Strength Divided

Strength

Welcome to the 4th and final post in our DIVIDED mini-series. Today we will be talking about what it means to have divided strength!

I don’t know about you but somedays, weeks, months, or even years I feel like I don’t have any strength left to move one foot in front of the other. Let alone love God with all of the strength I have left.

If I love God with all of what I have left what on earth am I going to use to care fore my family, home and anything else that comes my way.

We buy into lies

We convince ourselves that we con’t have enough to give everyone some of our strength. And we convince ourselves that God doesn’t really want “all”of my strength BUT he wants us to be good stewards of our strength being stingy with who gets some of it and who doesn’t. the reality is God wants ALL of our strength. He wants us to love hime with every bit of strength we have , even if it’s microscopic and seemingly non-existent.

Because it is only when we love God with all of our strength that we find the strength to keep going. Because it is God’s strength.

God’s wants every part of us…

This passage was never about dividing up our being….God wants every single last itty bitty part of us.

He wants all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our minds and all of our strength. He doesn’t want us to be divided in any of these aspects but instead he was us to be FULLY and WHoLLY devoted to him and Him alone.

Our personal strength can be doled out between all of our friends, family,, our employer , our home, our money……but if our strength is all handed out to all of this people and things, then we are divided and we aren’t loving God with all of our strength.

When I try to give little bits of my strength to everyone else I end up exhausted, worn out and frustrated because I just never seem to have enough to go around.

BUT

When I love God with all of my strength, I am enabled to do things I never thought I had enough strength to do. I have more hope, more peace, more love, more grace and more mercy that I ever could have imagined!!!

Because we are no longer striving to live our lives in our own strength, but in the strength of Jesus.

So

Love God with everything you have….all that you are and watch what he does with it. Because out of your dedication to him comes a greater love than we can ever imagine! It is hard work and takes LOTS of dedication and DEVOTION!

Thank you so much for Joining me today on this crazy Choosing Courage 100 day blogging project.. We only have 4 days left! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you are new here please introduce yourself in the comments below. I can’t wait to get to know each one of you!

Feel free to poke around and feel free to catch up on the Choosing Courage 100 Day writing project

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One Week Left: Week 13 Update

Week

WOW can you believe it that today is day 93! After I hit publish on this post we will have exactly one week- SEVEN DAYS in this 100 day Blogging project left!!!

A Lot has Happened in the last 100 days. My head swims with all of the emotions that have come and gone and come again. I wish I could share them all with you BUT that will have to wait for another post!

Choosing Courage- 100 Day blogging Project

This past week was a nice change of pace after blogging everyday through the month of October on a serious subject. It took a lot of work and brain power but it was good. So last weeks less intense pace was a nice break!

The mini-series was a struggle- actually just one day was but in the end I was really pleased that the struggle brought out the post I was hoping for if not a little better!. (It’s always neat when those things happen)

I have one more post in the mini-series and that will go live tomorrow!

Moving forward

This week my major blogging goal is to tease out the new blogging schedule that will begin next week though I think hubby thinks I should take a mini- break. I will see how that goes. I don’t want to undo the habits and momentum I have gained over the last 14 weeks (Or at least that is what it will be next Tuesday).

Hubby

Hubby made it through his CRAZY weekend and he is still alive PTL!!

It was a great weekend overall for him and for us!

The Kiddos

They have been jumping into the second quarter of school. Everyone one has recovered from their colds and we are just moving along looking forward to Thanksgiving next week and a much needed longer break!

I hope you all have a wonderful week. Let me know in the comments below what you are up to! If you are new here WELCOME!!! Please introduce yourselves in the comments and I would love to connect with you!

You can check out the other posts in the choosing Courage -100 day Blogging Project here..

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A Divided Mind

Mind

Theme Verse

The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

A Divided Mind

When I think of what it means to have a dividd mind a verse comes to mind out of Philippians.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

We are told here what it looks like to love God with all of our mind- to fix our minds on these things. “To fix ” means to be Hyper focused. It’s a determination to not let the negative creep in. It’s when we let the negative creep in that we have a divided mind. THIS IS A BATTLE WE ALL MUST FIGHT!

