeming cupful of grace. How I need it to be that way. Don't you?

I'm really geeked about something new that's happening. For the last two years, I've participated in a group that memorized two Scriptures every month for a year. This year I decided to put out a call on Facebook to those that I know more intimately, and invite them to memorize the Word with me in 2012.  Thus, the Scripture Memory Community was born. It's a small group, but it's a group of women committed to hiding God's Word in their hearts every day for the coming year. Dare I say, we will never be the same. There's just nothing like wielding the Sword of the Spirit to make the enemy flee. It's not too late to join us. Click on the link above and join the group! I'm going out on a limb, but I imagine Jesus smiling because He knows that there is dynamite power in His Word, and by His precious Spirit, His daughter's hearts will be filled with that very power.

Speaking of commitments. Did you make any resolutions for the new year? The only resolution that I made this year is to not make any resolutions for this year. Resolutions are so easily broken. A commitment, however, is more of a pledge or a promise. It carries more weight. Whether you call it a commitment or a resolution, we have an adversary who wants to derail us almost as quickly as the words, "I resolve" or "I commit" leave our lipsticked mouths. It has been that way since the beginning.

Have I told you yet how much I love my new Keurig? In a few seconds, I just brewed a fresh cup of delicious coffee.  I digress.

Back to the beginning. 

In the beginning, God created man and woman; Adam and Eve. They lived in the Garden of Eden, naked and not ashamed. They were at ease with each other, felt no fear of exploitation or evil, and walked with God in the cool of the day. The beauty around them must have been breathtaking and they were supplied with food like we have never tasted. Can you imagine? When I close my eyes, I can picture myself there...except I'm not too thrilled with the naked part. 

Seven short verses later it all fell apart. A serpent slithered. Temptation came in disguise. A twisted lie was told. A wife fell for the lie. A husband shirked responsibility and joined the feast. One bite. Everything changed. Only seven short verses later. 

Scholars believe that Adam and Eve were not residents of the Garden for very long before "The Fall". Through careful study, they say that it may have been less than one week before they ate of the fruit and the curse came upon all mankind from that day forward. Your adversary, my adversary, wasted no time.

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. 

Things are no different today, friend. The second that Satan hears you make a commitment or a resolution to the Lord, he slithers. He comes disguised in lies, justifications, excuses and endless reasoning, to make you give up. It may be immediate, a few days, a month. Make no mistake he WILL come and he WILL entice you to quit. He hates God. He hates you. He hates any commitment or intimacy that you have with God.

You may have committed to reading your Bible and spending time in prayer, early every morning. That's the voice of your enemy whispering that it would be so much better to snuggle back under those covers and sleep a while longer. 

You may have committed to Scripture memorization. That's the voice of your enemy telling you that you're just not smart enough and it's just too hard.

Whether it's making changes to better your health, turn your back on a habit, spend more time with your family, get out of debt, get organized, or volunteer for an area of service to the Lord this year, you can bet that Satan has an excuse all gift-wrapped for you to stop you in your tracks. 

The good news is that we are not unaware of his schemes. (2 Cor. 2: 11) He can't outwit us. The secular world says it this way; forewarned is forearmed. 

If we know the enemy's tactics and methods, we will recognize them immediately when they attack us and we will not give up or give in. 

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5: 8)   

Your commitment or resolution for the year 2012 is completely doable if you are alert and aware that the enemy, Satan, is slithering and prowling around, just waiting to convince you to give up. His assaults on believers are fierce in these last days, because "he is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short." (Revelation 12: 12)  

Be alert. Know the voice of the enemy. Know the Word well enough to recognize the voice of God. Don't begin a day without asking the Holy Spirit to fill you. 

"[You] can do everything through Him who gives [you] strength."
(Philippians 4: 13)

As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Linking with Emily.
Linking with Shanda
Linking with Ann
Linking with Rachel

Saturday, January 07, 2012

UnEmployed Faith

This week I read UnEmployed Faith by Rosann Cunningham. A few years ago, my husband was unemployed quite frequently and it seemed that he was out of a job more than he was working. Well, it didn't just seem. It was the honest truth. 

Where was this book when I needed it?

If you are the wife of an unemployed man, you know the struggles and challenges that come along with this difficult situation. While the focus is on your husband and his job searching successes or failures, you are suffering some pretty intense emotions. Those emotions can have you on one heck of a roller coaster ride. You can go from support to anger to depression to fear in one hot minute. You are trying to be supportive to your man, but often you are left with wide eyes open on your pillow at night, not knowing what in the world you are supposed to do. 

UnEmployed Faith has just the answers that you are searching for. Writing in simple, uncomplicated, honest words, Rosann Cunningham has been experiencing the unemployment of her husband for three years. She is feeling just what you are feeling today and has decided to turn lemons into lemonade by sharing what God has taught her through this grueling circumstance. 

Hear Rosann's own words:

"Please understand, this book is not a step by step guide to get your man a job, nor is it written about how to live more frugal during unemployment. There are plenty of resources out there for those topics. What you don't see very often are books on how to cope with the emotional impact of unemployment in your home. 

That's what you'll get with this book. It was written with your heart in mind. I really wanted to share with you some encouraging and hopefully inspiring ways to cope and love on yourself, particularly when you're feeling all alone in this awful storm." 

With chapters like "Activating A Life of Faith", "Your Circle of Support", "Finding Joy In The Storm", and "The Good Wife", Rosann speaks to the physical, emotional, and spiritual practices that can guide you safely through the storm of your man's unemployment. 

My absolute favorite thing about UnEmployed Faith is the challenges at the end of each chapter. Talk about being practical! We often read books that give us concepts on how to cope with a situation, but then we're left trying to figure out how to walk those concepts out on the pavement of our reality. Rosann doesn't leave you guessing. She gives practical, no nonsense suggestions that you can put into practice each and every day. When you're feeling helpless and hopeless, you can take action! 

UnEmployed Faith is written from a Christian perspective and Rosann's faith and devotion to her Savior is clear throughout. That being said, I recommend this book to any wife who has an unemployed man, regardless of her belief. It is easy reading and only $4.99 for your Kindle.

Don't waste this season of difficulty you are going through, my friend. Make every ounce of pain and every ounce of weakness count for something. Turn it into faith and peace and strength. The road is hard, but it won't last forever. You can be forever changed in the midst of it for the good and for God's glory.  

I love Rosann's words:

"Let God turn this pain you feel into something beautiful and good. Grow, dear friend. Be like the caterpillar coming out of its chrysalis. Spread your wings and learn to fly. Let the world see how breathtakingly beautiful you are when you're surrounded by God's light."

Are you ready to clothe yourself in strength and perseverance through his season of unemployment? Are you ready to do something for you? If so, click here.

~See you on Tuesday!