Choosing Your Battles

 

 

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that but the really great make you feel that you too can become great. When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition it is important with whom you regularly associate. Hang out with friends who are like-minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives. Similarly be that kind of a friend for your friends.” – Mark Twain

The older I get the more I understand that every day can be a fight with someone or for some thing if we chose it to be. Sometimes, the hardest  battle is in our own mind.

My thoughts are best expressed behind this computer screen. I know I am much better at writing than communicating in person. I need more time to process things and in writing it gives me the time and the luxury of reading my words before I ever say them out loud.

Here in Bama , it is 2 A.M. and my mind is racing. Racing and replaying conversations that I had with one that I adore. There are so many things I want to say, to do. But, sometimes the hardest thing is not stepping in and fighting a battle for someone. Sometimes the best thing is to listen and  encourage them . Give advice as needed and pray for them. Pray for protection and strength. Pray for wisdom and knowledge. Oh yes, and discernment.

The things that I will say publicly to this bubbly, talented and beautiful soul is this…

Everyone that says they are your friend is  not your friend. When you find yourself asking if this person is really your friend, many times that is a white flag , take notice. There are some friendships that you can embrace and some that you have to keep at a distance and some you have to let go. As Ecclesiastes  tells us in the Bible, there is a time for everything. We have to pray for wisdom and discernment when these times come because we have all endured them.

I think one of the hardest sins to overcome is the one of jealousy and a competitive spirit. They can be conquered but it truly takes the power of Jesus Christ to do it and the person has to want  and willingly  lay these traits at the foot of the cross. These two have done more than most any other to ruin a many of friendships.

Jealousy arises in relationships because of comparison, competition and the fear of being replaced. If we were busy counting our own blessings instead of counting others, this would not be an issue. If we maintained an attitude of gratitude, it would solve many relationship issues. Because as we have heard many times, There is alway, ALWAYS something to be thankful for. When we change our lens in which we view things and we can change our world.

So, when you are dealing with one that makes fun of you, cuts you down in front of others or is truly not happy when good vibrations come your way or better yet a compliment comes your way and not theirs ,take note, jealousy and competition has raised their ugly heads. When a friend steals your ideas, takes your work and says it is theirs, when it is always about their needs,  when they can never say they are sorry and when confronted always play the victim role, you can know that you are dealing with one or both of these spirits. So what do you do?

I have walked away from a couple of friendships in the last couple of years for some of these very reasons. Even at my age of fifty, it is still a really hard battle to overcome. So how do you do it?  Know, I don’t think I know it all, I am taking these steps myself as we speak. I have not arrived at the point when I hear their name and it does not bother me. Betrayal hurts.  I know,  I have to continually lay this hurt at the foot of the cross when I feel the sting.

What I do know is, chose your battles wisely and truly know who you are fighting. Yes, they are being used by the enemy and  at times, I  believe they are  being a willing participant. But. know our enemy , Satan and his evil posse is the real enemy. The Lord tells us in his word that we are not fighting flesh and blood but against evil forces in the spiritual realm.

We have to call on the Lord. We have to pray for wisdom and discernment. We have to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves. But know that being gentle does not mean being walked all over, treated poorly and taken advantage of one too many times. Boundaries are needed. Ask the Lord to help you establish those boundaries.

Believe in the sowing and reaping principle. It is a Godly principle and no one gets a free pass on it. In God’s timing , the truth will come out and the Lord will bring justice to the afflicted. But, all in his timing and not ours.

In the meantime, do you. Be you. Don’t stop shining.  Be your own kind of beautiful. Watch what people do and not what they say.  Don’t look at yourself through their eyes. Know who appraises  your worth. God and God alone has that job. He sees us as his daughter’s. Royalty. loved, dearly loved . Know that enemies will come but realize that God and God alone is our strength and guidance and  through him, we will be victorious.

So, don’t waste your time fighting the wrong battles.  Lastly,  Never… EVER  forget that these spiritual wars are always fought and WON on our knees.

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#4 of 21 Days of Prayer

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#21daysofprayer

Pastor Layne- Day 4

Have you ever felt insignificant ?

I Corinthians 3:5-11 reminds us that are prayers are making a difference. They are working. Prayer is doing more than you think because God is doing more than you can see~

3 things we do when we pray !