Everyday

Everyday I (and you) have to fight to keep our minds free of:

  • lies
  • dishonorable- crooked and deplorable thoughts
  • wrong- unjust thoughts
  • impure or adulterated thoughts
  • ugly thoughts
  • deplorable or abominable thoughts
  • poor quality or inferior thoughts
  • thoughts unworthy of praise

But what are they?

The short answer …ANYTHING THAT GOES AGAINST GOD’S WORD!

We put lots of garbage into our minds. The principle of Garbage in, Garbage out is a biblical principle, it is also the same principle of “your reap what you sow” (Galatians 6:7-8) NLT TV, music, movies,, books,YouTube videos, The NEWS, Toxic people. Shallowing I keep going?

A not so funny example

Our kids like to watch funny animal videos on instagram reels- they don’t watch them on their own but I will screen /scroll past the ones with bad or inappropriate words/Content in them….BUT every once in a while one will slip through.

One song in particular is super catchy. And after only hearing it twice I noticed the kids and I were singing it. Leaving out the taboo word in this house but I knew it was going to end up as an example of our quickly our minds can get compromised.

The video is usually about an animal, hooman- if you know you know (child or adult) with a poorly thought out plan…ending in hysterical laughter BUT what I discovered is the song (an ear worm) is almost instantly embedded in your mind.

What we did- we just stopped watching the reels. Because it just creeps up. I got pretty good at only hearing the first word and scrolling past but then the kids would finish the song.

Another personal example

I love mysteries and true crime stories. BUT something happens to my brain. Fear creeps in and the what-ifs start to happen. The events of these stories are not lovely, are not admirable and do not example excellence. They pretty much define all the antithesis of Philippians 4:8-9.

The Biggest Lie Christians tell themselves

I’m gonna be really unpopular for this AND THAT’S OK.

“BUT I am mature enough in my faith to handle….X, Y, and Z.”

NOPE- If you are willingly letting things against God’s word into your mind you have a divided mind. You aren’t loving God with all of it. I’m not, You’re not.

God’s word is very clear about thinking on pure and right things. And by saying that we are mature in our faith to handle whatever it is…we are buying a lie and that is the first thing we are commanded to think on….Whatever is true. We are to put into our minds what is honoring to God. That build us up. Encourage us in our faith. Not make us compromise it.

We are all guilty

Have you gathered that each one of these areas is a point of battle? We need to “fight” for these areas of our lives.

EVERY. SINGLE BELIEVER. We are called to prepare for these battles….

Ephesians 6:11-18 (NLT)

11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.12 For we[a] 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.

13 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. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[b] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[c] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[d]

The Pieces of Armor

  • Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth
  • the body armor (breastplate) 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,
  • take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

We fight lots of battles thrown at us, we don’t need to add our own battles. Taking garbage into our minds make us numb to the truth that should be defining our lives- that opens a world of compromise.

Let’s choose to live differently

I don’t want to be defined by numbness to things that go againstGod’s word. I want my heart to feel sadness when confronted with sin. I don’t want to just dismiss it- and I don’t want to be controlled by it, either in my heart, soul or mind.

Tomorrow We will deal with divided Strength- aka where are you placing your energy?

I hope you can join me here tomorrow!

Want to learn more?

A book that has really helped me in the battle for my mind is “Loving God with all of your Mind” by Elizabeth George (Not an affiliate link)

This is the Growth and Study Guide that goes along with the book

Thanks so much 

I am so very glad that you joined me today! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you are new here please introduce yourself in the comments below.

You can check out the other posts in the choosing Courage -100 day Blogging Project here..

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A Soul Divided

Soul


The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

A Soul Divided has been the hardest of the four posts to write for sure- mostly because the nature of the soul itself. Hubby and I have spent so much time hashing out this post together. We have a wonderful time hashing out things together.

The very first thing that you have to is understand what exactly a “soul” is. After looking at many commentaries and bible dictionaries and the general consensus seems to be that your soul is your life, or better yet your being or who you are.

I liked the way the New Illustrated Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson) put it best,

Soul may simply refers to life’s is true f the same Greek word translated “Life” in verse 25. It seems best to say it looks at the basic self.

This is referring to the passage below.

Matther 16:24-28

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. 25 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?[a] Is anything worth more than your soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. 28 And I tell you the truth, some standing here right now will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

And specifically honing in verses 25-26.

