DEAR JESUS…WHY DO I KEEP DOING THE SAME WRONG THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN?

“To attack on all sides; assail to trouble greatly or grievously; to afflict with mental or physical suffering; harass:”

This is the definition of the verb, “BESET.”  Now before you write it off as some old, antiquated term(AKA King James Version), let’s dive deeper into it’s meaning.

Attacked on all sides…Do you ever feel like you are being attacked at every turn? That no matter what you do you seem to come up short in your struggle?

Troubled greatly or grievously…Are you or have you ever been so bothered by something that you can not rest or sleep? It even produces anxiety and it causes anxiety and unsettledness in your soul!

Harass…Have you ever been so afflicted by something that it causes you mental and physical distress?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions then you understand the term BESET!

Let me speak for myself when I say, I understand this old, antiquated term BESET quite well!

For the majority of my adult life I have woken up every morning and started with the best of intentions on a healthy eating and exercise plan. Only to fall short over and over again, sometimes on the daily! Now this may or may not be a “BESETTING” sin for many of you. But for me it is a matter of self-control. I give it to God regularly and then take it back on my own almost as regularly! 

So is it hopeless or is there a way to gain victory over a BESETTING sin?

Hebrews 12:1  (NLT)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

There is good news, it is not hopeless!

The only bad news comes when it is hopeless because you keep relying on yourself!

Leave it to God to give us the solution in the next verse!

Fixing our eyes on JESUS, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2

TRUTH BOMB

TAKE YOUR EYES OFF YOURSELF AND PUT THEM ON JESUS FOR THE VICTORY!

When you are walking in the presence of Jesus, full of His spirit, you will have all of the fruit of His Spirit! And for me, that includes self control! What fruit of the spirit do you need Jesus to give you the victory for? 

Speak Truth Love

DEAR JESUS…WHY IS IT SO HARD TO PERSEVERE?

Starting and failing, does anyone have a problem with that like I do?

I have the best of intentions to get up early every morning and spend an hour with God before I start my day.

I have a perfect plan for my healthy eating to start and stay on track.

I have prepared my mat for pilates in the morning to stretch my body and clear my mind.

I have scheduled time in the late afternoon to get my cardio in before sunset.

I have bought the book and signed on the dotted line to begin that new bible study.

I have visited the bookstore (yes, an actual brick and mortar store) and paid for the book to read that will provide me with mental stimulation while I relax.

The list goes on and on, and repeats itself over and over as I START AND FAIL AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!

Is it time to throw in the towel? Do I need to wake up and smell the coffee? Am I destined to defeat? NO, NO, and absolutely NOT!

NO, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Romans 8:37 NIV 

In the NLT it says it this way;

NO, despite all these things, OVERWHELMING VICTORY is ours through Christ, who loved us.”  

Romans 8:37

Now that is something I want to grab hold of! Overwhelming victory is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord. Then why do I start and fail over and over again?

The why is in the I! Every statement of attempt at a new start above, I began with I!

I have prepared, I have bought, I have visited…..I, I, I!  

On my own, I can not accomplish it. The victory is mine through Christ Jesus who loves me. He loves me so much that He died for me! Through His death I have the VICTORY!

Just take a look at the passages from  Romans 8 that come right before verse 37.

Is there ANYTHING that can separate us from God’s Love? What if we have trouble, distress, disaster, disillusionment, discouragement or DEFEAT? Defeat that causes us to start again and again!

NO, despite all these things overwhelming VICTORY is ours through Christ Jesus who loved us.” Romans 8:37

TRUTH BOMB

VICTORY IS OURS THROUGH CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD NO MATTER WHAT!

True failure is in giving up and not trying. No matter how many times you have to “Start,” He is right there with you encouraging you to victory! Turn your “I” into a “He” and see the victories add up!

Speak Truth Love

DEAR JESUS…Why is it so hard to change?