  1. We are planting
  2. We are watering
  3. We are building

FOR THINGS TO GROW
5Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.9For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

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Now faith is the assurance of the things hope for , being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality. Hebrews 11:1 (AMP)

A reminder this morning for all of us …Let this season grow you. God is doing a work within you right where you are.

Lord, we are unashamed . Lord, we exhaust your name. You reign over all . Your presence tears down the walls we hide behind. We long for you Lord, search us and may we chose what is better. May we walk with you today Lord, yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not granted. Today, Lord, may our light shine for your glory !

In HIs Love & Mine,

Darla

 

 

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#2 of 21 Days of Prayer

 

2 TImothy 1-7

#2 of 21 days of prayer- Hamp Greene
So many power points this early morning. JOY is a choice.

Pastor Hamp reminds us of the teaching of Paul. Do not be anxious about anything BUT in EVERYTHING by PRAYER AND PETITION, with THANKSGIVING, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Speak God’s word over your life. Your children’s life. Your situation, Your mountain that you are facing. There is power in his word. PUT HIS WORD INTO PRACTICE. Meditate on it. OBSESS over it.

We have to “FIX” our minds on things that are true, noble, right, pure, etc. If we will do these things the God of PEACE will be with us. Remember happiness is EXTERNAL and joy is INTERNAL.

Lastly, As I wake this morning, I do not know what lies before me today, only God does. BUT, as I listen to praise music this morning and I am getting back into my early morning routine, I am thankful that of all scriptures that Hamp could have used, he used my favorite, the one that the Lord has brought into my life over and over. So many times, that friends have actually labeled it as my scripture. Hamp was referring to Philippians but then quoted 2 Timothy 1:7, God did NOT give us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and SELF DISCIPLINE.

WALK THRU THIS DAY KNOWING AND CLAIMING…. That the same power that raised Jesus from the dead LIVES IN US. (through our mistakes, our mishaps, it has overcome our past, our sin and it endures, His power lives in US)

Posted in Confidence, Courage, Daily Devotion, Determination, Discipline, Faith, Perseverence, prayer | Leave a comment

Church Goers and Jesus Followers ~

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I am utterly amazed at what I read  on Facebook.  What I have personally witnessed from church goers. Yes, there is a difference between church goers and Jesus followers.    Post scriptures, encouraging post, the trust God kind of post and in their day-to-day life are as mean as the devil.  SO self absorb that it  is just pathetic.

I was always told by my parent’s, “You will know all you need to know about a person by the way they  handle money.” I have never heard a truer statement.

Being a follower of Christ is being REAL and being TRANSPARENT. It is real easy to raise your hands in church on Sunday morning for all to see but what are you really living like during the week?

I totally understand why our world is spinning out of control. So many of us “PLAY THE ROLE” of being a Christian. People are watching Christians to see what they are like when they are in the trenches and when they have been knocked down. This is when our faith meets reality. From what I have seen, there is a lot of work that needs to be done from all of us.  First of all , we need to quit blaming everyone else and start working on ourselves.  We all have failed. I have failed miserable on many occasions but I have admitted my failures and share many of them in the hopes it helps others from making the same mistakes.

Y’all chime in , I would love to hear your thoughts . What do you say to someone who cries poor me. They do not have the money to  pay their bills is their story.  Ask the church for help for groceries and their utility  bill . Then it is brought to the church board that this man might should give up his three packs of cigarettes a day, his tanning package at the tanning salon   and might should have skipped  his vacation to the river resort. So, the board gives the money to him to help but mentions these facts and the member gets mad and quits the church. GET YOUR PRIORITIES IN LINE ~

Or, how about the story of the Church member that leads Bible studies and literally is crying  to church members that they do not have money to pay their bills. The member’s of the church gives  money in their behalf and they go the next week and buy two horses. How do you justify that?

How about the story of being at the car dealership for repairs to your car. You are raising so much cane cussing and ranting  all the while forgetting that you have your church t-shirt on . While you are blessing out the employee, he stops you to tell you,  Your Pastor of your church comes in here and how nice he is, we love your Pastor ! Is this about the time you realize, who you represent?

What about the ones that hear you share your dream in a small group. Because you hear your Pastor say, ” What is shared in a small group, stays in the small group.” Then you see someone in the group take your ideas, your pictures, your video that has your name on it and uses it for their benefit as they take your dream and say it is their idea.

