Stay the Course


Staying the course is a popular expression in the United States. It is referring to a person who perseveres to the end. We all need to stay the course in life, but how do we do just that? How do we stay focused with a constant barrage of challenges and trials in our life? How do we stay the course when life’s circumstances seem to pull us off course?


Lack of rest actually contributes to restlessness, not just physically, but spiritually. We need to rest our bodies daily, but resting our soul is of the utmost importance. We must learn to rest in the Lord, where He will renew our strength and refresh our very soul. If we do not take time out to read God’s word, commune with Him, praise Him, give our troubles over to Him, and trust in Him, we can tire or become easily overwhelmed, lose our focus, and become ineffective in not only our daily routine, but also in our witness to others. That, would be exactly what the enemy would want; an ineffective, confused, miserable Christian. In Matthew 11:29 Jesus tells us to, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”


It is also important that we renew our spirit and mind. When we infuse our mind with the truth of the Bible, it allows us to filter out the things of this world, false doctrines, lies of the enemy, and allows us to be wise and discerning as God’s word seeps deeply into our very soul. Ephesians 4:23 tells us to “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” And, in Romans 12:2 God tells us “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”


You must take time to refresh yourself; however that looks for you, without feeling guilty. Down time is essential in order to be well, function properly, and be spiritually healthy. The actual definition of down time is, a time during which a machine, especially a computer, is out of action or unavailable for use. Or, as we American’s use it, as a time of reduced activity or inactivity. A frazzled Christian tends to lose the joy of the Lord, and will not be productive in going about their Father’s business on that given day. Jeremiah 31:25 promises us, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” You will find you have new strength and energy when you do, and, your days will be more productive and happier as the Lord gives you a fresh perspective on life.


As we know, life happens, and we can get distracted by the circumstances of life. Problems come up and our human tendency is to think, ponder, and pour ourselves into trying to fix and resolve them on our own. When this happens, we actually lose focus of our very solution. Colossians 3:2 tells us to “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” We must take our eyes off our problems and put them back on Christ. When we fall prey to the stress of circumstance we must refocus. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 We must give those problems over to Christ by laying them down at the foot of the cross and, in faith, trust Him to work things out for our best and highest good. Romans 8:28 says that “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” As the Lord takes you through challenges of this life, thank Him for what he is teaching you and continue to rejoice in Him. This will refocus you on Christ, not your circumstances.


Remember to rest in the Lord, renew your mind, take time to refresh your soul, and always keep your eyes on Christ. You will be amazed at what the Lord takes you victoriously through, and teaches you, as you rest in Him. Staying the course through life’s trials and challenges is possible when we put the Lord first in our life. As you put your trust in the Lord you will find you have renewed vitality in life. Life is good because… God is Great!


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Hidden Hurts of the Heart

Beautifully lush greenery was popping up all over my freshly planted garden. The delicate leaves were lovely but, bottom line, they just didn’t belong there. When trying to pull them out, they wouldn’t budge because there was a stronghold beneath them. As it turned out, they were actually small tree saplings that were growing directly off a huge root right beneath the garden. Rather than rip up the entire garden, I opted for clipping them off just above the surface. I knew they were still there, but no one else could see them. Just like those sprouting saplings, the hidden hurts in our hearts will continue to surface until we remove the roots.

Contrary to belief, time does not heal all wounds. Even though time passes, the pain of past hurts lurks on, until it is properly dealt with. When we have been hurt and find ourselves dwelling on painful memories, there are steps we can take to release that pain, ultimately allowing the healing process to begin. 

The first step is to get alone with the Lord. Tell Him everything. Pour out your heart to Him. There is nothing you can say that will surprise God. Be completely transparent, and let it all out. Crying is a good release, and can be helpful. Job 5:11 tells us, “The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.” If you have a Bible, I encourage you to read it during this time with the Lord. Often, He will provide a scripture of hope and strength, something to hold onto as encouragement.

There is another step that can be taken that is also helpful in clearing our head and heart. Sometimes the pain we carry is linked to people we just can’t sit down and have a face-to-face with due to their death or non-compliance. Or, someone who is alive, but would be devastated and wrecked if confronted with pain they unintentionally caused. A good example of this would be a parent who, although they tried, still managed to fail miserably.