I like to think of myself as a flexible, adaptable person. I can jump into most “new” situations with little to no anxiety. I enjoy learning something new, visiting places I’ve never been, eating foods I’ve never tasted, being introduced to people I’ve never met before and even attempting a language I’ve never spoken before! But ask me to change my Christmas morning from presents, coffee and sour cream coffee cake in Christmas Jammie’s, to stockings and a formal sit down, dressed in your Christmas best breakfast and I become the Rock of Gibraltar! “Thou Shall Not Be Moved!”

Whether change comes easy to you or you have already broken into a cold sweat just thinking about it, change is hard! It requires us to let go of something to take hold of something else. In letting go we feel loss, vulnerability and fear. In grabbing hold of something new we feel similar. The new brings fear of the unknown and complete vulnerability in embracing and learning the new.

The problem is we do not grow if we do not change.

God desires us to grow, and in order to grow we must change!

One of the most painful seasons of change I have ever observed was watching my grandson learn to ride a bike! He is hands-down the most coordinated, gifted and natural athlete I have ever seen! Therefore, my husband, his Papa, who adores him and loves nothing more in life than doing activities with him, set out on a quest to teach him to ride a bike!  His sister who is 2 1/2 years older had mastered the bike at a very young age! But her brother was not following in her footsteps. Papa bought him a new bike just his size, he bought him all of the padded gear necessary so he wouldn’t hurt himself, and set out instructing him on all the finer points of bike riding! Cade would have nothing to do with it. Weekend after weekend Papa bribed him, I mean told him he would reward him, if he would just try riding. Cade wasn’t bending! Papa coerced him saying that he and his sister were going to go on a long bike ride, didn’t he want to come too! Cade stubbornly refused to ride the bike and ran the entire bike ride along side the two of them! Papa never gave up offering him money if he would ride etc. etc. etc…a whole year went by and Cade out grew the first bike! When the size of the bike became his excuse he received a new one for his birthday! His dad worked with him holding the back of the bike seat and showing him all kinds of strategies! It was still incredibly painful to watch as Cade could not overcome his fear of letting go of something old and embracing something new! 

Now before you go and write us off as torturers or something, please know that we know Cade. We knew he was more than capable of balancing on and riding a bike! His fear and vulnerability had just taken deep route and was consuming him. 

Now you’ve probably already guessed the end of my story. The minute Cade decided to let go of his fear and embrace the new he took off like a light! It’s true, that’s exactly what happened and he’s never looked back!

Do you ever do that? I know I do! I can feel so comfortable and in control of where I’m at that the thought of letting go and embracing something new chills me to the bone.

If Cade would have done that he would never have learned to ride a bike! And if we do that, we will never grow and become the children God intends us to be!

TRUTH BOMB

GOD INTENDS FOR US TO CHANGE BECAUSE HE INTENDS FOR US TO GROW!

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature.

Hebrews 5:13-14

Change is essential for our spiritual growth! It is frightening and difficult  but we do not have to do it alone!

Just like Cade’s Father and Grandfather held onto him until they could let go and he could do it on his own, your Heavenly Father will hold onto you!

Speak Truth Love

NEW SERIES, Dear Jesus…

It’s September, school has started and they’ve released pumpkin spice lattes again and we are in the middle of a heat wave. In California right now there are record breaking high temperatures, severe heat warnings, and days on end with no relief! You cannot even escape to Newport Beach where they are known for their moderate temperatures and even they are in the 90’s! Lake Tahoe and Mammoth, the same!

The heat wave will end, as miserable as it is, and the cooler temperatures will come.

So, why do I mention it?  I mention it because it is our human nature to long for something better. To anticipate change when we think it should come. And unfortunately, to grow weary in the waiting.

I have shared with you before that Summer and heat are not my jam. So, the extension of it when Fall is anticipated, is hard to handle. I long for those crisp morning walks, with leaves turning, sweaters worn, and a hot pumpkin spice latte being sipped.

Now, if you love Summer and the heat is your friend, then put yourself in the month of February with the temperatures still in the low 30’s! You long for a morning walk without your puffy coat. The warm sunshine streaming through the tree branches and filling you with joy and happiness. Either way, my point is made, we long for something better.

