Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Beware the Distractions

Proverbs 4:25-26:
25Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you. 26Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright.

If indeed you are attending to those things the Lord has purposed for your life, you can be sure that distraction will come – may I go even further to say, that distraction will be “sent.”  A distraction will not necessarily cancel or stop you from reaching your destined place, from reaching a goal you have set for yourself.  However, it does have the capacity to slow you down, to create stress or excess pressure, and to disrupt your thinking.

Distractions come clothed in many ways, and carried in many vessels.  When we tend to distractions, they can leave us feeling drained and weakened.  When we completely ignore them, they can leave us with feelings of guilt and condemnation. Distractions wreak havoc on our Emotions.

So, exactly how do we deal with a distraction?  First, we must recognize when something has been sent as a distraction.  This knowledge comes through Prayer, and Discernment.  We should also look at familiar patterns and occurrences, and we should know ourselves well enough to know our own areas of weakness.  We should know the areas where the enemy tends to launch his attacks.  Often, these areas are the same areas as our gifting. 

Secondly, we must know the difference between Urgent and Important.  Urgent is defined as “compelling or requiring immediate action or attention; imperative; pressing.”  Important is defined as “entitled to more than ordinary consideration or notice.”  Distractions will often come with Urgent – attached.  Taking time to Pray, and consider the situation is imperative.  We should ask God, who else might help, or even attend to what is occurring?  This is a time to add God’s Super, to your Natural.  If this is sent as a distraction, then this is warfare, and the weapons of our warfare are not carnal,… 2 Corinthians 10:4.  Weapons of our warfare include “Binding” (or fastening) some things up.  Why do we wait before we engage the enemy in this way…  I’ll pause here, cause that topic is another message within itself:)

Thirdly, we must develop the habit of setting priorities in our lives, and realize there are times that we will need to measure the importance of the “event” against our personal priorities.  Now I want to be clear, I’m talking about priorities that have been established in Wisdom, and according to God’s will for your life.  That is important to note, because His plans for our life will not include selfish or self-centered acts.

Fourth, as we engage situations to support or meet a need, we must be aware of what our part is, and what God’s part is.  When a distraction is “sent” look for it to be a situation in which we are tempted to take on a “God Posture.”  Notice I did not say a Godly, or God like posture, but I said a God Posture.  In other words, we try to play God in a situation, and usually end up being more of an enabler, than a Blessing from the Lord.

Last, but definitely not least – we cannot forget how POWERFUL and NEEDFUL Prayer is.  Many of these distracting situations that we think require our physical time and other resources could benefit more from our Prayer time.  At the very least, as I mentioned above, we must be sure to pray “first.”  Prayer helps us to stay on track.  Prayer brings us to one accord with the Father and His will for us in the particular situation as well as our lives in general.  Then, as we intercede for others, we engage the supernatural Power of God to move on their behalf.  We might find that solutions are already in place if we took a moment to Pray about a situation, before we jump right in to act on it! 

Because many distractions are often carried in the vessels of family and friends, and clothed in a genuine need, Wisdom and Divine Direction must be at the forefront of our actions.  We must be in a place spiritually, where we can overrule our emotions when necessary, and we must never let our emotions be our barometer.

As I end, I want to be sure and emphasize that YES!  We all have things in life that happen, things that are Urgent and Important that we will have to tend to.  However through Prayer, with Wisdom and Discernment we can keep our eyes fixed on the path the God has laid before us, move in His timing, and minimize delay, as we press toward the mark for the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14)
Copyright 2011 - Victoria L. Burse 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

“Being Comfortable, with Being Uncomfortable”

The Process of Change
“Being Comfortable, with Being Uncomfortable”

Romans 12:2 (Amplified Bible)

2Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable
and perfect [in His sight for you].