I am convinced the ones that the Lord really notices are not the ones that are the loudest. The ones getting all the attention . The ones that love to post and speak to others publicly about how righteous they are . They love to say,” I am the hands and feet of Jesus. ” The difference  makers  are not always the ones that are seen.

The difference makers most of the time are people who share their struggles. They let you know that they are no different from you. We are in this thing together and we will rise together. They are the ones that are on their knees in their prayer closet. NOT, the ones on the front roll raising their hands. They are the ones that give in secret not the ones that announce all that they have done. They are the ones that serve others when it is truly a sacrifice and not having to post their selfies when they are serving others.  Why do so many of us have to post pictures of what we are doing for the church?  Why do we have to check in on Facebook   every time we enter the  church doors? Are we really doing it for Christ or for self recognition?

For me, being a Christian means I still fail. I am weak in so many areas. But, where I  am weak, he is strong. My help comes from  Christ alone. I make mistakes and I have to fall on my knees and ask for forgiveness. It is empathizing when a brother or sister in Christ is hurting. It is really being there for them. Investing time and not when it is just convenient for you. It is never taking advantage for personal gain.  It is truly appreciating when someone does something for you. When you are the leader of a group and people come and confide to you and ask for your prayers, it is not something we go share. Great positions of leaderships come with great responsibilities.

What happened to the less of me and more of you God? Easy to say, isn’t it? So hard to live. When we want to know why the world is going mad. Maybe it is because we are not living like  the word tells us we should. Maybe it is because we have twisted and turned the word of God so we can justify how we treat others. We justify our greed.  We justify our actions that do not line up with the word of God. The Lord was right on when he said the LOVE of money is the root of ALL evil. I am so sick of people crying poor mouth and people getting suckered in to helping them only to find out they have money for everything they want to do.

The Bible reminds us, for the sake of YOUR name, lead me and guide me.  We all have some soul-searching to do.

For how you act on Sunday is not the true test. It is Monday through Saturday folks. It is the day-to-day walk that tells the tale. It is when we have wronged another to have the courage to step up and own our mistakes.  OR it is when someone has wronged you and you have to forgive when you never got the apology that you truly deserve. Trust me it is not  always easy.  But, I don’t recall the Bible telling us this walk was going to be an easy journey.

When we open up the Bible and compare it to a reflection of our life walk, what do we see? What is reflecting back in the mirror?

Sadly, many  of us Christians have not aligned our  faith with our character: “TRUTH LIES IN CHARACTER. Christ did not simply speak the truth; He was truth; truth, through and through; for truth is a thing not of words, but of life and being.” ~ Frederick W. Robertson

…Let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth…” (1 John 3:18, AMP) As a believer, we are the hands and feet of Jesus in this earth. God wants to bless people, and He wants to use you and me to do it! He wants to work through us to show His love and compassion and draw people to Himself.

On the good days and the bad days… Who do we represent?

 

 

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Walking Through The Desert

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It gets old when you are walking in the dry desolate desert like the Israelites did. The spiritual dryness and praying that the Lord bends down his ear from the throne of grace and hears the cries of his children. Oh sure, we as Christians, can adjust our robe and say, ” I would never do as the Israelites did ” or “If I would have seen the miracles like they did” I would never doubt. Seriously, we would do exactly like they did maybe even more. Look at this world today.

When we are walking through the fire it is hard to remember all what the Lord has done for us in the past. Guess that is why the Lord say, REMEMBER what I did and why the Jews celebrate Passover and other events so that we NEVER forget. We are told to tell our children and our children’s children. R_E_M_E_M_B_E_R_ ~
SO many of us KNOW the Bible. We know the saying, if God and you are not as close as you use to be , who moved? Draw closer to God and he will draw closer to you according to James 4:8.
I read today and what perfect timing for us…
God is saying to you today. “Everything will work out. I am in complete control. I know what the medical report says. I know what the financial situation looks like. I see the people who are coming against you. I know how big your dreams are AND hear me clearly, I will not fail you.”
I wrote this down on a sticky note and placed it on my desk lamp to REMIND ME of this….. Joseph woke up in a prison BUT went to sleep in a palace the very same night. WHY? Because he trusted God in his dungeon. Trust God no matter where you find yourself today. HE will take care of you.
Thought I would share this. Perhaps someone else is going through the desert right now. Putting this out here to let you know that you are not alone. I get it. I know. I am there. This desert is dry, hot and wears you out. Exhausting… I know, I am seeing the trail of my footprints in the sand. But, there is still that still small voice inside of me that reminds me, there is streams in the desert.
I keep hearing…. “Trusting in me means trusting in my timing.” Lord, give us a little more faith to believe what we already know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Daily Devotion, Faith, Hope, Israel, Perseverence, prayer | 2 Comments

