Chambersburg, PA

Your Vote is Your Voice

leather bible with words

Tomorrow is voting day across the nation.

To many this is a day looked upon with frustration and uncertainty, while others ignore the significance of the day as a whole.

“Why even bother to vote?” some say, feeling powerless to the choices printed on the ballets. “What difference will my vote make anyway?”

Although I understand the vexation they feel, as I read the scriptures of the Old Testament I am reminded of the responsibility we have.

Recently, while reading the book of 2 Kings I found it telling how the Israelites went through seasons of having leaders that served the Lord, and kings that worshiped idols and false gods.

One king in particular, King Manasseh, led his people astray to a deplorable state were they did more evil than all the detestable nations the Lord had already destroyed before them.

During his long reign of 55 years, Manasseh plunged the nation of Judah into it’s darkest era of idolatry. In 2 Kings 21:3 it says “He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected alters to Baal and made an Asherah pole”.

Manasseh rejected the God of his father and instead worshiped Baal and Asherah, two Canaanite gods that represented fertility . . . or the worship of sex.

I can’t help but read these scriptures and feel the eerie sensation of deja vu.

How similar America is to the nation of Judah. Haven’t we forgotten the God of our forefathers that built this country on the foundation of Christian truths? Haven’t we faded into a nation that worships sex and the ability to express it without regard for its sacred origin?

Sadly, we have.

The only difference is the people of Judah did not vote their leaders in. No, they were kings born into the role by royal lineage. They did not have a say on who was next in line, but they did have the ability to choose to follow the ways of the Lord or be lead by lies of their leader.

Sometimes God does not always remove ungodly leaders from their positions, but instead He holds His people to be responsible for requiring their leaders to lead their nation in alignment with the Word of the Lord.

If the Lord held the nation of Judah to this standard, how much more will He hold us since we vote our leaders in?

We have a responsibility as a citizen of not only the nation of the United States, but also as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. He has blessed us with the ability to vote, and that vote is our voice that we are to use to glorify God and uphold His standards.

Perhaps you are struggling with the weight of this responsibility. Maybe you feel conflicted at the difficult task of determining which candidates are more likely to represent and uphold our Christian beliefs.

I completely understand.

But thankfully there are resources to assist us. Take time to do a little research and prayerfully ask God to assist you in using your voice, your vote to bring in leaders that will glorify God.

Here are three links that can offer you assistance in making informed decisions about the candidates based on the stances they take on topics related to the sanctity of life, our religious freedoms, and our christian beliefs. I pray you find them helpful, and feel empowered to do your part as a citizen of this great nation, but more importantly as a representative of Christ.

http://pafamilyvoter.com

http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/04/your_voters_guide_to_pennsylva.html

http://www.paprolife.org

“Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.” Exodus 18:21

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

Get Some Rest!

women mountains with words

I had gone off the grid.

I had to. The signs of a crash was coming. First everything started to slow down, no systems were running at full speed, but I’m not talking about my Macbook . . . I’m talking about me.

Life had gotten way too busy. Too many programs were running all at the same time, and I started to feel like the spinning wheel of death that freezes everything on my computer when I try to operate too many things at once.

Everything needed to come to a halt.

For months I had been nonstop. On a mission, doing good things that the Lord sent me out to do, but I had come back exhausted from my journey.

I needed to enter into a season of rest but my mind and emotions did not agree. “There’s too much to do, you can’t stop now”, were the words that constantly guilted me.

All I could see were deadlines, serious needs that needed to be met, and my “to do list” only grew more with each new day. I felt like so much was riding on continuing at my same pace, and that my future success was at stake.

But the more I tried to press on, the more depleted I felt, and the more depleted I felt, the more defeated I began to feel. My emerging feelings of defeat weren’t based off any real failure or fact, it was solely based off being depleted of much needed rest.

I knew I was in a desperate place as I cried out for help, when the Lord heard my cry and brought to me these sweet words, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

In the sixth chapter of the book of Mark, Jesus had sent out the twelve disciples on a mission. They went out and preached to the people. They drove out demons by the power given to them by Jesus, and they anointed many sick people with oil and healed them of their infirmities.

