Love God, myself and others…in this order

Hello Everyone, welcome back to the well. I pray this blog post resonates with you as much if not more than it has me. Wow our God is so good! 

This week I have listened to a sermon a friend sent me and the results of this word have been so profound, I needed to share them. The sermon was about the relationships, but the center or heart of the message was these verses from Mark. 

Mark 12:29-31 New Living Translation (NLT)

29Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.30And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

As I listened to the pastor talk about these verses, and our lives in this present day, I really began to look at and examine my own life. My own relationships, with God, with my family, and others. It made me look at my priorities. The pastor went on to ask what things we have put in the place of God? I didn’t like how uncomfortable I was beginning to feel. I mean, I’m a Christian, I go to church, I read my bible! I pray for others daily… but…what am I doing the rest of the day, and the rest of the next day..you get the picture. This pastor called us to look at our relationships, what kind of time do we put in them. Which takes priority. Do we love the gifts the creator has given us more than the creator himself. I was astonished at the idolatry in my own life. In the moments that followed I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me and call to my mind, the “things” some material, some emotional, some physical that I have placed before God. I have not intentionally worshiped these “things” … but I let them have my time, my talent and my treasure. I have allowed things like a piece of jewelry, a new TV, a new diet, and new weight loss routine…you name it, I have let those things invade my heart and mind and let them take priority in my life. Does this mean they are bad, no not at all, what makes them bad is the position I have allowed them to have. I have given treating my Lupus, RA and Fibromyalgia pain first place at times, allowing worry to have place before trusting or even talking with God. I have given “things” like a new this or that to make myself feel better a place in front of God. It wasn’t a big something, but I made the pursuit of the “thing” bigger and gave it more priority than my relationship with God.

In doing this, I have felt the emptiness and sadness that these “things” leave one with. They cannot take the place of a Holy God, a loving father who can fill you and give you a peace that surpasses human understanding. As well as not allowing God his rightful place and priority in my life, I have not allowed God to comfort me, to heal me, and to love me. Yes to love me, as he has intended from the start. 

If we jump to Matthew Chapter 11: 29 Jesus tells us the reason we need to put God first! 

Matthew 11:29-30 NIV

28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

God never intended for us to take on every burden by ourselves! In fact He knew from the beginning what our stubborn prideful hearts would do, if he didn’t command us to put him first, we would overwhelm ourselves with the burdens of this life. The exact ones that I wrestle with to this day, the ones that are coming to mind for you right now. The things that are outside of our control, that are beyond our capacity to understand. 

So in giving God his rightful place, we can be in harmony with God, He can comfort us and guide us. These are things I have known for years, and even at times have done. What I had not realized is how quickly those priorities, those worries, those “things” , those people in my life, that job, that new TV show, That big game, and anything else I give too much of my time and heart to instead of giving God the first fruits of me, can rob me of my peace, my joy and of my relationship with God! 

The second part of this verse really struck me hard as well. I am a enneagram 2, so I am a giver that can run with the best of the givers however, because I have not been giving God his place, the number one spot in my life, I in turn have not been able to love others or myself very well. 

Why is that? Well I get worn out physically, if I don’t take time to rest when I need to I can get pretty sick. I can also become mentally just overwhelmed with my caring for others. I am a typical 2, I give until I literally cannot. So what does the commandment say, it says “ love your neighbor as yourself” … well, I love my neighbors pretty good I think. My friends and family hopefully could tell you that is true. But what is this part about loving them like I love myself. There it is, the light that came on in my mind and heart could have been seen at the space station. God has called me to love myself. At first I really didn’t understand this, I mean, I think I’m okay..right. It’s loving yourself prideful, arrogant? At this point I leaned into the pastor talking and he said that if we couldn’t love ourselves we cannot be truly loving anyone else. As I sat back and pushed pause on the sermon, I thought, I have not fully accepted myself as God sees me. I often can be heard complaining about my appearance, my weaknesses. The things I want to change or wish were different about me… The pastor went on about how this is NOT at all how God see’s us. We are precious, we are fearfully and wonderfully made, we are a temple for the very spirit of God! WOW.. Like I said, this is not the first time I have heard these words but man alive..did they hit me in the brow today! 

The pastor went on to share that because we have such a bad view of ourselves that we cannot be loving others well. The Lord then called me to a familiar passage in 1 Corinthians chapter 13 specifically to verse 4-7 , He gently asked me, Beth are you these things? To yourself, and to others? 