We want COVID to become a word we faintly remember hearing once or twice in the past. We want that relationship healed that seems to have been severed for so long. We want that job we have longed for to become a reality. We want that child we have prayed for to come back to Jesus. We want that loved one(or ourselves), healed from that sickness. We want that dream to become a reality. More than anything else, we want that promise from God fulfilled!

Waiting is one of the most difficult things we face in life. You don’t believe me? Think about the last time you stood in line anywhere. You may have reacted in one of several different ways. You may have stood there in perfect calm and peace focusing your mind on something else until the line moved and you finally reached the front of it. If so, you should be writing this Blog, not me! Most likely you sighed heavily, rolled your eyes and stepped into the line as you accepted your fate of WAITING! If you were having a bad day, you might have uttered a few choice words and turned and walked away. There was no way you were going to wait. At your best you might have chosen to use the opportunity to show goodwill and accept your fate of a slow moving, long line, and let the person in front of you go first.  This may have calmed you a bit, but the frustration of waiting still loomed.

We do not like waiting. We want what we want and we want it now!

So, when God calls us to wait and endure, what do we do?

Recently, in one of my morning readings I found the answer…

We GO, ENDURE, and TRUST again and again and again!

I’m sure that is not the answer you were looking for. But, that is the answer God gives through His prophet Elijah.

He (Elijah), said to his servant, “Go up and look toward the sea.” So he went up, looked and said, “There’s nothing.” Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” I Kings 18:43

They were living through a severe drought and famine.  Does anyone else besides me feel a “severe drought” of health, kindness, economy, godly commitment to His Word and Truth? 

We must still GO!

God had promised rain but there was no sight of it. Not a single cloud in the sky!

Does anyone else besides me feel dry and weary from the belief that something better is coming but the waiting is leaving me parched?

We must still ENDURE!

They went to look for rain at the edge of the sea, and kept going time after time even when they could see nothing!

God has told us He will never leave us or forsake us. He has promised to hear our every prayer and answer them according to His will. But we have waited, and endured and we grow weary and discouraged.

We still must TRUST!

If God has said it, He will do it!  We must walk by FAITH and not by sight!

Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9

God knows we will get tired and grow weary but He is faithful to supply all of our needs if we just keep GOING, ENDURING and TRUSTING!

On the seventh time, he reported, “There’s a cloud as small as a man’s hand coming up from the sea.”  I Kings 18:44

Friends, going, enduring and trusting over and over and over again is HARD!

But our God is FAITHFUL! He is looking for “SERVANTS”, that will listen, look and obey when He tells us to GO, ENDURE and TRUST again and again and again!

When we keep enduring we will begin to feel the drops of rain that He has promised to those who BELIEVE! 

TRUTH BOMB

FAITH TO ENDURE CAN ONLY COME THROUGH JESUS CHRIST LIVING IN US!

Speak Truth Love

FRIENDS, not just the title of a classic sitcom!

We can so overuse the word FRIEND! She’s my friend, he’s my friend, they are my friends, and she, he and they may be nothing more than acquaintances. Sure, they are people that we have met, we may see them regularly or once in a while, but there is no depth to our relationship with them. 

It is a common sight on any pre-school or elementary school playground to witness children in play stating, “You can be my FRIEND if…,” or “You are not my FRIEND anymore because…”

We love to throw around the term BFF or BESTIE, but what does that actually imply?

We buy the jewelry and wear the necklace until something happens and it is thrown in a drawer or easily tossed aside.

It is curious to me that in the book of Proverbs, a book written by King Solomon, son of King David, to instill wisdom to the reader and instruction on godly living, we are cautioned to know what a TRUE FRIEND is.

“There are “FRIENDS” who destroy each other, but a REAL FRIEND sticks closer than a brother.”  Proverbs 18:24

I believe that we are being cautioned to be wise in who we call a friend. A “friend” may have the ability to sustain us or destroy us.  A friend is someone that we spend a lot of time with, listen to and tend to believe. What they say has a big impact on what we think and believe. They have the ability, if we give it to them, to influence us for good or bad.  

