Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I’m not one to know the latest pop or R&B songs, but I do know that a popular theme these days is independence. I overheard someone talking about a song entitled, “Independent” and thought I’d look up the lyrics out of curiosity. The only thing was that the lyrics were so profane that I couldn’t even read through them all. Still, it’s the in thing to be independent for those in the world. Many women tout that they don’t need men, and there are loads of men who admire women who don’t need them. We won’t even discuss how many men want to be independent of the responsibility of having wives and children. So, it’s no surprise that many children feel that they don’t need their parents. Often as a result, there are far too many people who feel like they don’t need God.

While independence does have attributes in the right context, for the most part, glamorizing it has many pitfalls. The Bible instructs us over and over again to depend on God. Yet, when life is going according to our plans and feels easy, we tend to lose our dependence on Him. We can slip into the attitude that says, “That’s okay, I got this one, God.”

However, we must depend on God for everything at all times. Making the decision to depend on Him isn’t a sign of weakness but true strength. As believers, we don’t live by life’s changing circumstances. In the face of possible death, Paul passes on comfort and advice to other believers. He explains in II Corinthians 1:8-9, “we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” Paul reminds us to trust Him with our lives.

Why should we depend on Him? We should depend on Him because He won’t fail us like people, plans, and things often do. Psalm 121:2 says, “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” God created us out of His image, and He knows us. He knows our hurts and understands our burdens. In fact, Matthew 8:17 says that Jesus, “Himself took our infirmities and bare our sickness.” It doesn’t matter what the problem is, He can handle it. We just have to trust Him and cast our cares on Him.

We should depend on God because His love for us is constant and never changes. David says, “for all that is in heaven and earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest overall; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all” (II Chron. 29:11-12).

Depending on God means that we need Him, not just when the going gets rough but just like the air we breathe, we need Him to survive. We have faith in Him and trust Him with everything. Furthermore, when we depend on God, we submit our will and desires to His authority and His Word. We have to submit to Him and obey Him. We can’t just trust Him with things we feel comfortable letting Him have. He wants us to have total and complete dependence on Him.

On a final note, I do want to add that we need one another. God created Adam and said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18). Also, as believers, we make up the body of Christ. In chapter twelve in I Corinthians, Paul says that just as the body has many members but is one, so is the body of Christ. We all need each other to complete the work that God has for us to do and to draw others to Him.

When I hear people say that they don’t need anyone, a red flag goes up. I wonder who has hurt or let that person down. We may avoid some hurt and rejection by being independent, but we morph those negatives into an abyss of selfishness, anger, depression, loneliness, and a host of other problems. God has shown me that when I completely depend on Him, my life is filled with peace and joy. I can then reach out freely to others, knowing that just as I am not perfect, no one else is either. I am not tossed to and fro by life’s ups and downs because my total dependence is on Him, the One who holds my future and the world in the palm of His hands.

Depend on Him for that very thing that you’ve been holding onto, refusing to give to Him. Trust Him with it, and watch Him perform a miracle. Your decision to trust Him will empower you with supernatural strength to overcome any obstacle Satan throws your way.

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Too Focused For Distraction

Have you ever had your bubble blown up, soaring high and hopeful, only to have it burst into tiny pieces right before your eyes? Have you ever pulled blankets to keep your upper body warm, only to discover that your feet were sticking out? I’m sure you get the idea. Obviously, like many of you, I’m well-acquainted with these types of scenarios. In the thick of it, it can be difficult to stay focused and centered on our faith and not life’s changing circumstances. However, if we are focused and armed with the full armor of God, we can prepare ourselves for the spiritual battle with distractions.

When we’re faced with problems and difficult situations, the worst thing we can do is to lose our focus. This past week has been an unusually difficult week in many respects. There have been some very big challenges and then not so big one, such as my son beating my new Mac pressed powder like a drum, covering his body and the floor with it. (I have to mention how he made the kitchen wall his art canvas and an orange and green crayon his paintbrush as well this week.) Anyway, I got caught up in the emotions of the negative situations and temporarily lost focus. I even attempted to pray, reading scriptures and devotions. However, it had little impact initially because my mind had locked onto the problems and its possible devastating consequences. I had caved to the pressure.

We have to make a deliberate choice not to waste any time resting our thoughts on the negatives, which only lead to anxiety, worry, and depression. Anything that distracts us from God’s Word and His will are dangerous because it inevitably leads to sin. As elementary as this is going to sound, I realized that I can’t have faith and worry. It’s just like the principle that says light and dark can’t occupy the same space. Hebrews 12:1 instructs us, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” If we choose to focus on our faith, it can keep us from distraction. Every single care has to be given to Him so that we can accomplish what God has for us in its fullness.

Paul admonishes us in I Corinthians 7:35 to “attend upon the Lord without distraction.” In Matthew 6:33-34, Jesus says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.” Jesus has given us a divine order to the complexities of life. Priority one is for us to seek His kingdom and His righteousness. I have to admit that when I really meditated on these words, the worry and anxiety broke. When I’m obedient, the worry, fear and anxiety dissolve.

Problems and challenges have a way of revealing where we really are. We can panic, worry, and delve into a sea of despair, or we can put the problem or challenge where it rightfully belongs, at the feet of Jesus. Anytime I’m tempted to pick it back up, I have to remember to quickly let it go and refocus.

I am reminded of Jesus teaching about those who build their houses on rock and sand in Matthew 7:21-28. He explains that not everyone who gives prophesies, prays, and performs good works in His name will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Only those that hear and do what he says will be like the wise man who built his house on a rock. Remember, “the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”

Is your house built on a rock? If not, consider surrendering all to Him. Storms will and do come, but there is safety. Cast all of your cares upon Him. He loves you and doesn’t want you weighted down by the pressures of life. He can fill your joy and every dark space. He can cover you under his blanket of unconditional love, protection, and provision. He did it for me, and I know He can do it for you.

I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a line on the Abiding in the Vine Facebook group page or comment at