Monday, September 26, 2016

Discontentment

Discontentment. Seems like a harmless enough word.

Actually, discontentment is common among our society.

Are you content? Or discontent? Are you discontent overall or just with a few areas in your life?

Discontentment is a sneaky, sleazy, underhanded tactic the devil uses to derail me into a head-on collision with defeat.

Merriam-Webster online defines discontent as a sense of grievance. Dissatisfaction.

The thing with being discontent is, it leads you by the nose down, down, down into a dark hole.

The prerequisite to discontentment is ingratitude. Thanklessness.

For me, it begins with one thought. Just a single thought.

If a friend of mine receives flowers from her husband, I might think something like, my husband never brings me flowers. I focus on that instead of all the countless other ways he serves me. It can spiral downward from there.

Or a friendship may feel one-sided because you’re always the one initiating contact. Instead of being thankful for all they do for you and the numerous ways they’re there for you, you focus on the one thing you wish they’d do. Call you first.

Maybe your furniture is old and worn. Your neighbor just got new
furniture, but you can’t afford to replace your plaid, tattered sofa. You become envious and discontent over what you don’t have instead of being thankful for the abundance you do have.

These single-minded thoughts will lead down a trail to the next thought and on and on, until satan has you by the nose, leading you down the road of discontentment.

He’s hoping you’ll stay on that course until it finally disrupts your life. He’s hoping it’ll lead to broken relationships and broken lives.

Just by being discontent.

When I feel myself becoming discontent, a red flag pops up in my conscience and heart. I know I won’t find contentment in people, places or things. I’ve already tried.

If I pursue the different avenues of what I feel will bring me contentment, it leads to the same destination. DISAPPOINTMENT. And more DISCONTENTMENT.

According to Google search, contentment is a state of happiness and satisfaction, fulfillment, ease of mind.

How can one find this deeply sought-after state? If it can’t be found in the world, then where?
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and 
enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give 
you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:3-4

Then He said to them, ‘Watch out! Be on your guard 
against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an 
abundance of possessions.’ Luke 12:15

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content 
with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave 
you; never will I forsake you.’ Hebrews 13:5

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned 
to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, 
whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12


God’s answer to discontentment and finding fulfillment in Him and His promises, is truly where I find my joy and contentment every single time.

Making time to be alone with Him daily, and seeking Him has been my freedom from a discontented life. This is where I’ve found endless joy (not the same as happiness) and peace of mind.

The next time you’re led down the path of discontentment, please, please stop! Then veer away from that course and go to the One True Source of contentment.

When you do, you won’t be sorry. And you won’t find discontentment there.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with 
joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. 
Psalm 16:11

On the road to contentment,

Terri

Monday, September 19, 2016

Uncommon

Hi friends!

I’m writing to you from the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.
Where I am is referred to as The Uncommon Florida.

Yearly, hundreds of thousands retreat to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico for vacation.

So what makes where I am so uncommon?

Merriam-Webster online describes uncommon as, not ordinary: remarkable or exceptional.

When most people think of vacationing in Florida, they envision high-rise condos, sugary, white, sandy beaches, plenty of restaurants and shopping, blended in with the hustle and bustle of the common beach vacation.

Standing on a sandy beach where the view is lines of hotels and high-rise condos skirting the ocean’s edge is common. 

Crowded, steamy elevators are normal. People loaded down with beach gear and ice boxes are typical because it’s a hassle to make extra trips.

In the height of vacation season, you have to beat everyone else to the beach to claim your spot in the sand, soon to be surrounded by hundreds of others having the same common experience as you.

Sounds more stressful than the rat race vacationers are trying to escape.


I’m far removed from all of that; from the rush and hurry, crowds and traffic. Where I am right now, restaurants and shopping are scarce. No fancy frills and thrills. The nearest Wal-Mart is an hour away.
 
Beach access is easy and free.

I walk out my door, and in less than a minute am at the water’s edge. No waiting for an over-crowded, stifling elevator. 

It’s easy to imagine what Florida was like decades ago, because this uncommon place has preserved a lot of “old Florida”.


The pace is slow and uncomplicated. Some might say it’s boring here.

To the world it seems unnatural and complicated to live a life in surrender to Jesus Christ. Some think it’s restrictive and boring.

There was a time when I thought being a Believer in Jesus Christ and living a life surrendered to Him, would be boring and strict. I could never understand why people would want to do that.

But I was wrong.

When I decided to take the uncommon route and become His child, I discovered a life full of adventure and joy that never gets boring or complicated. (Unless I make it so).

Over 34 years later, God still awes me. He isn’t boring. His ways are not strict. His protective boundaries are freeing.

Retreating for vacation where endless high-rise condos and hotels in densely populated places, versus
the uncommon place I am right now, is like trying to live a life apart from the refreshing, restful, joy-filled, place with God that’s uncommon to the world.

It’s uncommonly simple. 

His ways are not nearly as complicated as the world’s ways.

What would you choose today? God’s uncommon, free gift of knowing Him through Jesus Christ, or fighting for your spot in the sand with the rest of the world?

I’ll take the uncommon route. I hope you will too.

Let’s stay the course, together.

Terri

Monday, September 12, 2016

Stuck in the Muck

Welcome back and happy Monday everyone.

Are you stuck in the muck of life feeling you’ll never move forward again?

Do you feel circumstances beyond your control have rendered you immovable and stagnant?

