The 3 R’s

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Reflect, Repent, Refresh: the 3 Rs keep flowing through my mind. There is always a work to be done daily. We are works in progress. The Refiner of our lives is burning off the dross.

When I was in high school, I was so glad to go to a technical trade school. Along with my core classes, I was required to take drafting, architectural drafting, electric, wood, machine shop and foundry. These classes shaped me in more ways than I realized.

Foundry was fascinating. We were able to design projects of the school mascot or logos. As we tapped away at the oiled sand to tighten the molds, we worked out more than the standard teen energy and hormones. We were creating something unique. Our teacher was an eccentric type, who occasionally wore roller skates in the school not the shop. It was a huge school the size of a city college. Crazy, huh?

One day, I was chosen to help stoke the fires to melt the silver colored metal. The heat was intense, the flames danced as we added more metal. The next step was to help pour the now, molten metal into the students molds. The kiln was super heavy giving off intense heat.

As the melted metal poured, the steam rose, the room became heated, and all students were quiet. The silver metal glistened and floating along the surface was a darkened substance, this is the dross.

Life is like the process of melting metal. We are tapped into a mold of some sort, our genetics and environment play key roles. The daily walk can bring up the heat, as if a stoked fire. The elements can be dynamics of our family of origin, our life experience, our joys and our trials, things in our control and not. A challenge causes some days to be superheated.

We can let the steam of anger and disappointment flow off our minds as we mediate on the knowledge that God is with us and seek His wisdom moment to moment. Or we can let the steam build to a volcano of impulsive fury and damage relationships.

When we learn to use our voice to express needs, find healthy relationships, believe we are deserving of a blessed life and look to the future with purpose not dread, we are allowing the best in our lives to be used in the mold. We dump the dross of hurts, trust God and seek like minded people, so we can grow into a glistening Light for the world. A reflection of Jesus is in each of us!!

When we don’t learn the healthier coping techniques, we feel stuck and immovable like a chunk of dross blocking the metals flow. Some people become codependent, concern for others opinion over the Lord. Yes, I have chosen poorly at times!!

Sometimes the trials can refine our lives. It allows us to reflect on choices; good and poor, and turn back to allow God, the Refiner to remove our imperfections.

According to Merrimam Webster’s Dictionary, repent means to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to amend one’s life, to regret, change one’s mind.

Romans 12: 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

We can reflect, ask the Lord to help us reframe, repent and renew our mind. When we align with His wisdom, we are allowing His renewal of our mind. It takes work, but remember we are works in progress.

Ephesians 2 :10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Reflect on this: He wants to guide, bless your life. We must drop the wheel as Carrie Underwood sang about in her song, “Jesus, take the wheel”. We have to stop pride, and wanting control and let Him guide. Will you?

What does it mean to refresh? The Merrimam Webster dictionary defines refresh as to restore strength, to revive, to repair. It’s okay to bend our knee to the Savior.

Matthew 11 :28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Are you ready for refreshment? Are you open to repair? It’s a scary proposition. But do you want to see a different future? Then take a risk. The Savior, Jesus extends His hand. Choose to have a life of righteousness.

Matthew 7 :7 - 8   Jesus said, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

May you glisten in the Light of the Savior, repent, reflect, refreshed and made new.

I just had to add this awesome song by Crowder, “In the House”, get up and praise or keep the beat. Amen!!!

Salmon Endurance

Do you ever feel like a salmon swimming against the river current? You are in the living water, it provides a vehicle to allow your movement to a different place. Yet the boulders and tree branches that are scattered in the river provide the potential for detours, fits and stops.

You are using all your energy to stay in motion. Your body burns the calories, especially if your favorite stress reliever chocolate. Yum!! Yet the sugar in chocolate is still not enough to keep you moving.

If you remember your Biology class, once your simple sugars ( carbohydrates) are drained, your blood sugar drops and your body seeks another source of energy, such as fats and proteins. If you are endowed with an extra muffin top in your midsection, it may be a good thing to feel that fat waste away. If you are not endowed with extra insulating fat, your muscles can loose the protein energy and as a result, you tire and muscle can waste away. No Bueno!!!

Its the building blocks of proteins such as meats, nuts and such that provide the best energy source. You see, those food products can be used and last longer than carbs.

We need energy to endure in life. We must seek approval of God over man to endure. We must swim with endurance the river journey of faith.

Galatians 1:10 NLT
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.

❤️

The time we spend getting to know Jesus and filling up on His Word is like the protein stores. There are more energy bursts to grab from as you work through your day.

If you add additional stress, trials, illness, or trauma, you are drained like a salmon swimming upstream. One obstacle after another works against you.

You must dig deep into the words from scripture that can pop into your mind. This will only happen if you have been mediating on God’s wisdom. It can come to the surface of your mind energizing you and providing a place to turn to God over the river currents.

Philippians 1:6 NLT. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Rest in Him

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Whatever you may be going through, do not loose hope. Rest in Him. We don’t know the future, but if we are willing we can get to know the Creator God who knows the plans He has.

Fear comes from the enemy, Satan, He wants to keep us trembling, anxious, fearful, and hopeless. But God calls us to Trust in Him. It’s called faith over fear!

