Monday, May 20, 2013

Stronger By Struggles

I was watching a nature show with my family, and we were all quite intrigued. In one particular segment, there were some wolves chasing down a herd of bison trying to get the baby bison for some lunch meat. Those wolves were relentless in their chase. The kept running and chasing until finally, they got a calf and its mother disconnected from the herd.

The calf was petrified as the mother tried to ward off the three wolves. The wolves intensified their attack, nipping at its heels, hoping to get the calf for their meal. Suddenly, the young calf kicked one of the wolves in the head. Ouch! It sent the wolf reeling and gave the mother and her calf a chance to run and catch up with the rest of the herd.

When the calf kicked the wolf, the commentator said that the calf had to learn to fight or die. The mother bison could only do so much and knew that the calf had to fight too. This was a part of its training and if the young calf made it through, the struggle of the fight with the wolf would make it stronger. I'm sure that little guy was feeling pretty jubilant as he ran with its mother from that fight.

Stronger by struggles; what a concept! This holds true for believers as well. Paul spoke of a particular thorn in the flesh, or struggle, that he was having. He pleaded with the Lord three times to have it removed. This was the Lord's response found in 2 Corinthians 12:9. "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." This enabled Paul to say, "Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

What struggle are you facing today that you are trying to get out of or wish you were not in? Well, you are not going to get out of it until you learn to fight! You have to kick the devil quick and hard with the Word of God to let Him know you are not going down! Resist him with some, "it is written's," and watch him flee! He can't stand it when you tell him that no weapon that he forms against you will prosper! He hates it when you say, I am strong in the Lord. I have the victory! God is for me! Jesus IS my healer!

You are more than a conqueror because Jesus has already given you the victory. So, don't have a defeatist mentality and give up! No! God is trying to teach you to fight so that you learn that your struggle has come to make you stronger. Don't buckle under the pressure. Speak the Word only and let the Word work! The weapons of your warfare are not carnal. They are MIGHTY in God and can tear down any stronghold! Shout for the victory and remember you are made stronger by your struggles!

Love, peace and blessings,

Dr. Sheila

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Don't Get Distracted

I was just listening to the news and major cell phone companies are working with legislature to establish some kind of law to ban texting while driving. Although, texting in and of itself is not bad, the timing of the texting can be detrimental and even cause death. There is a heightened awareness of this issue because many people have died because they were sending or receiving a text while driving.

Texting is not the problem. It's the timing of the texting that is the problem. There is no way that a person can drive and text at the same time and not be distracted. This is obvious because when you look to the phone to text, your eyes are not on the road. It is that moment that you look away to text "idk," or "wbu," that can cost someone their life.

Just like texting while driving or walking for that matter, causes the user to be distracted, so do other things come in life to get a believer distracted from what is really important in life. The enemy uses life's problems to get your focus off of God who has the ability to fix any and all problems that you may face. He knows that if he can just get you distracted, he will render you inoperative and ineffective against his schemes.

Distraction comes in many shapes and forms. It can be offense, ill-timed relationships, no money, too much money, laziness, and the like. All of these things have the potential to cause distress, which leads to distraction, which has the ability to detour you from your destiny. With that, you have to ask yourself, is it really worth it? Is this thing that has your attention to the degree that it has taken your eyes off of God worth a destiny detour. I think not.

The Word of God offers the solution to distraction. It says in Proverbs 4:25-27, "Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil." This verse simply says, don't be distracted, focus. Keep your eyes open and watch where you are walking. Evil is lurking, but if you stay focused, you won't get distracted.

Meditate on this verse today. You may need to do a self-check to see if distractions have caused you to lose focus. If this is you, repent, readjust and remember, that if you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, you will not get distracted.

Love, peace and blessings,

Dr. Sheila

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Copy Cat

You are such a copy cat! I am sure you have heard that phrase and know that it is one of annoyance because it is describing one who is copying or mimicking the actions of another. However, I must confess, though a bit reluctantly because of its negative connotations, that I am a copy cat!