Take a moment to read this passage: 

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

4Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

So am I Patient…um no. Am I kind, not always. Am I jealous or boastful, yes. Do I demand my own way.. yep! Like a petulant child at times. Ugh … you can see how this is going. Do I keep record of right and wrong, only when it serves my purpose! I will not go on, because I am guilty! I have not loved as God loves, not myself or others.

It doesn’t matter if I have only done this a few times or a few hundred times. I needed this jolting to wake up from the funk I have been in for a few months. We have to be honest with ourselves, with God.. what have we done with these commands he has given us? He didn’t ask us, he has commanded us. We can, rather I can give you a list of reasons why, none of which are good enough. I have had to repent and reset! We have a loving and merciful father who gives grace so freely! He is more than happy to welcome us back to our rightful place in His grace! All because HE FIRST LOVED US!!! John 3:16

Until next time at the well, 

Beth 

Where does fear come from?

Hello everyone, welcome back to the well, I am so glad you joined me today. 

I have struggled with fear and anxiety for the better part of my life, with that I have had many challenges and struggles. I wanted to share today with those who also face this challenge. I want you to see the hope and peace you can find all over and through God’s word. There are many scriptures you can draw strength and courage from. I will go over just a few with you today. 

One of the first ones is 

1 Timothy 1:7 NLT – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-disciple.” 

Another one that couples right along with this one comes from Romans 8:15, lets read that one too. 

Romans 8:15-16 NLT – So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him “ Abba Father”. For his spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 

I want to break these two verses down a bit, 1 Timothy tells us that we were NOT given a spirit of fear but that we were given a spirit of power, love and of self- discipline. Some translation says a sound mind, which I love! In Romans 8 we read verses 15 and 16 that we again, did NOT receive from God a spirit of fear. Are you tracking with me and what God is telling us? We have received God’s own spirit in us when we accepted Christ as savior, we are no longer a slave to this fear!!! It goes on to further say, we call him “Abba Father” in Hebrew this translates to our word “Daddy” a more intimate word other than just father, he is our Daddy! He is showing us that he is more than just our father that sits on a throne in heaven telling us what to do and not to do. He is our Daddy, the one we can run too, the one who protects us and loves us as HIS own children! The end of the verse in romans tells us that his spirit joins our own to affirm that we are God’s children! 

So, in reading just these two verses what do we know? We know that God, who created us, did NOT install or give us a spirit that is fearful. We know that he gave us his own spirit that is power, love, and self -disciple. We know that when we accepted Jesus as our savior that God joined his very own spirit with ours affirming we are HIS children! We know that because of this, we are no longer slaves to fear!!! 

So where does this fear come from? If it’s not from God where did it come from? We have an eternal enemy in Satan, the fallen angel who wanted to be God himself. After he was cast out of heaven, along with those who would follow him. He set out on a revenge tour if you will across all creation. He has wreaked havoc on this planet since the garden of Eden when mankind fell into his trap of sin. 

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

John 10- 10 NLT – The thief’s purpose is to kill and steal and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. 

These scriptures give you a glimpse into what Satan’s game plan is. He is roaming the earth literally, looking for someone to destroy. We he sees us, he sees that we are made in God’s own image, just as described in Genesis 2:27. He hates God, and therefore wants to take us out. He will do this by any means he can. As John 10:10 says he is the thief that comes to kill, steal and destroy us, our lives, our family, their lives, nothing is off limits to him. He has no thought or care for any of us. He just wants to destroy us because we are made in God’s image and God loves us.  

How does all this relate to my anxiety and depression over the years. Well, I believe that this is one of the many ways Satan attacks us. Our minds, remember in 1 Timothy where I told you other translations speak to a sound mind, self- discipline. Also, romans where it says we are no longer a slave to fear? Fear is one of Satan’s weapons! He uses it all the time. Fear of not having enough money, of not being good enough, you see where I am going. Scripture is full of examples of Satan’s game plan. If he can distract us from believing or trusting God, then he will do it. Fear is not trust, fear is not believing, it’s doubt. What did satan do in Genesis 3? He deceived Eve by making her doubt. once she doubted, fear that God was holding out on her then lead her right into sin.

So, what do we do now? We first, keep reading God’s word! Learn it, live it, speak it! God is so awesome, he tells us how to stand against Satan in Ephesians chapter 6, he speaks of putting on HIS armor, let me explain this, God has given us HIS own armor! We are not wearing our own, but God’s! Read this full scripture on this below: 

Ephesians 6: 10-18 NLT – THE WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD 

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the good news so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. 