When the disciples returned and told Jesus all they had done, people still continued to come to them. Knowing exactly what his disciples needed, Jesus said, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Jesus knew they needed rest after their long journey of ministering to his people. He knew they needed replenishment because they hadn’t even had a chance to eat. He knew exactly what they needed, and so they went away in a boat with Jesus to a solitary place.

But what happens next might surprise you.

When they arrived at their destination many of the people had seen where they were going and got there ahead of them. Instead of turning them away Jesus had compassion on them, and does one of his most famous miracles . . . he miraculously feeds not only his disciples but also five thousand men by supernaturally multiplying five loaves and two fish.

I can’t help but find the placement of this miracle so interesting. In one verse Jesus calls his disciples to come away with him to rest, and then only a few short verses later he is performing this magnificent miracle.

Maybe Jesus was trying to teach them that when we go away with him and get some rest, that is when he will do some of his greatest miracles in our lives.

Those miracles won’t be done out of our own strength or abilities. They won’t be done by anything that we will do or complete. They will solely be done by the power of our great and loving God when we go to Him and rest.

Right now I’m in a season of needing rest and a miracle. Maybe you are too.

If you are like me you may be feeling like you don’t have enough energy to do anything to help this miracle occur. All the best within you is already spent, and you have nothing left to make something amazing happen.

Perhaps like the disciples, Jesus is calling us too, to come to Him and rest. To trust Him for the miraculous. To believe that He already knows what we need and that He is faithful to not only meet those needs . . . but exceed them.

For me that means I need to embrace this season of rest. To stay off the grid as long as necessary, and to turn my “to do list” into a “not to do list”.

I do believe rest is a powerful weapon, given to us by God, and I pray we all enter into the power that only occurs when we rest in Him.

 

diane square Diane Swan is a Credentialed Assemblies of God Minister, Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

I Trust You – Believing God Does What He Says

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Originally published on June 1, 2015

Has God ever given you a word and then you wondered, “Was that really for me? Was that really from God?”

Maybe He spoke to a deep need that lays in your heart.

A promise for restoration in your marriage. A word of confirmation that He will bring your wayward child home. A healing that will release you from your painful affliction. Or perhaps a life dream that He promises to fulfill.

And yet undoubtedly with each word the Lord speaks, our response is a counterproductive tendency……we question it. We question the very word God spoke to us, and we begin to doubt its authenticity.

This is actually the oldest trick of the enemy, with its commencement dating all the way back to the Garden of Eden.

When the lying serpent entered the scene his first tactic he utilized to bring destruction upon man, was to plant the seed of doubt into Eve’s mind and tempt her to question God and His word.

The enemy said to her, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

He immediately tries to confuse her by twisting the word of God. Once confusion and doubt sets in, ultimately she begins to follow the voice of the enemy instead of the voice of the Lord.

The enemy knew that the greatest way to destroy our faith and relationship with the Lord was to introduce doubt. He knew the deceptive and devastating power that doubt would have on our life with God, and that is why it was His first weapon to use.

The enemy will always try to get you to question God’s word….because His word brings life.

Thankfully, through the apostle James, the Lord gives us excellent advice on this matter. He says,

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:5-6

In my life, I can attest to feeling blown and tossed by the wind during times I doubted God’s word. Just days ago the lying serpent began to hiss in my ear, and tried to discourage me from following the word and direction the Lord gave me.

But then I was reminded of this scripture, “you must believe and not doubt”.

Ladies, when God speaks a word into your heart, be very wise and remember this scripture, “you must believe and not doubt”.

When we believe the word God speaks to us, we are saying to Him three very simple little words….I – trust – you. 

I trust your words are true. I trust they are from you because it was you I asked for wisdom, and it was you that answered me. I trust you love me. I trust you have good for me. And I trust your word is always faithful and true. I. trust. you.

The truth is this, “Once God has spoke it, no one can revoke it.” No one. No power of man on this earth, nor any scheme from hell can change God’s word.