It is so comforting to walk into a room, a work environment, a church, and just say – “now this is me.”  We even say this in terms of things like a new dress or suit we are trying on.  The moment we put it on, see ourselves in it, it just seems like we know.  “This is me, this is right.”  In other words “This Feels Good.”
As humans, it is part of our nature to seek comfort.  As we say, this is me, we are saying this is who I am, this matches where I am right now.  I’ve found that we do the same when it comes to seeking out settings for our spiritual guidance and growth.  When we are seeking a church home or even a place of service within ministry – we look for what feels “comfortable.”  Jesus performed many miracles and touched many lives – and while the end result may have been comfort and joy in those He personally touched, most often, He first took them to a place of discomfort.  He asked a question that made them feel uncomfortable, or in His exalted place as a Prophet of the Most High God, He spoke to them about details of their lives – that only He could haveknown about – through the Holy Ghost.  You know those tiny details, those secrets, those hidden things we don’t share with others.  Certainly, His knowledge of these things, made the people initially “uncomfortable.”  However, in the end, we see people healed, delivered, and set free.  (See scripture references, John 4:1-42 The Woman of Samaria, Mark 7:24-30, The Faith of a Syrophoenician Woman)

Jesus is about the business of changing lives by way of transforming our thinking.  Getting to know Him and having an intimate relationship with Him means allowing Him to challenge the way we have been doing things, and thinking about things – our entire lives.  This can be especially difficult, if we’ve begun this process in the latter years of our lives.  It means allowing Him to not only teach us, but to re-teach us things we thought we already knew. 

Truly, it is our flesh that causes us to run and shy away from the things that we really need.  It is that initial pain and discomfort – that if not checked against the reality of Christ and the assurance given in His word, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 – that will forever keep us in the place where we are now.  Let’s face it – who we are now, is not who we were created to be, but it is the sum total of who we were created to be plus – our life experiences.  Many of us have faced many troubling life experiences and made many questionable choices in the past, so as we calculate this total – our troubles in life may far out-weigh our God experiences and God transforming moments.   

So, we need more God Moments.  We’ve got to be aware – if our workplace, if our relationships, if our church family and Pastor – all make us feel “comfortable” where we are now, what or who will draw us to a higher place, to our destiny? What or who will cause us to grow?  We need more – more than who we are, more than where we are, to take us to where we are supposed to be.

Your task for the day!  Look around, and list the things you’ve been running away from lately.  Could it be you are looking for comfort, when God is trying to take you to that uncomfortable place of change and growth?   (That you prayed and asked Him for!) Identify at least one thing – that while uncomfortable – is one thing you can honestly say you need in your life.  Ask God for the courage and strength to grab a hold of that one thing, embrace it, until God finishes using it to work its perfect work in your life.

And for those of us who are in an uncomfortable place at this moment, rather than groaning and complaining, we should be Praising God, for we are right in the center of His will!

Copyright 2011 - Victoria L. Burse 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stay Focused

Philippians 3:15-16 (The Message)
So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it.

A “Set” Place (the Garden of) Eden

ave you ever felt like you just got off track?  I’m not talking about backsliding, I’m talking about those times when you felt weary in your well doing, or maybe you were offended by a situation and you put your “wall” in place -  as a means of protecting your emotions, and you just shut down…  Something happened to quench that fire you once felt.  So, you let one something go, then another, and then another, and before you know it–your feeling disconnected.

Well you know the line, “God doesn’t leave us,” we are the ones who leave Him.  During these times, rather than going to Him, entering the inner court in prayer, we hang out in the outer courts much too far away from His healing and restoring presence. 

I’ve found that I have to be willing to confess everything, and I mean everything to God in prayer.  I’ve got to be able to tell Him when I am tired, angry, hurt, discouraged, afraid, and when I have that just “don’t want to do it” spirit.  That is what it means to me to cast my cares upon Him.  I’ve found that every time I did, in one way or another, He came through.  Sometimes with strength and endurance, sometimes clearly delivering me out of a circumstance, other times with a word of correction, but always restoring and loving me and not judging me for the weaknesses of my flesh.  He really, really does love us, and He does hear our prayers.   