This exercise is a recommendation from Dr. Charles Stanley, pastor of In-Touch Ministries:

Get two chairs. Sit in one chair and then face the other empty chair. Now, have a conversation with the person who hurt you deeply. Tell that empty chair everything that caused you pain. Whatever hurt you. Don’t hold back. Permission granted to yell, cry, and even kick that chair! Release the pent up pain. Let it out, saying EVERYTHING you feel. This is going to provide you with an amazing release. All that hurt you have been carrying around, will lift! There is something about voicing it out, even if it isn’t to the individual that hurt you.

We are not responsible for the behavior and actions of others. However, we are totally responsible for our own. Once you have spoken out all the pain and hurt, you will have a strange peace and type of closure within yourself. The situation may not be resolved with the other individual, but healing in your heart can begin. We are responsible for the condition of our own hearts, as 1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us,“… the LORD looks at the heart.”

Ripping up my garden to dig out roots growing beneath the earth’s surface wasn’t worth it. However, taking the time to deal with roots of past pain is profitable. If you are carrying hurt from the past, I encourage you to get with the Lord and speak your heart. And, if you feel more is needed, get out those chairs. Sound weird? What do you have to lose? Just the heartache!

Included below are the links for Dr. Charles Stanley’s sermons that address this topic.

Hurts We Don’t Deserve Part 1

Hurts We Don’t Deserve Part 2

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Rumor Weed

The obnoxious weed was loud and mouthy, and it just kept growing and twisting until it weaved its way through the city, destroying the things in its path as it grew bigger and stronger. I have never forgotten the depiction of that Rumor Weed from a Veggie Tales show, years ago when my kids were young. I can’t help but think of that weed in relation to sin and how easily it can grow if we do not pluck it out by its roots.

If I don’t stay on top of pulling out the weeds in my garden, they quickly begin to take over, crowding out the healthy veggies that are growing and yielding fruit. This is what can happen in life, if we don’t recognize the power sin has over us. We need to be sure and pull out the weeds in our life that are fed by the ways of the world, and our fleshly nature. Some sprouting weeds can look pretty and seem like no big deal, but quickly grow and consume the things in its path, just like that Rumor Weed. It doesn’t take long before the weed multiplies and can begin to choke out healthy plants, along with the good fruit that was being produced in our lives. We are warned in Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Whatever our sin may be, if brought before the Lord, and confessed to Him, He will provide the strength to overcome whatever troubles us. We can be free from that thing that causes us to stumble. Jesus is Faithful to rescue, redeem, and restore us. John 1:9 reassures us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

There will always be weeds that sprout up in our life. But, if we spend time tending our garden with the Lord those weeds will be more noticeable to us when they first sprout up. It is much simpler to pull out a small weed, before its roots have been established than to deal with a weed that has been allowed to grow big and tall with roots embedded deep in our soul. As stated in Luke 1:37, “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Whatever the issue, God is bigger. Whatever the struggle, we have hope. The truth is, there is no Rumor Weed God can’t pluck out. Trust in Him. He has the tools to tend your garden and produce good fruit through you.

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Tending the Garden

The leaves were heavy and droopy, and the dirt was excessively dry. In my hurrying and scurrying about that morning, I figured I would just give it a good soaking upon my quick return. Plans changed, and the hours past, and I returned to a very sullen wilted garden. As I stood in the heat of the day watering my thirsty plants, I couldn’t help but think about how we are similarly affected when we don’t take the needed time to water our own spiritual garden. 

When we start allowing commitments to steal away our time, we can hurt ourselves and those lives we touch. It is important to understand our own limitations and realize when our cup is almost empty. Spending quiet time with the Lord and getting into His Word renews our strength. And just like the plants in the garden, we will perk back up! It is like drinking a cool glass of water on a hot parched day. Isaiah 58:11 tells us,  “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” What a wonderful promise from the Lord!

Just as the plants wilted in the summer heat, so can we when the heat is turned up in our life, and we have not taken adequate time to drink from the living water that is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. So next time you are feeling overcome, I encourage you to find a quiet place and spend some time with the Lord. John 4:14 tells us, “But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” And to that I say, AMEN!

I have attached a song for you. Please click on the link below and let the music minister to your soul!

O Come to the Alter

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