ACTIVE FAITH NOT EMOTIONAL FAITH

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There is something beautifully painful about growing through correction. Criticism is a necessary evil and the chastisement from a genuine place of unconditional affirming love is absolutely incredible. These last six months for me have been extremely powerful in the sense that a routine prayer that I have is being answered in ways that I never would have expected. I call it a routine prayer because it is one that I say often, and I offer it not out of repetition but out of respect and an earnest desire to want to grow spiritually. The prayer simple says, “Lord, convict me and chastisement so I can be the vessel that you need me to be. Show me the parts of Carlette that I have not given to you.”

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s nothing profound or earth shattering about the prayer, but thanks be unto God that he’s not looking for profound, HE just wants honesty. The ways in which he has released the many answers to this prayer over the last six months is pretty amazing. I call it amazing because the lessons that I learned all derived from a hurt place. Although most of us can admit, pain is our muse or that the thorn in our sides keep us grounded but this has been different. The hurt that I speak of was realized when I had to admit what I was purged of. I had to confess to Abba a lot of hard truths about who I am and how I’ve been treating HIM. These revelations aren’t about sin, yet they are about truth. These nuggets of wisdom are about opening my eyes and receiving a new level of understanding about work I need to do on me and how I can improve to bear more fruit for the kingdom.

I can’t share them all with you but one lesson that stands out to me the most is involving my faith. The circumstances of my life this year alone had caused my faith to be emotionally charged to a degree. When the Lord revealed this to me, I felt just terrible and I was downright embarrassed that a woman of my responsibility in the kingdom and exposure to the miraculous had failed miserably and that I had no idea! I got caught up in a rut of emotions. This is primarily because the people and circumstances that were used to test me during this timeframe are people and situations that I hold dear to my heart therefore, when things went left, they pulled on my heartstrings and caused me to have emotional faith instead of active faith!

My emotional faith didn’t cause me to curse God or to stop serving or to stop attending services. It didn’t even stop me from praying and studying the word. What this shrunken kind of faith did was neutralized me. It stopped me from moving in faith literally and spiritually. Several times over the last six months, I became completely stagnant – zombie like. Now that I can think back on these times, the symptoms are so evident but there were pretty much invisible at the time.

Symptoms included:

·         I became super serious while travailing as if my super serious demeanor was going to push God to move faster on my behalf (this cracks me up now that I can reflect)

·         I became “judgy”. I was making judgements of people in my head and didn’t see the harm in it because I wasn’t verbalizing it to anyone else

·         My spirit was depressed – (imagine a choppy wifi connections. Sometimes you’re connected and sometimes you’re not)

The only remedy for this dis-ease in my faith was to desperately cry out for help. I knew that I didn’t feel complete in my spirit and that I was tipping the scale towards giving up on everything. I may not have said it but I was sure thinking it…more often than not. I wasn’t doing enough to combat my wrong thinking and I hadn’t asked for the freedom that I so desperately needed. My heart was willing because I could no longer go on feeling like this. You would never know that I was feeling this way by looking at me or by speaking to me.

God used the most unsuspecting person who I know genuinely loves me to point out some things to me. Their observations were brought to my attention subtly and gently. I didn’t really HEAR them in my spirit when they were first mentioned. In fact, it took a couple of days for me to absorb what had been said. Once I processed the information, I took it to the Lord in prayer and through his grace and unfailing love, HE dealt with me right where I was. I was purged of all that was ailing me. I received my healing and deliverance. Much repentance and a great deal of worship fell from my lips with a pure heart and clean hands. I was able to literally feel the release. It was beautifully painful.

We must be careful not to fall into ruts of routine and pits of mediocracy. The LORD wants us to be alive and vibrant. Full of zeal and excitement. Our energy should be a result of who we know him to be and not based upon the limits that our emotions cause. There are blessing running over. There is healing bubbling up. There are gifts falling free, but our emotions put a cap on the pot and we stay on simmer. Let our faith be on fire as GOD arises so should we! As HIS enemies scatter so should our doubts, fears and anxieties. Confess your feelings. Do emotional and spiritual check ins with our creator. Our emotions must be handed over to the pilot before we can board. There is going to be turbulence and there will be wind, but God is in the control tower. We have nothing to fear. On the way to our destination we will travel through clouds that will test our strength. Be reminded today that we have explosive strength and power inside of us that cannot be put out. The flame is always burning inside of us. Do not become stagnant. Move as the Holy Spirit leads you. Move in expectation. Pack up your stuff, even if you don’t where or how you are moving. Like a pregnant women is an expectant mother, we must be expectant disciples with active faith! 

PICTURE THIS

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You are walking in your calling and trusting God without borders. You’ve taken the limits off him and allowed him into every area of your life. Your prayer life is consistent, and you have discovered your true identity in Christ. A light bulb has come on and you finally realize why you were born and live every day like it is your last because you want to please your heavenly father.

The ups and downs and round the mountains and down the valleys that life is full of do not stop your hustle. In fact, you thrive on it because you believe that you are who God says you are and that nothing can stop you because you have confessed that you are nothing without HIM.

You can’t sleep at night but it’s not because demons are haunting you, it is because angels are being dispatched and you can’t take your eyes off the vision. You’ve written, and you’ve made it plain. Your dwellings are adorned with it and your doorways are anointed…you feel protected. Letting any ill spirit in your midst is unlikely because you protect what you’ve been given.

There are times when you fall short but we all do so you are always reminded that you are not condemned because you are saved. Things that use to tempt you no longer tempt you anymore because you resist it when it approaches you and it is tired of hearing you scream that you are more than a conqueror. That thing has been evicted and its power has been revoked.