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Read in your Bible, Matthew chapter 6, it is full of instructions for life. If you don’t have a Bible go online to biblegateway.com. Just place the name Matthew 6 in the keyword search and open your mind to God’s wisdom.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Having faith in hard, challenging times is not easy? But it is necessary. Where do you put your faith? Is it in another person, another circumstance, an idol such as materialism, your bank account, from the words of others, alcohol or drugs, or any other distraction?

The world is full of distractions that can not bring peace but more stress and fears. Reaching for more of Jesus can really change your life. He knows all about you. He waits.

Only Jesus can fill the empty spaces of our heart, mind, and soul. He is the filler of unconditional love. He can be trusted.

Take a deep breath slow and easy. Do you feel it? He is breathing life in you as He did Adam and Eve. I have shared this promise from scripture before, it is a great reminder daily for me and maybe for you.

God is for us. I will say it again,He breathes His breath of life into us.

Enjoy this praise moment from an awesome song, Rest in Us, by Maverick City Music x Upperroom. I hope it flows over you like only the Holy Spirit ( God) can. Feel a moment of His Presence.

Take a step of faith. There is nothing to loose and much to gain. Even If you fail, God will pick you up. We have to reach out our heart, mind, soul and reach for His. He will direct you.

We have to take steps of faith. Be willing to be works in progress. Let Him lift up your chin. He loves you. Rest in Him.

Bricks must fall

The world says I must be happy or something is wrong with me. A false thought, for sure. I think life shows us continuous happiness as a goal but it is not possible. Life has ups and downs.

Hypocritical Christians may tell us, “if you are going through hardship, conflict, emotional distress, you are not a good Christian. Maybe you aren’t walking with Jesus. Maybe, you are sinful and being punished, you don’t show Christian love.”

I liken these statements to bricks. They are stacks of lies from the enemy meant to keep us from the wisdom of God which can bring joy. They are meant to tarnish our testimony.

These bricks can limit our lives and cause others to question the love of Jesus. They are a barrier to freedom in Christ shared with anyone placed across our path.

John 16:33    Jesus said, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Jesus promised there would be troubles on earth. However, He said, He would be with us in the trials. He said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Life has trials and sorrows but we don’t have to stay in a victim mindset. We can drop the bricks.

In my legalistic upbringing, I believed the lies I shared above. However, the more time I read the Bible for myself, the more I feel the Words of God speaking truth and taking down the bricks I stacked as a wall holding me back from freedom. There is freedom in Jesus.

What are your bricks named?

Is it, you are not enough? God does not really want to hear your voice.

I don’t suppose you will test God again and be a risk taker. Do you have a death wish?

You will never be forgiven. You are a lost cause. You are being punished for past consequences.

Slow but sure, the bricks are stacked. One by one, the wall gets higher and higher. On one side of the bricks is the condemner talking lies and discouragement. On the other side of the brick wall is Jesus waiting for you to stop and take down each brick as He guides your hand. The more you hear His sweet peaceful voice the more you see His face emerge. Bricks begin to fall, the space between you and Your Savior becomes cleared like a demolition. It is work to take down the bricks, however, the more we trust in Him the more endurance He gives to keep going.

I used to think the future had to be successful. I would put the work in, determined to achieve goals, career, marriage, have a family, buy a home, and then I would be happy. But life didn’t work the way I planned. I had to have times of no control and learn perfectionism is a brick of sin. My journey from infertility to being a mom blessed by open adoption was filled with fears, grief, love and joy. I was being made new as I leaned into Jesus.

What I am learning with every new day is God’s level of success is not in the stuff, it is in the obeying Him. He will direct my path to the best and He can be trusted.

There are times when no matter what I do or say to lives around me they can not be molded by me. I must give their lives to God. I must not pray for success, but instead for the trials and joys to draw others in my sphere of influence to obedience to God. The bricks will fall when I change my thoughts and pray in this way.

There are times when we do not see the fruits of our attempts to love like Jesus. We can not see into the future. It is in those times of uncertainty I found Ezekiel 3: 4 – 12 very insightful.

Ezekiel 3:4-12 NLT[4] Then he said, "Son of man, go to the people of Israel and give them my messages. [5] I am not sending you to a foreign people whose language you cannot understand. [6] No, I am not sending you to people with strange and difficult speech. If I did, they would listen! [7] But the people of Israel won't listen to you any more than they listen to me! For the whole lot of them are hard-hearted and stubborn. [8] But look, I have made you as obstinate and hard-hearted as they are. [9] I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! So don't be afraid of them or fear their angry looks, even though they are rebels." [10] Then he added, "Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself. [11] Then go to your people in exile and say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says!' Do this whether they listen to you or not." [12] Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard a loud rumbling sound behind me. (May the glory of the LORD be praised in his place!)

Lord, help your people, parents, family and friends to loose the people who are in conflict.

Reread the Ezekiel scripture again. Place your family / conflicted persons name where you find the name Israel. Then leave your petition at the foot of the cross.

We can pray but only God can move mountains and open ears, hearts, minds, and eyes. In the end, sometimes the call is not success but to obey God.