May we forever live by this truth, and walk in the certainty that God always does what He says.

Please join me in this prayer as we seal this truth in our lives.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank you that your word brings life. I thank you that you speak into the depths of my heart, and fulfill every word you say. Please help me to hold onto your word, and keep my ears tuned only to the sound of your voice. I trust you Lord. I trust your word, and I trust your ways. And on the days that what I see does not look like what you promised, help me to walk by faith and not by sight. In Jesus name, Amen.

 
diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

Re-emerge

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There have been many times in my life, where I have been abruptly interrupted and thrown into a state of trepidation.  Moments where I have gone from enjoying a peaceful day, awaking from a restful slumber, or even celebrating a joyous event, only to be thrust into the reality of a devastating blow.

An email informing me of my employment separation, a letter disclosing a professional investigation, encountering the presence of a vile perpetrator, and worse of all, a phone call . . . the kind that everyone fears, from a tearful, grieving loved one, with unexpected heartbreaking news.

I have experienced them all.

Each traumatic event, each with its own unique impact and pains.  And yet my response to them all was the same.  SHOCK. FEAR. DEVASTATION.

When shook by such intense emotions, my body, mind, and spirit are too overwhelmed to handle life’s unexpected moments, and so I run and hide.

This is my trauma response.

My tendency.

But I am not alone in my proclivity, matter of fact, the bible speaks of a mighty prophet of God that had the exact same inclination.

In the book of 1 Kings, during a wicked season of the Israelites’ history, the people were no longer solely serving the one true living God.

There was a division.

False prophets had risen within the people and encouraged them to worship their apocryphal Gods.

In response to this idolatry the Lord sent Elijah, the last of his kind, to go to the people and challenge the prophets of the false Gods.

Elijah said to them,

“Get two bulls for us. Let Baal’s prophets choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire – he is God.

Elijah boldly confronted them in this test to reveal the identity of the true living God, and the faithful Lord obliged with fire from heaven, and lit ablaze his sacrifice.

It was a momentous occasion. A triumphant victory.  A thrilling moment in Elijah’s life . . . however it was one that was very short lived.

Only a few verses later, Elijah is running for his life, ridden with fear, so much so that he even cries out to God to end his misery and take his life while he sits under a tree and hides.

It’s so strange to me that we can be living one second filled with excitement, confidence, and victory, only to transition into the next instant filled with fear, pain, and intense grief.

And yet our God knows and understands it all, including exactly what we need when we encounter those moments of shock, fear, and devastation.

It says that God dealt with the discouraged and greatly troubled Elijah in a very understanding and compassionate way.  Once Elijah was at a safe place to rest, the Lord allowed Elijah to fall into a much needed sleep. He even sent an angel to provide nourishing food to restore his strength and countenance.  And finally the Lord himself visited him, and gave him direction to move forward.

Perhaps the tendency to run and hide is somehow all part of God’s greater plan to restore, refresh, and revive us.  If only we will run to Him, and hide in His dwelling places to receive the strength, grace, and encouragement we need in order to move forward.

But at some point, we must be willing to move. The problematic predicament of running and hiding is when we never reemerge.

We can waste a life time by staying in a continual state of running and hiding.  Remaining stuck in our fear and pain, refusing to reenter back into the life the Lord has for us.

Elijah used his time of respite wisely, and returned with newfound strength and purpose.  My prayer is that we all would follow that model and do the same.

If you are finding yourself struggling with the reemerging process, take heart and know that Jesus himself performed the greatest act of reemerging know to man.  He walked through the most devastating events, the most painful torture, and even entered into the state of death itself, and yet  . . . He reemerged! And He did it just for you!

He did it so that you too can face anything and everything, come into His presence of rest and refreshment, and reemerge.  Ladies it is your time, I pray not one single moment of your precious life is wasted, and you walk in His spirit of peace, rest, and strength.

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

 

diane square  Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

Be still . . . and move!