Vintage 1966- 50th Birthday Today

 

50 years today. People are asking what are you going to do , for this is a “BIG” birthday. What is Don going to get you for he spoils you rotten. How are y’all celebrating? My answer is… simple.  We had an outdoor dinner at the farm  last night with the kids and our best friend, Dee.  Don  has asked several times what I wanted for my birthday? I really don’t know.

I am enjoying the silence this morning on the farm for the first half of my birthday.  All the dogs are sprawled out around me on the floor and I do know what I want for my  birthday, as I  humbly whisper to the Lord.

I want my Dad to be healed from Cancer. I want my dear friend, DeeDee to be healed from Cancer. I want  Don to  retire so we can enjoy this farm that we have worked so hard to have. I want to see my loved ones happy and whole. I want to see the world I live in go back to being more simple.  Faith, Family and Friends were the Southern way of life growing up .  I want the world to slow down and people to put down their phones and truly care and cherish the person that is in front of them.

Tomorrow is not guaranteed as we all were reminded this week as we said goodbye to one I adored. Brandon Clough left us much too soon. It is so hard to say goodbye to one that filled my heart with so much joy through the years. The last words he wrote to me were, I love you on a  Facebook message.  How I wish I could tell him one more time how proud I was of him. How much I adored him. He was truly like a little brother to me. Please remember friends, work is NOT the most important thing, family and friends and honoring the Lord is the only  goal worth attaining.

How I have changed reflecting back. What have I learned? What can I share with the younger generation that would have a lasting impact? For starters…

I don’t know how people make it day to day without the Lord. Living in this world,  it is hard some days,  even knowing  my future is secure in my Heavenly Father’s righteous right hand. I have come to a place that I truly have accepted that I do not have to be right. I do not have to be first. I do not have to be praised.

TRUTH….  It is worth fighting for. The world is fighting against it every single day. A lie does not become truth and wrong does not become right just because our society says so and embraces it . The Lord’s word is sovereign over all.  I do have to stand for truth no matter the risk. I do require honesty and kindness in my relationships. It is what I ask for in all my relationships and I give both back whole heartily.

I  look in the mirror and I have changed through the years but I have learned to love myself…  wrinkles, flaws, mistakes  and all. Funny, how just  a few years ago, I would not go out of the house without being dolled up and dressed to the nines, ( which I can still do from time to time) but,  now it is jeans and t-shirts and many days without make up. The dirt on me is ok, for it shows I have spent time with the horses, they are the reason for why we bought this farm. They are the ministry that the Lord has given us. For the lost and abused children, for the hurting adults, for the days that the world has beat us up. We can go out with them in the pasture, in the stillness and find solace. Best therapy money can buy. One of my birthday presents from Dee is a plaque that says, “The sound of hooves on the ground defines freedom.”

I  have learned to respect myself enough that when others continue to not show respect time and time again , it is time that they exit the door in my life. Some people can stay in my heart but not in my life. Forgiveness does not always mean reconciliation and that is ok. Walking away at times is the wisest thing and the kindest thing I can do for myself. Harsh words do not have to be said. I  now know, I do not have to have the last word.

The Lord continues to show me that I cannot be more concerned with pleasing people than pleasing Him. This needs to be a routine soul search for us all .  He draws  a line in the sand for us all.  We  must choose which side we are going to be on. We can please people or We can please Him but we  cannot have both. We have to learn this lesson to do the work He has called us to do.

I AM committed to Him. The days I fall on my face, He is still  my guide.  He picks me up when I have lost my way.  We can wander away  so quickly  if we place our focus on our circumstances.

I want to stand firm as His Prayer Warrior no matter what battle comes my way.  His grace does abound in deepest waters. When the water is over my head it does not really matter anymore how deep the water is for He promises He will be my guide.  He has chosen me. I do not have to fear for He is with me. I do not have to be discouraged for He is my Father. He will strengthen me and he will uphold me .

Truly striving to be a  DIFFERENCE MAKER. I want to know when I am gone that the world was a better place because I lived that dash in between , the 1966- … To do this I MUST place circumstances that I have no control over at the foot of the cross. I must trust Him even when I do not understand or have the whys answered.