And this my friends the basis for most Christian movies out there. (NOT ALL just most). The story line and circumstances are different but the decision is almost always the same.

“Am I going to live the way Jesus wants me to or am I going to compromise to gain money (hmmm sounds like yesterdays post), a relationship, a job promotion, fame” and , the list can go on and on.

It’s not just a “movie thing”.

I know that many Christians joke that Christian movies can be all the same. BUT the reality is we are all every day, many times a day faced with moments of “Compromise”. Now Granted it may not look like that’s what is going on- if we don’t stay on top of our decisions, one tiny “insignificant ” decision can lead to a compromising moment that can be life changing.

When we start making those “insignificant” compromises our souls become divided. And before long we find ourselves in verse 26. We have gained the “whole” world, but lost our soul (who we are ).

A Personal Story

Initially I had a vague example of this- it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. And then as I was writing this a perfect example came to mind from my own life.

If we rewind all the way back to August and the beginning of this journey we now find ourselves winding down together, I talked about how I had gotten LOST.

Well, here’s the thing, I was living with a divided heart and soul. And it all started with fear. I let fear of what people thought of me and my writing take control. I didn’t consider what God thought of it. All I cared about what the negative comments – AND it was coming from one specific person. And I let that fear take over. (Yes I was doing all the Christians checkboxes and praying for that person). I would give it to God and Yank it right back and hold onto that.

Clearly God didn’t have all of my heart. Then this changed how and what I wrote. I had lost my purpose in writing AND in my ministry- I changed who I was and what I stood for because of this person. And so my soul became divided.

And when I had a divided heart and soul…..

I began to buy into all sorts of other lies. The main one? This is how everyone views me….INCLUDING GOD.

WHOA!

And just a note. I wasn’t trying to gain the “whole world…I was just trying to make this person happy. I was trying to gain peace…..from the wrong place and I was willing to sacrifice who I was and let fear take over to do so.

I didn’t wake up one day and just decide that’s what I was going to do. It started with a baby step and then another and another, until before long I didn’t really recognize myself.

A very vivid picture of my divided heart and soul

So about a month into the 100 day blogging project I started looking for a draft of a blog post I wanted o finish.

I knew it was saved as a draft so I began searching and what I came to realize was I had A LOT OF DRAFTS. Blog posts that I sat down to write and many of them never making it farther than the title. And it’s funny as I read through those posts I can remember EXACTlY what happened. I got scared and I started living in the “”what if…”

And I just let myself get distracted And I changed what I was doing . During that time I have a whole lot of Happy Homemaker Mondays and Thankfulness Challenges (because that surely can’t get me in trouble right?) Don’t get me wrong I love these posts! But they were easy and non-confrontational….RIGHT??

WRONG I have gotten in trouble MANY years ago about sharing a verse that had impacted me at a conference I had attended the weekend before. I had no purpose behind it , no commentary with it JUST the passage of scripture used. The result of that confrontation over that very? I shut down my whole blog for over a year. Now there was a whole lot of other reasons for that AND it was the wisest thing for me to do during that time. BUT can you guess what came back to haunt me as soon as this blog went live again?

I had given it to God but as soon as it went live I yanked it right back and when this other person started unleashing negative comments I held onto it even tighter.

This is just one little piece

We all have things like this We all have made little choices here and there that lead to being and living divided lives.

And it is a daily choice for me….and for you to not be. At any point I can yank back those things…or things that happened 25 or 30 years ago.

I love what verse 25 says “If you try to hang onto your life you will lose it, but if you give up your life for my sake you will save it”

I chose to give up my fears and my version of peace to follow what God has called me to do- write here. And ya know what? I found a different kind of peace. The peace of knowing I am doing exactly what God wants me to do! This peace doesn’t require me to strive for anything- it just requires me to follow. Is it easy? Nope this post is a great example. I really had a lot of turmoil over this one and I think it was because God was really working out this example in my own life.

But it is completely and totally worth it!

What have we become

What have we become? Are we fearful? Anxious? Angry? Bitter? Or are we solidly rooted in our relationship with Jesus? Are we constantly Yanking back what we give to him and are defined by those things?

