Not Even A Nibble!

I went to biblegateway.com yesterday to look up a verse and when the page opened there was a picture of one of the paddleboards I had researched on the bottom left corner and a picture of a sundress I had looked at in the middle right side of the page.

I hate it when that happens. It creeps me out to know that they (whoever “they” are) are monitoring and tracking me and my habits. I also hate it because it distracts and tempts me. What I hate most is when I fall for the distraction and temptation!

I don’t know how many times I have settled into my favorite chair with my morning cup of coffee, Bible, and journal, ready for some awesome prayer and devotion time with the Lord and ended up online shopping for an hour instead. When I realize how much time I have wasted I feel angry and frustrated that I have fallen for the same trap again.

After repeatedly falling for the same distractions and temptations I have learned some ways to safeguard my prayer and devotion time. I know I cannot check my email before prayer time. I know I should not have my phone anywhere near me at prayer time. I know if I even do one task like throwing in a load of laundry or feeding the dog it will lead to another task and next thing I know an hour has passed. Sure, I may have accomplished a lot, but I have missed out on the one thing that I need most in my day. When that happens I feel anxious and frustrated.

Marketers and advertisers are not the only ones watching and tracking us. We have a real enemy and the Bible says we are to be aware of the devil’s devices as he prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

The enemy doesn’t just ambush us out of nowhere with a random attack. He takes his time getting to know us. He studies our habits. He watches our actions. He identifies our weaknesses. He listens to the words we speak about ourselves, and others, and he discovers our temptations.

Once he is has figured out what trips us up he doesn’t devour us all at once. It happens bite by bite. He takes a bite of our time when we get sucked into an hour of social media. He takes a bite out of our finances when we see something we just have to have- especially since it is on sale. He takes a bite out of our marriage when we have our needs met in someone other than our spouse. He takes a bite out of our health when we give in to the third piece chocolate cake.

A little nibble here and there may not seem like a big deal, but when you add them up bite by bite, meal by meal, they start to have a negative impact on your relationship with yourself and with God. Falling into the same snares time and again leave you feeling anxious, frustrated, and hopeless. They make it harder to go boldly before the throne because you are more aware of your mistakes than you are of God’s promises.

The best thing you can do to safeguard yourself is to know yourself and know Gods promises. No matter what your weaknesses and temptations are, God promises to make a way of escape for you. However, better than having a way of escape is avoiding the need for escape in the first place.

Take your weaknesses and temptations before God and ask him to help you come up with ways to guard against them. There is no point in acting all holier than thou before Him. He already knows what your weaknesses are. He simply wants you to trust Him and believe that He loves you no matter what you may struggle with. He wants to help you, but He is not going to impose His help on you.

If you are struggling with any strongholds, or temptations in your life, please take a moment to fill out a prayer request. You can remain anonymous. There is no reason to give your life over bite by bite, meal by meal to the enemy. God wants you free from everything that takes you away from who you were created to be and the life He died to give you.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. -1 Peter 5:8 NLT

Love, Grace, and a Nibble Free Day to You All,

Jen

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Selfish Faith

I was supposed to have a friend over first thing in the morning last Friday to go paddle boarding. I had just recently reconnected with this friend after not seeing each her for almost two years. She had come over a few days earlier and we had such a good time we decided we needed to get together one more time before I head out of town.

When I say we had a good time, I mean we had a good time talking. The paddle board portion of our get together was fun- sort of. I let her use Faith since she had only been paddle boarding once before, and I borrowed one of the neighbors paddle boards. Now the neighbors have a board similar to mine, but they also have two of the heavy plastic type paddle boards. They are better for family use as they can’t break and crack as easily as the fiberglass boards.

I figured I would be fine on the plastic board seeing how I am now such an avid boarder (it has been like 3 weeks since I first started after all :). We headed out on the lake and I tried to warn my friend that it was windier than it looked and we needed to be careful or else we would find ourselves across the lake. She then decided she wanted to rest and lay down on the board for awhile. I couldn’t really lay down on the board I was using. I found myself mentioning multiple times that we were drifting across the lake but she didn’t seem concerned so I finally decided to let it go.

