Have You Opened Your Package?

In January of this year (2016), I ordered an updated version of McAfee Virus Scan for my personal tablet/laptop.  I opened the box from Amazon but never opened the McAfee dvd case.  I put it off for months and also ignored all of the alerts I received daily on my tablet saying my virus scan had expired.  My tablet doesn’t have a dvd rom built in, but I had purchased an external dvd drive when I bought the tablet.  I hadn’t opened the new dvd case because I couldn’t find my dvd drive so I kept putting it off.  Finally, last week, I went searching again and couldn’t find the drive.  I thought I had to have the drive to be able to load the software.   I finally went ahead and opened the McAfee dvd case.  To my surprise, there was no dvd.  There was just a credit-size card with instructions on how to activate the software over the Internet.  All this time, I thought I had to have something or do something else before I could open the package.  Then, when I opened the package, everything I needed was there.

This makes me think of salvation and how many people come to Christ but never open the gift they have received.  They think they have to perform, measure up, be good enough, fix something, say something, or do something to open it.  It is a FREE gift and everything you need is inside – nothing is required on your part!

I had professional photos of me taken last November.  Earlier this year, I decided I would enlarge one of them and use metallic markers to write out all of the things I AM in Christ and all of the things I HAVE in Christ.  When you don’t open the package, you miss all of these things you HAVE in Christ – FREE!  In this package, you have:

  2. The mind of Christwho I am in christ
  3. Eternal life
  4. Redemption
  5. Righteousness
  6. The Holy Spirit
  7. A spirit of power
  8. A spirit of love
  9. A spirit of a sound mind
  10. HOPE
  11. Joy
  12. Salvation
  13. An Inheritance
  14. Purpose
  15. A wonderful future
  16. An anointing
  17. Access to the Father
  18. Adoption
  19. Security
  20. Life
  21. Peace
  22. The Fruits of the Spirit

I felt like an idiot this week when I realized, after opening the McAfee disk case, that everything I needed was right there.  Have you opened the gift of salvation and found all of these things you have in Christ?  Maybe it’s time……….



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Jesus Won’t Hesitate!!

Last week was a real struggle for me. For 2 days I was so down and discouraged.  I was so frustrated with wearing this boot (2 months post peroneal tendon repair surgery.)  I was lonely.  I was depressed.  I was tired. I realized one night I had never turned the lights on in my house that day.  I am very blessed that I can work from home during this recovery period but it does get lonely.  I was definitely focused on my circumstances and seeing the cup half empty.  The Lord had put a journal on my heart all day Wednesday and I knew He was showing me the way out.

In 1986 I went on a Young Life Wilderness trip to Colorado and kept a detailed journal the whole week.  There was a very significant lesson I learned on the next to last day.  We had walked into a meadow to each spend time with God alone.  Then we would start hiking the trail again – alone.  There were probably 100-200 yards between each of us.  I could see the guide way down the trail ahead of me.  I kept looking down at the trail and found myself tripping on all of the rocks right in front of me.  But when I looked up and focused on the guide ahead of me, I never tripped.  It reminded me of the story in the Bible when Peter walked on the water in Matthew 14:29-31 (The Message).

   29-30 He said, “Come ahead.”  Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”   31 Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?”

The same way I looked down instead of looking straight ahead at the guide is the same way Peter walked on water and then started to sink when he looked down at the waves around him.  Notice: Jesus didn’t hesitate!  He reached down and grabbed his hand.  Well, that is what He did for me this week.  I had my eyes focused on my circumstances and the things around me instead of looking at Jesus.  He didn’t hesitate!  He reached down and grabbed my hand and set my focus back on Him!  Where are your eyes focused today?  Are they on the temporal things around you and circumstances or are they set on Jesus?  I encourage you to cry out like Peter.  Jesus won’t hesitate to grab your hand and restore your focus on Him. When we set our focus on Jesus, we begin to see the glass half full and are filled with hearts of gratitude.

I find it amazing how God can use a 30 year old journal to breath fresh life into me!  I pray this will breath fresh life into you as well!

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Are You Wearing a Thundershirt or the Armor of God?

My older dog, a 10-year-old shih Tzu, has gotten more and more fearful of storms and loud noises in recent years.  About a month ago, I decided to purchase a “thundershirt” for her at the pet store.  It is basically a tshirt that wraps around the dog or cat’s chest and around the neck and is used for anxiety from a number of things like storms and fireworks.  The security of the shirt is supposed to calm the pet when storms come, etc.  I have put it on her a number of times during the last 4 weeks.  It takes a few minutes to calm her during storms and it didn’t work the best with July 4th fireworks.

What is your “thundershirt” when fear and anxiety come at you?  Maybe it’s eating, maybe other addictive behaviors, watching TV, exercising, obsessing with social media and things like Snapchat?  It could be a multitude of things.  Other options are to face it head on with God’s help or let it consume you.  How is your method working for you?  When you face fear and anxiety head on with God’s help, you need to be wearing the armor of God – that will protect you, calm you, and bring you peace 1,000 times more than turning to your own “thundershirt.”  So, you’re thinking, “this is a stretch.”  In reality, it really isn’t – we either turn to our own coping mechanisms or we turn to God.

armor of godThe armor of God consists of the following:

  1. Helmet of Salvation – don’t you know it is our salvation that allows us know God and wear the rest of the armor!
  2. Breastplate of Righteousness – we need this because Jesus is our righteousness.  This eliminates any requirement for performance, trying harder, or measuring up on our end.
  3. Shield of Faith – this is needed to trust God in our anxiety or fear or other emotions or situations.
  4. Belt of Truth – truth is critical because the enemy is out to feed you lies that cause the fear and anxiety in the first place!
  5. Sword of the Spirit – which is the Word of God – the Truth!
  6. Sandals of Peace – Jesus is our peace and our mission is to spread that everywhere we go.

Have you ever thought about this?  You might not be able to turn to your “thundershirts” when you are donning the armor of God.  When you imagine wearing the armor, it would be mighty difficult to eat, drink alcohol, do drugs, engage in sexual sin and more.  When we don’t don the armor of God every day, we make ourselves vulnerable to the enemy and the lies he uses to steal, kill and destroy!

Whatever the emotion, belief system, situation, God and the armor He has given us will always be the answer!  When the storms of life come, what will you be wearing?

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