Untamed - Wild at Heart

 

We are all wild at heart.  Wild in the sense of us wanting to be free to do whatever we want to do without a care in the world.  A longing for that true sense of freedom bubbles up on the surface of our hearts.  Have you ever just had those moments where you just think to yourself if only I could just not care about the consequences that may arise with me just letting completely loose?  I know I have.  If I am being completely honest, sometimes I feel constrained by the “rules” that I should be following as a child of God.  My heart wants to do something or many things that would definitely not glorify His kingdom.

There were times before I was a Christian where I would think that I would have to sacrifice “my freedom” in order to surrender and give my life to Christ.  There were too many rules I would have to follow and I would not be able to live a life that would fulfill my desires.  

There were several years in my life where I gave into making Courtney happy in every moment.  What I wanted right then and there is what I would do.  Temporary satisfactions were fulfilled no matter the price.  You could say my days of drugs and alcohol would label me a wild child.  I was free to do what I wanted, when I wanted and I was soaring like an eagle, or was I? 

I look back to figure out why my heart finally drifted towards Christ and it comes to one answer.  Giving into what I thought was fulfilling my wants and needs was really driving me to be enslaved within the prison walls of this world.  We are not meant to just live this life, but eternal life.  The void that I was trying to fill was really the need for a relationship with Christ that would give me this eternal life.  

Satan wants us to continue on a path that serves only ourselves.  We may think we have everything we want, but let’s be honest if we do not have Christ there will always be something missing.  Our perception of having to tame ourselves to follow Christ is one of Satan’s lies.  God made us wild at heart, we just have to redirect it towards Him and His kingdom.

Throughout the next four weeks we will be talking about how we can become untamed for God and live with the wild freedom that God intends for our lives.  If we block out Satan’s lies then we won’t feel like it is a burden to follow Christ and His rules, but we will be able to look at following Christ as the answer to our freedom.

Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. - 1 Corinthians 7:21

[ The Believer’s Freedom ] “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. - 1 Corinthians 10:23

[ Life by the Spirit ] You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. - Galatians 5:23

Courtney Kacer (Smith)

Cravings

I woke up in the middle of the night, rolled over and checked my phone to see what time it was.  It was 1:00 in the morning.  The first thought that went through my head was oh good, I get to sleep for 4 more hours, but the very next thought in my head craved chocolate and a nice cold Pepsi to wash it down.  What?!  It’s 1:00 in the morning and I’m not only craving food, but craving nothing but pure sugar.  I wish I could tell you that I went back to sleep, but in my half-awake – half asleep state of mind, I got myself out of bed and walked myself over to the fridge, grabbed some Pepsi, and continued to the cupboard where I had a Reeses heart from Valentine’s Day.    The distressing part?  I know this isn’t the first time.  My  sister experienced this with me just a few months ago.  We were both watching TV and I had fallen asleep.  I woke up during a commercial and stated out loud, I want some Oreos.  I proceeded to get up and walk into the kitchen to grab some cookies.  My sister was amazed and didn’t let me hear the end of it the next morning.  Does this sound familiar to anyone?  How about the excuse, like I have used for a long time, that I wasn’t really fully awake, or I must not have eaten enough at dinner.

I wish I could blame it on the hormones in my body, or maybe I really didn’t eat enough for dinner.  But the truth of the matter? it is my responsibility in how I react to different cravings.  If I have a hard time controlling them, then I should be praying to God for His strength to get me through it. 

The fact is I know how my body reacts to eating healthy. When I do, after a certain period of time I don't really crave the sugar.  So when I look at the overall picture, the end result of giving into my cravings and temptations is  my own choice.  I have been choosing to eat unhealthy and worse…over-eating especially when I am feeling down or stressed.  Not good…

So, besides not treating my body as God’s temple,  I am not fully turning to God when my emotional state is…let’s just say…not up to par.  Double whammy!!

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I try to rationalize my eating habits as me just liking food.  I work out just so that I can enjoy eating, but I think there is a deeper problem here.  Yes, I enjoy food.  I would imagine about 99% of the population enjoys food, but I can’t keep stuffing my body with cheeseburger after cheeseburger and piles of junk food.  Yes, in moderation, but I need to start thinking of treating my body as a temple that carries the Holy Spirit and eating to glorify the Lord and not to take my feelings away.  

So today, I am going to take one day at a time and focus on the Lord. I am going to try to make those healthy decisions that will honor God with my body not only with food, but in every area. And when I am feeling upset, depressed, stressed, or full of anxiety, I am going to turn to God and not my cupboards.  And to limit my temptations, I am going to remove ALL of the unhealthy foods in my house.  If the sugar isn’t there, then I can’t have my weak moments...especially at 1:00 in the morning.