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Two words that I have heard my entire life are be still. As a child with way too much energy and a father with very little patience, those words decorated the air in my youth. “Diane be still at the table, Diane be still in the car, Diane be still, be still, be still!”

It was very easy to understand what my father in essence was instructing me to do . . . he was basically telling me to stop moving!! Be still always meant the same thing, sit still, don’t move, and stop fidgeting.

Now as an adult I hear the voice of a different father instructing me with those same words, and yet I can’t help but feel they have a completely different meaning.

The first time I read those words in the Bible was in the story of the Israelites’ exodus out of Egypt. The people came to the Red Sea, turned to see the Egyptian army approaching, and trapped between the two, they cried out in fear.

The scripture reads, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” Exodus 14:14

But then one verse later the Lord says, “. . . Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.”

These words confused me at the time because they seemed opposite to me. How do you say be still and then tell me to move? My whole life be still meant don’t move.

Have you ever read the scriptures and just felt confused? Me too, and this was definitely one of those times.

Thankfully the Lord gives to us freely the Holy Spirit to assist us in the translation of scripture. Turns out the real meaning of be still in this scripture is not don’t move, but rather have peace. It means calm your emotions, let the raging seas within be stilled, and trust that the Lord is in control.

Though I have never been trapped between an Egyptian army and a great body of water, I have faced battles in life where I felt scared, stuck, and insecure. Often times in these battles I would feel frozen in my fear, afraid to make any movement.

Is that you right now? Are you in a battle in life where you feel stuck? Does it look like you are in a situation and there is no way out? You are not alone, I have been there too. And the Lord gives us a very specific direction in these moments, He says . . . be still.

He sweetly whispers into our spirit be still. His desire in those moments is to breathe His spirit of peace into our scary place not just to calm us, but to also show us which way to move!

God will gladly fight our battles for us, but first He wants to see us step out of our fear and move forward in faith. He wants us to trust Him and allow His spirit to make us move on the path He has placed before us.

If you are looking at your situation and you are thinking “but there is no path before me, there is no way”, remember that God makes a way when there is no way.

I believe that the Holy Spirit is telling me that there is someone who is reading this with tears in their eyes, and they are desperately hoping that these words would be true in their life. If that someone is you then pray this prayer of hope with me. And if that someone is not you, but you know a person that needs to hear these words then please share it with them. Remember ladies we need each other, and we are better together!

Dear Lord Jesus,

I need you. I need you to make a way because it looks like there is no way. I need you to breathe your breath of peace into me and calm my fears and pains. Help me to trust you and believe that you are greater than my circumstances, and may the winds of your spirit make me move forward in faith. Thank you Lord Jesus for what you are going to do and for always being the Way, in your name, Amen.

 

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

Your Vote is Your Voice

leather bible with words

Tomorrow is voting day in the Keystone State.

To many this is a day looked upon with frustration and uncertainty, while others ignore the significance of the day as a whole.

“Why even bother to vote?” some say, feeling powerless to the choices printed on the ballets. “What difference will my vote make anyway?”

Although I understand the vexation they feel, as I read the scriptures of the Old Testament I am reminded of the responsibility we have.

Recently, while reading the book of 2 Kings I found it telling how the Israelites went through seasons of having leaders that served the Lord, and kings that worshiped idols and false gods.

One king in particular, King Manasseh, led his people astray to a deplorable state were they did more evil than all the detestable nations the Lord had already destroyed before them.

During his long reign of 55 years, Manasseh plunged the nation of Judah into it’s darkest era of idolatry. In 2 Kings 21:3 it says “He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected alters to Baal and made an Asherah pole”.

Manasseh rejected the God of his father and instead worshiped Baal and Asherah, two Canaanite gods that represented fertility . . . or the worship of sex.

I can’t help but read these scriptures and feel the eerie sensation of deja vu.

How similar America is to the nation of Judah. Haven’t we forgotten the God of our forefathers that built this country on the foundation of Christian truths? Haven’t we faded into a nation that worships sex and the ability to express it without regard for its sacred origin?

Sadly, we have.