Half a century old , as my son said yesterday. Well, for this second half, may I have the wisdom, strength and courage to finish this life well. So that…. The Lord  will have the words to say to me that I long to hear, “Well done”. Those two words hold my future. They are my victory. They are my trophy at the end of this race in life.

Lord, thank you for my family. Thank you for my husband of twenty years through the mountains and potholes of life.  Thank you for true friends.  The greatest gift on earth for me is being a Mother to Joshua and Ashley . Now, it is a mother also to 3 horses, 5 dogs and 1 cat later.  May we all grow old serving the Lord, together,  for with our Lord on our side, the best is yet to come ~

Now, I am longing to walk down the gravel road to the barn and spend time with my beautiful horses.  Work is on the back burner for the day. No farm work today either. NO daily cleaning either.  Just going to enjoy the simple things of life for today. Thank you Lord for giving me this life to live. For your name sake, lead me and guide me ~

 

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To Live and Proclaim… What Cancer CANNOT Do…

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This morning I look out the window at the horse farm. The green pastures, white fencing and old Southern trees bring a sense of peace that is so needed this morning. For this is the morning my Dad starts Chemo, Massive doses of Chemo for a disease that has spread in his stomach, chest and neck. 6 rounds  ( a round is four days a week 4/6 hours a day , 3 weeks off and  back on again. ) of treatments for 6 months.

Yes, there are times that I wish I had a crystal ball so I would know how this all plays out. I have cried. I have begged the Lord. I have worshiped the Lord and I have sat in silence. Cancer truly does not have a face until it is one of your loved ones. Four years ago, I was sitting in the Doctor’s office and I was told I had cancer, I went through all the thoughts of who is going to look after my loved ones, my horses, etc. My Doctor called back two weeks later and said he made a mistake in looking at the test results. Relief…is an understatement.  But, nothing prepares you as you are sitting with your Mom and Dad and listening to the Doctor tell you that your Dad has cancer , aggressive cancer. The fighter inside me wants to stand up and say , not a chance. You have made a mistake~Not on my watch !

As I am battling a hundred different thoughts this morning, banking on so many scriptures, I am asking  the Lord, please give us all a little more faith to believe what we already know. There always comes a point in all of our lives that we have an unsuspected reserve of strength that emerges when life puts us to the test.

My Mom and Dad have this kind of strength.  I just talked to them on the way to the Cancer center.  Tears stream as I cannot be there. I will keep driving back and forth from Alabama to Arkansas.It is hard to see your parent’s go through this as many of you have. It is an added hardship when you are  6 1/2 hours from them.

Yes, fear has come knocking on their door, all of our doors, but, Mom & Dad  are kicking it to the curb. My Dad has said that they have been so blessed. Never really had a serious sickness, us kids have never been serious sick and this is just something they have to get through. Mom says, “He is amazing, he has more strength and determination to fight this, more than ever.” Dad said, “we got to have faith.” They both  said, there is a reason for this. God has a plan and he will get the glory from this.

So… God, whatever your plan is, I ask you to hold my Mom and Dad in the palm of your hand. Strengthen their faith. Bring encouragement to them in this valley and timely help ! May we trust that your will, God, will never take us to a place that your grace will not protect us.

Friends and Family, one last thing, Please don’t share your horror stories to others that are fighting cancer. Positive thoughts are POWERFUL thoughts. I cannot believe how many people have said the most thoughtless things already. The word says, “As a man thinketh… so is he.” If you cannot say something encouraging , Please for the love of God, be quiet.

Second, don’t say, “Call if you need something”.  Why do  we say that people ? Seriously, most likely that call is not going to happen. Better yet, why don’t you pray and ask God to lead you in how you can help someone who is sick or housebound.

Life goes on even though this horrific disease has come. May this be a lesson to us ALL. When someone is sick, widowed, etc.  There are meals that are needed, grass that needs cutting, Groceries that still need to be there and lots of encouragement and cards along the way. Family and loved ones are traveling back and forth to their sick family members. How can you be a difference maker?  PRAY and ASK  God . God  is searching for those who want to be a difference maker, not the ones that just say, Praying for you or Call if you need something.

If you live as a Christian it is monotonous to remind people that you are one. This is a place in life where using your words is not the preferred method. “Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary use words.”_ St. Francis of Assisi

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