Thursday, November 16, 2017

Has your soul “entered the iron” of your circumstances?



When I read Psalm 105:18 in the Amplified version years ago, it haunted me. “ His feet they hurt with fetters; he was laid in chains of iron and his soul entered into the iron...”. It implies the same message in many versions. Joseph’s soul entered into the iron which chained him. Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers. And he was chained. I can’t even imagine his circumstances...or can I?

What horrible circumstances have you gone through?  What kind of abandonment have you experienced?  Have you been attacked by those who should love you?  Have you been wounded, oppressed, violated, or shamed?

It’s so easy to go there—letting your soul (your mind, will, and emotions) go into the iron (captivity) of your circumstances. It’s easy to keep your eyes on others, on what is happening TO you. It’s just easier to give in to all of it. It’s hard to fight it. The Bible insinuates Joseph lived there for years—his heart locked (and strengthened) in the foul play of his brothers. 

How do you break free of those chains?  Better yet...how do you keep your soul from entering the iron in the first place?  First...you must see your circumstances from God’s perspective. He’s allowed this to touch your life. And “what Satan intends for evil, God means for good.”  We have already been seated in heavenly places—a good place from which to gain God’s perspective. Talk to Him. Ask Him what you need to see and learn through this adverse season. 

Bless. Don’t curse. This is so important to keep your soul from the iron. Pray immediately for those who’ve hurt you. Ask God to bless them. And give God praise. And forgive. 

I’ve had several dark hours where my soul did—or wanted to—enter the iron. And I believe blessing and praising were two key elements which kept my soul out of the iron those times. And most of the time, I’ve only gained God’s perspective and purpose in hindsight. So...give God time to work!  He only wants good for you!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Hitting the Target



Andy loves to tell the story of when he ran sound for George W. Bush when the Texas governor spoke in Borger, TX.  Zach excitedly told us that he got to write some songs with some well-known song writers recently. I’ve been to both The Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile & Magnolia Markets.  Why do we get excited to be around famous people?  I️ didn’t even have to see Ree Drummond or Chip & Joanna Gaines—I️ was just happy to be around what they’d created!

There’s something in us that causes us to admire celebrities and draws us to their greatness. I️’ve thought on this a lot. We love to see someone who’s “made it!”  This can be good...but it can also be harmful if that person has no moral character. And any celebrity will tell you that they miss the anonymity they once enjoyed. 

I️ believe the greatness we must be drawn to is the Spirit of God in others. I’ve known so many people in my lifetime who weren’t famous—but I️ was drawn to them because of the beautiful display of spiritual fruit in their lives. The Spirit of God is preeminent. HE’s the one who has power. HE’s the one who can do more than we imagine. HE’s the one who teaches, guides, and counsels us. He must increase and we must decrease.  We humbly submit who we are to God so He can fulfill the good purpose He has for us.  

I️ think it’s a beautiful thing when we finally “get” our reason for being created—when we understand our purpose. It brings us into alignment with God. We agree for His good plan which He prearranged before time began. . It may or may not make us famous. But...we can certainly allow the Spirit of God to shine through us to a world who needs HIM. THAT’S when we hit the target of His will. 

“For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].  Ephesians 2:10 (Amp)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Pastor Appreciation Week



Pastor Appreciation Week
Andy Dietz & I have been leading Pastors & Wives’ Retreats (and Pastors’ Wives’ Retreats) for the past couple of years through Double Honor Ministries. I can’t begin to tell you how needed these Retreats have been. We’ve ministered to some very hurt people. 1500 ministers are leaving the ministry each month. They’re facing challenges ministers never faced 50 years ago. Satan has upped his game and his attacks. His desire is to leave no minister standing. 
Because of this brutal attack, it’s more important than ever to let pastors and their wives know they’re not alone and there are still people who consider them “worthy of Double Honor!”  It’s especially important for older pastors to encourage the younger ones—and to show them that it’s possible to finish the course. 
I don’t know of any other ministry doing as much for pastors and their wives. I highly commend this ministry. If you want to honor your pastor, consider donating to this ministry in a big way (They spend a considerable amount getting the pastor to the retreat, funding meals & entertainment, and creating an environment for REST!!) Give generously.  And if you can, please consider making it a monthly donation. And THEN...give us your pastor’s name so we can invite him and his wife to a retreat!!!  They will be BLESSED...and honored. You can find the “DONATE” button at the bottom of the page.  Please consider sharing this post. 
http://doublehonorministries.com/

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Epic Lifetime



“King David was now an old man with an epic lifetime behind him...”. I Kings 1:1 (The Voice)

Don’t you want to get to the end of your life and say the same?  “That was an amazing life—EPIC!”  Of course, there will be bumps and dips in the road. There were for David!  But I think the one thing we can say that made David’s life epic was he had a heart after God. He followed God all of his life. And when he disobeyed...he confessed his sin and repented. 

I want to look back and say I did all I knew to follow Jesus. I want to have had the most intimate relationship with him I could possibly have had. I want to quickly obey..and quickly repent when I disobey. I want to please him.  