So I ask you, where are you with honoring God with your bodies?  Do you struggle with food like I do?  Maybe it’s not food, maybe it’s smoking, or drinking too much, or sexual impurity.  Whatever it is, let’s take that stronghold of weakness and turn it over to God in obedience...to honor and glorify him and not ourselves. And if we have trouble through our temptations, then we need to remember that God is right next to us holding our right hand.  What a comfort that is.

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

Isaiah 41:13

 

Condemnation

I am sitting at my desk at work yesterday and couldn't help but smell a faint odor that smelled just like cat pee.  It wasn't overwhelmingly strong, but just enough to catch my attention every few minutes.  Where was it coming from?  There are no cats at work, maybe I was imagining it since I have two cats at home.  After about an hour of these continuous thoughts I realized that one of my lovely dear cats peed on the corner of my bra.  Really?!!  I tried washing that part with soap and water in the bathroom, but the smell kept coming right back up.  I started to think if I could smell it, who else could?  I just started this new job and now I am going to be known as the woman who smells like cat pee.  My thoughts were all over the place.  It's not like I could just take off my bra and walk around work, so I had to deal with the cat pee smell for the rest of the day, just hoping that the perfume that I put on that morning helped mask the smell.  

But of course, this got me thinking about how some of the decisions we make and the things we do tend to linger in our minds putting us on a downward spiral of guilt and shame.  Just like the cat pee kept coming to my mind and making me paranoid, so can some of the decisions we make.  We can tend to hold on to the shame and guilt and it can turn into condemnation.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  - Romans 8:1

We need to be careful that we don't allow satan to use our emotions to bring us down into a state of mind that separates us from God.  I have allowed this to happen to me so many times and it is hard to bring yourself out of that state of mind.  I remember going into a downward spiral after my body became addicted to the pain medication subscribed to me after my neck surgery about 4 years ago.  It brought back painful memories of the my past with drugs and alcohol, and satan was all over that.  I started to feel like I wasn't worthy of God's love and going down a path of thoughts that were sinful just in themselves, but I had great people that reminded me that God forgives and His love is unconditional and never changing.  That no matter what I did in my past, God forgave me when I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior.  What an awesome gift and blessing for us to receive.  

He remembered us in our low estate, His love endures forever. And freed us from our enemies His love endures forever.  He gives food to every creature.  His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven.  His love endures forever. - Psalm 136:23-26

So as a rule of thumb I will always let myself have a small time of reflection on my wrong decisions or a bad situation that I may have created.  I ask for God's forgiveness and as hard as it is I give the feelings of guilt and shame up to God.  It is not an easy process by any means, but if we can open our eyes to know when satan is using condemnation to bring us down than the faster we can pull ourselves back up to where God wants us to be and that is right there with Him in a close relationship.

So if you have been struggling with something similar please pray about it and give it up to God.  I will be praying for each and every one of you.  I would also like to throw out there if you have any specific prayer requests please email me through my contact page.  I would love to pray for you.  We all need each other for encouragement, prayer, and fellowship.  Let's live our lives full of Bold Faith!!

The Overton Window

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The Overton Window is a political theory showing what the public thinks would be acceptable from a political policy standpoint.  I once read Glenn Beck's Overton Window book a few years back which explained it through a fictional story setting.  The best I can explain it is if a group of people want to implement a radical change that the public would definitely say no to, they will take baby steps towards their end goal so that the public would slowly accept the change and before they know it they are accepting the one thing that they would have said no to in the past, but because it wasn't such a radical change they didn't really notice the culture shift of acceptance.

I saw the above picture the other day and it instantly reminded me of the book and the concept of the book and then I started to realize that we do that as christians too.  We sometimes start to rationalize and accept different things as ok when they start to become "the norm" in today's society when God's word says that it shouldn't be ok.  I struggle with this every day.  We live in a world where primetime tv says it's ok to now have sex scenes in almost every show and there are viagra commercials on during the day on cable.  What once used to be rated "R" is now considered "PG-13".  We live in a world where sex before marriage and living together after a few months of dating is the normal course of a relationship.

It's hard being a single woman who loves the Lord and trying to be sexually pure when it is thrown in your face left and right.  It is hard to live in a world where sinful nature is taking over and the world is starting to get darker each and every day and to still try and shine God's light in this world.  Our overall morals in this world are disintegrating and it is up to us to try and uphold God's standards.