The Great news is we don’t have to stay there. There is no magic formula and it takes moment by moment choosing to live like Christ. It’s refusing to yank back what you have given to him. It’s trusting him with all of it, not just some of it. And I want to be very clear here- trusting God is long term. You cannot just declare that you have trusted him long enough. THAT isn’t what faith is about!

Thanks so much

I am so very glad that you joined me today! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you are new here please introduce yourself in the comments below.

You can check out the other posts in the choosing Courage -100 day Blogging Project here..

Leave a comment

A Heart Divided

Heart


The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

A Divided Heart

Our Hearts- We can say that we love God with ALL of our hearts but is it true? What does that look like? There are two ways our hearts can be divided.

#1 What we treasure

When it comes to the heart the Bible has some very specific passages about having a divided heart.

24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. Matthew 6:24 NLT

This is “the love of money is the root of all evil” Passage. So many times through that verse has been tweaked just a little and the meaning of this verse is changed. Money is not the root of all evil. It when your money owns you that it is evil. Do you think about it? Obccess over it? I’ve got news for you….You can have no money at all and still LOVE money! The better question I think here would be Does money keep you from serving and obeying God? Are you willing to compromise you relationships, morals and relationship with God to get more money? Or preserve what you already have?

Is money your EXCUSE for not serving or obeying God?

BUT this principle can be applied to more than money

Let me ask this question:

What is distracting you from God being master over your life?

  • Your family?
  • Your friends?
  • Job?
  • Reaching the next level of success?
  • Your pet? (yes I have heard that one)
  • Home?
  • Your hobbies?

What owns you? None of these things are wrong in and of themselves. Matter of fact ALL of them are really good BUT when we let these things distract us from God-

  • Church/ connecting with other believers
  • Bible Study/ Devotions
  • Prayer

We have a divided heart.

What do you treasure?

What does your heart long for and desire? When we look at that passage about serving two masters it is always advantageous for us to look a few verse ahead. In verse 21 of Matthew 6 is says,

21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. (NLT)

Like verse says NO ONE CAN SERVE TWO MASTERS! It’s impossible…. so if something else has your heart GOD DOESN’T.

#2 What we hold onto

The second area we can have a divided heart on is really the things or areas of our lives we hold onto.

Whether is be sin, shame or guilt.

Sin

Now this one is two fold. Either we are holding onto a sin that we have done in the past and tuck it away in our hearts behind lock and key. It is in a dusty dark little room with cobwebs It’s untouchable – by us and God. We don’t want to deal with it. God is not allowed in that room. He can have everything else that looks pretty- just NOT that one space.

OR

We have sin we are still living in. We buy into lies that God’s ways set forth in the Bible are antiquated. . We live by the motto- “it’s not sin unless we get caught”. OR we live with our sin like it’s a badge of honor. (I just wrote about this not long ago. ). We take our impatience or our lack of grace (or any other sin) and say “well that just the way God made me”. WRONG. That’s your sin nature and as long as you use it as an excuse to keep from becoming more like Christ than you are living divided and God doesn’t have ALL of you heart. Sin has become your master.

GUILT AND SHAME

These two go hand in hand and is DIRECTLY LINKED TO SIN. Guilt and shame can become masters in our lives when we hold onto what Christ paid for on the cross.. Sin is still your master. (Whether it be your own sin OR SOMEONE else’s)

We believe we aren’t worthy of……because of that sin. We might give it to God on Sunday but Yank it back and hold onto it on Monday. Our guilt and our shame become our identity (more on that tomorrow). It cripples us from doing what God wants us to do because either we believe that we cannot be worthy of being used because of whatever happened OR we are so afraid of someone else finding out. And at that point Fear has become our master.

The Problem is ……

You cannot say you Love God with all of your heart and live in fear, sin or distracted by all the other things. When our hearts are fully and I mean FULLY given to God it is the greatest act of love AND it shows who we REALLY are That my friends leads us into tomorrow and the conversation on a divided soul.

Thank you so much for joining me today as we begin our mini-series on being divided. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and if you are new here WELCOME!!! Please introduce yourself in the comments and feel free to poke around.

Also check out all the other posts in the Choosing Courage 100 day blogging project (Today is day 89)

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