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Clear Eyes Open Heart

As I’ve gotten older my allergies have gotten worse. I’ve had sinus surgery and I’m currently going through the allergy shot regimen. And yet I still need to take allergy pills both in the morning and at night. In the early years of this battle I experimented with different allergy medications. Some made me incredibly sleepy and foggy. I saw a commercial for the brand Claritin. What caught my attention was the line “Claritin Clear.” The commercial shows a foggy view of the world. And after taking their product that foggy film is stripped away. That’s what I needed. What I didn’t realize at the time was not only were my allergies making my view of the world foggy but so was my lack of trust in God.

My friend and I were out for a walk and I was struck with the fact that she has taken God’s allergy medication. For one, three different devotionals she read that day pleaded the same action: Trust in the Lord with all you heart and all your mind and all your soul and lean not on your own understanding (Prov 3:5). I told her sometimes God whispers and sometimes He shouts and shakes us! Both are to get us to open our eyes and ears to the truth of our lives — to be God Clear. For another, she’s leaning into God’s grace of that medicine and surrendering.

But the work is not done. In fact the clearing of our eyes can be painful. Just like my twice weekly allergy shots (I hate shots), growth often starts with pain. If we stop because of the pain we can never fully achieve our greatest gifts from God. He wants so much for us — a life free of self doubt, self loathing, and turmoil. But we must first peel away the lies that Satan so readily whispers to us.

Where are you at in this process? Have you tried trusting God but it seems too scary, too painful? My friend a glorious, clear life awaits you. Trust in God’s holy medicine to bring you through the pain.

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10 Bold Bible Verses To Read Today

What lies are you fighting right now? Bold faith, trust in God, and knowing His love for you are the weapons against satan’s ever present lies.

1. “The One born of God keeps me safe — the evil one cannot harm me” 1 John 5:18

You are a child of God. A raging battle is going on in the spiritual world for your soul. Knowing that your father is fighting for you and trusting that all things are done for your good gives us strength. Many Christians have issues with the idea of satan. But as I discussed with a fellow Christian, the Bible does not shy away from satan. Jesus had a number of conversations with him. If you are going to accept the blessings from God you need to accept that satan is at work trying to keep those blessings from you.

2. “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Jer 31:3

The only love that will never fade is the love God has for us. It never wavers, it never decreases. Even if your physical world is not filled with love, we can draw on God’s love to persevere. This is not an easy task. A mom in a struggling marriage, with children who always seem disappointed in her said, “I remember that God loves me but sometimes I just need someone to physically hold me.” Run to the arms of the father. Fully surrender that need to God. He will light the way.

3. “He has rescued me from the darkness and I have redemption and forgiveness of sins.” Col 1:13-14

When we accept Jesus as our savior we throw up the lifeline to rescue us. Notice the word is rescue. If someone doesn’t want to be rescued they can make sure they aren’t. Throw up your hand and grasp His. You will be pulled out of your darkness. I have a Christian friend who had been a drug addict and alcoholic for many years tell me she had a dream of being a fish and a hook dropped down from out of the blue. She bit at it and it hooked her mouth and yanked her out of the sea. The next day she knew she never wanted another drink again in her life. God speaks in so many ways to us, just reach out.

4. “We are God’s handiwork.” Eph 2:10

When women sit around talking you’ll frequently hear us complaining about one body part or another. “I’m too chubby.” “Ugh, my hair.” “I wish my lips were plumper.” But think about it — you are uniquely you. You were created out of tiny DNA pieces that became you! It pains me to see satan’s forces at work taking our little complaints and elevating them to destroying our self-esteem. And worse, convincing people they are a mistake and must chop off body parts or take dangerous drugs to limit natural growth. No matter your height, your hips, your lips, your tomboy nature, your kinky hair, you are you and you are God’s creation. We’d save a lot of money and angst if we accepted that every time we looked in the mirror.

5. “I call you friend.” John 15:15

Boy do I wish I had known this when I was younger. An intimate relationship with Jesus and the Father not only brings us so many blessings but brings joy to the Almighty. He longs for that friendship. He will never stab you in the back. He will never forsake you. He is with you at 7:00 a.m. when your feet hit the floor and at 2:00 p.m. when you find out you were laid off. He’s even with you at 3:00 a.m. when your bills are swirling in your head. Pick up your spiritual cell phone and give Him a call.

6. “And I know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” Rom 8:28

I once heard a funny twist on “why do bad things happen to good people?” Instead, how about “why do good things happen to us bad people?” When we say “bad people” I’d bet most people think, “well, it’s not like I’ve killed someone or stolen a million dollars.” But a pastor asked, “Have you stolen anything at all? Have you ever taken God’s name in vain? Have you not been able to forgive someone? Have you ever coveted something?” In fact, there’s only one truly good person that something bad happened to — Jesus. And Jesus suffered on the cross so that our sins are forgiven. So with that in mind we must be thankful for the good stuff God sends our way and trust that any bad that we encounter God is working out a blessing for us somehow, someway in the end.

7. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up others according to their needs.” Eph 4:29

Yes, yes, we know not to gossip and to be kind to others. But are you gossiping about yourself? Are you unkind to yourself? When we talk to our friends, family and strangers how much do we tear ourselves down with “I’m not good at xy or z.” Or again with the physical degradation of ourselves? That’s not to say we should be boasting. But remember, we ARE God’s creation. So speak in positives. Don’t give the devil a hand up on tearing yourself or other’s down.

8. “As God’s co-worker (fill in the blank).” 2Cor 6:1

We are in this together. The entire story of the planet is built on covenants WITH God. He could’ve just made the animals and plants and wiped his hands on his robes and said, “Looks pretty darn good. Time for a nap.” But no, He made us. He made everything else FOR us. So He expects us to work with Him to tend to the needs of this glorious place. That includes sharing with others His love for His creation.

9. “We have the mind of Christ.” 1Cor 2:16

How often have you finished a prayer with “In Jesus’ name, Amen”? Do you know what it means? It means that Jesus is standing beside you, writing shorthand as you pray. He then takes that prayer to the Father and speaks for you. But the responsibility of a mature Christian is to discern the mind of Christ while speaking that prayer. We know His values and have His desires for us in mind. When we have the mind of Christ we can pray boldly and act boldly because we know that we are aligned with the spirit of God.

10. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22

We can say we know God. We can know God loves us. We can see the blessings and be thankful. We can know the right things to do. But if we don’t go boldly and actually DO the Word of God can we really say we truly know God? We need to obey His Word and leave the consequences to Him. Surrender, trust and receive full blessings.

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Listen, Obey, Receive

What has God asked you to do that, well to be honest, sounds a bit uncomfortable, odd, or just downright crazy?
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The Bible is a testament to ordinary people doing extraordinary acts in God’s name. Take Joshua for example. He had to tell his entire army to march around Jericho once a day for six days not speaking a word. On the last day at the sound of a trumpet they were all to shout. And then all the walls would fall down. Think of the work God had to do, not just in Joshua, but in all his priests, his army, and support staff. Without God, most people would’ve revolted. And then think what the Jericho army was witnessing. You would imagine by the second day they would’ve just killed all the Israelites as they marched around. But God was in control.
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I once heard a member of a Bible study group ask, “Why doesn’t God speak like that anymore?” My response was, “Maybe we just aren’t listening. More importantly we aren’t obeying.”
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What have you pulled back from on your Boldness List? You’re too (fill in the blank). Could it be that God has asked you to obey and you aren’t listening? Or you heard but just haven’t obeyed? Let’s take those steps of trust today and obey. Only then will we receive God’s full complement of gifts.

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