I want an epic life!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

42 Years



42 Years. We celebrated last night and reminisced. We both agreed our greatest accomplishment was our four children. We're so proud of them--and glad they're awesome adults in spite of our many blunders and mistakes. 


Andy's biggest regret: that he wasn't bolder and more confident early on. He said he was proudest of me for truly partnering with him in ministry. 


My biggest regret: that I didn't understand, focus on, and partner with our strengths earlier. I am proudest of Andy for the amazing way he connects with people and invests in them. 


But we both agreed that our regrets mean nothing--knowing it was all part of the process of growth!  It's been so fun to look back and see God's hand guiding us to where we are today!  (And we BOTH agreed that this has gone WAY faster than we ever thought possible!!!!)


Happy 42nd Anniversary, Babe!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Principle of Exchange




What do you think of when I say, "Hershey's Kiss?"  Do you see silver foil twisted around a cone-shape with a little white banner flying out of the top? Do you see pure milk chocolate in the same shape? Does it look mouth-watering?  Can you just taste the smoothness of that perfect chocolate as it slowly begins to melt in your mouth?  

Now...quit thinking about the Hershey's Kiss. Stop!  Don't think about the twisted foil. Don't look at the Hershey's banner flying out of the top.  Stop!!  Quit imagining the sweet chocolate. STOP!!!!

Once your mind has been filled with a thought, it's almost impossible to quit thinking about it. But God told us to "take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."  It's up to us!!!  We can't just pray those thoughts away--God told US to do it!!  How??

I did this exercise with our youth recently. It's almost impossible to just quit thinking on something Satan plants in our mind.  This is where temptation starts. And just so you know...the first thought isn't sin...it's a temptation TO sin!  It becomes a sin when we entertain that thought and act on it. I picture a "thought" entering my mind and me setting a table with my very best china and sitting down and hosting a dinner. I've done my best to make it feel welcome. So it must be stopped before we entertain it. EXCHANGE IT!!!

Think about a juicy, crisp apple. It's gloriously red on the outside with soft, little green stripes running through it. When you cut it open, it has light green flesh with droplets of juice sitting on top. You bite into it and it has a sweetness with a hint of tartness which hits your glands as you munch on the crisp apple. 

As you thought on the apple, you quit thinking about the Hershey's Kiss. You had to exchange that thought to create a new one. It's the same with temptation.  It's hard to just quit thinking on a sinful thought. You have to exchange it. When a temptation enters my mind, I say, "NO!" out loud!  (Satan can't read your mind even though he can put thoughts in your mind!)  By doing that, I've captured that thought and taken it hostage. And then I have to exchange it with a new thought. I read or quote the Bible. I sing or listen to praise music. I speak TRUTH and remind myself of that truth. But I must exchange thoughts.  This is something God has given US to do!!  We're to be the gatekeepers of our own minds. 

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."  Romans 12:2

"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."  II Corinthians 10:5

Saturday, September 23, 2017

FEAR




Fear is powerful!  Satan wants us to imagine the very worst--because he knows that we'll act on what we're thinking. (Proverbs 23:7)  If we're imagining the worst case scenario, our minds will provide the roadmap to get there. 

I read through Genesis this morning and wrote down 122 fears I saw in that book alone!  Out of those 122 fears, I could categorize most of them into the following 14.

THE FEAR OF:
•Rejection/ Comparison
•Loss
•God/God's people
•Guilt/Consequences/Retribution
•Death/Destruction
•Accusation
•Anger
•Unfulfilled Promises
•The Unknown
•Deception
•Dreams
•Miracles
•Prosperity/Blessings/Power
•Decisions

I'm not saying this is a comprehensive list!  But imagine Satan feeding you even one of these fears (and yes, we can fear good things!) and you taking the bait and following it to its natural conclusion. God never wanted you living in fear!!  In fact, He told us that "fear is not from God and that perfect love casts out fear!"  (I John 4:18)  What is that perfect love?  God's love!!  The more we get to know God, the more we'll trust Him. And the more we trust Him, the less we'll fear!  God hasn't given us the spirit of fear (it IS a spirit!), but of power, love, and a sound mind. (II Timothy 1:7)  

How do we overcome fear?  First of all, you have to recognize it. Fear should be a red light for us!  God doesn't make us fear...Satan does!!  He's our accuser. So since it's not from God, we know we should take that thought captive and make it obey Jesus!  (II Corinthians 10:5)  Throw it away if it's fear. What do we replace it with?  Love. Understanding and knowing how much God loves us. Think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, etc. (Philippians 4:8)  LISTEN to God's voice as he speaks to your heart. 

We all fear time-to-time. But you don't have to live in fear. And you certainly don't have to allow fear to lead you to its ultimate end--destruction!  Fear can be debilitating and keep you from fulfilling your full potential and your God-given purpose. God has given you the way to abundant life.  It's up to you to control the thoughts you allow into your mind. Take your thoughts hostage!!

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things."