As I was sitting and thinking of some things, I saw myself sprinting, dancing and doing squats. When I ran track, they showed me what to do and I copied it. When I first got into Zumba, I would intently watch the instructor and dance the moves just like she did. With doing squats,  I was shown the correct way to do it, and copied it. More importantly, since I have been serving the Lord, by His grace, whatever I read in His Word, I copy! This makes me a copy cat!

This is a good thing when you look at it in line with scripture. 1 Corinthians 11:1 says, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ."  Ephesians 5:1 says, "Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children." The word 'followers' in both of this verses is the same Greek word which is mimētḗs, from which we get the English word mimic which means to imitate or copy. So Paul was instructing the church at Corinth to copy his actions as he copied the actions of Christ. He told the Ephesians to copy or mimic the actions of God the way a child would copy the actions of a parent.

Even though you can now set aside the negative connotations regarding a copy cat, there are negative consequences awaiting every believer who does not become one! If you don't follow one who is following Christ, many times you will fall into deception because you are left to your own devices. If a Christian doesn't to mimic the will, way and Word of God, they will mimic the will, way and work of the devil. Then you, along with others wonder, Who is your Daddy?

Unfortunately the carnal mind has a problem mimicking the actions of another man. They don't want to be called a flunky or a brown noser. Yet, Jesus only did what the Father told Him and the Holy Spirit instructed Paul to tell the church to follow Him as He followed Christ. We, therefore must learn to follow God as well as follow one who is following God.

As you can now see, being a copy cat isn't a bad thing when you purpose, to copy the will, way and work of God with precision. Read and study the Bible and practice doing exactly what is says to a "T."  This is what the Word of God is conveying in Joshua 1:8, "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make -- thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success." So today, when you are in the mirror of God's Word purpose to do what you see and you will be a copy cat of God's Word and have good success.

Love, peace and blessings,

Dr. Sheila

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Marriage Takes Work

Marriage takes work! In fact, it takes a lot of hard work! However, somewhere, somehow, the enemy has bamboozled many Christians (women especially) into thinking it is a cake walk on a sunny, summer, Sunday afternoon! This is the furthest thing from the truth. As a result, many (again I say, especially women) are living with dashed hopes and expectations which often times end in divorce.

So how did it come to this? Well, for starters we watch too much television. The shows on t.v. are a scripted reality written to project what the producers want the audience to see as reality. The problem, however, is that many well meaning belivers walk away from these award winning shows hoping the same will happen for them.

I must admit that I am a bit of a romantic and I have fallen prey to scripted reality. One of my favorites was Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. When I first saw it, I walked away wanting my night and shining armor to come and sweep me away to a better life.

Now that I have been serving the Lord and married for over twenty years I realize that, that movie and all the rest don't portray a reality to live by. They give this false sense of romance that leaves you feeling good all the time. However, if a marriage is entered into with this mindset, most times, it will end in divorce.

Look at what the Bible says about the first marriage in Genesis 2:21-24. "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And -- the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave -- his father and -- his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."

The last five words of this verse are key. It says, "...they shall be one flesh." These five simple words dilineate the fact that marriage takes work! It is stating that marriage is comprised of two very different sets of flesh coming together, and being made one. Spiritually speaking, this "being made one," takes place at the altar when the two are pronounced husband and wife. Naturally speaking...well, to all who have been married for any length of time, we know that, "being made one," is a life long process that often doesn't feel so good and takes a lot of work!

Oh, but thanks be to God who is more than able to make two, one in any marriage! The key to this transformation lies in the death of the husband and wife when they declare, "I will," in their marriage vows. The work lies in a constant and daily death of the will. Once this is accomplished, though work, by the grace of God, your marriage will work out for your growth, others gain and God's glory.

So whether you are reading this before you say, "I do," or after you have said, "I do," remember, marriage takes work. Trust the Lord of the work, in the work and let Him work His providential purpose and plan in you through His thing called marriage.

Love, peace and blessings,

Dr. Sheila