Prayers coming from your lips do not cease because of the gratitude that you have in your heart. Worship comes easy. Comprehension of his word is like water, refreshing and plentiful.

It could happen. Just make a decision.

JUST MAKE A DECISION

Sometimes identifying issues that we need to resolve can be subtle or they can be abruptly in your face obvious.  Subtleness can be a result of denial or naiveté and sometimes it doesn’t matter how obvious the clues are, we ignore them because complacency has settled in. Whichever story resonates with you, we’ve all been there. I believe that we are faced with an opportunity to resolve an issue every day. Whether its making the right choice at the vending machine or walking away from an abusive relationship. It can be choosing to not be a hoarder like your parents or choosing to accept a job that pays slightly less but will make your happier. Every day there is an opportunity. Just make a decision!

This is the year of the open door and we must be conscious and deliberate about being in the right position to receive what our God has in store for us. You don’t have to think long, you know exactly what it is. The time is now!

THE SMALLER THE BETTER

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Since I’ve always been an easy to please person, I’ve always appreciated the small things like receiving a hand written thank you note versus a text or a facebook shout out. As I’ve been praying for ways to be a witness in my new work environment, I am reminded about how great of an impact small gestures can make. Life throws so many curve balls at us that it is sometimes hard to see the opportunities to make a difference. Having a keen eye for opportunity will force us to think less of ourselves and to think more about others. It sounds simple enough but more often than not, our thoughts are consumed with thoughts about our next career move, what bills are due, what to cook for dinner, when to workout, how to change the world or when to change over the laundry from the washer to the dryer. What I’ve learned is that the more that I pour into others, the less daunting my situations appear to be and somehow I get to the end of a rough road a lot sooner because I am not standing over the pot waiting for it to boil, yet I am concerned more about making an impact in the life of someone else. So I encourage you to maximize what resources you have to empower and encourage but most of all, to be a witness of Jesus Christ.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add a quote to your email signature
  • Put that dry erase board to use and share a daily thought
  • Hand write kindhearted notes
  • Share a random act of kindness more than when the world recognizes a day for it
  • Order Our Daily Bread devotional books and place a few on your desk – watch them disappear
  • Recognize someone to the whole team without being asked to – a compliment can make ALL the difference in someone’s day

 

ARE YOU HUMBLE OR INSECURE?

This is a question that I had to ask myself today after listening to a sermon online about the “Dysfunctions of Comfort”. I strive to be as humble as I can be and I’ve never viewed that as a bad thing, but have I used it as a cover up for my insecurities? I like to think of myself as a secure and confident person in 99% of areas in my life. I stay in my lane until I’ve learned the skill or knowledge necessary to swerve into another lane.

The question that was provoked by this sermon presents a challenge for me. As I am always striving to be better than I was yesterday, I will need to evaluate my moments of humility. I need to check my insecure, less confident inventory to gauge areas in need of growth and I need to break up some of my routines. It’s time to shake things up a little bit and be more adventurous. After all, failing a few times will only lead me to succeed.

I’ve never been much of a risk taker and it is very possible that this cautionary side of my personality may be connected to insecurities that I have not identified. From this day forward, I am going to journal more about opportunities and things that I have been so quick to turn down. I’m interested to see what patterns will come to light and how I can prepare myself for what happens after I say yes more often. 

Now don’t get me wrong, my self-esteem hasn’t been negatively affected yet I’ve been pushed to challenge my thinking and decision making. Stay tuned. I will post an update for sure.

DON’T LOSE YOUR MOMENTUM

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Join me today re-establishing your momentum!

Life can get in the way and we can easily lose our enthusiasm and excitement. The worst thing that we can do is forget why we are living and/or forget how much we must be grateful for! There is positively absolutely no reason for us to walk around on auto pilot with little to no spunk. We will not sink into a state of being dreary, dull or blasé.

Our momentum has everything to do with our inner being and how well we are taking care of it. While hubby and I are currently on the hunt to find the “perfect” home to purchase, we are learning a lot. While it’s great to have awesome curb appeal, we are more concerned about what is on the inside. In the words of my husband, “we live on the inside, not the outside, right?”. I begin to think about that in a spiritual sense. Our spirits are internal, and we must be more concerned with taking care of them than we are about the external. There are plenty of people walking around dressing up a hot mess. They are photo shoot ready on the outside but a complete wreck on the inside. When we take care of what’s on the inside, we can gain momentum in this marathon.

Re-establish your momentum. Discover your rhythm. Find your energy. Get more sleep. Worry less. Pray more. Laugh a lot and loudly. Go dancing. Go roller skating. Go on a hike and marvel at the works of God’s hands. Do what you must do, I beg you. Your life depends on it. Re-claim your momentum!  

DO NOT GIVE UP!

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Don’t allow you pain to be the object of your worship. Whatever is getting all your attention and absorbing all your thoughts is what you are worshipping. God is completely God and He is completely man therefore HE’s able and HE knows, you can count on HIM. HE is not going to fail you.

Be wise in discerning if you are facing a human problem or a demonic attack. Do not be ignorant of Satan’s devices. When we are ignorant we make faulty and misguided conclusions and decisions. The wiser we are, the more difficult it will be for Satan to take advantage of us and our thoughts and decisions.

Trust the water of God’s word to satisfy the thirst that your circumstance is causing. HIS word will saturate the dry places and leave a remnant or a dew as a reserve. There is nothing HE can’t solve.