God, through Soloman here in the book of Proverbs, is cautioning us to choose our friends wisely!

I know this is easier said than done. We are drawn to people who are like us and make us feel good about who we are, or we are drawn to people who are not like us but who we would like to be. I believe both of these are wrong motives for finding a true godly FRIEND!

Proverbs 17:17 sets the standard for a true friend…

“A FRIEND LOVES AT ALL TIMES.”  PROVERBS 17:17

There are no “if’s, and’s, or but’s” about it!  A true friend loves you with the love of God if they agree with you or disagree with you. A true friend loves you when you are in a good mood or a bad mood. A true friend loves you when you are right or when you are wrong. A true friend loves you when you are on a mountain top high, or in a valley low. A true friend speaks God’s Truth to you when you want to hear it and when you do not. A true friend sees the best in you and prays the worst out of you. A true friend wants you to be all that God created you to be. A true friend loves you enough to point you in His direction to achieve it! 

TRUTH BOMB

A TRUE FRIEND LOVES AT ALL TIMES NO MATTER WHAT THOSE TIMES HOLD!

In the book of Ecclesiastes we are told the value of a TRUE FRIEND.

The book of Ecclesiastes has, in my opinion, been given a “bum wrap!”  It is known in many circles to be rather negative, pessimistic and contain philosophical skepticism.

However, upon study and reflection it can become clear to see that the theme of  Ecclesiastes is the “necessity of fearing God in a fallen, and therefore frequently confusing and frustrating world.”  ESV Study Bible

Do we not live in a confusing and frustrating, fallen world? Do we not need help, guiding and directing us to make godly choices in our relationships? Do we not need wisdom and encouragement to be who God created us to be? Do we not need a godly friend who will be there for us to help us succeed and to pick us up when we fall?

My resounding answer is YES! I believe that is God’s plan for all of us. Through God’s gift of a True Godly Friend we can accomplish this!

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If the person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

True godly Friends are a gift from God. They help us succeed and pick us up when we fall. They do not simply tickle our ears with what we want to hear, but they speak God’s Truth to us in Love. This helps us become who God truly created us to be.

I do hope you have a BFF or Bestie! I do hope you can wear half of a heart necklace, knowing someone else has the other half and is a true godly friend. Just remember…

A TRUE FRIEND LOVES AT ALL TIMES AND JESUS IS THE TRUEST OF ALL FRIENDS!  

Speak Truth Love

WHO’S GOT YOUR BACK?

BETTER YET, WHO’S GOT YOUR HEAD?

Are you tired? I am! Are you weary? I am! Are you frustrated, discouraged, lonely, angry, or hopeless? I am!  I am also not ashamed to share with you that I am all these things and more. Why would I hide them from you, when my God already knows them?

We all go through periods of time, even seasons of time, hopefully more often, moments of time, that are disillusioning to our FAITH. They rock us to our core and leave us shaking in disbelief. Disbelief that we are still in this, going through this, or facing this ONE MORE TIME!  

Haven’t we been here before and dealt with this already? Haven’t we found ourselves fighting this same fight, bloody knuckled and dripping with sweat, while left in a heap of exhaustion and defeat? 

I know I have! Yet, here I am again. So do I quit, throw in the towel, tap out, or ring the bell to end this round? Because, afterall, I cannot even lift my head off of the ground.

No, I turn my eyes toward heaven, I whisper a prayer for help and relief and follow in the footsteps of God’s Faithful servants who never gave up!

“But You, O Lord, are a shield around me; You are my glory, THE ONE WHO HOLDS MY HEAD HIGH.” Psalm 3:3

David wrote the majority of the Psalms. Psalms is the book we typically as believers, quote the most, send people to for comfort the most and run to the most when we are in need of God’s support, comfort and protection. We assume that David had it all together, that David wrote the Psalms from a place of strength and power. Afterall, He was a king and God Himself called him, “A man after God’s own heart.”  