Whether it’s work, home, in our relationships, or our relationship with the Lord, we can get stuck like a boat in deep mud, with no way out.

If this describes your current situation, I have some great news to share.

When I’ve been stuck in deep mud and mire, exhausted and frustrated, I eventually had to look to Almighty God to get me unstuck and where I could get moving again.

Sometimes it was due to other’s choices. Sometimes it was my own sinful heart and thoughts that left me stagnant.

I’ve had dreams before where I’m running as fast as I can, but getting nowhere. And whatever I was running from was catching up with me. Then I’d wake up, thankful it was only a dream.

Sometimes real life can make us feel like that dream.

No one likes feeling this way.

I want to share 10 steps that are tried and proven to loosen you from your current stuck-ness. It will take exercising your faith in God. Even if your faith is as tiny as a mustard seed, here’s what the Lord says about that:

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20

He replied, ‘If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, 
you can say to this mulberry tree, be uprooted and planted 
in the sea, and it will obey you.’ Luke 17:6


10 Steps
Are you ready to get unstuck and moving forward again?
  • Look up. Take your eyes off your surroundings.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2
  • Go to Him. 
Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
  • Learn from Him.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am 
gentle and humble in heart, and you will 
find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
  • Call to Him.
Call to Me, and I will answer you and tell you great 
and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3  
  • Let go of anxiety and pray.
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. Philippians 4:6-7

  • Be thankful. 
If you’ve never made a gratitude list, now is the time. Begin with the small, everyday things. Once you start, more things to be thankful for will surface, and next thing you know you’re cup overflows.


Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. Hebrews 12:28
  • If you are a Believer in Christ, then you have a special assigned place with Him. Not only when you leave this earth, but right NOW! No one else can sit where you’re supposed to.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him 
in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:6 


Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1 
  • Use what He’s given you…blessings and authority!
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3
  • Stand firm.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. 
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1




  • Trust Him.  
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. Psalm 145:13
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…Proverbs 3:5 

If you whole-heartedly take each of these steps, you're sure to get unstuck and moving forward again.

Don’t give up! Stay the course!
Terri


Monday, September 5, 2016

Take Me off the Grill, I'm Done!

Good Monday morning, Everyone! And Happy Labor Day!

I thought about titling this post, “Stick a Fork in me, I’m Done”,
but everyone already uses that expression to say they’re done, finished, tired, exhausted…done with life.

This is exactly how I’m feeling at this writing. Done. Exhausted. Burned slap out. Almost physically ill.

This comes only days after experiencing God’s mighty hand in several areas of my life. He has dealt with me on a few issues that have enslaved me far too long and has set me free.

I’ve experienced a fresh touch, a powerful surge of forwardness that I haven’t experienced in a very long time.

A lot of it is a result of a Bible study I’m in with some ladies, titled, “Armor of God” by Priscilla Shirer.

Phenomenal!!! Powerful!!! Eye-opening.

Studying and putting into action what I’m learning about the Armor of God has changed how I pray, how I see the physical world and spiritual world. I’ve been so full of excitement over what God is doing that there are moments I’m sure I’ll simply pop!

Soaring above mountain peaks with a clear panoramic view.
Enjoying fearlessness and boldness in a fresh way. A calm resolve has been my companion for weeks as I’ve boldly and fervently approached God’s throne of grace in prayer.

So why the glum and downcast soul? I’d like to know when my soaring like an eagle suddenly nose-dived into a pool of weepiness and exhaustion.

You’ve experienced this too, right? How can we go from soaring on the heights with God, and then plummet to the depths of the earth?

As I write this, I had to pause to text a friend who asked for prayer because she’s overwhelmed and can’t get a break to think clearly.
After sending my text, there are two explanations that stick out about what’s going on.
  • I’m 100% certain the devil hates us all the more when we step out in faith, threatening to tear down his strategic schemes in our lives and others’ lives.
He hates how I’m praying for my estranged son with fight and renewed vigor. He hates how I’m praying for my daughter whose carrying my little granddaughter due to be born in November, but not without some complications and a scary diagnosis.

While planning with other women a prayer ministry, and praying for our country, schools, churches and all leaders, I’m sure my enemy, the devil, is furious and panicked.

I’m aware that he’s sure to be scheming and planning strategies against me. Maybe trying to get a little craftier with his attacks.
  • The second thing is, even an eagle has to come down from soaring to rest. Eagles have nests. They have to eat, sleep and replenish.
Whether we’re walking in unhindered fellowship with God or are distant from Him, we all crave rest, peace and want to be free from anxiety.

We need a break, don’t we? We need Someone to lift the burden a little.

While I’ve been enjoying these new strengths and revelations, at some point, I began soaring in my own strength without coming down for a rest and refueling.

Are you trying to do it all in your own strength, meet mounting expectations with no end in sight, even while in close fellowship with God?

Or are you distant from God and relying on your own strength to fulfill every demand and expectation?

If you’re experiencing burnout and exhaustion on any level, will you join me right now, and take a few minutes to focus on the following promises?


Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and 
learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is 
easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30.

Jesus is the One speaking here, to you and me. Come, He said…and I will give you rest. Give Him your burdens and as He promised, you will find rest…

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

Almighty God, your Heavenly Father, says, Call to Me. And He will answer!

Not only will He answer, but He will speak to you things you don’t know now, and wants to tell you.

And here’s my favorite…

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. Philippians 4:6-7

This is how we stay on course and win!

Terri