Don’t stray to far from Eden my sisters, your lifeline is there.  There in the garden where it has been all the time. 
As published in "Sabbath Songs"  Copyright 2010 - Victoria L. Burse 
Click Here to purchase your copy today!

Monday, June 6, 2011

A New Unit of Measurement

God Rules!

i lay at your feet all those needs
and expectations
 i’ll never meet on my own.

it is you oh Lord, who is the connector.

where there are gaps between my physical capability
and the need
You stand in.
You cause completeness in this circle of Life.

  You complete me
and allow others to see me
 through your eyes.
i love You so.

i lay at your feet all my insecurities,
desires to be “OK” in others eyes,
to fit in,
to meet others expectations,
all these many weights.

i’m changing my unit of measurement.
You God are now my Ruler!

as published in "Sabbath Songs"  Copyright 2010 - Victoria L. Burse 
Click Here to purchase your copy today!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Ministry of Encouragement!

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “So speak encouraging words to one another.
Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.
I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it.”

Expectations play a significant role in setting the stage for our life experiences.  On occasions when those expectations are not met, we experience an emotion we all know as Disappointment, which is generally accompanied by pain or “hurt feelings.”  Even with a success or great accomplishment, we can be left weary and a bit drained.  This sometimes causes us to ask ourselves “Was it worth it?” We all have these times in our lives, and I believe this is one of the reasons that we are commanded in the Word of God to Encourage one another.

Things do not always turn out as we hoped they would, and people do not always do or say what we thought they should; but Be Ye Encouraged and accordingly, make sure that you practice the Ministry of Encouragement.  Giving to others, the very thing that you need.

A single Encouraging word has the power to change the atmosphere.  An Encouraging word can connect with the promises of God and the desires deep within our heart.  Sometimes, it is not even a word; it may just be a Warm Embrace.  You know, a Hug!  A sincere hug can turn disappointment into hope, and restore confidence and determination.  It signifies to another that you are proud of them that you are in agreement with them and in support of them, or sometimes, that you simply Understand!  In a nutshell, Encouragement can help us to maintain or regain our focus and “keep it moving.”

There is a song I’m sure most of us know that says. “Sometimes you have to encourage yourself”, and that is true.  However, I challenge us as Spirit filled Believers in Jesus Christ, to meet the mark; to be the one in all seasons to have an Encouraging word on our lips.  Yes, there are times when we have to correct, or admonish others, including our children, but it can be sandwiched between an Encouraging word.  We don’t want to leave people feeling condemned or beat down, but we want them to understand that they can accomplish or correct that which has been pointed out to them.  We want them to know that success is possible because they can do all things through Christ who Strengthens them. (Philippians 4:13)

Lastly, who needs to be Encouraged?  We all do.  We may be quick to offer a word of Encouragement to those who appear to be experiencing a difficult time, or someone might share a situation with you and it is clear that they need to be Encouraged.  However, this might surprise you, but those who you find doing well, seeming to have it all together, to be focused and on an achieving track, they need your Encouragement too.  If we believe and understand, that to whom much is given, much is required, or as it says in Luke 12:48 (The Message Bible), “Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities”, then when we see someone celebrating a great accomplishment in their life, we will also know that they have made great sacrifices of time, talent, and treasure to achieve it.  A Job Well Done, can leave you a little weary, and even though they may have won the war, there was likely a few lost battles and some casualties along the way.  We ALL need to be Encouraged!

So I challenge you on this day, and every day.  Purposefully Pour an Encouraging Word into someone else’s life.

Acts 20:1 [ Macedonia and Greece ] With things back to normal, Paul called the disciples together and encouraged them to keep up the good work in Ephesus. Then, saying his good-byes, he left for Macedonia. Traveling through the country, passing from one gathering to another, he gave constant encouragement, lifting their spirits and charging them with fresh hope.