I just recently watched the movie Into the Woods.  It is a disney musical that is rated PG and is about different fairy tale stories being intertwined into one story.  There was one scene where they had Prince Charming after he just married Cinderella kissing the Baker's wife and a whole song on how she shouldn't kiss him, but she wanted to and they continued to kiss.  I was flabbergasted. Here is a disney movie that is targeting kids and promoting cheating and having affairs.  It's not ok!  But the overton window has shifted and our society is ok with it.  It would have never been acceptable to put something like that in a disney movie years ago, but apparently it is ok now.

I try to stay close in my relationship with Christ every day and only through the grace of God do I get by.  I try and stay away from the shows that have a strong sexual nature, and I make it a point when I'm dating that I want to glorify God by following His ways.  I'm by no means perfect, but it's about putting in the effort in to try and bless God each and every day.  It's about building our character to be more like Him.  Staying in His word, going to church on a weekly basis, being involved in women's bible study, and serving where needed is how I get through every single day.  I can tell the days that I struggle the most that I may not have been in the word that day or for a few days.  We all go through ups and downs, but all we can do is try and shine God's light as much as we can in a world where it is ok to do everything that goes against the grain of our very being, our faith.  There is hope and strength in Jesus and as long as we focus on Him we can be free from the slavery of this world.  

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  - Galatians 5:1

Pray with me for this world that we live in and pray with me that we can go out and be Bold in our faith and set that example for people that need to see God's love, grace, and mercy.

 

Running in the Rain

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I had ten miles to run and I was dreading it, so I planned to run the full ten miles at the beach on a Sunday morning.  Little did I know that is was forecasted to rain.  My alarm goes off at 6 am and I hear a hard pitter patter on my window.  Oh no...it's raining.  That instant dread of having to run in the wet, cold rain.  My thoughts immediately went to maybe I should postpone it, but I knew I only had 3 weeks until the Surf City 1/2 Marathon and I couldn't get behind on my training.  So reluctantly I get up and I get dressed.  I get all my gear and I head to the beach.

I immediately was drenched from head to toe and wanting to run back inside where it was warm and I could curl up on the couch, but perseverance started to kick in.  It will only be miserable for a little while and then I can say that I did it.  Trying to keep my mind off of the cold and the wetness I started to talk to God about what He wanted me to write about next.  As I jumped over a puddle and then immediately ran to the right of another big puddle God spoke to me.  Temptations.  Yes that big ugly word.

When I was running I was constantly trying to dodge the big puddles because I didn't want my feet to get soaked.  Yes I know I was already wet, but there is that awful feeling you get when you run or jump into a puddle and everything becomes wet and cold.  That is what temptation is like for us ladies.  Satan throws it at us trying to block our way so we will run and jump right through it eventually making us feel guilty and miserable, but we try to dodge the temptations by running to the right or left of it and sometimes we try to jump right over it.  As I was running and trying to dodge these puddles, I accidentally ran right through a big, deep puddle that I didn't see.  It was masked by the unevenness of the pavement.  We try to run from these temptations, but sometimes we run right into temptations without even seeing it leaving us wet, cold, and miserable.  It also reminded me of the times where I wanted to give in to my temptations so much that I didn't care what the consequences were and I would jump right into that puddle making a big splash.  So how do we try to stay out of the puddles, warm and dry?

We stay in God's word on a daily basis and pray.  Ephesians 6:11 says Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  The more we read the bible and study it the closer our relationship gets to God and the more we want to glorify Him every day.  We are not perfect by any means, but the closer we are to God the easier it is to fight the temptations that come our way.

Luke 22:46 says "Why are you sleeping?" he asked them.  "Get up and pray so that you may not fall into temptation.

Mark 14:38 says "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

It is just like my puddles.  At the beginning of my run I was awake and full of energy.  I was on watch veering off to the right and to the left of each puddle successfully avoiding the puddles, but as I got to miles 7 and 8, my legs started to get tired and instead of going out of my way exerting more energy I found myself running right through the puddles, and for the rest of my run my shoes and socks were soaked and cold.  I was not a happy camper.  My point is if we let ourselves get tired and drift away from God then we won't have the energy or the desire to fight off the temptations that Satan throws our way.  My pastor once said in a sermon that in order for you to notice a difference with your relationship with God you should be in the word at least 4 times a week.  So I am throwing this challenge out to myself and everyone reading this.  Let's stay in the word at least 4 times this week and schedule some quiet time with God.  Let's grow our relationship with Him and be blessed by it.