Wow, there is literally a whole battle plan in these verses! We have to use the gift of God’s armor to protect our mind, our walk, and to literally protect every part of us! Satan will literally sneak in anywhere there is an opening! 

My hope for today’s post is this, I pray that you can see where fear really comes from and these are literally just a few of what the bible tells us about fear and where it’s rooted. Clearly this is not intended to be a detriment to counseling or medication. God created those things to help us who suffer from a more acute and chronic form of fear and anxiety. Which I do, I have also taken medication, that I feel God blessed me with and seen a Christian counselor who has helped me immeasurably! My effort is to help others see the root of where this fear comes from and how Satan manipulates us and attempts to destroy us through that fear. 

I know this is long for a blog post, but it is so important! Satan doesn’t want us to learn scripture, and grow in the Lord. He wants us to stay in the dark and literally ignorant to the power we have in Christ! God wants us to put off our old self, to grow in him and not remain as children in our walk. 

1 Cor 13: 11 NLT – “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. “

We are NOT little children anymore, we do not have to be bullied and pushed around by Satan, we can know his tricks. His tactics are the same ones he has used since the garden. Cast doubt and place fear. Manipulate and tell enough lies that one starts to believe him. That’s why it’s imperative to KNOW THE TRUTH! It’s only found in God’s word. 

Thank you for joining me at the well today, I pray you read these scriptures and it leads you to more scriptures that bring you peace and joy in knowing You are God’s child and how much he absolutely loves you!!!!! 

Blessing, 

Beth 

Roundabout

As I was driving today I encountered a roundabout, I call them whoop-t-do’s! I don’t like them so much, as some folks do. As I drove I began to think of how they are a lot like life, they are one way in and have multiple paths. If you have never driven on one, it is good to look at how they operate in advance. Some may not need this, but this ’74 model brain of mine sure does! Most around here are one or two lane, the insde being for traveling farther in the circle and outside reserved for the turn offs. Like life, you can’t turn around and go back, and you can go right past where you wanted to go if you don’t pay attention to where you are at. The roundabout is forgiving, like me you could end up driving in the circle a couple of times before figuring out or being able to move over to the correct lane in the first place. (I told you, I’m a ’74 model and this old processor is not updating with this new stuff well!) After a bout of self induced car sickness I finally navigate to my correct road connected in the simple but confusing circle. 

My life has been like navigating this roundabout at times, If I am not prepared and look at my path, it can be confusing. If I don’t pay attention to where I’m going, the lane I am in, I can miss my destination all together. Yes, I can drive back around to it, but it is far easier the first go around. It is hard to drive back around and get in the correct lane, especially in heavy traffic! So what is the point to this little story, it’s this. We need to know certain things , we need to have perspective on where we are headed. Life is busy, and messy a lot of the time. Our days are packed with so many things, often too many things for us to be good at all of the things we need to do. We need to make a priority to keep our Kingdom perspective. We need to look at the map we have in front of us. The bible, God’s Holy word, given to us, to keep us on the straight and narrow path. To keep a perspective on our lives and what lane we are driving in, and if we are not in the correct lane, to help us get to the correct one and not miss the road we need to be on. 

God knows we are not perfect, he doesn’t expect perfection, He does want us to use the tools He has so genriously provided for us. His word, His Holy Spirit inside of us. Just as I have written before, God will give us warning lights, and indicators that we are not on the correct path. Don’t ignore them. It’s not to late to get out of the circle we have been driving around and around in and change our direction. We sometimes are afraid to take that next turn and to leave the familiar circle we have been driving in, we get used to how the go around feels and anything different scares us. God doesn’t want us to drive in circles, He wants us to follow His Son Jesus on the adventure of a lifetime! He has so much more than we can ever imagine for us, if we only will leave the familiar path we take. When we refuse to change it is no different than driving aimlessly in that circle. Break out of the old and familiar and take the path God leads you to! 

Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” 

Ephesians 3:20 NLT “ Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinetly more than we might ask or think. “

Take time to be in God’s word today, talk with him, He is waiting to hear from you. Thanks for stopping by the well today. God bless you.

Beth 

Pray with me today!!

Hello Everyone, I am writing with a heavy heart today, I am asking that today you please join me in prayer. Wherever we look, the news, social media, our community… there is an urgent need for prayer! In our local community, there has been so much loss in the last week alone. We need to pray for those who are mourning, who are sick, who are suffering. My heart is heavy with a burden to pray, please join me. 