However, quite the opposite is true! David wrote the majority of his psalms from a place of discouragement, fear, desperation and discouragement. A few, like the one I am quoting today, were even written through deep heartache, betrayal and depression.  

When David wrote Psalm three, he was running for his life from his very own son!  Now I have found myself in some pretty dark places, but I have always known that my son and my daughter have my back! They cannot prevent others from hurting me, but they can and do support, encourage, love and believe in me! They have my back!

But as hard as they may try and desire to, they can not lift my head back up off the ground when my heart has been so hurt, devastated and crushed, only God can do that!  And because He did it for David in the hardest of situations, I know He will do it for me!

“O, LORD I have so many enemies; so many are against me. 

So many are saying, God will never rescue him!

But You, O LORD, are a shield around me; You are my glory, the One who holds my head high.

I cried out to the Lord, and He answered me from His holy mountain.

I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for The Lord was watching over me.

I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side.

Arise, O LORD!

Rescue me, My God! Slap all my enemies in the face!

Shatter the teeth of the wicked!

Victory comes from you, O Lord!

May You bless Your people!”

Psalm 3

No matter what you are going through, no matter what you encounter and no matter what the world and the enemy throw at you, DO NOT THROW IN THE TOWEL! DO NOT GIVE UP THE FIGHT, BECAUSE IT IS WON!

TRUTH BOMB

DO NOT GIVE UP, LOOK UP! THE LORD GOD IS THE LIFTER OF YOUR HEAD AND HE WILL HOLD IT HIGH!

He did it for David as he ran for his life from his very own son. HE WILL DO IT FOR YOU!

Speak Truth Love

THE POST BETWEEN TWO SERIES

BEEP!

You’ve reached Lisa Swaney‘s truth bomb Tuesday blog. I I am away from my blog this week on my anniversary getaway.  

Please read the scripture below and the Truth Bomb that follows:

Our relationships, all of the relationships in our lives, are important! They grow and flourish when we put time and effort into them. No matter how long you have been in a relationship, or no matter how difficult it seems to carve out time together, it is vital to prioritize each other. When you do, the dividends come back to you!

So know I am praying for you and trust you will pour into the relationships in your life like I am pouring into mine.

BEEP!

Do not grow weary in doing good, for in due season you will reap a harvest if you do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9

Truth Bomb

You get out of relationships what you invest into them!

I love you! You are an important relationship to me! See you back here next week!

Speak Truth Love

SUMMER SERIES, WEEK 10

HOW ARE YOU WALKING?

Walking is a big deal. For most of us it gets us from point A to point B. If we are blessed to have two strong legs, then for most of us walking is the goal. As I have watched my one year old grandson grow and develop this year, it has become undeniably obvious to me that walking is the goal.

The first month or two of his life he was pretty content to be wrapped warmly and securely in a blanket and held. The next couple of months he began to break free from that swaddle and push with both arms and legs to look around and observe the world around him. Before we knew it he was scooting across the floor at record speed. This kid could scoot like nothing I have ever seen. Suddenly, it seemed like overnight, he was up on all fours and crawling. You would think since he had figured out how to get to just about any place he wanted to get to he would slow down. No, he has started pulling up on everything in sight. He will not stop until he can walk! 

Walking is the goal! No one told my grandson he had to walk. In fact I think his mommy would prefer he slow the whole process down! I know you have watched your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends all go through the same experience. No one sets a baby on the ground and demands them to walk. It is innate, something we are all born to do. My question for us today is, “How are we walking?”

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  

Isaiah 30:21

This verse is talking about our spiritual walk, and so am I. But I love that our physical walk goes through many of the phases that our spiritual walk goes through.

When a baby begins to slowly let go of what they are holding on to, they take that first step and fall. It is what they do next that intrigues me, they get back up, almost with a stubborn insistence, and they try it again, and again, and again and again. They keep at it until they get it right.

