“Zoom Out”

In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths” -Proverbs 3:5-6

Take a look at this picture. What do you see? Ugly, dead tree branches? A barren tree in winter? With no lush green leaves sprouting from it, it isn’t much to look at.

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But what if I show you the whole picture? What do you see now? Yes the tree is weathered and worn but can you see the beauty and uniqueness in that? It is still standing firm in its foundation. The ocean at its base makes for a beautiful scene. The  wind, salt water and erosion have taken their toll, but through it all, it still stands.

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Many times we go through beaten and battered times in our lives. We wonder why and often question God’s motives. But we are only seeing a tiny part of the picture. Like the first photo, we see something ordinary and not so amazing. But if we “zoom out” and see the bigger picture as God does we can see that there is more to our struggles than we imagine and that we can persevere by trusting in God and knowing that His picture for our lives contains much more than we can comprehend.

Don’t look at the ugly parts (the dead tree branches) of your life and forget to focus on what God has in store. Look at the whole picture and see the beauty in the fight.

“I Will Not Be Hindered By Lies”

Galatians

January. This month has been haunting me for quite a while. It was January of last year that my panic attacks hit me hard, completely debilitating me. I never really figured out why but I keep thinking to myself, “If I can make it through January (and then February) I will be okay”. So far, I am trying to simply be more optimistic and smile even when I don’t feel like it, laugh when I’m not sure it’s in me and force myself to do something positive even when it’s hard. And as I go, I find myself feeling better. But this morning I realized that isn’t enough. God made it known to me that in the fear I was facing and associating with this month, I still wasn’t trusting in Him as I should be.

I will be honest, there are a lot of times when I know He wants to walk side by side with me but I act like a toddler with a temper tantrum, wanting things my own way and screaming, “Not right now…I don’t wanna!” No, I don’t really do that but you get the picture.

Then there are the moments I do stroll alongside Him but I’m like a sixteen year-old with an iPhone. Head down, only looking up occasionally to say “Huh? What did you say?” Not fully involved in the conversation or appreciating the friend who is willing to “hang out” with me.

So I prayed about these things this morning and God led me to Ephesians 6: 10-12 (Amplified Bible):

10” In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].

11 Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.

12 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere”

From this I understand that the enemy wants nothing more than to remind me that January was bad for me last year. He wants me to believe that this month is cursed and that I will not make it through. But with these words from God I know that I can continue on the journey that He has me on. That I will fulfill whatever He has in store for me through the struggles I overcome on a daily basis. I will not be hindered by lies, deceit and strongholds, whose only purpose is to distort or confuse my thinking. Any lie, with our permission, will gain control of our emotions and change our behavior. These things do not come from God.

But these things do:

22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,

23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. – Galatians 5: 22-23

What are you facing today? Whatever it is, please let these powerful verses speak to you. Personally I am writing them down and carrying them with me this month : )