The only difference is the people of Judah did not vote their leaders in. No, they were kings born into the role by royal lineage. They did not have a say on who was next in line, but they did have the ability to choose to follow the ways of the Lord or be lead by lies of their leader.

Sometimes God does not always remove ungodly leaders from their positions, but instead He holds His people to be responsible for requiring their leaders to lead their nation in alignment with the Word of the Lord.

If the Lord held the nation of Judah to this standard, how much more will He hold us since we vote our leaders in?

We have a responsibility as a citizen of not only the nation of the United States, but also as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. He has blessed us with the ability to vote, and that vote is our voice that we are to use to glorify God and uphold His standards.

Perhaps you are struggling with the weight of this responsibility. Maybe you feel conflicted at the difficult task of determining which candidates are more likely to represent and uphold our Christian beliefs.

I completely understand.

But thankfully there are resources to assist us. Take time to do a little research and prayerfully ask God to assist you in using your voice, your vote to bring in leaders that will glorify God.

Here are three links that can offer you assistance in making informed decisions about the candidates. I pray you find them helpful, and feel empowered to do your part as a citizen of this great nation, but more importantly as a representative of Christ.

http://pafamilyvoter.com

http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/04/your_voters_guide_to_pennsylva.html

http://www.paprolife.org/2016springvgd

“Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens.” Exodus 18:21

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

What’s Next?

standing with words

I’m a planner.

I like details. I hate loose ends. I like confirmations and clear direction. I hate unknown.

So when I was asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I found it extremely painful NOT knowing the answer.

I feel like I should have a plan . . . isn’t that what all the smart professionals do? Have a plan?

But in this realm, the realm of a faith walk, my only plan is to follow Him. Period.

When you follow someone you are solely at the mercy of where they are taking you. When you trust them it’s not so bad, it’s actually kinda fun, if you can let yourself enjoy the journey moment by moment.

On special occasions I actually delight in this type of quest. My husband, who knows me so well, is acutely aware that I am really not into gifts. I am into meaningful experiences. Many times when it’s my birthday or anniversary he will send me on a adventure . . . a treasure hunt. He gives me one clue at a time, usually a sweet card, or a quote of scripture, and then within is a clue for where to go next.

How my kids love to go on the journey with me, constantly asking “what’s next” with each new clue.

How excited I get too! I don’t know where it will lead me. I don’t know how long it will take, or how many steps there will be. I don’t know what’s at the end, and it really doesn’t matter because I just love the experience so much, and I trust my husband, knowing he will only lead me to good things.

I think our faith walk with our Heavenly Father is much the same. He tends to lead us step by step, and although we can try to make plans the word tells us,

“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Do you know the Lord has you on a treasure hunt?

Do you know you can trust Him to lead you to good things?

Perhaps you are like me, a planner who likes to see every step and detail years in advance. Maybe you are at a point in your treasure hunt where you don’t have the next clue yet and you’re asking “What’s next?”

Then pray this prayer with me:

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for loving us so much that you have placed us on an adventure with you. We recognize you delight in creating a path before us, and directing each and every one of our steps. Please help us to focus on enjoying the journey with you, and assist us in trusting you with the final destination. On days our anxiety rises and we can not see the next clue, we pray for clarity from you and peace to sustain us along the way. In Jesus name, Amen.
diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

We Must Make a Choice

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Originally posted on March 23, 2015

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you had to make a difficult choice? Maybe you wavered back and forth as you ran the possible scenarios in your mind and their potential outcomes. Sometimes, in certain situations, it’s just really tough to choose.

“Should I quit my job and be a stay at home mom?” Or another woman may wonder, “Should I leave my job and find something new.” How about the choice of marriage, “Should I say yes?” Or even the choice to remain married, “Should I forgive him and stay?”

So many choices, sometimes so hard to choose.

And why is that?

Perhaps it’s because with each choice we make, we are shaping our future, even though we can not see it yet. We vacillate between the two paths and wonder how each choice will affect the future days to come.

When dealing with matters of faith, and choices related to stepping out into unknown territory, we can find help in choosing by looking at the past.

