Forest and Light

Have you ever found yourself at the edge of a forest looking out into the light and wondering why you can’t take that first step? You’ve managed to make it this far fighting through the dense forest, now it’s time to step into the light and you hesitate. Finally, you take the first step and it feels as though a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You think “this isn’t so bad” as you take another step. You turn your face up to the light and feel the warmth on your face, the peace that envelopes you making you want to stay there.

Unease creeps in chasing you back into the forest and you find yourself back at the edge looking out into the light again. What’s happening? You see the light and you want to go back to experience the warmth and peace that you had only moments ago, but you can’t seem to take that step that will take you back there. You’ve been blinded by the enemy. He doesn’t want you out in the light living in freedom. He wants you confused and afraid. Hidden in the darkness that he controls.

Accustomed to living in the dense forest your first taste of freedom overwhelms and frightens you driving you back into what you consider your comfort zone because truthfully right now, it is.

You’ve heard the lies of the enemy for so long that the true freedom you experienced only moments ago seems like a lie instead of truth. You can’t believe that what you experienced will last. It doesn’t help that the enemy is whispering in your ear that it isn’t real. That it will only go away and you’ll be left with nothing but the darkness once again.

I looked on the internet and according to one article I found, it stated that the National Institute of Mental Health estimated that 16.2 million U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2016. I’m not surprised. You need only to look at the commercials on television these days and you’ll find all types of medicine that helps with this or that form of depression. I imagine everyone has experienced some form of depression at some point in their life.

Maybe you are that person who suffers from depression or you know someone who suffers from it. You could be a caregiver, friend, or a family member that sees them suffering and you feel helpless not knowing how to help them. Don’t give up. Be a safe place for that person to come too. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just be there. Interact with them especially at their low point drawing them into a conversation or simply hold their hand. There is no guarantee that it will work every time but at least they will know they aren’t alone.

In Luke 4:18 Jesus read from the book of the prophet Isaiah “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed,” in verse 21 it says “And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'”

Jesus came to preach the gospel, to release the captives, give sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed. That’s great news! Freedom from captivity, from oppression, getting your sight back. Here’s the thing, people who are dealing with this disease are captives to the illness. They are blinded by the lies of the enemy and oppressed from their world of chaos. Jesus brings hope to their chaos, offers His hand to pull them out of the confusion, set them on solid ground and hold them steady as He opens their eyes to the truth and light.

Psalms 40:2 says “He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.”

I leave you with this scripture: Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

The Lord wants you to have peace in your life. He wants you to have a future and a hope. The enemy wants only chaos, no future, and definitely no hope. As long as he can keep you in the dense forest that’s one less person he has to worry about living the life Christ intended for you to live.

I pray you can embrace Jeremiah 29:11 and find a way to step out of the forest and into the light.

Hooked

It doesn’t take much these days to become hooked on games. I checked out some of the more popular games played and wasn’t surprised to find quite a few were fighting type games, sports, and a some fun looking games that upon closer inspection were also fighting games just made to look innocent. The titles alone for some of them make you wonder, why on earth people would even play such a game. Whatever happened to Mario Kart? Whatever game, your children (whether young or older) play or even if you play them yourself, if you aren’t careful you may find yourself hooked. It can consume you to the point where you neglect those around you and even yourself. I should know. I’m hooked on games and I’m not even considered a gamer. My games are mostly puzzle gaming apps that you download to your phone, you know, the ones that aren’t addictive? Right. Keep telling yourself that.

“I can stop anytime I want.” “Just one more level and I’ll quit.” “What’s the harm?” “At least I’m not out running the streets.” Excuses and poor ones at that. But still excuses nonetheless. Do you hear the enemy whispering in your ear? Did you know that a person could end up spending hundreds of dollars on those In-app purchases that come with phone games? (And for the record, no I don’t spend money on the In-app purchases for that very reason.) There’s even a new incentive out there nowadays, look it up and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

The enemy will take something tantalizing to use to lure you away from Christ. Away from studying the Bible, from praying, even from your family. Games are one thing he uses and in this day and age it’s easy enough to use to distract you. If I were your enemy, I would delve into the deepest darkest areas of your life looking for that one thing that could lure you away from the Lord. It could be anything. Temptation comes in many forms. For me eBooks are my weakness, worse than the games on my phone, and the enemy uses it against me every chance he gets. As I write this post, I discovered that I have actually gone five months without purchasing a book. A record for me considering I would buy anywhere from four to eight books a month! Temptation can be something that seems good on the surface but in reality it isn’t. Sound familiar?

James 1:14 says “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”

Matthew 26:41 says “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

It’s no wonder we are given instruction to watch and pray.

Decide today to carve out time for you and your family. Reconnect with each other. More importantly, be sure to take the time to reconnect with God through prayer, reading and planting His word deep in your heart and mind. Talk to Him like He is a friend or even family and not some unreachable person that you can’t talk too. He’s reachable, you need only to seek Him out. God bless!

Food

Food. The sustenance of mankind. We all have our favorites. I love crab and sushi. I like chocolate, fish, chicken, pistachios, ice cream, well you get the idea. When it comes to food I’ve always been an adventurer willing to try different types of food. I’ve even had gator tail and frog legs. (And yes, frog legs really do taste like chicken!) As a result my son is always willing to try new foods. Like me, we both enjoy a variety of foods. Now my husband, while he is willing to try new foods, he is more inclined to stick with the basics. You know, the meat and potatoes kind of guy. Definitely not a fan of sushi! Nothing wrong with that and I don’t hold it against him. 🙂 It just gives me something to tease him about. And he’s a good sport about it too.

We all need to eat. Just as we need food for our physical bodies we also need food for our soul.

1 Peter 2:2-3 says as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

In John 16:12 Jesus says I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

The good news is as we study the Word of God and let it sink into the depths of our inner man, we will grow.

In John 16:13 Jesus goes on to say However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

The Holy Spirit is like a chef, waiting to feed us his masterpiece dinner, to help us grow spiritually. The food He feeds us is filled with nourishment that is good for us.

I pray the Lord will bless your day in a special way!

Decision Made (Part 2)

I shared my thoughts with my husband and as always he encouraged me to follow through if it was what I really wanted to do. I began praying about what I should do and as I prayed I could feel an excitement building within me. Should I do this? Should I forget about it? A few weeks went by and I finally made a decision. I would blog. My friend and I share coffee once a week so when she stopped by for our weekly coffee I told her I had decided to blog. “Yay!” Now what? What can I possibly blog about?

“You’re good at helping people, you should blog about that.” Um, hello, I don’t have a degree. I just listen and offer advice when asked. “You’re a good listener.” And so we tossed more ideas back and forth. Faith, Hope, Encourage, Life. Those were the things that came to mind. I’m excited about this new chapter and I hope you’ll follow me on this journey of life. Blessings!