Sure enough she suddenly sat up and said “Oh my gosh! We have completely drifted across the lake!” like it was a total shock or something. I simply responded “Yep”, though that was not exactly what I was thinking :).

And so it began. The paddle home. And by paddle I mean frantically paddling to make any progress, not to mention keeping the board facing in the right direction (I later found out that the board I was using has a bent fin that points the wrong way…). I finally got some momentum and felt okay. My friend however was a different story. She kept blowing back and despite me telling her not to do the very thing she was doing she insisted on doing things her way (probably why we get along so well:). I could tell she was starting to panic and would not make it on her own out of the windiest part. My only option was to turn back around and help her get going.

I helped her get going and then she was off and racing across the lake. I on the other hand was having a harder time now than I did the first time. I kept looking to my left at a house on the shore and it seemed as though I was in the same spot forever. The best part was the fact that the board I was on was about 2 inches under water. I was on my knees paddling at this point and I started to worry that my neighbors board maybe had a crack and was slowly sinking to the bottom of the lake.

My friend on the other hand was cruising right along making her way back home. Now I am glad she was safe on my board, but at that moment I really wanted my board. I was done sharing Faith.

As Friday drew near I started dreading Friday morning for multiple reasons. I am going to just be honest with you even though I know I am going to sound like a big jerk. First of all, I was tired. I had another busy week and I felt like I just didn’t have the energy to entertain anyone. Mainly however, I kept looking at the weather and it showed that Friday morning was going to be a perfect morning for a ride. I didn’t want to ride a heavy red plastic board. I wanted to ride Faith.

I was driving home when I was having these thoughts of wanting to cancel and as soon as I realized that the main reason I wanted to cancel was because I wanted to use MY board I heard that still small voice whisper “It isn’t always easy sharing your faith”. Now it says in the Psalm 94:11 that the Lord knows peoples thoughts and I believe it because my first thought was “I want to use my own board” and the second thought was the one about sharing my faith.

I smiled because I knew the Lord was teaching me something. It’s true. It’s not always easy sharing your faith. Sometimes it’s scary because we don’t want to be rejected, or offensive, or sound downright nuts. It’s not always convenient either. Sharing your faith takes time. You need to invest time into someone and let them know that they are loved and that you are not just trying to offer them some quick fix, but a real relationship with a real person. And sometimes, just like with my friend, you need to go back and share your faith over and over again with someone who’s life keeps blowing them off course.

No, sharing your faith isn’t easy, or convenient, but it was never meant to be. It is however what we are called to do. I find that so often I am pretty selfish with my Jesus, just like how I was feeling about my paddle board. I want it all to myself and I don’t have time for others.

About fifteen minutes later my friend text me and said she wasn’t feeling well and that she may not make it over in the morning. After my revelation on faith, I was truly disappointed. I wanted to be generous. I wanted to see her. I know she is struggling with some things and I wanted to encourage her. If I had received that text earlier in the day I would have been happy, but now I was bummed.

My friend didn’t end up coming over. I did however go paddle boarding with the neighbor girl. We have wanted to go together since I got my board but it’s never worked out. We were out for almost two hours, and guess what- I got to share my faith with her. Not my board, but my real faith. She loves the Lord but she had some questions and it was such a blessing to be able to speak with her and share my faith with her. I smile at how God orchestrates these things.

Girls, God is good and He is faithful. I know you know that, but I bet you know someone that doesn’t know that. I encourage you to step out of your comfort level and allow yourself to be inconvenienced so that you may share your faith. I promise you it will bless you as much as the person you share it with. You don’t need to worry about the outcome. Let God do that. The Word tells us we need to share our faith, it doesn’t say “and if you don’t save them than shame on you!”

I would love to be encourage by your bold faith!If you have a story to share about sharing your faith, or having someone share theirs with you, please enter in a comment or fill out the contact page.

Worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:15 NLT

Love, Grace, and a Faith Sharing Day to You All,

Jen

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