Not to examine our prior mistakes or previous poor choices, but instead to gaze into our rear view mirror and be reminded of the faithfulness of God.

In the last chapter in the book of Joshua, he recounts to the Israelites everything God has done for them. He reminds them that God brought them out of Egypt from under the hand of their oppressors. How He split the Red Sea and performed many other miracles along the journey. How He fought their battles for them, and gave them victory over the land. How He even blessed them with cities they hadn’t built, and orchards they hadn’t planted.

After reminding the Israelites of all the times the Lord had been faithful to them, he proposed this challenge, “ . . . choose for yourselves today the one you will serve.”

“Choose who you will serve.”

In life we all have to choose. We must make a choice. And there is no need to try to see into the future, instead like Joshua, just look at the past.

See all the times that God has been faithful. Be reminded of how He walked you through tough choices and difficulties in the past. Remember that He delivered you, remember what His promises are, and make a choice based on your faith in Him and your desire to serve Him.

When we choose to serve God and follow in His ways, we can never make a wrong choice. We can never end up on the wrong path. And we will never be left to walk out our choice alone.

Let’s pray.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Today and everyday of my life I choose to serve you. Please help me filter all my decisions, all my choices, and all my actions through the lens of serving you. Help me to discern your wisdom when decisions need to be made. Increase my faith to walk in your ways, and calm my fears as I enter into territory that is unknown. Thank you Lord for being faithful all my days. In Jesus name, Amen.

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

How to be Successful

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I was terrified!

I knew God was calling me, beckoning me to follow Him into unfamiliar and uncharted territory. I could see a glimpse of the goal at the end through what appeared to be a long, narrow, arduous path.

“How can I possibly navigate through that Lord?”, I cried with fearful tears.

As I looked around at everything that would impact the journey, I became acutely aware of the dangers and lack of resources.

No money, no training, no idea what step to even take next, not to mention the enemies that were quite literally attacking me. These were not the circumstances I anticipated would be present when stepping out to achieve a dream.

I quickly realized it’s one thing to have a God sized dream, it’s a whole other thing to go after it!

In those early days I was so desperate to hear from God. I needed a word for almost every moment of the day. I needed wisdom and an example to follow. A story from His book that I could read and reread every time anxiety and doubt swelled inside me.

Within that first week the Lord provided exactly what I needed . . . the book of Joshua.

I began to read about the task the Lord laid in front of Joshua, how he was to lead the Israelites into their promise land. Now this land wasn’t simply sitting there unoccupied and without obstacles to overcome. No! They would have to cross a river during flood season, enter the most fortified city of that day, and then conquer the giants that were inhabiting the land.

If that was me, I would have two words for you . . . panic attack!

But the Lord gave Joshua very specific instructions that were attached to a promise. One of those instructions was in Joshua 1:7, “Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you, do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”

Do not turn from it to the right or to the left.

Those words rang in my ears and echoed through my soul. In this short phrase I felt the Lord show me the secret to success.

Prior to that verse I had been looking all around me, instead of focusing in on what He was commanding me to do . . . trust Him. He was telling me to trust Him. To follow Him. To walk in His ways and commands. To keep my eyes on Him.

He knew that if my eyes and my actions deviated from Him and His ways, He knew fear would cause me to freeze or flee.

It’s amazing how if you just take your eyes slightly off your focus, how far off course you will find yourself.

There is a true story about a large passenger jet that had left New Zealand with 257 people onboard for a sightseeing flight to Antartica and back. Unknown to the pilots, someone had modified the flight coordinates by a mere two degrees.

That slight deviation placed the aircraft 28 miles to the east of where they had planned to be. As they approached Antartica the pilots descended to a lower altitude to give the passengers a better look at the landscape. But since they did not know they were off target, they did not realize the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of Mount Erebus, an active volcano that rises from the frozen landscape to a height of more than 12,000 feet.

As they continued their flight the white of the snow and ice on the volcano blended with the white of the clouds, and by the time the instruments sounded the alarm warning them that the ground was rising fast – it was too late. The airplane crashed, killing everyone onboard.