I wish this was as true spiritually as it is physically! We hear God tell us something, you know what it sounds like, that voice behind you, in your spirit and we attempt to follow it, to obey. But when we “fall” or fail we tend to quit! Even worse I think, we tend to say, “It must not have been God’s voice I heard.”  I think God is telling us to get up and try again, and again, and again and again. Because He promises that if we listen to His voice, obey it and continue to follow it He will show us the way to walk in it!

I know life is hard! I know that sometimes the “getting up again and again,” is weeks and months and years of walking. But I also know that if we do keep getting up and WALKING in His ways He will be faithful to what He has called us to.

TRUTH BOMB

WHEN WE LISTEN TO GOD’S VOICE AND FOLLOW IT HE WILL SHOW US THE WAY TO WALK!

REMEMBER, children get lots of bumps and bruises as they learn to walk, but eventually they figure it out! So do God’s children. Keep listening to His voice and walking in it friends. You have a walking buddy in me!

Speak Truth Love

SUMMER SERIES, Week 9

Oneness, easier said than done.

Unity may come easier for some, depending on how your bent. Some of you may love being on a team, while others of you consider yourself more of a lone wolf. Regardless of your natural bent, we are called to oneness as believers in Jesus Christ!

Summer can be a deterrent from the very thing we are called to as believers. Summer often affords the ability to break out of our normal routines. Our schedules are more flexible, vacations are often taken, the demands of life often simply reduce during summer. Don’t get me wrong, a break from routine is very welcome, and much of the time extremely needed! However, we must continue to keep our focus on what God requires of us most. Is it time for us to refocus our focus on unity?

For there is one body and one spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.” Ephesians 4:4 (NLT)

God is not asking us whether we are an introvert or an extrovert, or even an ambivert. He is not asking us which animal we are, on the personality profile test. He is not even asking us which number we are on the Enneagram. God is telling us that if we are to shine his light to this world as believers in him, then we must walk in unity, serve in unity, fellowship in unity…we must be one in Him!

TRUTH BOMB

As we finish up the last few weeks of this summer series, let’s focus on making the truth of this passage come to life by committing it to our mind and heart and by putting it into practice!

Doing life together, joining in community together, serving together, all to the glory of God!

Speak Truth Love

SUMMER SERIES, Week 8

How can we fall so fast from being on an absolute mountain high to plummeting to the depth of, “IT’S OVER?”

If you have ever been on a great vacation, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

You pack your suitcases with great expectation! You check your list once and you recheck it twice. Nothing is left behind! You arrive at your destination, and from the first day to the last you are on a thrill ride of happiness!

Then it happens, two days are left and you push through holding tight to the shrill of excitement you are experiencing. Then you wake up the next morning and there’s only one day left. What do you do? You pack it full of more fun than you’ve had the whole entire time! You go to bed exhausted and no matter how late you stay up or how hard you try to hang on…The day ends and the next morning dawns, It’s time to go home!

So what are we supposed to do? How can we stop the vacation ends blues?

I only know ONE antidote! 

I am the worst at the “vacation ends blues!” In fact if you ask my family, please don’t, but if you did, they would say that I start two days in fighting the “Vacation ends blues!” I start to get quiet, which scares absolutely everyone around me because I’m not normally quiet. I get melancholy, which also scares everyone around me because I’m never melancholy, unless something great is ending! I have even been known to shed tears.

So what do I do? I turned to the word of God and I follow his course of action for turning our sorrow into joy! I put his word of truth into practice in my life!

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”Colossians 3:16

I practice an attitude of gratitude!

I take all the gratitude my heart for such a wonderful time, I turn it into thankful words and songs to Him for all he has given, shown and done for me!

I take the sadness that I feel and I began to show gratitude to God for all he has done for me through my words and my songs of praise and thankfulness to him!

TRUTH BOMB

HAVING AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE REPLACES OUR SADNESS WITH GODS JOY!

I pray you are able to let his truth sink in, wash over you and turn those blues into gratitude!

Speak Truth Love