Father God, we come to you with a heavy heart, with hurting hearts. Lord you know the losses in our community, in our own lives. You know the pain of those who are suffering from illness, diseases with no cure. You know the ones, who have lost jobs that are desperately needed. Lord you see the ones who need you but who are so afraid to ask, or don’t know how to ask for help. Father, we ask that your blessing be on those who are mourning, and who are sick. Those who are just broken by illness that cannot be seen by others. Father, those who are losing homes to floods, to fires, to natural disasters. Lord be with those who so desperately need you. 

Father open our eyes to those who are close to us that need our help, show us how to help, how to pray, how to reach them for you. Father open our eyes to the world and its groaning, Lord we have become so used to fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and so many other natural disasters that we are just not seeing your word coming to fruition. Father, raise up your children in this desperate hour, give us wisdom, give us the strength mentally, physically and spiritually for the work before us. Father calm the hearts of your faithful, hush our fighting among one another, cool the anger that burns within us, unite us once again under your Son Jesus Christ! Let us unify as one body and Christ Jesus as the head! Give us wisdom against Satan’s scheme that divides us from within! Father we pray for your eyes to see one another as you see us, to view each life as sacred, valuable and created by you! Father, we pray for peaceful resolutions to the conflicts that devide us, to the arguments that are so out of hand. We pray for your Holy Spirit to cover the earth, and our communities. We pray for ears to hear one another in truth and love and to respect one another as our brothers and sisters. To be able to love one another even if we do not agree or feel the same way. Father the world needs your truth and to know love again. 

Father I pray for our nation, our leaders, our government in every level. Father we cry and plead with you, please guide them, fill them with your Holy Spirit Lord. Give them clear minds and steady hearts to lead with. Father, the world is literally on fire with hate, and rage for its fellow man. Please Father, raise leaders who can unite and not divide. Change hearts, calm fears and give all wisdom to listen and understand. Lord we need you, our entire world needs you! 

We thank you for the privilege and grace you give us to come to you, to know you, to cast our burdens and fears to you. Father guide us and heal us from the state we are all in. We give you the glory Father God! 

In Jesus name we pray, 

Amen 

Be Intentional

Hello everyone, welcome back to the well. I am so happy you joined me today. It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the temps are dropping and bring on the craziest time of year…the Holidays are just around the corner. 

How do you find time to be still, there is so much going on in the world around us. So many activities and people needing you to volunteer or help out with a function or two. It is nearly impossible to find a few minutes to be in the word, let alone be still and hear from the Lord. 

I find I have to be intentional about my prayer and bible study times. I have to set time with God and make it a priority and guard that precious time against everything that gobbles up my attention. I find grabbing my coffee and bible in the morning before anyone wakes up is the best time for me, however there are days with my illness I am not able to do that. So, it may be brunch with Jesus instead of our morning coffee. We have to make this time intentional and recharge and refuel ourselves just like we do our car. 

It has been a stressful year for our family, without time set aside for prayer and meditating on God’s word and really listening and being still… I have to tell you, it would have been impossible to get through. I gain so much from my quiet time with Jesus. I have learned to pray about a whole lot more. To take time to read more. A lot of times it’s an article or short devotional. It’s a must for me, I need this boost of God’s word to get me through the day somedays! Also some days it’s a whole lot more coffee too!! 

It is difficult for me to shut off everything and leave things for others to do. I have an even harder time shutting off my brain to listen! First, I have to leave my phone, watch, and computer on the desk and grab only my bible, a pen and my journal. If I take even one of those technological time stealers with me, I’m a goner and will fail my attempt to be still or listen. I know it is hard to disconnect from the world and we are not talking months or even days here. Maybe your distractions are different and I know having young ones and giving care to parents also takes up a ton of time. Sometimes it’s just a few moments we have, take that time to pray, read a verse, a quick devotional or listen to your favorite Christian podcast, or sermon while you are working if you can. I try to come up with new things to keep it from being routine, so it stays fresh in my mind. I encourage you to be creative and find what works for you. 

Today’s message is simple, be intentional about your relationship with the Lord today. Start a new habit and take time to be still with him. He is waiting to hear from you. This time will be rewarded, the more time you spend with him, the more peace and clarity you will get. This is the most important relationship you have. Make time for him today. 

May your quiet time be filled with the Holy Spirit and may you gain the Wisdom of God’s word that you most need to hear!

Thanks for stopping in today, I will see you next time at the well! 

Beth