A lot of sin we get into, struggles in our life, or fears that cause us to fumble happen just by taking our eyes off Jesus only a little bit.

God knows that our feet will follow whatever we fix our eyes on. He knows that if we fix our eyes on Him and His ways, no matter what obstacles and impossibilities surround us, we will achieve success.

This is His promise to us.

This is His promise to you!

So tell me ladies, what God sized dream are you looking at through a long, narrow, telescope view? What promise land are you desperate to attain?

Perhaps you are starting out like me, uncertain of the way or where to step next? Then remember this secret to success, “Do not look to the left or to the right, but keep your eyes on Jesus, He will reveal the way!”

 

If this is a topic that speaks to your heart, I encourage you to come back in the weeks to come as we explore more about the wisdom we can learn from the brave life of Joshua.
diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

When Sickness Wears You Down

bible with words

The worst part about being sick isn’t the wearing down of my body…it’s the wearing down of my mind.

On healthy days my mind is sharper. It can see the enemy’s traps and tactics in advance. But on days I am sick, it’s like the back door of my mind is opened for the enemy to sneak right in with a whole bunch of crazy.

The first thoughts that slip in under the radar are thoughts of being overwhelmed. Everything that could possibly need done over the next month comes crashing into my mind, creating a pile that appears impossible and screams the word NOW at me! If I had any clarity in the moment I would remind myself that the pile in fact does NOT need done now. I would see that I am surrounded by people willing to help. And most importantly I would know that I am loved by a God who is faithful to assist me in accomplishing any mountain size list of things to do.

However, when I am sick, all of those truths tend to hide from me under a thick illness induced fog where crazy thoughts grow rampant instead.

From there my mind takes a turn and gets tangled up in thoughts of how I can best control the situation. Instead of just letting go of everything and taking time to fully rest, I wrestle with figuring out how to get things done in spite of my illness. This is truly ridiculous. For hours I stressed about whether or not it was better to drag myself to the grocery store or have my husband take on that responsibility.

I contemplated my dilemma . . . which would truly be more difficult . . . going to the store sick while resembling a character from the Walking Dead, or sending my husband on what would inevitably feel like a wild goose chase as he tries to track down all the items on our grocery list in the labyrinth known as Giant.

I decided the world was not ready for the Walking Dead version of me, and once I stopped trying to control everything, I was amazed at how God showed up. Technically it was my friend Rachel that showed up at Giant. Seeing my husband staring blankly at the shelves, she graciously offered to assist him in getting the items on the list. Talk about a miracle in aisle 10!

But why did that have to be such a difficult decision? Why didn’t I think the good Lord would help my husband and return him safely from the grocery maze? Instead crazy thoughts ensued which led me to the next trap . . . irritability.

After my husband so loving retrieved all the items from the store, he was preparing to go to a Women’s Event where he was to be a part of the worship team. As he was getting ready to walk out the door he asks me one simple question, “Which jacket do you think looks best?”

You would think my brain could handle answering one simple question nicely . . . NOPE! “Why does it matter what jacket you wear, when you will take it off as soon as you get there!”

I totally snapped on my husband, who was getting ready to walk out the door to minister to friends of MINE at a Women’s Retreat!

Nice. Real nice Diane.

And from there I went into the final trap, the I am an awful person trap. There I tell myself what a terrible wife I am, that I am also a horrible mother, and that I basically stink at everything so I might as well throw the towel in and quit it all.

I imagine if you have ever been sick, you might relate to this scenario even if the details of your thoughts are different.

Maybe in the middle of your moments your thoughts tell you that you will never get better, that no one cares you are sick, or that you are all alone.

In the midst of this I am learning how very important it is, especially while I am sick, to ensure that I am focusing my thoughts on the truths from God’s Word, and not believing the many tainted thoughts the enemy slips in the backdoor while I’m feeling weak and worn down.

Perhaps we can all work on this together, and remind each other of this great verse,

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3

 

diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website